Thursday, May 31, 2007

Through the Looking Glass

Here is my final post for the month of May. i find it only appropriate to make the last go around Lost related since so much of the rest of the month was. It has been one of the better months in recent memory for visitors largely because of the not terribly small part I played in the Lostfan108 spoilers bruhaha. My post regarding thespoilers made it onto The Fuselage and another television forum. Both sent lots of people in my direction. It appearsa few have stuck with me since, to boot. Hopefully it means I may finally reach the visitor numbers i was putting up before my bout with poor health late last summer.

This is my music video for the third season finale of Lost It is set to "Zombie" by the Cranberries and is a wee bit more violent than most of my videos. Then again, so was the season finale.

Enjoy, and I will see you in June.
Billie Piper to Divorce Chris Evans

So, is the fact former Doctor Who actress Billie Piper is finally getting a divorce from Chris Evans (the British DJ, not the American Fantastic Four actor)after a three year separation the reason for the research surge in Billie Piper searches in my stats? Is it that you now believe she is available (she is not) or that she is really hot (which she most certainly is)? Judge for yourself by the above photo.
Michael & Walt Returning to Lost?

It did not take long for new Lost rumors about next season to emerge. Word is Harold Perrineau, who played Michael, has been offered the chance to become a regular next season. He was actually offered an opportunity to appear in the third season finale, but declined. As I wrote yesterday, I believe it is Michael in the coffin. All clues, especially the recently interpreted newspaper clipping, point in that direction. Although I have to admit I hope I am wrong about that. For whatever reason, the reveal would seem too anticlimactic to me.

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the show runners, have long said the four season would address what happened to Michael and Walt after they left the island at the en of season two. I suspect the way the Others feel about children, particularly special children like Walt, they would not just let the pair get away free and clear. However, when Naomi told Mikhail she was not alone, then Walt appeared to Locke, I assumed they had escaped and were trying to rescue their friends. It must have gone badly considering Kate’s distaste for the deceased in the season finale. Perhaps her animosity has to do with Ana Lucia and Libby's death?

With or without Michael, Lindelof and Cuse plan to address the time/space anomalies that have been hinted at all season long. Actually, the hints began at the 2006 San Diego ComiCon when Lindelof let it slip to a fan that time may be moving differently on the island than in the outside world. Such circumstances would explain Walt’s aging. Perrineau was cast in a CBS pilot for next season that was not picked up. That tells me his story would have addressed with him in absentia (Dead?) but the opportunity to actually feature him has now arisen. His character was never a favorite of mine, but I would rather have him there than not.

In other news, but with fewer details, Jacob and the four toed statue will be explained next season. Supposedly. Never hold your breath with this waiting for Lost to reveal secrets in a timely, announced fashion.
Days of Lakers' Malaise

I do not generally follow basketball at the college or NBA level. I am too short to care, in all honesty. But I do follow sport scandals and upheavals generally out of amusement (or is that bemusement?) over how important a lot of folks take it. I am not referring to any like O. J. Simpson being accused of murder, Kobe Bryant accused of rape, or even the steriod scandal currently casting a shadow over baseball. I am talking about rumors floating about over playrs leaving certain teams and the like. The first time I saw the phenomena was during the 100 anniversary celebration of the NHL when Wayne Gretzsky flippantly stated he might retire. He did not. In fact, he eventually moved on to two more teams in his quest for a final Stanley Cup. But the damage was done. The celebration was over as that was all anyone, from sportscasters to brokenhearted fans, could talk about.

Yesterday morning we had Kobe Bryant 9Okay, maybe I will mention him after all) making a offhand comment on a radio show that he would like to be traded. Does not care where, but he wants to be gone. Why? Because they are not the contenders management promised him they would be. Granted, the Lakers management has made so pretty bad decisions as of late. They are not going to contend net year either, barring some stupendous tades that do not involve Kobe Bryant. But Bryant has the attitude that he is currently the big star in the NBA and therefore ought to have a championship ring every year.

He may very well be the biggest NBA star at the moment. As I said, I do not follow basketball, but even just a handful of years ago I could name a dozen players. Now Kobe and Shaq are about the extent of my knowledge. But no matter what, the tar is not bigger than the team. Kobe ought to have approached management with his issues rather than going public. Doing so was tacky and apparently unnecessary. After talking with Phil Jackson, Kobe appeared on The Dan Patrick Show a little later and proclaimed he intended to be a Laker the rest of hi career. All in a matter of hours. Despite that, everyone from pundits to fanswere still jabbering about the affair late into the evening. They will probably keep on well into tomorrow.

In more fun Laker news, their owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, a former college professor and real estate magnate, was arrested for DUI the other night. The 74 year old had a 23 year old girl in the car with him. She was not his grand daughter, I assure you. She may have been a nudist who just needed a lift. Either way, one can make a decent argument Kobe is not the most embarrassing person associated with the Lakers now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lost:The Newspaper Clipping

You could not get a good look at the newspaper clipping Jack tore out on the plane which announced the death of someone he recognized, yet held some animosity for. All you could make out was a "J" in the name of the person and that it was a man. The rest of the clipping has been posted online in many places over the last couple days. It reas:
"The body of John Lantham of New York was found shortly after 4 a.m. in the 4300 block of Grand Avenue.

Ted Worden, a doorman at the Tower Lofts complex, heard loud noises coming from the victim's loft. Concerned for the tenants' safety, he entered the loft and found the body hanging from a beam in the living room.

According to Jaime Ortiz, a police spokesman, the incident was deemed a suicide after medical tests. Lantham (sic) is survived by one teenaged son.

Memorial services will be held at the Hoffs-Drawlar Funeral Home tomorrow evening."
Tis sheds some light on many things. It pretty much confirms the dead man is Michael using an alias. Judging by the appearance of Walt in the season finale, and the hints that some space/time shenanigans are afoot, I would say he is the teenage boy. Further, Michael was from New York originally. The funeral was in a black neighborhood to boot.

Naomi told Mikhail she was not alone after he performed the lung draining procedure on her. Did she have Michael with her? Did he betray his former friends somehow? Kate seemed to tink so. How much had he aged? Judging by Walt, it might have been significant. Old enough to adopt a new identity. The big question is why was Walt not at his father's funeral?
Billie Piper XIII

Gone but not forgotten from Doctor Who, Billie Piper is still one hot number. Here is a recent photo shoot. She is pretty hot here, too, especially the subtle hint of the underwear behind the curtain photo, but the over abundance of makeup is kind of off putting. She has a lot of natural beauty without going the Tanny Faye route. I do not get the fad of those orange fake tans, either. Regardless, these photos are some of the best to come from Ms. Piper in a while. It is good to see her around again.

Greatest Hits

Not to sound like an egotist (Okay, even more of an egotist than usual) but I really like how this one turned out. Charlie marks the best moments of his life before facing certain death. Video is set to "In My Life" by the Beatles.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ali Larter Has Nice Boobs

Heroes may be done for the season, but Ali Larter is still on the public radar. If you do not believe she is a lovely and stacked young lady, check these puppies out. They are from a health and beauty aids launch party.

Kidney Competition

Do you think American reality television has stretched the limits of good taste? You ain’t seen nothing yet. We may have grown weary of seeing Ivy League business school graduates licking Donald Trump’s rear end for a peon public relations job, but over in Europe, they are still hankering to watch desperate people grovel. At least they have upped the ante from a year long internship the Donald to something a bit more significant. Unfortunately, it also doubles as a mile marker on the road to oblivion for western civilization.

A Dutch reality show is is centered around a competition to win a kidney. The star of the show is a 37 year old woman with an inoperable brain tumor. As the show goes along, she will decide which of the contestants, all of whom have one foot in the grave and the other slipping just like her, will get her kidney. Oddly enough, the set u is perfectly legitimate. While human trafficking is a violation of international law, selling or giving away your own body parts is perfectly legal.

That fact does not make the premise of the show any less morbid. To stage a competition between the terminally ill for what may be their only chance at life9and even that is iffy with the possibility of infection and bodily rejection.) is humiliating. I think it is degrading both because it is presented for entertainment value and that, frankly, anyone in the situation of these contestants cannot really refuse the opportunity. It is not even watching touch gladiators fight to the death. This is watching sickly, pitiful individuals grovel for their lives.

Can you imagine having to tell all but one of the contestants they are losers? They have not just lost, they have had the last shred of hope for avoiding a death sentence snatched away. A lifetime supply of Turtle Wax and a copy of the home game will not quite make up for that, no?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Freema Agyeman is Not Leaving Doctor Who

The Sun has erroneously reported Freema Agyeman, who plays new companion Martha Jones, will be dumped for the next season of Doctor Who. The article stated her character would somehow belost in space. The article was given some credence because the tabloid has accurately reported on the departure of Billie Piper as the former companion and the casting of John Simms as The Master. But the tabloid has also falsely reported current Doctor David Tennant will leave in the middle of next season.

They got this one wrong as well. Agyeman has not only been met with critical and fan praise, but showrunnner Russell T. Davies has assured everyone Agyeman is staying put. He has not yet planed out the fourth season and would not comment on future storylines even if he had. (Where does this put the rumor Kylie Minogue will appear in the Christmas special?) Therefore no executive at the BBC would have any knowledge of Martha’s fate even if they were dissatisfied with Agyeman’s performance, which they are not.

Neither am I, by the way. I find Martha a much more fascinating character than Rose ever was. I do not say that lightly, as I did like Rose. But I see storylines can be much meatier with Martha. Take Saturday’s episode for instance. The commentary and class in society was much more poignant with the indignities Martha, a blak medical student , had to endure posing as a maid in 1913 England. Sure, Rose could have played the part, but what difference would it have made? Her being from the lower class of society was a laugh line that sharply divided fans. It just would no have been unusual for rose to have been a maid. We never really cared about her plight as a lower class chav. In Martha’s case we do care and exploring how she handles herself in different time periods is engrossing. I would hate to see her leave so soon.
Charles Nelson Reilly, (1931-2007)

For a good while there, Charles Nelson Reilly, was all over the place. Movies, theater, game shows, cartoon voice, talk shows-- you name it. Like most science fiction fans, I remember him best as Jose Chung, the acerbic author from episodes of the X-Files and Millennium. Here is an official obituary.

Godspeed, Mr. Reilly.
The Man Behind the Curtain

No real frills with this one. It is pretty much the one long scene with Ben, Locke, and Jacob as he has his poltergeist fit. Video is set to "Ghost in This House" by Alyson Krauss & Union Station. The song is eerily appropriate when you think about it.
Memorial Day

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Brig

I am almost getting caught up here. Only three more episodic videos to go before I finish out the third season. In "The Brig," Sawyer meets the real Sawyer. Vengeance ensues. Video is set to "Karma Police" by Radiohead. It lags a bit just before hitting the climax. I put a little too much of the heated conersation between the Sawyers in, but it turned out all right overall.
Doctor Who--"Human Nature"

Paul Cornell, author of the first season’s tear jerking “Father’s Day,” adapts his novel Human Nature, for the small screen. I have never read Human Nature, but it is my understanding the story involves the Seventh Doctor abandoning his Time Lord attributes and becoming human so he can learn empathy. The Seventh Doctor was famous for being even more ambivalent about the wellbeing of others in his travels than most Doctors. As the story goes, a future Doctor returns to convince him to resume his Time Lord ways. The only two elements I see from the novel remaining in the episode appears to be the Doctor assuming a occupation of teacher in 1913 and falling in love. I am not complaining, however. This was one of the best episodes yet with echoes of classic Who.

When we begin, the doctor and Martha are being pursued by the Family of Blood. They need a Time Lord and can track the Doctor through time and space by hisscent alone. In order to escape, the Doctor uses adevice to alter his DNA and memories. He puts his essence in a stopwatch and gives Martha charge over him. When the time comes, she is to have him open the watch and resume being a Time Lord. The pair have to assume roles as ateacher and maid at a boarding school in 1913 England for at least a month in order to escape.

But the Family arrives regardless and assumes the bodies of several ancillary people from the school and nearby village. They still have hints of the Doctor’s scent even though he has changed form. But the Doctor has settled into his new persona. He is happy teaching, shaping his boys up for what he considers a dark future. All the while he is having strange dreams about an adventurer through time and space, encountering strange aliens, and a bleach blonde girl named Rose. He writes the dreams all down in a journal. Martha becomes wary of the changes in him, particularly when he starts to fall in love with a woman.

Things get really complicated when a student who has some powers of clairvoyance begins suspects is teacher is not all he seems to be. He steals the stopwatch. The Family finally tracks down the Doctor after apparently discovering Martha’s identity. They hold her and his love interest hostage at a school dance, demanding he return to his old self. He has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. There is nothing Martha can do without the stopwatch. To be continued..

There is generally a drawback to two part episodes og Who in that the first is almost always pure set up that is rarely engrossing in itself. Not so here. It is certainly not a standalone piece, it has its own merit outside of part two Watching the Doctor take on a whole new personality, somewhat bumbling, somewhat dark, was interesting. In one scene, he is training his students to fire a gun in preparation for what he considers a “proper war” to prove their manhood in the future. Ionic, considering the ultimate pointlessness of the coming Great War he is referring to. When a young boy ails at it, he has another boy beat the child. Something that normally would go against the Doctor’s sense of fairness is second nature to him now. I am also impressed with the racial issues addressed. Martha is a black woman in 1913 England with alll the prejudices that go with it. Even I cringed at some of the condescension the Doctor exhibits towards her. It was an eye opening touch well handled. The scarecrow henchmen the Family use were also a nice, creepy touch. Good episodes all around. I cannot wait for next week.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lindsay Lohan Charged with DUI

Looks like the intervention staged by the lovely Tina Fey the last time Lindsay Lohan hosted Saturday Night Live failed miserably. I seem to recall the failure being immediately obvious at the wrap party, but do not hold me to that. Honestly, I do not follow celebrity gossip that carefully. As proof, I submit I did not know Lohan was only twenty years old. This means I feel truly awful about mentally undressing her now. But more to the current point, she is in a wee bit of trouble now after an accident and an interesting discovery by police. It does not pay to be part of young Hollywood these days, no?

He car was involved in an accident in Los Angeles early Saturday morning. It is believed that Lohan was intoxicated at the time of the incident. Her car was towed and she went to the hospital to treat injuries. She was arrested, charged with DUI, and released. Unfortunately, police also found what they have described as a “usable amount” of cocaine in her vehicle. It has been along time since I have watched Miami Vice, but I assume a “usable amount” of cocaine is a bad thing.

Lohan will have to appear before a judge on these charges and perhaps explain why her recent stint in rehab did not take. You know, maybe she and Paris Hilton could wind up as cellmates. If Nicole Ritchie will not star in another season of The Simple Life, perhaps Lohan and Hilton can become BFF and crank out a new season set in prison. Heck, there is already an army o horny guys creating such a show in there heads.

Uh...not me, mind you. But if you are intereted in seeing a nearly naked Lindsay Lohan, here is a video of her stripping in the movie, I Know Who Killed Me.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Lost Spoilers in a Flash

It did not take long for some Lost spoilers for season four to emerge. Good thing, too. I mean, we only have eight months to wait for them to pan out. Anyway, word around the web is season fourth season will contain both flashbacks and flash forwards. Fan reaction has been mixed, but positive responses seem to be ahead by a hair or two.

I think it is a good thing. I imagine the idea behind the flash forwards will be roughly the same as the flashbacks except the island happenings will show why characters are motivated in the future. The best episodes have been when the flashbacks have either revealed something big or clearly showed a pivotal event in the character’s life that coincides with some dilemma they are facing on the island.

I get the vibe the back stories of the main characters have pretty much been played out. There are not many more things we can learn about Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, etc. Honestly, other than Desmond’s military career and why he spent time in jail, there does not seem to be much left for the old mainstays. I think this way there is an opportunity to crank up the action rather than delve into what is likely to be pointless minutiae in the lives of characters we have already grown familiar with in the last three years. I am anxious to see how it all plays out.
Slave Girl Leia

You cannot have a Star Wars celebration without at least one photo of Carrie Fisher ruining every guy of generation's view of women. Here is one of my favorite images of Slave Girl Leia in the metal bikini. Seeing a pre-cocaine Carrie Fisher jiggle for a bunch of puppets made every guy want a harum.

Okay. Maybe just me. At least I will admit it.I realize it is from Return of the Jedi and not Star Wars. But I assume no one will really complain that, right?
Star Wars at Thirty

Thirty years ago today, the movie that changed space opera and movie marketing forever opened in theaters. There is not a guy or very many girls around my age who do not have some fondness for the film. For me it was huge. I saw it at such a young impressionable age it dazzled me and made me a lifelong fan of science fiction.

I first saw Star Wars during its 1980 re-release in anticipation of the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. My family was vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We spent a lot of time then with another family whose father was a used car dealer like mine was. They had a son who was a year or two older than I was. He wanted to see Star Wars while our mothers were on a shopping trip with us along, so our mothers took us both. I was six months or so shy of four, way too young to be in a theater in the first place, much less follow a movie, but I recall sitting on my mother’s lap mesmerized by what I was watching. I believe my first memory ever is seeing the Death Star explode.

I was hooked and my parents knew it and indulged. I was taken to the theater to see both sequels on the night they came out. Birthdays, Christmases, and just random surprise treats were Star wars themed. Yes, I was a spoiled brat. I do not believe there was a Star Wars toy I did not have, along with t-shirts, Underoos, drinking glasses, and even once that really awful C3PO cereal that even famine stricken Ethiopians would refuse to eat. I had it all. I literally ate, slept, and breathed Star Wars.

It seemed like such a big part of my life because of the long stretches between films. It was not any different than the time between Shrek films the days and I am not even phased by the distance between them. I would chalk up the obsession to just me I I had not followed such many other fan declarations of love for the films. Over the years I have outgrown one phase (toys) moved onto another (the novels and comics) into another (influence of Joseph Campbell, the philosophy of war presented). I have grown with the movies. Heh. Maybe by reading too much into them. I think those who are of a certain age, those who got hooked on science fiction because of Star Wars, grew just like me.

I understand it is far from deep or even original. It is full of archetypes. A farm boy meets up with an old wizard and a pirate to go on a quest to save an imprisoned princess from an evil king’s fortress. I understand its cornier than Iowa and the emotional reactions of the characters are awful. Princess Leia watches her entire planet die with nary a tear shed at any point, yet is upset when Luke is sullen over Obi Wan’s death. In fact, there is no compelling reason to think the Rebels are the good guys especially if you take a realistic view of politics and war. But it does not matter. For a long time, it was the good guys versus the bad. It was clear which was which and it was good.

Ah, to be back in such naïve, simpler times.

I saw the trilogy again when it was re-released for the 20th anniversary. I was a sophomore in college, but I and the friends I went with every time became four years old again. I even bought an packed away a number of action figures released at the time. I had been collecting comic books for years and was now in a collectors mindset. More of that growing up along with Star Wars bit, do you not know.

But while I grew up, Star Wars dumbed down. I went to see The Phantom Menace the weekend after it opened even though I could have gone the very night. I was eventually disappointed. Not that it was a terrible movie. It just was not great. Or maybe my expectations were too high. Or maybe I love the originals too much. Or maybe I am just getting too old for that sort of thing. I do not know. But I did notice how few kids were in the audience with me. Everyone was like me--in their mid to late twenties trying to relive their youth. Even most of the people I was sorting though the action figures two years previous were just like me. Kids today did not feel the magic. They were hooked on Pokemon and Harry Potter. Twenty-five or thirty years from now, they will be sitting in a theater somewhere trying to recapture their youth and upset kids do not care about it. There is no reason to be cynical about it. It just means that StarWars belongs to my generation and no one else’s.

Happy birthday, Star Wars.
The Long Summer of Iraq

Yesterday Bush talked to the press in his usual bumbling, embarrassing manner. I mentioned last night he directly commented on John Edwards, who took time of his busy schedule speaking about poverty for $ 50,000 a pop to dismiss the War on Terror, by saying it was naïve to think we are not in a war. Indeed we are in a war. I am not certain the war did not begin when Iranian students stormed the embassy in Tehran 28 years ago, but I am certain it will be a generational war with no definite ending until hearts and minds are changed. the odds of that happening are, shall we say, remote. But our reolve to fight has to remain intact. When potential presidents (in his mind anyway) advocate doing away with the effort after only seven years, then all is definitely lost. At least Bush recognizes that. Maybe conveniently for himself, of course. The war is going to be his legacy. Despite what former president Jimmy Carter said the other day about Bush being the worst president ever, Bush actually will wind up competing with Carter for most ineffective presidential administration in modern times, if not ever.

But Bush also talked about Iraq. He has been trying to shore up his troop surge, an idea that was politically as unpopular as bombing Cambodia thirty years ago. But at least he was honest, even if it was coded. Look a little deeper into what he aid to see what I mean. He said we can expect abloody summer in Iraq because the enemy knows the results of the surge are going to be evaluated in September. This means that if there is less violence, then the surge is working. If there I more violence, then the enemy is desperate to get the United States to leave and the surge is still working. The person who gets to make the call, such that it is, is Bush himself. Looks like we are going to get a rosy view of the troop surge long as nothing more tragic than the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, 1983. Even that may not make a difference. You may recall the United States invaded Grenada before all the rubble was even cleared away.

But Bush did note we would leave if the Iraqis asked us to do so. I imagine behind the scenes political pressure would keep the Iraqi government from doing so, but I have to admit the idea is appealing. I have said before, new governments go through soe tragic growing pains especially when they have little experience dealing with the new political system. Such pains include a possible civil war. It certainly did during our nascent years. Perhaps it would be best to leave and let them fight it out.Yes, Al Qaeda is there, but no matter how many soldiers we have fighting them, there will always be more scurrying in like ants. Ever try to keep individual ants away from a picnic or single termites from invading your house? Bring it on indeed.

So yes, it is going to be a long, bloody summer. Probably continuing the pattern for quite some time to come.
D. O. C.

Here is another Lost video. Juliet helps Sun determine her date of conception. Video is set to "Look After You" by The Fray. Yes, it is subtitled in French. Happy early Bastille Day.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mascot Matchmaking

I should post something else today besides Lost topics. But come on, I have to wait until January or February for a new episode to cover. Come to think of it, once Doctor Who ends next month, I will have to wait until 2008 before any television show I plan to cover at the Eye returns. Those are Lost, 24, Doctor Who, Torchwood, and probably The Sarah Connor Chronciles. It is going to be a long dry spell.

There are other topics out there today. John Edwards dismissing the War on Terror, another Monica causing a ruckus at the Justice Department this time, and a new Bush plan for Iraq which sounds suspiciously like the old plan he has sold us a half dozen times at least. None of these issues interests me in the slightest.

So here a ive you aphoto. It is either a symbol of universal brotherhood in these troubled times or something for those of you with a furry fetish to get your rocks off with. It all depends on how sick and demented you are.
Lost: Who is in the Casket?

The web is buzzing about last night’s Lost. I cannot blame them. I gave it five stars myself. There are lots of Easter eggs to talk about and one clarification. Starting with the clarification. Jack’s flashbacks were indeed flash forwards. The date on the newspaper clipping was in April 2007. Admittedly, one has to wonder why Jack would be so desperate to return to the island three years after he apparently escaped, but I assume that is a matter for future episodes. I point out these were flash forwards because of a remark about his ather Jack made which implied he was alive and upstairs at the hospital. Jack was drunk, hih, and being dramatic referencing his father’s past alcoholism.

The funeral is the biggest issue of debate. Who is in the casket? First of all, while a lot of fans are speculating the casket is very small, it actually is not. It is a decent sized casket in truth. Second, the newspaper clipping (I have included a photo at the end of the post) Jack tears out has two clues. Whoever died is a man and his name starts with a “J.” I figured last night, before seeing a close up of the “J,” that since the funeral home was in a black neighborhood, the deceased was either Michael, Walt, or Rose. Rose became a good possibility because her cancer might have returned when she left the island. But the clipping says it is a man and a man Kate dislikes.

Male characters we know starting with a “J”: James “Sawyer” Ford, John Locke, Jin Kwon. And Jacob. I think we can safely rule out Jin. Perhaps Kate had a falling out with Sawyer at some point. They all have reason to dislike Locke. When the mortician asked Jack if he was friend or family, he said neither. That would certainly fit the bill for both Sawyer and Locke. What about Jacob? Since his identity is a complete mystery, we have no idea whether a newspaper would have anything on him in order to write an obituary. Nor do we know that Jack and Kate have met him by this point in time or what role he played. I do not think it is Jacob and I cannot see much point in it being Sawyer or Locke. I suspect it is a new character who will be introduced later. Jack refused to have the casket opened conveniently so we would not be spoiled in the dramatic sense and because the new character has not been cast yet.

Some speculate the deceased is Ben. Perhaps he lied about his real name or took on an alias when he arrived in Los Angeles. Kate certainly would not like him and Jack might be turn up by uilt over whatever happened when he answered Naomi’s phone against Ben’s warnings. He is a distinct possibility I suppose. We have a long time to speculate on it before getting a new season, no?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lost--"Through the Looking Glass"

If you have read any of Lostfan108’s spoilers that have been spread across the internet (and this blog), then you already know a great deal about the finale. His information was spot on. That did not inhibit my enjoyment one bit, however. This was a incredibly good finale. Even better than last year’s in my opinion. Maybe even enough to keep me from going into withdrawal symptoms waiting for season four to begin in February. Even the Jack -centric nature of the *ahem* flashbacks were good and the character usually bores me. Yes, the game changer was a shocker, too. One has to wonder what season four could possibly be like considering it. But I do like the idea the storylines will have more room to grow now. Yu will understand what I mean when I talk about the flashbacks. For now, here is a jam packed recap of the island events.

The Lostaways split into two groups. The first is the bulk of them lea by Jack. They head to Rousseau’s radio tower to stop the signal. Sayid, Jin, and Bernard stay behind as snipers to set of the dynamite hidden in the camp. Unfortunately, Charlie breaks under torture inside the looking glass. The two women holding him prisoner call Ben who orders an early attack on the camp. Our heroic trio can only set off two explosions before they are captured. Jack’s group worries because they only heard two explosion, but he convinces them to go on. Back at camp, Bernard breaks when the Others threaten to kill Jin and tells them exactly what Jack is up to and betrays Carl. Good job there, Bernard. Ben is not happy with Alex. He knows she sent Carl to the Lostaways’ camp to begin with.

Ben sends Mikhail to the Looking Glass. However, the rest o the Others thought the station was shut down. Ben admits he lied about it being shut off because he is protecting the island from something sinister. Mikhail is skeptical and angry, but he accepts Ben’s order to kill Charlie and the two women in order to keep the secret. Desmond awakens to Mikhail’s gunfire and dives off the boat into the Looking glass himself, but he manages to evade detection. Back with Jack’ group, Sawyer decides to turn back and help the three captured Lostaways. He just had a confrontation with Kate (and hint she may be pregnant) who says she wants to go along. Sawyer refuses. Juliet offers instead, claiming to know where a stash of guns is. When the two are alone, she tells him there are none. She just feel guilty about what she has done to everyone.

Ben takes Alex and heads off to the radio tower to convince Jack not to make the call. Manwhile, we get back to Locke again. He is till lying in the mass grave, bleeding from the gunshot wound Ben gave him. He realizes he survived because the bullet went through where his missing kidney would be, but he is paralyzed once again. He reaches for a gun in one of the corpse’s holster and aims to kill himself when he is stopped by a young voice. It is walt looking several years older, who tells him not only can he walk if he wants to, but he has further work to do. As usual, Locke is ecstatic to think he hs some special purpose left in life.

Ben intercepts Jack’s group and pulls him off to the side. He assures Jack Naomi is not who she claims to be. If he make the call, her people will kill everyone on the island. Jack refuses to back down, so Ben orders Tom to kill Sayid, Jin, and Bernard in one minute. Tom apparently does so. Jack proceeds to beat the snot out of Ben, then radios Tom, threatening to kill him. A short while later, Sawyer and Juliet make it to camp to discover the three are not dead. It was a bluff on Ben’s part. But the pair still have no idea what to do to rescue them until Hurley plows through unexpectedly with the DHARMA van. He runs over Pryce, killing him instantly. Tom surrenders, but Sawyer kills him n cold blood for kidnapping Walt off the raft way back in the first season.

Back at the Looking Glass, Mikhail follows Ben’s orders and hoots one of the women. Desmond intervenes with a spear gun before he can kill the other. Charlie tries to get the code to shut down the station from her, but cannot get all of it. Fortunately, the key pad makes a musical tone which Charlie heard moments before. He finds the code and turns the jamming signal off. He receives a message onscreen. It is Penny, who tells him she has no idea who Naomi is. Before he can do anything else, Mikhail recovers and brandishes a grenade. Charlie slams the door to the room shut to protect Desmond. When the grenade blows, water rushes in. Charlie drowns, but not before he gives Desmond a written message about Penny.

Naomi gets a signal on her phone after Rousseau’s message has ended. But Naomi gets a knife in the back before she can respond. It is from Locke. Jack is intent on using the phone, but Locke threatens to kill him if he does. Jack calls his bluff and uses the phone. Locke does not kill him, but does warn him he is not supposed to leave the island. (Advice from Walt?) Jack picks up a call from what he believes to be Naomi’s rescue ship. Ben, who is tied up along for the ride, I despondent as the Lostaways believe they are being rescued. Ben believes Jack has doomed them all.

In the flashbacks, Jack is in terrible shape. He looks haggard with an unkempt beard and is drinking like a guppy. After a drunken plane trip, he stops his car on a bridge where he contemplates jumping to his death. A car accident is the only thing that stops him. Jack I also popping pills. Things get worse when he reads an obituary for someone who remains a mystery. He goes to the funeral service, but no one ever showed up but him. It appears to be in a black neighborhood, so one suspects it is Walt or Michael. My money is on Michael. Jack also runs into his ex wife who is pregnant with another man’s child. She wants noting to do with him. It does not really matter. Jack has been spending much of his time taking flights across the Pacific hoping the plane will crash on the island. This is the first hint we get something is up with the flashbacks. He has spent them all trying to call someone. He finally reaches them and arranges a face to face meeting. It is Kate. He asks if she knew about the funeral. Whoever died, she has an obvious distaste for. Jack tells her they never should have left the island. She does not want to hear. As she drives off, he shouts, “We have to go back!” These were not flashbacks. They took place in the future.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)
Bomb Plot Thwarted at Falwell Funeral

But it is not exactly what it sounds like. The bombs were created by an obviously sane an well adjusted servant of Christ. He was also a 19 year old student at Falwell’s Liberty university. Mark D. Uhl, the student in question told authorities he had the bombs in his car and was planning to use them against any protestors who tried to disrupt the funeral service. The bombs were made of gasoline and laundry detergent, so they would have been slow burning and not very destructive. Regardless, the matter has been taken very seriously, including a continued hunt for several accomplices, including an active duty soldier from Georgia.

Enormously bizarre at first glance. Perhaps to fundamentalists that “Thou shall not murder” commandment” is a lot more flexible than it appears to the rest of us. But after having spent time at the other fundamentalist Christian university in Virginia, Regent University, I have little problem seeing how these people are made. When one is raised in a sheltered, closed environment, only exposed to one set of ideas, and told all else is evil and sure to send you straight to hell, one begins to think such things are reasonable.

Do not laugh. The day Senator Wellstone died, a classmate expressed her bigget regret was Sen. Ted Kennedy was not there to die, too. Another said slavery was acceptable because the Bible did not condemn it. Another thought “disciplining” women was perfectly. I did speak to one my first year there who had given money to an expedition planning to search for the Ark of the Covenant. I thought her stupidity was quaint. The rest just spooked me. I did not even have the heart to tell her Indiana Jones had already found it.

God certainly picks some strange servants, does He not?
Paris Hilton Turns to Buddhism

So much for her trying to find God in her quest for serenity during her upcoming stint in the pokey. What do you think got her, the, "Thou shall not commit adultery" or did she make it all the way to, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man [heiress] to enter the kingdom of heaven?"

It may not bring any aid or comfort to Hilton, but how do the rest of you feel about the bikini photo I posted with this blurb? Not exactly theologically sound, but surely you can find some serenity within.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Tao of Jack Bauer

Many fans and critics seem disappointed by the season finale of 24 last night. I will admit this has been a weak season, particularly compared to last year’s Emmy winning turn and nail biting cliffhanger. The turn in midstream from Islamic terrorists, lead by Fayed, planning to detonate nuclear devices in major US cities to a cat and mouse game between Jack’s father, a traitor for the Chinese, using nuclear components as a bargaining chip in a family squabble was off putting and unwise. There was too much graphic torture in day six as well. Not to mention a lot of loose ends, including, Charles Logan, David Palmer’s widow, her associate, the current Pres. Palmer, the Russian spy and Ms. Miller-- none of which was addressed last night. Lgitimate complaints all, but I think a lot of fans missed what this season was actually all about.

This season was all about Jack Bauer coming to terms with what he has become over the years. It has been lost in the excitement, but Jack made a statement to the CTU guy who was about to hand him over to Fayed as ransom. Jack told the guy he no longer minded. The only thing that kept him from dying in a Chinese prison was he did not want to die for nothing. Now he had a chance to serve his country, even after its betrayal, in his death. That was an early hint that Jack was trying to come to terms with what his life has become. Towards the end of the season, Secretary Heller told him everything he touches dies or is destroyed. This is true, Jack has lost everything since the show began, save for Audrey Heller, the Secretary’s daughter. He has lost his grip on normalcy while throwing himself into his job.

That was the heart of the soliloquy he gave to Heller last night. The only thing Jack has done in the last few years is whatever he was told to do in order to defend the United States. It has cost him everything. His desperation to keep Audrey is the realization she is his only link to normalcy. Despite the brutal life he lives and the unsavory things he has had to do, Jack still wants something good in life. To be loved. In last night’s ending, he realized that can never be. He is too far gone. Heller was right. If Jack rode off into the sunset with Audrey or anyone else for that matter, she would wind up dead. Such is the nature of the beast.

I thought it was quite touching how he stood on the balcony overlooking the ocean as the realization came to him. Even the silent clock silently ticking down to the end of the 24 hours was moving. In some ways, it got to me personally. I spent a whole lot of my 20’s focused on becoming a lawyer to the point I sacrificed family, health, and friends for what I thought at the time was the greater good. Now that I sit here half blind with a ravaged digestive system and no real future, it does not seem all that important. Like Jack throwing himself into his work, I threww myel into my ambitions. I did not have two years in aChinese prison to think about it, but I have had three years of not much going on due to poor health to dwell on the situation. Like Jack, I am now realizing what I lost was not even worth what I would have gained under the best of circumstances, much less the meager results I wound up with.

Maybe most fans cannot relate. It knocked me squarely between the eyes.
No Amnesty

Opposition to the McCain-Kennedy Illegal Immigrant Amnesty bill seems to be growing. As I noted the last time I wrote about it, it was Democrats in the House, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who were expressing concerns. I expected a number of conservatives to be in opposition. Thus far, Sens. Bunning, Sessions, and Vitter appears to be heading the charge. I am not surprised Bush wants to sign the bill as is for some reason. But then again, I have long since stopped trying to figure out what is going on inside that head of his. Anytime I do, I start humming “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” just to maintain some semblance of logic.

This bill was railroaded through the Senate. There were no hearings, no review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and no open door debates whatsoever. There has not been a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. Why wee they in such a hurry to pass the bill they did not want it to go through the normal process or even inform taxpayers how much it is going to cost before passing it?

The only reason I can think of is they do not have to. Supporters of illegal immigrant amnesty do not defend any plan to actually grant amnesty. They jut insult those in opposition by either referring to them as bigots. U. S. Rep. Bo Inglis of South Carolina said last week the Republican Party runs the risk of becoming like the Afrikaaners who implemented apartheid in South Africa if they oppose amnesty. It is tough to get behind a bill when its supporters can only defend it y insulting the opposition.

It is also personally hard to support much of anything John McCain thinks is a good idea. I lost a lot of respect for him in 2000 when he answered every question with, “I was a POW.” Of course, it makes sense that he would be allied with Ted Kennedy, whose every response to getting into trouble is, “I’m a Kennedy.” It is a family tradition. Let us not even speak of McCain-Feingold. Just know that McCain has never met a bad idea he not only did not like, but wanted to attach his name to With any luck, more of the Powers That Be will realize that and kill this amnesty bill in the House.
Paris Hilton Found God

Going to prison will do that to you. Heck, she is going to jail in California where half the inmates are named Jesus. try to spend 45 days there and not find him. No wor yet on how the Almighty feels about being discovered by Paris Hilton.

Monday, May 21, 2007

24--"4:00 AM-6:00 AM"

I liked the season finale a lot, but I still have the same bewilderment that the overall story ar changed so completely. There is absolutely no trace of the Islamic terror plot or any real repercussions from the nuclear attack on Valencia, California. Did the death of Fayed end all the terrorist attacks? One supposes so. But I can forgive most of the strange twists and dropped plots because the slam bang action was cool. I say that even though Josh was so completely whiney, I was eager for him to be handed over to the Chinese regardless. Maybe a high protein rice diet would strengthen him up a bit. Now way that is actually Jack’s kid, no? I really liked the silent ending. It was both touching and depressing. Jack believes he ill never have anything good in life.

Jack is still under arrest as Doyle takes Josh to the place he will exchange Josh to Phillip Bauer for the nuclear component. CTU is torn over the issue of using Josh as bait even if it is to stop a war between the Unite states and Russia. Karen Hughes hatches a plan to free Jack Bauer by utilizing Bill Buchanan. He obviously is not thrilled about helping the woman who earlier fired him, but he understands the bigger picture. He helps Jack escape from a CTU van and the two head off to rescue Josh. The exchange goes badly just before Jack arrives. Two of Phillip’s men approach the shoreline in a boat. They hand the component to Doyle, but it is a fake lined with explosion. It blows up in his face as the men snatch Josh and head out to sea. Jack arrives to see the boat head off into the horizon. There is nothing he can do but watch.

The kidnappers take Josh to an offshore oil platform owned by Phillip’s company. The white House decides it makes the most political sense to launch an air strike against the platform. It will kill everyone, but it will also guarantee the component’s destruction. Jack learns about the plan and from. He enlists Buchanan to steal a CTU helicopter to fly to the platform themselves. They have thirty minutes before the air strike to save Josh. The two make an assault worthy of a summer blockbuster. Jack finds Josh has stolen Phillip’s gun and wounded him. I did not think the kid had the stones. When it is all said and done, Josh is rescued, Cheng is arrested, Phillip dies in the air strike, and Jack (would you not know it) jumps from the platform to the helicopter just in the nick of time. When the Russians hear the news, they stand down.

Jack drops off the helicopter into the ocean. He has no desire to head back to CTU. Instead, he goes to see Audrey’s father. It is a tense confrontation which ends with Jack wanting to take Audrey away with him. Her father does not believe his daughter would ever be safe even if Jack quit’s the business. He goes in to speak with the comatose Audrey. After some tender whispers, he realies her father is right. Everything Jack touches dies. The clock ticks down as Jack stands on the deck high above the ocean. We are left wondering if he is contemplating suicide.

We are left wondering a lot of other things, too. What is the condition of President Palmer? What about the subplot with his sister-in-law? Daniels will still be in power? Buchanan has been pardoned. Will hhe return to CTU? Nadia certainly is not setting the woods on fire. What will happen to Doyle? Why did they suddenly announce Chloe is pregnant? Best question-- what will Jack do now? He is no longer at CTU. Interesting the last scene was on a cliff, because they certainly left us hanging. Until January, no less.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
Ashes to Ashes II

They found The rocket containing the ashes of James Doohan. You may recall the cremated ashes of Doohan, along with 200 others, were shot into space ar the end of April. Unfortunately, the rocket did not quite make it and crashed in the New Mexico desert and was lost for a time.

The container is in good shape, so they will relaunch them at some point. Therefore the ashes will not end up on E*Bay like William Shatner's passed kidney stone. That sound you hear is the anguished grief of hundreds of Trekkies who had their sights set on a one of a kind Star Trek item.

Cheer up, guys. Maybe George Takei still has his appendix.
The 21st Century Crusade

I hate to sound like some leftwing antiwar activist when it comes to the current status of the war in Iraq. I hate it because I am not a left wing antiwar activist. I thought starting the war was a good idea for several reasons. First, Saddam Hussein was a mortal enemy of the united States. If for no other reason whatsoever, his attempted assassination of former president George H. W. Bush was enough of an act of war to justify his removal from power and this mortal coil. Secondly, militaries need to fight a war periodically to gain experience and try out new strategies and technologies. The next generation of military leaders need combat experience to lead the military of the future. Finally, the unite States had to make some sot of grand show after 9/11 and Afghanistan folded like a house of cards. A key reason Al Qeada was willingly to so boldly attack the Unite States is the perception we had grown soft. Indeed, had 9/11 happened during the Clinton presidency, he would have flown to New York City, cried into the rubble, declare it a crime scene, and maybe fired a few missiles into some empty tents in the desert, hitting a camel in the butt. After that, nada. Overthrowing the government of a sworn enemy was the international equivalent of wildly brandishing a fork at a group of thugs threatening to mug you. It proves you are crazy and dangerous. It is best to stay away.

So I am fine with the war. Right now I am fine with us leaving as well. After all, we ha three stated goals before the invasion. One, regime change. Two, end any WMD programs. Three establish a new government. Regime change was easy. There was little doubt the United States could knock over the anthill. As for WMD, there were not any. Well, that is a relief. Plus Iraq has neither the capacity nor the will to start a new WMD program. Finally, there is a new government. It has a lot of growing pains yet to go through on top of what it has already suffered. That is the consequence of trying to istall a democratic government in a place that has no grasp on the concept. The idea of turning Iraq into a democratic reublic was about the only pie in the sky idea I fel was associated with the war planning. It would have uited me fine to put a fly by night dictator loyal to the united states in charge and head home just like in the Cold War days. Doing so would have taught the Islamic terrorists a thing or two about american power as well.

But we have established a democracy there and we arestuck with it, warts and all. The problem is critics have no sense of historical perspective. When the thirteen colonies declared independence, the first thing half of them did was have internal armed conflicts between royal loyalists and rebels over where to pledge allegiance. The first government, the Articles of Confederation failed miserably. Shay’s rebellion, one of the fledgling country’s first armed conflicts, nearly destroyed everything. Let us not forget matters were never really solved until a civil war was fought some eighty years later. Do critics really expect Iraq to become a democratic paradise overnight? A civil war is part of the growth process of a radical cange in government. It would not surprise me if they are not fighting again fifty, sixty, or seventy years from now over issues arising out of the 2003 invasion. That is what happens when new governments are established.

All that said, look at this new embassy we have established there. It is the largest embassy ever created by our foreign service. The embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Mihn City) was only two blocks big. This new embassy is a fully armed city in itself. Maybe it is necessary to have one like that. If we want a military foothold there for the long haul, then yes it is. However, as one with an historical perspective, I have to say this behemoth reminds me of a crusader fort. Do not be too surprised if it reminds some Ialamic militant of the same and a newSaladin arises to take us on.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Reese 'n Ryan Split

As far as Hollywood divorces go, the Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe split is quite calm. If it were not for the restraining order she took out on me, I would hardly know she was single again. Witherspoon filed for divorce last November citing irreconcilable differences. It was rumored at the time Philippe was having an affair with his costar, Australian actress abbie Cornish. As Cornish looks like a telephone pole with a belly button and Witherspoon is not seeking divorce on the grounds of adultery, I find the rumor difficult to believe even though I want Pilippe to desperately be expose as a cad for stealing my baby.

Alas, Philippe may not be a cad after all. 9Do you know how painful it was to write that sentence?) In court papers filed recently, Philippe dropped any claim to spousal or child support. The only thing he asked for was joint custody of the couple’s two children.

But wait. There was no prenuptial agreement before the marriage. The two met on the set of <1999’s Cruel Intentions and it was two wuv at first sight. The idea of worrying about splitting up assets should things go wrong never entered either star’s mind. Honestly, it did not enter the rest of the public’s minds, either. They seemed like the perfect celebrity couple even after I played with that voodoo doll that looked a lot like Ryan Philippe a few years ago. Some said they were more solid than Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Indeed they were. Pitt and Aniston split up first.

So why is Philippe being so generous in his demands? Because without a prenuptial, marital assets are split straiht down the middle under California law. Since the marriage began, Witherspoon’s salary has ballooned to at least $ 20 million a picture. Philippe’s has ballooned to a whopping $ 2 million. You do the math. Or do not.. I will just tell you Philippe stans to gain upwards of $ 50 million with the property split. Who the heck needs to be greedy when you have that coming?

The lesson here, kiddies? Is does not matter if it is everlasting true love, the kind Bert Bachurach sings about. Always get a prenuptial!
Larry Flynt Remembers Jerry Falwell

Larry Flynt eulogizes his friend, Jerry Falwell. It is about the only positive remembrance of Falwell I have read so far that was not from someone who stood to gain by the continuation of Falwell’s ministry It is certainly much better than some of the items I have read over the last few days from Falwell’s detractors. I did find it odd at first for Flynt to write a positive eulogy for Falwell, but then I recalled the two really are much alike. Both peddled their wares on opposite sides of the spectrum. Flynt the prurient hedonist and Falwell the judgmental fascist. Both playing the unsavory edges of the First Amendment in order to make a buck. What a country.

Flynt writes their friendship began on Larry King’s show in 1997. Flynt was there promoting his autobiography and the movie, The People v. Larry Flynt. (Good movie, by the way.) It was the first time since their Supreme Court battle a decade before they had been in the same room together. On air, Falwell embraced Flynt. Flynt did not know exactly what to make of it, but the two eventually became friends. They even did a lecture tour together, debating on college campuses taste versus the First Amendment.

Evidently they argued with one another in personal visits and over the phone regarding each other’s business. Frankly, Flynt makes it sound like they were an old married couple sick of each other but not having anyone else to hang out with. I imagine they were odder friendships out there, but I cannot name one right off hand.
Doctor Who--"42"

Highly derivative. That is about the best thing I can say about this episode. With a title like “42,” I was expecting a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy homage. Instead the episode was an homage to 24 (42 backwards) as a real time adventure. In that regard, it was successful. There was real tension there. But the episode felt to closely like last season’s “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit” right down to the last element. The sets, the space walk, the crewmembers being possessed and using a gravelly demonic whisper, desprately seeking a power source to revive the ship, falling into the sun, and even the captain reminded me of ida Scott from the two parter. I liked it best the firt time around. Here it was pretty much meh.

The TARDIS materializes on a ship rained of power that will crash into a sun in 42 minutes. The Doctor springs into action to get the auxiliary engines online. Before he can do that, a crewmember becomes possessed by something and begins killing off the others one by one. In the interim, Martha gets locked in an escape pod and jettisoned, forcing the Doctor to take a space walk in the middle of the disaster to save her. Meanwhile the rest of the crew is divided between trying to restart the engine and playing cat and mouse with now two possessed crew members. The Doctor discovers the sun is a living organism and is angry that part of it is being used as a power source. The Doctor returns want the sun wants and the ship is able to escape before impact.

I was not thrilled with the main story here. Mostly it was because o how much I liked “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.” “42” seemed like a cheap attempt to copy its success which clearly fell short. I did enjoy the side bit about Mr. Saxon using Martha’s mother to spy on her. The running theme of Mr. Saxon as Prime Minister is more more sinister and thrilling than searching for Bad Wolf or Torchwood references as we have had to do in the last two seasons. The Doctor also gives Martha a TARDIS key, solidifying her role asa companion. Nice touches, but overall a dud.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

John Rambo Trailer

Sylvester Stallone has made a priew trailer for John Rambo to show at Cannes. The trailer has made its way to the internet and YouTube. Therefore I have posted it below for your perusal. Quite a few thoughts come to mind after watching it a couple times myself in order to take it all in. Bear in mind I am a fan of action movies, particularly from the ‘80’s heyday, so regardless of the extreme violence, I will largely wx nostalgic rather than be disturbed.

O not get me wrong. This film looks ultra violent. The trailer alone has loads of explosions, decapitations, and a disembowelment. But looking back on the ‘80’s films of sly, Arnlod, Chuck Norris, et al, I have noticed they are a lot more gory than I remember as a tyke renting movies every weekend for my new VCR. Take Commando, for instance. I remember it as a standard super heo without a costume thriller. Truth be told, there is a lot of gruesome acts and buckets of blood spilled. It is hard to believe the star of the film is not governor of California. It just goes to show how much can change in twenty years.

How much, you say? I think the most violent, blood and guts film I have seen in recent years was Mel Gibson’s The Passion which has traveled well through Christian circles. Back when I was in elementary school and junior high, it was the Christians railing against violent movie the most. Second only to music and its satanic vibes, by my count. There have been a lot of action films in recent years, but I think the violence has gotten more Wile E. Coyote than anything else. With notable exceptions, mind you. A big one being the opening to Saving Private Ryan. Stephen Spielberg had the clout to get the brutal violence into mainstream theaters because it was a serious movie. I have not seen much by way of the content of ‘80’s action movies in recent years.

Not to say John Rambo does not appear to have its serious points. It does not appear to be jingoistic. Instead, there seems to be a dichotomy between the cynical, brooding Rambo who claims killing is as easy as breathing under certain circumstances and the meek, caring attitudes of the Christian humanitarian workers. I can already see how they are setting up Rambo for redemption. I am also pleased to see the Christians are not Ned Flanders parodies but have genuine convictions. Kudos to Stallone for that.

All told, I think this good be a fine finish to the series if everything can be pulled off as intended. Here is the trailer for you to decide for yourself:

I am getting very slack about these music videos, no? "Catch-22" aired five weeks ago. But here is the music video for it. Better late than never. Desmond believes Penny has arrived on the island. Video is set to "I Still Haven't Found (What I'm Looking For)" by U2.
Have Spoilers Ruined the Lost Finale?

Earlier this week, Ain’t It Cool News posted some very vague spoilers for the season finale of Lost which airs on Wednesday. The spoilers amounted to Jack trying to reach another Lostaway on the phone during his alleged flashbacks and that the game changer was law dropping. Fans demanded more specifics and started poking around for them. Someone decided to post what he claimed were the exact details of the episode. Those spoilers showed up on a few sites, I wrote about them here at the Eye, and they eventually wound up posted by a fan at AICN.

Then came the blowout. The thread at AICN was deleted and the Powers That Be there even denied a talkback for “Greatest Hits” so fans could not discuss the episode live as they normally do. This was presumably punishment. My post was linked at the forum for The Fuselage, Lost‘s official site, but was taken down by a moderator as soon as it was discovered. A quick general and blog search reveals most locations where the spoilers were placed have subsequently removed. Whether by choie or under official duress, I do not know. There is a at least one fan site polling visitors befoe posting more spoilers that fill in extra details.

I find this all amusing. I imagine anyone searching for lost online I looking specifically for scoops and I have a hard time imagining anyone is really upset when they find them. I can imagine the folks at Bad Robot and ABC might be upset, especially if the spoilers were valid. Considering the quick reaction, I assume they are. On the other hand, my experience has shown me differently.

I am a longtime comic book fan. There are tons of magazines out there covering the subject with reviews of current issues and scoops for upcoming ones. Not to mention the loads of subscription services out there which describe every issue in detail months before it is released. It is just the way comic book collecting is. I cannot remember the last time I was actually surprised by a cliffhanger and wondered how the story would be resolved. It has not, counter intuitively, ruined the experience for me. The stories have entertained me just as well.

Along the same lines, I have seen very few television shows that had me wondering what could possibly come next. I believe the third season finale of Star Trek: the Next Generation, “The Best of Both Worlds,” was the last. That was 17 years ago. So I am surprised there has been any drama regarding ruining the episodes for anyone. Is television really that innovative in anyone’s opinion? I cannot ay so. Regardless, I will continue to write about televisions show I like in gory detail to my little heart’s content.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Immigration Reform Compromise

I have been trying to absorb all the details of this illegal immigrant amnesty bill that passed through the Senate yesterday. It appears at first to be a mess of unworkable compromises trying to please most everyone. Whenever I cannot understand the nuances of a bill, I always look towards who is crowing about it the most. In this case it is Sens. Ted Kennedy and John McCain. The combination of that dynamic duo tells me the bill is a bad idea from the get go. Seriously, McCain is from Arizona, a state that is overburdened with illegal immigrants. Why did he of all people want this thing passed?

The best line I have read or heard since the bill passed the Senate was from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in The Boston Globe. He said (and I quote), “If you are here illegally and commit a crime, you are out.” Um, if you are here illegally, you have already committed a crime, have you not? Sums up the whole mess quite succinctly, methinks.

You may recall I have been a tentative supporter of a guest worker program for several reasons. The foremost one is that you cannot stem the flow of illegal immigrants. There are12 million in the United states right now. Second, they do the jobs Americans do not want. It sounds cliché, but it is true. Third, they are cheap labor that employers want. Finally, they have had children here who are citizens. Breaking up families by sending their parents back to some third world country is not my thing. All that said, I am not yet sure this bill is the best solution. I will need to scan it some more and listen to pundits from both sies.

I sense it may not be necessary. Conservatives in the House hate the bill and Democratsare skeptical. I guess they do not have illegal immigrants as gardeners and nannies like Senators do. The bill may be dead in the House. We shall see.
A Harry Situation

I find something enormously amusing about this whole “Prince Harry is not going to Iraq” affair. Follow the story with me here. and yes, I know. The British government has been an unusual amount of blogging fodder as of late. Weird, huh?

Harry went to a military academy and was supposed to lead a squad for a tour of duty in Iraq. He had demanded to go and assured everyone he wanted no special treatment. Apparently he was going to get MI6 protection anyway while there, but he was definitely being deployed. Truth be told, the biggest risk Harry would face that intelligence officers could not protect him from would be roadside bombs. If the UK government denied Harry would be deployed in Iraq because of roadside bombs, I think we would all understand. We might snicker a bit, but the days where the elites send their children into battle to defend their country and season them for later statesmanship are long over. Harry is not going to Iraq.

Why not? The UK government fears he will be a perfect kidnap target for Islamic terrorists. A legitimate fear, no doubt. Terrorists want high profile hostages. But now Harry has been banned from going to nightclubs under the rationale that he should not be whooping it up while his men are in harm’s way in the desert. Okay. Here is where I started to roll my eyes.

Does anyone remember the third to fourth season storyline of The West Wing in which Cloe Bartlett, the president’s youngest daughter, was kidnapped from a nightclub by a sleeper cell of terrorists? She was part of a larger plot in which sleeper cells were kidnapping the children of high profile world leaders and demanding the release of ‘freedom fighters” held by various infidel countries. Sound familiar? The West Wing is still enormously popular in the UK even in reruns. Looks like they are taking policy cues from the show as well, no?
The Dark Knight Returns Promotional Poster

The Dark Knight Returns, the sequel to 2005’s great Batman Begins, has its first promotional poster out. It features Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, Gotham City district attorney and the future villain, Two-Face. It is not known whether Dent undergoes the accident which turns him into Two-Face during The Dark Knight Returns or if this is a nod to comics fans who know Dent’s tragic fate while the general public does not.

For the record, Dent was in court prosecuting a mobster when a vial of acid (which was not supposed to be acid) was thrown in his face. Half of Dent’s face was hideously scarred. The injury sent him over the edge and produced a fascination with the number two. As afor instance, most of his henchmen are twins. Dent became the criminal Two-Face and centered all his crimes around the number two. But his primary shtick is flipping a silver dollar, one side normal, the other scarred, to make decisions for him.

You may recall Tommy Lee Jones portraying Two-Face years ago in Batman Forever. It was an embarrassing version of the character totally unrelated to the psychological underpinnings in the comics. I mean really. The scarred half his face as hot pink rather than the grayish green mess in the comics which is much more effective in just about everyone’s opinion who is familiar with both. Considering the style and feel of Batman Begins, I expect the character to be done right. The test will be the Joker in this sequel.

As an asie, there was a amous story shortly after the “A death in the Family” storyline in which the Jason Todd Robin was killed by the Joker. I was a Two-Face centered story, but he was being manipulated through the whole thing by a mysterious person. That person turned out to be the presumed dead Joker. Do not be too surprised if the third movie in the series features that element, particularly if Heath Ledger’s Joker proves as popular as I believe it will.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Emilie de Ravin Has Nice Boobs

The biggest moment in last night's episode of Lost, "Greatest Hits," had nothing to do with Charlie. It was all about Claire's boobs. She does have a nice set, too. Here are some photos of her down blouse shot for all you perverts out there. Do not ever say I do not deliver.
When Scottish Retinas Are Detaching

I have just discovered that incoming United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown suffered two detached retinas while studying history at the University of Edinbourgh. He is half blind in his left eye, but the right was repaired to retain functional vision. Therefore he has been able to follow his ambition to one day lead the Labour Party and his country.

For whatever reason, this depresses me even more. Drat.

The good news is Brown has a less than savory view of the United Kingdom's relationship with the United States, at least as far as foreign policy goes. i believe he wishes to change the "follow the Americans from war to war" status the country currently seems to operate under. They may even pull out of Iraq. So you can all in good conscience be irritated, too. Considering the new relatively conservative government in France, they may became our new bestest buddies. Do not count on that, of course. it is still France. But look for English muffins to be renewed freedom muffins should the British pull out of Iraq.
Fourth Anniversary

Today is the fourth anniversary of this blog. I started it on May 17, 2003 as Caviar for the Mind and changed the title in the summer of 2004 to reflect my new cycloptic status. Save for a four month period in which my retina was detaching and my colon rupturing, it has been steady blogging since. Not necessarily great blogging, but steady nonetheless.

My how things have changed. I wanted the blog to be a chronicle of my final year in law school, my bar exam drama, and my job search. I thought it would be a great record of all that and a theme others would find interesting. I had no idea it would become a health blog in which I had to talk about the numerous and irreversible changes I would face in life due to poor health. If I had druthers, it never would have had to become that, let me assure you. I am not even sure I am honestly happy to have it. But I blog on nonetheless.

It has been wacky blogging. Where else could you get news, politics, law, science fiction, Christianity, health updates, and nearly naked celebrity photos in the same place? Only at this nutty place and only with this nutty blogger for whom it all makes a certain sense. Scary thought, huh? Yeah, I am probably losing my grip on reality. Perhaps it will make for good reading in the next four years.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lost--"Greatest Hits"

Charlie is one of my least favorite characters on the show. I do not relate to his recovering from drug addiction, I have found his insecurities whiny and annoying, and his willingness to do awful things like set fire to camp or assault Sun for his own petty purposes have been a turn off. It would take a lot for me to warm up to his character. I have to admit this episode came close. Yes, it was one giant tease considering the foreshadowing done all season long regarding his impending death and even though it did not happen here, I can see how the writers are setting up his eventual redemption. Bearing that thought in mind, this episode felt like the perfect penultimate installment.

Jack has decided the Lostaways should go on the offensive when the others arrive to kidnap the pregnant women. He has drafted Rousseau to steal dynamite from the Black Rock. The Lostaways will set up a trap to blow the Others to kingdom come whn they arrive. Sayid, however, thinks it is more important to contact Naomi’s boat. They cannot use her phone while Rousseau’s distress call is causing interference. Juliet offers up that it will not matter anyway. Ben is using an underwater station to block all signals outside of the Others’, but she has no idea where it is. Sayid remembers the wire he discovered on the beach way back in season one and surmises it leads to the station. Karl arrives in the midst o preparations and announces Ben has decided to attack a day earlier and jut take all the women. Suddenly the plan gets more desperate. They need to unblock the signal and prepare a defense against the Others.

Desmond has another flash forward in which he sees Claire and Aaron safely aboard a rescue helicopter. But in order for that to happen, Charlie has to die. Realizing reaching the underwater hatch is a suicide mission, Charlie volunteers to fulfill Desmond’s vision. Jack is not keen, but he agrees. He heads off to the radio tower to end Rousseau’s distress call while Sayid prepares everyone else to fight the Others. Desmond and Charlie head out to sea to find the statio. When they do, Desmond tries to volunteer himself to go down there rather than Charlie. Charlie eventually knocks him out with an oar and dives in. Just before he seems about to drown, he finds an entrance to the station. He lays on the floor of the station and shouts happily that he is alive. The noise brings out to armed women who wave guns in his face….

The flashbacks belong to Charlie. When he realizes he is going to die, he makes a list of the five greatest momnts of his life. They are hearing his firt song on the radio, his father teaching him to swim, hi brother giving him a ring, saving nadia from a mugger, and meeting Claire. He gives the list to Desmond and asks him to let Claire have it once he is dead. After Charlie knocks him out, he tuf the list into Desmond’s pocket and dives into the water.

I liked this epiode a lot more than I thought I would upon hearing it would be about Charlie. It was honestly a lot of set up for the finale, but the tension was tightened perfectly enough to be entertaining. The writers are clearly setting us up for a big finale in which Charlie pretty clearly is not going to make it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
A First Look at John Rambo

You know, I was skeptical of the idea of another Rambo sequel. But I was also suspicious the notion of a sixty year old Rocky Balboa climbing back into the ring would be a ridiculous idea, too, but that one turned out quite well. John Rambo appears to be headed in the right direction as well. He may be on the verge of a senior discount at Shoney’s, but Sylvester Stallone looks just about as menacing a figure in this photo as he did in 1985’s First Blood II in which he single-handedly avenged the loss of the Vietnam War. If I am remembering my movie trivia right, there are 42 onscreen kills in that film. With a dehumanized enemy, of course. Col. Padovsky was the only villain to have any dialogue.

Will this film resonate without a major political theme behind it? The first was all about disenfranchised and abused veterans who were heroes of the wrong war. The second was all about the fad of believing there were POWs left behind that no one cared about. The third was about the tail end of the Cold War when freedom was finally beating back Communist oppression. John Rambo is not about anything of the sort. He will not be battling Muslim terrorists or bringing attention to the genocide in Darfur. He will be rescuing Christian humanitarian workers from a war in Burma that is raging now, although no one is muh payin attention. One suspects the movie will not raise any more awareness for the war, either.

However, Stallone has gone on record saying this movie is a personal one wrapping up Rambo’s story the same as Rocky Balboa wrapped up that character’s story. It is not about spreading awareness for the war or the persecution of Christian missionaries. Indeed, there really have not been political themes in any Rambo movie. Rambo is a jaded combat veteran, toally apolitical because he has been manipulated by all sides of the political spectrum. Throughout the ‘80’s, he was dubbed a Republican because of his anticommunist battles. That could not be further from the truth.

John Rambo will be a personal movie about how Rambo makes peace with his cynical self and his ultraviolent life by witnessing the dedication of the missionaries he is trying to rescue. If one right, it will end the series and the character on a high note. I have faith Stallone can pull it off.