Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lost-"The Beginning of the End"

Who hoo! Lost finally returns for the first time since June 2007. The bad news is thanks to the WGA strike, we are only going to get eight out of the planned sixteen episodes for the season. Odds are no matter when the strike ends, the back eight will not likely appear until the fall. Tonight’s episode was a lot of promising set up for what has been dubbed the ‘game changer.” If the story pays off like it appears it is going to, expect a lot more whining about the WGA strike. I may even feel the intense need to strangle the current WGA president. If you want to serve as a character witness for me, the trial would most likely be scheduled for summer 2009 in California. Plan accordingly.

One thing I noted prominently about the fourth season premiere is how dark the story arc is becoming. There is a renewed sense in the air that life on the island is becoming a more intense struggle for survival. I appreciated the added impact of allowing Hurley, the most light hearted character, to be at the center of the turn,. This episode featured Hurley in a flashforward rather than a flashback. As one of the Oceanic Six to make it off the island, Hurley appears to be as eat up with guilt as Jack was in the season finale. But more on that in a moment.

The story begins right where we left off. Jack has contacted the boat and the crew promises to send help. Desmond returns to the crowd at the beach and gives the message the boat crew are not who they say they are. Fearful the boat crew is monitoring communication, the beach crowd opts to hurry through the jungle and warn the bulk of the survivors. As for them, in all their celebration of being rescued, they fail to notice Naomi is not quite dead yet. She wants to make absolutely sure the boat has been contacted even though she knows she is mortally wounded and will never make it off the island herself.

Meanwhile, Hurley, who has taken Charlie’s death hard, appears to be hallucinating about what I assumed is Jacob’s house. He runs into Locke after a near psychedelic trip. The two crowds converge cockpit of the crashed plane. After some tense confrontations and mourning over Charlie, the survivors split in two groups. Some believe Jack and want to be rescued. Others believe Locke is correct to be suspicious of the ‘rescue” and head for the barracks with Locke. The episode ends with Fisher Stevens’ as yet unnamed character dropping in on Jack’s bunch.

As I said above, the flashforwards belong to Hurley. He is not a well man. When the episode begins, he is being pursued by the LAPD in a car chase. He is arrested by Ana-Lucia’s old partner (nice tough, that) and after a Britney Spears moment at the police station is sent back to the asylum. Turns out Hurley has been seeing visions of Charlie. Once there he continues to have strange hallucinations, once even having a conversation with the now long deceased Charlie. He is approached once by someone claiming to be from Oceanic wanting to know if “they are still alive.” Even Jack comes to visit. It appears to be sometime well before the flashforwards of last season’s finale. Jack still has his head on straight, is enjoying his celebrity as one of the Oceanic Six, and is seeing patients. But hurley brings the guilt to the surface when he tells Jack he thinks they did the wrong thing by leaving. Jack storms out of the asylum in a rage. They are all keeping some sort of secret, but what?

I got a definite vibe the episode was intended to be all set up. There was not much of a thrill there in and of itself, but questions for future episodes to build up anticipation. It succeeded in that for me, so I have to give it credit even if I would like to have seen a little more wham here given the shortened season. *grumble* *grumble* Writer’s strike. *grumble*

Rating: *** (out of 5)

For the record:

Team Locke: Hurley, Claire, Danielle, Ben, Alex, Karl, Sawyer, at least 4 random survivors, and Vincent.

Team Jack: Kate, Jin, Sun, Sayid, Desmond, Juliet, Rose, Bernard, and the rest of the survivors.
Britney Spears Committed

Well, we have not heard anything out of her in a while. Apparently, reports of her suicide attempt were exaggerated. In reality, Britney Spears was taken by LAPD into psychiatric custody in a carefully orchestrated intervention. She will be held for at least 72 hours this time for evaluation with the possibility of an extension to fourteen days. She was taken in restraints, but there appears to be some discrepancy whether she is showing her rear end while hospitalized. My money is on pitching a full blown hissy fit.

The interesting part is Spears has admitted she has not slept since Saturday because she has taken far too much medication used to normally treat Attention Deficit Disorder. She has also inexplicably taking ten laxatives a day. Whether that is because of an irrational belief she is too fat or if she has taken the observation she is full of crap to heart is anyone’s guess at this point.

Speaking of being full of crap, Dr. Phil is nowhere to be seen. Last night on David Letterman, he reiterated his mistake in approaching Spears the last time she was on a 5150 hold and yet again denied he was trying to lure her onto his show. I do not believe one word of it and still think he is a egotistical, unethical boob, which still puts him miles ahead of anyone else who has tried to profit off Spears. No wonder she is such a nut.
Torchwood--"To the Last Man"

If I may geek out on science fiction references, Tosh is fast becoming the Geordi LaForge of Torchwood with a doomed romance every season. Not just a doomed romance, but tragic in the most peculiar of ways. At least this time around it is not a lesbian parasite from an alien chain gang like last season. (you know, this is s weird show at times.) This time around, Tosh falls for a displaced British soldier from 1918. I wish I was a little more sentimental about such things these days. I probably would have liked the episode better.

Cardiff is suffering from a time shift in which parts of 1981 are appearing in the present. The shift centers on Tommy, a 24 year old soldier suffering from shellshock in a veteran’s hospital. The 1918 version of Torchwoode takes Tommy to its headquarters to be placed into suspended animation until the proper point in the future begins to intersect with 1918. Since that time, Tommy has been awakened once a year to spend a day gallivanting about. For the last four years, he has spent it with Tosh. The two have grown attached. It quickly becomes apparent today is the day the years cross over into one another. Tommy has to go back to 1918, replace himself, and stop the time shift using some sort of incredibly convenient McGuffin of a device.

Conflict arises when Tosh learns that once Tommy returns, he will be sent back to the trenches in France without being fully recovered from shellshock. He will relapse and eventually face the firing squad for cowardice. Eventually, both Tommy and Tosh are convincedc for the good of the world, it has to be done. With reluctant cajoling from Tosh, who is being projected into the past, Tommy restores both time periods. Tosh has the burden of sending a 24 year old boy to certain death in order to save the world. Poor girl cannot catch a break, huh?

Tosh is one of the least interesting characters on the show, probably because she has been so undeveloped. It does not help much that every episode focusing on her turns the character into someone being totally used or abused by people and fate. She is always out of place and winds up almost always with her heart broken. For me, it has cheapened the character. She needs to have a victory here somewhere before she becomes a cliché. Things here could have been better, but they could have been worse, too.

Rating : ** (out of 5)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Long, Tedious March

Thanks a lot, Florida. It is all your fault. My coverage of the 2008 presidential race is about to become mind numbingly boring. I never was much into the Democratic race because I do not have a horse in that race. But now I do not have a horse on the Republican side, either. I was hanging on, right up until Monday night or so, hoping beyond hope the absentee balloting might let Giuliani squeak out a win in Florida. No such luck. There was not a single other candidate for whom I was even enthusiastic. The worst part is I was the least in favor of John McCain and now he is the presumptive nominee.

I knew it was coming. I just did not want to admit it to myself. McCain is the favorite republican of the media. They were declaring him the frontrunner when Mitt Romney had nearly twice as many delegates as he did. They replayed the compilation of Democratic candidates repeating his name a dozen times at the last debate across the networks. It was almost like they made one video and decided to share in some spirit of news network goodwill.

I grew tired of that routine back in 2000 when McCain takked about being a POW as much as Giuliani talked about 9/11. it was his answer to every question because his campaign had increasingly less substance as time went on. I mean come on—he lost the battle of ideas to George W. Bush, for heaven’s sake! What he had going for him was fun, fun, fun, even though daddy never took the t-bird away. Journalists were having a ball on the Straight Talk Express while McCain was alienating every conservative who listened to him more than a few minutes. The media tried to drag hi across the finish line, but failed.

It was worse this time around, but you would never know it. McCain’s victory margins have consistently been less than in 2000. The press, which still enjoys traveling with him, has covered up incidents of temper outbursts and anti-Vietnamese ethnic they would have crucified any other Republican for. Remember George Allen? Don Imus? Do not tell me it is a regular courtesy to overlook the misjudgments of public figures. It is favoritism all the way. The media even excused McCain’s sudden embrace of the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons when he spoke at Liberty because, well, they knewhe did not really mean it. He was just trying to win over those evangelical rubes.

I do not like McCain. I respect him as a tough man who survived many torments that would have finished off a lesser mortal. But that does not excuse his being a part of the Keating Five. That does not excuse McCain-Feingold. That does not excuse illegal immigrant amnesty. That does not excuse stealing the by courting independents and raging RINOs. That does not excuse the leftward shift he is bound to lead the party into. That does not excuse the fact the words “McCain” and “Administration” may go hand in hand in nine months.

I find the whole scenario fascinating, really. It is one of the things thatdrew me into politics. I started seriously following politics as a teenager. I studied political science in college. I was a part of campaigns from state house races to presidential and a number in between and it never ceased to amaze me how things could be going in one direction to an all but certain conclusion up until a media pundit declares you areactually going in the opposite direction. All of the sudden, everyone believes it no matter what. That is the power of media to changes people’s minds. I firmly believe if FOX news got the whim tomorrow to declare war on Canada, they could have the country firmly behind the idea in less than two weeks.

I am not just blaming the media. I hate to sound conspiratorial because you have to have a fevered mind to do so, but Mike Huckabee has been and will continue to tag team with McCain to siphon away conservative votes from fro Mitt Romney across the country. It should be a two man race, but with Huckabee in, Romney will win Massachusetts, Utah, and not much else. I hope Huckabee enjoys his Veep slot and finds a way to appoint Chuck Norris some sort of Morality Czar. Like we did not get enough of that pablum enduring eleven seasons of Walker: Texas Ranger.

Well, there you go. Get comfy. It is going to be a long nine months.
Fifth Rambo Planned

Rambo took in a solid, but unspectacular $ 18 million at the box office this weekend. The take might be due to the disparity between critic and fan reaction. The critics have generally panned the filom as all violence with no substance. Many reviews have reminded me of the consensus of Eli Roth’s Hostel as ‘torture porn.” However, fan reaction has generally been positive across the internet. Much of it is nostalgia for the action genre of the ‘80’s.

Harvey Weinstein has announced a sequel is already in the planning stages in spite of the projection the film will earn less domestically than Rambo III $ 55 million twenty years ago. Weinstein is banking on a strong foreign box office. Interestingly, the Rambo series, like James Bond films, have scored more cash overseas than in the United States. Detractors fear Weinstein may not be factoring in the current anti-Americanism prominent in many parts of the world. The character of Rambo was purged of any sense of jingoism in the film for that reason and Weinstein evidently believes that is enough to sell both this one and another feature.

Although oddly enough the planned sequel will bring Rambo back to the United states, which seems counter productive to purging him of American patriotism. But no plot elements have been revealed. For all I know, Rambo is coming back to the US to put Bush’s severed head on a pike at Ground Zero. More likely, sense Sly Stallone will be well into his 60’s when the film is released, he will be in the US to secure his social security check and probably have a dual prostate exam with 67 year old Indian Jones.

I cannot say I would pay to see that. Here is the full article.
Summer Glau

After a strong start, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has settled into typical network geekfare ratings. The best way to describe it is better than Bionic Woman, worse than The X-Files. the show's struggle to find an audience is doubly frustrating considering it is one of the only scripted shows left on network television and it only hassix or so episodes to burn off thanks to the WGA strike. Odds are if it cannot stabilize before the six episodes have aired, FOX will not bother producing more.

I cannot say i care much. I have watched three episodes, but have yet to see anything that compelled me to come back for a forth viewing. I was never a big Terminator fan to begin with, so i do not know what i was expecting. There is no love lost.

Speaking of love, though, there is a great debate raging among viewers as to whether Summer Glau, the resident teen terminator, is hot. Or hawt, as the kiddies say these days. For the record, I would say she is the cute friend at best, not attractive enough to play the leading lady. but she is hot enough for horny science fiction geeks to salivate over. She know it, too, and is sticking with her strengths. her past acting credits include Serenity and one of those truly awful Sci Fi Channel monster on the loose films they air every Saturday night.

I have included the photo above so youcan make your own judgment. Sorry, guys. As far as I know, there are no naked photos floating about.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Feminists Accuse Kennedy of Betrayal

For endorsing Barack Obama, but not for waiting nine hours to open Mary Jo's car door at Chappaquiddick. Go figure.
Florida Primary Results

The ultimate winners came out the way I earlier predicted. John McCain and Hillary Clinton have won Florida. It was fascinating to watch Clinton celebrating her “victory” even though it does not mean a thing with the delegates penalized for the state moving its primary up. McCain has not yet given his victory speech, but he has got to be feeling great right now. The momentum going into Super Tuesday is his. It is a two man race in name only, methinks. I have heard countless times the Republican establishment does not like Mitt Romney and I am convinced it is now true. It looks like McCain is going to be the Republican nominee.

As for Rudy Giuliani, I am sorry to see him go, but I am a realist. I always thought he was a good campaigner, but the more he campaigned in person, the less people liked him. He was polling quite well in most primary states up until he made appearances. Obviously the guy comes across differently when shaking hands and kissing babies than he does on television. I have also said before the sting of 9/11 has faded from the national conscience much more than Giuliani would like to acknowledge or maybe even knows. He reminded me a lot of Bush 41 there towards the end. Even when the entire country was worried about the recession, Bush 41 was still touting the Persian Gulf War victory that no one cared about anymore. He became a laugh line as the American Nero. Giuliani fast became the man suffering from 9/11 Tourette’s.

There is buzz Giuliani will drop out and endorse McCain tomorrow in California. I have toyed with the idea he may be jockeying for the Veep slot and he may very well be, but I am getting a vibe from both McCain and Mike Huckabee they may be pairing up. They are going out of their way to be civil and complimentary to one another. Huckabee knows he is not going to be the nominee, but he is still in it and plans to heavily contest the Southern states in which conventional wisdom says McCain is not a natural fit for. Huckabee is a young man as far as politicians go. The Veep slot would suit him well. If he is on the ticket, it might appease the evangelicals who do not really like McCain, but dislike Clinton more. It has not been said much, either, but I suspect at his advanced age, McCain would only serve one term at best. Such a scenarion would leave Huckabee in a very good spot for 2012.

Oh, mercy. We are already looking ahead to 2012.
Florida Primary Predictions

My track record is not great in pontificating these primaries and caucuses, but tradition is tradition. I am going to call Florida for John McCain and Hillary Clinton. She will win easily and continue to urge for the delegates to be counted even though I doubt the poobahs of the Democratic National Committee will budge. Florida broke ranks to move its primary up and it is going to cost them. I am going to say John McCainsqueaks by Mitt Romney even though I think conservatives are holding their noses as they vote for him.

They are still some folks out there grossly optimistic about Rudy Giuliani. I am not one of them even though I wish I could be. The optimism hinges on early balloting, much of much occurred before McCain and Romney gained steam and Giuliani was still the national front runner. There are over a million early voter and absentee ballots out there for both parties. I cannot imagine there are enough votes to propel Giuliani to first place, but he may very well make it to second place.

Some say the youth vote is not being represented in the polls because they are the so called “cell phone only” crowd. Somehow I doubt that crowd is getting excited about anyone other than Barack Obama, so to count their being overlooked as an x factor for Giuliani reveals the grasping at straws his supporters are desperately doing.

Giuliani has to win Florida or the party is over. He cannot go into Super Tuesday with next to no delegates. There is a renewed buzz about a brokered convention which, while as a political science junkie find a fascinating prospect, just cannot see happening. It may very well be that McCain and Romney duel each other all over the country to the point no one clinches until the convention, but it seems much more likely whoever wins Florida dominates next Tuesday. But that has not stopped some Giuliani supporters from urging him to stay in, even at the likely risk of losing his home state of New York, in order to have as hot at brokering a deal at a chaotic convention. Do not hold your breath. The scenario is a pundit’s fantasy, but that is about all it is.

Something else to watch as time goes on: who has more influence, Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy? Clinton compared Obama to Jesse Jackson when he reminded reporters Jackson won South Carolina in 1984 and 1988. Obama is fortunate Al Sharpton did not win any delegates there in 2004 or Clinton would have thrown him in, too. Clinnon was trying to make Obama "the black candidate" while the Kennedy endorsement was an attempt to put Obama back to where he originally was as the inspirational candidate who happens to be black. Who will come out on top in that conflict?
Bush's Real State of the Union Address

In a flash of unexpected honesty, President Bush made a draft of the State of the Union address in which he spoke truthfully from the heart. The draft was discovered by Vice-President Dick Cheney and ordered destroyed, never to see the light of day. The crack team of researchers here at the Eye discovered the speech behind a Denny’s dumpster a couple miles from the Lincoln Memorial and present it here in all its glory.
"My fellow Americans, traditionally on this evening, a president gives Congress an honest assessment of the state of the Union. For the longest time, it generally involved a short written message given directly to the Speaker of the House with no fuss or fanfare. It changed over time to a speech in which a president lays out his agenda for the coming year. I am going to honor both traditions tonight. For the short message, we are going to hell in a hand basket and I am carrying the basket. As for my agenda, there isn’t one.

None. Nada. Zip. I figure I've done enough already.

From January 20th to September 10th, 2001, you got a clear idea of what kind of president you got when I lucked out in Florida. You waited in anticipation month after month waiting to see what compassionate conservatism was about and what a uniter instead of a divider could do with our Congress. You all started to drift on me, there. You cared more about how the former First Cat, Socks, had to be given to Betty Curry because he could not get along with the former First Dog, Buddy. Why couldn’t you have been following that when one of my corporate buddies was driving a US submarine into a Japanese fishing boat or when I had to grovel to China for our spying? You people divert your attention to the wrong things all the time. It’s enough to drive a man to drink.

You know how on edge you people made me? I had to drag former South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell out of his Alzheimer’s induced seclusion in order to use his political machine to paint John McCain as a bedwetting liberal despite the fact his voting record was nearly identical to their beloved Strom Thurmond. Let’s not even talk about Florida. Can’t you people even vote right? If it weren’t for Scalia and Thomas knowing the Constitution like they do, I would have been back in Texas injecting steroids into Ivan Rodriguez’s buttocks, much less have had the chance to strut around the Oval office all those months with an undeserved sense of accomplishment.

But I lucked out even more later, didn’t I? I presided over the largest, most deadly attack in US history. Even bigger than the Day That Will live in Infamy. I had greatness thrust on me that day. Sure, I spent over twelve hours in seclusion running all over the country before Vice-President Cheney, a great American, hauled me in front of the cameras to assure the American people that not only was Rudy Giuliani not actually the president, but we were surely going to bomb the hell out of somebody, even if it meant thousands of Iraqis were going to have to die.

(Pause for standing ovation.)

They said I was the greatest president ever. Even better than my Daddy or Abraham Lincoln. Heck, Heck, Six-hundred thousand people died under Lincoln’s war for freedom. I got the mantle after an intelligence failure killed just a shade under three thousand. I always was a smart businessman who could do a lot with a little. Just like in business, it was all headed to me on a sliver platter which also served for lines of blow, but you didn’t hear that from me. Everyone except Alec Baldwin was in my corner for a good run there.

Yeah, I’ll admit I had a score to settle with Iraq. Saddam tried to kill my Daddy, for heaven’s sake. I had the US military at my disposal. What would you have done in my shoes? It’s family, first, second, and last. When it is my family, that is. Your kid may have signed up just for the college money, but I gave him the best education around. I hope he survived to appreciate it. Not to worry, though. Five years ago, I said “Mission Accomplished,” and I meant it right along with, “Bring it on!”

Darn if they didn’t heed the call, too. But what happened to all of you? You had the best chance in the world to get rid of me and the best you could do was a news anchor on a holy crusade to discredit me which failed and a presidential opponent who was an even more pathetic dork than I am. In spite of everything, I got to strut about with another undue sense of accomplishment. This time, Cheney told me to call it “political capital” because it sounded more professional.

Whoo boy, have things screwed up sense then. We are in charge of the second largest oil reserve in the world now, but gas prices shot up higher than Bill O’Reilly’s opinion of himself. We lost New Orleans, but big city folks, especially the black ones, didn’t vote for me anyway either time, so what do I care? Right to privacy was a myth, torture was in the eye of the beholder, and anyone who disagreed, friend or foe, got a free trip back home in disgrace. As a parting gift, I gave you high unemployment, sagging home sales, and a humdinger of an election. Did mention acts of terrorism are up around the world? Serves those dang foreigners right .. Except for the British. They always hold our jacket during a fight. Classy bunch of chaps, they are.

So there you go, folks. The State of the Union. Everything I have left you these last seven years in all its ugly glory. Peggy Noonan said I have destroyed the Republican Party, to boot. She’s probably right, but you will all rally ‘round whoever the GOP nominates when facing the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. The Republicans will never again put forth a legitimately conservative agenda, but what the heck? Y’all never wanted one of those anyway, so don’t blame me. Just take your cheapo drug prescriptions and don’t gripe about it. The Big Brothers at Homeland Security may or may not be listening.

Oh, who am I kidding? They’re listening to everything.

In closing, I want to look to the future. I’m gonna rest on my laurels for this final year in office. I might bomb Iran if given the chance, y’all will probably gor for that, at least for a while. You see, I think I’ve done enough. I’m already two shades of irrelevant thanks to the current presidential race. The country is so eager to get rid of me, y’all are pretending I don’t even exist. Well, that suits me. I’m just gonna sit back and dream about my legacy. History is going to be kind to me, you just wait. I remember my Daddy coming back from Richard Nixon’s funeral talking about how he had lived down Watergate because he had ended the war in Vietnam, opened relations with China, and established the affirmative action program. You see, when you do ten god things and one bad, for a while everyone only remembers the bad thing. But eventually, they all come around. I’m sure y’all will, too, and justly reward me for all I’ve done for my party, my nation, and the world.

Good night, and God bless America."
Meh. I guess the one they went with was better.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On the Eve of Florida

I want to toss this out there before tomorrow’s primary in Florida, lest it appear I am a fair weather political supporter. I am in Rudy Giuliani’s camp. I think his record as a fiscally sound mayor of the nearly ungovernable New York City and his toughness on crime make him most suited among all candidates to lead the United States out of the impending recession and against terrorism. I am willing to overlook his leftist stances on social issues because the older I get, the less I care about what other people do. I have seen what an obsession about other people’s morality can do to the soul while spending three years among fundamentalist Christians at Regent University. I have matured.

But I understand Giuliani is running third and even fourth in some Florida polls. He is staking his hopes on early balloting and honestly, that may work for him. I imagine New York has a vote early, vote often tradition just like New Jersey, Louisiana, and a couple other states with shady political histories. I hope it does work in his favor. I hope he wins Florida, pundits gush for six days on the brilliance of his winning strategy, and he cruises to the lead going into Super Tuesday. But I doubt this is going to happen.

I do not know if John McCain or Mitt Romney will win tomorrow. But I expect Giuliani to lose. I further expect he will drop out after losing Florida to avoid having his home state of New York go against him. If so, Giuliani will go into the dust bin of political history just like Wendell Wilkie or Thomas Dewey—men you have sort of heard of, but cannot remember why. I could see Giuliani as attorney general or even Veep, but I doubt his ego will stand for it. Therefore, I assume tomorrow is his last hurrah. It could also be a pivotal moment for how I cover the campaign from here on out.
Sen. Kennedy: "Obama Inspires Me"

Even more than Wild Turkey? I am impressed, Sen. Kennedy.

While endorsements generally do not mean as much as the endorser would like you to think, this one actually does mean something. The mythical brand of Camelot still resonates. Recall in 1992 when Bill Clinton told the story of how he shook JFK’s hand as a teenager and the event solidified his dedication to public service. While JFK did not give the incident a second thought, the story put the idea of a passing of the torch from JFK to Clinton. Yes, a silly notion, but myths have power.

Ted Kennedy’s endorsement has a bigger meaning than Caroline Kennedy’s idealistic comparison of Barack Obama to her father. Ted Kennedy surpasses standard senate leadership roles making him into something of a spiritual advisor of liberalism. It is equivalent to past Republican presidential candidates paying a visit to Barry Goldwater for his blessing before embarking on their campaigns. The power of myth,.

The endorsement is a definite slap against Hillary Clinton. Kenndey specifically said he believe Obama was the candidate who would transcend race and other traditional barriers to untie the country in a common cause. No word on with that common cause might be (remember, it is the idea of Obama that is important, not Obamsa’s ideas. Whatever those might be.) But I am certain the mention of race was a direct reference to Bill Clinton’s statements in South Carolina last week. Kennedy is making it clear the Clintons are stuck in the past. Obama is the future.

Clinton currently has the lead in Massachusetts. I expect that will change with this endorsement. I assume Governor Deval Patrick, an African-American being floated about as a Cabinet official in an Obama Administration, either already has or will endorse Obama. He still has an uphill battle inspite of all the support. Obama is currently only leading in Illinois and Georgia for Super Tuesday.
Bush's Final State of the Union

I almost forgot he was still president. Or was I blocking it out?
Britney Spears

Because she has gone a whole week without making a spectacle of herself.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Carolina Kennedy Endorses Obama

Shortly before the New Hampshire primary, I head Hardball Chris Matthews gush about how much Barack Obama reminded him of Robert Kennedy. He could not articulate it exactly on the air and admitted as such. he liked the idea of Obama, just like he can only have the idea of RFK's potential. He only got close to the White House in people's hopes.

Now RFK's daughter has written on editorial in the New York Times saying Obama is just like her father:
Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.
Cast aside our plans to do what? Vote for Hillary? All based on the idea we need to believe and Barack Obama can make us believe because he is going to give us something to believe in. Could we have a little more substance there? Seriously. obama's supporters are selling him as though he is a blank slate in which they can write all their hopes and dreams on.

These folks are setting themselves up for disappointment. Politics is a nasty, cynical game for battled hardened experts and the presidency is the hardest office to manage. Belief is hunky dory up until one sits in the Oval Office and has to solve real problems. good-bye, idealism.
Every Dog Has His Day

Michael Vick's former pit bulls have been taken in by a canine rehabilitation center. Now there is some hope for them beyond a short, brutish, and violent life. they are still pit bulls, however. i will bet they still chew someone's arm off out of boredom.

i cannot resist the cynic in me, either. How long do you think it will be before Cesar Milan pulls a Dr. Phil and films a special episode of the Dog Whisperer featuring Vick's dogs? Heck, there might even be an interview with Vick himself as part of the spiritual awakening any disgraced celebrity is supposed to have before resuming his career.

Come to think of it, Dr. Phil would probably get in an that, too. Good how that all works out, huh?
John Edwards as Attorney General?

I asked last night why john Edwards was still seeking the Democratic nomination for president in spite of his poor showing everywhere. Today, Robert Novak has the answer-- or at least as much of the answer as Novak ever has. He is often more a mouth piece for the Republican party or a conduit for political gossip in general rather than a journalist. But I have to admit his scenario here sounds plausible.

The Barack Obama campaign is whispering it will offer the attorney general job to John Edwards in an Obama administration. Such a move would make the trial lawyer lobby, a strong Democratic constituency, happy. I confess I do not understand Novak’s rationale for how the move would please organized labor. They were upset in 2004 when John Kerry chose Edwards as his running mate rather than Dick Gephardt, thereby officially replacing organized labor with trial lawyers in the hierarchy of influence. But hey, I will spot Novak one here.

The conspiratorial part of the alleged plan is Edwards will continue in the race, siphoning off votes from Hillary Clinton and eventually pledging his delegates for Obama. I am tempted to claim someone leaked this rumor to Novak in order to accentuate the Clinton race baiting. Essentially, Novak is accusing Obama of purposefully splitting the white and rewarding Edwards for helping him do so. I cannot imagine this rumor will cause any more stir than your average Novak column, but it is interesting nonetheless.,
Rambo Violence

Just how violent is Sylvester Stallone's latest installment in the Rambo movie series? You would not believe it. Enlarge the following body count chart to see what I mean. Rambo must be getting ornery in his old age:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Wins South Carolina

I predicted the winner, but not that Hillary Clinton would come in second. Bill Clinton's racially coded comments all during the week did not harm her chances quite as much as I thought they would.

The big question remains: why in the world is John Edwards still running? He may very well not be awarded any delegates depending on his district win percentages in the only state anyone give him a glimmer of hope in winning. I understand he wants to be a king maker, but to what end? He is going to alienate everyone of influence in the democratic party, assuming he has not already, if he exerts more clout than he actually has.

Oh, and earlier tonight I heard Major Garret claim he was surprised South Carolina politics could be so divisive and brutal. It prompted me to ask the famous Bugs Bunny question, "He don't know us very well, do he?"
Hillary Clinton Wants to Steal Nomination

If you are curious to see a preview of a Hillary Clinton presidency—and why, I believe, she will not win in November in spite of the public’s desire for ‘change”—look no further than Clinton’s request to retroactively reinstate the delegations from Michigan and Florida, both punished for moving their primaries into January.

Clinton has made the request in the name of part unity, but the truth is she ran unopposed in Michigan and is expected to easily win Florida. I doubt party unity would mean much to her if those delegates were pledged to Barack Obama or John Edwards. In some ways I cannot fault her. If I were running for president, I would want every delegate coming to me, too. But because of the Clintons’ past, there is an air of trying to steal the nomination given off.

Is that fair? Maybe not, but one is always going to be judged by past behavior. Therefore, anytime either Clinton does something to his or her advantage, there is going to be an air of suspicion surrounding it. Both Clintons have the leftist sense of an entitlement to be part of the ruling class.

If you are idealistic, you will think Hillary is trying to be fair and have all the votes for her counted. If you are cynical, you think she has an arrogant birthright to lead and stealing the nomination is a matter of ends justifies the means. After all, the ignorant masses do not know any better than to not recognize her superiority.

Do I exaggerate? Not by much. She is a polarizing figure. It seems like everyone believes one or the other about her. But I am certain this is only the beginning of her conniving to get into the White House.
The South Carolina Primary

I took a shot at predicting last week's primary in South Carolina and the caucus in Nevada. I got both wrong, but that never stops me from sticking my nose up in the air and spouting my next opinion authoritatively. Therefore, I predict:
1. Barack Obama will win overall.
2. John Edwards will come in second.
3. Hillary Clinton will come in third.
4. The results will be irrelevant because Clinton will become the nominee eventually regardless.
Come back tonight around 8:30 or so and watch me eat crow. I will even let you pick: Hekyll or Jekyyll, chum?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Jessica Simpson Sues Over Break Up Rumors

Have you heard the rumor Cowboys’ quarterback tony room has dumped Jessica Simpson in favor of his high school sweetheart. If you have, chalk it up to an article in OK! magazine. That is what Jessica Simpson and her lawyers are doing.

Simpson’s legal team as demanded OK! magazine print a “prominent and unambiguous" retraction after accusing them of publishing a "smear campaign" against the singer. Simpson is angry over a recent article about her relationship with Romo being on the rocks.

Here is the kicker: her lawyers claim the article is "utterly false" and "is based on nothing more than rumor, gossip and innuendo.” When lawyers use language like that, they are covering up the truth. You can start counting down the minutes until it is made public the relationship has ended. You will know because Poppa Joe will drive Simpson to Eli Manning’s house and dump her on the front steps.

Simpson fears the break up rumors will turn the public against her. I say she has not been paying attention. They already blame Yoko Romo for the Cowboys playoff loss and all the brain cells which have tragically died due to her movie career.

As a side note, the photo I posted above actually looks pretty classy.
Writers Strike? What Writers Strike?

FOX's new reality show, Moment of Truth, in which people are asked embarrassing personal questions while connected to a lie detector device, retained 94% of its lead in audience from American Idol. It has nor aired a second episode yet, so there may be a drop off, but it still looks like a hit. With no writers.

As long as studios are getting high ratings and therefore high advertisement revenues, they could not care less about the WGA's demands. The WGA's bargaining position is weakening by the day, as evidenced by the union already removing two of its demands in order to get talks rolling again.

Further evidence includes the unofficial announcements, but still both well accepted, that networks plan to buy fewer scripted pilots to fill out their fall sshedule. it is not just the WGA prompting the move. The only new show from the fall season that was even a moderate hit was NBC's Chuck. Second, no matter when the strike ends, this season is a wash. there are not likely to be new episodes aired until the summer and it is doubtful production staffs would overburden themselves and actors with filming episodes without a summer break.

Translation: small season DVD sets, few product to place on the internet, and virtually no scripted shows on the air, which translates mostly to everyone losing cash and market position--mostly for the wriers. There will be plwnty of realioty show cash for producers. What is this strike all about again?
Jamie Lynn Spears to Give Up Her Baby

Upon first reading that headline, I thought she might finally be showing some wisdom and maturity. Yes, she made a terrible mistake got pregnant at sixteen, but she is demonstrating that she has her child's best interest at heart, right? Wrong Jamie Lynn is not only still planning to cash in on her child's birth by selling exclusive rights to the first photos for a cool million, she will be handing the child over to her mother. you know, because she has done such a great job with Jamie Lynn and Britney. The rationale?
“After several weeks of personal soul searching and talks and discussions with her mother Jamie Lynn reluctantly agreed that giving up the baby is the right thing to do. Lynne says Jamie doesn’t understand the life long consequences of having a baby.

“She still wants her daughter to be able to be a teenager, go to parties, hang out with friends and have a career. So she’ll take the front seat of caring for the baby and take the pressure off her daughter.

“Lynne is convinced that having a baby on her hip will not help Jamie Lynn’s future in the business and she’s expecting her daughter to pick up where she left off as soon as the baby is born.”
With Britney going nuttier on a daily basis to the pint she will not even promote her awful album in the first place, Momma spears needs Jamie Lynn out there bringing in the cash. She certainly cannot let that little rug rat get in the way of her retirement fund.

No word yet on when her book on parenting is going to be published, by the way.
The GOP Debate

I watched the GOP debate last night. It was the first one I have watched this campaign season because, well, these things are mind numbingly boring even for a political junkie. This one promised to be worse since the candidates were taking advantage of the only opportunity to reach a wide number of Florida voters, so there was an unusually large amount of pandering to Floridians. I find these things to often be a waste of time anyway as the moderators throw nothing but softball questions and candidates will just give any answer they feel like with impunity. Last night’s debate was no different.

But I watched because I have bought into the idea it was Rudy Giuliani’s last stand. When it was all said and done, I do not believe he succeeded in bypassing the rest of the bunch. While I thought he gave much more nuanced and intellectual answers to the questions put to him, that is not what voters want. They want platitudes . they want a subtle Santa Claus who can convincingly promise them both low taxes and every social service they want. The best snake oil salesman on stage was Mitt Romney, not Giuliani. Considering Romney is leading in the polls anyway, I think the debate was considered a win for him.

Do I think this is the end of Giuliani? Probably. Perhaps the absentee ballots already cast when he was the national front runner go heavily in his favor, conservative former Fred Thompson voters will not stomach a vote for John McCain, and more secular voters will not like the religious implications of a Romney or Mike Huckabee presidency. Heck, maybe being photographed next to Johnny Damon will do the trick. But the flaws in Giuliani’s strategy are becoming glaringly obvious. In his egomania, he believed his front runner status would even through losing primaries steadily for three weeks. Second, counting on transplanted New Yorkers to carry him to victory was a bad idea since half of them are Democrats who would not have voted for him as mayor, either.

Giuliani has slipped big time nationally anyway. The only decent showing he is making right now is being tied for first in his home state of New York with John McCain. Losing Florida will end that, too.

Speaking of McCain, I was unimpressed with him. He said nothing but platitudes, reiterated he knows nothing about economics, and mentioned this “bridge to nowhere” several times as if he had memorized a script. If he ever had a chance to win Florida, I think he4 blew it there by being so vapid. He did reach out oncve and complimented Giuliani on his 9/11 leadership, which only added to the theory he would like Giuliani as his running mate. It may not matter. When Romney wins Florida, it may knock McCain off his Super Tuesday pedestal.
Kristy Lee Cook

American Idol favorite, horse trader, and web cam stripper. The girl does it all.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winds of Not So Much Change

While I am still on the 2008 presidential campaign, have you noticed that even though the mantra is voters want change, they are very likely to nominate the two most familiar candidates, Hillary Clinton and John McCain? It does not surprise me, mind you. Want people say they want and what they actually wind up going for are often two completely different things, but I find it amusing how we all have to go along with this game of pretending otherwise just to, well, I do not know. Make the process more exciting or give the illusion we are being intellectual? Take your pick.

Think about it. McCain has been around so long, we have forgotten scandals he was once involved in. he was part of the Keating Five twenty years ago. Not to mention this is his second run at the White House. He was already soundly rejected once. He has turned around now, reversed whatever positions caused him to lose the nomination the first time around, and yet no one considers him wishy washy. John kerry will never outlive his campaign mistakes. McCain already has. Is that what voters really mean when they say they want change? Adapt your heartfelt convictions, then we will vote for you?

Not really. What voters enjoy most is business as usual. The Clintons –it is hard to tell which one of them is running sometimes, no? –are rolling along with the same amoral, take no prisoners attitude that allowed Bill Clinton to take sexual advantage of a naïve 21 year old girl, then throw or under the speeding train to save himself. The current racial politics being practiced by the two of them is cynical, calculated, and grossly offensive, but it is probably going to work for them and voters do not really care. If Clinton stands back, allows Barack Obama to become “the black candidate,” and exploits a white flight to her candidacy afterwards, she will still unquestionably get 90+ of the black vote in November just because she is a Democrat. Business as usual.

But that is the way we like it. Do not stray too far from the past, no matter how ugly the past might be. Heck, was the 2004 election more about the Vietnam War than the Iraq War?
Rudy Giuliani's Last Chance

Rudy Giuliani is in definite Florida freefall. There are a number of polls out today that have him in third place behind John McCain and Mitt Romney. A couple polls have him behind the cash strapped and barely campaigning Mike Huckabee, but none have him higher than second place. Considering how projections have so often been off the mark this year, I would still not count Giuliani out, but it is looking more like his risky strategy of banking everything on Florida was a big mistake.

Giuliani has one other problem, but I cannot predict who else would get the advantage. There is a homestead tax increase on the ballot in which conservatives and dead set against. The ballot initiative will probably bring out strong conservatives who probably do not like McCain or Giuliani at the moment. Floridians may be inclined to vote for McCain because it is “his turn” the same way South Carolinians held their noses and cast votes, the rightwing turn out might wind up helping Romney instead. His business experience plays better than McCain’s record of voting for tax increases.

I think Giuliani is suffering from the out of sight, out of mind tendency voters and the news media have. He has not been part of the national debate in a while and everyone has simply forgotten about him. The media has not had anything interesting to say in regards to his candidacy in a while, so they have moved on to McCain and Romney. Because those two dominate the political discussion, the pair are now perceived as the two strongest candidates.

I am not trying to make early excuses what likely will be a Giuliani loss. We are on the verge of an economic downturn. It is on everyone’s mind and they are looking for econimc solutions from the candidates. Giuliani just has not adapted to that. He still believes 9/11 is foremost in the heats and minds of voters and that is what he is carrying on about. HJe has a record as an fiscal conservative who managed the nearly unmanageable New York City budget, but he does not seem interested in touting his record there.

He has one last shot to surge in tonight’s debate. I do not place a whole lot of faith in debates to change voters’ minds. Recall many thought F4red Thompson won the debate prior to the south Carolina primary, but the victory did not amount to anything. But it is definitely Giuliani’s last stand. He has to land some punches tonight or else his goose is cooked.
Torchwood Music Video

Here is my music video for last night's episode. It is set to "Monster" by Hero Pattern.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Life on Mars?

Probably not. that looks a lot like the famous and discredited Bigfoot photo that has been floating about for decades. Still, it is a neat photograp regardless.

It opens up so many possibilities depending on how nerdy you are. does Mars have Elludium Q36 Space Modulators? is J'onn J'onzz walking the Earth now in anticipation of a final showdown with Despero? Will a certain Civil War soldier make it back to Earth and sue the producers of ER for usurping his good name? How happy is Ray Bradbury right now?

Such questions boggle the mind.
Torchwood--"Sleeper"

After the promise of the season premiere last week, “Sleeper” came across as a run of the mill follow up effort. It was not a bad episode by any means. Just sort of…there. We well on our way to finally solve one of the biggest problems of the first season. That is, for a secret team of alien catchers, Torchwood does not encounter a whole lot of actual alien menaces. This episode marks two in a row there is a genuine alien bad guy. Hosannas all around.

The story features Beth and Mike. They are a couple who were the victims of a break in, but the burglars are brutally slaughtered. Mike is knocked unconscious and has no idea how it all happened. Beth claims she does not know, either, but Jack is correctly skeptical. After some squeamish interrogation sessions, Torchwood discovers Beth is a sleeper agent for an alien race clandestinely gathering intelligence for an invasion.

The team has a moral dilemma on their hands. Do they kill Beth or is there some way to keep her true alien nature from emerging? I expected the moral issue to be the heart of the episode, splitting the team between soft hearted Gwen and Tosh and ends justifies the means Jack. Instead, they opt to cryogenically freeze Beth with little fuss. Her alien persona promptly escapes and activates the other sleepers.

Here the episode becomes the run of the mill human versus aliens tale. A handful of sleepos awaken and attack Cardiff’s civil leadership and communications. Yet another plans to infiltrate a military installation housing nuclear warheads. Yes, nuclear warheads near heavily populated Cardiff, Wales. Needless to say, the plot is stopped, the sleepers killed, Beth sacrifices herself, and no one is quite sure whether the impending invasion will ever happen. But everyone goes on about their lives regardless in the end.

I have noticed much of the sexual innuendo has been cut down from last year There was only one Owen joke about having an orgy before the world ended. Heck, I probablywould have suggested one, too, depending on the company I was with at the time, so I cannot fault that one. I was under the impression jack was going to tone down the hard nose act this season, but he is right back with the Dirty Harry bit. I think Barrowman is hamming that up too much. It is not really a personality that suits him. Regardless, I give this one a lukewarm review.

Rating: ** (out of 5)
Jack Nicholson Warned Heath Ledger

Jack Nicholson, who famously portrayed the Joker is Tim Burton’s Batman, allegedlywarned Heath Ledger about taking on such a demanding role. When asked for his reaction to Ledger’s death yesterday, Nicholson replied, “I told him so.”

Well, that sounds a bit callous, but all right. I am not so sure what Nicholson found so demanding about playing the Joker, either. He has made a career out of playing intense, immoral characters. How much worse could the Joker have been for him? He got a $ 50 million payday and probably much more when factoring in merchandising fees. It was enough for him to suggest he reprise the role on several occasions when franchise sequels were in the development stage—including The Dark Knight.

I do not want to be hard on Nicholson here. The story is being covered mostly by tabloids, so who even knows how much of it is even true? Matt drudge picking it up, but that certainly is not a ringing endorsement. I am pointing it out because I am curious to see if The Dark Knight becomes legendary as a “cursed” film of urban legends like Apocalypse Now, The Crow, or The Exorcist has. Such happenings make some films legendary.
Barack Obama is Shocked Bill Clinton Lies

Dude, where have you been the last sixteen years?
Fred Thompson Ends Campaign

As much as he was ever in the race to begin with, I would still say he left about three weeks too late. The impression was always there, from his announcement on The Tonight Show to his rambling concession speech is South Carolina last Saturday, he did not really want to be president. I imagine it was the fears there would be no true conservative candidate without him and the inexplicable (to me, at any rate) lure of the presidency that made him think he could coast into the job. Not so.

I should have been impressed with him. He said all the right things even if he meant them even less than most candidates. Maybe it was the fact he said them in such a Foghorn Leghorn voice. Maybe it was just that he seemed to be running just to travel about showing off his trophy wife. Well, Dennis Kucinich is trotting around with that little fox of his, but at least he has something to say to go along with her.

What happens to Thompson now? My guess is he is going to sit back until the GOp race for the nomination is down to two cadidates and push for the Veep slot. He did not appeal much to conservative voters on the trail, but maybe he would add something to the ticket. I honestly doubt it, though. He seems like more of a John Edwards type who sounds like a good choice on paper but does nothing in reality. People in red states are going to vote for the Republican candidate even if they have to hold their noses to do it. Doubly so if Hillary Clinton is the democratic nominee.

Where will Thompson’s supporters go in the tight Florida primary race? The conventional wisdom says Mike Huckabee, but I think if his supporters are really thinking he has a shot as the Veep, they will go for McCain. I am not sure if McCain really is a shoo in now, if his surge is media manufactured, or if the democrats keep mentioning him because they would most like to run against him, but I will bet now that orphaned voters will join his camp because he looks like a winner. Looks bad for my man Rudy Giuliani, no?
Talks to Resume in WGA Strike

Some interesting developments have emerged with the WGA strike. Both parties are heading back to the bargaining table. There is one little surprise quite a few WGA members are upset over: the union has dropped two of its so called “moral” demands. The WGA will not push for jurisdiction over animation and reality shows. That is a major concession and a sign, methinks, the WGA’s bargaining position has been weakened.

The producers opted to renegotiate a contract with the DGA while talks with the writers were stalled. This was suspected as a strategic move in that an agreement was going to be quickly met, thereby proving the producers were reasonable souls willing to negotiate in good faith while the writers were to blame for the lack of talks. I do not know if the scheme worked in the public relations department, but enough WGA members thought the DGA deal was good enough to apply to the writers contract there appeared to be a fracture in the WGA. They are really giving off the vibe of crawling back to the table whether they truly are or not.

The WGA has issued an admonition to its members to be careful about publicly voicing their opinions during negotiations. That tells me the leadership knows there is a chunk who want the DGA deal but the WGA leadership wants—needs –a united front. Or at least the illusion of one, which seems to be about they can hope for right now. Strolling through some writers’ blogs, I get a sense of dejection on many of them. There is a sense they are not going to get many of the demands they were hoping for.

At what point did the writers been losing? The public was solidly behind them for a long time. The SAG has refused to cross picket lines at great personal expense to themselves. They want the exposure going on late night shows affords them. Maybe it was when those late night shows came back sans writers with similar ratings as before. Maybe it was when the reality shows replacing scripted shows did well in theratings. Maybe it was when the Grammies were refused a waiver and it looked like the writers were unfairly cheating the music industry. The possible cancellation of the Oscars probably played a big part. Whatever it was, barring something extraordinarily odd happening, I believe the strike is entering its endgame. It has certainly worn out its welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

If I was ever called upon to name my current favorite actors, I doubt Heath Ledger’s name would come up quickly. However, when I think about movies I have enjoyed in recent years (The Patriot, the Brothers Grimm, et al) it occurs to me he was in a lot of them. By all accounts, that is the kind of person he was, as well--quiet, unassuming, and hard to remember because he was such an unknown quantity. Maybe that was accentuated heavily by his more animated costars like Mel Gibson and Matt Damon.
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Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment this afternoon of an apparent drug overdose. Details are sketchy. In fact, listening to news reports, there is still a split as to whether his death was on accident. It appears he died of an over the counter drug overdose rather than narcotics. Those who know him are having a difficult time assuming he has taken his own life. Ledger seemed to have everything going for him at the moment. He was, by all accounts, unspoiled by the Hollywood lifestyle.

Ledger will be appearing this summer as the Joker in the Batman Returns sequel, The Dark Knight. Ity was certain to be a huge hit, perhaps even the biggest of the year. The Joker is an iconic villain. He is psychopathic and theatrical with no remorse. An actor who plays him gets to perform as manically as possible, really chewing up the screen. It probably would have been the role Ledger was remembered for. Now I know it will be.

Ledger has gone on the record claiming he was having a tough time dealing with the role because the Joker is such an evil Hannibal Lector type with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Interviewers have remarked how Ledger seemed unkempt ands haggard in recent weeks. He has even admitted to using sleeping pills in order to rest. Those may very well have been signs of trouble no one caught in time to save him. Very tragic.

Godspeed, Mr. Ledger.
Epiphanies of 2008

Amazing that after six months of telling you how sick I am of politics, law, and the other usual interests that often occupied my mind and writings, my blog has become nothing but politics, the WGA strike, sports, and the occasional celebrity drama covered with characteristic detached arrogance. Looking back, I think it has been six or seven months since I covered any of those topics on any sort of regular basis. What a schizo blog it has been in the interim. How I managed to waste so much time on such inanities is beyond me, much less why readers stuck around through it all. Heck, it is a wonder anyone wants to read any of my writings to begin with.

It is a new year and with every new year properly comes epiphanies. Maybe that is not the word for it—clarity comes to mind as well –but either way, something is different. The passage of time has a way of doing funny things to your perspective, particularly once you are firmly on the wrong side of thirty. I am feeling my age and it is not just the creakiness od chronic health issues. It is the weariness of change. Reality setting in. The overwhelming feeling of wishing I knew then what I know now. Whatever you want to call it, I have new views on old subjects. I have embraced that what I once was ain’t me no mo’ and in some ways, that is not such a bad thing.

I spent my young adult life pursuing thee major interests: politics, law, and writing. Consider the pursuit for better or for worse when you count all the sacrifices I made, relationships affected, and general hardships. Time and fate have helped me separate a youthful dreams—ignorance, if you prefer –from reality. I am not sure why a relatively typical year like 2007 pushed me towards the realization, but it did and put it out there in full bloom for 2008. do you want to go one, two, three for the sake of simplicity?

Do you have any idea how much time I spent thinking about studying law since I was about sixteen years old? It is embarrassing to think about now. For a good while, I could not see myself becoming anything else. Heck, even now, if I woke up tomorrow fully restored, I would probably jump right back into the game. (Maybe I have not learned much after all.) But I have embraced reality like I said above and that has made recent times the first in a long while a legal career is not front and center in my mind. Granted, a lot of the hideous drama I had to go through in law school contributed to that casting off, but there you go. There is a notion that law school is like a besieged city. Everyone on the outside wants in; everyone on the inside wants out even under the best of circumstances. Add to that scores of the most bigoted classmates you can imagine who quote Scripture to justify it, and you can imagine why one considers becoming a ski instructor rather than practice law straight from the get go.

I used to closely follow politics, too. From a really young age, in fact. I can recall following the 1988 presidential election at eleven years old. Granted, it was because I wanted to understand Dennis Miller’s jokes on Saturday Night Live better, but who cares about the rationale? IOt probably explains my satirical attitude about the political game. Somewhere along the line I decided I would like to hold office myself someday. I wound up hanging around college classmates who wanted the same things out of life and were in too much of a hurry to get them. Do you have any idea how silly it looks for a twenty year old to stroll about putting on the airs the entitled ruling class?. It is even sillier than when he goes back to his dorm room, puts on his jammies, and watches Tom & Jerry while noshing on Fig Newtons. These days I wish I had done more of the former and less of the latter. It suits me better and I see far less reason now to be embarrassed by it than I did then.

Have mercy, I think back to the pretentious games and backstabbing that went on in student government and other political organizations that meant a heck of a lot more then than now. Let me tell you, people want power. It does not matter how insignificant. There is a reason white trash mothers kill the parents of their daughter’s cheerleading rival and it is not just stupidity. Well, stupidity plays a big part of it. So does greed and short sightedness. I cannot even count the number of grudges I have held over the years over being screwed out of the puny powers some resume building position in even the short term, much less the long. Nor did I seem to realize it never would translate to real world success. You know once you have your diploma, no one cares, not even you? The realization does not hit until you actually get the diploma. It gets reinforced when you get to another school and people are, how shall we say, unimpressed.

Okay, so we do not all get to sit in Congress and take our turn out the trough. I knew that just as much I knew being an astronaut or cowboy was a little out of reach. (Sen. John Glenn and three quarters of the Texas Congressional delegation were blessed souls in all regards, no?) But I did not think being a man of letters was out of the question, though. I was not even greedy. I wasted much of my youth reading comic books, dabbling in science fiction, and watching animation. I did not want to be Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway, or even F. Scott Fitzgerald. I would have been happy as a low rent Harlan Ellison. Do you know how unglamorous the writing profession is yet how next to impossible it is to break into at the same time?

There is not really any clear path to becoming a serious writer, even in the cottage industries that interested me the most. Long gone are the days when comic book writers were nerdy fans themselves who pumped out scripts every month and signed autographs at conventions alternating between wearing Hawaiian shirts and and whatever metal band was current cool. That ended around about the time I was old enough to be taken seriously as a prospect. Marvel Comics, the big kid on the block, sponsors an internship with NYU to fill its writer ranks with English, journalism, and film students. Does the outside world even imagine Ivy Leaguers do this sort of thing for a living? By the way, the same goes for television and movie writers. The days of a housewife writing a blockbuster never existed, but especially not now. Heck, want to write a novel? Get an MFA, an agent, and join the ranks of thousands of others just like you.

I do not mean to be depressing here. I just mean to articulate that I have discovered all this. Too little, too late, but here it is in all its glory. The realizations are somewhat comforting. It certainly has freed me up to write more openly about topics I have shied away from because I am upset I never made it in any of them. I chalk that up to maturity. I will confess I maintain some dreams of a writing career. You cannot give up everything. With that in mind, I guess I should be aptly call my life in a new balance between reality and still wisely holding on to that spark of dreams that keeps one going in spite of everything.
Market Forecast

So, will the US stock market collapse today like the rest of the world's?
Sarah Michelle Gellar Naked

Heh. This show prompt a few mixed emotions amongst the Googling perverts who still cannot get over the fact Buffy the Vampire slayer was canceled. Personally, i dislike it when girls make this kid of pose, nude or not. It gives off a negative vibe as though she is distraught. Actually, with that in mind, the pose gets even more upsetting when the girl is nude. But to each his own. maybe I am just not artsy enough to appreciate it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rudy Giuliani on Downhill Slide

Yet another post on the presidential race today, but I want to get this one out there since it helps build tension for next week’s Florida primary. A number of polls have John McCain leading Rudy Giuliani in his home state of New York. McCain already had taken a lead in California, another delegate rick state Giuliani was counting on. Truth is McCain’s sudden lead could be a natural bump a candidate gets from winning a high profile state like South Carolina, but I have to be prepared for the possibility my man Giuliani is tanking. Florida is going to tell the tale.

Giuliani absolutely has to win the state’s primary. Even a narrow second place finish will not be enough. The supposed winning strategy Giulia ni and his advisors puit together by foregoing campaigning for strong second and third place finishes up until now to concentrate on Florida is looking like a very bad idea. He has been out of the public’s mind for week’s now. The public has a definite out of sight, out of mind habit about such things. Giuliani has to play catch up and candidates forced to do that do not look very presidential.

Of course, all this means nothing if Giuliani wins. If he pulls out a victory, all any pundit will talk about from then until Super Tuesday will be the brilliance of his winning strategy. Voters will listen to that, gobble up every word, and Giuliani will be right back in it for super Tuesday. But if he loses florida, pretty much no one is going to take a chance on him. It will be a two man race between John McCain and Mitt Romney.

I am not giving up on Giuliani until after Super Tuesday. I imagine a loss in Florida will deflate my enthusiasm, but I suspect Super Tuesday is not going to be a blow out for any candidate. I am not embracing the political scientist’s dream of a brokered convention, but I still expect this battle to drag on for a while. If only Fred Thompson and Mike Huckakee would take the hint and drop out, the picture would clear up quite a bit.

Until something extraordinary happens, I cannot decide how to shift my allegiance if and when Giuliani gets out of the race. Will I enthusiastically endorse another republican or become a cynical, unaligned observer of the entire fiasco of a presidential race?
MySpace v. Facebbook

Facebook surpassed MySpace for new members last month. Does that mean Facebook is surging while MySpace is dying? no more so than John McCain is surging while Mitt Romney is collapsing. Yeah, I know. You just cannot get away from campaign 2008.

MySpace has been around for four years now. pretty much anyone who wants to try it already has. That amounts to about 110 million active users with 200 million+ pages altogether. It has been only recently that one could sign up for Facebook without an e-mail address without an "edu" extension. Facebook may be on the rise, but MySpace is still the economic powerhouse for advertisers.

For the record, i joined both pretty much because anyone with a web presence has to. I used to get e-mails all the time asking if I was a member of one or the other. Oddly enough, few visitors to the eye ever send friend requests to either page. Evidently, just having a MySpace or Facebook is status enough. I find myself spending less time on MySpace but really only exercising marginal interest in Facebook. Perhaps I am unusual in this regard, but social networking has lost most of its fun. I am curious whether the phenomenon has peaked?
Old Dogs, Old Tricks

Did Chuck Norris campaign with Mike Huckabee in South Carolina? I am embarrassed to admit I do not know even though I live here. It would not surprise me. Candidates have campaigned here with country music and wrestling (excuse me—rasslin’) stars often in the past, so it would not surprise me. Most south Carolinians think Walker Texas Ranger ranks right up there with Masterpiece Theater in quality, to boot. One has to assume Norris showed up at some point then. Since Huckabee did not win the Palmetto State, one also has to assume endorsements do not mean that much.

I find it interesting that Norris is still grabbing headlines for Huckabee. Today the media reports he claims John McCain is too old to be president. This from a guy who was play a high kicking action star well into his 60’s. it is difficult to believe at a glance, but Norris is just shy of his 68th birthday.

But I confess, I have had similar thoughts. McCain is old and it shows. He also has lingering health issues from his days of captivity in North Vietnam. While I do not hear many talk about it, I suspect even if he won the White House, he would serve only one term and quickly be a lame duck. I am not so certain age has been a big factor yet, but as the rigors of a year long campaign wear on 9assuming McCain gets that far) they will. Voters might lose faith in McCain’s vitality, especially if he is running against the much younger Barack Obama.

I have long been of the opinion Bill Clinton could have been beaten in 1996 if the GOP had nominated someone younger and more exciting than Bob Dole. But it was “his turn” and that was that even with concerns about his advanced age. Those concerns are going to rise again with McCain. The GOP establishment is not so keen on it being “his turn,” however. Will the age factor knock him out of the running?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Super Bowl: Patriots v. Giants

I am really surprised the Packers lost.
Front Runners

I point this out solely because I predicted Barack Obama would win in Nevada and my overblown ego hates to take a hit, but there appears to be some controversy over how victory can be declared in the Silver State caucuses. Hillary Clinton won the overall vote totals, meaning more people voted for her than Obama in entirety. However, Obama gets one more delegate than Clinton because of the size of individual caucuses or some other strange mathematical shenanigans no one seems as interested in clarifying as much as covering the cat fight over bragging rights. Each candidate’s supporters are spinning Nevada as a victory based on whichever argument puts their candidate ahead.

I am going to go with Obama on this one in hindsight, not only because delegate count is the big deal right now, but because my overblown ego is really, really important to me. Much more so than who gets to become the next leader of the free world.

Speaking of number of delegates versus vote totals, Mitt Romney leads in total number of delegates won by nearly a 2 to 1 margin over second place John McCain, yet McCain is the national front runner in popularity while Romney is a distant third. A lot of pundits are prematurely putting nails in Romney’s political coffin in spite of the fact he is winning where it counts. Is it the lingering media infatuation with McCain? It has been eight years since they got hooked on the Straight Talk Express. Even McCain himself does not speak much of those days, having decided maverick status is not all it is cracked up to be. It may very well be true McCain has momentum after last night, but the media has been giving it to him longer before that.

It may go kerplunk in Florida. All signs point to McCain narrowly defeating Rudy Giuliani there, but ten days is a long time when campaigning and there have been tons of absentee ballots cast long before McCain had his resurgence. A win in the Sunshine State would put Giuliani firmly in second place as far as delegate total goes and put him in good position for Super Tuesday’s California, New York , New Jersey, Connecticutt, et al race. One wonders if a McCain loss in Florida would matters as far as the media is concerned. He has currently passed Giuliani in popularity in California. They could still take the wind out of Giuliani’s sales by dismissing his victory in the Sunshine State as a fluke.
"Scrap Happy Daffy"

Here is an interlude from all the campaign 2008 drama. Daffy Duck stars in a World War II propaganda cartoon.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winners: Clinton & McCain

Well, I bet I predicted the Super Bowl teams correctly. Hillary Clinton and John McCain pulled out respective victories. I honestly saw neither one coming. I also cannot comment a whole lot on the Clinton victory. My attention was all on South Carolina today and the fact I must be the only Rudy Giuliani supporter in Darlington County. I do note Bill Clinton was whining to a reporter about some alleged shenanigans going on that would have helped Barack Obama in Nevada. First, I thought that was beneath a former president to do. Second, you will not hear anything else about it since Clinton won. Although for whatever odd reason, Obama will get 13 delegates to Clinton’s 12 thanks to certain precincts being larger than others. What is the point of winning the whole shebang then?

I believe you can chalk up McCain’s victory to two factors. One, the establish GOP voted for him in lockstep because it was his turn. They do that in pretty much every election. Two, Fred Thompson siphoned off a lot of conservative evangelical votes from mike Huckabee. The race between McCain and Huckabee was too close to call right on up until 82% of precincts had reported in. Without Thompson, Huckabee might have won. Certainly Thompson voters would be more inclined to vote for Huckabee than McCain.

So where do we stand now? Thompson is done. He has not officially called it quits, but the deflated speech he gave early in the evening had all the trappings of a candidate canning his campaign and wondering who to endorse. Duncan hunter has also ened his run, but no one cares. Most networks ran a scroll announcement of his departure and mentioned it no further. I have no clue if McCain now has some momentum to go to Florida. I suspect not much. I think Huckabee’s goose is cooked whether he knows it or not. His support was almost exclusively evangelical Christians, but it still did not amount to much. There is no other Bible thumping state quite like South Carolina. If he cannot win there with the Christian support, ge certainly is not going to do well in more secular states.

We still have no clear answers as to who is the front runner. We have ten days before Florida votes. It is a must win for Giuliani, assuming people even remember he is running. If he loses there and McCain wins, I am guessing McCain is the man. Or, at the very least, Super Tuesday will be a McCain/Mitt Romney battle with Giuliani looking like he has made the worst presidential campaign strategy in modern history.
Conference Calls

Speaking of snow making people go crazy, Lambeau Field will be filled to capacity for tomorrow’s NFC Conference title game. The cheapest seats went for—get this –nearly $ 600! Bear in mind it is expected to be 20 below zero with the wind chill factor with snow. Despite that, these fans are going to be packing the stands. Apparently, you cannot be a true Packer Backer if you have not lost a few fingers and toes to frostbite. Do they not know this game is being televised?

Speaking of televised, a local Green Bay television station will preempt a rerun of Seinfeld this afternoon because Giants quarterback Eli Manning told a reporter he liked to relax by watching the show. Presumably, the television station assumes manning would be in his hotel room watching the show this afternoon while trying to keep his mind off tomorrow’s inevitable pounding. They are trying to psyche him out fort the big game. Why do they not just get Poppa Joe to send up Jessica Simpson? It worked against Tony Romo and made Terrell Owens cry.

As for the Patriots versus the Chargers, it is going to be very cold there, too, but the most detrimental thing you can do is to wait until about the middle of the second quarter, randomly call someone in San Diego and ask, “I’m not near a television right now. Tell me—how’s our defense holding u?/”

Prediction? Sure, I have a prediction. The Super Bowl will be the Packers v. Patriots.
The Silver and Palmetto States

Entrance polls are predicting Mitt Romney has won the Nevada caucus. If that is true –and there is no good reason to think it is not –Roney’s choice to forgo South Carolina looks sound. Nevada gives him more delegates than the Palmetto State and will soften the blow when he comes in third or fourth here. So far, Romney has won Wyoming, Michigan, and Nevada. He is the only Republican candidate to win more than one contest, yet pundits are just waiting for him to drop out of the presidential race. Odd, but true. Do they hold a grudge? Considering his testy encounter a couple days ago with a heckling reporter, they might.

For the record, it is very cold and on the verge of snowing here in South Carolina. Snow makes people go crazy here, stocking up on supplies and refusing to leave the house once flurries start. I was totally unused to the fact it snows every year in Virginia and they actually lived with it. The first year I was in Virginia Beach, it snowed once heavier than I had ever seen before with my own eyes. I thought, oh, boy—law school will be closed tomorrow. Everyone looked at me like I was a nut. It did not matter there was ice everywhere, freezing rain, and wind sliced right through my bones. I had to go to class. Who did they think I was? A mailman?

I say that to tell you if the weather is bad, folks are not going to come out to vote. They especially will not come out for John McCain, since they do not especially like even if it is “his turn.” Mike Huckabee has been going all over the state claiming Jesus wants him to be president. We are the buckle in the Bible Belt, so some might brave a few snow flurries for Jesus. I am going to stick with my original prediction that Huckabee will win the state.

I am not as interested in the Democrats’ contest yet, but I suspect Barack Obama will win there because of union support.
WGA Divided Over DGA Contract

A little more time has passed since the DGA reached an agreement with the producers, but the WGA has not come out with any official take on the new contract. There have been positions posted on blogs and editorial letters both pro and con. No one in the WGa is claiming there is a big rift in the union over whether they ought to settle for similar terms. Both the pro and con sides are saying they do not have all the numbers to crunch and must take a wait and see attitude. Since the WGA and the producers are not talking anyway, that really is not much of a change.

All that said, there is some rumbling about former WGA president John Wells’ praise of the DGA contract. Some say Wells, as a former president, would know a good contract when he sees one. Others claim Wells was wearing his producer’s hat when he wrote that. Wells is between a rock and a hard place here.

Wells is a very successful writer and producer of many shows. He presided over the best years of ER and carried The West Wing for three years after Aaron Sorkin departed. Seriously, the three seasons of ER, spanning 1999-2002, were some of the best television ever produced. I think you can consider the time period between George Clooney leaving the show to Anthony Edwards’ Dr. greene dying to be an era. There is no doubt wells has creative juices. But Wells presided over a WGA that was criticized for being too passive. Many say he was the right guy at the right time even now, but some also claim he was more intone with his producer side at the expense of writer concerns.

I am not in the know enough to say it is a fair criticism. A successful writer wears a lot of hats in Hollywood and therefore has bigger concerns than just staring at a blank sheet of paper. One who is a writer only has little responsibility beyond staring at a blank sheet of paper and making it come alive. I would gather both the former and latter have a way of losing perspective. With that in mind, I suppose a WGA division over the DGA deal is expected. I think I shall remain pessimistic the WGA strike will end soon.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dr. Phil is Probably Off the Hook

Too bad, but probably true.

Dr. Phil did not charge for his consultation visit with Britney Spears when she was on 5150 hold, therefore it was not a professional visit. Dr. phil has taped a segment for his show to air on Monday explaining everything. His only regret is talking about the meeting with the press which gave the (correct) impression he was trying to lure her to his show.

Currently, Dr. Phil is unlicensed in any jurisdiction to practice therapy. It is possible the complaint will go forward if for nothing else than open the door to deciding whether his show is practicing psychology without a license. I would not hold my breath waiting, but I have to wonder if it is only a matter of time before some serious incident occurs with a guest on his show thatcannot be ignored.

Recall a Jenny Jones guest being murdered after an episode revealed a surprise gay crush? Or for that matter, the former Texas district attorney killed himself rather than be caught on Dateline "To Catch a Predator" segment? Both show were the target of huge lawsuits. i am waiting for Dr. Phil's turn.
Lindsay Lohan in a Tight Dress

Just because she looks good in it and there has not been much good associated with her in a while.