Wednesday, November 30, 2005

DCents Days and Nights

So, I've been a bad bad boy, not getting the information I get in emails out to the peeps fast enough lately. Mea maxima culpa, folks. I'm not as behind the times as some recent turnip truck jumpers who only discovered The Number One Songs in Heaven yesterday and haven't the slightest idea how to give their readers the correct link (ahh...what Kyle said...), but I've been all a-slack lately. That ends today.

First off, news from the friends in bands front. Come on out to DC9 on Sunday, December 11 to see Boxcar Collision play with my pals Supercade and the Paul Kamran Band. Another compadre, DJ P. Vo will be spinning between sets. It won't be much longer before the Kamran disc drops, so come for an advance look.

The Fatales have been busy lately, and new music appears to be on the way. Based upon what's available for preview, their moody midnightish sound continues to deepen. "Darkened Countries" begins with a propulsive, Neu!-ish groove that morphs, warms and brightens along the way, and "Stadtpark" comes over with a distinct Angelo Badalamenti vibe. Excellent, fine-tuned production as well--the songs sound hand-crafted, cared for--never overcooked.

I have to add my voice to a burgeoning chorus of praise for The Light Footwork. Based in Palo Alto but possessing ties due south of here in Fredericksburg, the Footwork bear a more than passing resemblance to Beulah, which is because--and I'm going out on a limb, here--members of Beulah provided copious collabs. But, after listening to their upcoming release, One State Two State, I think these guys swap out a lot of Beulah's coy cleverness in favor of a more frolicsome, in-your-lap delightfulness that I think are going to help these guys come across as a more personable band. Their record is released next Tuesday--watch for it.

Finally, we work back to the homefront to find Laura Burhenn and Q And Not U drummer John Davis collaborating on a fresh project. Dubbed Georgie James, Burhenn and Davis are cooking up some crafty pop songs; "Need Your Needs" feels like Dischord-gone-70's AM-Gold, while "Cheap Champagne" bounds along, certain of it's guest pass status in the Washington Social Club. If these two are as committed to ladling the stemcells of the bands they cite as influences over the basic spawn of their sensibilities, Georgie James has the potential to be one hell of a pairing for local rock aficianados.

MP3's
Paul Kamran, "Pure"
Paul Kamran, "Outlaw"
Paul Kamran, "Everything You Touch Will Turn To Gold"
The Fatales, "Leitmotif 1"
The Fatales, "Vanishing Act"
The Fatales, "Darkened Country"
The Fatales, "Stadtpark"
The Light Footwork, "Coastlines Are Landmines"
The Light Footwork, "Rapture Good, Rupture Bad"
The Light Footwork, "The Art of Everyday Conversation Part One" (via You Ain't No Picasso)


Streams and such
Boxcar Collision, MySpace
Supercade, MySpace
Georgie James, MySpace

BEARD OF AVON Extended--DCeiver discount available.

Because critics and audiences have been so fully and completely jizzing themselves over how awesome our first show of our sixth season is, Rorschach Theatre is extending the run of THE BEARD OF AVON by Amy Freed for a couple more weeks. Six shows are added for December 1, 2, 3, and 8, 9, 10. All are at 8pm, and the relevant where it is and how to get theres are available here and here.

The show is way awesome, but, you know, I am obviously pretty biased. So, to sweeten the deal and provide fairness and balance and shit, all you DCeiver readers out there get $3 off the ticket price, compliments of me and my fellow 'Schach peeps, bringing your cost down to $15--the price we offer our season subscribers. If you dig what you see, you can lock in that $15 rate for the rest of our season by subscribing yourself.

All you have to do to claim the discount is tell the box office staffer "DCeiver discount", or, alternatively, "Bloggy bloggety blog blog discount."

Please join us for the extension! You will not regret it.

If you have questions, feel free to send an email.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Conversations in real time.

(Wife of DCeiver is on the phone with a professional colleague. She breaks off momentarily."

"Honey?"

"Yes?"

"When you were a kid, did you read any books that basically said that it was okay to masturbate?"

(Pause)

"What?"

"Did you ever read or encounter a book when you were a kid that talked about how it was okay to masturbate?"

"Shit, sweetie. When I was a kid I didn't need a book to tell me it was okay to masturbate."

"Okay."

"Unless the book, you know, was titled, You're Right: That Was Awesome."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Pompatus of Lost: 2.08--I Shot a Man In Echo Park Just To Watch and See if the Closure Could Resolve My Deep Seated Need to Control Things.

Previously on Lost: Ana Lucia orders a tequila and tonic, and the fact that they led with that scene means that was a total shout out to me. The Desert Island Dicks pack up and move out of their decrepit bunker for a new life in neighboring Jackistan, but will Sawyer survive the trip without the syrupy balm of Kate's sexiness? Meanwhile, despite receiving pretty clear instructions from Wet Walt to sit there and shut her piehole, Shannon runs off into the woods yelling and ends up getting shot by Ana Lucia. Shannon dies and Sayid looks like he's about to drop all over her, Sadr City stizz.

We open in Flashbackistan. Ana Lucia is sharing an intimate moment with the one she loves the most--her gun. She tickles the gun's trigger and hot, squealing death penetrates the flimsy material of the paper targets she aims for, and she always appears to give head. If only Ana Lucia and The Gun could be together...but this is a strange, strangled world that just doesn't understand the love one woman can have for her gun. Nobody understands what they have together, and everybody seems to want Ana and The Gun to be apart. Don't they realize they were meant to be?

Ana is trying to at least provide an illusion of normalcy, she's working out her issues with what looks like a therapist. He asks her about her noisy neighbors, and she tells him that there's no more screaming baby. They talk about Danny, who sounds like an ex-boyfriend she had between guns. She just wants to hold a gun again, she says--after all, then she can take care of Danny and screaming babies on her own terms. Bottom line, she wants to work again, and so her therapist stands up, and if you haven't already figured it out, you learn she's a cop. Holy Ramparts Division.

Back in the real world, Sayid is staring at Ana Lucia with his death stare. He's had to wait a long time to react to the sight of his beloved Shannon getting shot in the gut, but his anger hasn't dampened in spite of the special Tailies episode he had to wait through to get to this moment. In fact, you could argue that waiting through the Tailes ep only fed his anger. Finally, Sayid goes off, but Eko (and yes, we'll start spelling his name correctly now) intercedes and defends Ana Lucia. They fight, and Ana Lucia manages to knock Sayid out. Ana looks completely gun crazy, and she orders the group to tie Sayid up. Everyone, including what's left of her Tailie contingent, is realizing that she's totally effing bananas as we wheels around, pointing the gun every which way, yelling about how she knows what she's doing.

We go back to Flashbackistan. Ana is at work for the po-po, giving her the access to firearms and defeminizing clothing that she's always needed to feel whole. Ana's immediate superior is also her mother--and I'm sure that doesn't generate any debilitating issues at all. Ana's mom is played by Rachel Ticotin with deliberate calmness and care so as to not leave the impression that all Hispanics are hot-headed, gun-toting bags of crazy emotion. Ana's mom wants her to handle some desk assignments as she gets back into the flow of street crime, both causing and solving it, but Ana aint playin' no who's the boss nonsense, and tells mommy that's she'll transfer to another unit that's more willing to give her a gun and a car, correctly surmising that there are plenty of other places in the L.A. Police Department that will happily let her stomp on some ass. Her mom relents, and Ana leaves to go eat some cake.

Back at the beach, everyone is acting perfectly content and at ease. These are the salad days in Jackistan--where men and women launder together, golf is played, children are raised and cursed numbers entered into a computer every 108 minutes. Like can switch from mass panic and concern for the marauding Others to breezy island happiness at a moments notice. And as long as no one murders Shannon or kidnaps Walt or bring psychotic Tailie people back to the beach, Jackistan will remain an idyllic island heaven forever. Forever.

Out in the woods somewhere. Sayid is tied up. The rest of the group look nervously around as Ana Lucia continues her mini reign of terror. Finally, Eko decides to get Sawyer to Jackistan so he c an get some help. Ana Lucia is pissed to see Eko leave and jeers that he's foolish to help Sawyer out. Joke's on her: now that Sawyer's been shown to be not the one whose dying, now is the best time to get in some character bonding as an investment in future screentime. Eko tells Ana that he's doing it for himself.

Flashbackistan. Ana is out on patrol. She's lucky enough to have as a partner one of the most experiences "That Guy" actors in Hollywood--doubly so considering that this That Guy almost always plays a cop. That means Ana will have top flight scene partnering from someone who's not out looking to prove he belongs playing leads. That Guy seems glad to have Ana back as a partner, and he offers to go and kick Danny's ass. Oh...That Guy...Danny is probably either already dead or lamming it like his life depends on it, which, with Ana Lucia as an ex, is almost certainly the case.

Ana Lucia mentions that they are in Westwood. After all, it's her first day back...shouldn't she be in Watts or something waist-deep in the shit, skulls cracking and cranial fluid spattering hither and yon at each descending swing of her nightstick? That Guy interjects that he didn't want to take on any real tough crime--but to his chagrin, a call comes out over the wires about a domestic disturbance three blocks away. Ana Lucia, though she and That Guy were not the officers requested at the scene, respond anyway.

The disturbance is a garden variety Southern California dirtbag yell fest, with two dipshit fighting over ownership of a television as one clings to a baby. Ana Lucia and That Guy cautiously approach, and That Guy officer friendlies some opening "What seems to be the matter here's." But it's too much for Ana Lucia: he's yelly, she's yelly, the TV's way too big, and the baby is gurgle-screaming like a bullfrog stuffed into a malfunctioning car alarm. Ana freaks out and pulls her gun and starts ordering people to drop this and do that. That Guy is totally freaking, because bitch be crazier than Martin Lawrence before Big Momma's House gave him the perspective he needed in life to avoid pulling out a gun every time he encountered seven or eight seconds of adversity.

Back in the woods, Ana is frenching the gun, rubbing it's metallic body across her skin. "Teacher...mother...secret lover..." she quietly coos to the gun. The Tailies are looking on at all this with a combination of bemusement and terror. None, however, look at all surprised that this is happening. Because at some point, the writers basically had to include a moment where Michael or Jin seemed useful for something, Michael gets up to give Sayid some water. Ana, naturally takes umbrage, but Mike refuses to back down. I guess this episode is all about slowly and purposefully reclaiming your balls from Ana Lucia. As Mike leans into Sayid's face, he has the chance to take a break and smoke a little Exposition--so he tells Sayid what's been going on. Sayid asks about Walt's whereabouts, and Mike tells him that "they" took him. Sayid freaks because he suspects he's caught Wet Walt Seeing Disease from Shannon.

Eko, bearing Sawyer, encounters Jack and Kate awkwardly failing to bone one another for the 300th time. They take Eko and Sawyer to the Hatch, where, as he sits there watching the countdown, Locke pauses over a crossword puzzle examining the clue that everyone will be Googling about this next week: "Enkidu's Friend." Answer: Gilgamesh. This is a total shout out to Randy Baker of Rorschach Theatre, by the way, who just won a grant that he'll use to finish his staged adaptation of Gilgamesh. So hot. Kate and Jack and Sawyer and Eko crash the hatch, headed for the shower. Locke, curious, investigates, but Jack is all: "Dude, go push the button."

Eko ponders the Dharma insignia as, from the other room, you hear the alarm beeps stop and the clock reset to 108. Locke enters to meet Eko, touching off what could end up being a vastly weird relationship.

Meanwhile, even as our beloved castaways are flying into action, healing Sawyer, pushing buttons, and experiencing the awesome sound of Charlie on guitar, the Tailies are still waiting around, having been conditioned to keep their thumbs up their ass until Ana Lucia says it's okay to sniff. Finally, Bernard complains that they aren't doing anything--complaining about not doing anything is at least ADVANCED not doing anything. Ana insists she has a plan, but Sayid chides her "All she has is a gun and her guilt." Ana summons Michael and starts in on a laundry list of things she wants from Jackistan. Libby correctly susses out that she means to gear up and head out into the jungle on her own. Wife of DCeiver is all: "Yes! Let the bitch go." Libby tells her she'll never survive alone. Ana melodramatizes, "I am already alone."

Flashbackistan. Ana Lucia and That Guy are back at the po-po house, and That Guy's still freaking out about Ana "drawing down" on the garden variety domestic fighters. It didn't help anyone's mellow. Just then, Ana gets the news about the guy who shot her in Echo Park--they've picked up a Jason McCormick and he's confessed to the crime. They just need Ana to come ID him. Ana looks through the one-way glass and tells her mom that she doesn't recognize the man because of all the anvils in the room. Mom's like: what are you talking about? Ana replies that with all the falling anvils in the room, it was hard to concentrate and make the identification. Ana's mom, getting frustrated, pleads, "But he confessed." "What did you say, Mom?" Ana shouts, "I can't hear you above all the loud loud anvils!"

Meanwhile, back at the Hatch, Locke and Eko continue to get to know one another. Locke asks what's been going on. Eko seems confused, and inquires as to whether Locke got to see the flashback episode. Locke's all: No, dude. I drew hatch duty during last week's Lost." Meanwhile, Jack and Kate are desperately trying to get Sawyer to swallow a much needed antibiotic. Jack's not having any luck, but Kate grabs the pill, and starts rubbing Sawyer's face, pulling him into an embrace of sorts, whilw sweetly whispering things in his ear. And, as you might infer, modern medical practice is no match for the sexiness. Sawyer swallows the pill. Shit, if Kate put her tongue in my ear I'd be willing to eat a shaved aluminum and live fire ant soft taco.

Back in the woods, Bernard and Libby are finally reaching the breaking point they should have reached a month ago. They want to leave. Libby confesses that she just thinks Ana is a poor judge of character--which is a pretty stupid thing to say seeing that Libby is a clinical psychologist who's business is to suss out character and she willingly went along with being led by an incompetent, violence-prone, crazy woman for over a month--this even after she decided the best thing to do in response to the Others' first attack was to make weapons but not stand guard. Ana finally sends them all away toward Jackistan, leaving herself alone with Sayid. I guess one upside to Ana Lucia is that as long as she's on Lost, there will always be a little bit of arrested development on TV.

Here is where a recording device error left a gap of indeterminate length in my Lost tape, truncating the episode and leaving me momentarily adrift. When it finally does return me to the narrative, Michael is down in the hatch and Eko is explaining that he can take Jack to see Ana Lucia. Deep in the recesses of Jack's mind, you can see him working over his memory banks until he arrives at the entry: "Cortez, Ana Lucia: flirty bitch who ordered that ghastly drink at the airport bar; am supposed to join her onboard for a drink...maybe plaqn to comfort a nice African-American woman instead." Jack agrees to go, after Eko cautions that they should not bring along any more guns, since Ana will just try to rub her cooter on them.

Coincidentally, back in the woods, Ana has launched into some heavy duty foreplay with her gun. Rightly aghast at the sight of a woman about to perform oral-anal on a firearm, Sayid tries to steer the mood to a more pleasant place: his years as a torturer for hire in the Iraqi Republican Guard. He's done a lot of bad things, he says, and wonders if maybe she's meant to kill him. Ana replies that she used to be a cop. She went out on assignment, chased some bad dudes into a house. She went around back and had a man in her sights. The guy told her she was making a mistake, that he was a student, letting him reach for his ID. Turns out the guy was doing his doctorate at Anvil State University, grabbed his own piece and plugged Ana four times.

So what happened to the guy, Sayid asks. Umm...duh. Ana Lucia totally stalks the guy she refused to ID, who the police stupidly allowed back on the streets despite having the confession of a guy who attempted to murder a cop--with our without Ana's ID, that seems to me to be more than enough to place him on remand, but whatever, JJ Plot Device Abrams. She stalks him and follows him out of a bar and tells him she was pregnant (thus explaining the baby issues) and basically empties her clip into his body. Her mom's going to be so disappointed, but don't fret--many years into the future, Ana Lucia's mom will provide Douglas Quaid with instrumental assistance as he tries to find out who he really is and what is actually happening on Mars in Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall.

Ana Lucia unties Sayid, drops her gun and her knife and basically gives him permission to kill her. Sayid says he won't because, after all, they're both "already dead." Looks like the Isla de Encanta just spawned its first Elliot Smith Fan Club, everyone.

And with that, producers give the order, "Deploy the montage!" We see Kate tending to Sawyer, to the delight of Skaters everywhere. Vincent tends to Michael, pleasing Rick Santorum. Charlie stops playing bad Oasis covers long enough to notice the returning Jin, along with Bernard and Libby. The castaways teem all over the returned Jin. Rose and Bernard see each other, and their reunion is super happy. Hey, Rose was right! Rock on, God! And Sun and Jin are back together. "Reuniting the sexiest couple on television," reminds Wife of DCeiver.

In fact, the only people not making out right now are Jack and Eko, who come upon the even more morose Sayid and Ana Lucia. In the final shot, Jack and Ana stand apart at extreme opposite edges of the frame, staring back at one another. You know, if I didn't know better, I'd say that the camera is trying to tell us something symbolic.

NEXT WEEK: You know it's Christmas season if JJ Abrams is wrapping me up a generous present of Kate, Kate, KATE! More Kate than you can shake your stick at as we finally, maybe, sorta, almost probably find out what it was that she done did.

The Pompatus of Lost...

...is coming soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cinerama

In The Mix, starring Usher, Chazz Palmentieri
Do you remember how great this story was when it was called The Big Sleep? Or how over-the-top hilarious it was when it was called The Big Lebowski? Boy I hope so, because those memories will be your only comfort if you decide, against all reason, to see the suck-ass version of the story defiling theatres this week.


Just Friends, starring Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris
What, exactly is to be done with Ryan Reynolds? It's clear that he possesses the sort of devil-may-care comic charisma that would have found him comfortably in the pocket of a movie like Animal House had he been born a few decades earlier. Do we just not make that sort of movie well, anymore, or has Reynolds waged some kind of Hollywood terror campaign that's pissed off anyone willing to use him for something not teetering on the cusp of straight-to-videoville? We may never know, but, hey--at least he's fucking Alanis Morrisette.

Rent, starring Jesse Martin, Idina Menzel
This is the true story of 8 people who live in or around an East Village squat who agree to have their lives changed by setting it to melodramatic MOR rock based on La Boheme. Find out what happens to the cast of Cats when they stop wearing furry costumes and start getting AIDS.

Yours, Mine and Ours, starring Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo
You may scoff, but I, for one, am afraid of the escalating displays of breeding and child-rearing going on in the movies. First Steve Martin drops his Cheaper by the Dozen, now Dennis Quaid officially dry-docks his career comeback with this movie, which expands the onscreen brood to eighteen. We all know where this ends, right? Focus features greenlights Help Me Please Stop My Implacable Semen Before They Explode My Wife's Uterus Like a Water Balloon starring Jimmy Fallon, Kate Hudson, and featuring Hector Elizondo as "The Thing From Within."

Syriana, with George Clooney, Matt Damon
What is the cost of oil? All I know is it only cost me $17.99 to siphon off all the backfat Clooney needed to lose when he finished this shoot. I have enough now to heat my house, to say nothing of the pleasure of grabbing my toy boats and jumping into a bathtub full of Clooney tallow to play Ocean's 12.

DCeptette: Fun with Dick and Tai Shan Version

  1. Every once in a while, it's fun to be reminded of how little it takes to turn the conservative blogosphere into a tinfoil-clad loonypoon orgy. CNN ought to start doing this kind of thing intentionally, because when it's so easy to fuck with people, might as well pop some corn and enjoy the view. (Utter Nutter)
  2. Here's one of those tips for living a long and happy life you ought to write down and keep with you: do not fuck with Allen Iverson's posse. They got cross at Eyebar and basically laid waste to everyone within pipe-swinging distance. Hoya saxa, bitches! (The Reliable Source)
  3. Oh, the sad and sorry tale of the Washington Nationals. It took DC's leaders until, like, yesterday, to notice the striations and ligature marks that have adorned their anal cavities from the first day they decided to give MLB carte blanche to their backsides. Oh, I do so hate to say I told you so--oh, wait...no I don't! Hee. But look, I'm in good holiday spirits, so I'm going to provide the solution to all this. First: build the stadium, but abandon all the fancy plans for it. Scrap the architectural marvel and think in bare, utilitarian terms. If you're gonna float a bond, keep the cost under the budget for once in your lives. For starters, we are talking about the mere Washington Nationals, here, so it's totally safe to take the seating figure you have in the plans and shave a nice clean 10,000 seats right off the top. Hey! That puppy will at least look like it's close to full when the nice people at home see the game on TV! Second--and this is most important--you folks who make decisions in the city made a crucial tactical error when you entered into this little dance with the MLB: you allowed yourself to be infected by the same sweaty, dry-heave inducing desperation of all those area baseball fans who can't live their lives without a baseball team in Washington. Going forward, you have to stop thinking of yourselves as good guys who want to make area baseball fans happy--instead, take a page from those that schooled you and adopt Major League Baseball's monopolist, predatory footing as your own. You may be left cramped and bowlegged by Bud Selig, but you've got probably 10,000 fans in the area that are just as scared they'll have no team to support today as they had last year. You have those people right where you want them--so exploit them. Let's start with the issue of the parking lot, just as an example. You ought to have a sizable parking lot, but make it city-owned and the prices to park in that lot should be marked up as high as you can get them. The ideal threshold is one dollar below the level that people just give up their season tickets. Force those that want to drive to the game to park in your lot--fifteen blocks out in every direction, enforce residential permit only on game days in the residential areas and two-hour parking in the commercial districts, busting scofflaws with full force--or take Metro. Since a great many people commuting to the game live outside the District, guess what? I just invented your commuter tax. For these baseball fans, having a team in the District has been a life or death thing--so from an economic standpoint, your position should be to keep them alive as expensively as possible. Get into this predatory mindset now, ladies and gentlemen, these opportunities do not come around that often. Once you start down the path, you'll come up with any number of great ideas to separate Nationals fans from their coin. Let yourselves go! (Washington Post)
  4. When it comes to proffering sexual favors for panda tickets, ladies, follow one simple rule: verify up front that you're gonna walk out of there with your Butterstick before you start churning his. (Wonkette)
  5. And you answer your question, Stretch, what else? "Common People" by Pulp. (Blogs t r e t c h)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Top Thirty (three) Bands In Canada

I [Heart] Music has picked up the torch and carried it over the border, presenting the collected poll of the Top Thirty Bands in Canada, which expanded to Thirty-Three because of a tie. Dipshit swine Jason Cherkis is probably pooping his diapers, bitching, "I call bullshit! Where are the Inuits?!" But it's worth a read to the larger population who DoKnowCulture or haven't got their head up their ass.

Naturally, the Patron Saints of Canadian Rock took home the top spot, but it's a thorough-going beaut from start to stop.

Now, we wait to see if our friends in the UK weigh in.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Six of One and a Half Dozen of the Other

SLAPS TO THE BACK

1. Conversations with spouse

"I have something to add to my love and hate list."

"What?"

"Leafblowers. I officially hate leafblowers."

"Really? Wow. Kyle will be really saddened to hear that."

"I'm not talking about Information Leafblowers! I'm talking about Leaf Leafblowers."

"Just so we're clear."

2. He has come from the future to help the Packers of the city of Green Bay.

Greetings. My name is Samkon Gado.

3. The President does something good.

I have to say, it was nice to hear Bush offer support for Taiwan. And in front of China, at that! Wow, George! It takes real guts to stand up to your boss like that! (And in that spirit, see #2, below.)

4. World Cup field is set.

So much buzz for Togo right now.

5. Gotta love the critical mistake the Republicans are making right now.

Heh, Karl Rove fucked up, y'all. The Bush minions are running to all available microphones to denounce the Democrats' alternate POV on and plan for Iraq. But they're forgetting something. They beat the Dems soundly in the past few election cycles precisely because the Dems allowed themselves to be nibbled to death by consultants--leaving them with a strategy in which they became known as a party that doesn't have any articulatable plans for anything...their platform: disliking George Bush. Back during the election, hating George Bush was only attractive to people that were never going to vote for him anyway--the reachable, persuadable middle just wasn't prone to Bushphobic hysterics. Now, however, the ground has shifted. Those fence sitters are starting to bail and waver. Do the Democrats have a plan for Iraq? Fuck if I know! But if the polls indicate that the public is souring on your idea, it's not the time to acknowledge the competitors. Everytime the Republicans diss the Democrats point of view, they're accomplishing nothing but letting the public know that another point of view exists. Looks like someone better write Don't Think of a Donkey!

6. UVA Mens Basketball

Look at it this way. This season will be as bad as it's ever likely to get again.


KICKS TO THE NUTS

1. From the annals of bad taste
That's an actual ad from the Monroe County Tourist Council. No class.

2. Jake Dobkin

Let me see if I have this right. On November 13, you publish a column about how you found the road to wellville by making a clean break from the dirty material world and moved into the ascetic high priesthood, urging others to follow your plan to find the harmonious and monastic state of inner peace and clean living. Hey, to me, it came off as self-serving and phony as a dildo, but what do I know--my bullshit detector may be too tightly wound. Still, four days later, when you decide to slop yourself in ego-suet and engage in a candy-ass public slapfest with Lindsay Robertson, I have to wonder--did that come from that place of Zen serenity you so bracingly described earlier in the week? Did your unemcumbered, simple sort of life leave a little bit of piss in your mouth? Kinda vinegary and resentful for the guy selling the Tao of Trustfund. Hmm. That's hollow, man.

3. The reporter with the worst beat in the world.

Is the one who had to chase down this breaking news story.

4. The side-effects of blogging.

Some people have adverse reactions within a few months of starting a blog. Take this young man, for example. I think you'll agree--his entree into the blogosphere did not end well.

5. So, you're saying that the Senate had access to the exact same intelligence on Iraq as the White House?

Yeah. Cram it. My friend Ari Fleischer says you're lying.

6. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Unless, of course, that small group of thoughtful, committed citizens are trying to save Arrested Development. In that case, that small group of thoughtful, committed citizens are more or less shit out of luck.

DCeptette: Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm shitfaced version.

  1. Before we get too deep into the NBA season, let me say this: Wizznutzz. The acme of sportsblogs. Bernie Besterstaff.
  2. Are DC residents ready for a serious discussion about a commuter tax? Maybe once all the whining Adams Morgan bitches shut the fuck up about their pathological need to identify by neighborhood the whereabouts of the people who leave puke on the streets. "What? I was told me that this mile long street of clubs and bars was built solely for the exclusive use of those within three blocks!" Uh, it's called, "move." (DCist)
  3. Come visit Butterstick before the pinkish cloud of Zyklon Gas envelops him forever! (Wonkette)
  4. Over at the US Botanical Garden, the titan arum is about to bloom. Also known as the "corpse flower", this piece of flora is "a giant stinky flower" that "smells like rotting flesh" when its delicate petals unfurl. Get there to see it before Robert Steinbuch arrives to put his cock in it. (Metroblogs)
  5. If this Craigslister thought twelve hours in Loudon County lockup was hell, he ought to try spending some time with the Loudon County Board of Supervisors. (Craigslist)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Pompatus of Lost: 2.07--Tails of the Shitty

"Welcome to Oceanic Air! How can I help you?"

"Hi. I'm just checking in. I have a question. I couldn't help but notice that I didn't get a seat assignment with my ticket."

"Oh, let me look Mr...DCeiver...yes. Well, we have just a few questions before we can give your seat assignment."

"Questions?"

"Yes."

"Like, frequent-flyer accounts, exit/bulkhead row sorts of things?"

"No. We at Oceanic seat out passengers according to some background questions that we ask all our passengers."

"Like what?"

"Well, for example, would you say you have an interesting back story?"

"Come again?"

"Back story. Your past. Would you say it's compelling?"

"I don't understand."

"Well, from your past, would you say you have any deep-seated worries or shames? Any profound sadnesses? Any incredibly melodramatic events?"

"Well, no. No. Not really."

"How's your relationship with your father?"

"My father? It's good."

"By 'good', do you mean tortured, resentful, estranged..."

"What? No! No."

"Okay."

"How is that good?"

"What?"

"Resentful? Estranged? That's not good."

"From a storytelling angle, it can be very good."

"Um. Okay."

"What brought you to Australia?"

"Vacation."

"And by vacation, are we talking, say...running a con, or stalking a murder victim, on the lam from Federal Marshals? Are you undercover in th war on terror?"

"What? No!"

"Tracking your drunk and desperate father?"

"What did I just tell you about my father?"

"Sorry, sir. Are you by any chance pregnant with a magical mystery baby."

"Okay. Look. This is retardulous."

"4. 8. 15. 16. 23. 42."

"Sigh. Is that my seat assignment?"

"Huh? Should it be?"

"What?"

"What?"

"What?"

"4. 8. 15.--"

"Yes! I heard you before! What are those numbers?"

"Do those numbers make you upset?"

"Are you fucking kidding me?"

"You seem upset?"

"I'm upset because I don't understand what you are talking about!"

"The numbers don't mean anything to you?"

"They have meaning to me only in that they appear to be the idiot sounds coming out of your idiot lips!"

"OK. So you're quick to anger?"

"--"

"And the numbers mean nothing to you."

"--"

"Hmm! Interesting! You're prone to just being silent for long periods."

"Look. I don't know what this is about. I just want my fucking seat assignment. Okay? Is that too fucking hard for you to grasp with your ignorant dipshit brain? Give me my seat assignment!"

"Sure thing, sir. 40G."

"That's like, back in the tail."

"Right."

"Okay."

"If you had a compelling personal narrative, we could move you into the center section."

"No. That's fine."

"Thank you for flying Oceanic."

"Suck it, hole."


So, this week, in place of your regularly scheduled Lost episode, we get a high-concept clip show about the Tailies and their tranformation into the Desert Island Dicks. We find out that their group suffered a tremendous hardship in inverse proportion to that hardship being interesting to watch. Their story could be summed up in a few sentences, but knowing me, I'll find a way to draw it out to some sort of stupid proportion. One thing these characters lack are those highly regarded jaunts to Flashbackistan. But, in that case, I will happily provide them.

Previouslies: There are none! Get it? Because we're starting at the beginning again! So. Edgy.

DAY ONE: Scene up on an empty beach, destined to remain un-Jackercized. Noise. Whatever could it be? More noise! You get the sinking suspicion that this placid beach scene is about to be interrupted! But by what? And moments later, the tail section of the plane crashes onto all the anvils that were placed below it to cushion the blow.

Chaos ensues. Everyone's screaming, drowning, dying, wailing. Ana Lucia is running around, saving people. So, she's the Jack from the bitchcake, tequila and tonic swilling bizarro universe of the tail section. Also, Echo is saving people. We see the teddy bear from a few episodes ago.

Later, Echo asks Cindy to watch the children. He's going to take on the task of retrieving all the dead bodies from the ocean. Ana Lucia's not so far gone yet that she insists the children help in order to toughen them up. Libby sets someone's leg fracture. Ana asks if she's a doctor.

FLASHBACKISTAN:

Libby is at medical school. It is the end of her first year. She is talking to a colleague.

Libby's colleague: I hear you are dropping out of medical school, after only a year.

Libby: Yes. I am going to be a clinical psychologist, instead.


"No. I'm a clinical psychologist," Libby says.

Meanwhile, some guy comes running out of the woods. He is totally evil. He yells that there is a man stuck in a tree back in the woods. "But, hey, I'm totally evil!" he says, adding, "My bone dry garments sure are comfortable. Evilly so."

Ana Lucia runs into the woods with Bone Dry, Totally Evil Guy. She sees Bernard stuck up a tree. Bernard is still strapped into his seat, a dead passenger strapped in next to him. The seat is perilously close to falling. Ana tells him to be calm. Bernard will not be calmed. Ana tells him to be calm again. Bernard tries. Ana tells him to unbuckle his seatbelt. Bernard does so, after a fashion. Ana tells him to grab a branch. Bernard says he can't, because he has to wait until seconds before the seat falls to grab the branch. "Someone has to stoke a little dramatic tension!" he yells. "Well what should I do, then?" Ana Lucia asks. "I don't know," Bernard says, "Just keep yelling at me to grab the branch, tell me how to do it...just fill a half-minute or so." Ana Lucia complies. Bernard grabs the tree branch. The seat falls. Ana yells up that she is coming up to get him. The cameras refrain from documenting this implausibility.

Out on the beach, Bone Dry Dude is trying to start a fire. He introduces himself as Goodwin. Hey! It's Goodwin. Remember what happened to Goodwin? Ana asks where he learned to start a fire.

FLASHBACKISTAN:

Goodwin is in Cameroon, serving in the Peace Corps. He and another Corps member that I am naming Ferdinand Rubella McIzzlehahhey are standing over a freshly built fire.

Ferdinand Rubella McIzzlehahhey: And that's how you start a fire. You think you can remember that, Goodwin.

Goodwin: Yes. Thank you, Ferdinand Rubella McIzzlehahhey. This was a very useful skill to learn.

Ferdinand Rubella McIzzlehahhey: Indeed. Just do me a favor.

Goodwin: What is it?

Ferdinand Rubella McIzzlehahhey: Don't use this skill...for evil.

Goodwin: Oh, I won't. I promise. Ha ha ha. MMWAA-HAA-HAA! BWWAA-HAA-HAA-HAA!!!

Ferdinand Rubella McIzzlehahhey: Okay, dude. Well, this is the Peace Corps, so I better tend to our main Peace Corps duty--getting unfathomably fucked up smoking local weed.


"I learned it in the Peace Corps," Goodwin says...evilly.

Bernard is talking to Echo, after sussing out that he was the person who gathered the dead from the ocean. He asks if he pulled any African-Americans out of the water. His wife is African-American, you see, and you know what they say about the relative buoyancy of different races and all. Echo tells him that he didn't pull any African-Americans out of the water, and that racial stereotyping isn't cool.

Everyone goes to sleep. That night, the Tailies awake to the sounds of struggle. Ambling, aimless running around ensues. They discover Echo in the woods, covered in blood, squatting over two dead figures. I swear to God, this is shot to make it look like Echo was eating these people.

But, of course, we as the viewer suspect this is bullshit, and the suspense only lasts for a commercial break. We return and it's Day 2. The Tailies have sussed out what happened. Other islanders came, took away three castaways, tried to grab Echo, didn't realize that Echo was played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and got their asses handed to them. Ana wants to get the hell off the beach, but others counter with yadda-yadda signal fire poopshoot McCakersons. Echo decides that it's time to start fashioning a weapon, and figures, what the hell, I'm traumatized, maybe I wont speak for forty days.

Day 3. Dude's leg infection has gotten worse. Ana's all, "Whatevs." Already, she's become BitchQueen VanUnfeelerson. This bodes well.

Day 5. Dude is dead.

Day 7. The Tailies play a rousing game of chase the chicken. Goodwin catches said chicken--more of those mad skillz you learn in the Peace Corps. Goodwin breaks the chicken's neck--did you notice how fucking evil he was when he did it? Because it was evil. Echo is still working on his spear. Does he want some chicken?

FLASHBACKISTAN:

Echo is walking with his friend, Vercengetorix, at a mall.

Vercengetorix: Hey, Echo. You hungry?

Echo: Yes.

Vercengetorix: Wanna stop by Mr. Clucks?

Echo: No. I am allergic to chicken.


No, he doesn't.

Day 12. Everyone's fashioning weapons. Ana Lucia looks like she's making a deadly-ass field hockey stick. Figures. All the field hockey players I ever knew were cold, unfeeling types without a trace of human empathy. This dude named Nathan comes out of the woods. Ana asks him where's he's been for two hours, to which Nathan replies he's been using the bathroom. For two hours?--Ana wonders aloud. Well, they are malnourished, traumatized and stranded in the tropics--it's entirely plausible that the guy is so sick with tummy badness that each dump is like shitting out two hours worth of liquid fire. But anyway, the Tailies have a Bathroom Buddy System, and Nathan didn't follow it. And so, Ana Lucia qualifies for the finals of the Olympic Jump To Conclusions with a new world record--but who can blame her, most Lost fans probably gave a little brain time thinking "Nathan=Ethan?!?"

That night, the Others come back and make off with nine other people, including the children. Jeez-o-flips. Maybe post a fucking guard, Tailies? I don't know--maybe you thought those weapons you were making would, like, spring to life and float around hitting people--but it seems to me like it's not much of a stretch to consider having guard duty, seeing as you already suspect Nathan of treachery and live in the company of a guy who killed two of them with his bare hands.

The attack causes the Tailies to descend into another one of their patented chaotic arguments. Echo's not talking is an issue. Nathan's epic two-hour shit is an issue. The fact that Goodwin suggested they stay on the beach is an issue. They finally decide to decamp and seek a safer shelter.

Day 15. The Tailies are three days into one of what will become known as the Ana Lucia Death March series. Believe it or not, I once was forced to attend a Summer Day Camp that was like three times as worse as what the Tailies are going through. So, from The DCeiver to the Reston Homeowner's Association--bite my ass, suburban dickweeds. The Tailies come to a river, and Nathan basically throws a little crybaby bitch fest, refusing to go any further. So they stop and make a camp.

Day 17. Ana Lucia is digging a hole. Libby tells her that she's become creeped out by Nathan. She's one intuitive psychologist, isn't she? Ana growls that that's why she's digging the hole.

Day 19. While setting a rabbit trap, Ana Lucia tosses Nathan down her hole, and a million Camille Paglia acolytes begin considering this vagina metaphor. The Tailies break out into argument. Ana says she doesn't remember Nathan being on the plane. Cindy backs her up on that. Others wonder how she could have possibly memorized everyone's face. Jesus. Left to their own devices, these turds are stupid enough to come up with Intelligent Design on their own. Ana is determined to break Nathan, but all he tells her is that he's from Canada. This serves as a painful reminder that Evangeline Lilly is, also, from Canada.

Day 23. Ana's into Day 4 of her awesome plan to break Nathan by keeping him in a hole. Nathan's over it, pulling an Echo. Ana sees something behind him, and throws rocks at him so he'll move. Turns out it's some fruit. So someone's been feeding him. There's absolutely nothing funny to say about any of this.

FLASHBACKISTAN:

Nathan is down in the hole, with the DCeiver.

Nathan: God. I wish that they had put Evangeline Lilly down here with me.

DCeiver: You're telling me!


That night, Goodwin comes and helps Nathan out of the hole. He tells Nathan that he's worried, and that he's got to get away for his own safety. Goodwin's packed a little jungle etui filled with foodstuffs. Nathan looks relieved, and starts to head out. And Goodwin snaps his neck.

So bored, now. The Tailies awake and get freshly a-freaked by the dead Nathan. So they head off again, in search of a shelter. Which brings us to Day 27--and it's starting to feel like it's actually been 27 days. But, finally, the Tailies come to their version of the Hatch, which is actually the Bunker, all marked up with Dharma symbols and the same Quarantine sign on the door. It's nothing like the Hatch, all fashioned up to be Desmond's bachelor pad, where a motherfucker can take a shower and eat an Apollo Bar or make a smoothie while grooving to Quadrophenia in relative comfort. No. The Bunker is definitely the short straw as far as Dharma Initiative assignments go. It's more like the Greg Initiative. Whoever holed up here got to rot away in the dank, playing with somebody's glass eye and reading a mouldering Bible.

But one of the things they find is a radio, so, unless this is one of your first Lost episodes or you are a complete moron, you've already flashed ahead to Boone up in the Spirit of Saint Smack radioing out his message and getting "We are the survivors of Flight 815" as a response, mere seconds before he plunged to his plane crash death--total shout-out to Final Destination steez.

Well, the Tailies want to use the radio, but Goodwin evils that they'll need to get to higher ground. He offers to go, but Ana Lucia counters by saying she'll go along with him. What follows is a bunch of awkward scenes between people who are going to get into a fight to the death but must engage in the battle of half-wits first. The outcome isn't so much telegraphed as it is dumped over the viewer like a bucket of Gatorade. One interesting thing happens, though. Ana Lucia gets Goodwin to confess that the remaining Tailies weren't kidnapped because they weren't "good people." So, Lost fans who have come to believe the island is purgatory or the Instant Karma Coffeehouse or something have fresh meat to chew on.

Ana and Goodwin fight, and Goodwin ends up getting impaled on Ana Lucia's long spear--causing the aforementioned Camille Paglia acolytes to start frantically revising their thoughts on the gender/sexual dialectic being offered. She returns alone to camp and, when asked about Goodwin's whereabouts, simply says: "We're safe now."

It seems to come across as "Crazy ass Ana Lucia offed someone else in a paranoid frenzy." So when, in the last episode, she admonished the cross-island trekkies to "Remember Goodwin", is she saying, "Remember that I will kill any of you at any time I feel like it?" I mean, if she disclosed that she surmised that Goodwin was an infiltrator and got a confession from him, why would she tell them, "Remember Goodwin"? I'm at a a title of this show, I'm afraid.

Day 41 finally, mercifully, comes, and along with it, the moment we knew was coming from the moment the radio was discovered. Hearing someone else out there speaking of Flight 815 momentarily gets the Tailies excited. But Ana Lucia steps in, turns the radio off, and then proceeds to launch into a premise for her actions that's so stupid that you have to wonder just how cowed and retarded the Tailies are. She tells the Tailies that the voice she heard was nothing more than the Others trying to "draw them out." What the fuck? Huh? The only living people that know the Tailies have found a radio are the Tailies themselves? So Ana Lucia thinks that the Others plan to get them is to use a radio transmission to contact people who, for all they know, don't have a radio, and hope to get lucky with their quarry turning the radio on at just the right moment? This line of thinking is just signifcantly stupid.

FLASHBACKISTAN:

Ana Lucia is seating in a bar, sipping on a tequila and tonic. Wife of DCeiver walks in.

Wife of DCeiver: Excuse me. Are you Ana Lucia?

Ana Lucia: Yes.

Wife of DCeiver: Hi. You're a bitch and a moron and you drink the stupidest cocktails.

Ana Lucia: Hey! I write for the GogBlog!

Wife of DCeiver: Well, duh, you fucking ass.


Ana huffs that it's high time everyone gets used to their existence. "This is our life now! Get used to it! We're not some other group of castaways, led in part by a capable leader type who's a medical doctor, alternating with some kind of strange guru figure who's singularly inspired by the island to help us find ways to challenge ourselves and make sense of our lives. We don't live with people who work together to save one another or build golf courses or play guitar or are good with electronics or are capable of intimacy! Our lives are not filled with fascinating moments where we realize important truths about ourselves and our pasts, and we aren't living a story that can be told in such a way that it evokes mystery or wonder or elemental weirdness. Look at yourselves! No one's gathered around watercoolers wondering about us! No one's going to the Wikipedia to learn about the symbology of this stick here, or this leaf, or these pants I'm wearing! We're fucking miserable, and we're fucking boring."

Ana runs off, to sit and cry. Echo approaches her and tells her that it's going to be okay, presumably because everybody's SAG dues have been paid for the 2005-06 fiscal year. Ana says something to the effect of "After forty days, now you're talking." Echo points out in turn that it took her forty days to cry. So that's what this episode is about: Lent. I gave up eating pecans for Lent last year, and my life was a non-stop, Amy Poehler-induced full body orgasm compared to this episode.

So, what is the "extended" ending? Basically, a clip show of everything we've already seen this season! The Rainbow PUSH Oceanaire Club and Rafting Society Unlimited wash ashore, get caught, get tossed in the hold, get betrayed, get disarmed, get released, get taken to the Bunker, and are dragged across the island for Shannon's date with a bullet. So stupid. So worst. For this I miss the Law And Order teaser? Their lucky Jerry Orbach is dead and can't make one of his patented wisecracks.

FLASHBACKISTAN:

JJ Abrams is meeting with an ABC Executive.

Abrams: Who greenlit this? This was shit.

ABC Executive: The extra footage really helped us in the Nielsons.

Abrams: Yeah, by pure bullshit!

ABC Executive: Oh, this from the guy who couldn't make up his mind what Alias was going to be about! How many times did you make us start that show over! We need a gimmick for November sweeps, then we're taking one.

Abrams: Hey. I'm not above gimmicks. I killed Maggie Fucking Grace, okay! I'm just concerned that people are going to say this was the worst episode ever!

ABC Executive: Don't go all crybaby on me. We'll find someone to polish this turd.


No you won't.

The Top Forty Bands In America--If we had been able to include Canada.

Then:

  • The New Pornographers
  • Arcade Fire, and quite possibly
  • Stars

...would have been on the list.

And I'd be saying something like: "Wolf Parade? All that work, for so little results."

The Top Forty Bands In America--Reactions and my typical ill-informed opinions.

In the first place, let me say that it was a real privilege to be on this panel. I basically come in as the ILB's "Complete Nobody in the World of Music Blogging", so it was a treat for me to run with some of these big dogs for a day. That panel: Gorilla Vs. Bear, Largehearted Boy, Music for Robots, 5500, My Old Kentucky Blog, Catbirdseat, Central Village, Bradley's Almanac, Chromewaves, Byron Crawford, Catherine's Pita, Tuning Fork, Jason and Rajeev from One Louder, Brooklyn Vegan, Soviet Panda, Melody Nelson, Seeking Irony, Coolfer and Information Leafblower. Their awesome blogging, and copious knowledge, should be respected fully, even in spite of the fact that I am so devastatingly right about these things.

So, Sufjan Stevens wins this. He was part of my logjam. Gave him a lot of due consideration. I figured him to be on the list, but at #1? Not sure I buy that. It seems to me that that ubiquity within the blog community has a lot to do with this high ranking. He did, what--37 straight days in NYC or something? The Knicks'll do 42, but I don't think we should call off the NBA season and hand them the trophy, do you?

That said, the honor is accorded to a great guy and a real talent. The world should have taken notice of Stevens this year. Illinoise really kicked him to a new level. And, maybe, I just felt a lot more amenable to him. Illinoise impressed me--the songs made me take notice right away. First I noticed the craft. Then, I listened...I got fascinated, I got caught up not just in the stories, but the unique, loving way each song was just cradled in good music. Talent, deft touches, commitment. Suddenly I'm thinking this 50 States thing isn't a lark. Suddenly it's something I want to see him finish. The record just gives the listener a lot to glory in--it's generous, it's expansive. In the end, though, I think Stevens has a few mindblowers down the road to eclipse even this--so where does he go from the top spot? A little premature, but, know what--I like it just fine.

The National at #2? I really must have missed a dose of Kool-Aid.

Very glad The Hold Steady came in at 6, thus passing my one litmus test for the value of this entire enterprise. Green Day, frankly, belongs higher. And the only real argument against them simply being thought of as the single most important band the United States has--by a wide margin--is just personal proclivities and typical indier-than-thou, gotta-get-obscure-to-be-cool attitude. One commenter begs to consider Ted Leo alongside Green Day? I do not wish to impugn Mr. Leo--I'm a big fan, but let's go to the tape: Ted Leo's last record (2004's Shake the Sheets) was not as good as Hearts of Oak. He's talked this year of hanging it up, and his artistic high point of 2005 was covering Kelly Clarkson. Green Day:Ted Leo::Bloomberg:Ferrer. You come with "Ted Leo is the equal of Green Day" as your main topic of discussion, I can't even talk to you--that's not a conversation serious adults engage in, end of story.

The Decemberists, I must admit, I didn't give due consideration to, and I feel now that if I had, they almost certainly would have been part of my logjam, at the very least. Fiery Furnaces, though? Nuh-uh. Even as good as they can be, we are talking niche participant here. And what can I say about Animal Collective that I haven't already said--the winner of my Y'all Are Totally Kidding Yourself Award for the first half of the aughts. Grating, unlistenable, cutesy-pie dreck. Suckness.

I penalized Ryan Adams because, God, someone should. Jacksonville City Nights is so superior an album, it just exposes wholesale what a meandering record Cold Roses was. Similarly, Bright Eyes' Digital Ash in a Digital Urn is a fantastic album--fraught with 21st century worry, hunky electronic noise, and postmodern concern. But I'm Wide Awake It's Morning is just so...safe. Points off. American Analog Set's latest album is the worst of their career--so damn lazy that it's tragic; 2005's soundtrack to going through the motions. The Juan McLean is just way too slight an offering to accord it that much merit--I'm frankly stunned to see it on the list.

I think it's clear that in many ways, I held back on naming some bands that I've really enjoyed because I just don't think the world at large has accorded them enough of that "heat" to really, honestly consider them to be one of the really great bands walking around. A lot of the other panelists didn't have this hang up: witness We Are Scientists. I got the record and I really fancy it--but I think they're more in line for, like, Best Week Ever than a place at the big kids table.

BANDS I DIG IN 2005 THAT I JUST DON'T THINK YET HAVE THE JUICE:

  • De Novo Dahl--LOVE this band. Love their songs. Love their attitude. Love the fiery creative spirit I sense going on. The first time I listened to Cats and Kittens, I really got sucked in. Over the course of a double album, their songs range from broadly accessible to deeply weird. Real Sparklehorsey quality. Here's what's great about each of their songs--no matter what they are doing, they unfailingly have something interesting going on. You sense that these guys committed themselves to making sure there was always something in play that just reached out and grabbed the listener by the lapels. Great record.
  • Robbers on High Street: Knotty, romantic, hooky and hellacious. Tight rave-ups with some gorgeous pastorals thrown in. Really these guys are just getting started, though. And you can't, of course, rate them higher than Spoon--their singular influence.
  • We Versus The Shark: Math rock can, in fact, be a lot of loopy fun. In the bizarro universe, these guys are Franz Ferdinand.
  • John Vanderslice and Okkervil River: Made the list anyway, so good for them.
  • Martha Wainwright: Fantastic record--another Wainwright demonstrated unequivocal genetic talent in abundance, yet takes it somewhere else entirely.
  • Archer Prewitt: Doesn't feel right to take one of The Sea and Cake's parts and hold him aloft as one of the great bands in America, I guess. But Wilderness is just a fantastic album, painterly beauty and quietly passionate.
MY PERSONAL LOGJAM--THE RECORDS THAT ALMOST MADE MY LIST:

  • Brendan Benson: SHAME ON US for not getting Benson on the list. The panel's most glaring mistake. Benson's a tunesmith of the highest order, vital and versatile.
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Kelly Clarkson: Oh, I gave it a good, long thought. "Since U Been Gone" is the single of the year, hands down. Resonated in all corners of the music universe, and did so loudly. I'm especially partial to the Frank Black mash-up. Not just the song though--Clarkson's making the most cynical industry haters suspect that she might actually be interesting.
  • LCD Soundsystem
  • Foo Fighters: The new record is not the new Led Zeppelin IV or whatever shit Grohl said it was going to be. He went out on a long limb and the buzz suffered. Lately, though, the Foos have been getting it on, and, let's face it--they are a HUGE band with a rabid following who play high-octane live shows.
  • Queens of the Stone Age: Perversely, I suppose, I think their new one is their best one.
  • Antony and the Johnsons: Are we allowed to consider him "American"? I guess we are. The Mercury blurred it too much for me, but he's got one of my favorite records out this year--just raw, uncompromising stuff.
DIDN'T MAKE THE LIST, THANK GOD:

  • The White Stripes: We can pat ourselves on the back for not putting them on. Absolutely right. Face it: they coasted and that's the goddamn truth. Get Behind Me Satan is phoned-in and extremely uneven. In 2005, these guys were the David Boston/Peerless Price of rock.
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: People will cry and complain that this is backlash, but come on. At their best, they aren't even close to being one of the nation's best 40 bands. I believe they could be, at some point in the future. The potential is there. But let's not shit ourselves. Their self-titled debut, when you take off the introduction and the brief instrumental filler, is basically an EP. An EP of songs these guys haven't learned to play live yet. Back off and wait.
  • Weezer: Damn straight. I feel like these guys are just taking advantage of me at this point.
  • Nada Surf: We're all behind these guys, but I'm afraid wishing doesn't make it so.
  • Say Hi to Your Plot to Blow Up CocoRosie At the Disco, Doveman*: Hype was duly penetrated.
  • Kevin Federline: Hey, as K-Fed himself said, we weren't ready. The panel actually all met a week before we submitted our lists to ILB to discuss whether we were ready. The consensus was: was we were not ready. Well, Largehearted Boy said he felt like he was almost ready, like, maybe if he got a lot of sleep and ate a balanced breakfast he could be ready. But in the end we were like, "No, let's just agree that we aren't yet ready." As Federline suggests, we basically agree that in all likelihood we will hate him until 2008, at which time the entire nation might well be held hostage to his rapacious, implacable sperm.
More fights and discussions to come, I'm sure. Leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Top Forty Bands In America--Results

This week, I was invited by the Information Leafblower to participate in a poll about the best bands in America. I could go on and on about how my criteria worked, but it would bore you, and anyway, everyone probably brought their own nuances. The Blower himself punished two bands for simply not playing a live date in DC. Harsh? Maybe. The little things make a big difference. But the little things are also boring to talk about.

For starters, go and see the list our collective blog-consciousness came up with, if only to privately register your shock, satisfaction, or disappointment.

Seen it? Good. Bet you didn't see that coming.

First off, I want to share my list with everyone. I was asked to provide comments. Those original comments are included. I've put some annotations in there between brackets [like this] that are fresh opinion, post-reveal. Just didn't want you to get my original thoughts confused with my thoughts since then. (And, not to worry, I still totally stand by my picks. Yeah, I love the other bloggers on the list, I visit most of those blogs regularly and respect their work, and they've all done this for a lot longer than me and have amassed great acclaim. So, I'm sure they'll take it in stride and with good humor when I simply say that, of course, and as usual, I am totally right and they have no fucking clue what they're talking about. That's how these things are supposed to work, after all.)

1. Green Day

Green Day may have some haters, but there can be no doubters. These guys are the most important American rock band as of this moment, and if you beg to differ--well, you're wrong. Hell, in the wide world, only U2 can plausibly claim to be a bigger band. Not bad for a trio of three-chord strummers from the Gilman Street scene. Considering most of America started listening to Green Day around the same time Kurt Cobain was taking the cheap way out--their ascendance means a lot to the kids who stuck with them, who needed rock heroes with talent and brains to stay in the world with them. Now, a year removed from the release of American Idiot, these guys are still embedding themselves in our cultural consciousness. But more importantly, they've branded themselves as a beacon of integrity.

[Let's get serious. We all know this to be true. The truth is, Green Day's last video is bigger and hotter and more important than everyone else on the list combined. Green Day is a brand-name band. They are EF Hutton--when they speak, motherfuckers listen, and the lion's share of motherfuckers paying heed to Green Day couldn't discern Sufjan Stevens from Shadoe Stevens. American Idiot took over the world because it wasn't just some snotty power chord polemic (Bush sucks ass! Bush sucks ass!), it was a deep and entrancing look at the State of the Union, of the life we lead today. It's closer to Plato's Republic than an Op Ivy CD. Also: "We Are The Champions" at Live 8--single greatest moment in rock in the year 2005. ]

2. The Hold Steady

I am absolute in my confidence that the collective blog-consciousness assembled here will put The Hold Steady into the top-ten. If we fail to do so, then we belong on the shitheap, pure and simple. The Hold Steady rammed an adrenaline shot into the heart of rock and roll with an absolutely peerless album in 2005. That album, Separation Sunday is the anti-Weezer. It is, for emo, an extinction-level event. It returns the glories of rock to the corner-bar boozers, the Chilton-heads, the Springsteen acolytes, and people who prefer their music to take precedence over trendoids and fashion icons. And some thought they didn't make music like this anymore.

[They had to make the list. They HAD to make the list. On Mars, they have to make whatever list the Martians are devising.]

3. Death Cab For Cutie

No, the new record wasn't all it could have been, but it hardly matters. Death Cab took a huge step forward with Transatlanticism, and if their momentum seems slower on Plans, these guys are making the necessary progress on the road. These guys are determined to be an important band, and they're going door-to-door gathering followers and playing some peerless, beautiful music.

[Charles Aaron wrote a longish article in SPIN two issues ago that's basically worthless to anyone who didn't read the book he fucking totally cribbed from, Our Band Could Be Your Life, until he gets to the end and juxtaposes Elliot Smith and Death Cab to ask, basically, "Why Death Cab?" Now THAT'S a good question. Ben Gibbard, after all, sings about following someone into the dark--Elliot Smith ended up leading the way (or not, depending what story you believe). At first, I thought, Aaron's right--Gibbard's never going out like that, I mean, look at the guy! Scrubbed, clean, approachable. He's got a bright future in sales if this music thing doesn't work out. Then I went to see them play that song, and it hit me: I'd been giving that tune short shrift. It's not suicide handbook. Not death loving or death wishing at all. At all. It's a song about a guy who is trying to comfort someone. Trying to tell someone that's dying that their life has been worthwhile, it's had meaning. That's the answer to Why Death Cab. They take on the big tasks--here's how you learn to love someone, here's how you learn to never abandon the people you care about, this is what words you use when all you have is words. That's tough stuff--and they don't make it look easy. And they relive that essential challenge onstage every night. Shit: Death Cab For Cutie is a courageous fucking band, when you think about it.]

4. Sleater-Kinney

What do nice girls do after getting every major rock critic in the world to spend a decade jizzing their pants over you? How about start all over again? Sleater-Kinney gutsily fuck with their formula, reconfiguring their high-energy punk formula into category five cock-rock skronk and end up making a statement that's just as powerful as when they first came on the scene. Mad props for not coasting.

[Wish I had seen them live this year. My wife says I would have jizzed all over the 930 club.]

5. Kanye West

West's already reinvigorated hip-hop by tirelessly looking for new sounds, sources and ideas to throw into his tracks. The results on record make him a titan in the music world. But the proof of his heat is self-evident when you consider the fact that he went on live TV to excoriate the President and nobody even attempted to knock him off the block. Kanye came out more beloved than ever, appearances and sponsorships intact. Dan Rather wishes he were that untouchable.

[Word.]

6. Spoon

These guys just deserve to be thought of as an American classic. So smart, so eminently listenable. Britt Daniel's wit seems to flow outward into the music, where lyrical turns of phrase are matched by equally satisfying musical ones. Gimme Fiction is a record that manages to trade on the past brilliance of records like Girls Can Tell while at the same time being something else entirely--a funky, jet-black record that might be the sexiest thing you'll listen to all year.

[And yet, from time to time, I have the hardest time convincing people to listen to these cats. There's something about them that turns people off while simultaneously turning people on. Can't put my finger on it.]

7. Kings of Leon

Calling these guys the "Southern Strokes" was probably meant to be complimentary but feels more like a write-off, especially after the release of Aha Shake Heartbreak, which finds the band in expert control of some elemental rock power. They match revelry with regret, power with vulnerability--you get the feeling that the world is open to these guys.

[Look. You gotta give Aha Shake Heartbreak a try!]

8. Wilco

Kicking Television is going to refresh a lot of the attention Wilco's garnered for their last two records--both bold, risk-taking ventures that stood out amid a world of neo-retro play-it-safers. Despite the space between the release of A Ghost Is Born and today, Wilco remains on this list because of the kids out there forming bands who are still working on getting their head around what Tweedy and his gang have wrought. We'll be feeling it five years from now, when the bands that fed their game with Wilco are at the forefront of the next great American rock movement.

[If we consider only the rubric "What should a rock band sound like?" Wilco is the only band America has that's been willing to match Radiohead's ambition--and I think Wilco can carry things a lot farther than Radiohead can. One thing's for sure--in the battle between Tweedy and Farrar, Tweedy wins. Which isn't to say I don't love Jay--but you can sense Jay has tried to be as reaching as Wilco in some later albums, and he's ended up looking embarrassing.]

9. The Mountain Goats

With all the free-floating anxiety in the world, fucking nice normal people up, it's important to have someone out there laying himself bare about fears and joys, past and present, as if to jump down in the whole with the rest of us and offer up an escape route, Leo McGarry-steez. John Darnielle transforms household objects into talismans and spins gold out of stolen moments, showing his scars and in a plain-spoken way, soothing the jangled nerves of his listeners.

[Darnielle finally closed the deal with me this year, and how could he fail with Sunset Tree? His songwriting is fantastic--sketches of life that snap with holodeck color and brilliance.]

10. The Pixies

Boomed back into prominence with a reunion tour that had their old-guard uniting with a younger generation of rock fans, all cheering as one. Right now, the Pixies have a grip on an insane amount of recharged potential energy--it's like they?re holding a backpack full of lightning bolts. Do they go back out preaching the old gospel? Do they head back into the studio to write a new one? Some might say that the hottest thing in the world is that, ultimately, they may just decide to walk away. They've made their case, after all.

[Admittedly, the Pixies were an outside-the-box stopgap to provide a quick and dirty way to cut through a logjam, Gordian Knot-steez. They were the only one of my ten picks that didn't make the final list. But it's not such a joke as you might think. These guys could, right now, start over at square one--and do so without the dues-paying or the growing pains. That's an amazing opportunity they've been afforded! And they come back with fans' blessings--we're not talking about the Rolling Stones coming around again milking it. That's pretty damn hot.]

I'll give some reaction to the final list of forty later on. Plus I'll let you know about the bands I wrestled with, the bands I wish were hot enough to be considered, the bands I'm glad didn't make it, and why. I'll be basing my reasoning on the three golden rules: 1) I'm right, 2) they're wrong, and 3) suck it. Suck it hard.

[Picture of Corin Tucker by A Nameless Yeast]

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Pompatus of Lost: 2.06--Death By Misadventure

Previously on Lost: Boone uncovered a troubling cache of smack, then plummeted to his death. The Rainbow PUSH Oceanaire Club and Rafting Society Unlimited and the Desert Island Dicks on a grim march to the other side of the island. Ana Lucia=total bitchcakes. So it's no wonder that Jin and Adebisi, who I'll now happily start referring to as Echo, leave her to risk their lives searching for Michael amid the sexy, deadly shins of The Others.

So. Someone's going to die tonight. In preparing a prediction, I decided to think outside the box. I figure that Lost, at best, could run for about five years, tops, before terminal suckitude crept in and the show jumped a Dharma Initiative tattooed shark. But these characters are people we could all potentially enjoy for many years afterward. So, I started to put together a pitch for ABC called Afterlost. I figure it's a short form sitcom--some of the Losties move to St. Louis to live, they open a bar called The Hatch or some shit, and basically get on with their life after the crash in hilarious high dudgeon. Here's one of the scenes I have written. Don't steal it.

SAWYER: Remember that time Sayid tortured me, but it turned out I didn't have the asthma inhalers?

HURLEY: Uh. Yeah, dude. That was messed up.

SAWYER: It was so Sayid, you know! Ha! Ha ha! But, you know what? It really makes you think.

HURLEY: Yeah.

SAWYER: Yeah. [pause] I mean...really think.

HURLEY: Yeah.

SAWYER: Yeah.

HURLEY: Well, look. I've got to run into the kitchen and type the cursed numbers on the microwave or it'll explode. And you know what that means for us.

SAWYER: No Triscuit nachos.

HURLEY: Right. No Triscuit nachos.

SAWYER: Right. [pause] Hey, wait. Remember that time I totally kissed Kate?

HURLEY: Yeah.

SAWYER: So awesome.

HURLEY: Sure.

SAWYER: But it really. Made. You. Think.

HURLEY: Yeah.

SAWYER: Yeah.

HURLEY: Seriously, dude, the microwave.


As you can see, I clearly believe that Hurley and Sawyer are going to survive the island. So that's how I approached guessing who was likely to die. I took anyone I imagined would not make a good regular on Afterlost, and they became the likely dead characters. Then, I eliminated the actors who are likely to never appear on Afterlost because they'll be moving on to bigger or better things, like Matthew Fox--who'll be a bigger star after the series is done--and Evangeline Lilly--who'll hopefully be working mainly out of my pants. I eliminated the Desert Island Dicks, because that would suck. I briefly considered that Michael Vartan would be dropped to his death on the island from a great height and immediately followed by J.J. Abrams tromping out of the woods, right up to the camera, to say: "See that motherfuckers? I can kill him whenever I want to." But I decided that was unlikely to happen.

So: Walt, because children, let's face it, are like terminal cancer on a sitcom. Shannon, because it's obvious that The Fog is her ticket to the big time. And Jin, because I'm setting Afterlost in St. Louis and everyone knows that the residents of St. Louis hate Koreans who only speak English in dreams.

So, episode. Scene opens with Shannon, sitting alone, sad piano tinkling in the background. SHANNON'S GONNA DIE! Sayid appears, and he has a surprise for Shannon--he's built a gorgeous little beach-sides loveshack, it's candlelit, Pier One interior a stark contrast to the rape caves up in the jungle. You know, the rape caves Shannon once said she was so not going to? Anyway, it's a little shack for huggin' and a kissin', dancin' and a lovin', and wearing next to nothing because Naveen Andrews is as hot as an oven. Sayid is totally happy to see Shannon, but the pistol in his pocket momentarily confuses her. He unholsters his weapon, telling her he keeps a gun around because he "has someone to protect." Apparently, Sayid built the loveshack to be anvil-proof, because the rain of cast-iron outside can be heard loud and clear with Sayid's gun foreshadowing. Makes you wonder why the Bush administration put all those Baathists on permanent administrative leave. Clearly, they are geniuses.

We cut to the Grim Marchers. Sawyer speculates that they are lost. That's the title of the show, so applaud politely. Just then, Echo and Jin and Michael rejoin the group. Echo is stressing, having come close to the Others, and he wants to take off. This leads to brief exposition in which "other [kidnapped] kids" are mentioned. Ana Lucia huffs: "They'll give us our own episode next week. Let's get moving. I am a brilliant leader who certainly won't make a serious error in judgement this episode."

Back at the Loveshack, Sayid breaks a post-coital embrace to go get some water. Shannon is left to marvel at her new anvil-proof digs. Unfortunately, the shack isn't apparition-proof, because just then Walt appears in full Twin Peaks mode, to do more of his backward whispering, this time, telling Shannon: "Maybe I'll see you next year during pilot season, Deaddy McDeaderson."

Shannon freaks, and Sayid comes running back. They argue over whether Shannon saw Walt or if she's crazy, spilling outside. Just then, Charlie comes up. Hi Charlie. Long time no see. Charlie's all: you woke the baby up. Charlie, good fathering is not something anyone on the island has been exposed to--maybe now's the time to go all Promise Keeper on us. But soon Claire wanders up, baby Aaron in tow. Charlie admonishes her for coming in the direction of danger. AARON'S GONNA DIE! Shannon finally slouches off, mad at Sayid for doubting her perfectly sensible story that Walt is appearing to her as a backward-speaking hallucination. They are so broken up. SHANNON'S GONNA DIE!

We make our first trip to Flashbackistan, and it's a Shannon flashback. SHANNON'S GONNA DIE! Shannon is teaching a ballet class, instructing some children, causing my friend Tracy, one of the assembled viewers in the DCeiver household to remark: "Those are some really shitty dancers." One of Shannon's instructor colleagues comments on one of the fathers, a pervy sort that wants her to be an au pair. The moment has significance it seems, but I can't remember how or why. Just then, Shannon gets the news--her dad is at Jack's hospital, and he's dead.

The Unhappy Campers continue their bleak march, and Sawyer collapses. SAWYER'S GONNA DIE! Libby tends to him, doing all she can to avoid pointing out the obvious--that arm is so getting amputated. SAWYER'S ARM IS GONNA DIE!

Shannon has been directed to Walt's belongings, and she is encouraging Vincent to sniff Walt's clothes in the hopes that he can track him down with the scent. Umm, Shannon, that's a yellow labrador. The best you can hope for is maybe a spirited game of tug ending in the slobbery mastication of all of Walt's clothing. Sure enough, Vincent races off and leads Shannon to the place he likes to pee. Sure enough, that's Boone's grave.

We cut to Aaron, who Claire's a'rocking, and sure enough, Locke comes a'knocking. Aaron's wailing away, so Mr. Know It All teaches her about swaddling. This sets up what's sure to be an ongoing new conflict between Locke and Charlie as the two men in Aaron's life. Of course, we know that it has been prophesied that only Claire can raise the child. Not a lot of room for freakazoid former-paralytics turned island mystics or bad Merseybeat smackheads. Claire is thankful for the lesson in swaddling, but she's totally not digging the suffocation Charlie's been providing. She worries that Charlie might be a religious freak because he's been carrying around a statue of Virgin Mary. Of course, Locke knows this means more Kurt Cobain than Antonin Scalia, but he says nothing because, after all, he's Locke.

We return to Flashbackistan. Shannon is at her father's wake. SHANNON'S GONNA DIE!! From behind her, she hears someone say, "Death sucks." And in a moment of delicious irony, we see that it's Boone, newly arrived, his coiffure suggesting that he went eight rounds with Metrosexuality and lost. They repair to Shannon's bedroom--and who can blame them, this is the most boring Irish wake I've ever seen, and I enjoy crashing them. They share some Scotch and some chewing gum, Boone thinks about how badly he wants to hit that, Shannon daydreams about getting an internship with the Martha Graham Dance Company--which in this universe has standards low enough that it might offer internships to incompetent after-school dance camp teachers.

Back on the island, the Unhappy Campers have made their way out to the coast, but Sawyer's faring even more poorly than before. SAWYER'S GONNA DIE! Echo wants to take the Campers back inland. Ana Lucia, however, Cheneys that she doesn't want to expose the Campers to the risks of the jungle just so it's easy for Sawyer. Christ, bitch, look at what Echo's showing you! Impassable rocky crags! I guess Ana Lucia's leadership style doesn't resemble the Bush administration's resolve and "compassionate conservatism" as much as she demonstrates bullheaded idiocy and dispassionate self-centeredness. Oh, wait. That's exactly the Bush administration. Huh. You're doing a heck of a job, Brownita.

Over on the other side of the island, Claire comes over to Locke holding Aaron to thank him, because he has slept peacefully since Locke wrapped him up. Oh, shit! He swaddled him too tightly! AARON'S GONNA DIE!! Locke says he likes Aaron's "smell." So, in addition to surrogate father Charlie, Aaron how has a creepy ass uncle. Speaking of Charlie, he arrives at this moment only to hear of Locke's swaddling prowess and get jealous.

The Happy Campers are picking their way through the jungle as freaky music plays in the background. Ana Lucia, in yet another example of her brilliant leadership that won't possibly lead to anyone getting harmed, is enforcing a condition of total silence. After all, someone might pause to question whether or not she belongs giving orders. It's going to be great when she gets to the other side of the island and has to start living in the favorable conditions Jack has wrought--where they have food and a hatch that's not falling apart and minimal deaths and females whose breasts haven't become all distended and concave.

Well, Michael isn't having any of it. He wants to know why they can't talk. Ana explains what the Others did to their party, and why they can't speak, or smile, or be nice, or take a bath, or help someone who's arm needs to be amputated. It's actually a pretty fair explanation of the terror their group has experienced, but, the Wife of DCeiver would remind you, it "doesn't mean she's not a bitch." Friend Elissa reiterates: "Plus, she drinks tequila and tonic!" Not even Harriet Miers does that.

Sayid, finding Shannon at Boone's grave, makes kindly overtures to Shannon, but Shannon wants nothing less than for him to believe that she saw Walt. So they are still broken up. Shannon heads to Flashbackistan. She's at home, listening to the Dave Matthews Band when she should be listening to the Hold Steady, when she received news that she's been accepted as an intern to the Martha Graham School. Just then, her telephone rings, and it turns out she's a subscriber to Verizon's friends-and-family anvil plan, because it's her landlord on the other line telling her that her rent check bounced. Turns out, Shannon's been written out of her father's will and stepmommy dearest is refusing to give her any more assistance, including the much needed money to go to New York and intern for Martha Graham. It's a pity that Shannon's stepmom didn't die instead of her loving dad, but that's what happens when you show up in Jack's emergency room and he's too busy wooing his wife-to-be with his super Desmond-induced healing powers.

Charlie and Locke are playing at backgammon. Charlie's at sixes and sevens over Claire's parenting skills. And who can blame him? My mother had me after she was in plane crash and marooned on a desert island, where she too lost her memory, was taken hostage by crazy Tom Cruise's even crazier cousin, and given nothing but hallucinatory peanut butter to eat. Charlie kvetches that Claire needs to learn some responsibility. Locke snorts that talk of responsibility sounds really great coming from a heroin addict. Oooh, snap! Of course, if Charlie knew everything their is to know about Locke, he could have done what I would have done and say something like:

"Oh, yeah, Locke. Right. The heroin I found. Right next to where Boone died, right? Hey, Locke, you lose any other members of your little hatch hunting party today? No? Just the one? Well, I'm sure Boone's last words were some kind of moving paean to the Philosophy of Responsibility by John Locke. Hey, that's pretty funny. You know that there actually was a philosopher named John Locke? What a coincidence! I wonder, John, how many of that John Locke's friends died in his company. I can't seem to remember any. Do you? I'm asking you because you know everything there is to know about everything, right? Cause the magic island revealed its wondrous mystery to you, right? And the Black Smoke Stompy Monster is your new girlfriend, right? Or has Stompy stopped returning your phone sex calls, too. Anyway, John, I'm sure thankful for all the fatherly advice you're giving Claire, just, you know, try to keep your hands off Aaron's kidney's okay?"


Anyway, burn.

Seriously. Where is Kate? I'm beginning to think there won't be any Kate.

SAWYERS GONNA DIE!! And Jin wants water, right now, and not just because it's one of the English words he's learned while he was a member of the Rainbow PUSH Oceanaire Club and Rafting Society Unlimited. The guy started learning English while he was out at sea rafting. He's probably got, like, seven words for water by now. But Ana Lucia is crazy. She's all: "Sawyer Sawyer Sawyer! We have got to leave him behind! Remember what happened to Goodwin?" I'm guessing that we'll all have to wait a week to remember what happened to Goodwin. Michael, for his part, could give two tugs of a dead dog's dick about Goodwin, he's not about to leave a man behind, certainly not a man who recently bought a house in Hawaii and has started to decorate for fuck's sake.

So the Happy Campers fashion a stretcher. That's right. They build a stretcher in like, four minutes that's strong enough to carry Sawyer's dead weight over hill and dale. And together, the Desert Island Dicks seem to finally be learning the value of teamwork! Even Ana Lucia is helping out. "Doesn't mean she's not a total bitch," wife of DCeiver reminds us.

Together, they all manage to haul Sawyer's body up a large hill. But when they make the top, Ana Lucia looks around and discovers that something is wrong. "Where's Cindy? Where's Cindy?!" Yes, twenty minutes after enforcing strict quiet, Ana Lucia is interrobanging up a storm. Leaving the viewer to wonder--who the hell is Cindy? My God! This is just like the time that stuff happened to Goodwin! And are those whispers I hear? Shit! CINDY'S GONNA DIE!! CINDY'S GONNA DIE!! CINDY'S--wait. That isn't the death we were promised, is it? Is it? J.J.? Hello?

This is a moment that calls out for calm clear headed leadership, so naturally, Ana Lucia shrieks, "RUN!!" And she pulls out the gun.

Woah. Don't pull that thang out unless you plan to bang.

Bombs over Flashbackistan, as Shannon and Boone meet, umm, somewhere? Shannon appears to be packing or unpacking. Anyway, she's upset at Boone's mom, and asks him if she can stay with him in NYC until she figures out what she's going to do. Bam. Bad news, Shannon. Stepmom anticipated this move and has called Boone back to Cali to a job in the family business. The resentment you see building in Shannon is enough to make any lunacy seem sane--like, say, becoming an accomplished con artist who bangs her own stepbrother? Oh, well, so much for the Martha Graham internship. Shannon and Boone have punched their tickets on flight 815.

Back on Isla de Encanta, Shannon and Sayid are still running through the woods, she in a fruitless attempt to use Vincent as a smellhound, Sayid desperate to get back together with her, if only because he took out an interest-only loan on the LoveShack and he needs to know if their living arrangements are on or off before the housing bubble bursts. Shannon falls and starts weeping. Sayid reaches her, and Shannon finally spills her guts about her severe abandonment issues. Sayid tells her that he loves her and believes her and that he will never leave her. So, now we know: Shannon is totally dead.

Just then, they hear whispers. And Shannon looks over her shoulder and sees Walt. Now we're about to see why Shannon basically has to die. Walt's been trying to get through to Shannon for a few days now, and her response has been to freak out all over the place. Now, Walt clearly is instructing Shannon and Sayid to sit there and be absolutely quiet. Shannon responds by yelling at the top of her lungs: "DO YOU SEE HIM!! HUH!! DO YOU SEE WALT!!" Sayid's all: WTF, totally! Walt's still like: "Bitch would you shut your damn mouth?" Loud ass noises continue to emanate from Shannon's yellhole.

Then, Shannon gets up and goes to run after Walt. She tears off into the jungle and the next thing we hear is a gun report rip out from the foliage. Shannon's been gutshot. Guess by who?

Yeah. Don't even bang unless you plan to hit somethang.

Ana Lucia and the rest of the Happy Campers stumble into frame, and realize that instead of killing one of the Others, they've killed the worst intern in the history of the Martha Graham Dance Company. Shannon's so not moving to the rape caves now. She's so not moving to the rape caves forever.

And by the looks of Sayid's eyes, the Iraqi insurgency is about to break out on the Isla de Encanta.

Ana Lucia's gonna die.

[Next week: They were the best of passengers, they were the worst of castaways. The Tailies Tale is told in the Tale of the Tailies. How did Ana Lucia go from being a bad cocktail drinking, sassy flirt to the biggest bitchcake moron ever in life? Is Echo the Tailie version of Locke, except not as pompous? Why did the Tailies make the decision to stop bathing? And what happened to Goodwin? Dammit! I need to know what happened to Goodwin!]