Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Pompatus of Lost: 3.09--The Perils of a Bilingual Education

Previously on Lost: There's this whole other part of Lost, that has nothing to do with Desmond, that's struggling mightily to keep up its end of the bargain. Jack did what he could, threatening to kill Ben Linus. But it was Juliet who actually drew blood, killing the Shocker. This episode, I guess, will deal with the ramifications of these actions. Goody.

Lights up on a boat. Sawyer and Kate are listlessly paddling home. Kate wants to go back for Jack, but Sawyer isn't having it. "Do you know what Captain Bunnykiller will do if we go back? Besides, Kate, the GOOD storylines are in that direction!" Sawyer couldn't be righter. I mean, motherfucker's gonna get to play PING-PONG in a few episodes (it's all a part of Hurley's plan to add on to the golf course and make the island into the most existential dread-filled Dave and Busters ever). Carl, who they recently rescued from the worst Big Black concert in the world, concurs by babbling something about God and Jacob. Sawyer seems to regret it, but he tells Kate that Jack is on his own.

Speaking of, Jack is back in his cell when the Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album--and, yes, we were calling him by the incorrect name, but we're back now--comes in and tells Jack that they are moving him. Jack concludes that he means that they are going to kill him. The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album looks a little taken aback. I mean, they are supposed to be crazy geniuses, right? Surely they'd have a better secret euphenism for "we are going to kill you" than "we're moving you." Like, we're going to take a walk in our Glass Pyramid of Memory, or, "Hey, Jack, who wants Funnel Cakes?" And the funnel cakes turn out to be delicious but packed with arsenic.

Jack's all indignant, saying that he's perfectly within his rights to expect to be killed given the fact that they are the types of people who abduct pregnant women and hang Charlie from a tree and otherwise kill and kidnap and maraud their way around the island. Also: bad fake beards. Though, it should be said, only the Others had the balls to do what needed to be done w/r/t Ana Lucia. That said, just once I'd like someone to tell the Others, "You realize we were in a PLANE CRASH, right? I mean, the least you could have done was, you know, bring some food and some band-aids. Get to know us before you started all the killing a kidnapping."

The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album raps on the glass wall and says, "Love the glass house you're living in, Jack. Let me get you some stones!" Jack, obviously tired of this, doesn't call The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album out for such a lame quip. I mean, who put him in the glass house, asshole?

They move Jack, and yes, they actually move Jack. Along the way, Jack passes the handcuffed Juliet along with another imperious blonde woman with a bad hairstyle. It's worth pointing out that we have been promised three big reveals tonight that are supposed to answer burning questions. Let's see if we can spot them.

Now, Jack has been, basically, the hero of this show. He's faced down any number of dangers--the stress of surgery, the harrowing plane crash, black smoke stompy monster, the Others, Michael's betrayal. In Flashbackistan this week, we learn that before Jack faced any of these problems head on, he first tested his mettle against one of the planet's great dreads...one of mankind's most fearsome foes..a terrifying enemy to decent people anywhere, and, by that, I mean the actress Bai Ling. No one knows how Bai Ling came to be famous or important or worthy of having television cameras pointed at her for any other reason than to film something so morbidly horrific that it could be blasted into space and sent to evil alien invaders as a warning on what's in store for them.

Bai Ling is perhaps best known for that time she appeared on one of those celebrity singing shows...I think it was called, So, You Think You Can Sing, Asshole? Ling's singing voice can best be described as the sound a foal makes while being simultaneously born and strangled to death. Her acting is not quite as good as her singing. But, she has a talent for wearing clothing that would shame the skankiest of meth-addicted poopwhores and flashing her nipples all over creation like a strobe light that only blasted white-hot nipple images and made epileptic children's eyes bleed. In Flashbackistan, she sidles up to the vacationing-in-Phuket Jack and helps him assemble a kite, and right away we know something horrible is going to happen to Jack.

Back on Other Island, The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album brings Jack a sandwich, but he places the Others' Zagats rating in danger when he forgets to grill it. He tells Jack that the blonde, imperious woman with bad hair (and it is bad--it's like she's glued blonde muttonchops to the sides of her face despite it being long in the back) is The Sheriff and that Juliet's in a whole heapa trouble. The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album wants to know what Jack was thinking, letting Kate and Sawyer go, but Jack brusquely demurs, slinking off to the back of the cage with his sandwich and making fuck-off faces.

Speaking of, Kate and Sawyer's relationship is getting off to a rocky start. The path of true Skater love never did run smooth, especially when they have such divergent opinions on what to do, boatwise. Kate wants to circumnavigate the entire island in the dark, whereas Sawyer wants to make camp, get some food, and get some sleep. For the second time this episode, I'm siding with Sawyer. "You two shouldn't fight," pipes up Carl, like he was the kid caught in the middle of some island-based Kramer vs. Kramer.

With Carl awake, Kate and Sawyer press for some intel on the Other. He tells them that they kidnapped the kids in order to give them a better life, that they live on the main island and use the smaller island for projects, that he and Alex named a constellation "Ursus Theodorus" because they are totally teh lame. Sawyer, dumbfoundedly asks, "You all have backyards?" The Others do have backyards. So, there you have it: earthshattering revelation #1--THE OTHERS HAVE BACKYARDS.

Back at the outdoor cages, Juliet comes over to Jack to tell him that Ben's sutures have become infected. But Jack's sick and tired of the melodrama, and he tells her that he isn't going to help him or help her, or help her help him, or help her help Jack hurt him, or hurt Ben to help her and help Jack, or anything. Fuck off, it's over, I live in a cage, suck it.

Jack heads back to Flashbackistan, where he and Bai Ling are eating somewhere straight out of Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour. Jack eats something that looks like mesculin greens. Jack eats it and the waiter applauds him for daring to eat a run of the mill plant. "Way to go, American!" he says, "Allow me to patronize you by pointing out that you have accomplished something our people do several times a day!" Bai Ling makes a point of telling Jack that "everyone likes him." Just then, some dude wanders over and hands Bai Ling an envelope full of money. Jack is curious about the whole exchange, but Bai Ling offers only, "I have a gift."

And right about now, I could probably guess what you thought. "Oh, she's a prostitute." And then somewhere, deep inside you, your sensitive self said, "Now, now. That's unfair. Just because they are in a country reknowned for its sex trade and this anonymous woman just got paid under the table for something doesn't mean you should jump to the frankly racist conclusion that she is some sort of whore." But of course you can and should jump to that conclusion. Remember, they cast Bai Ling! One small step, and there conclusions were!

Back at the cages, the imperious blonde has wondered over to Jack and is reading his tattoo in Chinese. What a know-it-all bitch. I hate people like that--"Oh? You mean to say you don't read Chinese? My, my! Yes. I read it. As you can see, I even pronounce it perfectly as well. I'm the sort of person who says "Nicaragua" as "nee-car-agh-you-wah" even when the standard pronunciation will suffice."

She introduces herself as Isabel and takes Jack to an office, where he sits between Juliet and The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album. Isabel explains that she is investigating an incident that took place and asks Jack if Juliet every approached him with a plan to kill Ben. Jack lies, saying that it was all his idea. That's when Isabel stands up and says, "Why are you lying, Jack?"--leading me to wonder if she's so goddamned prescient why they couldn't have just avoided the attack in the first place.

In Flashbackistan, Bai Ling comes into Jack's shack, and they start to shack up. But, Jack, being a sensible man, knows deep down that there are only so many times even the most adventurous person can dip his cock deep down into Bai Ling's ichorous abyss of a babyhole without entertaining the bleak thought that something scaly this way burrows beneath the velvet flesh of his once proud, healthy penis. He tries to get Bai Ling to answer some questions, but she tells him that there are things in Phuket that he will never understand. Well then, Bai, don't call your "gift" "your gift". It only makes people wonder what the fuck it is!

Jack awakes in the cage to find the place crawling with people. One of the people is the late and lamented Cindy from flight 815. Jack asks Cindy what the fuck she's doing there, and she replies that they are there to watch. She says that the little girl wants to know where Ana Lucia is. I immediately despise this little girl for mentioning Ana Lucia's name. Jack freaks out on them, and they leave him alone. Still, that's earthshattering revelation #2: The Others have kidnapped various people from Flight 815 so that they might inpanel a focus group.

Meanwhile, out in the Jungle, Kate and Sawyer are waking from sleeping in perhaps the worst positions possible. Kate at first fears that Carl has gone, but he's just moved somewhere private where he can cry his tears of long distance relationship. Sawyer moves to comfort Carl, and despite the fact that he opens by punching Carl in the arm, and continues by trying to teach him about the Brady Bunch, and concludes by telling him the even if he returns for Alex and gets killed, it will be worth it.

Back at the Cages, Alex destroys the surveillance camera so she can talk to Jack. She wants to know why Jack saved Ben's life. Jack first wants to know about Juliet, so Alex tells him that they are about to read a "verdict" against her, and, in all likelihood, get killed. Jack asks Alex is Ben is still in charge and whether Isabel will do as he says. Alex says yes. Jack instructs her to get him the hell out of the cage.

They go to the Other Island Operating Theatre, where the fourth string doctor is about to inject Ben with Rhode Island style clam chowder or something, because Jack is all, "Nuh-UH!" from the moment he walks in the door. Jack mocks them for not having a good surgeon, to which Ben responds by saying that Ethan was their surgeon. Nice attempt at a guilt trip, but as far as the kidnappings and the nearly murdering Charlie go, we're not as inclined to celebrate the awesome surgical prowess of a confirmed dickhole like Ethan. Ethan needed to perform a great big opthalrectomy on himself--a procedure that disconnects the tube the run's from one's eye to one's asshole in order to improve one's shitty fucking outlook.

Basically, Jack offers to guide Ben back to good health if he'll put a stop to her execution. And let's face it, she only killed The Shocker, and it's hard to see exactly what he brought to the Dharma Initiative table other than anger issues and a massive cholesterol problem. But Ben makes a big, grand stink about it, telling Jack that she doesn't care about him and no matter what happens, he'll always be the non-Other. But Jack'd recognize the feeling of that familiar downward spiral into a codependent relationship ANYWHERE. There's no stopping him from boarding the bus to The Same Mistakes I Always Makesvershire. In the end, Ben agrees to write down instructions to spare Juliet.

Back in Flashbackistan, Jack is wandering through the seedy underbelly of Phuket (or, simply, Phuket) looking for Bai Ling. He's drinking out of a bagged bottle, in order to show us just how low and unkempt his desperation to know Bai Ling's secrets have gotten. Eventually, he spies her, wearing a dress that screams skank at the top of its lungs and at a frequency that causes dog's ears to bleed. He follows her down a blind alley and up into a room that we're supposed to believe always has a million candles burning in it at all times.

Bai Ling emerges, horrified that Jack has followed her. But that's life with Jack: the more you keep the things that will only end up hurting him away from him, the more he pursues his own undoing like a rabid ocelot. Jack remarks that the room appears to be a tattoo parlor, but Bai is no mere tattoo artist. She's got a gift, remember? And that gift is: "I am able to see what people are." So...she's learned to use eyes? "And I mark them."

So you're a fucking tattoo artist with tits and gimmicks.

Jack, now behaving as if there was suddenly something at stake, presses the issue further, asking Bai Ling if she can see what Jack truly is. "A leader, a great man...but lonely," Bai offers, adding, "But you are frightened and angry."

Jack, naturally, wants a tattoo of whatever the fuck Bai is speaking about. She cryptically offers, "This is against my people," and "There will be consequences." Mainly genital sores.

Back at the Others Island, Jack and Alex race to break up the trial of Juliet. Alex hands Ben's order to Isabel, who considers it for a minute. Ben commutes the sentence, but orders that she be marked. That doesn't sound good.

Back in Flashbackistan. A newly tattooed Jack wakes for another morning of kite flying on the beach, soda buying, maybe a little light whoring. Only this time, the happy little soda selling kid doesn't want to have anything to do with him. Jack turns around, and sees Bai Ling's friend from the restaurant approaching him with about five other guys. Bai's friend lifts up Jack's sleeve to look at the tattoo, and then they all proceed to beat the shit out him. Thanks a lot for making sure our image abroad was still beloved and respected, President Bush!

The friend tells Jack to get off the beach and leave the country. They walk away, taking a sad Bai Ling, and her many, many STDs, with them.

Back at the cages, Juliet is back, walking funny and bearing Jack's favorite grilled sandwich, thus saving the Others from another round of disappointing reviews on Chowhound. Jack wants to see where they marked Juliet. She shows him a bloody starburst brand on her back. Jack rubs aloe on her mark and vows that they will make sure Ben let's them go home. That's when Juliet basically intimates that when Ben says "home", he actually means the main Island.

The Other's take Jack down to the beach where they are preparing to disembark. Isabel, who never stops being self-important and patronizing for even second, translates Jack's tattoo as, "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us." Jack says, "That's what they say. That's not what they mean." Is that the Third Earthshattering reveal? That the Chinese characters on Jack's arm, when translated, form a sentence? These have not been answers to BURNING questions! Not even itching questions!

This precipitates a montage of shoving boats off and fires being lit and people staring into the sky to symbolize the great emotional distance between people who love each other. The scene ends with Jack and Juliet standing on the prow of the boat, gazing at each other as if to say, "Let's enjoy this calm moment before thousands of Lost fans hit the interwebs complaining with one voice that they totally got gypped in the revelation department tonight.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Never fear, though, The Politico will remain your go-to source for news on who's not treating Mike Allen with sufficient respect today.

According to Fishbowl, the...uhm...what are they called again? Oh, yeah! The Politico has drawn the line on covering the Anna Nicole Smith story. Then they drew another line that they can follow if they want to get out of the promise they have made.

Of course, as we learned from their first couple of weeks, if there's one thing that overrides all the journalistic rules they've set for themselves, it's their need to fight like a rabid, nipple-pierced terrier over anything that might be an exclusive, no matter how inconsequential. Hang a scoop in front of their faces and they'll dive after it like the most debased guttersluts the mainstream media has to offer.

So, tipsters of the world, unite! Send ALL of your late-breaking Anna Nicole intel to The Politico, and watch our favorite scene from Scanners unfold.

There was a Dream, Named Vilsack.

All is not well in Democratic Primaryland today, friends. We are expected to hear today that former Iowa Governor and husband to perhaps the most beloved Iowan since Reggie Roby shattered the color barrier for NFL punters, Tom Vilsack, is dropping out of the race! Cry!

Hey, we didn't favor Tommy V's chances that much, but he had some stuff going for him. The V For Vendetta style campaign decor, the fact that he was a governor (Americans heart managerial acumen in their Prexy candidates) as opposed to a Senator with a long, publicly disclosed record of backbiting, whining and connivance...plus, the best joke Jon Stewart could land on him was to imitate the AFLAC duck! Lame!

What's the immediate effect of his dropping out of the race? Well, it's sure going to embolden one of our nation's enemies--Joe Biden. Freals, y'all: how is Biden still in this race and Vilsack is out? Biden is like, the Antonella Barba of the Democratic Primaries--his only contributions have been being caught on camera offering addled bitchery and oozing poop from his orifices. Are the people at "Vote For The Worst" going to be active in this primary season?

Oh, Tom. I don't wanna close my eyes. I don't wanna fall asleep. Cause I miss you, Tom. And I don't want to miss a thing. Except for, perhaps, the next six or seven years of American history. How much ethanol would it take to put me into a coma?

If they gave Pulitzer Prizes for Single Sentences...

Then Lisa Rein, you would have my nomination for this:

"It's not a perverted sexual thing at all," said David Ham, founder of Your Nutz, a San Diego-based business that sells more than 200 kinds of fake testicles.
Seriously. I wish I had had a David Ham in my life when I was young and had an all-consuming passion for designing the most diverse array of fake nads that the world had ever seen. I would have been more apt to stand up for myself when my high school guidance counselor said things like, "What are you, some kind of pervert?", "You have a sick, deviant mind!" and, "Get the fuck off my driveway or I'm calling the police!"

[h/t: Amy Argetsinger]

On the watching of this evening's 30 Rock.

(tonight, apres Rough Magic)

Wife of DCeiver: 30 Rock is fucking hilarious tonight.

DCeiver: That's good to hear. Kyle, Rachel and I very much enjoy recounting our favorite 30 Rock moments on Friday mornings.

Wife of DCeiver: That's nice. Thing is, it's really funny, but it doesn't really have any of those one-liners you three like to toss about.

(two hours later)

DCeiver: Silly Wife of DCeiver! Did she not hear, "Well go ahead, Fat Balls?"

UPDATE: I love it anytime Tucker Carlson, even as part of a fictional contrivance, calls someone else "empty-headed." At that moment, all the angels in Heaven that God put in charge of irony chuckle.

UPDATE 2: If you ever go into that Dean and Deluca at 30 Rock, btw, don't go upstairs to eat. It's a shithole. We were there on Christmas Eve, and I had to use the one bathroom, and waiting in line behind me was this eight-year-old girl. I was totes going to let her go ahead of me until the door swung open and I saw the fucking room. Vile. I went in, did my business, and used some cleaner on the paper towel dispenser to clean everything that poor child was likely to touch. Totally true story. Also I helped a Russian tourist purchase her subway pass, so I made mad deposits in the NYC karma bank. Mad deposits.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Pompatus of Lost: 3.08--A Date With Predestiny

Previously, on Lost: Oh, thank you, thank you, JJ Abrams, for being wise enough to bring Desmond David Hume into the storyline. Desmond makes everything better. Ever since he emerged from the Hatch, kicking the Nostradamus schtick, we've felt like the story was going to find its footing again. Better yet, what we have seen tonight totally backs the theory we favor up. But more on that later.

Lights up on Desmond, striding purposefully onto Lostie Beach. He pauses, as if to say, "That's right. I will be the subject of our adventures into Flashbackistan today."

Hurley and Charlie are ransacking Sawyer's secret stash. I totally support Charlie doing this, because even though we know Sawyer's on his way back and is bound to be pissed, he just lacks the sack to make good on any beatdown promise, and his "I've got the guns" regime lasted, what...two days? The best he can hope to do is run one of his patented snit fits. In fact, as we read ahead in the plot synopses, we discover that Sawyer is going to attempt, three episodes from now, to win his shit back playing ping-pong. To which we say: Really? Really.

Desmond, who Hurley affectionately calls "Desmondo"--and remind me to never have Hurley give me a nickname--appears at Sawyer's tent to tell Hurley and Charlie to come with him into the jungle. There they meet the purposeful, conspiratorial glances of Locke and Sayid, who break the news of Eko's death and instruct them to try to keep their shit together when they tell the rest of the Losties as an example to them. I'm not sure who on Lostie beach is using Hurley or Charlie as a role model, but, anyway. Charlie asks what happens and Locke tells him that "the island killed" Eko. Incredulously, Charlie asks WTF Locke means by that, to which Locke replies, "You know what I mean." Yeah, Locke, you are straight up fubar in the head. That's what it means.

All this while, Desmond's been acting steakier and steakier, and Hurley notices this and asks what gives. After a moment, however, Desmond breaks off into a full sprint, demonstrating the sort of cutting and running skillz that I wish, for the sake of having a standing army of any value, we'd demonstrate in Iraq. The others give chase, but Desmond's got those stadium-stair climbing skills, and he outpaces them to the beach. Desmond takes off his shoes and shirt and dives into the water, swimming out to what appears to be a floating figure.

As it turns out, it's Claire, bobbing in the waves. Desmond grabs her and swims back to the island, where, Charlie, doing his manic best to prove that he can be the biggest overprotective and jealous douche in the Pacific, pecks and pulls and tries to interfere with her resuscitation. Eventually, Desmond revives Claire. Charlie is, as his countrymen say, gobsmacked, wondering how Desmond could have possibly known Claire was drowning. That's when Hurley fills him in on how Desmond's suddenly turned into the Oracle at motherfuckin' Delphi.

Back from commersh, Claire wanders over to Desmond to thank him for rescuing her. The whole experience has traumatized her so much that she's grown bangs. They don't get too far into their conversation when eternally hovering Charlie shows up to admonish her for being apart from him for even a second.

Charlie talks about Desmond and his Baywatch act with Hurley, not entirely believing Hurley on the whole matter of Desmond having a Hatch-induced Magic Eight Ball where his brain used to be. They hatch a plan--get Desmond drunk...you know: drunk enough that he tells the truth, not so drunk that he starts claiming ownership of Malibu and blaming the Jews for stranding them on La Isla Encanta.

At first, Desmond begs off the offer of getting shitfaced. Charlie says, "Hmm. Too good to drink with his brother." This kicks off a demonstration of UK behavior that makes it look like everyone from the British Isles acts toward each other as if they were living in the nineteenth century and all members of Lord Nelson's Navy. Eventually, Desmond espies the bottle and sees that it's a bottle of MacCutcheon 60--a non-existent, presumably single-malt Scotch. This turns Desmond around, and soon he and Charlie are pulling long swigs from the bottle and singing sea chanties about girls with "cracking good knockers." According to a survey, by the way, Britain apparently has the crackingest knockers in all of Europe.

This festival of conviviality cannot last, however. Charlie finally asks the buzzkilling question about how Desmond could have known about Claire drowning. Desmond hems and haws, eventually getting up and attempting to leave. Charlie, however, makes the mistake of calling Desmond a coward, and, in true Marty McFly fashion, Desmond wheels around, charges Charlie, tackling him the ground, while wailing, "you don't want to know what I've seen!"

And so, we head to Flashbackistan, but only back so far as that time the Hatch was going kerploopie and Desmond had to turn the failsafe key, turning the sky purple and ending the Lostie run of having actual hot showers and laundry room facilities. But, the moment he turns the key, something weird happens: there is a brief flashcard montage and suddenly Desmond is in a dingy apartment, sprawled on the ground, seemingly covered with blood.

It's not blood, though, it's red paint. Penelope rushes into the room to his aid. Desmond, groggy, asks what happened, to which Penny says he fell as a result of combining paint, ladders and alcohol. Same thing happens to me when I combine alcohol, thorazine, and ranch dressing, though, to this day, I still haven't been able to figure out where all the red paint comes from. We'll come to find out that Desmond has somehow managed to become the first Isla-bound castaway to successfully bridge to corporeal gap between the Island and Flashbackistan--but it's weird: things seem a little off. He keeps noticing things in Flashbackistan that suggest his future on the island: the clock radio reading "1:08", Penelope saying, "It's not the end of the world," the microwave oven having the same annoying beep as the Hatch alarm system.

Desmond seems to have retained his memories of his future on the island, but is fully determined to make a go at reliving his past. To that end, he arranges a job interview with Penelope's imperious father. He's off to become a big wheel at the pregnancy test factory! But as if we couldn't guess, he's about to have the worst job interview since Jin was tasked with becoming a doorman at the schmanciest hotel in Korea. We do find out that Desmond used to be a set designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and, frankly, we can't imagine that being a job we'd ever leave. Designing at a similar theatre in the States would actually be a pretty lucrative career, and trust me--they don't let just any old fool design sets at the Royal or the Swan. Maybe what Desmond really wanted to do was direct.

If you study enough about writing or film, you eventually learn something about the economy of information. That is: the author rarely reveals something about a character that is completely absent of meaning. It is a curious thing to find out that, in this world where various manufactured realities seem to be at play, there is a character whose occupation involves manufacturing verisimilitude. Don't be surprised if Desmond's past as a set designer at the RSC, information that seems to have been very pointedly imparted, ends up mattering.

Anyhoo, Desmond meets with Penelope's dad, and his judgement is that Desmond would be best suited to work in administration. Desmond, however, interjects, and tells Mr. Widmore that he didn't come seeking a job. He wanted to come and ask for Penny's hand in marriage. God knows why he brought a resume. Widmore, claiming to be impressed, walks across the room and fetches two glasses and a bottle of the same MacCutcheon 60. He tells Desmond about Admiral MacCutcheon and how super fucking awesome he was and how his sauce is the best evers. Admiral MacCutcheon, by the way, is a character from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

There, as the Human League might say, the conversation turned. Widmore narrows his gaze and tells Desmond that one sip of MacCutcheon is so expensive that it would cost a month of his wage. You know, somehow, we doubt that, but Widmore is mid-diss, so let's allow it. Widmore basically goes on to reach down Desmond's throat, pull out every last vestige of his dignity and urinate on it metaphorically, saying that he would never be a great man, never be worthy of sharing a drink with, and, thus, be never worthy of his daughter.

Now, at this point, Desmond's been pretty well served. And all he can do is walk dazedly out of Widmore's office. As much as we like Desmond, we hang our head in shame that he just sat there and took that. By means of comparison, here's what the DCeiver would have done in that exact situation. Take notes, people, you're going to learn something. And note well: what's about to transpire is going to get a little outre...too outre for many of the discussion boards that like to traffic in these recaps. For you all, I have appended a "Rated G" version, after the "Rated R" version.

DCeiver: Wow. Mr. Widmore. That was really something. Was that off-the-cuff? Nice. Really good work. Maybe now, though, you might want to sit down, and shut the fuck up.

Let me tell you about how the next few hours of my life are going to go down. I'm going to leave here, step outside, and take myself a refreshing walk. Maybe take in the sights. Get myself a sandwich or a snack. Drink a little mineral water.

Then, I am going to go home to my apartment, where, if you don't know by now, your daughter is going to be waiting for me. I'm going to change out of this suit and tie, walk into the kitchen, bend your daughter over the kitchen table, and absolutely hit that up like I was a dusthead playing Whack-A-Mole. Do you follow me? I am absolutely going to blast your daughter's slot. Shit, pops. About an hour into it, you won't be able to call her "Penny" anymore. You'll have to rename her Sacajewea.

Oh, and I'm not going to stop there, daddy-o. I am absolutely going to wreck that ass as well. I'm going to set up shop in your daughter's backside and work it like it was Boxing Day. Dude, I am telling you, I am going to fill your daughter up with so much of my fuckin' baby batter that by the time I'm through, her body isn't even going to recognize the DNA you bequeathed her. For reals, papa bear. I am going to blast your daughter's pooper and I'm going to take my sweet fucking time doing it.

So, if you want my advice, why don't you bring that bottle back over here, sit down and pour yourself a glass or two, and get comfortable. If that booze is expensive as you say it is, you best take out a loan or two, because you are going to choke down quite a bit of it to get the image of me, using my cock to make your daughter's pyloric valve resemble a goddamned cuckoo clock, out of your mind.

Here's the G-rated version:

Eat a yard of dicks, you fucking tosser.


Anyway, Desmond storms outside and runs into Charlie, busking on the street, singing an Oasis tune. Because maybe...Desmond's gonna be the one that saves Charlie. Desmond starts freaking out at the sight of Charlie, prattling on about how he knows him and how he knows the future and how it's going to start raining. Which it immediately does, but, come on. Predicting rain in London's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Desmond, in search of answers, goes to talk to his friend Donovan, a physics professor of some sort, about the possibility that he might have travelled in time. Donovan, alarmed at the way Desmond has harshed his Mello Yellow, tries explaining to Desmond over drinks that there's no such thing, and, anyway, once again, the Indian character who believes all that paranormal claptrap is the guy from Heroes. Just then, Desmond's favorite Cass Elliot song, "Make Your Own Kind of Music" comes on the juke, and he jumps up, telling Donovan that the soccer team on TV is about to mount a two-goal comeback and that Jimmy Lennon--who the kids at school used to call "Jimmy Stereotype" is about to bust in and whale on the bartender with a cricket bat over a gambling debt. It's like Desmond can only predict the deleted scenes from Eastenders or something. Anyway, none of that happens.

The next day, Desmond goes shopping for an engagement ring. He ends up at the shop of a Mrs. Hawking. He selects an affordable ring and asks to purchase it. At that moment, the shocked Mrs. Hawking tells him that he's not supposed to do that. He's supposed to change his mind, break up with Penelope, change his mind again, go on a round-the-world race to prove himself to Mr. Widmore, end up on La Isla Encanta, and press the button so that he can save the world. And that's where the world of Lost, finally, after a good many episodes, savagely and satisfyingly shifts on its axis again.

Hawking and Desmond go outside to get some roasted chestnuts, and to, you know, say hello to Nicholas Nickleby or something. They make note of a guy wearing red shoes. Hawking endeavors to explain that Desmond has a preordained job to do, and while he may not like it, it's what he has to do. Indeed, it's the only "great thing" he's ever meant to do. Desmond is having none of it, blindly asserting that he has free will. But life is not a Rush song, and that is underscored when a building collapses on the man in red shoes--in another image that evokes the Wizard of Oz. Desmond, shocked, correctly susses out that Mrs. Hawking knew what was about to happen to the man with red shoes, but Hawking tells him that even if she warned him about the building collapsing, he'd just get hit by a car or fall in the shower. "The universe has a way of course correcting." Desmond refuses to buy in, and demands the ring.

The next day, Desmond and Penny are out walking along the Thames. A streetside photographer convinces them to get their picture taken. The resulting picture is the one that Desmond's been carrying around with him on the island. Looking at it, he seems to suddenly be convinced that Hawking was right. He tells Penelope that he can't continue their relationship and that they weren't meant to be together. Penelope, tearfully, leaves. Huge mistake, Des, because Sonya Walger is KEE-RAY-ZEE hawt. Desmond throws the ring into the Thames, presumably for Voldemort to find it or something.

Desmond returns to the pub from the night before, where, on the shelf, a bottle of MacCutcheon sits, mockingly. All of the sudden, the Cass Elliot song comes on again. He looks up at the television, and the soccer team that's trailing scores an unexpected goal. Desmond sees this and decides that he can change the outcome of his life and that there's still time to fix things with Penelope. This is a weird conclusion for him to reach, seeing as how these events playing out as he remembers them only serves to bolster Hawking's claim. But fuck dear old Ms. Hawking, Desmond thinks. He's off to change the future. And he starts by warning the publican about how Jimmy Lennon's legendary cricket bat is about to connect with his head.

And...that's where it ends as well, because when the barkeep ducks, Jimmy's swing comes full circle and knocks Desmond out cold. When he comes to, he's naked in the jungle right after the hatch has imploded. I realize that sentence is not grammatically sound. Time travel plots force the invention of the future pluperfect subjunctive and shit. Anyway, he finds the picture of Penelope and starts to cry, begging God for another chance to make things right. Gotta give props to Henry Ian Cusick in this scene. He's really quite moving in his sorrow.

And so, we're back on the beach, with Desmond on top of Charlie. Hurley pulls them apart. Desmond is weepy and apologetic. Charlie helps him back to his tent and asks for an explanation one last time. Desmond explains that when he turned the key in the Hatch, his whole life flashed before his eyes, and ever since, he's been having flashes of future events...but not of Claire's death, of Charlie's. Desmond, apologetically, tells Charlie that he's twice now prevented him from dying, but, given the fact that the universe has gone all The Wealth of Nations on everyone, he can only keep up the savior schtick for so long. In short, sooner or later, Charlie's going to explaining the lyrics to "You All Everybody" to Kurt Cobain.

Some time ago, Entertainment Weekly's Doc Jensen hatched a Lost theory that I am rather fond of: that the "story" actually has nothing to do with Jack and Kate, et al. Rather, the operative narrative is an epic romantic adventure between Desmond and Penelope, and the characters to whom we have chiefly taken to our bosom are actually minor figures in the sprawling plot, living contrivances as if they were taken out of a Pirandello play, or, in the piece I prefer to reference, from Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. They have no life outside of what is germane to the story, and they are trapped by the whims of the author, consigned to whatever role they were given until, as Locke says, the island kills them.

While nothing we've seen here in this episode explicitly proves that this theory is operating, everything we've seen in the episode nevertheless supports the possibility that this is what's happening. Indeed, Desmond seems caught in the throes of the plot as well. He tells us that "his whole life flashed before his eyes", but, curiously, it actually didn't. He has equated "his whole life" with events that are solely germane to the plot of Lost. It evokes the realizations by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that they cannot remember any detail of their existence prior to the moment they were called upon to travel to Denmark. Perhaps they had no life at all. Throughout this episode, Desmond was practically poised to speak Stoppard's line: "There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said 'no.'"

It's worth noting also, that way back in the first season, the people behind Lost made an explicit promise to their audience that they would never kill Charlie. Interestingly, this means that right now, Desmond is the agent in charge of ensuring that this promise gets kept. Which leads me to wonder: what if Lost is a television show...about a television show? Alas, this is despairingly meta. Look, in the end, we don't care if we're right or wrong. The only thing we hope is that JJ never, ever, ever brings back all that crap about the Rambaldi Device. Seriously. We'd much rather that Felicity be behind all of this.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A brief shout out to the heroes.

We wanted to take a moment to extend our thanks to the superfly, crime-fighting Rorschach stage manager, Megan Reichelt, who fearlessly ran off a trio of Columbia Heights thugs this past Saturday night, thus preventing our car from being broken into forcefully. He courageous, heroic deeds have earned her the highest honor we can bestow, which is to refer to them as being "Joss Whedonesque." She is most definitely a huge asset to the local theatre community. Long may her exploits be noted in song.

On a related note, we'd also like to thank the fine people at the Mazda Motor Corporation, for making the passenger side window on their Miata surprisingly impervious to no less than three blows with a crowbar. We had no idea that they made their windows more inpenetrable than the prose of James Joyce. Perhaps we should have expected as much from a car company that namechecked Zoroastrian deities.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The 24gasm: 3:00pm

  1. "We've been ambushed!" "I'll have a team there in ten minutes." And thus this episode opens with both it's traditional exclamation of the obvious and its most empty promise. That's two drinks right there. Plus, we're doing this semi-on time. So finish your beer. And don't spit it out like that pussy, Morris.
  2. Jesus! Why can't Marilyn run right? It's only her death that hangs in the balance, and here she is, barely scooting, and doing so like she's just wet her pants or something.
  3. Milo says, "They know we're here." Uhm, yeah. That's because you keep thrashing against metal stuff and saying things like, "They know we're here" out loud.
  4. You know, at this point, you have to chuckle to yourself everytime some low-rent henchman intones with breathless confidence that Jack is dead. Those that actually survive to tell the tale probably meet in a support group at some community college in Tarzana on Sunday nights to sink into a coma of bathos over cheap coffee and Merit Ultra Lights: "It took me six months before I realized that saying I'd left enough explosives to kill Bauer wasn't the first time I'd been caught kidding myself. I guess I've been kidding myself my whole life."
  5. That said, how sad is it to me immediately sized up as having "not much field experience" and, "sorta looks like the dude who played Gabriel Dimas in Six Feet Under" by the same third rate henchies. Yeah, yeah, if it seems that I'm having a hard time taking Milo seriously...
  6. "How could I have been so stupid?" Hey, hey...Truth or Consequences, NM wasn't a proud moment for anyone involved. Still...outside of that whole tackling the Christmas tree incident, no one doubts the choices you're making these days.
  7. I feel for Morris. Still, he's gone from being snarky and aloof to whining about how people are going to think he's a dick for arming the nukes. Here's a hint, dude. No one's going to run around identifying you as the guy who helped the terrorists if they can avoid it, and even if they did, you were kidnapped and tortured. So, quit making this all about you and finish your fucking vectors, Morris. Finish your vectors.
  8. Jack's going to do what he can to save Josh, because who doesn't want to see the young man grow up to be reclusive, needy and traumatized like Kim Bauer?
  9. Phillip Bauer is wading out so far in the river of denial that he may as well start fly-fishing. "We can still be a family, Marilyn. A family tied by the bonds of the extreme threats to each others physical persons that we have made toward one another." Feh, it's still a better sounding Thanksgiving than most.
  10. Why the fuck did Josh WAIT TO RUN AWAY?? Wasn't the moment to do it clearly like, five minutes ago...the uhm, FIRST TIME he heard the words "I will kill Josh." I mean, that would have done it for me--I'd have been out the door and daring my septuagenarian grandpa to chase me down.
  11. I'm also getting sick of Grandpa Bauer constantly harping on "what he's built" and how he's got to protect it. Shit, old man, all you did was build some run of the mill defense contracting company. Big fuckin' deal, dude. And so what if you've got some taint on you? In this day and age, the tainted firms are the only ones that get the big Iraq War reconstruction contracts. If you didn't grease some politicians itchy palm by now, then you really haven't built anything.
  12. Josh makes up some lame excuse about wanting something to drink. Not a very good exit strategy, but part of me wanted Josh, when he saw his grandfather's gun, to say, "Well, fuck. In that case, can I please order room service, then?"
  13. Morris stops off at the Snappy Snack Shack to buy some Red Bull, whiskey, and Altoids. Or, as I like to call that combination: Breakfast.
  14. The advertisement for the movie The Number 23 features a voiceover that says, "From director Joel Schumacher," and, I have to ask: why do they say that like it's a good thing?
  15. Jesus, Morris is getting infuriatingly righteous with his sense of self-pity. He's practically on the verge of blogging.
  16. Most people from outside the DC area might find it weird that Biscuit McLieberman decided to try to stop Wayne Palmer's assassination just because he gave him an audience and paid him some compliments on his advice, but that's just the way Washington works--at any given time, the only people walking around this city who DON'T want to kill the President are the ones whose asses he's recently and sumptuously kissed. If you are a member of the White House press corps, it doesn't even have to be sumptuous.
  17. Agent Hollister? Like we need another Abercrombie and Fitch plug in this world!
  18. Kee-rist! Even when Chad Lowe is beating Biscuits ass, he sorta looks like he's about to cry.
  19. Gradenko is part of the "Glaspa House?" I guess he shouldn't throw stones! Ha.
  20. I love how Phillip Bauer is like, "Even when you were young, I knew I shouldn't underestimate you, Jack." Fuck! Who did Jack interrogate when he was a kid!
  21. Chloe says, "Yes, but he didn't metabolize the alcohol." Thus giving us one more opportunity to be reminded that Chloe almost never, ever talks like an actual person.
  22. Phillip thought that Gradenko was keeping the nukes "for the day when the Soviet Union would be re-established?" Are you kidding me? What Russian in their right mind wants to re-establish the Soviet Union? Once you've gotten shot of the Estonians, man, you should really sit back and count your blessings.
  23. Wow! Jack's dad is ashamed of Jack because he's a civil servant!? Suddenly 24 has become like The Jazz Singer with Grover Norquist in the Warner Oland role.
  24. Sweet! President Charles Logan is back--bearded, even!--and this time, he's taking home that goddamned Emmy!

DC Convention Center Succeeds at Royally Sucking

The Washington Post gives quite a bit of coverage today to looking at what's happened since the Mount Vernon Square Convention Center opened. In short: it's not done a lot of business, it's losing money, and it hasn't helped the neighborhood develop. And everyone involved is shocked--SHOCKED!!--that it's failed to deliver a bevy of economic bennies.

We looked at the inside-the-paper headline--"Convention Center Fails to Deliver on Hype"--and were mad perplexed. How could the Post get away with saying that? I remember life before the Convention Center was built, and I can tell you exactly how the massive edifice was hyped:

--a structure that would lend a historic part of town some measure of heroic blandness
--a convention center that would be at least 100,000 square feet smaller than a state of the art convention facility and thus obsolete on opening day
--a center that would fail to attract the massive sorts of convention clients that the top locations attracy
--an edifice that would historically link the words "Anthony Williams" with the words "white elephant."

All of these well-hyped outcomes has come to pass, brilliantly, except for perhaps the last. And the fact that the Washington Post is pretending as hard as they can that the Convention Center was a brilliantly executed development plan that has surprisingly failed as opposed to the truth--a widely predicted failure waiting to happen--probably owes a lot to the ninny-ass way the local media seems to want to remember Anthony Williams as some kind of supra-genius as opposed to a bland and uninspiring douche who wasn't smart enough to get listed on his own party's primary ballot and who's hamstrung Shaw with a shitty convention center and the city with a shitty baseball stadium.

Or...maybe shitty. It's still a big to be determined. But that's no reason not to celebrate when something goes completely according to warning. Nice try, Washington Post.

The 24gasm: 2:00pm

  1. Let's start by congratulating Fayed one more time on his impossible, 180 second escape. Good thing the superintendent totally allowed you to tear out walls and ceilings to build your rope ladder escape! Good thing that helicopter was stashed a short distance away! Oh, and, naturally, CTU's satellite tracking ability totally fails them. You'd think it would be EASIER to track a helicopter. Also, why not bring along those gunships from the first couple hours that were all ready to kill Assad to give chase to Fayed's helicopter. Look. All we're saying is: Marwan earned his escapes, man.
  2. Jack did get some excellent, "I am entering CTU for the first time" underscoring. I have no idea why Jack pauses to look around, all surprised by his surroundings. They haven't changed anything about this office since he started working there.
  3. Jack softens a bit when he is exposed to that unspoken love between he and Chloe. "He yells at me for satellite coverage, I take out my frustrations on everyone else around me, and at might, I fuck like a cougar menacing his daughter. Somehow, we pull together a workable like by knitting together the strands of myriad personal dysfunction."
  4. Ahhh, the CTU medical facility. How many losers have met their end there? The fact that no one's died there this year is one of the things that makes this season so extraordinary. And that's why Chloe wants Morris to come back to work so badly. It's only a matter of time before someone down there dies. Morris isn't having it. "Because of me, Abu Fayed can detonate all the nukes he wants!" Cheer up Morris! He can only do it three more times!
  5. Just a couple of episodes ago, Morris was all: "Listen, Palm Springs Hating Chick, if anything else happens, it's on you!" Whatever happened to blaming that woman? That sounded like a pretty good plan.
  6. You know, as shitty as it would be to work for a company that asked you to return to your desk after a terrorist has driven a power drill into your shoulder, keep in mind, CTU is a company that would go out and get revenge-backsies on anyone who's wronged you. I mean, you try getting that sort of loyalty at Booz Allen, and Hamilton.
  7. On the other hand, most of us don't work in a place where, on our worst days, someone from "Division" comes down to our office to chew us out and threaten to make us jump through thirty more bureaucratic hoops.
  8. Assad speaks of having used the language of faith as a dishonest means of roping in followers. It's been one of aspects of fundamentalist terrorism that, for my money, has gone unexplored--are the leaders of these movements true believers? Master manipulators? Is there intention really to forcibly graft religious doctrine on innocent third parties, or to use the language of religious zealotry to prop up more small minded pursuits--money, power, regional influence? Or is it a combination of both? Seriously, experts: this is one of those areas I wish I knew more about.
  9. There's a nice use of the split screen: Biscuit, in full on Smeagle-mode, seems to seep through the side of the screen, like a terrible thought in Wayne Palmer's head.
  10. Biscuit and Chad Lowe meet up in the White House Bunker's sub-basement, where a full on recreation of the room in which Ed Norton and Brad Pitt hosted their Fight Club has apparently been lovingly recreated and installed.
  11. Chad Lowe: "I'm just The Conduit, not The Architect." WTF? Why is Chad Lowe speaking like he's on the set of The Matrix. "You must find the Merovingian, and keep CTU from discovering the location of Zion."
  12. You know, speaking of, I never saw the third Matrix movie...and I was one of the apparent few who actually liked the second one! Even the Zion rave scene! Am I missing out?
  13. Oh, yes! I definitely think sheltering Josh from The Awful Truth is definitely the way to go. I mean, what better way can there be than to finally put all this Bauer family angst behind them!
  14. If the Family Ties theme were about the Bauers and not the Keatons, it would go: "What would we dooo, babeee...without us? What would we do, babyyyyy...without uuusss? We'd do more or less anything because our crippling fear of intimacy might not be so deeply ingrained if it weren't for all of the resentments we harbor and the deeply rooted complexes we encourage as we do the most commonplace things every daaaaayyy. Sha la la laaaaaa!"
  15. Well, the latest plan to stop Fayed basically involves Jack and Rena Sofer driving around Los Angeles looking for a house "Graem" once visited. It sounds like a long shot, but, CTU has a pretty good track record when it comes to driving cars and having vague memories.
  16. Wait...CTU is just going to let Philip Bauer leave? Has he been "debriefed?" Have they closed the socket they opened on him? He was a person of interest just hours ago!
  17. And, seriously, Rena Sofer...you are going to let your son go out and run around a nuked up Los Angeles when he could stay in a fortified bunker? Does this make sense to anyone? Other than the fact that that fortified bunker has proven to be the most dangerous and pregnable place on Earth through the past few seasons.
  18. Wait...they are sending Milo along? Oh, that's bad. CTU's track record is at it's lowest when they send analysts out into the field. This means certain doom is going to befall them.
  19. Gradenko, Schmadenko. I am getting sick of all the Police reunion synergy.
  20. "You should be less obvious, Chloe." Uhm...not physiologically possible.
  21. The only thing you can say as Rena gets Phillip Bauer's Phonecall of Certain Blackmail is "Tell Jack. Always tell Jack! Always tell Jack!" Again, after all these years, I'm surprised that network stations in Los Angeles don't run "The More You Know" spots that just say, "Is your life in danger? Can you not decide, in the face of certain disaster, which move to make? Are you worried that you can only solve your world-threatening problems by suffering in silence? Tell Jack Bauer. It's the smart thing to do. Tell him."
  22. Gradenko's still out looking for a piece of Cold War revenge? Damn, old timer...the cool old-school Russkies are getting it done with Polonium poisoned teapots...and they aren't trying to deflect the blame! They are making sure the motherfucking trail comes back to them--let the world know you're still kicking it. The way Grandenko's going about it is out-of-step with the current state of the art and completely lacking in style points.
  23. Morris comes back to work all for the love of a stern woman. Just like Dick Cheney.
  24. Duh! Bomb! Whatevs! Cf., CTU's history of raiding empty houses. Those who do not read the previous seasons of 24 are doomed to allow the lacy writers to repeat them.

The 24gasm: 1:00pm

  1. Sigh. Right now, doesn't it feel like that White House political machinations are far removed from the terrorist crisis on the ground? Granted, they still both exist within the Mistakes We Already Made Galaxy...but on two different planets. Part of the reason is the Wayne Palmer feels like he's been pre-roboted for Disney's Hall of Presidents, but it's also that removing that part of the action all the way to Washington makes these bunker scenes feel a little too much like Moliere-gone-Sci Fi. I used to mutter at the contrivances that always brought the Pres to L.A. for the goings on, but now I'm seeing how smart that was.
  2. Raise your hand if you wanted to see "Graem" go out like he did in Robocop, like, shambling and moaning in front of a moving car that splattered his liquified remains all over the windshield.
  3. You know, let's not complain about Chloe resyncing the whoosits. Let's talk about the fact that CTU hasn't undergone a server upgrade in six fucking years! And don't even tell me that CTU isn't using UPS for all its enterprise shipping!
  4. I love how Milo strips off his jacket to get down to business. Because it's outerwear that's been holding him back.
  5. Again, I'd like to point out that here we are, once again, breezing through Los Angeles' vaunted wall-to-wall parking lot-like traffic. And, for that matter, this has been a Los Angeles that's been nuked. The streets should be jammed with cars. I'm not going to buy for one second that Los Angelenos would stay at home and shelter in place like they were told. They have to knwo by now that God just hates them.
  6. Milo: "Jack! They got away! They could be anywhere!" Jack: "Dammit, Milo! They could have gone anywhere!" Milo: "Jack! Why are we arguing about this, asshole?" Jack: "I agree, cockbreath! Too often, it seems like we just talk past each other, without really even listening to what it is the people we love are trying to say to us!"
  7. Oh, Morris, you are so boned. No way, she gets the seven million from the terrorists. Bad enough that walking in and out with seven million is fully within the dimensions of "too good to be true," it's dealing with venal, torturous, nuke-detonating, evil terrorists--it's simultaneously that"too fucking awful to be true" scenario.
  8. Tra-la. Back to the White House bunker. Biscuit McLieberman looks like he's gonna cry over his lost network of extralegal internment camps for the swarthy. Well, Biscuit, maybe you'd have been better off in an administration where your views were shared, rather than an administration put together by Joel Surnow, in which people who wouldn't normally even speak to each other other than to offer some casual Dick Cheneys to one another are somehow herded into the same administration and forced to pretend like they all have tremendous respect for one another.
  9. Biscuit and Reed need to fuck or something. There. It needed to be said.
  10. Biscuit: "No...Now, the President is going to advance his own agenda." I know! It's just so crazy that the President has an opinion and the means to implement his policies! What will they think of next? Women's suffrage or something?
  11. Man. Just how many Palmers are the while people intent on killing?
  12. What's the over-under on Jack's nephew Josh coming through this experience so fucked up and traumatized that he becomes, like, the Bizarro Jack Bauer (hates his country, loves his daughter, has a telescopey thing that makes objects look farther away) that threatens a nearly de-radiated Valencia in season 28 of 24?
  13. Okay, Morris. I don't want to have to say this too many times...just use the power of lying! Fix the nuke device slowly...feign difficulty recognizing it...tell them you need to replace a damaged part...just keep buying yourself time, dude. They'll stop hitting you and Jack will save you!
  14. What, you mean CTU hasn't been using a SatCom Overlay Filter? Jesus, man. Bring your SatCom Overlay Filtering best or don't come play at all! Especially when you have Chloe on your team--she's like the Greatest American Hero of SatCom Overlaying and Filterage.
  15. We note with happiness that CTU does have a slightly better track record of storming apartments. Mind you...Fayed will get away, but CTU should be able to pull this off without losing eight tac-teams.
  16. Hey, Mr. Cheney! Check it out! Morris is going for a little dip! Thanks to you, any American soldier can have the same done to them and we can't say boo about it! Know why there isn't a song called "When the Vice-President Talks to God?" Because taunting God doesn't constitute "talking," asshole.
  17. And, so, bad girlfriend dies without getting her mitts on the seven million. I like to think that her last thought was of Palm Springs.
  18. You know, with all these dank, dark, poorly lit workspaces in the White House bunker, it's a wonder more people don't just turn evil, like Chad Lowe. I mean, a little color? Some plants or flowers? Just a little effort would make everyone a lot calmer and less bloodthirsty in their traitorousness.
  19. Biscuit says that the President's reasonableness is proving that terrorism works. No, Biscuit...you're batshit crazy, Constitution-shredding ideas and the very fact that you can and are having them are proof that terrorism works.
  20. Chad Lowe: "What if there was some climate change?" What?! Is he Al freaking Gore, now?
  21. Biscuit rebuffs Chad Lowe's overtures...again, this is more than Hillary Swank ever did!
  22. Oh, Morris. If you had just believed in the Miracle of Lying, you totally would have run out the clock on Fayed and gotten rescued by Jack!
  23. Speaking of Fayed, he made the dumbest escape in 24 history. In less than three minutes, he shimmied down a rope, made it past the CTU perimeter, and somehow got to a waiting helicopter and took off without anyone notcing? Really? Really. It's so stupid that I feel embarrassed for the actor who had to come on to impart that exposition to Jack.
  24. Jesu, joy of man's motherfucking desiring! WHY DOES MANKY HANDED JACK HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING?? Could we have someone--anyone--NOT recently tortured by the Chinese step up to play Operation, the Wacky Doctors Game--especially when that particular brand of Operation is attached to Valencia-vaporizing lethal force?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Mystery of the Mystery Valentines.

So, Amanda claims it's not her. Since I received one as well, I think it's safe to say that, in addition, we can uhm...pretty much rule out Juggz. Right?

The strongest clue, I feel, can be divined from the text on my Valentine. "Dreams ride with you." Many of you out there in blogogopolis mean a lot to me, but there's only one of you who has ever used those exact same terms: "Dreams ride with you, DCeiver...dreams: they ride with you." That person: Rob Goodspeed. I'd always assumed that was the line he and Mike Grass used when they recruited anyone.

Yes--I officially finger Goodspeed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Pompatus of Lost: 3.07--Escape from...PRACTICE ISLAND!!

Previously on LOST: JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof created a show with fascinating characters with mysterious backstories stranded on an island of danger and wonder. It was a beautiful, potentially deep and revealing thing. But then they decided to introduce a bunch of characters who were duller and not written as well and played by people, who, in some cases, were so obviously detestable that when they were finally killed off by Michael, the scenes of celebration were akin to V-J Day. But, with all these new characters getting offed, they realized that they needed to get back to basics. And what was back to basics? Well, they saw that people really liked the show when the interesting characters first got stranded on the island, so they thought it would make perfect sense to take SOME of the interesting characters and get them stranded on yet ANOTHER island. IT ALL MAKES PERFECT SENSE!

Or so they thought, because after six episodes, here is a list of all the interesting things that have happened:
--bunny torture
--we met the Shocker! He was neat.
--fish biscuits! that was cool.
--it was fun watching Kate shimmy out of the cage.
--there was a joke about the Red Sox
--Sawyer and Kate kissed
--and, really...the fish biscuits.
--uhhhhmmmm

In short, this shit has just about run its course. And I surely hope there isn't a THIRD fucking island. Someone has GOT to escape the island tonight.

Lights up in Flashbackistan. Juliet is sitting on the beach. They've gotten so promiscuous with the trips to Flashbackistan, lately, and the reveals haven't been noteworthy (Sawyer's a CON MAN! Kate being on the lam makes it hard for her to SETTLE DOWN! Even with the captain of the Serenity!) She enters a building, passes Ethan Rom in the hallway, and ends up in a room with a woman who is revealed to be her sister. Her sister is basically a huggable, squeezably soft cancer patient in headwrap. Juliet rams a needle of something into her stomach, and they talk about moving.

Juliet throws open the window curtain to reveal they are in Miami. An Oceanic plane is landing, and, it's hard to see why anyone in their right mind would fly with them, because geographically speaking, no passenger plane should be attempting to land in that part of Miami. We only have a second to consider this before Juliet methodically puts on a pair of sunglasses, Roger Daltrey screams, and "Won't Get Fooled Again" comes blasting through the speakers.

Meanwhile, back on The Other Island, Jack is instructing Kate on how to follow his foolproof escape plan. Kate seems hesitant, so Jack deploys the tactic that has served him so well whenever a Lostie demonstrates an inability to follow instructions: restate his instructions MUCH LOUDER. Kate and Sawyer finally give up and give in and get the hell out, but not before Sawyer gets in a few nice licks on the Shocker by ramming his head into the fish biscuit dispenser button a bunch of times, giving the Shocker a shock of his own. Sawyer and Kate run off on their fruitless quest to escape from Other Island.

But back in the Other OR, Juliet isn't having any of this, convinced for whatever reason that Jack will simply not let a person die on his operating table. She orders some other Others to go after Kate and Sawyer, and, if necessary, kill them. A lot is made of the Others uncanny ability to perfectly divine the character of other people (or at least fake a good game), but one thing that's always bothered me in this regard is that you wonder why they just won't give the Losties a break--it's not their fault that they crashed on their crackheaded island.

We return to Flashbackistan, where Juliet's hair once danced about her preternaturally wide face in a gossamer bouquet of wavy curls. Juliet is using her passkey to enter a biological research lab. She's not five steps in the door when her cellphone rings. You are sneaking around put it on vibrate now! Do it! Juliet retrieves some medicine and stashes it away.

Juliet notices two people entering at the other end of the room. One of them is played by Zeljko Ivanek, who is revealed to be Juliet's ex-husband. The other looks eerily like Jessica Cutler. The decision to cast Ivanek cannot pass without some note. You don't cast Ivanek because you are looking for someone to portray a soulful, kindly, helpmate. No no. Ivanek is best deployed as the most dour, mean-minded motherfucker in the land. This is not a diss. Ivanek's eked out an awesome career playing people who fell through the diabolical tree and hit every branch on the way down. Ivanek brings Cutler into the room and starts to put his short, balding, evil-eyed moves on her.

Naturally, this is when Juliet's cell phone--which we warned her to put on vibrate--goes off with piercing ringtone reverby glory. Ivaney pauses, mid-mount, to investigate, and finds Juliet on the floor. "Oh, deary me," Juliet excuses, "I was just in the lab because I inverted some numbers, so, like always, I found a dark spot on the floor to cower in self-abasement for my trivial mistake." Zeljko knows the score, and, what's more, wants to score, so he glistens with evil and asks Juliet to hit the lights on his way out, so he can make some self-hating coitus with Cutler.

Back on the Other Island Operating Theatre, Juliet is breaking the news to Jack that his foolproof plan of "running, and later, yelling" isn't going to work unless he's got some long distance, Red Sea parting, Moses mojo on hand. She says this would be a good time to work for a "peaceful resolution." Jack lets slip to The Dude From That Kansas Album that Juliet wanted him to kill Ben. Juliet says that jack is lying. Jack insists that he is telling the truth. That Dude From That Kansas Album says, "Look, I'm just a dude from that Kansas album. I don't want to be in the middle of this, man! All we are is dust in the motherfucking wind, yo!" That Dude From That Kansas Album orders Juliet to leave the room, for no other good reason other than the fact that the next scene can't happen with her in the room.

Meanwhile, out in Fishbiscuit Cellblock, the Shocker is pissed as hell. He gets released from his cell and gives chase to Sawyer and Kate, who have both made it to the beach and have discovered that Sawyer was totally right about there being no escape. But Kate refuses to dine from the table of defeatism. She radioes Jack and tells him that they'll need a boat to get off.

Just then, the Shocker and his pals hit the beach and start shooting. In a rare moment of accuracy, the Shocker shoots the radio right out of Kate's hand. It's a noteworthy moment, because we spent two years learning to think of The Others as this gang of homicidal supra-geniuses only to learn now that they are actually a bunch of flabby, middle-aged dolts who rarely can hit the broad sign of a barn. A chase ensues, with guns, and no one hits anything, and it would seem a good strategy to simply keep running until the Others run out of bullets, but naturally, Kate and Sawyer STOP WHEN THEY SHOULD BE, UHM...I DON'T KNOW--MOVING? Luckily, Alex picks this moment to emerge from the jungle, armed with a slingshot, to save them. They duck into a camouflaged hole, which Alex must know how to build because her crazy French mom passed these skills down with her DNA, and the Others move on, flummoxed by their disappearance.

Back at the OR, Ben reveals himself to be awake, and he asks that someone go and fetch Juliet. "Why isn't she here?" he asks. "Has she been sent away for the sake of some plot convenience?"

Indeed, she has. Juliet is privately back in Flashbackistan, back at her lab, where it is revealed that Jessica Cutler is the new "research assistant" and that she has been working on some sort of research that involves impregnating the impregnable. She's like a sperm wielding Uruk-hai at the gates of Helms Deep. Zeljko Ivanek, having sussed out what she's doing, wants the two of them to collaborate. His involvement would remove the ethical taint of stealing stuff to inpregnate her sister, and allow them to win awards and drink Champagne. It'll be just like the Miami Sound Machine at the Latin Grammys, bitches! Juliet is brought out of Flashbackistan by an approaching Other, who tells her that Ben is awake.

Meanwhile, somewhere else on Other Island, Alex tells Sawyer and Kate that she has a boat, but first, they have to help her with her Heroes-esque mission. "Save my boyfriend! Win a boat!" Sawyer groans, but he should suck it up. Heroes is bringing home three times the audience share as Lost. Also: their subtitled Asian Stereotype is a good deal more charming.

We return to the Other Island Operating Theatre. I have to admit, these are well-constructed scenes. Testy, tense and weird. Ben wants Three Minutes In Heaven alone with Juliet, which jack agrees to. He and That Dude From That Kansas Album leave the room. That Dude From That Kansas Album formally introduces himself to Jack. "I'm That Dude From That Kansas Album, by the way," he says, by way of introduction. "They've got history," he adds, referring to Ben and Juliet. Jack can only look on and think to himself, "Yeah, diagnosis Duhsville." Finally, Juliet leaves the room and tells Jack to fix Ben, and in return, she'll help Kate and Sawyer escape.

Back in Flashbackistan, Juliet's at the creepiest job interview in the world. It's being given by a Mr. Alpert--but it's not the Tijuana Brass he's pitching. No. That would be cool. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to be in the Tijuana Brass? The only thing better would be to be in the Parliament-Funkadelic All-Stars. But, I'm pretty sure that they don't hire. They have a chain of succession: when one P-Funk All-Star dies or retires, they come knocking on the next person's door, and that person joins. This is why the P-Funk All-Stars don't travel together, and why whenever they give their State of the Funk Address, one member always stays at home.

Alpert works for Mittelos Bioscience (anagram for Mittelos: "Lost Time"--as in "Is it TIME for that LOST show to be on?") and he wants to hire Juliet away from her ex-husband's clutches. He tells her that private funding is the key to ultimate happiness and that they live in the PORTLAND AREA, and the PORTLAND AREA is teeming with lots of fun things to do. Oh, that PORTLAND AREA. He just loves saying it! PORTLAND AREA.

But Juliet is unmoved by the promise of mountain biking and evergreen-infused weed, so Alpert steps up his wooing. It turns out that she is hotly wanted because she successfully impregnated a male field mouse. And is there any greater gift you can give to the world through science than to make fucking FIELD MICE twice as adept at breeding? I think not. Next, he shows her the MRI of a badly degraded womb--always a good first date move. And here I am having already used my best degraded womb joke!

Anyway, Juliet says that she'll never escape her ex-husband. Unless he was hit by a bus! But there's no way that Mittelos Bioscience can help with that. OR CAN THEY?!?

Back at Other Island, Juliet uses the Other's Awesome Collection of Six Whole Surveillance Cameras to locate Kate and Sawyer. Kate and Sawyer and Alex are poised outside a building, guarded by a young guy named Aldo. "Aldo?" Sawyer asks, bemused. Don't laugh, Sawyer, it's a real name. My first year resident advisor was named Aldo! He was a Sigma Chi and terrified of tarantulas (a fear which, naturally, his dorm charges, working in tandem with his fraternity brothers, exploited to HILARIOUS effect). The three of them run a con they learned from Star Wars on Aldo, and gain entry to the facility. Alex's bf, Karl, is being held in Room 23 (ugh...like the world needed another reference to that Jim Carrey movie), where he is being subjected to loud music and what looks like a Ken Russell film festival on crystal meth. Based upon the music's lack of melody and its strong asshole vibe, one can only conclude that Steve Albini works for the Others. Somehow, I think I always knew that.

Back in Flashbackistan, Juliet learns that she has successfully impregnated her squeezably-soft, cancer victim sister. She goes to tell Zeljko. Zeljko is walking down the street on his cellphone, where he speaks what has to be one of the most hilarious throwaway lines in the history of Lost: "Because you're insufferable...and mean. Well, you asked me for the truth, mom." AWESOME! Had to have been an improv! Juliet tells him the happy news, and he starts in on collaborating again. Juliet refuses, and before Zeljko can mount much of a counterargument, the 3:45 East to Synchroncity Town juxtaposes itself rather violently with his body. Way to take a Dharma initiative, busdriver!

Back at the OR, Jack and That Dude From That Kansas Album are working on fixing Ben. Jack wants to know why they just couldn't leave the island to get Ben fixed up at a proper hospital. I mean, all that AWESOME private funding! That Dude From That Kansas Album is about to tell Jack--and, by default us--something vitally important about what actually happened when "the sky turned purple" when jack accidentally nicks an artery and the moment is, uhm...lost. Great going, Jack!

Elsewhere, Kate, Sawyer, Carl and Alex finally reach the boat--which was about ten feet up the beach from where they got chased into the woods, when they are discovered by The Shocker. Juliet told The Shocker to let them get away, but The Shocker, he wanna kill SUMFING because his girlfriend died (that actress left Lost, to die, AGAIN on ER, and, I have to give the ER cast credit: none of them freaked out as bad as The Shocker). He's about to have his vengeance when Juliet comes out of the woods and kills him, thankfully, mercifully.

Juliet tells Kate and Sawyer that they are free to leave, and they can take Carl--his drugged-up weakling ass will be a terrific asset back on Lostie Beach!--but that Alex has to stay behind, this, despite all her hard work on hole digging and boat-building. Before they leave, Kate is given the radio to call Jack. He makes her tell him The Story of Counting to Five, and we can tell by the Swelling Piano Strains of Remembering an Actual Good Episode From the First Season that her halting, grief-stricken recounting of the time Jack got all a-scurred and needed to Count To Five is working its powerful Kate-Jack magic on their unspoken connection, and Jack is thus able to stop Ben from bleeding out. Jack tells Kate to go away and never come back, and her reaction to having to make this promise tells us that in a few minutes, we'll see scenes from next week with her totally telling people that she's going back for Jack.

Sawyer, suddenly prone to speaking as if he were a salty old sea dog, and not a total douchebag, says, "The trades are coming," and they shove off for their original Island. Hooray. They've successfully escaped from the Island of Moribund Plot Contrivances.

In Flashbackistan, Juliet is crying over Zeljko's dead body and the pile of paperwork she has to complete in order to put the matter to bed. Hopefully, her HMO isn't Kaiser Permanente because those assholes will screw you to the floor for every last dollar. Juliet would probably have to file court affidavits saying that Zeljko was dead on arrival and so there couldn't possibly be cause to charge her for four days of hospital meals, only to have Kaiser pull something like saying that they are contractually obligated to smother every corpse in four days supply of Jello because that's just how they roll when they are not lining the pockets of every asshole piece of crap on Capitol Hill. Fuck Kaiser Permanente.

Back in the OR, Jack tells Juliet that the tumor has been removed. He wants to know what Ben told Juliet that made her go and help Kate and Sawyer escape and change her mind about killing Ben. Juliet goes back to Flashbackistan, where we learn that she basically signed on to work with the creepy Mittelos people, who waited until she agreed to tell her that she wouldn't be relocating to Portland, but, rather, a remote island in the middle of nowhere with polar bears and Black Smoke Stompy Monsters and resentful fucktard colleagues who were totally above enjoying a Stephen King book.

Basically, Juliet says that Ben told her she could go on home. She leaves the room, and all Jack can do is make his patented "Son of a BITCH!" face. Yeah, Jack. Just wait till you see you guys only hit a 6.5 share. Son of a bitch, indeed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Capital Weather's wonderful, inscrutable, and yet totally understandable guide to the coming Snowpocalypse.

Every once in a while, the strange little graphics Capital Weather deploys to describe what's going on in the weather say it all, even when we can't totally be sure what it is they are depicting. These are some formidable meteorologists who nevertheless understand that the Perfectest Storm is the gale force winds of my formidable imagination. To wit:

Today, the approach of the coming snowpocalypse was depicted by an approaching, roiling cloud of pure winter fury. Look at that fucking icy mass! You think you can escape that? Better get your toilet paper now, assholes! Because look at what's coming over the next two days!

Oh shit! That's right. After the initial surge of wintry destruction, the conditions over the next two days will closely resemble the environment typically found within Ann Coulter's vagina, with long, sharp, unforgiving stalactites of frozen tears and frostbitten, craggy walls where the human seed can find no purchase.

Finally, after two days of unforgiving, Coulter-poont brutality, the only figure you'll be able to see moving across the face of the blasted tundra of Washington, DC will be Bigfoot, and you can bet he'll be pissed as shit that the 38B still doesn't run on time!

DCeptette: Call me when Scrantonicity has its reunion version

  1. Oh, come on. Come on. No nomination for Alex Strain? Really? Really. Sorry, Helen Hayes Awards: you are officially on notice.
  2. The City Paper announces many new online innovations. First, people will no longer have to pay to read the paper's back issues. Second--wait. Back issues? They were keeping those? And yet, there are still people out there on the streets tonight, freezing to death (much like the CP's server when more than five people attempt to be on it at the same time)? And...let me understand this...you were supposed to PAY the City Paper to have access to these back issues? You'd think that they would pay you to come get them. [DCist]
  3. Tom Coburn is like having a deranged cartoon chicken in the Senate. [Wonkette]
  4. Rounding out today's coverage of fingerbanging. [Deadspin]
  5. Credit where it's due. Obama is already acting like the un-Kerry, by not taking shit from shitmouths, like this twit from Australia. [Unfogged]

Announcing the Show You Probably Won't Be Getting Tickets To.

No one divines, catalogs, and sorts through concert intel like The Upstate Life. Seriously--if he's your only source: fuck and run baby, fuck and run. It's likely to be solid footing. Today, he's working on whether or not the Washington Post's listing of an Arcade Fire date at DARCH is at all accurate. The original source is Washington's own Jay Dot Freedom of the Lake--who could possibly be more credible than a man whose very own name sounds like an Arcade Fire album?

If this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth--one May 4th date at DARCH--then color us shafted. The onset of puberty in mayflies will be longer than the ticket sale. I'm hoping they play Louisville or something.

It feels so de rigeur blogger to even give a shit about these guys, of course. Forgive me for cleaving to cliches. Be advised, though, the band's final show at Judson Memorial Church is getting the All Songs Considered treatment this Saturday night. Point your curious browzahs at TUL for further developments.

The 24gasm: 12:00pm

  1. Well, it's worth saying: not landing Donald Sutherland was a big missed opportunity. He's not dead, is he? I mean, did you know Jack Palance just died this year?! I know, it's been a slow motion parade of imminent demise ever since Palance's dignity was killed off in that sequel to City Slickers. You realize that Bruno Kirby died this year as well? Oh well. Billy Crystal couldn't kill Georghe Muresan...not all of him, anyway. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Cromwell's been such a TV get lately. Never really made it out of the typecast ghetto after Babe. He's sturdy, serious...I have no beef with him. I can see Jack being his spawn. Still can't figure out "Graem" though.
  2. Meanwhile, back at the White House bunker, this episode's going to be all about whether Wayne is made of stern stuff or if he's going to knuckle under to the politics of fear. At the outset, you really have to give the edge to the politics of fear, especially since we once again have a Presidential administration where a thoughtful guy has allowed obvious troglodytes to have a seat at the table. I could have vetted Palmer's cabinet by simply ruling out everyone with that flinty glint of EEEEEVVVILLL. Also, Biscuit McLieberman's bad imitation of the Macy's store psychologist from Miracle on 34th Street would have been an obvious tell.
  3. Oh, CTU...Jack hasn't "gone dark." They were ambushed!
  4. Are you digging the whole explication of the Family Bauer this season? Because frankly, it's the most tediumtastic thing we've got going on in this series right now. Even more so than Walid, the pickpocket extraordinaire. If the Bauers were the Keaton's, the Family Ties theme would have gone: "What would do, baby...without us? / What would we dooo, baby...without us? / Probableeeee lots of things because our crippling intimacy issues and inferiority complexes wouldn't get in the way of our relationships, to say nothing of our vastly divergent worldviews and moral foundationnnns... / Sha-la-la-la!"
  5. So, "Graem's" henchmen bring Jack and Papa Bauer out of a van and up to the edge of a hole in the ground, and my first reaction is: "Oh, Graem wanted to execute them in the style of Jabba the Hutt!" Like he's built himself a L'il Pit of Carkoon but couldn' reverse genetic engineer the Sarlacc. Seriously. These are the things that go through my mind.
  6. Jack gets crossed with his dad for killing the guy he wanted to interrogate. "Jesus, dad! I wanted to question him! You're always doing that! Trying to stifle my inquisitive nature! Aren't you proud of me, dad? Gawd!"
  7. Okay. So, they have a picture of the guy that Fayed wants to make the triggers work, but it's scrambled, No Way Out-steez, and, do we even need to write a protocol? It's totally Chloe's husband! I mean, we see this coming a mile away!
  8. It sort of bothers me that they did this whole research thing on the name Gradenko that pulled up a list of names with Jack's dad on it, sending everyone running in that direction, but no one's seen fit to say, "Huh. We have a terrorist in need of a guy who can make these nukes work. Who's got the skill set. Let's crunch the data. Wha-wha? Chloe's husband? Zut alors! C'est un coincidence!"
  9. "I've seen what happens when you try to protect people," snarks "Graem's" wife. Oh, have you? Have you been watching? He's saved the country, like, five times, snooty-pants. It's what happens when he doesn't try to protect people that's fucked up.
  10. They send "Graem's" family back to CTU. You know, where there won't be any danger, ever. Because after five years, they've finally learned to put the breathing apparatuses INSIDE the room you run to in order to get away from nerve gas. They just learned that. Christ, the place has been bombed, infiltrated, moled, gassed, and compromised eleven ways from Sunday. Plus they have the worst medical facility in the world that's not in some Burmese prison camp. If you told me that you were taking me to CTU for my own safety, I'd probably ask if there wasn't some plane filled with motherfuckin' snakes I could flee to as an alternative.
  11. "Graem's" wife is all, "Keep Josh out of this?" How, exactly, would they get Josh into this? Put him on a tac-team? Give him some sockets to open?
  12. The whole Morris' brother is in the hospital thing is such an obvious ruse that they may as well have told him that his brother got hit on the head by a fusillade of plot-thickening anvils falling from the sky.
  13. Chloe attempts to convince Morris to do his job in the same manner that Edgar did when he learned about his mom's imminent demise, except to maybe hold his breath a little longer.
  14. Okay, man. Jesus. We have the knowledge as an audience member to know that "Graem" is evil and is thus undeserving of a great measure of sympathy, but Jack losing his fucking mind on him--I'm sorry, it requires a little more back story than we've been given. People get frosted by family members all the time...it doesn't turn them into homicidal freaks. I suppose that we can factor in Jack's Chinese experience as a factor, but his desire to inflict pain on "Graem" just hasn't been dramatically justified. They need to batten the hatches down character-wise, or agree to put Jack in a fuckin' sanitarium for the rest of the show.
  15. Dude. When you've quickened the pulse of CTU's resident torture expert--a guy who goes to work everyday either expecting to stick someone with hypos filled with pain receptor googah or at the very least perfect his pain receptor googah for the next time he gets to do it--then you have really, really, gone too far.
  16. But "Graem" let's spill the beans about almost everything about last season. Maddeningly, however, he doesn't include answers to larger questions of "Why?" Beyond that bullshit "I love my country" claptrap anyway. Since last season, I've wanted to know what the Bluetooth Fuck Gaggle hoped to achieve and I'm at the point now where I'd order some more CCs of Pain Receptor Googah to find out.
  17. Meanwhile, back at the Scenic Anacostia Prison Camp, Walid has unleashed a jihad on his sense of self-worth.
  18. Sandra Palmer tells Walid that he is the "bravest, most principled" man she's ever known...and she knew David Palmer! He sells Allstate now! But then, unlike Walid, David was "electable."
  19. Hey, geeks. Tell me, is the "No Way Out" scenario even possible? Are there programs you can illegally download to make a scrambled .jpeg look right? My feeling is it's either totally, easily done or it can't be done at all.
  20. Powers Boothe is in the house as Vice President Noah Daniels...and clearly, we are meant to think of Vice President Daniels as a man so fundamentally base and evil that he makes Dick Cheney look like Burl Ives.
  21. Powers Boothe's presence on 24 was preordained the moment William Devane got cost many seasons ago. I mean, television has changed an awful lot in the past decade. Salman Rushdie's girlfriend hosts a cooking show on Bravo, for instance. Plus: Howie Mandel, people--how'd that happen. Still, some things never change, and if William Devane is going to get some, then you DAMN SURE Powers Boothe is going to get his, too. That's just the way this shit works.
  22. I've always liked the name "Powers Boothe", too. I like "Powers" because it references the idea of "powers". That is, having some. "Boothe" I like, because, after all, what powerful man wouldn't want to be seated at a booth? Makes sense, doesn't it? Plus, the extra "e". Like "Ye Olde Tyme" except...I don't know...bosser.
  23. Wow! Wayne Palmer sacks up, leaving Biscuit Mc Lieberman crying into his dipshit, fallacious analogies about how our founding fathers couldn't conceive of nuclear weapons. Know what? They couldn't conceive of Mooninite Lite Brites, either, but they're all up in the afterlife having a great laugh about it now.
  24. Ohh. Jack's dad offs his son! That'll do, pig!

Two-hour attempt at tightening the story tonight!

Yeah, yeah, Obamania.

In a move that shows a palpable lack of respect for Hillary Clinton--and we can get behind just about anything that pays her a lack of respect--Barack Obama officially stopped putting off the obvious today, and became one more of the many people who'll likely not be President. We've enjoyed Obama ever since his Convention keynote address made us want to fuck him. Are we prepared to vote for him. We'll see. But he's got to run while the running's good, i.e., before he's got a lengthy and contradictory Senate voting record to sabotage him.

He made his entree announcement this weekend, and as you might expect, we didn't see a thing. But, a comment Matt Yglesias made about it got our attention.

"Good speech. Frankly, I sort of enjoy the absence of policy detail."
Enjoy it? Lad, you should be soaking in it! I can assure you, the least important thing a Presidential candidate needs to elaborate on--or even firmly establish in the first place--is policy detail. During the run up to the last Presidential elections, I enumerated the many problems John Kerry had as a candidate, and his tendency to lapse into policy detail was chief among them. As I wrote then:

When a presidential candidate proposes a policy or a plan and cites numbers and statistics, does it really leave an impression on you? It doesn't do it for me. Candidate X may want America to have this tax plan or that health care plan, and I may like the sound of it, but I'm always left complaining, "Well, dude, that sounds great and all. But first, you'll need to get a law passed that will allow me to vote for you, fifty-one Senators, and a couple hundred Representatives, and then, we'll need to find filibuster-proof supermajorities of the same who totally agree up and down with your plan for me to be guaranteed that this policy you describe that I now want will come to be.
In other words, so what? Your sirloin is going to become sausage, anyway, so spare me the details.

What's important for a Presidential candidate to elucidate? Vision, baby. What direction do you want to sail the ship of state? What do you want America to look like in four years? What can we, as citizens, expect to be putting our weight behind during your Presidency? What's our objective? What's the mission? Go back and peep the winners. They all had it. Even Mini-Me managed it.

Here's where a Presidential message starts:

  1. It evokes a cause or project in which American citizens may participate.
  2. It evokes a national need that is front-and-center in the national zeitgeist.
  3. It evokes a sense of National Purpose.
That's the shit you need to account for before you start crunching the numbers on your health care plan. That's the sort of thing you can sell the American people on without them asking "How are we going to pay for it?" And, best of all, once you've established it, no one will ever say that they are voting for you because you are "electable."


I don't know that Obama, or anyone has this shit down. But the absence of picayunity is a good sign. Just remember, fortune favors the bold.