Friday, April 30, 2010

Jobbed

I’ve been a bit of a hypocrite.

I love – to the point of not being able to live without – my iPod. Without question one of the most significant inventions of my lifetime. Most of you know I love my music and spend untold hours searching for new bands and new music rather than working. Finding something new and good is still exhilarating to me; it can put me in a good mood for days.

Contrary to what you usually read here, I do have good moods.

With the inventions of iPod docking stations (one of which resides on my desk and is cranking out the new, fun, and totally rocking Futureheads right now), music is more accessible, portable and shareable than at any time in our history. This isn’t just a good thing, it’s a great thing.

Sadly, Apple tied the greatest music invention since the amp into their cumbersome, chaotic, over priced and highly corporate iTunes. Simply put, I fucking hate iTunes.

To be clear, I love the concept of an online, digital music store, but iTunes took that idea and corrupted it to the point of uselessness. They plastered digital rights management all over their songs that I still have music I can’t get on my any other iPod without using pirated, third party software. The last time I reimaged my laptop it took me days – fucking days – to get music I had already paid for back onto my iPod. Oh, it was there, but the newly installed iTunes thought it was unlicensed music and refused to sync it back to my iPod.

What? Fuck you, iTunes. I paid for this, I have listened to it hundreds of times, I want it back. How dare you?!!

Granted, it seems like the DRM bullshit is behind us, but iTunes still has its own proprietary music format (M4A) that won’t play on any other music player. Was there something wrong with MP3s, Apple? Of course not, they just wanted to make everyone else miserable by using a technology that only works with their products. Rather than setting an industry standard for digital music, they reinvented the wheel and wreaked havoc. Well done, douchebags.

It’s also confusing that I’m paying the same amount for a digital copy of an album as I do if I walked down to Newbury Comics and bought the physical CD. There is no packaging and transportation costs for the record company, so why am I still paying between ten and fifteen dollars just to download music?

There have also been incidents regarding Apple insisting on existing customers ‘upgrading’ iTunes to the latest version; claiming the update patches some bugs and makes things run smoother. Only the real reason is to disable certain functions they forgot to plug before. For example, if you had an iPhone – one you paid for – and you managed to get it to work on your Verizon network, Apple pushed out a ‘patch’ that basically disabled all networks except AT&T. That’s right. A patch that left your phone useless. Thanks, Apple! I only paid $600 for this and now you’ve ruined it.

I would like to point out that having the iPhone only available for AT&T customers is disturbingly incestuous to begin with, but to purposely fuck over anyone that decided not to follow their rules raises all sorts of ethical questions. It’s not Apple’s iPod or iPhone, it’s yours. They just made it and sold it to you. Imagine if Dell decided it didn’t want Linux running on your computer and sent out a ‘patch’ that made it impossible for anything but Windows to run. Would you be pissed? Would there be worldwide outrage?

Thankfully, I found an alternate and more reliable outlet for my musical trends. It’s called Lala.com and greatly improved how digital music can be used. Not only is every single song completely free of any digital rights handcuffs, but it’s cheaper and uses the proven MP3 format so you can play the tunes on any player you choose. Hell, my CD player recognizes the MP3 format, so I could burn 150 songs and crank it while driving to New Hampshire.

But that’s just the beginning. Lala offers a virtual storage place for all you music. You can upload and store songs so you can access them from any computer anywhere in the world. You can also buy an ‘online’ version of an album for 99 cents instead of seven bucks that will allow you to stream it over your computer.

Even better: they let you listen to all songs, all the way through, one time. No useless thirty second sound bites. One time you can listen to an entire album all the way through. After that you can either buy or just listen to a sample. Unlike some other online music store I could mention. Oh, right. I already have.

Are you sensing where this is going?

My worlds collided in December when I learned Apple bought Lala. Fuck! I tried to talk myself out of any bad things stemming from this takeover, but I’ve been leery and anxious for months.

Today the other shoe kicked me in the face. I received an email from my Lala subscription service that reads ‘Lala will be discontinuing service on May 31, 2010’. Once again, Apple is proudly and loudly giving the music world the middle finger. Rather than incorporating Lala’s ingenuity and flexibility, they’re simply shutting down the competition.

I’m officially depressed.

So I’m asking you all for help. And hope.

Let me know if you have any MP3 or music sites where you can legally listen to and buy music. I’m trying to keep as much money away from Apple as possible and this shut down of Lala is the last straw.

In the meantime, I’ll be drinking away my sorrows and cranking my music in attempt to block out the sadness.


Today’s distraction: Creative use of a water tower in downtown Minneapolis. This faces the new baseball field so I’m really hoping they can program this to go nuts whenever a Twin player hits a home run.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Immortality

Since Lost was a repeat last night, I’m going to take this opportunity to contribute to the betterment of humankind. Gleaned from my decades upon decades of painstaking (half assed) research (living a torrid and dangerous lifestyle) here are some tips for creating a healthier and happier you.

Remember, a happy you means everyone else in this world will put up with your bullshit more readily. It really is a benefit to everyone.

Drink Beer: Did you forget who was writing this? Come on, none of you are new here. I should point out that this isn’t simply a ‘Let’s party!’ life slogan. Well, it is…but it isn’t JUST that. See, beer is actually good for you. It lowers your chances of heart disease by up to 40%, prevents blood clots (by getting them drunk and rolling them like a seasoned prostitute), increases good cholesterol, and helps reduce stress by making everything else totally inconsequential.

If all that wasn’t enough, it’s friggin’ delicious and helps get you laid if enough of it is applied to the proper person.

Still, I realize not everyone is a beer person, so go with red wine (provides the same benefits) if beer does not please your palate. Although, I will question your palate’s ability to distinguish shit from chocolate if that is the case.


Drink Coffee: Besides being the necessary nutrient my brain needs to function (such as that function is) in the morning, coffee also provides other meaningful health benefits. For example, regular coffee drinkers are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. I assume this is because getting the sugar into the cup would be nearly impossible with all that shaking, not to mention the skin burns from all that spilt coffee. Other studies have shown that it can reduce your risk of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes while improving athletic performance and muscle recovery following a workout.

If all that isn’t enough to get you on board with the secondary nectar of the gods, consider this: Men who drink coffee are more sexually active later in life than men who do not.

Hello, Starbucks? Do you have a Big Gulp?


Eat Fruit: You would think this is an obvious one, but it’s ignored by too many people. I have become a fruit freak the last year or so, obsessing about when apple season starts, when the best time of year for blueberries is, where strawberries have come from, or whether there are deadly spiders hiding in the banana bunches. Not to get all preachy (fuck it!), but I feel a hundred times better since I’ve added fruit to my daily diet.

If you need specifics, know that all kinds of fruit will increase your memory efficiency, decrease your cholesterol, likelihood of heart disease and strokes. Plus it…um….regulates your digestive system. If you know what I mean.

Poop.

Poop is what I mean.


Laugh: Especially at yourself. While we are all familiar with the age old saying ‘Laughter is the best medicine’, it hasn’t been until recently research has proven how right that is.

Laughter relieves muscle tension and stress (even up to 45 minutes after laughing is done and the tears from reading my entries have dried on your cheeks), boosts your immune system by increasing immune cells and infection fighting antibodies, and improves blood function to protect you from heart attacks. It also makes you feel good all over by releasing endorphins and can even relieve pain, although how funny anything can be while in excruciating agony is a question only those televised on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ can answer.


Get Married*: Hear me out. The CDC recently released findings that, against all common sense, says married people are healthier both mentally and physically than single people.

Married folk are less likely to drink heavily (apparently I wasn’t included in this study), smoke or be physically inactive (because we’re fighting for our lives). The CDC also says that married people are less likely to suffer from headaches and ‘psychological distress’, although some would argue those two symptoms describe marriage perfectly. Maybe married people have just adapted to psychological distress better than single people.


*Or Don’t: Let’s face it, there are some people just not cut out for marriage. People who don’t want to or are unable remain faithful to one person their entire lives. It’s time to stop pretending this isn’t a reality. People tend to get married because it’s what they are expected to do, not because it’s what they truly want. Besides, the above CDC study also concluded that married men are more likely to be obese than single men.

Food for thought.

Speaking of food….


Eat A Big Breakfast: As I mention last week, it appears eating a hefty breakfast may be better for you than not eating anything at all. A breakfast high in fat tends to increase your metabolism and helps prevent you from becoming a stationary lard of inactivity. The rule seems to be: Big breakfast, standard lunch, light dinner. I would suggest a big bowl of fruit salad for dinner, although you may wake in the middle of the night with a massive case of ‘my dinner is escaping through my colon’.


Take A Daily Nap: I have been fighting for years to get my workplace to create a nap room in our office. Unfortunately, nobody takes me seriously regarding anything. I could yell fire at an office meeting and everyone would wait for a punchline while we perish in flaming agony. I suppose I only have myself to blame.

I’m not joking about this, though. Napping has positive effects on job performance, memory retention, mood, all five senses and brain functioning. Keep in mind that these benefits are for naps between 15 and 30 minutes. Anything longer than that can have a negative effect on you. I’m assuming this would include grogginess and loss of employment.


Have Sex: This list has somehow morphed into everything I love about life. No, I’m not just trying to invent reasons for me to have more sex, although I probably could if I had to. Turns out I don’t have to because science has done it for me. Science rules!

Sex, it turns out, has several health benefits. Besides burning calories and feeling really, really, really (insert infinity symbol here) good, sex boosts your immune system by increasing the antibody immunoglobulin A, relieves stress in the best way possible, boosts self esteem, improves cardio vascular health, and has been shown to reduce pain.

For all us men, there is one more reason: Having regular sex reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Frequent ejaculations – especially by men still in their twenties – reduces the chance of developing PC by over a third. Of course, as well all know, frequent ejaculations by men in their twenties doesn’t necessitate a partner.

Don’t tell the wife or girlfriend that, though. Just use it as an excuse to have more sex. ‘Honey, do you want me to get cancer? Great! Bend over. This will only take a minute.’


BONUS FOR MEN

Eat Peanut Butter: I shit you not! Turns out PB and its monounsaturated fats (the same healthy ones olive oil contains) are extremely good for you. It reduces your risk of heart disease, increases your body’s production of testosterone (so you ladies may want to take pause while eating a full jar of it lest you sprout a moustache over night), and can produce firmer and longer lasting erections.

Peanut butter: love potion. Who knew? Well, Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston for one. Seems they ran a weight loss study and found men who eat peanut butter as part of their daily diet lose more weight and keep that weight off than those who focus on a low fat, low calorie diet.

Did I mention the rock hard erections?

There you go, fellow life travelers. Follow the rules above (in moderation, of course) and you’ll live long and prosper. Well, maybe not prosper, but you should live long anyway. Whether that's under a bridge or in a mansion is really up to you.

If you take into account all of the above, your daily schedule should look like this:

Wake up and have sex

Breakfast of coffee with bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich

Lunch of PB&J with beer

Sex

Nap

Fruit salad for dinner

Sex with beer

Seinfeld and Family Guy reruns

Sex with coffee flavored beer

Marriage at some point

If you can figure out how to get married while drinking a coffee/beer mixture and eating a peanut butter fruit salad sprinkled with bacon while fitting in a nap…

…well….

…you just might live forever.


Today’s distraction: Top 10 substitutes for junk food. Number 8 is something I’ve always enjoyed, anyway. If given a choice I will take dark chocolate over milk chocolate every time. But, sorry, #2. There is no substitute for ice cream. Certainly not what you’re suggesting.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Organizing the Mind

Random thoughts cluttering my chaotic mind.


File Under ‘They Grow Up So Fast’: Baseball season for 9 year old started Tuesday night and immediately smashed me in the mouth with the fact he’s no longer a young one. In his first at bat he screamed a line drive into left center to drive in two runs. But it wasn’t the hit that impressed me; it was the swing.

If you’ve ever watched little kids swing at a baseball you fully aware that they are a work in progress. They don’t take a step into the ball or they don’t swivel their hips or they swing at balls over their heads. Eldest has had the problem of not putting his entire body into the swing, just using his arms. Not this time. While I wish I could compare him to a Red Sox player, this particular swing looked just like Derek Jeter.

Early retirement, here I come!


File Under ‘Maybe You Should Admit You Were Juicing’: US Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt is facing a suspension after failing a drug test. The steroid DHEA was found in his system. The twist in this story is Merritt is claiming he wasn’t taking steroids for training purposes but that he was taking an over the counter ‘male enhancement’ product.

I’ve got to hand it to him; this could either be the most effective misdirection excuse of all time (although he’s setting himself up for small penis jokes the rest of his life. ‘No wonder he’s so fast! Less wind resistance!’) or he’s playing a joke on everyone. He’s even quoted as saying he ‘can’t get his hands around’ this issue.

In a related note, I can never understand why guys would take any of these so called ‘enhancements’. If everything is working, why take any sort of risk regarding your junk? I’m a firm believer in ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Risking side effects or even personal injury to gain an inch or so (if this shit even works), doesn’t seem to be a worthwhile gamble.

Ask yourself this is you’re considering any of these products: Is everything working? Does it provide pleasure to both me and my partner? If the answer is yes, leave it alone. Women, that goes for you and any sort of ‘enhancements’ you may be considering, as well. Keep things natural.


File Under ‘Obesity? We’re Saving America!’: While I enjoy that Denny’s guy (‘I don’t know who this Mr Chino is, but I sure do like his pants’), I was fairly sure Denny’s was promoting America’s obsession with becoming super sized by offering three and four dollar artery clogging breakfasts.

Turns out they may be taking the right approach. According to a new study from the University of Alabama, fatty foods for breakfast may be healthier than we are led to believe. They studied the old saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper’ and found that diet reduced the likelihood of ‘metabolic syndrome’ (aka: becoming a fatty).

Here’s a quote and everything: ‘the research team found that fat intake at the time of waking seems to turn on fat metabolism very efficiently’.

The lesson? East a double cheeseburger for breakfast, not dinner. Does Sonic serve breakfast? Jum should know the answer to that one.

Oh, and if you were going to ridicule this study because it came from Alabama as I was ready to do (had a joke about grits ready and everything), turns out UAB has one of the best medical programs in the country. Fuck you, Harvard.


File Under ‘Maybe The Mayans Really Did Know Something’: Let’s consider the following events: Massive earthquake in Haiti followed by even more massive earthquake in Chile which created a minor tsunami and another fairly large earthquake on Friday. Now consider the massive amount of rain we’ve had the last two months, the Iceland volcano that nobody can pronounce without a full day of training and you can see how the world ending in 2012 could be a real possibility.

If that’s the case, I’m going to be royally PISSED I put all that money into my 401K. I mean, fuck that man. Let’s go party.

If you still have doubts about the upcoming apocalypse, let me just point out that Tim Tebow was taken in the first round by the Denver Broncos and the Detroit Lions made a sensible, non wide receiver pick. Scared yet?


File Under ‘I Really Wish I Could Remember My Dreams’: Wifey informed me I was talking in my sleep the other night and was talking ‘suggestively’ to someone. Sadly, I can’t remember the dream or if Mila Kunis was involved. On the other hand, it’s probably good another woman’s name wasn’t uttered during my sleep talking. That would have been bad.


File Under ‘To Protect and Serve’: Boston Police assigned to a cool quarter of a million dollar, high speed boat fell asleep on watch last month. Seems they didn’t notice the boat come loose from its mooring during one of our rain storms and the boat simply drifted away. Other officers found it bumping and grinding with the Summer Street bridge later on. The boat sustained $75,000 worth of damage and the three officers in charge of the boat have since been transferred to other departments.


File Under ‘At Least They Have Their Priorities Straight’: During the past five years 33 SEC employees had been using their government issued computers to download and view porn. Score! Surprisingly, one of these was a female attorney who admitted to watching porn up to 8 hours a day on her work computer. Tax payers money hard at work.

My favorite quote, though is this: ‘In fact, this attorney downloaded so much pornography to his government computer that he exhausted the available space on the computer hard drive’. Holy shit! That, my friends, is a boat load of porn! Can you imagine that IT guy explaining to this douche why his computer was running so slow?


File Under ‘Maybe He’s Just An Asshole’: Once again A-Rod is receiving flak for crossing some imaginary line of unwritten baseball rules. Frankly, some of these ‘unwritten rules’ seem arbitrary and bullshit, but it makes me wonder if other players simply don’t like A-Rod for reasons we aren’t aware of. I hate A-Rod for purely subjective reasons (he’s a Yankee and socially retarded), but I’m beginning to wonder if anyone likes this dude.


File Under ‘Good Or Bad News?’: You can make up your own minds.


File Under ‘One More Reason To Dump Comcast’: Seems the FCC was trying to curb Comcast’s habit of ‘strangling’ certain websites to suit their own needs. Unfortunately, courts shot down the FCC’s attempt to regulate what ISPs can and cannot do.

If you’re wondering, Comcast was intentionally slowing download speeds from certain sites in order to prevent movie and music downloads. The FCC was arguing for ‘net neutrality’ and was told by the US circuit courts that that does not fall into their jurisdiction.


File Under ‘There Is Good Television’: If you haven’t seen an episode of Discover Channel’s ‘Life’, yet, put it on your DVR or TiVo list. Breathtaking visuals (made for HD) and educational for the young ones. Also gives you a look into how they got the footage with two to three minute interviews with the camera crews. Patience, apparently, is the key to everything.


File Under ‘Negativity Works’: After complaining about both the Red Sox lack of personality or urgency, they win two games in walk off fashion. After complaining about the Celtics lack of defense, they completely clamp down on Miami for two games in a row.

Let’s hope both trends continue.

Today’s distraction: As a tribute to Merritt, bounce some balls around. Enjoy your weekends.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lost - Part 12

There is always an exact moment in an episode of Lost when you know you’re watching a great episode. It comes right before the final, ghostly, “LOST” pops up while you’re saying things like ‘Oh no. no no nononononononoNOOOOO!’ because you don’t want the show to end.

That was me last night. ‘NOOOOOOOOO!!! (insert favorite expletive here)!’

That hour went fast. Yeah, it was kind of a setup episode, but man did it move briskly and confidently. It even had me so distracted I totally forgot Jin was on Hydra and literally gasped (in a very manly way, of course) when he and Sun finally had their reunion.

Sidenote: Is ABC promoting a Peaches and Herb comeback? First ‘Modern Family’ makes references to them and now their stupid song was going through my head when Jin and Sun got together. For all your sakes, I hope that was just me.

Going to mix it up today. Since last night wasn’t a character centric episode and more of a ‘let’s get all the pieces in the right place’ I’ll just review what happened to each character. Quickly now, have many questions I need to ask.

What Happened

Man, what didn’t happen? I’m winging this new format, so let’s start with the Real World characters.

Jack: Brings his new father son bond (along with his actual son) to his lawyer’s office for the reading of Christian’s will. And who is that lawyer? None other than a still intact Ilana. Must admit, she looks good cleaned up. Here Jack meets Claire, who informs him that she is his half sister. ‘Sup, Bro?’ As Jack digests this, he gets a call to head to the hospital for emergency surgery. Gee, wonder who he’ll be operating on?

Locke: Yeah, Locke. He’s clinging to life after Desmond’s demolition derby. Ben rides in the ambulance with him where Locke manages to tell him his first name and to contact Peggy….uh…Helen…his fiancĂ©.

Sayid: He is caught on security camera leaving the restaurant with a bunch of dead, bullet ridden people in it. In the quickest, most efficient police work in history, Sawyer and PAD get to Nadia’s house in time to arrest Sayid.

Kate: She’s still in cuffs and attracted to Sawyer. They flirt a bit before Sawyer tells her it wouldn’t work out; her being a murderer and his being a cop and all. Kate claims innocence, which is what all those hardened criminal types do. Typical.

Sun and Jin: They, also rush to the hospital and enter at the exact moment Locke does. Sun has a bit of cross world pollination and freaks out when she see’s Locke.

Hurley: Presumably nailing Libby somewhere. Didn’t actually see him.

Desmond: Still moving chess pieces (in this case the Oceanic people) around. He ‘runs into’ Claire and guides her to Ilana’s office under the guise of helping her with adoption legality issues. Surprisingly calm considering he just ran down a paraplegic in a school parking lot. Wonder what the therapy bill for those kids will add up to?

Sawyer: Thinks it’s weird that Kate and he were on the same flight and ‘out of all the cars in LA’ she just happens to crash into his. I know, Ford. Right? Effing weird, man. Kate’s still hot, though, huh?

Think that’s it for Real World. It ends with Jack somehow recognizing Locke even though his face is all battered and bruised and upside down and in a mirror and squished together. Hell, I had a hard time recognizing him and I’ve known him for six years.

Island World

Jack: Finally has a sit down with Fake Locke in which Locke admits that he had taken Christian’s form previously. Poor Jack wasn’t chasing his father’s ghost, after all. Fake Locke tells Jack that Jack has been trapped on this island since ‘before you even got here’ and now that Jacob is dead they no longer need to stay.

Has a meet and greet with Claire in which she tells him she trusts Fake Locke because he was the only one that didn’t abandon her. Oh, slam! Jack decides Claire is ‘touched’ by the insanity bug and excludes her from the escape plan. He, Captain Frank, Sun and Hurley all take off from Camp Locke and meet up with Kate and Sawyer who is masterminding this half assed plan.

Halfway to Hydra, Jack admits that ‘this doesn’t feel right’ and jumps off the boat to head back to the main island. In Lost world this is called ‘Pulling a Sawyer’.

Fake Locke: Losing all sorts of control over his people. He sends Sayid to go kill Desmond, sends Sawyer to go grab a boat which he then takes for himself, turns his back for one damn second and half his recruits scamper away. He must feel like a frustrated father trying to control his hyper active children.

Claire: Seems spurned and hurt that everyone is/has abandoned her. She even follows Jack, Hurley, Sun and Captain Frank to the boat, threatens to kill everyone before Kate convinces her to come with them. ‘I can take you back to Aaron,’ which was eerie as it was probably the same thing Fake Locke said to her on more than one occasion.

Kate: Takes off with Sawyer to get the boat, helps him steal it and sail to Hydra. Finally sticks up for her beliefs and insists Claire come with them. More on this in a bit.

Sawyer: Thinks he is in control of things until he’s double crossed by Widmore’s people when they reach Hydra. ‘Deal’s off,’ that bitch Zoey tells him. Whoops.

Sun and Jin: Finally – FINALLY – get back together. Sun even remembers English which is a big plus as I’m getting sick of reading subtitles.

Sayid: Goes to kill Desmond (who is hanging out in the well) but is given food for thought by Desmond when he asks Sayid ‘What will you tell this woman when she asks what you did to be with her again?’ Desmond is like Fake Locke: once he talks to you, you’re all done.

Hurley: Along for the ride is the best I could do. Although he did point out that everyone – even Anakin and Sayid – can be brought back from the dark side.

Captain Frank: Likes Sawyer’s plan and got a new nickname (Chesty).

Widmore’s people: Threatens Fake Locke with missile strikes if he doesn’t give them back Desmond. Then stabs Sawyer and his group in the back when they get to Hydra.


What We Learned

- Fake Locke took Christian’s form in order to lead Jack to water. Fake Locke also tells Jack that all he has ever wanted was to get Jack off the island.

- Characters are showing the first signs of following their beliefs. Both Jack and Kate stick up for what they have always felt was the right thing. Jack convinced that he needs to stay on the island. Kate convinced she is supposed to bring Claire back to Aaron. Both even jeopardized their own escape in order to follow their hearts.

- Everyone is congregating in the Real World. Quick roll call:

Sayid, Sawyer, PAD, Kate will be at the police station together.

Sun, Jin, Locke, Jack (Ben and Charlie, too?) are all at the hospital.

Desmond, Claire, Ilana are filing adoption papers.

Hurley and Libby are…well….let’s leave them alone for now.

- Sun’s baby is okay. Phew!

- Zoey is one multifaceted geophysicist.

- Sawyer ‘likes’ Kate even though she is a murderess. Frankly, that kind of makes her hotter. He’s also getting that ‘why do I keep running into these people’ odd vibe about Oceanic 815. Hey, he’s a detective. It’s in his nature.

- Sayid’s weakness is garden hoses.

- The wheelchair probably saved Locke’s life. Oh the irony!

- Again the term ‘irreversible’ is brought up. This time with Desmond and Claire chatting it up.

- Kate and Sun both look great soaking wet.

- Fake Locke was the one posing as Christian. We can now assume that Fake Locke was the one in the cabin with Claire. This actually raises a bunch of new questions. See below.

- ‘It’s nice to have everyone back together again’. Although that doesn’t last very long.

- Widmore’s group has an arsenal with them.

- That island water looks gorgeous.

- Fake Locke is going to be angry when he finds out they’ve left.

- Jack doesn’t feel right about leaving the island and he thinks Sawyer feels the same way. ‘We’ve brought here because we’re supposed to do something,’ Jack argues. Sawyer responds by telling him to get ‘off my damn boat’ which is odd since it’s actually Desmond’s boat given to him by Libby. So it’s actually Libby’s boat. Long story.

- Also, Jack can’t keep the ‘crazy talk’ to himself.

- Widmore’s people suck.

- As Fake Locke says, ‘Well, here we go’.

- It’s okay, Jack is with Fake Locke now.


New Questions

- Let’s start with Fake Locke. Is he really the bad guy in all this? If he’s leading Jack to fresh water and trying to get everyone off the island can he be all bad? Sure he’s ripped people to shreds as Smokey, but he’s given them fair warning before hand.

Plus, let’s face it Jacob has lead hundreds of people to death more than a few times. Boone, Shannon, every friggin’ person he’s brought to the island. Can Lost throw us a bone and tell us who we’re supposed to be rooting for? There’s only what? Six hours left?

- If Fake Locke was walking around as Christian, how did he get out of the cabin? Wasn’t he supposedly trapped in there with the ring of ashes?

- Can Fake Locke no longer turn into Smokey? He hasn’t for a while and Ilana mentioned a while back that he was ‘stuck’ looking like Locke. Does he somehow get stuck in human form the longer he keeps the same body?

- Is this Real World some sort of reward for freeing Fake Locke? Let’s go with the assumption that Fake Locke is really the good guy (or the least bad guy) on the island. Let’s also consider that the Real World has been much better to our Oceanic friends than Island World. Many are still alive for one thing. So, could this Real World be Fake Locke’s thank you to everyone? As in ‘Ok, you all helped me, what do you want?’ and one snap of the fingers later they’re all back on Oceanic 815 NOT crashing into the island and being terrorized by smoke monsters and Others?

- On the other hand Fake Locke/Smokey has mercilessly killed many many many people and ordered Sayid to kill Desmond. Soo…….

- Can Fake Locke not lie to people? He certainly seems straightforward with his answers.

- Is Kate developing a complex? First Sawyer jumps out of a helicopter rather than leave with her. Now Jack jumps off the boat to swim back to an island that houses the most efficient killing machine ever rather than leave with her. That’s got to take a toll on a girl’s self esteem.

- Why is Widmore reneging on his deal with Sawyer? Considering where his past back stabbing and power plays in order to get back to the island have gotten him, you’d think he would change up his game plan. Screwing people with guns over isn’t the most ideal situation to put yourself in. Just saying.

- How was Claire not creeped out by Desmond’s behavior at the agency building? I was creeped out and I know Desmond is a good guy (or I THINK Desmond is a good guy. Tough to tell for sure with this show).

- Did Sayid kill Desmond? I say no. In fact, when Locke stumbles across Sayid in the jungle, I suggest Sayid was trying to figure out a way to get Desmond out of the well.

- Does that mean Sayid is coming back from the dark side? Like Darth Vader? If so, way to call that one, Hurley.

- Is the sailboat named after Libby?

- Is it really possible for Sawyer and PAD to discover bodies, get photos of Sayid, identify him, figure out where his brother lives and get to the house in time for Sayid to stroll in and start packing? Did Sayid stop at a strip club? Did he take a nap? Was he window shopping? What the hell?

- Where are Ben and Richard and PAD on the island? Will they show up at the last minute and blow everything to hell?

- What’s up with all the ‘too late, he spoke to you’ talk? Claire says it to Jack after his pow wow with Fake Locke. Speech may be powerful, but the fact that nearly everyone is now rebelling against Fake Locke’s plan certainly hints that his persuasion is lagging a bit. Maybe he’s out of practice?

- Will Real World Jack fix Locke so he can walk again?

- What will happen when all the Oceanic people get in the same room in the Real World? Will mirrors everywhere explode thus creating millennia of bad luck?

- Is Claire really with Kate or just setting her up for a vicious take down?

- What will Sayid tell Nadia when she asks what he did to be with her again?

- Anyone else convinced Sun and/or Jin was about to get fried by the sonic fence as they approached each other? That would have been the cruelest twist ever. Not just on Lost but in television history.

- How much ammo did Widmore bring with him? And how did he know where Fake Locke was? Is it even possible to kill Fake Locke with a regular bomb? He didn’t seem overly concerned when they sent a warning shot into his camp.

Lastly

- Will Jin and Sun really never be apart again? Will they grocery shop together? Get jobs at the same place? Schedule his and her spa days? What about going to the bathroom?

Until next week….

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Patriot's Day

Yesterday was Patriot’s Day here in the fine city of Boston. For the rest of the country this means ‘Oh, that boring marathon is being run again’. Well, yeah, but it’s the country’s longest running boring marathon, so there.

Besides – like St Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, and Tuesdays - this is just another excuse for Bostonians to get shitfaced before noon. Believe me, there can be no shortage of those.

Let’s run down the typical Patriot’s Day for the Boston area.

BATTLEFIELD

Time: Way too fucking early

What is it?: The annual reenactment of the very first Revolutionary War battle is staged in Lexington. This is the real reason we celebrate Patriot’s Day in Boston. April 19th, 1775 was the first battle of the birth of America. Eight Americans (Minutemen at the time since we didn’t have an actual nation, yet) died. I wonder if it really took place at the ass crack of dawn, as well?

Be thankful you don’t live in that area as they have actual gunfire, adult men pretending to be shot and falling down, and lots of yelling and screaming.

At dawn.

I don’t care what day it is, that ain’t going to fly. I get pissed when someone accidentally sets off a car alarm in my neighborhood before dawn. I can’t even imagine men playing dress up, firing muskets, and screaming in fake agony outside my window.

I think I speak for most Americans when I say ‘Fuck THAT!’

Things to know: The people involved in this take it VERY seriously. Fist fights have been known to break out because someone fell down and died in the wrong spot on the battlefield. Only – you know – after the war was over.

This battle was also the origin of the phrase ‘Shot heard ‘round the world’ coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It really has nothing to do with a World Series home run. Sorry to burst that bubble.

As far as I can tell, there are no kegs of beer the ‘dead’ can retreat to after being fake shot, which makes me wonder why they do this at all.


MARATHON

Time: 10ish, unless you’re racing in a wheelchair (9ish) or an elite woman runner (9:30). Everyone else just waits their turn in the human sea of insanity.

What is it?: Idiots putting their bodies through unimaginative horrors by running 26.2 miles. The winner is usually African and has already showered, napped and spent half his hundred grand winnings by the time the last person has crossed the finish line. This year’s male winner broke the course record by finishing in 2:05:52. In the time it took you to eat lunch, this dude ran half a marathon.

Let’s break that down so we can all appreciate it. I’ll round things off because I’m terrible at math. 26 miles in 2 hours and 6 minutes (see how I round off?). That would be 126 minutes. 126 minutes divided by 26 miles comes out to 4.84 (and a bunch of numbers following).

Holy shit! This guy was averaging less than 5 minute miles for 26 miles. Next time you’re on that tread mill increase the pace to match 5 minute miles and tell me that’s not fucking impressive. He basically sprinted the entire way.

Things to know: This is more fun than games. You’ll see people running as beer cups, slices of cheese, dressed as cartoon characters (imagine that chafing), and as other genders. Along the course will be fans cheering, handing out water, encouraging the laggers and asking for kisses.

Uh…what?

Yeah, just so happens that Wellesley College is right along the marathon course. This brings out all the lovely ladies to greet runners with signs like ‘Kiss me, I’m a senior…and kinda drunk’ and ‘Kiss me, I’m gay’ which raises more questions than a simple sign should (girls only? Are guys allowed?), ‘I majored in kissing’ which must make Dad proud, and – my personal favorite – ‘We won’t tell your wife’.

I have to admit that these girls actually make me consider running the marathon until I remember I would have to run. A marathon.


RED SOX GAME

Time: 11:05 am first pitch.

What is it?: A fucking baseball game. What are you? Retarded?

Sorry, I’m just angry at the state of the home baseball team. Last week I wrote that it was time to sit Big Papi. Well, it might be time to sit the entire team and call up the scrubs from Triple A. With the exception of Pedroia and Hermidia, nobody is doing anything on this team. Over the weekend they had the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the 11th inning and couldn't score and wound up losing the game. Well done.

For a team built around pitching and defense it sure seems like nobody can pitch or play defense. That, as you can imagine, is a huge problem. Mike Cameron, a man brought in specifically for his defense, dropped a routine ball that resulted in four runs scoring in the inning. Marco Scutaro, a man brought in for his defense, has made two costly throwing errors already. John Lackey, a man brought in for his pitching, got crushed.

Yes, I know it’s still early. The Red Sox won’t be this bad, but there sure are early warning signs that this is again a team with little personality and even less fight in them. They are a passionless bunch who play baseball as though programmed and not because they enjoy it.

Basically, the Red Sox are the polar opposites of the Rays, who are a fun loving, athletic, exciting team to watch even as they’re beating the ever living shit out of your home team.

Things to know: The Rays swept the Red Sox for the first time ever in a four game series at Fenway.

The Red Sox have now lost 5 straight and are now 1-6 at home. At Fenway. Let that sink in for a bit.

Yesterday was the first Red Sox loss on Patriot’s Day since Terry Francona arrived.


BRUIN’S GAME

Time: 7ish or so.

What is it?: Hockey game that I have absolutely no interest at all in. The NHL lost me about a decade ago and I have not returned. On the bright side I heard the Bruins won.

Things to know: This is not normally a Patriot’s Day event. Just so happened the playoff schedule fell in their favor. Big fucking whoop.


DRINKING

Time:
Ongoing.

What is it?: Damn fun, is what!

Things to know: I will never ever stop.


Today’s distraction: Some of the worst jokes ever. They are entertaining in an eye rolling, groan inducing way. Like watching ‘Glitter’.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lost - Part 11

Let me first go on record that last night’s episode is my favorite (so far). Judging by initial reactions from other Losties, I’m in the minority.

It was funny and touching and exciting and thought provoking. It answered one major question that we’ve been wondering about from the beginning, it allowed Libby (more on her in a second) and Hurley to finally have their beach picnic, Ilana and the Black Rock both take their leave in similar ways, we witnessed Desmond becoming a Real World Jacob and raised one big idea (for me, anyway) that I’ll address at the end.

More importantly, Hurley and Jack both take tentative steps into new roles. Anyone else touched by Jack’s admission that he can’t fix everything; that maybe what he’s supposed to do is follow someone he trusts instead of being the leader? (Note: I don’t buy this, but I’ll leave that until later).

It was a nicely balanced episode: answering questions, progressing the story, and gave us a chance to revel in everything Hurley.

Quick Libby note before we get started. About a month ago there was an interview with one of the Lost producers that they really wanted to get Libby back onto the show, but couldn’t come to an agreement with the actress who played her. He said she basically didn’t want to do it. As last night proves, this dude was out right lying to the reporter which, in turn, means the producers of Lost are purposely misdirecting the viewers. Last night’s episode had probably already been filmed when he gave that interview, so let’s not pretend Libby signed on at the last minute and they rewrote and refilmed the entire episode at the last minute. I’m officially taking everything Lost people say with an enormous grain of salt.

Onward….

What Happened

Real World: After being presented with some ‘Man of the Year’ award (by Dharma Dude, aka PAD’s father, no less) for his charity work, Hurley’s mother informs him that he is going on a date the next night. Rosalita will ‘love’ Hurley and, if not, they’ll find someone who will.

The next night Hurley waits for his sexy, luscious Rosalita (You know he was hoping for that) and is greeted instead by Libby. Uh….Libby? Yeah, Libby. She even knows Hurley and tells him she’s convinced they’ve met before in another life; that they could be soul mates. You believe in soul mates, don’t you Hurley? ‘I guess…’

The impromptu date is interrupted by Hurley’s Island World Psychiatrist who brings Libby back to her special van. Turns out she was on a field trip from her psycho ward. In a funk, Hurley does what he does best: plows through a Mr Chicken family sized bucket.

While chowing down, Desmond approaches and asks if they’ve met before. Hurley points to the life sized ad of himself, but Desmond says, ‘No, we were on Oceanic 815 together. About a week ago?’ Hurley whatevers it off, but has a conversation about Libby knowing him from another life. Desmond asks him ‘When she told you this, did you believe her?’ Hurley has to admit that he ‘sort of’ did believe her. Desmond advises him to track Libby down and at least find out where she thinks she knew him from. ‘Don’t give up on her, yet.’

Off Hurley goes to the psych ward to talk with Libby. Before he can get access, he gives the place a cool hundred grand to update the rec room making his Libby date the most expensive first date ever. (Pop quiz: Hurley used the rec room constantly when he was in the mental ward in the Island World time line. What sport did he excel at?)

Libby is excited to see Hurley because it means he remembers her, but he pops that sane bubble quickly and asks her to explain how she thinks she knows him. ‘There was a plane crash and we were on an island,’ she means even she watches Lost and it drove her insane! The memories were brought on when she saw Hurley in one of his television commercials. Despite her possible insanity, Hurley asks if Libby can ever get out and asks her on a date.

Cut to beautiful, California beach where he and Libby finally get to have their much delayed picnic. Libby tells Hurley that ‘this feels like a date we never had,’ which, admittedly, was a bit heavy handed. Hurley asks why Libby would want to be with someone like him and she says ‘Because I like you!’ ‘Yeah,’ he replies, ‘but you’re delusional’ which is responded to with a kiss.

And BAM, there are the memories from Island World flooding through Hurley. Now he’s delusional, too! Watching all this from his car is Desmond, who smiles (rather smugly) to himself and drives away.

Let’s leave the rest of Desmond’s Real World story until the end.

Island World: Hurley is chatting it up with Libby’s grave, replacing dead flowers with fresh ones. He tells her weird shit is going on and wonders why she doesn’t visit him like the other dead people do. Ilana interrupts to tell him she’s going to get dynamite from the Black Rock and they’ll be heading out when she gets back.

He’s next interrupted by the whispers and Michael’s ghost coming out of the jungle to tell Hurley he needs to stop Ilana from blowing up the plane. ‘A lot of people will die and it will be all your fault!’ ‘How will it be my fault,’ Hurley asks. Because people listen to you now, Michael tells him.

Ilana returns to the beach with the dynamite and is questioned about the logic of her plan by Hurley. Blowing up the plane will keep Fake Locke on the island but will also strand everyone else. Ilana is adamant. Keeping Fake Locke on the island is the only thing that matters. The thing is pure evil! It must never….

BOOM!

Ilana pulls an Arnst and blows herself up with the unstable dynamite. All that training literally up in smoke. And fire. As Ben says later, ‘The island was done with her. Makes me wonder what happens when the island is done with us.’ Great question, Ben! Thanks for joining in this episode.

Hurley rummages through Ilana’s things and finds what I think was Jacob’s ashes, right? Either that or the diamonds PAD dug up. I’ll go with Jacob’s ashes. Hurley takes the pouch and gets back to the group who are arguing about what to do next. Richard wants to go back and get more dynamite. Jack thinks Ilana’s self exploding lesson is telling them to ditch the dynamite plan. Hurley agrees with Richard and they head back to the Black Rock.

When they get to the Black Rock Hurley comes running out telling everyone to ‘Run!’ just before Black Rock goes off like a roman candle. Or a roman candle that explodes in a big, fiery, deadly ball. A defective roman candle. Let’s go with that. Richard is understandably apoplectic, decides to head to Dharmaville with PAD and Ben to get some grenades and other arms and take the plane out that way.

Interesting conversation between PAD and Hurley at this point, as well. When Hurley confesses that he blew up the Black Rock because Michael told him to, PAD questions his meet and greets with dead people. ‘This happen a lot?’ ‘Happens enough,’ Hurley answers.

Hurley has different ideas about how to deal with Fake Locke. ‘We need to go talk to him,’ he suggests. He even tries to bluff Richard that Jacob is telling them that is what they need to do, but Richard isn’t buying and heads off to blow stuff up. Jack, Sun, Captain Frank all stick with Hurley. ‘Trust me,’ Hurley says. Jack says he does which surprises even Hurley.

On their trek to meet Fake Locke Hurley asks Jack why he agreed to come. Jack confesses that since he got Juliet killed he thinks that maybe he’s supposed to just ‘let go’ of his need to fix things. That he can’t ever fix what’s been done. It may be hard for him to listen to other people tell him what to do, but he trusts Hurley.

Just then the whispers surround them. Hurley tells everyone to chill, he’s got this and goes to find Michael. Hurley realizes the whispers are from the people who have died on the island and ‘can’t move on’. Michael confirms that he is stuck because of the things he’s done. He points out Fake Locke’s camp to Hurley and that if he ever does see Libby again to tell her he’s sorry for what he did. Murder. That’s what he did. His bad!

Meanwhile, there is dissention in Camp Locke. Sawyer and Kate both confront Fake Locke about doing something to get Jin back ‘instead of sitting around twiddling our damn thumbs’. Sayid reappears to tell Fake Locke that he got what he wanted. He brings him to Desmond who is tied to a tree. Fake Locke is confused why Desmond was brought to the island by Widmore, but Desmond doesn’t have an answer for him. ‘Considering I was kidnapped, you’d have to ask him.’

Fake Locke frees him, tells Sayid to head back to camp and takes a walk with Desmond. ‘There is something I want to show you,’ Fake Locke says which really should be turned into a drinking game. Along the way, the young boy shows up again. Only this time it seems he dyed his hair brown. Fake Locke tells Desmond to ignore him.

Fake Locke leads Desmond to a well. Desmond wonders how deep it is so Fake Locke drops one of their torches down. Really doesn’t seem that deep or scary. Fake Locke explains that this well is so old the people had to dig it by hand (not that!!). They weren’t looking for water, though, they were looking for answers. See, this spot made their compass needles go all twirly and spinny like. Widmore isn’t here for answers, though, he’s here for power. And Widmore brought Desmond back to the island to help him regain that power. After all, there are many of these wells all around the island.

Fake Locke then notices something about Desmond: He’s not afraid. ‘What’s the point of being afraid,’ Desmond replies. Fake Locke smiles and up ends Desmond right into the well. There’s one reason you should be afraid.

Back at Camp Locke, Sayid asks where Desmond is and is told they don’t have to worry about him any longer. Just then Hurley enters camp and says that while he doesn’t know who Fake Locke really is, they need to talk. Hurley wants Fake Locke’s word that he won’t hurt or kill any of the people he brought with him and Fake Locke agrees (with a suspicious look to Sayid which Hurley caught). Out come Captain Frank, Sun (searching hopefully for Jin) and Jack.

Fake Locke seems quite pleased to see everyone and gives Jack a great big, happy, creepy hello.

Wait, not done yet.

Back in the Real World, Desmond is approached by Real World Ben who asks why Desmond has been sitting in a school parking lot for such a long time. Desmond makes up some lame ass story about his son (Charlie!) and checking out the local schools all the while tracking Locke’s progress through the parking lot. He thanks Ben for his time and drives off; gunning the engine just as he approaches Locke. He smashes into Locke, sending him over the car before taking off to the nearest car wash.

Ben runs over yelling for someone to call 911, but Locke is in bleeding and shaking and not looking very good at all.


What We Learned

- Hurley loves him some chicken

- Desmond is recruiting the Oceanic people in the Real World and trying to get them to remember the Island World. I think.

- Ilana’s training apparently didn’t include explosives handling.

- The whispers are the people who have died on the island but can’t ‘move on’ because they did something bad. So they’re basically the voices of every asshole who ever visited the island.

- Hurley is like Indiana Jones: making it up as he goes.

- Jack’s finally realized he can’t fix everything.

- Libby has somehow remembered Island World before most people. And she may not be so crazy after all.

- ‘This island has it out for us all’

- Everyone needs to leave the island together. Just like how they arrived.

- Desmond knows electromagnetic waves through ‘experience’.

- The island explodes a lot.

- Richard’s kind of a downer. One explosion and he’s all gloom and doom. ‘We’re dead. We’re all dead!’ Get a grip, man.

- Hurley is a terrible liar.

- Hurley is extremely wealthy and lovable but still can’t find a woman. This Lost show gets more unbelievable by the second.

- Libby doesn’t look like a Rosalita.

- Kate and Sawyer have had quite enough of Fake Locke’s inactivity, thank you very much.

- You should do anything but ignore that kid in the jungle.

- Now that he’s dead, Michael is sorry.

- Libby’s kiss literally opens up new worlds to Hurley. How romantic.

- Hurley’s mother is relentless in the pursuit of getting her son laid.

- The island people are taking exploding people very well. As Desmond says, ‘Experience’.

- Jacob never tells people what to do.


New Questions

Let’s start with Desmond’s vehicular homicide attempt:

- What was the point of that? Was he actually trying to kill Locke? Or is he trying to get him to experience memories of Island World by having him near death? It seems those Island memories are triggered by intense situations: love with Libby and Hurley, Penny and Desmond extreme danger with Desmond trying to save Charlie (again) and Charlie choking to death on his heroin stash.

- If he’s trying to kill Locke, to what end? Does he think that will eliminate the vessel for the Man in Black in which to escape the island?

- Why is Desmond trying to get everyone to remember the Island World?

- And does Desmond himself now have dual consciousnesses? Is he fully aware of what has happened on both the Island and Real World? If so….

NEW THEORY: Then perhaps Desmond can take down this Real World. Bear with me for a minute while I flesh this out.

If Desmond has memories or is aware of both worlds and can switch back and forth between the two, can he somehow help the others do the same thing? Can he take Real World Hurley and move him into Island World Hurley? Only mentally (like the time travel bit)?

Or, if Desmond somehow is aware that this Real World is an illusion or some half assed version of what was supposed to happen, does making all the other Oceanic people aware of that fact compromise this Real World?

My guess is there is one of two things happening:

1: Desmond is trying to recruit all the Oceanic 815 people that are Jacob’s Recruits back to the island or at least make them aware of what happened there. I still think Jack’s appendix scar tells us that everything that happened in Island World still happened; that this Real World is some manifestation of something gone wrong. Not just Juliet setting off the bomb. As Mother Faraday hinted at last week, some sort of deal has been made and there are potential violations that can endanger that deal.

2: By getting everyone to become aware of their Island Memories, can Desmond somehow transport people to those Island consciousnesses? Maybe shuttle them and merge the two worlds?

If so….

Then can he somehow get Real World Locke to take over Fake Locke? There have been hints that Fake Locke still has some of Real Locke in him. Shared memories, looks, mannerisms. If there is some trace of Real Locke left inside Fake Locke, could the real one exert himself and take over from Fake Locke? And could Desmond be the way to do that?

Or more likely, I think Desmond is going to get everyone on the Ajira flight and somehow the two separate realities will merge into one. I’m just throwing a certain substance on the wall to see what sticks in case you couldn’t tell.

- Who’s next on Desmond’s list? Will Jack and Locke meet up again at the hospital? Will Jack ‘fix’ Locke’s spine and allow him to walk again? After all, nothing is irreversible.

- How will Sawyer and Kate’s impatience effect Team Locke?

- Is it really possible to be in an insane asylum voluntarily? If so, why would you want to be? Other than to meet a similarly insane, morbidly obese, millionaire who never washes his hair.

- Can Fake Locke no longer turn smoky? He mentioned to Sawyer that he ‘would if he could’ when going to Hydra Island. Why didn’t he with Desmond?

- What was in the pouch Hurley found? Was it the diamonds? Jacob’s ashes that Ilana scooped up? Peanuts from the Ajira flight?

- Is it really necessary for the mental health clinic to have giant lettering on the side of their van? Does their horn make a ‘cuckoo cuckoo’ sound, too?

- Was Desmond driving a company car? How do you explain that? ‘Can you gas it up, get those dents out and scrape that wheelchair out from under the front wheel? Thanks. Here’s a twenty for you trouble.’

- Did Desmond and Penny ever get together for coffee?

- Has PAD been paying attention? Does he really think the best team to join is Richard and Ben?

- Was I the only one creeped out by Fake Locke’s greeting to Jack?

- What now? Fake Locke has everyone he needs to leave right? Oh, except Jin, but he can pick him up on the way to the plane. Start swimming, man!!

- Will Sun ever speak English again? Thinking back on that, could it be possible that Fake Locke took her ability to speak English away and it has nothing to do with the bump on the head? He was with her while she was unconscious, but isn’t allowed to kill any candidates (we assume). So maybe this is a way for him to sabotage whatever role she is supposed to fill? Now that she’s in his camp will she begin speaking English again?

- What was the point of throwing Desmond into the well? Does Fake Locke know why he was brought to the island or was it just a way to eliminate him as a potential monkey wrench?

- Who the hell is the kid in the jungle? He had blonde hair before, last night he had dark hair. Fake Locke doesn’t seem happy to see either of them. Are they Jacob and Man in Black as kids? Were Jacob and MIB twins? One dark, one light?

Holy crap, I’m up to 8 pages.

I’ll leave you with this last question.

- If Real World Desmond can get the Real World characters to remember the Island World, can he do the same with the Island World characters? Can he get them to become aware of the Real World? If so, could he be the salvation of Sayid and Claire? If he can show both of the ‘infected’ that there is another possible reality for both of them, would that break the spell Fake Locke seems to have on them?

Could Sayid feel again? Could Claire be sane again?

Quiz answer (didn’t forget this time!): Hurley played a ton of ping pong while in the asylum. He was so good he kicked Sawyer’s ass on the beach which resulted in Sawyer being unable to use nicknames for a full week. This I remember….


Today's distraction: 50 great television freeze frames. Can anyone verify if the Fox News shot is real? The one with the news chick opening her shirt?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The End Is Near

It’s time.

As much as he’s done for us over the years, it’s becoming achingly apparent that David Ortiz – Big Papi as he is affectionately called around these parts – will never regain his feared slugger status.

It’s okay to admit it. Great players aren’t great their entire careers. It happens to everyone. Age, injuries and declining skills put Willie Mays in a Mets uniform his last two seasons. Ken Griffey Jr hasn’t been a great player in nearly a decade. Jim Rice led the league in double plays hit into for the last three seasons of his career. Believe me, I know. I witnessed the frustration first hand.

You know what? Papi was never as good as any of those players I just mentioned. Yes, he had a streak of clutch hitting the likes of which we have never seen. He led us to two World Series titles in four years. It was a ride I wouldn’t trade for anything. But would you consider him a Hall of Famer? Even with this four to five season rampage he was never what I consider an all time great.

Feared? You bet.

Clutch? No doubt.

All time great? Sorry, don’t think so.

Which should make this transition easier, wouldn’t you think? We’re not asking a sure fire Hall of Fame player to move aside for the young guns.

Only it’s much more difficult than that. This is Big Papi! The man who won not one, but two games against those hated Yankees in 2004. The man who dragged Red Sox Nation into the winner’s circle whether we were ready or not. It wasn’t just him, of course, but he became the symbol for the team that did the impossible.

It doesn’t help that he’s one of the few remaining players from that 2004 team. Manny, Johnny Damon, Mark Bellhorn, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar have been gone for years. Hell, Pedro, Dave Roberts, Orlando Cabrera and Derek Lowe were gone before the champagne dried on the floor. Only Papi and Varitek remain and Tek has already assumed (been forced into) a backup role.

Before you jump all over me, I know Tim Wakefield and Youkilis were on the team, as well, but let’s be honest – neither had much impact along the way. If I’m not mistaken (and I could be), I think one or both of them were left off the playoff roster in one of the series.

The problem facing Terry Francona and Red Sox management is not Papi’s current performance (which screams in pain for itself) but how to tell a living legend it’s time to get in the back seat.

Allow me to do it for them. It’s time to sit, Papi. Look, we will always love and appreciate you around here. You’ll probably never pay for another meal the rest of your life while you’re in Boston, but you’ve been hindering the potential of this team for two straight years. Yes, you had a good second half last season, but there is no time to wait for that again this year.

Go relax, enjoy the single best seat in Fenway to watch a game. Let Hermidia or Varitek (2 HRs in his first game!) or Bill Hall take some DH duties for a month or so. You’ll still be able to pinch hit when there is a righty reliever in. You’ll still get a chance to hit a blast into Pesky’s Pole nearly 310 feet away. You’ll still get those ovations you crave.

You just won’t be killing your own team at the same time. You’ve got three hits all season. No home runs for a second straight April. You’re not even the lovable teddy bear we love, turning into a grizzly and nearly taking a reporter’s head off when he asked the same question every other person has been wondering for two years now: Are you done?

You’ve always prided yourself on being a team guy. Now, more than ever, is the time to man up and do what’s best for the team. This Red Sox team has the pieces in place to win it all. What it can’t survive is a having a designated hitter who bats .230 with 20 something home runs for a second straight year.

Go back to being the lovable, cheerful, Big Papi Boston loves. Just do it on the bench. You can joke with your teammates, be the first to congratulate someone when they hit a home run, learn managerial tricks of the trade from Francona and begin adjusting to the new phase of your career.

Either that or get back on the juice.

Just stop killing this team.


Today’s distraction: The latest Super Heroes that should get their own movies. We all know these dipshits and are the main reason many of us don’t go to graduate school.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Striped Shadow

It’s a heartwarming image, is it not?

A world famous golfer wins a major tournament and has a public cuddle with his loving wife; children at their sides. Tears and smiles and joy are spread around like half melted butter. Testimony of support and love and gratitude are shared with a public who laps it up like a malnourished dog.

Sorry, the Masters? It happened there, too? Yesterday?

Huh. I was actually referring to Tiger Woods winning the 2008 US Open. Elin playfully and happily handing his daughter to him in celebration. Kisses and smiles and sunshine and flowers and happy happy joy joy.

2008.

Not even two years ago.

I’ll admit it. I was touched by Mickelson’s win and subsequent celebration with his wife who is still recovering from breast cancer. It was a fitting, final, middle finger to all the baggage Tiger brought to this tournament. While many were rooting for Tiger for ‘all that he’s gone through’ many overlooked Mickelson’s past two years in which his wife and mother both suffered through cancer.

Unlike Tiger, Mickelson’s situation is not self created. He is simply a victim of life. As hard as it is for me to feel bad for a man who plays a game six months out of the year and gets paid tens of millions of dollars to do it, I felt for Lefty. He seems like a good guy – a solid family man.

And then I thought of Tiger.

Two years ago.

Hugging and kissing a wife and family he had betrayed multiple times. Putting on a show that was staged for everyone including his wife.

My point? Not sure I have one other than to remind you we don’t know these people. They show us who they want us to think they are. They hire PR firms and image consultants and have more money than most nations.

They may SEEM like good people, but we truly can never know. Phil Mickelson seems to be a nice guy. His family has been through a lot and like most of you out there I thought, ‘How fitting a loving, caring man who cherishes his family won the same Masters that marked Tiger’s comeback. Fuck you, Tiger.’

But then I remembered Tiger’s last major. The US Open in which he seemed to be a loving, caring man who cherishes his family. Less than two years ago.

I’m not implying that Mickelson has cheated on his wife or is a tool away from the cameras, I’m just pointing out that it’s possible. We don’t know.

Of all the things Tiger has done, tarnishing brilliant, timeless moments like yesterday should be added to the list.

I never thought Tiger owed me an apology. He owes a never ending one to his wife, his children, his employees, his employers, and his fans. But I've never been a Tiger fan. I've never joined the cult. I've followed his feats with mild interest mainly because he could be the greatest golfer ever. But a fan? No. I didn't think I needed an apology from him.

I think differently now. Ruining what is probably a heartfelt, emotionally pure moment can change things.


Today's distraction: Pictures of celebrity women without makeup. Yeah, it's scary. Alicia Silverstone looks like a dude.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lost - Part 10

Ah, love. The most redeeming and destructive force mankind has ever known. Most of us have done crazy things for love. Driving long distances in order to spend a few hours with that special someone, ignoring friends and family for that initial rush of new love, investing thousands in long distance infrared technology, high range binoculars and tracking devices.

I’m often reminded of a quote by a current, dim witted philosopher who waxed eloquent about love. Only he was talking about beer, which I often substitute for love. He said ‘Beer (Love)…the cause of - and solution to - all of life’s problems’ – H.J. Simpson.

It also appears true love may be the undoing of this Real World in Lost. Last night’s episode certainly took one huge step towards telling us what the hell is going on. At the very least I get to rant about Eloise Hawking-Widmore for a bit. We need ruthless, torturer Sayid to get his hands on her for a few minutes in order to get her to spill the beans.

Off we go…

What Happened

No need for Real World/Island World today as last night was one single stream (sort of), coherent story.

Cue blurry Desmond who wakes to find himself on the set of ’30 Rock’ (have I beaten that joke enough, yet? OK, consider it retired) only it’s not Tina Fey, it’s Zoey telling him he’s been sedated for three days. He asks where he is and is told by his arch nemesis (‘YOU!’), Charles Widmore, that he needed to bring Desmond back to the island because ‘it’s not done with you, yet!’

Desmond responds by twitching then beating Widmore with his IV pole, which was immensely satisfying to watch. Desmond is subdued while Jin watches on in what I assume is stunned inaction. ‘Why is Desmond here?’ he asks Widmore who tells Jin it would be easier to show him because Jin is semi-retarded and can’t understand these strange things called ‘words’.

Zoey and her crew are working to get power restored on the Hydra Island. Pudgy Face tells her they aren’t ready, but she says Widmore doesn’t want to wait. They send a doomed guy into a big box outside to check the big coil thingys. He reports back that they look fine. Another doofus discovers a fuse had a penny in it or something and kicks on the power before doomed guy has a chance to get out of the box. One snap, crackle, and pop later he’s crispy like over cooked bacon.

Mmmmmm, bacon…..

That unfeeling bastard Widmore arrives, tells them to take dead guy’s body out and orders Desmond to be put in the box. ‘If you survive this I’m going to ask you to make a sacrifice,’ he tells Desmond, as if being ripped away from his wife and child and risk being fried to death against your will isn’t already a sacrifice. Widmore is messed up, man. Desmond fights but winds up locked in the box. Jin insists – half heartedly – that they let Desmond out, but Widmore tells Jin that Desmond is the only person to survive a ‘catastrophic electromagnetic event’ and he needs to know if he can do it again. See? Was that so hard? They flip the switch and Desmond gets all fuzzy and goofy looking on the monitors.

Flash to LAX where Desmond is waiting for his luggage. He helps Claire get hers, tells her she’ll have a boy before they split up. He has a driver waiting for him who takes him to Widmore’s office. They’re SOOOO happy to see each other and they celebrate some big deal Desmond closed in Sidney with 60 year old scotch and an unseen make out session.

Fun fact: The actor playing Desmond’s driver – Fisher Stevens, who you may remember from ‘Short Circuit’ – was once married to Michelle Pfeiffer. This was when she was in her 20s and I still haven’t figured out how that happened. As you can see it’s left behind psychic scars from which I’m still trying to recover. I mean…Michelle Pfeiffer!!!

Also, was this character on the freighter with the mercenaries? If I’m not mistaken didn’t he also ‘mind travel’ but eventually died of a melting brain because he couldn’t find a constant?

Where were we?

Oh, right. The love fest between Desmond and Widmore (which was creepy and unnatural) ends with Widmore asking Desmond to go pick up the bassist from a band called ‘Drive Shaft’ who got himself arrested on a drug charge. Seems Mrs. Widmore is arranging Drive Shaft to play with her piano virtuoso son (yeah, we know who that is) today.

Desmond drives to the police station to pick up Charlie and has a quick mirror moment with himself in the door of the building (anyone else catch that?). Although, he may have just been admiring himself in his suit. Charlie could care less about anything and walks directly out into traffic and into the nearest bar. I like Charlie more and more.

While they enjoy a drink, Charlie asks Desmond if he’s happy. Desmond says he is, but Charlie ‘can see it in your eyes’ that he’s not. ‘Have you ever experienced spectacular, conscious altering love?’ He tells Desmond that when he was accidentally choking to death on his bag of heroin (who hasn’t been there?) he saw a beautiful, blonde woman and he knew they were supposed to be together. He had seen ‘the truth’!

Desmond convinced this lunatic, drug addled musician to come with him to the party. While in the car Charlie offers to show Desmond what he’s talking about, grabs the wheel and turns the car into the nearest car wash – which, in this case, is the harbor. The car fills with water and Desmond tries to get Charlie out. Suddenly he sees Charlie in the Island World with ‘Not Penny’s Boat’ written on this hand.

After he gets Charlie out of the car, they both wind up in Jack’s hospital. Desmond tries to ask about Charlie, but is told he needs an MRI. As in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Magnetic…..

Needless to say he remembers everything about Island World (or at least flashes of it) while in the MRI machine. He takes off and tries to find Charlie, even asking Real World Jack to help out. Not needed, though, as a gowned Charlie comes sprinting down the hallway. Desmond chases after him and asks him why he was trying to kill him.

‘I wasn’t trying to kill you,’ Charlie answers, ‘I was trying to show you!’

When Desmond asks to see Charlie’s hands and who Penny is, Charlie knows Desmond saw something. ‘You felt it, too’. Charlie takes off, refusing to go to the concert and claiming ‘None of this matters’.

Desmond, having failed, needs to go to the party to tell Mrs Widmore that the Drive Shaft concert won’t be happening. When he arrives, Mrs Widmore turns out to be Eloise Hawking, who recognizes Desmond immediately and tells him ‘it’s no big deal’ and thanks him for trying. On his way out he hears organizers mentioning Penny’s name. When he attempts to check out the list, Eloise tells him to stop searching for ‘whatever it is you’re looking for’. She says that someone has affected the way he’s seeing things and this is a serious problem. In fact, ‘it’s a violation’!

When Desmond demands to see the guest list or her explain why he can’t, Eloise tells him she can’t. ‘You’re not ready, yet,’ she claims and storms off. Now would be a good time to point out that Eloise is the same woman who tutored Desmond on time traveling and introduced the concept of ‘course correction’ into Lost terminology. She’s also a tight lipped be-otch who needs to be slapped around a bit.

Back in his limo with Michelle Pfeiffer’s ex-husband, Desmond is approached by our old friend Twitchy Faraday, who in this Real World is Desmond Widmore. He asks Desmond to chat and talks about how he saw this blue eyed, red haired beauty working at the museum (that would be Charlotte still smarting about sleeping with Sawyer, I’m sure) and knew he had been in love with her before. That same night he woke from a dream and wrote something in his notebook. It is an advanced math equation in the middle of a notebook full of musical writing.

Since Faraday (sorry, Widmore) didn’t know what it meant, he took it to a friend at CalTech who said it was an advanced quantum mechanics equation; something so advanced it would only have been written by someone with a life time of fancy math learning. Faraday asks Desmond, ‘What if all this wasn’t supposed to be our life? What if something changed to create all this?’

Desmond is confused and asks what this has to do with him, anyway. Faraday tells him that he overheard him asking about Penny. Penny is his half sister and can tell Desmond exactly where she will be. Score one for Faraday!

Desmond heads to the same football stadium he and Jack first met (remember that?) to find Penny running up and down the stairs. He introduces himself and as they touch hands he flashes to….

…the island. Desmond wakes up in the box and quickly asks how long he’s been out. ‘Only a few seconds,’ Widmore tells him. Widmore begins explaining why he had to do this to Desmond when Desmond interrupts him. ‘It’s ok. I understand now. What do you need me to do?’

So Desmond is recruited and ready for work. As Zoey is leading Desmond back to…well…wherever, Sayid attacks, kills the two guards and tells Zoey to run. Sayid tells Desmond that these people are not who they seem and are dangerous. Pot, meet kettle…

Desmond shrugs as he’s used to these crazy island things and tells Sayid to lead the way…

…and he wakes up in the stadium with Penny asking if he’s ok. Seems he passed out for a bit, but recovers in time to ask Penny to meet for a cup of coffee. She agrees and Desmond practically skips back to the limo. There he asks the driver (who used to be married to Michelle Pfeiffer, for crying out loud!) to get him the passenger list for Oceanic 815.

‘Do you mind me asking what you need it for?’ the driver asks.

‘So I can show them something,’ Desmond answers.


What We Learned

- This Real World ain’t what it seems. More of a confirmation, but still.

- Eloise Hawking-Widmore again seems to know what’s going on and (again) isn’t saying much.

- Faraday is a concert pianist in Real World and never invented time travel. He also seems to either sense or figured out that he helped detonate a nuclear bomb at some time or another.

- Widmore thinks Jin is a visual learner.

- Desmond, Charlie, and Faraday all believe that something is wrong in this Real World. I would add Jack, Kate, and Sun to that list, as well.

- Desmond isn’t some time traveling, sentient being in the Real World. He just moved seats on the Oceanic flight.

- True love seems to be the flaw in this Real World.

- Desmond Widmore just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

- Widmore needs to hire better help. ‘Oh, found the issue and I’m turning this electromagnetic contraption on without checking if everyone is ready!’ Really, dude? How much training did they give you?

- In that same theme, Sayid took out his guards REALLY quickly. Maybe they have a calcium deficiency that makes their necks really easy to snap.

- Jin needs to be more proactive.

- Desmond was still recovering from his gunshot wound from Ben when Widmore’s team kidnapped him from the hospital.

- Widmore needs to clarify his definition of ‘sacrifice’.

- Widmore and Desmond are BFFs in Real World.

- Charlie wasn’t trying to kill himself on 815, but had accidentally choked on his bag of heroin while trying to swallow it. Stupid Jack ruined his Claire reunion.

- Desmond should never, under any circumstance, wear those magnetic healing bracelets.

- Faraday still has a shot with Charlotte.

- Sawyer does not.

- Penny has some sort of recognition about Desmond, as well.


New Questions

- Who’s the ‘they’ Desmond refers to? The Oceanic people? Is he going to visit all the passengers and try to convince them something is off?

- Why does Faraday think he already detonated an atom bomb? Just an intuition? Has he had dreams about the Island World?

- Why didn’t Desmond just step on the brakes when Charlie grabbed the wheel? And how were they suddenly driving on a dock?

- Will Desmond faint every time he and Penny touch? That could put a hindrance on their love life.

- Why didn’t Sayid kill Zoey? If he’s ruthless and infected, wouldn’t he have just killed everyone instead of telling her to run?

- Will Juliet be ‘going dutch’ at the same coffee shop with Desmond and Penny?

- What is the important project Desmond needs to do for Widmore?

- What’s special about Desmond that he is retaining memories from both worlds? Other than his surviving multiple electro shock therapies, that is.

- Is having a geophysicist in charge of the sedation of your most crucial part of the plan for saving the world really the best idea? She could have easily killed Desmond with an over dose. Keeping someone in a drug induced coma isn’t as simple as plugging in an IV.

- Is Widmore aware of the alternate reality and in cahoots with Eloise?

Let’s discuss Eloise for a bit, as I have many questions surrounding her and her comments last night.

- What does she know?

- What did she mean by ‘In fact it’s a violation?’ Has some treaty or deal been made with Fake Locke or Jacob or some third party that the people on the island would get ‘what they most desire’ in this Real World as a reward for their service? Is not being able to know about the Island World part of that deal?

- What happens if a violation occurs?

- Does this ‘What you most desire’ have something to do with that box in Ben’s old cabin? Remember he told Locke that whatever he ‘most desired’ would be in that room and it turned out to be his father. What’s with that?

- This may be out of left field, but could Eloise somehow be the ‘crazy mother’ Fake Locke was referring to? Or the manifestation of that mother?

- Or could she be the entity that set the ground rules for Jacob and the Man in Black?

- Why isn’t Desmond ready? Ready for what? To hear the truth? And who put her in charge of deciding who is ready for what?

- Do these confused, momentary mirror moments indicate that other Real World people are having doubts about what they’re seeing?

- Remember that moment when Kate recognizes Jack on the curb? Could that have been her true love prodding her subconscious?

- What will happen if and when Juliet and Sawyer meet in the Real World? Will they get flashes of Island World?

- Who decided what each Island person ‘most desired’? In fact, let’s run this down for a few minutes.

Jack: Had daddy issues on island which seemed to have been resolved through his own son.

Kate: Unknown. Maybe real relationship with her mother? Sawyer? Jack? Motherhood? Either way she’s still on the run and looks to have the raw end of this deal.

Claire: Aaron.

Sawyer: I would think mother and father being alive, but who knows. That certainly wasn’t granted. Maybe some semblance of a normal life?

Sayid: Nadia and a conscience.

Sun and Jin: Each other.

Hurley: Fortune without the bad luck.

Locke: Loving and happy personal life.

Faraday: Music. And a pulse.

Desmond: Penny. Wait, what? The approval of Widmore?

Which brings me to the major question of this episode:

- Could Eloise or whoever created this Real World made a major tactical error in deciding what Desmond ‘most desired’? Let’s say that Desmond’s one true desire was assumed to be Widmore’s approval. Only in reality what he wanted most was Penny. Could this mistake lead to the collapse of this Real World? A sort of crumbling of reality?

- And if there was such a deal made, what are the rules and to what purpose is it for? Who’s involved? Does this mean Fake Locke escapes the island and the Real World is just some illusion of reality?

So many questions!!!!


Today's distraction: The Tiger Woods Heckling Challenge. Love this article and want someone to say something during the Masters. Please. Anyone. Make this entertaining, will ya?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bright Days

Random thoughts from a glorious Boston weekend.

- Perfection isn’t a word I throw around lightly, but the weather this past weekend was just that. Sunny in the mid 70s, air crisp and refreshing, I even got my first sunburn. Not to worry, just slight coloring that made me feel more human and less of a hibernating zombie. Nice to be back.

- The Red Sox and Yankees spent the entire offseason gearing their teams towards pitching and defense. Last night’s score: 9 – 7. The more things change…etc, etc….

- While the last few innings were exciting, the first half of last night’s game (and the MLB season opener, in case you missed that part) was excruciating. The fourth inning wasn’t even over and it was after 10pm. Needless to say I watched the highlights on SportsCenter this morning. Tell me again why a 7pm start is so unworkable?

- Friday night the Celtics blew another game in typical ‘go away from what’s working just fine’ fashion and they almost did the same Sunday, nearly blowing a 22 point lead against the Cavaliers. Once the victory was secure, the Celtics (Tony Allen, Garnett, Pierce in particular) started talking trash to LeBron James. That’s great guys, get the best player in the league pissed off at your entire team just before the playoffs start. Fucking brilliant. If the Cavs and Celtics meet in the playoffs I guarantee LeBron averages a triple double in a one man display of destruction.

- Where’s Shaq, by the way? I know he hurt his thumb, but shouldn’t he be back by now? Or is he now so huge he can’t fit through the loading dock doors?

- Speaking of injuries, did anyone else see that awful Andrew Bogut injury? Man alive, another on my list of highlights to never see, though will never unsee, again.

- Questions and answers from the drive to my brother’s house in East BumFuck, New Hampshire. The main road to his place is still closed from the flooding the last few weeks so we had to take an alternate route.

Q: Why do people live out here?
A: Desperation

Q: Does this road ever end?
A: Yes. Just seems like it goes on forever.

Q: Is that a cow?
A: Several, actually.

Q: How do people around here ‘run out’ for groceries? It’s a 20 minute drive to anywhere!
A: Yeah, but every other house has a cow where you can get fresh milk. Eggs, too, I’d bet.

Q: Ready to go home?
A: Hell, yeah!

- Please tell me I’m not the only one who doesn’t care that the iPad debuted today? What’s the appeal of this stupid thing, anyway?

- With yet another round of child abuse accusations emerging from Europe and directly incriminating the current Pope (he’s accused of ignoring the problem and transferring the abusers parish to parish), I can’t help thinking the Catholic Church is teetering on the edge of collapsing. Anyone care to help me give it a push in that direction?

- My brother lives in Portland, ME where they just had a topless march through the center of town. A march, I should point out, that consisted mostly of women. Since it wasn’t illegal for women to take their tops off in public in Maine, what was the point?

According to organizer Ty MacDowell, the point was topless women shouldn’t attract any more attention than men walking around shirtless. This was said – I imagine with a straight face – while men all along the march were taking pictures of the protesters with their camera phones. Nope, nothing to see here. Move along.

Oh, just found a video link for this lunacy! Enjoy. Sadly, can’t find many hotties in this and there are men wearing dresses for some reason.

- The Red Sox just extended Josh Beckett for four years and 68 million dollars. This after he gave up 5 runs in 4 innings. Maybe dollar signs were impairing his vision last night.

- The DOW is heading towards 11,000, work is picking up everywhere (including my stupid job), and the economy in general is heading in the right direction. So when, exactly, are companies going to start hiring again? My theory: They’re squeezing workers for as much work as they can get out of them for as little compensation as possible. Why hire and pay another salary when the remaining employees are working two jobs for single pay?

- Baseball season for my son started last week. Have another practice today in more beautiful weather. Forgive the abbreviated entry. I have other things to get to today. They involve outdoors and women with tops. Considering the women, this is a very good thing.


Today’s distraction: One of the greatest Lego contraptions ever built. I’m lucky if I can build a truck following the pre-packaged instruction. Screw this guy!