Friday, January 30, 2009
That Widmore was once a young island-residing Other isn't a shock, per se. The revelation of such wasn't so much a "what the hell?" moment as it was an "ah, I see" moment. With that crucial piece of info, a lot of things start to fall into place. Recall, for example, the loaded conversation last season between Ben and Widmore, and Widmore's use of the dismissive "boy" in reference to Ben, and consider their ongoing struggle over the island. From what we see in this episode, it becomes more than likely that at one point, Widmore was either in line for leadership of the Others, or believed himself to be (or that, chain of command and tradition be damned, he deserved leadership). It's clear in his dialogue to Richard before Locke's arrival that he is arrogant, and believes he has a strong(er) connection to the island. So it becomes entirely reasonable to surmise that at some point, Ben, an off-island outsider as far as Widmore is concerned, comes along and somehow usurps Widmore's leadership (either real or perceived), perhaps even going so far as to somehow force Widmore to turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel, just as Locke's ascension led to Ben doing the same. Once turned, Widmore finds himself expelled from the island and the island adrift in time and space, so Widmore turns his efforts to finding it once again.
The other most intriguing event in this episode was Locke planting the seeds of his own destiny. It seems that what drew Richard to test and watch over young Locke was Locke himself. Which raises all kinds of interesting questions about Locke's greater destiny. There was an implication in Cabin Fever, in which we see Richard administer the Dali Lama test to young Locke (presumably a component of the leadership selection process Richard mentions here), that Locke failed the test by choosing the knife over (presumably) the Book of Laws...however, Richard continued to check in on Locke, and the implication of failure seemed to have been repudiated by Locke's ascension at the end of last season. However, one has to wonder now if Locke truly is destined to lead the Others; if he did indeed fail the test as a boy, was this 1954 encounter with a time-traveling, Jacob-referencing Locke enough to keep Richard's interest enough to check in with Locke despite that failure? Did Locke truly fail that test as boy? If he did, did Richard have additional reason to continue to shepherd the boy? Is this truly Locke's destiny, or just the one he's creating for himself?
Of course, the whole situation has major implications on the ongoing thematic struggle in the show between science and faith, free will and destiny, but frankly, that will have to wait for another time.
My Favorite Bits:
Desmond naming his son Charlie. Awww...
The charged scene between Widmore and Desmond. Both Mrs. Teebore and I cried out loudly at Desmond's stupidity when he walked in. I liked that Widmore gave him the information even though Desmond didn't answer his question, and that Widmore seems genuinely concerned for Penny's safety. So far, in a character that's been painted as being almost universally EVIL, it's the one bit of humanity we've seen.
Tidbits of Note:
The brief opening flashback featuring Charlie's birth seemed like needless exposition. Consider this: did we need a scene showing us that Penny gave birth? Wouldn't the later scene, with Desmond talking to Charlie about Great Britain, have made it clear enough that Desmond and Penny had a child since being reunited? Was there something else to that opening that will later become obvious, making its inclusion more justified? For what it's worth, someone online pointed out that Desmond is speaking Tagalog, suggesting they're somewhere in the Philippines when little Charlie is born.
The landmines at the creek took out a few more Redshirts (though this time, they weren't actually wearing redshirts). The culling continues apace.
The Others continue to maintain their "we're the good guys who keep getting attacked first" mentality, with Richard's assertion that the army started it.
What are the odds that the Swan station was built over the H-Bomb? Daniel mentioned using concrete to block it off, and back in season 2 Sayid was investigating the hatch and mentioned "The last time I saw concrete poured over everything like this was Chernobyl."
The Others are kind of like murderous hermit crabs: the army comes onto the island, the Others kill them and appropriate their camp, uniforms and equipment. Then Dharma shows up twenty years later, and they kill them and move into their barracks.
The Others speaking Latin suggests their society might be quite older than we thought. Or it could just be a cool Other thing.
The year Locke and company found themselves in this episode was 1954, fifty years before the Oceanic 815 crash.
Juliet's assertion that Richard as always been on the island suggests that his apparent agelessness is somehow confined to him, and not a property of the island that extends to everyone or all the Others, and that his agelessness is not because he travels through time.
Of course, Locke's statement that he couldn't shoot a retreating Widmore nee Jones because he's one of his people is really just a cover for the fact that time wouldn't let him, since Widmore didn't die in 1954, shot in the back by John Locke.
Who is the female Other Daniel found so familiar? Charlotte's mom? His mom?
And who did she think Daniel was at the creek, that "just couldn't stay away?" Just another army guy, or someone specifically?
If Theresa presumably took part in Daniel's time traveling experiments, why isn't she dead? The implication was that her consciousness was traveling through time, but if she had a constant, she should be fine, and if she didn't, she should be dead by now. What's different about her? And is she connected to any of the other characters somehow? I didn't notice anything suggesting as much, but one has to assume...
I also assume, since we've known Daniel to be a fairly stand-up guy so far, that his "fleeing to America" probably had something to do with finding a cure for her. Was his whole trip to the island on Widmore's boat to that same end?
Who else was looking for Daniel, before Desmond, as mentioned by the clerk? And why didn't Desmond remember the year in which he visited Daniel?
When Juliet tells Locke that Richard has "always" been there, how "always" is that? Does Juliet even know how far back Richard goes?
Back to the Oceanic Six in what fearfully looks to be a Kate-centric episode, while Sawyer sees her in the jungle and Locke sees a familiar shaft of light.
Finally, I should give credit where credit is due: all screen caps from this post, the last two posts and all forthcoming posts come from the excellent Lost Media.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Documentaries, when done correctly, should attempt to be unbiased. On one hand, you have the Michael Moore machine with its blatant entrapment mentality and agenda. On the other side you have a film such as Capturing the Friedmans that attempts to paint an accurate portrait and discover the truth of a situation.
Lake of Fire, for the most part, would be in the second category. Therefore, I’d highly recommend you view it.
This documentary by British filmmaker Tony Kaye showcases both the pro-life and pro-choice movement in visually appealing 35mm black and white film. Even with a running time of about 152 minutes you’ll be glued to the screen as clips of intellectuals defending the urgent need for women to have the choice to avoid an inconvenience to their lives are juxtaposed with graphic images of actual abortion procedures and the rantings of fundamentalist zealots. Don’t take this lightly. When I say graphic, I truly mean graphic. Early in the film we are treated to a doctor rinsing out a colander-esque pan and piecing an aborted baby together to ensure all of the body parts are present.
Tony Kaye spent 17 years filming the opinions and stories of both sides of the issue, sometimes to shocking conclusions such as the case of Paul Hill, a religious leader who condones the execution of abortionists. In the midst of the documentary project, he follows through on his beliefs.
No matter which side you are on, I urge you to watch this film to better understand an extremely relevant social issue. Knowledge is power.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This episode also returned to a more traditional (for Lost) narrative structure, with present events (Hurley's Weekend At Bernies-esque escapades with Sayid) being intercut with a "flashback"(the events on the island, which technically took place sometime in the past). Perhaps due to the dearth of story remaining to be told in a limited amount of time, The Lie also featured a number of subplots running amongst those two narratives, something Lost rarely does: Ben coordinating with his mysterious off-island team and Kate's frantic efforts to run away with Aaron, culminating in a loaded conversation with up-to-no-good Sun. While not as mind-blowingly head-scratching as last episode's record-skipping time jumps, this episode continues to manipulate the traditional structure of Lost outings while grounding us in the story of the characters.
My Favorite Bits
Hurley being unable to lie to his mom, and she believing him. Or when he threw the hot pocket at Ben.
I also liked that Ben noticeably didn't answer Jack's question about whether Locke was really dead.
Tidbits of Note
Frogurt was wearing a red shirt when he got shot with the flaming arrow. In fact, between the attack on New Otherton and the freighter explosion last season and the fire arrow attack this episode, there seems to be a concerted effort to winnow out the number of background extras hanging around the island.
Jack's number on Kate's phone was 323-555-0165...I leave it to the math majors to decide where Hurley's numbers appear therein.
Ben was number 342 at the butcher shop.
We have a new beer: Frank was carrying Jekyll Island Red Ale on Penny's boat. No idea if that's a real beer or not. The name, of course, recalls the duality of the Jekyll/Hyde story.
The island seems to have settled sometime in the past...there was no flash this episode, and the whooshing sound (signifying a transition in time) returned between the on-island and off-island scenes.
That said, when Daniel returns to camp, Sawyer complains that it's been two hours since they left Daniel at the hatch, trying to contact Desmond. Did it really take him two hours to do so and get back, or did he experience a time shift off camera?
Hurley's dad was watching Nikki's old show, Expose.
The woman Ben met at the end was Ms. Hawking, who previously appeared in Season Three's Flashes Before Your Eyes, selling Desmond an engagement ring and counseling him on the nature of course corrections, the idea, affirmed last week by Dr. Chang and Daniel, that you can't change the past.
Hurley asserts on the boat that when Sayid one day needs his help, Hurley will deny him that help. Yet he spent this entire episode helping Sayid. A further comment on Hurley's nature (he's too good a person to NOT help a friend in need)?
Sun showed Kate a baby picture of her daughter, even though the daughter must be a few years old by then.
Apparently Miles ghost-talking abilities extends to animals-has that been previously established?
The Ana Lucia ghost specifically told Hurley not to get himself arrested, which he later did to spite Ben, suggesting, if the ghosts are truly manifestations of the island, that Ben is doing the island's work, at least so far as bringing everyone back.
When Ana Lucia stepped out of the cop car, before we saw who it was, there was a part of me hoping it would be Robert Patrick, holding a picture of John Connor, asking Hurley if he's seen that boy.
What is this network of people off-island with whom Ben is working? Displaced Others? People Widmore has wronged?
Who fired the flaming arrows? The people Locke killed (presumably Dharma) seemed more high tech and with it than the arrows, with their decidedly old school and primitive vibe, suggested.
What happened to Rose and Bernard and Daniel and Charlotte in the wake of the arrow attack?
What was in the box Ben retrieved from the vent of his hotel room before leaving Jack?
Assuming the island has stopped skipping in time, what caused it to stop? Is it like a top, that slowly stops spinning over time?
How did Jack get Sayid into the hospital, and treated, all by himself? Hadn't he lost his access/medical privelges during the first flashforward at the end of season three?
Why did Sun want to see Kate...methinks shenanigans are afoot, and her reasons are less than virtuous?
Why only 70 hours to get back to the island? What happens then? And what happens if they don't all get back to the island?
Monday, January 26, 2009
Time is a funny thing. It seems like just yesterday that I was typing up my post on the finale of season four, and January 2009 seemed eons away. Now, here we are, and those eons have passed in what seems like a flash.
Which is, of course, my ham-fisted attempt to segue into a discussion of Lost's fifth season premiere, which is all about time and time travel. It hurts my head, but man, do I love it.
Like the best season premieres, Because You Left sets the table for the upcoming season, reminding us of where the main characters are and the conflicts which lie ahead: the Oceanic Six need to get back to the island, Ben is helping them, some are reluctant to do so, Locke is dead, Desmond is living a life of hedonism at sea with Penny, and everyone on the island is busy figuring out to WHEN, exactly, the island moved. Every major character (except for Lapidus) made an appearance in this episode, but the focus was firmly on the island and the characters still there as they adjusted to their new "time skipping" status. Daniel, in particular, comes into focus as he becomes the only person on the island to fully understand what's happening.
The time skipping of the island doesn't just affect the characters, it also affects the way we, the audience, regard the story. The days of flashbacks and flashforwards seem to be behind us now. Time as we view it on the show now moves as fluidly for us as it does for those on the island. Gone are the neatly assembled dual narratives, showing island events being paralleled by off-island events, events taking place in a different time but still moving forward chronologically. Before, the events on the island were the focus of the story, the time period around which the flashbacks and the flashforwards swirled. Now, the greatest narrative anchor we have are the off-island adventures of the Oceanic Six, while on the island, we're left using story markers such as the drug plane and the hatch to determine "when" the events being depicted take place. Hopefully, this will allow us to see some flashback-style stories (Rousseau still cries out for a "flashback") even if the events are told outside the confines of the traditional flashback structure.
Once again, if you're looking for more (and frankly, better and more thorough) Lost analysis online, I entreat you to check out the following sites, a mere tip of the proverbial iceberg: Nik at Night (my favorite Lost site, whose episode review format I borrow liberally from in my posts), DocArtz, and DarkUFO (a smorgasbord of Lost info and other Lost sites). Entertainment Weekly's Doc Jensen also writes some intriguing and fun analysis of the show.
My Favorite Bits
Richard's conversation with Locke.
Sawyer, pounding on the hatch's back door, saying he's the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Tidbits of Note
The season opened in similar fashion to seasons two and three...mysterious figure rising, playing an old song...going about a daily routine.
Obviously, Chang's clock changed to 8:15 when he woke up.
The internet tells me the song playing at the beginning was Shotgun Willie by Willie Nelson.
Dr. Chang hadn't lost his arm yet.
Sawyer spent the entire episode shirtless. A little gift from Lost to you, ladies.
It was raining for Locke after the first time shift...just mentioning it, since weird stuff seems to happen in conjunction with rain on the island.
Daniel compares the movement of time on the island to the skipping of a record, foreshadowed by Chang's record at the beginning skipping.
The compass Richard gave to Locke was the same one he laid out on the table for young Locke in last season's Cabin Fever. The implication seems to be that the compass will act as a kind of constant for Locke, to keep him safe from the effects of time traveling.
Oh, and contrary to Richard's assertion that the compass points to north, when we see it in Locke's hand, it wasn't pointing north. I'm fairly sure its well established that compasses don't work quite right on the island.
Bio-Hazard Suit Desmond's first words to Daniel ("Are you him?") is the same question he first asked Locke upon meeting him.
Ah, remember the hatch? Good times.
Was the Daniel that was hanging with the Dharma Intiative at the very beginning "our" Daniel, or is it a younger Daniel, who time traveled to that event prior to us meeting him last season?
Who sent the lawyers after Kate?
Why did the Others vanish from Locke's side when he time traveled? The Losties all stayed together when the island skipped around times. For that matter, Bio-Hazad Suit Desmond didn't move in time when Daniel did.
It's implied that Sayid is no longer working for Ben, meaning he broke Hurley out on his own volition: why?
Why is Charlotte already showing the strains of time travel when others aren't? If the compass is indeed Locke's constant, then should the others (Sawyer, Juliet, etc) be worried that eventually they'll start bleeding out the nose, go crazy and die?
Why didn't Desmond "remember" his meeting with Daniel and instructions to go to Oxford until three years after leaving the island? Why didn't he recall this meeting when he met Faraday last seaon? Because it hadn't happened "yet"? Or is it simply a case of A LOT of significant things happening to Desmond in the time between meeting some strange dude in the strange jungle while living in a strange bunker and then meeting Faraday last season?
Daniel spends the episode asserting that there are RULES to time travel, and Dr. Chang mentions it too: you can't change the past. Last season, Ben admonished Widmore for changing the RULES. Same rules, maybe? Is that why Ben was so shocked when Alex died, because he had been to a future in which she existed?
Who built/installed the Frozen Donkey Wheel, since clearly, Dharma didn't? The same people that built the four-toed statue?
Friday, January 23, 2009
Slumdog Millionaire (or "Slumdog", as the kids say) received 10 nominations, second only to Benjamin Button's thirteen, which suggests, along with its Golden Globe wins, that this the current best picture favorite. Of course, sometimes the film with the earliest best picture buzz fades in the time between the nominations and the ceremony, but for now, it seems that "Slumdog" has the best shot yet in recent years to become the first token "plucky indy" best picture nom to actually win.
A Dark Day
I'm bummed Dark Knight didn't get the fifth "up for grabs" Best Picture nomination (it went to The Reader instead). After winning a handful of guild nominations recently (including the Producer, Writer and Director Guilds), I thought it had a good shot at a best picture nom (it did get nominated for eight Oscars in all, but aside from Heath Ledger's nod, they're all technical awards).
Not that I necessarily think it deserves to win (I honestly haven't given it much thought) but a nomination for the highest grossing film of the year would have ensured that a greater number of people would have tuned in to watch the ceremony, and there would be less grousing from people about how "out of touch" the Academy is with the average moviegoer. It's rare enough that the film the "average moviegoer" likes (ie the movie that makes the most money) is good enough for consideration at the Oscars; when those two stars align, I think the Academy should make the most of it.
Not that I'd want them nominating it JUST for those reasons, but in this case, I think the movie is definitely worthy of nomination regardless of its commerical success.
No Doubt About It
I think its cool that all four of Doubt's main actors received acting nominations: Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.
A number of surprise nominations in the acting categories (and by "surprise," I mean nominations for actors that I hadn't heard much about it in the "likely nominee" discussions): Richard Jenkins's best actor nod for The Visitor and Melissa Leo's best actress nod for Frozen River (two films I've never heard of), Robert Downey Jr.'s best supporting actor nod for Tropic Thunder (a critical acclaimed performance, for sure, but it's rare for the Academy to recognize the work of a summer comedy) and Michael Shannon's nomination for Revolutionary Road (when both his leading costars were shut out).
Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?
Of course, for every surprise inclusion, there's the surprise exclusion, the biggest, perhaps, being Clint Eastwood not getting nominated for Gran Torino (in fact, the film received zero nominations). The Academy loves Clint, so I'm surprised he or his film didn't get a nod SOMEWHERE. Similarly, Kate Winslet, who won two Golden Globes, received only one Oscar nomination, Best Actress, and it was for the role for which she won the SUPPORTING actress Globe (in The Reader). Both hers and Leonardo DiCaprio's work in Revolutionary Road went unrecognized by the Academy.
Second Time's the Charm
In the crap-shoot of a Supporting Actress category, I think a win for Marisa Tomei could be a slight repudiation of the wrong-but-still-persistent urban legend that her win in the same category for My Cousin Vinny years ago was simply because Jack Palance read the wrong name.
This Is The Last Song
Only three Best Song nominees this year, one from Wall-E and two from Slumdog Millionaire. That category sure isn't what it used to be.
The nominations of Frank Langella, Mickey Rourke, Robert Downey Jr. and Heath Ledger means that in a ceremony presided over by Wolverine, Skeletor, Marv from Sin City, Iron Man and the Joker will be battling it out for Oscar gold.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Yesterday, in honor of Inauguration Day, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts gave out a free doughnut to every customer to honor "American's sense of pride and freedom of choice." Now this may seem to simply be a shameless promotion to get people in their store, but Judie Brown of American Life League found a more sinister motive behind Krispy Kreme's supposedly innocent campaign. It's obvious if you read what they said closely:
"American's sense of pride and freedom of choice."
No, I'm not talking about the grammatical error. Read it again.
Freedom of CHOICE. You know, pro-CHOICE. As in pro-ABORTION!!! According to Judy Brown, Krispy Kreme is unequivocally endorsing abortion. The horror!
You can read the whole story here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-talk-donut-mon-nujan19,0,7766964.story
Now, I'm sure you're expecting me as a lefty liberal whack job to blast this lady for at the very least overreacting and at the very most being a paranoid freak. You're assuming I'll make some crack about NASA astronauts having to "choose life" instead of "aborting a launch." But you'd be wrong. You see, I could ASSUME she's an overreacting idiot, but I decided to do some investigating on my own.
I visited a Krispy Kreme yesterday. Of course, I was a day late for the Inauguration Day free doughnut. However, they did have another promotion. It was called the "Abort Your Hunger Deal." Interesting choice of words. It was a pretty good deal, though. You could get a dozen doughnuts for half off. The only odd thing was that when I received the doughnuts the box had a wire hanger attached to it.
I'm not sure what that's all about.
Anyway, the doughnuts were still pretty good. The only thing I didn't like was the jelly doughnut I ate. The problem was the doughnut wasn't filled with jelly. Instead it was filled with...
The morning-after pill!!! Now I was suspicious. I decided to pretend to be a potential investor and scheduled a meeting with a Krispy Kreme executive, Roy Vincent Wade.
When I arrived at the executive offices of Krispy Kreme things seemed normal. The only odd thing was that their TVs constantly played "Dirty Dancing." But I had no time to watch because Mr. Wade was waiting for me. I introduced myself to the executive and told him that I had just purchased the "Abort Your Hunger Deal."
"Excellent!" the well dressed Mr. Wade exclaimed. "We are overjoyed you chose to exercise your God-given right to abort........hunger."
There was something odd about Mr. Wade, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.
Regardless, I mentioned my interest in investing.
"Yes, and we could really use some venture capital right now. We're seeking to branch out into other areas. Check out this brochure."
Mr. Wade looked around for the brochure but couldn't find it.
"I'll be back." Mr. Wade left the room but soon returned with the brochure.
Mr. Wade passed me the brochure and I perused it. Apparently Krispy Kreme Doughnuts wants to move past the doughnut business and want to start building Krispy Testes Vasectomy Clinics.
"Mr. Roy Vincent Wade," I said sternly.
"Please," Mr. Wade interrupted, "call me Roy V. Wade."
"Fine, Mr. Roy V. Wade, it seems that your company has some sort of anti-reproduction obsession."
"I will not sit here and listen to these lies!" Mr. Wade rose to his feet. "Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has no anti-reproduction or anti-human agenda. Until you terminate that line of thinking we have nothing to say to each other. Good day, sir."
With that I was escorted out of the building. However, I wasn't quite done. I needed more information.
I know a thing or two about computers. So I hacked into Krispy Kreme's corporate intranet and in doing so I have fallen down the rabbit hole. I saw things I can't unsee. Heard things I can't unhear. Know things I can't unknow. So stop reading now unless you want to journey through the looking glass!
From secured files on the Krispy Kreme server, this is what I found out:
Apparently, in the future, an artificially intelligent military computer known as "Skynet" will come on line. Skynet will view humans as obsolete and attempt to destroy us. Skynet's first act will be to orchestrate a nuclear holocaust. Afterwards, humanoid robot killing machines known as "Terminators" will be dispatched to eliminate the last remnants of humanity. A human resistance will form under a legendary leader known as John Connor. The resistance will prove to be too strong for the robot army. Thus, as a last resort, Skynet sent a Terminator back in time to ensure that John Connor would never be born.
The Terminator sent back in time created the doughnut franchise we know as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. On the surface this restaurant's purpose was to simply provide tasty baked goods to the public at a low, low price. But secretly, this was a company with the lone, sinister goal of encouraging humanity to stop procreating. It was the hope of the founding Terminator that Sarah Connor, John Connor's mother, would fall under the trappings of Krispy Kreme and either A) Use birth control or B) Get an abortion. This plan failed, however, when Sarah Connor turned out to be a Dunkin' Donuts gal. And Dunkin' Donuts is all about unprotected sex.
Refusing to admit complete defeat, however, the Terminator decided that Krispy Kreme Doughnuts could still be used to further the robot uprising cause in other ways. Basically, they could use their anti-pregnancy restaurant to keep other humans from reproducing. The less humans born, the quicker it will be to eliminate them all. So Krispy Kreme created more franchises to subliminally promote their pro-abortion message.
Keeping Americans from reproducing wasn't enough, though. But since only fat, lazy Americans eat doughnuts, Krispy Kreme needed different restaurants in order to expand into other countries. In France they created Krispy Kreme Froglegs. In Scotland they built Krispy Kreme Haggis. And in Luxembourg they built Krispy Kreme Whatever-The-Hell-Luxembourgians-Eat. Each of these restaurant chains were simply fronts for limiting human reproduction.
John Connor became wise to this nefarious plot and sent back in time a man whose sole purpose was to take down the Krispy Kreme franchise. That man's name was Robert Atkins. Robert Atkins founded the Atkins Diet which strictly prohibited the consumption of carbohydrates such as those found in the delectable Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. The Atkins Diet swept the nation and dealt a huge blow to the Krispy Kreme franchise. However, a shape shifting "liquid terminator" known as a "T-2000" was sent back in time. This terminator took the form of ice which Robert Atkins slipped on. This, tragically, took Robert Atkins' life.
With the death of Robert Atkins his fad diet began to fade. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is on the rise again. So please, for the sake of humanity, stay away from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
And if you don't believe me, then you come up with a better explanation as to why the hell someone would think a doughnut shop using the term "freedom of choice" in a promotion on Inauguration Day is some sort of code for being pro abortion.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
At 11:11 this morning, I, a hairy man from East St. Paul, sat in my Pontiac at Holiday eating a double cheeseburger and onion rings from JT’s listening to Barrack Obama’s inaugural address. I was troubled.
For the past several months an idea has been gestating within me. Every mention of our 44th president has been linked with a common phrase – “the first African-American president of the United States.”
Why? Why does everyone need to quote this? Some may say, given our country’s history, this is a momentous achievement that must be recognized as proof racism has been overcome. I utterly disagree. Our society’s obsession with physical characteristics has a completely negative effect.
If racism were truly ended we would be appreciating Obama’s inauguration solely for his message of hope and inspirational leadership not for the color of his skin. The tint of his flesh shouldn’t even be mentioned, nor should the size of his feet or the number of his teeth. None of these things matter. What truly matters is the message he relays and the actions he takes.
Recently, I’ve contracted an antipathy for John Lennon. One of the greatest stunts he pulled was his and Yoko Ono’s “bag-in” where they refused to uncover themselves from a sheet while reporters interviewed them. Their message was profound. “Listen to our words and ignore our physical traits.” The media didn’t get it. Or maybe they did but they obviously refused to implement any change in the way we judge others.
I’m thoroughly sick of our society’s obsession with physical traits. I couldn’t care less if someone is the first “woman” to accomplish something or the first “Indian” to punch a donkey. All that matters to me is what they accomplished. I truly hope and pray Barrack “fraggle-rock” Obama can bring this country together and ease our concerns and tribulations. If he does, I will give him recognition as an effective president, not as a effective “African-American”
A message from Adam James Pankratz, the first “sasquatch” to become a gentleman of leisure.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
In this day, “Geek” is sheik. Growing up I had the tendency to hide some of my geekier habits. Comic book collecting, dungeons & dragons, and Magic- The Gathering needed to be veiled in the closet of my mind while socializing with girls and the “cool” kids at school.
I don’t regret this façade in the least. By keeping my dirty little secrets hidden from my peers and potential mates I was able to broaden my being and sustain a higher level of social ability. Therefore, I have the privilege of being a card carrying GEEK as opposed to a full fledged NERD (one who does all the dirty little things that I do but can’t function outside of FANTASY ISLAND).
With the success of some of the comic book movie franchises and television shows like BIG BANG THEORY, now is the perfect time to be a GEEK. For the most part I don’t watch sitcoms. I find the structure unimaginative and repetitive. This doesn’t necessarily “broaden my horizons”. However, my brother opened my eyes to the funniest show on at this moment (only because ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT was cancelled).
BIG BANG THEORY takes a GEEK (Leonard) and rooms him with a NERD (SHELDON) to bequeath an odd couple comedae magnum opus. If you haven’t been watching this show, click the clip below and prepare for hilarity.
SHELDON'S GENIUS - ROCK PAPER SCISSORS LIZARD SPOCK
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Ryan Gosling (the dude from every chicks favorite movie, The Notebook) plays a lonely guy who orders a lifelike sex doll from the internet and acts like it is his girlfriend. Given this premise, I can promise you this movie is nothing like what you imagine it to be.
Rent it, buy it, bring it to the top of your netflix queue. Watch it with a loved one or by yourself. If you have a soul it may make you cry a bit.
Monday, January 12, 2009
- Kate Winslet's dual wins (Best Supporting Actress in The Reader and Best Actress for Revolutionary Road) should make for some interesting Oscar handicapping, especially if Doubt, which was fairly quiet at the Globes, makes its expected impact on the Oscar nominations. Also, consider this: the last time someone won two Globes for two different movies was Sigourney Weaver in 1989 for Working Girl and Gorillas in the Mist; she went on to win no Oscars that year.
- Has anyone else noticed that the older Bruce Springsteen gets, the more he sounds like Bob Dylan? The lyrics to his Globe-winning song from The Wrestler that played last night were approaching an almost Dylan-esque level of unintelligible-ness.
- Heath Ledger's win for Best Supporting Actor makes an Oscar nomination, if not a win, all the more likely.
- Tina Fey's acceptance speech was hilarious: "If you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet and you can find a lot of people there who don't like you. I'd like to address some of them now. BabsonLacrosse — you can suck it. DianeFan — you can suck it. CougarLetter — you can really suck it because you've been after me all year. What do y'all have to say now?!"
- Mickey Rourke, already generating Oscar buzz for his performance in The Wrestler, continued his march towards that end with his Globe win, especially if the response to his win amongst his peers is any indication. I also love that he thanked his dogs.
- Slumdog Millionaire, already the favorite to earn the "plucky indie" Best Picture Oscar nomination (following in the tradition of Little Miss Sunshine and Juno), raised its profile and Oscar chances with its four Globe wins, including Best Director for Danny Boyle and Best Picture. Granted, the Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, so they are more inclined to appreciate an Indian film by a British director, but at this point, I'll be surprised if it doesn't win something on Oscar night, and it's a serious contender for best picture.
- The announcer that led into and out of the commercial breaks irritated me. Everything he said was spoken like some grand proclamation: "Tomorrow's news is happening tonight!" That kind of stuff. Dude, settle down. It's just the Golden Globes.
- On the subject of bad writing, some of the banter amongst the presenters seemed especially forced and/or painful this year. I know the stars booze it up at this awards show, but inebriation usually plays a role in acceptance speeches, not the presentation banter.
- The big draw of the Golden Globes is that it's a party; the stars sit at round tables, mingle with friends, and there's an open bar so "you never know what's going to happen," all in contrast to the more formal Oscar ceremony. But I do have to say I still like the Oscars better. I'm not saying the Globes need to be come solemn and dignified (it is fun to watch a more laid back awards ceremony) but I missed some of Oscar's spectacle: the montages, the musical performances (in some cases, that's the only time I ever hear the nominated songs), and especially, the clips of nominated performances (there were a few last night, but the choice of which categories got them seemed almost random). The Golden Globes could easily up the production values of their ceremony without sacrificing the sense of frivolity and fun that is their trademark.
Friday, January 9, 2009
The Setup: A failed prank at his college reunion leads to Homer getting a metal pail stuck on his head until a faith healer named Brother Faith removes it.
Homer: And the big game between Springfield U and Springfield A&M. I hate Springfield U so much!
Lisa: You went to Springfield U You hate A&M
Homer: So much.
Homer: I'm beginning to think this alumni party was just a ruse to get our money.
Brother Faith: ...God gave you the power.
Bart: Really? Huh. I would think that He would want to limit my power.
Brockman: Big game fever is reaching a fever pitch as the fevered rivalry between Springfield U. and Springfield A&M spreads like wild-fever...This is writing?
Intern: I'm sorry Uncle Kent; I lost my thesaurus.
Brockman: "My thesaurus" ... you'll lose more than that...In preparation for the big game, Springfield Stadium has caught additional seating capacity fever. Rrrgh!
Teebore's Take: I recall not liking this episode much, but found it more enjoyable upon re-watching it in light of the season on the whole. It is a surprisingly well-constructed episode in which Homer's college reunion antics lead into Bart's turn as a faith healer, with the two threads culminating at the end during the big college homecoming football game and Bart's role in healing the star player. An over-the-top moment at the end aside, the episode really only suffers from failing to explore or satirize faith healing, with only the expected skeptical comment from Lisa and Milhouse's bone-breaking faith in Bart's abilities offering any kind of commentary on the practice. Aside from that, this is a well-structured, fun episode that almost feels like it belongs in another season.
Not much more than what can be expected at this point in the season in an episode dealing with faith healing, but the real kicker (pun intended) comes at the end, in which Springfield U's injured star kicker, after being "healed" by Bart, comes back on the field to attempt a game-winning field goal. He kicks the ball, but it only makes it through the uprights when the bottom half of his leg, severed by the kick and flying through the air, unbelievably kicks the ball upright again just as it appears to be falling short.
Homer's insistence on pranking the dean and his drunken antics at the homecoming game is more befitting his simple-minded buffonery from the classic "Homer Goes to College" than his more-recent jerk-assery.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Yes, like my esteemed colleagues before me, I too am now making our faithful fans aware of new commercial opportunities.
While my love for comics grows and grows, living space remains at a premium, so the time has come to cull the herd a bit and discard the chaff from the wheat of my comic book collection.
If you're so inclined, gentle reader, please go here to bid on the dregs...err...unwanted masterpieces of my comic collection.
Remember, not only would you get a fine assortment of comics but also, a little piece of Teebore history. So bid early and often. And look for more to come.
Buy boots~'s book here.
Buy Dr. Bitz's stuff here.
and buy Teebore's comics here.
The Gentlemen of Leisure thank you for your support.
Monday, January 5, 2009
The Setup: Homer and the kids interrupt Marge's attempt to get rid of their junk, leading to an impromptu ski trip that culminates with Marge stuck in the hospital with a broken leg.
Bart: Can I go to the bathroom?
Otto: Uh, uh--say it in snowboard.
Bart: Um, I've got to blast a dookie?
Otto: Dook on!
Bart: At Sunday school, they said the lepers were cured by some bearded dude.
Bart: Yeah, that sound right.
Homer: Oh, I think we're on the outs with him. But I know someone who's even holier than Jesus.
Teebore's Take: Back to this season's form, unfortunately. Another uneven, scattershot episode with remarkably few funny moments yet nothing bad enough to get too worked up over. My favorite part is towards the beginning in which a cross-country skiing Lisa is attacked by a pack of vicious deer, only to be rescued by a park ranger who admonishes Lisa for disturbing the seemingly idyllic and innocent deer. As the ranger speeds her away on his snowmobile, she looks back once more to see the deer barring their fangs at her. Aside from that, a fairly dull, unfunny episode.
8-year-old Lisa taking charge taking charge of the household while 40-year-old Homer acts less mature than 10-year-old Bart is pretty over-the-top. Toss in Lisa's Lucille Ball hallucination and her convincing Homer and Bart they have leprosy resulting in the pair getting sent off to Hawaii, and you've got a pretty zany episode.
Homer is less of a jerk and more an immature brat throughout, but he is pretty much an unhelpful ass regardless of age.