Saturday, October 15, 2005
(Full disclaimer: I've never actually sat through an entire Bond movie.)
Friday, October 14, 2005
Society Hill, Penn Center, LOVE Park (which he skateboarded in protest in 2002), the replacement of the "Chinese Wall" with JFK Boulevard, the development of the Far Northeast where I grew up . . . all Bacon. "It's almost inconceivable to think of what Philadelphia would be if Society Hill weren't there," Bacon said in a 2004 interview. "I had a long-range view of what I was doing, and I held in total contempt anyone who opposed it."
One has to admire that attitude. Also, he raised a good kid (and five others).
Think Holloway's gonna change his name to Mr. Mahalo and walk around seeking revenge with an unsent letter crumpled up in his back pocket?
Figure that the top ten must include Sgt. Pepper and the White Album, Born to Run, Nevermind, whatever Dylan is left and London Calling, but what else? Joshua Tree? And how high will XPN fave Jeff Buckley place with Grace?
Let me also toss out this question: what will be the highest-ranking album by a female artist? (For the 885 song list, it was Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" at #15, followed by "Respect" at #35.)
Thursday, October 13, 2005
But the estrangement of Lorelai and Rory -- the core conflict of the new season -- has elicited more than a few grumbles. Grumble grumble, these grumblers grumble, the backbone of the show is the relationship between mother and daughter, and keeping them apart is destroying the fundamental essence of Gilmore Girls.
I myself am a low-level grumbler. Point one: there has been no shark jumpage. Keeping Lorelai and Rory apart for a few episodes isn't going to kill anyone. (If the show could survive the entirely unappealing Jess, it can survive anything.) However, there is also Point Two: the Rory/Lorelai feud, as written, missed a real opportunity to complete an arc that the writers started last season when Rory chose a path at Yale that represented everything Lorelai hated and Richard and Emily adored -- Logan and the sense of rabid entitlement that he and his band of merry socialites enjoy without a shred of self-awareness.
Watching Lorelai watch Rory live a more traditionally Gilmore sort of life was a heck of a lot more interesting than watching Lorelai pine for Rory from afar. DAR wunderkind Rory would gain additional nuance Lorelai were around to react with a mixture of pride and pain (as we saw last season when Lorelai watched Rory climb out of Logan's limousine). And much as I enjoyed seeing Emily rip out and snack upon Shira Huntzberger's lungs, it doesn't compare to Emily and Lorelai baring claws at one another.
Ultimately, I think that the powers that be missed an opportunity to tell a really resonant story: what do you do when the life your daughter chooses to lead, while not obviously wrong, isn't exactly the one you want for her? They didn't need to move Rory into the Gilmore pool house to tell us that story.
As long as I'm proposing changes, here are some other suggestions for things to kill:
- Lane and the band. Or at least Zach. Why in the world would Lane waste her time with this nitwit? If she's got to have a rock star to boink (or not boink, as the case may be), at least make it Sebastian Bach. Sheesh.
- Logan the whipped boyfriend. Why exactly did they make him a regular if all he's going to do is drag Finn to the pool house and get Rory a sound system for the DAR party at the price she wanted?
- Sookie and Jackson's kids. Yawn.
- Paul Anka the Dog. Not funny.
- Paris the Marxist Revolutionary! The best writing they've offered Liza Weil in months.
- Logan the thisclose-to-being-an-asshole-but-still-remarkably-appealing guy he was last season when he brought Rory to the secret society thing.
- Kirk. In whatever ridiculous incarnation you like, he's comedic gold.
- 37 live castaways – Craphole Island Estates (46 original (including pilot, excluding Ethan), -4 on the boat, -6 dead, +1 birth)
- 5-7 live castaways – Lesser Craphole
- 3 castaway tourists from CIE slumming it in Lesser Craphole
- 1 mad Frenchwoman, location unknown
- 1 mad Scotsman, location unknown
- 4+ Others, location unknown
- 1 monster, organic, CIE (vicinity)
- 1 monster, mechanical with accompanying whisps of smoke, Black Triangle/CIE (vicinity)
- 1 live polar bear, CIE (vicinity)
- 1 dog, CIE
- boars (unknown quantity)
- 1 missing castaway (Walt)
- 1 missing button-pusher, presumed dead (Calvin or Kelvin)
- 1 missing teen, presumed petulant (Alex)
- 6 dead castaways – Craphole Island Estates (Arzt, Killed by Ethan, Poor Swimmer, Agent Shrapnel, Captain Weiss, Boone)
- 16-18 dead/missing castaways – Lesser Craphole
- 1 dead Ethan Rom/Other Man, CIE (vicinity)
- 1 dead polar bear, CIE (vicinity – and why didn’t they eat this one?)
- 1 (presumed) dead shark, branded with Listening Station 3 logo
- 6+ predeceased (2 found in cave, Nigerian smuggler in tree, Nigerian smuggler in plane, unknown but plural number of Rousseau’s crew, unknown number in hold of ship; not counting Flight 815 victims)
- 4 castaways appearing in dreams or hallucinations (Maggie, Boone, Walt, Jin)
- 2 underground stations
- 1 meticulously hidden and nearly impenetrable quarantine hatch designed to open only from the inside of station despite being completely buried
- 2 large doors to stations easily accessible to, among others, overweight man, 50-year-old woman, and gunshot victim (all malnourished), hidden by thin overgrowth of vines, penetrable by rag-tag band of air crash survivors whose tools consist of banyan-branch clubs wrapped in palm fronds
- 1 hole leading to mechanical monster lair
- 1 currently-unoccupied cave with fresh water, shelter, and medical supplies
- 1 currently fully-occupied beach with little shelter, no water, no medical supplies
- 1 In Style What’s Sexy Now waterfall with bonus dead bodies
- 1 2-hole golf course, or 0.11 18-hole golf courses (courtesy Bill)
- 1 ship plying the lucrative eighteenth-century Pacific pirate or slave trade
- 1 cockpit of jet, stuck in banyan tree, CIE (vicinity)
- 1 main fuselage of plane, CIE
- 1 twin-engine Nigerian smuggler plane
- 1 working skiff, with gasoline (Others)
- 2 known power sources (Station 3, radio transmitter)
- 1 unknown power source (Others)
- 1 power source, status unknown (Girlfight Station)
- 1 electrical cable, unknown length (courtesy Bill)
- 1 radio transmitter on continuous repeat
- 1 magnet, large, encased in concrete with radius >10 feet
- 30 days’ food (for one person); or 0.8 days' food (for 37 people)
- 1.56 cubic feet -- approximate volume of one meal as estimated by Hurley, based on 10'x10'x10' storage room with shelves 1 foot wide and 10 feet high, 50% full, lining the room
- 1.0 cubic feet -- estimated maximum volume of human stomach before fatal rupture
- 3 Meaningful References to Apollo brand candy bar (see Bill's explanation of Chocolate Asclepius)
- 1 chest anachronistic dynamite (sweaty)
- rifles (quantity unknown, but several in Station 3, at least two with the Others, at least two with Rousseau, and one with Desmond)
- 1 washing machine, newish (courtesy Adam C.)
- 1 blender, new (courtesy Adam C.)
- 5 handguns (Jack, Sayid, Sawyer, other possession unknown)
- bullets, unknown quantity
- html bullets, unknown quantity (courtesy Kimsmopolitan)
- 100 heroin-filled Virgin Marys (approx.)
- 3 buckets Quickrete (partially used)
- 3-4 servers with reel-to-reel storage or additional Mama Cass masters
- 1 Apple II+ or II/e (courtesy Andrew) (changed from "Wang terminal" although this doesn't seem right to me because both the Apple II and the Apple IIe were color computers, and the Wang terminals that I remember using were not.)
- 5-7 Station 3 jumpsuits, perfect for DEVO lip-synch contest
- 4 yellow rain slickers, Captain Gordon-esque (courtesy Kimsmopolitan)
- 50 doses injectable Station 3 supplements (approximate)
- fresh fruit, unknown quantity (courtesy Adam C.)
- 1 bottle, notes home (buried) (courtesy Adam C.)
- 1 map of island drawn by Rousseau, forgotten
- 1 box decorative sidewalk chalk (partially used)
- 1 backgammon game (courtesy Kimsmopolitan)
- black and white pebbles/othello pieces, unknown quantity (courtesy Kimsmopolitan)
- 1 container, Tide
- 1 pair eyeglasses made to help Sawyer see straight
- 0 pairs eyeglasses worn by Sawyer since embarking on three-hour tour
Anything else significant that I'm missing?
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
- Why does Claire's face look so different from last season? Did she gain weight? Lose weight?
- Okay, admit it, who thought that Bernard was the guy guarding the pit? Oopsie. Can't wait for that flashback.
- Love the sense of humor that crops up here and there. "[Fade to black] . . . bitch."
- Are there actually only thirty days of food, or did Hurley and his new sidekick concoct that story to avoid Everybody Hates Hugo II?
- What got into Ana Lucia's wheaties?
- That Randy guy? Not his first appearance on Lost. Anyone catch it? Check the comments for the answer.
Thus far I'm quite pleased with Lost's sophomore effort, except for one thing: the flashbacks in Season One were uniformly much more interesting and plot-advancing than the four we've seen so far this season. I suspect it stems from the fact that JJ and the gang, now knowing that they've got a bona fide hit on their hands, have realized that they need to stretch out these backstories for a while because the show's not going away anytime soon. So I'll be surprised if we get too many big reveals via flashback this season.
See ya in the comments.
- DMB, "Crash" and "Under The Table and Dreaming." Slim chance for "Everyday," but given that other DMB albums have made the list, those two, especially "Crash," would seem to be cinches.
- U2, "Joshua Tree" and "Achtung Baby"
- R.E.M., "Automatic For The People"
- Coldplay, "Rush of Blood to The Head"
- Beatles, "White Album," "Sgt. Pepper's"
- Springsteen, "Wild, Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle"
- The Police, "Synchronicity"
- The Clash, "London Calling"
- Paul Simon, "Graceland"
- Tori Amos, "Little Earthquakes"
- Counting Crows, "August and Everything After." If the other two albums made it, this one certainly should.
Safe to say we'll also see entries from Dylan, Ray Charles, and the Beatles beyond what's already been there.
What's more, you will be able to purchase video content on iTunes including "episodes of hit shows 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Lost' for $1.99 apiece, making them available the day after they air on television" as part of a deal with ABC/Disney.
So then I come back and my TiVo and FauxVo inform me that I have something like 15 hours of television eagerly awaiting my return. Which would be lip-smacking good, except that I now know the pressure of a deadline. Six hours into the catch-up period, and the only shows I'm caught up on are the aforementioned Lost and Alias! Still awaiting a little extra free time are: Prison Break, Desperate Housewives (have y'all seen the DH backlash out there?) Gilmore Girls, America's Next Top Model, Threshold, How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development, The O.C., My Name is Earl, and The Not-So-Amazing Race. (I meant to start watching Grey's Anatomy this season as well, but, um, the free time? Not so much.)
If anyone would like to offer me an ALOTT5MA Fellowship enabling me to take a hiatus from my day job and dedicate myself to writing witty television commentary on a full-time basis while continuing to support myself in the manner to which I have grown accustomed, kindly let me know. Thank you.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
But still, someone's probably got something decent to say before we get to what looks like an unnecessarily ghoulish task next week. What's next -- make the Schroeders fend off water-bound looters?
Among the highlights:
- "This is history as it might be written by Austin Powers. "Crack" is a book that bears the faint whiff of smoking jacket and brandy, as if the author had curled up in some leatherbound study with a few dozen previous books and his memories and banged out this one between puffs of pipe smoke."
- "If your idea of a nutty Friday afternoon is sitting through Geology 101, then this book's for you."
- And the kicker: "I wanted to drop-kick this book across the backyard. If Doris Kearns Goodwin or David McCullough can lay claim to being the Miles Davis of popular history, Winchester is becoming the Kenny G."
Monday, October 10, 2005
Still, I want to avoid all that by focusing on one detail that I found fascinating: William Hurt's performance, because it called upon him to do the world's worst (or best) Tony Kornheiser impression, and given the role he plays, it's just chilling. And hysterical. Worth seeing.
Sunday, October 9, 2005
Where reality still has to prove itself is in terms of the subsequent revenue streams -- do the Survivor or TAR DVD sets sell? What about syndication revenues? Will people watch again when they already know who won?
We've seen the "strategic competition", "talent show" and "who wants to be the next [X] career" concepts in various formats. We're due for the Next Great Reality Paradigm -- and if I ever figure it out, unlike my other ideas, I'm not giving it away for free here.
What's your favorite doc not in the top 10?
People tend to think of "the ACLU" as a monolith, but much of its litigation work is actually done by the independent local chapters. Under Presser's leadership, the ACLU of PA won huge victories in such diverse areas as freedom of speech on the Internet, separation of church and state, racial profiling, prisoner's rights, and reforming Philadelphia's treatment of abused and neglected children.
As former U Chicago Law Dean Geoff Stone noted last week, "The ACLU isn't a decision-making body. Its function is not to decide what the law is. It is, rather, to advocate points of view that are fundamental to American freedom, views that would not otherwise be adequately represented. Its function is to ensure that judges and legislators as least hear the civil liberties side of the argument. I might not want to live in a society in which every ACLU position was the law, but I know I would not want to live in a society without the ACLU."
Stefan Presser advocated those points of view to the best of a lawyer's skill, and, better still, he won. For his having fought these battles, we've all won; sadly, today, we've all lost.
How wonderfully diverse is a list (and a radio station) that has a section like this?
# 333 – STEVIE WONDER – Talking Book
# 332 – A TRIBE CALLED QUEST – The Low End Theory
# 331 – PATTY GRIFFIN – Flaming Red
# 330 – MARC COHN – Marc Cohn
# 329 – FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE – Welcome Interstate Managers
# 328 – FRANZ FERDINAND – Franz Ferdinand
# 327 – THE REPLACEMENTS – Pleased To Meet Me
# 326 – STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN – Texas Flood
# 325 – BRIAN WILSON – Smile
# 324 – PAVEMENT – Slanted And Enchanted
At least one album in that block is criminally underrated -- the one with the protein-delta strip, of course.
There is much to debate and discuss here. I mean, Sign O' The Times and Surfer Rosa make my top twenty -- but here, #266 and #263, respectively?