Friday, February 27, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Final 7: 'Since I Died in Your Arms'

The most tender of the final Battlestar Galactica episodes thus far - but laced with a powerful wind-up punch ...

Just what you'd expect, come to think of it, in a story starring Sharon "Boomer" Valeri. She tells Tyrol that she's thought of him every night "since I died in your arms". She's in the brig now, about to be sent off with Six to stand trial, over her collaboration with Cavil. She takes Tyrol via projected illusion to a beautiful place, where they live, in love, and just for deep good measure have a teenage daughter...

It's all reminiscent of the place Kirk is inhabiting in that Star Trek movie in which he meets Picard ... and it's just as falsely convincingly real. And all the more effective for inhabitants of the sunless Galactica world...

Back on which, Tyrol gets Boomer out of the brig - he's desperate, his plea to President Laura fell on deaf ears. (But she'll soon get hers.) Boomer knocks out Athena, makes love to Helo (well, a little more rough than that), and ... steals Hera. It's apparently all in Cavil's plan - Boomer was sent back to Galactica to get Hera.

One good result of this is that it may have killed Laura. I'm sorry to say I'm not the least bit sorry to see her go - with the exception of the time she went wild against the mutiny, she's been a boring, deadening character this year.

Meanwhile, Starbuck has a lengthy interlude with a piano player, who turned out to be her father, who somehow had taught Starbuck how to play the Dylanesque Cylon theme when she was a girl. Does this mean she's a Cylon? Not necessarily ...

But what is the case is that Boomer's blast into the faster-than-light speed, so close to Galactica, may have put the ship over the non-reparable edge ... unless that organic resin can start kicking in.



Enjoy Lost?
- every episode reviewed on Infinite Regress - here's a review of the latest episode ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben





More Battlestar Galactica - see: Battlestar Galactica, Final 1: Dee, Ellen, and Starbuck ... Final 2: Baby and Mutiny Make Three ... Final 3: Galactica Alamo! ... Final 4: Shout-Outs to Lampkin, Lee, Tyrol ... Final 5: (Almost) All Explained ... Final 6. The Necessity of Hyrbrid ... Final 7. Father of a Million






The Plot to Save Socrates


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"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Sold More Books Than Joe the Plumber

I sold more books than Joe the Erstaz Plumber! But, then, again, I'm sure that most authors have - according to The Washington Post, a total of 11 people showed up to "Joe"'s (his name isn't Joe either) book signing at a Border's in Washington, DC, yesterday - and only 5 books were sold!

Now, book signings are not easy. Many any author will tell you the time they drove hundreds of miles to a reading and signing, only to find that the books didn't arrive at the book shop. Or, only three people were in the audience - two of whom were drunks who wandered in, and the third a book store employee.

But book signings in or near big cities always do a least a little better than Joe. Last signing that I did for The Plot to Save Socrates, at a Barnes and Noble in Yonkers, NY, brought in 27 sales (yeah, I was counting), and, let's face it, I'm not exactly a household name...

Somehow, Joe, who isn't a licensed plumber, is almost a household name - because the media couldn't resist giving big coverage to his know-nothing views (for example, that Obama's election would be "death" to Israel).

It's good to see the book buying public is a little smarter. Here's to Gutenberg and literacy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lost 5.7: Bentham and Ben

Wow, what an episode of Lost! (5.7, if you're counting) ... in which we learn -

1. Our hope that Ben might not be bad is shattered ... at least, for the most part ... because Ben kills Locke! Now, maybe this is part of some more complex master plan, but it sure seems as if Ben doesn't want Locke to interact with Eloise (Faraday's mother), because that could lead to dangerous consequences of some kind for Ben. So he talks Locke out of the noose, but then, after he learns Locke is going to see Eloise, strangles Locke with the noose, anyway, and makes it look as if Locke killed himself... One of the best surprises this year on Lost..

2.Ben also kills Abaddon (who is in Widmore's employ) - too bad, I actually like Lance Reddick in this role better than in Fringe.

3. Back on the island, after the plane crash of last week, we see two other results in addition to Jack, Kate, and Hurley alive and ok: (a) Locke is back alive, in seemingly perfect shape, and (b) the other people on the plane - including Cesar, and Ben - have survived, in various wounded and ok conditions. Cesar is ok. But Ben is badly wounded. So Locke is again revealed as someone the island regenerates. The first time around, the island let him walk again (and Locke as Jeremy Bentham back in a wheelchair in our world was a nice touch). This time, the island brings Locke back to life...

4. Which leaves us with yet another question about Ben: if he knew the island would definitely bring Locke back to life, maybe Ben wasn't so evil to kill Locke, after all... You gotta hand it to Ben and Lost - once again, just when we're pretty sure Ben is evil, a facet emerges that maybe puts Ben in another light ... And we haven't even found out, as yet, how Ben got beat-up before the latest plane trip...

5. And last point about plane trips... Didn't Jack say in the Season 3 finale that he'd been flying around, lots of times, hoping his plane would crash? Jack didn't give quite that impression in his conversation with Locke tonight. In fact, Jack rejected Locke's plea that he round up the Oceanic Six and take them back to the island. But Locke's death is reported pretty soon after Jack's meeting with him - Jack sees the notice in the newspaper on his plane ride back from Sidney. When, exactly, did Jack get in all of that traveling around by plane? I suppose Jack might not have intended the plane rides to bring him back to the island, just to crash, but still...

6. But it was great to see Locke talk to Walt, back in New York...







5-min podcast review of Lost 5 Hr 7

Enjoy Battlestar Galactica? Every episode reviewed on Infinite Regress ... here's a review of the latest episode: Final 7: 'Since I Died in Your Arms'







More Lost - see
: The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.8 True Love Ways






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jindal's Simpletonian Speech Follows Tour de Force by Obama

I'm listening to Bobby Jindal - Governor of Louisiana - give the Republican response to Barack Obama's superb address to Congress and the American people tonight.

I've got to say that Jindal's speech - in delivery as well as content - is one the lamest "opposition" speeches I've ever heard any Republican or Democrat give.

Jindal says Republicans don't want to raise any working person's taxes - he must have missed when Obama just said that no one earning under $250,000 a year would pay a cent more in taxes.

Jindal says don't let anyone tell you our best days are behind us - I just heard Obama talk about America resurging to its greatest heights in the future.

One point that Jindal did get right is that the President and the Democrats think the government can help in this crisis. Jindal and the Republicans want what - the government does nothing to help? Apparently nothing to help with high-speed rail lines...

Back to Jindal's outrightly inane points, he cited Katrina as an example of the "bureaucrats" being bravely overruled. And those government officials would be .... Republicans.

If Jindal has any chance of getting the Republican nomination for President for 2012, it would reside in a majority of Republicans sleeping during his speech tonight.

Monday, February 23, 2009

24 Season 7 Hour 10: Jack and Renee

24 completed its first story line in fine style tonight - lots of action, angst, and fast-moving strategy.

My favorite scene was Jack and Renee, in the hospital. We saw part of this in the coming attractions - Renee slapping Jack, saying she just wants to know if he feels anything about the people who die. What came after was even better. Renee putting her head on Jack's shoulder, Jack comforting her, Renee pulling away, Jack walking away and warning Renee if she ever pulls a gun on him again she'd better use it, Renee retorting I would have, this time .... As I've said before, I think they make a good couple (though, enough already about goading poor Jack about Terry)...

Clearly, Jack and Renee will be back together as the season continues.

But the battleground is changing. Sean and Erica both were the moles, and they're taken care of (Dawn, one of my Infinite Regress readers, was right about Erika, after all!) (looks like I was wrong about Janis - but you still never know).

Chloe and Bill were both heroic in this part of the story. But, with the White House under attack next week in a two-hour episode, everyone's going to have all they can do to save the country. Excellent that Tony is back (another fine scene with Jack and Tony sitting on the steps across from the Washington Monument). Should be good - and, there's got to be a major mole in the White House itself, and I'm still not liking Ethan (that is, I'm thinking he may be a bad guy).



See also: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hours 11-12







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The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Big Love 3.6: Perfect, Exquisitely Played

A perfect, beautiful, exquisitely played episode of Big Love last night - 3.6 - probably the best episode ever on the series. In part, because, at last, it focused only on Bill's family...

First, though, I should mention that I'm really enjoying the fast pace of Big Love this year. Like Lost, 24, Heroes, and Damages, Big Love has learned to wrap up story lines, before they even edge slightly towards tiring us. Roman's out of prison and court, Bill and Ana got married and split, and lots of other crises have been well introduced and better resolved.

Which left last night's story wide open to really delve into other, long brewing family matters.

One of the most compelling aspects of Big Love has always been how Bill's family, despite it being so different from most families in America, grapples with the same problems. That was never shown better than last night.

Sarah (wonderfully played by Amanda Seyfried) is pregnant. This would be very difficult for a teenager about to go off to college in any family. But in the Henricksons, that pain is magnified more than three-fold, like most of the other crises they struggle with.

Barb discovers Nicki's birth control pills, assumes they are Sarah's, and starts going ballistic. This puts Nicki in a tough position - she knows Bill and her sister wives will be angry, to say the least, if they find out Nicki's been sabotaging her wifely responsibilities. In one of the best sequences in the entire series, Nicki comes through for Sarah, and tells Barb and Margene she's been taking the pills. As bad as Nicki has been at times, this shows what she's made of at the core, and how much she loves her family. She also comes through for Sarah and the family after Sarah loses her baby, supporting Sarah, and encouraging her to tell Bill and Barb.

Barb's and Bill's reactions were also a high point of this show, and the series. They love their daughter, and support her. I don't see how there could be could anyone without tears in their eyes after watching that heart-rending scene. Barb and Bill put love for their daughter above any religious teachings, and that's a redeeming message indeed.

On just a slightly lighter side, Margene and Ben run into each naked in a room (nice derriere Ginnifer Goodwin, or who's ever that was in that scene). Ben writes a Margene a love note, which Teenie sees ... Teenie talks to Margene, who talks to Ben. This, of course, is a problem that could only arise in a polygamous family, and it was rendered very well last night, too.

And on the subject of polygamy - we see Bill, struggling with his faith, not wanting to lose it, when he gets a few seconds alone with the sky.

An unforgettable episode of Big Love, reminiscent of the best of The Sopranos. I expect it will be seen for years to come, and will make an indelible contribution to the evolution of television narrative.









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The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Friday, February 20, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Final 6: The Necessity of Hybrid

Another really powerful, winning final episode of Battlestar Galactica tonight - this one, Final #6 - which was all about the absolute necessity of hybrid, and the impossibility of either Cylon or humans surviving now on their own...

1. Caprica 6 and Tigh's unborn baby Liam dies. It wasn't really because Ellen, in fine bitch form - the same personality as a Cylon as a human - tries to pull Caprica and Tigh apart. It wasn't because Tigh didn't love Caprica and the baby enough (he certainly deeply loved and wanted the baby). It was because a pure Cylon was not meant to be. Pure Cylon is not the way of the future. Not pure human, either.

2. The death of Liam makes Ellen realize that her attempt to get the Final Five Cylons off on their own won't work, either. They could neither procreate, nor get resurrected.

3. And Galactica herself can only survive by becoming hybrid - via the Cylon living resin mending its cracks and growing with it...

So hybrid is the only way to go. But human-Cylon life still has potent human-only and Cylon-only enemies...

Yes, another really satisfying, lyrical episode of BSG tonight. And with at least two priceless scenes ... Adama comforting Saul on his loss of a son (and Saul saying he knows it's not like with Zach) ... and Caprica 6 explaining to Ellen that Saul didn't love Ellen any less ... That one made me realize again why Caprica 6 has always been my favorite Battlestar Galactica character.


See also: Battlestar Galactica, Final 1: Dee, Ellen, and Starbuck ... Final 2: Baby and Mutiny Make Three ... Final 3: Galactica Alamo! ... Final 4: Shout-Outs to Lampkin, Lee, Tyrol ... Final 5: (Almost) All Explained ... Final 7: 'Since I Died in Your Arms'






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost 5.6: A Lot of New Questions

An oddly paced, fascinating, powerful but unsatisfying episode 5.6 of Lost tonight, that raised more questions that it answered, even though the answers that were given were good.

Answered: How Los Angeles connects to the island, and how our people can get back there. Good neo-Victorian scientific setting, and good explanation by Faraday's mother.

New questions raised:

1. Why did Kate leave Aaron behind?

2. Who beat up Ben?

3. How did Hurley and Sayid know to come to the airport?

4. Who was the woman with Sayid?* (And, for that matter, who was the other Iraqi - I think we saw him last in the excellent "House of Saddam" on HBO - the actor, that is...) *Played by Zuleikha Robinson, of Rome fame - thanks to Mike for mentioning this in the comments.

There were some nice touches - Frank Lapidus as the pilot of the plane (which makes sense - he is somehow one of the ushers to and from the island), and Jack meeting his grandfather.

And other less obvious questions - why, for example, did Faraday's mother, played by the fabulous Fionnula Flanagan, not react more to Desmond's message from her son?

All in all, it was good to see some of our people back on the island - but it may have happened a little too fast. This was one of those episodes that made me wish I had the self-control to DVR this one, and the next few, and watch them all at once, in a more satisfying story arc.

As it is, I'll just have to wait, looking through time for next week's screen...






5-min podcast review of Lost 5 Hr 6



See also
: The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Hannity's Triumph of the Will

Just caught a glimpse of Sean Hannity on Fox tonight - I thought I was watching a remake of Triumph of the Will.

Apocalyptic "Omen" music playing in the background ... Democrats pressing for the stimulus package, proud when it passed ... Republicans heroically standing up against it ... fighting against -

Socialism in America!

Images bathed in red, Hannity raving on about socalism, except -

Socialism is the government nationalizing, owning, taking over industry. No private ownership, no corporations, no private enterprise.

How is the stimulus package anything like that, close to it, even moving towards it? The government is loaning money to the auto companies and the banks. When it makes money available for building of infrastructure, that money will be going to companies such as Caterpillar, which will be hiring more workers, etc.

No government ownership.

Words have meaning. As George Orwell made frighteningly clear in 1984, the path to totalitarian strangling of liberty and decency resides, in significant part, in striping language of its meaning - war is peace, freedom is slavery - with an eye towards confusing the public.

No, this country is not moving towards socialism at all.

But displays such as Hannity's are about as far as I've ever seen anything on American media veer towards Nazi and Communist modes of propaganda.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You Gotta Like Sylar on Heroes Now

He's the least conflicted, most effective hero by far ... Sylar has escaped from the government's goons at least twice now. And, despite what he says, he's taking good care of the kid he picked up last week. I know Sylar's capable of doing something awful any time, but so far in 2009 I'm finding his character commendable.

HRG, on the other hand, is the epitome of conflicted. I was glad to see Matt and company at least turn the tables on him. I have a feeling we may be in for a surprise - let's say it turns out that HRG has some powers of his own, after all...

Oh yeah - this is Heroes 3.16 I'm talking about.

It also had a good scene with photos of all the heroes up on a police suspect board. Nathan is pretty despicable, but he's bound to come through and see the light and stop Danko. Until that happens, though, even torture is permitted. Heroes is indeed moving into 24 territory (though, actually, at this point in 24, more people are against torture than are endorsing it).

Good to see Ando and his power - but I'm beginning to miss Hiro's time travel. It's also one of the few things that Sylar can't do...

See also Heroes 3 Begins: Best Yet, Riddled with Time Travel and Paradox ... Sylar's Redemption and other Heroes and Villains Mergers ... Costa Nuclear ... Hearts of Gold and the Debased ... Seeing the Future Trumps Time Travel ... Superpowered Chess with Shifting Pieces ... Villains and Backstories ... The Redemption of Sylar ... Thoughts on the Eclipse, Part I ... The Lore of the Comic Book Store ... Hiro's Time Traveling Closure ... Augmented ... Heroes Gets Lost




24 Season 7 Hour 9: Morris and Aaron!

Well, I was wrong about Janis - though she certainly gave being the mole in the FBI a fine run for its money in tonight's Hour 9 of Day 7 of 24 .... another powerful, kick-in-your-stomach per minute hour...

But creepy Sean's the mole after all - though, who knows, maybe there are two moles, and Janis is really working for someone other than Larry, too? Probably not...

It's great to have Chloe on the case behind a computer in a government office. I'm still expecting some sort of confrontation between Chloe and Janis.

I'm a little worried about Chloe, actually. It's a never a good sign when you say goodbye to your husband and sweet little toddler in the car, and you walk into a dangerous situation. But it was good to see Morris again, and meet their little boy Prescott.

Someone who also likely doesn't have much of a future is Dubaku's girlfriend Marika. Sean's treachery got in the way of Jack and Renee protecting her.

But, for that matter, I expect we won't be seeing much of Dubaku, either. Alive or dead, he doesn't have much to threaten, or contribute to the story. We'll likely see more of the real powers behind the evil - the bad guys in the government.

Fortunately, we'll have at least one other good guy on our side: Aaron!


See also: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ...






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Friday, February 13, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Final 5: (Almost) All Explained

After the shoot-em-up breathtaking final episodes of the past few weeks, Battlestar Galactica put on a riveting, soft spoken intellectual powerhouse of a Final Episode #5 tonight, with deep, real answers ... and, of course, a question or two.

This was mostly Ellen and Cavil (John)'s episode on the Cylon ships, and Sam's on Galactica. They both tell the story ...

Ellen created Cavil (she calls him John, much to his displeasure) and together they created the rest of the Cylons who look and walk like humans. Cavil hates his human body. Ellen considers him and all the humanoid Cylons a triumph, the best of both beings. They have free will and love...

This conversation between mother and rebellious son is one of the best in the entire series. It rivals the conversations Isaac Asimov wrote between R. Daneel and his human associates. (Added Feb 14: And in responding to a comment below by Livia, I realized that Cavil's speech about the exploding star was also reminiscent of Rutger Hauer's great musings about what he had experienced as an android, in Bladerunner.) We learn a lot about Cavil - he's the oldest looking skin job, but in many ways is still the youngest.

Back on Galactica, Sam's wound to the head has decanted his memories - of just about everything we need to know. The counterpoint of Ellen and Cavil, and Sam and his listeners, takes us through every season and century of BSG.

But ... Kara still doesn't know how she came back from Earth and the dead.

And now that the Final Five have been ID'ed in these final episodes, why not introduce one last product of Ellen's genius - Daniel, a humanoid Cylon rendered extinct by Cavil.

Who is he? Gaeta? It also turns out that the final five have no memories of earlier existences, and, therefore, relationships...

Cylons and humans have become even more intertwined, and this may come to include the Galactica herself. She's cracking, and Tyrol suggests an organic resin which will grow with the ship. Adama resists - at first - and then agrees...

And so the spiral cycle continues ... with a brand new beginning or bumper for the show. Pretty daring in itself, this far into the series and this close to the end...

See also: Battlestar Galactica, Final 1: Dee, Ellen, and Starbuck ... Final 2: Baby and Mutiny Make Three ... Final 3: Galactica Alamo! ... Final 4: Shout-Outs to Lampkin, Lee, Tyrol ... Final 6: The Necessity of Hybrid ... Final 7. 'Since I Died in Your Arms' ... Final 8. Father of a Million ... Final 9. 'Every Man and Woman Over the Age of 15' ... Finale: Not Goodbye But See You Around







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The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Obama, Lincoln, Gregg, and Matthews

Two more incidents worthy of note in Judd Gregg's walking away from the Commerce Secretary position he had volunteered for in the Obama administration.

1. Let's start with Chris Matthews: Has he lost his mind completely? He has just given Gregg a "Hardball" award for knifing America in the back? Matthews thinks it took courage for Gregg to stand up for his principles and walk away. It would have taken far more courage to stand by his self-initiated commitment to Obama and America, and do his best in the job he petitioned for.

2. On a happier note, Obama gracefully reflected on Gregg's desertion when Obama was talking about Lincoln in Springfield last night. The speech, by the way, was superb - one of Obama's very best in lyricism and historical acuity. Obama imagined Lincoln sitting in his office, children playing at his feet, getting a call from someone who wanted to be Commerce Secretary...

Of course, Bell did not invent the telephone until 1876, or 11 years after Lincoln's assassination. Keith Olbermann, who was covering the speech live last night, was quick to pick up the little error, and said wasn't it nice that Obama was musing what it would have been like had Lincoln lived long enough to use a telephone .... Nice pick-up and attempted recovery of a little fumble by the President.

But I give Obama plaudits for painting the Lincoln picture, even with the small anachronism. And if we want to make it historically accurate, just substitute a telegram for a telephone call...

More about the inventions of the telegraph and the telephone, and their role in politics and much more, in The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Judd Gregg Deserves No Respect

I've got to say I have no respect for Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), who just withdrew as President Obama's Commerce Secretary nominee.

Gregg says he realized he couldn't be a team player in the Obama administration, much as he admired the President.

The truth, obviously, is something else: The Republicans, including Gregg, have abandoned Obama's stimulus package, passed in different forms by the House and the Senate, which will soon vote on a bill both houses of Congress can agree upon.

The Republicans, who are most responsible for our economic mess, are now doing their best to see that nothing constructive is done to address it. They're hoping Obama fails. They think this is their best path back to the White House, and to majorities in the House and the Senate.

In fact, it's a sure path to further misery.

Gregg actually did Obama and the nation a big favor by withdrawing. His administration and therefore our country will be far better off without this obstructionist GOP loser.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lost 5.5: Two More Time Travel Loops and Mind Bending Explanations

Two provocative time travel loop situations on the pulsing Lost - 5.5 - tonight, which of course deserve our more careful scrutiny and reach-for-some-sanity analysis -

I. Jin and Rousseau interact on the island 16 years ago. That's current Jin, who has been jolted back in time in the latest island skip, and young Rousseau, pregnant with Alex, as she was 16 years ago...

So - how come older Rousseau doesn't recognize Jin when she sees him earlier in the series, a season or two ago?

First, I'm assuming Rousseau did at least catch sight of Jin - he certainly remembered her tonight (and last week). I'm too lazy to go back and check the DVDs. If it turns out that Jin saw Rousseau in an earlier season, but she not him, then there's no problem in her not remembering him, certainly no paradox. But let's have some fun, and assume that Rousseau did see Jin some time in the past few seasons...

There are two ways we can explain her not recognizing him - which, she should have, given that Jin stopped her from going down in the hole after the smoke monster tonight:

a - Rousseau in every season up until this one was slightly out of her mind - and the last we see of her tonight, she's already a little on the way to losing her mind. A non-paradoxical explanation would have her mind gone enough by the time she sees Jin in the past few seasons, that she just doesn't recognize him.

b - But if Rousseau still has enough of her mind and memory to have recognized Jin in a previous system, we'll have no choice but to go into my World 1 and 2 explanation - you know, the one I tortured your intellect with for Desmond 1 and Desmond 2, Compass 1 and Compass 2, and even Denzel 1 and Denzel 2 in my explanation of Deja Vu.

Here's how it would work for Jin and Rousseau: Older Rousseau 1 meets Jin 1 for the first time in both their lives, in whatever earlier season they met. Jin 1 gets thrown back in time, and changes the world - or at least a few people in the world - when he meets the young Rousseau (and the French crew). At that instant, Rousseau is changed into Rousseau 2 - who will recognize Jin when they later meet. But we haven't seen that scene, because the ones we saw featured older Rousseau 1.

If this explanation is correct, then we can also assume that the French crew died in a slightly different way for Rousseau 1. Jin's going back into the past changed things a bit for them, too.

II. A different, sad time travel loop unwinds tonight between Faraday and Charlotte. She's dying from the time skips, and remembers that, when she was girl on the island, a crazy man told her to never come back to the island, because it would kill her. And she recalls that the crazy man was ... Faraday.

There's nothing at this point paradoxical or inexplicable about this loop - the older Faraday just fails to convince Charlotte as a little girl not to come back to the island.

But being a sucker for a happier ending, I see a way Faraday might save Charlotte, after all. Communicate through time to his older self - just as we've seen with Desmond - to be more convincing to Charlotte to not return to the island. This would then create a Faraday 2, and the same scenes we saw on the island with Faraday and everyone else last season and this season - except no Charlotte. Because she's safe, off the island, and Faraday can find her when the series ends...

See ... time travel can drive you crazy, but it can also make you happy ...







8-min podcast review of Lost 5 Hr 5



See also
: The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ...





The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Fringe February and Teleportation

Two good Fringe episodes in February, which moved the series along for its return for seven more episodes in April...

Here's what we have -

1. Olivia, last week, has run her course with John. No more adventures in the tank, no more mind melds, no more seeing John from the inside of her mind every now and then.

2. Jones, the teleporter, moved around a whole bunch of intriguing things tonight. We had seen him teleport from Germany to here, in an episode in the Fall, and tonight we see that again, and then some of its consequences.

A word about teleportation. It's had a colorful history in science fiction. Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, one of my top ten all-time favorite science fiction novels, did a great job of "jaunting" - "Gully Foyle is my name, Terra is my nation..." Star Trek's beaming made an indelible contribution to the teleport genre. Last year's Jumper - based on Steven Gould's novel of the same name - got mixed reviews, but I liked it just fine. And then there's Hiro in Heroes...

Back to Jones - it certainly takes a toll on him, much more than most of the Star Trek beamers. Gully Foyle was a junkie - and jaunting may have helped in that regard.

3. A typewritten manuscript which may explain a lot of what's going on has surfaced - it's decades old - and it was typed on Walter's typewriter.

4. And, of course, Olivia is a key part of this, and not because she's an FBI agent investigating these strange affairs.

And so, the stage is still set - better than in the Fall. And like the eternal bald observer who shows up in every episode, we witness and wait for more...



See also Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 15. Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Observer






The Plot to Save Socrates


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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Julio Osegueda: A Democratic, Real Joe the Plumber

I just saw Julio Osegueda on Countdown - he was the enthusiastic Edison State College student who asked the final question at President Obama's town hall meeting, earlier today, in Fort Meyers, Florida.

And what a wonderful town hall meeting it was. Obama kissing Henrietta Hughes on the cheek, after she asked him for help in getting a place to live, Julio jumping up and down at the end, so thrilled to be able to ask the President a question. Real emotion, real people. It has to be moving, heartening, inspiring after eight years of the fake compassion the Republicans like to dole out.

Julio's a communications major (yes!), and a Yankee fan, too! My wife said he's the Democratic Joe the Plumber, the real Joe the Plumber. Julio's the real thing, not the ersatz plumber, the deadbeat, that Republicans sprung on America in the campaign season, and some media continue to give a microphone to now.

This, in a nutshell, is the enduring difference, at least in our age, of Democrats and Republicans. Neither is a perfect political party, and there are good and bad politicians in each. But whereas Republicans deal with make-believe heroes, and try to get us to worry about make-believe threats, the Democrats at least work in reality. Real people, real hope. There's just nothing else like it.

More Action Makes Better Heroes

A shoot 'em up Heroes 3.15 tonight - the second episode of the new 2009 militaristic volume...

Best scene was Zeljko Ivanek's character Danko - he gets around, last year Damages, this year True Blood, and now Heroes - leading a military unit, firing in cold blood at some of our heroes. Claire and Daphne are shot dead - guess who survives. It was a powerful scene.

HRG is not quite going along with Nathan, who is not quite as evil as he seems, either. Danko is. And, at this point, he's the worst point-blank villain.

Sylar, who's become a dark knight Batman, is probably not as bad as Danko either. And Sylar has picked up a kindred spirit, a dark squire Robin. He lived next door to Sylar's real father ... I'd say it's at least a 50/50% chance that they're brothers.

I'm liking the pace and the action in these 2009 episodes. Less metaphysical angst, more bullets, makes for better Heroes...


See also Heroes 3 Begins: Best Yet, Riddled with Time Travel and Paradox ... Sylar's Redemption and other Heroes and Villains Mergers ... Costa Nuclear ... Hearts of Gold and the Debased ... Seeing the Future Trumps Time Travel ... Superpowered Chess with Shifting Pieces ... Villains and Backstories ... The Redemption of Sylar ... Thoughts on the Eclipse, Part I ... The Lore of the Comic Book Store ... Hiro's Time Traveling Closure ... Augmented ... Heroes Gets Lost




Monday, February 9, 2009

24 Season 7 Hour 8: Obama, Taylor, and Jack Bauer

What a night of television - one minute President Obama is finishing up a real press conference, next minute President Taylor is starting her press conference on 24. Fortunately, Taylor's crisis is a little more immediately perilous than Obama's and ours. On the other hand, Taylor's is fictitious...

It's Day 7, Hour 8 of 24 ...

1. Renee has no choice but to pretend to threaten an innocent mother and child - because the woman's husband, Vossler, kidnapped and turned the First Gentleman over to Dubaku, who is threatening to soon kill him. Renee doesn't like doing this, Larry Moss tries to talk her out of it. But it is important to note that Jack did not tell her to harm Vossler's wife and child, only to provide a creditable threat of that, to get Vossler to tell Jack where the First Gentleman is being held.

2. In a thrilling last scene, Jack and Renee almost free the First Gentleman, unscathed. Unfortunately, he's seriously wounded. This may be fiction, but on 24, happy endings are hard to come by.

3. So another Dubaku cell has been destroyed, but he's still on the loose. And there's still a traitor in Moss's FBI offices...

4. But the White House inner sanctum looks ok. In fact, we had a great scene tonight with Jack, Renee, Bill, and President Taylor. She asks Jack how she can know where his loyalties really reside? Jack replies, "With all due respect, just ask around." One of the best lines in the entire series....

You know, Barack Obama could use a Jack Bauer to help with the economy. Unfortunately, economic crises aren't as much fun to solve...

PS - And just for good measure, President David Palmer also put in an appearance tonight in the Allstate commercial, somewhere in the middle of 24!

See also: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 9






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Life on Mars Returns with a Glimmer of Sanity

Life on Mars is back in America for the second part of its debut season on ABC. So far, there have been two 2009 episodes.

In the 2nd 2009 episode - that would be 1.9 - we're finally beginning to see a little simplification, a good thing, given the insanity and lack of real explanation of what Sam is doing back in 1973.

Annie says she is moving from doubting Sam to helping him. This is welcome, given that Sam clearly needs all the help he can get.

And we have a dude in 1973 calling Sam - who may know about, be responsible for, whatever about, Sam's situation - and directing an Internal Affairs investigator to turn over information about Sam. This is also all to the good - if not necessarily (yet) for Sam, certainly for us, the viewers.

It seemed before winter set in last year that all that Sam was going through was just some sort of bizarre coma in 2009.

Rumors are flying around now, though, that the show may be changing direction - for the better.

I'm hoping that's true, and that what we saw in Episode 9 is the new beginning...

See also Life on Mars Debuts in America ... Life on Mars 2nd Episode in America: Coma, Time Travel, Mars Rover ... Life on Mars Goes On in America: What Happens When a Time Traveler Runs Into His Earlier Self? ... Life on Mars #4: All in the Family ... Life on Mars #5 Meets the Wire ... Life on Mars #6 Meets Itself on Television ... Life on Mars #6: Is Annie Real?






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Final 4: Shout Outs to Lampkin, Lee, Tyrol

Battlestar Galactica continues to deliver some its best episodes ever in its Final series, and last night's #4 was one of the best.

Where to start? There wasn't an unelectrifying moment in the show.

1. Zarek surpasses Gaeta in evil - BSG's ultimate statement, which it's been implying all along, that soulless political leaders can be far worse than depraved military. But Gaeta still manages to order the firing squad to kill Admiral Adama, who, fortunately, by then, has led a great counter-rebellion and has turned the tables on the firing squad.

2. Shout-out to Lampkin - great to see him and hear his accent again. (A stand-out, memorable performance in this series by Mark Sheppard.)

3. Lee was in great form, too, shooting 'em up with Starbuck - they make a bad-ass team.

4. Laura - motivated by love of Adama - is back in top-notch, take-command action.

5. Sam is badly wounded. One of the best scenes of the night was Starbuck shouting at Lee to go save his father. I hope Sam makes it.

6. And how about Tyrol! He's become one of the all-time great FTL starship engineers, right up there with Scottie and Geordie - in some ways, as is the case with all BSG comparisons with Star Trek, even better.

And now Adama and Tigh (who didn't die) have regained control of Galactica, the fun's just beginning.

Ellen, the 5th of the Final Five, returns next week, in the 5th of this fine Final series of episodes.



See also: Battlestar Galactica, Final 1: Dee, Ellen, and Starbuck ... Final 2: Baby and Mutiny Make Three ... Final 3: Galactica Alamo!






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Why Are Republicans So Mean?

I often wonder, why are Republicans so mean?

Yesterday, Barack Obama signed the S-chip bill into law, extending health care to millions of children. Previous Congresses had passed the legislation, only to have it vetoed by George W. Bush.

Why are Republicans so mean? Don't they care about the health of our children? They talk a lot about family values - are not children having access to doctors and medical treatment an important family value?

Right now, Republicans are trying to slash Obama's stimulus package, removing programs that would both help Americans and put people back to work - cyber security, contraceptives, infrastructure, space exploration. Republicans want, what, unwanted pregnancies, our computers vulnerable to cyber attacks, our roadways and bridges to decay even further? How is the country, how is anyone, helped by that? (I'll grant that space exploration is less immediately essential - but, in the long haul, getting out into space will be essential to our survival, too.)

When was the United States ever hurt by too much spending? To the contrary, it was FDR's increases in Federal spending that helped us out of the Great Depression, which was made much worse at first by Herbert Hoover's tightening of the Federal budget.

Herbert Hoover ... the Republicans now in the Senate ... What, exactly, is their problem?

They say they don't like spending our money - but we elected Obama and the Democrats by a pretty healthy margin. So what are they trying to protect?

Why are so many Republicans on the wrong side of this and so many other issues?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lost 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time

Whew, a powerful, tender, heart-wrenching Episode 5.4 of Lost tonight -

1. Jin's alive! I expected he would be. How did he survive? He must have time traveled to the past, a split second before the explosion on the boat would have hit him. We have now seen, several times, that the island's jumping through time can save characters on the verge of death. Juliet was about to be shot when a yank in time saved her....

2. Jin (back in time) is picked up by Rousseau's people - young, pregnant Rousseau. Very nice touch.

3. Back in L.A., in our present, Ben's up to his old, complex tricks - on the side of good or bad, we still can't tell. He puts in motion a series of developments that seemed designed to take Aaron away from Kate - but maybe Ben is only doing this to make sure that Jack and Kate get closer together, which they do.

4. Sun, who doesn't know Jin survived, is about to shoot Ben, and who knows who else. Everyone has to survive, though, if the island is to stop skipping though time. Too bad that lawyer who was bothering Kate wasn't in the group - Sun could safely kill him without any risk to stopping the island's time skipping.

5. Which better happen soon, because the nosebleeds are spreading - now Miles and Juliet as well as Charlotte have them. Charlotte was born on the island, very likely Miles (if he's Candle's son - but he says he was never on the island before) ... But what about Juliet? We have no reason to think so, but, who knows, maybe Juliet was born on the island, too, and that's the real reason Ben and Richard brought her back a few years ago...

6. One of the best Kate and Jack episodes in a while ... Kate telling Jack she was always with him, when Jack asks her in a brief flashback, on the boat away from island, if Kate will be with him in supporting the Oceanic Six story ... And the smile between them when they meet tonight in LA was very real...

7. Sawyer sees Kate, too, in one of the time skips back on the island, when Kate is delivering Claire's baby. He doesn't say anything to her, it's not easy but he wants to leave the past alone. And neither does Locke, when he has a chance to warn his younger self, just after Boone dies, of the pain that's in store for him.

Faraday already told us that the past cannot be changed. And, apparently, neither do the people on the island want to, when they're given a chance.

It's a crazy universe, all right, but, it seems to have a penchant for wanting to conserve itself, or not unravel time and space on the island and our tenuous hold on understanding this brilliant story any further than need be...

Looking forward to more next week.







5-min podcast review of Lost 5 Hr 4


See also
: The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb





The Plot to Save Socrates


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"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Howard Dean for Secretary of Health and Human Services

I think Howard Dean would make a great Secretary of Health and Human Services.

He's tough and compassionate. He understands the world of new media better than most - he was really the first Internet candidate in 2004, but was ahead of his time. YouTube and Twitter did not even exist back then.

Howard Dean also deserves at least some major credit for Obama's great victory. As head of the Democratic Party, Dean presided over a bruising primary - which resulted in a huge Democratic victory, and maybe even more incredibly, the winner's main opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the cabinet as Secretary of State.

Getting universal health care won't be easy. It will take someone willing to twist arms, twist and shout, as well as talk sense and cajole. It will take someone with knowledge of the field - and Howard Dean is an MD.

Tom Daschle's withdrawal is disappointing. President Obama can turn this into a powerful, golden opportunity by appointing Howard Dean.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

24 Season 7, Hour 7: Ticking Chain Reaction

One of the best things about dynamic Season 7 of 24 is the way subplots are wrapped up so quickly, pitching Day 7 into new crises, related to earlier ones. The ticking chain reaction has always been the essence of 24....

Hour 7 wrapped up the CIP thread, without any more mass casualties. The plant manager in Ohio made an heroic Edgar-like exit, but Jack, Tony, Renee, Bill, and Chloe had already destroyed the CIP, and sent Ike Dubaku on the run. Did I say how much I like this team? Jack and Renee are great, Bill never looked better, Chloe's in fine sarcastic form....

But Hour 7 also, sort of, wrapped up Tony - he's not proceeding with Bill's group. We may see him later in the day, though.

And now the story is shifting to the First Gentleman. Dubaku will soon have him hostage, which will put a new kind of pressure on the President. But she won't give in. (I'm not sure, by the way, why the U.S. force has not been deployed already in Sangala - President Taylor mentioned something about the exit strategy not being fully in place. But I thought everything was set to go.)

And there's still the question of the mole in the FBI, and the mole in the White House. I'm still putting my money on Janis. Obviously, we're going to see everyone at the FBI unit working as hard as possible against the bad guys, until some decisive moment when the mole reveals her or himself...

Great season so far!

See also: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Monday, February 2, 2009

Heroes Gets Lost

Heroes got Lost, tonight, ending with-

I'll get to that in a few minutes.

First, I gotta say, what was Claire doing saying she's been accepted by the best colleges, "Hamilton, Smith, Georgetown" at the beginning of this episode? Hamilton? No offense to Hamilton, it's a fine school, but it's not in the same league as Smith and Georgetown ... Maybe this is some sort of in-joke by the writers...

Otherwise-

The heroes are being rounded up by Nathan. Stunned and taken away in shackles, like terrorists to Gitmo. Claire, Matt, Peter, Hiro, Mohinder, the new Niki are captured.

But not Sylar, which is satisfying, as presumably bad as he still is.

And Nathan lets Claire go - which leads to her getting on the plane - which is flying away with the prisoner heroes - and fomenting an attempt to take it over. Which leads to its crashing...

That's what I mean about Lost. In its first season, Heroes was praised by some as being better than Lost. Now Heroes is just sort of mimicking the plane crash, and who knows what's coming.

Well, at least Ando has superpowers, and he's free, and looking for Hiro. And HRG's working with Nathan - which means, maybe there's some good to what Nathan's doing.

We'll see...

See also Heroes 3 Begins: Best Yet, Riddled with Time Travel and Paradox ... Sylar's Redemption and other Heroes and Villains Mergers ... Costa Nuclear ... Hearts of Gold and the Debased ... Seeing the Future Trumps Time Travel ... Superpowered Chess with Shifting Pieces ... Villains and Backstories ... The Redemption of Sylar ... Thoughts on the Eclipse, Part I ... The Lore of the Comic Book Store ... Hiro's Time Traveling Closure ... Augmented ...




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