Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lost 4.5: Desmond 1 and Desmond 2: The Exquisite Loops of Time Travel

Time travel is a wonderful, exquisite, exasperating, paradoxical thing. It tugs at the very edges of our understanding. It is shimmering and fragile, and yet somehow embodies the most profoundly imaginable possibilities in the cosmos. It is exceedingly hard to do well - to tell a time travel story that doesn't flinch from the paradoxes, that embraces them, yet still tells us a story we can (mostly) understand.

on NBC last year rose to the occasion once, in its splendid episode before the finale. Journeyman was a time travel series.

Lost was never really about time travel. But its Desmond story - a man who sees the future - certainly could have been a time travel story. I wrote in my reviews here last year that time travel might well explain what was going on with Desmond, and those he touched.

Tonight, in Episode 5, Lost took that path - or, actually, made good that path which it had already been on its way to building, from the time Desmond unaccountably ran into Jack on the steps of the stadium well before the flight of Oceanic 815, to the little experiment with time pieces we saw Faraday doing on the island a few weeks ago. Actually, Lost did better than make good - it made great, genius, golden television tonight. Great for the episode, great for the series.

Here, for what it's worth, is my take on what we learned in tonight's show. I'm sure there will be other explanations.

Let's think of the Desmond we saw before tonight's episode as Desmond 1 - with one exception which I'll get to, shortly. Desmond 1 breaks up with Penny. He travels around the world, sees Jack on the steps of the stadium (this is the exception to Desmond 1, as I'll explain below), winds up in the hatch on the island. He loves Penny now, and wants to get back to her. The hatch blows, exposing Desmond to intense radiation. He's still Desmond 1, but he begins to have visions of the future.

In one of the flashbacks last year, in Episode 3.8, Desmond has a conversation with Ms. Hawking (played by the always-memorable Fionnula Flanagan, also seen on Brotherhood). She apparently has knowledge of Desmond and his future which he and we did not yet have at the time of that episode. This was likely the second reference to Desmond 2 (and I'll get to the first in a few paragraphs).

Desmond 1 continues on the island, plays the crucial role in getting Charlie to the Looking Glass, etc. The last we see of Desmond 1 is when he is on board the helicopter with Sayid before it goes off course.

We learn tonight that electromagnetic fields do strange things to people's perception of time. The hatch explosion radiation gave Desmond visions of the future. The strange properties of space/time around the island - in part natural, in part the result of some technology - boost Desmond's temporal powers, to the point that his consciousness is able to instantly, uncontrollably travel through time.

This turns him into Desmond 2. This Desmond first emerges and travels from the helicopter off the island to Desmond 1 back in an army camp. But once the temporal connection is made between future Desmond 2 and past Desmond 1, the original Desmond - Desmond 1 - in that training camp becomes Desmond 2.

Desmond 2 in the past, informed by Desmond 2 in his future (our present - what we're seeing on our television screen) goes to see Faraday in Oxford, and Penny in London. The instant he sees them, and gives them any information from the future, they, too, are turned into Faraday 2 and Penny 2.

The heart-warming part of this story is that Penny 2 comes to serve as Desmond 2's "constant," and Desmond 2 comes to serve as Faraday's. This saves their lives. (As we learn from the unfortunate Minkowski, having your mind moving around in time can otherwise be fatal.)

And here's something else: I've long been citing Desmond's running into Jack on the steps, in the first episode of Season 2, as one of the inexplicable coincidences which may hold the keys to what is really going on in Lost. What are the odds of Desmond having run into Jack, before Desmond wound up in the hatch on an island on which Jack crashed?

All but nil.

But now we have a rational explanation. It was not coincidence. Desmond spoke to Jack the way he did on those steps, and went to meet him there in first place, because Desmond 2 needed to talk to Jack - Desmond 2, who of course already knew everything about Jack and the island, because Desmond 2 had lived through it. Just as Desmond 2 was in touch with his earlier self in the army camp, in Oxford, in London, tonight, so Desmond 2 was in touch with his earlier self before that meeting with Jack at the stadium.

And why did Desmond need to meet and speak to Jack?

Because Desmond 2 knew how crucial Jack would be in helping Desmond get off the island, and back in touch with Penny...

See also...

Further Questions about Lost 4.4: Jack and Aaron, Kate and Sawyer

1. Lost's Back Full Paradoxical Blast 4.1 ... 4.2: Five Flashbacks and Three Rational Explanations ... 4.3: Thirty Minutes and Big Ben ... 4.4 Kate and ... ... 4.6 The True Nature of Ben ... 4.7 Flash Both Ways ... 4.8 Michael and Alex ... 4.9 Daughters, Rules, and Some Truth about Ben ... 4.10: Almost a Dream Come True ... 4.11 Unlocking Locke


2. More Thoughts On Lost 4.1: Those Who Went with Hurley and Those Who Stayed with Jack and Two More Points about Lost 4.1

special 10-minute podcast of this Lost review and analysis

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates and its time travel ...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Reading from Unburning Alexandria in the Artists Village in Second Life this Sunday

Reading from Unburning Alexandria in a Greek amphitheater in the Artists' Village in Second Life

another reading right on your computer! Sierra Waters rockin' the ancient world!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

12:00pm - 1:00pm SLT

Artists Village, Second Life

The hits keep on coming! I've been getting such good response to my readings in Second Life - which you can attend right on your computer - that I decided to accept a invitation to do a reading this Sunday!

It will be in a breathtaking virtual space - a Greek amphitheater in the Artists Village - in Second Life.... what better place to read a little more from my novel in progress, Unburning Alexandria - sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates...

Sierra Waters rockin' the ancient world..

If you already have a Second Life account, IM me at PaulLevinson Freenote, and I'll reply with a landmark to the reading.

If you do not have an SL account, you can get one, for free, at - once you have an account, just do as above. You can use the landmark to get to my reading on the day of the event...

Note: 3pm Eastern time = 12 Noon Second Life time

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama Shines in Ohio Debate, Clinton Shines And Whines to the Moderators

Obama and Clinton both did well, once again, in their debate in Ohio on MSNBC tonight. As Obama indicated at the end, and has said before, both are far, far better than what the Republicans are offering with John McCain.

What seemed to most distinguish Clinton from Obama tonight was also, once again, Clinton's occasional aggressiveness and one round of outright whining, in contrast to Obama's calm grace. This is something he first showed last week, and I thought then and now that it feels Presidential. He seems to be wearing the potential coat of the highest office very well.

Hillary Clinton's carping came early in the debate, when she complained to moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert that she's always asked questions first in the debates! This is supposed to be Presidential? What a petty point. I have to admit that I always like speaking first in public events, but, even if I did not, I would hardly complain about it in a national debate. And she topped it off with an awkward reference to Saturday Night Live's skit this past Saturday about the Clinton-Obama debate in Texas, in which the moderators were satirized as obsessively worrying about Obama's every need. Clinton's "joke" about this tonight, if that what it was, might have worked at a campaign rally. But, again, it fell flat in this debate.

Clinton also confronted Obama on several issues - most interestingly, I thought, on his response to the Rev. Louis Farrakhan support of Obama, given that Farrakhan is a raving anti-Semite. Obama said he "denounces" Farrakhan. Clinton pressed him on why doesn't outrightly "reject" Farrakhan's support. Obama's response was very telling: he said he didn't see any real difference between denunciation and rejection, but just so there would be no lack of clarity, he rejected Farrakhan's support.

I think this showed an admirable quality in Obama - a willingness to improve his position under pressure. I also give Clinton credit for pressing Obama on Farakhan. But of the two - Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton - Obama appeared more Presidential.

As I've been saying for for awhile, I think we are fortunate to have two very good candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. But this debate reinforced my feeling, once again, that Obama is the better candidate, and would make the better President.

We'll see what the voters in Texas and Ohio say on Tuesday.

Links To Some of My True Confessions as a Writer...

mixed in with some observations on the writerly life ...

at ... Pillow Talk .... Book Pleasures ... Smoking Poet ... emonome

and I'll be back tonight after the webcast interview in the Knitwitch Zone at 8pm and the Obama-Clinton debate in Ohio starting at 9pm (all times Eastern)..

I'll be interviewed tonight on web radio about books in the digital age - call in!

I'll be interviewed tonight by the Knitwitch - an hour before the Presidential debate! 8pm Eastern...

I'll be talking about writing and promotion of books in the digital age - you can call in and ask questions, or just listen.

Here's the official announcement:

You have been invited by Maia Whitaker to join a live Community Call.

KnitWitch's SF/F Zone LIVE (Join in)

Host: KnitWitch -
Episode: EP#8 - Zone LIVE -
Paul Levinson Interview
Time adjusted earlier than usual for Presidential Debate. A live open interview with science fiction author, Paul Levinson. We'll talk about promoting a book in the digital multimedia age, reading his novel The Plot To Save Socrates in Second Life and take questions from the live audience.
Call ID: 28497

Date: Tue, February 26, 2008
Time: 08:00 - 8:50 PM EST

How to participate - details at:

Knitwitch Zone

Message Maia at
or ask me any questions right here in the Comments...

You can call in and just listen, or ask questions, or even type in questions in chat..

PL to be interviewed at 8pm tonight - call in!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Sarah Connor Chronicles 7

Episode 7 of The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox tonight was mostly about the education of FBI agent James Ellison - well played by Richard T. Jones. He started the evening in possession of a Terminator hand and some doubts and suspicions. He ended being rescued by Sarah from a blaze - a blaze set by Sarah's psychiatrist from the mental institution in which she had been held in the 1990s. The psychiatrist - also well played by the perennial Bruce Davison - didn't believe her then. But he believes it now. So much that he doesn't trust Ellison with the hand, and wants to kill him and take the hand himself.

But, he doesn't lend himself a hand at all - sorry - because Sarah frees Ellison, who puts the psych in a mental institution in a nice nasty bit of poetic justice. And Sarah takes the Terminator hand and destroys it.

So where does that leave us? Ellison could think the shrink was just crazy all along, including when he was raving about the attack from the future. But a part of him was suspicious already....

It may hinge on how much of his ordeal will he remember. In a scene near the end, he seems to be conscious when Sarah rescues him. Will this make him Sarah's ally? Will he buy her explanation about what happened to the hand? Will Sarah tell him?

I'm sorry that the two-hour finale is coming up next week, though it looks to be good and I'll certainly be watching it. But there's a lot more that could be developed in these intriguing chronicles ... including John's relationship with his uncle, which is just getting started, and, of course, the ultimate loyalties of Cameron...

See also: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1 and 2 ... 3 ... 4. A Robot Primer ... 5 ... 6 ... 8-9: Terminate with Puzzles, Surprises, and Soul

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Wire Season 5 Episode 8: Two Down

Omar's dead.

Live by the sword, die by the sword, and all of that.

I have to admit that, although I first felt really bad about Omar getting killed, I felt a little less bad when I recalled that Omar killed Stringer, still my favorite all-time character on The Wire, played to the hilt by Idris Elba.

It took two grown men, two fiercesome, stone killers, to kill Stringer - Omar and Brother Mouzone.

It took just a boy to kill Omar. A boy with a gun. Says something about the power of a gun, doesn't it.

The scene, and what happened after, was so powerful, it's hard to talk about anything else in this brilliant episode.

But there were some good developments. Dukie - well played by Jermaine Crawford - is getting an honest job. He's helping a trashman. The antithesis of glamorous, but it's filled with hope, because it's honest. And speaking of honesty, Gus is beginning to get the better of Scott on his dishonesty at the paper - and that's heartening, too.

Just two episodes left. McNulty had to tell Kima about his big charade, and she doesn't want to play, but that's not what I'm really worried about.

When Prop Joe was killed - see my review of Episode 4. One Down - I said I was concerned that maybe the three "prequels" were dedicated to major characters who wouldn't survive this season. Prop Joe was in the first prequel. Omar in the second.

And the third prequel features two characters - Bunk and McNulty.

I hope I'm wrong. It's just a wild idea, I have no spoiler evidence or anything. But I'm a little worried...

See also The Wire's Back! Review of Season 5 Episode 1 and Episode 2: The Great, Dangling Conversation ... 3. McNulty and Marlo ... 4. One Down ... 5. Media Chasing Their Own Tales and Tails ... 6. Superman Omar and Tall Stories ... 7. King of Diamonds ... 9. Cold, Killer Sweetheart ... 10. The Wire Bows out Gracefully

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

In Treatment 4: Love and Death

Love and death - libido and thanatos - the two primal urges that push and pull our lives - at least, according to Freud.

And they both play a primal role in Week 4 of the continuing, powerful In Treatment on HBO...

1. Sophie shows up for her session, casts and neck brace off, and looking good. She makes a breakthrough, and begins talking about what she was thinking before and during her accident- but interrupts this to go to the bathroom (this is apparently a time out that patients take, to regroup their energies). But Sophie uses it to ... swallow a whole bunch of sleeping pills. She collapses on the floor of Paul's office, and is rushed to the hospital (we learn in a later episode that Paul talks the hospital docs out of committing her).

But - what is Paul doing stocking his bathroom medicine cabinet with sleeping pills - when he knows patients use that bathroom?

We find out the explanation on Friday, when Paul tells Gina that since he's sleeping on the couch, he put the pills in the medicine cabinet for his use.

So, love - not enough of it, between Paul and Kate - is the reason for Sophie's (second) near death. But the pills in the patients' bathroom are also an indication of how distracted Paul has become, because of another love ...

2. In Alex's incredible episode on Tuesday, we get all the details of Alex's time in bed with Laura, the day after we hear about the same from Laura. The two stories are of course different and similar. I have to say again that the acting in the whole series is superb - but Melissa George as Laura and Blair Underwood as Alex are in a class by themselves, top-notch movie-quality.

The kicker of this essentially two-part episode comes when Alex makes it clear to Paul that Alex may be falling in love with Laura...

This is probably just what Laura wants Paul to think - though, as we know already, and hear him say for the first time on Friday, Paul really needs no more inducement to love Laura - he's already there.

3. The best scene yet between Paul and Gina comes on Friday. She tells Paul she'll always be there for him as a therapist ... Paul now feels comfortable enough to utter the unthinkable - well not unthinkable, obviously, but unacceptable for a therapist - Paul loves Laura, his patient.

A wonderful, emotionally rich - and even satisfying - ending to a stormy week of In Treatment.

As always, I'm looking forward to more.

See also In Treatment on HBO ... 2. Scalding ... 3. Triangle ... 5. Paul's Greatest Strength ... 6. Paul's Boat ... 7. Alex in the Sky with Diamonds ... 8. A Princely Performance ... In Treatment Concludes: For Now

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates... good reading if you're in a doctor's office...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Hillary Clinton Swings Wildly at Obama - Saturday Night Live Provides Comic Relief

It was predictable. When candidates get desperate, they make mountains out of molehills. They take huge offense at their opponents. They try to make federal cases out of any criticism they receive.

Hillary Clinton is down to her last two primaries. Not only does she need to win in Texas and Ohio, she needs to win by very big margins to catch up to Obama.

She spoke well in the debate on Tuesday, but so did Obama. The result was no stop in his surging popularity.

So, it was predictable. Take a look at this video ...

This is about, what? Obama's mailings say Clinton would require everyone to purchase health insurance? That's true, strictly speaking. And although it is also true that Clinton's plans would provide tax subsidies for people who can not afford to purchase this insurance, this does not erase Obama's point that everyone is nonetheless required to be part of this system, in contrast to his health plan.

Does making that point make Obama guilty of using Karl Rove-like tactics? Does it justify Hillary saying "shame on you, Barack Obama"?

I think, sadly, it shows how desperate Hillary Clinton is for votes. She'll need more than Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, nodding his head yes like a puppet behind her, to win in Ohio and Texas.

She ends her unfortunate tirade saying "meet me in Ohio" to Barack Obama. I hope she reconsiders her tactics in the next two days, and doesn't leave the stage with this manufactured anger as the parting image Americans will have of her 2008 campaign...


Meanwhile, on a lighter note, did you catch the opening skit on Saturday Night Live last night? Another "replay" of Tuesday's debate between Obama and Clinton, with good satire of not only the candidates but the CNN moderators, including a question from the real Obama Girl - Amber Lee Ettinger - in the audience. Ben Relles, producer of the Obama Girl videos, has long said that he conceived of the videos as SNL skits, YouTube style. Now Obama Girl has literally come to Saturday Night Live - which is the fantasy and which the reality?

What's true is Barack Obama's on his way to being elected President. And, in some small but significant way, at the very beginning of this process last year, Ben Relles and Amber Lee Ettinger had something to do with this, by bringing Obama to the appealing attention of the YouTube generation.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Publication News about "Unburning Alexandria" - the sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates - Sierra Waters' story continues

UPDATE - May 3, 2013 - Unburning Alexandria (the novel) is finished and published.    Details here.  The following announcement is about the publication of the novelette in 2008.

Dear Infinite Regress Friends and Readers -

Many of you have been asking me when the sequel to my novel, The Plot To Save Socrates, will be published. As some of you know, its title is Unburning Alexandria, and I'm currently about half-way through writing the novel (and really enjoying it!)

For a variety of reasons, I still can't give you an exact date for publication of the novel.

But, I'm pleased to tell you that Analog: Science Fiction and Fact magazine will be publishing the first two chapters of "Unburning Alexandria" as a standalone novelette, in August 2008 (the cover date of the issue of Analog will be November, 2008).*

*Note added January 2010:  You can purchase the November 2008 issue of Analog, with "Unburning Alexandria," over here - look for "Back Issues".

For those of you who have read The Plot To Save Socrates, you'll find some dangling questions at the end of the novel answered - as well, of course, as some new ones raised. (My original draft of The Plot to Save Socrates actually had some of this material in the final chapter.)

I am especially pleased that this novelette will be published in Analog. I consider its editor, Stan Schmidt, one of the best editors in the business. Stan published my first three Phil D'Amato stories in Analog in the 1990s, and a lot of my other short fiction in the 1990s. Indeed, the last story I published in Analog was "The Man Who Brought Down the New York Times," in December 2000.

Writing novels, nonfiction books, political blogs, television reviews, chairing a department at Fordham University, has kept me from writing shorter fiction. But I've always loved the short form, and I intend to get back to doing at least a little of that now (along with the novels, nonfiction books, political blogs, tv reviews, and the rest).

And there's no better place to have any science fiction published than in Analog - not only edited by Stan Schmidt, but long the highest circulation science fiction magazine in the field.

You might enjoy visiting the Analog site, and I certainly recommend subscribing if you love science fiction or even just good short stories.

And if you haven't read The Plot to Save Socrates, you can get the first chapter online, free, right here.

Enjoy ... Paul

"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

Friday, February 22, 2008

Further Questions about Lost 4.4: Jack and Aaron, Kate and Sawyer

Some further thoughts on last night's heart-wrenching, powerhouse episode of Lost:

1. Jack and Aaron. I'm still thinking about what it could be about Aaron that keeps Jack from going back with Kate to her home, after she invites him. He clearly loves her deeply. If Aaron were Sawyer's baby, then, ok, perhaps he wouldn't want the pain of coming into Kate's home - but even that is not really convincing. And if Aaron is indeed Claire's baby ...

What could have happened with Claire and Jack and Aaron that would cause Jack to have that reaction? If Jack had been responsible for Claire's death, or leaving her on island, why would that keep him from getting together with Kate and Claire's baby?

I guess we won't be able to answer these questions until we know, for sure, that the Aaron at the end of last night's show was Claire's baby Aaron on the island, just a few years later.

And my wife makes an interesting point: since Jack and Claire are half-siblings - they both have the same father (another one of Lost's fascinating, inexplicable coincidences - which I've been saying may hold the key to understanding what's really going on in Lost) - Jack would be Aaron's half-uncle...

Does Jack in the future know this? Probably not...

2. Kate and Sawyer. I'm not completely clear about what happened during the night and morning they spent together. We see them kissing, passionately, in bed, with not much in the way of clothes on. We see them wake up, Kate cuddly and seductive, together in bed the next morning. But Kate doesn't want to sleep with Sawyer then, and Sawyer says they didn't sleep together the night before, and says he understands because she's still worried that she might be pregnant.

But why would being pregnant make Kate not want to sleep with Sawyer - especially if the baby was Sawyer's? Not to get too clinical about this, but couples continue to sleep together in the early and even middle months of pregnancy, as just about everyone knows...

Kate quickly says that she's not pregnant, Sawyer's delighted, and Kate leaves (presumably in part because she's not delighted, and not delighted that Sawyer's delighted).

But her motives for all of this are still not clear. Sawyer's explanation that Kate was upset about the possibility of being pregnant could be extended, I suppose, to Kate not wanting to get pregnant, by sleeping with Sawyer ... But this still doesn't explain what was going on in Kate's head.

I guess the best we can say is Kate came to Sawyer, but loves Jack more, and that made her not want to sleep with Sawyer, even though kissing and cuddling were ok. Sawyer, not fully comprehending the depth of Kate's feeling for Jack, doesn't quite get this, and struggles to come up with an explanation. As are we.

The truth of Kate's feelings for Jack will, of course, play a crucial role in the continuing story of Lost, on and off island...

special 10-minute podcast of this Lost review

Subscribe to this free weekly 4-minute podcast about Lost on your cell phone: 415 223 4124

See also ...

4.1 Lost Back: Full Paradoxical Blast ... Lost 4.2: Five Flashbacks and Three Rational Explanations ... Lost 4.3: Thirty Minutes and Big Ben ... 4.4 Kate and ... ... 4.5 Desmond 1 and Desmond 2

2. More Thoughts On Lost 4.1: Those Who Went with Hurley and Those Who Stayed with Jack ...


3. Two More Thoughts about Lost 4.1: Ensemble Flashforwards and Is Noami Really Dead?

and ...

Lost New Questions from Season 3 Finale: 1. How Far in the Future? ... 2. Who's In the Coffin? ... 3. Who's Waiting for Kate? ... 4. Who Is Naomi's Boss? ... 5. Is Mikhail Immortal? ... 6. What Constitutes Reliable Evidence? ... 7. Are the Flashforwards Desmond's Flashes?

Lost Season 3 Finale ... Flashforwards

Lost: Keys to What's Really Going On

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lost 4.4: Kate and...

Breathtaking, heartbreak in progress, tender, superb episode 4 of season 4 of Lost tonight...

Kate's episode ... We learned why she was not in prison when we last saw her in the future in the finale of Season 3 ... We learned that Jack loved her after they got off the island, and she loved Jack, but ... what was waiting for her at the end of Season 3 - "he" - is keeping Jack from going to her.

But why? He is a little boy, maybe about three or four, and his name is Aaron. Claire's baby.

What happened to Claire? Is she still on the island, involuntarily separated from her baby ... or she is one of the "eight" who survived the crash, but didn't survive getting back into the world at large? (We learn more about the cover story - eight are said to have survived the crash, but only six are alive in this future - the Oceanic Six.)

Back on the island in the time before anyone other than Michael left, with Desmond and Sayid's helicopter now missing, we see Locke becoming more like Ben, giving Kate perhaps more reason to hate him, to not want to go to his funeral, if he is the one in coffin in the Season 3 finale... But I'm still thinking it's most likely Ben.

And a great scene with Sawyer and Kate. They have something, no doubt, but it's not as deep as with Jack.

A great show tonight, with every ticking minute.

See also...

Further Questions about Lost 4.4: Jack and Aaron, Kate and Sawyer

1. Lost's Back Full Paradoxical Blast 4.1 ... 4.2: Five Flashbacks and Three Rational Explanations ... 4.3: Thirty Minutes and Big Ben ... 4.5: Desmond 1 and Desmond 2 ... 4.6 The True Nature of Ben ... 4.7 Flash Both Ways ... 4.8 Michael and Alex ... 4.9 Daughters, Rules, and Some Truth about Ben ... 4.10: Almost a Dream Come True ... 4.11 Unlocking Locke


2. More Thoughts On Lost 4.1: Those Who Went with Hurley and Those Who Stayed with Jack and Two More Points about Lost 4.1

special 10-minute podcast of this Lost review

Subscribe to this free weekly 4-minute podcast about Lost on your cell phone: 415 223 4124

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Obama Shines in CNN Debate with Clinton in Texas

Hillary Clinton needed a knock-out punch in the debate tonight with Barack Obama on CNN in Texas. Not only did she not do that, but Barack Obama gave the best debate he has given so far, with lots of specifics about his plans, experience, and policies, ranging from his work on "googling government" legislation to make government spending and programs more transparent and available to public scrutiny, to the reasons why his opposition to our going to war in Iraq was so important, and so significant an indicator of the kind of judgment he would bring to his Presidency.

Hillary Clinton spoke well and with specificity, as she usually does, and gave a moving final statement about how the crises in her life do not compare with those faced by many Americans. But her performance was also marred and diminished by cheap shots she took at Obama, including a line about Obama being for "hope we can xerox" - a reference to that nonsense about Obama using a line in his speech earlier used by Deval Patrick. (It's nonsense because all candidates and Presidents - including JFK - have speech writers, and all that happened here was a very minor lack of acknowledging that Obama's handful of words on the issue of the importance of words had been used in a speech by Patrick before.)

Obama's response to these jabs was also presidential. Rather than getting into an exchange of insult with his opponent, he chose to talk instead about issues. He spoke right on the money about immigration, health, and why he would have no problem meeting with the new leader of Cuba. (Hillary Clinton was not as clear on this important issue.)

I was for Obama before the debate. But seeing Obama's performance tonight makes me more confident than ever that he is on his way to becoming a great President.

New York Times Needs Named Sources for McCain Lobbyist Story

I'm supporting Barack Obama for President, and wouldn't vote for John McCain if he was squeakiest clean candidate in history. But I'm also a Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City, with a keen interest in wanting journalists to report with the highest ethical and professional standards to Americans, and I want those standards to apply to reporting about all candidates - whether I agree with their politics or not.

With that goal as my guide, I have to say that The New York Times needs named, on-the-record sources for its front-page story about John McCain possibly having a romantic entanglement with a lobbyist that caused his aides in 2000 to take action.

Unnamed sources have their role in journalism. But in a story of this magnitude, concerning someone who has all but received the Republican nomination for President, and whom the Times endorsed, the public interest requires real names of real sources. In their absence, the public is forced to rely on The New York Times' judgment, and, in a matter of this importance, the judgment of any news operation can never be good enough.

Why do Americans need to know the names of the Times' sources? Because the American people need to decide, based upon all possible evidence, whether the sources were telling the truth to The New York Times. Even if the sources weren't lying, we might learn, based on their position in the campaign, that they were not really in a position to know what was going on. Media other than the New York Times need to be able to look into what happened in 2000, and report their findings.

There is also a point to be made about the allegations themselves being unclear - or, if they are clear, not really indicative of any ethical breach. Did McCain actually have an affair with the lobbyist, or were the aides acting to make sure this didn't happen?

In a Presidential election, reporting should, if anything, be held to higher standards than usual. Although this story is certainly of great interest, it appears that The New York Times, if anything, adhered to lower standards than we might want it to bring to bear regarding sources and details.

Just for fun - recommended for Obama campaign theme song

Barack Obama's going to be the next President of the United States. But the road to getting there is never easy, and this great song captures an emotion that I hope all of Obama's supporters are feeling and will be feeling in the months ahead...

The lyrics are not 100% apt - Obama is hardly down - but, hey, they've been working great for a car commercial...

Thanks to the Electric Light Orchestra - ELO - for this song and video. The song was released in 1981. Jeff Lynne's writing and singing are right up there with the Beatles.

And the video itself is an excellent piece of work - with an uplifting message at the end about dreams merging into reality...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama's Very Success Disproves His Critique of Television and Video Games

I'm an Obama supporter, but, as I indicated here last night, that doesn't mean I agree with everything he says. One thing I disagreed with in his excellent speech last night after the Wisconsin primary was his swipe at television and video games, as activities we need to get our children away from - I said I thought television actually made a positive contribution to our lives, by giving more of us more useful information, and video games certainly don't do anyone any harm.

One of my best students, Mike Plugh, wondered how I could say this, given the claims of critics such as Robert Putnam that watching television engenders civic apathy and lack of participation, and Neil Postman that watching television makes us rude, illiterate, uncivilized.

There is no convincing statistical evidence that television has caused any of this - there was plenty of public apathy in Victorian times, it just wasn't surveyed - but there is a far better way of refuting Obama's point:

Just look at the enormous success of Obama's campaign so far. One of its spearheads are high school and college students, and recent grads, who are for the first time in recent history being drawn into the active political process by Obama's revolutionizing message.

In other words, at a time when television viewing - if you add in cable and YouTube - is burgeoning, as is the playing of video games, we find people in their teens and twenties more politically involved than ever before.

That's by far the most persuasive refutation of Obama's concerns about TV and video games. Did they create a generation of under-achievers? Just look at the results in the primaries thus far...

For more of my refutation of Postman's claims about television (he was my doctoral dissertation mentor at New York University), and other critiques, see my The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution. And here's a clip of my oft-cited "debate" with Jack Thompson about violence and video games.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama and McCain Win Handily; A Night of Three Speeches; And Chris Matthews on the Warpath

Barack Obama and John McCain won the Wisconsin primaries handily tonight, with percentages in the high 50s, better than 15 percent over their rivals, at this late point in the vote count.

This set in motion a night of three speeches, and a surprising (or maybe not so surprising) outburst from Chris Matthews:

1. John McCain has got to be one of the worst speakers in national politics today, let alone running for President, and all but sure to get the nomination of his Republican party. He has a flat, sing-song delivery, which deflates the few decent lines his speech writers give him, including his best phrase tonight about Democrats wanting to take a "holiday from history".

2. Hillary Clinton was in the process of giving a good if pedestrian speech in Ohio, avoiding any mention of or concession to Obama, when Obama took the stage in Houston to give his speech. MSNBC, CNN, and Fox all switched to Obama.

Later in the evening, some of the Hillary's people thought that was rude, Obama's campaign denied it was intentional, but Tim Russert on MSNBC probably had the best take: Obama's campaign was tired of waiting for Hillary to finish her non-concession speech - not the first lack of concession in the speech she has given after Obama won a primary. I'm inclined to sympathize with the Obama campaign on this one. Why should Obama wait if Hillary is just giving another stump speech on the night she has lost a primary?

3. Obama's speech was a pleasure to hear, as always. I admired his courage in bringing up the immigration issue to his Texas audience.

But to show you I don't blindly support everything Obama says: I disagreed with his use of "television" and "video games" as examples of what American kids should spend less time with - indeed, I certainly think television can be a good source of information and learning, and video games don't do any harm.

But that's ok. Neither I nor anyone has to agree with every single position of a candidate we support. It's more a question of where our candidate stands on the whole constellation of difficult issues facing our country and world.

And Obama's position on most of them suits me just fine (just as do Hillary's - I just think Obama's are a little better, and he would make the better, more inspiring, President).

Which brings me to Chris Matthews.

In a segment after the speeches, Matthews interviewed Kirk Watson, Texas State Senator and Obama supporter, and Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Clinton supporter. Matthews asked Watson to list Obama's accomplishments as U.S. Senator. Watson was rendered speechless. This triggered a classic Matthews in rude attack mode, in which he asked the same question, repeatedly, as if he were a prosecutor grilling a hostile witness on the stand.

My take on this: Matthews was entitled to ask the question, once, maybe twice, but not repeatedly badger his guest. Watson, for his part, put on an embarrassing (to Watson) display of his lack of knowledge. Obama's accomplishments as Senator are pretty well known, even to the general public, if only from watching his commercials. He worked on bills concerning lobbyist reform, energy, terrorism, and immigration - you can see the details on Obama's Wikipedia entry.

The Obama campaign can be held accountable for putting forth such a clueless or nervous or whatever-Watson's-problem-was spokesperson. But the American people deserve better than Matthews' uncivil badgering, too. Asking the question once or twice would have been enough.

Embarrassing your guest is unprofessional and not what we need in our media commentators.

Here's a link to Wonkette's page with a videoclip of the Matthews-Watson exchange.

Two Pieces of Nonsense Yesterday about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama

As primary voting is underway today in Wisconsin and Hawaii, I wanted to comment briefly on two campaign issues which received considerable media coverage yesterday.

1. Bill Clinton's heated lecture to a person at a Hillary Clinton rally waving a big anti-abortion sign has been cited - by Fox News and others - as a return to his self-centered aggressive campaigning, which may be hurting more than helping Hillary.

My take on this
: Nonsense - it's good and helpful for a former President to take a strong stand on this issue, whenever possible, whether or not he's campaigning for his wife. More specifically, it was not Clinton's aggressive style, or his insertion of himself into Hillary Clinton's campaign, that caused problems for Hillary a few weeks ago, and received criticism from lots of people, including me. It was the nature of Bill Clinton's attacks on Obama.

And, clearly, a verbal exchange with an anti-abortion protester is not at all the same as an attack on Hillary Clinton's rival. This is an issue upon which most Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, agree. Bill Clinton deserves our praise not criticism for standing up on this.

2. The Clinton campaign accused Obama of "plagiarism" because Obama used a passage in a speech about the power of words first used, almost word for word, by Obama's friend and campaign ally Deval Patrick (from a speech Patrick made in 2006, in his successful run for Massachusetts governor).

My take on this
: Pretty close to nonsense. The slim part that's legitimate is, ideally, Obama should have said in his speech, "as my friend Deval Patrick aptly says..." and then gone ahead with the passage. But calling this "plagiarism" is ridiculous. (The very word comes from the Latin: to kidnap.) You cannot steal something which is voluntarily given to you. Clinton's campaign must know this. They only make themselves look petty by grossly mislabeling this minor misstep.

And I'll be back tonight after the returns are in.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles 6

The sixth episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox last night was the best yet, after the pilot...

Derrick Reese - Kyle's brother - becomes a central player, more in the apocalyptic future that he and his brother are trying to prevent, than on the table in our present on which Charley is desperately trying to save him. (Last week, Cameron pronounced Derrick's injuries incapable of repair.)

To the extent that Derrick is conscious on that table, he wants Cameron nowhere near him. They clearly have had some interaction in the future, and near the end of the episode we find what Derrick fears in Cameron: good Terminators sometimes go bad. Cameron says this to Derrick in the future ...

This may be one of the most important revelations in the series so far: is it true that Cameron is not 100% trustworthy? At very least, she seems to be lying at the end of this episode about a little something she is holding in her hand.

We also find out more about what Derrick's mission was: Killing Andy Good. At least, in part. Good tells Derrick in the future that he, Good, was responsible for Skynet. And in the last scenes of Episode 6, we see that it was indeed Derrick who killed poor Andy, after all. Apparently there's not that much difference between Derrick and Cameron - who wanted to kill Andy, too - after all. (And we also know that killing Andy Good doesn't do much good, does it?)

Derrick is part of a team of humans that John Connor has sent back to our present. I was delighted to see Andre Royo - Bubbles on The Wire - as one of the team. Way to go, Bubs! (Hey, The Wire crew is doing pretty well in the new golden age of science fiction in television - Lance Reddick has a role in Lost.)

Future John Connor sends back the team of four to our present - to "correct" everything, Derrick says. The four stand naked, shivering, in our Los Angeles, in awe of the skyscrapers that still stand proud...

Little do they know ... that, when it comes to time travel, errors are never easily corrected...

See also: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1 and 2 ... 3 ... 4. A Robot Primer ... 5 ... 7 ... 8-9: Terminate with Puzzles, Surprises, and Soul

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

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Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back in Second Life Next Sunday - Public Reading of The Plot to Save Socrates

Back by popular demand - I'll be reading from a section of my novel, The Plot to Save Socrates, never before heard in public...

You can hear and see this on your computer, just by connecting to Second Life.

The time of the reading - 3-4pm - is EASTERN TIME, this coming Sunday, Feb 24

If you already have a Second Life account, just send me a note (or leave a comment right here), befriend me on Second Life (if we're not already friends), and I'll reply with a "landmark" which will bring you right to the reading.

If you do not have a Second Life account, you can easily get one, for free, at - once you get an account, just let me know here or on Second Life.

This reading will not be recorded. If you can't attend, the only way you will be able hear this section is in The Plot to Save Socrates audiobook

And, of course, you can read it in the paperback novel

But here are some Plot to Save Socrates goodies that are FREE:

- read the first chapter online!

- listen to me reading the first chapter!

- Red Moon author David S. Michaels reacts to a reading from the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates that I gave last week on Aaron Busch's new Primetime and Online webcast

- Sierra Waters - heroine of the novel - is twice introduced

- more review blurbs than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means) ... my favorites are "challenging fun" (Entertainment Weekly) and "Sierra Waters in sexy as hell" (Curled Up with a Good Book)

And here's a videoclip from a reading I did in December in Second Life...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Wire Season 5 Episode 7: King of Diamonds

"Ain't you the King of Diamonds," Bunk sarcastically remarks to McNulty, as McNulty hands out resources to a revitalized Baltimore police - revitalized because McNulty's charade about a serial killer of homeless people has galvanized everyone from the Mayor on down. No "weak shit" this, as Bunk termed this a just a week or two ago.

McNulty started off the show with a great performance as the putative serial killer, putting in a new call to Scott Templeton, his contact at the Baltimore Sun - a conspirator in his own sham on the same serial killer, which McNulty is taking good advantage of. Freamon compliments McNulty on his fine Baltimore accent in the phone call. The comment is especially and meta-well deserved: Dominic West's accent from the east, old side of the Atlantic is so strong that I can sometimes barely understand the actor when he speaks as himself. McNulty's accent in The Wire is just another part of West's tour de force performance.

But McNulty may be getting more than he bargained for. His self-created "red ball" may be drawing so much attention that it could conceivably backfire and land McNulty and Freamon both in hot water, or worse.

Back at the Baltimore Sun, McNulty's priming of the pump with the phone call is having just the effect desired. But Gus is growing increasingly suspicious of Scott. I'd say it's just a matter of time until Gus figures out what's really going on, and/or Scott cracks.

Meanwhile, there's a priceless scene in a bar with Richard Belzer - Munch - in evidence! Gus walks right by him, and I would have loved to see him break character for an instant and say hello as old Meldrick to Munch! But it was almost as much fun to almost see that.

Lots of other good things in this episode, including Omar on the hunt. He kills one of Marlo's muscle, and lets Michael know he did it - all to get Marlo to come on down and fight him...

And State Senator Clay Davis (finely played by Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) won his case! Shee...eet! I know he's corrupt, but I was glad. (Right, I sometimes root for the bad guys...)

Only a few more episodes left ... a superb, finale season!

See also The Wire's Back! Review of Season 5 Episode 1 and Episode 2: The Great, Dangling Conversation ... 3. McNulty and Marlo ... 4. One Down ... 5. Media Chasing Their Own Tales and Tails ... 6. Superman Omar and Tall Stories ... 8. Two Down ... 9. Cold, Killer Sweetheart ... 10. The Wire Bows out Gracefully

In Treatment 3: Triangle

Alex - brilliantly played by Blair Underwood (all of the acting is brilliant in this series) - was something of the outsider in the first two weeks of In Treatment on HBO. Unlike Laura, Sophie, Jake and Amy, he had no intersection with Paul's wife.

In week 3, Alex leapfrogs that intersection for something more profound and potentially disruptive to Paul: Alex is now sleeping with perfectly seductive Laura (Melissa George).

They meet when Alex shows up on the wrong day - Monday - and runs into Laura, who is leaving after a particularly aggravating session (actually, they all are, and that's part of the fun - Laura and Paul's, and ours).

I'm still not quite convinced by Alex's explanation that he lost track of the day, but maybe this is another indication that his well-ordered life is crumbling.

Even more important, this new affair yanks Paul around in multiple ways, like a puppet on half a dozen strings. He'll be jealous of Alex - because Paul clearly feels something for Laura - how can he continue to treat him? He'll be more likely to give in to Laura, the more jealous he becomes. And, of course, he's not likely to admit any of this - except, perhaps, maybe, to Gina.

And unlike Paul's sleeping with Laura, which he can forbid himself from doing, how can he forbid two patients from sleeping with each other? Much as he might dislike it, what can he do about it? Can he speak to Laura about it, and tell her he thinks she is not really attracted that much to Alex, she is just sleeping with him to make Paul jealous? Not an easy conversation at all - and another reason this is a great show.

The other event which caught my attention this week is Sophie's outright admission to Paul that she's sleeping with Sy. I think Paul believes her, and we see him in that last scene on Wednesday's show calling Sophie's mother ... But will he also call the authorities? Is he legally obligated? Do we know the age of legal consent in this state? Or will Paul's need to keep faith with Sophie, and her vulnerable state, take precedence? (Has he already compromised this faith by calling Sophie's mother?)

Difficult, fascinating questions ... complementing the new triangle and its questions ... and making for an irresistible series...

See also In Treatment on HBO ... 2. Scalding ... 4. Love and Death ... 5. Paul's Greatest Strength ... 6. Paul's Boat ... 7. Alex in the Sky with Diamonds ... 8. A Princely Performance ... In Treatment Concludes: For Now

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates... good reading if you're in a doctor's office...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Science Fiction and the New Golden Age of Television: Another Chance to Hear What You Missed in Philadelphia

It started in the mid-late 1990s with HBO's original series, especially "The Sopranos" in 1999. This revolution in television - frank, gritty, real, intellectually sophisticated - soon spread to other cable and old-fashioned network television.

In the past few years, science fiction has taken a leading role. In this special podcast - based on a lecture I gave to the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society on 25 January 2008 - I look at the contributions of five science fiction series to this new golden age of television ... Lost, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Journeyman, Battlestar Galactica, and Heroes... all reviewed here in Infinite Regress.

Hey, if you missed the lecture - and let's face it, most of you did :) - you can get the gist right here in this 20-minute podcast... which you can listen to on your computer...

See also my infamous Only Idiots Don't Watch Television ... first published under the more innocuous title of "TV's New Golden Age" in Newsday in July 2006...

20-minute podcast: Science Fiction in the New Golden Age of TV

Friday, February 15, 2008

Obama Deserves Credit for Being Against the War

I came across this odd point in a blog post - Why I'm for Hillary and not Obama - yesterday: "On the issue of Iraq, again there are only a few variations on the same stance. Let us dispense with the fact that Hillary voted to give authorization for the war."

I don't see why we should dispense with that fact.

Hillary, and everyone in my immediate family including me, was wrong about this. The only opposition I heard back then was from a wise brother-in-law in Boston.

Obama was right.

Why should he not get the credit?

I was concerned that the war was not declared, as required by our Constitution. I think it's dangerous and destructive of our democracy that we have gone to war so many times since World War II without a Declaration of War.

But I would have urged my representatives in New York to vote for a Declaration of War, had it been presented at the time. I live near New York City, I work in New York City, and I'm still affected by September 11. I was all too ready to believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Most people in the country felt the same.

But Barack Obama was able to see through and beyond that. (Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich deserve credit for this, too.)

Clinton and Obama indeed have similar records and positions on most issues. But this difference on authorizing the war in Iraq needs to be highlighted, and should be kept in mind by all voters.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lost 4.3: Thirty Minutes and Big Ben

Lost just keeps getting better and better this season. Tonight's Episode 3 of Season 4 was the best yet - which is saying a lot, since the first two episodes were superb.

Tonight was Sayid's show - his flashforward. (As I mentioned in last week's review, I have a feeling that we'll be seeing flashforwards for all the old hands this year, and flashbacks for the newbies on the island.) Sayid is a hitman in this future. He's working for ... well, I'll tell you about that at the end of this review. Also of importance is when exactly this flashforward is taking place. Before the Hurley-Jack flashforward in the Season 4 premier? After the Jack-Kate flashforward in the Season 3 finale? In between? The answer is important, because it could tell us who Hurley and Jack are afraid of, but at this point it is not clear.

Back on the island, we learn a bunch of significant things, including -

.why Hurley felt so guilty about siding with Locke (Hurley expressed this in his flashforward two weeks ago)

.why Sawyer went with Locke (this was pretty obvious - there's nothing for Sawyer off the island) (and I also think Sawyer likes the way he feels more human on the island)

.a great scene between Sawyer and Kate (which concludes with Sawyer asking Kate to try staying with him on the island - he wants to try playing house with her)

.there's some kind of temporal 30-minute anomaly in play on the island ...

Let's look at that last one. Faraday, the Charlie-like somewhat-mental physicist, discovers that a payload delivered to the island from the ship, at his command, arrives with a clock that reads 31 minutes into the future (after also not arriving at the time it was supposed to arrive). Assuming the clock in the payload is not just broken or running fast (of course not), this is highly significant - and may connect, in some way, to Desmond's visions. (And, for that matter, to the sense of the future that Faraday seemed to have at the beginning of last week's episode 2...)

Desmond and Sayid soon leave the island with Frank and Naomi's body, which Sayid insists on taking. Why? And why is Sayid so affected by Naomi's death? (My best guess is they knew each other before the Oceanic crash, and we'll discover this in some future episode with a new character flashback that includes Naomi.) And who is the "R. G." on the bracelet Sayid takes off of Naomi's wrist? Someone on the boat off the island named Regina?

This is part of the larger puzzle of Sayid in this edge-of-your-seat-and-mind episode. He does some killing in his flashforward, almost falls in love, all on assignment from his boss ... Ben.

It was already clear, before the end of this episode, and in fact from the photo we saw last week, that Ben was lying when he said he never left the island. He lies about most things (but not about Boston winning the World Series, as Jack confirms with Frank - a man after my own heart, a true Yankee fan). But Ben clearly had a international jet-setting life, and in the flashforward, he's in command of an organization fighting the organization that's trying to kill him, and which may or may not be a threat to Jack, Kate, Hurley, and our island friends off and still on the island.

And this also gives a little more weight to the possibility that Ben is in the coffin in the Season 3 finale. Because, at least at this point, we know that he's off the island - in contrast to the other island candidates such as Locke and Michael...

What a series!

See also...

1. Lost's Back Full Paradoxical Blast 4.1 ... 4.2: Five Flashbacks and Three Rational Explanations ... 4.4. Kate and ... ... 4.5 Desmond 1 and Desmond 2 ... 4.6 The True Nature of Ben ... 4.7 Flash Both Ways ... 4.8 Michael and Alex ... 4.9 Daughters, Rules, and Some Truth about Ben ... 4.10: Almost a Dream Come True ... 4.11 Unlocking Locke


2. More Thoughts On Lost 4.1: Those Who Went with Hurley and Those Who Stayed with Jack and Two More Points about Lost 4.1

4-minute podcast of this Lost review

Subscribe to this free weekly 4-minute podcast about Lost on your cell phone: 415 223 4124

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Sarah Connor Chronicles 5

The fifth episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox has pretty much everything...

An exquisite moral dilemma about the continuing problem of what Sarah should do about Andy the programmer, whose chess code for the "Turk" could be the basis of Skynet. She previously burned down his house to knock him off track, but he's back at it. Will Sarah follow Cameron's advice to play it safe stop Andy for good?

Of course not - Sarah's not a machine, she's a human, with feelings and morality.

So Andy will live-

But not long, because someone kills him. Exquisite ethical quandaries are often futile ... Derrick Reese - Kyle's brother - also on assignment from the future, is seen running from the body...

Putting Derrick in the story is a good move. It enriches Sarah's connections to Kyle in our movie memories. Turns out, though, that he didn't kill Andy. Someone who wanted not to destroy but take the Turk program killed the programmer...

Meanwhile, evil Terminator Cromartie is on Derrick's case and trail. And this sets up one of the best action sequences in the series so far, with Sarah, John, Derrick, Cameron, Cromartie, and screeching trucks and lethal-to-robot screwdrivers in the mix.

Cameron prevails, but Derrick's badly wounded.

Cameron looks at him on the table and gives him up for dead. But John fetches Charley - who's in EMS, and looks like Kyle - and in a great last scene we have Charley, John, Derrick, Sarah (and Cameron) all in the same room...

Family, action, ethical quandary - the makings of good TV in this new golden age.

And, just for good measure, FBI guy James Ellison - well played by Richard T. Jones - finds Cromartie's hand, severed during the truck and screwdriver battle ...

The beat goes on...

See also: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1 and 2 ... 3 ... 4. A Robot Primer ... 6 ... 7 ... 8-9: Terminate with Puzzles, Surprises, and Soul

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

more about The Plot to Save Socrates...

Get your own at Profile

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates
.... FREE!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama Sweeps Chesapeake Primaries: The New American Majority

Barack Obama swept the Chesapeake primaries tonight - you can call them the Potomac primaries, too, but I like rhyme a little better than alliteration. But any way you call it, Obama won three for three, by impressive margins, and topped it off with a great speech in Madison, Wisconsin, where there will be a primary next week.

Obama spoke of the "new American majority," consisting not only of all manner of Democrats, but Obamacans - Barackafeller Republicans - or, Republicans who have been moved by Obama's message. Bringing in even a small percentage of people who voted Republican in 2004 will be enough to get Obama into the White House. He seems to be starting to do a very good job of that.

In addition to his inspiring delivery, Obama had some great phrases in his speech tonight. My favorite was "cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom". Obama's speech writer is clearly in a league Ted Sorenson, JFK's superb speech writer.

And the Republicans?

John "Palpatine" McCain won all three primaries, too. In his acceptance speech, he took Obama to task, without mentioning his name. Hope is a "platitude," McCain said.

Enough said...

And here is Ted Sorensen himself on JFK and Barack Obama...