Monday, May 30, 2005

4th Horseman Alert - How to Become a Sexpot - By Oprah

While it would be great to dictate just how this episode will be ensuring the arrival of the fourth rider, it all comes down to three short words:

"Pole Dancing 101"

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Friday, May 27, 2005

4th Horseman Alert - Convicts Who Have Truly Been Sprung

While I take no pleasure in posting the entire article, to not do so would be uncivilied.

I've broken out the harpsicord and marshmellows and am ready to continue on to hell with Dante (shakes head...) I just don't have the words.

"New York comptroller: Sex offenders have been getting Viagra paid by Medicaid
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Scores of convicted rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in New York have been getting Viagra paid by Medicaid for the last five years, the state's comptroller said Sunday.

Audits by Comptroller Alan Hevesi's office showed that between January 2000 and March 2005, 198 sex offenders in New York received Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra after their convictions. Those included crimes against children as young as 2 years old, he said.

Hevesi asked Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a letter Sunday to "take immediate action to ensure that sex offenders do not receive erectile dysfunction medication paid for by taxpayers."

A call to Leavitt's office was not immediately returned Sunday.

According to Hevesi, the problem is an unintended consequence of a 1998 directive from federal officials telling states that Medicaid prescription programs must include Viagra. His office discovered that the state was helping sex offenders pay for Viagra by checking Medicaid pharmacy expenditures against the state's sex offender registry.

New York's two senators said Sunday the problem should be corrected.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement that it was "deeply disturbing and runs contrary to the purpose of Medicaid, which is to provide health care coverage for uninsured, low-income individuals." Clinton, a Democrat, urged Leavitt to look into the matter, and said she would explore legislative options.

New York's other senator, Democrat Chuck Schumer, said at a press conference in New York City that he hoped the issue could be resolved without a bill, but he's prepared to offer one if needed.

"While I believe that HHS did not do this intentionally, when the government pays for Viagra for sex offenders, it could well hurt many innocent people," he said.

New York auditors are reviewing whether other prescription drugs for sexual dysfunction are being reimbursed by Medicaid for convicted sex offenders, Hevesi spokesman David Neustadt said.

While the auditors didn't review the situation on Viagra reimbursement by Medicaid in other states, he said they have no indication that the policies are different elsewhere."

Lost in Retention...

For the last television season "LOST" has been a staple in my DVR selections on Wednesday evenings and I wanted to just be one of the many to say:

What the hell kind of "finale" was that on Wednesday?

Surely it was a cliffhanger, but good gawd: How about some completion of ANYTHING at this point? Thoughts on he brain in a pseudo blow by blow fashion include:

"The Island called us here." - Is that a long distance call?

"The Lost Writers say that nothing supernatural is taking place here." - Uhh, right.

"We've come for the Boy..." - Three-toothed sloth-dude on a boat that looks like a mini-version of "The Orca" from Jaws that ends up hauling the little back "Boy" off with them while leaving the three other raft-riders stranded next to the burning hulk that was once their sea-faring vessel.

"She took the boy!" - Yet another Frechie French citizen screws us by latching on to the Claire's baby and hauling ass. Time to toss her down "the hatch" to see how far down it goes.

It's in the Glands - While Im sure that the dude that plays the incredibly obese dude didn't get the paycheck that Tom Hanks did in "CASTAWAY", how is it the dude isn't an ounce thinner after having his ass on the island eating what would be presumably much less?

Anyone got a date that the premeire "appears" on? More as I think of them.

Musical Baton Throwing...

A great friend of mine, Brian Wahoff, has "thrown me the musical baton" to which I respond to the questions below and then ask three friends to do the same.

While despicably in the "chain letter" mentality, I accept this baton and post the following.


The Musical Baton

Total volume of music files on my computer

Wow: This will amaze the masses: 2.xmb lasting 5 minutes or so - the Song “Wear Sunscreen”

The last CD I bought was:

STAR WARS: Episode Three Soundtrack Multi-pack with Special Edition DVD included. Prior to that was the “24 - Three Seasons of Music Soundtrack” from one of my all-time favorite television shows.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me

Billy Joel - Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
Disturbed - Droppin’ PLaTeS
A Charlie Brown Xmas - The Peanuts Theme Song
Metallica - Shortest Straw
Journey - Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love)

Three people to whom I’m passing the baton

Christine Hallowell - Fellow Crewmember, USS ATLAS
Larry Barnes - Super Cool California-based Internet Buddy
Fred Wilkerson - My Dad

The Episode That Almost Eclipses All Episodes...

It has been two weeks since the midnite showing of "STAR WARS: Episode III Revenge of the Sith" and with two viewings, a litany of discussions with friends, and a recent discussion with my best friend from high school, Director Carl(o) Besasie, I have come to the conclusion that this offering is worthy and matches the quality I so desired to see in the first two prequels.

I will be compiling some thoughts this weekend which gives you all the opportunity to see it - get the spoiler potential out of the way, and come back and discuss.

To the ticket booths with you!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Whirlwind Week and Bad News...

This last three weeks has had me all over the scope of human workplace comprehension and I've just been away from just about everything I know in general. As I strut proudly and triumphantly from some very cool successes at work into the Memorial Day weekend, I find several things that throw a wrecking ball into my television viewing schedule:

For months now, I have been tracking a show called "BLIND JUSTICE" on ABC, starring an actor that I have long had interest and respect for, Ron Eldard. The story in general is about a New York City Cop, Jim Dunbar, injured in the line of duty, who loses his sight as a result of a headshot he received in an attempt to apprehend a gun-toting bank robber juggernaut in body armor.

At first, I'm not sure if it was the "Daredevil-like" nature of the idea of the show, the actor or the fact that the show was being pushed by Stephen Bochco, a mogul in the cop-series industry, but I had DVR'd each episode from the start and the shows really were starting to catch wings.

The characters, all the way from Hank the guide dog, to Jim's partner, to the squad around him and his informants, were very New York-centric, very solid and helped to create a show that I really liked. One of the last few espiodes depicted a guy returning back to visit Jim who had been in the same squad in the first Iraqi War (Desert Storm), who had been trying to come to grips with the fact that he had killed one of his squadmates during a firefight while in country. The widow of the dead marine lived just a shot outside of New York and he had plans to visit her and admit his wrongdoing because he had carried the anvil of guilt entirely too long.

Needless to say the visit to the house included Jim Dunbar, who had been telling his friend to not drudge up the past and try to move on. His friend decided to go anyway and confront the widow of the man he had "murdered" while in the Gulf.

Eventually he ends up NOT telling her and providing her with a picture of he and her husband in uniform, just prior to him killing him and -- I've often talked about how they "great ones" that make entertainment can say so much by saying so little. This scene alone - where you have three people sitting at a quiet New York suburban home at a dinner table - where one man wants so much so spill his heart's full of guilt to cleanse a soul is just completely capitvating. He looks around at the dining room where there are pictures of a new family, three new children, the different cut and color the widow's/wife's hair and realizes that Jim was right - while she will always have a place and memories of her dead husband in hear heart, she has moved on - and so must he.

A scene where you want so badly to tell someone something but can't - well it had me balling more than I can remember ever in "just watching a television show" and the episode was immaculate.

The only thing that would be sadder and hold ironically more impact, would be to learn that -

The show has been cancelled.

With all the tripe that is on television today, I just so wish that there was time for a show that had a very "off" musical theme (a soft piano intro no less - VERY uncharicteristic for a "cop show"), a blind cop with a gun (sure, improbable but DAMN - how many American Idol singers are improbable?), and the soft yet seasoned tone of actor Ron Eldard portraying Detective Jim Dunbar.

Bad form, ABC - bad form.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The One Galaxy in St. Louis is Strong with the Force...

Greetings all!

We are waiting in line at one of St. Louis' newest threaters "the Galaxy, a very appropriately named place to view the midnite showing of "Revenge of the Sith".

The si(x)th installment, episode III makes its merry way to screens around the nation tonite and we are there.

We're in line and there's a dude named Matt that has crutches and a broken arm. I just asked one of the assistant managers if they have a chair the dude can have and they strangely -- have "no chairs in the theater." I walked about 25 feet over to where they have tables and metal chairs and procured one for him. Oy, people suck.

In anycase, there are many people from work here (15 or more) and its a great environment except for the sith-like presence of the workers here. What's the story here?? We waited about an hour (peanuts!! We waited 5+ hours and SWC#3!) and they've seated us! The screen is grand and I wonder exactly what the proportions are of this screen?

An hour and 30 minutes to screen time! Cheers!
--cptmike via sidekick

Monday, May 16, 2005

Blow by Blow Review: "24" May 16th, 2005

It's all come down to the final two weeks of the show this season and could it possibly be more exciting? I think not!

A nuclear-toting missile is on it's way to anywhere in the continental United States - Jack has captured the rogue terrorist mastermind, Marwan, and has him captive: Will he be able to extrat the information that he needs to wrangle the bomb and save the day in 42 minutes once again? Let's take a look in this edition of the:

Blow by Blow Review: "24" May 16th, 2005

-- S Series Missile: Holy Schnikes! 1800-Mile Range and Stealth Capiabilities? There have been times in the show where I know I as a viewer have felt completely helpless, but this time, the gurus of counter-terrorism follow me to the brink of unabashed bogglery. What the hell are we going to do NOW - when we have a stealth-cloaked, 1800-mile range missle on the loose? Where the hell does one start "searching" for something like that?

-- The Whole Evacuation Thing: As we talked about previously when the 109 rectors were the target, the mass evacuation of a city to me just seems like a recipe for chaos. Wouldn't traffic be ridiculous? Wouldn't there be MORE danger that would cause and end perhaps not nearly as quick as a nuclear detonation? What would you do if your city were told to "evacuate?" I don't think we'd go anywhere - seriously. We're not even sure what the target city is so wouldn't it be like inciting a riot? What would YOU do if you saw a message come over the television or radio that said you had less than an hour to "evacuate your city???"

-- Just When You Thought the Interrogation Chair was Clear: Yay! More Jack-initiated interrogations! I can't wait to see what details they can peel from the boy!

-- The Son is Undone: One of the overriding and finger-pointing questions that I've been anxious to solve has been this question: How is it that the bad guys originally knew where to find Secretary of Defense Heller, his daughter, when visiting his son earlier in the season/this morning? FINALLY, in the third to last hour of the show we find out that the son WAS responsible for a phone call to Marwan (actually the woman that accompanied a man back tot he son's house was the caller) and that allowed a call tracker/bug to be placed on the device to track the Secretary's son's phone conversations. While selacious, the big twist here is that the son was preoccupied sexually with the GUY while the woman bugs the phone. An interesting twist but one that surely didn't have the "ommmph" that they thought it would in my opinion. This revelation also solves the potential of Audrey, the Secretary's daughter from being dirty (or does it?) and really allows us to understand clearly that the son (via phone conversations had on a bugged phone) was the sad and unknowing link in the chain to Marwans terror information network.

-- More Captioning Wonders: Something noted inside the Closed Captioning this episode is David Heller(The Secretary of Defense's son)'s address. In the audio they just say "in Van Nuys" while the captioning actually gives the physical street address: 2162 Vesper. Looking at it in Google Maps, nothing really comes up and the references used doesn't really look mich like what I remember from that first episode.

-- Toneo and Juliet: Tony and Michelle sure pick a HELL of a time to have a 4 minute heart-to heart about the future of their relationship. Is it the prelude to what might be Tony's demise? Are we going to have yet another heroic "Terminal Cliche?"

-- President Palmer's "Show Him Who's In Charge" Variety Show: The more they have David Palmer in this series the more I miss him. His character really is a singular genius and it's great to see him at work. The plan to vault the whiny, unprepared and cajones-less President Logan into something that looks more authoritative is perfect, unbridled and handled wonderfully. What a great job of writing.

-- In Walks Heller... I had forgotten the power that the actor that portrays the Secretary of Defense carries and it's great to see. The "no coddling" factor - knowing that all depends on his son's input and that it is critical that answers are conveyed. I am happy that they got a viable lead in regard to the man and woman that the son took home from the party, but DAMN! No Jack-initiated interrogation! They have become the stuff of legend and I was eager to see just how they were going to "break" David Heller! Arrrrgh!

-- The Hallway (in the Sky?) for Tony? Tony had a very long, quiet moment with Michelle and sadly, I believe he's just suffered yet another temrinal cliche. I have always said that good shows are able to spin on a dime and kill off even the characters that mean the most to their aidiences. I fear that this may be the case for Tony Almeda.

-- Dismount! Jack and Company land their helicopter only a block from the apartment building - You've gotta' wonder if that was prudent - another couple of blocks or further away with vehicles might have even been acceptable. They have to be monitoring via satellite. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt them.

-- Actor's Note: The asian gentleman that rolls up with Jack: Is that Garrett Wang from STAR TREK: VOYAGER? I don't see his credit on IMDB, nor has there been any banter online about that so I'm guessing it's not him but wow: That dude is dead ringer.

-- Super Killer (literally) Bad Lady at the End: For those looking for a show with casthing that simply will not stop, you need look no further than "24". The season ends in less than 2 horus and they introduce yet another heartless, dedicated to her cause woman that has every intention of escaping in true Marwan fashion.

-- End of the Road for Castle: He who sports no assault helmet finally met his end this season -and sadly it was a very uninteresting end.

-- Review of Perimeter Procedures After Its All Over: With not only one edge of your seat, completely surrounded terrorist being able to flee but TWO this episode, I would venture that a variety of workshops will be delivered that make Perimeter Procedures a very hot topic for next season. While clearly you can't conclude that "CTU Personnel don't know what they're doing" you've got to admit: There's a very long line of dead bodies this season that had everything to do with securing a perimeter that allowed what: 15 escapes in general?

-- 2 Hour Finale! I am and had been until this year a very dedicated STAR TREK watcher and fan. Not so sadly, this was the last year for ENTERPRISE, and it's finale was much like the rest of the show - available to watch. I look forward to seeing where a really stylish, edgy, well-written show takes us during a GIANT 2-hour finale next week Monday. I will be hosting a "24" Party so be sure to contact me with details about what's going on!

What Comes Aroung Goes Around...

Sitting here waiting for this week's "24" episode to begin and I overheard the news anchors to say the following:

"Usually, it's the cops that get in their squad cars and chase drunk drivers. Tonite well tell you how a drunk man was able to get into a St. Ann (a town here in St. Louis that we moved here from) patrol car and take off. That and more tonite at 10."

I wonder if the cop that had his car stolen by a drunk man who then sped off will be the same St. Ann cop that gave me a ticket for: (drumroll please...) that's right! Not using a turn signal at a 3-way stop sign! I wonder if we can call and get the patrolman's name...

Thank god they were keeping an eye on my turn signal.

Will the "E-Ring" Hit the 10 Ring?

The "10 Ring" is what marksmen call the always-hunted sweetspot when shooting and I have to wonder after reading the recent NBC Schedule for this fall:

"Will the "E-Ring" Hit the 10 Ring?

Just in the last two weeks I had heard that NBC was shopping my coveted "24" and I also wonder if perhaps the gossip was mistaken and it was actually the pushing of THIS show, based in the Pentagon, starring Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper.

When looking for details, I find a variety of things including:

"A military drama called The E-Ring shines as the Bruckheimer series most likely to get picked up. Starring Law & Order alum Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper, the NBC pilot goes inside the Pentagon the way The West Wing went behind the scenes of the White House."

"'E-RING' (NBC) It sounds like a Jerry Bruckheimer action flick: Jim Tisnewski (Benjamin Bratt) and his boss/mentor (Dennis Hopper) plan military and intelligence operations at the Pentagon. The show will do some headline-ripping with the Iraq war, as well as show Tisnewski's home life. NBC has made a series commitment, so it will incur a financial penalty if it decides not to schedule the show. "

& this nugget just came through on the Reuters lines which perked my years up considerably:
The director of the show is also the man that pulled of the successful and very satisfying "Ray" this last fall.

"Hackford on Defense with 'E-Ring' Pilot Wed Feb 2, 2005 12:19 AM ET By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Oscar-nominated "Ray" director Taylor Hackford is venturing into television with producer Jerry Bruckheimer's NBC drama pilot "E-Ring." Described as "The West Wing" set at the Pentagon, "E-Ring" focuses on the fight for America's safety revealed through the inner workings of the U.S. military headquarters. Hackford is reaping accolades for "Ray," which took 13 years to make in the face of repeated rejection by studios. The biopic of late R&B great Ray Charles received six Academy Award nominations last week, including best picture and best actor for the film's star, Jamie Foxx. Hackford, who has directed such features as 2000's "Proof of Life" and 1982's "An Officer and a Gentleman," won an Oscar in 1979 for the short film "Teenage Father."

Looking at the action sequences of the shows listed there, I have a lot of faith in seeing something well-represented. I also liked the sense of "common sense" that Taylor had in the commentary and special features for "Ray."

I wonder if they'll be doing something in the field at all, to counter "Jackery". Hmmm.

More to come as I have more time to view what's coming up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Masterful Casting in Blade: Trinity

Over in my Movies section I had detailed some of the most recent additions to my DVD collection which included, "BLADE: Trinity" and I wanted to take a few minutes to express my joy in the casting of it.

Wesley Snipes: What can you say about Wesley Snipes? The Blade series has been completely built around him, his skills and overall style. For what was a nobody as "Trumaine in 1986's Wildcats and skinny yet swift Willie Mays Hayes from Major League has sprouted into one of Hollywood's premeire action stars. I look forward to him finding more varying scripts that will take him into a different level of stardom.

The "Oh My Gawd" Casting Move of Blade Trinity?

Dominic Purcell! That's right, yet another Fox series castaway makes his way to the silver screen in a very remakable role. Someting noteworthy: Dominic is RIPPED in this film and is sporting a very ethno-centric crewcut. I didn't recognize him until I heard his voice for a bit and then realized that the red contacts and lenses were disguising the actor that played "John Doe" - another series that I truly wish had made it's way a bit longer into Hollywood's history. Dominic portrays Drake/Dracula in this movie and does a wonderful job to bring you into this chapter of Blade.

Ryan Reynolds: I am completely unfamiliar with Ryan Reynolds as an actor. He was fantastic in this sample and I can totally see him in the role of "The Flash" in a movie coming up, also to be directed by the same director as this film, David Goyer. Ryan is funny, witty, and lends a great deal of physical pre

Jessica Biel: Yet another young actor that I am completely unfamiliar with. Folks, she brings ass-kicking to a new level and makes a very nice addition to this film. It's a light role but she pulls off the brooding teenage/twentysomething ass-kicker very well.

Again, Blade: Trinity, along with these casting additions is worth at least one viewing. More on the disc when we get a review up.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Blow by Blow Review: "24" May 9th, 2005

The device has been tied into a missle delivery system - just a thought: wouldn't it be cool if that was just a cover and it's in a produce delivery truck or something similar on it's way to Chicago, Minneapolis or even Milwaukee? Wow! Television's best series continues to make us not blink for 42 solid minutes and it's time for this weeks edition of the:

Blow by Blow Review: "24" May 9th, 2005

-- The Power of Silence:
What can you say? "24" brings significance even to the silence of a lover trying to console a now widow. Nothing much more to say than how totally on edge 13 seconds is when Jack is trying to approach Audrey at the beginning of this episode.

-- The Chence of New hope When There is No Hope: The end of this scene described above is so heart-wrenching - the title of this piece says it all, and conforms to the shape that most of Jack's relationships take on.

-- Bulletproof Jack to Oatmeal Jack in 20 Seconds: Let's see another show take a character from Bulletproof to Oatmeal in a 25 second piece of acting. There are few shows that can pull it off but once again: "24" doesn't disappoint.

-- Cell Phone Battery Power in the 2 Realm: All I can say is that I want the battery-life that they are able to garner from cell phones in the "24" realm. We're going on our 20th hour and Jack's batter is STILL kicking major league ass.

-- FINALLY! Slam Dunk on Chloe! Buchanan finally is able to tell Chloe that we "don't have time for your personality disorder" and SWISH! She shuts up and sulks off! I've gotta' make sure I digitize that for personal satisfaction when I have my daily "I hate Chloe" event.

-- Humor on "24?" You Bet Your Ass! When Chloe sees that Jack is torn after a short discussion with Audrey, she says "if you ever need to talk to someone, you know, as a friend, I'm here for you" and Jack looks at her like she's got 8 heads. I can't remember the last time I caught myself laughing out loud while watching "24" but it sure is confirmation that this show continues a rich tradition of emotional rollercoaster rides. Jack then offers an appropriately skoffed "thanks" and Mike rewinds the DVR session about 8 times to enjoy the moment again, and again and again.

-- Impressive Chinese Intelligence Network: You've gotta' hand it to the Chinese Intelligence Network. They have a solid picture of the dude that was "caught" unmasked in the consulate and they put it in the chamber and make their way to CTU. It creates a very solid and volatile threat that I am certain we'll see again later.

-- Logans Halfass Preaching: You have got to be kidding me? After all the waffling that Logan does after his initial installation and the "unknowingly lethal" move of arresting Jack he now wants to jump on the high horse of telling Palmer that the action against the Chinese Consulate was a bad move!? Huh? Double Huh!

-- Visible Screens Masked? Buchanan makes the move to ensure that all the visible screens are masked. Kudos to the writers for writing that into the script, but if they're going to be masked what's the point of bringing him into the main throw of things? Might this be "fixed" with mention of where the device might be detonated as per the last Blow by Blow review?

-- Cell phone Service Inside CTU Bunker: While we're talking about the battery-life, we may as well talk about the resoundingly dependable cell service that we see on "24" as well. Jack can be several stories unground in CTU, in a warehouse, in bunkers and in the middle of the desert in a helicopter, and the dude has crystal-clear cell service. Chalk up another customer over here!

-- Interpreter to the Rescue! More kudos to the writers for writing in an interpreter into the middle of the mix. It's great to see this avenue of storytelling that simply doesn't get used enough and often inappropriately in series like this one.

PERFECT Alibi: Audrey is the perfect alibi - she should be overwrought because her husband just died - it's the perfect emotional cover, folks.

The last 15 minutes of this episode are sadly quiet: The mark of an enthralling episode. The last four words of this review really do say it all:

The missle is away.

Blow by Blow Review: "24" May 2nd, 2005

The story is coming down to the wire and last episode left us in the kind and apparently skilled gun-toting hands of Chloe: What lay in store for us this episode? Get your flame-retardant suits on folks because it's gettin' hot! On to this weeks:

Blow by Blow Review: "24" May 2nd, 2005

-- "Hello, Aaron..." One of the hallmarks of President Palmers administration was the relationship he had with "Aaron" an actor that has played a Secret Service Agent so many times that I have to wonder if he actually was one at one time. The dude with the red hair and mono-tone but commanding voice with a dash of southern drawl has been on a great many shows. Good to see him return even if it's brief.

-- Reaching Across the Table: Is It Realistic? While we're certainly not looking at a nclear situation with employing President Clinton for Tsunami relief, would the situation EVER dictate an administration going across party lines to employ the negotiating skills (or insert some other apparent skill) to help our nation out of a jam? I just want to believe it but wow; I just don't ever see an administration recovering from that regardless of the outcome. The experience that Palmer brings, but man: What kind of consequences will the administration face? Is it an attempt to swing the blame should something go wrong? What do you think?

-- An S Series Nuke - What Would It Do? Checking the Internet I found some interesting items when I typed in an "S Series Nuclear weapon -- in particular the research in regard to the dispersion of bio and chemical weaponry. Check out the links provided here to marvel at what can be found with a simple Google search.

-- Proxy Moxy: I just about fell out of my chair when President Logan says that he's offering David the "full authority to act as a proxy for the President of the United States in this crisis." Amazingly strange and sadly necessary.

-- Mike Acts as Go Between: I really like the actor that plays "Mike in the Middle" and have liked him even though he was a turncoat in the last season. They've been able to set him in the center of the action and it's good to see him work.

-- Jacks Use of "Nuculer": Apparently Jack went to the same school of diction that Bush went to: Just for review:

nu·cle·ar (nkl-r, ny-) adj.

1. Biology. Of, relating to, or forming a nucleus: a nuclear membrane.
2. Physics. Of or relating to atomic nuclei: a nuclear chain reaction.
3. Using or derived from the energy of atomic nuclei: nuclear power.
4. Of, using, or possessing atomic or hydrogen bombs: nuclear war; nuclear nations.

-- You've got to wonder what kind of traffic this website got after it was aired in this episode. Strangely, there's nothing at all at this address. That's kind of a missed opportunity by Fox if you ask me. Imagine all the crap that would have been put up for sale at that site?

-- Edgar and Chloe - Skilled and Triumphant: It's taken me a while here, but I've finally figured out what Chloe and Edgar are masters of: biting off hands extended in friendship/assistance.

-- Chinese Consulate Offers 2-3 Hour Decision-Making Services? The best estimate that the Chinese Consulate can give is 2-3 hours. Why not offer up that they think that the device is in the immediate area and that their office will be effected? :) I get that it's more dramatic to say "2-3 hours" but is that realistic?

-- Taking Up Position Across the Street From the Consulate? Jack, Curtis and Company take up position across the street from the consulate, in plain site of everyone, everything, etc. Wouldn't the Chinese be keeping an eye on the street for things like - oh, say - vans with no markings parking on the block, sitting doing nothing or perhaps people donning masks and quick moves towards the consulate?

-- Superb Relationship Conveyed: President Palmer says: "if it was anyone else I wld ask but I already know the answer." when referring to Jack's decision to forray into the consulate to retreive the errent Chinaman. Excellent relationship marshalling by the writers.

-- "We're Goin' In" Whoo hoo! I just about needed one of my daughters Pampers when they said this: it's like revisiting old school "24" seasons when they pull stuff like this and once again: It's INTOXICATING!

-- "Suit Up": More wonderfully evocative stuff here from the team superb, and much more realistic than previously. Masks and equipment here should have made their way in front of camera long ago.

-- Masks On - Non-Lethal Force a Must: What other show would provide you with the opportunity to see a dude, taking on an entire consulate of Chinese dudes with a dart gun!? :) Intoxicating!

-- The Truth About Tranquilizer Darts: Despite their prolific use, Tranquilizer Darts are a very dicy proposition. You have to actually have the weight of the person that you're shooting for them to be effective. Too much tranquilizer and you might just kill someone. Too little and all you'll do is piss them off. Thankfully, it looks like they used the same stunt guys in many of the scenes so I think they're ok :)

Shooting at the Two of Them With the Dude Draped Over Jack?? If the guy is that expendible, why wouldn't they just give the dude to CTU for interrogation? I am amazed that they weren't able to kill him and Jack outright.

An Interpreter Becomes the Hero: Being an ex-interpreter, I can't tell you how satisfying seeing an interpreter in the middle of all this fostering communication to fruition. What other show does something like this? Answer? None! :)

Lee Wants Protection -- Jack Gives Immunity and Free Travel? What's up with Jack's giving nature? Lee only asked for protection: The best place for that? In CTU where he can bust out another can of interoggative whoo-ass! Yeeehaw!

Name That Show: Name any other show that shows us two characters, one a love interest of our hero's love interest, in a hospital room where the hero will put a gun to a doctor to operate on the guy that will be able to potentially tell us the next step in a nuke hunt? In case you were trying the answer is there ISN'T ONE. This show is riveting, heartbreaking and exhilarating all at the same time and is the sole reason that television has life in our house.

And so, we're caught up. We're 22 minutes into this week's episode and so it's time to start the DVR unit and guess what: we'll be able to whistle by all the commercials! Snort!

Blow by Blow Review: "24" April 25th, 2005

You never really know what kind of loop a convention as large and encompassing as "STAR WARS CELEBRATION" will knock you for, but I'm finally getting back into the groove of blogging and homelife and it's time to kick it into a particiularly high gear: The reason?

Only three weeks left to go until the "24" Finale.

I was thinking to myself this evening about having a party then to commemorate one of the best seasons of a show that has so many fans from so many differing viewpoints and I think it's something I'm going to do. I have some great thoughts about what to do and will be sure to write about them here and elsewhere.

Now without further ado, we delve into the:

Blow by Blow Review: "24" April 25th, 2005

-- I'll Have a Large Helping of Guards, Please: Prado, our resident Italian-American baddie for this season apparently, is sitting in a medical ward in CTU, enjoying the kind touch of a nurse, the care of a doctor and apparently something to drink according to a cup on tray in front of him. Let us remember who this man is: this is the man that just killed a man in cold blood, and is the only link to what is the most prolific terrorist force in our known history. Where are the guards to ensure that Prado doesn't do more bad things? Where are the restraints for this man? Am I the only person on the planet to note that this dangerous man is basically loose?

-- Jack's Resignation/Reinstatement Status: Audrey is swift to land verbal blows on both Jack and Buchanan about the violation of Prado's rights, yada, yada, yada. Jack doesn't say anything about the resignation submitted and accepted by Buchanan. Buchanan doesn't mention Jack's submitted and accepted resignation. While sure, it's a "loophole" it's the statement that would put her in place and allow everyone to move on. Why not tell her this?

-- Incompetence Takes a Bold New Step: I am certain that many people who have taken the time to complain about their "boss" can relate to the status of the recently installed President. Making decisions is never an easy thing and the Presiden't seat is surely a tough place to make those decisions. Still, the fact remains that decisions need to be made, quickly, efficiently and in the best interests of our nation. The current President's answer to all of the hullaballo? "Don't press me to make a decision I'm not ready to give -- I need more time!" Of all the people that should be using the knowledge, personnel and tools around them, the President of the United States is the one that should realize that it's time to take advantage of every suggestion and influence at this point.

-- Another "24"speak Revelation: I have been watching this show for four years now and it never ceases to amaze me how innovative the vocabulary is on this show. This weeks' note: "You have to stop insulating me from the details that are passed around in this scenario." How cool is that? "Insulating details!" Ha! That's a cool slogan, folks.

-- Noteworthy Imagery via Satellite: Apparently the folks monitoring the satellites during this particular crisis are taking a nap. Driving down the road is a two and a half ton white pickup truck, with 4 guys in the cab, four guys in the cargo bed, and a large, at least casket-sized rectangled container toodling down the country roads. While I can see a guy disappearing into the abyss of a city block or a small group of men into the expanse that is a city sewer system, I'm having trouble with this one.

-- Another Captioning Revelation: Inside this episode's closed captioning, we see "Iowa location" instead of the spoken "at the location" when we overhear one of the terrorists speaking over a telephone. Very interesting...

-- The Downfall of Girlfriends: Once again, those of the famale pursuassion cause the men of "24" more consternation. In this case, it's the grilfriend of one of the terrorists. When are we men going to learn not to latch on to women? :)

-- Insubordination a Bigger Deal Than a Loose Nuke? Audrey sure is on a high horse here. We have no I wonder if perhaps her chair were in say, or, rural Iowa or in one of the east coast target cities if she would still be so cavalier here. Millions of people dying is a much greater deal, as is the basic fact that terrorists could detonate a nuclear bomb in the states, than one man having a couple of broken fingers and a dinged head.

-- CPTMIKE Wipes His Eyes: Arrest Jack? I can't believe what I'm seeing: we're going to arrest the only dude that has the warm sack of nickels and skills to put Marwan in his rightful place and he's now sitting in the back of a Secret Service transport? Huh? How many other shows would interrupt the middle-of-the-play events of an episode with a Secret Service arrest?

-- The Tech of "24": Dare I be ahead of myself on this or do I feel a book coming out in the not too distant future entitled "The Tech of "24""? The technology on this show is so cool, folks. From the way they're able to track people via satellite, to the tracking devices, to the informational-tossing skills, the fun just never ends. Again, a testimate to the fabulous writing and the advisors being used with this fine show.

-- Twist, Twist! Those of you who are Flinstone fans will understand that I'm not talking about that diddy from Fred Flintstone, I'm talking about the direction that Jack is turning the screwdriver to open the ventalation ducts! He's turning in the wrong direction! "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey!

-- An End to Ducts You Can Walk In: Whether it be the most recent Hollywood offering, or a Lifetime Movie of the week, are we all pretty much on the same page when we say that most ducts are pretty damn small. Thankfully, the writers have given Jack an uber-cool remote control vehicle to navigate the ductwork of this factory/dance club! Kudos!

-- Secret Service Senility: While I completely understand the "I was following orders" of the Secret Service in this episode, it just seems to me that the Secret Service agents just don't "get it" in general on how important apprehending this guy, and how their botching the mission set back CTU and our nation. SUTNNED!

-- "Lethal Logan": How is it that President Logan doesn't understand that him ordering the arrest of Jack Bauer wouldn't be "lethal" to the mission to apprehend Marwan? Earth to recently-installed executive officer of our nation!

-- One Man Making the Decisions? While it makes for excellent TV and the introduction of one of our all-time favorite characters, I still have to wonder: Why is this President needing to make decisions without the counsel/input/suggestion of others? Most decisions, as I understand them, are done by committee at the level we're talking about and not simply done by one man, so what's the story? Subordinates would provide him with a great deal of insight, viewpoint and most importantly: TIME, like the time that he says he needs to make the decision in general.

-- Brilliant Character Re-Introduction: The introduction of President Palmer this season is simply one of the best-executed character reveals I've ever seen in television. Solid, to-the-point smoothness that adds yet another reason to get your friends interested in THIS SHOW.

-- Instant Satisfaction: Take One Raw Secret Service Agent and a Slap: The obligatory apology to Jack in this episode is WAY weak. I'm not sure if it's the mechanical actor or if it's the way they wanted to pull off the scene, but good grief, folks: You've just blown the largest fugitive collection in man's history and the offering from him is just simply not satisfactory.

-- Candlestick, Pipe, What Else can We Come Up With? The sneering expression that Chloe provides when taking over Edgar's station makes me want to find several more way's to kill her: How many other shows succeed in creating a character you can hardly look at and want to find new and innovative ways to kill them?

-- Note to Good Sarmaritans: I am probably one of the most noteworthy good samaritans I've ever encountered. I know CPR, I try to make sure to get involved when wrongs are being done but let me tell you something: If I hear gunshots, screaming, crashing windows, and then crashing vehicles over and over outside my home, I'm calling a cop and lockin' the doors, y'all. Sadly the dude that makes his way outside and asks "What the hell is going on" gets a very poor and final reception.

-- The Shots Aren't Tequila: For someone that's a complete desk jockey, Chloe seems to pull off 22 shots, 14 of which are in the perceived "10 Ring" (a good hit) in this case. I'm amazed that the dude had a head left on his shoulders when he slumps out of the vehicle. AR-15's are a very destructive weapon and aren't friendly to portions of meat above the shoulders.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Hell on Wheels - For Real...

I can remember a great many days reading comic books but many of my favorires were the ones where it's basically an "encyclopedia" of heroes, baddies and all around "who's who" in the Marvel Universe (DC had it's own as well, but Marvel had their shit together first :) ) that were not so strangely called "Marvel Universe."

I have an entire old-school set of these and they've come out with newer more fleshed-out versions recently, but one I remember reading about specifically was "Ghost Rider". Why? VENGEANCE. Who here hasn't at least once thought about "getting even" with someone that's done us wrong?

(Looks for anyone without a hand up) That's what I thought.

For those unfamiliar, here's the breakdown for Ghost Rider from the Marvel.Com Site:

"Real Name: John

Height: 5'2"

Weight: 180Lbs as Blaze, unrevealed as Ghost Rider

Eye Color: Blue as Blaze, None as Ghost Rider

Hair Color: Red-blonde as Blaze, None as Ghost Rider

Base of Operations: Mobile

Occupation: Drifer, former motorcycle stuntman/Spirit of Vengeance, Angel of Death

"When innocent blood if spilled, bad-boy biker Jonny Blaze finds himself transformed into a skeletal fire demon thundering throught the night on a mystical motorcycle of pure hellfire. As Ghost Rider, he avenges just soulds tarnished by the tough of evil!""

"Where the hell are you going with this, Mike?"

A great question indeed. Recently while scouring the Internet for more news about Superhero movies coming up, I saw a note about "Ghost Rider" and a link to some super cool on-set pictures that were posted. A couple showed the actual Ghost Rider Bike and it's back-up bike, but they were pretty hard to make out. I took them and ran them through some software to get the image quality up and here they are!

Click This Image for a Larger One!

Click This Image for a Larger One!

While I'm not a giant fan (he's often a tool) of Nicholas Cage, I do like many of his movies and this one just might be the one that gets me a bit more in his corner. There is also some outstanding casting choices that have occured and so the potential suck factor is still hovering at "perhaps not so much suckage.

Time will tell :)

Many thanks to "Fish8Me" for posting the pics and I look forward to more!