Sunday, March 29, 2009

Corny Fox commercials and Dollhouse hitting its stride

OK, I feel better about these commercials knowing that Eliza and Summer apparently thought they were as corny as I did.

"Do we get to say, "You go, Girl!" at any point?
"Girl Power!"

Also, I can't even begin to describe how amazingly hilarious last week's episode of the Dollhouse was, but here is just a taste:


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thoughts on Lost - He's Our You

OK...let's see if more actually happened in this episode than I originally gave it credit for...

- Open with a montage of the history of Ben and Sayid's relationship. Ben is a creep and Sayid is his (sometimes) reluctant killer.

- They seemed to be trying to make the father and little Sayid the bad guys in that opening shot, but it's not like there is a KFC around the corner. Sayid's older brother is going to have to get past his squeamishness if he wants any good eatin'. From the looks of him, SOMEBODY has been making sure he has plenty of nourishment on his plate...his dad just wants to make sure he continues in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

- A little more insight into Young Ben's hospitality...he definitely wants to get in Sayid the Hostile's good graces so that he can join up with whom he really believes to be HIS people, by delivering Sayid to his hero Richard.

Interesting note here...Ben refers to Richard as the Hostile "Leader," and that certainly seems to be the case based on what we've seen so far. So where is Widmore? Pretty sure he's there somewhere (based on his "three decades" remark to Locke when they met in the desert hospital), and he said that he was their leader. Has he not taken the throne yet? Was he lying? Is he the REAL leader, and Richard is his representative?

Seeing this whole thing play out just reiterates the question to did Ben take the "leadership" role? I still think that Widmore is the one that Ben pushes out in order to take control, I just can't figure out what Richard's part in that is. Once again...if we can figure out Richard, we're a lot closer to figuring out everything there is to figure out, in my opinion.

- So why is it that only those specific people in Widmore's organization needed to be killed? Ben says that they are the only ones who pose a about Widmore himself? I don't think that is why Ben "released" Sayid at all. I think that Ben just pointed Sayid at enough people and pulled the trigger to ensure that Sayid could not argue with the fact that he is a killer if Ben ever needed his "services" again.

- Our "Michael Emerson is awesome" moment of the week: "Congratulations! Mission accomplished!"


- I totally missed Horace cutting the cuffs off Sayid's wrists the first time I watched...when I saw the clippers and Horace told Sayid to hold out his hands, I immediately closed my eyes, plugged my ears and went to the "Lalalala, I can't hear you!" place.

- I'm kind of torn on the whole love rectangle we have going on right now...I've thought for a while that Sawyer and Kate should end up together, because he obviously really LURVES her, while Jack just wants somebody he can fix. However, now I think Sawyer is really happy with Juliet, and Kate would just make him miserable. In fact...Kate has made pretty much every guy she's been with miserable at some point, while everybody who has been with Juliet always seems really happy about it (Goodwin, Jack, Sawyer...heck, she even had Ben cooking hams!).

Now I'm starting to think that Jack and Kate deserve each other the most...just go make each other miserable and leave everybody else alone.

- Line of the night: "A twelve year old Ben Linus brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I'm doing?"

- Also, the follow up: "Yeah, sweet kid, huh?"

- Interesting point about Sawyer...we are all invested in the characters that we have been watching for 5 years now, so of course our sympathies and interests are with them and we assume that Sawyer would be putting their interests and well-being above everything else. However, Sawyer only knew those people for three months, and he hasn't seen them in three years. These D.I. folks have been his friends, neighbors, and responsibility for the last THREE YEARS. Plus, like he told Sayid, he has a good life here...the first "good" life he has ever had, in all likelihood. "But he's living a lie," you say...well, he was a con man. All he has ever done is live lies. At least this one makes him feel happy and useful. If I was in his shoes, I know where my ultimate loyalties would be.

- As for Sayid, I can sort of see where he's coming from in not wanting to go along with Sawyer's plan, and he does give a better explanation later, but my first thoughts were that he was being stubbornly stupid. Sawyer is trying to save him by offering a plan that will keep the D.I. off of him, and he flat out refuses. By the end of the episode, though, it's clear that Sayid just doesn't want to settle back into Island life...he sees no reason to stay here, so he has no plans to assimilate and get comfortable living the Dharma life.

- I wonder if that lunch table is the "cool kids" table or the "outcast" table? Guess it all depends on your perspective.

- Hurley's reaction to Jack telling him that Sawyer told him to mind his own business was pretty much the same one that I had..."And you're GOING to?" Yeah, Hugo, I don't believe that for a second, either.

- Again, it's just nice to see Hurley happy again after a long time of Hurley in despair.

- Ugh, Roger Workman. What a pathetic waste of space this guy is. And he went into a battle of wits unarmed:

"Can't believe you got caught by these IDIOTS"
"Yet, you're the one who mops up after them."
"Yeah, well......."

NICE comeback, Roger!

- That scene with Ben delivering the sandwich was TOO well acted and scripted. It was uncomfortable. There has been a LOT of abuse there, and the actor playing Young Ben portrayed it perfectly.

- This is the first time I remember Ben (at any age) being unconvincing when lying, and it's not just because he's younger...he lied very convincingly to Phil (who is, admittedly, a dimwit). It is obviously because he's scared to death. Of his FATHER. Ugh.

- Emerson again, with perfect delivery: "John Locke is dead. I think he was murdered."

- So we know now why Sayid came back from building houses in the Dominican and started shooting people and impaling them on's because Ben wound him up and pointed him in the right direction. It was almost like watching someone under post-hypnotic suggestion the way Ben knew EXACTLY how to manipulate him.

- Oldham is an interesting (and creepy) dude. Living in a teepee, eschewing technology, kind of a "one with the Island" type guy. Wonder if what he fed to Sayid was made out of similar stuff as what we've seen Locke use in the past to induce Boone's hallucinations and to launch himself on his little "spirit walk" we saw after Eko died.

And there was yet another image of a record player...almost like he's keeping tabs on the Island's progress as it spins through time, to use Faraday's example.

- There have been a lot of instances and happenings on this show that stretched believability, but I don't think we have ever been asked to suspend belief this dramatically: Sayid can be restrained by PHIL and RADZINSKY? Please. We've seen this guy breakdance people to death, and now we're supposed to believe these two eggheads can restrain him with one on each arm? Right.

- They changed Sayid's dialogue in the flashback scene at the dock...originally he tells Jack that if he ever sees him OR Ben again, it will be very unpleasant. This time, he only directs the threat at Ben. May not mean anything, but I wanted to point it out in case it turns out to be some sort of weird time loop/alternate timeline thing.

- Wow...Ilana knows her Scotch, AND she likes her ribeye bloody? A woman after my own wonder Sayid was fooled. Again.

- So, after all that, Sayid could have just told the truth in the first place since nobody would believe him anyway? Glad Sayid could find the humor in that little bit of irony. I don't think Sawyer found it funny.

And...Horace seemed a bit concerned, as well...I wonder how much he knows about the Island and its "special properties?"

- When that look of recognition flashed on Sayid's face when they pulled him out of the van, I was bracing myself for him to holler out, "Well hey, Kate! Hey, Juliet!" That was some really good stuff Oldham had him on.

- And the look between Sawyer and Juliet said a mouthful: "So you have this all under control, huh?"

- Man, I just want to punch Radzinsky in the face, even if I partly agree with him. They can't just let Sayid stick around and endanger the D.I. But I also agree with's not enough just to survive, one has to be worthy of survival. Right, Admiral Adama?

For those who didn't catch the reference, Radzinsky threatens Horace that he is going to tattle to Ann Arbor. That is the home of the University of Michigan, which is where the DeGroots were professors. The DeGroots, with the backing of the Hanso Foundation, are the ones who started the Dharma Initiative, and who are apparently still running it in some capacity in 1977.

- Wow...Sayid has TERRIBLE luck with women. He's been with four women on this show...three have wound up dead (one killed by him), and two have pulled guns on him. He's a fighter, not a lover.

- I don't know what Ilana believes or knows....but she does NOT work for the Avileno family, I'm betting. She IS working for Benjamin Linus, whether she knows it or not.

- Sayid's whole "purpose" talk with Sawyer really intensified my concern that he was going to die. The scene in the beginning with him and his brother really reminded me of Eko's farewell episode, and then Ilana told him "You are going to pay for what you did," and he was obviously being eaten alive by shame and guilt, and he could see no future for himself on the was just all shaping up to be bad news for Sayid.

- Rewatching Sawyer and Kate's scene on her front porch had me re-thinking my original thoughts on what she was saying...she seemed really uncomfortable with what she was about to tell him. Maybe "I know why I came back" was going to be, "I came back because I wanted to be with JACK?" That is what she told Jack, after all.

- "Three years with no burning buses...y'all are back for ONE DAY!"


- Further proof that Phil is a dimwit...there is a fire reported. So he grabs his gun on the way out. He's going to SHOOT the fire into submission.

- Loved Sayid's increasingly panicked reaction to seeing the O6 at the airport: "Are you sure we are going to Guam?"

And, one theory that was floating around about Ben's appearance was proven untrue: Ben was obviously not beaten up by Sayid. I'm pretty much convinced now that his injuries have something to do with Desmond and Penny.

- And then, after an episode that was pretty light on content in my opinion, all hell breaks loose in the last two minutes.

So...what does Sayid shooting Ben mean? First of all, I don't think there is any way that Ben is dead. We know that the Island doesn't let people die until it is finished with them. My bet is that sometime next week we see Ben picking himself up and brushing the dirt off.

Darlton sort of addressed this on their podcast...the old cliche about time travel, and one that we have heard on this show, is that we could go back in time and kill Hitler and stop the Holocaust and WWII (my personal feelings on that one have always been this...with no Hitler there is no WWII, and the US remains mired in a Depression, and there is no "Greatest Generation," and maybe the US doesn't develop into a superpower...unintended consequences suck).

Anyway...Damon actually said something like, "What if I TRIED to shoot Hitler as a boy and I MISSED...and that is why he BECAME HITLER?" Interesting.

I believe that the Faraday Rules will hold true, and the universe will course correct...but it should be interesting to see the ramifications.

I mean, if young Ben is dead, what's going to happen to Ben in 2007? Will he just disappear?

But he's not dead.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Idol thoughts - top 10

Motown night! They should turn this into a mini-Idol Gives Back...after all, Motown is located in a third world country.

Kara IMMEDIATELY ticks me off by saying Alexis fell victim to bad song choices for "the last few times." First of all, there have only been two performances by her since she wowed everybody with "Never Loved a Man," and two weeks ago was when she did Dirty Diana, which seems to be right up Kara's "dirty it up, Alexis" alley. So, I start the show in a bad mood already. I really just need to start fast forwarding through this part every week.

On with the show!

1) Matt Giraud - "Let's Get it On": OK, song choice...I wouldn't have picked it. But I think that's because I would have a really hard time singing this song with a straight face. Maybe I'm just repressed, but I can't see myself going on stage in front of 30 million people (well, 25...forgot the ratings are in the tank this year) and singing "let's have sex" over and over again, and shaking hands with a bunch of teenagers in the front row while I was doing it. Only Marvin Gaye can get away with this in a non-ironic way...if you're not Marvin Gaye, you almost have to go the Jack Black place with it (for those who haven't seen High that movie. A vastly under-rated classic, in my opinion).

So, outside of my own insecurities...this was a very nice performance. The song fit his voice very well, even if I still think he gets a bit riff-happy at times.

Simon said it was "corny" at times, and I say's almost impossible to pull this song off WITHOUT being corny at some point, isn't it?

2) Kris Allen - "How Sweet it Is": Kris shows up ready to FIGHT! in his vintage army shirt and Daniel Faraday tie.

One thing that confuses me about Kris is his choices as to when to use his guitar. I would not have used the guitar on "Remember the Time," but he did. I thought last week (To Make You Feel My Love) was a great opportunity to use the guitar, but he didn't. This week, he used the guitar again, and once again it is completely overpowered by the rest of the band, so why bother?

As for his performance, it was another very good outing in a very consistent string for him. With this song, it is very easy to fall into an imitation of either Marvin Gaye or (more likely) James Taylor, but Kara was right (finally)...this rendition was very much Kris, and that is a good thing.

Plus, his wife is still hot. At the rate that the females are dropping off this show (more to come on that later), somebody needs to stick around to provide the eye candy.

3) Scott MacIntyre - "You Can't Hurry Love": Copy and paste:
As a singer, he's not that talented...average at best. Great pianist. Picks the most corny, boring, white-bread song available on a weekly basis. Seems like a great guy.

That's the one good thing about Scott sticking's one fewer contestant that I have to come up with something to say about.

4) Megan Joy - "For Once in My Life": Ugh. This one hurt. I have to now officially remove myself from the Megan Joy for American Idol 2009 Campaign. I can not in good conscience support her after THAT. Good grief...bad song choice, bad outfit, and "pitchy" does not even do it justice. Randybot got one right...that was a trainwreck. That was so bad the crowd doesn't even bother to boo Randybot or Simon when they were ripping her to shreds.


5) Anoop Desai - "Ooh Baby Baby": LOVE this of the prettiest melodies ever. Other than his falsetto being a little weak at times, Anoop does a very nice job vocally with this one, building on his performance from last week. I made the note while he was singing that he needs to watch the "dead eyes," and then Simon pointed out that he looked like he was half asleep at times...that's the only real problem I had with the performance. Now that he's proven over the last two weeks that he definitely has the pipes to warrant him being here, I hope to see him branch out next week into the more "fun" Anoop that we saw earlier in the season.

I love Ryan Seacrest, but that was a really stupid question...does he think he can win? How is he supposed to answer that? Anoop gave the best answer you can give...if I didn't think I could win, why would I be here?

6) Michael Sarver - "Ain't Too Proud to Beg": Ohhhhh....never mind my answer to Ryan's question. Apparently, THIS is what it looks like when you are still hanging around, even though you know that you really don't have a shot at winning. Nice of Simon to point that out....and then call it "constructive" criticism. Hey Simon...I do not think that word means what you think it means. What exactly is constructive about "you are merely cannon fodder and have NO shot at winning this"?

Anyway, the performance was typical Michael Sarver...a very good karaoke version of a very good karaoke song. The ending, however, was PAINFULLY bad...tried to reach for something there that is out of his range.

Kara again nailed it (she redeemed herself nicely after the opening segment): Michael is a good singer, but they are looking for an artist, and that's not what he is. And he still doesn't get it...his response to the criticism seems to be that he needs to sing better. Michael...your voice is not the problem. YOU are the problem. You seem to be a genuinely nice guy, and I hope for nothing but the best in your future endeavors...but you are not a Pop Music Superstar.

Part of his problem (and I know I'm spending way too much time on him, but I think this may be the last opportunity to talk about him) is that he thinks he's a "Soul" singer. He's really, really not. It's uncomfortable to watch him try to sing soul, because he's as white as white can be. He is a country singer, if anything, and admitting that to himself may be something that will help him if he wants to continue in the industry.

7) Lil Rounds - "Heat Wave": I admit to getting a little misty in the pre-song video for this really hasn't been that long ago that Smokey was "living that," you know?

Anyway...I think this was a make or break week for Lil. I've been saying for weeks now that she is a GOOD singer, not a great one, and this was another example of that. She REALLY oversang this in several parts which caused her to go way, way sharp to the point of being actually off the pitch entirely. For her style of singing, this should have been a week for her to knock it out of the park, and instead I think she lined a sharp single to left. Good enough to stick around, but not good enough to propel her to the top, which I think she might have done if she could have pulled off a "blow you away" type performance. It's becoming more and more clear every week that she just doesn't have one of those performances in her.

8) Adam Lambert - "Tracks of My Tears": Dude...Smokey Robinson can WRITE some SONGS, can't he? This is another great song, and a great song CHOICE. Adam needed to come back to Earth a little after the little trip to Venus he took last week (there was a much cheaper joke there that I managed to avoid), and this whole performance was just a series of perfect choices. My first thought was that he looked like Elvis (fitting, since my mom said 4 weeks ago that he IS Elvis, in her opinion), but upon further review I think it's more like Kurt Russell PLAYING Elvis that he looks like. Great suit. Very scaled back, tender performance, virtually perfect vocally (except for one MINOR little pitch wobble during the ending).

I've talked before (as Simon often does as well) about contestants having The Moment when you're no longer watching a karaoke performance, you are watching a star. David Cook (Hello), Bo Bice (Whipping Post), Carrie Underwood (Alone), Chris Daughtry (Walk the Line)...the list goes on and on. I think Adam has already had a moment or two like that, but if he goes on to win I think this will be the night we point back to and say that this is when it became a foregone conclusion.

9) Danny Gokey - "Get Ready": The other thing Adam did was make Danny look amateurish by comparison. This was good, and if he went on at any other time in the show I would probably be a lot kinder...but coming after Adam, this seemed very Taylor Hicks to me. Seriously, watch it there really THAT much difference between this performance and something Taylor would do? Danny is a good vocalist, people obviously like him...he's going to be around until the end, I believe, and he probably deserves that. But he's no Adam Lambert.

10) Alison Iraheta - "Papa Was a Rolling Stone": Hey, did you guys know she's only sixteen? Sixteen years old. Yep. Won't be seventeen until next year. Last year, she was only fifteen. Amazing, huh, how that works? That it's been only sixteen years since she was born, and now she's just SIXTEEN? SIXTEEN!!!

Sorry...every season when there is a sixteen year old (and there always seems to be one), the judges feel the need to point it out about SIXTEEN times during their commentary. We get it.

And she is AWESOME. Fantastic voice, great stage presence, and she continues to pick great songs. Love the arrangement, too...this was just superb, and the second best of the night by a lot. She and Adam were leagues above everyone else tonight, in my opinion.

I saw where she was going to end up when she started that last line, and I didn't think she was going to make it to that last note, but she NAILED it.

Final thoughts:
There is really beginning to be some separation here, in my opinion. Adam, Alison, and Danny are clearly the frontrunners. Next you have a group of Lil, Matt, Anoop, and Kris that are good enough to provide some entertainment for the next several weeks but have no real shot at winning. Then you have Michael, Scott, and Megan (::sob::) who should be cleaned out in rapid-fire succession over the next three weeks.

I think that I may start a weekly ranking system of just MY favorites, not necessarily a prediction of how it will turn out. I will post on the day after the elimination shows.

Who SHOULD be in the bottom 3: Michael, Megan, Scott
Who WILL be in the bottom 3: I think America gets it right tonight: Michael, Megan, Scott

Who SHOULD go home: Megan...I'm hoping it's her, because my heart can't take another week of watching her self-destruct.
Who WILL go home: Michael

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Saying the right things

UGASports subscription site has an article up today in which Willie Martinez pretty much accepts the full responsibility for the defensive shortcomings of last year's team. Pretty much a 100% "mea culpa," with only a short little reference to the injury problems, which he immediately says is not an's the coaching staff's job to get people ready to play, injuries or no injuries.

It's another example of UGA players and coaches saying all of the right things, and furthers my hopes that we may actually sneak up on some folks this year, if we tighten up on the myriad of mistakes that we saw last year, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Not going to link or post, since it's a subscriber site, but here is a small excerpt, featuring The Liberian Nightmare:

Linebacker Rennie Curran said the defense is more determined than he's ever seen.
"Nobody liked what happened to us last year," he said. "It was embarrassing. We haven't forgotten that."

Martinez said [they] won't.

"I hope they take it personal. It was us. We want to do a better job,"
Martinez said. "It's like anything any year, you're trying to build off the
positives but also learn from your mistakes, why they happened. A lot of times
too, guys didn't make plays when they were in position to make plays, but we've
got to do a better job. We've got to do a better job of finishing games. We
didn't put 60 minutes together in games. We should have and we're doing
everything in our power to make [sure] that doesn't happen again."


Monday, March 23, 2009

More from The Ginger Assassin

The more I hear from this guy, the more I love him. I'm not going to be one of these morons already going into the "We're better off without Stafford" theme, because that's just silly. But I am definitely pumped about the attitude that Joe C is bringing to the job this year, and can't wait to see what he can do.

Here is Chris Low's (ESPN) interview...and here is the most interesting part, in my opinion:

You guys won 10 games last season. But when you're ranked No. 1 going
into the year and fail to play in the SEC championship game or a BCS bowl game,nobody obviously is going to be happy. How disappointing was last season given the expectations?
The most disappointing thing, when you consider how much hype we had coming in and we didn't do as well as we expected, was that it wasn't something that made everybody mad. That's what we're trying to get right now, an attitude that our backs are against the wall and we've got to earn everything. There were times last year I thought when things were going bad that people started hanging their heads. It was like we got in a rut and couldn't get out.

He also mentions that it is hard to take a leadership role when you are not playing, and he looks forward to being the leader of the team that he believes he can be. I'm looking forward to it.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Thoughts on Lost - Namaste

Anybody else get the feeling we were kind of watching Part 2 of the last episode, "LeFleur"? Just like that one, this one leaned more to character interaction/development, with a few little nuggets thrown in to fill in more of the mythology. More than anything, I feel like these last two episodes are moving the pieces in place to set up for the big stories to come.

Let's get started...

- Well, Lapidus IS a talented pilot, but he apparently had a little help setting the plane down so serenely on the Hydra Island. Yep, just like many thought (and I didn't) they did in fact land on a runway, one that we can only assume is the same one that the Others were building back when Sawyer and Kate were part of the chain gang.

So, SOMEBODY knew they were coming...Ben? He did benefit from its existence, since without it he would have been in a crash landing. Jacob? Alpert? Don't know, but I do know that it was a nice little callback moment.

Also, did you notice the transmission coming back over the radio as the co-pilot tried to send the Mayday signal? A man's voice intoning, "...15...16...". Sounded like the transmission that Danielle's crew heard that drew them to the Island. We know that Danielle changed that transmission to her own call for help back around 1988. that a DIFFERENT transmission, or has something changed in the timeline that kept the original transmission from being changed? Maybe there is another radio tower on the Hydra Island that was broadcasting the Numbers, just like on the main Island?

- Did Flight 815 have a co-pilot? I can only assume it did...I ask because the pilot of 815 was killed by Smokey, and I believe that was because he wasn't supposed to be the pilot...Frank was. So now I'm wondering if the co-pilot was killed by the Island because he is not supposed to be here, either, only Frank?

- I got a little misty during the Hurley/Sawyer reunion...shut up, so did you, you're just not secure enough to admit it.

- Notice, in Sawyer's greeting: Hurley=Khan, Jack=Doc, but Kate is not Freckles. She's Kate. I think Sawyer is REALLY trying to keep his feeling reined in.
- I keep forgetting that the characters aren't getting as much of the story as we are. Jack, Kate, and Hurley come back to the Island, and all of a sudden Jin and Sawyer are in the Dharma Initiative...and it's 1977. Hurley's reaction was priceless: "Uh....WHAT?"
- Hurley: "Dude, your English is AWESOME!" Hee. Great to have funny Hurley back this week, rather than borderline catatonic Hurley.

- Mentioned this earlier, but there is no way Sawyer ever wore that UGA sweatshirt. He may have camped under it at times, but he never wore it.
- Sawyer doesn't want anything to screw up "everything we got here." Again, like I mentioned before, Sawyer is HAPPY with his new life. And why wouldn't he be? He has an honest job for once, people actually look up to him, he has the love of a beautiful woman, Dharma beer...why would he want anything to change that? Do you think he actually wants to go back to his old life? Heck, no.

- So we finally meet Radzinsky...designing the Swan station. Awesome. He's a bit of a jerk, though.

And he's a Muppet fan. Check the top left monitor:

- The scenes of the Flight 316 survivors are so reminiscent of Season 1, which I'm sure is intentional. We even had that shot where someone is giving a speech (this time it was Frank) and the camera pans around as everybody listens and reacts. The camera did seem to focus on a couple of people in particular...wonder if they will have some significance later?

Oh, and if I was a survivor, I definitely would have been on Caesar's team. Let's see....wait here and do nothing, or go look through those buildings RIGHT OVER THERE that may have some resources we can use to survive, and probably even some way of communicating with the outside world? Of course, Frank knows plenty that they don't...

- And Horace and Amy's baby is....ETHAN. Definitely a goosebump moment, and I particularly loved how Juliet was immediately creeped out and in a HUGE hurry to give that baby back.

But...that would have meant he was only 27 when the Losties landed on the Island (1977 to 2004), and he only would have been 24 in the scenes we saw him in with Juliet after she arrived on the Island in 2001. Man, Island living must be pretty rough....he looked at least 7-8 years older than that, didn't he?

Honestly? I think the writers just wanted to show that mothers could carry babies back during this time, and then once the baby was born they wanted it to have some sort of significance, and Ethan fit the timeline better than anybody else they could think of that would mean anything to the viewers. Anybody have any other theories? Why does Ethan appear to be aging faster than normal?

Ooooh....maybe that's IT? Just like Alpert has something going on where he DOESN'T age, maybe since Ethan was carried to term and born here, it affects the aging process somehow? Hmmm.....

- It's sort of subtle early on, but you can definitely see that Jack keeps trying to re-assume his position as the Leader of the Pack, but Sawyer keeps beating him to it. You can sort of see it in this exchange:

JACK: You want us to say we came in on the sub. How's that gonna work?
SAWYER: Everyone gets knocked out before the trip, so no one meets each other until we process 'em.
JACK: Look, we need to find the rest of the people from the plane.
SAWYER: If there was a plane, Jin will find it. So we got about ten minutes to make intake, or y'all are gonna be camping in the jungle for a long time. There ain't another batch of recruits due in for six months.
JACK: What do you think?
KATE: I think we should listen to Sawyer.
HURLEY: I vote for not camping.
SAWYER: Trust me. Do what I say. Everything will be fine. Let's move.

Jack even turned to Kate for back up....but none was coming this time. You know that eats at him, and we will see this dynamic played out (awesomely) again a little later on.

- Nice, informative little exchange between Hurley and Sawyer in the van. Hurley reminded Sawyer (and us) that the D.I. has a doomed future. Sawyer knows that, but Faraday has apparently told them not to try and stop it. And Daniel is not there "anymore." We saw him at the Orchid station in "Because You Left." So...where is Daniel now? Just in a different part of the D.I. from what we have seen? Off on his own, infiltrating the work crew at the Orchid? Or, does Sawyer mean that he's not "there" anymore mentally, off his rocker?

By the way...the Purge that Ben helped to initiate was in 1992, 15 years from when they are now. I don't think that is the "war" that Widmore referred to. Remember in the Comic-con video that Chang referred to a "violent purge" that is apparently unavoidable, and I think that is a different occurrence from the Purge we have already seen. If nothing else, something has to happen that causes Chang to lose his arm (he has a prosthetic in the Swan Orientation Video), and I think that may be a result of an earlier battle between the Hostiles and the D.I.

- HURLEY: What if they start asking us questions we can't answer, like, uh, who's president in 1977?
Welcome back, Hugo.

- LOVED Miles's reaction to seeing the new "recruits." Miles is probably the most consistently funny character on this show, which is saying a lot.

- Apparently, Ben has done SOMETHING right...remember when the Island wouldn't cure him of the tumor on his back, and he had to have Jack operate? Notice when he took his sling off in the jungle, he was flexing his arm back and forth....I believe the Island healed him this time, just like it healed Locke (and maybe Rose).

- LAPIDUS: Sun, that boat I came here on--it was filled with commandos whose only mission was to get him.
BEN: And how'd that work out for everyone?

Emerson's delivery on this line was perfect, as usual...I rewound and watched that exchange about 5 times.

- Wow, this certainly is a different version of Sun than the one we first saw on the Island, isn't it? The shy, demure, obedient wife who always made sure her sweater was buttoned all the way to the top seems like a distant memory now.

- The whole Dharma vibe cracks me up. Everybody is so cheerful and happy, even while delivering lines like, "Please stay within the confines of your living quarters...our Barracks are surrounded by a high frequence sonar fence...some of the rules in your security handbook will seem pretty scary...etc..."

- One of my favorite lines of the night: "Based on your aptitude tests, you'll be doing janitorial work."

- The security guy, Phil, is one of the great "Hey, It's That Guy" actors on television. I went to to figure out what I recognized him from, and the answer is...everything.

- Hmm...that Juliet/Kate reunion was a little icy, wasn't it? And...apparently (according to some of the DarkUFO folks), Kate has been assigned to the motor pool (where Juliet works). And she is living right next door, again probably because Juliet arranged it. I think Juliet wants to be able to keep an eye on Kate. (Hurley? He's been assigned to the kitchen, of course)

- Radzinksy is very concerned that a Hostile might know where the Swan is being built and what it is. Probably because they think the Hostiles don't know where the A-bomb is buried, which we know is incorrect...Richard is the one who buried it.

- The Island is a very spooky place in 2007. Reminded me of one of those old slasher films where the killer goes crazy on the summer campers.

- Nice of Smokey and The Whispers to show up as the welcome committee.
By the way...that is going to be the name of my Motown tribute band. Smokey and The Whispers.

- Christian is the MASTER of creepy entrances, isn't he? In Jacob's cabin, at the bottom of Locke's well, now here in the barracks...he does an excellent job of finding shadows he can spookily step out of.

- So how are they going back to 1977? Christian said they have a "long journey" ahead of them...back to the Frozen Donkey Wheel, maybe?

- OK, here is another theory going around the blogosphere...check out the shape over Sun's left shoulder. After going back and watching it (and pausing it), I definitely think it's a person, MAYBE a blond haired girl. She seems to turn and look at Sun when Sun is talking. Whether it is just a production error or not, I don't know, but the door did blow open right before that...almost like someone was walking in.

- The Jack/Juliet reunion was MUCH warmer, although they were stupid to do it on the front porch when Jack had just walked away from a very suspicious-seeming Phil.

- The whole Sawyer/Jack conversation was very satisfying to someone like myself...Jack grates on my nerves with his arrogance and need to be in charge all of the time, to always have to fix somebody, etc. Sawyer laid it on the line for him...Jack abdicated the throne when he left, and Sawyer has replaced him as the guy in charge. Jack seems to begrudgingly accept it for now...but I have a feeling he's going to rebel and do something stupid.

- My advice for Sawyer is to release Sayid, but send a message to Alpert along with him. We'll see.

- So, what to make of the little mini-wave between Kate and Sawyer? Definitely still some sort of feelings there, but I honestly think that Sawyer knows he has a good thing right now and doesn't want to mess it up. I also think that, ultimately, it's Kate that he loves, even if Juliet is probably better for him. Isn't that usually how it is?

- The actor playing Young Ben has done a great job studying Emerson...if there was any doubt who he was, all you had to do was look at the expressionless face and the crazy eyes to know that this was Ben in all of his creepiness.

As for why he was delivering food to the prisoner, remember from "The Man Behind the Curtain" that Ben wants to be with the Others...he saw a vision of his mom out beyond the fence, he actually went to Alpert and asked to join them only to be told, "Not yet." So he identifies more with Sayid than he does his alcoholic jerk of a Dad, I would think, so he feels like he is giving aid and comfort to a friend, not an enemy.

Overall, another good episode, if a little less dense than the earlier episodes of this season. Like I said, the pieces are being moved into place, and I can't wait to see what Darlton has in store for them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Super-quick Idol and LOST thoughts

Well, DialIdol got it right again...I have to say I'm extremely surprised and disappointed. Alexis has definitely been one of my favorites all along, and I certainly think there are several far less-deserving contestants still hanging around.

And two things kept the judges from saving her last night: First, that performance she gave after she found out she was on the chopping block was bordering on manic. That is a really tough place to be in as a feel like you have to lay EVERYTHING you have out there, but you have to maintain some level of control or your performance ends Alexis ended up last night. Screechy, off-pitch, no breath control, and DESPERATE.

Second, it is just too early in the season. If the judges can only use it once, they're not going to blow it in the second week of the finals. I have a feeling that even if she had pulled off the performance of a lifetime last night, the timing of the situation would have been too much to overcome.

And she doesn't even get to go on the tour. Dang.

On a much happier note, Carrie Underwood was BACK, continuing to make my heart go pitter-patter. Looking GORGEOUS, with that perfect voice. She is my ORIGINAL American Idol girlfriend, and you know how it is...your first love always has a special place in your heart. Sorry, Megan.

As for LOST...I enjoyed it. It certainly wasn't a "blow you away" type episode like some of the ones early in this season. I feel like these last two episodes have sort of been like taking a deep breath before they start hitting us with the big guns again.

Don't get me wrong...there were some nice moments. Sawyer's verbal smackdown of Jack, for instance, had me whooping and clapping from my seat, and of course it was good to see that Sawyer is a big UGA fan. If this was 1977, then I guess he was still basking in the glory of the 1976 SEC champs, led by SEC MVP Ray Goff, since the 1977 team sort of fell off the map.

Oh...and I believe that sweatshirt would have been more than "baggy" on Sawyer. It was "baggy" on HURLEY.

Be back in a day or so with the full LOST to watch the NCAA tourney!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Defense preview

Slightly delayed, so let's get to it...

In case you forgot:

Bold= Projected starters (in my opinion)
italics=incoming freshmen
italics*=incoming freshmen whom I project to be a redshirt in '09

Defensive End:
Roderick Battle, Demarcus Dobbs, Kiante Tripp, Justin Houston, Neland Ball, Jeremy Longo, Cornelius Washington, Montez Robinson*

OUTLOOK: No question, this group has a TON of pressure on it. One of the big weaknesses in a defense that underperformed in a major way last year was the lack of QB pressure from the DE position, which is a MUST in a Brian VanGorder/Willie Martinez defense. Rod Battle is a solid piece on one side, but he is really more of a run-stopping defensive end, which is fine as long as you can get consistent pressure from whomever lines up opposite of him. Cornelius Washington is a RS freshman who was touted as just what we need...a fast DE who can consistently get pressure on the QB, so look for him to get early opportunities once he's healthy (By the way, the injury bug continues to rear its ugly head...the only healthy DEs we have in spring are Dobbs Houston, Tripp, and Longo).

Tripp may be the wild card here...he's changed positions more often than most people change their oil, but DE is where he really wants to be, and it appears to be where he has settled. Dude is 290 LBs and runs a 4.7 40. Why can we not find a place to effectively use him?


Defensive Tackle:
Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins, Kade Weston, DeAngelo Tyson, Rico Crawford, Brandon Wood, Abry Jones*, Derrick Lott*

OUTLOOK: And we go from one of the unsure areas of the team to probably the strongest part of the team. I challenge anybody to come up with a better 4 man rotation than Owens-Atkins-Weston-Tyson. Losing Owens really hurt last year, both on the field and off...he is definitely one of the strongest leaders on this team, and I can't wait to get him back, hopefully fully healthy.

GRADE: A+ if Owens is 100%, A- if he's not

Rennie Curran, Darryl Gamble, Akeem Dent, Darius Dewberry, Marcus Washington, Akeem Hebron, Marcus Dowtin, Charles White, Nick Williams, Christian Robinson, Chase Vasser*, Michael Gilliard*

Speed, speed, and more speed. This is a deep, athletic group led by The Liberian Nightmare (and my biggest man-crush) Rennie Curran. Rennie has taken a much more vocal leadership role in the offseason, going so far as to call it "MY defense." Good. Nobody better to lead this team than this guy.

Losing Dexter Moody from the '09 class hurt, but this group has depth and I thought that Gilliard was the better pick-up anyway.


Prince Miller, Brandon Boykin, Sanders Commings, Vance Cuff, Jordan Love, Branden Smith

OUTLOOK: This group scares me. Prince Miller is really the only guy with a lot of experience...Boykin played some at nickel last year, Cuff was mainly a special teams guy, and Commings was a redshirt who was originally slotted at safety. You would love to RS one of the freshmen, but I don't think we can afford to when we're this thin. Losing Asher unexpectedly has really hurt us, and the sad part is that Asher is probably not even going to get drafted on the first day of the draft.

There is a lot of athletic talent here, but virtually all of it is unproven. These guys are going to be tested early and often, starting week 1 at Oklahoma State, and their ability to handle it is going to go a long way towards determining what this defense is going to be.


Reshad Jones, Bryan Evans, Quentin Banks, John Knox, Makiri Pugh, Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams*

OUTLOOK: This position is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. There is enough talent here that it should be a strength of the why does this position make me so nervous? Probably because Reshad Jones seems to be (at best) not making any improvement or (at worst) REGRESSING since entering the program as the #1 player in the state. His tackling has become a punchline with no punch, and he seems to have an attitude problem as well. Also, Bryan Evans was converted to safety after not playing very well at corner in the early part of last year. Like Jones, he has tremendous physical ability...unlike Jones, he actually improved as the year went on last year.

Both of these guys will be pushed by talented youngsters...Evans, in particular will have to hold off Quentin Banks at FS, after Quentin struggled with injuries most of last year.


This group overall has a lot to prove, so they should be going into the season with a chip on their shoulder...we'll see how it pays off. A repeat of last year is not acceptable, and would really ratchet up the heat on both Martinez and Richt.


Idol thoughts - top 11

Hey, it's time for Simon's very FAVORITE week of the season...guess that's why we're getting it out of the way early.

The mentor tonight will be Randy Travis's skeleton. Back when he was alive, he was one of my favorite country singers. Seeing the way he looks now, "Diggin' Up Bones" has a completely different connotation then it did in 1986.

On with the show!!

1) Michael Sarver - "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up": Bold choice...that is a LOT of words. And he nails every one of them, which is impressive. Not so impressive is the fact that, just like in his initial top 36 performance, he's out of breath by the end. Just like last week, this is not bad, but I feel like with his style (he's a country singer, no matter how many times he tells us he's not) this should have been better. It's a fun performance, and he sounds pretty good, I just expected more from him this week. In retrospect, he was also hurt by going first...there were a LOT of performances after this one that were much more polished and simply better than this one.

I don't usually talk too much about the judges commentary afterwards, but there were two disturbing trends tonight that started with Michael:

1) Kara giving dumb advice: "we're looking for those BIG NOTES." Sorry, I disagree, and I think Kris and Anoop prove me right later. You don't have to include vocal dramatics in order for it to be a good performance. Also, you don't have to do the SAME TYPE song every week, which is another piece of advice she gave a few of the contestants (most notably Lil and Alexis). She's quickly becoming the female version of Randy.

2) Contestants talking back to the judges. I thought this happened way more often than normal last night...maybe because I was watching it live due to some DVR malfunctions, and I wasn't able to FF through Randy and Paula like I normally do. Michael had me at "Country is supposed to be fun," but he lost me at "If we were perfect, we wouldn't be here." Ummm...what does that even mean? There were 100,000-plus applicants for the job of 2009 American Idol...I think they are looking for excellence at this point. "Trying your best" is not excellence. I would go off on a "public school is ruining our country" rant here, but these things are too long as it is.

Anyway, there was a LOT of talking back to the judges this week, and as a rule that is almost always stupid.

2) Alison Iraheta: "Blame it on Your Heart" - It's funny...Alison is probably one of my top 2-3 contestants this season, but I always have the least to say about her. It happens every time: she finishes singing and I realize I haven't made any notes because I've been too busy listening. I guess that's a good thing. This was another amazingly polished and mature performance from the youngest contestant left in the field. I love the style of her voice, but I again have fears that it may not hold out for 11 more weeks.

As a side note, this song had a prominent part in the "Country Musical" I was writing back when I was around 13. Just thought you'd like to know.

3) Kris Allen - "To Make You Feel My Love": My first thought was that it made no sense to me that he used the guitar LAST week, and then chose not to use it on this one...but I ended up loving the arrangement, so what do I know?

This was really a lovely vocal performance. The only problem I had with it had nothing to do with Kris...why do the sound people insist on putting the annoying re-verb on all of the ballads? The echo effect was distracting, and it sounds bush-league. But that's not his fault, and he did a great job. This was a perfect song choice for him, and he sang it well.

4) Lil Rounds - "Independence Day": Wow, I didn't even recognize her at first, but she looks really nice. And, actually, if you showed me a tape of this performance and a tape of her Top 36 performance, I REALLY wouldn't have recognized her. Remember last week when I said it was a "typical" fun performance by Lil? Well, this was the opposite. I totally agree with Simon...she sang like somebody was forcing her to. She looked uncomfortable, and her insistence that she was holding something back in order to "honor" country music was stupid and made no sense. Her voice sounded fine, but it was boring and forced.

5) Adam Lambert - "Ring of Fire": Dude...Undead Randy Travis is TERRIFIED of Adam and everything he stands for. That was hilarious. "Ain't seen too many fellows with nail polish on." HA!

As for the song, well...that was...unusual? Disturbing? I'm not going to go to the "How dare you do that to a Johnny Cash song!" place, because let's face it: Johnny would have loved that (remember, he had a big comeback not long before his death with a Nine Inch Nails cover). Technically, the vocal was excellent (of course), it was just....weird. This was maybe the one time I agreed with Kara tonight: I was confused, and yet somehow happy.

I admire his determination to just be himself, no matter the genre, similar to what Daughtry and D. Cook managed to pull off. I mean, it's not like he's going to make a country album, so why try to be country? But that was...weird.

I was thinking he could have done something like the Garth Brooks cover of "Fever," which is actually an Aerosmith song...I think he could have out-Steven-Tylered Steven Tyler.

6) Scott Macintyre - "Wild Angels": Copy and paste from last week...
As a singer, he's not that talented...average at best. Great pianist. Picks the most corny, boring, white-bread song available on a weekly basis. Seems like a great guy.

With one addition...he also seems like a genuinely FUNNY guy:

Paula: I feel like the piano is keeping you from connecting with the audience.
Scott: We could always move the piano CLOSER!


7) Alexis Grace - "Jolene": I really enjoyed this performance...first of all, this is my very favorite Dolly Parton song by far. Then I thought Alexis did a really good job with it, giving it a little of a bluesy feel, and built the song nicely by saving the "big notes" for the last chorus. I have no idea what the judges were listening to, and I'm totally confused by their advice to her to get more "dirty." Kara said she should have picked a song like "Before He Cheats," which is a) cliched and b) stupid, since she doesn't have Carrie's pipes. Kara really got on my nerves tonight...

One interesting has a fairly decent tracking record for predicting who goes home and they show Alexis in last place by TONS. What is up with that? And...if that holds true, will we see the Judges Save come into play this early in the process?

8) Danny Gokey - "Jesus Take the Wheel": If I hadn't made the decision last week that I was going to start being nicer to Danny, I would be making jokes about him choosing "The Dance" or "If Tomorrow Never Comes." But since I'm being nice to him, I'm not going to make those jokes.

But then, he one-ups me and chooses "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Don't get me wrong...I don't necessarily have anything AGAINST this song, I just think he has done too many of these Archuletta songs already.

The verses don't sound good, and he looks uncomfortable doing them, and they go on too long...but then he really blows away the chorus, and sounds fantastic. I'm going to keep being nice for one more week.

Oh, and one more Kara thing...her fascination with "Big Notes," if it continues, is going to put her in the Automatic Fast-Forward group along with Randybot and Paula.

9) Anoop Desai - "You Were Always on My Mind": To get this out of the way first...they pulled out the echo effect on this one, as well, just like they did to Kris. KNOCK IT OFF!!

OK...this was a tremendous improvement over last week, and was probably my favorite Anoop performance since he blew me away with his initial audition. Just took a great song, didn't try to do too much with it...just changed the melody up a bit to show off a little of his style. Great song choice, great performance, and I loved how happy he was with Simon's comments. And Simon was right...THAT is how you handle criticism from the judges. Don't argue and whine about it...just prove them wrong. Anoop just jumped right back into the thick of this thing, in my opinion.

10) Megan Joy - "Walkin' After Midnight": OK, she looks GORGEOUS, first of all, although she could have used a little Vocally, she sounds not good at all, and I was ready to blast her until the judges revealed that she was apparently at death's door some time earlier in the day. Going back and listening to it again, I can see how she probably COULD have done a really good job with it if she had a healthy voice, so I'm going to give her a pass.

Shut up. I love her, what do you expect?

11) Matt Giraud - "So Small": Wow, he just looks SO much more comfortable now than he did back when he was trying to do Coldplay in his Top 36 performance. Just a natural performer, and you can see his experience as a piano-bar man. Great quality to his voice. He does lose the pitch a little at the end, but overall a very good job, and a performance I can actually see myself paying for.

Overall, this was really another good train wreck performances, in my opinion, depending on how much Adam weirdness you can stand.

Who I voted for: Nobody. Watching this live really threw me off. I probably would have voted for Alexis, Anoop, Alison, and Megan. (What?!? Hey, she's would have been a sympathy vote, just me comforting her from afar)

Who SHOULD be in the bottom 3: Lil, Michael, Scott
Who SHOULD go home: Michael

Who WILL be in the bottom 3: Megan, Michael, and Alexis (Alexis just based on Dial Idol...I don't get it)
Who WILL go home: Michael (or maybe nobody, if Alexis is last...I REALLY don't get it)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Sorry, work wiped me out defense post till tomorrow.

But it was nice to get practice let's just keep everybody healthy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

Hey, remember when this blog used to be about college football?

Spring practice for the Dawgs starts tomorrow, building towards an ESPN telecast of the G-Day game on April 11. After that, there are only 146 short days until kickoff.

To prepare, I want to give a position-by-position outlook for the Dawgs the way I see it. Offense today, defense tomorrow.

Bold=starter (these are my predictions as to who will be the starters come Opening Day, and may not reflect the current depth chart)

italics=incoming freshmen

italics*=incoming freshmen whom I believe will redshirt in '09.

Joe Cox, Logan Gray, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger*

OUTLOOK: I know that we are going to miss Matt Stafford's talents, and there is certainly no one on this list who can match Staff's arm strength. However, I am excited to see what Joe Cox can do with this offense. From all accounts, he is extremely knowledgeable of the offense, and he has always been very accurate as a passer. I do have a little concern regarding how well he can throw the deep ball, because that is something that we have to be able to do to run our offense effectively. He obviously won't be able to throw it like Stafford does, but it has to be an option in order to keep defenses honest, and also to fully utilize guys like A.J. Green and Marlon Brown. But there is no doubt that this guy is a leader, and is relishing that part of his role, which I love to see.

At backup, I fully expect to see Logan Gray on the field quite a bit as a "change-up" style quarterback. I don't think it will be anything similar to what we did with Shockley/Greene in that I don't expect to see a set timetable to get him in a game (every third series, etc). But I think you have to get him on the field quite a bit, for a couple of reasons. First, I think he's too talented athletically to leave him sitting on the bench, and I think he could be very effective in spot duty with his ability to both run and throw. Second, Joe C is a senior...this guy needs to be ready to take the reins next year, which means we need to get him some looks in real-game situations (not just mop-up duty).

Then you have the two freshmen...I think there is the possibility that they might BOTH redshirt, but if one of them is going to see the field I think it's Murray. Mettenberger is still pretty raw right now, and I think the redshirt year will do him some good. Both of these guys will get a chance to compete with Gray for the starting job next year.


Running Back:
Caleb King, Richard Samuel, Dontavious Jackson, Carlton Thomas, Washaun Ealy*

OUTLOOK: Unfortunately, I think this is a position where we have "quantity over quality." I was not at all impressed with King's performance last year, either as a runner or (especially) as a blocker. Also, reading between the lines of some of the coaches' comments about him, I don't think they have been really happy with the attitude or the effort he has displayed. We know he has talent...hopefully, the chance to be the #1 guy will be motivation enough for him to work to become the guy who was one of the more highly recruited tailbacks in the country.

Behind King, you have several guys looking for playing time. Richard Samuel was somewhat impressive last year as a true freshman, but he needs to work on holding on to the ball. D-Jax put up MONSTER numbers in high school, but was sidetracked by the injury bug last year (and won't be available in spring practice, either). Carlton Thomas is an undersized guy who has coaches raving about his speed and quickness...look for the coaches to try to find ways to get the ball into his hands, maybe at punt returner.

With this much personnel at the position, I think it's almost a lock that Ealy redshirts...and that's assuming he actually makes it to campus this year (academics may be an issue, although the latest reports have been positive).


Shaun Chapas, Fred Munzenmaier

Outlook: I listed Chapas as the starter, but these guys are really interchangeable. We'll miss Southerland, but Southerland missed quite a bit of time last year and there wasn't much dropoff as these guys filled in admirably. Both of these guys can run, catch, and game-changer here or anything, but definitely solid football players.


A.J. Green, Michael Moore, Kris Durham, Tony Wilson, Israel Troupe, Tavarres King, Marlon Brown, Rontavious Wooten*

OUTLOOK: There are some nice weapons here. A.J. Green certainly lived up to the hype last year, and gets a chance to prove that he can be the #1 guy. I love what we are hearing about this guy's desire and work ethic...let's just hope he can stay healthy. He was hampered by a groin strain last year, and he is still taking it pretty slow to keep from re-aggravating it in the spring.

On the other side of Green is most likely Michael Moore, although I think there will be some competition for that spot. Moore is one of those guys who seems like he has been on campus forever...he is a 5th year senior who has shown flashes of playmaking ability in somewhat limited time. He had 29 catches for 451 yards and two touchdowns last year.

Moore will be pushed by: Kris Durham (great hands, better than expected speed), Tony Wilson (tough receiver...always seems to pick up extra yards), Israel Troupe (????...lot of talent coming out of high school, has not gotten many chances so far), and Tavarres King (super-quick slot-type guy who showed some potential before going down with an early-season injury last year).

And then there is Marlon Brown...this guy is a physical specimen (6-5, 200 LB, 40 time probably in the 4.55 range) who really came on strong this past year and became one of the most sought after WR in the nation. He will push for playing time, and if he develops as expected he sets up an unbelievable WR tandem with A.J. Green.


Tight End:
Bruce Figgins, Aron White, Bryce Ros, Orson Charles, Arthur Lynch*

OUTLOOK: This is a strange bunch...normally, I can get a good idea of what style offense a team runs by what kind of TEs they have on the roster, but this is a mix-and-match group. Figgins is the old-school tight end, who is probably 65% blocker, 35% pass catcher. White is a hybrid type, built more like a big WR than a TE (6-4, 228) who has shown an early ability to stretch the field. Ros is an enigma...he played FB and DL in high school, but certainly has the build (6-4, 242) and the pedigree (his dad Frank was a captain on the 1980 MNC squad).

The trend continues in the 2009 signees: Arthur Lynch is a big blocking TE who has shown some ability to catch (like the white version of Figgins), while Orson Charles is an athletic freak who was actually moved to WR in the recruiting rankings.

So what does it all mean? Versatility, baby. There is a lot of talent in this group, and I'm very interested to see how Coach Bobo goes about getting them involved.


Offensive line:
Clint Boling, Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones, Chris Davis, Trinton Sturdivant, Vince Vance,
Josh Davis, Justin Anderson, Tanner Strickland, Ben Harden, AJ Harmon, Jonathan Owens, Kevin Perez, Dallas Lee, Chris Burnette*, Austin Long*

OUTLOOK: Yeah, that's right. SIXTEEN offensive linemen on the Opening Day roster. Kudos to the coaching staff for taking a position that seemed to be a liability a couple of years ago and changing it into what I think may be the strength of the team this year. If we can ever keep this group even relatively healthy, then the possible question marks at QB and running back all of a sudden look a lot more promising.

Boling is the MVP of this group, in my opinion. He has been a do-everything guy...he's played every position except center (at least I don't THINK he's played center), and has played admirably everywhere we've put him. If we can ever put him somewhere and leave him (RT is my guess as to where he ends up), there is no telling what his potential can be.

The rest are an impressive mix of size, athleticism, and nastiness.

Oh, and one more thing...of that group, only Vince Vance is a Senior, and only two of my projected starters (Boling and C. Davis) are Juniors...everybody else has at least two more years after this one. So you might assume that they are too young...except that with the injury problems we have had over the last couple of years, there is a LOT of experience in those younger groups as well.


Fired up yet? I'll be back tomorrow with the defense, and maybe the special teams as well.


Friday, March 13, 2009

And for my 200th post...

This is my 200th post on this blog...thank you to all 2-3 loyal readers who have stuck with me from the beginning. I will now do my best to drive about half of you away by making my 200th post a Battlestar Galactica post:

Very cool photo essay on today that details the story of how BSG came to fruition. Truly one of the greatest TV shows ever created, a work of true art. Two part series finale begins tonight, and ends with the 2-hour conclusion next week. I am truly and completely bummed out about it.

I know there are many who never gave the show a shot simply because the title scared them away...I would encourage you to check it out on DVD, as it is one of the most intelligent, thought provoking, beautifully scripted, and masterfully acted shows of all time.

So say we all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yet another tribute...

As we get closer and closer to the (::sob::) frakking END of Battlestar Galactica, here is yet another tribute to a character firmly established in my top 3 TV characters of all time: Kara "Starbuck" Thrace.

Somehow, I've always known I was special...

This week, I found out that I share a birthday with both Chuck Norris and Don Draper.

Why do I suddenly feel like Danny Devito's character in Twins? The one who all of the leftover DNA got dumped into?

Super-quick Idol thoughts

First of all, one of the forum posters on Television Without Pity had a great idea for the Ford commercial that certainly would have been better than that boring edition they did last night. The concept is simple: Scott MacIntyre at the wheel of a Ford Fusion, driving along singing whatever, while we see all of the other contestants bouncing off the bumper and hood.


Moving on.

My predictions were fairly accurate, other than Jorge replacing Kris in the bottom. I am certainly glad to be wrong about my Megan prediction, and last night she showed a lot of her character. As soon as it was announced that she was staying and Jasmine was going home, she immediately turned her attention to Jasmine, hugging her and saying, "Girl, the judges LOVE you. You still have a chance!" without taking more than a second to be excited for herself. See, now that's class.

Poor Jorge got to live in the mansion for like three days, now it's back to Puerto Rico and sharing a house with 30 of his relatives (hey, don't get mad at ME...he's the one who said it).

As for the new "Judges Save" rule...meh. Whatever. I don't like the judges having ANY control over who goes home and who stays at this point, but I guess it could have been worse.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Idol thoughts - top 13

We begin with a new judge intro that is so over the top that all of the judges are pretty much cracking up over it...Ryan and Simon, especially. Ryan shows off all of the shiny new stage toys, informs us that it's Michael Jackson week (it was probably for the best that they waited to do this until AFTER David Archuletta was gone), and we're off!!

1) Lil Rounds - "The Way You Make Me Feel": I do NOT like her outfit, first of she wearing white jeans? With a loofah on her shoulder? Anyway...she seems nervous early on, but gets into it as the song goes on, and it turns out to be a typical fun Lil performance. Vocally, she's really good-not-great, but she sells it well and the audience (both live and at home) always have a good time when she's performing.

Randy says it's a "great way to kick off Season 8." Is he aware that we are now exactly halfway through this season?

OK, time for this week's random thought: I have a theory about Randy...I think what we are seeing is not actually Randy Jackson, but a robot version of him. A RandyBot. They break out a new one every week, which is why he always thinks we are "kicking off" a new season. He has been programmed with the following words and phrases:

- Dawg
- Dawg Pound
- A'ight
- pitchy
- Baby
- Goin' ON
- HOT ONE!!!
- not good
- only SIXTEEN!!
- Mariah Carey

After each performance, the director presses a button, the words mix together with various articles, prepositions, conjunctions, etc. into a little word salad and you end up with kind of a Randy Jackson Mad Lib.

The REAL Randy Jackson is actually on a desert island with Tupac...SOMEBODY needs to produce the new albums Tupac keeps putting out every year.

Back to the show....

Paula says that when Lil goes into her falsetto, it sounds like angels singing. Which is actually the exact OPPOSITE of true (she sounds MUCH better in her natural voice, falsetto was pretty weak)....I only throw that in here to let you know that Paula was completely OFF HER ROCKER tonight, so this may be the last of her comments I refer to.

2) Scott MacIntyre: "Keep the Faith" - I'm not going to get into this every week. I'm just going to copy and paste the following for as long as he's around:
As a singer, he's not that talented...average at best. Great pianist. Picks the most corny, boring, white-bread song available on a weekly basis. Seems like a great guy.


3) Danny Gokey: "P.Y.T." - I've been very tough on this guy, as well...but I actually gained a lot of respect for him reading some of the interviews he did over the last couple of weeks. He pretty much said that he was a little embarrassed by the attention given to the death of his wife, and that he certainly is not trying to get the producers to focus on it. Basically, his attitude was this: I'm only talking about her because you people keep asking about her. Yes, she was my wife, I loved her, she died way too early, and I think about her every day, all the time. So can we just accept that as a given and move on?

Which...yes. That's awesome and heartbreaking at the same time, and I feel kind of like a jerk.

So, the only other real complaint I've had about him is that he always goes to the Archuletta place when picking his songs...the inspirational, warm-and-fuzzy, "we can all make our dreams come true" place. Not this week...this week, Danny is singing about Tenderoni and basically just having fun with a great little funky MJ song that I have always loved.

And he did a GREAT job with it. That does it. I'm officially on the Danny Gokey Train. Is there still room?

4) Michael Sarver: "You Are Not Alone" - This is EXACTLY what I said he should be doing during his first Top 36 performance. So why am I not as impressed as I feel like I should be? Great voice, nice guy, nice song. It just came off as a little...cheesy, I guess?. Maybe it was facial expressions? I don't know...this was good, I just feel like I'm going to have a hard time remembering it.

5) Jasmine Murray: "I'll Be There" - I've been trying to figure out how to describe my thoughts on Jasmine's performances, and then she helps me out in her intro. She's been in a lot of pageants. Of course she has.

So, this was a very pageant-y performance: She looks gorgeous (loved her dress), stands in the middle of the stage and gives a pretty good performance of a lovely little ballad. Nice voice: not great, but probably good enough to win the Talent portion of Miss Teen Lower Central Mississippi, or whatever. The judges are actually right on this one...she needs to do something younger, more fun...enough with the pageanty ballads.

6) Kris Allen: "Remember the Time" - Let me say this first...those two are going to produce some gorgeous children.

I'm not sure why he played his guitar on this one...we couldn't even hear it, and I don't think a guitar really fits on this song. It's like he really wanted to do this song, and he REALLY wanted to play his guitar, so he just stuck them together.

Couple of pitch problems on the bridge part, but overall a nice performance... one of those where he's probably not going to lose any of the people who voted for him before, but he probably didn't really make any new fans, either. I think he's going to stick around for a couple of weeks, but he has a definite "ceiling"...probably around top 10 or so.

Oh, and I think the RandyBot malfunctioned, based on his critique to Kris: "Very well job done, Baby." May need some re-wiring...I think a couple of the words got crossed up.

7) Alison Iraheta: "Give In to Me" - This was just a great, great performance. LOVE this girl's voice...I just hope it holds up for her. She really had a great command of the stage, just rocked it out. LOVED it.

8) Anoop Desai: "Beat It" - Oh, Anoop...Anoop, Anoop, Anoop. This was the definition of "poor song choice." The ONLY way you can get away with singing this song is if you re-arrange it, or do an already re-arranged version (like David did with Billie Jean last season). If you just do it straight, it's never going to sound like ANYTHING except a karaoke version of the song, which is what this was. This probably went over really well for him at a Frat party or something, so he thought it would be a big hit for him here, Vocally, it was about a C+, and the performance was probably a C-.

Hopefully, his fan base is big enough that he gets another chance to prove himself...I think he will.

9) Jorge Nunez: "Never Can Say Goodbye" - This was a tough one...his voice is fantastic, as usual. But for some reason, this just really didn't work for me. The vintage 1987 Don Johnson jacket with the sleeves pushed up, the cheesy sounding back up singers, the even cheesier looks into the camera...I felt like I was watching a variety show or something. It was, to use one of Simon's favorite expressions, "very old fashioned." Which, I know...the song came out in 1971, so what did I expect? Ummm....better than that, I guess?

10) Megan Joy Corkrey: "Rockin' Robin" - Long story short...if you love Megan (as I do), then you loved this, because this was Megan from start to finish. Quirky, playful, ironic, fun. If you DON'T love Megan, you probably thought it was weird, screechy, and a little bit stupid.

Whatever. I love her, so I loved it, and she looked BEAUTIFUL.

11) Adam Lambert: "Black or White" - Dude. That was INTENSE. I'm always completely exhausted after an Adam Lambert performance. It's just moving at like 290 MPH, with no seatbelt. His dial is ALWAYS turned to 11.

After the performance, you can tell that the energy level in the auditorium is just CRACKLING. Like, EVERYBODY is on the verge of tears, trembling, eyes all wide and sparkly, like he just dumped a vat of crystal meth on everybody. It's really amazing to watch.

I don't even know how to analyze this...dude is a Bloody Rock God. Period.

12) Matt Giraud: "Human Nature" - AND we switch gears so fast I'm surprised the transmission didn't fall out. Not that this was bad...I really enjoyed it, actually. It's just that this is a really tough spot for Matt to come out and do a slow, easy song like this...between Adam before him and Alexis after him, is anybody going to remember that Matt was even on the show?

This was a very good performance...I really like his voice, even if he throws in a few too many vocal riffs for my tastes, and he's a very talented piano player. I really hope he sticks around.

13) Alexis Grace: "Dirty Diana" - My second favorite MJ song, behind Smooth Criminal (hey...why didn't Anoop do THAT one?). This was probably about a half-step out of her range, (she probably couldn't risk lowering it because of how low the verses are), but it was still a very good vocal, with a fun and energetic performance, with the lighting folks just going CRAZY for her with the effects. Plus, we got to see her crying about her kid in the intro, so that will help. (maybe that will help Megan too, now that I think about it)

Overall, I thought this was a VERY impressive show. Really, no BAD performances...some really great ones, some very good ones, and then others that were just O.K.

My top 3: Adam, Alison, Danny. And...Alexis. So, top 4.

Who SHOULD be in the bottom 3: Scott, Jasmine, and Jorge
Who WILL be in the bottom 3: Jasmine, Kris, and.....Megan. Dang it.

Who SHOULD go home: Jasmine and Scott
Who WILL go home: Jasmine and Kris (really Megan, but I just couldn't bring myself to type it)

One more thing...I have no idea what the "big change" is that they talked about at the end of last night, but I sincerely hope it's not giving the judges more say-so in who stays and who goes at this point. I know that So You Think You Can Dance (produced by the same folks) has it set up where the audience picks the bottom 2, and then the judges decide who goes home. I think that works for that show, because most of America has no clue when it comes to the technical aspects of dance. For this show, however, I think the power should stay with the people.

I'm withholding judgement until we get details...with fingers crossed that they don't screw this thing up.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thoughts on Lost - LeFleur

First of all, a little housekeeping from the last LOST blog...I was reminded (from some other recap...don't remember which one) after I wrote my blog that in "There's No Place Like Home" Jack told Ben that Locke came and visited him "about a month ago." So a month passed between the time Locke was in the accident and the time Ben killed him. This makes the timeline make a little more sense to Locke time to get more and more convinced that his efforts aren't going to work, and therefore more desperate, leaves open the possibility of more possible conversations between Locke and the O6 that we haven't seen yet, and (most importantly) gives Jack time to grow his fugly beard.

OK, on with this week's episode...

- Opens on the heartbreaking scene where we last saw our Strandaways (which seems like FOREVER ago), as Sawyer realizes the well is gone, Locke is down there somewhere, and he begins trying to claw through the earth to get him back. I remember the first time we saw this scene thinking how much Sawyer has changed since Season 1...remember the selfish loner that we first met, who tried with everything he had to make us think he didn't care about ANYBODY but himself? If this had happened back then, HE would have been the one making the sarcastic comment, not Miles (more on that in a minute). To me the theme of this episode is how much Sawyer has changed since he first came to the Island. In fact, he chooses to name himself "The Flower" (Le Fleur), and if you'll allow me to get WAY too artsy-fartsy for a minute, I'd say it's appropriate. Sawyer has blossomed from that arrogant, self-centered, greedy, opportunistic jerk we first met into this new man who actually cares about other people, in fact putting others ahead of himself at times (like when he jumped out of the helicopter), and most importantly a LEADER. Just look how everybody reacts when they need direction after the last flash...every last one of them looks to Sawyer.

And, of course, we can't leave this scene without talking about THIS:

We can assume, although we weren't told explicitly, that this is in fact the rest of the famous Four-Toed Statue that was just a foot when Jin, Sun, and Sayid sailed by it in the Season 2 finale. While this definitely was a "goosebump moment" for long time hardcore fans, I couldn't help but hope that this wasn't ALL we're going to get...I'm hoping that at some point we find out more: who built it and why, what does it represent, etc.

It is certainly reminiscent of various Egyptian gods and/or art, which would fit in with the various hieroglyphics we have seen represented: the countdown clock in the Swan, the markings on the Smokey Cave that Ben had in his house, the markings on the temple we saw earlier this season, etc. So is it that, or is it a depiction of someone we may recognize if we could see it from the front?

- Three years later, we discover that Herc has somehow made it to the Island, and discovered the same healing powers that Locke experienced, which is awesome. Hopefully, he found a way to get Street there, too.

(Those of you who watch Friday Night Lights may have found the above slightly humorous. For the rest, what is WRONG with you? Go out and rent Season 1 TODAY. You won't regret it).

- And of course, the girl is wearing a Geronimo Jackson shirt.

- For some reason, the image of Horace lighting up a stick of dynamite like a cigar and then tossing it into a tree just struck me as really funny...I already figured from his accent that he may be a Southern boy, and this clinched it: "Hey, this!! HAH!! I just blowed up that tree!! WHOOO!!!!!"

- OK, I didn't catch this until I read the transcript, but Sawyer refers to Miles as "Enos." That was either an interesting choice of fake name by Miles, or a pretty funny throwaway line from Sawyer. Get it? Enos? He's a deputy? Any other Dukes of Hazzard fans in the house?

- Amy: Where'd you find him?
Sawyer: Out by the Flame, blowin' up trees with dynamite. Wanna tell my why?


- Good grief, Daniel was heartbreaking when they found him still sitting at the last place we saw Charlotte.

- "I'm not gonna tell her. I won't do it. No. I won't tell her." Of course, he knows better than that, which is what made this scene wrench my heart out...if it happened, it happened, and he knows it. He WILL tell little Charlotte not to come back to the Island, which means this whole cycle WILL happen, and Charlotte WILL come back here to die.

- Our little group of Strandaways is now beginning to resemble the original Losties in a way: Sawyer is the new leader (NewJack), Juliet his loyal sidekick (NewKate), Miles the sarcastic one who has some argument with everything the leader says (NewSawyer)...yet another cycle we see repeating.

- SAWYER: Hey, zip it. I'm heading back to the beach. If our stuff's there, great. If not, we build new stuff. You don't like the plan, good luck.

So I guess that was Sawyer's version of "Live Together, Die Alone."

- I really do like Sawyer and Juliet together. "You should thank me. It was a stupid idea." Hee.

- Yeah, Dan has totally checked out now. His response to Miles' question when they stumbled across the Worst Picnic Ever: "Doesn't matter what we do. Whatever happened, happened." I don't think they're going to get a lot of usefulness out of Dan for a while. Like Sawyer says...his brain is officially fried.

Quick aside: Seriously, why is he still wearing that tie?

- Would have been a good idea to have somebody escort Amy over to the control panel at the sonar fence, huh? Juliet, in particular, probably should have seen that coming.

- Juliet is a mechanic in 1977? That's...interesting. Wouldn't have guessed that. Of course, I also wouldn't have guessed that a lifelong criminal like Sawyer would be the chief law enforcement officer either, so what do I know?

- And if the mechanic thing was supposed to be some sort of cover up, I guess she blew it with: "I'm gonna need a number 12 scalpel, 14-gauge sutures--half-round if you've got them--and an epidural anesthetic. " Yes, I definitely copied that from the transcript.

- I'll bet Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) was glad for this little plot that Jin has been on the Island for three years, he can speak fluent English. For those who don't know, he had to learn to speak Korean for this part...his natural language is English.

- Still searching the Island three years later for any sign of their grid at a time. And I'll bet they've gone through these grids at least once already.

- OK, about this baby that was born...I was trying to think of who it could be that might be of significance, and I couldn't really think of anybody who would fit the profile. I'm thinking this scene was here for two reasons: to confirm what Sawyer said earlier about whatever happened to keep babies from being born on the Island hasn't happened yet, and to give Juliet a nice moment, since all of the other times she's tried to help women and babies on the Island it hasn't worked. I remember that when she told Sun that her baby was conceived on the Island, how happy she was to be able to give good news to Sun, and that was the first time I really liked Juliet and identified with her character. She really does have a heart for this, which is what had to make those three years of failure and death so excruciating for her.

And the further we go with the whole pregnancy storyline, the more convinced I am that Ben has something to do with the later problems...maybe something to do with him and Annie, his childhood sweetheart?

- Another example of Sawyer's character development: He asks Horace, "Where are my people?" His people. When Sawyer first arrived on the Island, that particular group would have had an exclusive membership of exactly one.

Oh, and the fact that the rest of the group recognizes him as the leader now: "They said you're the boat captain." Awesome.

- And the time on the Island hasn't diminished Sawyer's conning skills at all...that was some pretty intense questioning he was facing, from a guy whose knowledge of the Island and its history Sawyer couldn't have been fully aware of. In other words, he had to be careful of what he did and did not say, which is always the hardest part of a big lie: how much detail to give in order to remain believable.

- Beautifully shot scene around the table with the remaining Strandaways. I felt like I was in a Tarantino film for a second.

- OK, the Charlotte timeline is confusing me: Ben said back in "Confirmed Dead" that Charlotte was born in England in 1979. However, at this point on the Island it's 1974 and Charlotte appears to be around 2-3 years old.


A few possibilities:

1) Ben was lying. Always an obvious "duh," but then why didn't Charlotte bother to correct him?

2) Ben had bad information, and Charlotte knew it, which is why she didn't correct him. He did get her name right, but maybe the rest was some sort of cover story to cover up that Charlotte had been on the Island before?

3) Something has "happened" that has wonked up Charlotte's timeline.

4) The writers screwed up.

To me, the most likely scenarios are either the first or second ones. Regarding the first one, you know how it goes...when in doubt, always assume Ben is lying. The second one I only deem likely because Charlotte didn't correct what Ben was saying, which means that she either wanted Ben to believe what he was saying, or she wanted the other Losties to believe what Ben was saying. She knows that it's not the truth, as she has said since then that she was born and grew up on the Island.

I don't think the timeline thing is right, because that would seem to have too many paradoxical elements to it that the writers have said they want to avoid.

And, the writers know how obsessive their fanbase is about things like timelines, so I don't think they just FORGOT that they already told us that she was born in 1979 and now she's running around on the Island in 1974.

- Dude, they are really scared of Richard, aren't they? ONE guy walks into their camp, apparently armed with nothing but a torch, and they all run screaming into their homes. Makes me wonder if maybe the Others have Smokey on their side as well, especially considering Alpert's comment to Horace: "That fence may keep other things out, but not us."

- About Horace's command to the security guy....I had to look up what "heavy ordinance" meant, since that's what he told the guy to inform the folks at the Arrow to use. Basically, it means the "big guns." So, like I said a few weeks ago...the Dharma Initiative isn't just a bunch of peace-loving scientists. They are prepared for war, and have apparently fought it already since we now have a "Truce" established.

- The whole Sawyer-Alpert conversation was awesome. I'm not going to recap the whole thing here, but one thing I thought was interesting was Alpert's question to Sawyer: "If you're not a member of the Dharma Initiative, then what are you?" Not "WHO are you"....but "WHAT are you?" I know what my people are, and I know what the Dharma people you must be someTHING else. Maybe it's totally insignificant, but I noticed it, so I wanted to point it out just in case it turns out to be something.

- Also not sure if the Egyptian symbol (the "ankh) that Amy took off of Paul's neck has any bearing on the other Egyptian symbolism we've seen...on one hand, I would say that it's too much of a coincidence, especially considering the statue we saw earlier, but on the other hand...I've seen a lot of those necklaces, especially on the kind of "hippie" type folks who might join up with the Dharma Initiative.

- Next three scenes (Sawyer/Juliet at the sub, Sawyer/Juliet in the kitchen, the conversation between Sawyer and Horace regarding the whole "is 3 years long enough to get over somebody" conundrum) are all there to establish one thing: Sawyer is trying to move on, and he is genuinely happy with Juliet and his new life. We know he's still looking for Locke and the rest of the group, but it seems that is something they are almost doing by rote now. He is settled and happy, and is truly a new man. Since this is LOST, that can not be allowed to continue, so....

Kate is back.

That was another goosebump scene, when they all got out of the van. I know the money shot was of Sawyer seeing Kate for the first time in three years, but I thought it was also a nice little moment between Sawyer and Jack...a little look of mutual respect, I thought. I certainly think Sawyer has a little better understanding of what Jack went through, now that he has felt the pressure of being the Leader and having all of your friends relying on you for the answers and direction as to what to do next.

Interesting to think about the contrast between the life the Strandaways have been living compared to the O6. Sawyer, Miles, Jin, and Juliet all seem pretty happy...we don't know what Daniel is up to, other than hanging out at the Orchid where we saw him in the season premiere. They are living their own version of a lie, of course, but it doesn't seem to be weighing on them the way the the O6 lie has affected those trying to live that one. Kind of makes you think the O6 shouldn't have left in the first place, huh?

Now the group shakes out like this, from what we've seen so far (I'm not counting promos for the next episode):

1977: Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Daniel, Miles, Jack, Kate, Hurley.

2007: Locke, Ben, Lapidus, and (probably) Sun. Maybe Sayid? Haven't seen him yet. are they all going to get back together? ARE they going to get back together?

And one more thing: according to the Lostpedia timeline, Ben and his dad Roger Workman came to the Island sometime in the 1970's...think our Strandaways may stumble across a young Ben Linus at some point?