Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thoughts on LOST: The Last Recruit

Yeah, I know...I am WAY late with this one. So let's just get to it, yeah?

- Boy, Hurley sure did give up that "leadership" role pretty quickly, huh? "Have at it,'s all you".

- It was good to see Jack and Locke together again, even if it isn't really Locke. Their conversations seem to always hit at the crux of what is currently going on, and this one wasn't any different.

There is a LOT to get to in this conversation.

- We get "confirmation" that when Jack saw his father back in White Rabbit, he was actually seeing Smokey. I think we all knew that, right?

But I DON'T really believe that Smokey was just trying to get Jack to follow him because he "needed water". I think he was actually trying to get Jack to follow him off a cliff. That's actually where he led Jack...and then Jack was pulled to safety by John Locke, and THEN they found water. Smokey is the bad guy here, no matter how many times he tries to tell us he's not.

The other issue is whether or not Christian has been Smokey EVERY time we've seen him. The two instances that most people have a problem with is when Jack saw him in the hospital back in the Oceanic 6 period and when Michael saw him on the freighter.

When Jack saw him in the hospital, and then the smoke alarm went off, a lot of us assumed that Jack was actually seeing a manifestation of Smokey. Knowing what we know now, that Smokey can not leave the Island, I'm going to guess that Jack was just hallucinating...he was already into his downward spiral at this point, one that would end up with him taking suicidal flights across the ocean and trying to jump off a bridge. I think the smoke alarm was just some clever misdirection on the part of the writers.

The Christian that Michael saw on the freighter is a little more difficult to explain. Smokey has said that he can not travel over water (for whatever reason), so if it was Smokey then how did he get there? And this one can't be explained away by saying that Michael was hallucinating, because Michael never met could he "hallucinate" him?

I think this goes back to a theory that I sort of agree with...there could be TWO manifestations of Christian. He is always wearing one of two outfits...sometimes he's wearing the suit he was buried in, and sometimes he's wearing a more casual outfit. I call them Suit Christian and Club Med Christian. There is a theory that Suit Christian is Smokey and Club Med Christian is...something else. Jacob, or maybe The Spirit of the Island (evidenced by him telling Michael "You can go now" before he dies)? Or maybe it's just Christian as a ghost?

I obviously don't know...the only thing I think I DO know is that Smokey can not have been Christian every time we've seen him, unless the writers have totally screwed up.
Also interesting that Smokey doesn't answer the question about who else he has looked like...

- I'm serious...if John Locke doesn't get some SERIOUS redemption, I'm going to be pretty ticked off. Smokey calls him a stupid sucker, and I just sat there blustering at my TV screen like a 6 year old. "Nunh-UNH!!! YOU'RE a STUPID SUCKER!!"

I mean, it's one thing for him to die sad, lonely, and we have to resort to name calling?

And I think Jack feels the same way.

- I'm still not buying the whole "we all have to get on the plane together" thing that Smokey has going on. I still think he's trying to get them all in one place, but for much more nefarious purposes.

Wow, all that and we're only through one scene? I'll be lucky to get this thing finished before NEXT week's episode.

- In the flash-sideways, I think Desmond's plan worked and Locke did in fact get a glimpse of the other side...I think that's what he means when he says he WAS going to marry her, rather than just identifying her as his fiancee.

- Really cool moment when Sun recognizes John at the hospital.


We have a serious timeline all accounts, Sun and Jin were only in town for two days (at the most) before the shootout at the restaurant. Desmond told Hurley last week that it has been a week since they were on Flight 815 together. So, did Sun ride around in that ambulance for four days? That seems rather inefficient, not to mention dangerous, don't you think?

Only three possible explanations that I can think of, other than just a writer screwup: 1) Jin and Sun were holed up in that hotel for longer than we think, and maybe the "morning after" scene we saw wasn't the morning after the plane landed; 2) The Desmond scenes are out of sequence, and he actually hit Locke with his car BEFORE he went and visited Hurley; or 3) This timeline is wonky and unstable, and is being affected somehow by what is happening on the Island, which is the "real" timeline.

By the way, the discussions about this timeline problem are pretty heated over at Lostpedia. Check it out HERE if you A) want a laugh, and B) want to get a look inside the minds of some people who are even more obsessed than you are, and feel better about yourself in comparison.

My thoughts? None of those three explanations above really hold water for I think it's a timeline error. And a pretty major one at that, and not something you would really expect out of this group. Oh, well...

- Claire and Jack's first meeting as brother and sister...I loved Emilie de Ravin's delivery on the "Cuz he's my brother" line. Very sweet.

- Again, we get the reference to the fact that once Smokey talks to you, it's all over...he's got you. You're on his side now.

But...he's talked to Sawyer a LOT, right? And also Kate? And neither of them really seem to be "on his side". Hurley, either, for that matter...or Sun. Or Richard.

Maybe it only really works on people who aren't Candidates, and non-Candidates just don't realize that is part of the rules? And Richard sort of exists "outside" the rules somehow? Otherwise, I don't know how to explain it.

Man, that's three things already in this episode that I don't really have a logical explanation for, and we just now got to the opening credits. Hope the writers are doing better with this stuff than I am...

- Sawyer doesn't know who Anakin is? Really? He knows the "old Wookie prisoner gag", he calls Michael and Jin "Han and Chewie", he calls Hurley "Jabba"...but he doesn't know who Anakin is?

Maybe he was smart enough to just avoid the prequels altogether and stick with the original trilogy...the name "Anakin" wasn't really as prominently used in those three films.

Man...I'm a nerd.

- Hurley: "Hey, Claire! You look....GREAT!"


- Nice scene between Sawyer and Kate in the police station, and further proof that Evangeline Lilly is not a bad actress when given decent material.

I wonder what it's going to take for these two to start having their "memories"? For Sawyer, I think it may be a certain stranger inviting him out for coffee...for Kate, I don't know. Still think there's a chance she is there when Claire gives birth to Aaron?

- OK, back to the Island...President Laura Lemon shows up, accusing Smokey of stealing their Package and calling in the bombs. Pretty cool that Smokey never flinches, probably because he knows that the bombs can't hurt him. Maybe Widmore doesn't know that...after all, when he met up with Smokey on the beach, he said most of what he knew about the Smoke Monster was just scary stories.

- Flash-Sideways...everybody's favorite stalker, Desmond, shows up to harass Claire some more. He REALLY wants her to meet with his lawyer friend, who happens to be...Ilana, with a purely American accent!

One more thing I had to talk myself theory about Desmond has been that he is not so much fully AWARE of both timelines, only that something about this one isn't right. If that's the case, then he sure does seem to know an awful lot about Jack and Claire's situation, doesn't he?

Here's one explanation...he studied the manifest and saw Claire's name. He's obviously friends with Ilana somehow in this timeline (more on that in a minute), and that's how he knew that she was looking for Claire, and also that she was looking for her because she is the half sister of one Dr. Jack Shephard, who is ALSO on the manifest. So he arranged for the "coincidental" meeting in Ilana's office.

Or...maybe we are going to see another scene, where Desmond and Ilana somehow meet, and she is helping him get them all together because she IS fully aware of both timelines, much like Eloise Hawking, and this is all part of her service to Jacob?

- Back to the, Smokey is a true politician, isn't he: "Those people have forced our hand...CLAIMING that we stole something from them, trying to provoke US into a confrontation."

Talk about the tail wagging the dog, huh?

- Sawyer continues the leadership we saw from him as Lefleur...and it's further evidence that just because Smokey talks to you, that doesn't mean that you are going to follow him mindlessly.

- On Smokey's orders, Sayid goes back to the well to kill off Desmond (um...yeah, right).

Was it just me, or did that well seem a lot DEEPER when Smokey threw that torch down it?

- Desmond seems to get through to Sayid. I think that Sayid was so easily brainwashed by Smokey because he is very open to the idea that he is a horrible person, destined to do horrible things.

He says Smokey promised him the "woman he loves"...we all assume it's Nadia, right? But couldn't it be Shannon? Or any of the other plethora of women in Sayid's life who all seem to die?

Just kidding...I think it's Nadia, too. But wouldn't it be funny if Locke brought Shannon to him, all, "Well, here she is, just like I promised!" and he was like, "No, not THAT one! The OTHER love of my life who died in my arms!"

- OK, let's blow through these next scenes for the sake of time...Miles and Sawyer show up at Nadia's and arrest Sayid (who, in a nice callback to the last scene, can't bring himself to tell her what he's done), and then Sawyer fills Kate in on his little plan to ditch Locke, leaving Claire behind, which doesn't make her very happy.

- I agree with what Cindy at TelevisionWithoutPity says about Claire...yeah, you've had it rough living on this Island with out your bay-bee for three years. But YOU'RE the one who walked away and left him in the jungle.

Maybe she just doesn't remember all of that too clearly, maybe Smokey brainwashed her...but it's getting old, anyway.

- Jack isn't really good at the "inconspicuous getaway", is he? They just all took off through the jungle, away from everybody else, without checking to see if anybody was looking? And sure enough...Crazy Claire sees the whole thing!

- Something about the way Sayid is talking to that a flash of the old Sayid I see? Breakdance him to death, Sayid! Go on, DO IT!!!!

- Lapidus tells Jack that the Smoke Monster runs a lot faster than they do. Actually, if Sun could speak English (rather than being struck dumb by a really stupid storyline), she would probably disagree...she wasn't having a problem outrunning him.

- Nice work by both Evangeline Lilly and Emilie de Ravin in the scene where Kate talks her onto the boat. I've really been impressed by Emilie all season, after thinking she was one of the weak links in her scenes early in the show.

- Flash Sideways. Jack is talking to David's mom, which reminds me...I think the mother is Sarah, but the only reason it might NOT be is that he never mentions her name. If the name is being held back on purpose, than it may in fact be somebody they're not ready to reveal right now.

- Another reason I think Ilana may know something...she seems really happy to be springing Claire on Jack, doesn't she? I would think that giving a grieving son the news that his dead father had a secret daughter would call for a little more gravitas.

- GREAT scene between Jack and Sawyer on the boat. I love that Jack's line of thinking, while it's crazy on the surface, is also grounded in some logic: If Smokey wants us to leave so bad, why do we think that's a good thing?

And if there was any doubt as to where Jack is on his character journey...Sawyer calls him jumping off the boat a "leap of faith". Add that to Jack's telling Smokey earlier about how much Locke believed in the Island, and the way he said it with such admiration, and I think he has officially come full circle.

- Sawyer: "We're done going back, Kate."

Yeah, we'll see.

- Back in the hospital, Jin tells Sun that "it's over", and "we're all going to be OK".

Man, he really doesn't believe in jinxes, does he?

- As an aside...nice stuff between Jack and David this week...think they're just setting us up for the fact that Jack is going to have to choose a life without him?

- Jack is the "dural sac" expert, I guess.

- Dude...I can not WAIT for Locke to wake up after this surgery.

- The Jin/Sun reunion scene was even worse on rewatch...first of all, did they MEAN to shoot it in such a way that most of us were convinced that they were going to run into the sonic fence? And why are they speaking to each other in English?

And the less said about Frank's line, the better...ugh, that was bad.

- And then...THIS happened:

- Told you guys Widmore wasn't a good guy.

- And, no, I don't think Jack died, or was claimed, or anything like that. I just think Smokey is sadly mistaken if he thinks Jack is "with him now".

Final Thoughts:

Man, that was a great episode.

Since we are so close to the end, there are a lot of conversations going on about what we are looking for in the end, up to and including the finale.

Personally, I don't need every question answered in order to be satisfied. We've established that the Island is "Mysterious"...part of what makes a place mysterious is that there are mysteries, right?

I want an ending that is not only true to the characters that have been established, but it also enhances them in a way that makes sense both logically and emotionally. That's the main thing, for me. As far as whatever "explanation" we get regarding the Island, Jacob and Smokey, etc...I just need it to fit in logically (in other words, it can't destroy six seasons worth of continuity), and give me enough information that I can intelligently fill in some of the blanks left over by any "unanswered questions" that we may have.

What about you? What are you looking for as we approach the end? And, since we are on a hiatus week with only four more episodes to go, how satisfied have you been with the season so far? How confident are you in the writers to bring this thing in for a satisfactory landing?


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Idol Thoughts - Top 6

Sorry this is so late...this group is so boring they give me a serious case of writer's block. Seriously, there is nobody on this show anymore that I am genuinely excited about seeing every week. I hate feeling like I "have" to watch a show, but that's the way I feel about this one this season...I'm only watching because I like blogging about it and because, well....I don't know, it's just what I do, ya know? If AI is on, I'm watching. So maybe I'm part of the problem.

Anyway, let's get to it...this should be pretty short and (maybe) sweet.

1) Lee DeWyze - "You're Still the One": Oh, yeah, that was the other problem this's Shania week, and I REALLY don't like Shania's music. This song is probably the one exception, although it pretty much took over 1999 and was played so much I ended up hating it at the time.

Anyway....Lee. This was a good song choice for him, as it allowed him to be a little vulnerable. The pitch problems still persist, although I'm not sure how much of the wobbly melody was actually the arrangement. But yet again, I think this is something that you could hear on the radio right now...I'm starting to think Lee's album might be pretty good.

2) Michael Lynch - "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing": I admit I'm stealing this line, but I don't remember who I'm stealing it from....this song is dedicated to all of the victims of Big Mike's bear hugs this season.

What is UP with the sudden Archuletta-level lip licking we have seen from him over the past two weeks? Has that been going on the whole time and I just didn't notice because of all the other nonsense he has going on during his performances?

This was another really good vocal performance....he missed the falsetto in the middle, but he hit it on the end, even though I thought that last falsetto was out of place and forced. This is a good performance from him...I just still don't like him very much.

3) Casey James - "Don't": So we're going to try again with the ballad, huh? Guess he doesn't read my blog...

Hey! I think he's actually been working on the vibrato with the vocal coaches....he doesn't sound NEARLY as goat-like this time as he did on "Jealous Guy". This was a very nice performance. Not mind-blowing, but....nice. And it probably is a needed change of pace for him, so a good week for Casey.

4) Crystal Bowersox - "No One Needs to Know": I didn't like the song choice...this seemed way too "cutesy" for her, and really the whole segment seemed a little forced.

And once again, the backup singers are OVERPOWERINGLY LOUD. I actually think it affected Crystal while she was singing, as she sort of cut her eyes over at her a couple of times. And it's not the backup singer's's the idiots who are producing this show.

This was a nice vocal performance, but I thought she looked a little uncomfortable for the first time. This was probably her worst performance so far, although it was still very good.

But Crystal, NOT start talking back to the judges when they dare to give you the slightest criticism, unless you are just ready to go home.

5) High School Student Aaron Kelly - "You've Got a Way": I'm sorry...I have no idea why he's still here. This was yet another boring, old fashioned, irrelevant performance. His voice is fine. But whatever the exact OPPOSITE of current is...that's what he is.

6) Siobhan Magnus - "Any Man of Mine": Whatever. It was OK. She's gotten more and more nasally in her lower register, and the overhead clap trying to get the audience involved just seemed awkward and out of character.

The scream at the end was pretty obvious pandering, but still impressive...and that last note had a ridiculous level of difficulty. I am interested in seeing what kind of album she puts out, and I will probably download it....but I'm no longer that invested in seeing her on this show. And since I was definitely one of her very biggest fans and supporters early on, I think that means she's in trouble. Maybe not this week, since she got to go last, but I think she's going home soon.

Final Thoughts:
This show wasn't bad...nobody was awful. But EVERYBODY was boring.

Two things that bugged me all night:
- No mention of Mutt Lange? REALLY? Didn't he co-write every single one of these songs? And by "co-write" I mean take her stupid lyrics and turn them into platinum hits?

- It's about this time every year that I REALLY get irritated with the other judges talking over Simon. He sits there patiently while they go on and on, and then as soon as he says something the others disagree with, they start shouting him down and won't let him finish. It's rude, selfish, unprofessional, and annoying.

OK, time for the weekly rankings:
1) Casey James
2) Lee Dewyze
3) Michael Lynch
4) Crystal Bowersox
5) Siobhan Magnus
6) High School Student Aaron Kelly

Prediction? Big Mike goes home. Just a hunch. High School Student Aaron Kelly obviously has magic powers, and will be bathing in a confetti shower on the Nokia Theater stage in about 5 weeks.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

About that Logan Gray post...

Never mind...MaconDawg of Dawg Sports says almost exactly what I was going to say today in this post.

Here are the only two other things I would add to that:

- The other aspect of this that has probably brought Logan Gray to this point is the fact that there is supposedly a "package" of plays that the offense has worked on that involves him playing quarterback...we all heard the coaching staff talk about it last year, and other players have mentioned it as well. From what I can tell, however, that package of plays was never utilized last season, even as Joe Cox was going through his well-documented struggles. Unless, of course, that package of plays consisted exclusively of him handing the ball off on a read-option play or showing off his admittedly impressive fair catching ability.

So, if I'm Logan Gray, I probably feel like I've been jerked around a little bit, if not downright lied to. Not saying that is what has happened, but I can certainly see why he would feel that way.

And, as an aside...I share his frustration regarding his lack of any meaningful playing time.

- It's also important to remember that Logan Gray did not grow up in Clarke County, dreaming of playing for the Red and Black...he's a LONG way away from home, and part of the reason he made that difficult decision to come here was that he thought it would further his career as a QB. If that is seemingly off the table, I can see why he would want to be closer to home, as well.

All of that being said...if Logan was my son, I would advise him to stay. You never know what kind of situation you are going to transfer into (just ask Mitch Mustain). By staying in Athens, you are still in a situation where you know the offense, you're familiar with the coaching staff (though I don't know that he sees that as a positive right now), and you are literally one snap away from being the starting QB for the University of Georgia. get to live in ATHENS, dude! That has to count for something, right?

For that matter, he still has an opportunity to win the starting job by outplaying Aaron Murray in fall camp...unless he is convinced that it is already a done deal and he is not going to get an equal shot at the QB1 job. I'm sure that particular aspect was a major part of the conversation he had with the coaching staff yesterday, and from the way things were handled last season I can't say that I would fully blame him if he felt that way.

Now seems a good time to insert the usual disclaimer...I'm not a coach or teammate of Logan Gray. The only practice I have ever seen is what little video we all get to see on Hale's blog and G-Day. All I have to go by is that little I have seen and what I have heard from the coaches, players, and Logan himself. But, as I've said before...this is my blog, so you get to hear my opinion.

As a Dawg fan, I am hoping with everything I have that he stays...going into next season with nothing but freshmen on the QB depth chart is a terrifying prospect. But if he leaves, I can definitely understand his reasoning, I hope it works out for him, and I am grateful for the hard work and effort he has given to my Dawgs over the last three years.

Two new LOST recaps coming...I promise

I apologize...a combination of a very busy last few days and the fact that I don't have a new episode tonight acting as a "deadline" has caused the recap of last week to be delayed. And I also haven't forgotten that I promised a full recap of Recon several weeks ago as well.

So here's my committment....last week's full recap should go up by tomorrow at the latest, and then Recon will be up by the end of the week.

Speaking of "committment"...I will probably also be back later with my thoughts on the Logan Gray situation. They may be different than you think.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An actual sports post?!?!

Yeah, I think it's about time...

Despite what regular readers of this blog (hi, Mom!) might think, I am actually interested in things other than LOST and American Idol. This blog actually started as more of a sports blog, and believe me....when football season cranks up, it will be again.

So...what's been going on?

Springtime in DawgNation:
- I am cautiously optimistic about the defense based on the reports out of spring practice. I love the change in mindset, and the energy that seemed to have been pumped into the program and the fanbase by our new coaches. And, Lord knows, I love hearing the word "fundamentals" being preached every single day, especially by our new LB Coach Belin.

As I have mentioned before, I think our personnel may actually be better suited to the 3-4 than a 4-3. Looking at the depth chart released yesterday, there are TONS of athletes across the board, and I think they are going to be much better utilized than they have been the last few years.

Having said that, it's very difficult to completely revamp an entire defensive philosophy in just one season...there are going to be some growing pains this year. So while I expect to see more plays being made by a more aggressive and fundamentally sound defense (more turnovers, more plays made in the backfield), I also fully expect there to be times when receivers are running around uncovered because somebody didn't know where they were supposed to be.

Hopefully, it will sort of balance out this year...but, worst case scenario, we may have some games where we give up 35-40 points. Which is what we were doing already, but at least now I have hope for the future.

- I take absolutely nothing from G-Day even in a "normal" year, but this year especially. We didn't run anything close to what our actual defensive scheme is going to look like, and we did absolutely nothing on offense other than run some basic plays.

G-Day is just a practice, and for that matter it's the least relevant practice of the entire spring from a scheme standpoint. Yeah, it's nice to see what they do in front of a "crowd", but is there really any comparison between 25-30K very quiet fans on G-Day and 92K going crazy on a game day? Or 108K inbred hillbillies who want to kill you in Neyland?

Fans should treat it for what it is...a nice little taste of some live football before the long dark days of summer.

Which is why I didn't get all that worked up over Zach Mettenberger outplaying Aaron Murray on G-Day, which leads me to my next point...

- Aaron Murray was ALWAYS going to be the starter at QB for 2010. ALWAYS. Losing Mettenberger certainly hurts from a depth standpoint, as we are now one injury away from a QB 2-deep of Logan Gray and Hutson Mason (::shudder::). But Mett was not going to be the starter on this team, despite having a really good day of practice on April 10.

As for the Mettenberger situation itself...what a maroon. If the accounts that most of us have read by now are true, this guy took jackass to a whole new level (pardon the language, but there is no better word for it), and was still probably going to get away from it relatively unscathed if he had just SHUT UP to the police...but he was having none of that, choosing instead to keep arguing with the police even after the young ladies and restaurant employees had declined to press charges. Then, apparently, when he met with the coaches he lied to them about it and showed little to no remorse. So, basically, he threw away a scholarship to play QB at the University of Georgia by being a gigantic buffoon. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

I think that Coach Richt has proven over the years that if you do show contrition and true remorse over your dumb decisions, you will get another chance...that's why I think that his attitude about the situation probably played as much into the ultimate decision as anything else.

(the previous paragraph is strictly my own opinion, and are not based on any inside knowledge of the situation AT ALL...just knowledge of human behavior and how we have seen Coach Richt handle these situations in the past)

- On offense, no matter who the quarterback is, I think the philosophy has to be a HEAVY dose of King/Ealy, with the passing game being predicated on play-action, bootleg type plays to the playmakers (Green, Charles, Wootentheballcarrier, etc). I think that fits our personnel and, fortunately, I think it fits what Bobo wants to do anyway.

I love our offensive line, I love our playmakers...if we can just get adequate QB play and, most importantly, CUT DOWN ON TURNOVERS AND STUPID PENALTIES, I think our offense has a chance to be even better than it was last year...and last year's offense was pretty darn good, for the most part.

The biggest problem with this team right now, based on the last couple of seasons, is that they play dumb football. Hopefully, the changes that have been made will result in a fresh energy and renewed focus on fundamentals, as well as increased accountability on both sides of the ball, and this team will start playing up their talent level.


Will the Braves be good enough to hold my interest until fall camp starts?
I don't ask much from the Braves anymore...just be good enough so that I have something to pay attention to until early August, when the beginning of fall camp effectively ends the baseball season for me.

So far, results are mixed....

- The starting pitching is very would be great if Derek Lowe could start earning that $15M salary. The way things are going right now, I think this rotation would be better with Kawakami as the number 4, with Lowe as the number 5 starter/long relief guy. Not that this could ever happen, because of the monetary investment the team has in Lowe.

Jurrjens has been sharp other than one horrid outing, Hanson continues to develop, and Hudson seems to be fully recovered. Lowe is just the fly in the punch bowl.

- Bullpen has been excellent so far...I just hope that Wagner and Saito (combined age: 378) can make it through an entire season.

- I consider myself lucky to be able to watch Jason Heyward. So much has been said about him that I can't add much...he's a superstar, he's going to be a Hall of Famer, and we're getting to watch the first green shoots of his career on a nightly basis.

- TERRIBLE offseason for Frank Wren. We traded Vasquez (arguably our best pitcher last year) for Melky Cabrera, who is just atrocious. Yes, I am aware that either Vasquez or Lowe were going to be moved, and teams were understandably reluctant to take on Lowe and his $15M salary (see above)...but the best we could get was Melky Cabrera, for one of the best pitchers in the NL?

(SIDE NOTE: You know how some trades just work out perfectly, in that both teams are getting exactly what they need even though they are both giving up something of value? The Smoltz - Doyle Alexander trade comes to mind...this was like the exact opposite of that. Vasquez had already proven that A) he is much better suited to the National League; and B) he can't pitch in New York. So the Yankees give up what had been a pretty good 4th outfielder for them for someone who is predestined to be a disaster, and we give up our best starter for a guy who is at best a 4th outfielder, but expect him to be an everyday outfielder and leadoff hitter. Both sides lose.)

"Oh, but wait!" says Frank Wren. "We're not done yet! I know we need a big bat for this lineup, a guy you can count on for HR and run production! Don't judge this move until you see what ELSE we have planned!".

I say, "OK....awesome! Maybe this means we are getting in on the Matt Holliday/Jason Bay discussions? Somebody like that?" Instead we sign Troy Glaus. The same Troy Glaus who missed all of 2009 with an elbow injury, and hasn't been nearly the same player ever since the Mitchell Report was published.

I don't think I have ever yelled at my radio with as much fury as I did the day that Frank Wren was interviewed during spring training and he went on and on about how tall the middle of our lineup had the potential to be. "Man, look at us...Chipper is 6'4, Glaus is 6'6, Heyward is 6'5. That's got to be intimidating for a pitcher!"

Look, if you are in any way intimidated by the sight of Troy Glaus coming to the plate, you have no business being a major league pitcher. Any pitcher worth his salt has to be SALIVATING at watching this automatic rally killer come up in a key spot. His line so far? .170 Avg, .524 OPS, 16 strikeouts and 8 RBI in 53 AB. Yeah....twice as many strikeouts as RBI. That's not good for a #5 hitter, right?

I say we put Eric Hinske in the lineup every single day, and let Troy Glaus do what he does best. Be really tall.

Anyway...this team would fit in really well in the mid-80's National League. Great pitching, solid defense, and an offense that is going to put up maybe 3-4 runs a game. In today's baseball, that's just not enough.

Hey, did you know the Hawks are in the playoffs?
The Hawks are currently manhandling the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. Without Andrew Bogut, the Bucks have absolutely no answer for Al Horford and Josh Smith inside, and they are wreaking havoc.

Josh, in particular, has been a joy to watch this season. He seems to have finally come to grips with the fact that he is never going to be a three-point shooter and is instead doing...everything else. He fills the box score up like Scottie Pippen, and also includes the whining to officials like Pippen, but without the bad hair (seriously...what was UP with that guy's scalp? It looked like it had been PLOWED or something). A typical night from him is like 16 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks, and 4 thunderous dunks that fire the whole team up and keeps them involved in the game.

Here's the down side...this team isn't getting out of the 2nd round, and it's all because of their head coach. The Hawks have two glaring weaknesses...inconsistent effort on defense and an utter lack of a halfcourt offense. These are the two things that kill a team in the playoffs, especially once they get out of the first round and start facing really good teams, and they can both be attributed to poor coaching, in my opinion.

Mike Woodson has been very lucky in that he has been the coach during a time when a very young team has grown up together, so he gets credit for the win totals increasing every year. And I don't think Woodson is a TERRIBLE head coach...I just think his specific deficiencies are the ones most likely to be exploited in the postseason.

Hopefully, I'm wrong...Atlanta certainly has the talent to match up with the Magic in the second round. If we can get past them, maybe we can win one or two games against Lebron and the Cavs. That's probably the absolute ceiling for this team.

OK...that was fun! Turns out I had more to say than I thought I did...maybe I should do this more often?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Idol Thoughts - Top 7

Interesting 420th blog post was published yesterday, on 4/20. I will leave it to you to infer what that fact may mean about what factors influence my blog posts....

You ready to be INSPIRED? Because this week is Inspirational Song week! Also known as Gokey/Archuletta week....and I don't mean that as a good thing.

Let's get to it!

1) Casey James - "Don't Stop": First of all, this song was killed very dead for me back when Bill Clinton used it as his campaign theme....once I've seen Al Gore "dancing" to a song, it's impossible for me to every truly enjoy it again.

Was it just me, or did the arrangement on this song make it sound like he was singing the words to "Don't Stop" set to the tune of "Power of Love"? Was it one of those mash-up things the kids today are so crazy about?

Look, this is what Casey is, OK? The judges keep talking about him doing something "different", but I was not nearly as in love with his rendition of "Jealous Guy" a couple of weeks ago, as I thought it really showed his weakness as a vocalist. If they didn't want to hear Casey do these type of songs, they shouldn't have put him on the show. This is Casey doing what he does best, and it is what it Ellen said, it's good not great.

2) Lee Dewyze - "The Boxer": Ooooh, great song choice! I love this song, and I was very interested to see how he arranged it.

I talk about how Lee sounds like people that I listen to right this song he mostly reminded me of Andy Hull, the lead singer of Manchester Orchestra (one of my new favorite bands, by the way...check out "I've Got Friends" if you've never heard them). I think he is doing a MUCH better job of emotionally connecting, both with the song and with the audience, and that can be attributed to his ever-increasing confidence.

Yeah, the pitch problems kind of came back this week...but like I've said over and over, this is not a singing competition, it's a Pop Star competition, and I know I would buy this.

3) Tim Urban - "Better Days": Another nice vocal from him, but I'm not seeing any kind of "performance"....and he's shaking his head too much, which is causing his voice to fade in and out.

Sorry, I'm distracted....did Ryan say that Aaron was going to be singing R. Kelly?

4) Aaron Kelly - "I Believe I can Fly": YES!!! This is going to be so awful it might flip inside out into Sanjaya levels of AWESOME.

Yep....this was bad. Schmaltzy, karaoke crap, and the song was WAY too big for swallowed him WHOLE. He is off pitch basically through the whole song (including the end, which all the judges seemed to like). And, to continue what I said when talking about Lee, it wouldn't matter if he sang it perfectly...this kind of performance no longer belongs on this show. Nothing current or relevant about it, and I'm getting really sick of the judges just giving him a pass every week. More on that when we talk about....

5) Siobhan Magnus - "When You Believe": Well, she looks fantastic...I even liked the butterflies. But this is yet another boring, old fashioned song choice and performance. And, yes, the girl can definitely sing...I still think she has the best pure vocal ability of anybody in this competition. But there is no longer any WOW factor with her. this to the crap Aaron just pulled, and there's no contest. They both sang a boring, irrelevant, old fashoned song....but Siobhan's vocal blew Aaron's away and it wasn't even close. So why do the judges use Siobhan as a punching bag and say that Aaron "soared"?

Right. Because they are morons. I keep forgetting.

By the way, I'm still voting for Siobhan every single week, because I love her and want her to stick around...but she no longer has any chance of even being in the final unless she gets back to what put her on the map in the first place.

6) Michael Lynche - "Hero": Well, I got one pleasant surprise, at least...I thought he was doing the Mariah Carey song, and was preparing myself for two minutes of Danny Gokey flashbacks.

Vocally, this was pretty good, although definitely not his best performance. I know I'm going to sound like one of the judges, this is so contradictory to what I've said about him before...but I think he made a mistake using the guitar this week. Normally, I prefer him to hold the guitar because it cuts down on all of the cheesy over-the-top stuff he does when his arms are free. But this arrangement was so BIG, I actually thought his usual performance would have suited it better. As it was, I think his voice was overpowered by the band, the lights, the whole thing. And what was up with the exaggerated lick-lip at the end? That was...uncomfortable.

7) Crystal Bowersox - "People Get Ready": OK, I'll skip over the usual...yes, she sounds awesome again (although she did reach for a couple of notes that were out of her range and missed them), she really did look fantastic, and I loved the mic stand.

What I want to talk about is that I have actually seen many online commentators accusing her of "fake crying" in order to get sympathy votes. The only thing I can imagine is that these morons are just ardent supporters of one of the other performers and are looking for a reason to bash Crystal, because that is ridiculous.

She told us why she got emotional...the last line of the song is (approximately) "Don't need no ticket, you just thank the Lord you're here". As she's singing that, she's thinking about where she was before and where she is now, and then she looks out in the audience at her father, who is there for the first time, and gets overwhelmed by the moment.

That is AWESOME. That is REAL. And people ripping her for that just makes me mad at the Internet all over again. I hate that there is a large segment of our society who have decided that you are only "cool" if you are being negative...I blame blogs, message boards, and talk radio (which, by the way, are three of my favorite things). Unintelligent people have decided that you only sound smart if you are being critical. Cynicism is at an all time high, and I find that very sad.

And, by the way, do any of these people actually think Crystal needs sympathy votes? She's doing just fine with "awesomely and ridiculously talented" votes.

OK, rant over...

Overall, another pretty boring night that I felt like was just something I wanted to hurry through so that I could watch LOST. It's not so much that these people are bad (other than Aaron)'s that they're so darn boring. As much as I hated Danny Gokey (and, oh, how I hated him)...I wasn't BORED by him.

Take a look at this...these are the top 7 from each season that I have been diligently watching (the first three seasons I was kind of in and out on):

Season 4: Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice, Vonzell Solomon, Constantine Maroulis, Scott Savol, Anthony Fedorov, Anwar Robinson
Season 5: Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry, Elliot Yamin, Paris Bennet, Kellie Pickler, Ace Young
Season 6 : Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis, Melinda Doolittle, Lakisha Jones, Phil Stacey, Chris Richardson, Sanjaya Malakar
Season 7: David Cook, David Archuletta, Syesha Mercado, Jason Castro, Brook White, Carly Smithson, Kristy Lee Cook (and Michael Johns was number 8)
Season 8 : Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Alison Iraheta, Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds

I mean, even if you say that Season 6 was the weakest, you still were going to be interested in what Blake was going to do, you got to hear Jordan/Melinda/Lakisha belt it out, and Sanjaya was going to be the very definition of a train wreck.

Oh, well...maybe with Simon leaving TPTB will take the opportunity to try and revamp some things. Or maybe the show will just disappear with a whimper, and next year you will all be reading my thoughts on X Factor.

This week's rankings:
1) Crystal
1A) Lee
3) ummm....I don't know. So I guess I'll just say Siobhan.
4) Casey
5) Tim
6) Michael
7) Aaron

Honestly, you could arrange 3-6 anyway you want...I thought there was no doubt that Crystal and Lee were the best and that Aaron was by far the worst. The rest were an unimpressive collection of "meh".

Who SHOULD go home: Aaron
Who WILL go home: Hmmm....I'm going to guess Siobhan, again. I still think the teenybopper and grandma votes are going to be enough to inflict Aaron on us for another week.

So much for this being the "Year of the Female", huh?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Super quick LOST thoughts - full recap to come later

Ha, ha....yeah, right. There was WAY too much in that episode to do any kind of "quick" recap.

Suffice to say that it was about 20 different levels of teh awesomez, except that I think they kind of blew the Jin-Sun reunion. "Looks like somebody got her voice back", Frank? Would you like some wine with that cheese?

Besides that slight mis-step, this was just tremendous...I thought it really felt like the episodes we usually get right before the finale, and we still have four more episodes to go.

This recap is going to be a long one, I think, because I feel like every single scene was packed with tension, meaning, etc, etc...I was on the edge of my seat for about the last forty minutes.

I do want to say one thing that I was reminded of when Smokey admitted to Jack that it was him impersonating his father way back in season one...I have seen some people complaining that some of the "reveals" that we have gotten this season have been things we already knew. Well, first of all, no we didn't "know"....we were speculating. The fact that we were able to figure some of the things out only means that the writing is logical, and by using logic we were able to deduce some of the answers. I would much rather that than to have storylines take weird and illogical turns just so that they can say they "surprised" us (or "swerved" us, if any of you are wrestling fans who remember the days of Vince Russo).

Anyway...this was awesome, and I can't wait to watch it again.


Thoughts on LOST: Everybody Loves Hugo

Sigh....Only 5 more episodes left. And Damon Lindelof is sending Tweets about his "last day on set", so they are apparently wrapping up filming on the finale.


I am really going to miss this show.

Let's dig into this week...

- I totally loved the Hurley slideshow...the images of Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack superimposed in front of things like the Eiffel Tower and the Egyptian Pyramids just cracked me up.

And yes, that was actually Jorge Garcia's baby picture, as well as his dog NuNu.

- I wonder if one of the exhibits in the Hugo Reyes Paleontology Wing is the Hurley Bird?

- Nice touch to have Pierre Chang narrating another video...he seems to really have a knack for it.

- So multi-multi millionaire Hugo can't get anybody to go out with him? Seems hard to believe...

I think the issue is that he doesn't have any confidence in himself, and that keeps him from seeking out female companionship...he's thrown himself into building his "empire" (both the business and the philanthropic side) because he's not comfortable in his personal life.

- Jorge Garcia kicked serious tail again in this episode...I hope everybody realizes that he's not just comic relief. His scene at Libby's grave just killed me.

By the way, when he was talking about Libby never coming to see him, I got to thinking about why that might be. We found out later that the dead folks hanging around the Island are there because they are not being allowed to move on due to some of the things they did when they were alive, so I can see how Libby would not be one of those people.

But we DID see Libby show up on the freighter and talk to Michael, right? Back in "Meet Kevin Johnson", the first time Michael tried to set off the bomb, Libby showed up and told him, "Don't do it, Michael". So was Libby still hanging around then?

I actually don't think so...I think Michael was just hallucinating, just like he did when he was in the hospital after his suicidal car crash. His guilt was playing tricks on his mind. I actually am starting to think that a lot of the stuff we have seen over the years that we blamed on the Island has in fact been something else entirely.

- Yeah, Michael is back. Out of all the characters that we could see return, he is probably last on my list.

Except for maybe Nicki and Paolo...or Bai Ling.

- I'm not totally sold on Michael's motivations, either...more on that later.

- YAY!! Libby is back! I thought it was great how easily these two picked up the same kind of vibe that they had on the Island...she likes Hurley because she recognizes what a great person he is (in this case, even just through what she got through her "flashes"), and he is not convinced that anybody like her would ever be attracted to him.

- I think it's really cool that everybody in the Sideways timeline is gaining "awareness" through different ways...Charlie needed to almost die and Desmond needed the trauma of the accident, while Daniel and Libby only needed to see someone who they felt "connected" to, and Hurley needed a kiss. It's like Jacob told Hurley back in "The Lighthouse". Some folks, you can just show up in their cab and tell them what to do...other folks need to sit and stare at the ocean for a while.

I am kind of curious about all of the "background" people in the Sideways, this the "wrong" reality for everybody, or did this reality already exist and now our characters have just been inserted into it (like Peter Bishop, for the Fringe fans out there).

I think it would be funny if all of a sudden the waiter bumped his head on the door or something and started freaking out that this is not supposed to be his life.

- As I mentioned in my initial thoughts, I didn't like the fact that Ilana blew up. If that really is the last we see of her, what was the purpose of her character? Did she actually end up "protecting" anybody? Ben says later that she told people they were candidates, but I don't really think she was necessary for that.

I don't know...I guess I just really want to find out why she was in the hospital covered in bandages when Jacob visited her, and how she healed from all of those injuries with no visible scars. Hopefully we will find that out at some point....but there are only five episodes left.

- Can't decide if we will see whatever it is that Locke is carving again, or if it's just supposed to demonstrate how little is actually going on in Locke's camp.

This is why I'm not sure of Michael's motives in getting Hurley not to blow up the plane. Locke is just sitting here, waiting...and what he is waiting on is for all of the candidates to be together in one place. Could the doomed souls that are left here be under Smokey's control somehow? Maybe Michael was sent to steer Hurley into doing what he eventually did...keep the plane from being blown up and bring the remaining candidates to Smokey?

- Dude, Zombie Sayid FREAKS ME OUT. When Sawyer asked him where he had been, Sayid reacted like a cobra deciding whether to strike or not. He reminds me of a coiled spring...I'm tense every time he's on the screen.

- Desmond still seems very Zen, doesn't he? Even tied up to a tree, he looks like he has maybe found the secret Dharma greenhouse where they kept the medicinal marijuana.

- Still loving new Jack:
RICHARD: We get more dynamite. Or else she died for nothing.
JACK: Maybe she died to show us to stay the ___ away from dynamite.

- What did Hurley see in Ilana's Bag O'Ashes? Was he reminded by seeing Jacob's remains that Jacob has chosen him as the one he is going to speak to, and that gave him the confidence to act proactively instead of just letting things continue to happen?

- Also love that Jack doesn't argue with Hurley...Hurley says to trust him, Jack says OK.

New Jack is awesome. Can we keep him away from Kate for the rest of the season, please?

- Back to the Sideways, and Hurley is drowning his sorrows in chicken.

- Desmond may not want a Cluckateer key chain, but I'm pretty sure I do.

- I love having Henry Ian Cusick back, if for no other reason but to have him in scenes with some of these other great actors.

- Desmond tells Hurley to "go with his gut" (no pun intended, I'm sure)...I think this is more of the message that Desmond is carrying, rather than one of "true love conquers all" or whatever. At least I hope so...if this thing turns into a Nicholas Sparks novel over the next few weeks I'm going to be disappointed, I think.

- Back on the Island...Desmond says that of course he knows who Smocke is: "You're John Locke". I have to think that Des actually knows that's not the case, right?

By the way, did you see Locke's reaction to Desmond talking about Widmore's experiments with electromagnetism? I think he knows that Widmore is on to something.

- This makes me very sad to even think about...but I think Ben was foreshadowing his own death. What use does the Island have for him at this point? And seeing as how he wasn't even supposed to be a main character originally, I can see the writers killing him off somewhere in these last few episodes.

- did Hurley move so fast that he not only beat everybody else to the Black Rock, but he had time to set up the dynamite, create the fuse, light the fuse, and be around 100 yards away from it by the time everybody else gets there?

Jorge was actually laughing about that one on his podcast...

- I still think it's kind of funny that Richard has been in a pretty constant state of agitation and panic ever since he saw Locke emerge from the tunnel...after Hurley blew up the Black Rock, he totally freaked out. Again.

It's just funny to remember how he was for the over three seasons that we have seen him up until this point, compared to how he is now.

- Great conversation between Miles and Hurley...I miss them being together.

Was this the first time that Miles has heard that Hurley communes with dead people? I can't remember....but you could see that Miles could definitely sympathize with Hurley a little more when he heard that.

But I also think that Miles doesn't share Hurley's belief that dead people are more reliable...maybe personal experience tells him otherwise?

- So Hurley pays $100K for the opportunity to talk to Libby again...kind of makes the rest of us guys look bad in comparison, huh?

- GREAT, great stuff between Hurley and Libby in their conversation in the mental hospital. They have such a unique and sweet chemistry together.

- To further reiterate the point I made a few bullet points awesome was it to have Terry O'Quinn and Henry Ian Cusick playing off each other?

- Loved Desmond firing back at Locke: "Do you know better?" Yeah, I think he knows that this isn't really John Locke.

- Creepy Teenage Boy shows up again...this time his hair was darker.

Nope, still no idea who he is. I'm not going to try to figure it out, honestly...we'll know soon enough, I'm sure.

- So, once again, we have folks dividing up into factions...normally, this happens as we get to the end of the season and pieces start moving into place.

Sorry, but I don't feel good about the group that doesn't contain any candidates. Good luck Richard, Ben, and Miles.

And it was awesome to see Jack sticking with Hurley, and how good it made Hurley feel.

- "How do you break the ice with a Smoke Monster?"


- JACK: Ever since Juliet died - ever since I got her killed - all I've wanted was to fix it. But I can't. I can't ever fix it. You've no idea how hard it is for me to sit back and listen to other people tell me what I should do...but I think maybe that's the point...maybe I'm supposed to let go.

Awesome. Basically, Jack is fixed. This is what he needed to come to terms with, ever since the Pilot episode.

Yeah, I totally think Jack is supposed to be the new Jacob. But I think he's going to have to choose it, and I'm very interested to see how that choice is presented to him.

- And now we know what the Whispers are. If you've ever read the Whisper transcripts on Lostpedia, this actually makes a lot of sense. They always seem to be watching, and worrying, and often trying to warn characters, which is why you so often hear them when danger is approaching.

- And that's probably as much closure as Michael is going to get...more than what he had before, but he is still being punished, which I think is the right way to end his story.

- Hurley and Libby finally get to have their picnic....and the dialogue right before they kiss is VERY similar to the conversation they had on that cliff back in "Dave", the first time we saw them kiss.

And, even though I knew it had to be coming, the moment when Hurley started remembering their time together still got to me.

- Locke and Desmond get to the well...I'm not sure this is the same well that Locke fell down last season. The surroundings look different, but that could be because we are in a different "when" now rather than a different "where". Regardless, Locke tells him there is more than one of these on the Island, anyway.

Are these the pockets of energy that Widmore is talking about?

- Again, Locke is probably telling the truth about Widmore...Widmore IS interested in power, from everything we know about him. I'm still having a hard time making Widmore be the "good" guy in this story.

- Locke DEFINITELY notices that something is different about Desmond. No fear whatsoever. Locke doesn't like it when he can't use peoples' fear against he shoves him down the well.

This is another time, like when he's chasing people, that I wonder if there is some kind of rule as to when he can change into Smokey. Because wouldn't it have been more effective, as well as more of a sure thing, to just change into the Smoke Monster and kill Des, rather than risk him not dying from the fall into the well?

- Hurley get's Smocke's "word" that he's not going to try anything. Not sure that would have been good enough for me.

- Sun immediately looks for, Sun, the writers aren't ready for that reunion scene just yet. The only people more ready for it than you and your husband is the audience.

- Jack looks...TERRIFIED. Like I said in my initial post, he doesn't look like he's seen a ghost...he looks like he's seen the DEVIL.

Which makes sense, if he is "transforming" into the new Jacob...he can see him as his adversary, not just an image of John Locke.

- Ryan McGee of Zap2It called Sideways Ben "LOST's version of Chris Hanson".


- OK, now Desmond is going to have a nice little talk with John, probably telling him that he has seen a reality where Locke is actually out of his wheelchair and walking around, and maybe that will be enough to cause John to see - HOLY FREAKING CRAP DESMOND JUST OBLITERATED LOCKE WITH HIS CAR.

Did NOT see that coming. At ALL.

Like I said earlier...I don't think that this has ANYTHING to do with the fact that Locke just threw Desmond down the well on the Island. I don't think Desmond is seeing everything that is happening in both timelines...I think that in this timeline he just has the sense that something isn't right, and he's trying to get as many people on board with that concept as possible in order to do whatever it is he is going to do to fix it. I think that he was just trying to make Locke "see" it, and I think it worked.

On the Island, I think the reason he seems so relaxed is because he knows that, as screwed up as things may seem, THAT timeline is actually correct, and thing are actually progressing as they have to in order to maintain "order".

Final Thoughts:
This was a "transition" episode, one where we really were just seeing the pieces start to move into place, but I still thought this was a great had humor (it's a Hurley episode, duh), mythology (specifically the Whispers explanation), some sweet moments (especially with Hurley and Libby), stupendous acting by everybody a bunch of stuff blowed up real good. That's a winner, in my book.

Only five more episodes to go......Sigh.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Idol Thoughts - Top 9 (Act II) apologies, but I am a bit under the weather today, so this recap is going to be pretty abbreviated.

Rather than go through the performances in order, I'm just going to rank them 1-9 and give some very brief thoughts, and then I'm going to go back to sitting on the couch, blowing my nose, catching up on DVR recordings, and feeling sorry for myself. (Yeah, I'm one of THOSE sick people).

1) Lee Dewyze - "A Little Less Conversation": Great song choice, great arrangement, nice guitar work. This was fun, current, relevant...I would buy it. Pretty amazing how much I have changed my opinion of this guy, but you ain't seen nothing yet...wait until you get to number 3.

2) Crystal Bowersox - "Saved": Nothing else I can say about her. Another great song choice, nice arrangement, her voice sounds awesome, blah, blah, blah....she is a star already.

3) Tim Urban - "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You": It does not matter that this was a nice arrangement. It does not matter that the vocal was only pretty good. It does not matter that he totally dissed Adam's advice to go into the falsetto at the end. It doesn't matter because this was a GENIUS song choice, sung well enough.

I am a really stubborn guy, and usually once I make up my mind about somebody it's really hard to get past that, whether it's good or bad (for the opposite, see my continued support of Megan last season). But this is two weeks in a row I have put Tim in my top 3.

Maybe it's just the cold medicine.

4) Casey James - "Lawdy Miss Clawdy": As much as everybody gushed over last week, THIS is what I like from bar-singer songs. I had no problem with this whatsoever.

5) Michael Lynche - "In the Ghetto": I usually like him better when he sits down with the guitar, because it cuts down on all the over-the-top histrionics that I hate about him. And this was a great vocal....but I also felt that it was very manipulative. Since I promised to keep this brief, I'm gonna leave it at that, I guess.

6) Siobhan Magnus - "Suspicious Minds": WAY too old-fashioned. Not a good arrangement. This was like Tim Urban's performance viewed in a mirror...this was a bad song choice sung really well.

When did Siobhan get so BORING?? I never thought that was a problem she was going to have, but that's been the issue for several weeks now.

7) Katie Stevens - "Baby, What do You Want Me to Do?": Nice leather pants. Still equates the "neck-snap" with "emoting". There were some pitch problems, but the worst part was that it did not feel the least bit authentic to me....felt like play-acting.

8) Aaron Kelly - "Blue Suede Shoes": Speaking of non-authentic. This was absolute KARAOKE. Awkward. In no way believable.

By the don't think this is the right song for you? Then why are you singing it?

9) Andrew Garcia - "Hound Dog": TERRIBLE arrangement....NOT relevant, the exact OPPOSITE of current...just change for the sake of change. It's time for Andrew to go.

Two quick final thoughts:
- Ryan was really WEIRD tonight. And I'm not the only one who noticed.
- I thought Adam did a GREAT job as the mentor....say what you want about him, but he knows what it takes to make an impression on stage, and this stage in particular.

Who SHOULD go home: Aaron and Andrew.
Who WILL go home: Andrew and Siobhan.

I will be sad, for sure, if Siobhan goes home, but she has nobody to blame but herself if it happens.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Super quick LOST thoughts - full recap to come later

My initial, right-after-viewing thoughts...subject to change on re-watch.

- Add me to the list...I love Hugo, too.

- Even though I knew it was coming, I loved the moment when Hurley started remembering Libby.

- TOTALLY knew that Locke was going to throw Desmond down the well.

- I don't like that Ilana blew up...I hope that doesn't mean that we're not going to find out what she was doing in that hospital covered in bandages.

- That was the first time Jack has seen "resurrected" Locke, right? He didn't look like he'd seen a ghost...he looked like he'd seen the DEVIL.

- Okay, all you "checklist" fans...check the whispers off your list. We know what they are now, and I thought it was a very satisfying explanation. I never liked Michael, so I wish it would have come from somebody else, but I still like the explanation.

- So, if we assume that Sun is the "Kwon" candidate and not Jin (which I lean to, simply because of who her father is and the link between Widmore, Hanso, and Paik)...Locke now has all the candidates together.

- I still think the little boy in the jungle is Jacob...just not sure how that works.

- I know a lot of people are going to say that Desmond ran Locke over at the end because either A) Desmond was somehow "aware" of Locke throwing him down the well on the Island, and this was revenge, or; B) this is further evidence for those who believe that Sideways Locke is actually Smokey, and Desmond knows it.

I personally think that Desmond was trying to induce the awareness of the other timeline by giving Locke a near-death experience....and based on the look on Locke's face at the end, I think it worked.

Be back in the next few days with the full writeup!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thoughts on LOST - Happily Ever After

The writers have used Desmond to answer so many questions and move so many storylines forward over the years: what's in the Hatch?...the Dharma Initiative...pressing the button...course time travel in the LOST universe is going to work...etc, etc.

So, it's no surprise that when it came time (or past time...but we will address that later) to tell the audience what the Sideways timeline means, and to connect it to what is happening on the happened in a Desmond episode.

Let's get to it...

- We pick up a few days after Ben shot Desmond in the groceries back in Dead is Dead...Widmore and his team apparently snuck Desmond out of the hospital. Widmore promises Desmond that both Penny and little Charlie are "perfectly safe", I wonder whether Penny got a visit from dear old Dad, or if he just stole her husband and whisked him away to Craphole Island without telling her?

- Widmore can't imagine how Desmond must be feeling about being brought back to the Island. Luckily, Desmond doesn't require him to imagine it...he lets him know how he feels about it by implanting his IV pole in his forehead. "How about now, BRUTHA??? Do you know how I feel NOW???"

- "The Island isn't done with you yet!" Same thing Eloise told him when he stormed out of the Lamppost back in "316". Desmond tried to argue that he IS done with the Island...doesn't look like that argument worked.

- When did they set all of this electromagnetic "test" stuff up? I know that some of it was already there as part of the Hydra station, but that's still some pretty quick work.

- The rabbit's name is Angstrom...according to Lostpedia, "Rabbit" Angstrom was a recurring character in the works of John Updike that follow the themes of life, death, and redemption.

I love this show, and I love the FANS of this show. How many other TV shows actually make you smarter?

- Nice to meet you, Simmons! Nice red shirt you have on there!

- Not sure what Widmore was checking for when he had them stop with the body on the way out, unless it was just to confirm that it was the radiation burns that killed him.

Either way, it wasn't very reassuring to Desmond, who immediately (and understandably) starts freaking out.

Those two henchmen really worked him over to get him into that chair...and Widmore tells him, "I know how this looks".

Really, Charles? DO you? Because it looks to me like you kidnapped Des out of the hospital, took him away from his family and brought him to the one place in the world he never ever wanted to see again, and now your henchmen are beating the crap out of him and tying him into a shack where he just saw the last inhabitant pulled out looking like a piece of bacon.

Is that about right?


- So who "told" Widmore about Desmond's unique qualities? Could be Eloise, or maybe Daniel.

I have a we know whose side Widmore is actually on? We can assume it's not Smokey, after their conversation last week...but is he on Jacob's? If we assume that Ilana and Bram are/were on Jacob's side, what do we make of Bram telling Miles that he is on the "wrong side" back when Miles was about to go on Widmore's freighter? What if Widmore is on his a THIRD team, and Jacob's dying words to Smokey, "They're coming", was actually a warning about Widmore and his people coming for BOTH of them?

What if Jacob and Smokey represent the yin and yang of "faith", or the spiritual realm, and Widmore represents "science" in the whole "Man of Science, Man of Faith" theme that we have seen through this entire show?

- Slight did they put this wooden shed together without using any nails? Did they use wooden nails? Otherwise those magnets would rip this thing apart.

-WIDMORE: "That man is the only person I'm aware of, in the world, who has survived a catastrophic electromagnetic event. I need to know that he can do it again, or we all die."

So, apparently, Widmore is planning on using Desmond and the pockets of electromagnetism on the Island in the war against Smokey...any ideas as to how?

- Magnets go on, Desmond gets all fiery and radiated, and then we see....clouds, blue sky, and then Desmond checking arrivals. I think we actually traveled with Desmond's consciousness there, which is pretty cool.

- There are so many awesome little call back moments in Desmond's Sideways story that I'm not going to try to point them all out...but I did like the "protective" vibe that Desmond was throwing at Claire, since so much of their time together on the Island involved Desmond protecting Claire and her bay-bay.

And I totally thought that Desmond was "aware" of both timelines when he told Claire she was having a boy. Instead, I think it was just one of those "cracks" that we have seen several times (Jack and Kate recognizing each other, Claire knowing the bay-bay's name is Aaron, etc).

- Desmond may not be aware, but I totally think George Minkowski is...and that is awesome.

For those who may not remember, Minkowski was the radio operator on the freighter who was the first one we saw experience the nosebleeds and eventual death that came from the same Consciousness Travel that Desmond does...he died for the lack of a Constant. Maybe this means he has one now? Michelle Pfeiffer, maybe?

By the awesome has Fisher Stevens' life been? Dated Michelle Pfeiffer at what was assumed to be her peak (who knew she was just going to get hotter as she got older), had a great and pivotal role on the greatest television drama of all time, won an Oscar as the co-producer of The, Short Circuit!

His bucket list is DONE.

- As most of us figured out as soon as Desmond referenced "The Boss", he is working for Widmore.

Couple of interesting decorations in Widmore's office: a model of a sailing ship that looks a little like one might take on a boat race around the world...and a painting of a set of scales, balanced by a white rock on one side and a black rock on the other.

The painting, especially, tells me that Widmore is definitely a character who knows what is going on in the "big picture", in both timelines.

- Widmore is REALLY selling how happy Desmond is supposed to be: "You really do have the life, son. No family, no commitments, ahh to be free of atttachments..." Toasting him with the McCutcheon's that Desmond couldn't even DREAM of tasting in the original timeline..."I am blessed to have you in my employ"..."NOTHING'S too good for you"...

Is this like some version of "The Truman Show", or the Matrix? An artificial reality where everything seems to be as it should be, but it's really just a distraction designed to keep our characters from realizing that something isn't right?

Let's put it like this...I think that somebody REALLY wants Desmond to accept this Sideways timeline as the way things are "supposed" to be, and not question it. We see that later with Eloise, but is Charles in on it, too? And if so, what does that say about Charles' motivations?

I honestly don't know...luckily, we probably don't have to wait very long to find out.

- There have been moments in every Sideways story where our characters have caught reflections of themselves in the mirror and seem transfixed by what they see there...Desmond's came as he was walking toward the courthouse door. He sees his reflections and seems to slow down a little to get a better look.

Of course, if I looked like most of the people in this cast, I would be checking myself out in the mirror ALL the time.

- Charlie takes off across the street, right through traffic...knowing what we know from his later conversation with Desmond, I think he is acting out of hopes for another near-death experience, rather than a belief that he can no longer die.

- If this IS a reality designed to make our characters think they are happy, it's working on Desmond. "Why WOULDN'T I be happy" is how he puts it to Charlie.

- Nice job by Dom Managhan in his description of what he saw in his near-death experience on the me, you could see Charlie almost remembering Claire...almost tasting the peanut butter...good stuff.

"I've seen something REAL. I've seen the TRUTH". Not this false reality that we are surrounded by...the TRUTH.

Not to mention that this is the FIRST confirmation that we've gotten that these two timelines can be CONNECTED somehow. Finally.

- Desmond: "There's always a choice, brutha."

I think that somebody...maybe one person, maybe all of them...are going to have to make a choice between these two lives. And there are pros and cons to both of them, for every one of these characters, even the ones who are dead in one of them. Charlie, for instance, can choose this life in which he is, you know, ALIVE, or the other one where he has met Claire....the number one item on his "Greatest Hits".

- Charlie yanks Desmond's car into the ocean, hoping for another glimpse into the other timeline. And of my favorite scenes of all time, as Desmond starts flashing back to the LAST time he was on one side of the glass and Charlie was on the other, and Charlie sacrificed himself for his friends.

You know what emotion I felt more than any other, at least the first time I saw it? Relief. FINALLY, we are going to start tying these two worlds together.

Now, the second and third times I watched it, there was a lot more emotional a little dusty in here.

By the way...I don't think Charlie saw anything when he was under water. He was trying to get back there, but I don't think he did.

- Not a single emergency contact for this Desmond...just his boss. Think he's been isolated on purpose?

- Was that a little tinge of panic I heard in Desmond's voice when the tech told him he needed the button? "The button?"

- TREE-MENDOUS job by Henry Ian Cusick when Desmond was in the MRI machine...using only his eyes, he showed us fear, love, amazement, and ultimately...panic.

And, yeah, as they flashed through his and Penny's life together, I got a little teary again. Shut up.

- Does Jack work ALL THE TIME?

Was it just me, or did Jack seem to find it a little odd that so many of the Flight 815ers were in his hospital? Think maybe he's starting to put it together, too? He has definitely had the most obvious "cracks" in the realities until this episode...the cut on his neck, the appendectomy scar that he couldn't remember, his seeming to recognize Kate.


- "None of this matters. All that matters is that we felt it."

Is that a commentary on the whole Sideways timeline? That it's not the "how" or "what" that we should be paying attention to, but instead the emotional payoff that's coming?

By the way...I don't think it's "all about love", as I've seen some commenters say. I think it's all about the connections between these people...those connections that we've seen since all the way back in those Season 1 flashbacks, when all of the Losties kept popping up in each other's lives.

- So then Desmond goes to meet Eloise and her hair.

- And immediately Eloise drops one of her typical "double meaning" quotes on him..."It's about TIME."

Man, if this was two seasons ago, I would be writing a three paragraph theory about time loops, casimir effects, etc, etc...but I think we've learned this season that the time travel aspects, while admittedly awesome and one of my personal favorite parts of the show, are just a side dish.

- She also throws in a "What happened, happened"....of course.

- She is awfully nice to Desmond, isn't she? Until...Desmond hears the name "Penny" (MILTON, by the way) and wants to see the list.

That's when the Eloise that we all know and love shows up and, as usual, pulls back the curtain for us.

VERY interesting how she puts it to Desmond: "Someone has clearly affected the way you see things. This is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation. So, whatever you’re doing, whatever it is you think you’re looking for...You need to stop looking for it."

A violation? Another reference to there being "rules" to this game.

And she wants him to stop looking...stop rocking the boat...plug back in to the Matrix and pay no attention to the Man Behind the Curtain.

Man...this just got AWESOME.

- just got MORE awesome. Cause here's Daniel Faraday, still rocking his skinny tie.

- So Charlie saw Claire because he had a near-death experience, and Desmond started seeing flashes in his own traumatic experience (and continued them when exposed to electromagnetism).

All it took for Daniel was just to SEE Charlotte (eating her chocolate again, probably before dinner...the naughty little minx).

- I know this is super-long already, but let's stop here for a second. Remember, in the original timeline, Daniel was on his way to possibly becoming a musician until Eloise stopped him and instead pointed him towards his new that would end with him starting the "Jughead" plan in motion before getting shot by his own mother.

In that scene, where Eloise tells Daniel he can't be a musician anymore, she comes out of the kitchen visibly upset after speaking with someone on the phone. So...who was she talking to? And is that moment actually when the two timelines started diverging? In one, Daniel is a musician, but in the other he is a doomed scientist who starts the chain of events that leads to Juliet blowing up the Island.

I think there is more to come on that in future episodes...

- Jeremy Davies is perfect as Faraday...loved the delivery on the line after Desmond asks him what his drawings mean: "I'm a musician. I have no idea."

- "Imagine something terrible is about to happen. Something catastrophic, and the only way to stop it from happening is by releasing a huge amount of energy. Like setting off a nuclear bomb."

This refers to Jughead, right? Well...what if it also applies to what is going on right now on the Island? We know Widmore is looking for those pockets of electromagnetic energy on the the something "catastrophic" in fact Smokey's escape from the Island? And Desmond is going to have to somehow be the one to stop it, by releasing that energy? And is that related to the "sacrifice" that Widmore said he was going to have to make in order to save the entire world?

- Yet another chills-inducing moment...Penny running the same stadium steps that Desmond was running when he met Jack, and also the last place that Desmond and Penny saw each other before he left on his "race around the world".

- And now Des is back on the Island, apparently with a much deeper understanding of what is going on in the "big picture". Now he's apparently ready to do whatever Widmore needs him to do.


Skipping ahead a couple of scenes, when Zombie Sayid shows up, kills one of Widmore's men and then inexplicably lets Zoe go (what was up with that?), Desmond willingly goes with him, too. Almost TOO willingly. Does he maybe understand that Widmore is only working for himself, and was only pretending to cooperate? Or is he just buying time because he know that the REAL work is happening in the Sideways timeline by alt-Desmond?

I don't just seemed strange to me.

- Back to the Sideways...Penny doesn't seem very nervous at being propositioned by a perfect stranger in the middle of an empty stadium. I will just chalk that up to her feeling the same "connection" that caused Claire to trust a gun-wielding psychopath to accompany her to the home of her bay-bay's prospective parents.

- George is DEFINITELY not just a limo driver. "Hey, can you get me the manifest for the flight I flew in on?" "The manifest? Oh, yeah, I sure can. Anything else?"

- "I just need to show them something".


Final thoughts:
As you can probably tell, I LOVED this episode. I still have tons of questions, and I still think we should have gotten this episode at least three weeks ago, but I am digging the fact that we finally have some relevance assigned to the Sideways, and now I feel like both timelines are kind of "caught up" with each other in terms of significance. From here on out I think it's going to be nothing but forward momentum, both on-Island and off.


I promise, I wrote this recap before listening to the excellent Zap2It podcast with Ryan McGee, Mo Ryan, and James Poniewozik....Ryan makes the same comparison I do in bringing up both The Truman Show and The Matrix. I highly recommend checking it out, as well as all of the other awesome LOST coverage over at Ryan's LOST blog on Zap2It.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Idol Thoughts - Top 9

So, DiDi went home...that stinks. It's really her own fault in a lot of ways, as she just never really was able to find herself as an artist and REFUSED to do the things she was really good at. Oh, well.

Am I the only one who gets really depressed when the contestants come out at the top of the show? I mean, THIS is the Top 9? It just puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the show. Not helping that bad mood is....

1) Aaron Kelly - "Long and Winding Road": Wow. ANOTHER ballad. Sorry, his voice is not good enough to just stand there and sing. This...this was not good. Even the classic Aaron move of "hold-my-left-arm-up-and-let-it-limply-hang-there" seemed especially half hearted.

Katelyn Epperly. Lilly Scott. DiDi Benami. All gone. Aaron Kelly....still here.

Moving on.

2) Katie Stevens - "Let it Be": You know what ELSE puts me in a bad mood? The fact that maybe the biggest show in the history of television can't hire anybody who knows what they are doing behind the camera. During this week's show, it sounded like the director let his 6 year old grandson work the sound...the backup singers and band were overpowering the contestants all night, the judges mics had feedback's completely ridiculous and embarrassing. The show has been on the air now for NINE YEARS. How is it that we still don't know how to balance the sound?

Oh, and yes....the performance shows have been coming in much closer to on time than in seasons past. But now they can't get the RESULTS show in on time, which makes absolutely zero sense. It's FIVE MINUTES worth of relevant content in a ONE HOUR can you possibly go over by eight minutes, like they did last week? I didn't get to see DiDi cry for the 987th time!

Anyway...what was I talking about? Oh, yeah...Katie Stevens. This was good, but boring, and why is everybody picking the slowest song possible? I understand that The Beatles have a pretty extensive catalogue of songs...maybe somebody could pick something that didn't put me in danger of falling asleep and missing LOST? (How freaking AWESOME was LOST, by the way?)

And, Simon...this is not country music. Shame on you for putting me in a situation where I am agreeing with Randy Freaking Jackson, of all people.

3) Andrew Garcia - "Can't Buy Me Love": Ugh. Who is going to actually pay money to see these people on tour? I would demand that they just bring Tim, Andrew, Aaron, Katie, Mike, Casey, and Lee out to wave to the crowd and then just let Crystal and Siobhan do a full set apiece.

Anyway...this would have been much better as another acoustic joint, but because contestants on this show stupidly think that they should be doing ANYTHING other than what they are good at, this is instead a corny, lounge singer rendition in which Andrew's voice was completely obliterated by the obnoxiously loud band (again...not his fault, but the idiots behind the camera). His voice is OK, but he is only good at one thing, and this is NOT it.

4) Michael Lynch - "Eleanor Rigby": WAIT. Michael Lynch's family used to travel around and sing using the name "The Lynch Mob"?!?! That is simultaneously the most inappropriate and awesome thing I have heard in a VERY long time.

Yeah, this was pretty much everything I DON'T like about Michael Lynch, wrapped around his typically great vocal. He is in full-on HAM mode tonight, and I hate it. I can't get past it.

His voice is great, and I actually was OK with the arrangement, although a lot of other hardcore Beatles fans may not be...I love that he kept the strings, and it did have a "build" to it, as Kara said. I just hate his performing style.

5) Crystal Bowersox - "Come Together": Wins the night simply by employing a freaking didgeridoo.

Not really...I mean, she probably does win the night, but this was definitely not my favorite Crystal performance. She actually messed up the words (not that anybody can tell, as this was one of John's "word salad" songs that I never liked), and this wasn't her strongest vocal.

And yet...I still just felt like I was watching an established star give a live performance. She is sooooooo much better than anybody else this season it's just not fair. Can we somehow go back in time and add her to last season's lineup? I would LOVE to see her get pushed by Adam, Allison, Kris, etc. and see what she would come up with every week. Because this is like watching the 1992 Dream Team in Barcelona...yeah, it's impressive, but how much more impressive would she be if there was somebody there to push her?

One difference between her and the Dream Team....she's not going to win. Just a hunch, based on years of watching this show.

One more difference between her and the Dream Team...the DIDGERIDOO!!

6) Tim Urban - "All My Lovin'": His best performance by FAR. Which probably means he will go home this week.

Simon is right about his attitude...he gets beat up every week, and I think he handles it well. He has still been around about 8 weeks longer than he should have been, however.

7) Casey James - "Jealous Guy": This performance is getting MUCH love, both by the judges and by some other commentary that I have seen...but I don't get it. I did like the arrangement, though I am not familiar with the song so I don't know if it is "his" arrangement or not.

But, like I have said before about Casey, his voice is not strong enough to carry a song as stripped down as this one was. When he is not straight belting, like he has done the last few weeks, he has a chipmunk voice. Or maybe a goat. Anyway, it's not pleasant to me.

This would have been great, if he had more vocal it is, it's a very pretty song sung by someone with great hair and a weak voice.

8) Siobhan Magnus - "Across the Universe": This was risky, in a lot of ways. I think it was smart to back off the "screaming" songs, although as a side rant...she is not "screaming". This is the same thing people were saying about Adam last season. If she and Adam are "screaming", then at least it's a musical scream, unlike say.....Danny Gokey.

Anyway, it's always risky when you strip everything away except for you and your voice, and she definitely has the voice to pull it off. Except for a slight tendency to get a little nasally in her lowest register, this was a gorgeous vocal performance by the BEST voice in this competition. It's not even close, by the way. There is nobody else here that could even dream of pulling that off, and Siobhan mostly did.

9) Lee Dewyze - "Hey, Jude": Fairly typical Lee performance, with the nice commercial tone and the dropped phrasing and the occasionally wonky pitch problems, with the added component of....bagpipes! Well, that was random. I never once remember thinking, "That song is OK...but how much better would it be with BAGPIPES?" But I guess that's what separates me and Lee. That, and making Danny Gokey babies with Andrew Garcia (how much more did I love Crystal after THAT comment?).

Final Thoughts:
This is a classic example of managed expectations. If these exact same performances had occurred in the last couple of seasons, I would be screaming about it being the worst show of the season. But to get those nine performances out of this group? Hey, there was nothing EGREGIOUSLY awful, so I guess....that was a winner!!

Top 3:
1) Crystal
2) Siobhan
3) Ummmm....Tim? Yeah. Wow...I guess it's Tim! I know! I am also shocked!

Heck, why not just rank them all?

Middle 3:
4) Lee
5) Katie
6) Big Mike

Bottom 3:
7) Casey
8) Andrew
9) Aaron

Who SHOULD go home: The production staff responsible for the mess that is this show. And Aaron Kelly.
Who WILL go home: Tim Urban, once again following the pattern of many on this show who stuck around for WEEKS longer than they should have, only to be sent home after their best performance of the season (Sanjaya, Kristi Lee, etc).