Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Scouting Report: CTU Softball Team

In a previous post Adam discussed a CTU softball team. So Rickey, unoriginal bastard that he is, decided to extrapolate on the idea, employing some pointers from Adam. So for comedic purposes, what would a softball team consisting of past and present 24 cast members look like? To get an idea, let’s take a peek at the scouting report for the following position players:

Starting Pitcher, Bill Buchanan. A crafty veteran who keeps his calm under all circumstances. He’s a solid addition to any lineup. Also able to pilot a helicopter should a team brawl erupt mid game.

Catcher, Jack Bauer. Bauer’s 3’4 height actually allows him to catch balls in a standing position, thus making it easy to throw runners out as they attempt to steal second. When pitching against him, remember that due to his stature, Bauer’s strike zone is approximately three square inches. Fueled by pure rage, he’s known for arguing any poor strikes called by a sloppy umpire, and torturing them senselessly if necessary.

First Base, David Palmer. A devastating power hitter whose only weakness is his insistence on glaring angrily into the stands at his ex-wife at the start and conclusion of every at bat. Also worth noting is that Palmer can't hit the curveball and frequently talks to someone named "Jobu" while at bat.

Second Base, Chloe O’ Brien. Due to occasional attitude issues, she’s not a terrific “team player,” but this fault is mitigated by her willingness to upload the opposing team’s stats to Jack’s PDA should the need arise.

Shortstop, Tony Almeida. Able to field any well-hit ball cleanly, and easily facilitate double-plays, Almeida is undoubtedly the team’s MVP. Seems to enjoy stealing bases at every possible opportunity, which we suspect has something to do with Third Base Coach, Michelle Dessler.

Third Base, Morris O’ Brien. Also a terrific fielder, primarily due to his ability to trap well-hit balls in his unruly chest hair. However, O’Brien frequently buckles under pressure at the plate and is rumored to be fond of drinking behind the scoreboard between innings. Every team has a clubhouse addict and Morris is CTU's this season. (Last season it was Gael and his Soduku puzzles).

Left Field, Wayne Palmer. On the team primarily due to his brother’s insistence, Wayne hasn’t quite grasped the fundamentals of baseball yet. Think of Wayne as the Billy Ripken of the team. Due to his inability to field the ball cleanly, Palmer makes reaching third base on a routine pop out to left field a leisurely affair.

Center Field, Milo Pressman. This goatee sporting centerfielder loves making diving catches (even when not necessary) primarily to impress Middle Reliever, Nadia Yassir, who sits nearby in the bullpen.

Right Field, Edgar Stiles. Edgar’s hindered mobility suits him best for a role in right field, but watch out when he’s up at bat. Lots of energy abounds within this fella.

Bullpen Submariner, Tom Lennox. A devious little pitcher who is quite fond of using pine tar, this player avoids getting nabbed by keeping incriminating evidence on all the umps. Watch out for this guy: he is known for sitting outside his oponents' houses the night before the game in a surveillance van. He's that dedicated to winning.

Bullpen Middle Reliever, Nadia Yassir. A dominant pitching force to be reckoned with. However, Yassir has been caught multiple times using an emery board on the ball. She is currently serving a three-game suspension.

Closer, Aaron Pierce. He doesn’t look like much, but this 99 mph gunslinger will shut down your hopes of a 9th inning rally in nine pitches or less. While at the plate, any taunts concerning Martha Logan should be avoided unless you’re prepared to receive a little chin music.

Team Coach, Noah Daniels. Able to pep talk (read: scare senseless) his team out of any funk, this veteran is the steady hand at the helm of this softball team. But like all former managers of the squad, Daniels has to learn to defer all major decision to his catcher, Jack Bauer.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm an uncle!!!!!!!!!!!

Today I became an uncle for the first time!

Congratulations to my brother David and his wife Elizabeth on their healthy and handsome son. The boy has 6 seasons of 24 to catch up on (well, 5 if we just choose to ignore the disappointing last season) but first let's give the guy a chance to sleep. My brother and sister-in-law have yet to choose a final name, but I'll update you on that when the decision is made.

Tony Almeida is a good name... I'm just sayin'!

UPDATED: Alex Joseph is the boy's name. He will rule the Earth by the year 2035. All hail Alex!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Madame President? Day 7 News!

Word around the insane asylum is that the producers of 24 have lined up a female to be the next president for Day 7. Can you say Madame President Martha Logan? Heh.

24: DAY 7 (The Fan Fiction Way)

Amy Vernon, along with some of the more delirious minds in the 24-fan circle of bloggers have conspired to plot out Day 7 of 24. Blogs 4 Bauer has a nice compilation of our efforts (with pictures too!)-- go check it out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Constitution According to Jack Bauer

Every now and then Rickey likes to hop up on the soapbox. Now is one such time--gird your loins and fix your hair. At a recent discussion panel, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (yeah, that guy) decided it would be a good idea to reference 24 as legal precedent in an argument. Indeed, to quote Bad Boys II, shit just got real. Here’s a fun-filled excerpt of what Scalia had to say about the 24 universe:

"Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?"

"Say that criminal law is against him? ‘You have the right to a jury trial?’ Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.”

You can find the rest of the article here. Read it, its good stuff.

Ok, for a second, let’s put aside the apparent fact Scalia seems to think that mental and/or physical torture can yield useful intelligence. Forget the fact that in the tv show, when Jack Bauer casts aside the law, he acknowledges it and accepts the potential consequences. Forget all those silly tidbits. Here’s the meat of the issue: you have to be completely bat-shit crazy in order to cite a fictional television character in a constitutional argument. Back in the day, Rickey attempted to write many term papers, citing "Family Circus" cartoons as supporting material and did he get away with it? No sir. So why does a judge in the most powerful court in the nation get a free pass for this?

See, most of us are stable enough to distinguish fiction from reality. While watching 24, we happily succumb to the fantasy that if Jack Bauer can save L.A., then by all means he should be free to torture whoever he wants. He's not a real person. So therefore, it is perfectly acceptable for a fictional Jack Bauer to torture fictional terrorists. (Frankly, we, the viewers kind of encourage it). But here’s where the line has to be drawn: you can’t allow Jack Bauer to exit the television set and torture real people. That would be bad. Can you imagine living in a world where a real Jack Bauer actually existed? No one would be safe—not even your goldfish.

Call us nuts, but Rickey gets a little nervous when Supreme Court Justices start thinking that the topic of fictional superheroes is perfectly reasonable to introduce into panel discussions about the legality of torture. (pesky international laws such as the Geneva Convention, on the other hand, are to be discarded as un-American of course). Make no mistake; this is merely a strawman argument to justify torture in your usual, non-critical interrogation scenarios.

Nonsense like this is why we need a 10 year term limit for Supreme Court Justices. Furthermore, what Rickey can't figure out is why conservatives are so deeply afraid of the legal process of our nation. Why is the highest judge in the land convinced that our legal system can't cope with a situation like this? It has in the past, and it will continue to. You'd think a reliance on what has always worked pretty well would be a natural tendency of a "conservative". Not so much apparently.

But hey, what else would we expect from a guy who ruled that counting all the votes in Florida in 2000 would somehow violate George W. Bush's due process rights?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where Have You Gone, Jack Sack?


Apologies are in order for my recent disappearance. I have taken on a measure of responsibility with this blog, and as Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker: "With great (blogging)... comes great responsibility." I hope to earn your trust back in the coming days.

So, what has been going on? Something exciting, in fact. Was I busy repairing the International Space Station's failing computer systems? No. Was I investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball for the Mitchell Commission. Ah... no. What I've been doing is putting the final touches on a motion picture screenplay that will be read by "people" in the coming weeks.

I have been debating talking about this project because 1) it's way too premature to know if anything will come of it and 2) I don't want to look like I'm bragging. The fact of the matter is, writing is what I love and this particular project is extremely time-consuming. I cannot talk about the story in any detail (yet), but if and when things develop, I will be sharing that experience with you.

So, where does that leave this blog? I'm still committed to getting you fresh 24-material. CTU Denver (Amy, don't throw things at my head!) will continue. My other ideas for this blog will also continue. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In Which Rickey Dusts off his DVD Collection

It was raining this past Sunday, so Rickey decided to listen to Mother Nature's demand to cry uncle and sit down with Ms. Henderson and re-watch the first season of 24 on DVD. Now Rickey hadn’t re-watched this in over three years and Ms. Henderson had never seen it, so it was an entertaining time to say the least. Now bear in mind that we only got five hours into the show before exhaustion took over, but five hours is nonetheless enough to clear the cobwebs away and remind you what was so damn great about 24 in the beginning.

Compared with later seasons (Rickey’s looking at you seasons 5 and 6) season 1 is a taught, well crafted affair. Watching it, you quickly notice that every strand of the plot has been dovetailed and interlocked so things happen just when they should, within the right amount of time. Forget silly suitcase nuke mcguffins, this is just about a man running around L.A. trying to prevent an assassination while simultaneously trying get his wife and daughter back. And oh yeah, lest we forget, he gets progressively angrier/crazier each hour. By the end of the season he’s on the verge of running around L.A. while hoisting a flatulent elephant above his head.

One thing that really stands out was how much of a prick Tony is in season one. He distrusts Jack, rats out his fellow employees, and is generally a major league schmuck. Granted, the Cubs mug is there, but this isn’t the Tony Almeida we know from seasons 3 – 5. Ms Henderson asked Rickey about this and the best answer he could muster is that much like a fine wine, Tony kind of grows on you. By the time he hits his stride in season 3, emerging from the hospital to save the day, the audience is rising from the couch to cheer him on. 24 does this with its characters. Remember how much of a doofus Bill Buchanan was at first? Now he’s a mensch—the kind of guy you’d like to have as a boss.

You’ll also marvel at how sparsely torture is used over the course of the first season. The closest they get to torture is Jack’s towel shtick, and that’s merely hinted at, but never actually delivered, thus making the scene somehow more spellbinding. Rickey’s definitely going to continue watching and is even looking forward to the appearance of Lou Diamond Philips (a subject he’s previously blogged about) as well as Dennis Hopper and his horrifically bad Serbian accent.

Seriously, go back and give season one a viewing sometime. Hell, go nuts and watch all the seasons if that’s what floats your boat. You’ll really marvel at how well adjusted and good mannered Jack is in the pilot. This isn’t the superhuman character who his country owes a “debt that can never be repaid,” that we’ve grown accustomed to. No sir, this is just a government employee trying to do his job and maintain his family life. And season one is the first time he’s ever tested, so it all feels fresh. If the next season of 24 has any shot at gaining it’s fanbase back, it needs to revisit a few of these themes.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

It’s quite dark over here, seriously, what’s the deal with you 24 bloggers and the color black? And is Rickey allowed to vehemently curse over here or are we going for a more family oriented demographic? Because in the interest of full disclosure, we’ll tell you right up front: Rickey’s most favorite word in the English language is “c---sucker.” Thanks very much for that, Deadwood. Eh, until we get the green light, Rickey will stick with the geeky BSG use of the word “frakking.” Remember, if things get too wild and you begin to feel uncomfortable, the safe word is “cobbler.”

Anyhow, now that the eagle has landed over here at The Jack Sack, it’s probably time to crank out an article showing everyone just how goddamn brilliant Rickey is. Granted, this will undoubtedly make those of you hungering for your next installment of CTU: Denver even angrier, but hey, deal with it. Until Adam gets off his lazy ass to crank out a write up, feel free to think of Rickey as the blogging equivalent of a rodeo clown. (By the way, Rickey digs that G-Love song, “Rodeo Clowns, ” and you should too).

Like most of you borderline functional rage-o-holics, Rickey has many many gripes with the silliness that went down in this past season of 24. And before he can proceed to specifically outline what he’d like to see occur in Season 7, he needs to exorcise some demons first. Below is a list of general recommendations/gripes that keep Rickey from sleeping soundly at night. For added enjoyment, feel free to picture Rickey pantslessly reading this list of grievances aloud to Surnow and company while wearing a monacle.

  • Plan out the frakking show. You schmucks admitted in Season 3 that you were essentially flying by the seat of your pants when it came to plot development. True, it worked out well for the first three years but Season 4 was the beginning of a steep downward spiral. Plan more.

  • Take out the politics. 24 needs to be apolitical. This is a show that promotes the ridiculous fiction that civil servants are tireless workers, hell-bent on doing a good job. That’s far enough of a stretch for Rickey. Suddenly we’re supposed to be impressed with how the show “deftly” mirrors contemporary political themes? Please. Consider yourselves warned: if Rickey sees another John McCain cameo, he’s jumping ship.

  • Relax with the torture. Come on, even you fervent right wingers must be getting a little tired of it by now. Six seasons in, we've now seen every variation Jack could possibly use. Every week we got the clichéd “we have to go to location A and work with so and so and torture X to make this happen.” And as much as we all love routine plot mechanics, something’s gotta give. So cool it on the torture a little. However, by no means does this imply that Kiefer should stop yelling.

  • Finally, stop killing the entire cast. David Palmer and Michelle Dressler were one thing but killing off Tony is completely unacceptable. Other than Jack, Kim and the recently castrated Aaron Pierce, who exactly from the original cast is still alive?

*In case you couldn't tell, being an office worker, Rickey digs the bulletpoint style of making an agrument.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The reason CTU Denver is delayed...

Hello Sack Pack!

So, all five of you are probably wondering "Where's this week's episode of CTU Denver?" Well, it will be delayed by a day thanks to last evening's excessive mid-week drinkfest with my good friend Rickey Henderson. If you've been to this blog in the past, you know that Riding With Rickey is an ally of my little operation. Now, that alliance became somewhat more official. Rickey Henderson is the first person besides my host of multiple personalities to be a member of The Jack Sack. Rickey, welcome to the tribe.

What Rickey brings to the table is youth, vigor, optimism and a flair for the dangerous, all things that I personally lack. What he doesn't bring is temperance, healthy lifestyle choices or reactionary politics. His kung-fu is strong. You have all been warned.

This being the "hot stove" season for 24 fans, Rickey will help me fill the void that has opened up during the show's hiatus. I look forward to his contributions and I command all of you to find him funny.

And as a result of mutual appreciation, I am going to post non-24 related matters on his smorgasbord blog as well. Movies, politics, sports, Paris Hilton and many other issues are fair game. This is a glorious unification-- not since Daryl Hall and John Oates first rolled joints together back at Temple University in the '60s has there been a more promising tandem.

Prepare for domination.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

24 News: Chloe Back for Season 7!

Amy Vernon of Remote Access has the story. While no details are revealed, it does support past news that there are drastic changes awaiting the show next season. I like the fact that Chloe is still in Jack's life. She should be driving a cab in NYC-- with NSA/datalink satellite coverage guiding her yellow sedan throughout Midtown during rush-hour. Or maybe she has a falafel stand? Or she's a palm reader? There are so many career opportunities here in NYC!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My 24-Withdrawal Confessional Post

Oh, every summer it seems like we're meant to go through the same suffering. While others bask in the warmth of the new season, the rest of us-- those who *really* get what's going on-- carry an emptiness in our hearts. For every summer, we lose 24 all over again.

Already, it has been a couple of weeks. So, how are you doing so far? For me, it's been pretty rough. In one sense, I've realized all the things I've ignored for the past several months. I totally forgot to pay my taxes! Apparently I got married AND divorced all within a 5-month period during Season 6 as well. And boy, do I need to clean out my fridge!

It's funny how 24 becomes such an important part of our lives. I guess other people feel the same way about different television shows (Lost, Dancing With The Stars, Clifford The Big Red Dog) but none of those shows approach the heights of greatness achieved by the "real-time" format of 24. We are spending an entire day with Bauer and Co. as they save the nation from certain doom. That's like having a second job in my book. And for some of us, that's like having a first job too.

And the hardest part about this is knowing that it will take several months to get our show back. I'm trying to distract myself as best as I can-- I have researched every flat-panel television on the market for a possible purchase. Conversely, I am selling off a large chunk of my personal belongings in an effort to cleanse my consumerist soul. I have taken up bird-watching. I'm learning to whistle. And I am drinking booze like a fish.

If you feel lost without 24 like I do, know that you're not alone. I do my "Dammit!" yelling exercises every morning on my drive to work. I grumble "I don't have time for this" and I whisper "Copy that" to unwitting co-workers as well. I'm also keeping this blog active, with CTU Denver and other original content. So, let's do this together. Let's beat the malaise of these next few months.

My name is The Jack Sack, I'm a 24 blogger, I give you my word I will get us through this. (Sigh) Where's my scotch?