Monday, December 29, 2008
Kids are like people- they have some quirks to them. Take Eli, a preteen girl who befriends Oscar, a boy of the same age. Eli likes to walk outside at night without shoes or a jacket, despite the freezing cold. She doesn't go to school, she doesn't eat candy and she can fly. Oh yeah, she's also a 200 year-old vampire.
So unfolds the story of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, a slow-moving Swedish film that explores a relationship built on secrets and private lives. Oscar's private life is vast- he hides that he's a victim of violent bullying at school. Oscar's mother has not told his school that she has separated from Oscar's father (it is inferred in a later scene that Oscar's dad is gay). And Oscar harbors homicidal thoughts, seeking revenge against those who threaten him. Based on this set-up, the vampire girl seems like the normal one. She kills for food- out of necessity. Oscar's bloodlust is much more dangerous in theory. But that's where Oscar's violent tendencies exist- in theory only. Eli and Oscar are fascinated by one another, and the film's central concern is watching their curiosities keep them moving together.
The movie is interesting, I won't say I was blown away by it. The characters are compelling, mostly due to excellent acting, but also benefiting from a sparse script that forces the audience to think things through. There is a sense of urgency surrounding Eli, as she has to convey to Oscar the limitations she has, all of them hints to his ultimate realization that she's a vampire. The plot, however, has problems that cannot be ignored. A small village in Sweden is just that- a small enclave of civilization. If people started getting murdered, the town would cease to function. While the body count ticks upwards, there seems to be little reaction by the people. It's not the point of the movie, I know, but these logical inconsistencies have a way of adding up. If this wasn't some foreign film, if it took place in Pennsylvania, starring an American cast, I guarantee you film critics would be less forgiving.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is an original take on the vampire film genre. I like the characters and the concept a lot. Unfortunately, I think the story is half-baked. This is a move that flirts with being great, but ends up being a decent film at best (which is good).
Sunday, December 28, 2008
If FORREST GUMP was never made, I might have bought into this movie.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is a decent film-- not "amazing" as some critics have decided. To be clear, I am prejudiced by my strong dislike of the aforementioned FORREST GUMP. Both movies cover similar territory- an outcast due to some birth defect (Button born an old "baby", Gump born an idiot) meets the love of his life early in childhood and spends the next few decades making his way through historical events (running into a few notable folks along the way) until finally finding some brief happiness with their woman. Both Forrest Gump and Benjamin Button even find adventures on boats, befriending salty sea cap'ns.
Now, BUTTON is a stronger film in most respects- acting, story, and technical craft. And it's far easier to hear Brad Pitt do a Southern accent than to endure Tom Hanks' semi-moronic drawl. But I couldn't shake my crankiness towards GUMP, despite all of BUTTON's strengths. I felt like the gimmicks were all too familiar, that my (frayed) heartstrings were being tugged on a little too earnestly.
It's a frustrating movie in that respect. There are great elements to BUTTON that could have been explored. Button, who ages in reverse (turning more and more into the real Brad Pitt) is given only slight scrutiny for this fantastic characteristic. Most people either ignore it or just go "Wow, you look good, Benjamin!" Benjamin is kind of a unremarkable guy in all other respects. We don't know what he thinks of things, just that he's in love with his girl Daisy (and Daisy, like Jenny in GUMP, goes through a whore stage that makes Button sad). We never see Button contend with segregation, despite the fact that his adopted mother was black. Nor do we see Button actually deal with a crisis. He just floats through life, meeting colorful characters and becoming rich as a matter of course (like Gump), not through any concerted effort.
Towards the end of BUTTON the worst question one can ask started to creep into my head about this movie- "So what?" Remove the reverse aging gimmick, this is not a particularly compelling story. Sure, Button has to make a tough choice about his life with Daisy at a certain point, but it felt like a coward's decision more than a selfless act on his part. For a movie that kept beating you over the head with the message "Life is precious, embrace what you have while you can" Button makes some pretty dull decisions in his later years (mopping floors, working as a parking garage attendant, becoming a grunge-hippie, etc.).
I admit that I'm being harsh on BUTTON because of its critical acclaim. If there was no Oscar-buzz surrounding this film, and if nobody gave it any attention, I might even say I liked it. But I'm holding this movie to a higher standard because it seeks to be great. Unfortunately, BUTTON apes GUMP too much to be ignored- right down to the use of symbolism (GUMP had the floating feather, BUTTON has a hummingbird that shows up at important moments). If these types of films don't bother you, then I recommend BUTTON. It is a diverting movie-going experience. Otherwise, beware of the overrated "Oscar-begging" taking place here. I just hope SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE weathers the hype surrounding BUTTON and wins all of the awards it deserves (and that would be most of them).
UPDATED: I just read that FORREST GUMP and BENJAMIN BUTTON were scripted by the same guy- Eric Roth. In light of this information, I can comfortably say that I dislike this film. I thought the similarities between the two pictures were too much to take at first, but now... now I'm just pissed off. BUTTON is recycled GUMP.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The cool part is nothing changes. The old URL is still active, so there's no need to change bookmarks or links. And if you're coming here with no link, just type "thejacksack" into the address bar (you don't even need the ".com").
And we're lightening up our look a little to reflect CTU's demise on "24" (yes, this is still a "24" blog!). The color scheme may change again pending developments on the show.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Ever stop and think "Why are there so few real men nowadays?" I guess the better question is "What's a real man?" I think of my grandfather as this type of guy. He worked hard, provided for his family and left a mark by the time he died. I guess he was a product of his times- he served in World War II in the Pacific with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. After the war, he was an inventor, working on products that we all have used in our lives. He never bragged, had a hearty laugh and earned the respect of a great many people that knew him. But he also never told his kids he loved them. It's not that he didn't love my mother or her siblings, he just never found the words to say it. Like I said, he was a product of his times.
GRAN TORINO is a story about that kind of man. Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a Korean War vet who is widowed at the film's start. He lives in a neighborhood that is ethnically diverse and plagued with gang violence. He drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon, eats beef jerky and relates to his only friend, Daisy, a yellow lab. When his neighbors, an ethnic Hmong family, enter into his quiet life, he has to recognize his own past prejudices and come to terms with remaining guilt from the war.
Clint Eastwood makes quiet movies. GRAN TORINO is a typical Eastwood film in that respect. Despite his (very) colorful language towards any ethnic person he encounters, there's a slow-simmering sadness to his Walt. But before you think this movie is an indictment on bigotry, it's actually the opposite- the film's weakest characters are those who pander and bend to bullies because they happen to be minorities. In one scene, a young white guy tries to act cool around three black men that are threatening to beat him up and rape his girlfriend. The white kid calls one of the black guys "bro," and it's at that point that we see what's really happening here. There's something insincere about that behavior. The black guys see it and so does Walt, who enters the situation with a pistol and absolutely no filter on his foul-mouth. After the confrontation, it's clear that Walt is the only real man involved.
This movie is a relevant take on our society. Walt's two grown sons are assholes- whiny and selfish. And Walt's disrespectful grandchildren are worse- texting during his wife's funeral service. And as for the young man living next door, Thao is a boy with no male role model. He is likely to either join his cousin's gang or be killed. Walt refuses to let this happen, and becomes Thao's mentor, teaching him about women, work and how to be a foul-mouthed bigot! These scenes between the two are brilliant, a reverse KARATE KID if you will. If there is a fault to this movie, it's the ending, which turns quickly into violence. But despite it overreaching into a different film genre, GRAN TORINO is still a very worthwhile film- go see it.
I want to be careful about how I write here- because I just finished watching a movie in which great care has been invested. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is 75% harsh reality and one quarter fable. Set in current-day India, this film follows a young man's wayward path to being a contestant on "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." The concept sounds like a gimmick, and it could have easily been so were it not for a brilliant narrative. For each question the "slumdog" Jamal has posed to him, there is a story from his past behind the answer. And the sum of his life is the real story here- a childhood of brutality, lawlessness and inexplicable hope.
Jamal and his brother, Salim, are Muslim youths who wander throughout a country with no shelter. They, along with their only other friend, Latika, improvise constantly in order to survive. I will not ruin the movie by getting into specifics. I strongly urge you to watch this and discover the film for yourself.
I will say that the acting is flawless. The film covers these "three musketeers" throughout their lives, thus employing the use of several actors. The child actors are actually the most compelling performers. A good portion of the film follows these characters in their early years, which was a risky choice that worked out very well. Without these flashbacks, the story would not have any deep emotional content. I didn't feel like I was watching a movie. I was completely immersed in the story.
There are a lot of subtle things going on here as well- between Jamal feigning a proper English accent while moonlighting as a tour guide at the Taj Majal for the benefit of the Western tourists, to the skeptical police detective's "interview" with Jamal that guided the majority of the film. Each scene feels like a look into what really takes place in certain parts of India.
But the fable aspect of the film works too. Jamal is an agent of hope, but he's not a foolish optimist. He has a destiny, to save his true love, Latika. But, like most people, he doesn't have a plan. Instead, Jamal observes everything around him and reacts according to instinct. And his instincts are not contrived. Conceptually, this movie is on such thin ice that one "Hollywood" convention would betray the whole effort. There's a difference between things conveniently falling into place and events happening for a reason. And because it consistently goes for the latter, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a success.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Santa and I work on Christmas- he with the delivering of gifts, me with the punches. Today, I cite a local attorney who found himself in trouble with the law. And yes, he threw the first punch (allegedly). Click here to read more!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
But for all my anger towards mankind, I possess an equally powerful love of the animal kingdom. I get really fucking weepy at movies involving animals in dramatic situations. A couple of years ago, I saw "Two Brothers" a movie about a pair of tiger cubs who happened to be born of the same mother (hence their titular reference). And about a half-hour into the movie, things got ruff for the cubs, so much so that I had to get up and walk out. That's right, I walked out of the movie because the cute, fuzzy cubs were in distress. It was a kids movie and I couldn't make it through the first-half of the show.
So, earlier today WPIX was playing "Benji the Hunted" (1987)- a movie about a small-breed mutt with a really big heart. And a really big set of cojones too. The movie starts out with Benji finding himself stranded in the wilderness. He happens to come across a hunter who shoots a cougar, orphaning her four cougar cubs. Benji decides to involve himself with these orphans, despite the obvious risk to his own safety from predators in the wild. The next 70 minutes or so involve Benji trying to keep the cubs out of danger (unfortunately one of the cubs doesn't fare that well).
Like other great action-movie heroes, Benji improvises a lot. He's resourceful, gutsy and deep-down maybe a little crazy. You could say that Benji is a dog-version of Mel Gibson's character from the "Lethal Weapon" movie series. You see, Benji has no family in this one. He's stranded, kind of a dog-drifter going through the motions of life. But upon seeing those cougar cubs, Benji finds a new purpose in life. He becomes single-minded in protecting these cats. And by the movie's end, when he succeeds in reunited the cubs with their mother (this part of the movie was unclear, we were led to believe the mother was killed in the opening, so the cougar at the end could be their Aunt Doris) Benji asks for no reward. Nor does he want to become a member of the cougar population (I mean these movies have to retain some credibility!). Benji is just doing his job. And damn, if he doesn't lose many a night's sleep over the one cub that didn't make it. We like our heroes tortured- Bauer loses his wife, Benji loses cougar cub #4 to a bird of prey.
And that's where the brilliance of "Benji the Hunted" exists- it has adopted the best conventions of other '80's action movies to the animal-adventure genre without suffering from their faults. The advantage this movie has is that it's a completely cinematic experience. There's hardly any dialogue in this film. 90% of the action takes place with barks, growls and yelps going off. The movie's plot is engrossing without any maudlin declarations of love or devotion. There is no plucky sidekick making wisecracks. And not once does Benji grumble "I'm gettin' too old for this shit."
I'm not saying this is the best movie of the last 20 years. It's not even on the top 300 movies of the last 20 years. But it's a unique genre of films that I personally find fascinating. I mean, they had a cougar and a small-breed dog interacting with one another in the same frame! And how did they get the wolf to play an asshole so convincingly? If you find yourself nodding along while reading this review, go watch "Benji the Hunted" and see a real action star earning your adoration.
Friday, December 19, 2008
On our affiliate blog "People I Wanna Punch" the big snowstorm has inspired today's post. Go check it out.
Man, I got no reason to post this other than to brag that I have the best dogs ever. And on this day, they look especially regal. Bow down before my huskies, Jessie and Sophie! Kneel before DOGS!
(Imagine how annoying I'll be when I have kids...)
Saturday, December 13, 2008
See, I just hooked up my old SONY stereo after having it stored away for the past few years. This is a 15 year-old mini hi-fi system-- my high school and college stereo. The thing has a tape deck for crissake! But it was also a breakthrough sound system for its time, with 100 watts of power, 3-way shelf speakers and nifty options like DBFB (dynamic bass feed back) and artificial surround sound (which has tremendous depth). This little guy is the Muggsy Bogues of home stereos.
Well, after some searching for its (removable) power cord, I was able to set this thing up in no time. It now sits atop my file cabinet in the home office. I was able to find the right cables to hook up my iPod to it as well. No more listening to music on my computer. It's like I reconnected with an old friend.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I recall FOX's terrible (and ubiquitous) ad campaign kicking off a show where a furious, counter-culture doctor with a scruffy beard and walking cane yelled to anybody who cared to listen "You're risking a patient's life!" I, like Bill Simmons, found the whole thing pretty silly on its surface. So, when friends told me they thought the show was actually decent, I wrote them off as being jagoffs. I do not listen to my friends well at all.
But I get internally uppity with stuff like that all of the time. If something is popular, I generally become skeptical of it for no reason in particular. If something is a trend, it usually pisses me off. I've never watched "Survivor", "CSI" or "The King of Queens." I don't like 99.9% of hip-hop, country or anything that lands in the top 40. And I'm sorry but "The Lord of the Rings" movies sucked. I know a lot of people loved those movies, but they were bloated, melodramatic and painfully sentimental films. It's a story about a bunch of dudes fighting over a piece of jewelry. I don't watch the Bravo network for the same reasons, people.
So, I'm a stick in the mud. And sometimes (not often) I'll take back my snap judgment on something. Now, don't get me wrong, "House" is not God's gift to television programming. It's formulaic and... well really formulaic. But the formula is durable and works. And that's the mark of good entertainment. Thanks to the USA network (words I never thought I'd write) I have had a chance to get sucked in.
Why do I like this show? Because Gregory House, M.D. is a prick-bastard version of Sherlock Holmes. The show is a fantasy play featuring what would happen if one guy knew he had leverage in a situation and used it to the hilt in every way possible. House is a mean, deceitful, drug addict and he's usually right. He's the guy I want to be for an hour at a time. I'd love to hobble about, loaded on Vicodin, telling people that they're idiots (I'm a low-grade misanthrope with a side-order of anarchist). But I need to keep my job (in this economy, especially) so I skip out on being the *real* me and leave the theatrics to guys like Gregory House and Jack Bauer.
Therefore, I am tendering this formal apology to "House." You sold me, 4 years after the fact. Now, could somebody get the USA network to stop running the same 3 promos during each break? I don't care about "Psyche", "Monk" or "The Starter Wife"... (yet).
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
1. Five names I goes by: L-Roy (a work nickname), The Mayor (a law school nickname), "The Ad-man" (a family nickname), "Day-Ad" (what my mother called me growing up when she tried calling out my name, but accidentally started with my brother David's name first), and Puff (what my friend Jenn calls me, and no, it has nothing to do with drugs. I have poofy hair).
2. Three things I'm (NOT) wearing right now: No watch, no wedding band and no belt (rushed out of the house and forgot it this AM).
3. Two things I want very badly at the moment: A rib roast and a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle's bourbon.
4. Three people who will probably fill this out: I DO NOT PUSH THESE MEMES ON OTHERS.
5. Two things I did last night: I looked up pictures of women in the Israeli Army for an hour and I watched Heroes as well (Rickey, you're right, it's picking up some steam).
6. Two things I ate today: A cheeseburger and thin ginger cookies.
7. Two people I last talked to on the phone: One of my clients, and my mother, who told me of a dog that rescued another dog off a highway after being hit by a car in Chile.
8. Two things I'm going to do tomorrow: Eat a bagel (Wed. is bagel day at work) and play with my dogs.
9. Two longest car rides: Not sure to be honest- maybe a drive to NH I took as a kid from NY and the other has to be my (multiple) trips to Montreal for bachelor party goodness. I got one more of those left in me, Rickey.
10. Two of my favorite beverages: Chocolate milkshakes and a good scotch.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Seriously, what the heck was "24: Redemption" about? In a vacuum, this is a very strange "movie." But despite it being barely comprehensible, I loved every earth-tone minute of this show. Why? Because last night was like running into an old flame you hadn't seen in years. The second you see that person, you go "Oh yeah, now I remember!" Afford me some wiggle-room here on the obvious homoerotic corner I've painted myself into, but seeing Jack Bauer carrying on in the fictitious African nation of Sengala was a moment of revelation- Jack Bauer lives, and so does "24."
While Sutherland is by far the best thing about this show, its weakest elements are still nagging. "24" cannot write politics. I'm sorry, but the Noah Daniels/Alison Taylor stuff was dreadful. And even though it was only a few minutes total, their scenes were grinding and painful to sit through. Gone are the days of David Palmer and his charismatic handling of his two-faced First Lady. Now, we get people sipping the obligatory scotch and talking in hushed tones about absolutely NOTHING. I drink scotch. Scotch is my friend. You, "24" have no clue what to do with scotch.
Other notes: Gil Bellows was pretty good as the morally ambiguous Embassy dude with the thick glasses. I wear thick glasses myself, so I identified with his difficult choices. And I think he wanted to take up the lady on her offer to do "anything" to let her into the Embassy (a wacky moment only "24" could dare to seriously portray). As for Jon Voight... well, there are 2 Jon Voights, I've realized: There's the one that eats snakes and the one that lies on his taxes. While it would have been cool to get the "Anaconda" Voight for "24" I had a feeling we would see the "Enemy of the State" version instead. Too bad... but I'll take any Voight they can spare us.
We got to see a lot of "The Jack Sack" last night. And how about his new friend, "The Jack Satchel"? That bag can hold everything! Bauer looked like a surfer dude walking home from Trader Joe's after doing a week's worth of grocery shopping. But that's all gravy. The gap between last season's emotional breakdown and this year's newly-energized ass-kicking machine Bauer was accomplished last night. Thank you for the 2 additional hours of Bauer. Now, let's bring on the new season.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I'll have reactions to the 2-hr t.v. movie as well. And here's Amy Vernon's advanced review.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"Quantum of Solace" is, as the title seems to indicate, a very British movie about vengeance. As an American, my idea of revenge is taking someone out to the NJ Turnpike and, well if you've seen "Goodfellas" you get the idea. Well, picking up right after the end of "Casino Royale," Bond is pissed but he's also single-minded. He wants to figure out why (or whether) Vesper Lynd betrayed him, and more importantly who put her up to it.
I won't go into detail about the plot any further than that, but I will say that you need to pay attention while watching the movie. Bond rapidly fills his passport with locales that blend together in a series of violent encounters. This movie is brutal. Bond comes out at the end looking like something not quite human. But beneath the dirt, blood and anger there is a focus and calm that is never lost. Daniel Craig solidifies his standing as one of the best (if not the best) actors to ever play this character. When Bond confronts M (after going "rogue!" Sound familiar?) following a particularly rough outing, we see Bond through M's eyes and we know that he is a necessary evil for her. While brutal and unpredictable, he is also dedicated and unrelenting. Craig sells this all the way.
How's the villain? Not great, not terrible, just someone you want to see get punched. Dominic Greene is kind of a "regional vice president" of terror. He is by no means the head of the secret organization Bond discovers, but that doesn't mean he should be spared a proper ass-kicking. Yet again, Bond's spy buddy across the pond, Felix Leiter, is given a nice (but too brief) cameo. And as for the Bond girls... they are magnificent.
"Quantum of Solace" is a good movie. It doesn't come close to exceeding "Casino Royale" the way "The Dark Knight" surpassed "Batman Begins." Even so, based on the plot, I get the feeling like we are going to get some real payoff in the next Bond movie. "Quantum of Solace" has a middle chapter feel. If anything, this is an entertaining action movie with a building sense of intrigue. It's an enjoyable Bond. Go see it.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Even during Obama's victory speech last week, the President-elect dipped into "Honest Abe's Greatest Hits" when he said "We are not enemies, but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection." It's a good quote, and if it was the only time Obama quoted Lincoln, I wouldn't complain.
But it's not just Obama. So many politicos (politicians, commentators, anything in-between) sit around tables, under unflattering lighting, and toss around Lincoln like a church collection basket. Doris Kearns Goodwin, John Meecham, Michael Beschloss, Walter Isaacson, your uncle Steve, the guy at the coffee shop, etc. All of these "Barnes & Noble intellectuals" throw Lincoln out there like some badge of legitimacy. It's almost to imply "Well, if Lincoln said it, it must be true!"
This kind of Lincoln-worship is silly. And what's worse, it has become so constant that it actually dilutes what the man said. Just now, I can hear a manager at IHOP saying to his unruly wait staff "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Come on, people-- back away from the Lincoln! It's time to make a little more effort in the quotation department. And Mr. Obama, try throwing us a curveball like quoting James Polk in your Inaugural, where he once said "Well may the boldest fear and the wisest tremble when incurring responsibilities on which may depend our country's peace and prosperity, and in some degree the hopes and happiness of the whole human family."
But I fear the unoriginal, repetitive Lincoln-quoting will continue. This rhetorical piggy-backing robs us of honesty. I don't think William Howard Taft was quoting Lincoln when he said "Politics, when I am in it, it makes me sick." But based on how politicians behave, I'm sure both men agreed with that sentiment.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
If you enjoyed "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" there is some required reading at Geoff Boucher's film blog at the LA Times-- he conducts an in-depth 3-part interview with film director Christopher Nolan on the Batman series. Nolan needs to do a third Batman movie.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
"Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks -- no form of government can render us secure. To suppose liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them."
In other words, we get the government we deserve.
And that's a good starting point in examining this current election. For nearly two years, we have heard appraisals from candidates and media alike regarding the current state of this Union. And in one week, the people will "speak" with their decisive vote on the question: Who is best to lead our nation for the next 4 years?
So where to begin? With an issue? In assessing a candidate's character? This is your focal point to choose. For myself, I begin with a belief- and that is my devotion to liberty. Liberty is a word so often spoken that its meaning loses its definition, much like "love" or "happiness." But unlike other words, liberty is a concrete idea. Liberty is the condition where one acts of his or her own free will. From liberty comes many basic elements we often take for granted- the freedom of speech, to possess property and socio-economic rights. Grandiose and simplistic as that may sound, you need not look farther than your own daily routine to understand its effect on your life.
My daily reminder comes every time I drive to work. I take a highway that has been consistently under construction for the past 10-plus years. I hate the condition of this route- with concrete barriers, tight turns and a dangerous series of calamities waiting to unfold. And, not too surprisingly, there are many accidents along this highway. People lose their time, property and in some cases their lives because of this absurd situation. And I can tell you that over the course of the past 17 months (the time I've driven this route daily), nothing significant has been done to move this "construction" to a conclusion.
For kicks, I went to the New York State Department of Transportation website to get some info on this fiasco and this is what I found:
I-287 Reconstruction Project, a $150 million rehabilitation effort [Author's note: in 2004 , the DOT estimated this "phase" of construction would cost $40 million] designed to improve and upgrade 1.8 miles of the Cross Westchester Expressway from Interchange 6 (in White Plains) to Interchange 8 (in Harrison), including many of the ramps, bridges and overpasses in the area.This, coming from the same government that spent $54 million of our dollars recently to answer the question: What do we do about the aging Tappan Zee Bridge? It took the State 8 years to decide "We'll replace the bridge with a new one." What a revolutionary notion! Unfortunately, not a single blueprint was drafted, and not a square-inch of asphalt was poured out of that expense.
This project is essential to ensuring the safety and efficiency of the Cross Westchester Expressway, a vital transportation artery that carries more than 120,000 vehicles per day.
Initiated in August 2006 [Author's note: starting in 1998 it was a several mile stretch leading up to this area that was under construction, but they make it sound like this roadwork just happened recently!], the Project is expected to be completed in late 2009 or the first half of 2010, with the goal of making this busy roadway safer for travelers and less disruptive for surrounding neighborhoods.
Are my politics based on my compounding road-rage? Partially! But seriously, I see this as another necessary idea (repairing infrastructure) being perverted into a scurrilous example of government waste. Even if this project came in at its budgeted $150 million (very doubtful), that would mean each inch of roadway would cost $1,315. In a state that complains of a $5 billion budget shortfall for 2009, I am beginning to understand why one of the wealthiest states in the entire world is cash-poor.
And that brings us to the point of this tale. I have not paid any attention to this roadwork boondoggle up until very recently. As a taxpayer and a voter, I blindly surrendered my liberty (money, time, property) to the government. The result of my (and my fellow citizens') decade-long ignorance is undeniable-- and well-deserved. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a tirade against "big government" or "tax and spend" politicians. That sort of talk is meaningless, boilerplate nonsense. What I discuss here is a simple call for us to think more about our roles as citizens, because that thought process is the beginning of how we should approach all public issues. As Madison says, our government is only as good as its citizenry.
This does not require that we march on our government to protest its failures. Instead, it should mean that we reassess our individual criteria for evaluating any candidate for public office. If each of us applies a more thoughtful and discerning set of measurements to these public servants, we will change the way we view government. And that is change from the bottom-up (not from a sign on a podium). Sure, I would love for a leader to arrive that could deliver us into a better age of prosperity and security. Unfortunately, that sort of thing doesn't happen in a vacuum. Movements are comprised of people-- leaders are just there to direct traffic.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
My take: This is "Jack Bauer and the Temple of Doom"-- swapping out little Indian children for little African kids. I doubt we'll get a plucky sidekick like Short Round telling Bauer that there's no time for love (boo!) but I also doubt that Kate Capshaw's decibal-crushing noisebox will show up either (yay!).
Could be awesome... could be not so awesome... but I'm glad to see The Jack Sack made the trip to Africa!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Well, to be honest, I've been feeling less frisky lately. There's oh so much about which to crack-wise, given a presidential election featuring two compellingly terrible candidates. But America has lost its "Devil May Care" attitude. I've seen it personally, speaking with people about their concerns. Gone are the days of "taking it on the chin." Now, at the first sign of a crisis, it's talk of a "Great Depression" and the "end of capitalism." And this malaise has become a fetishistic hobby for too many people. The irrationality breaking loose is reminiscent of an angry mob scene from "The Simpsons." Which one of you malcontents is Dr. Nick?
So, in an effort to ignore the hysteria, I've decided to start talking again about things less pre-packaged. And through my web meanderings, looking for something wholesome and insane, I found the perfect artifact: President Ronald Reagan getting misty-eyed about world peace. The Gipper isn't talking about a conventional global unity- no, that would be too balanced and sane. Reagan was thinking of how we'll join hands when the aliens come knocking:
Yes, Reagan was crazy. But aside from aliens invading Earth, are we ever getting our act together? Yeah, exactly.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I sat through this 2.5 hour epic crime drama and felt uneasy throughout, kind of like watching "24" when it was on television (remember those days?). And it was a great experience too, not knowing what was going to happen at any given moment. The girl dies, the heroes lose, the bad guy successfully manipulates the situation to its bitter and tragic end. If I wasn't such an easy mark for this movie (I loved director Christopher Nolan's previous entry BATMAN BEGINS), I might protest this as some post-modern, gaudy emo-fest. But that's not the film we got here. No, THE DARK KNIGHT diminishes the superhero genre by elevating the material.
One doesn't need much reminding- the world is dangerous. Our post-9/11 fear of chaos may have lessened from its peak from several years ago, but speaking for myself, I still haven't forgotten my fears which were formed on that day. Nolan and his writer-brother Jonathan Nolan exploit these emotions rather shamelessly (and effectively) to drive the point home-- that a guy in a batsuit fighting a malcontent psycho clown can be some pretty serious business.
Gone are the indulgences of the typical superhero movie. There is no plucky sidekick (sorry, Robin), there are no hybrid man-animal villains (sorry, Man-Bat!). What we have is The Joker-- the world's worst kind of villain. He is a man who seeks to turn a system against itself. He is a villain that would, in another part of the world, set up roadside bombs and attack U.S. troops in a foreign land. He is someone who does not seek a fortune or a seat of power. He is simply someone who wishes "to watch the world burn." This is someone that we see every single day on the news. It is an enemy that we don't fully understand. We either attempt to avoid this type of chaos, or as in the case of Batman, face it directly. That threshold decision is an important one- it defines the manner in which a society functions (and what that society is willing to tolerate).
Just as in the real world, you don't get a clean victory (or any victory for that matter) from fighting this kind of opponent. One small win against The Joker is quickly erased by a drastic and tragic outcome. This relates to the theme of escalation that Police Commissioner Jim Gordon warns of at the end of the previous Batman movie. When you bring a force upon a situation, you trigger an opposing one. Batman helped to create The Joker by arriving in Gotham City. Is this a not-so-subtle allegory to what is transpiring in the Middle East? If only the moral questions were that simple! Goodbye Gotham, welcome to the real world!
And that's what THE DARK KNIGHT does best- it asks those moral questions and shows when the good guys stumbling towards the answers. By the film's end, Batman chooses a path I never expected or witnessed in any other film- the hero chooses to become the villain. It is a complex decision, but one which redefines what true heroism means. The end strips away the remaining fragments of a comic book story and leaves us with a truly inspiring example. This is mythology for a different kind of world, one that cannot be broken down into four-colors and neat panels on a page. And at the same time, the characters still hold true to their source material, showing that the ideals of decades past still resonate somewhat. In many respects that is comforting. But to bridge that gap, it takes a filmmaker to translate the characters into a relevant form, dare I say rendering the conventional superhero genre obsolete. Gone is the Caped Crusader, long live The Dark Knight!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Now, I know there are some of you that like the furry, red crackhead. And you're probably the same person that thinks his incessant high-pitched talking is cute. Yeah. Elmo is to me what Mary Hart was to Kramer on "Seinfeld." I have a furious, uncontrollable dislike of the guy. Anytime I hear Elmo do anything (he mostly laughs like a drunk senior citizen) I want to strangle kittens. Baskets full of kittens.
Well, I have to say that Elmo's "creator," Kevin Clash, has shrewdly established a bullet-proof empire. Elmo appears on talk shows, news programs and he even testified before Congress on funding music-based programs. That's right, a red-haired muppet went to Congress. And he gave sworn testimony. You know, about 50-plus years ago, the House Un-American Activities Committee would have had a field day with Elmo. And J. Edgar Hoover would have a file thicker than the phone book on him too. Imagine the proceedings:
CONGRESSMAN: Elmo, if that's your *real* name-- are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
ELMO: HAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh BOY! HAHAHAHAHAH! Elmo loves Congress!
CONGRESSMAN: Lock this red bastard up and throw away the key!
And sadly, Elmo was more truthful and respectable than that multiple Cy Young-winning "juicehead" Roger Clemens. Think about that for a second. (pause) My mind cannot wrap itself around this world anymore. Have a good week.
Friday, June 13, 2008
And here's Mr. Voight giving a little backstory to the classic "Seinfeld" episode about... his car:
Monday, May 12, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Just to recap, Season 7 won't start airing until January, 2009. In order to keep us from committing mass acts of violence and self-mutilation, Fox has wisely decided to throw us a slab of raw meat in the form of a 2-hour television movie, set to air sometime this Fall. And said movie will have Jack Bauer yelling "Dammit!" to a whole new continent of people, this one being Africa. Remember, the original concept for Season 7 was to have Bauer go to Africa, something the studio shot down when it became logistically impossible given the show's real-time format.
On a personal note: I'm losing my ability to get excited for this show at the moment. I know when clips start airing and previews are put on the web that all will be good again. But talking about these things so far in advance is... well, I hate to say it, but part of me doesn't believe this will all happen. We had a series of things come up to stop Season 7 already. And maybe I'm being a little paranoid, but who's to say that nothing else won't go wrong? Something strange is hanging over this show at the moment. Until I see all of these things actually happen, I'm going to remain skeptical.
Monday, April 21, 2008
What do you do when there's no "24" to watch? Join a community volunteer group? Reconnect with old friends? Write the great American novel? No, no, no-- that's all way too ambitious. The answer to this question is quite simple: you grow a mustache.
My office is a place where college never seemed to end for a lot of people. I've been out of undergrad since well... since Bill Clinton was president. But being in marketing and advertising makes for a very playful and downright unprofessional work environment. So, a handful of us were lamenting a couple of weeks ago about the death of the mustache-- a once proud style of the accomplished man. One person asked "Who was the last sitting president to wear a mustache?" The answer: William Howard Taft, who incidentally was our last portly commander-in-chief too. That's right, in nearly 100 years the mustache has been in exile from The White House. But the mustache's decline is further widespread. '70s porn stars apparently ruined it for the rest of us.
So, a bunch of us here at work decided to make an effort to revive the faded 'stache. We are engaging in a mustache-growing contest. This thing started 2 weeks ago and the judging (which will be voted on by all the females in the office) will take place on May 2nd. Yours truly is growing a beard in the meantime and will shave down to the mustache for one day only. Am I a coward for doing it that way? Yes. But maybe after May 2nd, I'll realize the error of my ways and keep it the sucker for good. Hmmm....
Here's where I am as of now:
Monday, April 14, 2008
Washington, our nation's first president, is a man who I think goes greatly unknown for many people nowadays. Yes, we know the legend of the man; his cherry tree antics and his wooden teeth (which weren't really wooden). But his presidency is seemingly lost in the fabric of political history. He is our only president who didn't belong to a political party. And true to his lack of a political affiliation, the man was actually quite opposed to the (even then) nastiness of the two-party system.
The biggest challenge facing the United States during President Washington's time in office was to keep the states united. This country was not only brand new, but it was fragile in many ways. The historic separation of the colonies was an institutional problem for those trying to establish (and legitimize) a national government. And if you think people were opposed to government intrusion today, try asking your average "American" what he or she felt of a federal government in the 1790s. It is nothing short of a miracle that the Constitution was ratified.
But Washington was the face and name to that national unity. Because he didn't ascribe to a specific set of party beliefs, he was able to bring all parties to the table. And he ran a unity government, including vehement opponents within his own cabinet. Alexander Hamilton, who was by all accounts an asshole, was hell-bent on forcing federal strength on the states. And Thomas Jefferson, a hypocritical back-stabber, was selfishly pushing French politics and Southern States matters. And Washington sat at the center, guiding both sides to compromise. This man was the epitome of a leader. And what's even better than his ability to engage those who were so passionate and unwavering, was the fact that Washington knew what his reputation and standing meant to the country. He was a substantial force, he was his own institution, begging the nation to be thoughtful in its passions. And his power, significant and unmatched by others, was something he used without selfishness or personal gain.
This is not to say that Washington was a pure soul. He, like any other politician, cared a great deal about how others viewed him. When he signed the Jay Treaty, which effectively put America on the side of the English in their fight with the French, Washington lost a lot of his Teflon coating. Jefferson, who was far too deeply enthralled by the French Revolution to be rational at the time, turned on Washington in the most unfair of ways-- by feeding stories to the press that the President was feeble-minded and not in control of his government. Washington was greatly hurt by the betrayal, and obsessed over it until his final days in office. But the example of how Washington's political fortunes soured a bit, shows exactly what has always been a part of our nation's political history.
Politics is not a process that always produces the right results or judgments. Politics is the art of the possible, which is often achieved through the techniques of distortion and hyperbole. If you feel frustrated by the current political climate (and the never-ending campaign cycle) I say to you "Look to President Washington." He called party rivalry excessive and in danger of becoming "a fire not to be quenched." Yes, he understood that people would have differing opinions on issues, but he sought to avoid the party platform mentality, where you were either one thing or another. Let each issue be decided on its own merits. Imagine that? An ad hoc treatment of the issues themselves, free from party posturing.
Now, I contrast Washington's example (played to perfection by David Morse in the "John Adams" mini-series) with the character of Jack Stanton in "Primary Colors" (the 1997 movie not-so-loosely based on Bill Clinton's first run for the presidency). Both were on TV today. Both shook my brain by their stark differences. 200-plus years later, I think we need to give President Washington some more thought. Unity is not a dead idea.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
So, if we do the math, today is April 1st, which would put new episodes of 24 are only five months away! Stay tuned for more news on Season 7.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
So, there's nothing new for me to make fun of in 24-land But I have a clip that some seriously unhealthy minds put together spoofing those dreadful Jedi Council scenes from Star Wars Episode I. Just a note, the Yoda stuff seems ridiculously stupid at first, but like an Austin Powers movie, it grows on you as the joke continues. And then, if you're like me, you'll laugh so hard you'll almost choke several times. Seriously, it took me a good ten minutes to finish this 4 minute clip (which is borderline NSFW, by the way). Please, enjoy:
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
But was that news premature? The folks at the 24 "HQ" blog state that the Hollywood Reporter ran the story before a final deal was done. I'm unclear as to their sources, but if they have inside intel on this, they're not elaborating.
I'm not particularly worried about the movie not happening because there was no denial from FOX or the production team regarding the story. Again, like the headline states: nothing is new!
I'l be putting together something a little more creative hopefully tonight.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Hello Whore-mongering Friends!
We joke, of course. We are The Republic of Uzbekistan, we always ready for quick funny!
So, I check my internets to see if I catch any new responses to my Match.com profile when I see news report that your Emperor of Newest York has problem getting free sex from his wife. This remind me of your Clinty-President from years ago. And of your Senator who tap dance in toilet seat for male-hugging. I think American wives no like to give you happy!
Boy, I tell you, I have seven wives and is that the truth! But that's why I go and find new wife. Otherwise, I have to go to whore store like your Emperor Spitzy. Pay for bed-time with woman? What's next, pay for used Soviet landmine? Like by cousin Hamza say, Americans can squeeze a ruble out of a Yak's toenail. But we love you! Oh God, please send us some shoes!
When I was out on pidgeon hunt earlier, I think about this problem with American wife. I ask myself "Could I ever pay five thousand American dollars for pleasureness?" And then I realize that same money could pay for new hospital in my coun-try. Or ten previously-owned certified tanks! I take the tanks, of course. What good is hospitals here in Uzbekistan? We can't kill rebels with hospital!
We think you confused about love in America. We see movie "The Break Up" with Vincy Vawn and Skinny Aniston and we wonder why you have big fight about lemons and pool tables. You have so much in stomaches. But you not happy with lemons! You want more! Always with the more! I know, we the same way-- last week I ate a baby vole I find in trash by my house. This was great! I said "I want another vole!" Then I realize I sound like lady on Oprah show, asking for a liposucky. Sure! Oh, Oprah, I eat too much, now I need you to take it out of my hiney! Ah, Americans, so funny!
We think Oprah is the problem. She rule your country and you not see it! Maybe you send Oprah here so we can eat her? Please?
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Nice marmot, indeed.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Yep. I'm Michelle Dessler. Now, excuse me while I go check myself out in the mirror...
Friday, March 07, 2008
Security Guy #1: Do you think we have any control over this situation?
Security Guy #2: I don't think you should be existential today.
Security Guy #1: Maybe if we didn't wear red shirts, things would be better.
Security Guy #2: Or maybe we should actually plug in that metal detector, eh?
Guy in Caf: What time did Bauer get to the office today?
Girl in Caf: About 4AM, I think. Why?
Guy in Caf: (looks at watch) Okay, that was about 18 hrs ago. I'm going out. Be back in about 6 hours.
Girl in Caf: What are you-
Guy in Caf: See ya! (leaves)
Guy #1 near Chloe's desk: I can't tell if I want to hit that or not.
Guy #2 near Chloe's desk: Dude! I totally know what you're talking about!
Guy #1 near Chloe's desk: I mean, her face is...
Guy #2 near Chloe's desk: Beautiful, I know!
Guy #1 near Chloe's desk: Wha?
Terrorist #1 underneath CTU: Man, it's like they practically want us to come in underground.
Terrorist #2 underneath CTU: Look, there's a bunch of guns here from the last guys who came through!
Terrorist #1 underneath CTU: Wait a sec. That means they didn't make it out!
Terrorist #2 underneath CTU: Duh, we're terrorists, not bank robbers!
Terrorist #1 underneath CTU: Oh yeah.
Helicopter pilot: Hey, Jack- you don't have anymore hidden relatives left, do you?
Jack Bauer: Why do you ask?
Helicopter pilot: Oh, I'm just trying to figure my odds of survival at the moment.
Jack Bauer: Don't worry-- you're in a helicopter. We don't have the budget to blow this thing up.
Helicopter pilot: Phew.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
But the term "tv-movie" conjures up images of Lifetime Television. Is Jack Bauer in a unloving marriage with a man who may have a secret life? Or is Jack working out his image issues from when he was a teenager? Does Jack have an eating disorder? We all know that he never eats, but why? Because he can't eat and wear pants at the same time?
In fact, a quick Google-tron search brought up a "Lifetime Movie Title Generator." Punching in all the relevant data into this site, the title for 24 Season 6.5 should be "My Eating Disorder Came First: The Life of Jack Bauer." Oh man, this could be good!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
"Look up 15 of your favorite films on IMDb and take a quote from each. List them below. When someone guesses the quote correctly, cross it off the list. Leave a comment with your answers. And NO CHEATING (Googling)."Oh, and most of these quotes have profanity. Enjoy!:
2) There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.
6) My grandfather used to work for your grandfather. Of course the rates have gone up.
8) You killed my father, your ass is mine!
9) The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Again, the challenge is to eat 4 Baconator sandwiches within 15 minutes and no water allowed. If anyone manages this feat, they get $100 (USD). And a t-shirt featuring the Baconator. The showdown happens this afternoon. I will absolutely update you on the events afterwards.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, no one came close to the final prize. Brian reached 2.5 Baconators and Tom finished 3 within the 15 minute time limit. The guy in our office who put up the money gave them each an extra five minutes and Brian caught up to a third Baconator, but he was sweating profusely... I was worried for them both. But, the sponsor was a true gentlemen, and he paid BOTH participants for their efforts regardless. That's a class move! I will post pictures and video when they become available. Literally my whole company came to see this spectacle.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
A college student, driving drunk, repeatedly slammed his car into another vehicle, claiming that the man was a terrorist. The kid, Edgar Sullivan, also identified himself to the police as "Jack Bowers, a FBI agent and a Secret Service agent." And Sullivan got away with the whole deal when his victim failed to appear in court. Amazing.
Who can top that, right? Well, how about an exchange student studying in Egypt who apparently doesn't know how to feed himself? We all know Bauer can't eat and fight terror at the same time. But when Jonathan McCullum was hosted by a Coptic Christian family that didn't eat for several months (a part of their ritualistic lifestyle, apparently), McCullum was too dumb to recognize that he was in the process of losing nearly 60 lbs. "The weight loss concerned me, but I wanted to stick out the whole year," he said in an interview. Such staggering stupidity!
So, please, please, please, if you're thinking of doing as Jack Bauer does, don't! You're not made of the same stuff. Don't try to stop terrorists and please, don't skip meals. Okay?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Yep, that's a nuclear detonation with a blimp in the foreground. The US Department of Energy ran some nuke tests back in 1957. The tests were run to see how airships reacted in a nuclear blast. Think about that for a sec-- our government was curious to know what happens to an aircraft in the blast zone of a nuclear explosion. What you can't see in the picture is that they military also wanted to see what would happen to a box of kittens as well... oh, never mind. Anyway, the test, codenamed "Stokes," was part of "Operation Plumbbob," a series of 29 above-ground detonations carried out at the Nevada Test Site between May and October 1957.
I, for one, and thankful for their efforts. I just put my good-for-nothing, non-nuke-proof blimp on sale this morning. Yet again, government spending has gone somewhere useful!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Anyway, I won't bore you all with the usual comments about the winners, losers, dresses or musical numbers. Why, you ask? Because you're here at THE JACK SACK! We deal in blood, anger and sarcasm. So, with that being said, let me unleash upon you my manifesto of why Jon Stewart is overrated as a comic/entertainer/intellect.
I don't know when the heck this took place, but at some point over the past several years, women of a undefineable demographic all went collectively insane and started to think that the mediocre comic talent that is Jon Stewart was some sort of genius. And I do point out women in this rant because it is you, you lovely, fascinating and otherwise brilliant creatures that brought this scourge of Jon Stewart upon our world. He is not a complete bum, I'll grant you that, but I can honestly say that the guy is not as smart, handsome and ideal a father to your children as you probably think.
Jon Stewart squeezes a laugh out of you and you probably don't even know it. Think about it-- ever notice how he does the googley-eyes to the camera to ellicit laughter? Or how about when Stewart throws in a cutesy high-pitched voice to ressurect a joke after it bombs? And have you noticed how he resorts to self-deprecating remarks continuously throughout his routine? This is the comic equivalent of urinating on yourself so you don't get booed. Do you think Don Rickles would ever act like this? And so many of you fall for it! I'm waiting for Stewart to come out in a Hugo Chavez red shirt and declare his own nation-state in his studio one of these days. I wouldn't doubt a lot of you women would rush to be a willing subject in his court. Oh, don't roll your eyes at me-- you're thinking about it!
And that brings me to last night's Oscars. Jon Stewart was the host of the ceremony and I have to admit he really sucked more than usual in my opinion. His joke about Dennis Hopper being on drugs was stale. His joke about Jack Nicholson possibly impregnating actresses during the show was also blunt and uninspired. And his political humor was amateurish, which is really a sign of his weakness last night because that is his usual bread-and-butter material. No, ladies and gentlemen, Jon Stewart sucked.
See, my theory on Stewart's popularity (aside from his aforementioned mojo with the females) is that he followed in the footsteps of the most assinine personality imagineable: Craig Kilborn. Now, I appreciate this guy because he was an unapologetic frat-boy. He was a complete and total jerk and he went into realms of absurdity that were truly funny. Is Kilborn funnier than Stewart (independent of their respective writing staffs)? Probably not. But Kilborn never kissed your toes to make you laugh. No, he went up there and if he bombed, he took it like a man. Stewart, you are no man.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
1. Jack Bauer Decides Fidel Castro Is Done. Why did the Bay of Pigs invasion fail? Because Jack Bauer was split genetically between his father's seed and his mother's egg at the time (Bauer was born in 1966 according to his Apostles). Ridding the world of Castro's rule has always been on Jack's list of things to do, but a few things popped up along the way (the terrorists, the dead wife, more terrorists, some nukes, some nerve gas, a treacherous President, some dead Presidents, etc). Anyway, the show's hiatus let Bauer do a little Spring cleaning down in the "Holiday Isle of the Tropics." Details are sketchy, but we all know the results-- Castro has been retired. ¡Viva Jack Bauer!
2. Jack Bauer Destroys Mysterious Spy Satellite Carrying The Plague Of The Apocalypse. In case you're still hiding under your desk, we've got good news to report-- Jack Bauer has destroyed the spy satellite that was set to crash into your home in a few days. Bauer heard of the U.S. Navy's plan to send a computer-guided rocket to take out the errant satellite and insisted on doing his part. He personally guided the missile to its intended target in outer space. The Defense Department released an official photo of the mission. Thanks to Jack Bauer, we have been spared exposure to the so-called "toxic fuel" that was set to rain on us all.
3. Jack Bauer Is Annoyed By The Moon. So, while on his way into orbit to destroy the satellite, Bauer realized he forgot his signature aviator sunglasses. DAMMIT! Annoyed by the bitchin' glare he was catching off of the Moon, Jack decided to move the damned thing... behind the Earth.. out of the sunlight. If you doubt me, check your timelines. The "eclipse" happened at 10:30PM EST. The satellite was destroyed when? Shortly after 10:30PM EST. Don't worry, he put the Moon back where he found it after he was done. After all, the man does like to surf.
Unfotunately, he still has no control over Kim. Stay tuned for more updates on Jack Bauer's new hobbies.
h/t to Haley for instrumental involvement in this article.