Saturday, December 31, 2011


Just a little silliness to close out the year- as Daniel Day-Lewis is filming "Lincoln" for Steven Spielberg, and idea popped into my head to mashup history with some good 'ol fashioned pop culture.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DOCTOR WHO: How I came late to yet another party

I didn't start watching "24" until its fifth season- and through the miracle of DVDs, I caught up on the entire series within a few weeks.  It was during that time that this blog was created-- five years ago almost to the day (5/2/06)!

Well, it's fitting that I show up late to another popular TV show-- one that I disliked for years out of complete ignorance, DOCTOR WHO. The show just appeared so... British, and inaccessible for its goofiness and very long history (nearly fifty years).  Imagine picking up STAR TREK today-- and having to go back through the entire run.  It's intimidating; it's a friggin' side job, in fact!

Nevertheless, it took one episode of the current series to draw me in- the Series 6 (in England they call seasons "series"-- see, really British!) premiere, which aired 4 weeks ago.  The show follows a time traveling being, The Doctor, who takes along a companion (or two) and engages the most offbeat and complicated aliens throughout the Universe.  The show hits almost every genre- horror, sci-fi, historical fiction, etc. It appeals to anyone with some degree of attention deficit disorder.  After a handful of episodes, I was hooked.

Thankfully, Netflix has a lot of the episodes available for streaming.  That means I get to watch nearly all 60 or so episodes starting from 2005 (this is the "modern" DOCTOR WHO era) before I roll up my sleeves and get into the old-school doctors from way back when (50 years of The Doctor... yeah, I have my summer TV planned out).

If any of you have watched the show, please jump in.  I'm considering doing episode reviews (at least the current episodes to start) and maybe retro reviews as my viewings mount up.  And if you've never watched the show before, I strongly recommend you give it a look.

New episodes air on BBC America Saturday nights.  This week, fantasy writer Neil Gaiman pens a special episode.  Advance reviews say new viewers will be able to join the series relatively easily this week.  So, who's interested?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Usama Bin Laden- Dead.

I don't think my personal views on Usama Bin Laden or September 11th are that noteworthy or novel- I'm like many of you in that I remember the day of the attacks vividly and have been absorbing the effects of such for many years thereafter.

My initial reaction to the terrorist attacks of 2001 was intense- a deep sense of sadness and loss of faith in the security of this country.  Living 15 miles away from NYC and having worked at the Twin Towers through November 2000, I had a connection to those events.  There was a hole created by Usama Bin Laden and his subordinates- time fills it in to an extent, but the crater's ridge will always remain visible.

Upon learning of his death today, I was mostly curious as to the details.  I certainly didn't feel patriotic or "proud to be an American."  I'm already proud of our history and its principles.  We live in an age of deconstructionism, pessimism and divisiveness.  The past ten years- where Bin Laden's legacy is its most concentrated-- only served to prove that fact.  Yes, we can find many faults in what we've done since September 11th, but do those mistakes negate the many great achievements from our larger history?  I've grown very tired of the negative piling-on. We can be a great people and we're also screwed up.  We're human-- get over it and move on.

I hope that, beyond the damage it would cause Al Qaeda, this day marks a psychological turning point for us- that we don't have to wonder if this person is still around to set in motion further attacks.  In terms of justice, killing him is a drop in the bucket towards putting things back into balance.  He's one guy- an innovator at his business, but no more important to his organization as Ray Kroc was to McDonald's.  The worldwide business of terrorism is not undone.

This doesn't mean we diminish the death of a criminal who caused great harm to citizens throughout the world.  We should take comfort in knowing that, despite many obstacles and leads going dead cold, we remained loyal to fulfilling the justice owed to this person.  Now, we should think about the bigger issue- does Bin Laden continue to define us or do we find a way to really bury the son-of-a-bitch by uniting to do bigger things again? 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

24 Season 1: 8PM-9PM Outsourced Retro Review

Back after a hiatus that makes the gap between Seasons 6 and 7 seem brief, The Jack Sack™ returns with the beginning of the end of Season 1's Retro Reviews.  Coming this hour, we welcome back the excellent BauerLuver for yet another hilarious, high-energy recap.  I am so very happy to bring this to you and thank you all for being patient over these past few weeks/months(!!!!).

Outsourced Retro Review for 8:00-9:00 PM:

Hello my friends :) Can you believe we are on the last season 1 disc? Time flies when you're having fun, which doesn't include Jack n' co., who are currently having "the longest day of their lives", right? We last left off at a thrilling moment between Jack and Victor Drazen in the uber-creepo prison dungeon thing. So let's jump back in as the clock keeps tickin'.....

David is giving himself air high-fives as he tunes in to the tube to see how awesome the world thinks he is. Not that I blame him of course! The guy has had almost as bad of a day as Jack has. Jack's brainiac of a daughter is currently keeping a small section of prison bench warm. At least she was until some chick named Melanie forces her out. Jack's family just can't get lucky today, right?

David gives yet another butt-kicking speech, this time to his party buddies about this being "OUR" victory. Gotta love you David. You're the bomb! I wanna get a "Palmer for president" bumper sticker! And back on the ranch, Jack must give George a recap on his current predicament, which George fortunately goes along with. After receiving a little morality speech from George about her personal life (c'mon guys, we all know what this is about) Nina is left to be Teri Bauer's tour guide of CTU. Tony's head goes back and forth between Nina and Teri like he's watching tennis as Teri goes all "Where's Kim, Where's Jack, What's going on with my family, etc." Guys, let's look at the bright side. She's not asking who she is anymore, right? At least, Nina seems to agree as she tromps back to work with her manservant, Tony.

Jack is doing super duper cool stuff with his men as they make desperate attempts to break out of the prison. However, this may be easier said then done because some explosives just detonated and the baddies are gonna break in! Jinkies! Zoinks! Scooby-dooby-doo! George gets another smackdown, not from Nina this time, but from Teri. (I know, right?) George plays all nicey-nicey with Mrs. Jack Bauer, but then reveals to his assistant that he doesn't give a darn what happens to Ter Bear as long as she's not in his face. Geez lo' peas. What a jerk. Everybody's so mean on this show.

We then get an extremely uncomfortable and itchy scene, perhaps the worst in the entire season (and if you have been watching the whole season, you'll know that that is saying something.) David goes to check in with some flirty little paragraph writer named Peppermint Patty. Pep. Patty gives some gushy speech about how much she admires David. But that's not the worst of it. David goes along with it and it gets all warm and creepy and weird and stuff. Eew. David please, please, PLEASE don't do anything wrong, creepy, or stupid with this lady. We've loved you all season, DON'T ruin it. PLEASE. But it might just happen, because why would the writers throw this more-than-friends speech unless they had some twisted intent for it? Oh deary dear.

After that ultra-creepy and uncomfortable scene, we return to the real action. While George's reinforcements are on their way, they might not get there in time because Ahhhhhndre's men have officially broken in. This does present an awesome showdown where Jack yells "DROP YOU WEAPONS OR I'LL SHOOT!!!!!!!" at least twenty times. But sadly, the Power of Bauer is officially overpowered by Drazen's men, who don't hesitate to shoot a guy in cold blood. Yikes. Jack -but also the Drazens and co.-are trapped in the underground prison.

But Jack isn't the only one getting a  showdown. His little girl shows a vital chance of having Bauer blood in her veins after giving an awesome retort to that Melanie girl who was bothering her. Kim, welcome to the 24 crew! Keep this up and you'll be working for CTU in a few years (like that'll ever happen, *snort*)

Jack tells Drazen that Victor's "kill-everybody-who's-ever-pissed-me-off-in-the-slightest-or-gotten-in-my-way plan" isn't too hot. For some reason, Victor doesn't agree. While I think Dennis Hopper is overall a marvelous actor, I must comment on the fact that his accent is a little forced and even borderline extreme. But you still get the point he's trying to convey, a point he relays to George, who counters back that America doesn't negotiate with terrorists. George even tells Nina to scat because of her "emotional involvement" but the lady stands her ground and stays put. Go Nina. The guys just love you.

Some other chick in the slammer blames Melanie for smoking pot (which I definitely wouldn't put past her). Anyway, Kim stands up and tells the officer the truth. This inspires Melanie to tell the truth to the officer who busted them how Kim wasn't really involved. Moral of the story? Don't tell lies. The end.

Jack is still trying to persuade Victor to see the light on this situation, but Victor ain't budging. Jack does this super-cool kick move which unfortunately doesn't work, but still looks awesome! Victor gives another rambling rant to Jack, then tells Ahndre "Make sure he doesn't die." You wanna know how Andre responds to this? By kicking an already-injured Jack several times in the ribs. Well, Jack and Victor both have one thing in common: they both have not-too-bright families.

Chapelle tells George to have no mercy and throw a full out assualt to avoid embarrassment, which George mechanically agrees to. Teri is happy for about two seconds after she learns from Tony that Kim is ok, but that all changes after Nina, the Bearer of Ill Tidings, relays the details of Jack's situation. Predictably, Teri gets all weepy and weak again, but Nina is actually the most interesting feature of this scene. We can tell by her tone and cracked-up expression that she truly cares about both Jack and Teri, and we would not be unjustified in saying that Nina is in love with Jack. Too bad for Jack that the amnesia wasn't permanent!

Kim is officially free! Might this day have a happy ending after all? All that needs to happen is Jack getting reunited with his family, which can easily be done in the course of the next three hours. Dare I get my hopes up?

Let's not jump into any conclusions, though. Mike gives a weird pep talk to David which includes (but is not limited to) getting his party face on and not seeking stability from his marriage. Mike, I swear, DO NOT ADD KINDLING TO AN UPCOMING FIRE! That "fire" is currently getting blushy and flirty when David says "Thanks." Patty, you are a dirty little creeper and David, I thought better of you.

The assault teams have arrived, but Jack and the Drazens have Disapparated! (sorry for the Harry Potter references, I just saw the movie the other day.) Anyway, it might take the teams awhile to get in because there are booby-traps made of lasers surrounding the doorways. (How cool is that?) The Drazens have taken Jack put through -shall we say- the back door. Just as they are about to put a bullet into his manly noggin, Jack mentions Alexis and the Drazens decide to let Jack live so that they can use him for information.

Kim, alas, cannot keep her pretty head out of trouble. After a sweet little conversation with mom, Kim's escort police car is attacked, and lo and behold: she is captured AGAIN! How many times can they keep doing this?

This was a good episode, not quite as thrilling as the last, but still good. Jack does some sweet moves, Nina digs them, and Teri is weepy. The usual. But this Patty thing must die. We all know where it is going, and I find it extremely hard to believe that David would do such a thing when all his principles suggest otherwise. Thanks for tuning in, and thanks again to Adam!

Editor's note: Thank you, BL- you've done an awesome job and had me laughing a few times while reading this recap. I especially love the snarkiness directed at Kim.  I think it's almost easy to forget how painfully dumb a teenager she was in these early episodes.  We're talking Snooki-levels of dumb here!