"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

Utility Fog Banner

Lost / Assorted Thoughts
    Sawyer's Cons
  • We've seen Sawyer work three con games:
    1. Cassie
    2. Jack/Locke/The Guns
    3. Prison/Munson

    To me, every one of these scams follows a pattern:
    1. Sawyer ingratiates himself with the victim.
    2. The victim is threatened by an third party. The third party is either in cahoots with Sawyer from the beginning or at the end of the con (the Munson variation, where the Warden is an unwitting accomplice).
    3. The victim panics and usually asks Sawyer to help them.
    4. Sawyer rips off the victim.

    Each con has it's differences, but in my opinion these four steps are constants, especially the outside threat that Sawyer knows more about than the victim. I'm going to keep an eye out for this pattern in the future.

  • Misc
  • What was the deal with the "pacemaker"? Is Benry going to enlist Sawyer into either the big con that the Other's are running or another con on the Losties?

  • Juliet acts inconsistently. In "The Glass Ballerina" Sawyer is convinced that Juliet would have gutshot Kate in cold blood. It certainly looked that way, so let's assume he was right. So why is Juliet so worked up over the death of Colleen, a woman she didn't even like? Is she just playing Jack by pretending to be the damsel in emotional distress?

  • I finally noticed that Desmond's lightning rod saved Claire and Aaron.

  • The Other's Stepford village is on the Big island, not "Alcatraz".

Pork City
Christopher Walken's Three Little Pigs (YouTube)
Via Needcoffee.com

More Proof Dogs Must Love Us
dogs in banana costumes

Via Cute Overload

Not Yummy
Taquitos.net lists The Worst Chips Ever.
Kind of surprising - I mean, what could possibly go wrong with "Humpty Dumpty Sour Cream and Clam Ripple Chips"?

mike.whybark.com provides us with what may be the greatest spam of all time:
"Any bowling ball can figure out a financial spider, but it takes a real razor blade to seek a mating ritual. If a surly pork chop dances with a boiled grizzly bear, then the tape recorder around a stovepipe dies. Now and then, a judge near a tripod borrows money from a minivan defined by the bottle of beer. Another financial photon, the umbrella, and another somewhat polka-dotted CEO are what made America great!

Any vacuum cleaner can organize a rude cloud formation, but it takes a real tornado to bury the pompous polar bear. Now and then, an almost tattered movie theater pours freezing cold water on a satellite beyond some vacuum cleaner. Indeed, a briar patch takes a peek at the hairy squid....."

Funk Follows Function
"This site features the ways in which people modify and re-create technology. Herein a collection of personal modifications, folk innovations, street customization, ad hoc alterations, wear-patterns, home-made versions and indigenous ingenuity. In short -- stuff as it is actually used, and not how its creators planned on it being used. As William Gibson said, "The street finds its own uses for things.""
Street Use
Via MetaFilter

The F Word
"It's sad and confusing not to live in a democracy, anymore. And while it's quite plainly true, it's a bit too unthinkable for most sane people to accept. It goes in the same mental basket as more outlandish (if not unthinkable) thoughts - such as dynamite on the WTC or no airplane crashing into the Pentagon - even though, in this case, it's not conjecture, it's just plain real.

So what I'm coming to grips with is accepting that I don't live in a democratic nation, and that the propaganda state attempted in 1930's Europe did finally reach fruition here in the U.S., just as Henry Ford and those of his ilk predicted.

Maybe I'm just old, and have a very idealistic view of democracy. When I was a kid, we were all told that this is a government of the people, and that our votes provided a check on the power of our leaders. That's why we called them "elected." Or maybe it's just naïve to think that representative democracy could have worked the way it was presented to us."
Acceptance (doesn't equal) Acquiescence
Via MetaFilter

Old Time Horror Radio "...we present 100 of our favorite horror theme stories, from shows like Witch's Tale, Lights Out, Innersanctum, Quiet Please, The Haunted Hour and others."
Via Boing Boing

Lost / Island Map
Check out Jonah's Blog for some fine Island mappage.

Lost / Ep #304 - "Every Man For Himself"
Spoiler Space

    Observations, Annotations, and Assorted Balderdash:

  • Desmond has clothes. And he's still all predicty.

  • Jack is watching the Warner Brother's cartoon A Corny Concerto, specifically the "Blue Danube" segment. Any symbolism beyond the swans escapes me.

  • Juliet: "We make decisions together". "I don't answer to him". Jack points out that Ben seems to be running things. Jack is playing Juliet.

  • Tom: "The sub is back", and he's not talking sandwiches.

  • Sawyer has a daughter by his victim Cassidy, last seen in "The Long Con". Unless of course she's lying. The daughter's name is Clementine - "Lost and Gone Forever"

  • Sawyer's flashbacks: he's always done the nickname thing.

  • Ben obviously saw Sawyer's escape plan, but when? Wouldn't Ben have been occupied with dealing with the crisis of the shot Colleen?

  • I think Ben has had some training/experience in beating people up. A riot club is no guarantee he could take Sawyer

  • Why didn't Ben know Sawyer's age?

  • Tom: "Two days since the sky turned purple, we've been blind, our comms are all down and I can't them back up again..." Let's assume this is true and not said for Sawyer to hear:
    • "sky turned purple" - Tom doesn't know what happened at the Swan hatch.

    • "we've been blind" - to what?

    • "comms are all down" - I think this is meant to explain some of the intercom wierdness Jack hears.

  • I guess that was Paulo playing golf. He seems like a dick, and a perfect match for Nikki, who annoyed me last episode with her only line of dialogue.

  • Love that #8 on the bunny.

  • Swear to Ghod, here's what I wrote down in my notes about the Other's little Sawyer surgery: Pacemaker = CON JOB.

  • I'm guessing from next episode's trailer that the x-rays belong to Ben.

  • Colleen was Danny Pickett's wife.

  • No working crash cart - the first thing of the Others that doesn't work.

  • Juliet: "we haven't had anything..." - what was she going to say?

  • Juliet says she's a fertility doctor.

  • Sawyer's reading "Of Mice and Men" - symbolism up the yin-yang there.

  • Ben makes Jack stay with Colleen's body. This isn't smart. Jack's seen too many dead people to be overly bothered by this one.

  • Juliet's scrubs have the Hydra hatch logo.

  • Desmond can predict rainstorms, lightning strikes and tent failures.

  • Charlie probably suspects Desmond's precognitive abilities.

  • Ben: "You're pretty good, Sawyer, but we're a lot better" (at con jobs) - What other scams are the Others running?

  • The Hydra hatch is apparently on another island.

    • How did the Polar Bears get to the big Island? I know they swim well, but what about the sharks?

    • Karl wanted to know about the Losties camp, probably so he could escape to it. If so, either he didn't know he was on another island or he thought he could steal a boat (or submarine). Or there's another way to get between islands, like a tunnel.

    • The Other's Stepford village must be on the big island.

  • Ben's read "Of Mice and Men". What kind of education did he have, living on the Island(s) all his life?

  • The guy with the eyepatch in next episode's trailer is clearly a pirate.
Only two more episodes in this part of the season. After that Lost will return on Feb. 7, 2007.

Mind Boggle
"The Pawukon is a 210 day calendar that has its origins in the Hindu religion in Bali, Indonesia. The calendar consists of 10 different concurrent weeks of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 days. On the first day of the year it is the first day of all the ten weeks. Because 210 is not divisible by 4, 8, or 9 - extra days must be added to the 4, 8, and 9 day weeks."
Is it just me, or did the Balinese have too much time on their hands? Suddenly Gamelan music makes more sense.

Painted Homeless Cardboard Houses in Japan. Wild Psychedelic Art
Via Neatorama

tiger adopts piglets
Tiger who lost cubs given piglets to raise

The Mother of The Year
Via LinkSwarm.com

You Don't Have to be Faster Than the Bear
lovecraft ala jack chick
What if Jack Chick Worshipped Cthulhu?
Via linkfilter.net

Lost / Lost Park Caricatures
Lost characters as South Park Kids
Via The BigMoboDaddy, who is so cool he doesn't have a link.

If You Don't Laugh You're Dead Inside
pug dog in crocodile costume

Incompetent, Lazy and Corrupt

"There is very little that sums up the record of the U.S. Congress in the Bush years better than a half-mad boy-addict put in charge of a federal commission on child exploitation. After all, if a hairy-necked, raincoat-clad freak like Rep. Mark Foley can get himself named co-chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, one can only wonder: What the hell else is going on in the corridors of Capitol Hill these days?

These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula -- a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.

To be sure, Congress has always been a kind of muddy ideological cemetery, a place where good ideas go to die in a maelstrom of bureaucratic hedging and rank favor-trading. Its whole history is one long love letter to sleaze, idiocy and pigheaded, glacial conservatism. That Congress exists mainly to misspend our money and snore its way through even the direst political crises is something we Americans understand instinctively. "There is no native criminal class except Congress," Mark Twain said -- a joke that still provokes a laugh of recognition a hundred years later.

But the 109th Congress is no mild departure from the norm, no slight deviation in an already-underwhelming history. No, this is nothing less than a historic shift in how our democracy is run. The Republicans who control this Congress are revolutionaries, and they have brought their revolutionary vision for the House and Senate quite unpleasantly to fruition. In the past six years they have castrated the political minority, abdicated their oversight responsibilities mandated by the Constitution, enacted a conscious policy of massive borrowing and unrestrained spending, and installed a host of semipermanent mechanisms for transferring legislative power to commercial interests. They aimed far lower than any other Congress has ever aimed, and they nailed their target.

"The 109th Congress is so bad that it makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment," says Jonathan Turley, a noted constitutional scholar and the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School. "I think that if the Framers went to Capitol Hill today, it would shake their confidence in the system they created. Congress has become an exercise of raw power with no principles -- and in that environment corruption has flourished. The Republicans in Congress decided from the outset that their future would be inextricably tied to George Bush and his policies. It has become this sad session of members sitting down and drinking Kool-Aid delivered by Karl Rove. Congress became a mere extension of the White House."

The end result is a Congress that has hijacked the national treasury, frantically ceded power to the executive, and sold off the federal government in a private auction. It all happened before our very eyes. In case you missed it, here's how they did it -- in five easy steps"

You know, Zombie Manson is looking better all the time.

The Worst Congress Ever (Rolling Stone)
Via MetaFilter

Your Words Are Lies, Sir
Keith Olbermann:

We have lived as if in a trance. We have lived as people in fear.

And now -- our rights and our freedoms in peril -- we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.

For on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

[...] In times of fright, we have been, only human. We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.

We have listened to the little voice inside that has said "the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass." We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists. Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets, was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

Or substitute the Japanese.

Or the Germans.

Or the Socialists.

Or the Anarchists.

Or the Immigrants.

Or the British.

Or the Aliens.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons. And, always, always wrong.

"With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"

Wise words. And ironic ones, Mr. Bush. Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act. You spoke so much more than you know, sir.

Sadly, of course, the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." But even within this history, we have not before codified, the poisoning of Habeas Corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital the most urgent the most inescapable of reasons. And -- again, Mr. Bush -- all of them, wrong.

[... I]f you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant" exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?

"These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush. "In which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney, and can hear all the evidence against them."

"Presumed innocent," Mr. Bush?

The very piece of paper you signed as you said that allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

"Access to an attorney," Mr. Bush?

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant, on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

"Hearing all the evidence," Mr. Bush?

The Military Commissions Act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

Your words are lies, sir.

They are lies, that imperil us all.

"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," you told us yesterday "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas Corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush ... they would be "the beginning of the end of America.""

Unless a Democratic Congressional candidate is Zombie Manson, they've got my vote.

Countdown Special Comment: Death of Habeas Corpus: "Your words are lies, Sir.".(Video and Transcript)

Lifted almost wholesale from Looka!, because I can't improve perfection.

Lost / EP# 303 - "Further Instructions / HDTV Easter Eggs
The TailSection has a bunch of spiffy HDTV screen caps. From Locke's gun paperwork we see that his flashback took place around June 12, 1994, about 10 years before the crash.

Lots more HQ screencaps of Ep# 303

Easter Egg heavenL Lost Easter Eggs

Lost / EP# 303 - "Further Instructions"
Spoiler Space:

  • Locke waking up in the jungle: echo of Jack in the season premier
  • It's a day after the Swan hatch imploded, and only now is Claire asking Charlie about Locke, Eko, and Desmond.
  • Charlie is still a dick. At least now he's being upfront about it.
  • The music playing in Locke's truck was The Whiteley Brothers - "Feel Like Going Home"
  • Charlie's line about Locke "devolving into a monkey" is a reference to the movie Altered States
  • Boone seems OK with being dead.
  • From Locke's vision: Claire, Charlie, and Aaron are "Fine, for Awhile" and he can't help Jack/Kate/Sawyer yet.
  • Eddie the undercover cop is wearing a "Geronimo Jackson" t-shirt.
  • Charlie - "You don't get to tell me what I can't do". Variations of this are a repeated motif.
  • There's a skeleton with a DHARMA t-shirt in the Polar Bear's cave. The octagon has no central symbol denoting a specific hatch.
  • New characters Paulo and Nikki utter their first lines. If you blinked you missed them. I already don't like Nikki.
  • The Swan hatch implosion has apparently left Desmond able to see into the future, and Hurley knows it.
  • Locke: Mute / Desmond: Naked / Eko: Lost or Wounded. Is there some symbolism to what happened to the Swan survivors?
  • Are all the guns gone from the beach camp?
  • Boone - "Clean it up. They've got him, you haven't much time". Are there more than one Polar bear still roaming around?
  • Why haven't the Polar bears being eating more Losties?
  • Did Locke kill Eddie the undercover cop?
I look forward to Locke, Desmond, and Eko all gaining superpowers from the implosion and teaming up like the Fantasic Four, or even combining, Transformer-like, into MegaLostie Prime in order to kick Other butt.

Lost / Ep# 303 - "Further Instructions"
Only half-way through, but to me this is the best episode this season so far. It's a clear contrast to the grim mood of the first 2 eps - full of great lines:
  • "What'd you do, rob a bank?" - "'Fraid So"
  • "He killed A Polar Bear"
  • "Dude"

Lost on Nightline
Partial transcript of J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse on Nightline: Behind The Secrets of Lost
Via Lost-Media.com

What can we learn from La Danza de la Serpiente, from From Fritz Lang's Das Indische Grabmal (1959)?
  • Debra Paget was a stone fox.
  • Sex was invented sometime before 1959
  • That is the worst fake snake ever. A sock puppet would have been better.
Via Exploding Aardvark

ultimate warrior

In the competitive world of pro-wrestling ranting the Ultimate Warrior was in a league of his own.
Via Bifurcated Rivets

No Tin Foil
"For everyone who has since had messages beamed at them through fillings, mysterious implants or TV sets, or via hi-tech surveillance, MI5, Masonic lodges or UFOs, James Tilly Matthews is Patient Zero.

Matthews was convinced that outside the grounds of Bedlam, in a basement cellar by London Wall, a gang of villains were controlling and tormenting his mind with diabolical rays. They were using a machine called an 'Air Loom', of which Matthews was able to draw immaculate technical diagrams, and which combined recent developments in gas chemistry with the strange force of animal magnetism, or mesmerism. It incorporated keys, levers, barrels, batteries, sails, brass retorts and magnetic fluid, and worked by directing and modulating magnetically charged air currents, rather as the stops of an organ modulate its tones. It ran on a mixture of foul substances, including 'spermatic-animal-seminal rays', 'effluvia of dogs' and 'putrid human breath', and its discharges of magnetic fluid were focused to deliver thoughts, feelings and sensations directly into Matthews' brain. There were many of these mind-control settings, all classified by vivid names: 'fluid locking', 'stone making', 'thigh talking', 'lobster-cracking', 'bomb-bursting', and the dreaded 'brain-saying', whereby thoughts were forced into his brain against his will. To facilitate this process, the gang had implanted a magnet into his head. As a result of the Air Loom, Matthews was tormented constantly by delusions, physical agonies, fits of laughter and being forced to parrot whatever nonsense they chose to feed into his head. No wonder some people thought he was mad."
The Air Loom Gang: James Tilly Matthews and his visionary madness

THE BIBLE REVEALS NEXT AND LAST POPE WILL BE A DEVIL IMPERSONATING JOHN PAUL II. That devil gets extra points for impersonating a dead guy.
Via Bifurcated Rivets

Lost / Sarah's Boyfriend
From The Lost Index, another, better picture of the man with Jack's wife Sarah at the police station:

sarah's boyfriend

future warning signs
Warning Signs for Tomorrow
Via Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)

Lost / Benjamin Linus - aka Benry
From Wikipedia:

Linus (in Greek, Linos) may refer to any of three sons of Apollo from Greek mythology:

  • Son of Apollo and Urania, he was killed by Apollo during a contest.
  • Son of Apollo and Psamathe, whose father was the King of Argos. She feared her father and gave the infant Linus to shepherds to raise. He was torn apart by dogs after reaching adulthood and Psamathe was killed by her father, for which Apollo sent a child-killing plague to Argos.
  • Son of Apollo and Terpsichore, he taught music to Orpheus and Heracles. Heracles killed him with Linus's own lyre after he reprimanded Heracles for making errors. According to other sources, he was the son of the muse Kalliope and the inventor of melody and rhythm.
Interesting - The second son has Apollo, father-issues, children, and a plague. And who wouldn't like to see Benry attacked by a pack of dogs?

Via The Fuselage

Lost / Episode #302 - "The Glass Ballerina
Spoiler Break

Observations, Questions, and Theories
  • Sayid, Jin, and Sun on the boat: It's good to see that the Losties are still as cohesive and forthright as ever.

  • Now the Others have 2 people feeding Jack. Was last episode's escape attempt a sham, only Jack picked the wrong door?

  • Benry wears glasses, but apparently only when he's alone. Is he vain?

  • Ryan radioed in about Sayid. The Others have radios that work on the Island.

  • Why is Colleen so worried about the Others being found by the boat?

  • Benry tells Colleen to get a team together and she's ready to go. She didn't need any instructions on what to do.

  • Colleen and Juliet don't like each other

  • The Others didn't know about Desmond's boat. This raises all sort of questions. Did they know about the Swan Hatch? Did they know about Kelvin? How can the Other's/Benry's ignorance about who is pushing the Swan Hatch button be reconciled with Benry's apparent attempts to destroy it and his lack of surpise when it does go boom?

  • Sun slept with Kareem-Jabbar, and her father knew. Sun't father is also a stone dickhead and a liar.

  • Does it look like Sun's father might have a glass eye, ala Marvin Candle?

  • Kareem/Jae going out the window.

    • His father works with Sun's Father. I could see Jae's father being rather upset over the death of his son.

    • An autopsy could show that Jae was beaten just before he went out the window, leading to a homicide investigation.

    • If Sun's father covers up Jin's involvement it would give him another piece of leverage over them.

    • We know Jin didn't push Jae, but someone else might have

  • Sawyer and Kate clearing land - what for? Wouldn't a bulldozer be real handy about now?

  • Why is Juliet out with the clearing party instead of messing with Jack's head?

  • Juliet doesn't mind shooting unarmed, innocent people. I bet she's killed people before.

  • How could Sayid, Jin, and Sun be so frikkin stupid about their ambush? They all know the Others have at least one boat, yet it never occurs to anyone that the Others might attack by sea? I blame the writers for once again making the Losties act like idiots.

  • Colleen knew about Jin, it seems the Others have files on more than just the captured three.

  • Benry says his name is Benjamin Linas/Linus/Lyoness and that he was born on the Island.

    • According the The Sri Lanka Video the DHARMA Group started on the Island around 1975. If we assume Benry is a very unlikely 35 then he was born in 1969 - 6 years before DHARMA. And Benry is more likely to be 40-45, which puts his birthday even further before the DeGroots show up.

  • If Jack does something for Benry, Benry will send him home.
Thoughts / Baseless Predictions
  • The Others are clearly hiding something. They may say that they're the "Good Guys", but I get the feeling that they know that regular people wouldn't approve of what they're doing. They've made no attempt to inlist the Losties beyond Benry's vague request and promise.

  • Here's my big prediction for the week: By the end of this season, maybe in this first 7-week arc, the Others are going to cease to be the 500-pound gorilla on the Island. They may implode, they may decide they're done and leave the Island, their own project might bite them on the ass, or the OtherOthers might attack Mayberry. Bear in mind, my predictions are usually dead wrong.

Lego Ice Cubes
Via Cool Hunting

Lost / Other with Sarah?
Was the man with Jack's wife Sarah when she left the police station an Other?

Was that an Other with Jack's wife Sarah?

I think this is a definite "maybe". Pictures from Lost-Media

Fun With Particles
Drag the Circles (Balls)
Drag the Circles (Water)
Drag the Circles (6 attractors)

Via MetaFilter

lsd briefcase

Via WFMU's Beware of the Blog

Puzzled and Disturbed
I suspect Russian pop-star Vitas is going to be making an appearance in my future nightmares. If I could put my finger on why he creeps me out while David Bowie doesn't I think I'd be on to something.

Opera 2 (YouTube) - wait for the falsetto.
Via Guru (YouTube - pretentious much?

Via WFMU's Beware of the Blog

Sum It Up
"Here's the question for the American people. Let's, for the sake of argument, say that you don't like Democrats. You have the vague feeling in the pit of your stomach that they just don't have the cojones to do "what needs to be done." You can't get over the feeling that they aren't serious enough.

But if you are a thoughtful person of any political persuasion who is concerned about national security or the economy, you simply cannot read that story above and have even the slightest faith that such people can be trusted to continue to run the government with no oversight.

The question is not whether the Democrats have a better plan to correct these grievous errors or whether they are hard enough to deal with hard issues. The question is how anyone could think Democrats could possibly be worse than an administration that ordered the US government to eschew all expertise and give billions of taxpayer dollars to inexperienced Republican functionaries to rebuild a foreign country from the ground up? Considering the stakes in all this, I don't see how anyone can think it's a good idea to let these people continue unchecked. They screw up everything they touch and they never, ever, learn from their mistakes."
Katrina Queen Of The Desert (Hullabaloo Link)

What's always struck me whenever I hear the GOP hit the Iraq = War on Terrorism talking point is that if they've screwed the pooch on Iraq, and if the war on Terra is the same thing, why wouldn't I assume they'll fuck up that up too?

Lost / "Tale of Two Cities"
  • Ethan - "I want lists in 3 days" - Something strange is going on, as of course it should, this being Lost

    • Ethan gives Ethan and Goodwin three days to make lists of the survivors

    • But on Goodwin's first night with the Tailies someone abducts 3 adults. Eko kills 2 of the abductors. None of the kidnappers has a taser, and Eko wasn't tased.
      [At the beach, everyone is sleeping. We hear strange noises and people awaken.]

      ANA: What was that?

      [Goodwin grabs a stick out of the fire and runs.]

      ANA: Libby, watch the kids.

      GOODWIN: Over here.

      LIBBY [to the kids]: It's alright. It'll be okay.

      [Ana and Goodwin come upon a bloody Eko and two dead bodies.]
    • I think Goodwin didn't try to help the kidnapping, he didn't try to stay out of the way, he went right to the action to try to stop it because the abductors were another enemy group of Others. In an official video podcast Cuse and Lindelof "confirm that there is more than one faction of others". I like the theory that The OtherOthers are escaped psychically powerful children.

    • Ethan gives Ethan and Goodwin three days to make lists of the survivors

    • Ethan kidnaps Claire on the 16th day

    • "VOICE: What the hell happened? You were supposed to make the list and then bring her in. Was I unclear?

      ETHAN: It's not my fault. They knew I wasn't on the plane. They had a manifest.

      [The voice is revealed as Mr. Friendly, without his beard and grubby clothes.]

      MR. FRIENDLY: What am I supposed to tell him? You know what he's going to do when he finds out. Damn it, Ethan. "
    • Mr. Friendly is angry at Ethan because Ethan kidnapped Claire before finishing his list and Ethan might not have listened to MF's orders. But Ethan is almost 2 weeks late with his list, and MF didn't give Ethan the order to make a list, Benry did. Maybe the Others never imagined that 40-some people would survive the main fuselage crash and Ethan had to make arrangements for more time. That could be when Mr. Friendly was "clear" with him.

    • This would mean that the Others still don't have a "list" for the fuselage survivors.

  • What if the Others had that file on Jack before the crash?

  • It seems that Ethan and Goodwin have made "lists" before, because they don't need any instructions at all. What if the Others have had lots of practice with people showing up unannounced?

  • Of course Jack's cell has a big window. He's in an aquarium-Duh

  • The Other's Compound looks like it might be in a crater. One of Rousseau's maps shows a crater.

Rendering Nada to Caesar
"At any moment, state inspectors can step uninvited into one of the three child care centers that Ethel White runs in Auburn, Ala., to make sure they meet state requirements intended to ensure that the children are safe. There must be continuing training for the staff. Her nurseries must have two sinks, one exclusively for food preparation. All cabinets must have safety locks. Medications for the children must be kept under lock and key, and refrigerated.

The Rev. Ray Fuson of the Harvest Temple Church of God in Montgomery, Ala., does not have to worry about unannounced state inspections at the day care center his church runs. Alabama exempts church day care programs from state licensing requirements, which were tightened after almost a dozen children died in licensed and unlicensed day care centers in the state in two years.

The differences do not end there. As an employer, Ms. White must comply with the civil rights laws; if employees feel mistreated, they can take the center to court. Religious organizations, including Pastor Fuson's, are protected by the courts from almost all lawsuits filed by their ministers or other religious staff members, no matter how unfairly those employees think they have been treated.

And if you are curious about how Ms. White's nonprofit center uses its public grants and donations, read the financial statements she is required to file each year with the Internal Revenue Service. There are no I.R.S. reports from Harvest Temple. Federal law does not require churches to file them.

Far more than an hourlong stretch of highway separates these two busy, cheerful day care centers. Ms. White's center operates in the world occupied by most American organizations. As a religious ministry, Pastor Fuson's center does not.

In recent years, many politicians and commentators have cited what they consider a nationwide "war on religion" that exposes religious organizations to hostility and discrimination. But such organizations - from mainline Presbyterian and Methodist churches to mosques to synagogues to Hindu temples - enjoy an abundance of exemptions from regulations and taxes. And the number is multiplying rapidly."
So they're exempt from State regulation - they're all god-fearing folk, what could go wrong?

Jim Jones

Religion Trumps Regulation as Legal Exemptions Grow (NYT Link)

Lost / "Tale of Two Cities" - Crossword Puzzle
Sledgeweb has detailed info on Jack's Crossword Puzzle

Lost / "Tale of Two Cities" Easter Eggs
  • While the CD case was for "Speaking in Tongues" by Talking Heads", the actual CD was "Okemah And The Melody Of Riot" by Son Volt
  • Clear shots of the new Hydra station logo
  • Big clear shots of Jack's crossword puzzle
LOST S03e01 Easter Egg Roundup UPDATED @ The Tail Section

Lost / "Tale of Two Cities" - Mysterious Little Girl

This is an official ABC promo shot. The little girl doesn't appear in the aired episode. Were her scenes cut out? Was she supposed to be a hallucination of Jack's? Maybe a munchkin with better control of her powers than Walt? Anyone notice how we didn't see any children with the Others? Spooooooky

HiRes Image: Mysterious Little Girl
Via The Lost Blog

Lost / Ep# 301 - "Tale of Two Cities", First Observations
Spoilers Ahoy, if for some insane reason you haven't seen the episode.

First, a brief impression of my mental state in the minutes just before the premier started:
"Man, I am soooo looking forward to this. I don't want to miss a second"
" Arrrggggghhhhh!!!Dancing with the Stars! It Burns!! It Burns!! Make it stop. Must endure...Must not miss start of Lost...But the Pain...the Pain...Eyeballs boiling...

  • The episode title is from Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities"
    "...a moral novel strongly concerned with themes of guilt, shame, redemption and patriotism"

  • We heard Petulia Clark's "Downtown", but the CD Juliet loaded into the player was clearly Talking Heads "Speaking In Tongues"-identifiable from the text on the side of the CD and the graphic on the inside.

      Track Listing-let the free association begin:
    1. Burning Down The House
    2. Making Flippy-Floppy
    3. Girlfriend Is Better
    4. Slippery People
    5. I Get Wild/Wild Gravity
    6. Swamp
    7. Moon Rocks
    8. Pull Up The Roots
    9. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

  • If they work Roxy Music into the show I'm gonna plotz

  • Juliet seems to have put "Downtown" on because she's stressed out about something.

  • The Book Club:
    • All the Others aren't military types. There are almost-old ladies and annoying nerds too.

    • The book they are discussing is Stephen King's "Carrie. Another member of the group would appear to be holding a first edition, if the image on Wikipedia is correct. Both "Carrie" and "A Tale of Two Cities" are epistolary novels.

    • Juliet-"silly me for selecting something that Ben doesn't like. Here I am thinking that free will still exists on..." (interrupted by earthquake/Desmond's failure to push button). Juliet might be chafing under Ben's regime.

    • I think Mrs. Klugh was in the Book Club

  • Ethan was fixing the plumbing under Juliet's house. Were they a couple?

  • O'Henry's name in the Others is Ben. I hearbye christen him Benry. I didn't think this up, but I love it.

  • Benry send Ethan and Goodwin out to infiltrate the crash survivors and make lists. This and their whole demeanor indicate that the Others had no advance warning of Flight 815 arrival.

  • Benry said that it would take Goodwin an hour to run to the tail-section crash site. I could have sworn he showed up a lot earlier than that.

  • The Other's compound is strange. They're on an island in the tropics, but they're all dressed like Methodists. And they have Conifers, or Evergreens- you know, Pine Trees. Do they have pine trees on tropical islands? And from the long shot of the whole area, where they live is really small, like it only has room for a dozen or so houses, let alone any other buildings.

  • I think Jack was using his pager as an alarm clock. I think the time was 7:15:20 am. I really want a hi-def shot of the crossword puzzle.

  • The Others took blood from Jack and Kate. I didn't see any wound/bandage for Sawyer.

  • Why did somebody build the room Jack is in? What would they need that window for? One-way glass I could understand.

  • Kate is not Mr. Friendly's type. He's either gay, into chubby eskimos, or an alien.

  • Sawyer is in a Skinner Box.

  • What knocked Sawyer on his ass? Nothing visible touches him.

  • You know, I just don't care about Jack's flashback. He's obsessed with finding out who his wife is leaving him for. That's about it.

  • All three captives seem to be involved in psychodramas involving control. Juliet won't talk to Jack until he gets off the table and lets go of the chain. They take Kate's clothes, and handcuff her. Sawyer in a fricken cage.

  • If the Others were worried about Jack jumping Juliet they would have 2 people to feed him. One watches to warn the other with the food.

  • Benry's eating the classic breakfast-eggs, bacon, ketchup, coffee.

  • Benry-"I brought you here so you would look out at the water and feel comforted. Comforted that your friends were looking out at the same ocean." -
    Benry is a stone liar. Neither of her friends are doing anything of the sort.

  • Benry-"The next 2 weeks are going to very unpleasant". 2 weeks of Island time is approximately 7 episodes/weeks. That's the length of the first repeat free block this season.

  • Why did Sarah have Christian's number on her cell phone? He might not have been the one she was leaving Jack for, but he might have slept with her.

  • Was the intercom a combination of the whispers/impossible visions?

  • Jack-"I'm a Repo man". Good, lie to them. Not very convincing, but he hasn't had a lot of practice.
    A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.

    Quotes From "Repo Man"

  • Juliet already knows what Jack did for a living, whether he was married or not and what he was doing in Australia. She doesn't need to ask those questions. Her manner is too calm and soothing to be natural.
    "You can trust me Jack"-Puleeze.
    The Others are running Con games/Brainwashing/Conditioning on the captives.

  • Carl opened that lock really easily.

  • I think Carl played Sawyer to be his decoy.

  • The Others like to say "Hey" before they knock you unconscious

  • Why did they make Carl apologize?

  • Is there always a connection between Losties in the flashbacks? Because I didn't see one this episode

  • Nice breakout attempt by Jack, though once Benry appeared I would have banged Juliet's head against a wall and rushed him.

  • Those are damn small cages for holding bears, especially Polar bears.

  • Jack is in the underwater hatch, The Hydra. Hydra DHARMA Logo

  • The Others have a complete file on Jack's past. If Ethan and Goodwin weren't sent just to find out who survived and the Others had no prior knowledge the plane was going to crash, then the Others have communication with the outside world.

  • Juliet doesn't like Benry

Science Fiction
Good News

M.A. Foster's long-out-of-print "Ler" trilogy is being reprinted in a single volume as The Book of the Ler. I can't say enough good things about these books. I own at least 3 complete sets of the "Ler" and "Morphodite" trilogies, just so I can give them away to people. what are they about? A Genetically engineered human daughter species, The further speciation of that offshoot, Oracular systems, Emergent behavior in complex systems, Massive conspiracies, Secret Societies, Space Pirates, Wild-Ass aliens, Unstoppable Assassins. Just go hunt down his books. You'll thank me later.
According the only post on Thomas Harlan's Amazon Blog he might finally finish "Land of Dead", the sequel to "Wasteland of Flint" and "House of Reeds".
"In the Time of the Sixth Sun....

By the 25th Century the mighty Méxica Empire, allied with the Japanese Nisei has conquered the homeworld, Anáhuac. All the other nations, including the Danish Empire and the Empire of Swedish-Russia have been defeated and exiled to the Rim after centuries of warfare in the Inner Worlds of the Core.

But the universe is a dangerous place, filled with hidden powers and the relics of ancient civilizations... "
Thomas Harlan on Wikipedia
Sixth Sun Concordance

Lost / Time Problems
Two days to the Season 3 premier, and that can only mean that it's time for a long crackpot-like Lost post. Welcome back, obsession!

From Lost Spoilers:
"Time may not be passing on the island at the same rate as off the island. The question was asked about the amount of time that has passed on the island in the first two seasons at which point Damon interrupted and said that's assuming that time is passing on the island at the same rate that it is in the outside world. That produced audible gasps from the audience and the two actors on stage had shocked looks on their faces. Damon continued to talk about the concept of the passage of time at which point Carlton Cuse interrupted him asking if he wanted to reveal that much so Damon just left it at that."
"I listened to this podcast and understood what they said differently.

Someone asked about the 48 days of season 1 and 23 days of season 2 - wondering if season 3 would be 16 days (following the numbers).

Damon answered that we are assuming that the amount of time perceived is the same as real time. So, that doesn't mean time is traveling slower on the island - just that those on the island are wrong about how long it's been."
And from The Lost Blog
"Someone asked a question about time, and the panel responded "You're making the basic assumption that they've been there as long as they think they've been there"."
I can see 2 possible problems with either time on the Island passing at a different rate than real/outside time or the Losties perception of time being altered:
  • The Losties must have watches. If they were losing time sooner or later somebody might notice the discrepancy. Unless of course the watches are reset. I admit the whole thing is flimsy, but I had to mention it. I'm pretty certain that something has prevented the Others from directly intervening with the Losties beyond Ethan and O'Henry, so if someone is causing the Losties to lose time it isn't the Others
    "MS. KLUGH: There's been a development since you came here, Michael. One of our people was captured by yours.

    MICHAEL: So, go get him back.

    MS. KLUGH: We can't do that. But you can. And if you do, we'll let you and Walt go free."

    "3 Minutes" transcript
  • Locke said they crashed 65 days ago, on Sept 22 (2004). Source: "Live Together, Die Alone" transcript

    According the printout Locke and Eko found in the Pearl station, the date of Desmond's failure to enter the numbers matches the date of crash. If Desmond's failure caused Flight 815's crash then the passage of time recorded on the Pearl printout matches the passage of time experienced by both Locke and Desmond.
Basically I think Damon is blowing smoke. And don't get me started on the possibility of the Losties gaining time. How the hell would that work? I guess part of what they experience could be happening in an accelerated fugue state or advanced virtual reality, allowing them to "live" longer than the actual time would allow. See, I said not to get me started.

The Lost Revelations alternate reality game has come to an end. In regards to time, the most interesting thing to me is that the game happened now, in the present. That means there is an almost 2 year gap between the Losties (Nov 2004) and now (Oct 2006). So if Jack and his merry band is going to have any effect on Mittlewerk running around loose with a virus designed to kill 30% of humanity time on the show is going to have to speed up.

And while I'm grinding out another epic Lost post, let's consider that virus. Killing off 30% of the world's population in order to prevent the end of the world is a bad, bad idea-and not just because of the obvious moral issues. The death of 1/3 of the world through a global plaque would cause massive economic, social, and political chaos-resulting in a significantly higher death count than 30%, which, according to Mittlewerk, is the precise percentage of casualties needed to avert the end of the world.

And viruses mutate. Bad Bad Idea

Anti_GOP Slogans
"Custer Stayed the Course"

"The Rapture is Not an Exit Strategy"

Working For Change - "What's the Bush Plan for Iraq" Contest

"As Ackerman put it: "The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights." Similarly, Lederman explains: "this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all."

This last point means that even if there were a habeas corpus right inserted back into the legislation (which is unlikely at this point anyway), it wouldn't matter much, if at all, because the law would authorize your detention simply based on the DoD's decree that you are an enemy combatant, regardless of whether it was accurate. This is basically the legalization of the Jose Padilla treatment -- empowering the President to throw people into black holes with little or no recourse, based solely on his say-so.

There really is no other way to put it. Issues of torture to the side (a grotesque qualification, I know), we are legalizing tyranny in the United States. Period. Primary responsibility for this fact lies with the authoritarian Bush administration and its sickeningly submissive loyalists in Congress. That is true enough. But there is no point in trying to obscure the fact that it's happening with the cowardly collusion of the Senate Democratic leadership, which quite likely could have stopped this travesty via filibuster if it chose to (it certainly could have tried).

I fully understand, but ultimately disagree with, the viewpoint, well-argued by Hunter and others, that this bill constitutes merely another step on a path we've long been on, rather than a fundamental and wholly new level of tyranny. Or, as Hunter put it: "So this is a merely another slide down the Devil's gullet, not a hard swallow." But even with the extreme range of abuses the Bush presidency has brought, this is undeniably something different, and worse, by magnitude, not merely by degree.

There is a profound and fundamental difference between an Executive engaging in shadowy acts of lawlessness and abuses of power on the one hand, and, on the other, having the American people, through their Congress, endorse, embrace and legalize that behavior out in the open, with barely a peep of real protest. Our laws reflect our values and beliefs. And our laws are about to explicitly codify one of the most dangerous and defining powers of tyranny -- one of the very powers this country was founded in order to prevent."
The legalization of torture and permanent detention

Cute Cute Cute
Until some genius creates the Puppy Channel you can slake your need for cute at The Daily Puppy

Via J-Walk Blog