"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

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"...the US Republican Party has become a deeply corrupt institution top to bottom. It's not just George Bush and his retinue. It's not just the human shields of the Congressional GOP. It goes beyond the think-tank eunuchs and "conservative" media cheerleaders to the most pathetic marchers in what's left of the right-wing blogosphere, down to the poorest spellers in their comment sections: the Republican Party has spent a half-dozen years distilling itself down to an apparatus for justifying massive executive power wielded by and for a self-designated elect of "real Americans," and declaring everyone outside the elect to be fair game. We can disagree on how the Republican Party reduced itself to nothing but cheerleaders for the prerogatives of its own leaders against the rest of us - I have my theories like anyone else - but the rot goes all the way down.

It will take a whole new cadre of Republicans to turn the party into something that deserves to be trusted with a meaningful share of American power. Those people don't really exist yet. Put it this way: to the extent that they exist now, the "real Republicans" vituperate them and drive them off. You can see the dynamic whenever a formerly "reliable" blogger like John Cole or Der Commissar sets the Kool-Aid cup down and begins describing the jungle compound as it actually looks. You see it in the loathing for Chuck Hagel, who was all talk and no kissing until just this week. Behind George Bush is Alberto Gonzales. Behind Alberto Gonzales is John Yoo. Behind John Yoo are a dozen functionaries who think like him but whose names we don't even know. In front of them all is a clown show of jesters and justifiers."

Will No One Rid Me of This Meddlesome Stiftung???
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I'm Crafty
I've added IP-address logging capability to my Pollxn comments-engine. The next step is to add IP-blocking of comment spammers.

Lost - Ep #314 - Expose
First Thoughts: Somewhat surprisingly, it didn't suck. Paolo and Nikki were real shitheads, their little dirt-naps (literally) were both fully deserved and even creepier than Patchy's sonic-fence brain-meringue. I loved watching Hurley play detective.

Lost - New DHARMA logo
lost dharma line logo
If there's another Dharma logo, does this mean there's another, as yet unseen, station?
The Line Logo

Lost - Ep #313 - Man From Tallahassee
  • Locke: "This is going to be more complicated than we thought." Aint that the truth. This episode has more twists than a knotted rope.
  • Flashback Locke is just the saddest sack. And he has the all the street smarts of a sleepy puppy. Just how did he acquire his tracking/knife throwing/military skills? Were they given to him by the same agency that restored his legs?
  • Locke's form at the state disabilty department gives his birthday as May 30, 1956.
  • Locke has a Special Forces Insignia Poster
    • TV in Locke's apartment:
    • "Here's what we know, Crystal. The Bolivian gold deposits were stolen last night around 2am."
    • "Er... that means the Cobra is back!"
    • {unintelligible}
    • "I can't find him!"
    • My GoogleFu has failed to identify the source of this dialogue. I can say with some certainty that it isn't from a G.I. Joe cartoon, appropriate as that might be.

  • Those aren't mystic symbols on Locke's TV tray. It has a cowboy theme and those are cattle brands: The Tray Symbols
  • Great line #1: How many kidneys do you have?. Which makes me wonder: How many kidneys does Locke have now?
  • Locke's dad (Anthony Cooper) is going by the name "Adam Seward". Anagram: Anthony Cooper, Adam Seward = Sawyer, the con man, a poor dad.
    • Locke's "plan" to rescue Jack:
    • What's the rush? It's early in the evening, people are still walking around, and Juliet has just dropped Jack off at his bungelow. Why not sit tight, observe the Other's night-time security, and make your move around 3am when it's safer?
    • Kate goes in, Sayid in front, Locke in back - That's the plan? There's no contingency planning. What if something goes wrong? Where should they rendezvous? Kate has planned complicated bank heists, Sayid is a trained soldier, and they're going about this rescue like a panty raid.
    • Locke's blown up the Flame, killed Patchy, lied about the C4, and had a secret stash of plastic explosives. Why are Kate and Sayid trusting him?
      • What was Locke's real plan? John wants to blow up the submarine. How was he intending to get the C4 in Sayid's pack?
      • The rescue goes well and Locke will either ask Sayid for the C4 (cover the escape/diversion) or steal it at gunpoint.
      • The rescue works and Locke settles for sinking the sub manually.
      • In order to blow up the submarine, Locke intentionally lets Kate and Sayid get captured by the Others. Locke wants the rescue to fail. He's got the whole "get to Ben, get Ben to have someone to retrieve C4, have that someone take him to sub" scheme already planned out. This isn't certain, but Locke took no steps to free Kate and Sayid. He didn't even plan his own post-explosion escape. As argument against this, Locke seemed surprised by Tom reporting Kate and Sayid's capture to Ben.
  • The music Jack is playing on the piano may be his "theme" from soundtrack.
  • Kate knows about the Others' use of surveillance cameras. I would have stayed in the hallway and quietly knocked out "SOS" until Jack came to me.
    • Ben: What Submarine?
    • Locke: The one you use to travel to and from the Island. The one your man Mikhael told me about, right before I killed him.
    • Is this just Locke trying to impress Ben with the lengths he'll go to in order to get the sub, or is he also admitting he killed Patchy on purpose?
  • Ben: I want you to bring me the man from Tallahasse. The Others already have Anthony Cooper (or something that looks like him). And why did Tom leave the room when Ben wanted to talk to Richard? It was like Tom knew that they talk about things he's not supposed/allowed to hear.
  • Great line #2: "No John, unfortunately we don't have a code for 'there's a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter's head', although we obviously should"
  • How did Locke find Cooper at the florists?
  • Locke didn't warn the son. He got him killed
  • Locke says that Cooper conning people "isn't fair". This is a parallel to him accusing Ben of "cheating".
  • Locke: For all you know, I was a commander in the navy.
    This is were Ben figures out that Locke is going to blow up the submarine.
  • Ben knows all about Locke's past
  • Tom: I didn't think I'd see you again so soon, Kate.
    When didTom expect to see her again? Is he just surprised that she found the barracks so quickly, or it something else?
  • Tom: {points to his ear and then the ceiling} Be careful in here.
    Tom unmistakably signals to Jack that the rec-room is bugged. This is a very interesting bit of rebellion/disobedience by a high-ranking Other.
  • Jack says the kids are safe. Does he know what's really going on with them?
  • Everything Jack says is for two audiences, Kate and the Others.
  • Ben can't walk yet, but the Others are letting Jack go so soon?
  • It can't even be much past midnight, but the sub is going to leave. What happened to them leaving in the morning?
  • Jack promises to come back for Kate.
  • Ben doesn't know much about the magical Island healing.
  • Locke is curious about why Ben got sick in the first place, Ben asks Locke if he's afraid of being crippled if he leaves the Island. Rather pointedly, neither question is answered.
  • The swingset Sayid is handcuffed to is a graphic reminder of the missing children. Who installed the swingset, and why? Did DHARMA have children on the Island? If the Others built the swingset they must have believed it would be used.
  • Sayid lets Alex know her mother isn't dead.
    • Absolutely Best Line #3:
    • Locke: Where do you get electricity?
    • Ben: We have two giant hamsters running in a massive wheel at our secret underground lair.
    • Locke: Yea, that's funny.
    • Ben: There's leftovers in the refrigerator, help yourself. This is called changing the subject.
    • Here's where it gets weird: Ben has a painting of a blonde woman who bears a resemblance to Karen DeGroot. The woman has a hamster on her lap. Maybe even a pregant male hamster.

  • Ben doesn't really manipulate Locke into blowing up the sub. He just pretends that losing the sub is the last thing he wants. "Please don't throw me into the briar patch"
  • Ben: I was born on this island. Not many of my people can say that. Most of them were recuited, and brought here. And as much as they love this place, as much as they would do anything to defend it, they need to know they can leave if they want to.

    Ben is not the only native Islander. Ben assumed Sawyer loved the Island, and now he says the Others do. And what might the Others be defending the Island against?

  • Jumping Mudflaps, Ben is offering information! And of course, Locke doesn't care.
  • Ben: Let me put it so you'll understand. Picture a box. You know something about boxes, don't you John? What if I told you, that somewhere on this Island there is a very large box, and that whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be in it, when you opened that box, there it would be.

    • If Ben isn't lying, this is a show-changer. This is the first explicit mention of a theory described in Vozzek/DarkUfo's "Thought/Dream/Belief Manifestations Theory":

      The one thing very obvious to me is that the island will create anything (or anyone) that any of the main characters can think up. The island manifests whatever is desired, imagined, feared, or thought about. The island itself is responsible for these things - or rather, the characters are responsible for them through the power of thought or will.


      In short, I think the island makes all things possible. Think about this: Was there dynamite in the Black Rock before they needed it to blow the hatch, or was the dynamite suddenly there once they DID need it? And if they'd needed something else could it be possible Danielle would have told them that particular thing was in the ship? It's a mind-fu k I know. But it's still a question you have to ask yourself.

      I believe that there are no coincidences. I think everything you see is being placed into being by requirement, a la the island. I think the Others know this, which would explain why they've been so 'mysterious' with the 815 survivors. They don't tell them the truth because doing so would give them near limitless power. They can't tell them. It would interfere with whatever agenda the Others are currently trying to achieve.

    • Planet Lost's list of "granted wishes".
    • What is the difference between the Island giving you what want and the Black Smoke manifesting itself as your father, or a cat or horse?
    • Is the "magic box" only in a specific place? How is this reconciled with Locke waking up with working legs?
    • Is there a price for using the "magic box"? Locke lost the use of legs on the Island once (Deus Ex Machina) for unknown reasons and only regained them after Boone died in what might have been a sacrifice to the Island.
    • The rules of "getting what you want" are unknown. Everyone on the Island hasn't been getting their wishes granted-Why not?. Was Danielle's desire to have her daughter back countered by Ben's need?
    • The "magic box" may work on a deeper level than just producing or manifesting what you imagine. Let's look at two possible examples: Patchy's cat Nadia being the same as Sayid's flashback cat and Walt's comic book polar bears. If these are "magic box" phenomena, then they were manifested before either Sayid or Walt arrived on the Island. Either that, or the "magic box" has the ability to change the past, e.g. Before Sayid finds the Flame station Patchy has no cat, or a different cat, but afterwards the "box" alters the past so that now Patchy has always had a identical cat to the one in Paris. The same thing applies to the Polar bears, which were apparently brought to the Island by DHARMA back in the 1980s (supported by the Swan orientation video, the Hydra cages, and statements by Tom). So if the cat or the bears are "magic box" phenomena that implies that the "box" can either see into the future (in order to fulfill the wish before it is wished) or seamlessly alter reality by apparently changing the past.
    • The Psychic Projection Theory (LostPedia)
    • Egoplex's Schroedinger's Castaways theory.
    • Desmond's book The Third Policeman has a "magic box":
      "...the box contains omnium, a substance which creates anything the beholder desires."
    • The Jacob = Magic Box Theory
  • Locke holds Ben in contempt for his lack of faith. He says the Others are "cheating" (like his conman father) and "hypocrites". Locke calls the Others "Pharisees":
    "An important binary in the New Testament is the opposition between law and love. Accordingly, the New Testament presents the Pharisees as obsessed with man-made rules (especially concerning purity) whereas Jesus is more concerned with God's love; the Pharisees scorn sinners whereas Jesus seeks them out. Because of the New Testament's frequent depictions of Pharisees as self-righteous rule-followers, the word "pharisee" (and its derivatives: "pharisaical", etc.) has come into semi-common usage in English to describe a hypocritical and arrogant person who places the letter of the law above its spirit. Jews today (who subscribe to Pharisaic Judaism) typically find this insulting if not anti-Semitic."
  • Locke has a point: If Ben is so tight with the Island, why is he crippled?
  • Ben tells Locke that the sub is leaving in an hour and won't be coming back not to convince John to not blow up the sub, but to give him the information that he only has an hour to make boom-boom.
  • Alex tells Locke straight out that Ben is manipulating him, Locke ignores her in his desire to sink the sub. Alex uses the recurring phrase "he makes you think it's your idea, but it's his" (the Long Con).
  • Danielle has seen Alex. I expect crazed-french-ruthless-mama-bear goodness in future episodes.
  • Locke looking down the sub hatch mirrors he and Jack looking down the blown Swan hatch at the end of Season #1.
  • Much has been made of Locke's expert knowledge of the location of submarine light switches. I do think that that switch was not in the most obvious of spots and John used it with no hesitation. But I'm more curious about his demolition skills. Blowing up C4 is more complicated than lighting a fuse, and you really don't want to make a mistake with high explosives.

  • lost sub tunnel map
    How does the submarine get to the open sea? Outlined in red is what I think is the pond in the Barracks compound the sub is moored in and a tunnel to the ocean. This would also preclude building the sonic fence across water.
  • Ben: I'll let them go, just as soon as you've left the Island. Brilliant-Ben won't have to keep this promise because Locke is going to prevent Jack and Juliet from leaving by sinking the sub.
  • Why is Locke soaking wet when he leaves the sub? And why doesn't he have Sayid's pack anymore?
  • It's like Locke has no plan at all for after the submarine blows up. Maybe he wants to get captured by the Others now that he's burned his bridge with Jack, Kate, and Sayid. He's got a lever to use with Ben.
  • Why can't the Others use their other boats (they've got at least one big motorboat -used to evacuate "Alcatraz"-and Desmond's sailboat) to get back to the outside world? Maybe they can, but those boats can't get back to the Island. But how did they get to the Island in the first place? That sonar bouy wasn't always there. Somebody had to get onto the Island in order to install it. Maybe the "incident" made the Island even harder to find.
  • Anthony Cooper's Apartment
    • Jeez, flashback Locke is dumber than paint. "My evil con-man father probably just killed someone, I think I'll go to see him alone and confront him. What could go wrong?".
    • How did Locke find his father's apartment?
    • If it's on the 8th floor, why is it apartment #3801?
    • Outside shots of the building show Locke falling from a floor higher than Eight.
    • Cooper has Maccutcheon Whiskey, just like Charles Widmore. Admiral Maccutcheon was a character in a TV-movie of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, based on the novel by Jules Verne. Jules Verne also wrote the Losties 80th day on the Island. What does this mean? Heck if I know.
    • There's a photograph of the Apollo Theater on the wall.
    • It isn't easy to just push someone through a window like that, not without following the victim from momentum. And I would imagine that the glass would be tougher than usual for safety reasons.
    • It's a stupid crime, the hole points right to the crime scene. Cooper could have wacked him over the head with a bottle and have all the time in the world to get rid of the body and make his escape.
  • Richard Alpert, one of Juliet's recruiters (along with Ethan) is on the Island, along with his eye-makeup. He was the one Ben sent to get "the man from Tallahassee".
  • Locke's therapist: You fell eight stories and survived, OK?. I don't want to hear about what you can't do. This is a variation of the oft-repeated line "Don't tell me what I can't do".
  • Except for the broken back, Locke is appears almost uninjured. I would expect more fractures.
  • Flashback Locke looking at his useless feet is a mirror of post-crash Locke looking at his wiggling toes.
  • Locke handcuffed to ceiling pipes is a mirror of Ben confined in the Swan.
  • Locke knows Ben wanted the sub to blow up. He might be able to use this against Ben. But Ben doesn't care that Richard knows.
  • Ben can't show weakness or break promises, or it'll be "the end" of him. Does he mean they'll kill him, or just depose him? While he isn't elected, Ben needs the consent of the governed.
  • Why does Richard think he can handle Locke if he gets violent?
  • Did Cooper really "come out of the box", or did Ben have him kidnapped to use against Locke? If he was "boxed" is that the real Cooper or the Black Smoke?
  • Kate, Sawyer, and Cooper all have connections to Tallahassee.

Tinker, Adjust, Fiddle, Repeat
I think I've managed to get the Internet Explorer and Firefox rendering of Utility Fog Blog to look pretty much the same on both Windows and Linux. It certainly helps to set Firefox so that it doesn't override the way the page wants to be displayed.

Lost - Ep# 313 - Man From Tallahassee
First Thoughts:
  • A: Holy Crap- Magic Boxes that can produce Locke's off-Island no-good father. If the sonic death-fence was sci-fi fan-boy gizmo goodness, this is fine, strong weirdness of the highest order. This really changes everything. And of course we don't know how.
  • B: Whoever says Lost is fading is nuts. Maybe it's more incoherent, but it's one hell of a ride.
  • C: I hope we don't have to wait until next season to see those giant hamsters.

Consider Me Freaked Out
chocolate sausage elf
Harma Heikens: Dope
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Magical Digs
Penn Jillette's Las Vegas House-The Slammer

Penn Jillette's Las Vegas House-The Slammer
Penn Jillette has a seriously funky house: The Slammer
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Lost - Ep# 312 - Par Avion
  • This episode begins with what sounds like a clock ticking, which is actually a turn-signal indicator. I wonder if you can synch "Par Avion" up with "Dark Side of the Moon, just like favorite Lost reference The Wizard of Oz
  • The opening scene of Claire waking up in a car wreck is a nice reference to other scenes of Losties waking up in the crashed plane
  • Claire's idea of using tagged birds sounds good to me. If they came from outside they might return there.
  • Charlie calls Desmond a "boar-hunting pict"
  • I don't think Danielle is as crazy as the Losties think. But if she doesn't want to know about her daughter because Alex won't remember her why is she interested in getting her back? DarkUFO's theory is that the Island changes reality in response to expectations and desires, and that Danielle doesn't want her ideas of Alex to be manifested by the Island.
  • We've got another Patchy info dump. And all because Kate asked some questions.
    • Kate: So how'd you get here? How'd you get onto this island?
    • Danielle: Don't waste your breath. Whatever he says will be a lie.
    • Patchy: I was recruited when I was 24. I was approached by a ma...
    • Kate: I didn't ask you when, I asked you how.
    • Patchy: They brought me on the submarine. Locke is very interested in the submarine.
    • Kate: So your people, they can come and go whenever they want?
    • Patchy: Go, yes-but two weeks ago our underwater beacon stopped emitting it's locater signal. There was an event, an electromagnetic pulse. It would be impossible to come back.
    • Kate: Why would you want to come back?
    • Patchy: You would not understand.
    • Kate: Try me.
    • Patchy: I misspoke. What I meant to say is, you're not capable of understanding...
    • Kate: And why am I not capable?
    • Sayid: Kate...
    • Patchy: Because you are not on the list. Cue ominous music.
    • Kate: What list?
    • Patchy: The man who brought me here, who brought all of my people here, he is a magnificent man....
    • Kate: If Ben's so magnificent, why did he need one of us to save him?
    • Patchy Ben? Ben is not.....I will try to make this as simple as I can. You are not on the list because you are flawed. Because you are angry, and weak, and frightened.
    • Sayid: The more I learn about your people the more I suspect you're not as omniscient as you would have us believe. Don't speak to us as if you know us.
    • Patchy: Of course I don't know you, Sayid Jarrah-how could I? And you, Kate Austen, are a complete stranger to me. But you, John Locke, you I might have a fleeting memory of. But I must be confused, because the John Locke I know was pa.....
    • Danielle: Hey! Look at this! Shutup Danielle, we're talking here!

      Observations and Implications
    • If Patchy was recruited when he was 24 and he's been on the Island for 11 years that would make him 35. I would think he was older. The Russians were in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. If Patchy was born in 1969 his age during the occupation would be 10-20
    • Locke really perked up when the submarine was mentioned.
    • The Island can't be found without the sonar beacon. This begs the question of how people (like DHARMA) got to the Island before it had a beacon.
    • Flawed people are incapable of understanding why the Others stay on the Island.
    • There is a man (described as magnificent) who brought all the Others to the Island. This man is not Ben and it's implied that the man made the list of people who aren't flawed. I assume this man is "Jacob". Egoplex thinks that Jacob's full name will turn out to be Jacob Bohme.
    • Patchy might have ascribed flaws to specific characters: Locke=Angry, Sayid=Weak, Kate=Frightened
    • Patchy suggested that he knew Locke off-Island. If Patchy was going to say the "the John Locke I know was paralyzed" then there's a possible time problem: Locke was paralyzed 4 years ago and Patchy has been on the Island for 11 years. This could be explained by Patchy leaving and returning to the Island. We've seen Ethan off-Island on Other business.
  • Why would Desmond sabotage Claire's bird-catching? How would her capturing a seagull lead to Charlie dying? If she had the bird Charlie wouldn't need to go scrambling around dangerous lava fields.
    • The Sonic Weapon Fence
    • They could have circled around until they found a gate. Fortifications need doors.
    • Who built the fence, DHARMA or the Others, and more importantly, why? Who or what was the fence designed to to defend against? As Kate demonstrated, the fence is ineffective against a small group equipped with only a axe. If the fence was supposed to work against people it would need to be patrolled or monitored constantly to keep the enemy from climbing over. My guess: It's an anti-Smokey barrier.
    • The Others apparently didn't know the fence had been activated against Patchy. Either there is no alarm (stupid) or it doesn't work anymore.
    • I love the sonic fence and it's size, strangeness, and sense-of-wonder.
  • Here's a nice screenshot of the Barracks Map
  • Again in this episode we have an undependable/dumb Locke. Pushing Patchy into the fence could be expected to do one of two things: hurt/kill Patchy and/or set off an alarm. Locke may have wanted to kill Patchy to keep his paralysis a secret, but he risked warning the Others.
  • Locke's "sorry" after getting Patchy's brain fried was very lame.
  • Patchy wanted to die, either to protect the Others or because he killed Mrs Klugh.
  • Locke lied about not knowing the Flame was rigged to explode. He's got a plan and a brick of C4 explosive, and he isn't interested in saving Jack.
  • Claire is Jack's half-sister. No big surprise here.
  • Jack's father is a "fixer" too, though I suppose you could say that about all doctors.
  • Wow, Claire really has a huge head. She's like a real-life anime character.
  • Danielle's idea to use the C4 to blow up a pylon is dumb. Maybe the Others wouldn't hear them chopping down a tree, but an explosion like that is likely to give the Lostie rescue party away.
  • There's a very prominent shot of a "Bondi Beach" towel. "Bondi" or "Boondi" is an Aboriginal word meaning "water breaking over rocks" or "noise of water breaking over rocks." This forshadows where Desmond captures the bird and where Charlie would have died.
  • Charlie just folds up the note and somehow attaches it to the bird's leg. Gosh, I hope that bird never gets wet, or the note is toast.
  • In today's Craphole Island bookclub, Sawyer is reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

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Lost - Ep# 312 -Par Avion
First Impressions: I don't know why, but this episode creeped me out (in the good, horror-movie way) more than any other Lost episode. Maybe it was the way Locke pushed Patchy through the security barrier and then just said "Sorry" after it mushed his brains. I do agree though, that you never know when a brick of C4 plastic explosive might come in handy. Be prepared!

Lost - Ep# 311 - Enter 77

    • Sawyer: I thought the hatch collapsed.
    • Hurley: Look dude, all I know is the sky turned purple, after that I don't ask questions - I just make myself a salad and move on.
    • And then Hurley totally messes with Sawyer when he asks about Kate. This is the new, improved Hurley.
  • Paolo calling Sawyer "HealBeelly" is just classic.
  • Does anyone else find the notion of a herd of cows sharing an island with hungry polar bears more than a little odd?
  • Sawyer thinks he's going to hustle the Losties.
  • The Flame station not only has a satellite dish, it has loudspeakers mounted on a pole.
  • Danielle: I have never been here before. 16 years on the island and she never noticed a house with a herd of cows?
  • While I find Danielle's bluntness refreshing, her lack of interest in the Flame is odd. Patchy might provide a better lead to her daughter than a compass bearing from dead Eko's stick. And why wait by the river? Patchy might kill everybody, but after learning about Danielle. It would be better strategy for her to hide and watch.
  • The cat at the flame is the same cat in Sayid's flashback. There's evidence here and here that cat was another manifestation of Smokey, like Kate's horse or Jack's father. But the cat has clearly been with Patchy for some time, so it didn't just appear to freak Sayid out. And how would Smokey know that Sayid would ever meet the cat, years in advance?
    • Patchy's "Info" Dump:
    • (after shooting Sayid):I didn't cross the line. We had a truce, this is my land. You said I could stay here.
    • My name is Mikhail Bakunin, and I am the last living member of the Dharma Initiative.
    • I spent some time in Afghanistan, I had some experience with field medicine in the Soviet army.
    • I grew up in Kiev, and joined the Soviet army. I was stationed in a listening post in Vladivostok. After the Cold War, after we lost the Cold War my unit was decommissioned. I was dismissed from my life in the military. And after years of conducting unpleasant actions against our enemies I found myself wanting to do something good. So I replied to a newspaper advertisement...."Would You Like to Save the World". That's how I met them, the Initiative - Very secretive, very rich, very smart.
    • Sayid: So when did you come to the Island?
      Patchy: Eleven years now. I liked computers, communications equipment, being alone like a lighthouse keeper. So they put me in this station. They called it the Flame.
      Sayid: What's the purpose of the Flame?
      Patchy: To communicate with the outside world, of course.
    • Sayid: What happened to the Dharma Initiative?
      Patchy: They're all dead of course. They foolishly initiated a war against the Hostiles, a Purge they called it.
      Sayid: And how did you survive this Purge?
      Patchy: By not participating in it. I told you, I like being alone.
      Sayid: And the Hostiles allowed you to stay here?
      Patchy: After it was over, four men appeared in the yard. They offered a truce. They said to imagine a line that extended all the way around the valley. As long as I did not cross it, I would be left alone. Then they took two cows and I never saw them again.
      Kate: They weren't interested in the satellite dish in the yard?
      Patchy: Why would they be? It hasn't functioned in years.
      Sayid: Who are they, these Hostiles
      Patchy: I do not know. But they were here for a long time before we were, a very long time.
    • This is the hub, but they go underground to various stations all over the Island
      Sayid: And these cables, do any of them run into the ocean?
      Patchy: Yes, there is an underwater beacon that emits sonar pings. It helps guide in the vessels.
      Sayid: By vessels you mean submarine?
      Patchy: Yes, the Initiative used one to bring us here. But I can imagine only that the Hostiles have either destroyed or commandeered it by now.

    All this is very interesting, and it some of it might be true. But none of it can be believed as of yet.

    • Patchy has many parallels to Kelvin Inman: Military/intelligence background, "Save/Saving the World", the term "Hostiles".
    • If Patchy isn't ex-Dharma, how did he get on the Island?
    • Was Juliet recruited by Hanso/Dharma or by the Others?
    • If the Others are the "Hostiles" and not Dharma, why did Tom quote Alvar Hanso?
    • Clearly the relationship between Dharma/Hanso and the Others is more complicated than the Others simply killing all the Initiative personnel and taking over the stations.
    • The term "Purge" is a odd one to use.
      • oust politically; "Deng Xiao Ping was purged several times throughout his lifetime"
      • clear of a charge
      • purify: make pure or free from sin or guilt; "he left the monastery purified"
      • rid of impurities; "purge the water"; "purge your mind"
      • flush: rinse, clean, or empty with a liquid; "flush the wound with antibiotics"; "purge the old gas tank"
      • the act of clearing yourself (or another) from some stigma or charge
      • vomit: eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth; "After drinking too much, the students vomited"; "He purged continuously"; "The patient regurgitated the food we gave him last night"
      • an act of removing by cleansing; ridding of sediment or other undesired elements
      • excrete or evacuate (someone's bowels or body); "The doctor decided that the patient must be purged"
      Did this term originate with Dharma or the Others?
    • Four men took Two cows = 42
  • Patchy has Vodka with the Swan hatch logo
  • Patchy grows his own tea? Does they Island have the climate for that?
  • Is someone watching Locke play chess using the camera?
  • The whole chess game thing has problems. Why have such a silly system to manually override the computer? Why did the game give up before Locke actually achieved checkmate?
  • Sayid is clearly Mr Badass this episode - multiple deductions and kicking ass after being shot.
  • Much has been written about how dumb Locke is in this episode, but he's not alone. Sayid didn't tie Patchy up very well. Sayid and Kate KNOW that someone else is under the Flame, but they don't act like they're hunting down a dangerous adversary.
  • There's speculation that Patchy and Mrs Klugh installed the C4 If this is true, then maybe Locke didn't blow up the Flame. Maybe it was whoever was using the camera to watch Locke. Hey, if the comms are down, why do the cameras work?
  • Marvin Candle's left hand looks fake
  • The standoff in the yard is another example of a mirrored situation.
  • Mrs. Klugh and Patchy are willing to die to protect the Others. They are highly motivated by something.
  • Patchy tries to goad Sayid into killing him.
  • Patchy says that he was never Dharma, but everything else he said was true.
  • Hurley has clearly taken the Jedi Master mantle lost by the bumbling (and easily distracted) Locke. He's thoughtful and perceptive, and can intuit the thoughts of others. The whole ping-pong match could have been his "long con" of Sawyer. And he can repair long-abandoned cars with his mind.

"While each cat was viewing the photographs, it was held by a laboratory assistant. To ensure that the cats were not influenced by stroking or other unconscious cues from the assistant, the assistant was anesthetized prior to each session. The cats' reactions were assessed for changes in pulse rate, respiration, eye dilation, fur shed rate, and qualitative behavior."
Feline Reactions to Bearded Men
Via MetaFilter

Make a Monster
monster sculpey model
Great tutorial on making a Sculpey clay model.
Smellybugs Maquette Tutorial
Via Extreme Craft

Lost - Ep# 311 - Enter 77

Hooboy-it's gonna be a bit before I cook up the full entry for this episode. I know I'm going to have to watch it again at least twice. But at I can offer up 2 quick thoughts:

I really don't think Patchy's real name is Mikhail Bakunin- But if he's taken the name of a famous revolutionary and anarchist, maybe some of the other Others have false names too. Ben could be Ben Franklin and Tom could be Thomas Jefferson. And I could be Napolean.

Island Bakunin said a lot, but what was true and what was a lie? Such is the nature of answers on Lost.

Mine Certainly Does
Brain works more chaotically than previously thought
Via Exploding Aardvark

You Gotta Be Sure
"Serbian vampire hunters rammed a wooden stake through the heart of former dictator Slobodan Milosevic to stop him "returning from the dead". Miroslav Milosevic, no relation to the former president, gave himself up to police who have launched an investigation."

I'm a sucker for any story that contains the magic phrase "Serbian vampire hunters".

Vampire hunting
Via MonkeyFilter

Delicious Cat Milk
Via MetaFilter

Good News

"Lots of ink has been spilled about how Democrats and liberals suffer from a 'religion problem' -- a perceived hostility towards Christianity and religion in general. But Pew Research Center exit poll data from the 2006 midterm elections shows the opposite.

Democrats crushed Republicans among secular voters, broadly defined as those who attend church seldom (favoring Democrats 60% to 38%) or never (67% to 30%). Republicans retained strong support among those who attend church more than weekly. But among those who only go weekly -- the larger portion of the religious vote -- the Republican lead shrunk from 15 points to 7.

In short, Republicans failed to be competitive among secular voters, while Democrats were at least competitive among regular churchgoers. And since the secular vote is roughly equal to the regular churchgoing vote, according to the last several national election exit polls, that means Republicans and their conservative base have a far bigger secular problem than their rivals have a religion problem.""

I've always taken church-attendance polls with a grain of salt, my theory being that Americans will say they go to church more than they actually do.

The Conservatives "Secular" Problem
Via Follow Me Here...

Lost - Ep# 310 - Trisha Tanaka is Dead
Initial thoughts: Whew-after the lackluster "Stranger in a Strange Land" this episode was a relief.
  • For the first time this season, ABC didn't just jump into the show with with "An all new episode of Lost starts now. All this means is that I taped a commercial along with the end of whatever-the-hell show came before.

  • The song on the flashback boombox and the van's 8-track was Shambala by Three Dog Night.
    "Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
    With the rain in Shambala
    Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame
    With the rain in Shambala [...]
    Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
    On the road to Shambala
    Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind
    On the road to Shambala [...]
    How does your light shine, in the halls of Shambala?"

    There's no rain in this ep, but there was pain, sorrow, helpful people, and and lots of luck.

    Shambhala in the Buddhist Kalachakra teachings

    "Shambhala is a Sanskrit term meaning "place of peace/tranquility/happiness". Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have taught the Kalachakra tantra on request of King Suchandra of Shambhala; the teachings are also said to be preserved there. Shambhala is believed to be a society where all the inhabitants are enlightened, actually a Buddhist "Pure Land", centered by a capital city called Kalapa. An alternative view associates Shambhala with the real empire of Sriwijaya where Buddhist master Atisha studied under Dharmakirti from whom he received the Kalachakra initiation.

    Shambhala is ruled over by a Kulika King, a benevolent monarch who upholds the integrity of the Kalachakra tantra. Some religious scholars believe that this figure developed out of the myth of the Hindu conqueror Kalki, a similar personage. However, the dating of Hindu texts come into question, as Buddha is also mentioned in many of those texts. The myth of Shambala and its location is also more developed in Buddhism. The Kalachakra prophesizes that when the world declines into war and greed, and all is lost, the twenty-fifth Kulika king will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish the corrupt and usher in a worldwide Golden Age. Using calculations from the Kalachakra Tantra, scholars such as Alex Berzin (see his website) put this date at 2424 AD."

  • It's weird seeing Cheech w/ hair.

  • The candy bar Hurley's dad gives him clearly forshadows Hurley eating in response to his father abandoning him. I've seen various attempts at identifying the brand of the candy bar. It's not an Apollo bar, but some have called it a "Glacier Bar". It does look like it has an arctic theme, tying it in with the polar bears.

  • Hurley's Dad (David Reyes): "You gotta make your own luck". It's interesting how this episode contrasts philosophically with "Flashes Before Your Eyes". Instead of events being destined or fated (in a "course-correcting" universe) Hurley changes his fate (or luck) through hope and belief. For an excellent essay on this subject read The Luck of the Lost.

  • David Reyes + Amah (on motorcycle) = DR + AMAH = DHARMA, maybe.

  • You have to admit that Hurley is better on the Island than before. He was a withdrawn mess after he won the lottery. Now he's engaged with his life and other people (not just his mama). Before he was reading comics, now he's reading Nabakov.

  • I tracked down the brand of Hurley's shirt. He's wearing Big Daddy , which is nice reference to the theme of father issues. The logo of Big Daddy includes a crown, which ties into the meanings of Hurley's real name, Hugo Reyes: "heart, mind, or spirit" and "kings".

  • Charlie is wearing a "Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited" t-shirt. Lots of references here.
    • From Highway 61 Revisited (the album)

      "Highway 61, sometimes called the "Blues Highway," stretched from New Orleans through Memphis and from Iowa through Duluth to the Canadian border. It was regularly featured in blues songs, notably Mississippi Fred McDowell's "61 Highway" and James "Son" Thomas's "Highway 61." Bessie Smith met her death in an automobile accident on that roadway; Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads of Highway 61 and Highway 49 (itself the subject of a Howlin' Wolf song); Elvis Presley grew up in the housing projects built along it; and Martin Luther King, Jr. would be murdered at a motel just off Highway 61.

      "A lot of great basic American culture came right up that highway and up that river," Robert Shelton told a BBC interviewer. "And as a teenager Dylan had travelled that way on radio. ... Highway 61 became, I think, to him a symbol of freedom, a symbol of movement, a symbol of independence and a chance to get away from a life he didn't want in Hibbing.""

    • Highway 61 Revisited (the song)
      "Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
      Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
      God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
      God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
      The next time you see me comin' you better run"
      Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
      God says, "Out on Highway 61.""
      In the Bible, Abraham was Jacob's grandfather. The name "Jacob" has appeared at least twice in Lost, as the creator of a list of Lostaways that Jack wasn't on, and in Karl's brainwashing video.
      Highway 61 Revisited lyrics

    • Like a Rolling Stone: Or a rolling Van. The song's subject is someone who was rich and now is poor, and who finds themselves "with no direction home".

    • Tombstone Blues: The Island part of this episode starts with Hurley at Libby's grave.

    • From a Buick 6:
      "I got this graveyard woman, you know she keeps my kid But my soulful mama, you know she keeps me hid She's a junkyard angel and she always gives me bread Well, if I go down dyin', you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed."
      Hurley has a graveyard woman: Libby. Stephen King's novel From a Buick 8 is about a "car" that is actually a portal to another world.
      From a Buick 6 lyrics

    • Desolation Row: This song is so dense I could spend weeks tying it into Lost. Let's just quote from Wikipedia and leave it at that:
      "The song describes a town of some sort, full of lowlifes and losers. Desolation Row would seem to lie on Highway 61, perhaps at the end of the line in Dylan's native Duluth, Minnesota, where the horde of freaks congregate after being rejected from elsewhere."
      Desolation Row lyrics

  • Hurley: "Death finds me", and right then Vincent appears with part of a corpse.
  • The Dharma Van. Sooooo many issues with this, so let's wade right in. First of all, I'm totally buying into the suspension of disbelief necessary to go along with a car that has been abandoned in the jungle for more than 20 years being able to start, let alone roll. One alternative to letting this impossibility slide is to theorize that the van hasn't been there all this apparent time, but rather was manifested by the Island or Smokey (or Vincent, what the hell) recently just so Hurley could find it. This would explain why 40 people scrounging for fruit (and Locke out hunting) haven't come across the van before. It can't be far away from the camp, because Hurley can't run long distances. Personally I hope the van was there all the time. I can live with temporary appearances of people and animals, but if a totally fictitious van can be suddenly created, so can anything else, and this way lies chaos.

    I'm also letting slide the condition of poor Roger. Bodies don't mummify in the jungle-they rot and are eaten by various insects and beasties.

    So what is Roger's story? His uniform has a Swan logo. Was he taking beer to or from the Swan hatch? Seems kinda informal for a place that's saving the world. And why did he wreck, and why did he die? The best theory I've heard is that the van crash is related to "the incident" mentioned by Marvin Candle. If "the incident" screwed up DHARMA's operations on the Island this would explain why no one came looking for the van.

  • Hurley and Locke's ex-boss's full name is Randy Nation

  • Did Hurley throw himself in front of Randy when the meteorite hit? He was on top of him on the ground.

  • That meteorite is a strong argument for the existence of a curse.

  • Paolo and Nikki deliver a stirring 2 line drama about the lack of oat bars. I've got to consider this a deliberate effort by the writers to make fun of themselves regarding the complaints about how P+N just appeared.

  • The apathy on the beach towards the van is just strange. It's not like there's lots of entertainment alternatives. I know I'd be "Hey, something new and diverting that isn't trying to kill me, cool, lead me to it"

  • The dart in Sawyers foot came from the imploded Swan Hatch. Here's a screenshot of Desmond finding the dartboard after he turned the key.

  • In Kate and Sawyer's jungle talk she starts with calling him "James" but ends with "Sawyer", symbolizing that they are back to the way things were before being captured. Their failure to make a fresh start is mirrored by Hurley and his father.

  • Sawyer: "Are we there yet" - classic car trip reference.

  • Of course they drank the scotch. What else would they do?

  • I loved how Hurley's genuine happiness at seeing Sawyer totally dissolved Sawyer's anger over his stash.

  • Kate, Locke, and Sayid: OMG, actual sharing and discussion of vital information. If this keeps up they may actually figure something out and do something.

  • That meal of burger, fries, and lasagna was so sad. Hurley must be the only innocent on the Island, because he never killed his mom. If I has 176 million dollars I would have bought her a house and gotten as far away from her as possible.

  • While the Reyes are eating there's a TV showing a tropical beach scene.

  • Hurley: "I'm not going anywhere with you"-echoes what Walt said to Micheal.

  • Screenshots of the van map

  • Mr. Eko's stick. The "John 3:05" may have provided the compass bearing.

  • Kate tells Danielle about Alex: Double secret OMG, yet another bit of information sharing. It'll be interesting to see what crazy-dynamite-and-traps lady does with knowledge.

Good Impulse Control
buick hearse phillys
From Craigslist:



Let me tell ya, last Sunday night I was this close to calling Craig and heading out to West Seattle with $750 to buy myself a hearse. Then my inner adult regained control and I realized that this might not be a suitable daily driver for a 200 mile weekly commute. But if I already had a working car and a place to park a hearse, right now I would have one serious funmobile.

More pictures of the loveley Phillys