Tuesday, May 29, 2007

TravelMog: Hawaii

Friends of the Mog, I apologize for the recent delays in updating the site. However, I started my new job recently (so far so good…) which was sandwiched between two pretty sweet family trips—one to Hawaii, and another to Disney World. Take a guess which one was better.

At any rate, thanks again to Dave and Jamie for keeping the torch lit these past two weeks. Fortunately, there was enough that happened in Hawaii to warrant its own TravelMog column.


-The cast this time included myself, G-Gel Unit, and…our parents. They were actually pretty cool throughout the trip, especially since they were paying for everything.

-My dad pulled out all the stops on this one. After cashing in roughly 678,826,128 ,289,850,999 frequent flier miles, we were able to get upgraded to first class in both directions, which was nice, especially considering all of the free booze we would get over the course of the 8 hour trip.

This point allows me to bring up another travel story. A couple of years ago, Grant were somehow able to finagle an upgrade to first class coming home from LaGuardia. Naturally, we started pounding beers on the 2 hour flight, until we hit the call button and asked for another Heineken, or whatever the fuck we were drinking by that point. The stewardess replied, “I’ll see what we have left in the back.” She came back with an Amstel and a mixed drink, said, “Looks like you boys cleaned us out of beer,” and walked away. Grant and I looked at each other for a second, paused, and almost simultaneously let out an, “Awesome!” Take that, Wade Boggs!

-At any rate, we were determined to break that record this time around. The only problem was, until the very last flight home (more on that later) the stewardesses were…how shall I say…”frigid bitches.” I mean, don’t get me wrong, we still each had about 12 drinks on the way over there, but we weren’t able to come close to the record we had previously set.

-Grant and I passed the time watching the “Best of the Larry Sanders Show” DVDs. Hilarious. I would highly recommend them to fans of the show. It’s easily an “A.” If you haven’t seen the show before, I would rent season 1 before watching the rest of this, but it was really just fantastic.

-I also bought a pair of those noise-canceling headphones ahead of time. What a difference. I could actually hear normally when I got off the plane. Granted, these big fancy jets we were on were much better than the piece-of-shit propeller rust bucket I normally end up taking from Charlottesville to Detroit, which sounds roughly like a cross between a jackhammer and Kelly Osborne, but still, there was a noticeable difference.

-Upon arriving in Honolulu, we had to spend the night at the Airport Best Western there, which had bedspreads that looked like they could give Paris Hilton a new STD. Fortunately, we only had to stay there a night until catching the early flight the next day to Maui.

-On the plane to Maui, I got my first taste of mango juice. Man, that shit was tasty. I miss it already. I’m pretty sure when they’re talking about the “nectar of the gods,” that’s what they mean. Well, either mango juice or Aristocrat Gin, but I’m almost certain that it’s one of the two.

-We arrived in Maui at around noon. Our parents went to get the rental car, leaving Grant and I in charge of the luggage. Of course, being the geniuses we are, we managed to forget two suitcases outside of the baggage claim. The security guard was about to take them away by the time we had turned around to reclaim them. That was a close one.

-On the way over to the hotel, we bought the following supplies:

-4 shaved ices (delicious)
-20 beers
-2 gallons water
-3 gallons Gatorade

I mean, you can never have too much to drink, right?

-We arrived at the Grand Wailea Hotel early in the afternoon. My God this place was awesome. We were really spoiled this time. There were all kinds of perks that I’ll get to eventually, but just a fantastic place all-around.

-The guy checking us in, Ken, was a very nice guy. He apparently couldn’t find a regular-sized, king bed room for our parents, so he upgraded them to a suite on the “concierge level,” which had further perks. Let me re-emphasize that—HE UPGRADED OUR PARENTS TO A FUCKING SUITE! FOR NOTHING! I mean, if this wasn’t a good omen, I don’t know what else possibly could be, other than maybe naked Jessica Alba and that girl from the Irish Spring commercial lying in my bed when we got to our room. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

-Grant and I spent the rest of the afternoon throwing around a mini football out in the ocean. It’s a simple game, but damned if it isn’t just fun as hell

-Did I mention that this hotel had a happy hour on this “concierge level” from 5-7 with top shelf booze? Now, you may ask, “Oh that’s nice, D.J. What kinds of drink specials did they have at the happy hour?” Here’s where you’re going to hate me. It was all free. All of it. Tanqueray gin and tonics. Jack and cokes. Crown and cokes. Champagne. Beer. All of it. Free. And they had it every night. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?! WHAT COULD BE BETTER? Needless to say, we took full advantage of the situation, with our parents certainly holding their own. Hey, they were on vacation, too, right?

-By dinner time, Grant and I were a bit lit. We had reservations at a restaurant at the resort. Just for the shit of it, Ken gave us a card for a complementary bottle of champagne at dinner. I wish I was making this up, but…well, actually, no I don’t—it was awesome.

-We got to the restaurant and it was fantastic. Dinner was going along very well, when at a break in the conversation, I took a closer look at the guy sitting at the table next to us. He looked oddly familiar for some reason, and he was sitting next to an incredibly hot chick. Then it hit me. Fucking Paul Kariya, the hockey player, was sitting at the table right next to us! Unbelievable! What made it even funnier was the fact that once upon a time, we used to kid young Dave that he bore a striking resemblance to Paul Kariya, a fact that we still periodically remind him of to this day.

-We didn’t want to bother Kariya while he was eating, but a slew of questions came to mind. How did he book this vacation? He had just been eliminated from the NHL Playoffs (yes, they still have playoffs. They even give the winner a big shiny silver bowl and everything). Did he just decide, “I’m going to Hawaii with this incredibly hot woman?” Why did he pick this hotel? We hadn’t seen him at the happy hour, so it couldn’t be that he wanted free booze. Just mind-boggling.

-We could never get adjusted to the time changes properly. Grant and I were passed out by like 10 pm every night. Not the worst thing in the world, but not the best, either.

-Grant and I got up early the next day—at like 8 am—and went to work out. While I was doing cardio work, Grant claimed that he saw Kariya doling some “crazy spider-looking shit with weights” in the weight room, with his hot chick nearby. I guess whatever he needs to do to stay in shape.

-This place also had some badass waterslides and stuff, including the only “water elevator” in the world. This thing was basically a buoy that they pumped water under to raise people up like 2 stories. It was a group elevator, and there was a waterfall falling onto one side of the buoy. Oh yeah, and the buoy was constantly rotating. Of course, we were in there with some couples, and when it was one girl’s turn to go under the waterfall, she lost her bikini top. Uh, yeah sweetheart, don’t flatter yourself. Grant and I are used to this kind of thing—girls throwing themselves at us by “conveniently” losing their tops. Right Org? Reeves? Berg? You guys know how we tore up Tangerine in Vegas, right? Right? Guys?

-Day 3 was incredibly relaxing. Egged on by Hannigan’s advice in the last edition of TravelMog, my dad, Grant and I decided to get a massage. This was no ordinary massage, though. It began with an hour of “hydrotherapy” where they had a bunch of different soaking pools, showers, and Jacuzzis to sit in, just for an hour, to prep for your massage. Of course, it was a bathing suit optional room, of course we saw Paul Kariya in there, and of course, he chose the “optional.” For whoever is thinking “so, how is it?” right now, you are either a woman or not straight. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

-When the lady checked us in, she asked us if we wanted a male or female masseuse. Needless to say, we chose female. After the hydrotherapy, they take you to this waiting porch area that has all kinds of golf magazines and stuff. There happened to be a fairly portly lady out there waiting for a massage, as well. When I saw her masseuse come out, I was impressed. The masseuse was fucking gorgeous. “Maybe this is going to be all right…” I thought to myself.

-Of course, my masseuse came out, and, though not the worst-looking lady in the world, she was old enough so that I can refer to her as “lady” without feeling bad. She regaled me with her exploits of being a cocktail waitress in Vegas some 15 years ago while rubbing me down. Good stuff…

-Hannigan’s right—that massage was awesome. Grant and I didn’t want to do anything for the rest of the day after that except get lit up on the beer we bought and go to happy hour. Just fantastic.

-The next day, we left for Honolulu. There, we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, another excellent hotel. Because it was Wednesday, and Lost was on that night (Shameless plug…coming soon—the exciting season finale to Lost Bloggin’! What crazy theories will Dave and I think of next? Stay tuned…) we caught a quick dinner and rushed back up to the room to watch the episode. Needless to say, Grant, my dad and myself were not disappointed, as we are all huge Lost fans.

-The next day’s highlight was a surfing lesson that Grant and I got from a couple of gen-u-ine surf bums. They were good teachers, and I caught the first wave that I tried. It was pretty awesome stuff. One of the instructors was also the consummate stoner. He would begin every wave by saying, “You ready brother? This is a big fucking wave, bra!” and end every ride by yelling out, “Awesome ride, bra. You fucking nailed that one!” I wonder if there’s some correlation between how big of a stoner a guy is and his innate surfing ability. Like when looking for a surf instructor, you should just look for the biggest stoner out there. These are the things that you think about in Hawaii, where it’s 85 and sunny every day of the year.

-At the end of the lesson, we wanted to tip the guys, so we asked them if we could just charge it to the room. The big stoner said, “Yeah, well, I don’t know about that, bra, you know, with the government, maaaaan, and the taxes and stuff, I just don’t know…” and faded off. Yeah, we know all right. Grant and I tipped them in cash, and then proceeded to make jokes filling in the part where the instructor faded off for the rest of the trip. “You know, maaaan, I’ve got this guy, maaaan, who sells me this stuff, maaaan, and you know, maaaan, he doesn’t exactly take credit cards, maaaan.” It was high (pardon the pun) comedy.

-The next day, Grant and I felt like we had been beaten up. We dragged ourselves out by the pool for a couple of hours, but I just really felt shitty the whole day. Surfing is hard work, bra. We both passed out at around 9 that night.

-The day after that, we had an early flight, which, due to the time difference, got us into St. Louis at 11:30 at night. Of course, because the flight took off at like 7 a.m., we couldn’t in good conscience start drinking for at least an hour. That severely limited our options on the flight to L.A.

-However, from L.A. to St. Louis, the stewardess was unusually friendly. She had one of those, “I used to be a hot stewardess who would fuck businessmen all the time, but now I’ve settled down with some kids” looks to her, but damn if she wasn’t a great stewardess. She kept practically handing me beers the entire flight. It was a very enjoyable time.

-We got home at around 11:30 and I passed out soon thereafter. Another successful trip. Thanks mom and dad!

That’s about it. Questions? Comments? Jealous rants? E-mail the Blogmogger team at Blogmogger@yahoo.com.

Until next time…

DJGel

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pirates 3 Review

Grade: D-

As a big fan of the first "Pirates" film (both porno and Disney), I went to see the third installment of the franchise on opening night. I must admit I was worried because the second film was definitely a downgrade from the first, and every review I read panned the shit out of it. Little did I know that it was worse than I could imagine. It is just an endless three hours of loose plotlines that are never resolved coupled with the cheesiest worn-out cliches for jokes. The fact that it made over $100 million this weekend is a terrible sign for our society, then again I got tricked so I'm part of the problem. Don't see this movie.

Grant

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Weekly Mog: Friday, May 25, 2007

HEADLINES

After Losing by Both Passing and Shooting With Time Expiring, LeBron James Decides to Incite Brawl Next Time

Nike Scraps New “Michael Vick Experience” Ads Where Fans Get Herpes and Attacked by Pitbulls

Local Gym Member Oblivious to Own Nudity While Telling Story to Fellow Member in Locker Room

New ESPN Analyst Keyshawn Johnson Finally to Get Paid for Greatest Skill
BRISTOL, CT – You know his stats. You know his flair. Now recently retired Keyshawn Johnson will get paid to do what he does best: talk shit.

“I think it was a decision that just made too much sense not to do,” Johnson told reporters after finalizing his transition to NFL analyst. “I’ll be frank: I’d always wondered why my career never quite lived up to the potential of a number one overall pick. Yeah, my hands and route-running were good and my speed was passable but being a player never quite let me develop my loud-mouth antics to the fullest. Now the good folks at ESPN are going to let me do what I do best.”

As of press time, Johnson is slated to fill the role of former wideout-turned-analyst Michael Irvin who left the network in hopes of pursuing his “first love” by landing a reality TV show that follows his cocaine snorting exploits.

Scoop Jackson Somehow Uses “Real” to Describe Any Situation
NEW YORK, NY – ESPN.com contributor Scoop Jackson apparently possesses the street savvy and journalistic dexterity to use the word “real” to describe any interaction, occurrence, or quote.

“Scoop’s writing has quite simply reached a new level,” said Lawrence Farmer, a Northwestern University School of Journalism professor. “We all know what ‘real’ means but Scoop challenges that very notion. What is ‘real’? What is not ‘real’? What are the consequences if, say, things gets ‘too real’ for you? What if it’s ‘not real enough’? Scoop teases out the answers to these riddles while still leaving the subtle exploration to the reader.”

Among the myriad references, Jackson has cited the recent Don Imus scandal, Tiger Woods’ short game, and the city of Chicago in general as all being “real” by some definition.

Jackson refused to comment for this article as his representatives claimed that “if you don’t know what’s real, we can’t tell you.”

While The Weekly Mog’s etymology team has been heretofore unable to conclusively define Jackson’s usage of “real,” we are still actively investigating the term’s use as well as that of “gangsta” (adjective, adverb, or noun) and how one “keeps it” as such.

Boston Fans Relieved to Have Something to Complain About After NBA Draft Disappointment
BOSTON, MA – Relief has washed over Boston and the majority of the New England area following the unveiling of the 2007 NBA Draft order by Commissioner David Stern.

Tension had been building in Boston where the success of local sports teams has proven to be nearly unbearable.

“For me personally, the anxiety started to build when I looked at the baseball standings,” said self-proclaimed “super-fan” Bobby Mullin. “I kind of was like, ‘Oh jeez, the [Red] Sox are, like, ten games up and favorites to win the World Series.’ How do you scream, ‘Take that goddamn hat off!’ from your car window to someone wearing a Yankees cap when you’re sitting on a lead like that?”

To other New Englanders, it has proven even more difficult cope with the impending NFL season.

“I guess things were too good last season; it was too good to be true,” Portland, Maine resident and Patriots supporter Tom Rawls told reporters. “We had a likeable and clutch quarterback in [Tom] Brady but a ridiculously thin receiving corps and barely serviceable running backs. To top it all off, we choked in the playoffs and finally had this organization that was practically built to be picked apart by fans and the media alike. But then we sign [wide receiver] Randy Moss and bring back [cornerback] Asante Samuel and now we’re Super Bowl favorites? I was planning on starting at least six fights with opposing fans after losses this year but I’ll be lucky if I can pull off three at this rate.”

“Shut the hell up”: added Rawls when asked how he felt about the Patriots’ recent three Super Bowl wins.

City officials have been lauding the Celtics' efforts to bring mediocrity back to the Boston sports scene.

“It’s truly something special,” Boston mayor Thomas Menino told reporters Wednesday morning following the Celtics failure to land a top-three draft spot. “The city of Boston needs this. New England needs this. The Celtics have always been a great part of the Boston consciousness. And the recent orgy of fans openly rooting for losses plus this draft disaster is just what Boston sports need.”

University of Florida forward Joakim Noah has been the rumored favorite of the Celtics’ front office as his unsightly jumpshot, undeveloped body, and androgynous looks should give them an instant impact.


Got a tip? Want me to take down a picture? Email the BlogMogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Weekly Mog: Friday, May 18, 2007

HEADLINES

Calvin Johnson Looking Sharp at Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Defensive End for Lions

Roger Clemens Just Excited Pinstripes are Slimming

Michael Vick Assures Public that Dog-Fighting Ring Just His Buddy Ron Mexico’s Idea

Dirk Nowitski has Awkward Post-Playoffs Encounter with Mark Cuban at Local Starbucks
DALLAS, TX – After an anticlimactic conclusion to the postseason, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki reportedly had an uncomfortable run-in with owner Mark Cuban at a Dallas-area coffeehouse last week.

“Oh, hey, I didn’t see you over there,” said a discomfited Nowitzki after being approached by Cuban while attempting to add sugar to his grande mocha latte. “Sorry about the other week. I, uh, had a real early endorsement deal to get to that Friday and I just had to get done with the playoffs, y’know, as soon as possible. You know how it goes.”

Witnesses say several awkward moments of silence proceeded.

“Yeeeeeep”: added Nowitzki after staring into his coffee for roughly six seconds.

“Dirk, what happened was perfectly normal,” Cuban said. “You know, most guys have a problem finishing too soon, especially when there’s so much pressure to, I don’t know, perform.”

“A lot of owners would actually be flattered that you were that, um, excited about your MVP award”: added Cuban.

Nowitzki reportedly told Cuban that he “really had to get going” but that he would “totally call [him]” shortly before making a brisk exit from the popular coffee establishment. As of press time, it was unclear if Nowitski will return any of the four voicemails left by Cuban during the last week.

Bruce Bowen Places Tack on Old Man D’Antoni’s Chair
SAN ANTONIO, TX – During Monday’s second-round playoff game, mischevious Spurs guard Bruce Bowen discreetly placed a sharp thumbtack on the chair of Phoenix Suns coach and league recluse Old Man D’Antoni.
“Ok, so if [Spurs point guard Tony] Parker goes baseline, you’ve got to... yeeeeeoooooow!” exclaimed Old Man D’Antoni shortly after sitting on the tack’s sharp point which easily penetrated his suspendered wool trousers. “Jiminy Cricket! What the – ?!?! Who in Pete’s sake put this here?!?!”

“Booooowwwweeeeeen!”: bellowed D’Antoni in his infamous baritone crescendo while turning to shake his fist at the snickering guard who was seated on the Spurs bench.

Bowen has been rumored to be responsible for various forms of mischief around the NBA although proof of such activities has never been produced.

One Western Conference official claimed that Bowen “is nothing but a no-good rascal” and a “rapscallion.”

Bowen has been linked to the mysterious buttocks-slingshotting of Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson, reportedly referred to as “Mr. Smell-son” by Bowen and fellow miscreants, as well as the itching powder that mysteriously ended up in the shorts of the entire Minnesota Timberwolves team prior to a December match-up with the Spurs.

Red Sox Suddenly Too Cool to Hang out With Cubs
BOSTON, MA – After winning eight of their last ten games, the Boston Red Sox are apparently too cool to hang out with the Chicago Cubs any longer.

“I don’t know what the big deal is,” said Boston GM Theo Epstein while cleaning is sunglasses on his new Red Sox letter jacket. “Sure I knew a lot of the guys on the Cubs when I was, like, five or something. So I hang out with a crew now. What’s the big deal?”

It’s been reported that the Cubs felt Boston’s 2004 World Series title and newfound success would bring Chicago out of bottom-dwelling status as well.

“I guess I just don’t get it,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry told The Weekly Mog. “We used to hang out all the time. We’d talk about all the hot free agents we’d totally like to sign or whatever. At first, when they won the Series I was like, ‘wow, maybe we’ll get invited to some of those sweet champagne baths.’ That never happened though; we haven’t even been back to the playoffs since then. It’s like, now they have a few winning seasons and a championship and suddenly they forget they used to be just like us.”

In an attempt to win back the Red Sox friendship, the Cubs paid handsomely for unproductive free agents this off-season.

“Nice pitching staff,” remarked Red Sox manager Terry Francona while sitting on the hood of his 2002 Ford Mustang to Lou Piniella, his Chicago counterpart, who was passing on the way to his 10-speed bike. “Who you got? Jason Marquis? How much you have to give him to lure him away from the Cardinals, like $20? Ever hear of Dice-K? Yeah, the beast from the East, brah. What you know about that?”

The Red Sox have reportedly been sighted consorting with the newly hot Milwaukee Brewers as they can apparently “throw friggin’ sweet parties” with “all the beer they want.”


Got a tip? Want me to take down a picture? Email the BlogMogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NBA Playoffs: This guy reminds me of...

The NBA Playoffs have completed the first round and are well into the 2nd round, and some unfamiliar teams and players are advancing. Many casual fans tend to tune in at around this point in the playoffs, so for those of you who are planning on tuning in to catch the Conference Finals and NBA Finals, here's a look at who's left and who they may remind you of from years past:

Western Conference Finals: Utah Jazz v Phoenix Suns/San Antonio Spurs winner
Utah: the Jazz won a playoff series for the first time since the Stockton and Malone days, and after dispatching the Warriors, the feel-good story of the playoffs, in 5 games, the boys from Salt Lake City are headed to the Conference finals to face a tough matchup against the Suns or Spurs.

He plays like...: (current players who may remind the casual fan of late-round players of the past)
- Deron Williams, PG: You probably remember the 2nd year PG from his run to the NCAA championship game in which his Illinois team (featuring Williams, Jazz teammate Dee Brown, and Rockets guard Luther Head) lost to UNC (Sean May, Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams). Deron has made a quick transition to the pros and has been great in the playoffs

MOST LIKE: Jason Kidd, but slower and stronger.

- Carlos Boozer, PF: He has been an animal in the post and took over a few games against Golden State.


MOST LIKE: Charles Barkley

- Paul Millsap, PF: This guy justs works his ass off from the minute he gets into the game. He grabs boards and makes putbacks and generally just brings some nastiness to the floor.

MOST LIKE: Charles Oakley

Suns/Spurs
Phoenix
- Amare Stoudamire, C: Amare is an extremely athletic, agile 7-footer who throws down 3 or 4 monster dunks per game. When he adds a few buckets in the post to the Suns run and gun fast-break points, the Suns are really tough to beat. He also seems to really get up for the Spurs.

MOST LIKE: Shawn Kemp in his prime

- Raja Bell, SG/SF: Bell is not the most talented guy but he is a hard worker. He usually guards the other teams best perimeter player (such as Kobe Bryant in the 1st round) and annoys the hell out of them. He likes to take charges, reach in for steals and generally pester every player on the opposing offense. He has also become a relaible 3-pointer shooter who can knock down the corner 3s with regularity.

MOST LIKE: Bruce Bowen, whose been doin this for 7 years

Spurs
Tim Duncan, PF: If you don't know already, there's no way your watchin the Playoffs anyways.

MOST LIKE; Tim Duncan, there's noone like him.

Eastern Conference
Cleveland/New Jersey
Cleveland
- Lebron James, SF: Lebron is unquestionably a top 5 player in the NBA and arguably the best overall. But this is not nearly good enough for him. We knew right away that he was going to be judged on how many titles he won, and if the Cavs make a solid run this year, they may be ready to win it all very soon.

MOST LIKE: Magic Johnson. The natural comparison is to Jordan because that is the measuring stick for all transcendant players but Lebron's game more closely resembles Magic's than it does Jordan's. However, Magic had Hall of Fame talent around him his entire career and Lebron doesn't have anything close to that.

- Larry Hughes, SG: He needs to be a top-flight running mate for the Cavs to have a chance against the Bulls or Pistons/

MOST LIKE: Scottie Pippen. The style of play, not the level of play. But if Hughes gets to 3/4 as good as Pipp was, the Cavs could have a real shot at getting to the Finals.

New Jersey
Jason Kidd, PG. Same deal as Duncan, if you don't know him already, you're not tuning in.

MOST LIKE: Jason Kidd of 6 years ago when the Nets made to staright trips to the Finals, He is playing out of his mind recently and the Nets are barely hanging on.

Bulls/Pistons
Bulls
- Kirk Hinrich, PG: Hinrich, liek the Bulls team as a whole, has shown some flashes of brilliance during the playoffs. He was great against the Heat but has been off against the Pistons.

MOST LIKE: young Chauncey Billups, when he first got to Detroit. Hinrich can shoot the 3, create off the dribble and is not afraid of taking the big shot. If he can get some deep playoff experience, refine his court vision, and be more responsible with the ball (less tunrovers), he may be able to play the role for the young Bulls that Billups did for the Pistons when they first ascended to NBA title contender status.

Pistons:
Chirs Webber, PF: Obviosuly Webber is near the end of his career and he doesn't have the agility and athleticism that made him a star for so long, but he is a key contributor to this team. Now that he is not forced to carry the load, he may be able to shake the "can't win the big one" tag.

MOST LIKE: Robert Horry with the Lakers with better court vision and scoring ability but less range and "cluctch-ness." Although Webber is probably better than Horry with the Lakers, Big Shot Bob is known for making the big shot (no shit) while C-Webb is known for blowing it when it counts.

There you have it - now turn your clocks back to the present (or the future, see DJGel's Food for Thought post below) and enjoy the playoffs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lost Bloggin' 8 (5-15-07)

Here ye, here ye! With DJGel and the Unit on assignment in Hawaii investigating Lost production on-site, I’ve been given the onerous duty of carrying the torch for this installment of Lost Bloggin’. For this purpose I have recruited my buddy Drew (who I’ve cited a couple times previous posts) to help out. Since he declined to come up with his own moniker, I’ve anointed him The Great Brain. I think you’ll see why he’s been named as such.

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: Ok dude, let's get this started. First of all, I want to welcome you to the blessed ranks of BlogMogger contributors. Peace be unto thee who mogs. Quick breakdown of some of the more salient points from the last two episodes:

-These episodes were mainly centered around Locke and his dealings with the Others and what he would do now that his father was on the island.

-Ben told Locke that he had to kill his father.

-Predictably, Locke couldn’t and so he recruited Sawyer to do his dirty work by telling him that he kidnapped Ben. Again, predictably, it turned out Locke's father is Real Sawyer so Sawyer strangles him to death.

-It seems that Real Sawyer was in a car accident and then ended up on the island. For this reason he thought they were in hell.

-Charlie, Sayid, Hurley, and Desmond hid Naomi from Jack and Juliet.

-The episode ended with Locke propping his father's body on his back to track down the Others.

-The last episode focused on Ben.

-Through his flashbacks, we learned that he was not born on the island but was brought by Dharma.

-His dad blamed him for his mother's death; his dad was an all-around deadbeat.

-We also learned that Eye-Patch Guy didn't die because the fence wasn't set to lethal levels. I was pretty underwhelmed by this explanation (so the Smoke Monster can't get through but it won't takeout one middle-aged Russian?).

-The "hostiles" were the original Others and they apparently attacked Dharma from time to time.

-Ben thought he saw his dead mother outside his window which led him to cross the fence and meet Richard, apparently an original Other/hostile. On a related note, are we supposed to assume thatRichard has not aged between this time and current Lost time? He looked conspicuously like he was the same age...

-Ben helped the Others infiltrate Dharma's stronghold which led to the purge of Dharma (including his own father).

-In the present time, Ben took Locke to see Jacob. Ben talked to an ostensibly empty chair claiming Jacob was sitting in it. Locke didn't buy it but, after turning to leave, heard a deep voice say, "Help me."

-After trying to get Ben to admit it was all a ruse, the house started to shake and such.

-Ben led Locke back to camp on a different path to show him the mass grave of all the victims of the purge.

-Ben shoots Locke and demands to know what Jacob said to him. Locke tells him Jacob said "help me."

Ok, that was long-winded and pretty dry. What do you want to talk about first?

The Great Brain:

"The Man Behind the Curtain"
Finally! An episode that gives us viewers a little insight into the vast amounts of secrets without piling on (too many) new mysteries. In the grand scheme of things it looks as though the season finally will in fact be a Lord of the Flies Rumble in the Jungle, and a rumble on the beach as well.

First of all, I believe Ben allowed John to steal the tape recorder which had Juliet giving info to the Others about the pregnant Losties. Ben is always thinking a few steps ahead, and I think he's probably looking to start a divide on the beach. Similarly, it looks like the Others' are going to face a divide as well. Possibly the only thing Ben didn't anticipate was Locke revealing the Jacob secret to the Others. Ben probably thought Locke would keep the secret to himself as Ben would have done and as Locke did previously, i.e. seeing the monster and finding the hatch. Moreover, it appears Mikhail might be the only one that is still firmly behind Ben. Tom and Richard didn't obey his orders, possibly because Ben no longer has a monopoly over Jacob.

Secondly, I'm glad to see a Ben back story. His mom, aka the monster, seems to have been roaming for some time, since the sonic wall was already up. However, the intro tape of the asian doctor said it was to keep the wildlife away. This could be true. More likely, there was an accident that caused the release of the monster. Or! The big mystery we are going to see at the season finally is... the monster is Jacob. Jacob was in the house, we briefly saw him and Locke heard him. This invisibility and the ability to wig out and move things was very monster-like.

Was that black sand Locke saw outside Jacob's house possiby gun powder or ashes? Perhaps those ashes are what give the monster his Smokey appearance.

Richard
Maybe Richard and the "hostiles" are the smoke monster, or just a part of it. This would explain why he didn't age. It could also explain why Rousseu (circa season one) said the Others didn't leave footprints. Maybe the real Others are Richard and his crew. His travels off island don't destroy this theory, since I suppose the monster could go off island.

On a side note, who cuts the grass around the sonic wall?

The Dead Tree
Did you guys see the dead tree little Ben passed while he was running away after leaving the sonic fence? There was another dead tree near where Eko was killed. It really stuck out. I'm betting this has something to do with the monster, and how it moves underground

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: Damn, that's some good stuff to start with. Based on what we know, I think Jacob has to be Smokey or part of Smokey or something. I also wondered what that border was surrounding the cabin and I think your theory is solid considering what we've been given so far.

So what do you think Ben's plan is? Clearly he's always been several steps ahead of everyone basically at every point in the show. So it seems pretty obvious what he's wanted so far, namely to get someone who can actually communicate with Jacob. I think it's fair to infer that Locke's father needed to die for him to be able to hear Jacob; can we also deduce that perhaps Ben had a single message from Jacob after he killed his pops? I'll go with that and also add that Ben has not heard anything from Jacob since then. However, I can't think of why having your father killed would allow you to talk to Jacob; at this point, it's probably something similar to how having faith seems to give healing powers.

I think a good topic to discuss would be how people are getting to the island. Do you actually believe Real Sawyer got killed in a car accident and was sort of transported to the island? I know he said he woke up bound and gagged or something and then came to the island so the Others could have definitely pulled that one off but Real Sawyer seemed like he was convinced he was already dead. Plus I still can't decide how I think Naomi got her chopper so close to the island. Basically, I still think it's a possibility that "dying" and ending up on the island can happen (although I still think the hell/purgatory theory would be a huge letdown); for instance, we still don't know how Desmond came back to the island after being sent back to the real world after turning the key. Like I said before, I think it's possible he got killed by the cricket bat to the dome. I don't know...

The Great Brain:
Ben
I think it might be possible that when Richard told young Ben that he would have to be patient to join them that the condition of joining the Others was to kill all of DHARMA including his father. Ben probably saw this as a rite of passage, a way to prove himself. Then to show that Locke was weak in the face of the Others, Ben gave Locke a similar task to "prove" himself to the Others. This is why Richard said Ben was trying to make Locke look badly. When Locke failed, it made Ben look like more of an Other.

I don't think Ben wanted anyone else to know or talk to Jacob. I think the monopoly over Jacob was what gave Ben power. I think Ben may have needed Locke. Ben was having trouble walking and Locke was able to walk. Ben went to Locke for help; although, in traditional Ben, not trusting of anyone, tried to deceive Locke instead of just asking him what he knew/felt about the island.

There’s possibly a connection between embracing the rugged lifestyle of the island and not "cheating." Locke suggested this was why Ben was still injured. Ben was using the Others technology (i.e. the barracks and the sub) and was losing touch with the island. Ben therefore jumped at the chance to have Locke blow up the sub (he also benefited from its destruction by keeping Jack on the island). Furthermore, Ben decided to leave the barracks and camp in the wilderness, i.e. getting back to nature and more in touch with the island. Plus, the first place they camped was an "old place" as Ben called it. The place featured a huge column, possible built by the same people as the foot.

Anyway, back to Ben not wanting Locke to know about Jacob. I think further evidence of this is that Alex gave Locke a gun. Why would he need this gun? I doesn't seem like he could stop Jacob with it? Why was Ben so shocked when Alex gave Ben the gun? I think Ben has taken other people to see Jacob, and if they can hear Jacob Ben kills them. In the last episode when Locke is in the pit the skeleton next to Locke has a hole in the head, but all the DHARMA people were gassed. Perhaps, this body was added later by Ben in the same way he dealt with Locke. Alex knew this and wanted Locke to be able to protect himself.

As for people coming to the island.
I think the Real Sawyer was brought by sub to the island, the same way as Juliet. After Ben caused the accident, Real Sawyer says he remembered some paramedics and then he passed out and woke up on the island. I'm betting the paramedics were Others, and they drugged Real Sawyer similar to Juliet (she was drugged in the building and then woke up on the island.)

Possible Overall Super-Theory
Ben and Locke are brothers. Both have a mother named Emily (that red-headed chick wasn't his mom, just someone Real Sawyer got to con Locke). The fact that they are brothers is what makes them both so inclined to the island, hence, why both Locke and Ben saw a "nice" monster when they first arrived, instead of the DHARMA-terrorizing (they built the sonic wall for some reason) and pilot-killing monster. Locke and Ben both had shitty fathers, both had absent mothers. Perhaps, Magus Hanso, (aka Jacob aka the monster) is the great, great, etc., grandfather of those two and therefore share a rapport with those two. Remember the story of Jacob, Ben, and Isaac (Locke) from the bible. Jacob was the father of Ben (and his "other" brothers) and Isaac and Isaac was favored. Ben got jealous and tried to kill Isaac by throwing him into a hole (pit of skeletons?). Isaac survived and went to Egypt and came to be a great ruler. Maybe we'll see this going on.

Side note on Richard
Remember when Ben asked Richard if he even remembered what birthdays were? I think this is a big point, not sure how or why, but I'm sure it has something to do with Richard never aging.

Finally, my biggest Sub-Theory – Daddy Issues
Everyone on the island has daddy issues. The show starts of with Jack...
1) Jack has huge daddy issues that he has to resolve with his drunken father.
2) Kate: She killed her dad (step-dad?) and started running and never faced up to it
3) Sawyer: His metaphorical dad, the Real Sawyer, was a shit hole, but he emulated him and never resolved the issues
4) Locke: nuff said
5) Ben: nuff said
6) Claire never knew her dad, it was always a sour note in her family
7) Charlie: His dad never approved of his band playing; however, his mom thought he'd save the family somehow
8) Hurley’s dad ran away and left the family, he had to resolve this too (not sure if he did)
9) Alex HATES her dad
10) Desmond: Was never good enough for Penny's dad

People no longer on the show resolved the daddy issues
11) Boone and Shannon (both now dead) had a similar father (who died on Jack's operating table). This similar father was what made a love between them weird, at least for Boone. However, it was the similar father that kept Boone from going after Shannon. Locke fixed this by making Boone realize Shannon was a bitch. Boone died. Not only did he die, but it was in a very island-wierdness way. Remember Locke saw him all bloody, and Locke's legs stopped working. Almost as if Boone was now ready to die.
12) Walt and Micheal: Micheal had issues about being a dad. I suppose he resolved them by finally being there for Walt (of course he killed a bunch of people to get there).

Not sure what to make of this, but maybe it's something.

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: Well, damn, that was pretty thorough. I think the last thing to discuss is what to expect from the rest of the season. Next week's episode will be a Charlie-flashback one with the plot centering around Jack's plan to defend the Losties from the Others. It also appears that the finale will have flashbacks from Jack.

So I guess we can assume that the finale will be the Losties vs. the Others in a battle royale on the beach. I think it's pretty hard to say what Jack, Juliet, Sayid, etc. will do in preparation for theattack; we just haven't been given much. However, the last promo would have us believe that Jack and Juliet seem to have a pretty good idea of how to beat the Others.

Other than that, I just don't know what to expect from these last two episodes. I suppose the Losties will probably beat back the Others but, then again, it wouldn't be that shocking if they didn't and ended up being force-fed fish biscuits. No one has ever really out-thought Ben yet and it's hard to imagine that he hasn't counted on Juliet helping the Losties; I really wouldn't be surprised if whatever plan Jack and Juliet come up with gets totally destroyed by the always-conniving Ben.

Any final thoughts on the rest of the season or anything else?

The Great Brain: I'm betting it has something to do with Naomi's boat. I'm guessing the Others are going to go after the Losties to get the pregnant women. The Losties are going to be ready for them and Sayid and Sawyer are going to kill a few of the Others. Possibly with the help of Rousseu (what was she getting that dynamite for???). Ben will definitely have a plan though and the Losties will get beat.

He must have known that the other side of the tape would get played and the Losties will be waiting for them. I'm guessing that they use the gas again. Although this time it's the knock out gas that was used on Kate, not the deadly gas. Plus, they'll have something else planned too. Something nobody can guess.

However, Ben could simply walk into camp and say, "Pregnant ladies, come with me. I'm the only hope you have to live." I think that would be a pretty compelling argument. Most likely, all the women are pregnant, since sperm counts are increased 5 fold and they've been on an island paradise for three months with nothing to do.

Either way the Others are going to be the winners of the beach brawl. Until...

Locke's going to turn up not dead, and completely healed by the island. He and Ben will battle for the head of the Others. Locke wins, and Ben runs into the jungle.

Now that everyone is cooled down, a crew will go find Desmond's boat with the help of Juliet and try to reach Noami's boat. The barrier is down, purple flash in season 2, and they should be able to reach it until....

I don't know. It's going to be shocking though. Maybe the ocean stops. Maybe they hit a wall. Maybe they hit a time loop and go back to before the plane crashed. This loop may also be a time/space loop and drop them off in the middle of the island (might explain how the Black Rock ended up in the middle of the island). Or, they reach the boat and it's completely empty and out of gas, with no electronics working, leaving us to speculate who's boat it was (Naomi will die without revealing it). Maybe Hanso sent the boat. Maybe Penny was on the boat, and if so her dad abducted everyone on the boat.

The Losties return to the island and now it is the Losties/Others vs. Ben/Jacob (who is still under Ben's control).

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: There you have it. Thanks, man, I think we should do this again after the season finale. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of intricate theories, especially since the producers have put a cap on how many episodes are left (a total of six seasons).

Friday, May 11, 2007

Food For Thought…Kill Doc Brown?

This is the debut of a new column designed to get Friends of the Mog talking about some of the most important issues (from my perspective) out there called, “Food for Thought.” I don’t really know how to describe it other than I (or another Mogger) will lay out a thought-provoking issue, short arguments for and against it, and then we’ll leave it for anyone else to debate in the comments. I guess this is my latest (and lamest) attempt yet to stir up the pot a bit on the site, but if we get enough feedback on this, I think it can be a valuable feature going forward.

That said, for the inaugural “Food for Thought” column, I wanted to dust off a thought that G-Gel Unit and I have debated with numerous people on several different occasions, and it has always, perhaps surprisingly, spawned some intense, polarizing debate with strong reactions on both sides of the issue. Without further adieu, I give you…FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

The Issue:

If you read this site even semi-regularly, then more likely than not, you’ve seen Back to the Future II. You know, it’s the one where Marty and Doc Brown actually go into the future, and they find out that the Cubs have won the World Series in 2015 (This will never happen in real life for various reasons, but hey, it’s Hollywood, right?)

At any rate, a passer by who states that he “wishes he could go back in time…and put some money on the Cubbies!” gives Marty the idea to go buy a sports almanac for 1900-2000 so that he can go back in time and make a fortune on sports gambling. Doc Brown sees this, and throws the book away, saying that the “time machine wasn’t meant for such things,” or some bullshit like that. Of course, this ends up biting them in the ass because Biff gets his hands on it and does exactly what Marty wanted to do, but that’s not the issue here.

Imagine you’re Marty, and Doc Brown has just thrown the almanac on top of the trash. You have to make a split second decision—let the mad scientist win and admit defeat, or kill the old bastard and dump the body somewhere where it won’t be missed, and go enjoy the spoils of the almanac around the year 2000 or so. What do you do?

Arguments for Killing Doc Brown

-He has no family—no one will miss him save for his dog, and you could easily take his dog in.

-He is an idiot

-It’s not like you could knock him out and leave him somewhere else in time. If you left him in the past, he might fuck things up for you in the future. If you leave him in the future, he could wake up and build another time machine to try and stop you. Remember, this guy built a time machine IN 1985! The last thing you’d want would be to find the old codger looking up at you dramatically at the desk of the MGM Sports Book.

-He sucks

-You could (ostensibly) do a lot of good with the money. What if you planned on donating a lot of it to charity and whatnot to save millions of lives? Would that be worth Doc Brown’s miserable existence?

Arguments Against Killing Doc Brown

-It’s murder, for Chrissake! You’re talking about killing another human being! I’d like to see you pull the trigger, dickhead!

-He’s a genius

-How can you measure the comparative values of human life, you sick monster?

-He is a supergenius

-That money that you’re getting—it’s blood money! Not to mention that it was begotten gambling! The horror! The horror!

So, what would you do?

Comments would be welcome…

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Site Update

For loyal friends of the Mog, I thought I'd keep you all up to date as to what's going to be going on here in the next couple of weeks:

G-Gel unit and I are going to be vacationing in sunny Hawaii for the next week or so. Fear not, though, loyal "Weekly Mog" and "Lost Bloggin'" readers--Dave will still be holding down the fort with the Weekly, and his buddy Drew, who has been referenced more than a few times in the Lost Bloggin' column, will be filling in for me this week--which should provide infinitely more coherent/less fratty analysis of this week's sure to be awesome episode. Thank you Dave and thank you Drew.

Also, hopefully Jamie can drag his ass out of the post-finals haze here to post an article or two while we're gone. Maybe random ramblings, maybe some NBA stuff, who knows? Such is the unpredictability of the Mog...

At any rate, we'll try to keep the posts coming as much as possible here in the next couple of weeks, but bear with us.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Free Agent No Longer

I have to admit, I've never been a big fan of the NBA, with two exceptions:

1. During the yearly New Year's trip to Vegas, I become obsessed for about 4 days or so, largely because it's either betting on the NBA or stooping to something as low as D 2 college basketball, or dog racing (check the dog racing drink special next time you're at the Wynn--it's a blast). By the end of the week, our buddy Org has us convinced that the Wiz are a lock for every game (they never are) and that we know enough about the teams to start making first half wagers (absolutely insane, but still...).

2. During the playoffs, I get mildly more excited to watch the games. I might watch the 4th quarter or something like that.

I just have never seen the point of watching a whole game when the lead is sure to change 10 times, points are scored every 20 seconds or so, and only the last 5 minutes truly matter.

Sure, I've had friends that are hardcore NBA fans, but until now, I haven't been able to really align myself with any given NBA team. Obviously Jamie is a huge Heat fan, but they're kind of old and not terribly exciting for the casual fan to watch. My buddy Daniel is a Spurs fan, but I can't bring myself to root for a team where the best player (Tim Duncan) has about as much charisma as Frankenstein on valium, and their point guard is French. Sweeney is a Pacers fan, but now that they traded away Stephen Jackson, they're a team full of big, dumb goobers, so they're out. Org is a Nets fan, but their stars are pretty lame (Jason Kidd and Vince Carter? No thanks).

However, my buddy Coop has always been a Warriors fan. Up until a week or two ago, I thought, "Oh yeah, Warriors, they have J-Rich and a bunch of white guys who flopped at the pro level." However, a funny thing happened as I was watching the playoff series between the Mavs and the Warriors--I started to like how these guys were playing. Baron Davis was pretty fucking awesome. Stephen Jackson is CRAZY--you never know when that motherfucker is going to "make it rain." J-Rich is still a good player. Their fans still seem to care in the playoffs.

Then it hit me.

Why the fuck shouldn't I become a Warriors fan?

I mean, look at this e-mail Coop sent Sweeney during the series:

"So I did something totally foolish and went home for the game on sunday night. My dad got us courtside seats (thank you Oracle) and we sat next to Jessica Alba and her loser boyfriend, whose name is "Cash Warren" no joke.

I have to say that watching that game courtside was unlike any sporting event I have ever been to. During the shootaround before the game I was feeding a bunch of the guys for the stop and pop. Adonal Foyle seemed really intense about this, probably because he never gets any burn during the game itself. Mark Cuban was in full effect during the shootaround, as he took shot after shot while seated on the Mavericks bench- every one an airball. That elicited a great reaction from the crowd. He really is every bit as much of an asshole as people make him out to be. It was also the first time I had ever seen Jack come out for player introductions- he does some sort of hip-hop dance step to midcourt where Andris Biedrins proceeds to frisk him while Jack spreads his legs and puts his hands behind his back. I guess he is getting ready for the post-postseason.

The game itself was awesome. I have never seen so much intensity from the Golden State crowd, much less any other NBA crowd, even when I went to the Finals at the Garden back in '99. I'm sure you saw the game so I won't bore you with details, other than the incessant photo-ops that Alba was doing and the insane amount of taunting I inflicted on Dirk."

I mean, how can you not like the Warriors after reading that e-mail? They have fun, their fans have fun, they're just a great team to root for.

So, I've decided to pledge my NBA allegiance to the Golden State Warriors from here on out.

Now, of course this comes with a couple of notes:

-Obviously, if St. Louis ever gets a team, I reserve the right to switch to rooting for them at that time. I think it's only fair. That said, I'll still give the Warriors a fair shake if and when that happens.

-Jamie told me to prepare to be disappointed. No worries, Jamie. I'm a Blues fan, and those assholes haven't won a Stanley Cup...well...ever. So I'm ready to put in the time on this one.

-And of course, this means that I have to attend a Warriors game at some point in the next few years. It's only fair--to be a fan, you have to have attended a game at some point. So I have to plan a trip at some point to San Fran during basketball season--an unfortunate (but doable) reality.

Any other suggestions on things a real Warriors fan should do? I'm pretty fucking excited, I'm not going to lie. Thanks Coop.

DJGel

Questions? Comments? Tips? Fake lotteries we've won? E-mail the BlogMogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Random Ramblings 4

Answer to Mog fans: Don't worry, right now. Question: For the love of god, when is there gonna be another Random Ramblings? That's right it's time for Volume 4 of Random Ramblings: a disorganized, non-themed collection of casual observations, personal ponderings, and general curiosities about the world in which we live:

- why do people on TV shows always have the answering machines that play the message that is being left out loud? How many times does the "spontaneous girl" you met on a business trip - you know the one who made you question your commitment to your serious relationship - have to leave you a "hey, i just passed the public fountain in the park and it made me think of the other night - by the way i still cant find my panties" message while you are having dinner with your fiance and your future in-laws for you to get a modern voicemail system?

- did I miss the meeting when everyone decided that 2 minutes was the new measure for a short amount of time? As in "Ill be there in 2 minutes, or I have an errand to run but it'll only take 2 minutes." I am still operating under the 5 minute regime and I'm starting to feel like a slacker.

- does anyone else feel an undeserved sense of accomplishment for successfully picking the fastest grocery checkout line?

- Note to waiters and waitresses: I am not impressed that you didn't have to write down my order. All you need to do is get it right, this isn't a game of Concentration.

- Who are the parents of the New Year's baby?

- I've had Tivo for a year now and I still wait for the commercials to get up from the couch. I am the only one who suffers from this brainlock?

- I'm beginning to think the prize for mailing all my Tootsie Pop wrappers with an Indian shooting a star just isn't gonna come

That's it for now folks. Again feel free to comment on my ramblings or even post some of your own - if you dare.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Destruction of American Team Sports

Under the current conditions that exist in American society, the USA inevitably will continue to see its teams fail at international competition. The reason for this failure will simply be the over-coaching of America's children in sports and in life. Children just don't play unsupervised pick-up games anymore. In America if you want to play a team sport you have to sign up with an athletic association, have scheduled games and practices, and play every game with a coach and umpires present. Now obviously there are reasons for this, the first one being the protection of the children. These days it seems like even the safest neighborhoods in America have a couple registered sex offenders. Also, in our lawsuit crazed society, every parent is afraid of being in legal danger if they have some kids over to play a game of whiffle ball in their backyard (and that fear is probably justified).

These are real problems that exist, but we have to come up with something better than the current situation of throwing all the kids in an athletic association so they can be over-coached to the point where they can't think for themselves. In other countries children play informal pick-up games. Since I'm going to be using the word "pick-up game", I'm going to define it as an informal gathering of humans to play an unsupervised team sport event. The value of a pick-up game is immeasurably important. Pick-up games allow the athletes participating in them to think for themselves and develop a competitive drive. In an athletic association game, the kids are there because the game was scheduled three months ago and they have to be there. The whole idea of "having" to be there can change a child's entire thought process. The game is no longer a gathering after school where children compete for the admiration of their peers, but rather an obligation. This factor isn't the worst part of it, but it is important and worth mentioning.

The worst part of the whole thing is the coach (and I say this as a high school baseball coach). Once you add a coach into the mix, it shuts down the creative process of a child figuring out a game for himself. Pick-up games force children to learn the game on their own (which in my experience is the only way you can really learn anything). Most importantly, pick-up games are responsible for cultivating a child's competitive drive. Pick-up games put bragging rights and the admiration of one's peers on the line, which is an incredible force of motivation for a child. These forces of motivation allow a child to discover the real fun of sports, which is figuring out how to win. Sports are not fun if you stand passively out in the field. They're fun when you figure out how to beat the other team. This is why sports are such a good metaphor for life. In any field in life you have to figure out how to beat the other guy and rise to the top, just like sports. If you really want to win, you have to spend time figuring out what is the best way to live and play. In athletic associations the game is driven by the coach. The coach decides who plays when, so it is in every player's best interest to get on the good side of the coach. So then the child will listen to the coach and do what the coach wants, but will not learn how to become their own coach and develop their own competitive drive. Just try coaching third base during a high school baseball game. I constantly have to scream out directions to my players on when to go and when not to go, even in obvious situations.

So what does this all mean? Quite frankly, I'm not sure. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that America is arguably the most developed society in the world. As society keeps moving forward things keep getting more complicated and increased organization is required. And as society keeps growing they need to find more ways to create content middle-management (or below middle-management) workers. Thus, it is in the best interests of a society like America to incorporate the idea of listening to a boss or a coach being more important than thinking for yourself. Maybe I'm reading too much into the whole thing, I don't know. Anyway, all I know is that if American team sports continue on their current path they are doomed to failure in international competition, unless the rest of the world eventually mimics our system, which is extremely unlikely.

Lost Bloggin' 7 (5-1-07)

I'm not going to lie to all of you loyal "Lost Bloggin'" readers out there (all three of you)--this installment was particularily difficult to put together because both Dave and I were traveling at different points over the past two weeks. That said, I think we're finally really getting at the "good stuff," so to speak, that is becoming more of an overarching theory for the show. Enjoy!

DJGel: Hmm. That pretty much sums up my reaction from the past two “Lost” episodes since we last left off. I’d give the first episode a “5” on the Lost scale—good, solid, average effort. I’d give the second one a “6,” only because of the big revelation at the end of the show. So here’s the recap (feel free to scroll through if you already know what happened):

-We got a glimpse into Desmond’s flash-forwards. Apparently every event has to occur exactly as he sees it or the overall “picture” of his vision changes.

-Desmond recruited Jin, Hurley, and Charlie to go out and find the helicopter pilot that he saw in one of his visions, who he thought was his girl Penny. Of course, he neglected to tell Charlie that in this vision, Charlie was supposed to get an arrow clear through the neck and die, and Desmond was ready to oblige the universe this time.

-Desmond left a previous (fairly attractive) fiancĂ© a week before the wedding to become a monk—of course with an order of monks that bottle wine all day.

-Desmond ended up saving Charlie’s life again (damnit).

-The parachutist ended up being some chick other than Penny

-We found out that the monk had a picture of himself and that creepy old lady from Desmond’s earlier episode on his desk. Hmm…

-Desmond got really fucked up on two bottles of the monk’s expensive wine, and got fired (tough crowd, those monks…)

-Also the monk is the one who introduced Desmond to Penny after Penny’s Alcoholic Father ordered some of their (probably awesome) wine

-The second ep involved a lot of Sun and Juliet. Juliet took Sun to the medical hatch to get an ultrasound to figure out if she conceived on the island. Juliet seems to think that if a woman conceives on the island, she’s pretty much fucked.

-The kid is Jin’s. Sun is pretty much fucked.

-There was a weird part at the beginning with Jack talking to Sun about her pregnancy where Jack sounded suspiciously like an Other. It was almost as if Ethan himself was asking Sun some pretty specific questions.

-There was a whole storyline about how Jin’s mom was a big hooker, and she blackmailed Sun into giving her $100 grand. Why Sun didn’t just have her dad “send Jin’s mom a message,” I have no idea.

-Sun demanding $100,000 from her dad fucked Jin over, because that’s what spurred his promotion to “thug” from “car assembly floor manager,” ruining both of their lives in the process.

-We saw the return of the left-for-dead Russian Eye Patch guy, which, though somewhat off-putting at first, is welcome. He is quite the smart ass, and a great addition to the cast.

-The Russian guy offered to save the female parachutist’s life in exchange for Desmond and his crew letting him go. Des agreed.

-At one point, the parachutist chick said something that sounded like, “I am not alone,” in Spanish, and the Russian Guy seemed to understand. However, when they asked him what she said, the Russian Guy just said that she was thanking them. Hmm…

-After Juliet tells Sun that she probably has 2 months to live, Juliet left a message for Ben on a tape recorder in the medical hatch that seems to indicate that Kate is pregnant, too. At the end, after she stopped recording, Juliet said, “I hate you Ben,” putting us at something like a sextuple cross at this point.

-The big twist at the end was that the parachutist chick finally started speaking English, and revealed that the wreckage of Flight 815 has been found in the real world, and she claims that there were no survivors. Needless to say, everyone who watches the show regularly was shocked.

OK, I think those are the basic points. What did I miss, Dave?

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: I think you covered it. One thing I'd add is that Sun isn't supposed to make it past her second trimester according to Juliet. I think this meant she had forty days to live? Whatever, she's fucked in the near future and Juliet said she'd try to help her.

In Desmond's episode, Kate tried to flirt with Jack again only he had none of it. Kate did the only logical thing and fucked Sawyer again while crying.

Let's see, Eye-Patch Guy tried to steal some sort of satellite phone (which doesn't work) that Parachute Chick had on her when she crashed. I also think it's still possible that Sun actually got knocked up by Korean Bald Guy and that Juliet’s intentionally trying to throw a monkey wrench in Ben's plan.

Lastly, you made the egregious error of omitting Jin's finishing move on Eye-Patch Guy: the full 360 roundhouse kick. For a show with a fair bit of fisticuffs, I really appreciated that the one fight involving the only Asian guy reinforces age-old stereotypes. In that spirit, if you haven't already seen this from a link in Bill Simmons' sports blog, treat yourself to this gem:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Aw8iF9Zxaz0

Anyway, back to Lost. Maybe we should start in chronological order: Who's the helicopter pilot? Honestly, I've got very little idea. First of all, she conspicuously had a picture of Desmond and Penny yet Desmond doesn't know who she is and she thinks/thought all passengers on Oceanic Flight Whatever were killed. The only thing I've got is that the book containing the aforementioned picture was the Portuguese version of the novel Catch-22 (good book, by the way) which leads me to suspect that she's Brazilian with some connection to Paulo. Since we don't really know anything about Paulo's past it's hard to say what the connection could be, it could be anything.

Any thoughts?

DJGel: Well, I think that it’s important to note that the Parachute chick knows a ton of languages, and yet only started speaking English toward the end of the episode. Most conspicuously, she tended to speak only languages that Russian Guy spoke while he was still around. The Others have been known to speak a few different tongues, so maybe she is one of them or has some connection to them. This could be explained most easily by her being one of Old Man Widmore’s employees. Maybe he has a company policy that everyone needs to be able to speak at least 5 languages or something. Still, who knows?

Another thing that I found very interesting was the somewhat offhand, smart-ass remark that Russian Guy made that “The healing time is somewhat less on this island,” or something to that effect. That got me thinking—were Nikki and Paulo the only ones that the Losties buried alive? Could Boone have survived if Jack would have let him go for a few more minutes? Could Ethan have survived the 5 gunshot wounds to the chest if only they would have given him a little more time? I guess we’ll never know. All I know is that I saw the Russian Guy with blood spurting from his ears like a Peter North money shot and foaming at the mouth, and apparently he was able to recover, so anything is possible.

What do you think?

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: Clearly something's going on with the healing on this island. I haven't decided if I think Patchy just healed from his injuries, actually died and was resurrected, or maybe there's even another Patchy. Unfortunately none of these are very satisfying proposals: Either the writers just pulled off a huge cop-out (even though he had no pulse he wasn't actually dead!), a pretty big stretch even by Lost standards (even though he had no pulse we can resurrect him!), or something completely out of the blue (even though he had no pulse there's another Patchy running loose!).

So I think there's only one other option that is also a bit of a stretch but would actually be fairly congruous: New Patchy was actually the Smoke Monster. We know that dead people have been seen on the island before (Jack's father, Eko's brother) and, personally, this would be much more satisfying than the other options. If I'm wrong then Lost has officially become the television equivalent of Mission Impossible II whose story basically revolved around characters ripping off masks to reveal -- gasp! -- So-And-So was really Some Other Guy! Anyway, here's hoping that New Patchy is another nefarious incarnation of Smokey.

Alternatively, I suppose I'd still be happy with New Patchy being Some Other Patchy; that is, it wouldn't be too bad if they somehow used the time-loop to explain the presence of another Patchy. This could also explain how the survivors may have died in the plane crash (which is debatable, we'll get to this later) and also be on the island. Whatever, we haven't been given enough about the time-loop to make that leap but I guess it's one possibility.

DJGel: Interesting. I didn’t even consider that the Russian Guy might actually be the smoke monster. I dunno, I mean I’m probably not as incensed as you are with the idea of dying and coming back to life, you know, not really being a man of science myself. I also do like the time loop theory that it’s another Russian Guy. Also, consider it might be some kind of weird cloning thing because they can’t have kids. I dunno, just throwing that one out there.

I want to move on to the revelation about the plane being found without survivors. What do you think it is? I mean, originally I thought they just crashed an empty plane in the ocean as a cover-up, but it’s not like Oceanic would just give them one of their planes to crash. I guess someone like old man Widmore could theoretically buy a plane and paint it like an Oceanic plane to crash in the ocean, but that seems like a little more trouble than it’s worth—not to mention the loose ends that he would have in terms of the painters. It could be that the fuselage washed out to sea from the beach, but that seems unlikely since nothing can really escape the island unless it goes at a really specific heading, which would be one hell of a coincidence. Some people have raised the possibility of a “media conspiracy,” though, again, I think this would be more trouble than it’s worth to buy off all of the journalists and stuff—even though it clearly happens every day with the aliens and the manned missions to Pluto and whatnot.

One other semi-plausible theory would be that when Desmond went back in time, he altered events to the point where the plane did crash with no survivors in the real world. However, the island is somehow “disconnected” from the rest of the world, so because the survivors already were there before Desmond changed shit, they’re still alive in this “new” universe. It’s a bit crazy, but I think it’s a little better than some of the other ideas floating around out there.

Your thoughts, sir?

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: To be honest, I don't have much on this, it could be anything. If we assume that Dharma was perhaps government related then they could have easily just reported that the site of the crash was found and there were no survivors. Hell, it seems like Dharma's powerful/manipulative enough to pull that off even without government sanction. There's also the purgatory theory which is ok but it smacks of the "so it was all a dream..." kind of anticlimactic conclusion.

For this post, why don't we assume that Parachute Chick wasn't lying and there really were no survivors on the flight. I think the time-loop then becomes critical since when Desmond was sent back events didn't go exactly as they had before (which prompted Judi Dench Equivalent to come in). By this logic, I think your theory holds up: The major events still happened (i.e. the plane still crashed) but the wreckage was found and there were no survivors, which would be effectively the same as the original scenario of the plane crashing and the wreckage/survivors never being found. Again, your "disconnected" part would also make sense since this island and the rest of the world would have sort of diverged paths (i.e. no outside contact since Desmond turned the key). I can't really get my head around the details but I think that it's a pretty good theory in principle. My only follow-up to that would be what happened to Desmond in the real world? When he got clocked by the cricket bat it sent him back to the island but does that mean he doesn't exist in the outside anymore? I guess it's not really a stretch to assume that he could have died from getting that kind of blow to the head and so he's dead as well in the real world.

Anyway, I'm obviously grasping at straws here and we very little info to go on. What's the word on the street for the rest of the season? What can we expect for last episodes? What do you think is gonna happen?

DJGel: I think that we’re going to have a couple more Other-centric episodes towards the end of the season here. The “word on the street,” if you will, is that the episode on the 9th is the long-awaited Ben Linus episode, which should be pretty awesome. I think we’re finally going to find out who Jacob is and what “the deal” is with the Others more generally. I also think that Charlie probably will bite the dust here at some point—the producers couldn’t be so cruel as to tease us like that without delivering on their promise. Also, I think we can look forward to a gigantic lesbian orgy with Kate, Juliet, Sun and Claire that will involve whips, chains…just seeing if you’re still paying attention. I mean, there’s not too much else left, right? I think we might also get some insight into the time loop concept and how it influences the island, and my crazy theory about the plane will probably be disproven.

Other than that, do you have any final thoughts?

½ Man ½ Am-Asian: Not really. I happened to pick up an EW at the gym last week and in a piece about Lost they said that the season finale will "fulfill a promise" or something like that; basically, I took it to mean one of the early, core mysteries will be revealed. I'll guess that we'll finally get some closure about the Smoke Monster. I suppose that's it.

DJGel: OK, well thanks again, Dave, for your always excellent work, especially given your travel schedule this week. We’re gonna crack this thing yet—I can feel it.