Thoughts on my favorite show.

24 is getting predictable. Last night I had to stifle a few laughs as I keep watching what is devolving into a cliche. Of course he's going to get the guy out of the helicopter right before it smashes to the ground, and of course it's going to burst into a huge ball of flame. Of course Fayed made it out and has the four other nukes. And of course they don't have time to send someone else to interrogate Jack's brother and father. Duh.

Chloe said, "Why do people I know keep dying?" Everyone in America at that point said, "Because it's 24." I really feel like this season they're retreading a lot of the same ground, with just enough twists to pass it off as a new season. Yawn. I might have to go back to Heroes.

Which reminds me, Jack's brother's wife is the same actress as Nathan Petrelli's wife in Heroes, right? Has an actress ever appeared on two competing shows at the same time before now?



...the Bears and Pats win on Sunday, I'm boycotting sports for the next three weeks. There is absolutely no way I want to spend two weeks of my life hearing all about The Bowel Obstruction That Is Rex Grossman and Tom "He's So Great Even Straight Guys Want To Make Out With Him" Brady. I can't do it, and I won't do it.

If only one of those teams make the Super Bowl, then I'll have it out. If neither team makes it, then all is right with the world. I guaranteed after the New Year's Eve game vs. the Packers that there was absolutely no chance in hell that the Bears would make the Super Bowl. I stand by it. And I'm encouraged that Peyton Manning played his two worst games of the year and the Colts still won. So, Super Bowl XLI will be:

Colts vs. Saints


Unofficial goals for 2007.

As always, two weeks behind the curve.

1. Buy a house and a kitty.
2. Kill el niƱo.
3. Spend at least 30% more time in Illustrator.
4. Get Ken Jennings to disavow my legalist approach to dice games by publicly declaring me a "Yahtzee Nazi."
5. Use the phrase, "I'm bringin' ushin' back," in context at least once.

What are some of your goals? TELL ME!!!


A rare delve into politics.

There's been some hubbub the last few days surrounding the announcement that Barack Obama is looking into running for president in 2008. Believe you me, there will be plenty more commotion to follow.

I can remember watching his speech at the 2004 DNC and thinking to myself, "Dang, that guy's gonna be huge." You could tell. Everyone could tell. That one speech alone was enough to propel him to the upper ranks of the Democratic party. Reading through some of his legislation and causes, I'm really starting to like the guy.

I've been a lifelong Republican (raised that way), and looking at their hopefuls for presidential candidates, it's a little ho-hum. I've found myself becoming more liberal in my thinking, ironic considering I live smack dab in the middle of the Evangelical Vatican, Colorado Springs. (Related note: read this book) If the election were held today, I daresay I would give this guy my vote.

I'm not writing this to persuade you how great he is, I leave it up to you to look into it for yourself. Here's his Senate webpage. Listen to some podcasts and see what you think.


It's official.

I'm a University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football fan. I've been wanting to jump on the bandwagon for decades, but it was just too painful to watch. But with a new stadium in the works and the hiring of Tim Brewster, I'm on board. It will most likely be a year or two before any measurable results are achieved, so I guess I'm beating the rush. Rose Bowl 2010!

In other news, it turns out that things ended badly for Taj, Curtis, and a couple hundred thousand Los Angelistans. Not many things on 24 make me go "wow" anymore, but last night I had two wow moments within five minutes of each other. I liked Curtis, almost as much as I liked Edgar. It's almost getting to the point where it's not worth growing attached to anyone anymore. I suppose it was only a matter of time before a terrorist was able to get away with a nuclear bomb in LA, but it still took me by surprise. I haven't felt this way since the nuclear bomb scene in Terminator 2.

24 prediction: Milo still has feelings for Chloe. Hopefully annoying totally-not-British guy eats it.


24 premiere.

Since there's absolutely nothing bad going on in the real world (or The Real World Denver, that's alllll goooood baby), let's deconstruct the first half of the season premiere of 24 last night.

1. Format
I can't say I'm a fan of the two-night premiere. In reality, it gluts us in the first week and takes away two episodes that could extend the show a little longer. Since this show is only on for a little over four months of the year anyway, couldn't they do this differently? I will say, though, that putting the first two hours on at the same time is a great move. It allows the first hour a little latitude to develop character and plot, while leaving the second hour to plunge headlong into the action. Brilliant.

2. Jack Bauer
Isn't it amazing how quickly he goes from bad to awesome? It was funny to see the writers put in a line for Buchanan about how he didn't think Jack would be this out of it. And yet by the end of the hour he had bitten a guy's jugular to escape from the clutches of Fayed. But oh no! He's gone soft! He didn't torture a guy to his usual have-to-turn-away degree! Let's get this straight right now, I don't buy the weakness thing for a second. He's going to get over it and it will go very very badly for someone.

And another thing, how can they not believe Jack about Assad? Honestly. If this show is on a continuous narrative, then let's review what Jack has done: Stopped the assassination of David Palmer (twice), rescued his wife and daughter from abduction (Kim twice), survived a plane crash, stopped a nuclear bomb from leveling Los Angeles, averted a war, stopping a nuclear missle from leveling Los Angeles, stopping Centox gas from levelling Los Angeles, and taking down a crooked president. And that's only in the three and a half seasons I've watched. So when he says something, how is it not taken as gospel truth? What does he have to do to earn some trust?

3. Abu Fayed
Every season it turns out that the bad guy in the first episode isn't as bad as it gets. Not even close. There's about five more levels to this thing, and if Fayed is going to look like small potatoes by the end, it's going to be a wild ride.

4. Wayne Palmer
I don't like him as president. It seems a little contrived. We needed to see more of what came before. With David Palmer, we saw his candidacy. The president from season four came out of nowhere, but he only served as target practice for a hijacked fighter jet. Logan we saw assume power. Wayne Palmer, it seems, was just stuck in there, and the shows writers seem to be saying, "Yeah he's president now, deal with it."

5. Peter MacNicol
This guy has been one of my favorite actors for a while and I didn't even realize it until last night. He shows up right away and I'm saying to myself, "All right, I love this guy." Of course, I'm one of eight people in the country who legitimately enjoy the Friday night hit Numb3rs. I also thought he was pretty good on Ally McBeal. Of course, all of this pales in comparison to his breakthrough role of Janosz in Ghostbusters 2. It will be nice to see him break out of his quirky stereotype and play a legitimately antagonistic role.

6. A prediction
Let's put the over/under on a Mike Novick/Aaron Pierce appearance at about 1:15 PM. I'll take the under.

7. Taj
He puts the bang in Bang Lampur. Or something like that. I loved him in Van Wilder. It's a little creepy hearing him without an overdone southeast Asian accent though. The best part about him is that he can play a Bangladeshi in one movie, then turn around and play a non-descriptly Arabic character named Ahmed (sorry, ACH-med) in a TV show. I guess it just goes to show that to Americans, they all look the same. It was funny, during the scene where he plugs the jerk neighbor, I was conflicted. On one hand we know he's aiding the terrorists, on the other hand he's freaking Taj! I kept thinking of him saying, "Take it to the car wash baby!" If you haven't seen Van Wilder in a while, watch it before he gets killed (which I expect will be very soon).

More tomorrow.


Creation of a holiday.

I know the "holidays" have just ended, but it's in response to that that Gordon and I have created a new holiday.

We were lamenting the stressfulness and togetherness with family that traditional winter holidays always seem to bring about. So, the ideal anti-holiday would be one which was meant to relieve stress and where you absolutely WOULD NOT spend time with your family. When thinking of things you really wouldn't want to do with your family around, hot lovin' came to mind. Hence a holiday was born:

Freaky Deaky Day.

From now on, the fourth Saturday in June is Freaky Deaky Day. This year it falls on the 23rd. We wanted to follow the Church's tradition of ambushing a pagan holiday. We also wanted it to fall in the summer, which would allow for warm weather and not freezing without any clothes on. A quick search for pagan holidays in the summer turned up Sanziana. From Wikipedia:

"Sanziana is the name of a flower and also the name for a group of young, nice girl-spirits. People in the Western Carpatian Mountains celebrate the 'Sanziene' holiday on June 24th, every year. This is similar to the Swedish Midsummer holiday. It may be a pagan celebration of the summer solstice in June. Alternatively, church's opinion is that it celebrates the birthday of Saint John the Baptist, which also falls on June 24th."

So there you go. Now you can start creating your own Freaky Deaky Day traditions. You might choose to spend a quiet, relaxing day alone with your honey. (Soaking in separate baths overlooking California wine country, if you live in a Cialis commercial.) Or you might want to organize a big party with the sole purpose of ending with everyone getting busy. Basically, it's Valentine's Day without gifts, chocolate, or romance. Just getting buckwild.

Mark your calendars, it's going to be great.


Dance, you!

It's Wednesday, and that means that all I want to do is dance, DANCE, DANCE! Let's break it down like we invented it, Norwegian style.


It's picture day!

I have three for you. First, here's some illumination to the inexplicable picture I described yesterday. I did some coloring to it, but you get the idea.

Next, a sports-related screen shot that I just had to share with everyone, since it's one of the few things I can be proud of about my college days.

And finally, some headlines lead you to draw your own conclusion.



My desk is a little blasphemous. I'll admit it. Almost three years ago, I went to the Minneapolis apartment of a friend of a friend named Chris. He and his roommates had done something that was at once inspiring and sublime, overwhelming in its cheesiness. They had found dozens of images of Jesus and lined the walls of their bathroom with them. They henceforth called the bathroom, "The JC Lounge." None of them were religious, or even spiritual, as far as I know. They were just playing off of the cultural kitsch value of representing Jesus. As a college student working his way through an art education, I thought it was brilliant.

When I got a job at a Christian organization, I found my personal desk space to be a bit lacking in zazz. (Zazz, incidentally, is a copyrighted Nickism. Just so you know.) My mind recalled the wonderful feeling of the JC Lounge, and I decided I could get away with it. As it turns out, the internet is just chock full of Jesus images. Who knew?

Slowly I started to build my collection, and it has become quite extensive to this point. I have pictures of Jesus merchandise, such as Jesus action figure, Jesus air freshener, and the wrong-on-so-many-levels Jesus on the cross corkscrew. I have Jesus pictures that show us a side of him we never knew, like boxing Jesus, Super Bowl MVP Jesus, and rifle-toting Jesus. Then I have the inevitable fluff shots, like Jesus with cute baby, Jesus with small child, and Jesus with young women (I call that one "Mackin' and Attackin' Jesus"). It got to the point where people started bringing me the Jesus images they've found.

My favorite one has to be the completely inexplicable... I don't even know what to call it, so let me explain it to you. It's an ethereal background, like a starry night in the Judean countryside. Jesus is dressed in his traditional garb, replete with hood, robe, and signature beard. He's crying. Not like silent weeping, but like vocal anguish. His head is upturned, his perfect white teeth visible. A tear is running down his cheek. Now here's the kicker. He's holding a rather bored-looking sheep. I know he's known as the "Lamb of God," but isn't this mixing the metaphors a little bit? Why is he crying so hard? Is he outside of himself and crying over the impending death of the metaphorical lamb? Doesn't he know that he eventually comes back to life and defeats death? Is he sad over the atonement of the sins of the entire world?

The point is that I have many, many pictures of Jesus at my desk. I even have a few religious kitsch items to fill out the collection. It's funny though, the people who aren't familiar with the sarcastic nature of the art department come through every once in a while and are actually convinced that my collection shows how much I really, really love Jesus. Now, yes I do love Jesus. But this isn't how I'm showing it. It's funny to see when the humor is completely lost on somebody. Oddly enough, nobody has accused me of being blasphemous yet, even the ones who take my display seriously. Hmm.

Anyway, my stated purpose of this whole thing is to always remind myself that nobody has the perfect, complete idea of who Jesus is, even me. We all have it at least a little wrong. I (by which I mean all of us) should never believe that I have the Son of Man pegged.


Just for kicks.

Here are the predictions I made on August 18, 2006 concerning the NFL playoff picture.

North - Vikings WRONG
South - Panthers WRONG
East - Cowboys HALF-RIGHT
West - Seahawks RIGHT
WC1 - Giants RIGHT
WC2 - Cardinals WRONG

North - Steelers WRONG
South - Colts RIGHT
East - Dolphins WRONG
West - Broncos WRONG
WC1 - Patriots HALF-RIGHT
WC2 - Bengals WRONG

This is tough.

Yes yes you all and you do not stop.

What did I say? I'm not gloating, but what did I say? Did I not tell you? Did I not say that the 49ers would win? That was a very satisfying game. Never did I waver in my confidence in a Broncos collapse. When Jake Plummer came in, I started giggling. When Champ Bailey strolled into the endzone to give Denver a 13-0 lead, I relished the mounting magnitude of the eventual chokery. As cameras showed shots of Bronco fans going nuts after they tied the game late in regulation, I thought to myself, "Dear God, why did I not bet on this game?!" It's a shame about Darrent Williams though.

In other news, the University of Minnesota fired Glen Mason after the biggest bowl choke job in history. Sweet. Now is probably one of the biggest decisions in the school's football program. The next coach will inherit a Big Ten spotlight, a program with little to no expectations, and a soon-to-be-built outdoor stadium. This could, and I stress the tenuousness of this, but it could be the start of something very big for the U.

In other better news, St. Cloud State owns you. They own everybody these days. After taking home the Catamount Cup over the weekend (beating Vermont in the championship on their home ice), the Huskies' only competition is Minnesota. They tied twice earlier in the season. Now is the best soft stretch for the team: Alaska-Anchorage, home and home with Mankato, UMD. This should give them plenty of momentum as they head into murderer's row in February.