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The cast of 24, Season 5

The cast of 24, Season 5

The cast of 24, Season 5

The cast of 24, Season 5

Apart from a certain other comedy “about nothing”, 24 has been my favorite show since it came on the air. You could say I grew up with it, sort of, as 24 began its run in 2001 when I was a freshman in high school. For a while, the show served as my career inspiration, and while I no longer stick to watching it live, I don’t fall behind by more than a couple days unless absolutely necessary.

That said, you may think I’d be wrought with grief after reading that 24, after 8 seasons, will end its run. I’m not.

That’s not to say I won’t miss it. But here’s some good reasons for 24 ending.

  • All good stories have to come to an end. Ever wonder why the news gets worse ratings than scheduled TV? Ever wonder why Olympic hockey does so much better than NHL hockey? Because they end. People like having a feeling of closure, they like being satisfied, and they like feeling like progress is being made. If the story never ends, none of those three criteria are ever met.
  • The writers are out of ideas. Really, who can blame them? So far in eight seasons, Jack has faced the detonation of a 747, an assassination attempt, another assassination attempt, the death of his wife, jumping out of a plane minutes before it detonated a nuclear bomb in the desert, being tortured by some guys who want something no bigger than an SD card, finding out that two incompetent morons (a theme in CTU) lost said device, a heart attack in the middle of a shootout, a drug addiction, his partner dating his daughter, a biological attack on a hotel, a train explosion, his girlfriend and boss being kidnapped, a nuclear meltdown, another 747 being blown out of the sky by a US plane, the threat of nuclear missiles hitting Los Angeles, the death of David Palmer and Michelle Dessler within minutes of each other, a chemical attack on a mall, a chemical attack on a hospital, a chemical attack on CTU, the “death” of Tony via Christopher Henderson (that turncoat), the President of the United States being in on the terrorist conspiracy, being shipped to China for a while, coming back to a nuclear bomb blowing up Los Angeles, then going to Africa only to be attacked there, returning to a trial in the United States, being betrayed by Tony (who was really alive *wink*), inhaling a toxic bio-hazard only to survive via a dangerous surgery to his daughter. Now Jack’s a grandparent. Seriously. At some point he either has to die of a bullet wound or exhaustion. (Did I forget anything in that list?)
  • The subplots are simple and predictable. Dana’s story, this season, has been laughable. Even the worst subplot in existence (Kim v. Cougar) was better than this one. In fact, ever since Nina’s death, I would bet the 24 writers were looking for ways to bring her back; since she died, the show lost much of its unpredictability. Much of this, I believe, is the writers trying to write for a more mainstream audience who can’t process more complex characters or plots, something that happens when TV shows become popular. But when parts of the story become uninteresting, it’s only a matter of time until everything else becomes uninteresting.
  • Old shows never die, they just fade into syndication and Blu-ray releases. 24 is meant to be watched marathon-style, maybe more so than any other show in existence. Once-a-week drama is fun, but the best way to enjoy 24 is all at once. Cable rerun marathons and the upcoming Blu-ray box set will be a great way to do that.
  • George Mason did it best: blaze of glory, baby. Ending on a note of uncertainty is much less preferable to going out with a bang.

All that said, I’m thoroughly enjoying this season and I’ll miss it when it’s over. But for me, like high school, and college, change is inevitable, and all good things must come to an end. For me, I’ll be happy (and hopeful, for now) that the show went out on a high note instead of fading away.

P.S. For what it’s worth, my favorite season was season 3 for the computer attack, Nina’s death and Stephen Saunders. What was yours? Say so in the comments or somewhere where I post this.

…not that there’s anything wrong with that!

If you’ve talked to me for any length of time you probably know that my favorite show of all time is Seinfeld. Not only do I own all nine seasons in the glorious digital nirvana that is DVD, I’ve probably seen each episode at least three times, and I’ve seen some of my favorites more than twenty. I can (and do) make Seinfeld references when appropriate (heck, who am I kidding, some of them are inappropriate too).

Because I’m hurting for a blogging topic (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and because we can all use a little humor, here’s my top 10 favorite Seinfeld episodes. (After the break, since there are a bunch of YouTube movies.)

A head full of hopes…

Some tidbits from a cool Sunday evening in Cleveland, post-Feast of the Assumption edition.

  • Apple is screwing stuff up a lot lately. First was the well-documented MobileMe issues and now are the 3G coverage problems. Here’s the thing about Apple: they design sexy hardware and sexy user interfaces, but the underlying code and foundation is crap, especially at first. At any other software company, they teach you to design from the ground up (i.e. get the network issues fixed before worrying about MobileMe, and get MobileMe’s e-mail fixed before you worry about more services). At Apple, it’s backwards, and it screws them every time. Why do you Apple fanboys allow it?
  • TV shows I’m looking forward to this fall, in order: How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, 24 (counts, because there’s a prequel in November)… Monday Night FootballSeinfeld reruns (actually those should be higher)… and finally The Office. We’ll see if The Office is able to turn itself around, but I’m not hopeful. And I somehow forgot about House, which I’m a half-season behind on but love everytime I watch.
  • The Browns play the New York Giants in Monday Night Football (preseason edition) tomorrow night. A couple things to watch for:
    • Will Kellen Winslow play?
    • Will Derek Anderson complete two drives?
    • What kind of circus catch will Braylon Edwards make?

School’s starting up pretty soon, so I’ll be back on more of a regular schedule with the ol’ blog. Until then, have a good week and I’ll talk to you when I can!

And just like you, I’m wondering why…

I know, I know, I’m slacking in my non-baseball-related posts of late. The good news for you is that hopefully that means I’ll have quite a bit more to say than usual! (According to my calculations…)

  • …alright, so maybe there’s still some baseball stuff. But come on, we’re only a week into the season and there are some huge things happening already!
    • My favorite story thus far has been the Kansas City Royals, who are 6-2 and in the lead in the AL Central. This is a team that is perennially picked to finish last, and until a few years ago, with good reason. Lately though, the Royals are becoming less and less pathetic, and it’s my belief that if they were in the National League, they’d be a playoff team.

      And heck, they might be a playoff team this year. The 2008 Royals remind me very much of the 2004 Indians: young, inexperienced but quality pitching, a career DH who does nothing but hit (Indians: Travis Hafner, Royals: Billy Butler), and a budding franchise player who might blossom into one of the game’s all-time greats (Indians: Grady Sizemore, Royals: Alex Gordon).

    • I picked up Brian Bannister for my fantasy team a couple days ago; that kid looks like he’ll be good.

    • Another interesting story in the central is the surprisingly bad start by the Detroit Tigers. They started the year with the second highest payroll in the major leagues, and they won their first game yesterday.

      I’ve said all winter that good pitching will always beat good hitting; and if you don’t have good pitching, you better be outslugging your opponents all the time. The problem is, if your offense goes into a funk (like the Indians did last summer, like the White Sox did last year, like the Yankees did last year), and your pitching is bad (unlike the Indians, like the White Sox and Yankees of ’07), you’re not going to win many games. Not only that, but the Tigers opened the season against the aforementioned Kansas City and Chicago, both of whom are off to hot starts.

      I fully expect the Tigers to win a lot of games this year, but I don’t think they’ll get out of the first round of the playoffs.

    • Actually, a lot of teams predicted to do bad are off to great starts, including the Baltimore Orioles (who I expect to regress pretty soon) and the St. Louis Cardinals. I read a book last summer about Tony LaRussa, manager of the Cardinals, and I refuse to believe he’ll have a bad team. They may not win the division or make the playoffs (although anything is possible in the NL Central), but they’ll win some games.
    • The Red Sox and Yankees revive their rivalry tomorrow night at Fenway Park. Count me interested. It’s always fun to watch these teams play because their fans are so obnoxious and when two teams of obnoxious fans get together, hilarity ensues. Plus, they’re two great teams with two great offenses and watching them play will feel a lot like postseason baseball. Unfortunately it appears ESPN will be covering the Cavaliers and the Bulls tomorrow night.
    • The Indians have signed Fausto Carmona to a 7 year contract for up to $43 million, with $15 million and 4 years guaranteed. Fantastic move by the Indians, especially with C.C.’s free agency looming near. Carmona was dynamite last year and I have no reason to think he’ll be any worse this year. You might not find a cheaper Cy Young candidate in baseball.
  • And in non-baseball related news, The Office is back tonight! I have some theories about the rest of the season, which I might post tomorrow after they’re all proven wrong tonight. It’s really weird actually being excited to watch tonight, because I kind of got used to it not being on.
  • Has anyone visited MikeHuckabee.com recently?
  • I would write a quote of the day, but I can’t do this one justice by just writing it, so enjoy:

Hope everyone’s enjoying the weather, and enjoy The Office tonight!

The commencement

…of the 2008 Major League Baseball season! Yes, I woke up at 6 AM to watch the first few pitches of what I hope will be an outstanding season, and then went back to sleep.

  • The Boston Red Sox are alone on top of the AL East, after a win earlier this morning in Japan against Oakland. Oakland, by all rights, should have won that game. Huston Street, the closer for the Athletics, is a good pitcher and I don’t expect him to blow many more saves this year, but as it happened, the backup right fielder Brandon Moss tied the game in the ninth with a solo homerun, opening the gate for the return of Manny Ramirez to untie the game in the tenth with a two-run double.

    We’ve barely started the 2008 season and already Manny Ramirez has done two things which are completely stupid: 1) on hitting the double, he stood at home plate for a while and watched as his majestic homerun hit the ground before the wall and then realized he should run somewhere, and 2) when asked about being named “Hero of the Game” and getting a check for $10000, said “That’s going to be some gas money. I love it.” This is fourth highest paid player in baseball, he gets paid more than $10000 an inning. Ugh. But at least it brings me to my next point…

  • For every time the Red Sox lose this season, I’m going to donate one dollar to my sister‘s El Salvador fund. I encourage you to do the same, perhaps with a charity closer to you, or maybe in a different amount. It makes rooting against the Red Sox much more fun.
  • From the “ruh-roh” department, Facebook was hacked. I haven’t been on Facebook in a little over six months now (mostly because I’m jealous of Mark Zuckerberg), but I realize I’ve said that Facebook is a much more secure application than Myspace or similar sites. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect! It’s common sense that the more features you have in an application, the more vulnerable it is to attack, and I guess that’s what happened with Facebook. Never fear though, apparently the hole was plugged in less than an hour.
  • I generally enjoy following politics but lately it seems like it’s getting more and more depressing. I’m getting tired of the “Obama campaign” and the “Clinton campaign” fighting it out; why can’t “Obama” say something to “Clinton” and vice versa?
  • In happier news, the Indians are only six days away from Opening Day. The weather for Opening Day appears to be getting better, which would be nice. Also, the rotation was finalized yesterday with Cliff Lee getting the 5th spot. I hope Cliff Lee proves me wrong, but for some reason he doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher the Indians need. Also from that article, Aaron Fultz is out, and I can’t say I’ll miss him all that much.

    I caught a little of the game yesterday and a little of the game today: yesterday Jake Westbrook threw six perfect innings against the Braves, and today, last time I checked, Paul Byrd hadn’t allowed an earned run against the vaunted Yankees.

    But for some reason, Andy Marte is still on the big league roster. TRADE HIM! I watched him boot two balls in 4 innings today, and both weren’t especially hard grounders to field. The defense I could forgive if the guy could hit, but I’m not seeing a lot of hope there either. Everyone talks about trying to avoid another “Brandon Phillips”-like trade with Marte, where he would go to a new team and then tear it up. First of all, Brandon Phillips had a decent year with Cincinatti when he was traded (2006) but wasn’t quite as impressive last year. It’s not like we lost a heck of a lot. And secondly, we have two second basemen who I would take over Phillips any day. Same goes for Casey Blake over Andy Marte (and maybe Jhonny Peralta over Andy Marte).

  • Caught Britney Spears’ guest star appearance on How I Met Your Mother last night, and I’ll say this: her role was mercifully small.
  • And now the quote of the day, this time talking to our friend George Costanza:
    I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. What were you thinking? What was going on in your mind? Artistic integrity? Where, where did you come up with that? You’re not artistic and you have no integrity. You know you really need some help. A regular psychiatrist couldn’t even help you. You need to go to like Vienna or something. You know what I mean? You need to get involved at the University level. Like where Freud studied and have all those people looking at you and checking up on you. That’s the kind of help you need. Not the once a week for eighty bucks. No. You need a team. A team of psychiatrists working round the clock thinking about you, having conferences, observing you, like the way they did with the Elephant Man. That’s what I’m talking about because that’s the only way you’re going to get better.

    Jerry, Seinfeld

I think that’s all from within the legendary walls of Case Western Reserve University. Stay well, go Tribe, and boo Red Sox!

Early bedtime

Going to bed early tonight, probably because I’m on four hours of sleep and unlike my parents (cough) and my sister (cough, cough) I never got a nap today. But perhaps a quick post of the weekend’s events would do us all well.

  • March Madness is down to the Sweet 16… and I still don’t care. I don’t know what it is this year, but I have had no urge to watch any of the games, in fact, I’ve become readdicted to Seinfeld instead.
  • Curtis Granderson, the center fielder for the Detroit Tigers, won’t be starting on Opening Day. It’s too bad, and I hope he returns soon – he’s a great baseball player and a real class act, not to mention a huge part of the rivalry between the Indians and the Tigers.
  • Watched Beauty and the Beast with my parents, sister and little cousins on Saturday evening, and let me say this: if there’s one thing Steve Jobs has done right, it’s Pixar. The movie was good, but I think I’d pick pretty much any Pixar movie over any standard Disney movie. Mulan was pretty good, and Aladdin was also good…and come to think of it, I really liked Tarzan too. But compared to my obsession with Ratatouille and The Incredibles, no contest.
  • A couple events of note in the political world. First, every candidate’s passport has been illegally investigated. Personally, I wasn’t aware a passport was such a private document. The fact it was viewed without authorization is apalling (and seriously, how do we protect these things if they’re so secret), but I’ve never really put much stock in my passport holding crucial information. Maybe that’s because I’ve only left the country once.

    Second, Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama. Now here’s a guy who needs a lesson on timing. If he really wanted to make a difference in the campaign, he should have endorsed Obama when there were actually voters trying to make up their minds. The next primary of note is Pennsylvania, and my guess is that 90% of the people in Pennsylvania don’t know or don’t care who Bill Richardson is. I remember watching him in the debates, and of all the democratic candidates, he looked the least confortable on that stage and struck me as the least likely to become President (well, besides Kucinich).

  • Opening Day is 8 days away! To get ready for the big day, the Indians have redesigned Indians.com which looks pretty nice. The weather forecast for Opening Day looks…well, it looks like Opening Day in Cleveland:

    Well, it could be worse:
  • On to the quote of the day:
    Cops. I don’t even care about cops. I wanna’ see more garbage men. It’s much more important. All I wanna see are garbage trucks, garbage cans and garbage men. You’re never gonna’ stop crime, we should at least be clean.

    George Costanza, Seinfeld

Should be an interesting week. And by the way, for those of you reading this at Case, if you’re sick, don’t come near me. In fact, quit reading this blog, I don’t want to catch anything.

Global warming can kiss my…

Isn’t it too late in the year for it to be this cold? According to the spyware-laden, ever-annoying Weather.com, the average for this time of year is about 45 degrees. Today’s high? 35 degrees. At least it’s sunny. Better save the snow for 10 days from today, Opening Day against the Chicago White Sox! On to the links then:

  • Our favorite Cupertino corporation, Apple Inc., is in talks with the major record labels to create a one-time premium alternative to iTunes, allowing a user to download all they want for a one-time fee. Can you say cha-ching? The thinking behind this logic is that the average user buys 20 songs on iTunes, meaning that charging a $40 premium on top of the purchase of a new iPod is a win for Apple.

    There are two things wrong with this statement, the first is that I’ve purchased over $300 worth of music from iTunes in the last 18 months. If I get access to a plan that allows me unlimited access, I think I’d pay up to $150 on the spot and I’d still beat the system.

    The second problem with that is that Apple assumes that removing a per-song fee will not change users’ downloading habits. Let me ask you something: if you go to a restaurant like Don Pablo’s or Max and Erma’s, do you usually get dessert? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. I don’t, because normally I’m full and paying $5 for a small piece of cake turns a $10 meal into a $15 meal pretty quickly. An extra piece of cake when I’m already pretty full isn’t worth a 50% bump in the check (at least). However, if I go to a place like Hometown Buffet, not only will I get dessert, I’ll usually get three. Why? I’ve already paid for that dessert whether I eat it or not; why not enjoy it?

    The same goes for music. If I have the unlimited plan, any questioning I have about “eh…will I really listen to ‘KISS: Live In Detroit’ enough to purchase the entire 5-disc set?’ If I’m paying $40 for it, probably not. But if I’ve already paid once…wait for it…keep waiting…

    You pull the trigger of my…. LOVE GUN!

  • Barack Obama gave a speech on race and the influence it’s had on this campaign. I’ve read and watched it; probably top five of all speeches I’ve heard in my lifetime. Without coming out and saying it, Obama essentially said it was ridiculous that race was even an issue in this race, and he’s completely right.

    But he’s missing another aspect of diversity: the role religion still has in politics is pretty sad. “But Jimmy,” you say, “how could you say that after supporting Mike Huckabee?” I think religion is pretty unimportant when it comes to choosing a President. Ultimately, you’re not voting for your God, because if God were running for President I’m pretty sure he’d win every time. You’re voting for the person and how he will run the country. If that doesn’t make any sense, I’ll put it another way: I would have still supported Mike Huckabee if he wasn’t Christian but was still the same person. Of course, your religion generally tends to define who you are, so it’d be very hard for Huckabee to be the same candidate without his religion.

    A more relevant example is the allegation that some have made that Barack Obama is a Muslim. My response to that is: so what? What’s he going to do, call up his buddy Osama and say, “hey, I’m on the inside, they’re trusting me with everything! We’re so in!”? Of course not. The view that all Muslims are terrorists is ridiculous in this day and age.

    When you’re electing a president, you shouldn’t elect someone who follows the same religion as you because they follow the same religion as you. You should elect someone who will defend to the death your right to follow whatever religion (or lack thereof) you want to follow.

  • I realize as I type that that I’ve never typed my interpretation of “one nation, under God” in a place that everyone can access; at some point, I’ll have to do that.
  • Onto the wide world of sports. The NCAA March Madness tournament has begun, and right now I still have no idea who’s won any games. I find that I really don’t care this year, for whatever reason. My pick is for North Carolina to win it all, but I haven’t filled out a bracket. “March Madness” seems like its getting dangerously close to “April Fever”, doesn’t it? Every year it seems to start later and later. Why is this? Why can’t basketball just go quietly into their offseason like the rest of the sports? NBA playoffs last like a month and a half, and March Madness keeps getting later and longer. Basketball is, to me, nothing more than a filler between the end of football season and the beginning of the baseball season.
  • I have been watching more of the Cavs games lately, and I came to a realization. You know that guy LeBron James? He’s pretty good.
  • Both Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey especially pitched well last night. Dear Mark Shaprio: Take advantage of the lack of starting pitching around the rest of the league and please, please, please trade Cliff Lee to someone who is desperate.
  • Onto the quote of the day:
    Just remember, when you control the mail, you control… information.
    Newman, Seinfeld

    If George is the best sitcom character of all time, Newman has got to be in the top three. How anyone kept a straight face when he was in the room during shooting is beyond me.

Finally, I’m looking for a new travel coffee mug. I’d prefer one that is mostly metal (I’m not a big fan of plastic) and one that’s constructed well enough to not let any coffee drip out inadvertently. I’m willing to pay considerable cash for it. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Just kidding, one more thing. I’m noticing that I’m getting viewers from all over the country now, but I’d like to know more about who’s reading this blog. So if you’re reading this blog and you like (or hate) what you read, leave a comment somewhere with your first name and location.

Until next time.