Peace Like A River

It was a wide river, mistakable for a lake or even an ocean unless you'd been wading and knew its current. Somehow I'd crossed it... Now I saw the stream regrouped below, flowing on through what might've been vineyards, pastures, orhards... It flowed between and alongside the rivers of people; from here it was no more than a silver wire winding toward the city. - Leif Enger, Peace Like A River

Friday, April 29, 2005

Theater (with an -er, not -re!!)

Downstage Center is a show that airs on XM Channel 28 (the Broadway channel) on Fridays at 5 pm (Central). The blurb for the show says "a weekly theatrical interview show, featuring the top artists working in theatre both on and Off-Broadway and around the country."

The program is an interview with someone involved in the theater scene, often an actor in a play on Broadway.

They put past shows on this site, in streaming audio. I heard the John Lithgow one when it was on XM, was enjoyable. It's not available yet at this site.

Please fetch my shawl

My birthday is next Friday, the big frisson-causing 39. Which means next year is bum-bum-bum 40. Gulp.

The computer is scheduled to arrive today. According to FedEx's tracker (isn't technology a very cool thing?) it's on the truck in White Bear Lake. So, they'll try to deliver it today and find no one home, since Rhonda works today. I'm not sure what they do in that case, if they'll try to fob it off on the neighbors or what. I don't know if they would try to deliver it tomorrow. Saturday is a school day for me anyway, so I wouldn't have much time to set it up and play with it.

This morning John said "When I get big, I'll be a Daddy, and Hanna will be a Mommy." Then he said, referring to me, "When you get small, you'll be a John, and Mommy will be a Hanna." Heh.

Here's a column from John Derbyshire. I liked his little section on letters.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

My half of a life is doomed, I quake in fear

Today I ordered a neato keen swell computer system from Dell. 3.4GHz chip, XP Pro, 2G of RAM, 19-inch flat panel digital monitor, 160G hard drive, dvd drive plus read/writeable dvd/cd drive, one of the best graphics cards on the market, plus nice sound card and speakers, 100G external hard drive (for backups) and some other things.

It will be a nice gaming platform. And I might do some work on it from time to time.

We have a tax refund coming, and we were going to use some of it for this. Qwest has an employee discount program with Dell, so that knocked off a decent chunk of the price. I wouldn't have gotten this system otherwise. As it is, it is a mite expensive, but it's a good system that will last me for awhile.

Not sure what I'll do with the current one. Likely option is, I might take it and turn it into a Linux box. I've wanted one to play with, and a likely upcoming project for school involves a program that will need to run on a Linux box. Would be nice to have one to work on.

Just saw a press release that XM is going to be the exclusive (i.e. not Sirius) satellite radio home of the 2006 World Cup! Yeessssss!! I love the World Cup. XM is going to have all the games, maybe even some of the qualifying games. It's like a Christmas present. (Sirius has the English Premier League though, which I wish was on XM.)

In other news, John is still having troubles in school. The transitions from activity to activity are hard, and he just can't sit still around other kids for very long. By the end of his preschool time he is often not doing too well. Not sure what we'll end up doing. Clearly he needs some different kind of help than the usual school guidance. We are going to have to investigate. So, remember our little guy in your prayers.

Monday, April 25, 2005

24 Day 4 1:00 AM - 2:00 AM

A Review

As usual, the standard warning about graphic violence. It's like a magician trying to distract you with lots of movement and misdirection. "Woohoo, look over here! See the graphic violence! Pay no attention to the dreadful crackplot over there!" Not sure why the warning was needed this time. It was pretty tame, especially for 24 this season. Makes me think all the more it is misdirection. On to this week's nuclear accident of a plot.

The previouslies mentioned something I neglected last week. Jack wanted to work over Prado, and RunLoganRun said he'd give them an answer in 20 minutes. Jack said it could be over in 20 minutes. Oh? The bomb is currently in the middle of Iowa. What are the terrorists going to blow up for their dramatic act? A cornfield? I would think the US would settle for losing a cornfield, or even a small town in Iowa, versus a large metropolitan area. They can only pray it is over in 20 minutes.

As the episode begins, we see the crack CTU medical staff (only lost one patient to suicide in the last 24 hours!) has immediately sprung into action, and Prado is conscious, in the clinic, bandaged up, and receiving care. Not bad for only a few minutes. There were X-rays on the wall in his room. Please tell me those weren't Prado's X-rays. Even in the 24-verse there isn't time to take X-rays and develop them in a few minutes. I don't even want to contemplate that.

Jack is prepping a team to lead the raid on Marwan. Now wait a minute. Last week the grand master plan was for Jack to resign from CTU, and become a private citizen, so he could work over Prado. What happened to that? Here Jack is as agenty as ever.

Why did Jack need to conk Prado out, anyway? I thought it was because Jack was going to immediately move on Marwan, and didn't want Prado squealing. If Jack was going to run back into CTU and prep the team, what did bashing Prado accomplish?

And a "team"? This is a small army! Where were all these people when Jack went to Mr. Annnderrsson's apartment, and out to the desert? At those times Jack took only one other person with him. Where were all these guys?

Audrey does what she does best, which is to say all that she does anymore, and that is walk up and interrupt something else going on to harangue people. And then, stands and just watches Jack leave. Audrey, go liason or something. Given what Jack has done, shouldn't Audrey think about having Jack arrested? She can only weakly mention consequences. Such as...what? No TV after supper?

There's a reference to Agent Castle. Curtis wants to lock down a ten block area around Marwan. I could not stifle a roaring guffaw. They couldn't pin down Marwan when they were within ten feet of him and within one floor of him, within one warehouse of him, and over him with a helicopter. What good is it going to do them to lock down a ten block area? Curtis agrees that a lock down could alert Marwan. (Do they think Marwan has agents posted on dozens of street corners as lookouts?) Curtis says they'll just stay invisible. Curtis, you've done too good a job at that already. Ok sports fans, what do you think will happen on this, the *fourth* attempt to apprehend Marwan? Yeah, you're probably right.

RunLoganRun is getting more and more waffly as time goes by. Ick. Mike confabs with Bill from Division, and Bill thinks they could cheat the timeline about Prado if Logan eventually agrees to rough up Prado. Bill, buddy, how many people know about this already? How long do you think something like that would stay secret? You think the upcoming Congressional Hearings on this pathetic mess won't bring that out?

There's a reference to Logan's behavior as President in the "last few hours". Huh? He was just sworn in as President just before 12 AM!!! Barely an hour ago!!!

We cut to the Iowa contingent of the terrorist team in Iowa. Some are white guys. How'd they hook up with a bunch of murderous Islamic terrorists? The guys know the local dress, though, with farmer clothes, ballcaps, hunting jackets. One of the baddies, Sabir, gets a call from his naggy girlfriend. Turns out the girlfriend was snooping around his computer. Oh, once again, great security on the part of the terrorist team. The girlfriend is suspiscious that Sabir is out looking for 72 virgins. She is jealous.

Now, to one of the nuttier parts of this week's crackplot. Why in the hey is Marwan at a nightclub? In his meticulous planning, he couldn't find some quiet home in the suburbs? Say, the home of Ma and Pa Araz? Why pick such a public place? Another thing, why does Prado know where Marwan is at that exact moment? Why does he need to know? Just bad, bad operational security. This from a terrorist team that plans out absolutely everything, as we shall soon see.

(Let's just skip over the fact, too, that Marwan already had three other locations tagged for use on this day. They had Pa Araz's warehouse. They had that basement location. You can understand though why they didn't want to make that their main hideout, since the wiring was bad. They had to run an extension cord down from upstairs. And, Marwan had that other warehouse, where Jack was held. What was the point having so many different locations? With all of those, why the need to go bashing holes in the basement of a dance club? If they had to resort to the dance club because the warehouse was blown, then when did they find the time to bash this hole in without anyone knowing about it? My brain hurts.)

Finally, given all that has happened today, who the heck would want to go to a nightclub at this time? A 100 reactors nearly melted down, one near LA did, killed a bunch, the President and Air Farce One were just shot down near LA, the nation is under terrorist attack... screw that! we're going dancing! woohoo!!! yeesh.

Logan wigs out when he hears what Jack did. People are so worried about the politics of it, and think the politics are in Logan's favor. Um, not so sure there. What is the nation going to say when it turns out Bauer was right, and Logan prevented CTU from getting knowledge that could prevent a nuclear attack. How are those politics going to play out, hmmm?

Outside the nightclub, Jack is going to send in a remote camera. He gets schematics for the AC configuration from Chloe. Naturally. CTU can't capture the most dangerous terrorist in the world in three tries, but they have plans on every building in LA.

Sabir's girlfriend calls in, and somehow ends up talking to Chloe of all people. She spells her name, but only spells her last name. Yet, the krazy kaptions have her spelling her first name as well. Apparently Sabir was in grad school for engineering. She says she found a document in the recycle bin, that had schematics for a microchip she hadn't seen before. Ok, and this is suspicious why? (And, let's not even bother with the minor gaffe that Girlfriend told Sabir she had found a "bookmark" on his computer. bookmark, document, ah, details schmetails.)

Back to the club. Now, why couldn't they send in some undercover agents? Some youngish looking agents that could blend in, have a presence inside the building?

Marwan mentions an Abat in NY. Apparently part of the New York contingent of terrorists. They're everywhere! Marwan wants to make a videotape and get to the media before dawn on the east coast. They'd better hurry. It's already 4:30 am in the east.

Marwan begins his rant. "People of Earth, I mean, America. Blah blah blah...."

Thankfully, the air ducts are *not*, in fact, big enough for someone to crawl around in, like they are in every other tv show and movie ever made. Nice camera though. Good resolution.

It beams a baddie face back to CTU, where we get Insta Face-Recognition. Naturally. Michelle mostly has the week off, but utters a few words here.

Hey, there's Agent Castle!

Secret Security agents Greg Merfield and Frank Wells show up to take Jack into custody, as per Logan's little hissyfit. They make Castle go in early to get Jack, but a nasty taxi driver shines his headlights on Castle, which alerts the baddies. Marwan is told! no! Tell me Marwan doesn't suspect there is something in the air vent! Ggaahhhh! The man has psychic powers! CTU cannot possibly hope to beat him! He is a 40th level mage! Untouchable!

Curtis utters the immortal "Go! Go! Go!" Ha, I love it. Never gets old.

At this point, I was thinking ok, they don't have the building surrounded, Marwan is just going to stroll out to the parking lot, hop into his Dodge Dart and drive away.

Well, in this, Marwan's fourth escape, I'll give the writers a little credit for being original. Marwan calmly strolls across the dance floor, filled with people grieving the events of the day, and escapes through... a tunnel!!!! Gahhh! These terrorists are amazing! They came up with this plan where instead of having a private location to hide out, they'd go to a public dance club, arrange to knock a gaping hole in the wall in the basement, hope no one noticed this big gaping hole, and set up a video camera in the back room. Man, what guts. What vision!

CTU pursues, and.... wait, the terrorists have prepared all! They put a bomb there to blow the entrance, and block the tunnel so no one could pursue! Amazing! Can you imagine this conversation months before, early in the planning process? "Ok, we gotta put a bomb in this tunnel to blow it in case we're chased. Well, if we're being chased doesn't that mean the plan is pretty much screwed already. That's not the point, the point is to be prepared for any possibility. OK, you're right. Allah akbar."

Edgar has apparently repositioned some satellite. pause. What satellite? Why? Why are we hearing this?

Logan acts more and more like a petulant child. Stern stuff he is made of. Mike should have said he is need of a spine transplant.

A call is placed to...surprise! Former President Palmer. (Why he is in DC?) Palmer, the guy from the other party and Keeler and Logan replaced, is going to be called in to help. Man, the bench in Logan's party must be pretty sparse if there's no one else to help. Palmer is told about the warhead missing, and Palmer says "My god!" He should've added "You incompetent idiots! What have you been doing today?"

Back at the club, Jack is angry now about losing Marwan? How about the other three times???

Jack could've charged into the tunnel after Marwan, but he held up. So he should be mad at himself.

Back at Gestapo HQ, Edgar is upset about Chloe's "pretty rude attitude". Chloe says Edgar is "screwing around" moving agents around that aren't needed. Daddy Tony steps in and sends Edgar to his room. Chloe smiles triumphantly. Sigh. Yes, like Fred and Ginger, Dean and Martin, Hope and Crosby, Itchy and Skratchy, it's Chloe and Edgar, ladies and gentlemen.

In the wilds of the mountains of Iowa, Sabir continues to work on the bomb. It looks way too much like the engine of the Ford pickup they drove up in.

Marwan is wandering around the well-lit sewer tunnels. Funny, but his cell phone still works down there.

White Guy Iowegian Terrorist says there might be a problem with Sabir's girlfriend. Marwan merely asks if it is being taken care of. Iowegian says yes. You'd think Marwan would wonder how this critical security breach is being handled, given that Iowegian is in Iowa, and Girlfriend is in LA.

The girlfriend apparently lives in Los Feliz. This neighborhood is in north central LA, not too terribly far from downtown. So, it's at least a little plausible, according to 24-verse rules anyway, when the CTU gets there in mere minutes.

And who is on this team? Chloe. Bill from Division told her to go. She refused and walked away, exhibiting good employee behavior. But she went anyway. Along with only two agents. Doesn't CTU remember what happened when only two agents were sent with Curtis and Marianne. Or one agent with Jack? Hello?

Chloe gets to girlfriend's house. Who, it turns out, has a PhD in computer science. Aha, a little competition for Chloe. Enough to make Chloe's eyebrows go up. But, Chloe can hold her own. She immediately detects the telltale tabs of the blowfish algorithm. (Look, blowfish scat!)

Alas, the two CTU agents sent along as cannon fodder are just that. A lone gunman. another white guy, bursts in and dispatches them. As the first one goes down, the krazy kaptions say "BERGEN: Chloe!", even though we don't hear him say anything.

Chloe the non-field agent springs into action and she and Girlfriend run. This actually is a very tense, rather well done scene.

Chloe and Girlfriend end up in a CTU car, which is bulletproof, oddly enough. They are safe in there. But, Chloe manages to get a weapon out of the back, and leaves the safety of the vehicle (not a smart move) and dispatches the baddie, a la Rambo. Where did she learn to handle a gun like that?

Alas, a neighbor wasn't so lucky, as he intervened where he shouldn't. The episode ends here, mercifully. Any longer and Amnesty Global lawyers would have to intervene, claiming further watching constitutes torture.

What are these previews for next week all about?!? North Koreans?!?

Continuing question: Where are SecDef Heller and Beiruts? I think Beiruts is taking up space in a shallow grave somewhere.

(and now, here is guest critic Paul Foth, even though he disobeyed my direct orders and went ahead and wrote a review anyway. I want him arrested! I don't care if anyone is in the middle of reading this! Arrest him!)


This must be what the boys at Dunkirk felt like, wondering if they'd ever make it home alive. The writers continue to pound us, our ammunition is running low, and the rescue ships are nowhere in sight. But we fight on, with a pluck and determination that tells the world we will emerge victorious--maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.

Yet more proof that the 24-verse is one of technomagery--and we should've realized this sooner--is the way the pieces on the board get rearranged between episodes. Jeff pointed out that at the beginning of this episode Prada (and his shoes, I might add) is in the CTU infirmary, his fingers nicely splinted up, and conscious, while at the end of the previous episode, a mere one minute earlier (check the online episode guide!) he was in an SUV, in
the parking lot, and dreaming of sandcastles and unicorns as a result of Jack's gentle
ministrations. The only way this jump could've occured (not to mention Jack having apparently
reconsidered his decision to become a private citizen, reupped with CTU, and set in motion the storming of the nightclub (which, even though Prada mentioned the name (the Hub, if I remember
correctly) goes nameless from here on out)), complete with guys already in body armor) is via en masse teleportation, and perhaps even some time travel.

I'm going to reveal my lack of technogeek knowhow here: I don't know whether the "random sequencer" Edgar has on his "system" is a real piece of software or not. I may have heard of such a beast somewhere, but whether such things exist or not, in the 24-verse they follow the law of many a magic tool: If it's valuable, it's rare. He's the only person at Gestapo HQ who has one, and yet it's necessary both for him to move some pawns around the LA chessboard and for Chloe to check up on Girlfriend's story (more on which in half a mo). Repositioning personnel and checking leads are things CTU does pretty regularly. Are we to believe that every time someone has done one of these things in the past, they've had to use Edgar's (or
predecessor-of-Edgar's) computer, and that a) it hasn't interfered with someone else needing it, and/or b) no one's thought about putting a random sequencer on another computer or two, because it seems to be something CTU could use more than one of? The random sequencer must be a device of such grave power that only a few were ever created, and no two can exist in the same room at the same time, for fear of the eldritch rage that may be released.

Another nit to pick before getting to the (dead) meat of this episode, which Sir Geoffrey has already pointed out: namely, the missing SecDef. I suppose someone on this show might actually be taking a nap for once, but maybe in the last five minutes of the season, Audrey is going to realize that her dad's been missing for several hours and we'll know what next
season will be about: making sure he stays missing. Of course, Beiruts also being gone paints what could be a very ugly picture if it turns out SecDef has a key to Neverland Ranch.

Why did Chloe answer the call from Girlfriend? The best computer analyst at CTU and she's answering the tip line?! Or maybe the CTU web site has an entry for "If you suspect your significant other of terrorist activity that is computer related in a really technical way, call: 1-800-ITS-KLOE."

So Girlfriend found a document in the recycle bin because COMPUTER EXPERT Boyfriend was too absentminded to empty it or to realize that even emptying the recycle bin doesn't wipe a blamed thing off a hard drive. Said document was the blueprint of a computer chip, which
Girlfriend zaps off to Chloe, who prints it out on a piece of paper a bit larger than legal size. An entire chip. Millions of transistors. Tens of millions of connections. On one sheet of paper. CTU must have a laser printer.

Anyway, after some trademark Chloe acerbidity (which now sounds like it's there because that's what the viewers want, not because it's natural to the character), she's off to Girlfriend's house with yet another Dead Meat Team (CTU security teams should leave the country and join the Iraqi Police. They'd be a lot safer.) in a car that has a protective grille between the front and
back seats. Are they that afraid of Chloe?

Once at Girlfriend's, she learns that Girlfriend has a doctorate in Computer Sciences. Plural. Um. Okay, I know there are several sciences--physics, chemistry, biology, etc.--but when did computer science diversify? But still, this pretender can't match Chloe's Detect Algorithm Skill, because Chloe is able to divine the Blowfish from the names of the encrypted files. In the
24-verse, you can have all the techno in the world, but it won't do you a lick of good without the magery to match.

Once the Dead Meat Team fulfills its contractural obligation, the excitement ramps up. It was fun to see Chloe fry someone with something other than her mouth, although if that's the
first time she's ever fired a heavy duty cannon like that, CTU had best work on allaying her fears of being a field agent.

Leave it to President Shakes (who any minute is going to develop a case of Logan's Runs) to start questioning CTU's use of torture, a method that I again point out has not proven to be at all reliable for information gathering (at least in the real world, which of course the 24-verse is not). Never mind that no one had a problem with it when they were turning SecDef's son's brain to jello with the, um, Brain Jello-izer, or when they were tasering Sarah. Now Shakes is in on the deal, and he's not so much concerned with the legality of torture, or the reliability of it, as he is the fact that Jack disobeyed him.

It'll be nice to get Palmer into the game again, so this crisis can snowball into something that could conceivably end with the sun going nova. And it's great that he has a Secret Service guy in the house so someone can pick up his phone without his having to stretch. The absolute best lines of the season (and maybe of all four seasons) came during Mike and David's conversation. Mike tells him Shakes needs help. David: What kind of help?
Mike: Substantial.
Mike's delivery of that single word was beautiful.

But back to Jack. He's in the bowels of the club, getting "visuals" on everyone there (and amen to the criticism about why anyone is there in the first place; maybe they're all terrorists and are celebrating) when Stan and Ollie from the Secret Service drive up, without headlights ('cuz they're secret, I guess). Curtis said he'd run interference for Jack, which I thought meant that he'd try to delay Jack's arrest as long as possible. Silly me. Then again, silly Jack for barging into the conversation and trying to talk his way out of it. Now it's Castle's turn to prove he's true CTU material and take over for Jack (I wonder if the chess terminology was intentional. Or am I
thinking too much?). He begins sneaking toward the club by hiding behind a car, only to--no, wait a minute! He's not hiding behind a car; he's between the car and the club, so the headlights make him stand out like a deer in the, um, you know, headlights. So why has he bothered to
crouch down if he's not actually hiding?

So, of course, Faruk sees Castle and sounds the alarm. Before this, though, the Marmmy has speeched his speech in front of the camera. But hang on. Later on, when he's in the tunnel, he tells Henchman 112 in Iowa that "our timetable remains unchanged." Hmm. Well, leaving aside the fact that this implies he planned on almost getting captured all these times and knew the circumstances under which each of his contingency plans was going to be launched (which doesn't really make them contingency plans now, does it?), one wonders why he didn't make the tape last week, when things were a bit quieter. If the nuke was the plan all along, he certainly shouldn't have waited until after escaping CTU's rusty steel trap umpteen times before making his little PR statement.

Tony had told, I don't know, someone, to set up a two-mile perimeter around the club, which he then shrunk after the Marmmy escaped yet again. And true to form, the Marmmy slipped
through this sieve also--although how much you can collapse a two-mile perimeter in three or four minutes is debateble, as is the number of people you'd need to set up a decent two-mile perimeter in the first place (although I suppose to Edgar and his random sequencer it's like playing Tic Tac Toe against a hibernating tree frog).

The Marmmy's escape is of course "explained" by Jack's arrest. Once he's free, it's no longer necessary for Jack to be under arrest, so Shakes has his little "What have I done?" moment and unarrests Jack. Secret Service Agent Stan (or maybe it was Ollie) pleads the Nuremberg defense and says he was only following orders, at which point Jack yells, "We had him!" He should have continued: "Again! This was nothing more than a way to milk this crackplot for yet another hour! It didn't arise from anything close to reality! Shakes shouldn't be a congressional page, let alone the President! How can any suspense be believable when it comes about as the result of such feeble preparation!? I should shoot both of you right now! I'd be doing you a favor!"

Tune in next week, when we'll be Illin' with Kim Jong, as the 24-hour trainwreck continues.

Approximate Body Count: 136 (plus "many dead" near the nuclear plant, plus the Warhead Nonprotection team, plus whoever else was on Air Farce One)

<- 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM 2:00 AM - 3:00 AM ->

April showers bring pilgrims

After racing out to the warmest April on record, we've had slightly cooler weather lately, with lots of rain. Including today. Overnight temps over the weekend were around or below freezing. Rhonda covered up some plants.

John has been very lovey-dovey lately. He wants to give us hugs and kisses. He asks "do you love me?" or "are we friends?" Never really seen this from him before.

Last night he was rather tired, and was time to turn out the light. He wanted to keep doing his LeapPad. So, he said "I want it to be morning." (meaning, he wanted to be done with sleeping so he could do LeapPad again) Then, he said "Can I make the sun go up high, and pull down the moon?" Ha. clever boy.

We still have issues with pushing other kids. I think it's related to the sensory integration issues. John doesn't really push out of anger or a desire to hurt. I think he has difficulty processing things when he is in a busy environment, lots of kids around, that may not be strictly structured.

I am currently enjoying the book "Everything and more: a compact history of infinity" by David Foster Wallace. It's a math history of sorts, about Cantor's work with sets and his developments on the concept of infinity. Wallace does a lot of good work explaining all that went before Cantor. It struck me that this is how the frontier of human knowledge advances, little by little. People work on solving the problems of their day, and come up with solutions. (Like calculus) Flaws or difficulties are found, and so more work is done to solve those, etc...

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Today's meme

Something you probably didn't know about me:

I love spit takes. I think they are hi-larious. There's almost nothing as funny as a well-executed spit take. One of my most favorite spit takes: On Gilligan's Island, when Skipper spits out Mr. Howell's seaweed soup.

John has a new obsession: pop and vending machines. He loves putting in the money and pushing the button and seeing something yummy come out. Hanna likes it too, but during the week John will ask to go to church, because of the vending machines there.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Absolutist? Absolutely

In his column today in the NYTimes, David Brooks correctly relates abortion to the current fight in the Senate over judicial nominations and Democrats' filibusters.

Brooks is a conservative, and a keen social observer. But, the Times wasn't about to let a real strong conservative have such a plum editorial slot. Brooks tends to be more middle of the road as conservatives go, especially since he started doing his column in the Times.

Brooks correctly points out that...

"When Blackmun wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that's always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn't have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.

Instead, Blackmun and his concurring colleagues invented a right to abortion, and imposed a solution more extreme than the policies of just about any other comparable nation.

Religious conservatives became alienated from their own government, feeling that their democratic rights had been usurped by robed elitists. Liberals lost touch with working-class Americans because they never had to have a conversation about values with those voters; they could just rely on the courts to impose their views. The parties polarized as they each became dominated by absolutist activists."

This is what bothers me about those who dismiss conservative positions in a can-we-all-get-along attitude of oh, it's all the same, both sides have fanatics, can't we all just meet in the mushy middle somewhere.

Notice Brooks says religious conservatives are upset over the courts unilaterally imposing their will at the expense of the legislative process. Brooks correctly points out that liberals love this sort of thing, but it comes at a price, that price being the Red-Blue electoral map. Liberals don't realize how out of touch they are with a large chunk of the country.

The rest of the column is about how the fight over judicial nominations is held hostage to these "hardliners" on both sides. But I think it is totally wrong to equate these two positions. I think conservatives are dead right to fight judicial activism. Liberals love it because they get to impose their agenda without having to fight legislative battles they would lose. These two positions are not equal. One side is in the wrong, and it is not the conservative side.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Oh girl!

Last night at supper I asked what Hanna had done that day, and she said she had gotten some white shoes. I said "oh boy!", and Hanna said "I'm not a boy!" Oh, I stand corrected.

Sometimes we'll play scenes from Pinocchio. Hanna will be the Blue Fairy. (She says she is the "New Fairy". She waves a little pinwheel, and talks with kind of a sing-song voice.) John pretends to be a boy turned into a donkey, and Hanna comes and turns him into a real boy. When John makes donkey sounds though, he says "aww-EEE! awww-EEE!". ha.

Meet with me school group tonight. Deacon mtg tomorrow night. Sunday night is the quarterly business mtg at church. Stop the world, I want to get off.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

24 Day 4 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM

A Review

I've figured it out. This show isn't in the action-adventure genre, it's horror! It's designed to make us run screaming for the bathroom, to cringe and recoil at what we see on the screen, to quiver in terror, knowing what is coming next.

The Veep, now SortOfActing President, is named Logan. Will he use this lucky break to further his career, to try and get elected President himself at the next election? Let's get all the "Run, Logan, Run" jokes out of our system now, shall we.

Michelle just can't help herself, and says CTU has several protocols related to the crash. Well of course they do. Michelle and Tony are to run point on working up information to give to RunLoganRun. When they hear this news, they all but roll their eyes at each other. To get information fast, Michelle orders everyone to skip the usual request procedures. That's news to us, the audience, that CTU actually has planned, thought out ahead of time procedures for things?

Jack works with some guy named Fred Lawton to reconstruct the chapter Marwan took. And, this being the 24-verse, Lawton has accomplished this task in about five minutes.

We're told moving nuclear weapons around is a standard shift policy. Really?

Jack is ordered back to CTU to assist Audrey as liasion with DoD. Just where is SecDef anyway? I wonder if Devane got tired of being associated with such an inane crackplot, worried that his reputation as an actor might be sullied, and just left the show.

We cut to Marwan in the desert, who has met up with at least one van full of baddies. Gracious, these terrorists have a small army working on this operation. And you'll remember, Marwan escaped because the lone helicopter with Jack was unable to find a single jeep with its headlights on driving around in the middle of the dark desert, only seconds after it stopped the first jeep.

Marwan apparently is tracking a nuclear warhead being shifted around. Let's just pause here for a moment. Apparently this has been Marwan's plan. Not content to undertake the massive operation to melt down all the nuclear power plants in the country, Marwan hatches this crazy scheme to steal a Stealth fighter, time Air Farce One's arrival in LA to the second even though it has been flying around for 15, 16 hours, shoot down AF1, somehow divine that the nuclear football would be sucked out of the plane, fall to the desert (and not to the bottom of some lake), survive the fall, there would be no government agents there to retrieve it so would only need four guys to get it, and then, would know the exact location of a nuclear warhead in transit. How? We don't know. I sure hope the stolen chapter didn't have that information, that would record where a warhead would be at an exact time on an exact date. Sigh.

Marwan says the warhead is at 36 deg 14 min latitude, 115 degrees 21 min longitude. I wasn't real clear if that supposed to be the warhead's location at the time, as Marwan said the destination was Jefferson City, IA. That latitude and longitude is a spot in the Nevada desert, in the Nellis Air Force Bombing and Gunnery Range. So what does that have to do with Iowa?!?

And why is a nuclear warhead going to Jefferson City, IA? There is no such place for one thing. There is a Jefferson, Iowa. Is there supposed to be a large military nuclear facility there in Iowa? There is no such thing. Sigh.

Anyway, Marwan, in command of this army of terrorists, says he'll get his people in place to get this warhead. So now we have terrorists roaming around Iowa and Illinois. You think the US government failed in detecting the 19 terrorists from 9/11, what are the Congressional Hearings going to say about a government that couldn't detect a gajillion terrorists in the US to carry out these spectacular operations?

Chloe rushes in with the next plot point. A terrorist used a credit card on a watch list, belonging to Eric Murphy. Chloe, the terrorist expert, deduces this was a mistake. Curtis is finally given something to do. The card was used at a gas station in Torrance, which is towards the southern part of LA, near the coast. Curtis was supposedly at Division, but he will be told to head to Torrance. Why? Who knows. Maybe they think the terrorist will just hang around the gas pumps for awhile.

Jack has yet another drivelly conversation with Audrey. Audrey says the crack CTU medical staff is having trouble keeping Paul stable. Paul is unstable? We knew that already, honey. How's Paul doing?

Murphy, aka Yosik Khatami, calls Marwan and proves Marwan made yet another stellar call in picking his team. Khatami is all scared and trembly about his mistake. Marwan tells him to go to Prado, who will get him out of the country. Prado has been busy today already getting people out of the country. (In the 6 pm hour, Prado was going to help the Bob Dylan lookalike get out of the country.) Khatami was trying to arrange delivery for the warhead. Why he was trying to arrange that now, while the operation is going on, is not clear. Nor is it clear what he is doing to arrange delivery in California when the warhead is currently in Iowa. Or at least en route from Illinois.

Murphy said he was in Inglewood, which is several miles north of Torrance. Marwan says he should head to the marina. Marina Del Rey is just west of Inglewood, so that's where Khatami is to go. Prado will meet him there. (And never mind how Khatami got that far north in a short time.)

Back at the White House, RunLoganRun is down in some bunker, 200 feet underneath the White House. Goodness, how did they dig all that out. We see the Seal. The Eagle is looking at the branch, as it does in times of peace, and not at the arrows, as it does in times of war. Well, the attacks have just happened, probably hasn't been time to switch the Seals. Logan proves himself to be a jiggling jello mass of insecurities and hesitancies.

And now, lo and behold, as if by Magic, a traffic cam has picked up Khatami's car. How? Don't ask.Tony wants to move in, as we move to a commercial break. As we come back, at about 16:00, Khatami is in a frame driving. At the 16:30 mark we see Curtis getting to the marina. Hold on! He was supposed to go to Torrance. How did he get to the marina at the same time as Khatami? Arrrgggh. They just determined Khatami's general location minutes before. Curtis was supposed to go well south of the marina. Did Curtis disobey orders and head for the marina on a whim? Maybe he wanted to do some nighttime fishing and by sheer luck that happened to be where Khatami was heading?

At about 17:15, we see Khatami just standing around at the water's edge waiting. So, it only took him 90 seconds to stop driving, park the car, and get to this spot. Not bad.

Prado takes Khatami on the boat. Khatami is freaking out, he calls Marwan, who says they shouldn't be taken alive. Prado is having none of that, and shoots Khatami, and pretends to CTU that he was an innocent civilian who shot an intruder in self-defense.

Marwan is worried Prado will talk. But, how the hey does Marwan know CTU has Prado? All he heard was shots on Khatami's phone. Maybe he is just being prudent and assuming the worst. Maybe. Marwan quick arranges for a lawyer from Amnesty Global (harharhar) to head over to CTU to protect Prado from certain torture, so he won't spill too many beans to CTU.

Back at Gestapo HQ, Michelle says everyone should "clear all directories". Hmm, I hope people know what that means, and they don't start erasing their hard drives.

We see baddies capturing the warhead, somewhere in the wilds if Iowa. In the usual way, a terrorist is heard shouting "Move! Move! Move!" The terrorists slide a big crate into a beatup Ford pickup and head off. In an odd detail, the crate had "US Army" stamped on it. Since when does the US Army move nuclear warheads around? Do they even control nuclear warheads? I thought that was the Air Force and Navy.

Then, in one of the most hilarious howlers 24 has ever produced, we see Mike telling Logan that contact with one of the warheads in transit was lost. Mike said that could just be because of the "mountainous terrain." Mountainous terrain? In western Illinois, eastern Iowa? BBbwwwhhoooohhaaaaaaa! Hhaahhhhaaaaa! Land does not get much flatter and more featureless than this area. Do this crickin' writers ever look at a map? Logan is obviously a dunce, not remembering all those trips through Iowa on the campaign trail, and what the countryside looked like.

Back at Gestapo HQ, Michelle says to prep the interrogation room. Prep it how exactly? Set out flowers? Stock the mini-bar?

Curtis will use Richards to interrogate Prado. Of course. Richards no longer has his tie on. I wonder what happened to it. It is getting late. We see the classic scene of Richards opening his case.

But the Amnesty International, I mean, Global, lawyer gets there. Boy that was fast. And he already has a signed court order, preventing CTU from touching Prado. Things sure do move fast in the 24-verse. Didn't this judge even bother to call CTU, to see if they in fact did have this guy in custody?

Edgar is all upset by Prado, a guy working with the guys who killed his dear mother. Edgar is supposed to be working on the hourlies. I suppose to see if any other Air Force pilots suddenly go missing.

They get information from other government agencies, because they are "sharing databases". Friends, the government is not nearly this organized, where different agencies have such easily integrated databases. The FBI has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars trying to upgrade their systems in a failed typical government project.

At some point Tony talks about trying to determine what vehicle would be needed to transport a nuclear warhead. Hmm, apparently no particular vehicle is needed. I wonder how long before Tony comes up with the answer: "beat up old Ford pickup".

Jack arrives at CTU, and is obviously ticked that lawyer tricks are preventing a key interrogation when a nuke warhead is on the loose. He'll get to the bottom of things. He goes bursting into the interrogation room.

An odd moment. Jack goes into the room by using the keypad. We don't hear him say anything. Yet, on the closed captions, there is a question "What's the code?" and an answer "4-1-6", like Jack was asking the red shirt for the code. But again, we didn't hear this. Don't know why Jack would need the code anyway, as he's been in before. Maybe they changed it though as Jack as a way of bursting in and shooting people in the knee. And, though we saw 4-1-6, Jack punches 4 keys.

Jack tries to reason with the AG lawyer. And gets about as far as you'd expect. Jack figures out that Marwan must have arranged for the lawyer. So, Jack hatches a crackplot scheme. He'll resign, become a private citizen, and get Prado himself. He leaves as Audrey tries to get him to talk, to express his feelings. Lately, all Audrey does is come walking up to people while they're busy with something else. Doesn't she have work to do?

And all this after CTU consulted with Logan, who has no stomach for this sort of thing, and declines to put a rush order on the Can We Torture Prado request.

Prado is released. He and the lawyer go out to the parking lot. A parking lot which, by the way, has been remarkably cleaned up, given that Marianne's car blew up there only hours before, just before 3 PM.

When Prado and the accompanying US Marshall are alone, Jack tasers the marshall (another innocent bystander hurt) and handcuffs Prado to the dash. Then proceeds to break Prado's thumb.

Little Jack Bauer/(and not Rutger Hauer)/wanted to get his way
So he ripped off a thumb/cuz Prado was acting dumb/and said "now do you have something to say?"

Marwan is now at a place near downtown called The Hub. Huh? Is this a dance club or something? Marwan has time to goof off in the middle of this grand operation?

Quincy down at the county coroner's office gets a bit of a break, as there was only one new body this episode. There'd be no place to put much more, anyway, as Sam is busy tagging bodies stacked up in hallways, closets, on top of filing cabinets....

And, guest critic Paul reminds me the schlup guards "guarding" the warhead were dispatched. But they are in Iowa, so won't really be around to bother poor Quincy.

Approximate Body Count: 131 (plus "many dead" near the nuclear plant)

(and now, finally returned to Terra Firma after flying around in Air Farce One for 16 hours, here is guest critic Paul Foth)


This actually wasn't a terrible episode with which to rejoin the season, in that it made a modicum of sense. One thing that was neat was coming back to it after a few weeks and discovering that the recap they shoehorned into the dialogue did a good job of bringing me up to speed. Those things are frustrating when you watch from week to week, but probably work pretty well for occasional viewers. Then again, given the show's premise, there probably aren't too many occasional viewers, so the writers are taking a risk by including in-story recaps in every episode. I would've been just fine without one, but having it was okay too.

The country is in crisis, so the first thing we see at Gestapo HQ is a meeting, one highlighted by Michelle voicing CTU Standard Line #27, "Okay, people, we don't have a lot of time." I'm sorry; Michelle with stright hair just doesn't work. It's obviously because she's graduated to DIVISION and all, but the new look doesn't give me the impression that she's somehow more responsible now, as that she's older and a little haggard. Maybe the politcal infighting at DIVISION is even worse than it is at CTU.

And is she dating her dad? Leaving aside the Electra Complex issue, I like this Bill Buchanan. He's calm, collected, and professional, traits that must be confusing everyone at Gestapo HQ to no end.

Whenever I hear about the "nuclear football," I think of the Peter Sellers classic "The Mouse that Roared," in which the nuclear football really was shaped like a football. So I was quite disappointed to see that in the 24 world, it's just a briefcase.

So one of the pages from the Red Chapter of the football (A football with chapters!? Maybe one of the government's problems is that it can't control its own metaphors.) puts the final resting place of a nuke at Jefferson City, Iowa. I didn't check to see if the latitude and longitude the Mummy spouted off to Henchman 67 actually point to where Henchman 67's laptop said they did, but it doesn't really matter because there is no Jefferson City in Iowa. There is a town called Jefferson in Iowa, but it's a ways south of the position indicated by the laptop.

Which begs the question: Did the writers mean the real Jefferson, or did they make Jefferson City up? If they meant Jefferson, why change the name and location? So people don't end up makin' all them farm folk afeard by callin' city hall and askin' where the nuke is? If they made Jefferson City up, why? There's a whole host of real towns in that part of Iowa to choose from. (There are a few fake towns in Iowa, but they're mostly in the southeast quadrant.)

So the nuke is en route to Jefferson from some unnamed point of origin in Illinois. The trajectory on Henchman 67's laptop had the nuke traveling through Iowa City (well, close to it, since Iowa City is a nuclear free zone...), but no indication of its current location or travel schedule was given. Before reading the coordinates, the Mummy had no way of knowing about it. And yet within fifteen or twenty minutes, one of his sleeper cells has successfully ambushed the convoy and loaded the nuke into a pickup that should've raised many local eyebrows because it was way to clean and shiny for farm country. Good grief, does the Mummy have a cell in every county in the country?!

Speaking of counties, they have sheriffs. States don't. And yet Jack asks a question about the Iowa Sheriff's Department. Yep, people are so few and far between out there, they only need one sheriff for the whole state.

The new (acting) president, Shakes, looks more than a little like Nixon. I don't know if it's intentional on the part of the casting director, but it is a little eerie. He's quite a piece of work. If he's that scared under pressure, one wonders how he managed to weasel his way into El Presidente's confidence enough to be the VP. But, anything to get Palmer back on the show. The highlight of next week's episode will be seeing how Mike manages to say, "There's someone who can advise you better than I can," without breaking down in an uncontrollable fit of something between laughter and tears. Palmer's first bit of advice: "Hire your brother and have him shoot your ex-wife."

At least it'll be a break from insurance commericals for Palmer. There was another one on during this episode, and, for the life of me, it sounded like he ended it with, "That's All State, Stan." I know, I know, it was really, "That's All State's stand," but either my hearing is slipping or Palmer took to drinking after giving up on running for a second term.

Okay, now for the moment of jawdropping stupidity. Forget that Prada can't possibly think his story of shooting Henchman 68 in self defense will stick; forget that Gestapo HQ goes to the Richards Solution right away (Has Richards ever said anything? It's certainly one way of getting away with paying the actor less. I don't think we even saw his face in this episode--just his case of magic items.), once again violating who knows how many laws and demonstrating that the only difference between CTU and the terrorists is that CTU has more expensive toys; forget that the lawyer from Amnesty Global (I can't imagine what organization the writers cribbed that name from) is walked right through the nerve center of an installation that has classified information flying around like tobacco juice in the Yankee dugout--doesn't the building have a lobby and maybe a side corridor for visitors?--forget all that. No, Handsome Curtis walks out of the interrogation room and right in front of the lawyer says, "There's a nuclear warhead missing." Okay, granted: the lawyer may know that Prada was brought in for torture--I mean, questioning--in connection with the theft of a warhead, but at no point did Curtis find out he knew so. Bill should've slapped Curtis silly for that. Then again, the way personnel have been rotating at CTU, maybe Curtis thought the lawyer was just the new mole--er, temp.

Protocols: 1
Bodies: 1, plus "everyone" in the convoy in Iowa

Next hour: Showdown at the Disco

<- 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM 1:00 AM - 2:00 AM ->

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Beast

Here it is, my new 2005 Toyota Tacoma. It's a Double Cab, 4x4 Off Road, Short Bed



Hanna has a stuffed elephant she's getting attached to. It's funny when she makes an elephant sound. She gives it her all. She arches her back and throws her head and hand into the air and says "rrroooooooo!" Ha.

The kids have enjoyed watching The Jungle Book lately. Sometimes I'll be Kaa, and I'll hold my hand up like a snake to John's face and sing "Trussst in me, Jussst in me", and it's quite funny when John tries to mimic Mowgli's eyes spinning around getting hypnotized. He makes his eys real wide and kind rolls his head around. Heh.

We had someone come clean up our yard Friday. Did a fabulous job. Blew all the bushes out, got all the leaves and sticks up. I just don't have time to go out and spend hours. For the $85, it was quite worth it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

mai heehee

Here's a hilarious followup to something I posted about awhile ago...

(There is a link to the original video at the end of "show".)

I've got pieces of April

So far the beginning of April has been about the warmest since 1910 or so. Exceedingly nice. The last couple three years it just hasn't warmed up till June. So, quite nice that the kids can get out of the house and play without getting frostbite.

We went to Johnson's house last night. This time, with the decent weather and longer daylight, the kids played outside for the evening while we had our study.

Saturday is a school day for me. I've got a research paper to write, and I need to get cracking on that.

I read something the other day that sparked a thought. It was something on the lefty/liberal/new agey/namby-pamby philosophy of today, and this writer made the comment of how some ascpect of it went all the way back to William of Ockham in the 14th century. And you see that elsewhere, how philosophies are "traced back". I thought though, sure there are influences, but thought really isn't passed down and passed along, like on some conveyor belt. Rather, it's alway there. We're born with it. I mean, we're born fallen creatures, and we naturally have the inclination to build philosophies that exclude God. We don't need to have some ways of thinking handed to us.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Lego, Leg' God

A church quite unlike any other...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

UFO Traffic Control

Here is a neat application that can be used to track the location of quite a few satellites and other objects in orbit, such as the Hubble Telescope, and Space Station.

I came across it when I saw someone mention that this app also tracks XM3, XM Satellite Radio's latest satellite.

XM had two satellites, named Rock and Roll, one to cover the western US, the other the eastern US. However, the Boeing satellites had a quality problem, and the third one was launched to help address the problem. (XM will have to get another spare, then. This XM3 was intended to be the spare for the first two.)

The Rock and Roll satellites are being moved together in orbit so their combined power can adequately serve one side of the US, and the new XM-3 will serve the other side. XM-3 is currently going through testing.

XM-3 just launched a few weeks ago. There were some glitches in getting XM-3 launched on the first attempt. (See Feb 16 through Feb 23)

Also, XM had some difficulties with their insurance claims over the defective satellites, but eventually reached a settlement.

Monday, April 11, 2005

24 Day 4 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM

A Review

There are certain forensic psychologists who can build up a profile of a person by reading what they write. In looking at 24 this season, even an amateur can tell that an insane person is writing this show.

We get the by now standard warning about graphic violence. If I am forced much longer to try and make sense of this crackplot, I am going to commit graphic violence.

We start off with Air Farce One declaring an emergency. (Well, that'll get people hopping. Just hearing that it had been hit by a missile was met with yawns. But an emergency was declared! Oh well, that's different.) We are told Air Farce One is 20 miles NE of Indio.

Indio is well to the ESE of LA, on Interstate 10. Now, last episode we heard that Mr. Anderrsson was northwest of Edwards AFB, which is 100 miles north of LA. So, if Air Farce One was up there, how did it get down here by Indio? Maps, people. When you're writing a screenplay, pick up a map once in awhile!!!!

Air Farce One's pilot's voice is rather too emotional. He has to make a hard landing, which happens just as Jack runs into CTU.

Jack asks if any secret service agents were contacted on some comsat. Lucky Jack was there to tell everyone about it. Jack gets some lady on the horn and has her spam an acknowledge signal to any agents still kicking on AF1. Someone answers.

We then see a familiar face talking to the Veep. It's Mike Novick!!! But, what's he doing working in this administration? He worked for Palmer, and now the other party is in the White House, so why isn't Novick long gone?

In an utterly throw away line, we find out Mr. Anderrrson and his mighty Stealth fighter were shot down. That's it. One sentence wraps up that story line.

Michelle urges everyone to "rededicate" themselves to finding Marwan. Again, she conveniently fails to mention they had him surrounded twice before. Jack was within ten feet of him at one point.

Audrey breaks up the party to tell everyone she's been on the phone with SecDef. (Where the heck is he, anyway? He slipped off the show without so much as a faretheewell.) The highest priority is to find the nuclear football, which was on Air Farce One.

Luckily for the crackplot, it has a transponder on it, so the exact location is known. It was sucked out of AF1, and is in the desert, 40 miles NE of CTU. (Which would put it in the suburbs of east LA, not the desert, but who's counting?)

We cut to a campfire out in the Mojave somewhere. A man and a woman. The woman coos and says they're there to make a baby. Ok, I didn't need to know that. The man thought he heard an explosion. They walk almost literally ten feet away and come upon a bunch of airplane debris. Hawr hawr haw. They failed to hear all this stuff crashing down nearly on top of their tent? As we go to commercial break, there is a Planet of the Apes moment. The two (Jason and Kelly) look up at something and express great shock. Is it the Statue of Liberty? What?! Tell us! Oh, it's part of the AF1 fuselage.

As we return, Tony is once again snippy with Bill. I'm confused though. Bill seems to indicate there is nothing going on between him and Michelle. Fortunately, I don't really care enough to think about it further.

Some rescue teams reach AF1. Remarkably, the fuselage is largely intact. Someone with a camera is walking around inside. Oh, here's a dead body. And over there is another one. How nice. And oh look, here's the son of El Presidente. He's dead. How can we tell? We don't know. Just looking is sound medical technique. And over here, it's El Presidente himself! Oh, I suppose we could bother with checking him. Hey, he's alive!

The very next scene, seconds later, Bill is telling the Veep that the President is unconscious and has lost a lot of blood. Wow, that was one quick, thorough examination. Bill says the Veep should think about invoking the 25th Amendment.

Out in the desert Jason comes upon a case. He opens the outer shell, and inside is an unmarked briefcase. He immediately thinks this is the thing with all the nuclear codes. Good guess, Civilian Jason.

Jack has another tiresome conversation with Audrey. Look, Jack. Twelve hours ago or so you were risking your life freeing her from terrorists all by your lonesome. If she wants to repay you with pining for her dead fish Brit hubby, cut her loose.

Jack is en route in a helicopter to the football's location. Jason has called in to the authorities, who immediately patch him through to Jack. Naturally. Jack is 20 minutes away. (The krazy klosed kaptions say 30 minutes away.)

Jason sees headlights in the distance, headed that way. Jack knows there aren't any authorities out there yet, so immediately assumes the visitors are up to no good. Jack flat out tells Jason the people coming are probably the terrorists. Well, Jack has never been shy before about telling complete strangers sensitive information.

Jack says the terrorists are probably tracking the transponder. So, he has Jason disable it. How? Must I? Ok. First, Jason just happens to have a compass on him, so he moves it over the case till the needle moves. Ok, that's where the transponder is. Then, he just takes a rock and scrapes at that location for a bit till it is disabled. There. That's one solid piece of transponder engineering, I tell ya. It survived the missile strike and the crash landing, yet it can't take being scraped with a rock a few times.

I pause to think though, how the sam hill did the terrorists have equipment to track this transponder? How do they know the frequency? Tell me this wasn't the plan all along? To shoot down Air Farce One, and go out and get the football before anyone else could get to it? Did they just improvise this little mission at the last moment? And how did they get out there so fast? Jack is still 20 minutes by helicopter, and they are driving out there. My head hurts.

In fact, we now see Marwan himself is in one of the two jeeps. Of course. Never mind that towards the end of last episode Marwan was busy escaping from his hideout.

Jack tells Jason to remove his cell phone batteries so he can't be tracked. He does so. Jack tells Jason there is an abandoned power plant to the north. Jason and Kelly should go there and hide. (No wonder California has such energy problems, if such large power plants are just abandoned.) Jason and Kelly head out.

But, darn the luck, before the batteries were removed, the terrorists tracked the phone for a little bit, for long enough to get a vector. It was moving in the direction of a power plant. Now come on. Jason and Kelly happened to be moving in that direction before Jack told them to go there, so while they still had the batteries in the phone, they were tracked? I'm telling ya, there is a criminal mind writing this show this season.

Jack did tell him to put the batteries back in and call him if needed. And, Jason ended up calling Jack at least 3 or 4 times. But, the baddies never tracked him again, or tried to that we saw.

Also, the reason Jack said to take the batteries out was so Jason couldn't
be tracked with "passive triangulation". Well, "triangle" to me means
detecting signals from three points, yet the terrorists were just one
point, all by themselves. Yet they were still able to find the cell
phone's location. Sigh.

Jason and Kelly reach the power plant. Marwan and several baddies arrive shortly thereafter. They make visual contact, and know they are after a "man and a woman". (Again, the krazy kaptions say "guy and girl.")

Jason keeps calling Jack, urging him to hurry. Jack finally gets there in the helo, with only one other agent. Marwan tells a baddie to go intercept the helo. Intercept a helicopter? How? Never mind.

And then, inexplicably, the helo takes off. Where are you going? For one thing, the two terrorist jeeps are sitting there. Couldn't the pilot go disable them or something?

The intercepting terrorist goes out and starts shooting at Jack, and naturally kills the other nameless agent. So, Jack is all alone, and pinned down. In another Macgyver moment, he puts some bullets in a can, puts in some grass, lights it on fire, and when the bullets start exploding, the terrorist dives for cover and Jack slips around and shoots the baddie.

Jack tells Jason and Kelly how to open the case, and they need to remove two critical pieces and separate, because the football can't work without both. Boy, these are two dedicated civilians to be helping out like this. They agree to separate. (In the plant, not maritally. Although after agreeing to do all this for Jack, Jason might find Kelly is no longer keen on making a baby with him.)

Long story short, after much chasing through this power plant (a neat locale to be sure. We've seen power plants in 24 before, too.) The baddies catch Jason. And, shoot him in the shoulder, then the knee, then step on the knee, to get him to tell where the other piece is. Kelly can't take it, so she comes out of hiding, and agrees to give up her piece if Marwan lets them live. He promises not to kill them.

It's funny Marwan doesn't stop to wonder how this civilian woman knows how to open the nuclear football.

Marwan gets what he came for, and orders a baddie to kill Jason and Kelly. Just as he is about to do so, Jack shoots the baddie. Hooray. Then chases after Marwan, who is escaping in the jeeps no one thought to disable.

Jack tells the helo, which is just flying around somewhere, to go after the lead jeep which has the football. It crashes. Jack retrieves the football. But, it is missing some pages. The pages that have to do with nuclear warhead locations and activation codes. What do you think is going to happen in future episodes?

Jack tells the helo to pursue the other jeep, which contains Marwan. We see Marwan, driving with his headlights on. How hard could it be for the helo to find and catch up with this jeep anyway? Apparently Marwan is going to escape for a third time. This guy is a cat. El Gato, we should call him. It fits, as The Mummy had a cat familiar, didn't he?

The Veep is sworn in as acting President. Jack calls Mike to tell him about the missing pages. And, the episode ends, mercifully.

This can't have been the terrorist plan all along, is it? Please tell me it isn't.

A closing note: I'm getting worried about Beiruts. We haven't seen him for a couple of episodes now. There was no word that he was found at the terrorist hideout that Jack raided. And he certainly isn't with Marwan now. I hope he isn't stuffed into a garbage dumpster somewhere.

Curtis was AWOL last night as well. You'd think CTU's #2 man would be involved at this critical time. Maybe he was in the back room torturing someone.

Approximate Body Count: 130 (plus "many dead" near the nuclear plant)

<- 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM ->

Hey, it's logical

John saw me watching the Masters golf tournament, and Rhonda asked him, what is Daddy watching? And John said, baseball, then quickly said "golfball". Ha. If we have baseball and football, it only makes sense that we call the sport "golfball"!

It was quite the finish to the tourney. It is an indication of how good Woods is, both physically and mentally, that he had such a stinky first round, yet came storming back to leave everyone in the field except DiMarco behind. Speaking of DiMarco, he did lose it. A four stroke lead going into the remainder of the third round on Sunday morning, and in nine holes he was behind by three. Then, in the fourth round, he had two or three very makeable putts, but missed.

I put some jellybeans in plastic easter eggs yesterday, and "hid" them in the backyard, just for another impromptu easter egg hunt.

I took the kids to Bumpy Slide Park last night. It had rained a little bit, so the slides were a bit damp. Hanna is quite the little athelete, she does better than John at pulling herself along on the monkey bars.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Master mechanic

I just finished putting the running boards on the truck. They look pretty good, if I do say so myself. And, saved $170 in the ridiculous labor charges the dealer wanted. Rhonda helped me lift them up to get the center bracket onto the initial screw, and then I got things screwed in from there. It was a little awkward in that we didn't have an extender/adapter for the 13mm socket. We did have a vertical hand drill type thing that worked though, so I had to crank around instead of like a ratchet would do.

The kids are napping now, so I might try to watch some the Masters. The 3rd round is starting late because of the rain there. Looks like they are going off from 1 and 10 in order to save time.

For lunch today we had a picnic in the backyard. That was John's idea.

We might go swimming later.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Hanna's special day!

Happy Adoption Day, Hanna!! Two years ago today, she became part of our family. A very special girl. We asked her what she wanted to do tonight, and she wanted to go to the park. So, we tossed the bikes in the back and went over to Bridge Park, then rode the bikes to Tree Park.

John, noticing the attention she got, wanted it to be his special day, too.

Before we left I didn't see John, so I asked Hanna where he went. She said, "Hmm, ok, I'll show you." And she marched me around to the back of the house, and John was back by the back windows. There's some nice soft fine dirt there, and he, the boy, was in it playing. Got himself rather dusty and dirty. Oh well, let him be a boy.

As I was brushing his teeth, John got some water to rinse, but for some reason decided he had to walk over to the tub and spit the water into the tub.

On Thursday I took the day off and had fun with the kids. Hanna had a dentists appt, so I took them there. Hanna did very well for the dentist and the hygienist.

I had a school day today. The last couple days here have been very very nice.

I have something at church in the morning. In the afternoon I might see if I can get the running boards on the truck.



12. Specifications are for the weak and timid!

11. This machine is a piece of GAGH! I need dual Pentium processors if I am to do battle with this code!

10. You cannot really appreciate Dilbert unless you’ve read it in the original Klingon.

9. Indentation?! I will show you how to indent when I indent your skull!

8. What is this talk of ‘release’? Klingons do not make software ‘releases.’ Our software ‘escapes,’ leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in its wake.

7. Klingon function calls do not have ‘parameters’ – they have ‘arguments’, and they ALWAYS WIN THEM!

6. Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak.

5. I have challenged the entire Quality Assurance team to a Bat-Leth contest. They will not concern us again!

4. A TRUE Klingon warrior does not comment his code!

3. By filing this defect you have challenged the honor of my family. Prepare to die!

2. You question the worthiness of my code? I should kill you where you stand!

1. Our users will know fear and cower before our software. Ship it! Ship it and let them flee like the dogs they are!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I tink Ib hab a code

Well, I seem to have caught yet another steenking cold. This one isn't so bad, but I've this nagging soreish throat for a few days now. As soon as I felt it coming on, I took a couple of Airborne, and it didn't get much worse, or at least it didn't turn into what I usually get, with the running nose, etc... Still, the throat thing is aggravating enough.

Meet with the school group again tonight. Tomorrow night is the April meeting of the Twin Cities SPIN group. Larry Putnam will be speaking. I'd like to go to that.

I'm taking Thursday off to watch the kids. Rhonda works. Later in the afternoon we'll meet Pastor Warren from church at the MVD and sign the Buick over to the church.

I'm in a new cube now at work. One right by the window! Only took me five years to get a window cube. I recoil from the sunlight like a vampire.

I took the kids to Lions Park last night, the first time this year. Temps were in the mid 70s yesterday, very nice. MN wouldn't be so bad if got to the mid 70s in early April and stayed that way till October. Alas, that's not what we get around here. Today is cool and rainy.

Monday, April 04, 2005

24 Day 4 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM

A Review

This show is becoming a cry for help. Please, if there are any professional psychologists reading this, contact Fox and help their writers in any way you can. Lives may be at stake.

Tony starts us off by telling us "multiple trackers" were planted on Beiruts. Well, yeah, I guess *2* counts as multiple. (Why haven't the terrorists checked anybody else for tracking devices? Like Dina, Jack himself, etc...)

El Presidente tells us he has been flying for 20 hours! Later he also says he had been on a low-level state visit to Mexico. Well, Mexico is a long ways from the US. Takes time to fly back.

But why is he going to LA? Just an incredible stroke of luck for the terrorists? But then, how could they have planned the Mr. Anndderrson operation if they didn't know where the President was going? So, LA must have been the original destination. But there are two problems with that. First, with the terrorist attacks of the day, why would the President continue on to his original destination after the attacks? You'd think the President would go quickly to the White House, or a very secure location. Worse, if LA was the President's original destination, he would've been originally scheduled to get there hours ago. So why was Mr. Andderrrson planning his flight to leave at 10 pm? He couldn't have known the President was going to arrive in LA at that time. Sigh.

The President said that in LA he wants to address the nation before the 11 o'clock news. Um, El Presidente? On the East Coast it's already 1 am. I think you've already missed most of the nation's 11 pm news.

Paul is out of surgery. Will he be ok? Jack calls in and wants to talk to Audrey. Ms. Raines is very distant with Jack. Jack has got be thinking of those lines from the late Renaissance school of poets, Motley Crue, who wrote "Girl, don't go away mad. Girl, just go away."

CTU big cheeses talk to Chloe about the raid on the warehouse where Jack was held. Chloe said the IR picked up 8 hostiles. But just minutes before, she had told Jack they hadn't seen any activity. Well, which is it Chloe? I know she's been out of the game for hours now, so she's a bit rusty.

Mr. Annderrson is flying around in the Stealth fighter. When they first showed the plane in the hanger, it looked more like an F-14. I'm sure this show wouldn't make such a dumb mistake as to use footage of the wrong plane. Naaah.

Turns out Anderson shared an apartment with another terrorist named Aziz. Aziz has been killed, but probably had backup data on a hard drive that could prove damaging. Marwan wants it, and so calls Anderson on his cell phone, up in the Stealth fighter, up in the air, flying around, to ask him about it. (I forget who Aziz is, and I don't really want to go find out.) Marwan also talked to some dame who is searching the Anderson/Aziz apartment for the hard drive.

A question just occured to me. How did Anderson get off the ground? Was this a regularly scheduled flight? Was Dead Air Force Guy supposed to do the flight? If so, why was he with some dame in a hotel room a short time before his flight? How did Anderson, a complete stranger to the air unit, get by everyone? Nobody matched a name to id, or something like that? I know, never mind.

Marwan just "happens" to notice the sparking wires that Jack stuck together in his Macgyver moment. (The closed captions said the wires were "fizzing". Ha.)

Anderson says he is not trying to get himself killed. Um, then one wonders what he thinks he was signing onto. He wants Marwan to make sure his cover story is in place, that people have to think Anderson is dead. I think ol' Mitch overlooked the easiest way for the terrorists to make people think Anderson is dead is to make sure Anderson *is*, in fact, dead.

Marwan, suspicious over the phone wires, opens up some case with red blinky lights and pulls out what looks like some kind of remote. NNNNNOOOOOOO! Marwan has the building wired to blow!! Goodness, this is the most prepared team in bad guy history. Marwan slips away from the main group of baddies, and is walking...somewhere. In some part of the building.

Jack and his team raid the warehouse. We heard a bad guy stealing a line from the good guys. The terrorist says "Go! Go! Move! Move! Move!". Ha. Bodies are everywhere. Jack looks around, finds the computers, says he can't stop them from deleting. Ok, Jack. Guess just unplugging them wouldn't help. But Jack's Spidey-sense kicks in, and he says "This doesn't make sense." Not clear exactly what doesn't make sense. Then, Jack just happens to see the bomb, which is under a desk, complete with red blinky light AND it beeps! It blows, destroys computers, makes a mess of the building.

And... need I tell you? Marwan escapes. Yes, sports fans, once again CTU does a pathetic job of surrounding the building. You'd think they would've learned after botching the perimeter at the MF building, but nooooooo.

Just as one of the terrorists cacks, he whispers to Jack one of the oldie but good cliches, "You can't stop it."

We find out Paul is paralyzed from the waist down. Doc tells Audrey his recovery could depend on his emotional state. Audrey has a touching bedside moment with Paul. Hard to tell if Audrey was trying to judge Paul's, um, future prospects of vigor.

Tony says LAPD something something their "search parameter". Whatever that is. Michelle tells Bill that Marwan "slipped through the perimeter". (Zounds, he's a slippery one!) Bill asks the right question. (At least someone does!) He asks them how they let that happen. And Tony immediately gets snippy with him and says it doesn't matter how it happened. Well, Tony, it kinda does matter, if CTU is displaying such gross incompetence at such a time. Sadly, Bill from Division is finding out just what kind of team he has there.

Jack says they found an area in the warehouse used for forging documents, and some survived the explosion. Naturally. They found some photos and names. Naturally. They'll send them over to CTU for identification. Naturally. CTU takes one, and identifies, who else, Mr. Anderson, complete with history, in minutes. Naturally. Please, please make this pain go away.

Michelle says the FBI has sent an agent over to Anderson's apartment. Anderson was on some kind of watch list, and was moved up the list when CTU "raised the alert". Wait a minute, what alert? And what is the FBI doing? Sending agents to anyone and everyone on any kind of list?

And right on cue, a skinny female FBI agent shows up at Anderson's apartment. Alone, naturally. No answer, the terrorette waits inside. So, oblivious of all need for warrants, FBI Gal opens the door and goes inside. She draws her gun even. Is this how the FBI normally operates? The guy may just not be at home, but they go in with guns drawn anyway? Well, the terrorette kills FBI Gal, just as her phone is ringing. Jack is calling. Terrorette impersonates FBI Gal, who was named Agent Drake.

(Somewhere, someone has a list of names for characters, and to keep it all nice and simple, like NPCs in some roleplaying game, the names all start with a different letter. We've seen Bauer, Castle, Drake, Hart, etc... I wonder how many letters have been used on that list.)

Jack is heading to the apartment. Why? We don't really know.

On Air Farce One, El Presidente gets all snippy with his speechwriters over what he's going to say in LA. He clears them out, then has a touching Dad scene with his son, Kevin.

Jack gets to the apt, he enters with just one other anonymous CTU agent. Terrorette is waiting with gun drawn. They do the "wait wait, I'm CTU" dance, and they all identify themselves. Terrorette doesn't actually produce a photo id. Jack is the trusting sort.

In fact, Jack notices the place is a bit of a mess, and he asks Terrorette if the place was like that when she got there. She said no, the FBI had intercepted a call about some information being there, and she was looking for it. Now, that should have set off warning klaxons in Jack's head. He should have asked if she had a warrant. He should know the FBI cannot just waltz into apartments and start tearing the place up.

(Guest critic Paul Foth deftly juggles protocols and adds "Waltzing into apartments and tearing them up is part of Jack's job description, not the average FBI agent's.")

At Gestapo HQ, Chloe has some bad news for Edgar. The authorites probably can't get to the area where Edgar's mom dies for weeks, maybe months. Chloe says the reason is "half-life, the radiation". Um, if it really is the radiation, the half-life would be a wee bit longer than a few weeks. Chloe then has a Chloe Moment, and tells Edgar he'll probably have to "have the funeral without the body. Of your mother". Thanks, Chloe.

We now have a little scene with Tony and Michelle trying to outdo each other with their patented, trademark sideways glances. Turns out Michelle and Bill from Division have a thing going. Tony is not pleased.

Because he is now distracted, again, about his mother, Edgar makes a classic mistake. He mistakes Row-major for Column-major. Oh, I hate when I do that. But, Chloe covers for him. Who knows why.

Jack and CTU Drone and Terrorette continue to search Anderson's apartment. It's been several minutes now, perhaps ten minutes or so. Which makes me think, where is the body of the real Agent Drake? How did Terrorette dispose of it? This "thorough" search of the apartment sure hasn't stumbled across it. These terrorists sure are good at hiding things. Must have been part of their training. Like Beiruts hiding L'il Debbie's car in a residential neighborhood earlier in the day.

CTU drone finds the hard drive behind an outlet. Terrorette stabs him in the neck, and takes the hard drive. Jack was upstairs and didn't see this. But, instead of immediately leaving, Terrorette starts upstairs to apparently try and eliminate Jack. Why? You have the drive, just get out! Well, Jack's Spidey-sense kicks in again, he goes out, sees Drone lying there, and gets in a gunfight with Terrorette. Jack shoots Terrorette through a post by the stairway, in a clever move. In the gunfight, Jack gets to utter one of his signature lines: "Drop the weapon!" Ah, the classics never go out of style.

Instead of checking out his Drone colleague, Jack immediately grabs a nearby convenient computer and checks out the hard drive. Access is restricted. (We see the terrorists have a UNIX group named "staff". Ha! That's hilarious. This terrorists are an organized bunch.)

Edgar gets Jack access in minutes with a little Magic. (part of which involves Edgar telling Jack to use "tab-arrow". Edgar didn't say *which* arrow, though. Jack must have made the one in four guess on the first try.) The hard drive contains flight simulator stuff involving Stealth fighters.

And, speaking of favorite cliches, after Edgar gets Jack access, Jack says the line favored by tv and movie hackers everywhere, "I'm in!"

So, Jack puts two and six together and gets eighteen, and realizes Anderson is probably trying to steal a Stealth fighter. CTU realizes that Air Farce One is the probably target.

El Presidente is warned. The Vice President is called, and told to be prepared.

(Air Farce One is just minutes from landing. Has Anderson just been flying around in circles this whole hour? How did he find the plane? Michelle mentions radar, but if Air Farce One was being painted with radar, they'd know it. This no makee sense!!!!)

Jack somehow Magically gets patched into communications on the Stealth, and talks to Anderson. Anderson doesn't say anything. (Jack even calls him "Sir". Ick.) Jack tries to talk him out of what he's about to do. And, just as Magically, El Presidente is patched in and listens in on the conversation on Air Farce One.)

Jack says Anderson can stop this now, and he can proceed to land at Edwards Air Force Base. Jack does say "Edwards", but the closed captioning says "Andrews". Andrews AFB is on the other side of the country, outside Washington D.C. Oops. You just can't find good transcriptionists these days. Edwards is about 100 miles north of LA, though. It's not clear if Anderson left from Edwards. If so, that's about an all time record for 24, for Anderson to get to Edwards from his apartment in under an hour.

Also, Jack tells Anderson he can get to Edwards by taking a *southeast* heading, something like heading 119. So, he and Air Farce One must be north to northwest of Edwards. Michelle says that Air Farce One could land in Palm Beach, to get on the ground quickly and avoid the threat Anderson poses. But, Palm Beach is in the southern part of the LA metro. If Air Farce One is north of Edwards, Edwards is by far the closer. Doesn't anyone on this show ever pick up a map?

Let's not bother with figuring out how CTU knows where the Stealth fighter is. Michelle had said, for the benefit of us dunce viewers who don't know what a Stealth figher is, that it can't be picked up on radar. So how can Jack give such a precise heading to Anderson if they don't know where Anderson is exactly?

Anderson abruptly cuts off communications. He fires a missile at Air Farce One. On radar, we see an explosion. We are told that Air Farce One suffered an "indirect hit".

And here the episode ends. The previews for next week give away what happens, but I won't divulge that here. However, I will say that the previews show the storyline is spinning off into yet another COMPLETELY INSANE CRACKPLOT!!! AUUUUUUGGGGHHHHH.

Ground control to Major Tom. Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong.

Approximate Body Count: 120 (plus "many dead" near the nuclear plant)

<- 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM ->

Friday, April 01, 2005

In a trance

Here is a link to a page with a host of information on the genre of electronica music. Lots of samples to listen too as well. I've been listening to a lot of it lately on XM 82, The System. I particularly like the Trance music. (Warning: some of the text blurbs there do have some foul language.) It does a fine job of tracing the history of the genre, its underground elements, hardcore elements, the more pop mainstrem elements, etc... (The music for the Zion rave scene in The Matrix Reloaded movie was electronica music.)

Here is a page with some details on the musical elements involved. Here is another.

I fought the law and...

...the law rolled over like a dog. Once again, former Clinton administration officials suffer no consequences for serious acts. PowerLine has some comments here.

The pope is ailing. Not clear what his exact condition is. It's been a long time since we've seen white smoke over the Vatican. The current pope was appointed in 1978. (I do recall seeing the white smoke at the time.)

UPDATE: News outlets briefly reported the pope had passed away, then retracted those reports. The pope is in serious condition by most accounts.

Here is a report that PBS Newshour did on satellite radio.