Archive for November, 2008

Jack Is Back

Posted: November 28, 2008 in Pop Culture, TV
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jack-bauer

Jack Bauer is back, albeit only for a 2-hour TV movie prequel for the upcoming season of 24 scheduled to begin in January. I’m stoked about this because it’s the first new episode in nearly a year and a half, since the writer’s strike last fall led to the season’s cancellation. This isn’t a full-fledged new season, but it’s a good teaser of things to come: Jack on the run, a new female President of the United States is sworn in, and a new villain in a very high place.

“24: Redemption” sticks to the multilayered real-time dramatic narrative format that has made the show such a success. But they did something different here, which I think is a refreshing change: they moved the action in the show out of Los Angeles (according to the credits, the episode was shot in Cape Town, South Africa and Los Angeles). While during most seasons the action goes back and forth between LA and Washington, this time around Jack is living in hiding in a fictitious African country on the brink of war, helping out a friend who runs a UN and State Department-funded school for young boys.

Without getting into specifics, the show takes a turn into contemporary and historical events, doing its own take on elements from the movie Blood Diamond and the U.S. embassy evacuation of Phnom Penh and Saigon in 1975. How all of this is going to tie into the new season I have no idea, but it’s definitely good for the show to change the scenery from Washington and Los Angeles, as it expands the range of subjects, characters, and issues that can be worked into the plot.

January can’t come fast enough.

turkeys
Just in time for Thanksgiving, CNN’s Bill Schneider has put out his annual list of the biggest political turkeys. I would add to this list Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, Hillary Clinton not competing in caucus states during the primary, and Bill Clinton’s criticisms of Barack Obama before and after the South Carolina primary.

Downsizing

Posted: November 27, 2008 in Economy, Media
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The American Journalism Review has this sad story about local newspapers who are shutting down their DC bureaus as part of their cost-cutting efforts.

obama-st-louis

I am a bit of a photography geek and recently came across two excellent photo essays recapping Barack Obama’s improbable quest to win the presidency: this one from the Boston Globe, and this one from TIME Magazine photographer Callie Shell.

Peter Orszag, Barack Obama’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, has given up his duties blogging for his old job as director of the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO blog will continue under acting director Robert Sunshine.

Here’s hoping that Orszag continues his blogging at the White House.

joker

The lobbying blitz for awards season has begun in the movie industry. I think that while nominations or wins for Best Picture and Best Director (for Christopher Nolan) would do a lot to acknowledge the quality and the impact of “The Dark Knight”, the one that really matters – for fans of the movie, the crew, and the industry at large – will be whether Heath Ledger gets Best Supporting Actor for his showstopping interpretation of the Joker. This is probably the most dominant individual performance I’ve seen in a film in years where the character steals the show in every scene he’s in. The only other one that comes to mind from the past two decades is Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs.

Rock the Casbah

Posted: November 24, 2008 in Music
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The New York Times has an interesting story on the first all-female rock group in Saudi Arabia.

As the Bush administration winds down, Democrats and historians are concerned about what information (documents, emails, etc.) might be deleted, destroyed, or withheld before they leave office. ProPublica’s Kristin Jones has this brief review of which documents are and are not protected from destruction by the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

Better late than never.

VATICAN CITY–The Vatican’s newspaper has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a “boast” by a young man grappling with sudden fame.

The comment by Lennon to a London newspaper in 1966 infuriated Christians, particularly in the United States, some of whom burned Beatles’ albums in huge pyres.

But time apparently heals all wounds.

“The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a `boast’ by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll,” Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said.

For the record, these were Lennon’s original comments which created the firestorm back in 1966:

“Christianity will go. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

No word yet on whether L’Osservatore Romano plans to offer similar comments about the Lennon songs “Imagine” and “God.”

Quote of the Day

Posted: November 21, 2008 in Humor, Quotes
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“Sprinkles make the cupcake, don’t you think?”
CNN Chief National Correspondent John King