Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hit the Road Jack: Sheppard, Bauer, and McCoy

I think I figured it out:

2 TV producer fans of "Party of 5" decide to do shows about the limbo between death and heaven. One thought it was a complicated reunion involving bonding several loved ones who have a major common life experience - another thought that all problems can be solved by Jennifer Love Hewitt!

That was my facebook status right after the Lost finale on Sunday Night. I think that now that Lost and The Ghost Whisperer are no longer on the air, there is definitely a gap in TV programming about talking to dead people. Maybe a psychic can be added to the cast of Jersey Shore so Snookie and The Situation can talk to their dead relatives and hear firsthand how proud they are of their lifestyle of tanning and fistpumping.

After 5 yrs of writing about Lost.....I thought I would weigh in with my opinion of the best finale in the post Suzanne Pleshette era, and I specifically want to address 2 paragraphs from last weeks column which defined the emotional pull of the finale,... and also made it totally irrelevant to fans who didnt watch this season!

Last season, the Lostaways had a brilliant idea that during their time travels to the past, it may not be a bad idea to blow up a hydrogen bomb and destroy the island. The theory was that their original plane crashed because electromagnetic energy was sent off from the island and caused the plane to come down. If the island is destroyed, then there is no plane crash and they can change the fates of their future selves.

So change the fates they did. Or did they? During this finale season, we saw a season premiere where the Lostaways are on the plane and the plane flies over Lost Island and continues on its merry way to LAX without crashing. But back on Lost Island although there was an explosion, the hydrogen bomb did not go off as it was supposed to because it shoulda killed the Lostaways allowing them to live on in the Parallelogram Universe, sort of like The Presitge where the magician killed himself and his clone lived on, but now, the Lostaways live 2 simultaneous lives as Island Crash Survivors and Los Angeles Non Crash Survivors or as The ICS and the LANCS!

That last sentence was where the producers were able to pull off the ultimate "Gotcha".. and gotcha they did. After watching the painstaking attempts to change their fate as plane crash survivors, the fans finally got what we wanted in the season premiere in the post bomb era when the plane flew over Lost Island and our beloved characters did NOT crash... a plot line we followed with breathless detail because after 5 seasons most Lost fans really grew attached to these characters and we wanted to see them 'happy"!! But to paraphrase Freud.. sometimes an island is just an island. And indeed it was... the Lost fans were manipulated into watching this normal parallel universe only to get Newharted and St. Elsewhered and Bobbys in the shower-ed even though hes still dead on Knots Landing.

I guess different people have different attitudes about what happens after death. I always imagined that once you buy the farm its off to heaven or hell for those who misbehaved. (I wonder where the owner of that CT monkey is going - to a Hell where she will be constantly attacked by wild monkeys?) Anyway, the way I see it, upon arrival in Heaven you go through a sort of customs staging area where a social worker checks you in and then stays with you as a wingman as you go through a door to have that very emotional reunion with all your dead friends and relatives.

As it turned out.... on Lost there was never a parallel universe. And even though it wasnt a dream or the visions of an autistic kid - it was part of something that seems to affect the former cast of Party of Five - that limbo between the moment of death and getting that ticket punched to heaven... which is also a belief of the goofballs that created The Ghost Whisperer. Instead, the limbo is a place that has no time, but is actually a reunion for a bunch of people who shared something special and all make the move together even though they all entered Limbo-land at different times. This Lost version of post death pre Heaven is a little preposterous to me, yet Lost made it look somewhat plausible by staging a reunion among the show's popular characters. This means that everything in the parallel universe never existed this season.... while EVERY bizarre weird unexplained moment on the island over the last 6 yrs. really took place.

In retrospect, I liked this finale. And even thought I only jumped aboard the show in Season 2, I really gotta admit that the cast reunion at the end was quite fun... it actually looked like the actors were really not in character as they said their final goodbyes to their friends and loved ones. And the show seemed to wrap the island happenings in a nice little bow. After having the island watching torch passed from Jacob to Jack, our pal Dr Shepherd basically used his brief time in power to lead the fake Locke to his own demise - both worked together to lower electromagnetic boy Des to the special part of the island which led to fake Locke's return to mortality and the end of non aging for Richard who actually if he was getting old would have smeared that eye liner he always wears along with a little too much lipstick that would leave marks on the cheeks of his little nephews and nieces.

But as the reunion interspersed with the end of Jack we all knew it would somehow end where it all started. Instead of opening an eye... one would close. They could have gone the horror movie route and ended with the opening of an eye of Fake Locke... but Family Guy recently went down that road with the Violent Chicken. I thought we might hear yells of "Jack Jack be careful" and Jack would see he is being yelled at by a confused Chloe from 24.

But this whole idea about parallel-land being Heaven's waiting room was quite the surprise. All the characters we ran into this season back in LA did not die at the same time, yet they all ended up at the church at the same "time". And their awareness of who they were happened to them at various points.. Des was one of the first when a drug addicted Charlie forced his car into water causing Des to flashback to Charlies drowning and his heroic "Not Pennys boat" which he scribbled on the back of his hand when he went underwater to unjam the frequency that was blocking any attempts the stranded Losties to transmit a "Hey were lost on this crazy island" report.

And so it went.. confusing all the viewers this season as nobody could figure out why these memories were seeping in to the Paralleliverse. Was this creation and elimination of memories like the movie Total Recall which made Sharon Stone famous? And for that you have to credit the producers and writers.. because for all the predictions that are scattered all over the internet... nobody ever saw this coming. We were so wrapped up in the concept of the plane not crashing and seeing what would happen if we could turn back time... that our enjoyment of the ride prevented us from seeing what was really going on! Yes folks. it was the perfect decoy.

And the questions pop up how much of the Paralleliverse was "real"? In reality anything that conflcted with the island story never really happened but was part of the therapeutic imagination of the characters post death pre Heaven healing.

Was Jack formerly married to Juliet and did they have a son? Or was this Jacks and Juliets way of being the parents they always wanted to be. Locke let the cat out of the bag when he told Jack he had no kids. And Sawyer a cop? Not a conman? Maybe he wanted to be a good guy... although his cop character had some big time character flaws. Ben especially got to experience being a humble simple easy going non controversial teacher... which taught him a lot about his island shortcomings as he presented a heartfelt apology to Locke who he brutally murdered...

And on it went... we saw their shortcomings on the island.. but in "paralleliverse", these flaws gradually got worked out... as these characters got another "chance" at life and when they realized their goals simultaneously - which is an odd word to use in a context that involves no "time' - they were ready to make the move. I must say that the Kate - Jack reunion was just incredible when she told him she missed him so much. Kate probably went on to have a long life and hadnt seen Jack since she left him at the island. It was such a touching moment to show that sometimes you need "time" to just work these things out until you are ready to move on to the next step. I guess they are ready to cross over when they are no longer...."Lost"...

Or.... they could just visit Jennifer Love Hewitt!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Final Lost Predictions!

Welcome back from yet another hiatus.

And where the heck has NWOW been? Actually I haven't really gone anywhere... but my computer blogging time has dropped off substantially lately. I have noticed that since 2005 when we started NWOW, I have found writing these columns to be very relaxing... especially when there is job related stress. Simply put, the last few months in Mortgage Land have been pretty stress free - and quite busy too, taking me away from my little blogging corner of the universe.

I also discontinued my mortgage podcast. Clickcaster, the file storage site where I keep the podcast's audio clips posted an announcement in January that the site was down to scheduled maintenance. That "scheduled maintenance" update remained there until May when the website effectively disappeared into the sunset following the footsteps of the long forgotten previous website where I kept my audio files. I started a Twitter account about mortgages, but the rules about the length of the tweets are a tad restrictive when one talks about complex financial situations so ultimately I will probably start some no holds barred kvetching about mortgage news here at NWOW instead.

But that is not the topic for today - as we approach a crazy doubleheader of TV farewells... Sunday is the end of Lost followed by the 24 finale on Monday.. And with the end of Monk earlier this year, that ends 3 of the better 1 hour shows that have aired over the last several yrs. CBS has also cancelled Jennifer Love Hewitt's "The Ghost Whisperer", a show I found downright awful, which is odd because Lost has incorporated a lot of those seeing dead people concepts into this season - yet for some reason it comes out a lot less stupid in the context of the Lost universe.

Which brings me to how I would like to see Lost wrap things up -

Charlie Salinger wakes up after a night of drinking with Sarah Reeves in the back of the restaurant and all this talking to dead people silliness was all a drunken stupor inspired dream...

Is a Party of 5 reference too much of an inside joke? Then again, how much debate went on about a joke being "too inside" when the Newhart writers devised the idea of using Suzanne Pleshette for the Newhart finale, some 13 years after the original went off the air??

Anyway, it looks like we have finally learned what Lost is really about... (and these next few paragraphs could be helpful for people who are not entirely up-to-date in the world of Lost.) Two super human twins were raised on the island... Jacob is the good guy and his anonymous brother is the bad guy. Even though the "rules" aka the Lost mythology states that they cant kill each other, Jacob somehow is able to terminate his anonymous brother's mortal life which ultimately created the infamous Smoke Monster - Anon's post death way of making his presence known... However, Anon also has the skill to assume a human form by inhabiting a corpse on the island. So in the twisted craziness of the Lost-iverse, Anon has taken over the body of John Locke whose corpse ended up back on the island after he died off the island. The original Locke was killed by Ben - who then sent the corpse back, and once the body came back, Anon "took it over" and then as Locke successfully convinced Ben to kill Jacob.

Anon wants to kill his twin because he wants to get off that freaking island just like everybody else does... but Jacob has shared the info that letting his bad twin off the island will have catastrophic results, and in his post death state, Jacob "appears" to the Jennifer Love Hewitt Ghost Whisperers Crash Survivors to warn them that somebody among the Castaways needs to replace him, and assume the task of keeping Anon from jumping ship - or airplane.

That in itself would be a great road to the finale, but the Lost writers threw in a very clever monkey wrench this season. Last season, the Lostaways had a brilliant idea that during their time travels to the past, it may not be a bad idea to blow up a hydrogen bomb and destroy the island. The theory was that their original plane crashed because electromagnetic energy was sent off from the island and caused the plane to come down. If the island is destroyed, then there is no plane crash and they can change the fates of their future selves.

So change the fates they did. Or did they? During this finale season, we saw a season premiere where the Lostaways are on the plane and the plane flies over Lost Island and continues on its merry way to LAX without crashing. But back on Lost Island although there was an explosion, the hydrogen bomb did not go off as it was supposed to because it shoulda killed the Lostaways allowing them to live on in the Parallelogram Universe, sort of like The Presitge where the magician killed himself and his clone lived on, but now, the Lostaways live 2 simultaneous lives as Island Crash Survivors and Los Angeles Non Crash Survivors or as The ICS and the LANCS!

The rules of logic dictate that only 1 timeline can exist.. but since when does Lost apply any such rules? The show's heart and soul is Desmond who spent many years living underground on that crazy island regularly pressing buttons on an old 1980s computer (The type that probably programmed the original PacMan) to keep the island's electromagneticism under control. And of course, the time Desmond doesn't press the buttons, the Lost plane crashes. Now we find out that Des has some kind of bizarre superhuman power that enables him to survive high levels of electromagnetic waves. Somehow Des gets into Anon's clutches and ends up in the bottom of a well... until some mysterious person rescues him...(Prediction: Claire) and now it appears that the ultimate island goal of getting rid of the monster may depend on Des.

Meanwhile in Non Crash LA - Des seems to have realized that his fellow plane passengers have some greater calling and he has spent the last few weeks assembling them together. Ben - who didn't crash but lived on the island, gets into a fistfight with Des in Non Crash Land and starts having flashbacks to a fight they had in their parallel lives. This of course makes no sense to Ben - how can he flash back to an event that "never happened"? But somehow Des has it figured out and as we move towards Sundays finale he is assembling all the Non Crash Losties to gather at a concert in LA.

So there you have it - 2 parallel stories coming to a finale... and somehow intertwining in a way that as of now defies logic but by the time 1130 Sunday Night rolls around, will apparently make plenty of sense.

So for the last time - here are some of my predictions for Lost.

Whatever happens on the island -I predict that Anon will be defeated. The rule to defeat Anon is to kill first and ask questions later. But even if they defeat him, the Crashies have to get off the island too... so unless somebody (Ben?) knows to twist that wheel that gets 'em out,... they may have to fly outta there, but since their pilot is dead.. that might not be an option either. This raises a very interesting question from the first episode - the original crashed plane's pilot (who was also on Heroes) was killed by The Smoke Monster... wouldn't Anon want the pilot to survive to get him off? Or maybe Lost needed the pilot to die to allow the pilot to become a 6 season show??

But the Non Crashies now gathered together in LA has also caught my att'n... this concept of forming memories of things that "never" happened to them is very intriguing. Ideally could Des convince the concert attendees that they have a greater calling to rescue "themselves" off Lost Island? Or could their be some dramatic reunion right at the concert hall involving 2 sets of the same people? I get the feeling that the ability to defeat Anon is going to have something to do with the LA Non Crash survivors and now I am ready to proclaim my final prediction:

I remember an episode of Fantasy Island - where a guy wants to go back in time to catch Jack the Ripper. Mr. Roarke takes the guest back in time but not only does Jack the Ripper get away from the Fantasy Island guest... but he opens a door that connects the past to the present and ends up roaming around present day early 1980s Fantasy Island and putting little Tattoo in danger. I recall nothing else about that episode except that the FI guest did not do his job and by not protecting the border allowed Jack into present day 1980 Fantasy Island. Sorta like the situation in Arizona... except deadlier.

I predict Des is not recruiting the LA Non Crashers to save their alter egos - he is recruiting them to save humanity - saving the world sounds too much like Heroes, but keeping the World safe from Anon makes the most sense...unless of course The Smoke Monster gets away and becomes the next star of a buncha slasher movies! Or maybe moves into the attic with Roger on American Dad. And if Anon is able to kill off everybody on the island, leaving only the 1 survivor who can get him outta there,.... (perhaps Ben who knows how to work the Wheel of Escape?), then its up to Des's LA crew to somehow get the island to its season premiere form.. apparently sunken at the bottom of the sea. And if it involves a flyover with a bomb drop to do this... is he going to get the LA Crash Survivors back together on a plane and head back to the island and destroy it during the fly-over with seconds to spare just before Ben can turn the wheel that lets Anon out and into the real world! But what happens if that plane.... crashes??

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LOST: A fun TV show and a word that usually follows “Nets”!

We’ll get to Lost – the TV show in a moment, but first a quick glance at the Nets as they march towards 8 win immortality in their attempt to shatter the infamous 9-73 record set by the 72-73 76ers. Now that the Nets have hit the 5 win mark, their current 5-50 record is far better than that Sixers team that actually started out at 4-58 and those lovable Mavericks of 92-93 fame whose 11 win season consisted of a 4-57 start… Amazingly, both those teams had worse records than the Swamp Dragons who have just announced that they will be in Newark for the next 2 seasons before they move on to Brooklyn!

The key to setting the record at 8-74 will involve some more consistent losing over the last 27 games. Can a 5-50 team which has consistently been winning 1 out of every 11 games put together a 3-24 hot streak to hit that mark? A stellar 4-23 would only tie the record and a sizzling stretch of 5-23 would keep Philly in the record books! Or will they challenge the all time worst stretch run of the 1968 San Diego Rockets who went 1-32 over their final 33 games?? And if they get to the magical 8-74,… they would be 66 games under .500… Only 2 professional team have achieved that record in the last 50 years… the 40-120 1962 Mets and the 2003 Tigers who finished 43-119.

Net observers are noticing that the losses have been a lot closer over the last 10 or so games, and the way they have been playing lately it makes it possible that getting the record will be tough to achieve. In the meantime, now that they have 5 wins, the next goal is reaching not the mathematically impossible .500.. but actually the .100 mark which would mark the 1st time this season they have achieved that status. But if they have to pay .125 ball to avoid immortality it seems very possible that they will resume their losing ways and get to their next milestone - a 5-59 record which has never ever been done. Can they lose next 9 games to reach that record?? Its too early to tell, but at least it gives us something to look forward to!

Now time for Lost. I have tossed off so many theories about that wacky show over the years that I have run out of ideas. But as the show heads to its final episode this May, one can only wonder how this crazy show will wrap up. So instead of yet another crazy theory, I am going to speculate on what the finale will look like.

The cool aspect about this show is that we can write about what has been going on… but in reality we really don’t know what’s flying. Last season they cooked up this crazy idea that if they went back in time they could change the circumstances that led to their Episode 1 plane crash. Well faster than Cher can slap on a thong, they discovered that they could turn back time. Our Lost crew knew their plane crashed because of some kind of magnetic mashugas that was emanating from the island due to a hydrogen bomb. Last season’s madcap goal was to detonate the bomb. Then the Lost crew would die in the explosion, but their plane would never have crashed and they would end up living “happily ever after”. Sort of like the logic used in “The Prestige” – kill 1 but keep the clone.

The season ended with a flash of light as a badly injured Juliet smashed the bomb which didn’t quite go off as planned. Then we waited through 7 long months for the show to start up again! Now that its back, we see that the plane did NOT crash and everybody goes on their merry way with some interesting storylines… Locke is still paralyzed… Rose has cancer… Charlie almost overdoses…Kate is on the run from the law… and Claire’s adoptive parents foshnizzled on their offer to take her unborn baby. Doesn’t look like everybody is quite so happy off the island.

But wait a moment.. the show is not just about life off the island after the plane did not crash. We found out in the first episode of the season that the plane crash crew did NOT die when the bomb went off… Somehow the bomb went off and blew them into the future.. but since they had been in the past, they actually ended up in the present…Only Lost can produce such a sentence that actually makes sense!

I’m not quite sure what year they ended up in… but I think they are now in “present time” since Sawyer has shared scenes with both Jin and Fake Locke. And with Fake Locke being in the same timeline as Sun… that means that lovely reunion appears to be imminent! Which means that not only are they time travelers, but somehow they have changed the timeline and the “Crashers” and the “non Crashers” are co existing with themselves at the same time but in 2 different places! Kind of like when Stuie Griffin found his future self living in San Fransisco.

So while viewers await the Sun and Jin reunion – I am more interested in seeing the “Crashers” meet the “Non-crashers”

The non crashers have the common bond of being on the same flight…. which involved the escape of a criminal (Kate). Since there is a list of all of the flight’s passengers, maybe the cops will call everybody over to the local Bennigan’s for a little Q and A. Also, Hurley seems to be interacting with some of the non crashers…Rose and Locke were on that flight, and both of them were his employees… and the 2 people who were magically healed on the island too! Then we round up the “Crashers”… and rescue them from the island for a 2nd time… The first rescue was pretty exciting… but imagine how neat it would be the 2nd time around since “they” already are living in the real world.

I can just imagine that Oprah episode! Hopefully she wont mistake one of Ben’s scars for lipstick like she did with Drew Brees! People who were on an airplane find out that “they” have been rescued after being stranded on an island. Letterman could get 5 of them to do a Top 10 List. Maybe they could rent out a hotel ballroom for that reunion of the Crashers and the Non Crashers. Serve up some cocktails maybe? See if Sawyer has nicknames for the other Sawyer. And would he seek out Juliet to see if he can hook up with her? Would a respected doctor hook up with a self proclaimed con man? Would Hurley give the other Hurley a job? Would Sayid resort to torture if the other Sayid doesn’t tell him what he wants to hear about the island?

But I guess poor Locke would feel left out at the reunion… His alter ego is dead….He’ll just sit on the sidelines having coffee talk with his history teacher friend Ben Linus as ABC drools over the prospects of a spinoff featuring the 2 of them that would probably fizzle quicker than After MASH and Beverly Hills Buntz.

I think of all the crazy concepts on Lost, the idea of people finding out that they co-exist somewhere else is more mind boggling than anything else the show has come up with! I couldn’t even begin to imagine if there was another Nate floating around out there…although it would be pretty cool if there was a 2nd Trophy Wife! But then again you always hear that somewhere out there, your exact double is floating around… and I understand Facebook used Doppelganger Week to find people’s exact lookalikes due to their Google-esque algorithm research based on people who chose the same celebrity.

Only 2010 can produce such a sentence that actually makes sense!


I caught this recently… Newsweek got a bunch of its staffers who have never seen Lost to watch the Season Premiere… and then try to explain what is going on!


See the first 1:15 of this clip from Real Time with Bill Maher and you will see that Elliot Spitzer’s comeback trail probably should not include panels with Seth MacFarlane. Nonetheless, a very very funny clip!

Friday, January 29, 2010

J: Leno, Wow, Z, and E-T-S! Part II

Following our theme from our last column…

This week I will start with The Jets and congratulate my team’s co-tenants for an excellent season that led them into the AFC Title Game. Having a rookie quarterback gives them hope for future seasons, although just because a team makes it this far doesn’t mean they are an automatic to make it there the next season…. Check out the Giants of 2 seasons ago for a perfect example. Nonetheless, their coach’s wiseguy comments that the Jets will be THE main tenants in the new Meadowlands Stadium is a bit uncalled for… The fact is The Giants were the main tenants at Giants Stadium and were there first while the Jets were playing at the late lamented Shea Stadium. Now that they have a new Stadium it’s a fresh start so both teams might be on equal footing.. unless the new stadium’s corporate sponsor is the Giant Supermarket chain!

J ay Leno

It is interesting how the theme for Wednesday was Jobs and Jobs. In the morning, Steve Jobs announced the non menstrual related innovative I-pad. Im not quite sure what it does that the I phone doesn’t do… except it has a bigger screen and possibly a keyboard? Then in the evening, President Obama delivered his State of the Union and announced new plans to find jobs for non working Americans. It’s a jungle out there for job hunters and the competition is fierce… It seems like only the most competitive job seekers are able to find the jobs that are out there. That is the American way.

Yet there seems to be an exception when it comes to late night TV.

I have the late night Oprah – Jay Leno replay playing in the background and as I listen to it, I realize that Jay is really not the “bad guy” here. And I must say I am definitely NOT a Jay Leno fan and I like Conan a lot more. Leno stabbed Letterman in the back to get The Tonight Show… but I can’t find fault with him in this situation. I think Conan made a mistake leaving NBC because of his contention that “The Tonight Show” shouldn’t be on at midnight. Time slot? Conan is an Ivy League graduate but doesn’t realize how far that franchise already sank after Jonny Carson left.

Let’s say people start staying up till 11:30 on a weeknight when you are approximately 17 years old. People who are in their early 30’s and younger, have virtually no recollection of Johnny Carson… and you would have to be in your mid to late 60s to remember Jack Paar and Steve Allen as Tonight Show Hosts. For all intents and purposes… it may have been called “The Tonight Show”.. but it really was “The Johnny Carson Show” and he hosted it remarkably consistently well for 30 years.

And while Fox is good at ratings for its News Channel and Prime Time Lineup.. historically it has never been able to get ratings with its late night talk shows with Joan Rivers and Chevy Chase. And now that Conan may be trying to start a new late night franchise, will he really do that much better there than if he would have taken his lumps and stayed with NBC??

Granted Leno was a bit of a jerk when he took over The Tonight Show… (and apparently engineered Carson’s somewhat “early” departure). But this time? I really cant blame him. Leno was a team player five years ago when NBC told him he would lose the show in 2009 even though he was winning the timeslot. But NBC didn’t want to lose Conan or pay him an exit fee if he didn’t get the Tonight Show in 2009. Now after pulling the plug on the 10pm show, NBC loses Conan, a lotta money and has a big problem on their hands if Leno can’t take back the ratings.

The bottom line: Nobody will ever replace Johnny Carson… but at least Conan had a better show. Oh well I guess my idea last week of a 2 hour Leno – Conan Tonight Show ain’t gonna fly.

JWow –

I see where the stars of Jersey Shore are holding out for more money to return for a 2nd season. Following up from last week, I don’t think they need all of them… just Snookie, The Situation, and JWow and possibly Paulie and maybe maybe Vinnie. After watching the reunion show last week, you realize that Ronnie has done a tremendous public service to show people the dangerous mood swings that you get from alleged steroid use! He’s nuts.. especially when during the reunion he dumped Sammi because of something silly she said to The Situation 5 months ago on the “hidden video footage”.

In reality, look how much buzz MTV is getting from this show. The seasons over and people still talk about it. Granted, a lot of it is because it is very well edited, the soap opera scenarios are probably staged and the graphics are well done so you never forget all the character’s names. But I don’t remember the last time there was this much hype and ratings for an MTV show.

I think they should show them the money… if they don’t they risk hiring new wackos who will try to emulate and go even further and turn themselves into caricatures of this seasons group. Can you imagine a girl trying to out Snookie Snookie? And try to out talk and out muscle The Situation? Or top Paulie’s contention that the Israeli girl who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is nuts one week, and somehow nonchalantly ends up in bed with her the following week? MTV needs these people back… but should also add a few new people to mix it up a little bit.. kind of like one of those All Star Survivor seasons!

J ay Z

Drats those Jay Z owned Nets narrowly avoided immortality winning on Wednesday Night to improve to 4-40. If they would have lost they would have been the first team to start 3-41. I was looking at the trends of other teams that came perilously close to the Sixers immortal 1972-73 73 loss season….thanks to the ESPN site I mentioned last week (which actually has a few mistakes on it). The Nets 4-40 record is still not a guarantee that they wont go 4-34 the rest of the way… actually now that they have 4 wins, the next futility record is the amazing 92-93 Mavericks who were 4-57, and the 72-73 Sixers who were 4-58. Can the Nets actually start a new 18 game losing streak to tie that record?? Or will their 5th win come so far down the road that they can beat the futility mark of 5-58 held by 3 teams?

And how bad a hole did the Nets dig with that 3-40 start? The #8 seed for the playoffs are the Bulls who are .500 dropping the Nets 18 1/2 games out of the last spot. IF the Nets were to win 18 in a row and the Bulls continued playing .500, the Nets would still be 10 games out of the last playoff spot with 20 games left to play!

Interesting note about those Sixers… after starting 4-58 they went on to win 5 of 7 to improve to 9-60… and then lost 13 straight to finish 9-73. However, if a 9 win team is able to run off a 5-2 record in a seven game period, you realize how hard it is to consistently lose so often over the course of a long 82 game season.

Trophy Wife isn’t happy with me that I root for the Nets to lose each night. She says its not nice. Good thing she didn’t know me during the 2000 World Series!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

J: Leno, Wow, Z, and E-T-S!

So how about that new background here at NWOW? You did notice, right? We finally changed the background on the site… also known as “the skin” this past New Years Day. I had thought about changing it for New Years 2009, but my attempts to visit a website that had some nifty looking skins a year ago turned disastrous when the site had a spyware virus planted in it.. which I shoulda noticed because I kept getting knocked off while using my usual terrific browser Mozilla Firefox.. Of course, I was a total moron because I went back to that virus filled website…. This time using Internet Explorer which instead of knocking me off like the superior Mozilla, instead instantly paralyzed my system with some horrific spyware and resulted in my hard drive getting wiped clean and I had to start my computer all over again from scratch. All because of a silly G rated “skins” site.. And of course, good lucking watching the computer store owner keep a straight face when you tell him you got the virus from a “skins” site.

This time, I took the easy route and downloaded a background provided by Blogspot/Google!

This year we will also be taking a new tactic with the annual Pumpstradamus predictions. The first two years we did an audio podcast.. the last 2 years we did a video podcast and this year we are doing a good ol’ fashioned Q and A so start posting your questions in the comments section, and we will then pass them along to Pumpstradamus who will then provide his incredible answers. Pumpy will be back in the next couple of weeks to answer all queries!

This week’s column is sponsored by the letter “J”

J ay Leno

I have been waiting to see how this NBC mess worked its way out before commenting on this topic. Over on Facebook, I posted a column by a blogger who questioned the relevancy of appointment television and “the timeslot” in this era of DVRs and watching TV shows on line. Nick Summers borrowed a theme from our most recent movie review with this comment on The Newsweek blog. Sayeth The Summers:

“The new comedy prestige─to be the material that dominates Twitter's trending topics list, to create the clips embedded on a million blogs─has nothing to do with airing on a certain network at a certain time”

First of all, NBC shouldn’t have been so wishy washy a few years back when they told Jay Leno that Conan would take his spot in 2009. But they worried about what would happen if they lost Conan to another network… never realizing that his ratings would be worse than Leno’s and Letterman. But they managed to keep Conan strung along dangling The Tonight Show in front of him… So using their King Solomon wisdom to keep both Leno and Conan, NBC announced there would be a Jay Leno show at 10pm. They thought it would be a cost effective hit.. its relatively low production costs would make it a money maker with lower ratings than a typical hour of network TV. But the local stations forced to carry the show were not exactly thrilled that Jay’s lower 10pm ratings were killing the ratings for the 11pm local news.

Here’s my 2 cents on this fiasco: Even though I agree he is getting screwed, why can’t Conan just swallow his pride and realize that he really is better off staying at NBC? If the Today Show can add 2 hours to itself… including the 10 am hour with Kathy Lee Gifford…why can’t The Tonight Show add an hour too? As crazy as it might sound… Leno would host the 1130 Tonight Show Hour and Conan would host the 1230 Tonight Show hour. And if Leno gets about 10 weeks off each year… on those 10 weeks, The Conan Tonight Show would move up to 11:30 followed by a rerun at 1230…

That would essentially kill The Late Night Show.. but frankly that show really belonged to Letterman and Conan… even though Jimmy Fallon has done a decent job the few times I have seen him.

But don’t you think this idea of The Tonight Show: Hour 2 would cause a lot less aggravation for Conan and his crew whose cross country move seems to be more sympathized than the numerous other shows that move around the world and get cancelled a lot sooner than Conan did.


And speaking of one of the shows that stole Jay Leno’s 10pm audience….

Is it true?? Are we really near the end of the road for the first season of Jersey Shore? If indeed that is the case, last week’s oddly scheduled double header (they couldn’t stretch the show another week, airing two 1 hour episodes on consecutive weeks?) may have answered the question… Who is the smartest person on Jersey Shore?

My answer is JWow’s boyfriend.. I will get to why I think that… but it is not because of his odd choice for female companionship… although that boobie displaying bandanna she wears as a shirt when she goes clubbing is quite the gravity defying piece of wardrobe.

Let us hearken back to Hour 1 of last week’s episode, when the crew took a trip to Atlantic City and as far as I can tell, never showed any of our lovable gang of 7 gambling in a casino. We did see Snookie fill a bubble bath with so many bubbles that she looked like a naked Eskimo drunkenly crawling back into an igloo after a crazy night of Penguin tipping. She also was ambushed when she thought she had the gang behind her when she thought everybody would support her confrontation with Sammi that she was spending too much time with Ronnie… eliticing memories of George being left hung out to dry when he confronted Jerry about his nauseating clingy Shmoopie girlfriend in the legendary Soup Nazi episode!

JWow had a little too much to drink that fateful night… and “The Situation” had a different agenda programmed into his Palm Pilot. While he has been increasingly annoyed with Vinny’s odd courtship of his sister, The Situation decided it was payback time in AC and promptly pulled a self proclaimed robbery and stole away some chickie that Vinny had been making out with, using the swift moves not seen since Jay Leno’s zipping back to 11:30 and bumping Conan.

The Situation was making out with this woman at this AC club, when a very drunk, JWow butts in and demands he take her up to their Jersey Shore comped hotel suite because she was too intoxicated to make it back on her own. The Situation told her to press her own elevator button… because he had other stuff to do… She smacked him somewhat gently in the keppie,… and got promptly tossed out of the club which she was really too nauseous to be at anyway.

She got back to the room and ranted and raved about The Situation… and once he returned to the room later that night… she ran right up to him and viciously punched him hard right in the head! This was when we realized that there is a huge crew of muscley Jerry Springer security guys on the sidelines because they all came running almost literally out of the woodwork to pull the crazed JWow away!

It was during the 2nd episode that JWow came back to Seaside… took out the duck phone.. and called her boyfriend… She was now sober, but hung over and as she told the boyfriend the story of the night before about her nightclub confrontation, nightclub ejection and subsequent violent attack of The Situation, the boyfriend responded with this brilliance…

“Maybe you shouldn’t drink so much?”

Ronnie had the line of the week when he was talking about how he and not The Situation had been able to hook up with Sammi. Sayeth the Ronnie:

“I closed that deal… I already have the title for that closing!”

Amazing how Ronnie can use a mortgage analogy at Jersey Shore. However, if indeed this is the end of the season, I wonder if all 7 will be coming back. Frankly, I’m not 100% sure that every single muscle on Ronnie is a result of bar and dumb bells… and based on Snookis fixation on boys who are juiced… I ponder to ask if indeed Mr. Ronnie has been taking some kind of supplement. If you watch the show closely and the silly little fights he and Sammi have.. you start to realize that even though is Sammi a little hormonal with her moods sometimes.. Ronnie seems to be on some kind of emotional mood swinging roller coaster. He gets into fights on the boardwalk because he is easily instigated and you start to wonder if this show is really exposing the ugly side effects of alleged steroid use.

If they bring the show back next year…and I hear they will… I wouldn’t be too upset if Ronnie and Sammie were left off the roster. You really only need Snookie, The Situation, and his trusty Tonto-esque sidekick Paulie. I guess you can bring back Vinny and JWow, because even though their summer was rather uneventful, their constant bickering with The Situation makes the show that much more entertaining.

J ay Z

He is part owner of the Nets and even the team management now admits that this season is done, and they are playing for “The future” when they will have the 1st pick and a halfway decent free agent or 2 before they move outta Jersey and head to Brooklyn.

I believe that the Nets might be the first team ever to spend every day of the season having the “games back from the 8th playoff spot” always higher than their win total! Right now they have 3 wins and they are approx,.16 games behind The Bulls for the 8th spot. Keep in mind the Nets didn’t win a game till they had already lost 18 so after win #1 they were already approx. 10 games out from the #8 spot… Now that we are at the halfway mark, they are on a pace to finish 32 games out of the 8th playoff spot, which means that if the last playoff team finishes .500 the Nets would be close to breaking the record for the worst team ever. They should be farther behind Chicago, but the Nets actually won their only road game in the Windy City!!

At this point, the only thing worth watching of this comical nightly loser fest is the historical perspective of this team’s horrific performance.. The all time worst team was the 72 sixers that went 9-73. ESPN has a terrific site over at . Check it out… and you can see how incredibly awful these Nets rank with other landmark lousy teams. The only difference is… the fans were buying tickets to see a team that would eventually get better. These Nets are leaving town so NJ fans will never see a good team… and the team has actually fessed up to its ineptitude. I got an email from the Nets marketing dept and they actually promote upcoming opponents and their star players… and the implied easy victory coming up during their visit to play those horrific little Swamp Dragons!

The 3-38 Nets have their next milestone lined up: Both the 97 Nuggets and 93 Mavericks started 3-40 but then went on to win the next game to get to 4-40. However if the Nets can lose their next 2 road games, they would return home to play the Clippers next Wednesday to become the first team in NBA history to have a 3-41 record! By the way those 72 sixers actually were 4-58 so the Nets would have to go 1-20 to match that record! (The 92 Mavs were almost that bad… going 4-57.) By the way Philly then went 5-2 to improve to 9-60 before losing their final 13 games.

J-E-T-S… Jets Jets Jets!

I’m a Giants fan and even though I enjoyed the Vikings-Cowboys game more than the Jets game, I wish them and their fans the best of luck on Sunday as they attempt to upset the Colts and head to the Super Bowl.

Friday, January 01, 2010

“The Prestige”-ious 200th Column – A Movie Club Review!

Hello everybody… Happy New Year and welcome to our 200th column!

We started NWOW back on November 10, 2005 and 11 days later we presented our first movie review… The First of our Star Wars reviews - Phantom Menace as we reviewed all 6 in chronological order. We have done a few other movie anthologies since, and from the feedback I get, the movie columns are quite popular among the NWOW readers.

But Nate has been a very very bad boy and has been neglecting the movie reviews. We are currently in the middle of the Christian Bale movies… our first review since March 6th (American Psycho) and only our second since October 17, 2008! when we reviewed Empire of the Sun.

Interestingly enough, today’s movie The Prestige is one of my favorites. I have owned the DVD since it came out, I have seen it a few times already, but I needed to sit down with pen and paper to jot down my notes about this incredible flick. This week I took my traditional vacation between Christmas and New Years and the other afternoon, after getting delayed en route to a matinee of Up in the Air (which I ended up seeing a day later), I decided to spend the cold winter afternoon on the couch in my snuggie watching “The Prestige”.

Here is the trailer…

The movie is directed by Christopher Nolan who did the incredible “Memento”.. and once again the story does not unfold in chronological order. We see that Bale’s character... Alfred Borden is in prison, and as he faces execution we discover that he has been convicted of killing another man, Robert Angier played by Hugh Jackman. We soon discover that Jackman and Bale are competing magicians in turn of the century England… not the century we started 10 years ago… the one before that.

The two fellas start out as friendly coworkers.. working as magician’s assistants who are “audience volunteers” They classify the magician they work for as rather vanilla, while at the same time watch with googly eyes as a Chinese magician (must not have been that much going on besides magic in those pre vaudeville days)… catches their attention because of an incredible trick he does at his show involving fishies in a fishbowl.

The two men watch the Chinese magician limp out from his theater into a waiting 1900s model car after the show… and even though he can barely walk with help from his assistants they start to wonder if to quote Doug Henning… the difficulty walking in all… “an allusion”… especially when they figure out what appears to be the only way to logically do the trick… walk around bow legged (or bowl-legged) with a fishbowl between your legs. ... But this appears to be doable only if the magician has incredibly strong legs that would enable him to walk while carrying the bowl under heavy leg obstructing clothing. This leads our boys to speculate that the Chinese magician is able bodied but pretends to be handicapped while in public. Wasn’t there a wheelchair bound shoplifter in the news recently who was caught red handed when he stood up and put merchandise in a hidden compartment under his chair?

And there you have one of the keys as both of these young magicians rise to the top – appearing one way “in public” while in reality hiding secrets about themselves to help sell tickets… However magicians deal in allusions, and one of these fellas decision to “keep a secret about himself” just may not have necessarily been inspired by seeing the Chinese magician.

The two become rivals when during their “audience volunteer” stint Bale’s character accidentally ties a knot that Jackman’s wife (a magicians assistant) can’t quite untie. This is especially a big problem when she is tied up and lowered into a big tank of water. When she can’t get out… the on stage trick engineer…(Michael Caine) has to break the glass to rescue her.. but the subsequent events of that day turn a friendship into a rivalry..

Jackman puts on a disguise and decides to check out Bale’s show but ambushes him while he is performing a magic trick that involves catching a bullet. That results in a long rivalry between the two which also is part of Jackman’s sad obsession with topping Bale’s tricks. We see in flashbacks that “in the end” Bale is on trial for killing Jackman… who drowns during a performance… not behind a curtain on stage, but instead beneath the stage where he drops into a water filled tank below through a trick door in the floor while he is tied up! . The movie then uses flashbacks to tell the story of how these two fellas try to one up each other every chance they get…. in an attempt to be The Best Magician.

And to achieve that Best Magician status is to properly achieve “The Prestige”… the punchline to the trick that usually results in huge ego feeding applause. Prestiges tend to involve making things disappear and then bringing “them” back….which sometime involves a beautiful white dove who has a lookalike return as part of the prestige.

Speaking of making things disappear… how do you like the audacity of those Brazilian kidnappers who seem to have notion that should get visitation rights for that poor little Goldman boy they took away from his dad. Now that the kid is home, I hope a grand jury pulls a Roman Polanski and indicts those kidnappers so if they come to NJ to get the kid, they end up getting arrested again!

In “The Prestige” the ultimate show stopping trick is a pre-Star Trek teleporter. This is where a person gets from Point A to Point B in a time frame that defies logic.,, sort of like when your wife tells you to take out the garbage and it ends up outside in less than an hour. Each man has his own unique way of doing this rather incredible trick…. And while Bale figures out how Jackman does it… Jackman develops an incredibly sickening obsession with figuring out every last detail about Bale’s method. That obsession takes him on a boat to Colorado (Don’t forget we are pre Wright Brothers) where he meets a scientist (played in a jaw dropping performance by an unrecognizable David Bowie) who invents a way for Jackman to do the Teleporting trick… which not only defines the movie’s entire plot, but when revealed to the viewer produces a “Whatchu Talking About Willis” moment. The moviemaker might think that revealing “the prestige” moment will generate applause.. but instead the viewer gets the urge to restart the DVD (or hide in the movie theater) so you can watch the movie again to see how the pieces fit into the puzzle.

Bale, Jackman and Caine are excellent in this movie…. as is the actor who plays Bale’s right hand man. Scarlett Johanson plays a magician's assistant/groupie who works for both of them at different times... She also attracts their male libidos and has an affair with both men - sort of like the T Shirt store owner's girlfriend in Thursday Night's episode of Jersey Shore. And as for Bowie – any time an actor plays a role so well that you don’t realize that is him till the very end… you know you are watching an incredible performance! And he is not the only actor accomplishing that feat in this movie….

And if you have never seen the movie and decide to see it – reread the review after you see it… you might find some clues laid right out in front of you… but like the movie.. you don’t quite catch it right away… because the key to an illusion is not really knowing where to look

This movie is just fantastic and this is coming from a person who is not a big fan of these period pieces… On a scale of 1 to 4 bladders meaning how less likely you would be to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom… The Prestige is a 4 bladder movie!!

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK: Pumpy goes for his 4th straight winning year this weekend as he enters the final week with a record of 8-7-1. Since Jackman went to Colorado in “The Prestige”…we go there too this week as the Denver Broncos are 13 point favorites over the Chiefs. Sayeth The Pump: “I just got my year end income statement and I was so upset I took out my kerchief and sobbed!… So in honor of my kerchief… take The Chiefs!”

UNBIASED GIANTS FAN OF THE WEEK: Well we totally foshnizzled last week.. going 0-3 to drop to 22-26… 3-9 in the last 4 wks! The Giant game is irrelevant so this week we will visit the other Meadowlands inhabitants and 2 college games.

Bengals 10 doggies over THE JETS – The Jets will not cover this spread.

Boise St. 7 ½ doggies over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl – Gotta get in the habits of watching Monday Nights on FOX since 24 is just a couple of weeks away,

Alabama 4 over Texas – Can you believe its 20 years since Brent Musberger got canned at CBS??… Bear Bryant will be kvelling from the heavens when all is said and done!