From Dusts ’til Dawn

I’m sorry to have been remiss in posting about Nikki Stafford’s imminent Great Buffy Rewatch.

Down for the Count

Perhaps my first lasting Internet connection in days should be spent on something important. (“Ha! Too late!” say the gods of cyberspace.) Maybe this is close enough. (“Maybe not!”) While I reload open pages in the browser to catch up on various blogs during the next inevitable connection fail (“Psyche!”), I also want to publish at least a brief post here because I know that folks can get pretty sick of looking at Santa Claus once Christmas has come and gone.

sparkly New Year's Countdown ball on post

So here are my contributions to this week’s online Late Show with David Letterman Top Ten contest [dead link], complete with nods as usual to the show’s own running jokes, in the category...

Top Nine Things Overheard During New Year’s Eve in Times Square

9. “Excuse me... You’re stepping on Mayor Bloomberg.”

8. “It’s really more of an irregular polygon with poorly defined borders.”

7. “You think this is a lot of drunk people with time to kill? I was in the audience for Letterman last week.”

Nick of Time

I met Santa Claus last night.

Norman Rockwell painting of jolly Santa Claus holding a letter from Tommy, big sack, and small toy drum

Really, I did; I’ll tell you about it. And the timing was perfect, since the lights have
not been in my favor.

Stocking Stuff

David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing together in front of Christmas tree

Christmas arrived at The Late Show with David Letterman a day early. Dave is always preempted on Christmas Eve so that CBS can air Mass, but this time the fabled meatball was toppled from the Ed Sullivan Theater’s Christmas tree on the night before the night before the Night before Christmas — when Dave rammed into the tree on a go-kart. He was trying out toys again with Shannon Eis.

A clip of the joy ride is up at the show’s website now; I don’t know how long it will last.

I Sleigh Me

Last week’s Top Ten contest [dead link] at the Late Show with David Letterman website was even more inspiring than usual. If you don’t know the drill you can check out the first post in this category, so without further ado here are...

My Top Ten Little-Known Facts about Santa Claus

10. Born Seymour Klausmann, Brooklyn, 1926

9. Will get you on the “nice” list for twenty bucks and/or a bottle of Jim Beam

8. Goes down more than just the chimney, ladies

7. Eleven months out of the year, crash diets and works as Dumbledore at the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando

6. Holly Jolly Christmas: To you, it’s the name of a Burl Ives classic; to Santa, it’s the name of the gal who takes care of him in the VIP suite at North Pole Dancers

Braids of Glory

Cover to 'Hereville' with a girl, sword in hand, dancing on air right above a giant ball of yarn

My niece E and her cousin L, both 8 years old, each received a copy of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword for Chanukah — but not before Uncle Brian read it... twice.

Sing-Off, &c.

The Sing-Off logo in purple

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A Body Eclectic

I’m always excited by additions to Mike Mignola’s body of work. And while that honestly wasn’t meant as a pun, this post exists to sing the praises of a delightful fugue composed by the creator of Hellboy known as The Amazing Screw-On Head. It began life several years ago as a one-shot comic book; now, its titular story has finally been reissued with like material by Dark Horse in a $17.99 hardcover.

Front of the 'Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects' hardcover, with title character standing amongst a variety of items esoteric and mundane

For a long time, I despaired of ever seeing such a collection or, indeed, much “like material” at all despite the (very) occasional Mignola efforts along similar lines in terms of tone if not detail.


'Bill strolling against gray background, then in crowd scene
the Following poster

Exploring Inception’s twists and inspirations online after viewing, I was quickly disabused of the notion that it was Christopher Nolan’s sixth feature. His career, early shorts aside, did not begin with Memento. It launched with a 70-minute, “no-budget” film called Following released in 1999.

Holiday Meaning

Wreath adorned with various items

The setup of the blog’s new home has been awfully slow going, while posts-to-be are piling up and getting stale, so I’m going to give publishing here another try for a limited run. Perhaps the spirit of the season will pervade even the grinchitude of Blogger’s grinding gears... Of course there’s no better way to kick things off than with a batch of word-verification definitions, collected and explained for the curious at that link.

apersedn. [ah pur sed] “&” with a cold.

brquan. [burr kwah] Ice water.

cesineman. [see zin eh muh] The niche film genre concerning movies made about the alkali element Cesium. (It’s rare but it tends to get really big reactions.)

On a Boat

I’m sure that everyone and their furry blue brother have successfully viralized it by
now, but just to do my part here’s Grover with a preposition for you.

Grover wrapped in a towel standing in front of a bathtub

Sesame Street keeps up with pop culture admirably in spots like this one (riffing on
the instant-classic Old Spice ad starring Isaiah Mustafa) as well as through of-the-moment goofs and guest spots on the show itself — even if once in a great big while they go awry. [Update: I should have warned folks that my last link is to the infamous spot with Elmo and Katy Perry yanked by Sesame Workshop after outcry that her outfit was inappropriate.]

Related: G Love Swift Kicks  Muppet Monday

Gluttony for Punnishment

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing leftovers — namely, by way of submissions to a Top Ten contest run on the Late Show with David Letterman website [dead link] from more than a year ago now, my...

Top Nine Signs Americans Are Becoming Overweight

9. Our bodies are still more than 60% water, but also 15% high-fructose corn syrup and 3% fudge

8. Supermarkets now offer double-wide shopping carts

7. We’re being hunted for our blubber

6. Fastest-growing sectors of the economy: belt-hole punchers, deep-frying, and statins

5. Realtors increasingly hear, “I’d like two-and-a-half baths... But can you smush them all together?”

4. Our treadmills have TV-dinner trays

3. Three words: Elevator for one

2. “Big-and-tall clothing stores” now simply known as “clothing stores”

And the Number One Sign Americans Are Becoming Overweight...

Veni, Vidi, Vacay

Can of Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup in vintage comic-book panel surrounded by greenery with caption 'Meanwhile'

It’s time for the blog to really and truly go on hiatus. As I’ve been trying to get a post up here for a couple of days now, with the usual technical roadblocks preventing me from doing so, I’d rather just stay away until everything’s worked out well enough for it all to run more smoothly.

Original panel from Dell's Four Color #280: Andy Panda in the
Isle of Mechanical Men
© 1950 Walter Lantz Productions.

Making Waves

I haven’t entered The Late Show with David Letterman’s online Top Ten contest
[dead link] for a while. And it’s been longer still since I’ve posted any such entries here. Once upon a time, however, the former activity was a regular thing; I’d hoped it would lead to the latter becoming a regular thing as well, but, y’know, if wishes were horses then... Robin Williams could’ve voiced the Genie in Seabiscuit?

The point is that I’m again sharing my latest efforts. You can submit your own, as many you’d like, one at a time; I rarely come up with more than a few really good entries, plus a ringer that plays off Dave and his staff’s recurring jokes. So here are...

My Top Ten Things You Don’t Want to Hear on Your Cruise Ship

10. “All aboard for Somalia!”

9. “The ship can never lose power — as long as we all take turns running on that giant hamster wheel.”

8. “I don’t care how romantic the movie was; Titanic is not an appropriate theme for the lido deck.”

7. “Okey-doke now... You mama grizzlies come right this way!”

6. “I hope you know how to make a fire. Turns out the buffet is ‘all you can heat’.”

40 Favorites: #4

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall sitting on a desk
Still from The Big Sleep © 1946 Warner Bros. Pictures.

Raymond Chandler. William Faulkner. Leigh Brackett. Max Steiner. Howard Hawks. Lauren Bacall. Humphrey Bogart.

Some films with such a pedigree end up as perceived if not actual failures. On The
Big Sleep
, released by Warner Bros. in 1946, everything went right — at least judging by the end result, never mind this oft-circulated anecdote:

Mad Mix

screenshot of band in video

I’m a sucker for mash-ups, inventive arrangements, and the Mad Men theme. So
yay for the self-proclaimed “bunch of film/music nerds” behind Live Music Videos who’ve performed said theme (actually just an excerpt of the RJD2 track “A Beautiful Mine”) “with a twist” [2:18] — namely, by using it as instrumental backing for the pop standard “Nature Boy”. I don’t know if it ranks up there with Eminem’s appropriation of Dido’s “Thank You” for “Stan” or David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s legendary “Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth” medley; at the very least, though, it’s a thrill to hear the theme performed acoustically, and I look forward to more from this ensemble.

Related: Mup’ Tempo L Is for... Sisters Go Bangles

40 Favorites: #1-3

For my 40th birthday I thought I’d share a few musings on favorite things.

Not wanting to get mired in a swampland of categories or graphics nor too much internal debate, I settled on a casual catch-all catalog of whatever popped into my head. The items have been jotted down and put in rough order; now they’re being written up in varying levels of detail as time permits.

Of course such “things” as my nieces and nephews are indescribably precious to me,
but while I share the occasional story about them here I wanted to keep these posts focused on pop-cultural diversions.


B&W photo of man with short hair, beard, and glasses
a self-portrait of the artist
approaching middle age

I turned 40 yesterday — at midnight legally, but literally at around 7 p.m., and yesterday only in the sense that I’ve been trying to get this up since the header date although you will probably be are definitely reading this some time later.

Yes, I’m still having trouble connecting to the Interwebs with any longevity or reliability. For that reason among others, I haven’t published here in almost a month; due to the substandard WiFi, my own lack of energy, and the fact that dealing with the first makes the second all the more aggravating (or vice versa) when there’s a post fully written ready to go online, I attempt to live by a version of Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity Prayer”:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Mean Time

You’re reading this because no other posts have gone up in several days despite my
best efforts and profound desires to the contrary. I haven’t done much commenting on other folks’ blogs lately, either, so the following pretty well exhausts my supply of word-verification witticism for the nonce. Those of you unfamiliar with this exercise are directed to the master list of definitions, which explains the idea and collects the contents of all such material to date.

arrater — [ahr ay tur] n. Someone who decides that movies have too much sex, violence, or profanity for G, PG, or PG-13.

bousnext — [booz nekst] phr. The way the maitre d’ at a tacky Halloween-themed restaurant greets folks in line.

boyawk — [boy awk] n. A young male bird of prey.

cathopi — [kath oh pye] n. A flexible tube 3.14159 mm. in diameter inserted for bladder relief.

conessespl. n. 1. [kah neh siz] Lady tricksters. 2. [koh ness iz] Men sharing the lead role in The Untouchables.

dreeabl — [dree ah bul] n. Southern dribble.

Filetro — [fih leh troh] Arch-criminal known for boning his victims. (You know what I mean.)

gewse — [gyoos] n. A very British goose.

Grank — [grank] The 2035 installment of Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios franchise.

Quick Hits, Continued

Picking up where I left off yesterday…

Kim Pine and Scott Pilgrim sitting at desk in front of bookshelves, trees visible through the window
Image © 2010 and characters TM Bryan Lee O’Malley.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation” is a flashback to events not depicted in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The short video first aired as part of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s late-night block, when SPVTW opened back in August. Michael Cera and Alison Pill reprise their roles from the live-action feature, voicing the title character and high-school girlfriend Kim Pine. It was produced by the production company Titmouse and is visually based on creator Bryan Lee O’Malley’s art in the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels.

Quick Hits

To all who read this — whether observing the day as a holy one, based on cultural tradition, or merely with bemusement — I wish you a sweet year to come full of health and happiness.

slice of apple being dipped into honey

You can get the lowdown on Rosh Ha-Shanah at, a.k.a. Judaism 101, via Tracey Rich. I like the site because it’s concise; it’s non-judgmental — written, as the home page says, “from a traditional perspective in conversational language you can understand”; and it’s possessed of a domain name that makes me giggle.

What the F---?

I spent long enough playing with yesterday’s Google logo when it came up — just screwing around, initially; then attempting to see, like, how much you could mess up one letter without moving the balls in the other letters — that I forgot what I had opened the page to search for, and in my head I let loose a silent “F---!”

And that reminded me of a couple of recent items I’ve been meaning to share:

Cee-Lo Green’s “F--- You”

The official video for the song has come out since I first bookmarked it, so that’s for that, although the original placeholder has its own charm.

RacheBloom’s “F--- Me, Ray Bradbury”

Her object of affection is described rhymingly as “the greatest sci-fi writer in history” and he celebrated his 90th birthday a couple of weeks ago. While the lyrics are crude, in the sense of not particularly inventive as well as scatological, the song definitely has its moments.

I’m not big on swearing. But I curse a whole heck of a lot more today than I did as a young man, for a variety of reasons. And as I’ve said before, I see the appeal and I’m perfectly willing to laugh at filthy dialogue or comedy routines if they’re funny.

The Doodles Abide

Google’s logo of the day is a weird one. I wish you luck clicking on it to find out what it represents...

'Google' spelled out in letters composed of discrete circles of varying sizes that get slightly darker and lighter with a kind of watercolor look

There have been a few articles speculating on its meaning, but I suspect we won’t hear anything from official sources for a while yet.

Knives, Chow

I spent a throwback night at the movies on Saturday. A friend in need of distraction opted for Machete, and things got even more indulgent when times didn’t add up. We’d each already had a snack in anticipation of going to dinner after the movie, and were talked out from the night before, so we splurged for a double feature kicked off by Piranha 3D. The last time I’d been to the multiplex for a dose of retro was just a couple of weeks ago to see The Expendables, which didn’t even have the courtesy to meet my low expectations. Saturday night was all right for fighting, though, and not that bad for screaming or biting either.

Woman floating oblivious to swarm of razor-toothed fish beneath her

Piranha 3D is no classic, let’s be clear.

Invasion of the Body Switchers

Avatar is back in theaters with extra footage, exclusively in 3D. I saw it a couple of weeks into its original release and have been waiting for just such an opportunity to re-publish my thoughts here.

Human and Na'vi faces, both shaded blue, in the sky above Pandora landscape

Most of the talk when the lights went up at my screening, positive and negative, was about the technology behind the film. And one has to wonder if that fact alone doesn’t make the movie something of a failure by James Cameron’s standards.

Red Letter

The bloody good news is that I was house-sitting this past week and caught up with
the current season of True Blood via HBO On Demand.

Young vampire Jessica looking offscreen as she records video diary

I’d just recently finished Season Two on DVD, and I was really bummed about having
to wait for a whole year to see where things went in Season Three (dodging spoilers all the while). As I’ve mentioned here before, True Blood is a pulpy kick.

Last Lost Look

Wreckage of Flight 815 on beach
Screencap © 2010 ABC Studios.

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Hero Subs

Composite shot of Captain America from 1940s serial with stand-ins for Thor and Iron Man from other period films

I praised the inventive “premake” trailers of Ivan Guerrero six months ago, but have neglected to keep up with his work. My friend Stefan Blitz, proprietor of Forces of Geek, luckily keeps up with dad-gum near everything — so when I’m able to peruse that site I find gems like Guererro’s trailer for The Avengers (1952).

Great Scott

Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novels started up during my unfortunate disconnect from the comics world. I still have yet to read even the first volume, despite strong recommendations, and so was part of the vast majority of the audience coming to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as just a movie.

Scott Pilgrim, with arms folded in front of Ramona Flowers, images of her seven exes fanned out behind them

It’s a hell of a movie.

A Wing and a Prayer

I may have scared off most readers, understandably ignorant of and disinterested in
the intricacies of DC Universe continuity, with yesterday’s post on Batman’s status quo. Which I’m loathe to do when recommending accessible graphic novels to civilians — but I wanted to properly set the backdrop for my review of Neil Gaiman and friends’ Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?. Since I don’t really consider the tales contained therein accessible, though, I suppose it’s all good.

Dead Bat Dad

Batman rising up, cape swirling, with only his mask/head, cloak, and insignia visible
Alex Ross cover to Batman #676 [digital] © 2008 DC Comics.

Last May brought the 70th anniversary of Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27,
as I wrote around the time of the actual event. DC marked the occasion by killing him, during a storyline called RIP, not terribly long after introducing his son.

Or did it?

One to Tentacle

The plural of “octopus” is not, I was reminded at a recent family gathering, “octopi”.

octopus on the ocean floor
Image via National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Photo Library

I’ve written before about how consulting the Dictionary app in my laptop’s “dock”
has become a slight addiction. While I don’t mull over things to look up merely to give
it some exercise, the fact that it’s so handy and that it searches not only The New Oxford English Dictionary but The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, Apple’s tech dictionary, and Wikipedia (at least if you’re connected to the Internet) means that I do look up more than I need to — and I practically itch to get at it when a question that it could answer pops into my head away from the computer.


I’m sharing a batch of verification-word definitions again so soon because with July at an end I find myself faced with a meager two posts for the month. One would actually be fine, since there were valid reasons for the lack of blogging — among them my connection problems, which have already pushed the publication of this dispatch past the date stamped on it — but two is just inelegant, so I’m going for three.

August should find renewed activity, with plenty of posts waiting to be fleshed out
or in some cases merely entered online, proofread, and graphicked up. There will be more about comics, finally, as well as some film and TV reviews that I decided to hold back until their video releases or the start of the new season since the posts were no longer timely. Subjects include Avatar, Inception, the Archie multiverse, Batman RIP and beyond, Secret Six, Asterios Polyp, and True Blood, in addition to the afore-mentioned essays on returning TV series that’ll come further down the pike. I’d love
to hear thoughts from the followers that Blogger says I have on which of those posts interest you most.

Here are the latest in my dwindling reserve of definitions, meanwhile. They’re also being added to my omnibus post “The Mean Streak”, where you can find an explanation of just what this is about if you’re new to the concept.

Kids Meet

News came on Friday that comics giants DC and Archie will release their very first actual crossover in October when the Little Archie gang meets the cast of Tiny Titans.

Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Supergirl, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Bumblebee, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Streaky the Supercat with Little Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Moose, and Hot Dog

I don’t usually blog about press releases or topical stuff, but this announcement is
way cool. The 3-issue project is the work of Tiny Titans regulars Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, whose consistently delightful efforts have won the title an Eisner Award in the category Best Publication for Kids.

Mini-Slog with Meaning

equit — [ee kwit] v. Take a sabbatical from online activity.

can of Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup against starry void of space

I’m sorry to have gone so long without a post. No-one misses regular activity on this blog more than I do, but it looks as though I’ll be in hibernation mode here for a while yet. Up goes the infamous Campbell’s soup can once more.

Lightning Round

There was no more exciting display of thunder and lightning during my childhood
than the bolt from the blue that transformed young Billy Batson into a grown superhero named Captain Marvel at the utterance of a single word.

Shazam! logo over image of Jackson Bostwick as Captain Marvel amid swirl of colors and energy
Screencap of Shazam!'s opening sequence © 1974 DC Comics.

Although not half as faithful to the comics as its slightly later cartoon incarnation, Filmation’s 1970s live-action Shazam! on Saturday mornings was thrilling in large part because it did indeed star real people. Ere long there would be a live-action superhero boom that brought versions of DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Hulk to our living rooms in prime time — with less successful stabs at other Marvel characters — plus, of course, the sensational reintroduction of Superman to the silver screen
as the decade closed out.

Osteo la Vista

A fun episode of Bones repeated last week. Fox seems to have otherwise benched
the show for the summer, although past seasons can be found in syndication and on cable. You can find the episode in question — “The X in the File”on Hulu or at
the Fox website
[bad link].

Emily Deschanel and, holding a colorful toy ray-gun, David Boreanaz in 'Bones'
Image from Bones 5.11 “The X in the File” © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Hart Hanson’s loose adaptation of Kathy Reichs’ popular crime novels has always
owed as much to The X-Files as to CSI, despite its dearth of otherworldly phenomena. That’s due to the pairing of Temperance “Bones” Brennan, the strictly rational forensic anthropologist played by Emily Deschanel, with FBI special agent Seeley Booth, the gut-following, Catholic former Army Rangers sniper played by David Boreanaz.

Vampire Weekend

I watched the premiere of The Gates last Sunday, and caught up with the off-season repeats of The Vampire Diaries as well.

Cast of ABC's The Gates in front of Gates, surprise, with topiary at the bottom

The Gates, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, barely kept me locked in. As a guilty pleasure to screen on a hot, lazy night, well, it’s more guilty than pleasure — not quite the melodramatic mash-up of Twilight and Desperate Housewives those making it might have hoped for, but probably engaging enough to keep anyone who enjoyed Eastwick coming back for its limited run.


Photo of stop sign with addition under it so it all reads 'Stop in the naaaaame of love

The other day I was discussing grammar with my father, which led to a conversation on how difficult it can be to look up questions about such things on the Web.

McKinley High Anxiety

As I said here yesterday, Fox is repeating Glee — the musical dramedy revolving around a high-school glee club in Ohio that’s broken out due to both ubiquitous promotion and its surprising resonance to the cultural zeitgeist — over the summer. I’d hoped to have a follow-up to my review of the pilot covering its first season in toto but a sober assessment of my notes suggests that I’m best off just sharing what I wrote back in September after watching the second episode, which ran again last Thursday, rather than wrangle all the rest into shape.

Cast of 'Glee' posing on stage in jeans and red tops with Rachel sprawled out having fallen on a set of stairs
Promo image © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Nuts and Bolts

Do you feel bad for isolated thunderstorms?

Fierce lightning strike against a dark sky
Photo: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Photo Library — Sean Waugh

When that line popped into my head, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite character on Glee: Heather Morris’s Brittany.

Morris was brought in to teach the cast the choreography for “Single Ladies (Put a
Ring on It)” and ended up being offered the part of one of the cheerleaders who joined the glee club. There was no real hook to the character until the producers realized her pitch-perfect dim-bulb delivery of such lines as...

“I’m pretty sure my cat has been reading my diary.”

“Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?”

“Sometimes I forget my middle name.”

My Buffy Summer

A few weeks gone by, Nikki Stafford declared June to be Vampire Month on her blog, Nik at Nite. The primary topic of conversation — a TV show which I’m observing a moratorium on speaking about — had begun to eat itself, and Nikki had fangdom on the brain for at least two good reasons: (1) ECW Press, where she’s an editor and which publishes her Finding [censored] books, has a True Blood companion coming out. (2) She was preparing to attend Slayage — an academic conference devoted to the work of Joss Whedon in general and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in particular. I think there was also something to do with The Vampire Diaries in there.

Group shot of actors portraying Buffy, Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Giles from Season One, with the show's logo

I was surprisingly late getting into the adventures of Buffy Summers.

In Translation

Glass ashtray with familiar 'No Smoking' icon on the base

On The Late Show last night, Harry Connick Jr. discussed a recent trip to Istanbul
(not Constantinople) and showed off a No Smoking ashtray like the one above.

All Together Now

Promo images and logo © 2010 ABC Studios composited by BSL.

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The End

I was right — about the wrong thing.

The series finale of Lost, a two-hour-plus final chapter long known to have been titled...

Lost 6.17-6.018 The End

… revealed that the so-called flashsideways scenes threaded throughout this season took place not in an alternate timeline, a theory that I espoused in my first ‘Lost’ in Thought post in February, nor in an altered version of the original timeline, as I theorized earlier this month, but in the afterlife. The storylines that many viewers expected to be the result in some way of the EM/Jughead Incident turned out to be utterly, well, incidental to the narrative of the series — except insofar as they reaffirmed how bound together these characters were and granted them a rather happy ending.

Don’t Let Me Down

Well, I guess my episode analyses are going to mirror one another to a degree, the
way this season of Lost is at times mirroring itself, and the first season, and the series to date.

Hurley, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer looking serious around a campfire with shadowed figure of Jacob
Screencap © 2010 ABC Studios.

I’ll have no individual writeup here of last week’s episode, “What They Died For”, in advance of tonight’s two-part series finale, “The End” — just as there was no writeup of the first individual hour of the season, “What Kate Does”, following the one for the two-part season premiere, “LA X”. My laptop has started acting hinky again, the Internet connection has been at a crawl, and I’ve come down with a cold.

Season 6 ends tonight and thus so does Lost as a whole. Its finale begins at 9 p.m.
EST on ABC, following a two-hour series retrospective at 7, and runs until 11:30; then, after the local news, the one-hour Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to ‘Lost’ comes on at 12:05 a.m. with cast members and creative staff. That’s all true for the USA, at least. What reminds me of viewers outside our borders is that also immediately following the finale will be a live online chat at the CTV website [bad link] featuring my friend and Finding ‘Lost’ author / Nik at Nite blogmistress Nikki Stafford. My plan is to kick back and enjoy the last Lost as much as possible as television, ideally after catching up with comments from my clique at Nik at Nite and Jeff Jensen’s Totally ‘Lost’ insights for Entertainment Weekly [bad link].


Lost 6.15 Across the Sea

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Mean Business

If you’ve ever left a comment on a blog, you may very well have come across word verification — and if you’ve been following this blog at all the past several months, you may very well have seen my lists of verification-word definitions.

As I explained in my first such post (“Mean”), then illustrated in one last month
(“Even Meaner”), word verification is a check that authors on Blogger/Blogspot can select to help ensure that it’s humans leaving comments and not spamming robots. When one has comments enabled on one’s blog, among the info at the end of a post (labels, time stamp, etc.) is how many comments there are. Clicking on that line takes you to the comments page and/or a pop-up window where you can read the comments to date and submit your own. When verification is turned on, below the comment box will be a jumble of letters that usually could almost be a word — as opposed to the total mess of consonants and numbers often seen when filling out forms online — but isn’t, except on the rare occasions when the randomizing algorithm ends up with an actual word accidentally; you must type those letters correctly for your comment to be accepted. Some blogs also have moderation turned on for all or at least older posts, so your comment won’t show up until the proprietor of the blog has reviewed it.

I’ve taken to sharing definitions for my verification words in my comments, should a definition come readily to mind for the word on the screen at that moment. The idea is similar to Sniglets, which Rich Hall popularized on HBO’s Not Necessarily the News and in a series of books back in the ’80s, but in reverse. While I lay absolutely no claim to being either the first or the best at this, I amass these definitions regularly when commenting on other blogs and now offer them up periodically here on mine, often when there’s a dry spell. In this case, although I have posts in the pipeline, the Internet connection has been troublesome and my metaphorical batteries are low, so it’s a fine time. You’re not only welcome but encouraged to leave definitions for your own verification words when leaving a comment on this or any post here.


Not to be confused with “Bing!”, although I’ve joined my grandparents for dinner
the last couple of nights.

A whole mess of differently colored and patterned Super Balls

On Wednesday, Grandmom and I spoke about Lost. I’m taking a break from that subject for at least one post, however, since the coming weeks will be full of it.

Fixing a Hole

Okay. I’ve been working on a theory for a while now about the alternate timeline on Lost. At heart it’s not all that complicated (really), but I had written it up as part of a post on other general musings that in typical fashion for me keeps getting longer and revised and left fallow and revised again thanks to my intermittent concentration as
the show keeps marching on.

White flash over faint image of hand on bomb wiring
Screencap © 2010 ABC Studios.

The gist of things is that the apparent flashes to a new reality we’ve been seeing are
not actually flashing sideways — or diagonally, i.e. one universe over plus several years back — but rather flashing back to the selfsame universe where all the events we’ve seen to date have taken place. It’s just that in the wake of “The Incident” there’s been some very considerable course-correction.

I recall hearing at Nik at Nite that in an interview or podcast, around the time of Desmond’s head trip in Season 3’s “Flashes Before Your Eyes” and his subsequent attempts to save Charlie’s life based on visions of his death, the producers said there was only one timeline on Lost. When Mrs. Hawking appeared to Desmond during that episode’s funky flashback narrative, she explained that the universe had a way of course-correcting to what should happen, a nice way of allowing for both free will and destiny. This was illustrated by Charlie ultimately dying no matter what Desmond did, although there’s also a convincing argument to be made that Desmond’s actions in warding Charlie away from the previous would-be deaths course-corrected Charlie’s path not to a substitute death but to the one he was “supposed” to have; we’ll never know, presumably, who’d have performed Charlie’s actions at the Looking-Glass station and died his heroic if somewhat senseless death had Charlie died earlier in the jungle
or in the ocean or at Claire’s tent.

Carry That Weight

Lost 6.14 The Candidate

This post is currently down for maintenance.

Soup and Sociability

The can of Campbell’s soup is back in effect. Which signals, as regular visitors here know and the rest of you can find oat in another post, that one’s blog is being updated more sporadically than usual. I’ve plenty of reviews and bits of commentary almost ready to go, but I keep dropping them to get my old Lost entries back up, the look at this past week’s episode finished, and my grand think-piece(s) on the series in shape.

Can of Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup in front of several Finding 'Lost' books

Did I say “find oat”?

Cold Beans

iced coffee in McDonald’s cup with straw on folded gold napkin with coffee beans in small white dish and more strewn artfully about the table

I went to McDonald’s for an iced coffee the other day and had the following exchange at the register.

Gods and Monsters

What’s your favorite current TV show? I don’t mean the one you think is the best, necessarily, but the one you can just let go and enjoy most, whether that feeling comes from pulse-pounding action, total investment in the characters, or laugh-out-loud comedy — or all three.

Jensen Ackles as Dean and Jared Padelecki as Sam against nightmarish background, Sam's hand reaching out to viewer with severe foreshortening

Mine’s Supernatural.

Shelf Obsession

I’m still not writing enough about my lifelong passion for comics.

Convenience stores, newsagents, and 5-&-10s in South Jersey fed my early habit,
as I shared last year. Only so much history could be gleaned from comic-book reprints and editorial pages, however. Luckily, a bevy of books on comics awaited at the Cape May County Library, where surveys of my favorite four-color fantasies and their forebears could be found in (mostly) cold, hard black and white.

Cover to 'The Comic-Book Book' with sound effects and word balloons reading 'Aargh!', 'Hmmmm', and 'Zowie!'

The one I checked out most often was a 1973 tome aptly titled The Comic-Book Book, edited by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson.

Chuck Not Up

Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah, facing Zachary Levi as Chuck, her back to us but head turned our way in steely-eyed gaze

This post is currently down for maintenance.

Give Me Hellboy

I’m looking to get rid of most of my thousands of comic books, but Hellboy ranks among the keepers. The series is pretty much my all-time favorite, certainly when you discount nostalgia; Mike Mignola long ago proved that he’s as accomplished and unique a writer as he is an illustrator. While I think the absolute best Hellboy stories are short, self-contained tales, the mythology woven by Mignola and his collaborators in the family of Dark Horse’s Hellboy, BPRD, Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson, and Witchfinder one-shots and miniseries rivals any other from graphic novels, television, film, or prose in recent decades.

Hellboy carrying a desiccated corpse on his back

Yet I come here not to praise Hellboy, but to barter him.