1. KEN LAY, JEFF SKILLING GUILTY AS SHIT
Too soon to get too excited about this until we discover whether or not there's any teeth in the sentencing, but it's definitely the most high-profile corporate malfeasance conviction in recent history, and a rather overdue manifestation of public dislike of the whole CEO-as-feudal-lord conceit. Both defendants -- and Lay especially -- pulled a real Master-of-the-Universe routine during their defenses, simultaneously pleading utter ignorance of how their company was run and expressing total innocence and a thinly veiled annoyance at the mere idea that people as great and benevolent as themselves were being forced to take time out of their busy schedule of enriching our nation to defend themselves against such ridiculous charges. Whether it's irritation over high gas prices, dismay over the war, distrust of increasingly obvious corruption in the seats of powe, or (heaven forfend) just being better-informed and socially aware, juries seem to be getting plenty pissed off at this sort of thing and utterly uninterested in the corporate droit de signeur that these guys have been using as their bedrock defense. A good couple decades in jail would be fun, but for now I'm just hoping for some entertainment out of the G.O.P. spin machine.
2. THE FIX IS IN ON AMERICAN IDOL
There are many upsides to Taylor Hicks winning. Red-state pontificators get something to brag about so my eyes get a nice workout from rolling, and finally, FINALLY, white males get a break. Whew! Plus, we don't have to watch drunk-ass Paula drooling over his pasty butt anymore, and, frankly, given America's tendency to embrace things that are awful (Larry the Cable guy, for example) or evil (George W. Bush, for another example), I suppose mediocre is actualy a step up.
3. WHY DOES MY SHAVING CREAM DEMAND THAT I CONGRATULATE PRO ATHLETES FOR THEIR MANLINESS?
This I don't need.
4. HERE IS SOMETHING THAT ANNOYS ME:
When people threaten to get all tough about things they have neither the capacity, the inclination or the ability to get tough over. Sometimes -- say, when it looks like the talented Katherine McPhee is going to lose to the spectacularly uninspiring Taylor Hicks -- I will threaten to "do something", but, of course, I am intentionally being a blowhard. I don't really care that much, and even if I did, what am I gonna do? Go beat up Randy "Hey, I Was in Journey!" Jackson? But everywhere you look, would-be tough guys (and being a phony tough guy is almost the American male's national pasttime) is coming gangsta about something totally abstract. You hear it a lot at ballgames: some drunk yob says "If this guy doesn't make this out, I'm gonna kick his ass." Oh, how I wish they would! Because you know I love very little more than I do seeing inebriated shitbags running onto the field and then getting their lungs beaten out by a bunch of off-duty cops. But they rarely deliver on this promise. Other situations that seem to inspire the North American Dude to phantasmal ass-kicking delivery mode are heavy traffic, bosses who are slightly out of earshot, and, most hilariously and witnessed by me on three recent occasions, projected tax hikes, a la "If they raise my goddamn property tax one more time, someone's getting his ass beat!" Of course, we no longer have a medieval system of tax collection where a lord's flunky comes and exacts your due in coins, so I have to assume these dudes are either going to
(a) beat up their 1040 form when it comes in the mail
(b) drive to the nearest branch of the Internal Revenue and beat someone up there
(c) wait until the St. Patrick's Day parade and beat up their congressman as he walks past.
The alternative, which is that they will beat themselves up for making too much money, is probably not a likely one. At any rate, here is a rule of life: there is, generally, no one more full of shit that someone who spends all his time talking about what a bad-ass he is. Also, what is with Marines? This will probably get me killed, but there seem to be an inordinate amount of people claiming to be Marines who sit around on the internet yapping about how tough they are. Is it that Marines are kinda dumb and pathetic, or that dumb and pathetic people are drawn towards pretending that they are Marines? If I were, I dunno, the Air Force, I'd be insulted. Where's the equal time?
Sadly, that episode was not, as promised by creator J.J. Abrams, the greatest season finale in the history of television. But it was pretty good, with some glaring exceptions, which also serves as a criticism of the series as a whole. Some things:
- Unfortunately, despite the slight improvement in the scripts, "Lost" is still subject to Moron's Disease, where someone could solve a rather huge problem by simply explaining the situation or answering a direct question, but fails to do so for no adequately explored reason, preferring to stare meaningfully while a dramatic music sting appears out of nowhere. It happened a couple of times last night with Desmond: why didn't he just tell Penelope that he DID write her letters, but her dad kept them? And why didn't he mention the whole electro-magnetic hullabalution to Locke the first time around instead of when they were seconds away from death?
- I totally called Henry Gale being the big boss of the Others, making exactly once I've been right about something on this show. I also totally called Michael and Walt's boat blowing the fuck up as soon as it pulled away from the island, but the asshole creators made me look like a chump by not delivering on that.
- Questions: what was the point of the fake test hatch (that Locke thought was the real control hatch), and who was in it? What happened to Sayid, Jin and Sun? Are Locke and Mr. Eko dead? And am I happy or sad about the revelation that the outside world actually exists? If the whole thing isn't a dream, a fraud, an experiment, or a dying hallucination, we return to the very first question of the series: why isn't anyone looking for the crashed airliner?
- Questions part 2: When the fuck are people going to stop listening to Jack? Is Michael the worst keeper of a secret in the universe? And if the whole hatch is teeming with magnetism, how come the computers still work?
- Okay, so, we have an Austen, and a Carlyle, and a Rousseau, and a John Locke and a David Hume, and a Henry Gale. Fine. But PENELOPE? Jesus, lay it on thick. I guess this means that the whole of Season 3 -- and the series itself -- could revolve around Desmond, which might not be too bad, but it also means that he's still got 17 years left before he gets home.
Okay, back to work. Hey, I got Minnesota tags AND a bank account! I feel like a real solid citizen again. Or rather, for the first time.