Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Real Time 24 Recap: Hour 13

When we last left 24, a bomb had gone off disabling all of CTU’s computers but fortunately not hurting the Hot, but Daffy, Kayla, Princess of Seven or Eight Veils. This meant that Jack was without the help of CTU, which is sort of like me writing without the help of my cat, Gracie. Fortunately, Jack has a friend at the NSA who could shut down all of the bridges in New York, enabling Jack to find the terrorists. Jack found them in ten minutes, because New York is so small and quaint.

Jack, Agent Chico, and two soon to be dead CTU grunts, find the terrorists at a convenient riverfront. The terrorists recognize Jack and begin to open fire, pinning Jack and the guys in a corner while the Head Terrorist and Tarin escape by boat with the Dirty Nuclear Rods of Certain Doom. The Terrorists, being the sneaky bad guys that they are, have “jammed” all sources of communication. All is lost.

Or is it? Jack, seeing a red phone box, realizes that land lines cannot be scrambled, and remembers the movie “300”. It was such a great guy’s movie, although not nearly violent enough for Jack. Jack seizes upon a great idea. While being shot at by a ton of machine guns, let’s disassemble the CTU SUV-use it as a shield- and walk as one to the phone box.

Of course, it takes a team to make something like this work and one of grunts breaks rank and is shot by the bad guys. The other grunt runs out to get him and he is shot. Lesson told for 4 billion times on 24: always listen to Jack.

Back at CTU, Director Bubba is assessing damage. That means he is walking around half bent over. NSA sends over their senior engineer, Frank, to work his magic and bring CTU to life. Soon he overwhelms CTU with his engineering people skills. Chloe has an idea to bring the computers up, but Frank, of course, thought it was all stupid and sent Chloe away. Chloe calls her new "bff", Agent Freckles, and informs him about Frank and what ‘tard he is and that Jack is out there fighting the terrorists by himself. Freckles gives Chloe the courage to pull a gun on Frank. Director Bubba had to come down and mediate a Nerd dispute that he probably didn’t understand. He came down on the side of Chloe because Chloe can be cute, maybe, if the sun hits her right and she is not doing anything like reading.

You would think that the CTU being knocked out by a bomb would cause the world best parole officer, Bill Dauterive, to call it a night. In 24 world , this was as unbelievable as when Jack’s daughter was drapped by a mountain lion. But, no, he continues to confront the Not That Hot Tech, until she has to kill him to reveal the plot that she is the MOLE inside CTU!

At the Waterfront, Jack devises another suicide plan. He’ll draw the fire for the sniper terrorists while Agent Chico runs for the phone. Jack is shot and before he can be put away, Agent Freckles shows up and kills the two snipers (she just happened to be twenty minutes away!) Jack only has a collapsed lung, which for Jack is nothing considering he has already been stabbed and electrocuted in less than a twenty four hour period of time. Next week he'll be back in action.

Now about next week: Me and Mrs Recap are going on vacation, so no 24 recaps next week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It is not November 6, 2008

One of the odd things about “health care reform” is that you simply cannot kill it. It has been a staple of Democrat Party politics dating back to Harry Truman and has always been controversial for various reasons.

One reason is that it matches “compassion” against “economic reality”. Everybody has health and everybody has loved ones and everybody wants their health and their loved ones taken care off. However, taking care of “health” is a service and requires the ones that perform it to be paid. It also requires the people that perform it to be smarter than the average bear and so these people go to school for a very long time and acquire an incredible amount of educational expense. Additionally, performing this service opens these very smart people to an incredible amount of personal liability, as it should because those lesser among us have to trust that these folks know what they are doing.

Part of the problem with both sides of the debate is that some act like neither side of the argument exists. It is great to have compassion and to promise everyone health care for “free”. But, nothing is “free” and it has to be paid for by somebody.

A perfect example of this is “pre-existing” denials by insurance companies. Due to the current awful economy, if a person loses their job, they lose their health insurance.If they are fortunate enough to find another job, they may not be eligible for new plan’s health insurance for a condition the person might have.

That sounds very mean and is not very compassionate. But, the economic reality is that insurance is based on one word: risk. Health insurance is more expensive than other insurances because your risk of needing medical attention is greater than your house catching on fire,as an example. The risk of a person with a “pre-existing” condition becoming sick and needing medical attention due to that condition increases the risk. It would be like insuring a teen age boy for a Jaguar after he’s had several wrecks and speeding tickets.

Into this debate, comes President Obama, who it is becoming increasingly clear, ran for President simply because it seemed like a cool thing to do at the time. He does not bring any economic understanding to the debate, like his suggestion that the current Healthcare Reform Bill would decrease premiums of group health insurance by (his words) “three thousand per-cent” and enable your boss to “give you a raise”. Really.

If there is one thing we have learned in this year long debate about health care is that no one really knows what will happen to costs when it takes place. It is hard to believe to you can contain costs by increasing demand with a stable or decreased supply.

It is also clear that the President, his advisors, and the Congressional leadership still think this is November 6, 2008. The President is no longer as popular as he was—his bully pulpit has become a Nag pulpit. He is no longer trying to convince people, he’s just trying to nag them into doing what he thinks is right.

This is where the “just ram it through” guys are wrong. If the President was a popular now as he was on November 6, 2008, he could “ram” through healthcare reform. But he is not. Nobody is going to sacrifice a career for a President is leaking popularity like a tire with a nail.

What is funny is that the President and the Democrats could have gotten some of this piecemeal, like doing away with “pre-existing” conditions in insurance policies and they would have had bipartisan support. The problem for them is that it is no longer November 6, 2008 and doesn’t look like it is going to be anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Real Time 24 Recap Hour 12

Every so often, someone will ask me why I recap 24 and not some other show. The answer is while 24 is formulaic; it is not as formulaic as some other shows.

Take for instance, “The Biggest Loser”. This is a show about comically obese people losing weight with the help of trainers who shout cuss words. I got hooked on the show last year, but each show was like this: Contestant says he is fat and has been all of his life. He wants to lose weight for his wife (for some reason, the wife is way hotter than this guy) and his kids. Cries. Cut to some “challenge” that looks like someone is making it up as it is going along. “Uh, take this flag and put it on that hill and hop on one foot while twirling your arms”. Whoever wins the challenge gets to stay on the ranch for another week of working out and getting f-bombed by the trainer. The winner cries. They weigh the other contestants. Someone one is voted off for not losing enough weight. They cry. Then we see what they “look like now”, which is sometimes good and sometimes just a skinnier version of an ugly person.

24 is no way like that even though they are always setting up a perimeter, which, by the way, did not work for the 4000th time last night. This failure of a perimeter led to the death of about 200 NYPD’s finest.

The failure of the perimeter enabled those two love birds, Kayla and Tarin, to make it to a waiting cab which high tails it to the terrorist hideout with Jack and Agent Chico in hot pursuit. They catch up with the cab, but it is empty. Try finding an empty cab in New York.

The head terrorist calls President Poofy Hair and tells him that he has his daughter hostage. To prove it, he shows Kayla in front of a real Arab looking flag and he demands File 33. By this time, Jack is back at the UN and quickly surmises that is contains operational details of all U.S. anti-nuclear defenses. File 32 contains clippings of a bunch of pictures of kittens with cute sayings like “All I want is one sammich”. Jack argues with President Poofy Hair about American foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the world’s most persistent state employee, Bill Dauterive, meets with The Not That Hot Tech and wears her down with the same expression he used as the blind radio station owner in “O Brother Where Art Thou?” about her knowledge of Jethro and Cletus. Pretty soon she is confessing to everything, including giving birth to John Edwards’ love child.

Chloe advises Jack that they have a lead on Kayla’s location and Jack and Agent Chico spring into action because, like everything else in New York, it happens to be only ten minutes away. Jack and Agent Chico find the hideout, but like usual, the bad guys are ahead of them exiting through another door (where was that great perimeter of yours Jack?). Tarin and Kayla try to run away. Tarin is shot. Kayla jumps into a car and speeds away.

Kayla calls CTU, which is on everyone’s speed dial. They told her just to come on by if there’s anything they can do. So she heads to the super secret CTU New York Headquarters, which, oddly enough, is only about ten minutes away from where she was held hostage.

However, Tarin wasn’t really shot. The car he led Kayla to was equipped with a bomb, set to go off in ten minutes. Meanwhile, Jack, who has spent most of this hour talking on a telephone, realizes that it is a setup and he warns CTU. Too late! CTU was smart enough to yank the hot Kayla out of the car and have a dumpy security guard try to move it when it goes off. I’ll give 24 this: they have had the most creative explosions of TV this year. Jack loses all communication with CTU and tells Agent Chico: “Oh well, let’s see if there’s a Waffle House around here, I’m starved.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Real Time 24 Recap: Hour 11

When we last left 24, the Half-American terrorist had bolted himself into a hyperbaric chamber that the hospital left easily accessed and began to reconfigure the suicide bomb so he could blow himself up. CTU estimated it would take 40 minutes to cut into the chamber.

Chole advises everyone that the Half-American terrorist’s mother was in “St. Elmo’s Fire” and is now living in Harlem, which happens to be, like everything else on 24 just a few minutes away. The Half-American terrorist’s father was a “professor” and you know how wacky they get. Dear old Dad was placed in prison for LWA (Living While Arab) for a whole four months and found his career in ruins when he got out. All of this caused Dad to commit suicide and it made the son a terrorist. Mom just looks like she watches a lot of QVC.

The fun couple, The Not That Hot Tech and Agent Chico, made it back to work and got chewed out by Director Bubba. He would really let them have it, but we’re in the middle of this thing, and you two are real talented and don’t make me stop this car, yadda, yadda.

CTU finally establishes contact with The Half-American Terrorist and Jack uses that Jack charm to get this kid into quit trying to blow yourself up and join the great Satan. The kid goes into a rant about America that sounds like he’s ordering dinner at Wendy’s

The two love birds, Tarin and Kayla, are all South Carolina Lovey-Dovey. He mentions that it will take 18 months to be granted asylum and he won’t make that much money. Kayla says she doesn’t care. Right. Mrs. President Poofy Hair is calling and calling during all of this lovin’, but it doesn’t matter cause they got love.

Agent Chico picks up The Half American terrorist’s mother and tells her that her son is a suicide bomber, something most mothers are unprepared to hear. One day, he’s eating paste, the next day he’s trying to blow himself up for radical Islam. Where does the time go?

You knew that in the midst of this taunt action packed drama that something stupid would have to start and of course it would involve The Not That Hot Tech. Just as things are starting to go smoothly at CTU headquarters, she gets a call from Bill Dauterive, Jethro’s probation officer. Of course, this is a highly dedicated officer that wants to meet with her at 3:00 in the morning. Just doin’ his job ma’am.

Well, the terrorist mom makes it to the hospital and talks to her darling child. Lots of crying. She’s taken away and Jack becomes the Jack we all know and love. He tells him that he will make sure his Mom dies a slow painful death. The Half American terrorist comes out, but they cannot disarm the bomb, so Jack shoves him back into the chamber and the bomb goes off, killing the Half American terrorist.

However, before he went ka-blam, he names Tarin the co-conspirator. Jack calls President Poofy Hair and tells him. Mrs. President Poofy Hair calls Kayla who answers the phone and tells her that Tarin is no good, despite is six pack abs.

The episode ends with Jack instructing “Have them set up a perimeter until we arrive”. If I had a dollar every time I heard that.

Monday, March 8, 2010


The Academy of Motion Pictures and Movies held its annual “Pretender of The Year” ceremony in which they give awards to adults who play pretend better than other adults.

This is all very important. This morning on MSNDNC, oops, I mean MSNBC; they opened “First Look”, the early morning newscast, with the “Oscar” ceremony. MSNBC, for those of you that don’t keep up with these things, woke up one day and decided to be the Bizzaro Fox. Since Fox is wingnut conservative, MSNBC will be moonbat liberal. FOX has female anchors that look like models. MSNBC has female anchors that look like they just woke up.

Since the most important story was the Oscars, what was the second most important story? Election Day in Iraq.

I watched a little bit of the Oscars. Doogie Howser sang. Steve Martin told some jokes. Alec Baldwin (also known as the Fat Mean to His Kid Baldwin) told some jokes too.

The problem for me is that I had only seen one movie that was nominated. It was, “Inglorious Basterds”.

I would be the first to say I enjoyed that movie. Brad Pitt pretended to be a character that sounded like my son’s high school football coach. He had the line of the year in which he said, “You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner taken business; we in the Nazi killin business. And cousin, business is a boomin”. I don’t think Brad Pitt was nominated for this. He should have been. Maybe next year he can actually pretend he was my son’s football coach and talk about the importance of the Wing T offense.

“Inglorious Basterds” was an “historical” movie if you think Adolph Hitler died in a movie theatre fire. It was about as historically accurate as Oliver Stone’s “JFK”. But at least I didn’t have to wear special glasses to see it.

“Avatar” was the big movie this winter. Big meaning “long”. I’ve gotten to the point in my life that if a movie can’t tell me a story in 90 minutes to 2 hours, it is not worth my time. I guess you can make the argument that if you’re paying twenty bucks to go to a movie, you might as well go to the longest one you can.

One of the things I noticed this year is that I didn’t know a lot of the stars that were walking on the red carpet. Here is a sample conversation my wife and I had:

Wife: “Who is that?’
Me: “I don’t know, Merlin Olsen?”
Wife: “No, she was in the movie we saw that we both liked a while ago.”
Me: “I think he was a defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams and was on ‘Little House on the Prairie”. After that, he sold flowers.”
Wife: “No, I think she was in ‘Alien’”.
Me: “Merlin Olsen was never in that movie”.
Wife: “That’s Sigourney Weaver!”

This went on for most of the pre-show activities with my wife saying “Who’s that?" and me not knowing who it was. We’re going to be real fun in the old folk’s home.

Like me add this: I don’t care who made your dress. There. It needed to be said.

I didn’t see many of the winners getting their awards. I heard Jeff Bridges got an award for pretending he was Jeff Bridges. Sandra Bullock got an award for playing the most scary creature of all: the white Southern evangelical.

The movie of the year was “The Hurt Locker”. The director used to be married to the director of “Avatar”. I thought that director was still married to Linda Hamilton, who was in all of the “Terminator” movies. Nope, that was years ago. James Cameron is two wives away from Linda Hamilton, who I didn’t see on the Red Carpet.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Real Time 24 Recap Hour 10

One of the boring subplots in this year’s 24 is about the family of President Poofy Hair, the leader of a Generic Arab country. President Poofy Hair has been unfaithful to his wife, who has the personality of jelly. He has a hot daughter who has been carrying on with his security chief who is almost as hot as she is. President Poofy Hair arrested this young man as being part of the rebellion. To make a long dull story short, this guy escapes his capture and he meets the hot daughter in a hotel. This takes some time and like most of the scenes involving President Poofy Hair, everybody mumbles.

Director Bubba tells President Woman that they are trying to rescue the Rat Face Brother of President Poofy Hair. Afterwards, he speaks to Presidential advisor Rahm Emmanuel and tells him that he is dropping all charges against Agent Freckles. Emmanuel objects because she is too hot beyond the call of duty.

Meanwhile, President Woman tells President Poofy Hair about the Dirty Bomb plot and that she needs their security files so they can figure out who Jack needs to kill. If not, President Woman will have the US attack his country with MP3s of the guy singing “Pants on the Ground”. President Poofy Hair quickly agrees.

Like most their operations, CTU found the Rat Face Brother but he has been shot by a Arab named, now get this, “Ali”. Jack barks at the medical personnel to keep the Rat Face Brother alive, but somehow this doesn’t manage to save this man’s life. Jack’s next plan is to have CTU “pretend” the Rat Face Brother is alive so the the A-rabs with the nuclear rods will come looking for him.

In lightening speed, the news of the shooting of the Rat Face Brother hits “Fox Five” and the A-rabs send their half American terrorist (who was on the show “The War At Home”; really) to go to the hospital and blow up the Rat Face Brother so they can detonate their dirty bomb in Manhattan. The Half American terrorist calls his mother (who was in “St. Elmo’s Fire”; really) to tell her to go to Aunt Boo-Boo’s house.

The Not That Hot Tech and Agent Chico are dumping Cletus and Jethro into the only swamp in New York City. Agent Chico tells her that the dearly departed aren’t worth going to jail for, which is the “duh” statement of the year. The Not That Hot Tech is now worried that Agent Chico is mad at her for her double life and that he had to kill two people, not to mention that they are in the middle of an international crisis.

CTU takes the formerly alive Rat Face Brother to the hospital. Jack gets a phone call from Agent Freckles in which he explains he wants to establish a perimeter around her and maybe eventually download an schematic. In more CTU brilliance, Agent Archie, the fourteen year old CTU agent, is left guarding the door when the Half American terrorist shows up with a bomb strapped to his chest.

In typically 24 fashion, CTU disarms the bomb detonator but allows the Half American terrorist jumps through a plate glass window and somehow manages to lock himself in a hyperbaric chamber. All hospitals have easily accessible hyperbaric chambers for terrorists to hop into.