Monday, April 30, 2007
How I Roll: Part Deux
(This is part two of a series.)

Going from Piggly Wiggly to Food Fair may not seem like a big deal to most, but it was the first move of my career. It meant a higher wage, more hours, and at last, my very first car payment.

As I look back, I realize that my parents either found or handed me down my first four cars. I'm not sure if my Dad had some kind of connection with the crap car black market or what. But in the summer of 1989, the car they found to replace the Monte Carlo was a baby blue 1984 Ford Escort.

The Escort was Ford Motor Company's finest economy car offering. Well, at least since the Pinto. It came standard with a 1.6 Liter sixty-eight horsepower engine, which is roughly the equivalent of three Husqvarna lawn tractors. Mine featured sport stripes down the side and louvers on the back window. Yes, louvers. Back when louvers were "in" of course.

Another feature of the 'Scort was an equalizer for the AM/FM radio and cassette player. Now I don't know if a previous owner removed the subwoofers when they sold the car or what. But the speakers I heard were standard factory speakers, at best. Which made the equalizer about as useful as an extended forecast.

Finally, the 'Scort was stricken with SBD, or Squealing Belt Disease. If you've not experienced this personally, you've surely heard it from other cars. The one and only symptom of SBD is a high-pitched squealing noise, especially prevalent when the car first starts. It can be a bit embarrassing, especially for a 16-year-old in the high school parking lot. But after awhile, you learn to just turn up the radio and pretend you have no idea what everyone is staring at.

There were good times to be had as well. I had my first official pick-her-up-and-take-her-home date in the 'Scort, with the Algebra teacher's daughter. She was also the Physics teacher, which might help explain how I fell asleep at least two days a week and still got an A in the class.

We went out twice. Our first date, we stood outside her house until her Dad starting cutting the porch light off and on, and I ended up breaking my curfew, not getting home until around 1 AM. On our second date, we went to the mall. I bought a New Kids On The Block cassette. And we never went out again.

I was also driving the 'Scort when I began dating Rachel, my first real actual girlfriend. Sometime in 1990, I wrecked the 'Scort, rear-ending another car as I fiddled with my radio or gazed at the countryside or something. It was totaled. Not that it was a bad accident, but as the car only cost $1800 when I bought it, hitting a bird would have probably totaled it.

As I write these posts, I'm beginning to realize they are more about memories of myself and people from my past than they are about any one car. Still as I think back now, I can't help but wonder, were louvers ever really in?

"You're my popsicle. From the very first time I met you girl, you captured me..."

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
3 Word Wednesday #33


Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. This is a writing exercise. It doesn't have to be perfect. The idea is to let your mind wander and write what it will. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:
Background
Swings
Against


The park was completely empty when Ray arrived. The wind off the water made the day seem colder, lonelier. Picnic tables, the walking trail, and playground equipment, normally alive with kids and families and couples, looked especially empty today against the gray background of the January sky.

Ray sat on a park bench facing the water. Pulling his collar up to try and cover his ears, he bowed his head and closed his eyes. Not to pray, just to think. He had not prayed in a long time.

Though he hid it well from family and friends, Ray was deeply depressed. And being laid off from his job had left him feeling he was at the end of his proverbial rope. That's why he had come here. While it would sound crazy to most, it was easy for Ray to believe the deep, frigid waters could wash away his worries and problems.

The wind picked up, then calmed quickly, almost eerily. Ray's thought process was broken by the sound of someone sobbing. He turned to see a young lady sitting on one of the swings, her head down, her hands up by her shoulders, wrapped tightly around the metal chains. He had not even heard her come up.

Without thinking, he got up and approached the girl. She failed to acknowledge his presence as he stopped a little to the right and in front of the swing.

"What's the matter?" Ray inquired in his most comforting voice.

"Nothing. Please.... go away. I don't want anyone to see me like this," the girl kept her head down, now turning it slightly away as she spoke.

"Please tell me," Ray persisted. He noticed the girl shivering and took off his coat and put around her.

"It's my beloved Walter. He... he died in the war," she replied, her voice breaking as she spoke.

Ray would have been speechless, except he felt he had to say something. "I'm so sorry. The whole Iraq War is terrible. It's just terrible."

"Oh no, sir," she said, appearing slightly confused as she looked Ray in the face for the first time. "My Walter was killed in The Great War. And now I haven't anyone to live for. I haven't a reason to go on."

"You shouldn't talk about such things. You're a beautiful young lady. You have your whole life yet to live," Ray tried his best to console the young girl, his own confusion taking a backseat to her situation. But it didn't seem to be helping. She started crying again, even harder than before.

"Ma'am, please. It's too cold for you to be out here. You should go home. Where do you live?"

The girl pointed as she spoke thru tears, "I used to live in those apartments right over there. But now I no longer have a home."

Ray turned to look in the direction the girl was pointing and saw only a strip mall. He looked in every direction. There were no apartments to be seen anywhere. While he was turned away, the girl continued, "Please don't tell my father you saw me here."

The wind picked back up and Ray found himself back on the park bench. He looked towards the playground. The swings were empty. As quickly as she had appeared, the girl was gone.

Ray began to shiver almost uncontrollably, and realized he was holding his coat rather than wearing it. He put it on, turned up the collar, and bowed his head again.

This time he prayed.

"Wherever it may take me, I know that life won't break me. When I come to call, she won't forsake me. I'm loving angels instead..."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
24 Recap: 4/23/07
Recapping Day Six: 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM...

Ricky commandeers a car, which looks to be a new Chevy Impala, and takes off to try and find Jack. Bill announces to everyone at CTU that "Jack Bauer's gone rogue"--which is pretty much this show's equivalent to Lou Ferrigno ripping his shirt and turning green--and that all available resources should be focused on finding and bringing him in.

Meanwhile Jack--who appears to be driving a Toyota Tundra, specially equipped with a CTU tracking device. That doesn't come standard, you know--calls and tells Cheng to meet him at an abandoned motel called the Calderon.

At the White House, Daniels meets with Tom and asks what he plans to do with the evidence/recording/blackmail. Tom says he hasn't thought much about it and pledges his support for the acting-President. Karen comes in and assures Daniels CTU is doing everything they can to find Jack.

When Tom and Karen leave, Daniels comes up behind his assistant, Lisa, and finally checks her breath. When Lisa suggests that might be inappropriate behavior, Daniels replies, "Well there's the phone. Call the media. Tell them the acting-President's a dirty old man." Ewww! I need a bath! Then he asks her to spend the night, and she agrees. Wow! Who'd a' thunk that dirty old man line would ever work!

Over at As The Counter Terrorist Unit Turns, Nadia is on the phone with Ricky telling him they've lost track of Jack. Apparently, Jack drove under some power lines, completely screwing up CTU's state of the art high-tech tracking devices. Let me get this straight, power lines interrupt their tracking capabilities? Well it's a good thing there aren't many power lines in the world! Meanwhile, Chloe and Morris are bickering like an old married couple. The argument ends as follows:

Morris: "Is there anything else?"
Chloe: "Yes. Don't arm nuclear bombs for terrorists." Ooo, burn! I mean, seriously, there's no comeback for that.

Karen gets called into a meeting with Peter Hawk, from the Department of Justice--aka DOJ, not to be confused with Dojo from Karate Kid. He has been interrogating Reed Pollack over the assassination attempt on Palmer. Pollack is singing, trying to avoid the death penalty. He claims that Bill Buchanan had Fayed in custody, but let him go, and that Karen helped cover it up. Karen denied there was a cover up, but Peter tells her someone will have to take the fall for it, either her or Bill.

Jack arrives at the Calderon, which we'll refer to from now on as the Bates Motel. There's no sign of Cheng--or Norman Bates. Jack plants an explosive in one of the walls, then calls Bill and gets his voicemail. Bill's outgoing message says "if this is an urgent call, press zero." Jack doesn't press zero. I don't get it. This isn't urgent?? Jack leaves a message explaining that the circuit board will be destroyed in the explosion he plans to set off as soon as Audrey is free. Jack then calls Valley Cab Company.

Karen goes to see Tom about her situation with the DOJ. Tom urges her to let Bill take the fall. Meanwhile after his fight with Chloe, Morris asks Bill for a transfer. When Morris leaves, Bill calls Karen. She tells him she has to fire him. Bill argues to no avail. Then hangs up on her. She calls back, but Bill doesn't answer.

Bill calls Nadia into the conference room, informs her he is stepping down immediately, and names her acting director of CTU. Nadia doesn't understand why this is happening, calling Bill "the most ethical, dedicated person" she's ever known. Bill tells her "It's just politics." Guards come and escort Bill away.

Cruising in the Impala, Ricky comes up on the Bates Motel with no clue Jack is there, until he spots Jack's truck. He is about to scope out the place when he sees a limo pull up. Ricky hides and listens as Cheng enters. Is it just me, or does Cheng seem to be a rather merry villain? Jack asks to see Audrey. She is brought in, gagged. Jack ungags her then gives her standard Bauer line #3: "I'm so sorry."

Jack tells Cheng he won't hand over the sub-circuit board until Audrey is safely out of range of his snipers. He then whispers instructions to Audrey to walk to a gas station where a cab will be waiting to take her to CTU. Audrey begins walking. Just as Jack tosses the sub-circuit board to Cheng, Doyle begins shooting. About the same, backup from CTU arrives. A firefight ensues.

Jack appears to get shot and knocked off his feet, but has on a bullet-proof vest and is OK. As they flee, one of the Chinese pulls out a bazooka and blows a CTU chopper out of the sky. Meanwhile, Cheng slips off into the night in a Hummer with the sub-circuit board in his hands. You know, because twenty CTU agents in two SUV's and a helicopter are just that inept.

Nadia orders Ricky to arrest Jack. Just before he is handcuffed, Jack shows Ricky the detonator and implies that Ricky screwed up the whole thing. CTU agents bring Audrey to safety. Jack speaks to her and tells her she's safe now. Audrey appears to be confused or brainwashed or something and Jack realizes she doesn't even recognize him.

The good:
One of Cheng's men blowing the CTU chopper out of the sky with a bazooka.

Jack realizing Audrey doesn't recognize him.

A plot twist which seems to come very late in the season involving the Chinese now in possession of the sub-circuit board.

Tom. You're never quite sure what he's thinking or whose side he is on, and I think that's a good thing.

The bad:
The Chloe/Morris bickering.

Daniels and Lisa flirting.

Jack being arrested, again. That's twice in two weeks. And how many times since the series began? Hey, I know! How about doing something that hasn't been done to death already?

Best quote:
"I had this handled."

Worst scene:
The unfortunate Daniels/Lisa dirty old man debacle.

Chloeisms:
"Could you please stop acting like this? I really hate it."

"I didn't say it was all your fault. I said halfway. Fifty percent. Point five."

Did you know...
Tzi Ma is the actor who plays the role of Cheng Zhi on 24. He will reprise his role as Consul Han in Rush Hour 3 later this year.

Zima is a light-colored alcoholic beverage made by the Coors Brewing Company, Boulder, Colorado.

Questions:
OK, why did Bill's phone go straight to voice mail when Jack called him? Yet when Karen called Bill, his phone rang three times, no voicemail, and she hung up.

What role will Buchanan play now that he's stepped down as director of CTU?

Will Palmer return this season? Is it possible to come out of a two comas in a twenty-four hour period?

Will we see Jack's father, Marilyn, Josh, etc. again this season?

"I have run. I have crawled. I have scaled these city walls, only to be with you..."

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Monday, April 23, 2007
"All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand..."
The title of this post is a quote from Steven Wright. It may seem random, and is, but I think it goes along well with the randomness of the post...

The Alabama football team's annual A-Day game was Saturday. The game normally draws thirty to forty thousand fans. This year, with a new coach, new hope, and an unquenched thirst for a championship, they had to close the gates and stop letting people in early in the second quarter. Stadium capacity is a little over 92,000.

Even I was amazed at a crowd that large for what basically amounts to a glorified scrimmage. Still, it was a nice "tide" me over until the first game, which is now only 131 days away! Bama football fans are often called fanatical. And, well, we don't really consider that an insult.

My Mom, sister, and I went. As we were about to enter the stadium, who do we see but my uncle, aunt, and two cousins. I mean, seriously, out of 100,000 people, what are the odds? I got my first sunburn of the year, sitting on an aluminum bleacher in the 80-degree Tuscaloosa heat for three hours.

Mom got tickled when the crowd started doing the wave. By the third time it came around, she couldn't even stand up she was laughing so hard. It was great seeing her have fun. Even if it did lead my sister to remark to me, "We have got to get her out more."

When I got home that evening, Pablo was swimming around. I mention this because it has become a rare sight. Although I haven't written about it, I've been really worried about Pablo. He completely stopped eating two weeks ago and only comes out of his rock to get air, then goes right back in. Last Wednesday, I bought two kinds of fish medicine and some anti-fungus tablets at Wal-Mart, and started putting in his tank.

So when I saw him swimming around Saturday, I immediately tried feeding him. And he ate! For the first time in twelve days! I was as excited as I've been in a long time. And also hopeful that this means the medicine is working. I don't know what's wrong with the little fella, but I'm trying everything I can.

Saturday night, I drove over to Ben's. Ben and I have been friends since first grade. The night my sister was born (at some absurd overnight hour), after I threw up in the ER waiting room, I wound up at Ben's spending the night so that I could get to school the next day. These days, we don't hang out that much or even talk too often since he got married. I think this was the first time I'd seen him since Festivus.

The house was alive with two kids, a one-year-old and a two-year-old, running crazy. His youngest was eating a banana popsicle. Part of it fell on the floor. He didn't reach down and pick it up. Instead, he got down on all fours and ate it right off the carpet. Ben just laughed. It hit me in that moment that he was in love with his kids. What an awesome feeling that must be.

Sunday, I ran 4.5 miles, which is the farthest I've run since the 10K race last year. I've developed a new low-to-the-ground, low impact running style. It's tougher on the thighs, but much easier on the knees. If you're trying to visualize this at home, it may not sound like the most manly or aesthetically pleasing style, but it seems to be helping. This year's race is May 19th. I'm hoping to better my time from last year, of course. I'm thinking of shooting for a nine minute mile pace.

In other news, I took my car to the mechanic today. It started hesitating and sounding like it was missing dying last weekend. At first, I thought (and hoped) I had just gotten some bad gas. But two cans of gas treatment and one can of fuel injector cleaner didn't seem help. Nor did clutching the steering wheel, looking up at the stars, and saying, "Please, please, please start working." Then I thought maybe some mobsters had mistaken me for the real Jason Morgan and filled my tank with sugar. But the mechanic said the catalytic converter is stopped up. That doesn't sound too bad, although I haven't gotten an estimate yet.

Finally, one of my favorite comedians, Steven Wright, is coming to Nashville!! He's also supposed to be on Letterman tonight. Someone please remind me. (About Letterman, not the concert.)

"From Carolina down to Georgia, smell the jasmine and magnolia. Sleepy, sweet home Alabama, Roll Tide Roll..."

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Friday, April 20, 2007
"You can all sleep sound tonight..."
I went to the little shop of horrors Wednesday to get a haircut. The LSOH takes both appointments and walk-ins. Being a guy, I of course was a walk-in.

As I waited, a woman in one of the chairs was coughing up a lung, and not even pretending to cover her mouth. The stylist said to her two different times, "You probably need to get some anti-biotics for that." Now I can't say for certain, but it's probably not a good sign when the person who cuts your hair feels compelled to give you medical advice.

In between coughs, this modern-day Typhoid Mary was going on about how she'd been coughing for weeks and couldn't "get anything to come up." OK, that's not gross at all. The worst and most fearful part of it all was that there were only two people working, which meant there was a 50% chance I would be sitting right where she was.

So there I sat, terrified I was going to get that chair right after her and probably contract pneumonia or lupus or something and die a painful, unpleasant, phlegm-filled death. I tried to act non-chalant, though I would have been about as comfortable waiting on a vasectomy. I contemplated leaving, just getting up and saying, "Tell you what, I'll just come back later." I thought about asking if they had any Lysol and spraying the area down immediately after the germophile had vacated the premises.

Fortunately another chair opened before she was done. Disaster averted. But what if it hadn't? Or what happens the next time? Am I gonna have to start carrying a can of Lysol around everywhere I go? And from that last question, an idea was born. The idea for a new superhero: Lysol Man.

It could be a whole new ad campaign. It's exactly what this world needs. A germ-fighting, non-violent superhero. He would wear a Lysol-blue spandex outfit with a big "L" on front. Or better yet, a picture of a germ with a slash across it. Yes! Picture this:

(The setting: A classroom.)

There are three kids at a table. One kid turns to the camera, scrunches up his nose, fans his hand in front of his face, and says, "I think Johnny forgot to take a bath again."

Suddenly, bursting thru the classroom door, it's Lysol Man! As he enters, an announcer with a deep, booming voice says, "Lysol Man! Da da daaaaah!" (a la Trojan Man).

Whipping a can of Powder Fresh Scent Lysol out of his belt, Lysol Man speaks, "Never fear, my little germophobe. Lysol Man is here." He proceeds to saturate the area.

The kids cheer, "Yay! Lysol Man!"

Lysol Man jogs out of the room, stopping on the way to kiss the attractive, voluptuous teacher. After he leaves the teacher asks, "Who can kill 99.9 percent of germs, class?"

The kids answer in unison, "Lysol Man can!"

(fade to black)

And who better to be Lysol Man than me? A germophobe fighting germophiles. Of course! It's all so clear to me now. Why did I not see this before?

By day, he lives among humans as mild-mannered, unassuming blogger Bone. But when germophiles strike, he slips his taut-pre-teen-Swedish-boy body into form-fitting spandex and turns into Lysol Man. Armed with only his trusty can of Lysol, an itchy trigger finger, and super-keen street sense, Lysol Man travels the globe in search of germs, bacteria, and malodorous emanations.

LY-SOL-MAAAAN!!! DA-DA-DAAAAA!

"Believe it or not, I'm walking on air. I never thought I could feel so free. Flying away on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or not it's just me..."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007
3WW #32


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday.

Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. This is a writing exercise. It doesn't have to be perfect. The idea is to let your mind wander and write what it will. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
Pitch
Exit
Low


Keith stopped his late 70's model lime green Ford truck beside the campground office and looked over at me.

"You got any money?" he asked.

"How much?" I said, reaching for my wallet.

"Well, it's ten dollars per night."

"Here's my half." I held out a five.

"Uh. Do you have anymore? I'm kinda low on cash."

I rolled my eyes and handed him a twenty. Short on cash. That was so Keith. I was just thankful we were at a place with few opportunities to spend money. He went in to pay.

He was donning a white safari hat and had been talking up this camping trip all week. The bed of the truck was loaded to the top with every imaginable supply, snack food, and piece of camping equipment. Or so I thought. Even though we were only staying one night.

"Lot seventeen," he said smiling as he climbed back into the truck. We found our lot about three-quarters of a mile around the loop. The last rays of sunlight were filtering down thru the trees as we got out of the truck.

"Alright. Let's pitch the tent." I said, clapping my hands then rubbing them together.

"There's not a tent," Keith replied, matter-of-factly, never looking up as he began getting the sleeping bags out of the truck.

"Excuse me?" I was stunned.

"Naw, we don't need a tent. We'll just use sleeping bags and build a nice campfire."

"You said you bought a tent."

"I did. I got it a yard sale and it wound up not having the poles," he confessed, much too late as usual.

"Well that's just great!" I was agitated.

"Come on, it's no big deal. We'll rough it. Don't be a wimp."

"What if it rains?"

"It's not gonna rain."

"But what if it does?" I persisted.

"Well... we'll sleep in the truck." Keith always had a solution for every problem, although rarely were any of them very good.

"I'm not sleeping in the truck!" I tried to sound adamant.

"Well it's not gonna rain." Keith walked towards me and began spraying me down with Off!

"What are you doing!?" I asked, holding my arms up and backing away.

"Keeps the mosquitoes off. My Mom makes me bring it."

"Oh, yeah. We're roughing it alright."

I guess it was about forty-five minutes before the rain began. Just enough time for us to have our sleeping bags out, a Coleman lantern lit, and get a nice little fire going. The rain became heavy almost immediately.

"That's it!" I stood up, grabbed my sleeping bag and headed straight for the truck. "I saw a Sleep Inn back at the exit. Let's go!"

Keith scrambled to collect his things. We put what we could in the cab of the truck, then secured the tarp over the rest. It was a soaking rain. We were both soundly drenched. I withstood his pleas to wait out the storm. A few loud rumbles of thunder hurt his case and we started back towards the interstate.

The hotel was about a twenty minute drive. It was raining there, too. We walked into the lobby. Reaching for my wallet, I turned to Keith.

"Uh, you can probably take off the safari hat now, Captain Camper."

"The weather's gonna be fine. Today's the day I'm going camping. I'm gonna pitch me a tent. Won't have to pay any rent..."

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007
24 Recap: 04/16/07
OK, here's what we know. Fayed's dead. The nukes are secured. Audrey's back. Jack's going after her. And last week's show may have been the best of the season. Now recapping this week's episode. Also known as Day Six: 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM...

At the warehouse, the Marines are taking over custody of the suitcase nukes, by order of the DOD. That's Department of Defense, not to be confused with D&D, Dungeons and Dragons. Jack sneaks away into an alcove to call Cheng. He speaks to Audrey for a few seconds, who is being held in a big open room which looks kinda like the room Morgan Freeman was always in in Bruce Almighty. Jack offers to turn himself over to the Chinese in exchange for Audrey. But instead, Cheng wants the suitcase nukes, or more specifically, the FB sub-circuit board out of the nukes, which supposedly "holds the key to Russian defense codes."

Jack calls Chloe, who is currently in a Fayed's Dead celebratory meeting at CTU. Seriously, it looked like they were about to break out cupcakes at any second. Anyone for a nice game of Pin The Tail On Morris? She steals away to speak to Jack and is able to get the schematics Jack needs off of Morris' computer, then upload them to Jack's phone. Reason #77 for me to get a new phone: Ability to receive files from Chloe.

In the bunker, Tom tells President Palmer about the recording, aka blackmail, he has on VP Daniels. Karen comes in and tells them Fayed is dead and the nukes have been secured. Palmer wants to go on television and inform the American people. A bit later, Palmer meets one-on-one with Daniels and asks for his resignation. Daniels refuses. Palmer then tells him he knows about Tom's recording and expects Daniels resignation within a week.

Back at CTU, Morris notices someone has hacked into his system. He starts to call security, but Chloe stops him. She confesses. Morris pressures her to tell him what is going on. Chloe tells him about Jack. Morris then pressures her to tell Buchanan, which she finally agrees to do.

Meanwhile back at the warehouse, Jack gets past two guards by telling them he is under Presidential orders to get the circuit board out of one of the nukes. Two nuclear bombs? Yeah, two guards oughta be enough. Send R.J. and Billy Bob over there and have them take turns napping while the other one is on guard. While Jack is removing the circuit board, Ricky and CTU agents storm in. There is a brief standoff, then one of the agents knocks Jack in the head with his gun. Jack falls to the floor and is arrested. Bill calls and tells Jack he can't support Jack's mission. Jack asks to talk to the President.

Speaking with Palmer, Jack requests the President approve a field operation to save Audrey. He assures Palmer he will destroy the circuit board once Audrey is released, even if it means killing himself in the process. Palmer is reluctant, then Jack reminds him that sixteen hours ago the government was willing to give him up for dead in exchange for Assad. Sixteen hours? Wow. It seems like months to me. Palmer agrees and tells Bill to give Jack whatever he needs.

Jack calls Cheng and tells him he has the component, aka circuit board, and gets directions on where to go. Sometime in here, I was pondering how in the world Jack was going to get to China in less than an hour real-time? Oh! Cheng's in California! Gotcha. Jack and Ricky take off in a truck.

In the bunker, Noah tells Lisa he is going to resign and says he wants his resignation in Palmer's hands by the end of the press conference. She appears crestfallen, but Daniels takes her hand and consoles her. And tells her this will give them more time to hold hands. They walk down to the press conference together. While answering questions, President Palmer begins to ramble incoherently. Then he offers the biggest grimace yet and crumples to the floor. Daniels casually folds up his resignation and slips it in his coat pocket.

The doctor tells Daniels, Lisa, Tom, and Karen that Palmer suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and that he probably won't regain consciousness anytime soon. Daniels prepares to assume power. His first order of business is to have CTU stop Jack's rescue mission. Karen calls Bill. Bill calls Ricky and tells him to re-route the truck to another road where CTU will have a roadblock set up. Ricky makes up an excuse to tell Jack why they have to take another road. Jack isn't buying it. He pulls a gun and forces Ricky to pull over and get out of the truck! Jack hops in and drives off in search of Audrey...

The good:
Jack and Chloe working together again on the down low, if only for a few moments.

Audrey's back! (Did I by chance mention that last week?)

The Tom blackmail/recording thing is a nice little subplot. Although I just keep waiting for someone to whack Tom at any moment.

The bad:
Palmer passing out just as Daniels is ready to resign, if only for its predictableness. It was just so obvious.

I think Ricky is growing on me a little. I actually typed Doyle in the recap a couple of times. Ugh. Maybe I need a shot of adrenalin.

Best quote:
"With all due respect, Mister President, you owe me."

Chloeisms
"We both know that if we do this, it could create an international incident, big time."

Did you know...
Philip Baker Hall, who played Bruce's boss, Jack Baylor, in Bruce Almighty, also appeared in Seinfeld. He played over-zealous library cop Bookman in the episode called "The Library" and also reprised that role for the series finale.

Questions
Why is Jack's trustworthiness even an issue? It's been six seasons, people. I think we can begin to phase out that little storyline.

Will Tom's blackmail recording come into play now that Daniels is acting as President?

How did Cheng know the exact moment Jack had secured the nukes? What I'm gathering from all this is, no matter what is going on in the world or how things appear, China is our real enemy.

"We could have gone all the way to the Great Wall of China, if you'd only had a little more faith in me..."

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Monday, April 16, 2007
The dull edge
Thanks to Jennifer and Traveling Chica for naming me a Thinking Blogger. That is definitely among the nicer things I have been called :)

As I've mentioned before, although maybe not in so many words, I tend to be on the trailing edge of technology. The dull edge, if you will. I just got my first iPod this past Christmas. I don't have a laptop. My TV is not hi-def. (Although my stereo may be hi-fi.) I don't have a DVR or TiVo. Even my watch is a Fossil.

Being on the dull edge of technology does not mean that I lag behind everyone. While I'm obviously not in the top one percentile of the techno-savvy, I do like to consider myself right in that meaty part of the curve. Not showing off, but not falling behind. Just consider me your typical C-student in the world of technology. Maybe C-minus.

Being on the dull edge means that when I see the latest, fastest, sharpest, neatest new gadget advertised, I don't think, "I've got to have that now!" Instead, I think, "Cool! I'll be getting one of those in two to ten years." After all, I've only had a DVD player for a couple of years. Still, when it's time to upgrade, it's time. And I'm afeared it's time for me to get a new cell phone.

How do I know? Well first, there's the 352 x 288 pixel resolution, which does not exactly provide the crystal clear imagery one might desire. Then there's the loud shutter sound the phone makes when taking a picture, which can sometimes be inconvenient, and also cannot be turned off. And of course, there was the fun phase I went thru a few months ago when almost everyone I called, I had to call twice, because I couldn't hear them on the first attempt. I affectionately refer to that as my Hollaback Phase.

Still, I've managed to deal with all those things. But recently I've encountered something that I fear cannot be overcome. Embarrassed by my lack of technology, I've noticed myself subtly covering up my phone anytime girls are around. Why? Would a girl really be turned off by my low resolution? I don't know. And I don't plan to find out. But I feel like I'm carrying around a bag phone. And I simply cannot face the world with a cell phone that I am ashamed of. The decision has been made.

Now, you should also know that being on the dull edge also means once a decision has been made that an upgrade is necessary, it can take up to twenty-four months until said techno-gadget is actually procured. But once that occurs, ladies, be sure to holla at a baller on his wicked fresh cellie!

In closing, my Samsung P-107 has served me well for the past three or four years. But there comes a point in every man's life when it's time to move on. For me that time is now... or, sometime in the next couple of years. I just hope I don't have to give up my "Sweet Child O Mine" ringtone.

"She's got eyes of the bluest skies, as if they thought of rain. I hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain..."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
3 Word Wednesday XXXI


We have a little something new this week: A 3WW button! If you'd like to include the button on your post this week or on your sidebar, just copy and paste the code below:

<a href="http://littlenibbler.blogspot.com/search/label/3WW"><img src="http://bp3.blogger.com/_gE1N8Q6CnWE/Rhq3twRMkzI/AAAAAAAAAAk/DrUObW1KL6E/s320/3WW1.jpg"></a>

Hopefully that will work. Many thanks to Pia, and also to Lisa, who designed Pia's template, for throwing in a few 3WW buttons for me :) And now, on with this week's Three Word Wednesday...

Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
Lost
Waves
Lined


The usual train of cars lined Market Street on this sunny Friday afternoon. Cameron took careful, measured steps, stealing glances out of the corner of his eye to check for one of his parent's cars, so as not to appear lost or worried. His biggest fear was that neither of them would be there and that he would have to sit and wait in Mrs. Slaton's room with a handful of other kids whose parents always seemed to be late. Even though that had never happened.

"Cameron.... Cameron!!"

He looked up, relieved to see his dad yelling out the window of his gold-colored SUV. Cameron tried to hide the smile wanting to break across his face as his pace picked up and he began to run towards the vehicle. It took much effort for Cameron to climb up into the passenger's seat.

"Hey, buddy. How was school?"

"It was, fine..." Cameron wasn't convincing as he dragged out the last word.

"What happened?"

"Nothing..." Cameron paused, then continued. "Dad? Are you and Mom getting divorced because of me?"

"Of course not! Why would you ever think that?"

"Cause! Kassi Maynard said her momma and daddy got a divorce because her and her sister were always fightin'."

"Well, Kassi Maynard doesn't know what she's talking about," Will tried to reassure his son, but was never sure what to say.

They rode along without speaking for a moment, both of them thinking about different aspects of the same issue. Cameron broke the silence.

"Dad?"

"Yes, Cam?"

"Do you think you and Mom will ever get back together?"

"No. I don't think so, Cam," Will sighed.

That was followed by thirty more seconds of silence.

"Dad?"

"What, son?"

"Do you still love Mom?"

"Of course, I do, son."

More silence.

Then, "Dad?"

"Yes?"

"I wish you still lived at home."

"Me, too, son... me, too."

These were the moments that tore Will apart. It was bittersweet to hear his son say he missed him. The conversation weighed on Will's mind all afternoon. Maybe he had been too stubborn. He had been told that before, many times, that he was stubborn. He had no doubt it was true. They had not communicated very well. He was working six days a week. He became jealous of Christy. Little arguments became bigger and bigger until she had filed for divorce.

Will had immediately moved out of the house and into an apartment. He didn't think either of them had tried very hard to fix things. Maybe they had given up too easily. They had been separated for a month. The divorce hadn't gone thru yet. Maybe they could try again. If for no other reason than for their son. He knew Cameron had no idea how the words he said affected his Dad. But something inside of Will wouldn't let it go.

So that evening, Will asked his mother to watch Cameron. Then he drove to Christy's with a single purpose in mind and a willingness to try. When the house came into view, Will remembered how much he had loved it the first time he saw it. The front porch that ran the length of the house, the upstairs bay windows that opened onto a balcony, the lushness of the yard covered completely by huge shade trees, the basement he had turned into an office...

His fond memories were interrupted by the realization that he no longer lived here. There were many hard things about this situation, and this was but one. As he got out of his car, Will noticed the garage was closed, but lights were on inside the house. He rang the doorbell, holding nothing but flowers and hope--perhaps unfounded, but it was hope nonetheless.

When the lock turned and the door opened, Will came face to face with reality. A man he recognized as a co-worker of Christy's stood there. Neither of them spoke or made a movement. The complete silence only amplified the tension. Then Christy's voice could be heard, drawing nearer as she spoke, "Who is it, Brian... Brian?"

"Uh, it's for you."

"For me? Who is--"

And there she was. She stopped drying her hair with a towel when she saw Will.

"Will! I wasn't expecting you. What's wrong? Is it Cameron?" Christy stammered, trying to talk about anything but the obvious.

Will never said a word. A myriad of emotions hit him in waves. The sickness in the pit of his stomach. Sadness, pain, jealousy, and anger, first at them, then at himself. Tight-lipped, he simply nodded his head in a show of resignation, dropped the flowers, and turned to walk back to his car.

Often as children, we have a belief that anything can be fixed. Somewhere along the way we learn different.

"God bless the little hearts, they're the ones who really pay. When Mom and Dad can't get along and they go their separate ways..."

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007
24 Recap: 4/9/07
24. Is. Back. If you see only one episode this year, see this one!

Recapping this week's episode, aka Day Six: 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM...

In the war room, with the missile in the air and less than five minutes from Syraqistan, Karen and Tom try to get Palmer to abort the strike. The Syraqistani Ambassador calls--to inquire about a blip on the radar screen that appears to be headed for his country-- and finally gives Palmer the name of a man inside their government who has been working with Fayed: General Mohmar Habib. Palmer aborts the strike, then tells Tom and Karen the missile was never armed. He bluffed Syraqistan to get them to admit information.

Somehwere around the Santa Monica Pier, Jack is interrogating a bloody-faced Fayed. Fayed reminds him that Jack killed his brother. Bill calls and while Jack is on the phone, Ricky begins to interrogate Fayed and puts a gun to his head. Jack orders Ricky to lower his weapon and says they are going to transport Fayed back to CTU. Ricky remarks to Fayed, "Now we're gonna have some fun." What does that mean? Did he bring the Pac-Man game from Silver Spoons to CTU? Oh, come on, that never gets old!

While transporting Fayed, someone crashes into the CTU UPS truck, causing it to turn over. Several men, who I'm guessing are Syraqistani militants, get out and start shooting. Jack and Ricky try to ward them off. Ricky is shot and goes down. Then Jack is shot! Then... I died. I began to see a bright light and was being drawn towards it... The men take Fayed into their van, which looks a little like a Brink's truck. When the van is out of sight, Jack sits up and yells, "We're clear!" It was another hoax! The men are undercover agents pretending to rescue Fayed, hoping he will lead them to the remaining suitcase nukes.

In the back of the Brink's van, the agents--who for some reason alternate speaking English and Syraqistani to Fayed--say Habib sent them to rescue Fayed and take him where he needs to go. Fayed asks for a gun as a show of trust and is given one. Then he refuses to tell the men where to take him until he speaks with Habib.

In the bunker, Tom apologizes to Palmer for doubting his leadership. They are about to go meet the Syraqistani Ambassador when Palmer nearly falls. Last week, he was grimacing a lot. This week, his hands are shaky. Google: WebMD, symptoms, grimace, shaky hands... click... OK, says here President Palmer may have epilepsy, low blood sugar, acute stress reaction, dementia with Lewy bodies, and/or cocaine abuse. Eww, Lewy bodies, you don't want those!

Meeting with the ambassador, an aggressive Palmer tells him to sit down, and informs him of CTU's undercover plan to trick Fayed. The ambassador says they are questioning Habib in Syraqistan but that he won't talk. Palmer--who now has a little Seal thing going on with the stitches on his face--asks the ambassador if they've tried threatening Habib's family.

At As The Counter Terrorist Unit Turns, Nadia tells Milo, "I need you to upload the propriety channel on Socket D to my terminal." Oh, Nadia. I love it when you talk techy to me. Milo, apparently not turned on by her request, refuses. Turns out he's jealous Nadia talked to Ricky or something. Blah blah blah. What was the point of that little segment?

Somewhere in Syraqistan, we see Habib. With his family being held at gunpoint, he calls Fayed and tells him that he sent the men. Fayed tells the undercover agents to head East. Meanwhile, after the meeting with the ambassador, Palmer starts to pass out and tells Tom to lock the door as he crumples to the floor. Later, a doctor works on Palmer and says his blood pressure has dropped. Palmer asks for a shot of adrenalin, but the doctor refuses, saying another shot would kill him.

Nadia tells Bill she heard Habib mention a guy named Samir during his call to Fayed. When she tried to pull up info on Samir, she found that he's been dead for two years. But really, when you're dead, does time even matter? Nadia thinks Habib was trying to give Fayed a signal that it was a set up. They radio the info out to Jack and Ricky, who are following the Brink's van at a distance. Jack calls one of the agents in the van and warns him it could be a trap. Then he loses signal as the Brink's van enters a tunnel.

Jack and Ricky arrive and find the van stopped in the tunnel. Two men inside are dead and one is wounded. Fayed is gone. Jack goes to find him. He comes up on Fayed making a call and telling someone he's on his way. Fayed gets into a garbage truck. Jack latches on to the underside of the truck and goes for a ride.

Fayed stops at what appears to be some sort of warehouse. He tells his men to load the bombs on the truck and says they are going to finish the job and take out downtown Los Angeles! Jack follows them inside, then starts a shootout, managing to take out all five or six of Fayed's men by himself. Then it's just Jack and Fayed! They both conveniently run out of ammo at about the same time. After a brief struggle, Jack manages to wrap a chain from a cargo elevator or something around Fayed's neck. Just before starting the elevator, he tells Fayed, "Say hello to your brother." BOOYAH!!!!! It was at this point that I somehow sprained my wrist. Seriously. I clapped really hard or something. I don't know.

Fayed is hanged. Ricky and the field team arrive. Ricky calls CTU and says, "The bombs are secure and Jack is OK." As they walk out of the warehouse, Ricky's phone rings. It's for Jack. Jack says hello.

Then... we see Audrey!!!

She looks a little rough, but still cute. She says, "Help me, Jack. Please, help me." Then the phone is taken away from her by Cheng Zhi, who tells Jack if he wants Audrey to remain alive, he will call Cheng back on a secure line...

The good:
Most everything! This is the 24 I've come to know and love.

Jack hanging Fayed.

Palmer's bluff, fooling not only Syraqistan, but Tom, Karen, and the 24 Nation.

The CTU hoax, which again fooled me into thinking Jack had been shot.

Two awesome midseason twists: Apparently wrapping up the suitcase nuke plot and moving on to a whole new storyline. And, of course, bringing Audrey back.

The bad:
The only subpar scene I could find was Milo getting jealous of Nadia and Ricky. I don't see the point of putting that scene in this episode. It was completely out of place.

Best quote:
"Say hello to your brother."

Other Bauerisms:
"Trust me, I haven't begun to enjoy myself."

"The bombs are on the table."

Did you know...
The singer Seal married supermodel Heidi Klum in 2005. They have two children: Henry G√ľnther Ademola Dashtu Samuel and Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel, who they just call "J.R." Clearly these two have set the standard for giving your chldren as many names as possible.

Questions:
Is the suitcase nuke threat really over? That didn't take very long. When did the season start, 6 AM? 7 AM? The nukes are secured by 11 PM. So 7-11? Have a slurpee, Jack. You've earned it.

If it is over, what will be the new threat to the country? The whole show can't just be about Jack rescuing Audrey, can it? Although I wouldn't complain.

When will Jack's father, Marilyn, Josh, Martha Logan, and Aaron Pierce reappear. And what will they be up to?

"Well you know I gotta get out. But I'm stuck so tight. Weighed by the chains that keep me hangin' around this town on the corner..."

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Sunday, April 08, 2007
Time In
There is a growing problem in this country. And it's not limited to large cities, or the beltway, or the state of Utah. No, you can see evidence of it in the living rooms and backyards of Anytown, USA. It's the wussification of today's youth. Now there's no need to concern yourself with this word. It's a scientific term, basically meaning "the process of turning into wusses."

Allow me to spin you a yarn.

Yesterday I went into the kitchen to fix a bowl of Lucky Charms, a not uncommon occurrence in Bachelorville. I'll admit I was a tad excited when I bought them Thursday and saw the prize was a Spiderman water squirter. So one might think I was thrilled when I opened the box and found the water squirter sitting right there on top. Au contraire, monsieur. (That's French for "You must not know 'bout me.") I was dismayed.

When I was a kid, cereal prizes were located in the bag with the cereal. Crap plastic toys and fake tattoos were buried deep within gobs of sweetened, frosted, or toasted bits of corn and puffed wheat. To find the prize, you either had to pour out the entire box and get in trouble, or wait and hope with all your might that the prize would come out in your bowl instead of that of your siblings. It was like a little cereal lottery.

Or worse, there wasn't even a prize in the box. And you had to collect the dreaded proofs of purchase from three or four cereal boxes, then beg your mother to mail them in so you could get your hard earned prize. Three or four boxes! Do you have any idea how long that seems to the mind of a child? It was like waiting on four Christmases.

But today? Kids don't have to dig around or collect proofs of purchase. The prize is right there on top, handed to them, like everything else. And this is a perfect microcosm of what is wrong with kids today. But I don't blame the kids at all. I blame people like Big Cereal. Oh, and the trampoline industry, of course.

Among the most tangible signs of the wussification of kids are trampolines with those ten foot high vinyl and net walls surrounding them. That's not a trampoline; it's a playhouse with a bouncy floor. I don't understand. Was there a sudden spike in the number of trampoline tragedies beteween the time I was a kid and today?

When I was young, my parents didn't overprotect me with a fence and roof on my trampoline. Half the fun of jumping on a trampoline was getting caught up in the springs once in awhile and pinching the fire out of your leg, or jumping too high and banging your head against that steel rail. YOu do that a few times, and you don't need a protective wall. You'll stay real close to the middle.

Then there is the abundance of protective gear kids today have to wear to ride a freaking bicycle. I saw a little girl the other day riding a bike with training wheels on a sidewalk, wearing knee pads and a helmet. Most kids are so loaded down with safety gear, you could shoot them out of a cannon and they wouldn't get a scratch. If I had ridden my bike dressed like that, every kid in the neighborhood would have laughed me straight into therapy.

Aren't we being a little too overprotective? I mean, what's next? Soft foam padding underneath swing sets? Wearing life preservers and arm floaties in little one-foot deep plastic pools? Can you imagine growing up and never having to have stitches or a cool scar or a cast for all your friends to sign?

Kids can barely even get into trouble these days. What's with these washable markers? A kid marks all over their clothes or a wall in the house. So what? It comes right out. When I was a kid, we had permanent markers. Heck, we kept Heloise in business. Not only was the ink permanent, but the fumes were so strong, you could get brain damage from sniffing one too long. And again, I turned out fine.

So you parents might be saying, "Bone, you make some valid points, even though you have no kids and it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime in the foreseeable future. What can we do to help our kids?"

Well, don't take it from me, take it from this woman. Who I'd be willing to guess not only doesn't have kids, but probably hasn't even had a date in fifteen years.

You give your children a TIME OUT. According to this article, "It's important to not spank, hit, or slap a child of any age." (Um, were my parents the only ones who apparently missed that memo?)

"Bone," you may wonder, "How long should my child's time outs be?" Well again, referring to our resident expert, one minute for each year of age is a good rule of thumb.

Now, when I was in school, if I got a paddling, I knew I was going to get another when I got home. Imagine how much better I would have behaved if instead of a paddling, I had been given a ten minute time out. And knew that when I got home I was in for ten more minutes. I shudder at the thought.

Seriously, when I was a kid, if I got in trouble, I was the one wanting to call a time-out. And if I had tried to, I am only fairly certain my Dad would have immediately called time-in.

This whole situation frightens me. These are the bloggers of tomorrow we're talking about. I'm barely even going to be able to enjoy my Spider Man water squirter now.

"I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way..."

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007
3WW #30
Welcome to Three Word Wednesday.

Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. This is a writing exercise. It doesn't have to be perfect. The idea is to let your mind wander and write what it will. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
Miles
Voice
Holding


Three Word Wednesday... Thursday... whatever :) So since I'm so very late, you get two entries this week. A haiku and a story.

I'll never know how
The simple sound of her voice
Can reach across miles

Touch my broken soul
Melt the distance, until I'm
Holding her again

There is a distance
That can't be counted. For it's
Far too great and sad

May ours be measured
Only by miles and inches
Never by silence

--------------------------------

As Jim walked thru the large, open room, there were only a few people scattered around, in groups of two, three, or four. He got to the first door and checked the name on it: Ramsay. This was it.

Opening the door, Jim saw the crowd of people he expected. Near the front, he saw the widower sitting by the casket. The old man seemed to be in a daze, as those closest to the deceased often are. Occasionally he flashed a grateful smile as people passed by.

Jim joined the line of well-wishers filing past the casket. As the line moved slowly along, soon Jim could hear the man's familiar voice. It was just as he remembered it. As if they had just spoken yesterday. But they hadn't.

They had not spoken in eight years. Not since Jim abruptly left the business and moved out of state. When Clark had become too old to run the business by himself, he was forced to sell it. That had caused the rift between the two men. Jim's emotions were a mixture of nerves and sadness. Could the fences be mended or would the coldness continue?

When he reached the front of the line, he extended his hand. In it, he was holding a family portrait. The old man saw the photo before he saw who was holding it. It was a picture of him, his wife, and their only child. He raised his gray-blue eyes to see Jim standing there.

The boy offered a handshake, and in a voice that sounded like someone else talking, said, "I'm sorry, Dad."

Jim Ramsay had driven over four hundred miles that day. He could have driven for the rest of his life and never covered as much distance as he did in that moment.

"I find the map and draw a straight line, over rivers, farms, and state lines. The distance from A to where you'd be. It's only finger-lengths that I see."

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007
24 Recap: 4/2/07
Pia has a shiny, happy new template over at Courting Destiny. It's resplendent. (Seriously, 'Tor, I'm a little jealous.)

Recapping this week's 24, aka Day Six: 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM...

Daniels wants to wield control from Palmer so that he can launch the nuclear strike on Fayed's Country, which I will refer to from hereon as Syraqistan. He challenges Palmer's ability to discharge the duties of the Presidency, so it is decided that the cabinet will hear testimony and then vote. Before the hearing, Palmer asks Doctor Welti for a shot of adrenalin. Talk about cliche. Oh! He means an actual shot, like with needles and stuff.

After a ten minute recess--yeah, that seems like enough time to decide the future leader of the nation--the cabinet votes. It's a tie. And as we all know from baseball, a tie always goes to the President. Except that Daniels claims Karen Hayes' vote is invalid, because she resigned earlier in the day. The Attorney General says the validity of Karen's vote should be decided by the Supreme Court. Palmer grimaces, which he pretty much does this entire episode. Could it possibly be from the explosion he survived about four hours ago, or the coma he was in twenty minutes ago?

Over at As The Counter Terrorist Unit Turns, Ricky calls Nadia into his office and tells her he thinks Milo entered a wrong security code, allowing CTU's system to be infiltrated by the drone pilot. He wants Nadia to check Milo's computer without him knowing. Which I'm thinking Milo is going to like so much less than her checking his breath. With Ricky pressuring her, Nadia does it and finds that Milo had entered a wrong code. She expects Ricky to have Milo fired. Instead, Ricky logs in and changes the data to cover for him. When Milo returns, he spends the rest of the episode casting deep, suspicious glares at Nadia.

In the field, Jack agrees to the immunity for Gredenko, telling Bill it won't be valid if the Presidency is being contested. Gredenko calls Fayed and they agree to meet at the Santa Monica Pier to exchange security codes and plot out more havoc-wreaking. All while enjoying a couple of blue coconut Hawaiian shaved ices, no doubt.

In the bunker, Team Palmer and Team Daniels are going over the arguments they'll present to the Supreme Court. Lisa doesn't think Daniels will win and volunteers to lie and swear that Daniels told her he planned to relieve Karen of her duties. Daniels holds her hand, which was a bit awkward and ambiguous. Later, Tom comes in and asks to meet with Daniels alone. Tom shows him a microtransmitter he had planted in the office, then plays back a tape of Lisa volunteering to lie under oath and the Vice President consenting to it. He then tells Daniels to call and drop his motion to remove the President, which he does.

Arriving at the pier, Gredenko is injected in the arm with some radioactive material which will "go straight into the bone" and allow CTU to track him. He then goes to meet Fayed. When he gets inside, he doesn't say a word as he pulls off the transmitter CTU has wired him with and unplugs it. Fayed, putting on his best et-tu-Gredenko face says, "You led them to me." Jack and the field team move in. When Jack gets into the room where Gredenko is supposed to be, he's not there. Oh, but his arm is! It's lying on the floor. He cut it off so CTU couldn't track him! That's going to cause serious problems the next time he tries to do the hokey pokey.

Fayed and Gredenko stroll into a local pub. All that terror-mongering makes a guy thirsty. Suddenly, Gredenko points at Fayed and says, "That's him. That's the terrorist. I've seen him on TV." Fayed shoots a couple of people before the locals are able to subdue him. Gredenko limps into the darkness before Jack arrives and secures Fayed. We next see Gredenko underneath the pier, where he appears to be getting weaker. He passes out at water's edge.

Back in the bunker, Palmer gets another shot of adrenalin. Karen tells Tom she wants to call a truce. Tom's phone rings and he is clearly disturbed and alarmed by the call. He tells Karen that Palmer has decided to go ahead with the nuclear strike anyway! Tom goes to the war room and tries talking sense into the President. But Palmer says he doesn't want to appear weak any longer and a nuclear missile is launched at Syraqistan from the USS Vickery...

The good:
Twists, twists, everywhere! Tom turning on Daniels. Ricky covering for Milo. Gredenko cutting off his arm, then giving up Fayed, then passing out and maybe dying himself.

Tom bugging the Vice President's office and thwarting his efforts to commit perjury.

More suspicion. What is Ricky up to? What is Tom up to?

The bad:
No Chloe? No CHLOE?! NO CHLOE!!!! What is up with that?

I didn't buy Palmer's sudden 180 on the nuclear strike, after he had fought so hard and risked his life to stop it.

Best scene:
Gredenko's severed arm lying in the floor. You simply cannot overstate the entertainment value of a detached limb.

Best quote:
Tom: "Well, sir, I'm on the side of the United States of America. And if you ever thought otherwise, you were very much mistaken."

Did you know...
Tiger's Blood is widely regarded as the current most popular flavor of shaved ice. It is a combination of red berry fruits and coconut flavoring.

Did you know, part deux...
Grimace first appeared as a McDonaldland character in 1971 as a four-armed milkshake stealing bandit. But was later recast as a lovable two-armed doofus. If you're having trouble keeping up, Palmer grimaced throughout this episode. And Gredenko has one arm.

Questions:
Why did Palmer do a complete reversal and launch the nuclear strike? Is his brain swelling? Or are they blaming it on the adrenaline? I know sometimes when I'm playing football on the Xbox, I'll get fired up and do something really crazy like go for it on 4th and 28 from my own 10.

Is Gredenko dead?

Why no Chloe???

What happened to Martha Logan, and more importantly, Aaron Pierce?

"You put your left arm in. You take your left arm out. You put your left arm in, and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about..."

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Monday, April 02, 2007
Play ball!
Sniff Sniff

Can you smell it? Freshly cut grass, dirt, resin, hot dogs, peanuts... That's the smell of summer, my friends.

Although honestly the only thing I can smell right now is the poison stench of smoke. They've hired this little guy to come in and do some work part-time. He looks to be about 40 and lives with his mama. And when he comes into the room, the stench of smoke off his clothes is stronger than any I've ever tried not to smell. I've affectionately nicknamed him Smokestack. We basically have someone on Lysol duty to just follow him around with a can all day. And by someone, I mean me. He doesn't seem to mind.

But I digress (and hold my breath). Summer is here. Oh sure, maybe not solstice-wise. But now that Pluto is no longer a planet, I figure we can pretty much throw anything we've learned about astronomy over the past thousand years out the window anyway.

Today is Opening Day for major league baseball. Opening Day means a fresh start. Everybody is tied for first. It means my beloved Reds will be on ESPN, for one of the few times all season. It means a brand new season full of possibilities and optimism. Except of course for the Royals. But at least they have a stadium with pretty waterfalls or fountains or something.

Opening Day is about hope. And in that way, isn't it a little metaphor for life. Because really, without hope, what do we have?

You'll notice I've changed my sidebar scoreboard from basketball to el beisbol. That's just Bone's little tribute to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking baseball players.

Welcome, amigos. Vamos Cincinnati!

"Baby, if you've ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me, I'm living on the air in Cincinnati..."

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