Archive for May, 2010

A days pay on the Wildside

Posted in Stuff on May 26, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

For the second time in my brief career as a journalist I’m sitting front row for a murder trial: The State vs  David Hill.

Hill, 26, is accused of beating another man to death and then dumping his body in the woods in East Hampton. The fight was allegedly about a drug debt.

Trials are exciting but they are emotionally draining. Granted, I’m not invested like friends and family of the victim and defendant but I still feel like a part of it all.

Back in October I covered the trial of Antonio Inglis. A 19-year-old “gangbanger” who killed two men at a night club in Cromwell. Before the verdict was read the jury was crying. Most in the courtroom were seated behind me, clutching hands, tears rolling down their faces.

I was caught up in it all. My heart was pounding and I had that dry feeling in the back of my throat. No matter the outcome the families were never going to be the same. Antonio was found guilty. Sent to jail for the rest of his days. Another life ruined.

For me the hardest part of todays proceedings was not when the prosecution projected photos on the courtroom wall of the victim’s remains – his decaying body unrecognizable, his skull covered in dirt.

No, the hardest part is when state lawyers handed the victim’s brother a watch and asked him to identify it. The man held the watch. Looked at it and his face turned white. The time piece had belonged to his dead brother.

“Take your time,” the prosecutor said.

“That’s Louie’s watch,” the man said, choking back tears.

We all were choking up.

Courageous are the families who sit through these proceedings in open court. Having to hear grizzly details about a loved ones death. Or the other side of the equation. Having to hear that their child, the little boy who loved roller coasters and GI Joes is now a monster, possibly capable of cold-blooded murder.

I’ve reviewed the arrest reports, which contain witness testimony and police evidence. I’ve made up my mind. I can pretty much guarantee how this will end but that is not for me to say right now. That’s for a jury to ultimately decide and for the time being I’ll respect the process and not give my opinions in such a public forum.

Plenty of time for that later.

  

  

 

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LOST: Time To Let Go…

Posted in Lost on May 24, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

Do series finales ever live up to our expectations? Some are really good (Six Feet Under, The Shield), some are really bad (Seinfeld) and  some are just plain confusing (The Sopranos).

Those are the extremes. But most finales tend to land somewhere in the middle. Which is where I believe last night’s epic LOST finale landed.

Some loved it, some hated, some were confused and some just thought, “meh”.

Personally I loved it. It gave me everything I wanted. It wrapped up the island storyline and even gave us a glimpse (a big glimpse) into the castaways post-island (after) life.

The biggest gripes I’m hearing about the finale is that it did not explain the island. What is it? Why is it? But that was actually one of my favorite things about the finale. I’m glad the writers left it up to the fans to decide what the island truly is.

To put it into perspective: Does CS Lewis ever explain why Narnia is magical? Does the Good Witch ever tell us why Oz is filled with dwarfs and flying monkeys? In Star Wars Obi Wan explains to Luke what The Force is, just as Jacob described to Richard what The Island IS, but never explain WHY. Why can the force be used to move objects. Why can some people control the force while others are unaware of its existence? Why does the island time travel? What makes up the light below?

We will never know the answers to these mysteries and I’m fine with that. I’ve made peace with that. I’ve moved on.

Like fellow Lostie Jay said many years ago, “How are they going to explain everything? Have some guy in  a white coat pop on the screen and say, ‘The reason the island time travels is because…'”

I think the writers gave us enough of a foundation to make up our own minds about why things are the way they are and the rest is up to us. To be debated endlessly on blogs and message boards untill the end of time.

The island action ended perfectly. The way it began. With Jack, the hero. laying in the bamboo field, smiling, watching his friends finally leaving the island, as he lay dying. His purpose fulfilled. His only company, Vincent. The dog who was with him when it began, was with him in the end. Keeping him company until he crossed over. Good Boy.

Do people really not understand the sideways world?

In simplest terms:

Season 1 – They all crashed. All the characters we knew and loved the last 6 years DID NOT DIE HERE! I repeat, they did not die here.

Season 2 – Stuff happened

Season 3 – Stuff happened

Season 4 – Stuff happened

Season 5 – Stuff happened

Season 6 – Let’s ignore the alt. universe.

More people died. At the end, the Hurley is the new Jacob, the new protector of the island. He may be there for thousands of years, but eventually he will die. Ben is his sidekick, the new Richard, he may be there for thousands of years, and eventually he will die. Desmond is with them, but Hurley will get him off the island, he is the new Jacob, he has powers. Eventually he will die.

Jack died (with Vincent, Matthew Fox’s dog in real life, laying next to him, so ****ing sad). Kate, Claire, Sawyer, Lapidus, Miles, and Richard all flew off the island. Let’s assume they lived happily ever after, but eventually, they all died too. Everyone dies! That’s life for ya, death and taxes are the only two sure things.

Now this is where the opening of Season 6 starts, once everyone is dead. They are all in purgatory. It all begins in the plane because this is where the most important part of their lives began, where they met the most important people they would ever meet, Oceanic Flight 815.

Problem though is, they are dead but not at peace. They all can’t move on. They all miss each other. There are too many stones yet unturned. Too many sins not atoned for.

Charlie tried to kill himself, but he couldn’t die, he was already dead! When he saw this, he then had a flash of what meant most to him while he was alive . . . Claire.  He opens the door for Desmond, and Desmond opened the door for everyone else. Every person had to realize what they all had been through, the giant adventure. They had to see all the sacrifices they made, all the things they did, the HELL they went through, and they had to see it together. Jack was just the last one to figure it out in the afterlife.

Ben couldn’t move on just yet. Having Hurley give him a thumbs up and Locke forgiving him wasn’t enough. He killed his dad, he killed his daughter, he killed all of Dharmaville! He wasn’t ready yet, he needed to atone.

Everyone else though, they were sitting in the church, much like passengers in the plane, and the two most important people, Jack and Locke, were in the front row, on a flight to their ultimate peace.

That was the tv show LOST! It was an adventure about a group of people who were alone, they had no one, they were given a tremendous responsibility, and they were all LOST. In the end, after they saved the world, after they made sacrifices, they were all together –  no longer alone, no longer LOST.

So, yes, I’m at peace with the finale.  I’ve let go of my favorite show ever. But it will live on.  It will live on DVD, repeats on ABC and, of course, Hulu.

Lost has also been a big part of this blog. I started recapping in season two, five years ago, and never looked back.

I’m thankful that LOST gave me something to write about each week. I’m thankful for the fully realized fleshed-out characters who felt like friends. I’m thankful for LOST.

See you in another life, Brutha…

THE END aka LOST SERIES FINALE

Posted in Lost on May 22, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

“It only ends once. Everything else is just progress.” – Jacob

I can’t believe it. On Sunday night, after six years, my favorite show of all time comes to a close. Yes, come Sunday at 11:30 p.m. Lost will be over.

I’m not quite ready to reflect on what six years of being a LOST fan has been like to me. As I said to Keely earlier this week, “It’s not just a show to me…I’m invested.”

For anyone that cares I fully plan on having a final LOST blog sometime after the show ends. A blog where I will comment on the overall scope of te show. But, not having seen how this grand adventure ends, I feel it not right to comment just yet.

Instead I will focus on this Sunday’s LOST EVENT.

It all comes down to this. No more speculating. As always, I’ll simply defer to the final episode and allow the writers to tell their story. Afterall, there is nothing we can do about it now.

I  can only hope that the majority of our questions will be answered but more importantly, I hope all our favorite characters, the true driving force behind the show, have satisfying ends to their overall story arcs.Yes, I’m invested. I care about what happens to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and the rest….even Big Bad Ben, maybe especially Ben.

So I wont curse the GODS if I’m not told who dropped the Dharma Food, or Who Was In The Cabin or why that Parrot once said Hurley’s name in the jungle. I will be annoyed if I don’t find the the fates of our beloved castaways. Will they be happy? Will they live or die? This is the end. The time for cliffhangers is LOOOONG past.

That’s all I really have to say right now. I’ve yet to really decide if I’m going to watch the end with a group of friends or just by myself. All I really know is I’ll be watching. I can’t imagine any fan of the show not watching. And for you non-fans out there: I implore you to either watch or set your DVRs for Saturday night. ABC is showing the original LOST PILOT from 2004. See where it all began. It’s two hours and, as one movie critic said back when it premiered, “If the LOST premiere was shown in movie theaters instead of on TV, it would have been the best movie of the year.”

“Destiny is a fickle bitch.” – Ben Linus speaking to John Locke.

What They Died For

Posted in Lost on May 17, 2010 by bigdaddygouda
We certainly got some answers last week in Across The Sea.  However, I don’t know that they were quite the answers that we wanted or needed… or that they were offered in the timeframe they needed to be in.

After a staggering episode two weeks ago (The Candidate) that set the stage for a climactic final few episodes, last week’s episode of Lost (“Across the Sea”),  felt like it squandered the taut momentum of the last few episodes, pushing aside the central characters for the backstory of the island’s dueling deities, Jacob  and his Nemesis, the Nameless One  and their mother (Allison Janney).

While Jacob and his Nemesis have provided much theorizing among Lost‘s devoted audience, I don’t think that they are the driving force behind the overarching narrative, at least not in an emotional context. We’ve come back week after week to follow the adventures of our beloved band of castaways, caught in a timeless battle between good and evil, but it’s been those characters–Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Hurley, Sun, and Jin (and the rest)–who have provided the emotional spine of the series.

Casting them aside this late in the game to focus on the mysterious past of two characters we know precious little about seemed doomed to failure, with so few episodes remaining in the series. For an episode that was intended to provide answers–and perhaps closure to some mysteries–it ultimately felt increasingly frustrating and obtuse. Were these stories that needed to be told? Or at least told in this fashion? With so few hours remaining in this grand tapestry, wasn’t it a bit of a waste of yarn at this point?

Here, we’re meant to see the beginnings of the grand rivalry, the endless push and pull between good and evil that exemplifies the balance of the island, but instead we got a domestic drama about a woman who steals children, lies to them about the nature of the world, and then sets them against one another after showing them the truth behind their island home: a glowy, watery cave that is the source of the light within every man.

Wait, say what? After six seasons and countless theories about the nature of the island and its energy source–which had been explored already through the Dharma Stations, the Orientation films, and the groovy 1970s sojourn–the war comes down to who controls this badly rendered special effect?

Back in Season One, John Locke claimed to have seen the heart of the island (or specifically the “eye of the island”) and that it was a beautiful and transcendent experience, made all the more so because we didn’t see it. Instead, we saw a bright shining light that was reflected in his face and an expression that was akin to divine communion. Here, that energy source–that ephemeral spirit that exists within all of us–is transformed into something tangible and therefore loses something in the translation. What’s unseen is typically more psychologically powerful to the viewer than what is seen and, by giving the Source a form, the writers have essentially removed its aura of mystery and therefore its narrative strength.

We learned just what the relationship was between Jacob and his Nemesis (as I predicted, they’re twin brothers!); we learned where they came from (their pregnant, Latin-speaking mother was shipwrecked on the island); we learned who raised them (a solemn woman prone to keeping secrets and weaving things into her hair); we learned who originally constructed the frozen donkey wheel (the Man in Black!); we learned who the skeletons in the cave belonged to (Mother and Man in Black!); and we learned how the Nameless One became the smoke monster (his unconscious body went into the Source and his soul was stripped from his body).

Does it all make sense. I guess. Kind of. The light of all man is on the island for some reason and it must be protected. First by mother and then Jacob and eventually….Jack? Sawyer? Desmond? Once the light goes out then, I dunno the world ends?

Hmm, I guess that’s all I have to say about that.

——————————————

Tonight the actions picks up from two weeks ago when Jin/Sun, Sayid and Lapidus died. There was a special screening of this episode over the weekend and word coming out is that LOST is once again firing on all cylinders. Tonight there will be more death, more anwers and I hear we will finally learn why Kate used to be a candidate but now is not.

Enjoy it folks. This is the last one hour weekly episode of LOST EVER!!! The last one before Sunday’s two-and-a half hour FINALE!!!

Sniffle, Sniffle.

 

The Facebook News

Posted in Stuff on May 14, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

CONNECTICUT – There is not enough vodka in the world, this according to Bethlehem resident Krista Modine. This news has yet to be confirmed as calls to the Absolut company were not immediately returned.

BOSTON – Tina and Jason Maroon are now friends with Jason Marecki. The basis for this relationship has not been made public and more information will emerge as officials continue their investigation.

NEW YORK – Meghann Pfeffer Tucker is making her daughter Riley’s favorite dinner tonight… baked salmon, sweet potatoes and spinach. Whether or not the toddler cleared her plate is unknown at this time.

In a related story Mark Pfeffer is considering  eating hipster granny glasses like they were going out of style in attempt to find out if they would actually go out of style. Health officials advised against this behavior. Pfeffer could not be reached for comment.

LITCHFIELD – Erin Peck Maziarz and Lesley Budny have re-connected through Facebook and both parties appear happy. Where this relationship will lead has yet to be determined.

MANCHESTER – Ashlie Dranginis reportedly spent some  quality time with Zach and Lauren Thursday afternoon. It is unclear if the trio has spent quality time together in the past or will in the future.

TORRINGTON –  Reports coming out of Granby suggest Meagan Anderson does not have to work again until Tuesday.  Anderson would not confirm reports that she will be spending her mini-vacation in Kentucky.

TORRINGTON – It has been confirmed that Bryan Grustas likes Sky Top Lanes. Sources close to Grustas report that he is an avid bowler and spends eight to 10 hours a week at the East Main Street establishment.

COLORADO – In a shocking development Rick Kliminowki has created fire. Details to follow.

BREAKING NEWS: Reports out of Torrington indicate Gordon Falcetti’s  leg training went well. More details as they become available.

NEW YORK – Chris Kostecki was seen looking toward the horizon early Thursday. What he saw has yet to be reported.

CONNECTICUT – Several reports coming out of  Taftville indicate that Stacy Ritchotte, former girlfriend of Eric Lambert, is making a sad face. The reason for this startling development is currently under investigation.

LITCHFIELD – It appears that when Carrie Newton Copeland has the music then she has a place to go. Exactly what music she has and where she is going remains unclear as of press time. In similar news, Copeland has recently become friends with Keith Brown, Angela Lynn Joray and Scott Dimenstein. Whether or not they too have music and a place to go in undetermined.

TORRINGTON – Radio DJ Amy Ferarotti was recently tagged in an album featuring photos from The Producers, currently in production at the historic Warner Theater. It is unclear if the tagged photos were authorized by Ferarotti.

BOSTON – Former Northfield resident Jill Coffey has reportedly written a letter to writers of the hit TV show Lost, telling them to get their Sh*t together in an effort to ensure a satisfying conclusion to the May 23 Series Finale. Writers of Lost did not return calls seeking comment.

TORRINGTON – Kendra Powell has revealed she has no tolerance for stupid people, saying they “piss her off.”

That’s the Facebook News for Friday May 14. Goodnight America.

  

 

Across The Sea

Posted in Lost on May 10, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

First order of business: Rest In Peace  Jin/Sun, Sayid and Lapidus.

We can cross a few more names off the cave wall now, thanks to an episode that definitely brought the emotional painfulness back to Lost as well as brought things full circle to the notion of family and the bonds between these characters. When Lost first began, it was essentially a story of survival as a group of strangers–united by tragedy–had to discover a way to stay alive, deciding whether to live together or die alone.
Over the course of six seasons and countless threats to their survival, these disparate characters have grown into something akin to a family. A highly dysfunctional one, granted, but one nonetheless. The invisible threats of fate that linked them at the beginning have been replaced by strong emotional tethers. When Lost-X Jack calls Claire “family,” it’s not just about their newly discovered sibling bond but about all of the characters on the series.
Family, after all, is what you’re willing to lay down your life for, to make the ultimate sacrifice, to stay to the bitter end as the waters rise up over your head. What’s united these castaways all along is love.

 

With only a handful of episodes remaining, I wanted some real emotional impact, some major stakes raised, rather than just another trek through the jungle or another double-cross of ol’ Smokey. Fortunately, the Lost writer gods must have been listening to me because the last twenty minutes of “The Candidate” packed in more plot twists and unexpected tension than several entire episodes.
And, thanks to the death of three major characters (and the assumed death of another), we saw the castaways shattered in a way we haven’t seen them in a very long time. Escaping from the wreckage of the submarine, they’re scared, shaken, and very sad. Those moments on the beach bring it all home. There’s been so much talk of supernatural entities, candidates, and greater purposes that it’s become easy to lose sight of the true battle going on here: survival. The deaths of Sun and Jin and of Sayid are an inescapable reminder that they–and we–are just all too mortal. When your time is up, it’s up. You don’t always get to have the happy ending that you deserve.
I thought that the submarine sequence was gorgeously shot and that the entire last twenty minutes or so–from the time they arrive on the dock to the very end of the episode–had me on the edge of my seat, either gasping in shock (Kate’s shooting) or sobbing (Sun and Jin’s death). I had a feeling, as soon as I saw that the Man in Black had removed the C4 explosives from the plane that something awful was about to unfold but even I couldn’t have predicted that the producers would be killing off three major cast members in one fell swoop. (As well as leaving the fate of poor Frank Lapidus so ambiguous, though I can’t imagine that the pilot survived.)

 

Sun is trapped in the wreckage of the sinking submarine. Faced with an impossible decision, Jin can either escape and save himself or they can die together. The fact that the Kwons were always represented with a single candidate number–42–is a poetic foreshadowing of the way they exit the world: bound together, united, hands intertwined. Their moment of unity is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time: an undersea ballet of billowing hair and clasped hands, a blue-hued postcard of the power of true love. These two never get their happy ending but they also get to die together, in each others arms, beneath the sea. It’s only in death that their hands are separated…
(Sigh. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it again.)
I was glad to see the old Sayid again, even if it was just one last time at the end of his life. For too long, we’ve seen a cold, emotionless Sayid, a walking zombie, who cared little for anyone else. But this week, Sayid seems to spring back to life again, recalling the Sayid from the earlier seasons, with his knowledge of defusing bombs. A zombie wouldn’t willingly sacrifice themselves for the greater good, but Sayid–now once again alive, it would seem–does just that. He tells Jack about Desmond’s location and instructs him to find Desmond and tells him that he is the one, the candidate of the title. And then he runs with the bomb and is blown to smithereens. He redeemed himself with that one act, proving that redemption is possible for anyone, regardless of their past actions.

 

The most heartbreaking scene in the show was when the survivors of the sub explosion washed up on the beach and had a good cry. Those who had fallen deserved to be mourned and Hurley did a nice job of expressing what us Lost die-hards were certainly feeling.

The end of the episode is akin to The Empire Strikes Back. The heroes are left decimated and defeated. It looks like the bad guy won. But, the good guys rebounded come Return of the Jedi and eventually balance was restored to the universe.

Me thinks Jack has all he can stands and he can’t stands no more. I for one can’t wait to see how this pans out….

But we will have to wait a week to see the ramifications of the sub explosion because tonight is an episode thousands of years in the making.

Across The Sea tells the story of Jacob and The Man in Black. Every question we have had about them is apparently answered tonight.

I’m about to make some predictions so if you don’t wanna possibly be spoiled then stop reading right now…..STOP

…………………………

Jacob and MIB are brothers. Twin Brothers. They grew up together and somehow ended up on the island. While there MIB became corrupted somehow. Seduced by the darkside possibly? And Jacob assumed the role of island protector and jailor of his evil Twin Brother.

Could it be true? Maybe. Possibly. I guess we’ll see.

I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for the episode that finally explains the mythology of the island.

Across The Sea. This is the big one.
 
 

 

Anatomy of a SCOOP

Posted in Stuff on May 7, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

SCOOP: exclusive: a news report that is reported first by one news organization.

I sat in the clerk’s office of Middletown Superior Court writing as fast as could. It was 4:20. They would need their file back by 4:40, in time to store it away and close up shop by 5:00 p.m.

I was writing down the important details of an arrest warrant. Some Wesleyan kid had been arrested for sending harassing e-mails to some girl he was apparently obsessed with. Not really huge news, but in Middletown, if someone burps too loud at that college, we as reporters are required to write about it.

Just then a female walked into the clerk’s office. I glanced quickly and noticed she was carrying a notebook. She was a reporter too and most likely wanted to see the same file I had.

She introduced herself to the clerk as so and so from the Harford Courant and she needed to look at  file.

“Which one,” the clerk asked, a bit annoyed that it was the end of the day and reporters were pulling files.

But she didn’t request the one I had. It was totally different. A name that sounded vaguely familiar.

She glanced at the file in her hand. Unaware that I, tucked away in the corner of the office, was watching her like a hawk. She then placed a call on her iPhone.

“Yeah, it’s me. I have the file. The arrest warrant is 7 pages what should I do…..Okay.”

She then hung up and asked the clerk for photo copies. Five minutes later, copies in hand, the Courant reporter rushed out of the clerk’s office.

I darted from my seat, waving my arms, snapping my fingers in an attempt to get the clerk’s attention.

When she glanced at me I mouthed, “I need that file.”

I whispered just in case the Courant reporter was still within earshot.

The clerk rolled her eyes and handed me the file. I glanced at the name: Carl Urlacher. Why is that familiar??

So I turned on my blackberry and did a name search in our newspaper archives. BINGO!!

He was the finance director in Middletown and was accused of threatening a young child who allegedly picked on his kid. There was a rumor that he was going to be arrested but that was weeks ago. Almost months ago, actually. But lo and behold, he’d been busted.

I practically through the file back at the clerk along with a wad of sweaty bills.

“I need copies!”

Five minutes later I was running across the street back to our office, copies in hand. I must have looked like Doc Emmett Brown from Back to the Future when he’s running across his lawn from his house to his workshop as Marty is trying to explain that  he’s from the future.

I walked to Hannah’s desk. She is the city reporter for Middletown and she’d been trying to get her hands on the warrant for a few weeks. I slapped it on her desk and explained what I’d just been through to get it.

She was more relieved than excited. I suppose it would have been a bit embarrassing if the Hartford based Courant had a story about the Middletown Finance Director and we, the hometown paper, didn’t.

Then I pointed out, we don’t only have the story as well, but we have a chance to beat them to the punch.

Hannah immediately got to work. Within the hour the story was up on our newspaper’s Website, along with the arrest warrant I had weaseled out of the clerk’s office. I checked the courant Web site at the same time. NOTHING!! Scooped!

I know for a fact that the Courant reporter didn’t see me in the clerk’s office. I know for a fact that local police did not issue a press release saying the finance guy had been busted. I know that courant reporter had received some sort of tip and most likely drove to the courthouse in Middletown thinking about the huge scoop she had.

Sorry missy.