Saturday, May 30, 2009

Civility

I played a turbo last night. It was the point in the tournament where the starting pot was starting to be significant. The hand was raise-call preflop, and then smallish bet-call on the flop and then it checked the turn. The leader pre shoved into a KK389 board with JJ and was called by KT.

King Ten scooped the pot, and then it started.

King Ten: Nice one.
King Ten: Thank you.
King Ten: Bad bluff.
King Ten: Donkey.

Now, I am getting better at staying out of these things, but here I could not help myself. I mean, OK, you played the hand well. You got maximum value. Don't act like you're Doyle Brunson.

Julius Goat: Classy.
Julius Goat: You run laps around wheelchairs, too?


There was nothing for another hand, and then:

King Ten: Poker.
King Ten: Classy.
King Ten: Don't really see the connection.
Julius_Goat: OK, gotcha. Enjoy your personality.

After that he got positively florid, and informed me that he was going to "slow play [me] out of the game." That's fine, I don't mind getting jawed at, especially since it was me who stuck my oar in to begin with. The great thing is that he tightened way up and basically slow-played himself out of the game. I went on to cash for like $4.60, so we know who the real winner is, don't we?

Anyway, I couldn't help myself. I understand that poker is a game of edges, and sometimes you want a psychological edge. For example, on PokerStars I have seen a George W. Bush icon (or a Barack Obama) unhinge people. It's insta-tilt for some. A player called "WifeBeat" once tilted half his table in the first minute without saying a word. So, tilting a weaker player through chat works, and can be a valid part of the game.

But what of this suggestion that poker and good sportsmanship are mutually exclusive? Why do people actually think that's true? Further, why would they WANT that to be true? You can't win without acting like you're Phil Hellmuth when you back into trips and manage to extract value?

It makes me want to punch a penguin.

And that's the point, isn't it? Mr. King-Ten wouldn't think of trying out this so-called "mandatory" classless behavior if he was within choking reach of his victim. But on ipoker sites (and even e-poker sites) all across the World Wide Web of the Internets, people think nothing of the rudest comments. King Ten was safe from punching, so King Ten decided to show us his insecurities and needle a guy with no chips. And why not? It's just part of the game, right?

Poker is a game of choices. Poker is also like life. Poker also tastes like chicken. Poker also is a metaphor for society. Poker is . . . I'm sorry, I got lost in the cliche for a second. What was I saying?

Oh yes. Poker. Choices.

Like the choice to fold your Ace Ten offsuit to five all-ins ahead of you.

Or, believe it or not, the choice to conduct yourself with politeness and good sportsmanship. You do have a choice.

I'm not a saint. I've had my share of outbursts when I've just lost a gut-punch of a hand. But I know I had a choice to react otherwise. And I don't think I've ever rubbed it in on some poor shmuck who just got bounced to the curb.

My point?

Wait. I was supposed to have one of those?

Be excellent to each other.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Is Kids In The Hall Day

"Think about it, you li'l mathmatician."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Brute

Here's a fun little game that has been occupying 5-6 min. of my days lately, and if you like turn-based fighting games and bonus items level-ups and all that good stuff, you may also find it totally awesome. The fighting is automatic and you're limited to how many fights you can do with your brute (good in a way, because otherwise? time-suck.), but it is highly addictive. Sort of like crack, but without all the jail time.

Also, if you click here, you can fight me, which will get you started with twice the normal daily fight limit (three fights) and also help me level my brute. So do it. Do it do it. Do it like seven times.

Also, "level my brute" seems like it ought to be a euphemism for something or others. Suggestions welcome.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Uber 001: Quality Is Not Guaranteed

Checkmate!
~ Ralph Wiggum on Poker

The pursuit of bracelets is an obsession of mine, and a past-time of theirs

~ Oscar Wilde on Poker Bracelets

Well, it looks like our favorite little dwarf is just not going to get around to drinking a lot of Guinness and giving us the long-promised uber, so here we go. Video killed the radio star, and Twitter killed the Blogfather. Oh the humanity. I'm your substitute teacher while Iggy is out, class. Just call me Squiggy. Don't put tacks on my chair.

Caveat to all: This is not your father's uber post. Quality is not guaranteed. Poker donk at work, please adjust your speed and your expectations accordingly. Also: I'm not terribly interested in poker right now, so you can bet your sweet bippy content will be less that 50% about a game played with two cards down. So it goes.

Time to quaff a Honey Brown and a handful of multi-vitamins and go to work.








The BBT4 is about to wrap up. Hard to believe but we're looking at even more Main Event Packages, ripe for the taking.

Step 1: Go over to Al Can't Hang and give him a big huge "Thank You" for yet another series of freerolls to major prizes. The guy has been hooking us up, and he knows how to use a crutch, to boot. Go give some love back.

Step 2: ????

Step 3: Profit.

Step 4: Play any/all of the following events.

Tournament: Brit Blogger Game
When: Sunday's at 16:00ET
Game: NLHE
Buyin: $5+.50
Password: donkament

Tournament: PPI / Riverchasers
When: Monday's at 22:00ET
Game: Deepstack NLHE
Buyin: $24+2 or token
Password: riverchasers

Tournament: Blogger Skillz Game
When: Tuesday's at 21:30ET
Game: Limit Hold'em (with Knockouts)
Buyin: $10+1
Password: skillz

Tournament: The Mookie
When: Wednesday's at 22:00ET
Game: Deepstack NLHE
Buyin: $10+1
Password: vegas1

Tournament: Brit Blogger Game
When: Sunday's at 16:00ET
Game: NLHE
Buyin: $5+.50
Password: donkament

Tournament: Blogger Big Game
When: Sunday, May 31st at 21:30ET
Game: Superstack NLHE
Buyin: $69+6 (or token)
Password: donkey

This isn't rocket science, kids. You aren't going to find a smaller pool and a cheaper price for a shot at Moneymaker glory. Anybody can play, it's open swim at the public pool. Try to collect spare change off the bottom and don't try not to think too hard about the warm pockets you encounter.

Also, you might encounter me. Free chips this time around, for real.

******

Disturbing or awesome, or both? Here's the two-legged dog.




******

Here's a cartoon about me and the 4000 MTT I have played:



******

What else can I give you to destroy your post-Memorial Day productivity?

Uncyclopedia is a "content-free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Pure dada madness. Props to l.e.s.t.e.r. for showing me the way.

The entry on poker is the most fun you can have outside of Stupid/System and I'm very jealous I didn't write it, unless I did, in which case I am very proud and also have amnesia. Excerpts:

Poker is a very popular rigged card game in which players, sometimes referred to as poker players, put their money into a central pot called the toilet and make kebabs with each other. The money is awarded to the person whose cards are the least statistically disappointing. Poker is also very popular with the gay community, but playing a variation of poker called San Francisco Hold-Him.

The rules of the game are relatively simple regardless of the variation one chooses to play. Common games are five-card draw, seven-card stud, Russian poker (a gun is used in place of cards), Alaska give 'em, and Texas hold 'em.

Poker can also refer to video poker, a single-player game seen in casinos much like a slot machine, or to audio poker, which is played verbally with mandatory blindfolds; games of which can last some weeks. Uncyclopedia also plays part in this article as their funding came from a mysterious source in Las Vegas.

The rules of the game are relatively simple regardless of the variation one chooses to play. Common games are five-card draw, seven-card stud, Russian poker (a gun is used in place of cards), Alaska give 'em, and Texas hold 'em.

Gameplay

SIT AT A HIGH STAKES HEADS UP TABLE AND RAISE YOUR BUTTON AND SIT OUT. THIS IS CALLED GRIMMING.

Basic rules

The rules of poker are fairly simple (although still complicated enough to confuse even those who actually know how to play).

The dealer first takes a full 52-card deck and rearranges the cards in his favour (this is called shuffling). Blind players must sit to the left of the dealer. After that is completed, a certain number of cards are dealt to each player. Depending on the game, each player may receive between zero and several cards. The players then take their cards and make a hand.

At this point most players will make an obvious indication that the hand is satisfactory, or will attempt to cheat. If a player is caught cheating he is hanged. Yes, he, women are not allowed to play poker.

Each respective player then attempts to fool the other players into thinking that his randomfold their cards in half and burn them, else they enter into a battle of wits with the very mathematics that allows the game to exist. If the player loses (and he usually does), he is then declared financially ruined. The player who manages to avoid the cruel backhand of statistical math gains the money from the toilet, although it is usually a temporary gain as the money will almost certainly be lost in a future game. set of cards is worth something when in fact it is not [also known as bullshitting or shitting bulls]. After the players decide whether or not they have been sufficiently tricked, they either

In the Wild West, the winner is the player with the biggest hat, and the dealing of cards is just foreplay.

Common hands

A poker hand showing a royal flush, the most valuable hand in the game

Indeed, one can win 2 or more royal flushes. These are typically called 2000 Flushes.

A hand is an arbitrary combination of cards, some of which are considered better than others. If a player somehow manages to defy logic and draws one of these hands, he may win the round (if it can really be referred to as "winning").

  • Brunson: Ten Twos aka T2s. Only wins in a showdown as it will always lose if your opponent(s) fold. Example: 2♣ 2♣ 2♣ 2♣ 2♣ 2♣ 2♣ 2♣ 2♣ 2♣

  • Royal flush: All five cards are the same card. This is the highest-valued hand because of the astronomical odds of actually drawing this hand (especially with just one deck). Example: Q♦ Q♦ Q♦ Q♦ Q♦

  • Straight flush: All five cards are of same suit, although not all of the same sex. Example:K♦ Q♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦

  • Gay flush: All five cards are of same suit, and same sex. Example: K♦ J♦ K♦ J♦ K♦

  • 7-Card Stud: Hand contains exactly 7 cards (due to dealer fault/bribery). Example: Jok 8♠ 9♠ K♦ A♣ 10♣ 3♥

  • EXTRA flush: Contains at least two cards of the same suit. Example: J♦ 5♥ 3♣ 6♣ A♠

  • Impossible card: Hand contains one or more impossible cards. Example: 5♠ 10♣ 12♪ X♥ A♦

  • Royal Twister: All cards are of different value and color. Example: K♣ 3♥ 1♠ Π♦ 8♦

  • Four of a kind: Four of the cards are the same suit. Example: 8♣ 4♣ 9♥ 3♣ 6♣

  • Value combo gold: Cards are exactly as follows: 3♣ 8● J♠ A♠ K♥

  • Value combo silver: Cards are exactly as follows: 2♠ 3♣ J♦ 7♣ A♦

  • Value combo bronze: Cards are exactly as follows: K♣ 8♦ 10♦ 94♣ BATMAN♦

  • H4x0r5 house: Hand that contains 1337: 1♠ 3♣ 3♦ 7♠ A♥

  • Smith: When you have a four and a random high card. This one is only eligible when you live in the town of Hilversum and are 2metres tall. This hand wins from any other hands. Example: 4♣ J♥ K♣ A♠

  • flush H4x0r5: Hand that contains 1337 of the same suit: 1♠ 3♠ 3♠ 7♠ A♠

  • Check: Cards form a valid Chess move. Example: ♘♦ A♥ 3♣ A♣ 5♦

  • Oscar's potty: Hand that can spell out any 5 letter word when squinting. Example: 8♦ 0♥ 0♦ 8♣ 5♥

  • Fibonacci house: Cards follow a fibonacci sequence, regardless of suit. Example: 1♠ 2♣ 3♥ 5♣ 8♦

  • Straight: All cards show numbers or letters constructed purely from straight lines. Example: 1♥ 4♠ 7♦ K♥ 11♠
  • Equation: Cards form a valid equation. Example: 2♥ =8♦ -♠ 6♣

  • AAAAA AAAAA: AAAAA AAAA AA AAAAA AAAAAAAA. Example: A♠ A♣ A♦ A♠ A♥
  • Motorhead: Cards are exactly as follows: A♠ A♠

  • The Portfolio: Your cards are the stock ticker symbols of Fortune 500 companies or large-cap mutual funds.

A'zample: K♠ GE☼ F♦ AAPL● FCNTX♥

  • Credit Cards: Obtaining one or more credit cards in a hand (debit cards are acceptable). Example 2♠ 9♣ VISA 4♠ 10♥
  • AC/DC logo AC/DC Combo: Cards are exactly as follows: A♠ C♠ / D♠ C♠
  • Devil's Hand: 3 of a kind spade sixes. Example: 6♠ 6♠ 6♠

  • Pi Hand: when you have the pi number. Example: 3♠ 1♠ 4♠ 1♠ 5♠ 9♠

  • Klansman Hand: You have KKK. The klansmen will come with their spades and ropes, poke you and hang you. Example: K♠ K♠ K♠

  • Other: All other hands are considered worthless. Example: A♠ K♠ Q♠ J♠ 10♠

  • Crazy house: When you get cards that don't exist Example: sdfopihfosihdfoihsdfn♠ 123455261723♠ HMRFRA (her majesty's royal flying rat's ass)♠ Peter Griffin♠ Barney the Dinosaur

Penthouse: When you get cards that have celebrity names. Example: Barney the DinosaurBarney the DinosaurBarney the DinosaurBarney the DinosaurBarney the DinosaurBarney the DinosaurBarney the Dinosaur

Poker Terminology

Wilde Cards - 'Wilde cards' were those most used in the early days of poker; however they were outlawed due to their persistent reckless behavior. Players tired of being thrown from their chairs and in time, thanks to dedicated breeding, domesticated 'tame cards' became the norm.

Jacking Off At The River - a practice severely frowned upon by most players, involving repeated fast play of one's hand. Known in the UK as the 'One King' strategy.

The Fosbury - A kind of 'flop' invented during the 1960s, when the introduction of extra thick baize on poker tables permitted this without fear of injury to the player. This enabled Dick Fosbury to attain the highest recorded poker hand at the time, measuring 2.24 meters / 7 feet 4.25 inches.

Floppy Nuts - when a player goes all in on 2♣/7♥, and the flop is J♠/Q♠/K♠, he is said to have drawn floppy nuts. This is not to be confused with the Nutty Flop, which is a flop consisting of seventeen 2

cry me a RIVER - this is when the poker game is abandoned due to unforseen circumstances ie flooding or natural disasters such as the releasing of an unbearable gas from an opponants arse or the general arrival of chuck norris

History

Invention

Poker was invented around 1800 by Braggy McJebus, sixth President of the United States. Originally the deck consisted of 48 cards, with an additional 52 Jokers, all of which were wild. Split pots were not uncommon. Back in the old days, they didn't have things to gamble on like those newfangled horses or hats with feathers, so they had to gamble on less frivolous things such as PSP's, PS3's, and Pamela Anderson clones.

Origins of the ace

Once the wild cards were reduced, 'to generally less than 17 per deck' ("Hoyle On Poker: A Dead White Guy Teaches You How To Think Like One" London, 1865, pp134), people started winning (and losing!) at Poker. The non-wild cards in the deck ran only Deuce to King, as it was generally held that Ones were a bit pointless, since no-one could think of a cool-sounding nickname for them like 'treys'. But in 1877, a tense game of Poker in the 'Wild West', a bar two miles north of Schenectady, NY, ended in uproar when James Jessey, a keen player, took umbrage at one too many 'bad beats' and, on seeing at the showdown that his opponent's 4 kings could not be beaten, simply took four blank pieces of paper and placed a letter 'A' on each one. 'This is a higher card', he said, producing his six-shooter to quell all arguments. The 'ace' quickly became popular, and was incorporated into the deck. The practice of inventing new ranks of card mid-game died out in the 1890's, during the Great Paper Famine.

Variations

Often inferior players would, when faced with a tough raise, ask their opponent to give them 'a clue' as to the cards they held. If the other player agreed, the requesting player (the 'divot') would turn one of their own cards face-up on the table. This, combined with an overenthusiastic dealer, led to the invention of 7-Stud in 1884. Further variations like Texas hold' em, Alabama chew 'em and electric boogaloo high-low split (now, alas, played almost nowhere) soon followed.

The most popular form of Poker in the world today is Mississippi Sip'em (or 'Mahjong'), which has only one rule which can be expressed linguistically (and this is it).

Furthermor the variation of gimpetus verticalis where players will be forced to sit on the ceeling and attempt to throw their best cards into eachothers eyes before the blood rushes to their brain ultimately ending in their inevitaable death, mostly played by sucidals and gimps!

Betting

Most Humans will bet small children, unborn fetuses, mother-in-laws, vital organs, another human's vital organs, and animal remains. Often the bets are decided before the game is started. Bets can include anything of value from toilet paper to solid gold breasts. Many young women decided to put their dignity as well as their virginity on the poker court. This is popular amongst Las Vegas whores and extremely drunk women. Sometimes men try to place their dignity on the table but that usually ends in their death.

Prohibition

By the mid 1800s, poker was very popular and, for a brief period, Friday was renamed Pokernight and men were relieved of all prior family commitments in order to participate in the game. However, as more and more people began to realize the truly evil nature of the game, a public outcry from concerned citizens resulted in the United States government passing the Devil's Card Game Act of 1844.

The act prevented the game from being played anywhere within the country, and also disallowed poker chips from being manufactured or sold. While the act was backed by many citizens, it was despised by others -- poker players mainly. Desperate players turned to bootlegging; that is, the manufacture of illegal poker paraphernalia for unlawful poker games. The illegal games were often set up in the backrooms of bars and pet stores, where men would congregate for hours at a time. The government stopped paying attention after awhile and the prohibition law was de facto repealed, although technically it is still punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Present day

Today, poker remains illegal, though like murder, people do it anyway. It is most commonly played in the home or outside of the home. While early generations were well aware of the true nature of poker, the last few generations seems to remain oblivious to the evil intentions of the game. It continues to destroy lives on a daily basis.

Famous Players

The most famous player in poker history was Inflatable Bill [Explanation unavailable due to uncontrollable circumstances involving Interpol].

Mr. T was famous poker player. He play to get mo' gold on neck.

Optimus Prime won his role in Transformers by betting against the Honda Robot back in 1976. He later bet the role in a game against Satan on the Spanish Train. Satan was later caught cheating by the almighty God. He promptly returned the role to Optimus.

Michael Jackson once won a small human boy in a game of poker against Bill Gates and Edgar Allen Poe.

Oz Pearlman is also known for inventing the infamous poker strategy of wearing black sunglasses. The general idea behind it was that other players would not notice when he fell asleep and would themselves become tired waiting for him to end his turn. This would however, often backfire once someone realized that he had actually fallen asleep, and then proceed to draw on his face with permanent markers. Today, this strategy is still used to make it harder for others to read one's facial expressions. Considering that sunglasses only cover a small portion of the face, it is easy to understand why this strategy is amazingly uneffective. Additionally, the sunglasses make you look like a jackass (perhaps the only positive aspect).

Chuck Norris owns the greatest poker face of all-time. It helped him win the 1983 world series of poker despite him holding just a joker, a 2 of clubs, a 7 of spades, and a green number 4 from Uno and a monopoly 'get out of jail free' card.

Zhuge Liang was undoubtedly an enormously famous and successful poker player due to his extraordinary intelligence. He was able to predict absolutely everything and hence always wins, especially when he's playing against Cao Cao and Sima Yi. It's very unfortunate that he died on the Wuzhang Table during one of his matches because he refused to take breaks and kept on working on his plans for his hand.

Psychics are all excellent at poker, but many did not play because their predictions has told them that they were going to lose.

Doyle Brunson and Chris Ferguson also merit a shared line between them.

Chipolucho/Chipolino - some Mexican. Loves donkeys.


Oh Lordy. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go spend the rest of my life reading and writing for Uncyclopedia. I've found my calling.

*****











******

Some quick blogger shout-outs:

Falstaff is killing it with a modern-day Adam and Eve parable. Check it.

Shamus and others will be bringing us WSOP news and views from PokerNews.

Drizz is covering Sunday Millions for PokerStars.

Al is covering the WSOP over at Poker From the Rail.

And, of course, Pauly will be giving us urinal updates over at Tao.


WSOP is here again. Seems like only yesterday I was writing nonsense about the November Nine, all of whom I know personally. What are the odds I will know the upcoming November Nine? Better than you think.

******



******

A lot of parents are rightly concerned about this new "sexting" trend among teenagers. Happily, the internet is here to provide parents with a helpful guide to various "code" that the "teens" are using these "days" for "the sex."

Here you go. Click to make big-like.



******

That is all.

Seriously, Iggy, it would probably be better if you left Twitter and came back to us. This post was like when the Superfriends were off on a mission and it was up to the Wonder Twins and the blue monkey to save the day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fun Facts About LeBron James #312

In Colonial times, LeBron James emerged from the woods carrying 14 huge sacks filled with oranges, and then disappeared back into the forest. The oranges saved the entire village from scurvy.

Fun Facts About LaBron James (c) Believe Goat Or Else! You can fact check Fun Facts About LaBron James here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

LOST 039: Old Country For No Men


It was a very good episode. I liked it very much.


L O S T


OK, not too much more than another 10,000 words to say about the Light/Dark Jacob mythology, since I've covered that pretty extensively already. Suffice it to say that, once again, I am incredibly impressed by the command the show creators have over the story. In two hours, they told a frenetic, engaging, action-packed tale, and at the same time answered a LOT of questions. I've taken off my speculation hat, but let's just run down the things we now know beyond doubt.

1) There are only two factions. It was getting cluttered, wasn't it? You had the Branch Dharmidians, Radical Richard and the Hostiles, Widmore's Crusaders, Eloise Hawking and LampPostials, The Shadow of the Statue Crew, Lostaways, Tailies, Ghosts, Muppet Babies, Autobots, Decepticons, Cylons, Superfriends, Chuck Norris, Ghostbusters, the REAL Ghostbusters, C.O.B.R.A, and Gummi Bears. It was the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.

Now? There are two factions. Those who are with Jacob, and those who are with his enemy. We may not know who is on which side. Hell, THEY may not know which side they are on. Locke at least thought he was Jacobian and was being played. However, I think we can semi-safely put Richard, the Other extras (in fact, I'll just call this group the Jacobians now), and the Shadow of the Statuians with Jacob. Eloise? Widmore? Well. Let's just say this. They were leaders of the Jacobians at one point, which means, ostensibly, that they had access to Jacob and/or a Ben-like level of worship for him. I'd say for that reason alone Dark Jacob would have been trying to corrupt them. Let's set them aside for now.


2) The idea that humans can make choices that allow them to progress appears to be the main bone of contention between the Jacobs, and is perhaps the big question of the show itself.

This augers well for the idea that the bomb changed something.


3) Whatever the Dark Jacob's "loophole" is exactly, it involves getting access to Jacob, which requires the ability to impersonate a dead man who would be seen as the Jacobian's leader, and also another person who is willing to kill Jacob.

I believe that most of the mysterious events we've seen, including time travel, the ghosts, the freighter, the island moving, the Oceanic Six, and the return to the island, have involved Dark Jacob's attempts to set up this loophole.

I think that the way many of these characters have made peace with their demons is Jacob's influence in some way.

I think Locke is dead and Locke was duped. I also think that Locke truly is special to the island and that we'll see Locke again? Why? Simple economics. The story has invested too much of itself into Locke to allow it to end this way. Let's just say he has become far too compelling to fail.


4) Jacob has been involved in the lives of the people he wants to come to the island. I think we can safely say that he's been orchestrating it all along, behind the scenes. This to me is a pretty strong explanation for the strange coincidences we've been noticing throughout the story's run. It also explains the Others, if not the details. These are people who have come to be part of what Jacob is doing. For whatever reason, they have been given knowledge about what is going on here, and they want in. Perhaps whenever a new group is drawn to the island, there is this period of hostility and indoctrination. This may explain why the Jacobians don't just crush Dharma, even though they have tunnels leading right into their homes.

This would say rather dark things about the eventual total Dharma purge (though, since Ethan was Dharma, I guess it may not have been a total purge). I would say that it seems like something that would have been orchestrated by Dark Jacob.


5) We know the bomb goes off, whatever that might mean. Because of it, there is almost no way on earth to predict what will happen next.

So let me make some predictions.


Insane Predictions

These predictions are more general than the "here's specifically where the main plot is going" stuff I've seen elsewhere. I think any prediction made on that front will probably be proved wrong. However, here are some things I think based on story. Because in many ways, the story is like the island. It demands certain things. There are specific rules. And, if we think about what the demands of the story are, we can pin a few things down, sort of.

1) Everybody will be reunited in the same time-frame. We have a whole lot a freaking mythology to cover. There really isn't much point in spending a few precious episodes getting everybody on the same time line.

Plus, then Sun can transition to being frantic about reuniting with Jin, to being frantic about reuiniting with the child she totally left behind without a second thought.

2) Nobody can be assumed dead. Not Locke. Not Jacob. Not even Juliet. Let's face it, she was sitting on top of an atomic blast, and that does usually kill a person. But Desmond was on top of something or other that looked quite similar, in the exact same place and it basically just Hawkinged him through his own Einstein and back on the beach again. More on this in a bit.

That said, I don't think we'll be seeing much of the actress playing Juliet next year, but I wouldn't completely rule out a brief but vital appearance.

I also am worried about Sayid. Very, very worried.

As for Locke, I think we've already seen Jacob bring him back from the dead once.

As for Jacob . . . well, he just seemed to sure of things. He had an ace up his sleeve, no doubt. I strongly suspect that dead is not dead for that dude.


3) Some viewers are going to HATE the ending. In fact, I'll say that if you didn't like Season 5, you may well hate the series ending. I think that for some, Season 5 was about needless convolution. For others, it was all about answers. In fact, it was almost exclusively answers. I'm in the latter camp. Yes, I still have questions. But they are different questions. This isn't some X-Files scenario where I'm still wondering what was in the hatch, or if the guy they captured is an Other or is really a balloonist named Henry Gale. Almost every question I had going into Season 5 has been cleared up to one extent or another, or has been put into a context that allows me to see that we are driving toward an answer.

Bottom line? This is a show that trusts its audience to an unprecedented degree. We are never going to have somebody just sit down and tell us, "OK, so here's the whole story." But we WILL get almost everything answered, if we put in the work. However, it will be answered in the same way that questions have been answered up to this point; by inference. And there will still be questions. Other questions. Questions to keep us arguing long after the show is over. If you don't like that, that doesn't make you dumb, or unsophisticated, it just means you have different taste. But it does mean that you probably won't like the way this show wraps up.

Here my friends, is how LOST gives you answers. They just show the story, and in the story allow you to make the necessary connections. It is (to my taste) by far a preferable way to tell stories, especially when compared to having some character named Barnabus Pontificator Expositioncakes appear with a few heavy pages of dialogue. (Exhibit 1: The Matrix Sequels).

For example, with the information we've received over the last five seasons, we can make any number of very strong guesses that clear up a lot more of the mystery for us.

For example, given the fact that we know Dark Jacob can impersonate one dead guy (Locke), it is not unreasonable to extrapolate that he can impersonate other dead people.

Then, just think about the appearance of any of the "ghosts", what they've said, what they did. See if any of those appearances don't in some way further Dark Jacob's goals. The ghosts have served to either make Ben feel bitter and alienated, or were the impetus for the island moving and the time jumps.

It's not overtly stated, but I think you can pretty strongly assume that the ghosts and other odd apparitions have been explained. They are Dark Jacob. At least most of them definitely were. There are a few instances where the ghosts seemed to have a neutral or even helpful effect. Perhaps those were something else. Perhaps they were Jacob. However, if the ghosts are not Dark Jacob, then they were some other entity, appearing as dead people, and basically making the plan of some other entity who can also impersonate the dead happen. It seems logical to say that the ghosts were Dark Jacob. If nothing more is ever said about Christian et al, I think we can safely assume this.

Also, it has been noted long before this that the ghosts seem to have the black smoke either appear before them or after them. It has been speculated (not incorrectly, I think) that the black smoke is the ghosts. I think we can assume with a high degree of confidence going forward that Dark Jacob is the black smoke.

Now, all of these are assumptions, but they really fit well. In fact, they fit so well that I think it can be considered the answer until we're given further info. By that I mean, if they never explain the smoke monster further, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how the smoke monster fits into the story anyway. I'd like more, I think we'll get more, but if that's all we get, it can suffice.


Let's take another example, and this time let's make it something that has always bugged me.

Libby.

They killed Libby off with a big mystery still hanging. To wit: Why was she in the same psyche ward as Hurley, anyway???

Then, after she was dead and in the ground, she returned in the season finale, in a Desmond flashback, to give Desmond the boat that took him to the island. Just out of the blue, boat for Desmond. Desmond gets a boat from a stranger. Who is Libby.

And then, the show's creators informed us that there was nothing left to say about Libby. To which I replied, "the hell there isn't." It seemed like almost willful ignorance on their part, as though they were baiting us. I mean, obviously there were HUGE unanswered questions about her. How could they say they thought her tale was told? But now? I've realized that Libby has pretty much been explained, if you stop and think about what you know, and then make the logical inferrence. She just hasn't been explained in laborious detail, with her own one-hour long flashback, but we still have it.

Eloise Hawking is part of a group that is dedicated to maintaining the timeline, perhaps the timeline in general, but certainly the particular part of the timeline in which Desmond and the Oceanics take their various paths to the island. This in and of itself might give us certain hints about what the nuke really did, since the last time we saw her she was dedicated to preventing that timeline, but nevertheless, that's what Eloise is up to. Furthermore, she's assisted by operatives (like the butcher who stored Locke's body for Ben) who seem to live and work among everyday people.

We also know that Eloise was the leader of the Jacobians.

We also know that there were Jacobians off-island, who made sure that they were on the Ajira 316 flight.

We also know that Eloise has equipment that allows her to predict the location of the island, and to know when a airline flight is likely to cross paths with the island.

We also know that one of the Tailies was "kidnapped" by the Jacobians that were on-island.

Thus, it's not impossible to infer that Oceanic 815 may have had some Jacobians onboard.

And we know that Libby showed up and gave Des a boat that was fated to bear him to the island. Thus preserving the timeline.

Do I need to fill in the dotted line for you?

Question 1.

Libby was a ____________.

A. Jacobian.

B. Jacobian.

C. Jacobian.

D. I hate this show, they are just making stuff up.


THIS CONCLUDES THE TEST. PLEASE PUT YOUR PENCIL DOWN AND WAIT QUIETLY.


What about Libby in the psyche ward? In this case, I don't think we have quite such a clear picture, but we have enough. Libby in the same ward as Hurley is a rather large coincidence, but there have been literally dozens of similar ones between various characters. Most of them haven't been played up as a huge end-of-show reveal, so it was probably sloppy on the writer's parts to give that coincidence so much more weight than (say) Sawyer meeting Jack's dad at the bar, or Jack operating on Shannon's dad, or Eko visiting Claire's psychic (another likely Jacobian).

But we've seen Jacob in the lives of these people now. We know that their lives have been orchestrated by him in some ways, though we don't know the exact mechanics of it. That, I think, is going to be our explanation for the coincidences. That's good enough for me, and I hope it's good enough for you -- because if it isn't? You are probably going to be disappointed.

So, it's show-don't-tell storytelling. Double shot of ambiguity. It's great. I love it. Even if you don't, I hope you agree that at least it's preferable to a Locke-flashback that is all about how he came to be Nadia's housing inspector. Or, you know, the origin of Jack's tattoos. That's where it would be if they were still doing the same show we loved in Season 1. Let's not forget what this show nearly became, and shudder.


HEY LOOK! RANDOM BULLET POINTS!

* I've gone on long enough about stuff I loved. Here's something that I just hated. Jack. Specifically, Jack's stated motivation for setting off the bomb. He was willing to erase 3-4 years of everybody's life, progress made, love experienced, children born, all because Kate didn't wuv him no mo? That's sick. What's worse, it isn't even Jackian. Jack is a great character, in that he started as a superhero and gradually got revealed for somebody with a deeply destructive messiah complex. He was at his most likeable this season, as he surrendered to fate and seemed to have gotten over that, but it was still compelling to see him fall into the same "Me Jack Me Hero Savior" trap as before, and decide that his destiny was to exercise his free will. Perfectly nonsensical. Perfectly Jack. But to do it all for a chance at a girl he never had chemestry with? Whatevs, show. I only accept this as something he'd tell Sawyer because he thought that's what Sawyer would understand, as opposed to his REAL motivation. Sadly, there's no hint that this was the case, and to pretend otherwise is wishful thinking. Happily, Sawyer kicked Jack in the testicles for being such an idiot.

* Juliet's motivation for backing Jack was pretty dumb too. They didn't have as strong a ready-made good motivation for her actions as they did for Jack's, but they could have done better than to introduce the eleventh hour parental divorce-back. Silly. And good on Sawyer for proving her wrong.

* Speaking of bad motivation, given that Jack's reasoning was screwy, and given that Eloise is now trying to preserve the timeline she was meant to destroy . . . and given that Desmond's turning the key on the failsafe created something that looked semi-nuclear . . . I just get the sense that the nuke was always a part of the Incident. It's just a feeling. Also, to follow this line of thought, the failsafe key Desmond turned was very clearly refered to as a Big Reset, so . . . might that event, way back in Season 2, be the reboot event? Remember, we have some strong indications that we are dealing with some kind of time loop here. If something is breaking time, it follows that it is occuring outside of time itself, and if that is the case, it really doesn't matter at what point within perceived time the reset event occurs, it would permeate throughout time.

That would mean, though, that a reset would not have been possible without the detonation. Thus, destiny has been served. It sort of fits.

By the way, my wife has to put up with this stuff all the time. Pity her.

* Sawyer may have been this Season's MVP. Holloway's performance as he tried to save Juliet was shattering. Seriously amazing work.

* I still want to know why Sun didn't travel back. In the clip show, Lindeloff said it was because they hadn't perfectly re-created the flight, but that just doesn't wash for me. Did Sun re-create it more perfectly, somehow? In what way? That whole thing could use some explaining. I think we're going to lose it, though.

* Do you think ANY of the Jacobian leaders ever got to meet Jacob? I wonder . . . One wonders, when one considers just how instrumental both Eloise and Widmore were in getting Locke to the island in the first place, and then in getting his corpse back to the island, just which team they are batting for.

* What do you think led Ben to set up Jacobian camp in Dharmaville? Might Dark Jacob have done it, knowing that it would lead to Jacob ostracizing Ben? While we're at it, who could have seen this character arc coming for Ben? The man with all the answers is forced to admit he was pretending the whole time. I feel for the guy, which I didn't think was possible. Delicious again, LOST.

* The statue has been confirmed by ABC as being that of Taweret, Egyptian goddess of fertility. You think the bomb destroyed the statue? You think maybe that explains the childbirth problem? Maybe, maybe . . .

* You know what's cool? With the Jacob vs. Dark Jacob scenes, we now have information that none of the characters have. For the first time, we know more than Ben. And, given that we know almost nothing, Ben really was in the dark, wasn't he.


OK, folks. I'm done. It is going to be a loooong nine months.


L O S T

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Haiku 004: The Gap Theory



You are the gap between
reading Sklansky and
understanding Sklansky.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

Here's the great and very crazy Tom Waits.

You won't believe what Mr. Stitches saw . . .

Monday, May 18, 2009

LOST Prologue 06: Wrong


"I was wrong."

-John Locke, Season 2

_________________


“There's a battle coming, John. And if you aren't there, the wrong side is going to win."

-Charles Widmore, Season 5

_________________

OK. I'm wrong about all this.

You know that, right?

I wrote my theories as authoritatively as possible, but I do want to disclaim, now. All this was my reaction to what we saw last night, which changed our perspective of the show like nothing else has previous, not even the flash forwards. So much has been revealed. So much has been hinted. And, of course, a lot is still unclear. But the scope has widened by a factor of ten, and we're starting to understand the stakes of this battle over the island. We're starting to see the various sides.

So, you have hopefully enjoyed, or at least borne with me, as I have set out my educated guesses as to what it all means. To boil it down to the essentials, that is:


1) Jacob and his Dark Brother are adversaries over the role of people. Most specifically, over whether or not they can improve, or if they are fated to remain the same, and if they have choice, or if they are merely slaves to destiny. Jacob is humanity's Advocate. His brother is humanity's Adversary. Yep, it's just that Biblical.

2) The island is Jacob's laboratory for these experiments, and he draws people to it by playing an active, though hidden, role in their lives. They are on a kind of a time loop, replaying these events with only slight changes again and again and again. Jacob rules at a distance on the island, preferring to give his subject room for choice and free will. This island is analogous to, or perhaps in fact is, the Garden of Eden.

3) Jacob and the Dark Brother are bound by rules which include not killing one another, or at least the Dark Brother is bound not to kill Jacob. However, he can convince somebody else to kill on his behalf. Dark Brother needs access to Jacob and a willing killer. This is complicated by the limited access Jacob gives his followers, and the devotion he inspires among those who follow him.

4) Dark Jacob manifests as himself, but also as the dead, and also as the entity known as the smokemonster. He has used these manifestations to guide Ben and Locke to this point.

5) Jacob's death is, in fact, a larger part of Jacob's plan, though his brother doesn't know it. Something in his death gives Jacob the upper hand in a way his brother never anticipated.


Those are the educated guesses. Some of them aren't really up for debate (like Jacob being involved in our character's lives) except in terms of degree. Others really are just guesses and assumptions, though plausible ones. The Eden thing just resonates, and since I've been proposing it since late Season 2, I'm sticking with it. It is still possible.

But I'm wrong.

Of course I'm wrong. Remember, I'm the guy who had Sawyer as a lock for the Season 5 dead pool. I'm the guy who was positive that Locke and Jacob were one and the same, or perhaps maybe Jack was. In any event, Jacob was FOR SURE somebody we already knew. So was the statue. Etc., etc.

So I've made lots of assumptions. And I'm doing it again.

And here's the big one: I'm assuming Jacob is the good twin. Just because he's the light one. How ethnocentric of me. I will now return my liberal arts degree.

No, not just because he's the light one. Also because of his empathy, and his willingness to be killed. And because he hasn't seemed to truck in lies, whereas the Notorious DB has dealt in nothing but. But really, who IS the "wrong" side? Who is it to Widmore? To Eloise? To Richard? Do they even know which side they're on? I think at this point we, the audience, may finally have more information than any of the characters.

So, that was a pretty key episode.

But still. If LOST has taught us anything, it's that first impressions are often the ones that lead us astray, and easy assumptions are quickly reversed with proper context.

I have no idea if the bomb was a part of The Incident all along, or if it changed everything. My current opinion is that it alters things, but not as expected, and that it may be the event that causes this time loop. So we run it again and again and again, and each time the bomb goes off, and each time it is part of the incident, but each time it changes things . . . again.

I have no idea if Real Locke will ever return. I hope he will. He ought to. He deserves to.

I have no idea if Jacob will stay dead. I hope not.

I have no idea what's coming next.

All I know is two things:

First, all future plot twists will involve the revelation of John Locke's corpse in a series of different boxes.

Second?

"They're coming."

Whatever that means.


Next: It was a good episode, and I really liked it quite a lot.


Prelude 01: Bad Twin
Prelude 02: Wheel
Prelude 03: Push
Prelude 04: Deep Magic
Prelude 05: Converge

Friday, May 15, 2009

Your Weekly Dose Of Awesome



LOST Prologue 05: Converge

"For Teilhard, the noosphere is best described as a sort of 'collective consciousness' of human-beings. It emerges from the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. As mankind organizes itself in more complex social networks, the higher the noosphere will grow in awareness. This is an extension of Teilhard's Law of Complexity/Consciousness, the law describing the nature of evolution in the universe. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin added that the noosphere is growing towards an even greater integration and unification, culminating in the Omega point, which he saw as the goal of history. The goal of history, then, is an apex of thought/consciousness."

-Wikipedia

_________________

"What about you?"

-Jacob
_________________


“Teilhard imagines a critical threshold, Omega Point, in which mankind will have reached its highest point of complexification (socialization) and thus its highest point of consciousness. At this point consciousness will rupture through time and space and assert itself on a higher plane of existence from which it can not come back.

-Wikipedia

_________________



So, why Pierre Teilhard de Chardin? Walk with me.

Jacob is sitting on a park bench, waiting for John Locke to be pushed out of an office building and die. He's going to bring him back to life when it happens. How odd; he's not going to heal his spine.

In the meantime, he's killing time until Cooper kills his son. He's reading a book, holding it up so you can read the cover and be momentarily impressed by him. Flannery O'Connor's book of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge. The title story is about the post-segregation South, back when the corpse of Jim Crow was still warm. It's about the difficulty of human contact between white and black. It's about fear of The Other.

The title was taken from a passage by Teilhard, the Jesuit priest who got in some hot water with the Catholic church by suggested that creation wasn't done, and that humanity was, in fact, evolving toward something. He called that something the Omega Point, the purpose of creation. He suggested that it is drawing itself to us from the future, and once we arrive, we'll become something else.


What is Jacob up to?

Why doesn't he heal Locke?

Why does he stay in the shadows? Why does he only show himself to a chosen few prophets?


Why doesn't he ever show himself to Ben? One minute of his time would have been enough to prevent a stabbing. Ben was so hungry for his attention, his approval. Would it have really been that hard to do?

Perhaps it all comes down to choice.

"Whatever you've been told," Jacob said, "You have a choice."

Ben thought that the island had told him to follow Locke. But that had been the dark brother. Perhaps Jacob knew that this moment needed to come. Perhaps he needed to leave it up to Ben.

How many times has this happened? How many times has Ben had a choice to make? Evolution takes a long time. After a while, the best traits win. The best genes. The best organisms. The best ideas.

The best choices.


As Jacob prepares for another turn of destiny's wheel, as this Omega Point draws people once more to him, is he surprised by the choices from the time before? Does he wonder at the intricacy of the tapestry, and how slowly it moves, how surprisingly the smallest choices make the thread wend in new directions?

He draws them here, with little pushes, to his laboratory. Here, where perhaps the Fall of Man is not something that happened, but something that happens. Or, perhaps, someday . . . doesn't.

He leaves them choice. The tree of life? Or the tree of knowledge?

Is he proud of Bernard and Rose for stepping out of the endless struggle and enjoying life and love? Is he proud of his Adam and Eve, who have chosen wisely?


He brings these people here to lead their lives. He heals some. He allows others to die. He helps some on a healthy course. He allows others to keep their demons.

He preserves choice. Above all, inside and outside and throughout time, however much his dark brother hates him for it, he preserves choice. And waits for perfection.


"What about me?" asks Ben.

Yes, exactly, thinks Jacob. Sincerely curious.

Yes. "What about you?"


L O S T





Next: Wrong


Prelude 01: Bad Twin
Prelude 02: Wheel
Prelude 03: Push
Prelude 04: Deep Magic

Thursday, May 14, 2009

LOST Prologue 04: Deep Magic

"In my Father's house there are many rooms."

-John 14

_________________


“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

-Clive Staples Lewis

_________________

And now a word about deep magic.

Doesn't Jacob look a little like a lion?

Oh wait, never mind. I was talking about deep magic.

Deep magic is the claim the witch had on the traitor Edmond. She was as old as time, and she knew the law that was born with it. Blood was her right by law of deep magic, and she claimed it, knowing that her enemy Aslan would offer his own. And Aslan submitted to the darkness, the law inscribed on the table, and the table broke. Light took over.

Aslan the lion - that old school Trojan horse Christ figure of children's literature - knew about a deeper magic. Magic outside of time. And Christ? He said he'd come back, and he did for a time, so the disciples recount. But before he was killed, he said he'd live on. He said he was going to a house with many rooms. Only later did they realize that he meant that they were the rooms. Them. The ones he'd been with. Those he'd touched.

At this point, you know who lies in the shadow of the statue if you know Latin or at least how to get to Lostpedia. Richard's answer was "The one who will save us all." And, of course, we know that it is in the shadow of the statue that Jacob makes his home.

Did Jacob seem at all worried when his brother came to kill him? His brother had been sharpening Ben to a razor's edge for thirty five years. Death had come. The loophole had been found in the Deep Magic. He didn't seem worried to me. To me, he seemed . . . ready. When he'd been stabbed, but before he'd been made into a burnt offering, he told his brother "they're coming."

His brother did not seem happy.

What was that all about? Who is coming? From where are they coming?

From when?

Does Jacob perhaps see them, these people he has called, these people he has touched . . . as many rooms? There is deep magic on this island, and the brothers submit to it. Is it possible that Jacob knows of deeper magic still?

At the end of season three, LOST threw us a curveball. Three years of flashbacks . . .and then a flash forward.

But this season we have a curveball that is just as noticeable, but perhaps not as immediately understandable as such.

The final L O S T card, the one that says, "show is done, here comes Bad Robot."

Five years of a little bit of light against the consuming darknes. And suddenly, now, at the moment of Jacob's death, and of his dark brother's triumph . . . just a bit of darkness consumed by light.

Why is that?


A reach? Yes. Probably. Certainly. Total reach. To conflate LOST of all things with a Christian children's novel of good versus evil, a dimensional portal near a Lamp Post, written by Charlotte-I-mean Clive Staples Lewis.

Total reach.

But Jacob does look a bit like a lion, doesn't he?


Next: Converge


Prelude 01: Bad Twin
Prelude 02: Wheel
Prelude 03: Push

LOST Prologue 003: Push

"When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the Father of Lies."

-John 8

__________________________

"Maybe all it needed was a little push."

-Jacob

__________________________

So.

Now let's speculate a little. About the brothers, and about the push.

Both of these brothers, the light and the dark, influence the people who come into their sphere. Jacob, we've already noted, calls them to himself.

He does this softly. Gently. Empathetically (I'm sorry this happened, he says to many of them.)

He does it annonymously. He comes to them at key moments. Sometimes what he gives them isn't much. The price of a stolen lunchbox. An extra candy bar. Sometimes he influences them in major ways. A distraction that saves a life. A touch that restores it. His influence doesn't always seem beneficial. He provides the pen that helps a boy become a man consumed by thoughts of revenge.

He touches them. Every time, he puts his hands on them.

He guides them, behind the scenes. Nudges. Push. Push. Push. Do you think the instances we saw of his interactions with these characters was the only time he ever entered their lives? I don't.


But his brother interacts with them, too, in different ways, no less subtle and annoymous. Insidious. Lies. He lies with his lips, but he lies also to their eyes, to their hearts. He appears as those that were dead. He takes on the guise of Locke.

Think of who else he has appeared as, and to whom. Think of the influence of the walking dead in this show.

To Ben he has appeared many times. When Ben was a child, he took on the appearance of the boy's dead mother, and lured him to himself. When he was older, he appeared as Alex and ordered him to follow "Locke." As Christian, he convinced Locke to move the island, and to bring his departed friends back to play their part. In the cabin, he played the part of "Jacob" to tow men -- Ben and Locke -- ignorant of his nature and of Jacob's. As Locke, he convinced Richard to give him access to Jacob, chosen murderer in tow.

He never touches anyone, not even to help a man with a broken leg off the floor. Perhaps he can't. Perhaps that is one of the rules that binds him.

He pushes, as well. He pushes with lies. He crafted Ben with such meticulous lies that Ben himself became a master liar. To those desperate for meaning and approval, he gives false promises. With lies he convinced Locke to follow the path of his choosing, convinced Ben to kill the man whose approval he craved so desperately.

He needs a loophole. Lies can crawl into the tiniest cracks. Though the slightest seams. They are as noxious and as ephemeral as . . .

Smoke.



Next: Deep Magic


Prelude 02: Wheel
Prelude 01: Bad Twin

LOST Prelude 02: Wheel

"Ka is a wheel."
-Stephen King, The Dark Tower

___________________

"They come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same."

"It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, it's just progress."


LOST, Season 5 Finale
___________________


So.

Now let's talk about The Dark Tower.

No, not the unfinished C.S. Lewis novel about time travel and inter-dimensional travel. No, no, no, I'm talking about a work that has even more parallels to LOST. Besides, my CS Lewis prelude post is forthcoming.

No, I'm talking about Stephen King's Dark Tower series. If you haven't read it, um . . . major, major SPOILERS here. You've been warned.

Roland is a gunslinger, half Clint Eastwood, half knight of the round table, who is chasing a man in black across an endless desert. When he catches him, he discovers his true quest. He needs to find the nexus of reality, and save it from unraveling. He'll need to sell his soul on the way.

The story deals (and this may seem familiar) with time travel, and with interdimensional travel, and with certain numbers that keep cropping up everywhere, with two sides – dark and light – in opposition, and with an inescapable collective and individual destiny. Especially with destiny, which Roland and his company refer to as ka. Time is a wheel, we learn, and at the end of the book we discover that Roland is fated to go back and live it all over again.

And again.

And again.

Only for an instant does he realize how long he's been doing it, and then it's gone. It's hinted that Roland has walked this hard, hard road nineteen times. Elsewhere, it's hinted that Roland has walked it 1,999 times. As the book ends/begins, we are told that just one thing is different now. He has his ceremonial battle horn with him, the one he lost when civilization fell. Just one little change. A small, almost insignificant reason to hope that this time . . . this time . . . the cycle will break.

Time is a wheel, you see. It keeps coming around.



Which brings me back around to LOST. I don't think our friends kept Oceanic from crashing. But I now do think that they changed something. Maybe some little things. Maybe when we start Season Six, much will be familiar, but smaller things in the grand scheme will be different. Penny is in the hatch instead of Desmond. The plane in the tree is red. Hurley has a violin case.

You see, Jacob and his brother seem to hint in this conversation that it's all happened before. And it will all happen again. And yet Jacob keeps trying, keeps reaching out to these flawed people, keeps asking them to come to him, to follow him. Every time it goes wrong. And Jacob's brother hates him for the trying.

Each time it ends the same, complains the brother. It only ends once, Jacob insists. And in between is the progress.

Can destiny be changed?

Do you have a choice?

Jacob thinks we do. He plays white's side, as humanity's Advocate.

His brother disagrees. He plays dark's side, as humanity's Accuser.


How many times has Jacob tried? If I had to guess? I'd say 108 times. And if, next season, Hurley's numbers add up to 109 instead? I won't be a bit surprised. It's Roland's ceremonial battle horn. Little changes, you see.


Oh, and if you think I'm making a stretch in my allusions here, go see what JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof are doing when they wrap Lost up.

Prelude 01: Bad Twin
Next: Push

LOST Prelude 01: Bad Twin

21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD.

23 The LORD said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."

24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. [e] 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. [f] Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.


-Genesis 25


_____________________

WALT: What is it, like checkers?

LOCKE: Not really, it's a better game than … checkers. You play checkers with your Pop?

WALT: No. I live in Australia with my mom.

LOCKE: You have no accent.

WALT: Yeah, I know. We move a lot. She got sick. She died a couple of weeks ago.

LOCKE: You're having a bad month.

WALT: I guess.

LOCKE: Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. Five thousand years old. That's older than Jesus Christ.

WALT: Did they have dice and stuff?

LOCKE: [nods] Mhhm. But theirs weren't made of plastic. Their dice were made of bones.

WALT: Cool.

LOCKE: Two players. Two sides. One is light … one is dark. Walt, do you want to know a secret?


-LOST, Season 1, The Very First Freaking Episode

______________________


OK, so.

Two brothers live on an island. One light. One dark.

They live together in a peace imposed on them by rules, which appear to be mystical in nature, and of a power greater than them.

They appear to need to eat, or at least they do eat. They do not seem to age.

The light one devotes himself to art. He appears to have the ability to come and go from the island at will. He draws people to the island, to himself, apparently of his choosing. He visits them. He touches their lives, briefly. He touches them, physically but subtly.

The first he brings may be a slave ship.

The light brother has hope for these people.

The dark one has no hope for these people, whom he sees as fallen and unworthy. He hates his light brother, and hopes someday to kill him. He will do anything to accomplish this.

They are, perhaps, men. They are, certainly, also something more then men. They may be ideas. They may be scientists. They may be playing nothing more or less than a game, the island their board, these people their pieces.

But even in a game, the stakes can be desperately high.

They are brothers. And they have been in contention for a very, very long time.




Next: Wheel