What follows is a string of paragraphs, the value of which will probably be less than the sum of its parts, if such a thing can happen outside of government.

I'm a fan of 24, though I'm pretty new at it. I jumped in last season, Season 5 I think it's called, about the time the Russian terrorists were blowing up the Russian president, his wife, another president's wife and the 'Hoss'-like Secret Service agent that we all like to call Aaron.

I've been reading a whole lot of griping about this year's story. I have to admit, it's not been as compelling as last year, or Season 1 for that matter, which I rented over the summer. But I've no real complaints - it is what it is. I think maybe some folks have gotten spoiled and are just griping. Some people are just gripers. You can gripe if you want. I like the show.

I think this year the writers are putting Jack through his paces emotionally. It's not so much thigh-shooting and whatnot. It's more psychological. Jack prepared to sacrifice himself, killed Curtis, tortured his brother, learned his dad is a mercenary, rekindled romance with his sister-in-law, was told Audrey was dead, found out she's alive, prepared to sacrifice himself for Audrey, learned Audrey is catatonic, and Audrey's dad (Jack Kennedy) told Jack to leave her alone - "You’re cursed, Jack,” he says, “Everything you touch, one way or another, ends up dead.” Oooh, gut-punch. I can only think of two strings left to pull - his dad and Kim.

And what's Ricky Schroeder doing there? Is this just a "I got to be on 24" moment? Or does 'Mike Doyle' (a strong name . . . like Jack Bauer) have a longer shelf life? I get the feeling Jack's going away - I have no info - I might be wrong. I'm just sayin'. (And yes, I know about the contract Keifer signed - but it wasn't just to act - he's also a producer)

Speaking of catatonic, I watched some of the Cardinals game Tuesday night. They have been through the wringer, no doubt, with the sudden death of one of their players. And, obviously, baseball is not really important in the long run. Twenty-five ballplayers will get on a plane Thursday and fly to Mississippi to bury one of their buddies. It'll be OK if they stink this week.

That said, they just looked lost on the field the other night. Eckstein and Kennedy look awkward - Kennedy doesn't look comfortable at all. Edmonds couldn't bend over for a ball, Pujols doesn't look right and Rolen hasn't lived up to his billing since he came over in '02, except for about half of '04. Pitching is either hurt or inexperienced. I think it's going to be a long year.

Is there a better nickname in sports than "Big Shot Bob"?

And congrats to Saint Louis U on the hire of Rick Majerus. I read far too many comments concerning his health/weight and his decision to leave USC after only a couple of days on the job.
A healthy and interested Majerus will make the Billikens a lot of fun to watch. Here's hoping they get moved to the Missouri Valley Conference - it'd be a good fit. They always give Missouri State fits, though.

I'm out of steam - please come back and see me another time.

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