If you were a reader of this blog prior to it becoming a hub of conference realignment viewpoints, I would regularly run “Land-o-Links” posts that had some random links to usually unrelated news stories or blog posts that I simply found interesting. In the wake of having my faith in the journalistic instincts of Barbara Walters re-affirmed today, I figured that it was time to re-institute the Land-o-Links posts with a mix of expansion news and other random items on a regular basis in between my full-length missives. So, here are today’s links:
(1) Notre Dame AD Expands on Expansion Talk (Kansas City Star) – I had put up this news article in the comments in the “Ain’t No Party Like a West Coast Party” post and wanted to focus on it a little bit more. Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick talked to reporters again about the prospect of the Domers joining a conference and he didn’t say anything to make the fine folks at NDNation feel better. Here’s the key quote for me:
Swarbrick indicated the dilution of Big Ten revenues could be offset by the success of the leagues own TV network, apparently on sound footing.
“The traditional model, where a conference had a fixed fee media rights deal, if you added somebody you sliced the pie a little thinner,” Swarbrick said. “When you’re dealing with equity in a network … it’s a situation we haven’t had before.”
Maybe it’s just me, but this sounds a lot like Notre Dame wants a piece of the Big Ten Network gravy train. It’s a clear message to the Domers that don’t already realize the following: the NBC deal is a relic of the past while controlling your own content like the Big Ten Network is the future. At the very least, the quotes coming out of Notre Dame about its commitment to independence are increasingly more wishy-washy.
(2) The Great Baseball Card Bubble (Slate) – This excerpt from a new book on how baseball cards went through a tulip bulb-like craze (which I’m now going to have to read in full) hits pretty close to home. My youth coincided perfectly with the explosion of baseball card speculation in the late-1980s and early-1990s where I spent virtually every penny that I had during that era on wax packs. Years later, a good portion of my basement closet is taken up by boxes of gems like the Todd Van Poppel rookie card. Are these pieces of cardboard now so worthless that I sometimes wonder if I’d be set for life today if I just opened up an IRA when I was 10 years old instead of plowing through boxes of Donruss and Fleer? You bet. Do I even dignify a response to my wife that annually asks about “getting rid of some cards to make it more organized” right around spring cleaning time? Heck no.
(3) Doc Jensen/Totally ‘Lost’ (Entertainment Weekly) – As a huge ‘LOST’ fan, there’s quite a mix of emotions as we enter into the final weeks of the show. While there have been cable shows like ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’ that might arguably be at the top of the heap in terms of quality television over the past decade, ‘LOST’ is the best network TV drama that I’ve ever seen. Doc Jensen of Entertainment Weekly has provided some of the most mind-blowing analysis of the show out there with an avalanche of literary references, religious allegories, and pop culture notations. The fact that Entertainment Weekly could be home to such a deep high-brow look at this show is mind-blowing enough. This also serves as an excuse for me to write about ‘LOST’.
If you don’t watch ‘LOST’, please feel free to ignore the rest of this post because you won’t know WTF is going on. As of now, I’m subscribing to the common theory that the “flash sideways” story lines represent the epilogue for each of the characters, where the people who sided with Jacob have ended up with semi-happy lives and the ones that sided with the Smoke Monster/Fake Locke are doomed to the same negative lives that they had before. It seems to be the way that everything ties together and would give those scenes a purpose that currently isn’t quite clear. I’m really intrigued by Jensen’s prediction that the purpose of Jack is ultimately to take Real Locke’s body back to the Temple and bring him back to life in the pool, which is a not-so-veiled reference to the resurrection of Christ. This way, Real Locke, who has really taken a figurative beating over the past season with Fake Locke’s references that Real Locke led a pathetic life, will end up being the strong leader that we originally thought that he would be when the show first started.
This provides Real Locke the opportunity to make everything right by taking down Smokey once and for all (in a manner yet to be determined) and taking his rightful place as the chosen “candidate” to replace Jacob. What’s my guess as to what his first (and only) act as Jacob’s replacement will be? Sacrifice himself by sending everyone home. That’s right – I don’t think that Juliet’s detonation of the bomb last season was the cause of the “reset” in the flash sideways, but rather Real Locke, with his power as Jacob’s replacement, destroys the island that he had always wanted to stay on in order to send his friends back to a 2004 world where Oceanic 815 never crashes.
Of course, this means that Real Locke would be giving up his power AND sending himself back to a world where he couldn’t walk, which would be an incredible sacrifice. This has to work out for him, right? Well, I can’t think of a more apt ending to the show than Jack, the world-class spinal surgeon, fulfilling his purpose in the real world by finally being approached by Real Locke for a consultation and “fixing” his problem. Jack has already shown the ability to fix Sarah after a car accident that should have left her paraplegic. If Jack resurrects Real Locke on the island, then the perfect mirror would be Jack getting Real Locke to walk in 2004. Then, the show closes with Real Locke fulfilling his dream of going through the Australian outback, which he was previously prevented from going on because of his disability, with a huge hunting knife in hand and looking every bit as strong as we had seen him on the island.
Now that I’ve put all of those theories down, it virtually guarantees that it will end up in a completely different manner. That’s perfectly fine with me – I’m ready to savor these last few episodes before a big TV void opens up in my life. I’ll be back with a full-length post later this week.