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Saturday, July 31, 2004
The Titans season begins
Sure, the Patriots are defending Super Bowl Champions, but there wasn't a team in the AFC that gave them two tighter games than the Titans last year. And yes, we've had some big-name losses during the off-season, but it looks really good that the Titans aren't down, but could be reloading. Certainly, SI's Don Banks says as much with an article over at Yahoo Sports. Titans pre-season camp began today and I'm excited. It means that, thankfully, football season is almost here. And with the Dolphins unexpected lose of Ricky Williams earlier this week, that means that first game of our season might little more than yet another pre-season game tune-up for the true test that comes in week two at homes against the Colts.

Personally, I am not overlooking the Dolphins. We handed it to them badly last year and they could want revenge. Also, they may come out and try and make a statement of "Ricky Who?" with that first game. So, the Titans better not overlook them.

Man, I can't wait for football season!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/31/2004 09:31:00 PM | |

Some thoughts on The 4400
Went blog surfing this evening and found Tightly Wound's intriguing thoughts about last week's episode of The 4400. If you're a fan of the show, as I am, you might want to give them a read. Also, I feel her pain at over-analyzing things and maybe ruining part of the enjoyment. But curse you, Joss Whedon, you did this to me! You made Buffy, Angel and Firefly all so imminently analyzable, that it's carried over to other aspects of my life!

Also, some of her early comments remind me a lot of things that have been said to me by my good friend, Leslie W from Knoxville, who as far as I know does not yet have a blog.

Anyway, back to The 4440. In watching this week's episode on tape, my mom came up with an interesting notion--what if Billy Campbell's character is not one of those taken, but is, instead, trying to somehow profit off the returnees? Or he's bringing them together to expose them? Or his motives just aren't as pure and noble as he claims they are? Now, that's an interesting idea. I wish I'd thought of it!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/31/2004 09:13:00 PM | |

Going for more than the gold, if you know what I mean...
Paul Hocham at the has a long article about a different kind of athletic activity that takes place in the Olympic Village. It appears the international language is spoken at the Olympics--the language of looooove. And by love, we mean hot, sweaty, sweet love down by the fire. I guess it's only natural that you bring together some of the hottest bods in the world and they'd hook up. Of interest are the stories about the two "camps" at the Olympics and how the nocturnal activities are affected by which camp you might be part of.

It's interesting reading and definitely a side of the Olympics you might not normally consider.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/31/2004 12:34:00 PM | |

Monk--Mr Monk and the Woman Who Cried Wolf
One of the things I think we often forget about Monk is that it's a team effort. Yes, Monk is an absolutely brilliant detective, but let's face it, without Sherona, he'd be completely lost.

This week's episode raises an interesting question--what are the possible side effects of spending so much time with Monk on Sherona? How does one keep their sanity as a caregiver to a man who acts a lot like her child, Benji? (If you want to see just how childish Monk can act at times, look at the scene in Dr Kroger's waiting room with another OCD patient and re-arranging the magazines. It's funny, but it's also very telling on a lot of levels).

I have to say that putting Sherona in the spotlight is a great idea for an episode. A bit of backstory about her father and how she fears losing control like he did or being unable to care for Benji, herself and Monk was nicely done. I also liked that it tied into the mystery of the week and also that the victim of the week didn't appear on the scene until the third act or so. It was nice to see the slow development of the story and how it all linked together in a rather nice, tight little package. Giving Sherona some time away from Monk worked well and I hope that it garners some Emmy consideration for Bitsy Shram this time next year. Yes, Tony Shaloub is great as Monk, but without Sherona it just wouldn't quite be the same. She's the Watson to his Holmes.

I also had to life Monk's discomfort with his substitute nurse. Also, her quick realization that she needs to get away from Monk before he drives her completely around the bend was nicely done. I figured that Sherona's original draft of the story would be in the moving/trash box about three seconds before it was explained on screen, but other than that, the whole mystery held up pretty well.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/31/2004 12:19:00 PM | |
Friday, July 30, 2004
Blogging at the Con, Continued
South Knox Bubba has an interesting take on the coverage by bloggers at the DNC this week.

"Here's something I found interesting this week. I expected bloggers to cover all the trivial stuff like and who said what snarky thing to who and who was drinking what and who was hanging out with who at what parties and so on.

"Interestingly, the cable news media seemed to be covering that, and the bloggers were delivering the substantive observations and commentary."

In reading this, I have to wonder some things. It seems as though." the mainstream media--ie the cable outlets--see the convention as pretty much "been there, done that, got the T-shirt" because a lot of them have done this type of things before. Also, there seems to be this race to immediately get talking heads on the screen to tell us what someone said or how we should interpret it, since we, the general viewing audience, can't figure that out for ourselves. (Hell, we're too dumb to know what network we're watching without that nice little logo in the corner to tell us all the time!) But I wonder if those who are bloggers out there see the convention as something more. They have been given access to something and it's not old hat to them. They're not there to go to parties, to hobnob with celebrities and to try and show off how smart they are (well, OK maybe the last one applies but just a little!). They are there to be an insider on the process, to let us who can't go know more about what it's like to be there. I'm not a Democrat, but I have a feeling just being at either party's convention would be a fascinating exercise just for the pagentry that goes on and seeing the thing we know as democracy in action. After all, this type of system--with a free debate and exchange of ideas, is what makes America so great. Even if I disagree with everything that is said, we all, at least have the right to say it. Now that's not to say that bloggers who go to go may not have their own agenda as well. Let's face it, Michael Moore ain't likely to get an invite to the RNC in a couple of weeks. But there are probably a good number there who are going to report on what it's like and what's going on and not spin it through whatever bias you choose to see--whether it's CNN or FOX news.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2004 07:51:00 PM | |

Being rich doesn't necessarily mean you'll have more sex, according to a .new article published at WebMd The article is interesting reading and certainly it reinforces what a lot of always thought--if you're poor but having sex reguarily, at least you're having sex!

"Many studies confirm that people who are depressed have less sex," says psychologist and sex therapist Robert Hatfield, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and a spokesman for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

Did you ever think that the reason that people are depressed is becuase they're not having sex?!? Kind of reminds me of that great X-Files episode, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" where Clive Bruckman is using his psychic powers to see that the killer had sex with the woman before he killed her. Scully asks him something about if it bother him and he sighs and says, "It just seems that everyone is having sex but me."

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2004 05:30:00 PM | |

What the *&#%?
South Carolina gets one vote for first place in the SEC East and Tennessee gets none?!? Geez...did Lou Holtz vote for himself (impossible really since every team they've ever played is better than they are, according to him!) Though, you gotta admit that Lou has a good sense of humor about it. Love his quote:

''He probably voted with a crayon,'' said South Carolina Coach Lou Holtz. ''Surely they wouldn't give him a sharp instrument.''

Meanwhile, in other news, looks like maverick Knoxville sports talk show host Tony Basilio has found a new home. He's on in the mornings now, which I am not sure I could stand him and the usual crew of idiots in the morning. And here's the real question--will Philly and Small Mike be able to get up early enough to call in and offer their usual lunatic theories?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2004 05:00:00 PM | |

Fulmer Strikes Back!
All week, people have been blasting Phillip Fulmer and UT for his not showing up for the SEC Media Days this week. I've gone on about this before, but I was glad to hear Fulmer's opening statement yesterday to the media. It's no nonsense and you can tell he's had it up to here with all of this stupidity. (I will admit I got a bit annoyed at Rick and Bubba this morning when they took fifteen or so minutes to rip on Fulmer without really actually bothering to understand why he hadn't come or read the full story..but then I rembered--Rick and Bubba exaggerate something for the sake of humor?!? Noooooo...that never happens!) A couple of things that Fulmer said that I really liked:

"We now have a small group of radical attorney, who on their own, have undertaken their own agenda to smear the NCAA and any one else they can along the way. These irresponsible people have alleged that there was a conspiracy between the Justice Department of the United States, the FBI, the NCAA, the University of Tennessee, and me. These kinds of statements are absurd. These are the same people who sued two sitting Alabama governors.

"University Presidents shaped the NCAA as our governing body some 100 years ago and we all participate voluntarily. In my 30 years of coaching, the people I have met from the NCAA seem to be bright and honorable people. I do not agree with everything they do, but they are our governing body and most of the rules we have has come from abuse and intended for the good of the whole body of members.

"Many coaches knew or suspected there was cheating going on and had challenged the suspect coaches to get it stopped. It was even addressed with all 12 SEC coaches in the same room at the SEC spring meeting a few years ago. It had been addressed long before the hammer finally fell.

"I strongly believe that this effort by an isolated group of irresponsible attorneys to somehow glorify or excuse illegal conduct at the expense of college football is hypocritical on their part."

As to why he didn't attend media days: "Everyone wants to know why I'm not in Birmingham. Again, I'm not an attorney, but I will do my best to explain it. I am a defendant, along with the NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association — which in my opinion is pretty good company — in a frivolous lawsuit in Tuscaloosa.

This could have been over weeks ago. Our motion to dismiss was continued several weeks ago to next Monday by the rogue lawyers and the timing of that is no coincidence.

Gee, a lawyer trying to play games. Yeah, that would NEVER happen. (In case you can't tell that last sentence was written in full sarcasm mode!)

"I've heard it asked, 'why not give a deposition and tell the truth'. That is actually two questions. First, through this entire affair, I have told the truth and will continue to tell the truth. Second, telling the truth is much different than agreeing to be a stage prop for a lawsuit that is for show.

"They have proven they are not interested in the truth. They only showboat and grandstand. They make wild charges — incredible exaggerations and tell half-truths to try and make their case.

"The truth is not on their side. I simply do not intend to play their game. I will not be drug into a deposition the week of the Florida, Georgia, or Alabama game.

"I do not want this extended any longer. I do not want to go back and forth during the season at the whim of a lawyer. I have a duty and responsibility to my players and my university and all the fans and boosters that support it. I am going to fulfill my duties as the Tennessee coach and let the lawyers do their jobs.

"As for the attack, I plan to fight every step of the way and give nothing. I am in this, not by my own doing, unless you count doing what was right when asked by our governing body. A couple of you called me a coward. I was disappointed to see that. You can talk about my coaching if we lose. You can talk about my play calling in games. You might talk about my physique if you chose to stoop that low, but coward is way over the line.

"The same people that used the space to call me a coward have used that same space to talk about cleaning up the SEC from cheating

First of all, I love the line about calling him a coward. I also love that he also throws in those of us who talk about his weight gain (and I have, at times said, you can tell how successful Fulmer is based on his waistline getting larger each year). I also like that Fulmer doesn't want this "frivelous" stuff to interfere with the season. I can only hope that the intensity and passion we've seen here in Fulmer will carry over to the field this season. We've got a tough one--and it's top-heavy as usual. That Florida game is going to be epic. We have to split with Georgia and Florida to have a shot at the East. I say we beat Florida early and then think about taking out the Bulldogs. But I am getting off the subject here (gee, huge surprise there, right?)

If you want to read the full transcript of Fulmer's comments (registration required to read, but it's free and worth it!), I recommend doing so. Strong words and good stuff.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2004 03:41:00 PM | |

Which Doctor Am I?
At last, a quiz I can identify with!  And it's interesting to note that I am much like my favorite Doctor. 

You are the seventh Doctor! Warm and friendly to
those around you, your manner can take a dark
turn at times. Those who cross your path have
significant reason to fear, as your morality is
a bit more liquid then might make some
comfortable. However, you are not human, and
behind those clever eyes a new scheme is
brewing. The responsibility of protecting the
universe lies on your shoulders. How can you
help it if no one understands?

Which Doctor (from Doctor Who) Are You?
brought to you by

Tip of the hat to Sarah for making me aware of this one!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2004 10:54:00 AM | |

It's funny because it's true!
This week, Get Fuzzy has presented a series of strips about the customer service department at Dull Computers.  Each one this week has made me laugh out loud because they hit close to home and as a person who has worked in customer service, there are times when you wish you could get away with stuff like this! Here are links to the comics.


Finally, I forgot to link to it last Saturday, but this Close to Home just amused me no end...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2004 10:13:00 AM | |

1st USA/Today/CNN Coaches' Poll is Out
First poll of the season
No big shock here that USC is ranked number one going into the season.  LSU comes in at number three behind Oklahoma.  The Vols are ranked fourteenth, which seems about right.  Georgia comes in at number four and I know there are some expecting Georgia to win it all.  Well, first y'all gotta figure out how to beat Florida and make it through a tough SEC schedule.  Then call me and we'll talk about your national title hopes.

Also, I hate to say it, but I think they should wait and have the polls come out a month into the season.  Let's see how things shake out a bit before we start declaring who is number one.  But, of course, then you couldn't have that big made for TV Labor Day match-up of Florida State vs Miami.  (And it is really smart to have one team pretty much out of the ACC and national title race the first week of the season?!?)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2004 10:06:00 AM | |
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Theater Thursday
My Life.
This week the topic is YOU.

At last, it's all about me, me, me!  Oh wait....isn't it always?!?

1) If there was a movie to be made about your life, what actor/actress would portray you?
For years, I thought that David Duchovny would do a good job as me.  The man can do the dramatic, he's got the timing and the humor needed to play me.  Plus, my female friends tell me he looks good in a pair of Speedos...which I don't at all--I look more like what Homer Simpson might look like in Speedos (as do most guys!  Remember--it's a priviledge not a right to wear them!).  Anyway, I think David Duchovny would be a good choice to play me.

2) What actor/actress would portray your love interest? Your best friend?
Oh goodness....I am gonna have to say Kirsten Dunst.  Oh wait, we want someone that I would have a shot with.  I really think Alexis Bledl from Gilmore Girls would be a good choice.  As for my best friend, I am not sure who would be the best person to play Barry.  He'd have to be someone who could bring dignity, intelligence and wit to the role.  Maybe a young Robert Redford.  Or maybe Ron Howard.  I think Ron Howard would be a good choice for Barry as well.   

3) What would be the title of your film?
"You're Mocking Me Aren't You?" or "Yes, We Are Laughing At You: Confessions from a Life Tech Support and Customer Service."

Bonus) What moment of your life would be the highlight of this film?
There are just so many moments from my life that would be highlights that I can't name them all here. 

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/29/2004 05:31:00 PM | |

The Amazing Race
This week's TV section of Entertainment Weekly says that Charla's biggest obstacle to overcome is Mirna.  And you know, it's hard to disagree.  But I think that every good reality show has to have someone that you just enjoy rooting against--someone that you keep going--how the heck did they make it through to next week?  Are they the luckiest people on Earth?  Because it sure seems that way.  Case in point of this week--Charla and Mirna look left for elimination at the airport only to miraculously get tickets and arrive ahead of several other teams!  And seeing Charla out there in pads, blocking hockey shots for much of a whiner as Mirna is, I have to admit I have a lot of respect for Charla and it's growing every week.

That said, this leg of the race was pretty gruelling.  The road block wasn't too bad in the long run, but the having to eat two pounds of cavier challenge...all I can say is YUCK!  I don't think The Amazing Race is springing for Beluga Cavier and I'd be hard pressed to eat two pounds of anything in one sitting.  I did notice that the person who was forced to choke this all down didn't look so perky and full of zest when they go to the pit stop point.  You had the person who wasn't forced to eat the two pounds of cavier celebrating while the person forced to eat it was looking around for somewhere to get ill.   Also, did anyone else notice that in most of the one guy, one girl couples, it was the girl who ended up choking down the cavier? 

Congratulations to Chip and Kim for making up some lost time and getting into first place this week.  As much as I missed Jim and Marsha, I think I'm pulling now for Chip and Kim.  Certainly, I am not pulling for Marshall and Lance who once again demonstrate why people in other countries hate Americans yet again and for the bowling moms who are manipulative to the extreme all while trying to come off as innocent.  I'd root for Charla if not for the Mirna factor.   Is it wrong of me to wish that Mirna had stuffed the cavier down instead of Charla just to see the tortured expression on her face?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/29/2004 09:42:00 AM | |
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

''When you get behind all the smoke and the big pile of lawsuits, the truth still stands: rules were broken, an investigation proved it, those who broke the rules admitted their guilt, and a university paid the price. There are a few people who cannot accept the truth, so they file lawsuits hoping the truth will go away."
--Phil Fulmer's press release.

There are some Vols fans out there who would argue that the Tennessee/Alabama rivalry has lost a bit of its luster the past couple of years. Certainly, in the Vol Nation with our winning eight out of the last nine games against our once dreaded rivals, there is the feeling that it's more important to the Vols to now take care of business against Florida and/or Georgia than it is Alabama. And while I agree that there is a good sense of rivalry there between the Vols and the Gators and the Vols and the Dawgs, as a Tennessee fan, there's just nothing quite as satisfying as beating Alabama--hell, even it was a game of pick-up sticks and it was us vs. Bama, I'd want the Big Orange to win.

Last year's Alabama game, which went to five OTs, certainly showed that. This game is a huge one on the field to the player involved. If you don't get why UT vs Bama is big, you probably just don't quite get the greatness that is UT football.

Of course, this year's game should be a barn-burner with a lot of hard feelings and grudges out laid out in the open. And that's just the fans. Heaven only knows what it will be like on the field when October rolls around.

And adding fuel to the fire this week, Phillip Fulmer's decision not to attend SEC Media Days due to the possiblity of being subpenaed if he sets foot in the state of Alabama. Certainly, it has given the talk radio shows and the sports pages a ton of ink to spill and I'm sure the message boards are burning up with fans calling for blood. And as much as I'd like to see Fulmer say, "Screw them! They can't intimadate me!" and head on down there, I can understand why he doesn't go. If you're going to pay a lawyer a ton of money to tell you what to do to protect yourself legally--even if you're in the right and you know it--then you shold probably listen to that advice. And the reports out of Knoxville are that Fulmer wanted to go, but his legal team advised him not to and the university decided to heed that, eat the fine and set up a teleconfrence. (According to some sources, UT also felt that the players shouldn't go as well, but Fulmer convinced them otherwise--after all, this is supposed to be about celebrating SEC football, not some legal suit brought about by a bunch of boosters with their noses out of whack).

Goodness, there are some fans in Alabama who have been watching way too many repeats of the X-Files. Their program committed some major violations and Fulmer did what he had to do--turned them in. Sure, he didn't go the Spurrier route and send a nasty letter and threaten them, but Fulmer did testify to the NCAA along with two other coaches. Yet, a small group of fans who are led by some lawyers want to drag this thing through the legal system. It doesn't help that Fulmer turned in one of the Vols' biggest rivals. It also doesn't help that he's remained mum about this, until this week that is, thus adding fuel to the fire. He must be covering up something, you think, because he's scared. Again, I go back to--you are paying these lawyers are ton of cash and they give tell you what to do. You'd be stupid not to follow their legal wisdom. I think it's a shame that a small number of Bama fans have to ruin the reputation of the majority of the fans out there. I respect those of you out there who are Bama fans. You like your team, I like mine. A couple of weekends a year, we disagree. But this small group of fans that just can't let go, that can't get over the fact that you broke the rules, you got caugh and are paying the penalty--it's time to let go. The University of Alabama has. They accepted the penalites and sanctions. They served their time and are bowl eligible this year. This small group of fans needs to get over it, move on and maybe take some steps back toward enjoying this great rivalry again.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/28/2004 09:16:00 PM | |
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
TV Tuesday
This week it's about you and what you remember about TV!! :)

1. What's your fondest memory of something on TV?
Well, I'm certainly not quite as bad as Bill Murray in Scrooged (stop laughing, Barry!), but I do have a lot of fond memories of things on TV. Some of my strongest memories are of watching classic Star Trek episodes with my dad, the first or second time I saw them (long before I had them memorized like I do now). In fact, some of those that I watched with my dad are still some of my all-time favorites. Also, I have special memories of a couple of Doctor Who related things. One was the first time I saw the show--it was a hot day, I'd seen all of the classic Trek repeats (this was before TNG!) and my dad said, "Have you tried this Doctor Who show?" I am sure he regrets it to this day, but I hadn't and he flipped it over. The rest is, sad to say, fan-boy history. The first Doctor I met in person was the seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy and this was long before his episodes worked their way over to the U.S. I remember at the mini-con I attended, I asked him if he'd run into the Daleks yet and he replied he hadn't but he'd go back and tell them that I wanted to see them. Well, the next season led off with a Dalek story, which I've always assumed was put into production because of my request. OK, so maybe in reading that, I am as sad as Bill Murray in Scrooged...

2. What's the first show you remember watching regularly?
Benson. In fact, at the time, ABC ran promos for it where Benson and Kraus are in a convience store and Kraus says, "Vanishing cream" and Benson replies, "My treat!" Anyway, the first episode I saw was this one and I loved it. I used to watch it with Dad when Mom was out at choir. I also remember tuning into Battlestar Galatica and Buck Rogers when they were first on. (In fact, my dad worked with Gil Gerard's brother). Again, most of these shows were watched with Dad.

3. What is the (pick one: stupidest, saddest, silliest, most disgusting..) thing you've ever seen on TV?
There are a lot of the current glut of reality shows that just plain, out and out stink. I like Survivor, I like The Amazing Race and the Apprentice is good. But some of these on FOX just make me cringe--Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire? Trading Spouses?!? What the hell?!? They cancel good stuff like Firefly for this crap! (Even though I'm getting a movie, I'm still pissed we didn't get the complete vision of Firefly that Joss Whedon had!)

~Bonus~What's the best series finale you remember?
It's interesting that you ask this--so many of the shows I enjoy watching have ended in the past couple of years. Of course, there was the superb endings to Buffy and Angel, the nicely done last episodes of TNG and DS9. The finale of Farscape annoyed me, simply because it wasn't intended to be the end of the show and they thought they had another year. The series finale for Babylon Five was well done, but after the fifth season stood out like a sore thumb, it lost something. (I need to go back and re-watch the entire series). I remember the X-Files finale for being so annoyed that it was so bad. And the Seinfeld finale--not to great end to a great show. But there are two that just stand out. One is, of course, the classic ending to Newhart. If you haven't seen it--shame on you! The second is probably lesser known. There was this crappy show that aired on ABC Friday nights after Benson in the mid to late 80's. It was called I Married Dora. It was kind of the less refined version of Whose The Boss.  (Yeah, I know...I have no idea how it's possbile either!)Anyway, the last episode aired and it was supposed to be some type of cliffhanger--well, they're building up to it when suddenly the male lead comes in and says, "It doesn't really matter, we got cancelled" and is holding a pink slip. I don't remember anything about the rest of the show, but I do remember that.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/27/2004 08:36:00 PM | |

"Trust me, I know what I'm doing."
Anyone else remember the TV classic that is Sledge Hammer!? It was a staple of my Friday night viewing back in my junior high school days during the mid to late 80s. The first season hits DVD today including the never aired pilot and the infamous season finale where Sledge manages to blow up the entire city with a nuclear device and the words "To Be Continued" flashed on screen. Basically, the show was left for dead, so the creators made an episode as a cliffhanger that could have no possible resolution. Then ABC airs the show on a Thursday night up against a repeat of Cosby or something like that and it scores pretty good ratings. ABC then orders the second season and the creators are stuck--how the hell do we resolve this?!?

I remember waiting all summer to find out...that the second season of Sledge Hammer took place three or four years before the first one.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/27/2004 01:19:00 PM | |
Monday, July 26, 2004
Best of Family Guy
I remember a couple of years ago, after the Super Bowl, FOX aired the original Family Guy episode. It cracked me up immensely. Unfortunately, it was months before another one aired and then FOX yanked the show all over the schedule so you couldn't find it. It faded away and got yanked, which is no great shock when you think of all the great shows FOX had cancelled recently.

Now, it's become successful again, thanks to repeats in the Adult Swim. I've been enjoying catching up with those episodes I've missed in the syndicated repeats. It's one of those shows that at least once per episode I get a really good laugh out of. And this week, we get a run of four episodes, chosen by creator Seth McFarland as his favorites. And he even hosts them. Ah, the joys of stunt television.

Reminds me of a couple years ago when I first got into Star Trek. The station I was watching repeats on was near San Francisco where they were filming Star Trek IV. They got Walter Koenig and George Takei to come by and record intros and bumpers for their favorite episodes--which ended up being about half the series (Seriously, how can Spectre of the Gun be a favorite?!? I mean, the only reason Koenig chose it was he got the girl instead of Shatner, which if you're a Trek fan, you know is pretty dang rare!)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/26/2004 02:58:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
The 4400: Becoming
Another solid entry in this limited series. Not quite as enjoyable as last week, but I think that's because the roots of this one were showing. Namely, the Oliver Knox plotline felt like a thinly disguised derivation of the classic X-Files episode, "Pusher". However, the far more intriguing plotlines came with the Jordan Collier plotline and his attempts to bring the 4400 together into some type of group. I've seen enough of these types of shows to realize that Collier probably isn't quite as philatrhophic as he appears, but I am intrigued to see just where they'll take this storyline over the next couple of weeks.

I was also intrigued by the notion that whoever took the 4400 and returned them might be trying to influence things. The "ripple effect" of the actions by two of the 4400 was an nicely done little tease to keep me interested and wanting to tune in next week. It also brings up some questions of who took the group and why and do they have an agenda? From Sean's story, it would appear that being taken wasn't exactly a comfortble or enjoyable procedure, but yet everyone who has returned seems to have some gift and has used it to make a difference of some kind (well, except for Knox, but we don't yet know how his plotline will impact things). So, why did the 4400 return? And, more interestingly, is Collier part of the aliens' plot? Time will tell. (I hope!)

The Dead Zone: Looking Glass
"Looking Glass" brings up some intriguing ideas about Johnny and his powers. The first is the right to privacy and do Johnny's visions represent a violation of a person's privacy. (Certainly we had echoes of that last week from Walt, taking about Johnny being able to touch someone and have instant access to the dark recesses that most people would rather keep hidden). Next, we got the question of could someone figure out a way to use Johnny's visions to create the future or outcome they wanted? Here, the two twins start out innocently enough--wanting to show Johnny as a hoax, but it slowly takes a turn for the sinister when Lennie kills his identical twin, George's girlfriend in order to complete the perfect crime. Of course, it helps that the twins have some motivation for wanting revenge on Johnny due to his connection with Rev. Purdy. There are some interesting questions raised here and some rather unsettling answers. For one, despite his best efforts, Johnny can't stop the girl from getting killed. (Is this one of the few times we've seen Johnny not be able to prevent the tragedy he sees from occurring?) Second of all, in the end, will the confession be admissable in court? I am not certain since a good lawyer would find  a loophole to get it thrown out? Finally, what is the cost of the visions to Johnny and those he helps? One intriguing idea here is that Johnny only sees the dark side of things since most of his visions involve death and/or destruction. But also, does Johnny help those he touches? Certainly, he has saved some lives, but he pretty much shattered the family here. Interesting questions and like any good show, the Dead Zone doesn't necessarily provide any easy, pat answers to them.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/26/2004 11:51:00 AM | |

Local girl makes good.
The Rutherford section of yesterday's Tennessean featured an article about LaVergne High School grad and former Miss Nashville Tennesse, Darcy Donavan.  According to the article, she has her largest role to date in the current Will Farrel hit, Anchorman.  If you surf over to the IMDB, you can see her entire filmography which is kind of short. She appeared in Las Vegas as a dancer and in the role of sexy house wife in the movie, Uh, Oh! (as in, uh, oh, I've never heard of it!)

One thing about the article that interested me (I mean, beyond the publicity photos of the cute local girl), was her sitcom that she's currently pitching that she describes as a cross of Three's Company, Friends and Seinfeld. Ummm...OK! Doesn't that really describe a lot of the sitcoms out there today?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/26/2004 10:40:00 AM | |

Why did it have to be snakes?
Yesterday afternoon, I was headed outside to husk some corn.   I pushed open the door from the screened porch to the deck and, as usual, it was a bit stuck.  So, I gave it an extra nudge with my foot, the door opened and I procceeded outside.  I felt something hit my arm slightly.  I lunged backward, startled, into the screened porch.  I figured it was some kind of big bug or something until I couldn't see one or any sign of one.  So, I slowly opened the door and looked down to see...a snake!
It was a small snake and it didn't look poisonous.  I think it was crawling in the gutters and I lodged it loose.  Either way--A SNAKE FELL ON  ME! 
Needless to say, I was thankful I'd used the bathroom recently so I didn't have to change pants.  

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/26/2004 08:32:00 AM | |
Sunday, July 25, 2004
What if...
Armchair quarterbacking is just one of the many perks of being a sports fan these days.  And one of the great questions that we armchair QBs ask is--"what if?"  

In today's Tennessean, sports-writer Paul Kuharksy  takes a look at some "what if" moments related to
five of the bigger stories in Nashville sports history in the past couple of years.  Two of them, I care about passionately--the Music City Miracle and Clint Sterner's fumble in the UT/Arkansas game.  Both of these moments are ones that I will always remember where I was and what I was doing.  As a fan of both teams, these are those miracle type of moments that make you glad you're a fan.  First of all, the Music City Miracle--I think it goes without saying that Mike Keith's call on Titans radio for this one goes hand in hand in with play.  Hearing Keith (who I think is the best play by play guy in the NFL) call this one is magical.  I was not in Tennessee at the time--I was visiting the parental units in Texas--and only saw the game on ABC.  But thankfully, they and ESPN used the Keith call for it and I used to have a .wav of it downloaded on my PC to listen to every once in a while.  Keith and fellow broadcast, Pat Ryan, really make this one come alive--from the stunned shock at what's going on, to the awe that it's take place to the sheer joy that it worked as we won.  How can you forget Ryan saying, "I think they've got something!' and Keith saying, "THERE ARE NO FLAGS ON THE FIELD!" and going nuts proclaiming it a miracle.  It still gives me goose-bumps just thinking about it.  ESPN recently counted this as moment number 48 from the past 25 years.  Sorry, missed the boat.  This one is top five.  (I also know some people in Buffalo who to this day argue it was a forward lateral and call the play something else...all I can say is--get over it!  We did it, we won and we went to the Super Bowl!)

The next one is the one play that one UT a national championship and we had little to do with it.   I vividly remember that Susan and Brian had tickets to the game, it was pouring rain and I almost got to go.   I remember watching the whole game, just feeling sick to my stomach at how we'd acheived the number one ranking and were playing so poorly.   My parents were stationed in Hawaii and we'd call each other after each game and either celebrate or lament.  I remember us punting and sitting in my little apartment on Ferd Hickey Rd stunned, upset and ticked off.  How could this happen?  I finally had worked up the energy to pick up the phone and call my parents to lament--when it happened.   Storner goes back, fumbles the ball and we pounce on it.  I drop the phone.  I am literally on my hands and knees watching as Travis Henry comes in and pounds the ball down, yard after yard, closer and closer.  Finally, he breaks the goal line, I jump and erupt "Touchdown Tennessee!"  I proceed to do this after each replay and dance around with joy.  At that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt we'd win it all...every championship run has to have a little luck and we just got ours. 

Moments like those are why it's great to be a sports fan.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/25/2004 05:15:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
Monk--Mr. Monk meets the Godfather
Every once in a while, Monk pulls off a mystery where all the clues are there in the open and you just kick yourself for not figuring it out first. This week's episode was one of those. In hindsight, it should have been completely obvious--oh yeah, the pennies went in the gumball machine and the guy at the mint had to get them back. Even still, the story so expertly drops in the red herring of the mob and the potential mafia hit and war, that you figure the worker at the mint is only a bit of intersting backstory or a red herring in and of itself.

But couched within this mystery was a show about getting the characters right. Seeing the feds dangling one of the things Monk wants most--his reistatement to the force--to get him to go along with their sting was a nice touch. Also, Sherona's romance with Big Tony was nicely done as was Randy's jealousy over the whole thing. (These two have a nice bit of chemistry in the give and take department when it's done well...I just hope they don't make the mistake of thinking we necessarily want or need the characters together full-time as that would really ruin a lot of the fun!) It appears more and more that the first two episodes of the year were aberrations with the characters acting completely and totally insane in order to go for a couple of quick jokes. In the past two episodes I've seen--I've still not had a chance to get to my videotaped copy of Mr Monk Loses His Job-- the characters have all seemed within character and we haven't had jokes made at their expense. Glad to see the writers got this under control quickly because when it's done right, Monk is a fun show to watch. And let's face it--this week's episode was fun. (I espeically loved Monk washing out the $20,000 microphone from his sting operation! Classic!)

Stargate SG1--Lockdown
It seems like ever sci-fi series these days has an episode that is derivative of The Thing--alien presence takes over one member of the crew and can possibly jump from person to person. The question then bcomes--who can you trust or should you trust anyone other than yourself? X-Files did it back in season one with the superbly done, "Ice" and Farscape did it in "A Bugs Life" (in season one as well) as well as several other episodes. As a fan whose come a bit late to the party that is Stargate, I'm not sure if they're just behind the curse in doing this type of "alien possesion, who can we trust" themed episode or if it's been done before and I just haven't seen that episode. As with all shows of this type, it isn't that you necessarily re-invent the wheel every week, so much as putting a new spin on the wheel. In this case, the spinning the wheel in a new direction is a bad-guy named Annubis who was once held to physical form by a force field until his ship blew up and now he's hitched a ride down to the Stargate on a Russian astronaut to find a way back to a world where he can, hopefully, find himself a new body. Thankfully, there's only one Stargate around, so if you close it down, you trap Annubis on Earth. Now, at this point, if Annubis can jump around from body to body, I'm not sure why he doesn't leave and jump from body to body all across Earth until such time as security lessens a bit. Surely, they're not going to shut down Stargate for all of time. Of course, he tends to tear up the bodies he's in, so that might prohibit it. What I found most lacking here was the compelling sense of tension that we had to stop Anubis and do it soon. Or the sense of claustrophobia that both Farscape and The X-Files mined from the "gee, we can't really know who we can trust here" theme. Instead, we got an episode that seemed a bit off in the pacing. A lot of time was spent setting it all up and very little on who we trust and why and then dealing with the issue. Indeed, the ending seemed a lot like classic Trek's "Trouble With Tribbles" in the--oh, we just sent the problem to somewhere else to deal with. Yes, in this case it was an icy planet where the host died and there appears to be no one else around or little Annubis can use to re-created himself, but what's to say someone doesn't wander by and he hitched a ride. Again, this may be my lack of Stargate watching experience talking here, but the ending raised far too many questions and didn't give us nearly enough good answers.

Stargate: Atlantis--Hide and Seek
If the pacing for Stargate was off, then it was definitely very much on for this episode of Stargate: Atlantis. As second epsiodes of a series go, this one did farily well, even if it was a bit by the numbers. We got some nice scenes to re-establish our situation, who the characters are and it slowly started to flesh out some of the relationships between them. Certainly, I found the different worldview of the humans and our new found friends, Athosians to work pretty well. There is some potential for some conflict and learning about each other and I found myself reminded a bit of the early days of DS9, when we had the Starfleet officers slowly learning about the history and culture of Bajor. I liked seeing them come together to try and find the lost Athosian boy and I did enjoy the predicament of Dr. McKay being stuck in a forcefield. (I have to give them credit, the concept of--what if I can't get the force field off not even to eat or drink? was nicely done. It also brings up an age-old question--OK, so he couldn't get food in, how did he use the facilities?) Sure, you could see coming a mile away that McKay would somehow have a moment in which is overwhelming cowardice would be overcome and he’d save the day, but I didn’t really mind that much. Also, the farily routine plot of we’ve released an alien menace and it’s trying to take over or harming the ship/city was nicely done here. I think the large part of it was the solution that Teyla offers--maybe it’s best to let the thing go where it wants to go through the Stargate. It’s probably ticked off at being held prisoner all these years so rather than have it run amok and kill everyone while we try to communicate with it, let it go its own way and we’ll deal with it later, maybe. This episode was stronger than Stargate was and I wonder if that was due to the proudcers focusing a great deal on the spin-off to start-up and leaving the first show to run on its own. Or it could be that I watched this one first, it was stronger and it made the Stargate episode pale a bit by comparison.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/25/2004 04:04:00 PM | |
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Blogging at the Conventions.
Who would have thought that blogging could change the world in this way?   For the first time, a group of bloggers have been given press credentials to cover both parties conventions this summer.  (What Ralph Nader isn't letting them cover his?!?) I have to say that this coverage looks interesting, though I also wonder if the blogs in question will be pro-party.  I'd be intrigued to see a Republican blogger invited to the DNC and a Democratic blogger invited to the Republican National Convention.  That would make for some interesting reading.

In a related note,  the Rocky Top Brigade's own Glenn Reynolds aka is interviewed in the article about the blogs.  Congratulations!  

And the title is...
It's official--the title for the
third Star Wars prequel is Revenge of the Sith.  Interesting bit of symmatry betweeen this title and the the third installment of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi.   Man, I'd love to get a look at the footage that LucasFilm sneak-peaked at Comic-Con International.  But I bet that Ain't-It-Cool-News will have a detailed wrap-up soon, if they don't already.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/24/2004 08:00:00 PM | |
Friday, July 23, 2004
Forget Meet the Press!
If you really want to get the pulse on what's happening in America today and why our country is headed to the  crapper, just stop by a good ol' barber shop.  I stopped into my local barber shop here in the big-city of Smyrna this morning for a trim (hair was getting long enough to be an annoyance with the chlorine from swimming!).  While in there, I was treated to quite the dissertation on the current state of America by several older guys.  Basically, it's all the foreigners--we need to throw them all out or else start up the KKK again to do it.   That and Jesse Jackson and the NAACP.

The barber told us a bunch of stories that would make your hair curl--assuming it wasn't already. Men swapping wives in the barber shop, a prositutue coming in and stripping down right there, an old guy with a cane beating the stew out of some guy for hitting a woman, two African-Americans getting mad because he didn't know how to cut their hair correctly, and more.  I tell you, I just come in at all the boring times when none of this is going on!  The barber has told me once before he had an offer from someone to write a book of his stories from his years cutting hair, but the guy has never shown back up.  He asked if I'd do it.   It sounds like there could be some very interesting stories to tell here!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2004 01:17:00 PM | |

Your movie going choices this weekend
It looks like someone over at Warner Brothers lost that bet with Satan and had to inflict Catwoman upon us. The trailer I've seen left me less than impressed and this review from the Tennessean makes me less inclined than ever to run out and see the movie. Roger Ebert is less than glowing in his review.  And Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post says, "After her dramatic, toned-down turn in "Monster's Ball," it's as if she wants to remind audiences (and the powers that be in Hollywood) that she's really just a pretty face." Ouch! Full review here (Registration required to read it!)

Far more glowing is the review for The Bourne Supremecy. Now, I liked the first one, but I didn't think it was exactly anything to write home about. This one looks like a definite wait for DVD one (or a dollar movie, assuming Nashville had one!).

On the other hand, Spider-Man 2 hits the IMAX this weekend. Sure, admission is double the cost of an ordinary matinee, but I'd gladly pay it to see the super colossal, IMAXed Spidey! First of all, the movie is just awesome. Second of all, super-sized Kirsten Dundst!!!!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2004 12:10:00 PM | |

Sports News
I admit that I'm disappointed that Eddie George is a Titan no more. It's an irony that for a guy who was virtually fumble-free, had this deal fumbled so publically by both himself and the Titans organization. I would have loved to see Eddie retire as a Titan, but I guess it's not to be. Of course, being a Dallas Cowboy-hater, I am sick to my stomach to think he might sign with the evil empire in Dallas. Please, Eddie...they already made me turn on Jason Witten! Not you also!

On a related note, The Tennessean's David Climer offered up
this interesting take on Eddie's departure from the team.

UPDATE 5:00 PM CST.  Well, it looks like Eddie took a one-year deal worth about the same as he would've made with the Titans to go and play for the Evil Empire in Dallas.  Interesting since Eddie said he wanted a two-year deal here and was offered the same money.  I have to imagine a lot of this fiasco rests with Lamont Smith, his agent.  Oh well, Eddie ain't a Titan anymore and he's playing for my least favorite team.  Here's hoping the Redskins take care of business and hold you to less than 100 yards when you play them twice this year and that you guys lose both games.  Hope you enjoy meeting Mr. Arrington, who is gonna be like Javon "The Freak" Kearse, only this time, he'll have his sights set on stopping you running.  Good luck to you, Eddie.  You're gonna need it in Dallas.

Only 46 Days Left!
In 46 days, the Vols kick off the 2004 campaign. It's getting to be that time of year when my football withdrawl syndrome (FWS) is really kicking in.

On that note,
Vols' trio first-team preseason All-SEC which is good news, but in the news that has me worried categorgy, Banks to sit in UT's first three games. I worry about this story and how it's played out. Last week, it looked bad for Banks being on the team at all this year and then later this week, I heard players were rallying around him. I understand he has all the talent in the world at reciever, but I just hope Fulmer made the right choice. We do not need another Kelly Washington-like distraction!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2004 11:47:00 AM | |

Whew...I Was Worried.
43.75 %

My weblog owns 43.75 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Huge sigh of least I'm not owned by my blog, despite the huge number of posts per day.

Tip of the hat to Just Lani for the quiz!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2004 11:37:00 AM | |

Reflections on a week.
Last weekend, Mom and I made a trip to Memphis to visit my grandfather. My grandfather is 90-years old and lives in a retirement community there. He decided he'd like to re-arrange his furniture and so we went to move his living room around for him. Going to visit him in the retirement community always reminds me of dorm living--you walk through the halls and you can hear the TVs blaring in the middle of the hallway. Also, everyone has decorated their doorway/entry area--in college, it's with beer cans or something around the door knob to indicate to your roommate you don't want to be disturbed; in the retirement community, it's a nice plant or something. One really nice display was obviously left over from the Fourth of July with patriotic star and an angel who was dressed in red, white and blue. Also, in the retirement community, everyone eats together in the dining hall and they always complain about how bad the food is. (It's not really that bad...I've had a couple of meals there in the past few weeks and they were remarkably edible.)

My grandfather has a usual group of guys he eats with each night. One of them, Andy Anderson, loves ice cream. They serve ice cream every night and Andy always has a double helping after he which he goes back to his apartment to have some more. (Hey, when I'm over 80 I'm eating whatever the heck I want and damn the consequences!). Somehow, we got on a discussion of the best ice creams and Andy said he liked all the flavors except Cookies and Cream because that was made with rejected cookie parts and he wanted top quality and not rejects.

My grandfather is also a bit irritated that they've added more cable channels to his line-up and he can't find Turner South. We're trying to get a new card listing all his channels, but I flipped around for some time on Saturday afternoon trying to find Turner South. TBS has gone to their "all comedy, all the time" schedule and the Braves games have moved to Turner South. Well, I am not sure if Turner South is included in their new cable package--something which the guys complain about no end. After all, it's just not an after dinner nap without snoozing through the Braves! But in flipping around, I see that they get Comedy Central. Now, I enjoy Comedy Central, but it seems to me that since the retirement community picks and chooses the channels for their cable system, that it would be far more better for their demographic to have Turner South than Comedy Central. I can only imagine the coniption fit my grandfather would have if he ever stumbled across and watched South Park.

After moving furniture, visiting with my grandfather, running errands for him and helping him clean up a bathroom they'd renovated but not cleaned (how the heck they expected a 90-year old man who uses a walker to clean up an inch of dust from joint compound that was sanded down repairing his ceiling is beyond me!), we headed back to Smyrna for Vacation Bible School. I had volunteered to help out in the missions area but I pretty much went where I was needed all week. I helped with the two-year olds (the teacher bailed at the last minute because she was mad at the church...yeah, that's right, punish the kids cause you get your nose out of joint!), worked in the mission areas, tying together blankets and helped with games. First of all, let me say this--getting 30 plus two-year olds from one place to another is a lot like herding cats.

The games were pretty much designed to utilize some of the pent up energy of the young ones there. They ran about, playing spray tag--you take a water bottle and spray people with it to get them out--and kick ball. We also did some relay races, but they were not quite the draw as spray tag or kick ball. (The classics never go out of style). In helping with missions--I played games the first two nights, did the blankets the next two and then did games last night--I figured if the guys saw a grown-up guy who ran about and played games tying blankets, they'd protest less that it was too "girly." Well, this sort of worked. Some were just too wound up after playing games to really tie blankets for 20 minutes. (The blankets are for kids in the area who asked Santa for blankets instead of toys last just breaks my heart to hear it). Also, some of the guys were not happy that I got to tie the manly colors together--you know, orange and white, Titans color, etc. While tying blankets, some of the guys started to tell jokes, which it amazed me that the same dumb jokes I chuckled over at their age are still popular. And you can tell the same joke or a variation of it three times in a row and still give huge laughs. (Hence why men can watch the same Seinfeld re-run 15 times and still fall on the floor laughing). The joke told here was the basic one of someone who doesn't speak English (in this case an alien) comes over, hears three phrases, latches on to them and then repeats them back at inopportune moments. If you're a guy, you may remember these jokes and be chuckling a bit to yourself at them.

To add to my week, I also looked for a job, had an interview, made a bunch of phone calls and took care of Gracelyn one morning. She was out of day care having gotten sick the day before, but you'd never know it. She has more energy than she knows what to do with and she loves having Uncle Michael all to herself to play. We made a "barn" out of her padded folding chair and a "house" out of it. The barn is the barn because you put her Elmo blanket on it and the house is blanket-less. I had a good time with her, crawling around and playing, reading books to her.

As for the job interview, it went well. It's temp to perm, so we'll see what happens. I am hopeful it will lead to something. Keeping the fingers crossed.

So, is it any wonder that I'm a bit tired after this week?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2004 11:18:00 AM | |

Classic Movie

So, I'm a Jimmy Stewart film, eh? I suppose there are worse things to be in life.

Tip of the Indiana Jones fedora (surf over to Barry's blog and you'll see why!) to Barry at Inn of the Last Home for this one.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2004 09:03:00 AM | |
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Volunteer Tailgate Party
Welcome to this month's Volunteer Tailgate Party! Pull up a chair, grab a frosty cool beverage and check out the best and the brightest from the past couple of weeks in the Rocky Top Brigade!

"All men are equal, up to the point of exertion," says the Conservative Zone. This statement is backed up by a study on the Power of Optimism,
detailed here.

Think Dick Cheney is a hot-head for dropping the f-bomb on the Senate floor? Janet Dagley Dagley tells us this is nothing new with a three-part report on the re-enactment of the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and, then VP, Aaron Burr. You can read
part one part two and part threeat The Dagley Dagley Daily Diary.

The Countertop Chronicles offers a four-part look at the Virginia Open Container laws.
Part one, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four. Also, Countertop takes a moment to look at which issues are important to him in the upcoming election.

Douglas McDaniel
details a letter from God to George W. Bush. In another entry, for The American Street, he examines how democracy defeated Mike Ditka. (Which it's really too bad that Ditka didn't run--I was looking forward to the revival of "Da Bears!" guys on SNL!)

On July 22, 2003, Hurricane Elvis, a sudden storm with 100-mile-per-hour winds struck Memphis. Half-Bakered details his
experience before, during and after the storm and talks about how many of us never heard about how "major metropolis was wrecked, swept from the map."

The Baculum King examines
how U.S. Government officials might try to disrupt the upcoming elections with an attack in October in his blog. After reading that report, if you need to relax a bit, try looking at this picture of calm, ocean ripples.

With the selection of John Edwards as a running mate for Kerry is Tennessee in play as a battleground state? South Knox Bubba
examines the current and historical evidence about what each side will need to do to win the Volunteer State.

South End Grounds looks at
attempts to disprupt the Republican National Convention by the "Ruckus Society."

The Volunteer State recently changed the requirements to get a Tennessee driver's license. Damn Foreigner
looks at the changes and tells us why he's glad he doesn't have to try and get a license under the new regulations.

Bill Clinton's My Life hit stores this month in the U.S. In China, it's not scheduled for release until September, but that hasn't stopped black market copies from appearning. However, these copies have some differences in them, as
detailed here by Voluntarily in China.

Say Uncle checks in with two entries for the tailgate party. First up, is
an article about the Bush administration and their mixed signals of gun control. He then follows-up with a response to the position he takes.

How did Nancy Reagan make it through Ron's funeral? The World of Longmire
offers up a possible explanation.

Hatmaran has
to make a difficult choice about allowing the cats access to the bedroom.

Want to protect your privacy but still be able to read on-line articles? No Quarters shares how to
avoid registration to read articles on certain web sites.

Who is artist Jack T. Chick? Damn Art Diary
tells us more about his religious tract comic art here and how the "art world" doesn't give him a lot of recognition.

Think you know everything there is to know about the hit-movie, The Usual Suspects? The Les Jones Blog
details continuity gaffes from the film.

Sugarfused tells us of
a little situation at work where several employees wanted to turn the workplace into a tent revival and how she dealt with it. The proud grandmother also shares the latest image of her soon-to-be-granddaughter. "I think she's even smiling for the camera!" she told me in her submission! Congratulations!

Straight White Guy tells us about
being a musician, his Fender guitar and his favorite song, Thrasher.

Paisley Dreams goes back to childhood and tells us about her version of Cars Are Monsters.

Missives Anonymous posts before and after pictures and details of her new haircut and how she donated her locks to the Locks of Love.

The Wandering Hillbilly finally comes out and picks his
"favert sangle malts".

And last, but not least, your host, Big Orange Michael,
tells about winning tickets to the Titans/Colts game in September. A follow-up on the story is here. Also, in honor of the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, I relate the story about a game of slaughterball.

Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks for stopping by to enjoy the tailgate. We'll see you again soon out on the Net. And let's not forget, it's only 47 days until it's football time in Tennessee!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/22/2004 09:20:00 AM | |

Theater Thursday
This week's Theatre Thursday is dedicated to those Onscreen Moments that stay with you forever.

1) What moment from what movie still makes you laugh out loud - no matter how many times you see it?
So many moments from the classic that is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  "Looks kids, a deer!"  "Dad, did you bring an axe?" "Eddie, if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I couldn't be any more surprised than I am right now."  

2) What moment from what movie still makes you cry like a baby - no matter how many times you see it?
When Spock sacrifices himself in his version of the Kobyashi Maru in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  There are very few, better, well-handled on-screen character deaths than this one.  Every other Star Trek death has tried to best this one, and none has really scratched the surface.   Also, the scene in The Searchers where Ethan Edwards chases down Debby in the end and you fully expect him to kill her, but instead he lifts her up, hugs her and says, "Let's go home, Debby."

3) What moment from what movie made you actually turn your head from the screen - either in fear, revulsion, or contempt for the fact that you actually paid money to see the film?
As much as I enjoyed American Pie, it  seems as though a lot of comedies these days are going for the over-the-top, gross-out factor.  Even the last American Pie film went a bit too far with the whole scene where Stiffler eat dog doo claiming it's a truffle.  Just a bit too much for my liking and there have been others--such as Van Wilder--that have done similiar stunts that really make me question why I'm watching and wasting my time.

BONUS) What is one single moment from a film that is indelibly etched in your brain? Not a scene or a sequence exactly, but three or four seconds from a movie that contain an image or phrase or concept that transcends normal movies?
A couple of moments that really stand out to me.  One is from the classic movie, the Searchers with John Wayne.  It's the famous scene where Ethan Edwards and Martin finally catch-up to Debby and Ethan decides to shoot her because she's been "corrupted" by the Indians.  Martin steps in front of her and says, "No you don't Ethan!  No you don't!"  A powerful moment in cinema.  Also, the scene that I talk about above where Ethan tells Debby, "Let's go home, Debby."  Also, going back to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan...after the Enterprise has been beaten badly by Khan in the first battle, Kirk asks for time to pull up data on the Genesis project to give to Khan.  Instead, he pulls up the codes to lower their shields.   The scene takes place as Khan tells Kirk time is up and Kirk responds with by lowering Khan's shields, attacking the ship and limping away in the Enterprise.  Just the music, the direction, the acting, the cutting in that makes it memorable.  Finally, one of those great stand-up and cheer moments I love comes from Superman II.  After giving up his powers and seeing the trio take over the world, Clark goes back to the Fortress of Solitude to beg for his powers back. Cut to Metropolis and the Daily Planet.  The trio shows up with Lex and tries to take Lois to bring Superman out of hiding.  The scene plays out with the John Williams score hinting that Superman is coming back, people looking up and seeing something, the breeze going and then Superman shows up outside Perry White's window and says, "General, would you care to step outside?"  It's a great moment for the build-up and the sense of relief you share with everyone that Superman has finally shown up to take care of  this problem. 

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/22/2004 08:51:00 AM | |
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
TV Round-Up
The Amazing Race
Well, I guess I'm going to have to find some new favorites to pull for to win this race, since Jim and Marsha were eliminated last night. After bouncing back from the bowling moms treachery last week, they just couldn't overcome an error in making plane reservations here to come back. Which is a shame because if there was a team that deserved elimination, it was Marshall and Lance. You wonder why people outside our country hate Americans? Just look at these two bozos. They are rude and obnoxious to EVERYONE! Was it just me or was anyone else hoping they'd still be there, biting chocolates trying to find the right one or that they'd somehow get lost and Jim and Marsha would sneak in for a win? Also, I'm getting tired of the Charla/Mirna act. To Mirna, everything is "disguisting" (please, find a new word!) and everyone is against them. And Charla...she screws everyone in the whole flight thing over by saying she needs a doctor and using that to get on the flight first. As much as I was disliking Karli and Kami, I have far more disdain for these two now. Though the sight of Karli and Kami swimming out to the island when everyone else just waded out through shallow water was the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while. Couldn't have happened to two nicer people, I say.

The 4440: The New & Improved Carl Morrisey
Last week, I wondered if all the returnees had some type of special power, and this week we find out the answer is--probably. There was a lot happening in this episode--from Sean's lying to Tom about trying to revive Kyle to Diana taking Maia out of the center with her (which from the time Diana said she would check in on Maia during the tests, it was obvious where this one would probably lead). The plotline of Carl Morrisey wanting to use his new-found powers to save his old neighborhood seemed fairly cliched, but I have to admit I liked where they took the story. Seeing his wife lose Carl again was heart-breaking and I'll admit the Carl inspires his neighbors at the end seemed a bit too pat for my liking. I still have to admit the Richard and Lily plotline is the most compelling one, esp. with Lily's apparent connection to the baby and her violating the restraining order to see Heidi. I begin to wonder if this will be some type of super-alien baby that will be born before the end of the series. Time will tell, but, for now, I'm hooked.

The Dead Zone: No Questions Asked.
Walt Bannerman has had some good fortune in his life--he's been in the right place at the right time and known how to take advantage of it. But it's not without its consequences, as we find out here. Since the beginning of the series, we've seen Walt struggle as the third wheel in the whole Johnny/Sarah/Walt triangle and even though we should hate him for being with Sarah, we can't. Why? Because the writers of this show and Chris Bruno make Walt likeable. He's a good man, trying to do the right thing for all those around him. He loves Sarah, we can see that, but he struggles with playing second fiddle to Johnny at times. Here, we see some flashbacks into Walt's past where we learn he's not quite the boy scout we think he is. Walt was having an affair, which lead to the one childhood friend getting killed and the other going to jail. Now, years later, Walt is struggling to put his past behind him, but it keeps coming back to haunt him. This was a strong entry in the series and a compelling look at what I think is the most underrated element of the series, Walt. Seeing that he's just as human as everyone else was nicely done and it was intriguing to slowly watch the mystery of what happened years ago unfold. Season three has had a lot of great exploration of Walt's character, all of which has been superbly done and well handled.

But I do have one small quibble--where the heck has Bruce gone?!?

Stargate: Atlantis Pilot.
I've never been a huge fan of Stargate SG1. Yes, I've seen a couple of random episodes here and there, but I couldn't tell you anything about the on-going plotlines or the entire backstory. That said, I decide that maybe I'd take a chance on the Stargate series attempt to become like the Trek franchise with its very own spin-off. So, I tuned in and was a bit confused, but overall, fairly impressed with the show. Yes, the premise is a lot like Voyager where you have a crew stranded far away from home with two very different sides and points of view--in this case the scientists and the military. Hopefully, this conflict will be more successfully addressed here than it ever was on Voyager where the two crews in conflict was dropped somewhere mid-second season. This first episode was a lot about setting up things for the future of the series--who are our friends, who are our enemies and what is our mission. So, it did a nice job of that. The real question is--can the series sustain itself over the long run? For me, the jury is still out--simply because the pilot didn't really seem to spend very long on any one character enough to hook me into caring about them or having much beyond a passing interest in them. So, while it was a well-done pilot visually, the hook of creating intersting characters we'll want to come to know and love wasn't quite what I'd hoped for.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/21/2004 09:15:00 AM | |

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Football?
I guess we'll find out this fall when we get 19 straight days with at least one football game televised. And one of them is UT vs Notre Dame. Can there be too much of a good thing?

Games end, pals forever for women's Fab Five
Forget the "dream team" in basketball for this summer's Olympics. This year's "dream team" is the women's soccer team and the "Fab Five" who have come together one last time for a run at the gold.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/21/2004 08:29:00 AM | |
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Even More Doctor Who News
Outpost Gallifrey has screen captures and a transcript of the BBC Wales Today feature on the new Doctor Who series that began filming yesterday. If you're like me and were most curious to see the new costume for the new Doctor and his companion, Rose, check out this picture (The new Doctor is the one on the left with the leather coat). Apparently, they've decided to go with something a bit more modern and less, well, eccentric than the usual image of the Doctor we have from his previous incarnations. Not quite sure what to make of it that just yet. Of course, it could be the costumes are being used because they're filming the fourth story for the series, tentatively titled "Aliens of London." So maybe the Doctor and Rose are trying to blend in....not sure yet but I'm sure information will continue to trickle out in the days to come.

Have I mentioned lately how excited I am about the new Doctor Who series?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/20/2004 04:48:00 PM | |

TV Tuesday
Week 18 - Special Reports
*beep* *beep* *beep* We interrupt your normal TV viewing for this special report!!!

You guessed it, this week's topic, Special Report interruptions! *grin*

1. On a whole do you feel most Special Reports are really that special? Or are they simply annoying?
It depends on what it is. I get annoyed at channels like FOX News and CNN where there constantly seems to be some type of alert on the bottom of the screen. NEWS ALERT! The world hasn't changed in the past five minutes. I think if it's really something newsworthy, it should be cut in for. On the other hand, I still remember a couple of years ago during the season premiere of Lois and Clark that all ABC cut into the show for footage of Jimmy Carter getting on a plane. There was nothing saying he'd be successful in what he set out to do, just that he was getting on a plane. That is not what I'd call life-threatening for me to know.

2. What special report has effected you most? (IE: (9/11, Reagan being shot...etc)
I was in school when Reagan was shot and the Challenger exploded. I'd have to say 9/11...I saw the 2nd plane hit live and was horrified to hear the Pentagon was under attack since my dad worked there at the time. I remember running down the hall at work to call him on his cell phone, hoping he was off-site that day. Wouldn't ya know it--he forgot his cell phone that day?!? Thankfully, he was OK, but I cannot imagine what it was like for those families who waited so long for a call and then got bad news.

3. Do you stay tuned in for Special Reports or do you reach for the remote?
I will stay to see what it is.

~Bonus~ Not exactly a special report but more on special coverage. What are your thoughts on some of the "Special Coverage" spots that have hit TV lately? One that comes to mind for me is the 24 hour a day coverage of Ronald Reagan's body laying in state at the White House. Something we needed to see or just plain morbid?
I think that we'll never see a funeral like Reagan's again in our lifetime, so the coverage was fully justified and necessary. It was a time for our country to come together to celebrate the life of a great leader and mourn his passing from us. I just wish that we could have that unity and willingness to put aside our differences to do what is best for our country every day instead of just in times of tragedy like Reagan's passing or 9/11.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/20/2004 11:14:00 AM | |

First Day Shooting for new Doctor Who complete!
The reality that there will be new Doctor Who in 2005 is really, finally sinking in. (After all the years of hope and false starts, I still can't believe that it's a reality!) Filming started yesterday on the new series and Outpost Gallifrey has photos from the first day of filming. Later today, there will be a press conference where we see the ninth Doctor in costume for the first time.

The word excited does not even begin to cover it for me...

A big tip of my Tom Baker 4th Doctor hat to Sarah for sending me the link to the photos.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/20/2004 11:07:00 AM | |

24 News
New faces for '24'
Warning! Warning! If you're an avid 24 fan and don't want to know any info about the upcoming fourth season, then please avert your eyes! You have been warned!

First of all, I'm glad to see that Reiko Aylesworth is getting work, even though I'm not a CSI fan. Second of all--hockey smokes! Just about everyone gone but Jack! No more President Palmer! OK, let's ask the real question that all 24 fans are wondering--does this mean that Kim is gone and we won't have her perils to entertain us each week?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/20/2004 10:12:00 AM | |

Random Things In the News
I Guess You Really Can Buy About Anything on eBay
Ebay removed a listing for the tub that James Earl Ray stood in to assassinate Martin Luther King, Jr. Which, I guess, means those commercials are all true--they have everything on eBay.

Yet another reality show with a Tennessee connection
Lindsay Harrison, a student at Trevecca Nazarine University in Mt. Juliet, is a contestant on Animal Planet's King of the Jungle, which kicks off tonight.
This article hints a little bit about her experiences on the show, though we can't know too much just yet.

Police Arrest Cheese-Covered Naked Man
On the one hand, Tennessee can be proud to have another contestant in a reality TV show. On the other hand, we have this story about a naked man covered in cheese arrested in Maryville, TN. Gee, he was drunk and stealing nachos, but that really just doesn't even begin to explain why he had no clothes on. I heard on
Rick and Bubba that it was suspect Michael Monn's birthday, so I guess he really wanted to celebrate in his birthday suit. Man, can you imagine the looks he got in lock-up?

UPDATE! Rick and Bubba were trying to contact the officer in charge of this case, Captain Cook, and then the suspect Michael Monn to come on the air and answer one question--why was the guy naked? As they signed off this morning, they couldn't find either one to come on the air, but they are pursuing the story. If I hear more, I'll let you know.

10 Commandments: The Musical?!?
It's just odd to think of the guy who played Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jim Morrison
on-stage as a singing version of Moses in the new musical version of the Ten Commandments. What will the hit song from the show be, I wonder--"Sit Down, I'm Parting the Sea" or "Plagues, Plagues, Who Can Stop the Plagues?"

Workers or students? After losing ruling, students still insist work is a job
I just found this article about
Sheyda Jahanbani and her attempts to unionize and get greater benefits for grad students interesting. I'm not sure how it is at all university, but at UT, we got some health care benefits just for being students.

$10,000 winner suing lottery
Ah, isn't it great to live in a society where there's always a laywer willing to take a case?!? (And you wonder why I am not a huge fan of lawyers!) Second of all, why was the lottery such a great idea for Tennessee again?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/20/2004 08:41:00 AM | |
Monday, July 19, 2004
Things To Think About...
I chose my blog name and screen name out of my love for all things UT. However, I didn't consider something. Earlier today, I was writing back to someone and thought I'd be snazzy and just use initials for my name--basically go with B.O. Michael instead of typing out Big Orange Michael. That is, until that little seventh grader who lives inside of me jumped up and said--are you sure you want to use the initials b.o. before you name without the benefit of being able to explain yourself?

Just a thought...

Speaking of the Big Orange, the Rocky Top Brigade's Volunteer Tailgate Party is this Thursday! Deadline for nominations is Wednesday at midnight EST. If you are new to the RTB and want to see what an old Tailgate Party looks like, go to the last one we had and check it out!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/19/2004 01:58:00 PM | |

So, it turns out Sci-Fi's big three-hour movie about M. Night Shyamalan is nothng but a hoax and was done as a p.r. piece to drum up interest for his new movie. I didn't see it, but based on the hype I did set the VCR for it. Now I find myself dramatically less interested in it. Also, I find myself wishing that Sci-Fi's cancelling of Farscape had been a hoax. Alas, that isn't the case. (Speaking of Farscape, I saw the preview for the upcoming PeaceKeeper Wars mini-series. Wow, I'm excited!)

Speaking of sci-fi shows, William Shatner has an idea of how he could guest star on Enterprise next year. Rick Berman says that Shatner has "a great story idea" for Shatner's appearing on the show. Now, as most of you know, I love Shatner and think he's great--but the only way he should be on any Star Trek show is as Captain James T. Kirk. As for this "great story idea," I have to admit I've lost some faith in Rick Berman. Because lately he just doesn't seem to know what a great story idea is. His stories with Brannon Braga are consistenly my least favorite on Enterprise and I have to wonder if this great idea is one that is a good story or a good stunt to promote the heck out of Shatner returning to Star Trek. If you're gonna have him on there, it has to be a GREAT concept and idea to go with it, not just a--gee, how can we spike those ratings. And let us also remember that Berman thought it'd be OK to have the Borg on Enterprise even though it completely disrupts and violates the established Trek continuity. Cause dang-nabbit, those Borg guys drive in the ratings!

Banks cited for underage consumption
(Registration required to read story)
Opened up the sports page Saturday to see this news. Not good news for the Vols going into a season with inexperience at QB. Yes, we've got a plethora of wide receivers there and I hope they live up to their potential. Because, James Banks hasn't done it. And after I criticized Fulmer on Friday for appearing to have a lack of discipline, it looks like he may have to have some tough love here and cut Banks from the team.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/19/2004 01:22:00 PM | |

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