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Random thoughts of a Tennessee fan on life, sports and more TV shows than any one person should be allowed to watch.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
TV Tuesday
Week 21 - Olympics

Now that the Olympics have closed let's review!!

1. How much of the Olympics did you watch?
More than I expected to watch. I got really caught up in the U.S. women's softball team, women's beach volleyball, regular volleyball, swimming and the diving. I found myself more intrigued the first week than the second.

2. What's your favorite Olympic sport?
I really like the swimming events. But I also have to admit I like women's beach volleyball.

Gee, I wonder why...

3. What's your least favorite Olympic sport or one you feel should be removed?
I am still uncertain why basketball in included in there. Of course, you can say the same for softball and baseball.

~Bonus~ If you could participate in the Olympics what sport would you want to be in?
I'd love to have the ability to be an Olympic swimmer. Watching these guys swim, I realize that while I work hard at swimming laps for exercise, it ain't nothing compared to the work and time they put in.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/31/2004 03:46:00 PM | |

Happy Trails
At the start of August, Always Victoria made me aware of a challenge issued by Pretty Purple Princess. The challenge was to find at least one thing every day for the month of August that made you happy and post that in your blog. I'm happy to say that I pretty much made it through the entire month of August and was able to find at least one positive thing to post about each day. Sure, some days I had more to say than others, but I enjoyed the experiment. Hats off to PPP for issuing this challenge! And to all of you who have participated and I've read your blogs over the past month, I enjoyed seeing those things that brought happiness to your life.

So, here we go one more time.

Monday: What made me happy is that it's finally here--college football season begins in full swing this weekend. Man, I'm ready.
Tuesday: The fact that I was able to find at least one thing for 31 days that made me happy. The challenge really helped at times when I needed a smile and I'm glad that challenge was issued and I took advantage of it.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/31/2004 03:23:00 PM | |

A Fun Link
I saw this link featured on FOX News over the weekend--it was one of the many TVs at the Y while I was on the excercise bike. It's pretty fun, espeically for you cat lovers out there...

The Infinite Cat

One question for Barry over at Inn of the Last Home or Leslie from L's Stream of Consiousness...might we see your kitties participating in this any time soon?

In other news, spent a fun morning at the doctor getting my left middle finger and right rib cage checked out. Luckily, nothing broken ribs wise--just sprained. However, the left middle finger is broken and I am going back to a specialist in a few minutes to have it set and get a splint.

And the good news still is--my team won both basketball games I played that led to these injuries....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/31/2004 01:19:00 PM | |

ABC=All 'Bout (da) Cowboys
Cowboys 20, Titans 17
Here's my take on last night's coverage of the Titans/Cowboys game by the Monday Night Football crew of Al Michaels and John Madden...

Al: And now, 40-year old QB Vinnie Testaverde steps up and makes a pass to Keyshawn Johnson.
John: It's amazing, you know. Vinnie just turned 40 and yet here is playing. And he's 40! Did I mention lately that Vinnie is 40?!?
Al: You know, it's truely amazing that he isn't MVP of the league yet, like some guy was co-MVP last year for the Titans. Who was that?
John: I'm not sure, but you can sure bet one thing. He isn't 40, like Vinnie!

OK, I get it--Vinnie Testaverde is 40 and he's QBing the Cowboys. But ya know, after a few nice words about the Titan's first string offense--particularily Chris Brown, Tyrone Callico (please don't let him be too injured!), and Derek Mason, it was all about Vinnie and the Cowboys the rest of the night. Which, since the Titans weren't showing too much on offense or defense--instead choosing to utilize Friday's game against Green Bay as their final tune-up for the regular season--I guess there wasn't really a lot to say. But the fact that Madden couldn't stop talking about Vinnie and his being 40 really got old by the end of the first quarter.

As for the Titans, we looked pretty good on that first drive, led by McNair. Running game didn't look as solid as it has, but we were facing a better defense than we have. Chris Brown had one spectacular, long run for a TD and looked solid. The rest of the time, the running game wasn't much to write home about, really. Eddie George got no measure of revenge against us, rushing four times for three yards. All I can say is--I am so ready to kick off the regular season when the whole playbook is open and we got consistent effort for an entire game.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/31/2004 08:08:00 AM | |
Monday, August 30, 2004
TV Round-Up
Monk--Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine
The first fifteen or so minutes of this episode were compelling, entertaining and interesting. Seeing Monk struggle with the decision on whether or not he should take the medicines that might help his OCD and the process he goes through when it comes to taking them was great work. Unfortunately, Monk downs a couple of pills and becomes a complete and total jerk. Now, I understand there's some humor mined in the whole Monk gets normal, but I didn't buy how quickly Monk embrasses his new attitude and becomes arrogant to the point that he's aliennating his friends. I thought we'd had a ton of refernces to how Monk was a good detective before he went over the top OCD after Trudy's death. But those all faded when he gets "cured." I think the whole point of this was to show how much better off Monk is without his medicine and while it worked, it didn't work as intended. But I did love the two little scenes with Trudy and Monk using her pillow to bring back the memory of her.

Stargate: SG1--Affinity
Ah, that wacky Teal'c. He moves off-base into a nice neighborhood, starts watching TLC and HGTV, begins making new freinds and becomes a one-man neighborhood watch. Seriously, the guy moves in and becomes the neighborhood Fonzie in the course of what, a couple of weeks? But before you know it, Teal'c's good intentions are blown all to hell as he befriends Krista, the requiste cute neighbor next door who makes cookies and has an abusive boyfriend. Teal'c teaches her some self-defense and she winds up killing him defending herself. She then pursuades Teal'c she needs to get away for a weekend and before you can say, "Bad idea" they're off, captures by some bad guys with their own agenda who want Daniel to translate some Goa'uld for them. Apparently, he's the only guy on the planet who can, but yet they will be able to confirm if he's playing games with them somehow.

At first, I thought this was gonna be a standard filler episode of Stargate. Nothing wrong with that--all shows have 'em. It's just how creative you get with the filler episodes that defines whether a series is good or great. But somewhere around the second commerical break, this one actually veered into other interesting territory. Who is this group that is using this situation to blackmail Daniel through
Teal'c and Krista? Do they have an agenda and what did Daniel translate for them? What's the purpose? It left me with a lot of unanswered questions that might play out over the course of the rest of the season.

And you have to figure that
Teal'c wasn't just watching TLC and HGTV here. He clearly must have caught a few repeats of Star Trek with his love 'em and leave 'em relationship with Krista. I know that he's moving back on the base, but surely the guy could pick up the phone every once in a while. It's not like he's warpring off several light years awa and can't call her. She seemed to really like him and he her. So why not let Teal'c have a chance at a relationship? Oh wait...I know why now--becasue the actress playing Krista is Erica Durance who 's been cast as Lois Lane for a recurring stint on Smallville this fall.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/30/2004 09:59:00 AM | |

Reading Speed
Being a former Air Force brat, I've lived all over the country from places like Hawaii and California to Virginia and even Alabama (though I did still pull for the Vols while there, of course!). Because of this, I have had the privilege of going to a lot of different schools over the course of my educational career. Out in California, one of the classes we were required to take in middle school was a reading one. In addition to reading books and writing book reports, we were also taught how to speed up our reading rate. It really has proved to be quite useful to me both in college and beyond. But I never really knew how many words per minute I could read--that is until now.

Thanks to Missives Anonymous, I found this Speed Reading Test. Apprently, I read between 500 and 550 words per minute, assuming I didn't skim. I have to say I'm kind of impressed with myself. Though that does explain why it seems like when I find a book I'm really into, it just seems to fly by.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/30/2004 09:41:00 AM | |
Sunday, August 29, 2004
If It Makes You Happy...
Haven't done this for a couple of days, so I'm taking a few minutes here...

Friday--going over 300 entries on my Blog.
Saturday--an enjoyable outing to the flea market.
Sunday--playing basketball with the youth this evening. The team of the "old" guys won two games, for which I am now tired and sore. And I think I sprained my middle finger on my left hand...ouch!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/29/2004 08:07:00 PM | |

Sorry Georgia Fans
While driving around yesterday, I was tuned into ESPN radio just in time to hear supposed expert Beano Cook pick who he thinks will be in the national title game come January. He picked USC over Georgia in the game which can only mean one thing--neither team will make it there.

When was the last time Beano Cook actually picked anyone correctly to win anything? Also, why is Beano Cook an expert on these things? I mean, the man gets it wrong EVERY year and not just kind of wrong, but totally, completely dead-set wrong! How does this make you an expert on anything?

By this standard of expertise, I am an expert in a lot more fields than I thought I was. Guess it's time go update my resume!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/29/2004 12:11:00 PM | |

USC 24, Va Tech 13
As much as I dislike pulling for Virginia Tech, I have to admit that last night part of me really wanted to see them win, just to knock USC down a peg and prove a lot of the so-called national pundits and experts wrong. In a way, Viriginia Tech at least proved the odds-makers wrong by keeping the game close until a bogus pass-interference call that took the wind of their sails. Of course, we all know this won't knock USC from the top of the polls, but the game certainly did show them to be vulnerable to a loss. Of course, it is the opening game of the year and what doesn't look a little sloppy in the first game of the year?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/29/2004 12:00:00 PM | |
Friday, August 27, 2004
While We're At It...
FIG asks Hamm to give up gold; USOC outraged
Poor Paul Hamm--the guy just can't win for winning. Here he was, competing in the Olympics--living his dream. And he makes a mistake. He flubs one part of his routine and suddenly, the dreams of his life are going down the drain. No way he can win the gold now, right? He's dropped from top three to twelth place. He might as well pack it up and go home.

But taking a page from the hit movie Galaxy Quest, Hamm decides to "Never give up, never surrender." He pulls it together to put on the routines of his life. He vaults back to the top of the standings, he wins the gold and it's a great story. It shows courage, it shows character and it's refreshing to see an athlete not just give up and phone it in in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Then, the news gets out that there was a mistake made in the scoring. Not by Hamm--he did nothing wrong. He didn't cheat. There was no foul play, no underhanded dealings. Nope, just a human being making a human error. And it appears this error played in Hamm's favor. Understandly, the Korean gymnist who took the silver is upset. I can't blame him a bit. But this isn't like the skating controversy from the last Winter games. Mistakes were made, but they weren't made out of intention or malice.

So why do we keep beating up poor Paul Hamm? Why are many media pundits demanding he return the medal? Why is the FIG now asking him to return it? Did he do something wrong?

No, he didn't. Mistakes were made that affected an outcome. It's not fair, but it happens. If Paul Hamm is required to give up his gold, then I think the New England Patriots should give part of their Super Bowl win a couple of years ago to the Raiders. After all, human error in the interpretation and enforcement of the tuck rule helped them to drive down, tie the game and win in OT. Also, a couple of years ago, the Giants should have had another chance to kick a game-winning field goal over the 49ers. But due to human error, it didn't happen. The Giants were robbed of a chance to possibly keep playing and maybe play in the Super Bowl.

But yet, no one demands these things. So why expect this of Hamm? His keeping his medal is not Un-American. Had he cheated or somehow pulled strings to make this happen, I'd say--hell, yes, give it back. But until that evidence comes out, Hamm should keep his medal and hang his head high. He was down and thought to be out. He came back and won gold by digging down deep and doing what needed to be done. In my mind, that makes him a true Olympic champion and hero.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/27/2004 08:00:00 PM | |

From TV Guide On-Line
SHORT CUTS: ABC is developing a sitcom for ex-Hercules star Kevin Sorbo....

Yeah, I thought they called it Andromeda... Oh wait, that show was supposed to be serious and well-written.

Andromeda...serious and well-written, now that's funny.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/27/2004 09:11:00 AM | |

Grrr, argh!
Why is it that just about every time I go to Wal-Mart, this happens?

I've gone in, selected my items, made my purchases and am heading out the first set of automatic doors toward the second. It NEVER fails that someone in front of me suddenly decides that right here in the little tiny space between the two sets of doors is the perfect place to triple-check the receipt, re-organize their purse, stare off into space for no good reason. Is there something about this area of Wal-Mart that just screams--please, let's stop for a minute even though I know that there are probably people behind me.

I guess it's just one of life's little mysteries.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/27/2004 09:06:00 AM | |
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Today's Moment of Happiness
Every time I head out of our subdivision, I see the barn pictured below. It just looks like a classic photo that could easily be made into a puzzle. It's just always comforting to look over there and see this barn as I drive out to my various destinations. So, this photo of what I see every day is my moment of happiness for the day.

It just looks like a picture for a puzzle. Posted by Hello

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/26/2004 12:04:00 PM | |

Happy Call
Yesterday's reasons for happiness: the second-interview went well and I got a call from the employer asking for local references (I provided a couple from my time in Knoxville, but they couldn't get them on the phone). So, that is pretty exciting.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/26/2004 10:59:00 AM | |

New Template
After a couple of botched attempts, I'm giving my blog a template update. Let me know what you think!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/26/2004 10:40:00 AM | |

Theater Thursday

I've been wearing out my portable CD player listening to all three original Star Wars movie soundtracks, in anticipation of their DVD release next month.

This week's questions are about movie soundtracks.

1) What is your favorite soundtrack from a movie?
There are a lot of really great soundtracks out there. A couple of favorites--Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, Edward Scissorhands, Vertigo, Superman: The Movie. A good soundtrack can really add to a film's mood and the best ones make you recall what you liked about the movie when you hear them.

2) Which movie's soundtrack didn't fit the tone of the movie, or was so badly composed it detracted from the movie?
I am not really sure of a good answer to this one. Namely because if a soundtrack is largely forgettable, then so is the movie.

3) Who is your favorite film music composer?
John Williams.

BONUS) Do you prefer an orchestral soundtrack, or a popular-music soundtrack? Why?
Most of the time, I prefer the orchestral soundtrack. It just works best. However, there are some exceptions. I think Forrest Gump did a great job of using its soundtrack to capture different periods in American history. Also, I think a soundtrack like Back to the Future that combines the orchestral with the pop music to enhance the movie is great--just listen to the songs that play on Marty's radio before and after he leaves on his trip to see what I mean.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/26/2004 09:31:00 AM | |
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
File Under "Unintentional Porn"
Last night, I was watching the gold medal finals of women's beach volleyball with Susan, Brian and my cousin when Misty May and Kerri Walsh won the gold. (Off tangent note: Curse you NBC for showing us a bit of a match and then cutting away for seven to ten minutes before we went back to the conclusion!) Upon winning, the two girls were very excited, which is completely understandable. But as they tackled each other into the sand, Susan made the remark, "I guess we know what video and pictures will be popular on the Internet tomorrow."

USA's Kerri Walsh, bottom, and teammate Misty May celebrate after beating Brazil in the gold medal beach volleyball finals during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games at Faliro Beach Volleyball Stadium in Athens, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2004. (AP Photo/Adam Butler)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2004 06:06:00 PM | |

Yes, But Will He Go Pro Early?
Full-time college football is just over a week away and we get this news out of the South Carolina Gamecock camp.

Holtz praises return of 39-year-old walk-on receiver

I'll give you a minute for that to sink in. (Heaven knows, it caught me by surprise). Yes, you read that right--the Gamecocks have a 39-year-old walk-on reciever by the name of Tim Frisby. Frisby is a former airborne Ranger who is currently purusing his degree at USC. He is the father of six-children. He participated in spring practice but didn't play in any scrimmages. And now he's back with the team, trying it again.

Part of me has to admire the guy for having the guts to go out there and do this. I mean, I am only a few years younger than him, but I'm not sure I could even get out there in the field and be in the physical shape required to keep up with kids who were 20 or more years younger than I am. Plus, I have to wonder--where does the guy get the energy with six kids?

However, in his continuing attempts to provide me with amusement, Lou Holtz was quoted as saying the following.
“He just wants to help the Gamecocks. He loves the game, and he wants to be here, and he’s 39 years of age. The good Lord knows, when I was 39 I didn’t even want to play video football,” said Holtz, who had been a head coach for eight years when he was 39.

“But he’s good for the team. He’s our Rudy,” added Holtz, referring to Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the Notre Dame walk-on whose underdog story was later turned into a movie.

A couple of responses to Lou. They didn't have video football when you were 39 Lou. Heck, they didn't even have electricity when you were 39. You've been coaching since Methusulah was a boy. But I guess age is all relative. And to Lou, this guy is just another young whipper-snapper. And next up, Lou, this just shows why this year you still will be playing catch-up in the East with the Vols, Florida and Georgia. Sure, this idea is great for publicity, but unless this guy is Superman, I can't see him contributing. But I guess Lou is REALLY thinking outside the box on this one.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2004 01:42:00 PM | |

Lucky Man
What Michael Phelps is thinking in this photo: "You mean I also get six gold medals?!?"

Image hosted by
Athens 2004 Olympics American swimmers, from left; Amanda Beard, Michael Phelps, Jenny Thompson and Natalie Coughlin pose on the beach in Athens Tuesday Aug. 24, 2004. (AP Photo/Pool)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2004 01:22:00 PM | |

Vote Early, Vote Often
We tend to associate people taking multiple opportunities to vote with old gangster stories. Surely, we tell ourselves, something like that couldn't happen in today's world--not with our sophisticated computer systems.

Apparently not so much.

The New York Daily News has a story out about voters in New York and Florida being registered to vote and actually voting in both states. Some interesting things from the story..
One was Norman Siegel, 84, who is registered as a Republican in both Pinellas Park, Fla., and Briarwood, Queens. Siegel has voted twice in seven elections, including the last four presidential races, records show.
The article also went on to say this:
  • Of the 46,000 registered in both states, 68% are Democrats, 12% are Republicans and 16% didn't claim a party.
  • Nearly 1,700 of those registered in both states requested that absentee ballots be mailed to their home in the other state, where they are also registered. But that doesn't raise red flags with officials in either place.
Scary to think that in our "modern" time where this type of thing shouldn't happen, that is still does. And that it's referred to as a seemingly "perfect crime" in the story. And it's also disheartening to see that the story refers to Florida, a state that was at the center of a national controversy last time the presidential election came around.

Sure, it's not images of guys in bad suits and tommy guns, but it's still disheartening that two months before the election, this type of fraud is a huge possibility in the upcoming election.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2004 11:51:00 AM | |

The Amazing Race
Money and its effect on the various team members was a theme of this week's episode. So many of the teams had arguements about using the resources they've been given during this leg of the race. I've got to think this issue has come up before in the race, but due to having only an hour to tell the story of that leg of the race it got edited out. That is, until this leg when it was definitely a major factor for four of the five times. It all started with the two-hour cab ride, which cost anywhere from a hundred to a hundred and fifty bucks. Colin, the master of personal relationships (that was sarcasm there), treats everyone like crap and it almost comes back to bite him. His whole, "I told the guy if we lost our place in the race, I wouldn't pay him" arguement was pure crap and I don't understand why he was willing to waste time, possibly go to jail and aliennate Christie in order to prove he was "right" when he clearly wasn't. Oh wait, now I remember why--because Colin's an a******e. And yet, Christie keeps putting up with him. He's so emotionally abusive to her and everyone around him that it's almost scary. Hopefully after the Race is over she will dump his sorry self and find someone who isn't a complete and total dillhole. (Seriously, part of me was hoping they'd throw his happy self in jail during the episode last night, but alas, it was not to be!)

But Colin and Christie weren't the only ones putting the fun into dysfunctional this week. Every team did it--even the twins. Kami and Karli debating about whether or not to turn at the flag was pretty interesting and they are lucky to still be in it. Speaking of money--was it just me or did they have a good amount of cash left over to turn over to Phil when they were stripped of all their cash? (Side note: I just have to wonder how successful their flirting for money will be in a country such as the United Arab Emirates. It could end up getting them into more hot water than they're already in). We also had Brandon and Nicolle argue about money and we saw Chip and Kim run out. It's interesting to see that Chip and Kim are in the same predicament as Kami and Karli, but they will get more money next week to start off the next leg.

So, who am I rooting for? Well, I still go with Chip and Kim. I think they've got a good shot to win this thing, assuming they can make a move up the standings next week and hold on to it. I have this fear that Colin and Christie are going to pull a Richard from season one of Survivor--being the villain we all love to hate and winning the whole darn thing.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2004 10:16:00 AM | |

50 Strange Questions
Saw this fun little quiz over on Pretty Purple Princess. Tip of the hat to her for it.

1. Your name spelled backwards. Leahcim
2. Where were your parents born? Tennessee
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? An episode of the Jack Benny radio show.
4. What’s your favorite restaurant? Fast Food: Sonic. Sit down and eat: Depends on my mood.
5. Last time you swam in a pool? Yesterday (I swim laps just about every day for exercise and so I can occasionally enjoy food from my favorite fast food place, listed above!)
6. Have you ever been in a school play? Yes.
7. How many kids do you want? I think two would be good.
8. Type of music you dislike most? I have never really got into rap.
9. Are you registered to vote? Of course. In fact, I just voted a few weeks ago in a "smaller" election for school board, road supervisor, etc to ensure I'd moved my voter registration correctly for November's election. I also tend to early vote because usually there isn't much that will change my mind the last two weeks before and election and it saves a ton of time waiting in line on election day.
10. Do you have cable? Well, it is getting close to football season, so I must have cable!
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? No
12. Ever prank call anybody? No
13. Ever get a parking ticket? No
14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? I have done neither.
15. Farthest place you ever traveled. Honolulu, Hawaii.
16. Do you have a garden? Not at the moment, no.
17. What’s your favorite comic strip? FoxTrot or Closer to Home.
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Yes I do.
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? In the morning.
20. Best movie you’ve seen in the past month? I haven't seen too many movies the past month. But best movie I've seen all summer--Spider-Man 2.
21. Favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni
22. Chips or popcorn? Popcorn
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Don't wear lipstick since I'm a guy.
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Never heard of doing this until now.
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Nope.
26. Orange Juice or apple? Orange juice. I could drink my body weight in OJ.
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? I went out to dinner last week with friends after Thursday night worship service. Actually, it was more like they went out to eat and I had water. (I'd eaten earlier). But I tipped well for my water.
28. Favorite type chocolate bar? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? August 5th.
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Last week.
31. Have you ever won a trophy? A couple.
32. Are you a good cook? I can follow a recipe....does that count?
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? I do. I was thinking about this the other day--are there any full-service stations left out there?
34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? Does buying one at the flea market count?
35. Sprite or 7-up? Sprite Remix Tropical. But they stopped making it. (Yeah, I'm still upset about it!)
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? Oh yes...when I worked at Busch Gardens, we had uniforms based on which "country" you worked in. One of them was really bad--so much so that the dog was embarassed for me and wouldn't come near me.
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? I picked up a prescription for Davis, my nephew.
38. Ever throw up in public? Unfortunately, so.
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? True love. You can earn more money, but you can't buy true love.
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes
41. Ever call a 1-900 number? Back when Star Trek: The 25th Anniversay Game came out, I got stumped and called the stupid hints line.
42. Can ex’s be friends? I'll get back to you on that one.
43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? My sister and brother-in-law when Gracelyn was born.
44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? Nope.
45. What message is on your answering machine? Since I'm job searching, it's a very standard, professional sounding message.
46. What’s your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? The Celebrity Jeopardy segments always crack me up.
47. What was the name of your first pet? Tavish.
48. What is in your purse? Ummmm..nothing. I don't carry one as I'm a guy.
49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? Watch Family Guy re-runs on Adult Swim.
50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? Air Conditioning.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2004 09:47:00 AM | |
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Happiness Is...
Today's little moments of happiness:
  • Dinner with family.
  • After dinner, Davis was crawling around and pulled himself up onto a bar stool sitting in Susan and Brian's kitchen. He pushed it around a bit and then took both hands off and stood by himself for about a second. He got this look on his face of "Holy cow! Look what I've done!" and was so happy...until he came crashing down on his behind. Just the look of pure joy and "Look what I did!" was amazing.
  • Gracelyn told us Sunday that she learned in Sunday School that Jesus lives in her heart. Tonight, she was looking for her book about Jesus. Susan asked her, "Where does Jesus live" and she said, "In my book!" and then said, "And my heart."
  • I took Gracelyn a bottle of bubbles in the shape of an ice cream cone. We had a good time sitting on her porch, blowing bubbles. However, the bubble blowing device (for which I'm sure there is an accurate, scientific name but I'm too lazy to look it up) was longer than usual, so she ended up getting a lot of bubble liquid on her. Just to see her joy at doing this and having fun trying to catch the bubbles was great fun. Of course, this fun quickly diminished when for no reason she decided to see what bubbles taste like. I was sitting there and she dipped her bubble blowing device into the liquid, put it up to her mouth and then into it before I knew what was happening. Luckily, we found some juice to wash the bubble taste out of her mouth.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/24/2004 10:42:00 PM | |

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!
Teenagers set TV-watching record
Not even on my best college-football-watching Saturday could I have sat in front of the tube for 52 straight hours! I'd hate to think what these two guys are going to do next to top themselves. I wonder how that will look on a college application:

Marching Band
Chess Club
In Guiness Book of World's Records for watching TV for 52 straight hours at IHOP.

You know when the manager of IHOP is saying, “It’s probably one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen here” that's saying something!

Dean’s parents, Gordon and Brenda Dean, helped document the event and said they were proud of their son’s unusual achievement.

“He has to be good at something, this is just as well,” Gordon Dean said. “He set a goal and reached it.”

Anyway, I have to say that this story brought a smile to my face when I heard about it and it was yesterday's little moment of happiness.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/24/2004 04:01:00 PM | |

Where Do I Sign Up?!?
Spreading the Gospel at Hooters
A Bible Study at Hooters?!? Is this a great country or what?!?

Also, it must be karma with me finding this article. Earlier today, Barry at the Inn of the Last Home posted about missing a mud volleyball game against workers from the Knoxville Hooters due to sleeping in after the first night of his high school reunion. All I can say is, look at the type of opposition you missed, man.

UPDATE: Just to show that, yes I am going to hell, I will tell you the first thought that came into my evil mind when I saw the headline for this story. There's that old pick-up line where you go up to the girl and says, "You know what the word of the day is? It's legs. What's say we go spread the word?" Yep, I'm hellbound, I know it.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/24/2004 03:47:00 PM | |

TV Tuesday
Back to school

It's that time of year again and everyone's heading back to school! So we'll talk back to school this week!!

1. What's your favorite show that deals with school in some way? (Facts of Life, A Different World, Saved by the Bell, Fame, etc..)
FOX had a show on a couple of years ago called Undeclared that I really enjoyed. But since this is FOX and I liked the show, they cancelled it.

2. Which TV school would you have attended if given a choice?
Jefferson High from Happy Days. They had everything there and it was apparently small enough that everyone could do everything--I mean look at how mean teams Richie and company were all part of.

3. What's your favorite back to school commercial?
There's a new one out right now where a little girl is upset with Alice Cooper because she thinks the lyrics are "School's Out For Ever!" It just cracked me up when I saw it a few days ago.

~Bonus~ Reality check! What's your most memorable back to school moment?
I was an Air Force kid and I always remember we moved in the middle of the summer. So, the first day of school was always one of those being kind of excited but kind of nervous. I also remember that it was a disadvantage because you didn't know who the "cool" teachers were to have, so you were kind of going in blind sometimes.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/24/2004 01:32:00 PM | |
Monday, August 23, 2004
Well, Don't I Feel Special?
Michael is the #4 most common male name.
2.629% of men in the US are named Michael.
Around 3220525 US men are named Michael!

Yeah, but how many of them are Big Orange Michael, I ask you?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/23/2004 06:20:00 PM | |

Prognostication Skills
I was chatting with Logtar earlier today about football--he loves the Bears and Michigan, I'm biased toward all things Tennessee and Redskins--and we thought--wouldn't it be fun to have a pick 'em league for college and pro football of our blogging friends? So, he went and set up a couple of leagues of the Yahoo fantasy sport pages. I've joined and I invite any other sports/football fans who read this blog to join. It's free and you could win ultimate sports bragging rights!

League ID: 8558
Password: blog

League ID: 11819
Password: blog

See y'all there!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/23/2004 11:31:00 AM | |

What Internet Acronym Am I?

Tip of the hat to Sweet and Sassy at Always Victoria for this one.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/23/2004 10:22:00 AM | |

The Dead Zone season finale reviews
The two-hour, season-finale event was actually two separate episodes, so I'll comment on each of them individually...

It's ironic that the story started out with Johnny, Bruce and J.J. out on a fishing trip because this had me hook, line and sinker for the first half of the episode. Johnny has a vision of him killing a man with his bare hands out of revenge and as we slowly work backward, we find out that it's because a "family" member died. Jumping to conclusions, I assumed it just HAD to somehow be J.J. and that crazy man who got robbed did it out of some sense of misguided revenge because Johnny and Bruce got special treatment by Bannerman while his report was pretty much filed under "want to help, but ain't likely." The guy was having a pretty bad day all around, so it's too great a leap to see him doing something stupid to try and get Walt to notice him and help out his plight. Instead, the intended victim is Bruce and we slowly see that very little of what Johnny does to try and change things helps, until the last few moments. But the really interesting angle is the one Bruce brings up--is Johnny trying to save Bruce or himself from becoming what he sees in the visions? Johnny desparately wants to not become like Stillson but yet he may have to sink to Stillson's level in order to stop the coming armageddon. And did anyone else have a sinking feeling for the last half hour that maybe we were going to lose Bruce from the show? And how HUGE a loss that would be for Johnny? I'd argue that it's been Bruce more than any other character who has kept Johnny focused and grounded in reality and that without Bruce, Johnny would become onto only the violent man he saw in this vision, but also the gray-headed Johnny from the vision of the future in the next episode.

Tipping Point
At long last, the series goes back to some of the arc plotlines that have been bubbling under the surface since the season premiere. Seeing Purdy has a crisis of faith was well set-up by the events of last week's episode and the scene where he shred the Bible (I'm assuming it's the one Stillson gave him) was nicely done. The murder of Rachel comes back up to haunt everyone--including Stillson. Johnny is faced with a difficult choice about whether or not to continue his visions, despite the now growing side effects to his health. I had to call the Rebecca relationship as offically headed for the rocks when Johnny revealed to Sarah he was as happy for the first time since he'd been with Sarah. Three scenes later, Rebecca is manipulating Johnny so that any visions he gets of her won't reveal her plan to take out Stillson. The visions from future guy get weirder and weirder, though I called that the guy coming in and out of the room would be J.J. long before that was revealed. Also, this brings up an interesting question--in the future Johnny sees, he appparently does not choose to have the surgery to take away his visions. So, if he does chose it in the present day, will he be preventing this future or ensuring it? Can he really make the difference he wants to make and stop Stillson? Also, we don't what happens to Stillson when Rebecca shoots him, though we get a pretty good indication she is probably gonna die. And yet, Johnny is told not to save her--is this the crucial crossroads of history? And seeing Johnny's obsession in the earlier episode of not becoming the insane, obsessed man over Bruce's death, would he allow Rebecca to die? Of course, we're assuming here that future Johnny has everyone's best interests at heart when relaying information to Johnny. He may not. In fact, he may be trying to create the future he's living in for his own selfish reasons.

All I can say is, I wish the conclusion to this was airing next week and we didn't have to wait around to see how it all plays out. All I can say it--I hope we get a season 3.5 like we did with season 2 and don't have to wait until next summer for the epic conclusion.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/23/2004 09:58:00 AM | |
Sunday, August 22, 2004
If You Wanna Be Happy
There's just nothing quite like the uncontrolled laughter and glee you get when you play with a young 'un. I was playing with my nephew, Davis, this afternoon--swooshing him around like he was flying, throwing him up a bit and catch him, making silly noises and just hearing him laugh with unrestrained happiness. And that's my moment of happiness for today.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/22/2004 04:54:00 PM | |

Titans 16, Bills 15
Brown, Calico hit stride
There's just something about the Titans and Bills playing each other--whether it's pre-, during or post-season. The games just come down to the wire and you have to figure that Buffalo and its fans are still mad about the Music City Miracle (sorry,'s still a legal play and a miracle all these years and replays later!), so there's probably some bad feelings there.

I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed with the Titan's first-string offense in the first two games. McNair led two impressive, long drives downfield, a lot of them on the back of running back Chris Brown. I know it's only the pre-season, but he's looking very good and like a more than suitable replacement for Eddie George. I just hope those words don't come back to haunt me. One thing I didn't understand about the game calling--Brown ran for a majority of the yards on the two series he played with McNair only to be pulled out of the game in the Red Zone in favor of Antwon Smith, similiar to what the Detroit Lions used to do with Barry Sanders when he played. I hope this is not a trend that continues into the regular season. Selfishly, I want to add Brown to a couple of my fantasy teams but he won't net me a bunch of points if he's not scoring those red-zone touchdowns.

Of defense, I'm not quite sure what to make of us. There were some gaping holes for running in there--which Travis Henry and former-Miami whiner Willis McGahee found and exploited. At times we looked decent, though I'm not sure we can rely on the defense to win games for us.

I did see some of the Colts game last night, but can't get a good gauge on how they'll be this year. They are the team we're chasing in the division and they didn't look so hot last night. Getting soundly defeated by the Jets 31-7 doesn't look spectacular. But then again, it's only the pre-season. The real epic battle will be Sept. 19th in the Coliseum.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/22/2004 11:05:00 AM | |
Saturday, August 21, 2004
The Olympics
I admit it--I've been sucked into the hype and excitement that is the Olympics. I mean, I watched badminton and competitive sharp shooting the other day. And it's not like women's beach volleyball or regular volleyball where I can claim--yeah, it's all about the cute, athletic girls in bikinis or tight-fitting outfits.

But the events I've really enjoyed watching a good deal--well, besides the women's volleyball, that is--has been the swimming. I swim laps for exercise myself and I know that I will NEVER be on the same level as those competiting in the Olympics. Heck, I watch the games and think--if only I could do a kick-turn, I'd be happy. And my butterfly....well, let's just say it looks more like that poor butterfly who rode the short bus to school. But one of the great stories of the Olympics has been the performance of Michael Phelps. OK, sure he didn't win eight golds, but he still has won eight medals. He's one of the best male swimmers in the world.

I heard about his amazing come-from-behind win last night in the 100m Butterfly Final on the radio, but tuned in to see it based on hearing how amazing it was. And it was amazing.

But what was even more impressive to me was what he did afterward. He stepped aside to allow his teammate, Ian Crocker, have a shot at Olympic gold. Sure, I guess a cynical part of me could say--he figured he had enough medals and was going to get one because he swam the qualifying race. But, in this day when we question the comitment of the Dream Team to go out and represent America, it's nice to see Phelps put the team and country above himself. He has said that Crocker is one of the best in the world at this relay and he wanted to see the U.S. have the chance to win the gold, so he put team above self. It's an amazing story and one that I find inspring. In a day and age when so many athletes are not role models to kids, Michael Phelps in one that I wouldn't mind my kids (if I had any) looking up to. He works hard, he always gives his all and best and he's a team player. To sound like a cliche, the man should get a gold medal for character.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/21/2004 08:54:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
Yes, I know...I'm behind on the wrap-ups. So without further audieu....

Monk: Mr. Monk and the Game Show

Every once in a while, when I'm watching Monk, I just say to myself, "Who'd've figured the guy who played Antonio on Wings was actually THIS GOOD?" It's amazing how GREAT Tony Shalhoub is in this show week in and week out.

"Mr. Monk and the Game Show" is one of those where we know the identity of the murderer before the opening credits but we don't know why he killed the victim or how it ties into the plotline that actually involved Mr. Monk. Trudy's father comes to San Francisco to ask Monk for help--a man on his game show is on a tremendous winning streak and he's sure cheating is involved. Thing is--he can't figure out how (Shades of Jeopordy anyone?) Monk reluctantly agrees and upstairs neighbor Kevin Dorfman tags along to assist Monk (Sherona is off taking care of her mother). The mystery itself is an intriguing one, but it's what the show chose to do character-wise that made this episode so compelling. In flashbacks, we see Monk and Trudy coming to her parents house during their courtship. Over the course of the episode, a couple of well done flashbacks show how happy Monk and Trudy were as well as Monk now struggling still with her loss. The scene were Monk tries to tell his father-in-law he's sorry he couldn't take care of Trudy like he promised he would was truely moving, as was the scene where Monk goes into her old bedroom and reads his diary. Shalhoub delivers an understated, elegant performance here and he does just enough with the flashback-Monk and the current-day Monk to make you realize which one is which--even without the tint the flashbacks take on. I have to say this was one of the more moving, enjoyable and well-done Monk episodes of the season and I can only hope the season finale (well, the summer season finale, I believer) will continue this nice trend.

Stargate SG1: Avatar
Teal'c becomes trapped in a training exercise video-game--each time he "dies" it resets to the start of the level and he has to start over again. Also, the game can feed off Teal'c's decisions and slowly make the game more difficult as it learns more about him. Old concept and definitely done before by such shows as Farscape, X-Files, Star Trek, even Lois and Clark. But you've got to give Stargate SG1 credit for taking an old plotline and giving it its own spin. Turns out Teal'c might be trapped within the game because on some level he doesnt' believe our heroes can ultimately defeat the
Goa'uld, despite all the success they've had these past couple of years and the victories they've made. I'll admit it--when I saw the preview I was ready to dismiss it as "been there, done that." But the story actually had enough suspense to keep me hooked until the final few moments when it wrapped up. My final question is--when will this videogame be out on the market? LOL

Stargate: Atlantis: Childhood's End
While exploring a new planet, Shepard, McKay, Teyla and Ford's puddle jumper suddenly loses power and is forced to land. The four discover a society of young adults, none over the age of 24. The group is convinced that by killing themselves before they turn 25, they are keeping the Wraiths from feeding on their village. McKay finds out that a force-field is protecting the village and is eager to take it to Atlantis as a possible defense mechanism for our heroes. Turns out both are keeping the village shielding--the pretty radical policy of ethuinasia at 25 and the shield. Again, what could have been a case of "been there, done that' from other genre shows turns out to be a fairly well done episode that asks a lot of good questions--namely just how much should Atlantis interfere with the lives of those they find and weighing that against their own survival. I'll admit that this one had me until the last five minutes when, after restoring the shield, everyone in the village pretty much says, "Gee, let's stop killing people at age 25." Sorry, but it's hard to see the long history of this practice suddenly being done away with just because the crew puts the shield back up. It seems too ingrained in the culture and too many of them were willing to fight for it to have them so easily put it aside.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/21/2004 05:50:00 PM | |

Happy Go Lucky
Today's moment of happiness--sleeping late.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/21/2004 05:24:00 PM | |
Friday, August 20, 2004
Friday's Feast

What does the color pink make you think of?
Two things--the posters for Legally Blonde (which I've still never seen) and the Pink Ladies from Grease. And, of course, strawberry cream pie shakes from Sonic. Mmmmmmmm....Soooonic.

Name something you have lost but later found.
Happened this week...lost the universal remote that I use to control my DVD player. Tore the room apart to find it...couldn't find i
t. Stopped looking and it cropped back up. I think it's toying with my sanity!

In 3 words, describe this past week.
Bittersweet, stressful, memorable.

Main Course
What are you obsessed with?
Doctor Who.

What kind of perfume or cologne do you like to wear?
I don't usually were cologne that often. Once in a blue moon, though I do like Old Spice and some other that I can't remember the name of right now.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/20/2004 08:19:00 PM | |

Oh Happy, Happy Day.
Happiness for today...

--Getting a call back for a second interview.
--Enjoying burgers and tots from Sonic with Mom for lunch.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/20/2004 08:16:00 PM | |

The Vols' Season
In response to my post about the Vols starting QB situation and the perception of us by certain members of the media, Barry over at the Inn of the Last Home had this to say:
Amazing that, for all the debacle of the Peach Bowl last year, that we:

Beat Florida AT FLORIDA.
Beat Alabama AT ALABAMA in about 35 overtimes.
Beat Miami AT MIAMI, something no nonconference team had done in decades.

But no, we lost the Peach Bowl (a bowl we shouldn't have been in in the first place) and we're "wallowing in mediocrity" and Fulmer has heat. Marv Albert - what a loser.
I include it all here becuase Barry makes some good points and I'd hate anyone to miss them for not looking at the comments in my blog. But I do think the Vols are suffering from a perception problem--the last two seasons seem to be failures in a lot of fans' and the outside media (ESPN)'s minds because of how poorly we played in the Peach Bowl. Thanks to the wonder that is CSS and repeating of last year's game as an appetizer for this year's season, I've seen all three of these games in the past couple of weeks. And, we only went to 32 overtimes with Bama, not 35.

I am hopeful and optimistic for the new season. Do we have our work cut out for us? Oh yeah. But we've been underestimated before--the Florida game in the swamp in 91, the national championship game, last year vs. Miami. And we've defied those expectations. Now, there are times we've not lived up to expectations, I'll freely admit that. But to think that Fulmer is on the hot seat is a bit much. After all, how many other coaches have one national titles in the past ten years? It's a pretty exclusive club. Do I want to get there again? Can I get a "Heck, yeah!" Cause I want to win another one. But first, I want to have a consistent season.

It seems like every year in the 90s the Vols would do just enough to win some games, lose to Florida but somehow have a complete game against Georgia. Sorry, Bulldog fans, but we owned you in the 90s. The time has turned and I find myself longing for having our complete game against Georgia again. It's amazing how confidence can go so quickly. One last second drive with the defense playing sloppy prevent d four years ago and the streak swings the other way. I'm not saying we'll beat Georgia this year, but I'm also wondering if Georgia might wilt under the harsh glare of scrutiny that comes with being pre-season top five. Certainly, Mark Richt has shown he's learned from his dunder-headed playcalling to start his career. But were those growing pains of his getting used to being the man in charge or will he have a couple more of those sneak up to bite him in the coming seasons. Time will tell. There are many who are ready to embrace Richt as the new coach to beat in the SEC. For me, the jury is still out. As I always told Georgia fans--OK, you beat Tennessee, but what did you do with that win? Did you go to the SEC Championship game? Did you play in a big bowl game? Yes, it's a big win--but only as big with how it affects the rest of your season. And the past two years, Georgia has done something with that win--they've run with it to the SEC Championship game. (Although Florida still has their number...which hey, when those two play if we could somehow have both teams lose, I'd be happy).

So, I'm excited for the new season. I'm optimisitc as I am every year. Ask anyone who knows me and every year I predict the following. Redskins vs Titans in the Super Bowl and UT playing for an SEC title. It doesn't always happen, but I'm optimistic each year. Right now, we've all got the same record, so let's get out there, rumble and see what happens. I think the first step is taking care of UNLV under the bright lights on national TV. Then, we can start to worry about Florida. (That series has become odd these past few years--what with the home team losing each of the last four games). But are the Vols underachieving? I'm not sure. As Barry points out, wins against Florida, Bama and Miami seem to say not. If you'd told me before last year that we'd win those games , would I have been satisfied? Yeah, probably. But it's the way we played one game--the Peach Bowl--that hurt our perception. Face it--we looked unfocused and not hungry. And as a Tennessee fan, that was what hurt the most. I can accept losing, so long as I feel like the team gave it its all. But I didn't feel like in the Georgia loss and the Clemson Peach Bowl game that we gave it all. Georgia, we gave a good half--had we gone into halftime up by one, I think we win it. The fumble and run-back by UGA really was a turning point of the game and maybe the season. As for the Peach Bowl, we just looked bored and uninterested at times. And Clesmon clearly wanted it more. And I think that's what hurts the most--not that we lost, but how we lost.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/20/2004 02:37:00 PM | |

Spidey 2 Swings Into Stores
The release date for the 2-disc, super-deluxe Spiderman 2 DVD has been announced: November 30th. Man, I can't wait.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/20/2004 09:37:00 AM | |

And Then There Were Two
So much for my bold prediction yesterday about how the QB position would shake out for the Vols this fall. Yesterday, Phillip Fulmer named the two freshmen co-number one starters going into the rest of the fall practice and the home opener against UNLV.

It's a bold move for the Vols. Fulmer has never been a coach to start a freshman QB in the past--not even UT's modern legend, Peyton Manning. For him to make this move is, quite frankly, a shocker. It also makes me wonder some things--are these guys really this good or are C.J. Leak and Rick Clausen just not that good? John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel has an interesting take on all of this--namely that Fulmer has decided the future is now and he's going after the SEC Championship this year. And having these guys seasoned and battle-tested for the game in Athens against the Bulldogs could be one assett in the Vols' favor in what could prove to be the game that decides the SEC East champion. (First of all, these guys have to do enough to take out Florida at home on Sept. 18th).

It makes you wonder if Fulmer isn't beginning to hear a lot of the criticism by fans and the media that he and the team are under-achieving. ESPN's Marv Alberts took this shot at Fulmer and the Vols recently:
''The heat is on Fulmer. It's time for Tennessee to do something,'' Alberts said. ''They have wallowed in mediocrity for some time. UT's performance in the Peach Bowl was abysmal, embarrassing. There was a lack of motivation. They have the talent, just no motivation. I'm very interested to see what happens. They will either be a lot better, or they will get worse. But they can't get much worse.''
All I can say is--ouch! I don't think it's necessarily that we're that BAD, we just haven't ended the season well . Two losses in the Peach Bowl plus our 2001 collapse to LSU in the second half of the SEC Championship game have left a bitter taste in a lot of fans' mouths (mine included).

The Tennessean's David Climer also has an interesting column on the situation with C.J. Leak. It was his job to lose--and that's just what he did.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/20/2004 09:18:00 AM | |
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Who'd've Figured?!?
They have a dance team for beach volleyball?!? As if the promise of athletic, attractive females in tight bikini running about wasn't enough to keep me interested!

But seriously--how lame is the Olympic mascot?!?

The beach volleyball dancers are joined by the Olympic mascot Athina as they entertain the crowd during the 2004 Olympic Games at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre in Athens, Greece on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2004. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2004 05:53:00 PM | |

I Ring Becuase I'm Happy
Handbell choir has started up again at church. I went to my first rehearsal of the fall last night (I missed last week due to celebrating Mom's b'day). I just really enjoy enjoy ringing the bells and hearing the songs all come together. I am just way too self-consious about my singing voice to actually join the choir and this way I can make my joyful noise to the Lord.

So, ringing handbells is what makes me happy for today.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2004 11:37:00 AM | |

Vols Scrimmage
QB derby continues for UT in scrimmage
Another scrimmage for the Vols and it still sounds like there isn't any one player distinguishing himself at the QB positon. Interesting to hear that all the QB candidates were given equal reps with the first team and to see how each one fare in the competition. There is one thing I've got to wonder, though. How did Erik Ainge throw a 60-yard TD pass to Bret Smith but still end up 7-of-15 for 45 yards with 1 TD. Guess he got sacked once or twice in there, though the story doesn't elaborate much on that.

All I can say is, the Vols have to come out and establish some things early. Sounds like we're going to need someone to step and lead this running game for us. Seeing the orange and white game last year, I know we've certainly got the talent for it. And, as we hear every year, the offensive line should be a strength. So, it sounds like we need to get out there and pound the ball while the QBs get up to speed. I still predict that Leak will start the season only to be sat down permanently by the Alabama game in favor of one of the freshmen QBs, similiar to what happened with Casey Clausen in his freshman year.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2004 10:35:00 AM | |

The Latest Gadget
A disposable digital camera enters the market at $19.99
A disposable digital camera?!? Amazing. Who'd've thought a couple of years ago when these things were first coming out that there'd be a day when you could get one for $19.95 (plus tax). The next thought that comes to mind about this--how much does it cost to have prints made of your photos and how much storage space do you get on the camera?

Could this be the next big thing? If it is, where do I buy stock?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2004 10:23:00 AM | |
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Olympic prankster given five-month jail sentence
He's given five months in jail for jumping into the pool in a tutu and clown shoes?!? That seems a bit harsh, doesn't it? I understand that security is tight over there and maybe running up on the high dive and jumping into the pool wasn't exactly the most brilliant idea around, but come on--five months?!? Man, those Greek courts are harsh!

I love this part:
The Athens Olympics organisers said the man had told police he "wanted to present a message to his wife by getting on television."
And what would that message be--"Hey, honey! I'm an idiot! Please send bail money!' And how do you explain to your bosses that you will be off the job for five months because you were the guy at the Olympics in a tutu and clown shoes that jumped into the pool?

It's also good to know all that money being spent on security for the games is paying off....

On a side-note, if you go to the article, you'll see a picture of this genius. He's got some web site written across his chest. You know, I have to admit, I'm tempted to see what web site was worth five months in jail to get that name out there.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/18/2004 08:36:00 PM | |

State Investigates Possible Voter Fraud
It's not been a good year for election commissions in and around Nashville. First, we had the scandal about absentee ballots not being mailed on time and now. And now we have this alleged voter fraud.

Of course, the big difference here is that someone outside the election commission is up the the monkey business and not someone inside. But it seems as if someone is trying to achieve the old adage of "vote early, vote often" here. I just hope they get this cleaned up before the election in November. The last thing we need is Tennessee to become the next Florida in terms of our election returns.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/18/2004 11:18:00 AM | |

But Is It Fatal?

Doctor Unheimlich has diagnosed me with
BigOrangeMichael's Disease
Cause:secret military experiments
Symptoms:punning, occasional hand tremors, wheezing, itching
Enter your name, for your own diagnosis:

Tip of the hat to Sweet N Sassy at Always Victoria for this!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/18/2004 10:07:00 AM | |

Make Someone Happy
Moment of happiness for Tuesday: A good interview. Now let's keep our fingers crossed for a job offer.

Happiness for today: Reading Prochein Amy's discussion of her two children playing Go Fish brought back memories of playing the game with my grandparents. I miss those lazy summer afternoons, sitting in my grandmother's kitchen, playing the game with the smell of warm apple pie cooking in the oven. Before that it was: Announcement of the new "cast" of Surivor: Vanuatu.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/18/2004 09:50:00 AM | |

TV Round-Up
The Amazing Race
Is it wrong that I enjoyed watching Colin suffer so much eating the ostrich egg last night at the Road Block? "Oh, I've got a bad gag reflex," he whines to us. Now, I don't know a lot about ostrich eggs and if they're perhaps more "gamey" than eggs from a chicken, but all I'm saying is I'd be looking for some salt and pepper to put on my serving. Also, is it just me or did this episode seem like it was filmed over at a junior high school. Colin fusses because he doesn't quite get the bowl full to start cooking the egg and then spills it on the way to the skillet. And earlier, everyone acts like junior high schoolers about the plane tickets. Mirna's ducking down and trying to hide was classic as was her attempt to not get the travel agent to sell tickets to Colin and Christie.

I have to admit, I'm a bit disappointed to see Charla exit the race. Seeing Phil almost lose it when Charla talked about the experience was truely moving. Or maybe it was tears of joy that Mirna won't hug him anymore. And I am sorry to see Charla exit. Her "never say die" attitude was great. I wonder if she'd been paired with anyone but Mirna if she might not have gone a lot farther in the Race.

The Dead Zone
This episode is what happens with popular FOX shows, The X-Files and When Animals Attack come together and produce an off-spring. The animals are all going nuts and attacking everything in sight--but why? Is it related to the upcoming apocolypse that Johnny's had visions of since the end of season one or is something else behind it? Turns out, it's something else--the dam is about to burst and the animals are all being driven off by the high pitched sound of it slowly splintering and getting ready to crumble, taking Cleaves Mill with it. And while that wasn't necessarily the most rivetting or exciting plotline I've seen all year, the impact that it had on Purdy was compelling and interesting. Turns out Purdy's influence in getting his vision of a dream town built led to this situation occuring. Now it's out in the open and Purdy wonders what will happen next. That was compelling and quite a great job by David Ogden Steirs in the episode.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/18/2004 09:35:00 AM | |
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Movie: Sorority House Massacre 2
Back when I was younger, I always remember going to the video store and seeing those really awful looking, cheap, slasher movies like Slumber Party Massacre or Silent Night, Deadly Night and thinking--man, I can't wait until I'm older and can rent these movies. Cause back then, the promise of a little horror and scantily clad women running about just seemed way too exciting for me.

Fast forward more years than I care to own up to. Last week, we're in the video store and my father--yes, my father--sees the DVD wall where they're selling previously viewed DVDs for three for $20. We pick out two and are having a hard time coming up with a third we can agree on until he sees a dual release of and Sorority House MassacreSorority House Massacre 2. Before I can stop him, he's buying the DVD. I now realize that even though I find the girl working at BlockBuster attractive, I can't really hit on her since we just bough this wonderful DVD. We take it home and after watching our rental for the evening--EuroTrip--we pop this into the VCR. It's dual sided, so we take our chances and get to watch Sorority House Massacre 2 first. I know, it's flying in the face of convention to watch the sequel first, but's not like we're watching The Godfather films here.

Well, it was certainly something, let me tell you. This one is definitely MST3K material. But yet, I felt compelled to write up a long post on just how bad this movie was. It's full of sarcastic comments. Read at your own risk! But just think--if you just read about it, at least you can still have some self-respect and hit on the cute girls at BlockBuster while you rent stuff like Citizen Kane or something with Meg Ryan that shows how smart and sensitive you really are.

After the cheaply done opening credits, we see Linda (Robyn Harris) sitting on the floor inside a darkened house. She's got blood all over her and she is imploring someone "You gotta remember. If there's an ounce of humanity left in you, you gotta remember." Having sat through all 77 minutes of this movie now, I'm wondering if she isn't perhaps speaking to the audience--don't you remember all those other cheesy slasher flicks you've sat through and wasted that precious time in your life when you could have been doing something else, say for example, watching paint dry. Maybe you should go and try to do that...but, foolish me, I don't listen to her. Instead, I watch as a the image gets all wavy like the Scooby Doo ending scene from Wayne's World and we transition to...

Sometime earlier. It's daylight. A truck and a small Honda pull up in front of the house. Linda and four other I mean victims pour out. The girls are Janey (Dana Bentley), Jessica (Melissa Moore, who the back of the box also tells me was a Playmate! Her parents must be so proud!), Kimberly (Stacia Zhivago (as in Doctor from that movie that actually won some awards) and Suzanne (Michelle Verran) . Everyone's excited because Janey got a killer deal on this house for their new sorority house and they're determined to have the best sorority house on campus. The gals grab boxes and sleeping bags out of the back of the truck and are headed in when Eddie, who is drving the truck (and has no other relevance to the plot) calls out to see if Jessica wants to hook up tomorrow. She says she'll see because there's no telling how hard she'll work to get the house ready and she might be too tired to get together. She kisses him goodbye while the other four offer mocking comments right out of junior high school.

Obviously this movie is taking a page from the 90210 book of casting because not one of these people so far look like they're even remotely close to college age. I'd say the youngest looks late 20's at best.

Anyway, back to the film. Across the street, a mysterious arm clad in flannel pulls the curtain aside to watch the girls go into the house. The girls get inside and you can definitely tell this is a fixer-upper type of project. Complaints are made that it's cold inside, there's no electricity and the phone doesn't work. Yet they're gonna stay all night in the house because--get this!--the movers, the electric company and the phone company are all going to come at 6 a.m.! I'm gonna wait a minute for that little leap of illogic to sink in. First of all, what moving company comes at 6 a.m to deliver your stuff? And isn't that gonna really honk off the neighbors--espeically Mr. Flannel Arm? Yeah, I can see the girls are gonna be real popular in this neighborhood! Second of all, I remember being in college and the only reason we were up at 6 a.m. was because we'd stayed up all night. So, anyway...

After bantering about getting drunk and telling ghost stories, Janey tells everyone just why the house was so cheap. Five years before, Clyde Hockstetter went on a killing rampage in his house...and this is that house. The girls all whine, but Janey tells them, hey, that's why the place was so cheap. Jessica says it's OK since Old Man Hockstetter is dead and he's not gonna come back to get them. Then, as if on cue, something breaks a window and everyone freaks out. (Throughout this "scene" you can see the boom mike's shadow in the background. Ah, the joys of direct to video production values!)

Jessica and Suzanne head outside and are talking. Jessica asks Suzanne is she had trouble finding the place. Wait just a minute--didn't y'all pull up together? Apparently that little thing called continuity--not so big in the film. Yeah, somewhere an editor was probably fired over that little gaffe. Jessica gets after Suzanne for being out with Billy McGuire a couple of nights ago. Apparently Billy hasn't learned rule one of dating sorority girls--don't date two sorority girls in the same house at the same time. You can almost see the neon flashing lights coming out to say--PLOT POINT! PLOT POINT! We also find out a storm is supposed to hit the area later that evening--around 8 p.m.

Cut to a dark and stormy night. Cheezy lightning effects flash across the screen and it's now dark. The girls are all sitting around eating dinner when they hear scary noises. Turns out it's flannel hand from earlier. It's Orville Ketchum (played by Orville himself, no relation to county/western star Hank Ketchum), a fat guy in a flannel shirt who is just being neighborly. Oh yeah, and he was the one who lived next door when Hockstetter went on his killing rampage and he found the bodies. And yet the realtor wonders why this house didn't sell? Orville relates the story of Hockstetter's killing spree and we see flashbacks to it--which apparently this footage comes from the first Sorority House Massacre. I couldn't tell you because I was stupid and watched the second one first. Guess I ruined that movie, huh? Orville also gives them the key to the basement, where Hockstetter kept all his instruments of death. Orville leaves and heads home, where we later see him watching TV and eating something out of a bowl--raw meat. Oh yeah, and he's watching a slasher film and he's got newspapers about the killing lying about. Now, I know what you're thinking--gee, could it be any more obvious that he's the killer? And I'd say to you--yeah, sure looks that way. At this point, the movie is making an episode of Columbo look subtle.

Back to the five I mean girls. Being the geniuses they are, the first thing they do is--you guessed it!--head for the basement. (Seriously--how the hell did they sell the house without someone at least going down in the basement or a home inspection?!?) There's a bunch of junk down there including a huge hook and a doll with blood on it. Oh yeah, and we also find a Ouija board. Apparently these five girls are the only people on the planet who don't know that using a Ouija board in a house that once housed a brutal killer is a bad idea becuase they decide to use it later. They head back upstairs and we cut to...

Lt. Block (Jurgen Baum) and his partner Sgt. Shawlee (Karen Chorak, who BTW is the only female character in this film who won't remove her clothing as the movie progresses). Turns out Block was the one tasked with the Hockstetter case years ago and he just can't let go. He's afraid of what might happen and he's convinced that Orville had something to do with it. Shawlee encourages him to open the case back up and so they head off to find a link to the case...

It's pouring down rain and we see Orville out looking up at the house.

Inside, we cut to a shower being turned on. I guess director Jim Wynorski wants to have some type of homage to Psycho here. But wait--the difference is Psycho was good. This turns out to be a flimsy excuse to have a long scene of Jessica showering while the door handle jiggles. (It's not only thing that jiggles in this scene!) Also, apparently the tub has now shower curtain, making me wonder if taking a shower is such a hot idea since this is going to make a huge mess to clean up later. Oh wait, there I go--thinking again. I've really got to stop doing that. The door creeps open, the suspense builds and a hand reaches's Suzanne, who has brought Jessica a towel. Jessica was worried it was Hockstetter come back to kill her and Suzanne opens her towel, jiggles and says she ain't Hockstetter. Jessica gets out of the shower, telling Suzanne there's no hot water, only cold. And then it hits you--there' s no electricity or phone service but there's water. And it's not really nasty gross water what with the pipes in disuse for five years? Oh wait...but I'm forgetting the main point here--we have naked women, jiggling in the shower. We cut to the other three women who are all removing clothing and changing into skimpy lingerie. Now, if you recall earlier, I said the house was cold but yet instead of doing what most normal people would and putting on sweats or warm clothes, we're going for lingerie and thongs. Jessica, showing that she's brave, gets undressed and dressed by the Ouija board.

Everyone gather together and gets out the booze. They also all start using the Ouija board. Now, of all the people they could contact--Elvis, Marilyn--the girls decide that contacting Hockstetter would be a cool idea. They find a spirit guide to lead them to Hockstetter and when they contact him, the Ouija board flies into the fire. Everyone is spooked and so they decide it's time to hit the hay.

In their room, Janey and Suzanne discuss things. Janey thinks maybe all this Hockstetter stuff isn't as much fun as she thought it would be. Buyer's remorse is setting in big-time. To help Janey unwind, Suzanne starts giving her a shoulder massage, which she revealed she learned from Billy McGuire. Janey is pissed since Billy is her man and she thought that Suzanne was dating someone else. An arguement enuses adn Janey leaves the room in a huff. Apparenty, Janey has not been to "Surviving a Horror Film 101" since we all know going off alone is pretty much asking to die. To make herself scream "VICTIM" even more, she starts drinking tequilia straight from the bottle downstairs. The basement door creaks ominiously and then Janey is attacked. We see the silhoutte of the hook and then blood fly up on the wall. No gore....guess this movie earned the R rating the old-fashioned way--T&A.

Now, at this point, I've started seriously questioning why I'm watching. But I look at the DVD counter, see I've come more than halfway and instead of skipping to the end, I'm determined to keep on going and see how this all comes out. Jeez, I need a life.

Suzanne has dozed off and goes downstairs to find Janey. She heads into the kitchen/dining room area where Janey bought the farm and sees no a)body or b)blood. Guess our killer took some time to scrub those walls after he was done. Because quite a bit of blood hit the walls to end Janey's life. Seriously--pyscho or not, this killer has cleaned up well, while still leaving the rest of the house looking like pure hell. Suzanne does find the broken tequilia bottle, gets creeed out and goes upstairs. Whether it's because she couldn't find Janey or she was upset at losing the tequilia, I'm not really sure. She tells everyone she can't find Janey and Jessica starts yelling her name. This doesn't work so they split up into pairs to look for Janey. Suzanne and Kimberly wander around upstairs and find the door to the attic. Figuring you never know, Suzanne goes up there to look for Janey. The door closes, Suzanne tells everyone this ain't funny and steps in a bear trap. (No, I am not making this up!) She screams for help, the killer comes and out and...more blood splattering on the wall. Geez, another mess to clean up!

Cutting away from the suspense at the house, we meet up again Block and Shawlee, who have gone to a strip club to meet up with Candy. (Just to show how politically incorrect this film is--as if the murders, T&A and playing on our stereotypes of fat guys who wear flannet wasn't enough--we see two mean in Arab costume who comment on the hotness of the strippers throughout the scene in what sounds like a bad Apu from The Simpsons accent.) Somehow Candy knew something about the murders earlier--whether she was there before or not, I'm not sure and I'll be damned if I'm rewinding to find out. Shawlee sarcatically compliments Candy on her pole dance. But sarcasm is beyond Candy and she takes it as a real compliment. Candy says she doesnt't think crazy neighbor Orville had anything to do with it, so Block lets the case go. Oh that is so going to come back to bite him later on. Mulder and Scully these two are not!

Meanwhile, back at the house, the next three vicitms have gathered back together. They decide that Janey and Suzanne are having a good laugh and hiding in the basement, so they head down there to look for them. (Have I mentioned that at no point do they think about putting on more clothes to do this? Apparently the correct gear for this is skimpy lingerie. Someone alert Victoria's Secret!) They head to the basement, look around and don't see them..that is until Jessica feels something dripping on her--it's blood from Janey and Suzanne who are strung up from the rafters. Wait a minute--I don't remember the ceilings being this high, but wait..that's what I get for thinking again! They scream and run upstairs. Linda grabs knives out in the kitchen and says, "I think we'll feel a whole lot safer with these!" while Jessica and Kimberly discuss the strategy of getting the hell out of there. They decide to go and get help--maybe even the police. At last, someone is showing some sense! This doesn't last long as one of them says they shouldn't bother going upstairs to get their clothes.

Instead, they head out into the pouring rain and see Orville across the street, staring. Of course, I can't blame Orville really as the sight of three women in lingerie, running out on rainy night when it's obviously cold and their lingerie is sticking to them isn't something you see every day. Orville starts slowly stalking across the street. Now, instead of running for the car, the girls stand there going, "What are we going to do?!?" for a few minutes and then run back inside. They lock the door, build a fire and are sitting in a circle, each with a knife watching each other's back. As they discuss the situation Orville tries to get into the house. He pushes open the door, but the door chain stops him. Apparently, this is chain is made from die-cast steel and not the typical cheap metal they use for these things as it stops Orville from coming in. Seriously, a good shoulder into the door and that thing will pop right off! Anyway, they all discuss whether all the windows and doors are locked, Kimberly reveals she was too scared to go into the attic and make sure the windows up there were locked. Someone just tatoo the words "Next Victim" on her head and be done with it!

They go up to the attic and see the windows are locked. Kimberly gets freaked out and runs off. Jessica goes off to look for something, saying "I'll be right back." Apparently, she's not seen Scream, since we know this is definitely against the rules of horror movies. Kim runs downstairs and into the blank, vacant face of Orville. She screams, runs back upstairs, trips over some boxes and locks herself in the bathroom. Orville stalks up after her slowly. Seriously, there are people with walkers who could outrun this guy. Kim hides between the sink and toliet because crazy mad pyscho killers NEVER look there. Someone bangs on the door and then the center of the door starts to be buckle. It's like that scene from The Shining, only that had Jack Nicholson and the snow did a better job of acting. The door gives, we see a shadow come over Kimberly and she screams.

Now, you'd think that not being too far from the carnage and the screaming, Linda or Jessica might, oh, I don't know--hear something! I guess too many hours listening to the WalkMan have destroyed their hearing! Up in the attic, Orville comes up, sees Linda and stalks over toward her. Luckily, Linda has her knife and she stabs Orville repeatedly. And she strangles him some chain that is lying around, killing Orville. I guess we can all breath a sigh of relief that this nightmare is over. Roll the closing credits please. Oh but we're not that lucky.

Linda goes downstairs to find the bathroom Kim was in. Apparently the killer didn't have time to clean up this time and there's blood everywhere. Kim is in the tub, submerged. Linda pulls her up and Kim says, "Jessica!" Oh yeah, in all of this, Kim somehow lost her clothes. Orville appears again and Linda drowns him in the toliet as well as beating his head in with the toliet seat. I tell ya, some people just won't die! She staggers downstairs, sees the Ouija board and the phone rings. Wait a minute--I thought the phone didn't work, you say! About that, you'd be right. The person babble something about being home and Linda has no clue. She hangs up the phone and walks away from it. Now, I don't know about you, but I think I'd try to call the police at this point what with the phone apparently working and all. But, nope...none of that silly logic stuff for Linda. She's just supposed to look hot and scantily clad...well, at least she does one out of two. The basement door creeks and Linda goes down there. She calls out "Hello" a lot and suddenly, Jessica steps out from behind a large box, which I swear wasn't there two scenes before. She's looking pasty and has a hook. Oh yeah, and somehow she's found some loose fitting clothes to don. Dammit, she's covered up so she MUST be evil!

Suddenly it all comes together...when the girls used the Ouija board earlier, they called up the spirit of Hockstetter who has now possessed Jessica. And now he's gonna use her to kill everyone he can. Apparently, Hockstetter is pyscho becuase as well know from Joey on Friends, if a guy had boobs, he'd just sit there fascinated by them all day and never leave the house. Since he's obviously not thinking--cool, I have boobs, he must be crazy. Linda runs upstairs and tries to escape but that damn door chain completely confuses her. Jessica comes up, they fight, Linda loses her knife. Linda gets slashed by the hook and thrown into some boxes. Jess gets stabbed. Linda sits up, drags herself over to the knife and sees Jess is gone. Remembering that repeat of classic Star Trek she saw last week, Linda channels Willam Shatner and implores Jess to look within and find the humanity deep down inside. Jess must have missed that one and keeps on coming at her with the hook. Posssessed Jess states that Jessica is gone and moves in to kill Linda...

...when Orville appears. Apparently Orville has been to the Steven Segall school of taking a beating and keeping on going because he' s got a knife sticking out of him, he's been drown and strangled and yet..he's still kicking! Seriously, how thick is that flannel? Orville says he's had all this guilt for letting Clive kill everyone all those years ago and he won't do it again. He takes the knife out and stabs Jess/Hockstetter with it and is apparetly killed again. Linda gets her knife, runs forward and kills Jess/Hockstetter. The collapse on the ground and Jess's voice says, "Linda?"

Cut to daylight. A policeman enters along with Block. The moving man found the house like this and called the cops. Block is horrified--"Jeez, not again" he exclaims. Believe me, buddy, I feel your pain. A box is pushed back and we see Linda. She is now possessed by Hockstetter. Orville jumps up, grabs Block's hand which is holding a gun and pumps Linda full of lead. Linda dies and Orville is pumped full of six rounds from two shotguns. But wait..this man is a survivor and not dead. Block says he has a pulse and we see him giggling as the words "The End?" appear on screen. Closing credits and then we see a newscast saying that Orville has been let go from the hosptial and they can't bring charges against him. At long last, this 77-minute nightmare is over.

At least until they come up with the sequel...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/17/2004 04:41:00 PM | |
Monday, August 16, 2004
Happily Ever After
Today's moment of happiness is getting to enjoy dinner out with my family--Mom, Dad, Susan, Brian, Gracelyn, Davis--at one of Smyrna's many great Mexican restuarants.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/16/2004 08:53:00 PM | |

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