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Thursday, August 31, 2006
Did we learn nothing from George Lucas?
Following up on Parmount's pushing forward with the updates to classic Star Trek, here is a sample image of what the newly digital Enterprise will look like.

To quote Mr. Horse from Ren and Stimpy, "No sir, I don't like it."

Maybe I should wait and see it in the context of the new HD episodes, but the image above is exactly what I feared would happen. The ship looks too digitial. It looks flat and lacks any kind of weight or substance. I'm not saying classic Trek's effects and model shots were perfect, but they felt "real." Looking at this picture I go--"Nice rendering but where's the real shots of the ship?"

Am I making too much of all this? Probably so. There's a whole war on terror going on right now and there are starving people all around the world. But, dammit, they're messing with classic Star Trek here! That just shouldn't be done.

And I might be able to live with the new effects and such if I didn't read this:
The TREK TOS will be put through a makeover. New FX for all of the space material. A new title sequence. The effects will be brought to us by the same team who handled CATEGORY 7: THE END OF THE WORLD – an in-house FX group at CBS. One source characterized the overall nature of this undertaking as “incredibly cheap”.

Elements of The Original Series’ score will be reworked or replaced as well. For my money, the original TREK score was among the finest TV scores of all time – sweeping and propulsive. A bit repetitive perhaps, due to a process called “tracking” in which the same cues could be reused time and time again (i.e. generic “action” music, generic “romance” music, etc.) This practice was ultimately banished.
Now hold on just one second're going to replace the original musical scores as well?!? This is the point at which someone over at Paramount (Manny Cotto, where are you?) needs to walk into the suit's office who thinks this is a good idea and ask--"What in the wide, wide world of sports are you thinking?!?"

I'll admit that classic Trek can be a bit repetitive in the musical cues. But for the love of Pete, at least the musical cues were interesting and memorable. Unlike the last couple of series of Trek when the incidental music became so bland you couldn't tell one composer from the other. To my mind, the last great memorable Trek incidental score was "Best of Both Worlds, Part 1 and 2" and that was over ten years ago. We all heard reports that Rick "I am Satan to the fans" Berman had composers scale back the musical cues a bit to be "less memorable" and not to take away from the drama unfolding on screen.

And yet as I type this, I find myself becoming one of those Trek fans I hate so much--those who hate something before they've seen it. But in this case, I can't help myself. I want to be optimistic but they're going to make such sweeping, wholesale changes that honestly it may not even be Star Trek as I recognize and love it anymore.

As I've said before--I love classic Trek warts and all. Part of the charm is the effects, the music and all the little things that both date it and make it timeless.

Earlier this week, I sarcastically said why not digitally edit the two infamous bloopers from the show so they don't happen. I was joking about it then, but the more I read, the more worried I become Paramount might think that's a good idea and do it as well.

UPDATE: TV Guide On-Line has some more info about this, including the fact that the episodes will be shown out of order and will start up once a week on September 16.
We're taking great pains to respect the integrity and style of the original," says Michael Okuda, who spent 18 years as a scenic-art supervisor on Star Trek films and spin-offs. "Our goal is to always ask ourselves: What would Roddenberry have done with today's technology?" Okuda's teammates on the two-year project are his wife, Denise Okuda, with whom he's authored several Trek reference books, and 14-year Trek production vet David Rossi.
I'd love to say that if Gene Roddenberry were around today, he'd be opposed to this. Except that Gene was never one to miss a chance to make a buck off the series--even going back to the early days when he introduced the concept of IDIC to sell some tie-in merchandising.

I am still in no way convinced this is a good idea. The whole "what if we had the technology of today back then?" argument holds little water with me. Star Trek is a product of its time and I just get disguisted when just because we can go and make it look all pretty and new means we feel we have to. Sorry, but these updates will add NOTHING to the shows and serve only to detract from them.
Painted backdrops will also be brought to life: Once-empty star bases will have CGI people milling about, while static alien landscapes have been given slow-moving clouds and shimmering water. Okuda notes that a view of Earth in the 1966 episode "Miri" has been "replaced with a more accurate image, now that we've gone into deep space and looked back at ourselves."

Trek's opening theme is also getting an overhaul: The music has been re-recorded in stereo, and a new singer has been hired to wail those famous but wordless vocals. And goofs will be corrected: In "The Naked Time," there was no beam coming out of Scotty's phaser when he tried to cut through the bulkhead outside Engineering. Now there is.

Maybe I'm just being all old-fashioned here, but none of these things ever bugged me. I never liked or disliked "Naked Time" because Scotty's phaser didn't have a beam coming out of it. In many ways this reminds of the way Lucas added superflous material to Star Wars--esp. in the Mos Eisley scenes. The digital creatures and the crowded marketplace outside didn't help me enjoy the movie more or less. If anything, it was a huge "look at what I can do" moment in the film that took me out of the movie. And that's what I fear is going to happen here to classic Trek.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/31/2006 11:52:00 AM | |

Star Trek's Top Ten #9: The Trouble With Tribbles
Confession time: I like "The Trouble With Tribbles" but I don't love it.

Is it hysterically funny? Yes.

Is it one of the top episodes of Star Trek? Yes.

Is it one of the top three as consistently voted in many fan polls? No.

See, the thing with "The Trouble With Tribbles" is I think it wins all those fan polls based on its reputation. It's sort of like Ellen Bursten getting the Emmy nod this year for her 15 seconds of screen time. It's more about name recognition than it is about the actual relative merits.

That's not to say "The Trouble With Tribbles" is a bad episode. Heaven knows it's no "The Cloud Minders" or "Way to Eden". As I said to start with, it's a fun, enjoyable romp through the Trek universe. It takes all the standard Trek cliches and turns them on their ear a bit, poking fun at Star Trek. "Tribbles" doesn't take itself too seriously, a sin commited by some of the lesser third-season episodes when Trek seemed to become a bit too convinced of its own self-importance.

But I will say this--in terms of how I think "funny" Trek episodes should work, I think the second-season's "I, Mudd" does a better job. Why?

My biggest issue with "Tribbles" is that in order to go for the jokes, the characters suffer. In many ways, they become one-dimesional stereotypes of thier usual selves. Chekov is proud of everything Russian, Scotty is extremely territorial in his defense of the ship, Kirk has no use for Federation officials who rub him the wrong way. But yet in all the epiosdes that lead up to this and the ones that come after it, while Kirk may not always agree with the various ambassadors, commodores and other higher ranking officials who cross his path, he's never out and out insubordinate and disrespectful as he is. Yes, the lines "On the contrary, sir, I consider this project to be very important... it is you I take lightly." are amusing and funny, especially the way Shatner plays them (the man can act and shows a comic side here that will later emerge in such projects as Free Enterprise and, well, just about everything he's done since). But, it still rubs me the wrong way for all the characters to act like a bit of themselves, but not fully themselves.

That aside, I still find "Tribbles" a fun episode. Certainly it's well-regarded enough that when DS9 wanted to go back and pay homage to the original series, it picked this episode to re-visit. (Literally since we get the DS9 actors inserted into scenes from this episode using the same technology as Forrest Gump).

You can tell everyone invovled in this one is having a good time. It's one of the only times we see much interaction between Scotty and Chekov and it's fairly well done. The scene of Scotty being insulted the Klingons and the bar fight is good. And the way all these various comedy plotlines come together in the overall serious picture of the development of Sherman's Planet works. That the tribbles are vital to the resolution of the plotline is well done. In fact, watching this story, it's hard to believe that writer David Gerrold was writing one of his first ever professional sold scripts.

Gerrold went on to detail the writing of the script and pitching and selling it to Trek in his book "The Making of the Trouble With Tribbles" in the mid-70's. It's a fascinating read and almost a how-to book on getting your foot in the door as a freelance writer.

So, as I said before, I like this episode but don't love it as much as others do. It's a solid, fun, entertaining episode. But there are some niggling things that, quite honestly, keep me from putting it higher on this list.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/31/2006 07:37:00 AM | |
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Sometimes the jokes just write themselves...
Jessica Simpson has lost her voice and is on "voice rest." The world rejoices.
"It is true that she has indeed lost her voice," Simpson's publicist, Rob Shuter, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "She's been ordered to rest. ... She can talk, she can croak out a few sentences. She sounds a little off, but, you know, she can't sing."
"She can't sing..." How is that different than before she lost her voice?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/30/2006 08:28:00 AM | |

Star Trek's Top Ten #10: Where No Man Has Gone Before (Tie)
Back in 1966, NBC was unhappy with Star Trek's original pilot, "The Cage" calling it "too cerebral" for network television. But they liked the potential of it and asked Gene Roddenberry to go back to the drawing board and create a second pilot with a bit more action. Roddenberry did and of the three or four scripts he could have picked, he chose what eventually became "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as the second pilot.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

It's historic that NBC would ask for a second pilot for a show--something that had never been done before and has rarely been done since.

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" looks very different from the Trek we'll come to know and love over the next three years--at least visually. The uniforms are different, the sets are slightly different and there's no McCoy yet. (He'll be cast for the series second episode "The Corbomite Manuever.")

So why would an episode that's a second pilot make the top ten?

Because it's a heck of a story to start out the series run. It's a great blend of action (which NBC wanted) with the cerebral parts that doomed "The Cage" hidden in there as well.

The premise is a fairly straight-forward one. Following in the footsteps of an earlier mission to leave the galaxy, the Enterprise encounters an energy barrier. The barrier causes massive system failure in the ship, leaving the ship crippled and limping back toward Federation space (the warp drive is down and it could take months, if not years to get back). But of greater concern is Kirk's best friend, Gary Mitchell (played by 2001's Gary Locklear) who is zapped by the barrier and starts to exhibit enhanced, almost god-like powers. And the ego and ambition to go with them. Mitchell slowly starts to become too powerful for his own good, leaving Kirk with a dilemma--should he have to kill his best friend to save the ship and possibly the universe?

A solution presents itself to both problems--a lithium cracking station on Delta Vega. They have the equipment to repair the ship and it's deserted. Kirk can strand Mitchell there, provided he can get Mitchell off the ship. Things go from bad to worse when another crew member, Dr Elizabeth Dehner (play by Sally Kellerman) begins to develop the same powers as Mitchell (both have high ESP ratings, which is what triggers the power's on-set).

In the end, Kirk must battle and kill his friend after Dehner sacrifices herself trying to stop Mitchell.

There's a lot going on for the first episode of a series, though this is not the episode NBC chose to start the show. I can only imagine what it was like in 1966 for this one to be aired third since visually it is hugely different from anything around it.

But what shines through are the characters. Yes, they're still defining and refing Spock here and while he and Kirk aren't best friends yet, the groundwork is being put in place. The dilemma Kirk faces here--save the ship, abandon and possibly kill his friend is one that weighs on him. We get one of the first great Kirk/Spock debates about the fate of Mitchell. And to add to it, the action sequences are pretty good as well, leading to the first ripped shirt on Kirk.

It also features a cotinuity error--when Mitchell creates a grave and headstone for Kirk, it reads "James R Kirk" instead of "James T Kirk." This little error has been explained numerous times in numerous novels over the years, but it's still kind of fun.

A great start to a series that would last far beyond its three-year run. "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is one of the more entertaining and intriguing episodes of the early run of Star Trek.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/30/2006 07:10:00 AM | |
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
No, no, a thousand times NO!
I find it ironic that on the day I start a 10-day series celebrating everything I love about Star Trek, I come across this tidbit of news.
Before JJ Abrams gets to bring the TOS era back to the big screen in Star Trek XI, CBS Paramount has a secret plan to get it back on the small screen, but with a makeover. Over a month ago it was announced that CBS was selling a new broadcast TV (not cable) syndication package for the original series. At the time it seemed a bit odd to try selling a 40 year old show to local TV stations, especially after it has just been sold to yet another cable outlet (this time TV Land…home of retro TV). The Trek Movie Report has now learned from trusted insiders, that CBS Paramount are actually offering an HDTV enhanced version of the Original Series with new state-of-the art CGI visual effects.

The ‘new’ Star Trek
Details are still being finalized, but ccording to sources, the bulk of shows will be as originally shot, with the new effects limited to the space sequences and the opening credits. In addition, has learned that some of the music is being redone (presumably for the opening title sequence). There are conflicting reports on exactly how many episodes are getting the ‘enhanced treatment’, but is possible that it is not all 79 original episodes. This also does not seem to be linked to the recent announcement for the Original Series to begin airing on TV Land in November, they will be showing the classic series in it’s original form. No word yet on if or when the enhanced series will be available on DVD, BluRay, or HD-DVD, but it appears that the newly enhanced shows will first appear in broadcast syndication this fall (so check local listings!). So far the Trek Movie Report has not been able to get an official comment from CBS Paramount, but TMR hears that an announcement from them will be coming very soon.

To this I must say not only no, but hell no!

Now, I'm not against remastering the original series for viewing in HD. But for the love of Kirk, leave the effects alone! I do NOT want them changed, updated or redone in any way. Yes, they can look dated at times, but you know what--that's just how special effects work. Today's cutting edge is tomorrow's run of the mill or out-dated.

The thing is the original effects have NEVER kept me from enjoying Star Trek. Why? Because it's about more than cool effects and awesome space battles. It's about the characters and the stories.

Star Trek was a product of its era. That is seen in the attitudes, the stories told, the fashion statements and the effects. Yes, it wasn't always politically correct and yes bloopers got left in from time to time, but does that make it any less enjoyable? Not to this fan it doesn't. Following this logic, I guess we should re-do the scenes in "Space Seed" where Shatner knocks his phaser off his belt and DeForest Kelly breaks character waiting for them to yell "cut." Or we should replace Spock in "Amok Time" when Leonard Nimoy forgets they're filming in wide shot and it seen out of character, leaning against the set. These are imperfections in the show but they are no more glaring the the effects in my mind. So I guess we'd better improve those as well. Or find a way to edit out Shatner's exaggeration acting in "Spock's Brain."

The article goes on to talk about the original Enterprise has been digitally created in episodes of DS9 and Enterprise. I've seen both of the episodes in question and I have to say this--I prefer the original model shots. It's not something I can put my finger on per se, but I just love the original shots of the Enterprise where you know it's a real model. The two digital Enterprises I've seen felt flat and lifeless compared to the scenes of flybys in classic Trek.

Please, please, please I bet you Paramount--leave the original series alone. It's been good enough to win over fans for 40 years now as it is. Enhancing the effects is not going to win over new generations of fans. It's only going to annoy those of us who love it the way it is.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/29/2006 11:53:00 AM | |

Star Trek's Top Ten #:10 The Tholian Web (tie)
Star Trek's third season is not fondly remembered by the fans--and rightfully so. After dodging cancellation at the end of season two (well, that depends on which kiss and tell book you read these days and what story you believe), the series was relegated to a Friday night time slot that marked the kiss of the death. Paramount sensing the writing on the wall, slashed the budget and the show suffered for it.

The show was not helped by a lot of factors, including the departure of Gene Coon in season two as producer. But that's a whole other long post for another time.

Despite all that, Trek still managed to churn out a few gems in the third season. "The Tholian Web" is one of them.

The Enterprise is sent to look for her sister ship, the Defiant (no, not the one from DS9). They find the ship but it's caught in an area of interphase (bascially where two universes intersect). The area of space starts to play havoc with the ship's system but this does not stop Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Chekov from beaming over to check things out. They find the crew of the ship all dead, many at each other's throats in some kind of mutiny.

Turns out in addition to draining the ship's power and causing systems to run amok, this area of space will slowly drive people mad. Chekov is the first to succumb (the guy has no luck in these things). As if you couldn't guess, the drain on ship's power means something is wonky with the transporter (Trek cliche number 3) and only three poeple can beam back. Kirk is the man, sending McCoy, Chekov and Spock back first and figuring he'll just beam on back in a few minutes. That is, until the Defiant vanishes out of existence with Kirk in the transporter beam.

Spock theorizes that Kirk will come back in just over two hours so the Enterprise stays in the area of space. They can't move because movement could disturb the area of space and send Kirk heaven only knows where. All is looking good until a Tholian ship shows up, demanding to know why the Enterprise is in their area of space. Spock tells them of why and the Tholians give them two hours to see if they're right. But the Tholians' ship throws off things, leading to the Enterprise being in a fire-fight that cripples the ship and leads to the Tholians creating a web to take the Enterprise home with them. And Kirk may be dead, leaving Spock in command and the crew coming apart at the seams.

The crew assumes Kirk is dead, going so far as to have a memorial service for him. The highlight of the episode is Spock and McCoy viewing Kirk's final orders to them after the service.

"The Tholian Web" is a classic bottle episode of Trek. It's filmed all on existing sets of the Enterprise. This one features the entrire classic crew, working together in all of their glory. Yes, Kirk is gone for large chunks of the story, but his presence and leadership is still felt on the ship. It's his ship and watching the crew rally around to try and save him, all while escaping the Tholians and not going mad is great drama. That tension really fuels the episode and makes it a fascinating story. Throw in some nice character work on the regulars and you've got a great outing of classic Trek.

It's especially great to watch Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly chew the scenery as Spock and McCoy. Without the center of both emotion and logic in Kirk, the two are verbally at each other's throats for much of the episode. McCoy berates Spock for not being the captain Kirk was and Spock keeps trying to put McCoy back in his place as ship's doctor.

Also, the scenes of the two Tholian ships building the web around the Enterprise are great. The effects may not be cutting edge today, but they're impressive for the time and the TV budget.

And the Tholians proved to be some of the most interesting and well-remembered aliens in all of Trek. There were rumors for years they'd make a return visit on many of the modern Treks. We finally got to see them again in Enterprise's final season.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/29/2006 09:21:00 AM | |

Star Trek Celebrates 40 Years
One of my favorite TV shows of all time, Star Trek celebrates the big 4-0 next Friday.

On September 8, 1966, television changed forever when the first episode of Star Trek aired on NBC. The episode was "The Man Trap" and while it's not one of the greatest episodes of Trek ever made, it's still a solid, entertaining first episode for the series.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I've been a fan of Star Trek since I was about 10 years old. I recall a time before there was TNG or the other spin-offs when all we had was the classic 79 original episodes to watch over and over again. And I must say I have watched them all over and over again.

Of course, there are some that stand out brighter than others. Outside of a few third-season epiosdes and maybe one first-season episode, I can find somthing good to recommend about every one of the original 79 episodes of Star Trek.

So, to celebrate 40 years of classic Trek, I have created my own list of my personal ten favorites. Well, OK, I planned for ten but couldn't decide on just ten and went for eleven, with two tied for 10th on the list. Yes, it's cheating, but this is my list and I'll do what I want!

For the next eleven days, I'll post my top 10 11 episodes of the original series, one per day until we get up to what I think is the best episode of Star Trek ever produced.

Please note: for this list, I've included only the original 79 episodes. I've not considered all the Trek series in this list, nor do I take into consideration the movies. (If so, Wrath of Khan would be in's not). I've considered the fan opinion of various episodes and how they're regarded to some extent, but overall these are the ones I love and have loved for various reasons over the years. Hopefully my entries will give you an idea of why and maybe tempt you to go back and watch these classic episodes again. Or maybe see them for the first time if you've never watched original series (and if you haven't you are missing out on one of the icons of American culture).

So, without any further audieu, I give you the first of my favorite episodes of Star Trek...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/29/2006 09:11:00 AM | |
Monday, August 28, 2006
TV Round-Up
I thought about doing a live-blogging thing for the Emmy ceremony last evening, but then realized that meant I'd have to tune in for every last second of the Emmys and decided against it. And given that my Emmy-winners guessing skills was a big, giant dud, (I correctly picked two of the big categories, though I was happy to see 24 take home the top award), I figured my time might be better spent watching the seasons (and in one case possibly series) finale of the two USA Sunday evenings shows.

First up, we had The 4400, which ended its third season with a lot of the bubbling plotlines coming to a boil. Or at least that was how it was supposed to seem. In the past few weeks, Jordan Collier has returned from the dead, stolen a big batch of promycin (a drug that will give mere mortals 4400 abilities) and begun a war of some type with the normals among us. Meanwhile, Dennis Ryland has recruited Isabelle, had her betray Shaun and is building up an army of his own to battle the 4400. As if that weren't enough, over at the home of Tom and Diana, Diana stole her sister's boyfriend and has put Maya in school at the 4400 Institute.

Then we got the season finale where a whole lot happened to manuever characters into precarious positions. As the season ended, Diana has left NTAC to move to Spain with her new boyfriend, the sister is gets some promycin from Collier's handing it out on the street, Shaun and Isabelle are both in comas and Ryland is, well, he's still Ryland. Oh and I forgot--Tom's girlfriend vanishes, swallowed up in a great ball of light. It wasn't so much one of those huge cliffhangers where it has to pick up five seconds after it left off becuase all of our heroes are in mortal peril. Instead, it's one of those DS9-like cliffhangers or BSG season two, where some events have happened to change the status quo and it should be intersting to see where the series goes with these changes. Will it follow-up on them or will it work hard to get things back to status quo? (The biggest change being Diana's leaving NTAC and pursuing her own life).

I do wonder if when The 4400 returns, we'll pick up a few months after all this with Tom more alone than ever and the world reacting to the fact that the odds are 50/50 the injections of the drug to give a person 4400-like powers that you could die. I guess we'll find out next summer..

Meanwhile, over on The Dead Zone, we get what could be the series finale with "The Hunting Party." Now, I was a big Dead Zone fan when it first started but have found that with each passing year my interest has waned (about the only thing that registered on my radar this year was the return of Kirsten Dalton). Part of it is that show has become very tied to the mythology of Johnny has to stop Stillson from becoming pure evil and bringing about Armageddon. Which, I have to admit, got kind of old because it felt like we were going over the same ground over and over again each time Stillson came on screen. Johnny is obsessed, has this vision and no one but Bruce believes him.

Well, this time we get more Stillson stuff, but yet they manage to end it on a note that if this is the end, I'm going to be disappointed. Stillson's right hand man manipulates Johnny and his visions to get Johnny to join the fight for a better world or be descredited and humilated. I loved the way every step of the journey was manipulated to lead Johnny to this point and the final five or so minutes were really interesting. It almost made up for the story leading up to it where I called early on that Stillson was using the events to take another step toward the White House. This time by being in on the assignation of the vice-president (the irony is this episode was written and filmed last year, long before the whole Chaney goes hunting incident) on a hunting trip and apparently stopping the assasin, Stillson has put himself into national promimence and could become the vice-president.

And his camp is using Johnny to get there, or at least get Johnny on their side. Now here comes a great dilemma for Johnny--if he's hell-bent on stopping armageddon (and who wouldn't be, right?) could he not join this group and try to make changes from within or gather enough evidence while there to bring Stillson down?

I'm almost intrigued enough by this development to demand a sixth season for the show. Provided they stick to the storyline and don't just churn our crappy Johnny has a vision and wakcy fun ensues episodes as filler week in and week out, like that horrifically dull one in the traffic jam earlier this season.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/28/2006 07:28:00 AM | |
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Doctor Who wins a Hugo!
Series one (season 27)'s two part story "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dance" took home the Hugo for best dramatic presentation, short form at this year's Hugos. The two part story was in the running with "Dalek" and "Father's Day" also from series one as well as a couple of episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

This is a great win for the new Doctor Who and shows why if you're not watching this show, you should be.

Also, when Doctor Who and BSG start airing together in October, you'll have the last two Hugo winners for the short form dramatic presentation airing on the same night.

In other good news, Serenity won as best dramatic presentation, long form. As well it should have...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/27/2006 04:46:00 PM | |

My Emmy guesses
Below are the nominees for this year's Emmy awards, which will be given out this evening. I figured I'd jump in with my picks based on who got the nod...that way you can be awed by my progronstication skills or mock my really sad choices...

Outstanding Drama Series: Grey's Anatomy, House, The Sopranos, 24 and The West Wing
Outstanding Comedy Series: Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusisam, The Office, Scrubs and Two and a Half Men

Lead Actress/Drama: Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under), Geena Davis (Commander in Chief), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), Allison Janney (The West Wing) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Lead Actor/Drama: Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Denis Leary (Rescue Me), Christopher Meloni (SVU), Martin Sheen (West Wing) and Kiefer Sutherland (24)

Lead Actress/Comedy: Stockard Channing (Out of Practice) Jane Kaczmerek (Malcolm in the Middle), Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback), Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)
Lead Actor/Comedy: Steve Carell (The Office), Larry David (Curb), Kevin James (King of Queens), Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Charlie Sheen (Men)

Supporting Actress/Drama: Candice Bergen (Boston Legal), Sandra Oh (Grey's), Chandra Wilson (Grey's), Blythe Danner (Huff) and Jean Smart (24)
Supporting Actor/Drama: William Shatner (Boston), Oliver Platt (Huff), Michael Imperioli (Sopranos), Gregory Itzin (24) and Alan Alda (West Wing)

Supporting Actress/Comedy: Cheryl Hines (Curb), Alfre Woodard (Desperate Housewives), Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds), Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) and Megan Mullally (W&G)
Supporting Actor/Comedy: Will Arnett (Arrested), Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Bryan Cranston (Malcolm), Jon Cryer (Men) and Sean Hayes (W&G)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/27/2006 01:13:00 PM | |
Saturday, August 26, 2006
It's going to be a long season.
I've not been able to see all of the Titans vs Falcons pre-season game, but from what little I've seen and the stats through three quarters, I have a feeling it's going to be a long season here in Nashville. I don't want to be gloom and doom and like the poster in Mulder's office "I want to believe" but it's hard to do when the season is being built around running the ball and playing defense and we can't see to do either consistently.

Again, I remind myself, "It's only the pre-season."

But I've watched a few other pre-season games these past few days...and you can just see some teams clicking in this third game of the pre-season. It's the one that is supposed to be the big dress rehearsal for the opening game in two weeks against the Jets.

It's going to be a long, long season for Titans fans here in Nashville...

Please, please let Clinton Portis get better soon because I think my Redskins are my best hope for a winning team this year...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/26/2006 09:27:00 PM | |
Friday, August 25, 2006
Look who's in the news
All during the pre-season, we've heard words like "new attitude" and "changed" in reference to Titan's cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. It culminated earlier this week with a long article by The Tennessean's Paul Kuharsky that chronicled the journey Jones made from childhood to becoming the sixth pick in the draft last year by the Titans.

For a moment, I allowed a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe Jones had turned the corner. Maybe it all clicked and he finally "got it."

And then I got up this morning and turned on the news.

Adam Jones was arrested overnight on two misdemeanor counts outside a club in Murfreesboro. Here's details from's story about the arrest:

According to the police report, officers saw Jones arguing loudly with a woman outside a nightclub where a rap concert had been held.

Jones, 22, was described by police as slurring his speech, having bloodshot eyes and smelling strongly of alcohol.

The arrest came at 1:34 a.m. CT, the day after the Titans broke training camp.

Jones had already been excused from Friday's team schedule for personal reasons, according to The Tennessean.

Jones was arguing with a woman he accused of stealing his wallet inside the club and passing it to one of her friends, according to police.

Officers said they ordered Jones to leave several times, but he refused and continued to shout profanities.

Jones was released from custody in lieu of $750 bond.

Channel 2 was live outside the Murfreesboro police department and got some footage of Jones coming out. It was an obscenity laced interview in which Jones asserted that it was all "racial profiling" that led to his arrest. (UPDATE 10:42 a.m WKRN has the news story with the "interview" with Jones up on their web site now. Take a look)

Now, I don't know what happened at the club and am only going on reports I've heard in various media outlets this morning. But I have to say this-come on Adam, it's not racial profiling if you're drunk and making a fool of yourself. And that apparently you've not learned a damned thing from your experiences.

And now the Titans face a dilemma. Jeff Fisher has said there is a "no tolerance" policy for bad behavoir off the field. Will Fisher put his money where his mouth is and sit Jones for tomorrow night's pre-sesaon game with the Falcons? (In an ironic note, Jones was quote in the AP as saying he looked forward to this game to play against his home town team and had bought close to 600 tickets for family and friends to see him play). Should Jones sit for the final two pre-season games?

Or better yet, should the Titans just cut their losses? Tuesday is cut day and I can think of no better solution that to cut our losses. Yes, he was a high draft pick and he may have all the talent in the world, but his overall behavoir on and off the field has been and will continue to be a cancer to this team. (I know he and Vince Young threw some kind of big bash in Atlanta...think about it. Do we want this punk influencing Vince Young, who is the future of this franchise? I say not only no, but hell no!) We've all given Adam Jones numerous chances to clean up his act and he's shown no interest in doing so. He is selfish, caring only about himself and it's time for him to be sent packing to a team that is full of punks like him. I hear Dallas and Oakland will take him. He'd certainly fit in with both of those organizations a lot better than he will with the Tennessee Titans.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2006 07:17:00 AM | |
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Snakes in a theater a hoax
Turns outs yesterday's news about the rattlesnakes released into a movie theater in Arizona during a showing of Snakes on a Plane wasn't entirely true.

Yes, a snake did get into a theater but it likely slithered there on its own (first question: did it have a ticket? Second: was it just going to see its brothers and sisters in Snakes on a Plane?)
Police say reports that rattlesnakes were let loose during a showing of Snakes on a Plane at a north Phoenix theater have taken moviegoers for a ride.

There is some shred of truth to the story, Phoenix police Sgt. Joel Tranter said. A 10-inch-long rattlesnake was found Friday in a hallway at AMC Desert Ridge 18, near Tatum Boulevard and Loop 101. But it likely slithered inside on its own, Tranter said.

A security guard swept the snake outside and held it in a Tupperware container until a member of the Arizona Herpetological Association could take it away. Snake handlers had been called earlier in the day to retrieve a rattler from outside the theater.

An AMC spokeswoman told the news organization Reuters that the rumors were true, but Tranter has been refuting the story to news outlets from across the U.S.
The good news in this is that there weren't two kids who thought it'd be the height of hilarity to relase live rattlesnakes in the theater. It kind of restores some of my basic faith in humanity.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/24/2006 09:42:00 AM | |

The new Survivor tribes
The blogsphere is just abuzz with the news that for the 13th edition of Survivor, the teams will start out divided along racial lines.

I know of at least two bloggers out there who aren't happy with this development and shared their thoughts on it in their blogs. Fellow middle Tennessee blogger Katie Allison said:
I think this is incredibly irresponsible of CBS. It's just ugly and an obvious attempt to stir the race pot. Gee, why don't they just go all the way and have Hezballoh tribe vs. Israelis. Or get two of the warring groups in Darfur to field "tribes"
And my good friend Logtar brought up this point:
Now this whole premise of a race survivor comes up. My child being in a mixed race environment has a lot of things to learn and be aware of. Can the separation of races really teach him that the ultimate goal is equality and unity
I also know it was picked up on Nashville is Talking.

My first thought and response to both Katie and Logtar was--it's Survivor. If past seasons are any indication, these four tribes will last all of one episode before they're all merged into two bigger tribes. Logistically, it's just easier for camera crews to follow two tribes than four. And if you watched last season, you'll know the whole four tribes was quickly resolved in the first ten minutes of episode two when we had our first huge tribal merge, including snarky comments by Jeff Probst.

And on some level, this "news" has already achieved what CBS and the producers of Survivor wanted--it has people talking about the show. Any publicity is good publicity as they say...

But as I've thought about it and considered what my fellow bloggers have said (and I'm sure there are others who have posted about it, I just haven't seen them or linked to them). And I'm not necessarily sure that this is that bad an idea. Whether we like to admit it or not, racial lines exist in this country and in the world. If reality TV is supposed to be about--oh, I don't know, reality, then is it possible that Survivor is merely holding up a mirror? We may not like the reflection we see necssarily.

I also find it ironic that reality shows are criticized so often for being so patently un-like reality and here is Survivor trying to possibly be a reflection of society and drawing fire for it. I guess it's damned if you do, damened if you don't.

Now, I do find Logtar's post about how this might affect his family a fascinating one. Logtar is from South America, growing up in Columbia, before his family moved to the U.S. and became citizens here. He's married to Cielio, who has a son, whom I know Logtar takes a great deal of pride, joy and responsibility in being a step-father to. Just talk to him for more than five minutes or read his blog and you'll see it come through. And, like Logtar, I do wonder if this will help tear down some walls or just reinforce some predjuices that still exist.

I hate to say that it, but it will probably do both.

Like Logtar, I often wonder about the racial predjuices and assumptions that still exist today. As some of you know, my neice and nephew are adopted, bi-racial children. Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis or know me, know this matters not one iota to me--they are my family and I have loved them both from the since before they were born.

But I do often worry about the types of issues that they will face growing up that I never had to deal with. They are surrounded now by people who love them and know their story. Who know how they came to be part of our family and the blessing they both are to us. But as they grow up and head out to school and the real world, where people don't know their story or background, I often worry about the pressures and predjuices they will face.

I often get scared for them, wishing I could shield them from the predjuice and stupidity they will face. But I also know I can't do that all the time because it would be denying who they are and what makes them both special and unique.

So, when I hear about racial tensions in our country and world, it worries me. It worried me before they were born but now that they're here, it worries me more.

And maybe it's silly notion, but I really sort of hope that this Survivor thing might actually get some people thinking about this, maybe in a new way. I don't expect Survivor to have any answers for it. (The only thing I expect is there will a person at the end who gets a million bucks and their fifteen minutes of fame). But if the show can bring up a measured, intellignet debate on race and racism, I'm all for that.

That wouldn't be bad for just a "silly little reality show" would it?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/24/2006 08:48:00 AM | |
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
What is wrong with people?!?
You read stuff like this and you have to wonder--what in the hell is wrong with people these days? What the hell were they thinking?!?
Two live diamondback rattlesnakes were released in an Arizona movie theater during a showing of the new film "Snakes on a Plane," according to Local 6 News.

Authorities said pranksters released the young venomous rattlesnakes in a dark theater at the AMC Desert Ridge near Tatum and Loop 101 in Phoenix.

The two snakes caused a panic in the dark theater, according to the report.

"That to me is very scary," herpetological association representative Tom Whiting said. "I would hate to be watching a movie about snakes and have a rattlesnake bite me."

Wranglers were called to collect the snakes, the report said.

No one was injured in the incident and, so far, the culprits have not been caught.

Officials believe the snakes were smuggled into the theater in backpacks.

"This thing is under someone's chair and they go to sit and they just push your foot in the air and startle it -- obviously all they got to do is startle this thing," Phoenix Herpetological Society spokesman Daniel Marchand said. "It's dark. They can't see you, you know that well. If it's scared, boom it strikes."

The snakes were released into the desert.
Now I get that some people have brought fake snakes to the theater and thrown them at unsuspecting people during the film. I guess that's sort of funny if you're the one throwing the snake and not the one screaming and wetting your pants from a snake flying on you during a movie about snakes attacking people.

But what in the wide, wide world of sports makes people think, "You know what would be even funnier?!? We get real, venemous snakes and release them in the theater! That will rock! People will be so totally scared by that!"

Yeah, it's scary because if the snake bites you could die.

I fail to see the humor in that.

I hope the authorities throw the book at these two idiots.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/23/2006 08:54:00 AM | |

Interesting connection
As most of you know, I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon.

What some of you may not know is that I enjoy old radio comedies. One of my favorites is one called The Great Gildersleeve. It was the first spin-off in radio history (Gildersleeve started out as a character on Fibber McGee and Molly before graduating to his own show) and it followed the story of bachelor uncle Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve. A lot of the show dealt with Gildy's attempts to be a good single parent to his neice and nephew, his job as water commissioner and his love life.

If it were on today, it'd be more of a dramedy than just an out and out comedy.

Anyway, I'm going the long way around the barn here to get to my point.

A few years ago, I found a web site that offered for a small fee, six CDs with .mp3s of all the Gildersleeve shows in existence for a small fee. Since these were old radio and the copyrights had long since expired, sharing the files in this way was and is perfectly legal. In fact, the price was reasonable since it was only the cost of materials plus shipping. And it was done via a secure server so I knew it wasn't a fraud to steal my identity.

I purchased the set.

Now, in listening to the shows, during one run of the shows, the announcer says "Written by so and so and John Whedon."

Which got my brain wondering--is John related to Joss?

Turns out according to Wikipedia, John Whedon is related to Joss. He's Joss's grandfather and he wrote for the Donna Reed Show for television as well.

So, I thought that connection between two favorites of mine was pretty cool.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/23/2006 08:39:00 AM | |
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Happiness Challenge
I'm a big Star Trek fan.

I've been a Trek fan for so long now I can recall a time when there were only the classic 79 to watch. Ah, you young whipper snappers of today with 400 plus epiosdes over five series.

One of the things about classic Trek is that it is edited for syndication. I found this out years ago when I rented a commercial release of an episode and saw new footage. I still remember the feelig of joy I got when I saw that extra 30 seconds of material I'd never seen before.

It was that day I determined I wanted all of classic Trek commerically released.

I never got there with VHS. Being in high school and college at the time when classic Trek was being released on VHS unedited, I couldn't afford $15.00 an episode. So, I rented a lot and copied them and bought a few favorites.

Then along came DVD.

And one of the first shows released was Star Trek. They were coming out at a rate of a few DVDs every few months. I got in on DVD early and started collecting. And then, one day, I had the whole set--two episodes per DVD, no extras.

Then they started to put Next Gen out on DVD. I wanted it all but somehow couldn't justify the expenditure of $125.00 per season set at the time. So, I waited and wanted.

Then DS9 came out. Again, wanted it but couldn't afford it.

Over the years, I managed to get a few sets here or there off E-bay or used for a decent price. I actually did the insane thing of buying season three of TNG new and not on a huge discount since it is my favorite TNG season.

Now I decided long ago that what I really wanted was a full set of TOS, TNG and DS9 on DVD. I don't like Voyager enough to get the full set and Enterprise I liked but I really only want seasons three and four. But if I could get the full run of TOS, TNG and DS9 I would be happy.

Well, thankfully, Parmount has lowered the prices on the box sets. And that means it's made it more affordable to achieve this dream of mine. (Sure it's not world peace, but it's mine). This had made the prices drop on E-bay and for used sets..which is a good thing. Slowly, I worked closer to my goal.

Last week, my goal was completed. The price of the only set I didn't have yet (DS9 season six) dropped and I added it to my collection. It came home last Friday and I proudly put it in between seasons five and seven. I then stood back and looked at the collection and got kind of misty at having them all together at last.

Sure it's an insane, obsessive fan thing, but it makes me happy.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/22/2006 11:50:00 AM | |
Monday, August 21, 2006
TV Round-Up: Prison Break and Vanished
FOX kicks off the fall season this evening with the return of Prison Break and the premiere of a new serialized thriller, Vanished.

Last year, Prison Break benefited from jumping out of the gate early and hooking viewers on the unique premise--brother who designed a prison gets thrown in there to help his wrongly-convicted brother escape before the brother is given the death penalty. To add to the complexity, there was a conspiracy plotline related to Michael Shoefield's brother going to prison that was slowly unravelling and might just prove his innocence. Last season ended with a small group breaking out of prison, some dramatic revelations in the conspiracy storyline and the fate of several characters left up in the air.

This year, we pick up right where last year left off and the show quickly morphs from a break out of prison drama into The Fugitive with a lot more people running about. This year's quest seems to be to get our heroes to Utah, where Schoefield has enough money hidden for he and his brother to disappear to Mexico.

Prison Break is a show along the lines of 24 in that if you think too much, you're going to ruin it. But at least 24 is happening within the context of one day so you can dismiss some of the things going on and just go with the flow. Also, 24 is just a better show. This year, we're asked to believe that Scoefield planned out every step not only to escape from the prison but beyond and tatooed all of these memory markers on his body. This comes in handy when a new adversary played by William Fincher comes on-screen and begins his pursuit of Scoefield. The good news is that Fincher's character may be a better adversary for Scoefield in the cat and mouse game that will be played out this season with our heroes on the lam.

The bad news--the conspiracy plotline inolving the now president of the United States is still as laughable and annoying as ever. Also, the plot of Michael and company nearly getting caught every week could get old fast and the show could become little more than rehash of The Fugitive or The Incredible Hulk if it's not careful.

As for the fates of characters left on the brink of death--that will be addressed in this episode. Also, there is one major death in tonight's opener. I won't spoil it here but all you have to do is read the opening credits and you'll figure out who will be leaving....

FOX is pairing Prison Break with its new serialized drama, Vanished. (One of two shows this year about someone being kidnapped, the other being NBC's appropriately named Kidnapped).

When Sara Collins, the wife of Georgia senator Jeffrey Collins vanishes from a charity dinner, the FBI sends in a crack team to find her. The first episode follows the first twenty-four hours of the investigation in which we learn a whole lot about everyone involved. One of the two FBI agents is haunted by a case gone badly six months earlier (a child died he was trying to get back) and the senator's family has more secrets than Carter has pills. In the first hour, we learn that his daughter is dating a guy who may or may not be connected to the conspiracy to take the wife, that the senator's ex-wife has been meeting with his current wife and somoene inside the senator's house is pregnant. (I'm going to call it now and say it's the daughter since the wife's parents establish early on that Sara can't have children).

Meanwhile, a driven reporter has arrived on the scene, determined to make her career with this story. And in standard driven female reporter fashion, she puts the kabosh on sex in order to get out and pursue the story. In fact, she becomes aware of the story while in bed with her younger camera man.

Before hour's end, we've got a lot of suspects and potential leads. But not content to stop there, Vanished throws in a far-reaching mystical conspriacy element with a mysterious religious group that happens to drop a calling card and some weird symbols for our heroes to follow.

You have to give Vanished credit--its putting all its cards on the table early. We already get a scene where Collins confronts haunted FBI agent, giving him permission to circumvent FBI procedures if it means saving his wife (last time with the child kidnapping, the agent sent a memo but it was ignored and he followed orders against his better instinct, leading to tragedy). Also, it seems as if everyone who is in contact with the senator's family is in on it, from the daughter's boyfriend to his ex-wife to his son. The show tries to deliver a few shocking twists as the hour draws to a close to hook you into next week and, hopefully, the entire season-long mystery. For the most part, it's successful, though how long I'll stay with once there's other choices on Monday night I'm not sure. I'm intrigued to see why the wife was kidnapped (there are strong hints that it could be about the senator voting for a Supreme Court justice and following "party lines.") and how far the conspiracy goes. And there's a whole lot of interesting family drama to this one (though at first glance, it's very cliched) that might make it worth an investment.

At the very least, it's got Rebecca Gayheart as the driven female journalist. That alone may make it worth watching...well, at least until Monday Night Football starts up.

Oh and for those of you wondering--no I didn't "steal" these episodes on-line. FOX sent me a package with preview screeners for their new fall shows last week as a randomly selected reader of TV Guide. (And yes, in case you were wondering, that does mean I've seen the season premiere of House and I will get to it closer to the premiere date. )

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/21/2006 07:50:00 AM | |
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Good news, bad news
Well, the reports out of Knoxville for the second scrimmage in Neyland Stadium aren't nearly as gloom and doom as we got last week. Seems that Eric Ainge bounced back from a horendous peformance last week with a solid performance this week. How or if this will translate into success in a game remains to be seen, but for now it's encouraging news.

The bad news is our special teams were less than special. Which you may recall that this has not been one of our strong areas in previous years.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/20/2006 01:29:00 PM | |

Happiness is...
I've been kind of remiss in my posting for the August Happiness Challenge the past few days...

When I first moved to middle Tennessee, I was attending church with most of my extended family. I can't tell you how great it was to sit on the same pew as my parents, my sister and her husband and my neice and nephew on most Sunday mornings. It was just really nice and when I started to feel myself being led to another church, the hardest thing to have to "give up" was that sitting on the same pew with my family every Sunday.

Deep down, I knew it was the right thing to do and where God was leading, but that didn't make it any less difficult.

In that time, I've found a church I really like and have been attending there. It's a bigger church than I'm normally used to and I still have these moments where I step back and go--wow, that's a big church. We had four full-time ministers on the staff. One of the things that I've loved in the time I've been visiting is we get a variety of ministers and preaching styles..and all of them are good. They're all different, but I can't tell you how many Sundays I've gone in and the minister has preached the exact sermon I need to hear that day. There's one minister in particular whose sermons always speak to me just a bit more and that I always get a lot out of (as I've said, the others are no's just Jacob's connect with me more). A few weeks ago, I invited my parents to visit to hear him preach and they really liked him. I decided to invite my sister and her family to join me for church today as well as my parents.

And everyone came and I got to have the joy of sharing the worship with my whole family. I got to sit on the same pew with everyone, have Davis be really happy to see me and want to come sit on my lap for some of the service and watch the two kids head down front for the children's sermon. After church, I took Davis and Gracelyn up to see the balcony and stained glass, which thrilled them both so much they had to take everyone up to see it.

I was also pleased that my sister and her husband both really liked the service and Jacob's sermon this morning, which was, as usual, up to the standards of excellence he has set.

In short, it was just a wonderful worship experience in every way. And not only does it make me happy, but it brings me great joy as well..

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/20/2006 01:05:00 PM | |
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Live blogging: Titans vs Broncos pre-season
8:00 p.m. - It's the Titans vs Broncos in a pre-season tilt. I will provide my own thoughts on the game as it progresses. Warning, I am very biased toward the team I like in the just keep them in mind if you like Denver.

8:35 p.m. -
Less than two minutes left in the first quarter and the Titans look awful. Our defense played brilliantly last week against the pathetic Saints. But this week against a good team, they look like freakin' Vanderbilt out there. And our offense can barely move the ball at all. I know it's only the pre-season but this is starting to feel like a long year. Oh and we've already had an injury to our already thin defense that involved bringing out the cart. Can we please stop this stupid pre-season where players get injured while the owners line their pockets?

8:41 p.m. - End of the first quarter and we're behind 14-0. Oh look, Chris Brown had one good play, a bunch of less than stellar ones and is out of the game. Cut him and give us Travis Henry who looks a lot better and whose battery doesn't run down after one good play.

8:46 p.m. - Well, we had a decent drive there and Volek is looking better. It's stalled our now and we're fourth and three. We're kicking a field goal...and it's good. So, we're down 14-3. So, will Denver rest Jack Plummer and put in Cutler now?

8:49 p.m. - The injury was to Antwon Odom and was his knee. He won't be back tonight. Ugh... Our defense needs a three and out.

8:50 p.m. - Woo hoo...a clipping penalty on Denver. Maybe this will help us out! Dammit....illegal contact penalty on us on second and long gives them a first down!

8:58 p.m - Things we can't defend against tonight-the run and a bootleg. I swear, this is like a lot of UT/Florida games in the early to mid 90s when the Vols would look lost as Florida just went up and down the field on us. We just had a good defensive stand at the one-yard line until that bastard Shanahan went for it on fourth down again. Gee, thinks jerk for humilating our team more. Geez, show some class. Anyway, we're down now 21-3.

8:59 p.m. - Vandy commerical for season tickets..."Come see the best in college football." Bwhahahahahahahahhaha! Yeah, when the Big Orange come to town maybe. "It's good to be gold." Oh that's funny....

9:01 p.m. - OK, I'm really only sticking around to see LenDale White and Vince Young play....and that won't be for a while. I'll be back in a few....

9: 30 p.m. - Half-time score 28-3. Broncos missed a field goal to end the first half.

Well, that was quite an ass-kicking we took in the first half. Only good news--it's only the pre-season.

We got to see two first-round selected quarterbacks in the game in the last few minutes Jay Culter vs Vince Young. And we're seeing the differences between where the two players are. Cutler has a great system in place around him and has a lot of tools to key his success and it shows. Also, he played in a superior conference in college (if even for the doormat of the league). That said, Young seems to have a lot of up-side but he's not got as many weapons around him right now as Cutler does. And it's shown in the results on the field. Cutler looked like the second-coming of John Elway out there, leading his team to a TD and then to two-minute drill when the Titans three-ed and out. But Young has guys dropping balls and no threat of a running game. It will be interesting to compare them in a few years when (hopefully) Young has the same caliber of supporting cast around him that Culter has now.

That said, I fully expect at least one idiot caller to a sports call in show this week on why didn't the Titans take Cutler since he looked "so much better" than Young...

9:46 p.m. - Broncos get the ball to start the second half. Maybe we can stop them since they had the ball five times in the first half and scored on four of them. They went for a field goal as the half ended and missed it.

I'm having a thought here because a)I'm a huge football fan and b)I have no life and remember these things. Every time the Titans go west, it seems as if they lay a huge egg. Remember last year the pre-season in San Francisco and then a trip to Arizona and San Diego in previous years. In both cases, it's like there was some huge jet lag or like they left the real team in central time...maybe that's the issue. No more games out west and we can (maybe) win a game.

9:53 p.m. - Touchdown Broncos. This game is starting to remind me of certain games I've created in the various Madden games for my PC. Basically what I'd do is go in, edit up the Redskins to be the greatest team ever and Dallas to be...well, basically a pee-wee football team. And then I'd play out the game wherein the Redskins would just kick the stuffing out of the Cowboys and running up some impressive stats like 250 yards rushing and trying to break 100 on the scoreboard.

9:56 p.m. - A possible glimpse of the future. LynDale White is on the field for the first time. Young and White in the backfield...could it be the next Eddie and Steve connection? First hand-off Vince to LynDale.....I hope this is the beginning of a something special in Music City.

9:59 p.m. - Three and out for the offense thanks to a penalty that made it third and long. Vince threw a pretty pass to Robe and there should have been a pass interference call on Denver. But looks like the Broncos are getting some home-cooking on the officiating. The only good news I can find out of the game--Craig Hendrich is getting a lot of practice in punting and he looks good....

10:28 p.m. - Hallelujah, a t last! The defense made a stand and the offense sustained a drive. And then Vince runs for his first NFL TD. Good balance of pass and strong running by White. Maybe it's late and I'm punchy, but I am hopeful this is a preview of things to come for this team...maybe not this year, then in the years to come.

10:30 p.m. - That said, the game is in that time when it's going to get kind of sloppy. And I think I should go out on a positive note. So, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my crazy, extremely biased view of the game. Maybe next time I should live-blog a game.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2006 10:30:00 PM | |

Snakes on a Plane
No it's not going to win an Oscar for best picture and it's probably not going to be on any critics' top ten list come year's end.

In fact, if you're going to go and plunk down your hard earned cash to see Snakes on a Plane, you'd better just go ahead and check your brain at the door.

I went to see the spectacle and wonder that is Snakes on a Plane this afternoon. What can I say--after all the hype from various bloggers and podcasters these past few months, I just felt like I had to see it on the big screen.

And I came away going--well, that's two hours of my life and seven bucks I'll never have back.

Like I said--you have to just switch your brain off and go with this one. If you're looking for depth of storytelling and characters, you're not going to find it here. If you want to a bunch of random cliches get on a plane together and get killed by a plethora of deadly snakes, than this is the movie for you. Luckily, you get the feeling that the movie doesn't take itself too seriously. This isn't Hamlet there poeple, but neither is it Plan Nine from Outer Space. It is what it is--Samuel L. Jackson takes on a whole bunch of a deadly snakes on a plane.

I will say this--here are some things I learned from this movie...
  • Never, ever have sex on a plane. First of all, the bathrooms are really cramped and second of all, if you're attacked by deadly snakes and are thrashing about because you're dying, the cabin crew will just assume you're really into it and not try to rescue you.
  • If you want to have a great way to break the ice with cute stewardesses, witness a crime, have the FBI clear out all of first class except you and the agents escorting you to wherever to testify. This will cause her to feel for your plight, go to extra lengths to be sexy and she will kiss you and give you her phone number if you survive the experience.
  • Never, ever wear a mumu on a plane.
  • Don't accept the free leis before you get on a flight from Hawaii (and, yes, I know that the only time you get leis on flights is coming TO Hawaii...again, turn the brain off and go with it)
  • If you are on a plane full of idiots and snakes, you want Samuel L. Jackson there cause...there ain't nothin' Samuel L. can't do.
  • If you play enough flight sim games, you can totally land a 747 jet liner.
  • In any crisis, the only doctor on the plane will be one of the first to die.
  • Be careful using the restroom in an airplane becuase there might be a deadly snake in there that will attack and bite you in a very sensitive place...OK, I'm getting dizzy just thinking of that kind of pain.
  • This one could apply to lots of movies and not just this one. If it's your last day on the job, don't EVER say out loud some derivation of this--"Boy, I sure hope nothing goes wrong today and I have a really easy last day..."
I came, I saw, I shook my head. Again, it's not a horrible movie. It' s a fun little thrill ride that if you don't take too seriously and expect NO connection with that funny thing called reality, you might really like.

Oh and if you don't like snakes, this is NOT the movie to try and cure those fears.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2006 06:15:00 PM | |

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 Preview 2

Forget SG1's 200th episode..the real event of last night's SciFi Friday was this preview for the upcoming season of Battlestar Galactica.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I...CANNOT...WAIT!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2006 01:23:00 PM | |

Make it stop
They've only played the first two games of this weekend's five game series and I'm already sick of the ESPN and the rest of the sports world hyperbole surrounding the Yankees playing the Red Sox.

How cares?!?

It's baseball! It's not like the REAL sport that starts two weeks from today.

Please, stop pushing it on us sports reporters. Nobody cares...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/19/2006 01:15:00 PM | |
Friday, August 18, 2006
The family that vandalizes together...
This news brief in this morning's Tennessean reminds me a lot of the kind of crazy stuff that would be published in the Daily Beacon's (UT's student newspaper) Crime Log.

A mother faces charges that she helped four juveniles vandalize the home of Brentwood Middle School Principal Kay Kendrick earlier in the summer by driving them to and from the scene.

Joan Weber Guth, 47, who is charged with four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count of conspiracy and one count of giving a false report, waived her right to a hearing earlier this week.

The vandalism took place early June 11. Brentwood Police Officer Dan Hester wrote in his report that Guth dropped four juveniles off at the principal's house about 1 that morning.

"The juveniles placed toilet paper on the trees, house, shrubbery and vehicle," Hester wrote. "The juveniles stuck approximately 100 forks in the ground. The juveniles then threw paint grenades at the house and vehicle. The juveniles then used paint markers to write obscenities on the front door, garage door and vehicle."

On the one hand, you can applaud the mother for wanting to be a part of her kid's life. But don't you think there would be a more suitable activity than going over and vandalizing the vice-prinicpal's house?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/18/2006 08:01:00 AM | |
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Logtar was tagged for this meme and tagged me.

Actually reading it over, it looks like a fun meme so here we go...

Four jobs I wish I had the capabilities of:

1. Best selling author - I'm talking Stephen King or Tom Clancy like sales here people....
2. Doctor or paramedic - When I was little, I used to watch some show about paramedics (I think it was Emergency) and loved seeing them race around, saving lives. I thought it'd be cool to be the "fireman doctor".
3. Professional fan--those who have the time and means to follow the Vols to every home and away game.
4. Evil genius with aspiriations of world conquest.

Four names I wish I had other than my own:

Ya know, this one is odd cause I've never really thought that much about it because I like my name...

1. Kirk
2. Alexander
3. Reynaldo
4. James

Four of my favourite actresses:

1. Sarah Michelle Gellar
2. Kristen Bell
3. Allyson Hannigan
4. Claudia Black

Four songs I could listen to over and over again:

1. Speak to Me - Rebecca St James
2. Forever Ain't that Long Anymore - Rhonda Vincent
3. Us - Sixpence None the Richer
4. Rocky Top - UT Marching Band

Four TV shows I love to watch:

1. Doctor Who
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. House
4. Lost

Four places I would like to go to on vacation:

1. England
2. Bahamas
3. Monument Valley, Utah
4. Mars

Four of my favourite cuisines:

1. Chinese
2. Mexican
3. Italian
4. Sonic

Four places I wish I was right now:

1. Watching a game at Neyland Stadium with the Vols winning
2. On the set of my hit sitcom.....
3. Private jet on the way to Denver with friends to watch the Titans vs Broncos pre-season game in our luxury box...(OK, this requires winning the lottery first...).
4. The set of Doctor Who

I'm supposed to tag seven people to play. So, here we go: Bad, Bad Ivy, Chip Talks, Michelle, TN Girl, Sarah R, Southern Girl, and Grateful Dating.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/17/2006 09:26:00 AM | |
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Thanks Janet!
When is the pendulum going to start swinging back the other way so we can have some sanity in this whole FCC thing?

Seems that the Titans' broadcast Saturday night was on a 12-second delay because of fear some idiot fan could shout out a curse and cause Citadel broadcasting to pay a huge fine. Apparently thanks to the complete overreaction to Janet Jackson's boob being shown on national TV, now we've got to completely overreact when it comes to live broadcasts of sporting events.

It's always one idiot who ruins the fun for the rest of us...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/16/2006 02:36:00 PM | |

School Meme
Saw this over at the Inn of the Last Home and thought it looked fun.

How many schools did you go to?
My father was career military, so between moves and the natural changing of schools, I went to 11 before I went to the greatness that is UT.

Teacher's nightmare or teacher's pet?
I was fairly well behaved. A lot of it was that I had this weird nuerosis that went like this: I'd misbehave so the teacher or school would call my mom. She wouldn't believe them becuase, well, I was a sweet little angel. So, they'd tell her--why don't you come hide in the coat closet and see what he's really like...and she would and I'd act up and she'd come out and be horribly upset with me.

Did you have a label in school? (nerd, jock,etc)
I was kind of a geek...(huge shock, I know). But what else you gonna call the guy who loves Star Trek and Dr Who.

What’s the biggest rule you broke in school?
Shamefully one time in the 4th grade a girl shoved me and I hit her back. She cried, we got hauled to the vice-principals office and my parents got called. I wasn't supsended but I still get that sick feeling in my stomach thinking about it....

Were you in any clubs or organizations?
I was on the newspaper staff, I did Key Club and a couple of others.

Did you have any nicknames in school?
Yes I did and wild horses couldn't drag it out of me....

Three subjects you enjoyed?
1. Science in 8th grade (mainly had to do with the teacher)
2. History
3. Journalism

Three teachers who inspired you?
1. Mr. Miller (the 8th grade science teacher referred to above)
2. Mr. Dombrowski, my fifth grade teacher
3. "Doc" McPhearson

Would you go back and do it over?
Somedays I might, but others I am glad to be a grown-up. Let me say I'd only go back if I could back to when I was growing up. I wouldn't want to be in h.s. and face the pressures and situations today's teens face. It's just scary sometimes to sit back and think about ...

Any major fashion faux paus? Bonus for pics!!
I had one of those t-shirts that changed colors based on body heat. I loved it and thought I was too cool for school. I also had a Bart Simpson shirt for UT that said, "Eat my shorts" or something like that...I thought it was awesome. I also had a classic Star Trek t-shirt I'd wear on occasion...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/16/2006 08:30:00 AM | |

Another reason to be glad we didn't get Reggie.
There was a lot of debate during the off-season about the NFL Draft, especially around the Titans' camp where every twenty seconds, someone called into the sports call in shows, wondering who we should take and why.

One of those discussions centered around this spectacular "what if" category. "What if Reggie Bush fell to the third pick in the draft? Should the Titans take him?"

In my mind, this "what if" was along the same dream of wishful thinking I utilize when I contemplate dating Sarah Michelle Gellar.

But, anyway...

Draft day came and Reggie went to the Saints. Which I'm happy for the fans in New Orleans becuase they needed something to get hopeful about for the future of the Saints.

But I was also glad the Titans didn't get Reggie. We had a locker room disruption last year with Pacman, who thankfully seems to have grown up a lot in the off-season and is beginning to live up to his potential on the field. (Dear heavens, did I just say something nice about Pacman Jones?!? That surely must be one of the signs that armageddon is right around the corner.).

And I can see Reggie being an issue as he adjusts to the NFL. Case in point: his wearing the wrong shoes. Seems Reggie wore Adidas shoes in Saturday's pre-season snooze-fest against the Titans and the NFL took issue with that, fining him $10,000.

Now to Reggie, a $10,000 is like fining mere mortals like you or I $100. It's painful but not a hardship.

Reggie's response though: "Adidas took care of it."

And while many of us figured that would be the case, it's one thing for us to think it and another to come out and confirm it. Now the word on the street is Reggie could face a suspension becuase of these comments.

Now, don't get me wrong here--I could care less about the whole shoe thing. What this really speaks to me about is the character of Reggie. He's gone from being the big man on campus at USC to being just another rookie in the NFL. His attitude that the rules don't apply to him becuase he's Reggie Bush won't cut it in the NFL. He may be a great talent, but until he realizes that he's just a big fish in a bigger pond and the rules do apply to him, he'll be a problem for the Saints. Suck it up and wear the correct shoes, man.

Or if you're going to get fined, let your sponsor pay it and shut the heck up about it.

New Orleans--you can have Reggie. I'm glad the Titans got Vince Young because from everything I've seen and heard, he's a great talent without the colossal "the world owes me" ego that some other players seem to have.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/16/2006 08:00:00 AM | |

You wouldn't like us when we're angry...
A survey in Men's Health magazine has found that Nashville is the fifth angriest city in the country.

We beat out New York City by over 50 spots.

The cities for the list were judged on "high blood pressure, traffic congestion, aggravated assaults, workplace violence and speeding tickets."

Sounds like our city needs some anger management courses or one giant "chill pill."

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/16/2006 06:06:00 AM | |
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
TV Round-Up
Rescue Me: Twilight
Outside of Eureka, this is really the only show I've been keeping up with this summer. (Yeah, I keep hearing The 4400 is doing well and, quite frankly, The Dead Zone just started to bore to the point that I missed two episodes and didn't really feel compelled to catch up). And while I like Eureka, the only show that is really "appointment" TV for me this summer has been Rescue Me.


Because it really is as good as advertised.

I just finished watching the latest episode and was stunned at the end. Now thanks to a message board I knew one of the two big moments that came in the last three minutes before it happened (the fate of Johnny). And while I did put the clues together as to where the plotline with the Chief would lead, it was still stunning to watch unfold. It seems as if the 11th episode of Rescue Me each year is when huge things happen...things that could fundamentally alter the series. With Johnny dead and it looking like the Chief could shuffle off this mortal coil, I have to ask myself--would they kill off the Chief? Or put him on the sidelines permanently? If so, might this throw a monkey-wrench into Tommy and Sheila's plan to buy a beach front house and leave the life of a firefighter behind? We certainly saw hints of that tonight as Tommy and Lou lament the fact that if they step aside, there are no experienced fire fighters left to train the probies...

What I like most about this show is how it straddles the line between comedy and dark drama so well. It's got that kind of gallows humor that I imagine some would need to survive the life these fire fighters lead without going mad. Oh sure, I know a lot of it is exaggerated and played up for greater dramatic effect...but damn, it's good.

OK, I'm rambling...but that's because, wow, this show is good. I was left literally hanging this week, anxious for the next installment. Man, I got spoiled catching up on this show on DVD.

Oh sure, I could surf over to the FX web site and see the first four minutes of next week's episode...but I think that would only make the withdrawal I'm going to suffer until next week worse...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/15/2006 10:17:00 PM | |

Thirty seconds of happiness
Raiders of the Lost Ark in 30 seconds (with bunnies).

Definitely worth 30 seconds...and it is funny.

And that's my entry for the Happiness Challenge for today...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/15/2006 12:39:00 PM | |

The more things change...
I've read Garfield on an off over the years. It's not my favorite comic strip in the world, but it can be counted for a few good chuckles as Garfield consumes mass quantities of lasagna or abuses Odie in some way.

In the modern world, the non-changing nature of Garfield can be kind of comforting. Knowing that I can pick up the paper and read a Garfield cartoon from today or 20 years ago and it will, for the most part, be pretty much the same. (Well, apart from that bizarre week of strips that has lead many on the Internet to question if Garfield is dead)

Now, one of the basic assumptions on which much hilarity has commenced is the general ineptness of Garfield's owner Jon Arbuckle when it comes to getting a date. Specifically his securing a date with the object of his affection, Liz the vet.

For 20 plus years, Jon has carried the torch for Liz and she's spurned his advances at every opportunity. And all was right with the comic strip world...

Until the last few weeks.....

I've noticed a dramatic change in Garfield these past few weeks. I may have missed a few strips but somehow Jon went out with another woman and that made Liz jealous so she went out with another guy. In typical wacky sitcom fashion, Jon and Liz ended up together at the end and their dates ended up together....

Now, as a reader of Garfield, I fully expected Jon to wake up or some such other splash of cold water to his face to make him come back to the reality...

But, so far nothing, as evidenced by these strips from last week...

So wait...what?!? John and Liz are now an item?!?

I guess part of this could come from the horrible Garfield movies in which Jon does win the girl in the end and trying to tie together the continuity of the two universes.

But it still feels so wrong. My fragile world-view is shattering and crumbling aroudn me and it's all Garfield's fault....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/15/2006 12:04:00 PM | |
Monday, August 14, 2006
Happiness Challenge
For those of you who missed it, my favorite NFL team of all-time is the Washington Redskins. (The Titans are a close second, but this year when they meet in D.C., I will be pulling for the Skins...)

Now, last night we played a meaningless pre-season game in which our first team defense looked really good, our first-team offense had some wrinkles and we lost Clinton Portis for an indefinite amount of time. And he's the guy they've pretty much built the team around...

I'm trying my best not to get depressed or worried about the season yet (in the same way I am after reading about the Vols' scrimmage the other day...) for any of my three teams. It's only August and we've still got a long way to go before opening day.

In looking at The Washington Post's Redskins section, I discovered they had an archive of big Redskins victories, including the articles the day after our five Super Bowl appearances. Ah, the memories...both good and bad.

And then, I found a section that is all about the Skins vs the Cowboys over the years. Now, many other NFL rivallries and pro-rivallries may try to say they're better, but they couldn't be more wrong. I mean, how cares about this silly Yankees/Red Sox thing when you've got the bitter clash of Redskins vs Cowboys. (Just to put some readers' minds at ease, there are college rivallries that are on the same level, if not better...for example UT vs Florida or UT vs Bama)

I doubt there are many teams that have been the thorn in each other's side more often than the Cowboys and Redskins. I love it and I loved skimming the archives, reading about how the Skins ended a six-game losing streak to the Boys to go to our second Super Bowl in the 80's (I recall watching the game on TV. It was the year I fell in love with the Redskins and it made me a fan for life. I recall the entire city of D.C. and the suburbs shutting down basically for that game).

I recall the near perfect season in '91 when the Cowboys came in and handed us the first loss of the year. I recall the taunts of "We want Dallas" that erupted in the fourth quarter when the Skins clearly had the game in hand. Alas, it turned out to be Detroit, who we destroyed as well, before humilating the Bills in the Super Bowl.

As I've said many times, it's never too early to hate the Cowboys.

And my love of the Redskins and my undying dislike of the Cowboys is what makes me happy today...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/14/2006 11:46:00 AM | |

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