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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Was it just me?
Or was tonight's episode of The Office the funniest since the season premiere?

Is Andy the new Dwight for Jim and Pam to play pranks on? Seeing Jim give him bad information on how to impress Pam was classic. The scene at the end with Andy singing Rainbow Connection and then going into pig latin...genius.

And then the entire idea that it would be better to be in prison than working for Dundler Mifflin was classic as well.

It was then followed up by the long-awaited return of Scrubs, which hasn't lost a beat. With Scrubs and The Office on back-to-back, you may have the makings of one of the funniest hours on television.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/30/2006 09:57:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up: Jericho
Vox Populi
The mid-season finale of Jericho arrives and I've got to admit, I sort of thought it'd be more momentous. But just as this show has done since it started it left me with enough questions to keep me tuning in when it returns. The biggest being--what kind of group is Hawkins part of?

And the bigger question--how much longer can they drag this out before giving us any real answers?

I noticed in the beginning of the story, it said it had been eight weeks since the bombs fell. I'm not sure if this messes up the timeline or not, since I don't think we had an specific date when the attacks occurred. I just figured it was around the first of September based on other clues the show has given, but I'm not going to lose too much sleep over specifics of the interal timeline of this show.

Nor will I lose sleep over the Jake and Emily storyline. Gee, who'd've figured that as soon as they both realize they're still in love, Emily's fiancee would show up in town? Show of hands on anyone who didn't see that one coming. Seriously, the only way to make it more melodramatic is to have him lurch into the bar, dirty, torns clothes just as Jake and Emily smooch. And let me ask--where is Heather? She's been conspiciously absent these past two episodes....why is that?

I did find the storyline of who killed Gracie and how everyone reacts to it interesting. And man the shift of power was pretty quick--what that'd take about a day or so. A day after winning the election, Grey is getting sworn in and ready to take out Jonah vigilante style. I found myself thinking a bit of the storyline of the collaborators on Battlestar Galactica earlier this month when Grey mentioned a tribunal. Only BSG showed the group trying the suspects and dispensing justice. Oh yeah, and it was a whole lot more interesting because the show took more than five minutes to establish the characters. Also, I cared a lot more about Gaeta and his fate than Jonah's here. Jonah has been little more than a one-note character and why everyone couldn't see this was one bully trying to bully another is beyond me.

I guess the point is to show how bad going vigilante is. Luckily everyone figures it all out before we kill Jonah. Instead we exile him, which is a nice touch. But did we forget Jonah saved the town's bacon three episodes ago? Does no one want to take that into account? You'd think Skeet might volunteer that info. Or Eric. Or someone.

And did anyone else think the teenage girl who Dale has a thing for and was in the store might have snuck to the next aisle and overheard the threat? Thus you have two witnesses...but that would be far too easy a way out.

So, where are we left--two really just pedestrian cliffhangers and one good one. Pretty much par for the course for Jericho.

I've said it before and I'll say it again--this show desparately wants to be like Lost, but it's just not even in the same ballpark.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/30/2006 01:29:00 PM | |
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
A phone call in the night.
As I was lying in bed this morning, listening to FOX Sports radio blather on, I thought I heard the familiar chorus of Rocky Top. It's my cell phone ring (don't laugh) so I stepped into the hallway and the top of the stairs to see if it was my phone or just my natural predilection to hear Rocky Top in all aspects of life. Turns out, it was my phone.

Went downstairs and saw that I'd missed about four calls from my mom since 5 a.m.

Suddenly, had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I dialed my mom back and found out she and my dad were right outside, coming to see me.

They came in and confirmed what I feared--my grandfather had passed away early this morning.

I've said before that I'm blessed to have had time to get to know each of my grandparents. I recall the stories they told me of family, their lives and the "good old days." I wish now I'd appreciated them more or spent more time listening or had maybe just written those stories down when they were fresher in my mind.

A while back, I wrote a post about Granddaddy. I re-read it a few minutes ago and it brought tears to my eyes. I know he's in a better place now, but I still miss him.

Also, I wanted to express my gratitude to all of you in the blogsphere who have sent private messages of support, prayed for my grandfather and reached out when I needed it. The concern and love have been a blessing to myself and my family and I just wanted to say thank you.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/29/2006 11:39:00 AM | |

TV Thoughts: Veronica Mars
So, the first big mystery of season three is solved. Warning: If you've not seen the latest episode of Veronica Mars and don't know the identity of the Hearst College serial-rapist, I strongly suggest you turn back now. I'm going to give away everything that happens in the episode.

You have been warned.

I think one of the benefits Veronica Mars will have this year is that instead of having one huge episode to end the season, they get, essentially three season finales. "Spit and Eggs" felt a lot like a season finale of Veronica Mars with big things happening and characters and relationships being shaked up in a variety of ways. And while there was a lot going on in this episode, very little of it felt rushed.

First up, I suppose I should address the identities of the serial rapist. A few weeks ago, I had a conversations with a friend where I said, "I think we all missed a huge plot point because it was hidden in plain sight." I'm referring to the R.A., who two weeks ago we found out had keys to open any door he chose. So, imagine my "I was right, I was right" dance when it turned out to be part of the solution. I knew as soon as we saw the R.A. take Veronica into his room to shelter her from Mercer that something more was up. Also, I looked at the clock and realized that we couldn't resolve the entire plotline with twenty minutes to go in the episode. Rob Thomas wouldn't make the solution that easy or that obvious.

As for the resolution to the mystery, I will say I liked it. Even though I called part of it, I didn't figure out everything in advance, which is good. I love how Rob Thomas threw ours and Veronica's suspicion off by having Veronica attacked while Mercer was in jail a few weeks ago. One thing I did wonder though--why did Mercer shave the heads of his victims. I was looking for some kind of motivation or reasoning behind this and got none. But we've still got plenty of season to maybe explore this.

As for the next big mystery, the murder of Dean O'Dell, it seems fairly straight-forward. But deceptively so. I wasn't sure what Rob Thomas was doing in having O'Dell reinstate the Greek institutions on campus, but I guess we see now--setting up possible suspects. A whole lot of supsects on that list now, including his wife and Veronica's professor. And that's even before the investigation has really kicked off. I am sure there will be a few hundred more blind alleys to explore when the show comes back. I wouldn't be shocked to see Lamb arrest Weevil somehow for this since Weevil is the one who finds the body. Lamb is just like that.

In fact, Lamb was the only real series regular we didn't see in this episode. Everyone else is there and interacting.

After last week felt so off, this week just felt like classic Veronica Mars.

But it wasn't just solving one mystery and starting another. It was about where the characters went. Logan breaks up with Veronica to start things off. That scene was just incredibly well done. And then as Veronica tries desparately to convince everyone she's OK, only to finally break down when alone in the show. Seriously, someone just give Kirsten Bell an Emmy cause the woman deserves it. Phenomonal, as usual.

Also, as much as I can dislike Logan, there are times you just have to love the guy. It's obvious that he cares deeply for Veronica. I love how his frustration at not being allowed in, to help her and to share the burden with her led to his smashing the police car and getting thrown in jail with the two rapists. Watching his fist ball up and knowing what is going to happen next (probably off-screen) is pure genius. Add that to Keith kicking in the door on Mercer and the R.A. and begging them to give him a reason to shoot them...great, great stuff.

But then again, what do you expect from a huge episode of Veronica Mars?

All I know is that the wait for new epiosdes suddenly seems a lot longer....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/29/2006 08:05:00 AM | |
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
TV Round-Up: Heroes
Six Months Ago
Wait, I'm confused. An episode-long flashback that provided insight and answers? How cool is that?

This episode covered a lot of ground and was, in a lot of ways, more satisfying than last week's much hyped episode. I think part of that was with the usual NBC Thursday line-up off last week for the holiday, I didn't see the relentless promos for Heroes during My Name is Earl and The Office. And that kind of helped since I went into this one without the lofty expectations that were placed upon last week's episode.

In the past, we get some big gaps filled in. Until now, we'd had hints and I've asked a lot of questions, but doggone if this episode didn't provide some answers. We found out how Nathan's wife became paralyzed (which brings up the question of how much does she remember?), we find out that Peter has some kind of pyschic bond with his brother (he dreams about the accident as it unfolds), we find out more details about the Jessica side of Niki (I wasn't shocked she was a recovering alcoholic, but it did lend some new layers to her character), we find out about the creation of Sylar (and thus shoot down my it's Peter gone wrong theory) and we have the tragic storyline of Hiro and Charlie, the cute waitress. I have to admit I was a bit heartbroken for Hiro as Charlie tells him of her condition, that she loves him and then he suddenly fast forwards back. It made me wonder if Hiro has only a limited amount of time he can spend in the past before he's snapped back to the present (kind of rubber band theory if you will) or if his emotions play some part in his powers. He was so happy when Charlie said she loved him that I wonder if that set off his jumping forward somehow. And I guess Hiro can only go back to a certain place once since we saw him unable to jump back. Or has he just not yet learned to control that power.

It's interesting to note that of all those with powers that we've seen on screen, it's only Hiro and Sylar that want the powers. The others are reluctantly embracing theirs, but so far only these two have desired to have them. I think it's interesting exploration of the characters to see this yin and yang if you will. Sylar is so desparate for powers that he takes the extreme method of kiling those with them and somehow absorbing their power. Sylar refuses to accept limitations placed upon him and we see just how far he'll go to get what he wants. Meanwhile, Hiro has limitations and realizes that he can't abuse the power too much to get what he wants. Hiro resigns himself to the fact that he can't save Charlie (at least not for now....I wonder if this plotpoint will come back) and tries to keep moving forward.

One of my many criticisms of early episodes of this show was how there were almost too many plotlines running without any intersection. But this week, we had all separate plotines and they all had enough time to be interesting. Never in switching did I feel like I was being short-changed by spending time with a storyline. That said, I think the stuff with Niki and Jessica, while illuminating was a bit too melodramatic. It just felt like a page from the cliched writers book of children having issues with their fathers (and heaven knows we get enough of that over on Lost). But since that's the only real big criticism I can lob at the episode, that's pretty good overall.

I am interested to see where it goes now. Having provided some answers, some new layers and new subtexts to the characters, where does Heroes go now. There are at least two vital questions that have to be addressed in fairly rapid order next Monday. But now we've got some intersting threads and plotlines, some twists and turns. I loved finding out that HRG's agenda in sending Eden to New York was to get Claire's name off the list of those with abilities. This could be interesting in how far he may or may not be willing to go to help Peter (or let Claire help Peter) be exonorated of the charges that will be filed against him. Will HRG allow Peter to suffer to protect and save Claire and could that lead to a split between the two?

For now, though, color me satisfied with the show and thinking that if the last two weeks are any indication, next week's mid-season finale and cliffhanger should be a good one.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/28/2006 09:16:00 AM | |
Monday, November 27, 2006
The goat
Walking out of LP Field yesterday in the state of euphoria following the Titans big win, a thought struck me. Actually, it had struck me during the game.

I felt a bit sorry for Mathias Kiwanuka, the guy who had Vince Young wrapped up on fourth and ten with the Giants up 21-14 who then let Young go and scramble for the first down that ultimately led to our winning the game. In the same way that Leon Lett is defined by his fumbling the ball in the Thanksgiving day Miami/Dallas game in the snow a few years ago, so will Kiwanuka be defined by his mistake in this game.

Don't get me wrong here--I'm happy about the result of the play. But I do feel sorry for Kiwunuka because every highlight reel from now to the end of time that shows bonehead plays will include that moment. And since he plays up in New York City, I can only imagine what the outcry will be in the papers and local media.

It's not that the Giants didn't have enough other guys implode in the fourth quarter of yesterday's game (and bless the Titans for taking advantage of it). But there will be one play that defined the Giants huge collapse and Kiwunuka was in on it. Heaven help the poor man.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/27/2006 08:40:00 AM | |
Sunday, November 26, 2006
To quote Barney from How I Met Your Mother: "Legend- and I hope you're not lactose intolerant because the next word is -dary."

Just got back in from witnessing the beginning of the legend of Vince Young. LP Field was rocking this afternoon in the fourth quarter as the Titans came back after three quarters of lethargic play to put it together and win a game in the waning seconds. Heaven help me, but Pacman Jones earned his Titans stripes today with his two huge interceptions (had it been three, he would also be legendary) and a big punt return that gave us excellent field position.

This is one of those games that will be the beginning of the legend of Vince Young here in Nashville. He almost started the legend two weeks ago against the Ravens, only to come up short. But now--mark my words, this could be a game that propels the Titans back toward the promised land, maybe not this season, but next year.

As if that weren't enough, for the first time this year all three of my teams (Vols, Titans, Redskins) all won. A great cap off to the Thanksgiving weekend!

The only thing I wish is that I could hear Mike Keith's reaction on the Titans Radio broadcast as the field goal was good. Or the tying touchdown. I can only bet he was going crazy.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/26/2006 07:52:00 PM | |
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Too close for comfort
That was too close for my liking, but at least Tennessee won. Now to sit back and pull for Georgia Tech so the Vols can go to a good bowl.

As much as I'd enjoy seeing the Vols play here in Nashville because I could go to the Music City Bowl, there should be no way you go 9-3 in the SEC and go to a crappy bowl.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/25/2006 02:52:00 PM | |

That's enough of that....
It's kind of the Vols to allow the Wildcats to have the half-time it's time to put the hammer down and demolish them.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/25/2006 01:23:00 PM | |
Friday, November 24, 2006
TV Round-Uo: Jericho
Red Flag
It's interesting to notice the time gaps that take place between each episode on this show. Unlike other serialized dramas such as Lost or Heroes, where it seems vital to see every passing second (sometimes we even seen the same span of time many times from every possible persepctive).

A few weeks ago, we saw an episode that centered around the harvest and Halloween. This time up, it's Thanksgiving. There seems to have been a bit of a time-jump in the internal storyline, not that the show is consistent at acknowledging this. I got the feeling it'd only been a day or two since Eric his wife for the mistress, the way everyone is acting. But yet, the last three episodes before this one took place over a course of about three to five days, with one of the first being Halloween. So, I guess we've skipped about three weeks there, which is fine, if everyone acted like it all the time.

It's espeically disconcerting in that we see Skeet out training the army he talked about last week and you'd think after three weeks of training they'd be better than they are. Either that or Skeet is a lousy drill sargeant. Wait, now that I think about it, the second option makes a good bit more sense.

I'll have to give Jericho credit--they're really keeping the central mystery of who attacked and why clouded in secrecy. This week, the waters get muddied further when Russian planes from the Cold War drop off supplies that have Chinese writing on them. Add to it that the parachutes have American Air Force transponders in them and, well, I honestly have no idea who attacked or why. It's intereting to see the conflict between parnoia and pragmatism that takes place here. The Skeet group is all about wondering if the supplies are possibly the second wave on an attack and poisoned while others in town are ready to start cooking and enjoy the feast. Add to it that the planes drop a generator and you've suddenly got an interesting dilemma--do we take the mana from heaven at face value?

And this is actually dealt with fairly well. You can see both sides of the arguement. I can see how after weeks of seeing a dwindling food supply, suddenly having luxuries like chocolate would make people go a bit crazy. But in the wake of the nuclear bombs going off and the satellite broadcast we saw early on, how you might not trust the giver or wonder what the catch might be. It's interesting to see that the show doesn't necessarily say that Skeet and company are all right and the other side is all wrong. There is a genuine, interesting conflict here and one that I don't really think has been resolved just yet. And one that will only continue to deepen as we head toward the election. Honestly, I'm not sure an election is what they need right now, but it could keep things interesting, esp. if Johnston loses to his handling of the food distribution.

It's also interesting how quickly alliances change. Last week, Jonah bailed out the town and this week he's back to villain status. When an alliance with Gracie is thwarted by Johnson, Jonah steals the generator. The town finds out and sends out a group to get it back, all equipped with guns and having most of us hope for a huge gun battle. Of course, we blew the budget on gun battles last week, so instead Emily breaks in, steals the generator back and gives it back to the town. I had no idea Emily could go stealth ninja like that. It makes me wonder just what is in her past.

It's interesting the parallels between Jonah and Johnston. Both are the leaders of their respective groups, but each is losing face by trying to do the right thing. Johnston with the food, resources and not blowing up the bridge and Jonah with not allowing his goons to shoot his daughter. I have a feeling if these two could ever form some kind of alliance, there could be some real power brokering going on in the town.

Meanwhile, Eric finds out that April is pregnant but chooses Mary over his pregnant wife anyway. He admits maybe he never loved April. Mom is treating him like the red-headed step-child of the family.

The Hawkins family drama continues with the "you were never here" hystronics reaching epic levels. Wait, didn't the daughter kind of cut him some slack a few weeks ago with the whole her learning to shoot the Vanilla Ice CDs? Teenagers.

And Stanley and Mimi finally kiss, in an ever escalating battle of cliched sexual tension moments. Oh, I have seen Stanley with his shirt off and he's blushing. At least this is out in the open and we're not dancing around it anymore like a bad episode of Who's The Boss.

And Gracie gets stabbed. I'm going to go out a limb and say it's Jonah's second in command, trying to frame Jonah and take over. And I guess that was the big death, though I'm not sure that being stabbed in the side is necessarily that instantly fatal. But with the lower grade medical care, I can see how it would be particularily nasty way to go.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/24/2006 02:13:00 PM | |

Black Friday
Yes, I was one of those thousands of crazy people who got up early, braved the cold and the long lines to purchase some incredibly good bargains when the stores opened this morning. OK, really only one store in particular and that is only because they had some really good deals on some DVDs I wanted to get as presents for family members.

There's this delusion that I get every time there is a big sale like this--oh, I'm the only person who will have this idea. That delusions is routinely and soundly shattered when I pull into the parking lot and see people circling like vultures for a parking space. And that's just the first of many lines I was in--finding a place to park (legally), getting into the store and then the line to pay for said treasures that up until that moment you couldn't live without but now you're not so sure. It also makes you start to wonder--do they really want/need this item I'm waiting in line to purchase?

Part of the experience is the people watching and observing. Nothing brings out the animal instinct like a bargain on a laptop computer. I saw people with carts piled high with computers. One guy behind me in line was talking to another buddy and I overhead him say, "Well, I really don't want or need the computer but it's too good a deal to pass up." He also had a cart piled high with other electronic items that were all at prices that were way too good to be true.

I felt like a complete slacker, only having my few meager DVDs I'd come in to purchase before supplies ran out. But that feeling will fade in January when the bills come and I can afford to pay them off and not spend most of '07 recovering from Christmas '06. Somewhere Dave Ramsey is smiling and proud of me.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/24/2006 06:41:00 AM | |
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Two big events on one day
As most of you know, today is Thanksgiving. I hope you're enjoying a day with the three f's: food, family and football.

As always, I'm reminded of all the blessings I have and how I should be thankful not only today but every day of the year.

Another big event for today--43 years ago today, the first episode of Doctor Who aired.

Two big events, one day.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/23/2006 11:55:00 AM | |
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Veronica Mars Thoughts
Once again, Veronica Mars heads into the conclusion to a mystery arc and I have no clue as to why the culprit could be.

I just hope that next week's big wrap-up episode is better than this week's.

I felt like I'd fallen into some parallel universe where the showed looked and sounded like Veronica Mars, but yet it just didn't feel like Veronica Mars. Part of this was Veronica herself, who was acting a bit odd. Her quips were a bit too forced and it was like she was trying too hard to convince everyone of something. I wonder if she's trying to juggle too many fronts for people--one for Keith about the incident last week, one for the sorority sisters and then one for Logan. OK, maybe not so much one for Logan since even though she says she loves him, her actions aren't exactly backing that one up. Her constant ignoring of his phone calls is a telling sign. The scene at the end where Logan calls across the cafeteria and see her ignore the call was just a heartbreaker.

But as I said, the episode itself just felt off. I wasn't really all that invested in the who kidnapped Selma Heart Rose plotline. And it felt as if the the details of the husband sending his young girlfriend to catch the wife in comprimising photos..yeah, that was a bit forced. I should have cared more but the mystery of the week left me kind of cold.

There were isolated scenes I liked. The scene in the cafeteria I referenced above and the whole exchange between Veronica and Dick about the Easter Egg. But the rest of it--not so much. And I'm not sure I buy the revelation that some of the alleged serial rapes are faked. I know there are theories about the rapes being done by a female, but it seemed as if this little plot twist had to work way too hard to get its point across. I was dissapointed at this blind alley we went down and I wonder how it will affect things next week when Veronica solves the big mystery and we spin into the second arc for season three.

Hopefully, it will be better. Hopefully characters will look and sound like they normally do. Hopefully it won't disappoint me like this episode did.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/22/2006 09:22:00 AM | |
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Christmas gift idea
So if you're sitting there with an extra $110 and wondering what you could get me for Christmas this year, might I suggest this?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/21/2006 12:09:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up: Heroes
Could NBC have hyped this episode a bit more? You could barely flip past the peacock network the past week without seeing a preview for Heroes.

Which is why I find it hard to step back and separate the hype and the lofty expectations NBC created for the episode from the actual episode itself. I don't want to overpraise it nor do I want to condemn it for not living up to the huge expectations NBC placed on it.

I don't mean or want that to sound like I'm damning the episode with faint praise. It was good. In fact, it was light years better than last week. The storylines had some movement, some momentum and I felt like we were pushing things forward in new, interesting ways. I really do hope if Heroes is going to be the new big thing that they take a book from Joss Whedon's book of storytelling (big events happen when they happen for the story) as opposed to the Chris Carter book of storytelling (big events happen in sweeps and sweeps only). So far, it appears Heroes is doing this and I can only hope the success of the show allows them to continue telling the story they want to tell in the way they want to tell it, without too much network pressure.

As we've seen in previous weeks, the various destinies of our heroes are starting to cross. They cross in a big way this time, with the climatic final two acts in which Sylar makes his move against Claire. But before we got there, we had the on-going Pitrelli family drama, with Nathan trying to save Peter from himself. Nathan destroys the painting that will reveal to Peter where to go and the future of how to save the cheerleader, save the world. I have to wonder if Nathan's doing this is more motivated to keep his little brother out of the paper and to push forward his own political agenda. Was it done out of love for his brother or self-interest? I can only imagine what his opponent must make of the crazy brother who tries to kill himself and then gets arrested at a high school for murder. You can bet the mud-slinging ads on that one are going to be vicious.

Luckily for all of us, Nathan isn't really thinking his plans through (as we saw with his decision to sleep with Niki/Jessica a few weeks ago...he tends to not think of the long-range consequences of his decisions...he should do so well in Congress) and doesn't think there might be a copy of the painting around. Thankfully, Simone has a picture of it and that sets Peter on his date with destiny. Peter is able to get to Odessa in time and fulfill is part in saving the cheerleader.

Now, here's where things could get tricky. Claire is saved, yes. We're still not sure how saving her saves the world, except that it may keep Sylar from getting some of Claire's healing power and making him unstoppable. But in the end, a cheerleader did die. Was the message meant to try and save the other girl as well. Did she have some latent power that Sylar has absorbed or does just feeding on his victims make Sylar more powerful? Did Peter not arrive in time to save the world? Because while we can all assume the cheerleader in question is Claire, it could be the other girl.

Also, as the episode unfolded, we never see much of Sylar. We see enough so that it can't be Christopher Eccleston as Sylar in a few weeks, but I did have a thought. What if Sylar is Peter? What if Peter absorbs enough of the various powers of those around him, including that of Hiro and is able to move back in time? If Peter's great hope is to be more than he is, to make a difference, could this be corrupted? Could Peter's good intentions be corrupted so that he becomes Sylar? Or could it be that Peter thinks by killing the heroes that he is averting the disaster Hiro saw when he jumped forward a few weeks ago?

I don't necessarily think it is Peter, but it's an interesting idea to consider.

Meanwhile, Ando is feeling pretty ordinary without Hiro. I have to wonder how long he'll wait for Hiro to come back. And it seems as if Hiro has vanished out of all history a few weeks ago. Is he dead? Did Sylar get him in the past? It's apparent he hasn't saved Charlie yet, but will he? Can he save history? And did his desire to save Charlie move him out of position to help save the cheerleader? If it turns out the cheerleader is the friend and Sylar is more powerful now, has Hiro created the future he was trying so hard to avert?

Time opens so many doors.

And then we have Niki/Jessica. Looks like Jessica has taken over and it hunting down her son. We're left with a cliffhanger--she pulled the trigger but did she hit DL? We're also left with wondering what happens next for Peter. And it seems that HRG has Sylar in custody now. How long will that last?

Interesting to see how Eden can use her powers on Sylar. And then Haitian guy shows up to knock our Sylar without much of a struggle. I do wonder if this was because Sylar wasn't able to feed off of Claire or did Peter absorb some of his power?

So many questions and I bet none of them are answered next week. We'll move back in time six months and see what is up with Hiro and the rest of our Heroes in the past. It should be interesting, but it does leave a lot of questions floating out there until January.

And yet, I can say I'll be there to find out just what all these answers are.

So, to answer my own question--did the episode live up to the hype? Yes and no. Yes in many ways it did because the final half was edge of your seat good. No becuase honestly, few epiosdes could live up to has much hype as NBC put into it. But what I will say is that I came away satisfied with the show and wanting more, so that is a good thing.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/21/2006 08:25:00 AM | |
Monday, November 20, 2006
TV Round-Up: Battlestar Galactica
This makes at least twice now in the course of the series that the Cylons have seen fit to target Adama for elimination. They tried to kill him in the end of season one and failed and now they've tried yet again and, for the moment, failed. Watching "Hero" I began to wonder juts why the the Cylons fear Adama so much. Do they see him as the real authority and leadership of the Colonies? And do they think removing him from power will somehow make it easier to finish off humanity?

I have to wonder why Adama and compay were so quick to release Bulldog back into the thriving masses of the colonies. It seems like there were a lot of coincidences involved in setting him free and getting him to the fleet. So his only purpose was to somehow find out Adama had betrayed him three years before, shooting down his ship instead of letting the Cylons see him and violate the terms of the peace agreement? So, did the Cylons somehow get information out of Bulldog? Why did they hold him prisoner for so long? Was their plan this far-ranging and thought-out? Did they know they'd need Bulldog again someday and, thus, keep him alive for three plus years in a cell until the time was right? And how exacty did they plan for all of this?

Meanwhile, back in the fleet, we have Adama questioning his role in, perhaps, starting the war. I think if you're the Cylons, having Adama's doubt come to the surface is a better way to go about destroying him than killing him. Kill him and you rally the fleet behind a matryr. Destroy his standing and reputation, that he's worked hard to build over the past 45 years of service and you do more toward demoralizing the fleet. Remember how Starbuck reacted when she found out there was no Earth and had her faith in the Old Man shaken? Now imagine the entire fleet has that same experience and can blame Adama for the war instead of the Cylons. That could be interesting, if the show decides to go there. I'm not necesssarily sure it will.

I found it interesting that Adama would bring in Lee to confess the sins of his past to. This is intereting, esp. given how contemptious the father/son dynamic between these two has been in previous weeks. I guess no longer having Tigh to talk to, Adama has to find someone. And he sure isn't, at that point, going to confess to Roslin, though he later does. I did like how Tigh realizes that Bulldog escaped too easily and has been sent to find out the truth and take out Adama. Seeing Tigh come to Adama's defense was one of the better scenes of the episode.

Let's face it--the second and third acts of this one were riveting, real tour-de-force acting jobs by everyone involved. The first and fourth acts--not as much. It was all about set-up and some pay-off, though once you've had Tigh pointing a gun at Bulldog and defending the Old Man, it's all downhill from there. That said, the new eye-patch for Tigh was awesome.

And over in the Cylon camp, D'Anna is having strange dreams still. She's also participating in apparent three-somes with Six and Baltar, who is officially classified as the luckiest man in the entire frakkin' universe. Her dreams are intereting, but also interesting is that she kills herself and experience the life flashing before your eyes moment. To see how far she'll go to experience this is intriguing and it makes me wonder about the comments made by the Cavill model a few weeks back about the pain of downloading. Is this part of it? A taxing of the resources that make this possible?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/20/2006 12:44:00 PM | |

I just don't understand....
So, Saturday afternoon neither Michigan or Ohio State can play defense and yet the game is referred to as a "classic" but two weeks before Louisville and West Viriginia hook-up in a similiar game and it's called a less than stellar game and there is strong criticisms about the legitimacy of both teams as BCS bowl teams and national championship contenders.

Anyone else see the hypocracy?

Ohio State was installed as the number one team in the country to start the year and has not done nothing to earn it. They play in a league where there are two good teams and a lot of other just bad teams to beat up on. Your conference can't even be big time and join the real conferences at the big-boys' table by having a conference championship game. So, until you get one of those, I have no respect for you in any way, shape or form. Same applies to the Pac-10.

On the other hand, Michigan lost. So, they're done and should be out of it. All talk of a re-match is crap and shouldn't happen. No one wants to see a re-match. They had a chance and they blew it. Sorry, too bad, so sad but that's college football.

Again, were Ohio State or Michigan in the SEC, they'd each have two losses. Top to bottom, the SEC has the best teams and talent in the country. And that is shown week in and week out on the field.

Which is what really matters....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/20/2006 08:03:00 AM | |
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I'm stunned
The Titans finally played a complete game today and won on the road at Philly. I was stunned to see this, though pleasantly so.

Of course, the way it's being reported is "Eagles QB Donovan McNabb got hurt in a loss to the Titans" with no props or love for the Titans.

What's it gonna take to get some respect for the Titans?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/19/2006 08:59:00 PM | |
Saturday, November 18, 2006
All is once again right with the world.
The year-long nightmare is over. Once again, order has been restored to the universe and UT beat Vanderbilt in football.

It was nice of the Vols to toy with Vandy like they did--giving them the illusion they could win the game and even allowing them to lead the game for about two minutes. It's so much crueller to tease an opponent like that.

Of course, the Vols had to overcome the officials (yet again). Can anyone tell me why holding the ball for one second in the end zone works if you're Florida but the same exact situation occurs for Tennessee and it's not a two-point conversion?!? Why is it that one ref's arms can shoot up, indicating it's good but someone overrules him because....again, trying to understand the logic of this. Maybe these officials should look into being consistent in their calls.

Some random thoughts from the game:
  • It was nice of Vandy's band to let the Pride of the Southland play first at half-time. But it really made your performance pale by comparison. I understand you don't have as large a band as we do, but playing an arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody seems a bit, well, high-school.
  • Vandy's stadium needs a new video screen and sound system. My TV at home is bigger and I've heard better sound on airplane headphones.
  • Vandy's announcer couldn't keep up with who had the ball. Of course ,the refs couldn't figure out who had the ball either. Must have been contagious.
  • Gotta love the Vandy fans who arrive late and leave early. What is the point of paying the higher price tag to get into the game if you're only going to stay a quarter?
  • I don't quite get the logic of going for a field-goal when you're down by 32 as time winds down and it's fourth and one inside the five. Does it look less embarassing to be demolished by 29? Are we giving the kicker confidence for next year? Were you hoping to go for four on-side kicks in a row to get back in it? If anyone can explain this to me, please let me know. Maybe it was a moral victory...but you know, at that point it was over.
In the end, all that matters is the Vols started a new streak over the Commodores.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/18/2006 04:16:00 PM | |
Friday, November 17, 2006
Adoption Awareness Month
November is Adoption Awareness Month.

And I guess you could say that I'm pretty aware of the miracle that is adoption. See, without the wonder and miracle that is adoption, the picture you see here of me with my neice and nephew would be, well, just a picture of me and my conflicting statement over which team I'm pulling for that day (Redskins or was Redskins and yes I'm still bitter we lost).

I think it's safe to say I adore my neice and nephew and they've both pretty much had me wrapped around their little finger since the first time I laid eyes on them.

And without adoption as an option, they'd not be part of my family. And, to be honest, I can't imagine my family without them.

I was talking to my sister earlier this week about Adoption Awarness Month. Now, if you talk to me, sometimes I will get onto my rant about how insane I think it is that the process to adopt is as complicated as it is. I understand why there have to be certain requirements, but honestly it still sometimes bugs me deep down that there are homes desparate to have a child with parents who would give literally anything for that chance and then you've got families like the ones depicted in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, where having another child isn't seen as a blessing and a miracle, but instead just another ordinary happening and yet another mouth to feed.

It takes a lot of courage to enter the adoption system on both sides of the process.

If you're entering into it to adopt a child, your life will be scrutinized in every detail. It's almost like going in for a car loan, going through all the steps to get approved and then being told, "Well, we have a nice model coming out in five or six years that might be available."

On the other side, I cannot begin to imagine the courage it takes to give up a child. The courage and faith that in doing this, you are giving this child something more than you could or would be able to give. And then to have those doubts and questions and wonder, "what if?"

My extended family is blessed in how adoption has touched our lives. We have my neice and nephew, and I've also got cousins who have adopted children. One was a little girl (well, then) from Russia who was adopted at a year old. I've got another cousin whose family adopted a boy with some serious medical issues from central America. Their church went on a mission trip and they met this child. His biological mother wanted him to come to America for a better chance at treatment. She even named him a "good American name" (her words) of Woovins.

Adoption is an amazing, wonderful and miraculous thing. It's added to my family in ways I can't even begin to describe. And for that, I am beyond grateful.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/17/2006 08:49:00 AM | |
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Sick of the hype
Based on the way ESPN is covering the Michigan vs Ohio State game this weekend, you'd honestly have to wonder why the rest of the country and world is bothering to hold games since this is the most important game in the recorded history of the universe.

Which don't get me wrong--one vs two is a big deal and I understand this is a big rivallry thing for both schools.

But is anyone else sick to death of hearing about this game?

As if it hasn't been hyped enough since early October, now we've got ESPN wasting valuable SportsCenter time with fluffy pieces on some Ohio State player who lives in a tent or some such other crap like that. I think they've reached the bottom of the barrel, trying to find stories on this game and it's only Thursday. At this point, I expect a story on the grass growing in the Horseshoe tomorrow as the lead story on SportsCenter.

I'm ready for them to just get this game over with. And honesty, if both teams could somehow lose, that would just make my day.

Also, I hate to inform ESPN and those outside of Ohio and Michigan, but there are a lot of other great games this weekend, some of them big rivallries that are, quite frankly, better than Ohio State vs Michigan.

I'll take UT vs Alabama any day of the week over any alleged Big Ten match-up. That's what a real rivallry is all about...

Update: I forgot to post this before. I think the real reason ESPN is hyping this game so much is that they are carrying it on their family of networks on ABC. I bet you anything if this game were on CBS, it would hardly be a blip on the radar....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/16/2006 11:53:00 AM | |

TV Round-Up: Jericho
Last week, Skeet and Eric went 90 miles to get the drugs that would save Dad's life. Of course, in doing so, they tipped off a group of post-apocolyptic pirates that Jericho was out there. So, this week, said pirates decide to come rolling into town to collect whatever supplies Jericho has. The pirates are doing this under the auspices of the federal government, but honestly that statement seems a bit fishy to me. It looks more like they're making the best of a bad situation, being bullies becuase they've got the firepower and the trucks.

So when they run into a larger group of bullies, they turn tail and run...but you can bet they'll be back.

The town's reaction to the bullies is an interesting one, if a bit short-sighted. I find it difficult to believe that only Mayor Green would go--oh yeah, so if we blow up the bridge and they come in from the other side, we're kind of screwed. Of course, we have people running about in a panic, desparate to keep out the bad guys and seal off the town. But yet no one thinks twice about the possible long-term ramificatons--not even Hawkins or Skeet. Of course, they're both too busy having the who has the bigger you-know-what contest in the episode to stop and think twice about it. Also, it seems to me you're giving the bad guys an idea of how to isolate and take over the town should it come to that. And don't even get me started on the stupidity of leaving the bridge primed to blow. Hopefully we'll get some lines of dialogue next week talking about how they un-wired the bridge so that a stray spark doesn't accidentally blow it up.

Meanwhile, some characters are at a crossroads. Eric finally gets up the nerve to tell April he's leaving her--just as she's about to reveal she is pregnant. Ouch, that had to hurt. This earns the wrath of Mom. You know, if I were Eric, I' d have maybe got with bar-tender lady and made sure that she was going to take him back BEFORE I got thrown out of Mom's house. That's all I'm saying. I am sure much angst will result when Eric finds out the big news, which in keeping with the find tradition of Jericho, everyone dances around in front of Eric. At this rate, he may not find out until the baby arrives and even then, I bet they somehow keep it from him.

And in other news, it's Emily's wedding day. But her fiancee might be dead. Or he might not. And Emily might be wanting her some sweet, sweet Skeet lovin'. This after giving Heather the big high sign to go after Skeet. I knew this love triangle was coming. I will admit I did like Emily's fantasy sequences of what could be like and what she hoped her wedding day would be like. It was interesting that Heather serves as the voice that has these doubts and expresses them. It seems like these two have gotten pretty close, which just means the friendship will be shattered beyond belief when Skeet comes between them.

Which brings up the interesting question--how in the hell does mopey, brooding, looking like I haven't slept in three days Skeet get not one but two hot women after him?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/16/2006 12:01:00 AM | |
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Random Tidbits
  • Yesterday, I saw the front page of the Tennessean saying we could possibly have snow on Sunday. I suddenly felt this primal urge to hoard bread and milk.
  • I must admit, I get annoyed at drivers in Smyrna every morning, esp. those on Sam Ridley Parkway. This morning I was especially amused by someone in a blue Sentra who was mad that no one would let them over and honked their horn at all of us. Yeah, buddy, I waited in line ten minutes so you could swooop up at the last second and jump in front of me. Also, you had Rutherford County tags, so you should know better.
  • A while back I pre-ordered the latest releases of Doctor Who on DVD. In the past, Amazon has usually sent them out a day or two before and they've arrived on or near the release date. Well, the release date came and no shipping notice. Two days later, no shipping notice. I went on-line since I thought I'd heard one of them was delayed. No, people who ordered them the weekend before already had them. I was a bit miffed and e-mailed Amazon to go--what the hell? And got back a standard copy and paste reply about shipping dates, yada-yada-yada. So, I stopped by BestBuy on my way home and picked them up. And then cancelled more order which still had not shipped. And now all the Doctor Who DVDs currently released in the United States are sitting happily together on a shelf and all is right with the world.
  • As I read that last paragraph, I realize that I desparately need a date... (And the reason I post that here is to keep all of you from firing up with that in the comments.)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/15/2006 03:09:00 PM | |
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
TV Round-Up: Heroes
Eight Minutes to Midnight
This week's episode was written by series creator Tim Krieg. When I saw that flash across the opening credits, I will have to admit it really ratcheted up my expectation level for the show. And maybe it pushed my hopes up too high because while I liked the episode, it ended up not being all that and a bag of chips.

I do like that the episode expanded the universe a bit. It's nice to see the developing of powers isn't just an isolated thing to the protagonists we've seen on screen. I will give Heroes a lot of credit--it's got a fairly substantial cast but yet it's still finding ways to expand the cast without it becoming over confusing or not servicing the previously established characters. That can be hard to do (just look at Lost this year trying to shoe-horn in characters that were supposed to be there the whole time, we just hadn't met them yet). I think part of that is that Heroes is so early in its run, that it can easily introduce new characters and not have it be too intrusive. And unlike Lost, it doesn't have a closed set of characters where if you bring in new people, you have to come up with some way to explain why we haven't seen them before.

This week, we met the cute waitress who has developed the ability to remember anything she's read. I will admit I liked her moments with Hiro. The puppy-dog eyes he kept making at her were well done, as was his reaction to her compliment. I wonder if she understood what he was saying to Ando and how she reacted. It's a shame that Sylar killed her because I think she had some potential. Of course, as we sat in the diner, watching this story unfold, I wondered if Sylar was there for Hiro or the waitress. And we were left hanging as to the fate of them both since Hiro vanished but didn't come back. Has Hiro's first-attempt at a do-over doomed him. Because if you think about it, once he gets back in time, what can he do to stop Sylar? Will Sylar still be drawn to the waitress whether she's at work or not? Or will Hiro's coming back to save her only mean that Sylar can have a double feast of whatever he takes from those with powers? I hate to say it, but Hiro's power is good but what does it offer in helping him defeat Sylar? Would it have been better to wait on the do-over until he could find Niki or someone who could, possibly, go up physically against Sylvar? Also, if something happens to him here, does this create a time paradox later, wherein he can't come back in time and warn Peter?

And that's the issue with time travel--it opens up so many paradoxes. It's better to just not think about it, really and just go with the flow.

Meanwhile, we find out Eden has some kind of abiilty to push her will upon people. Did she do this to Mohinder? Does this mean his attraction to her was planted? And is it wearing off? And was she doing whatever she did to push back his ability? We see that Mohinder has some kind of prophetic dreams in this storyline. (That gives us two charactrers with a future-telling ability at this point, for those of you keeping score at home). Where are they leading him? Will he end up pursuing his father's work again and throwing away the life he seems to want? And why did Eden and HRG want him on the sidelines?

Also, we have the question of if HRG and company can somehow create these powers in people. Or are the marks just a sign of having been mind-wiped by the Haitian? I do wonder if HRG has found a way, through the research of Mohinder's father, to unlock the potential powers within everyone. What if we find out that everyone could have these powers but HRG is picking and choosing those he needs or wants for whatever overall purpose he has. That could be an intersting plotthread, if they follow through on it.

And we did find out a bit more about HRG. We see his drive to save Claire and how, when it comes to her, the ends justify the means. Does this carry over into everything else he's doing? And who exactly does he work for? And I have to think Claire's seeing Eden in the hallway will be important to the show later. It just seemed to much of a set-up for future events.

I do have to wonder about HRG's agenda. I wonder if Sylar is an early attempt to unlock the potential of someone gone wrong. And is Claire somehow bait for a trap?

All I know is we're 24 hours from the big event that we've seen hinted about for weeks now. Heroes is at a crossroads with the first big pay-off episode of its young run next week. And I have to admit, I am intrigued to see how it all unfolds next week. This episode finished setting things up, I expect next week to start knocking things down.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/14/2006 10:05:00 AM | |

Green Eggs and SPAM
With apologies to Dr Suess...

Green Eggs and SPAM

I open my in-box
And what do I see?
A thousand special offers
All just for me!

Offers of credit and low cost homes
Ways to reduce interest on those pesky student loans
Cures for ailments I didn’t know I had
If I don’t take advantage of them, I sure will be sad.
How did I get signed up for all these lists?
It’s starting to make me kind of miffed.

I do not need your impotence pills
I do not need another living will
I do not want to be a secret shopper
I do not want your popcorn popper

Keep your X-boxes and your PS-3s
I do not need them, don’t you see?
I spend all day deleting SPAM
I do not like it, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM!

I do not need a brand new car
I do not want to pick up girls in a bar
I do not need some more insurance.
Of this I give you a lot of assurance.
I do not need your offering of SPAM
I do not need them SPAM, I am.

I do not need free meals at Shoneys
I think your offer is a lot of baloney.
I do not want to look at your porn
I do not want to sleep ‘til morn.
I do not need your crazy offers
Of ways to fill my meager coffers.

I do not want your crazy SPAM.
Please make it stop, SPAM, I AM!

I can't opt out, don't you see?
Every list I decline, signs me up for three!
I used to look forward to checking my mail
Now I try to read messages from my friends and fail
Your useless offers have ruined my life
And filled me with such woe and spite

I set up filters to weed you out
But you are tricky, you crazy lout!
You will not let me get away
Your offers come at all hours of the day

I do not need your crazy SPAM,
Please make it stop, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/14/2006 08:23:00 AM | |
Monday, November 13, 2006
TV Round-Up: Battlestar Galactica
A Measure of Salvation
If you were presented with the option to completely wipe you an enemy that was, for all intents and purposes hell-bent upon your destruction and/or extermination would you do it? Could you do it?

That's a question that's been asked by two shows Ron Moore has worked on--first Star Trek: The Next Generation and now Battlestar Galactica.

If you'll remember, back in season five of TNG, the Enteprise stumbled across a lone Borg, cut off from the collective. He's taken on board the ship and slowly begins to regain his individual identity. The only problem is--the crew comes up with a computer virus that could be implanted in Hugh. Send him back to the Borg, have it uploaded to their collective consiousness and the universe is free of the Borg. The question becomes though--as Hugh slowly begins to exhibit a personality and an individual identity, does the crew have the right to do this to an enemy that up to this point had been pretty much all about destroying the way of life of the Federation.

The answer there was Picard defied orders and sent Hugh back, hoping that the Borg would catch some of his breaking away from the collective and that would lead a revolution.

And while it's certainly in keeping with Star Trek's much more hopeful view of humanity, close to ten years after it first aired, I'm still not sure it was the right choice. (Esp. in light of how the Borg changed after all this happened, losing a lot of their terror and appeal).

But now we've got Battlestar Galactica, essentially asking the same question. Only this time, it goes a bit deeper. Instead of one episode to get to know a member of the enemy who has broken away, we've had two and a half years to meet, know and maybe even like Sharon. Yes, she'd survive the virus being sent to the Cylons, but as we hear Helo's impassioned speech as to why the Cylons should be spared, it's hard to disagree with him on some levels. At what point do we give up "part of our soul" to win the war? And would the ends justify the means?

And while you can argue that Galactica's choice was made that much more compelling because it would use a biological weapon, I still see it being the same choice Picard had to make. And while TNG didn't really delve as deeply into the repreccusions of what Picard choose, I think Galactica will. Helo certainly seems to think that as he stands in his quarters, ready to submit to the police squad he knows must be coming. He may not get arrested for what he did and there may be no concrete way to prove it, but could this come back to haunt him and the fleet? This being BSG, I think it will. Whether it's Adama stripping him of some command authority or promoting somoene like Tigh over him, I'm not yet sure.

But it will make for compelling, interesting television.

I did like there were no easy answers to this question. I suppose you could argue the ending was a bit of the no harm, no foul way out, but it rang a lot more true than the miracle cure for Laura's cancer early last year. I am guessing there is little the Cylon-hybrid's blood can't do at this point, though it might be interesting to see a storyline where Sharon could have her blood used to save someone and refuses (ala "The Enemy" from TNG's season three). Or to see it somehow fall short. I got this profound sense of relief on the part of everyone involved that while they knew they had to possibly commit genocide of the Cylons that it hadn't worked. While it may be the right thing, I wonder how that decision might have haunted Roslin had it come to pass and gone the way originally planned.

Meanwhile, over on the basestar, things are starting to go badly for Baltar. He's allowed to live but at what price? And I've got to wonder--can this man talk his way out of anything? He seems to find just the right way to get inside the skin of those he needs to manipulate to save himself every time. I wonder if at some point D'Ana will try to create a relationship with him like Caprica Six seems to be spurning and what might do to the Fantasy Six inside his head. And I loved how Fantasy Six helped Baltar turn pain into pleasure. On how many levels is that relationship just dark, twisted and totally watchable? (And not just because of nearly nekkid Six, though that does help).

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/13/2006 12:20:00 PM | |
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Podcast #13
Psalm 98 says "Make a joyful noise to the Lord."

I have to admit, I'm a really self-consious when it comes to singing--well, at least in front of people. But one way I can "make a joyful noise" is playing handbells. I've been in choirs on and off for the past decade and when I'm not ringing, I really miss it.

I recently joined the handbell choir at my new church. In fact, I practiced with the group one Sunday night and was up in front, ringing with the bells the following Sunday, which was All Saints Day.

In this short edition of the podcast, I've included a recording of our playing a song called "Finlandia."

I hope you enjoy it!

You can link to it here or hear it directly here.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/12/2006 09:58:00 PM | |

Just goes to show...
While watching the Titans implode today at the Y, I noticed one of the other TVs in the bank of TVs along the wall was tuned to FOX news. The big breaking story was that K-Fed apparently has a sex-tape of he and Britney and is offering to sell it for something like $60 million.

Ah, don't you just love white-trash divorces?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/12/2006 09:33:00 PM | |

Well, that was a huge letdown
What a huge letdown the Titans had this afternoon, squandering a 19-point lead to lose by one point. I watched the second half working out at the Smyrna Y and as Rob Bironas had his field goal blocked, there was a collective gasp of "Oh no!" and "Come on!"

Some of you may see progress in the game. And there was some there in the first twenty or so minutes. But in the last 40, the deficiancies of this team became more apparent than ever. Some heads need to roll over at Baptist Sports park including:
  • Special teams coaches
  • Adam Jones
  • Rob Bironas - buddy, you're paid a ton of cash to make kicks...try making some!
  • Defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz
  • Offensive coordinator, Norm Chow
Also, the officiating in this game was beyond horrible. So many times in the second half when the Titans seemed to have made a huge play to get some momentum, the officials screwed us over. That fumble was ours...we get that, we are in close enough to possibly get a field goal. Also, you screwed us on who fumbled the bull on the fake punt. And what in the hell is the point of having replay if you just stick your head in the machine and watch Bugs Bunny cartoons? Cause ain't no way you're watching game footage we see at home because if you were, you might, oh I don't know, overturn a call once every blue freakin' moon!!!!

One thing it was nice to hear--LP Field sounding like the Coliseum of old when we had the best home field advantage in the NFL.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/12/2006 04:11:00 PM | |

Hey, CBS!
Watching the Titans playing the Ravens and (so far) pleasantly surprised.

Not quite the homecoming Steve McNair was expecting, I'd imagine.

Along the lines of Steve McNair, the CBS announcer guy must be the low end of the talent pool since he's referred to Vince Young as McNair at least three times now. I can see once or twice, but more than that just smacks of unprofessionalism.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/12/2006 01:20:00 PM | |
Saturday, November 11, 2006
So, one last thing...
I have to agree with the ESPN talking heads--Arkansas does deserve more respect than they're getting. They are playing in a real conference and I think they should be in the mix to play for the national championship. In fact, if they make it to Atlanta, I predict they will beat Florida in the SEC Championship game.

You read it here first...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/11/2006 09:10:00 PM | |

Well, that sucked!
Two losses in a row for the first time this year. Man, I'm disappointed. Tennessee looked flat all night.

Well, at least we play Vandy next week. That should cure what ails the Vols.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/11/2006 09:07:00 PM | |

Oh and one more thing
I am sick of the whole college football world appearing to revolve around Ohio State and Michigan.

Ohio State was installed at number one to start this year, so I don't really have any respect for their ranking. (I think the polls should not start until October).

Yes, it's a big game, but the way ESPN makes it out, you'd think everyone at Ohio State and Michigan were going to play this game while walking on water.

See if either of these teams played in a REAL conference, they'd each have at least one loss.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/11/2006 07:42:00 PM | |

Well, that first half sucked!
With all the SEC road teams looking good today, so far Tennessee has looked pretty unspectacular. Come on guys....we own the Razorbacks. Time for a second-half comeback!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/11/2006 07:41:00 PM | |

I was kind of hoping
I was sort of hoping Vandy could pull off a win over Kentucky today. That way next week, they'd have something to play for against UT.

Cause we all know that anytime Vandy has anything to play for, that is when they go out and bomb the worst.

Now, I'm kind of worried since once again next week's game will be Vandy's bowl game.

Notice I say "kind of worried." I still think the Vols will pull out the win here in Nashville next Saturday. And yours truly will be there to cheer them on Neyland Stadium West.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/11/2006 04:54:00 PM | |
Friday, November 10, 2006
We're all a bit biased.
Kat Coble has an interesting post today about Nashville is Talking. I had some thoughts on it but they were too lengthy to leave in just her comments, so I thought I'd discuss them here.

Does Nashville is Talking having a bias? Yes.

But then again, so does every other blog on the planet.

I will be the first to admit my blog has a complete and total University of Tennessee bias. If nothing else, the color scheme should tell you that when you first surf in. If that doesn't clue you in, then just surf around for comments I make after we've lost a game or during the heat of a game. (Just look back about three weeks to the comments about refs during the Bama game).

I do like Kat's point about personal vs group blogs. And while I think a lot of us out there envy Brittney her position at channel 2, I think there have to be days when it's pretty thankless. To me, NiT is supposed to be kind of a pulse of what is being discussed in and around middle Tennessee. Do I always agree with what threads Brittney chooses to pick up and highlight? No, not really. Do I always agree with her statements on politics and certain issues? Again, that's a no.

But for what NiT is trying to do--be a reflection of the thoughts and feelings of bloggers in middle Tennessee, I think it does a great job. I think what NiT does well is that it brings about this sense of a community to the blogsphere of middle Tennessee that might not ordinarily be there. I've found it interesting to hear other perspectives on things or find out tidbits on the lives of my fellow bloggers I might not normally have known. It's been interesting, fun and entertaining.

Even if I don't necessarily agree with everything.

But then again, if everyone agreed with me, the world would be a far less interesting place.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/10/2006 02:00:00 PM | |
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Needs to open NOW!

The latest trailer for Spider-Man 3 is now on-line.

It looks spectacular.

Of course, what do you expect as a follow-up to the greatest super-hero movie EVER made?

Let's face it--Spider-Man 3 is going to be spectacular. I cannot wait for it to open. Forget all those movies opening for the holidays...let's get this into theaters NOW!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/09/2006 10:25:00 PM | |

I'd better be careful
I was skimming the paper in the break room a few minutes ago and happened to glance at my horoscope. It warned we single Capricorns to look out because there was romance on the horizon at the gym today.

I'd better be careful when I work out at the Y tonight....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/09/2006 03:37:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up: Lost
I Do
An interesting way to end the fall run of episodes, though I'm not sure this episode is as pivotal as the producers would like us to think it is.

First of all, I have to get my obvious bias out of the way--I love Kate episodes in only becuase it gives us the chance to see even more of Evangeline Lilly. And this Kate-centric episode features a whole lot of naked Kate, which is just a bonus for me. As if that weren't enough, you throw in Nathan "Mal Reynolds from Firefly" Fillion in the flashbacks and I'm almost inclined to declare it the greatest Lost episode least on paper. Now, I will say this--while the flashbacks didn't necessarily tread any new ground this week, I found them a lot more interesting than the flashbacks about Eko last week. We all knew Kate was a liar, but I guess we saw how far she'd follow the lie in this episode, even marrying under her assumed name. As if that weren't enough she really loves to flirt with danger, marrying a police officer. I thought for a while that he was going to see her picture on an FBI's ten most wanted list posting and that would lead to the crumbling of the relationship.

Instead what causes it to crumble is Kate's past coming back to haunt her. At one point, she calls the marshall we met back in the pilot to beg that they stop pursuing her. I have to wonder if his conversations served as a catalyst. Would Kate have stayed with hubby and been happy had the guy not pointed out she couldn't do it? That he knew she couldn't. Did he plant seeds of doubt to try and flush her out? I have to assume somehow her trip to Australia is what sent up red-flags as to where she was and how he could track her down. Also, I did wonder if the trip to Costa Rica for the honeymoon would have sent up red flags when it came to Kate trying to get a passport for her assumed identity as Monica.

At least the storyline filled in the detail of how Kate got to Australia. And we've seen how the events play out from there.

I think the storyline also hihlighted Kate's lack of ability to make a deicision and stick to it. I wonder if had she truly stayed with Nathan Fillion if the marshall would have found her. Seems he didn't have a lot of leads and should she just lay low, she might have had the chance for a happy life. Also, had she done what he said she was incapable of--stayed and had a normal life, stoping her running, she might have been able to continue in her happiness. But one thing we see is that Kate is never comfortable in any one place for long...which makes me wonder just how long she's going to be with Sawyer.

And how much of that was manipulation by the Others.

I think if you step back and look at their plan, a lot of it depends on what ifs. If Jack refuses to do the surgery, they manipulate him into a place where he sees Kate and Sawyer together and gets mad enough to want to leave the island. There's a whole lot of coincidence to this plan really. What if Jack doesn't respond to the voice telling him to leave the cell. What if he doesn't see Kate and Sawyer doing the horizontal tango in the cage? I guess we were seeing the desparation of the Others--or possibly Henry--to save Henry. But the question I have is why are we so desparate to save Henry? If we're to believe last week's revelation that they're unhappy with his leadership and want change, why are we so gung-ho to save him? I mean, Jack's plan is to get Henry in a vulnerable situation and then use that as a bargaining chip to keep Kate alive. But what would have happened if Juliet went--let him die, we want him gone anyway. Then Jack is beyond screwed becuase he's now betrayed the Others.

Of course, part of this plays into Jack's whole matyr complex to begin with. Jack seems to be drawn to women he thinks he can somehow heal or save. No more apparent than with Kate here, where he thinks he's going to save her from imprisonment or worse. But to what end? So if they get back to the group what is to stop the Others from descending upon our castaways and wiping them all out? Again, there must be some higher-up who wants them kept around for a reason...we've sort of seen that it's Henry. So if Jack lets Henry die, who's to say that he's not signing a death warrant for all of his friends on the other island. I don't think Jack has thought this plan through very far. Of course, he's reacting out of jealousy because Kate seems to have chosen Sawyer over him--at least for now.

I say that because with this show, you never know.

I did find it interesting that at no point did Jack tell Kate to take Sawyer. Was he kind of hoping she'd leave Sawyer behind, thus eliminating the romantic rival? Yeah, that should make for some fun times when everyone has a moment....there won't be any tense moments around the settlement over that. Oh no...not at all.

The last ten or so minutes were great stuff. I was pretty sure the cliffhanger would be a gun-shot with us wondering if Sawyer was alive or dead. But instead we got a cliffhanger that can't be resolved in one scene. Kate knows she can't go anywhere so an hour's head start is meaningless. Or is it? I am beginning to wonder how much of what Henry showed Sawyer was some kind of manipulation. Also, what's to keep Kate from eluding the Others in the jungle for a period of time. How big is the island they're on?

And now that Jack has shown his cards, will he be able to take advantage of the reward Henry offered him? Or is that offer null and void?

I did like the manipulation of Jack we saw in this story and how he reacts. How he becomes harder and more determined as the storyline goes along. Less selfless, though in the end it turns out it's mostly an act to save Kate. Gotta love when character flaws keep showing up time and again.

Meanwhile, we have the funeral for Eko and Locke gets the message. Three guesses as to what is to the north--I am thinking it eye-patch guy we saw last week. Interesting that Sayid knows Locke encountered the security system and wants to know what Locke experienced. I know Sayid went off in search of it and he's heard it whisper to him at times. This could be interesting to see if the characters start comparing notes on things. Where will it all lead?

Well, there's a lot of questions to contemplate over the next thirteen weeks as we wait for Lost to return. I've got to say this is a huge gamble for ABC and I hope it pays off. That said, I'm eager to see where the rest of the season goes and will be counting down weeks until we get to the sixteen weeks of uninterrupted shows.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/09/2006 08:19:00 AM | |
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Rumsfeld Stepping Down
The breaking news is that Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down as Secretary of Defense.

I just have to wonder if Rumsfeld's resignation is along the lines of Randy Sanders stepping down last year as the offensive coordinator for the Vols...

All I can say is--I hope whoever they get to replace Rumsfeld can do for our country and the administration what David Cutcliffe has done for the Vols offense this year. Heaven knows, they need it.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/08/2006 12:35:00 PM | |

Well, it's over
The mid-term election is over.

And now instead of wondering who will win the vote, we can get back to the real issues facing our nation. Such as--who will Kate choose, Jack or Sawyer?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/08/2006 08:57:00 AM | |
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
A funny story
So, did you hear the one about the bank robber who thought he was invisible but turned out he wasn't?

No really, it's not a bad's a true story. Well, at least according to this article from the UK's Metro. Read on:
In the long list of criminal dos and don'ts, one of the top pieces of advice – above not robbing a CCTV camera shop, or not forging banknotes with running ink – has to be 'never rob a bank thinking that you're invisible when you're not actually invisible.'

Sadly for one man in Iran, he made just that mistake – and as a result, police in Tehran are hunting a fake sorcerer who convinced the man he was invisible and so could rob banks safely.

The man's ill-fated heist attempt started to go wrong shortly after he entered the bank, as he started snatching money from the hands of customers. For some reason, rather than being terrified of the mysterious invisible poltergeist stealing their cash, the customers quickly overpowered the hapless thief.

'I made a mistake. I understand now what a big trick was played on me,' the man told the court, state-run newspaper Jam-e Jam reports.

He explained that he had paid 5 million rials (just under £290) to a wizard imposter, who in return gave hims spells to tie to his arm. The sorcerer told him that they would make him invisible, and that he could then rob banks to his heart's content.

A couple of things I find amusing about this story. The first being the police looking for a "fake sorcerer" in relation to this. Shouldn't that just say "con-man"? Of course, I guess this fake guy is giving all the "real" sorcerers a bad name...

Second of all, wouldn't you maybe verify the invisiblity is working BEFORE you wander into the bank and try to rob it? Of course, I may be answering my own question here becuase the bank robber thought going to a sorcerer to become invisible was the best way to rob a bank....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/07/2006 08:16:00 AM | |

TV Round-Up: Heroes
Nothing to Hide
After the dramatic revelation last week that Eve was working for Horned Rimmed Glasses (in a side note, can we please give him a first name?!?), I was expecting some kind of follow-up on that. Instead, we get nothing, instead choosing to focus on how secrets and lies and can affect the relationships of some of our heroes.

We've got Matt and his wife, who are having some marital problems but they've got a lot better since Matt fully embraced his ability to read minds. But as he turns and says he has something he wants to tell her, he overhears a thought that she could be having an affair. Matt is shaken but goes to work and is enlisted when it appears Syler has struck again. Turns out it's not Syler but instead another potential with powers person, whose wife is dying and in a coma. Matt is able to use his powers to communicate the wife's final words before she passes on. Later by reading the thoughts of a buddy, he finds out who the wife is having an affair with and punches him out. Turns out its one of his best friends from the police force. Yeah, that really has to sting.

So, here's the thing--last time we saw Matt he was clearly overwhelmed by overhearing the thoughts of everyone at the convience store. Also, he had passed out after everyone thought he was robbing the store. Did I miss something or did nothing really come of this? Yes, Matt mentions it in passing, but you'd think there'd be some more fallout to it than just a few lines of "Oh, hearing everyone's thoughts is not quite as cool as you might think."

That said, I do like that we're seeing some of the downside to the powers. Matt finds out the truth, but I'm not sure he wanted to hear it. His relationship with the wife was maybe charting back toward positive territory but all it took was one overheard thought and it was all out the window.

Also, the guy with the radiation power isn't Syler. That'd be far too easy.

Meanwhile, Niki tries to call on Jessica to help her get Micah back. Interesting how Jessica spends a lot of time hiding from Niki, not coming out with summoned. Was it Jessica punishing Niki or was Jessica wounded by what was done to her in the last episode. Also, it makes me wonder just what was done to her last time since she gets up fairly quickly. Does Niki/Jessica have some kind of variation on Clair's healing power? Or is being a hero one of those things where you get a bit more healing powers so you can battle the forces of evil? And all I'm saying is poor Micah is going to need a ton of therapy when all this is over.

And what is his power? I wasn't quite too sure of that. Is it some distillation of the powers of Niki and D.H.? If so, that could be interesting.

Meanwhile, back in New York, we get involved it the Petrielli family drama. We meet Nathan's wife and two kids. In the backtstory to Nathan's wife, we find out she's in a wheelchair from an incident where Nathan was driving. She's been told there is an outside chance she could walk again and is determined to get that. Makes me wonder if somehow Clair will share her power (or maybe she will through Peter) to help Nathan's wife. Anyway, a reporter comes around, under the guise of looking for a story on the wife, but really wants to expose what was Nathan up to in Vegas. Good thing Peter is there and quickly covers for Nathan, saying his brother was checking into a clinic for him. Peter's doing this because Nathan can track down the painting that reveals the location of the cheerleader. In the end, Nathan tries to get it back but is rebuffed.

An interesting episode from the standpoint of how the storylines are intersecting. And it certainly does raise a lot of questions and give us some hints of the answers. But yet I still feel like we're in some kind of elaborate set-up for the rest of sweeps. As the show has gone on, it's become more and more difficult for our heroes to keep their powers a secret. Of course, not all of them have been the brightest about keeping these things under wraps--I'm looking at you Claire with the videotape. So now her father and brother know about her should be interesting to see how mom feels if and when she finds out.

And as we learn more about Peter, I did have a question. He dreamed of the final moments of Simone's father's life and talking to him. Is part of Peter's power a connection to certain people and an ability to bring them together? Call it super-compassion or super-empathy if you will, but I wonder if his ability goes beyond simply mimicking the powers of those close to him but also to something deeper.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/07/2006 07:51:00 AM | |
Monday, November 06, 2006
TV Round-Up: Battlestar Galactica
With "Torn" the next story arc begins for Battlestar Galactica. Having escaped from New Caprica and dealt with some of the after effects of that last week, we can now move forward to the next crisis--the Cylon virus.

I have a feeling we're coming to a crisis in the Cylon empire. We've had mention of the difficulty related to downloading a few weeks ago and now we've got the virus. Throw in the conversation Baltar has with Six wondering where these other five clone-model Cylons are and we've got some intriguing ways the storylines could go. I refuse to speculate too much on where it might all go because I want to just sit back and enjoy the ride. That said, I'm fascinated by this and love how Ronald Moore and company are structure this season. It's also interesting that the new Battlestar is told in shades of gray, to the point that we feel some sympathy for the Cylons. Contrast that with the original show in which we might have cheered had the crew found a way to utterly destroy the Cylons, such as we see here.

So, now the Cylons can't download becuase the virus will be carried back to the bigger fleet. It makes me wonder just where this virus came from--did the humans create it or did the Cylons accidentally engineer it? Also, I have to wonder if this was some marker to find Earth, was that some type of Cylon defense system? If they pick it up, they get infected and won't be able to find Earth. And why are the Cylons so interested in Earth?

The one thing I will say about the show is I'm not sure how much time passed between the end of "Collaborators" and the start of what we got here.

Meanwhile, over in the fleet, the differences are still apparent. The crews still feel this gap between those who remained in the fleet and those on New Caprica. This is not helped by the tag-team duo of Starbuck and Tigh, who sit below decks, running down the command structure. Now if you'd told me in the mini-series that three years in, Tigh and Starbuck would be on the same side about anything, I would never have believed you. In the overall New Caprica storyline, both characters paid a high price and neither is dealing with it well. Both are bitter and withdrawn from the society, at least until Adama steps in. The scene with the gun as he tells them to just go ahead and shoot him was nice. And it was interesting that it possibly served as a wake-up call for Starbuck while it's sent Tigh further down a spiral. And he may not get out of it...which could be interesting.

I do have to wonder if part the Cylons not attacking at this point is to sew these seeds. Do they know that without the external threat attacking that humanity will turn on itself along such lines? And is that part of their overall plan? Or perhaps there is another Cylon in the fleet pushing these things along in an attempt to make sure the Cylons reach Earth first.

Of course, this is only the first of two parts, so next week should provide us with some answers.

And, oh yeah, you can never go wrong with an episode that starts off with Six in a red bikini..that's all I'm saying.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/06/2006 01:01:00 PM | |
Sunday, November 05, 2006
All Saints Day
I joined the church I've been attending a few weeks ago. As I was being greeted by people after the service, several members of the choir came up, shook my hand and asked if I sang. I responded I didn't really but I'd seen the handbells and that I played in the past. I said I'd love to join if they needed me.

I got an e-mail invitation from the choir director to join and last week went to my first practice.

We played this morning. Talk about getting thrown into the deep end.

I'm playing the larger bass bells and the song we played today was pretty light on notes for me .

It was kind of a big day at church. We celebrated All Saints Day. All Saints Day is when we remember those who have gone before us, leaving their legacy here and entrusting us to create our own legacy. In the sermon, our pastor used an illustration that went like this.

A friend of his got his daughter a new dog. This dog was a smaller one but he built it this huge doghouse. The little dog was terrified of the big, dark, scary house and wouldn't go in until the daughter went in. The dog followed her in and immediately went to sleep becuase someone the dog loved and trusted had gone first in the dark, scary place.

He then went on to not only follow those who had created this legacy for us now, but to lead others into the future. He then came up with some specific areas at the church that needed help--and they're good problems to have. But it's how we respond to them and take a step foward in our faith that will define who we are and what our legacy will be.

It was a powerful word to me. Made a bit more powerful because I got to hear it twice . (The bells played after the sermon both times today). And a challenge that I needed to hear. I started to think about my heroes in the faith and the difference they've made to me . And then I wondered--am I making the diference I should be?

And it could even be something as simple as making sure that every day people see Christ through me. A few weeks ago, we were asked that if poeple saw us, intereacted with us, knew us would they have to use Google to find out more about God or could we be the search engines for the world. To me, that is just one small, good step on the way toward leaving my legacy and using my present to create a future for those who will come after me as we build God's kingdom here on Earth.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/05/2006 05:36:00 PM | |

UT at Arkansas start time announced
I bet if the Vols had pulled out the win over LSU, this would have been the ESPN College Football Game of the Week, but, alas, it's not. Instead, the Vols will battle the Razorbacks Saturday evening on ESPN2 . Coverage starts at 7 p.m. CST.

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/05/2006 05:12:00 PM | |

A win over Dallas is always good
Thanks to FOX 43's lack of vision, we didn't get to see any of the greatest rivallry in the NFL today. Instead we got to the late game of the 49ers getting beat by whoever they play. Instead, I had to make do with updates and the ticker to see how the Redskins were doing against Dallas.

And I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Redskins pulled off a last second field goal to beat the hated Cowboys, 22-19.

That kind of takes the sting a bit out of the Vols losing.

As for the Titans...well, I was hoping they'd win without Punkman to show him he isn't as all that as he thinks he is. And there were some elements that should have made the game fun to watch, such as the pouring rain during parts of the game. It's just too bad the Titans didn't show up--OK, let me rephrase that. The team that played Dallas showed up, not the one that played my Redskins and the Texans last week. That was just painful to watch.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/05/2006 03:19:00 PM | |
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Well, that sucks!
Well, our defense let me down in the last two minutes and for the first time this year the Vols don't win in the 4th quarter. Rats!

But for having a freshman QB in, we were respectable. And this game once again shows why the SEC is the BEST conference in the land.

A few things that have bugged me today:
  • Hearing all about Ohio State and Michigan surviving. I am so sick of hearing about this big game in a few weeks between these two teams. Stop building it up as anywhere as good as ANY game in the SEC....because it's not. Your teams today could barely do anything against teams you SHOULD HAVE EASILY BEAT. You are both overrated. Get over it and move on.
  • Spencer Tillman--what a UT hater this man is. How'd he get this job? Why haven't they fired him yet? He leads off the half-time whining about how the instant replay doesn't work becuase it benefited Tennessee. Shut up Spencer.
  • And I'm sorry, but I am sick of teams coming into our stadium and CBS micking up their fans and band so it sounds like there are more of them than there are. Good grief, could you guys be more biased?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/04/2006 06:23:00 PM | |

Tennessee vs LSU
If you believe the national pundits and "experts", Tennessee should lose to LSU. In fact, the impression I get from them is that we shouldn't even bother playing the game since it's assume LSU will win.

Now, I'm not a betting man, but if I were here are a few trends I'd consider when it comes this game.
  • LSU has only won one time in Neyland Stadium.
  • LSU hasn't played well on the road this year in big games--they lost to both Auburn and Florida.
  • They have a good defense and a decent offense--but that offense has self-destructed at times this year on the road. Again see the point above about losing to Florida and Auburn.
I'm not saying it will be easy and I think this could be a close game. And a lot of it depends on how mobile Eric Ainge is and how much that injury to his ankle hampers him. But I just have a feeling that the Vols will find a way to win--and should we keep it close, Tennessee is becoming legendary in the fourth quarter this year.

My predicton: UT 24, LSU 20

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/04/2006 08:44:00 AM | |
Friday, November 03, 2006
I thought I had it all figured out.
I thought about doing this post as a podcast, but I've got a cold right now that has manifested itself (partially) in a cough. And I doubt seriously that anyone wants to hear a podcast where the host coughs every three to four words.

I wish I could say I came up with the idea for this post on my own, but I didn't. It's come from two separate threads I've been keeping up with. One is a discussion I was having with a friend earlier this week about scary movies. The other is reading Jamy's details of her early interactions and crushes on members of the opposite sex over on her blog, Grateful Dating. (Really an interesting read and one I recommend to you if you haven't visited already).

So, you're asking--scary movies and early crushes...what exactly do they have to do with each other?

Stick with me. We'll get there.

My parents told me one of the first girls that I had a "thing with" was a daughter of some of teir friends named Amy. I was a year older than Amy and caused a scandal in the neighborhood the afternoon I apparently thought the best way to impress her was to teach her how to spit. I can only imagine my mom was a bit mortified by this since it seemed to throw a monkey wrench in the plan our parents had come up with that someday Amy and I would get married. Now, I don't remember any of the spitting incident, so I could have been framed for all I know. But I have a feeling it was probably true and our parents took great delight years later trotting out th story to embarass us both with it when our familes crossed paths again. (My dad was career military as was Amy's and they came over for dinner one night when I was in the fifth grade and they were in town.)

The first girl I can remember really noticing was when we lived in Hawaii. Embarrassingly enough, I can't recall her name, though I do remember thinking she was really cute. We'd play together a bit during recess, but we were still at the age when the other sex has cooties.

I do recall one particular incident though. Growing up, I loved comic books. And one of the coolest things around were the Power Records series. They featured all the popular super heroes of the day and I recall being really curious to hear them becuase I wanted to see how the superhero's voices sounded and how that jived with how I heard them in my head. Or how my dad did them when he would read comic books with me. One of the first records I got was a Batman one, that I can still recall large chunks of dialogue from to this day. Another featured my favorite superhero, Spiderman and was called "The Mark of the Manwolf."

Basic plot is this: J. Jonah Jamison's son goes into space, comes back with a moon rock that he had made into a pendant and every full moon, he turns into the ManWolf (your basic werewolf only with blue fur and he wore a ripped up astronauts uniform). ManWolf goes to find J.J.J. for some reason, Spidey's there and they battle. If you're interested, you can hear the entire story here as an .mp3 file.

Now, as a book and record set marketed toward kids, this one was a bit on the scary side. I remember being a bit unnerved by it when I first heard it becuase my imagination was pretty active and made the ManWolf far scarier than he had any right to be. Plus the whole prospect of you find a rock and make into a necklace, thus becoming this beast...yeah, that's kind of scary when you're five or six. Also, I had the record only editon, not the one with the comic book, so my mind could fill in all these details.

I recall my crush at the time said she had the book and record set, which I thought was pretty all around cool. But she said she never listened to it because it was "too scary."

Now, at the delicate age of five or six, I didn't know much about women, but I knew that if she was scared, it was my job to protect her. I knew this because this is what I'd seen in the popular male role models of the day--the Fonz and Buck Rogers. Both of them were daring and had no fear of anything (well, Fonzie had liver but I didn't find that out until later). So, I stepped up and said, "I could come cover, listen to it with you and protect you from the scary stuff."

I was pretty proud as I said this to her. I had it all figured out at an early age.

Which is why when she looked at me like I'd grown a second head, I got a bit confused. I'm not sure she knew how to react to my bold statement of inviting myself over to listen to her SpiderMan record. I do know that I never went over to her place to listen to the record. My first attempt at trying to figure out women want met with a resounding thud.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/03/2006 09:22:00 PM | |

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