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Monday, February 28, 2005
TV Round-Up
Battlestar Galactica: Flesh and Bone
I may sound like a broken record here, but this show continues to get better and better each week.

In some ways, this episode reminded me of DS9's first season classic, "Duet." But instead of being a prisoner who was looking to bear some of this people's guilt for the acts of genocide that were took place in the past, the prisoner in "Flesh and Bone" was motivated out of fear for his own life. When a copy of Lebonen is found on one of the ships in the fleet, Adama sends Starbuck to interrogate him. Lenonen reveals he's hidden a nuke on one of the ships that will go off in just under nine hours. Adama and company begin a search and take measures to prevent the fleet from sustaining too much damage. Meanwhile, Starbuck interrogates the prisoner, who does his best Hannibal Lecter impression--trying to get inside Starbuck's mind. And the interesting part is that, on some level, he does. After an entire episode spent brutalized, torturing and trying to break Lebonen of his beliefs, it's Starbuck in the end who prays for his soul.

I'm intrigued as to why Adama sent Starbuck. One of the more interesting plot threads is that Starbuck is able to use the raider and others can't figure out how it works. Was Adama hoping her connection with the ship might help her understand Lebonen and help her get information out of him? Or was it just that Adama likes her? Or could it be that Starbuck has a history of getting information out of prisoners under interrogation procedures like the ones we saw here?

But in the end, it's Roslin who makes the most interesting decision. She dreams about Lebonen and then comes over to visit him being interrogated. She's horrified by Starbuck's tactics and frees him from his shackles--only to have him blown out the airlock a few minutes later. Roslin's reasoning is that Lebonen isn't destroy the fleet by blowing up ships but by sewing distrust and weakening it defensively. With the fleet spread out so, it's harder to protect when the Cylon's attack. And to have her early dream about Lebonen played out in spacing him was a nice little chilling moment in the series. But it's not before Lebonen gets in one or two final seeds of dissent--first up, he promises Starbuck they will find Kobol, home of her people's gods. Then he tells Roslin that Adama is a Cylon.

All I can say is--man, next week cannot come soon enough.

And if that were all that went on, it might be enough. But it's not. Boomer show some weird connection with the Cylon raider captures a few weeks ago, leading her to seek out Baltar as a test subject for his Cylon detector. Baltar runs the test and finds out--Boomer is a Cylon. But he doesn't reveal it to her for fear of setting off her inner Cylon and having it kill him or expose him. So, he keeps her in the dark. And you've got to wonder--will he keep others in the dark about this? Say, for example, Adama. Or any of the other command stuff who have placed their trust in him. Remember that last week, he had pretty much eaten away the trust he'd established with everyone when he was suspected of being a Cylon agent. If this comes out, it aint' gonna help that much.

Meanwhile, the exact nature of what Boomer is doing on Hilo gets more clouded. I've seen some speculation that she will "go native" based on her feelings for Hilo. But are they real feelings or just programmed? Interesting in the light of Starbuck's comments to Lebonen about why make replicas that sweat and have to eat? Can they feel and experience real emotions or are they just "toasters"?

Enterprise: Divergence
Good grief...is there any alien race that Archer hasn't had some type of significant civilization altering encounter with this year? He's carried the katra of Surak and fundamentally changed the society of Vulcan and now he's saved the Klingons from themselves all while giving them non-bumpy heads in the original series. The man has been all over the quadrant, I tell you.

I actually found the wrap-up of this two-parter to not be as satisfying as I'd hoped (honestly, I wish we'd gone for three parts). As entertaining as watching Tripp transfer from one ship to another and re-boot Enterprise's systems, I found myself in the last fifteen or so minutes wishing we'd got more about Phlox and his dilemma in curing the Klingons without making them Augments. Also, I think the solution came too easily--Archer beams in, Phlox uses him and we save the day. It just felt a bit too pat and quick, especially give the care we'd used in the first hour and a half to set all of this up.

Now, I'm not saying it was bad mind you. I just wanted more, which I think has been my major criticism in all the wrap-up episodes of arcs this year on Enterprise. And you know, that means that I'm enjoying the stories enough to want to see more. So that is not necessarily a bad thing. (OK, I will admit I was ready for "Storm Front" to end quickly but that's just because it was such a stupid cliffhanger from last season.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/28/2005 03:09:00 PM | |

The FOX network
Is it just me or does FOX only seem to have two movies to show as counter-programming on any Sunday evening featuring an awards show or major sporting event on another network? The thing is, every time I turn around, it seems like FOX is showing Independence Day or True Lies. You'd think maybe, just maybe they might have another movie or two over there that they could show occasionally.

Of course, the thing last night was that being a straight male, I had no interest in watching the Oscars.

Well, that and I've not seen any of the movies up for any of the awards this year. (File under: I need to get out more often).

Something else that struck me--does FOX show the ending to the movies in their on-air promos for them like they do with their shows? Seems that once again, the FOX promo department has given away crucial developments from end of tonight's 24 in their promos. (Don't worry, the link does not tell what it gives away but is, instead, Robert Bianco warning us about it!) Which is one reason I've stopped watching the previews at episode's end each week and was kind of glad there was no Simpsons or Arrested Development on last night where I might see a preview and ruin part of the fun of tuning in tonight.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/28/2005 11:36:00 AM | |

I'm moving up.
On average, I get about one credit card offer per week via the U.S. Postal Service. All pre-approved, just waiting for me to send back some paperwork or if I can't wait to get out there and start spending, I can all their toll-free number right now.

Well, Friday, I officially moved up in the world.

I got not only my weekly credit card offer, but also the news that I have been preapproved for a mortgage! I tell you, the thought that I could compile even more staggering debt was one that brought a tear to my eye. I'm pre-approved! Me, just me! Surely they wouldn't just send such a letter out to JUST anyway. I am special. I am approved. I can now have even more debt was possible before. Is this a great country we live in or what?!?

It was also ironic in light of the fact that I attended an award's banquet Saturday night for realtors in the Nashville area. I am sure many of them sensed my preapproval status and were running down listings in my price range...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/28/2005 09:52:00 AM | |

I knew he was "retired!"
Good news this morning if you're a Stephen King fan. King will publish a new book in October. The book, called The Colorodo Kid, will be out in paperback as part of the Hard Case Crime pulp fiction series.

I just knew he couldn't say "retired."

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/28/2005 08:27:00 AM | |
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Birthday Party
Gracelyn celebrated her third birthday with a Dora the Explorer themed party today. She offically turns three tomorrow.

Unlce Michael was, of course, at the party. Due to the fact that Grandma is out of town (she is off helping take care of Great-Granddaddy, who if you could add him to your prayer list, my family would appreciate it!), Grandpa and Uncle Michael didn't give Gracelyn all her presents from our side of the family today. Of course, you couldn't tell really since apparently there are no toys left in the toy store or Wal-Mart because Gracelyn and Davis have them all.

(Well, Davis doesn't have the Star Wars toys I mentioned last week, which I told Grandpa about them and he asked, "Why are we not at Wal-Mart buying this for us...uh, him?")

Needless to say, a good time was had by all. We had a Dora pinata that instead of hitting it, you pull on ribbon in the bottom and when you pull the correct string candy spills out. Davis is the best nephew ever because he'd run around, pick up candy and give it to Uncle Michael to eat. Of course, there was cake and ice cream. As any of you with young children know, you can't have a birthday party without the birthday favors. The favors included one of Gracelyn's favorite things--bubbles. So, we got to go outside and blow bubbles and run around like fools. We also saw three-year olds at their best with the complete lack of sharing skills. (Luckily, they should all outgrow this by the time they leave for college, maybe. I'm still waiting to see if I outgrow it).

It was a great party and everyone had a good time. Though I have to admit Uncle Michael is a bit worn out keeping up with Gracelyn and all her friends. I think it's time for a nap...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/26/2005 03:42:00 PM | |
Friday, February 25, 2005
Friday Memes
Stacy over at Outwit, Outlast, Outsnark has a new Friday meme. So, I figured I'd join in the wacky fun.

Aloha Friday

Name a movie that you really enjoyed and it made an impact on you…but…you’ve only seen it once.

Schindler's List.

Divulge the name of your favorite vacation destination and the one thing we’d have to see if we went there and the one place we’d have to eat.

I love Hawaii. My favorite destination there is Hunama Bay. And you have to eat at Big Kahuna's Pizza. (Get the garlic balls..they are great!)

Spread the aloha spirit and tell us about a new blog we should visit.

I could go my standard answer of Stacy or Barry, but since I've linked to them already today, I am going to go with someone new. One of the newer blogs I've found is the Comics Curmdgeon. His take on the funny pages cracks me up.

Friday's Feast

Appetizer - Name something that makes you scream.
Slow traffic for no reason.

Soup - Who is a musician you enjoy listening to when you want to relax?
Yanni.

Salad - What was the last book you purchased?
The Worlds of DS9, Volume III

Main Course - If you could live one day as any historical figure, who would it be, and what would you do?
Benjamin Franklin. He was such a great inventor.

Dessert - Tell about a time when you were lost. Where did you end up? How long did it take you to get back to where you were going?
I moved into my apartment in Knoxville and on a three-day weekend I thought--I'll walk around the neighborhood for excercise. Little did I know the block was longer than I thought...I hiked for two and a half hours and kept on going until I found something familiar to get home.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/25/2005 03:14:00 PM | |

The Good Old Days
"Those were the good old days..those were the good old days. The years go by by the memory fades, but those were the good old days."
--Weird Al, "The Good Old Days."

When I was in the eighth grade, one of the projects I worked on was one that looked at the history and genelogy of my family. (Which at the time I thought would be an easy A I had my Uncle Wallace was fascinated by genelogy and had researched and compiled a genelogy of my mother's side of the family back to the Mayflower)

One aspect of the project was to interview your grandparents, which at the time I was fortunate enough to have a full compliment of grandparents around and able to assist me with this. Because we lived in California at the time and my grandparents lived in Tennessee and Virginia, I mailed the series of questions to them for them to fill out at their leisure and send back to me. I figured I'd get more information and memories if they had time to think about the answers--plus long distance wasn't five cents a minute back in those days.

As the weeks passed and the due date loomed, I got anxious for the questions and answers to come back. Finally they did and I was eager to see what my grandparents had said.

Let me just tell you, the answers were eye-opening. Every one of my grandparents obviously put a lot of time and thought into these answers. And all the answers are in their own handwriting and when I read them I can hear my grandparents talking. The project is one of the few from my school years I've kept and it's extremely valuable to me.

As much as I was stunned and amazed by all the answers I got, it was the ones from my mother's father, my Granddaddy that have really stuck with me. Granddaddy was in the U.S. Army and he fought in World War 2. He was also in the Army for years after the way, including time station in Germany and Paraguay (I love to hear the stories about my mom living in Paraguay from my grandparents). However, he never really talked much about his time fighting. But this interview he went into some stories about the experience that my mother hadn't even heard about--including a time when a buddy not more than fifty paces away was killed by a land mine. Reading that, I can see why it's not exactly something you want to discuss and it also helps make sense of why Granddaddy doesn't like to watch movies about World War 2 combat.

Another one of the questions on the sheet was "To you, what were the 'good old days'?

The answer Granddaddy gave was so profound that it's stuck with me today. He said, "The good old days are now, every day. The past had its good and bad, but these are the good old days spent with my wife, my daughter and her husband and my grandchildren."

Those words have really stuck with me over the years. It's easy in life for us to fondly remember the past or look for a better future or tomorrow and miss the wonder and excitment that is today. A couple of months ago, Barry posted a great piece on how tomorrow is only 24 hours away...and as I read it, I heard the sentiment and thought Granddaddy was saying echoed in Barry's words.

There's a song I like called "Lend Me A Sunrise" The chorus goes, "Lord, lend me a sunrise and I'll gvie it back to you when the day is done. Lord, lend me a sunrise. I want to live one day at a time."

You know, I'm as guilty as the next person of not making the good old days today. I look to the future saying, "Oh, things will be better when..." Like when I was out of work and I just knew life would get better the minute I found the right job. Or looking back at the past. To use the age old adage of all Star Trek fans, "It's just not as good as it used to be." But in doing that, I miss the wonder of today..and today is really the only thing I have. I need to listen to the widsom of Granddaddy more and live each day, enjoying it, savoring it, being thankful for it. Now that doesn't mean every day is gonna be wonderful. We're all gonna have an off-day from time to time. But I prefer to think and hope that today is going to be a good day. It may not be particularily memorable in the grand scheme of things (if you've ever read the play Our Town, you remember that they won't go back to a hugely memorable day, but just to an ordinary one because even an average day is full of such wonder) but it can still be a "good old day." Every day has that potential--it's just whether or not we choose to see that potential and take advantage of it.

So, my challenge to you and to me is to take the advice of my grandfather. Go out and make today one of the "good old days."

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/25/2005 08:24:00 AM | |

Terry O'Quinn
Without a doubt, the most shocking reveal of the year on Lost took place in the episode centering on Locke. It was that episode that really cemented Lost as "Must See" TV for me--on the same level with 24 and now the new BSG as one of those show I can't miss a new episode of.

This morning's USA Today as a long article about the man who brings Locke to life each week, Terry O'Quinn. O'Quinn is one of those actors who seems to have cropped up on a lot of shows I've watched over the years in memorable guest-starring roles. I first remember him as Admiral Pressman in the Next Generation's seventh season episode, "The Pegasus." O'Quinn played two roles on The X-Files--in the second season's "Audrey" and then he was in the movie. He was also part of Millennium and he's been a guest star on Alias.

The article is fascinating reading about an actor who never gave up on what he wanted.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/25/2005 08:03:00 AM | |
Thursday, February 24, 2005
TV Round-Up
Lost: In Translation
Maybe I'm just a sucker, but I never for a moment suspected Walt of being the one who burned the boat. When Locke went up to Walt and revealed that little fact, my jaw dropped. Not in the same way that it dropped when we saw Locke in the wheelchair back to start the series, but it was still a great moment. They got me on that one--hook, line and sinker.

Now, I've heard a lot of discussion on-line that Lost is losing some momentum. I would say, no it's not really. I think the last couple of episodes have been about establishing some things for the final few episodes of the season. A lot more is happening here than we're aware of and it may become clearer as the season progresses. A great example of that happened with tonight's flashbacks. The first time we got the backstory of Sun and Jin, we saw Jin come with blood on his hands, washing it off. Now, the series puts that in context--as we see Jin slowly come to understand what he's become in order to be with Sun. He's denied his father, denied who he is and where he comes from and is now working for a man who is the equivalent of Tony Soprano. He's become the heavy and he doesn't like it. The scene where he has to beat up the father in front of his daughter--to save the life of the man--was extremely well done. Yes, the first time we saw the little girl, we knew that Jin would have to commit a horrible act in front of her, but it still worked within the context. I also found the scene where Jin went back to his father and spent a day with him revealing. (It also brought up the point again that every male on this show has issues with their father). To see Jin ready to walk away from the path he was on in order to save his marriage to Sun was interesting--especially in light of the fact that she was planning to leave him at that point.

At one point in the episode Locke makes the point that the island is giving everyone a chance at a new life. And in the end, Jin steps away from his old life with Sun. Interesting that you had two people who were contemplating leaving their old life who are thrown together on an island and they still have to decide to go their separate ways. As much of an engima and a jerk that Jin has been, at least now we get some context as to why he was that way. Why he acts the way he does. It was some fascinating character work and some of the better work done in the show since 2005 began.

Meanwhile, others on the island are starting new lives. Shannon and Sayid are taking the first tenative steps to be more than friends. Walt and Locke admit that maybe staying on the island ain't such a bad thing. And we are starting to see Jack lose his place as the leader of the group. Interesting to that when Michael attacks Jin that Jack is really the only one who actively tries to stop it. Also of interest is Sawyer's desire to get off the island--to the point that he captures Jin and drags him through the jungle like a prisoner of war. I find it interesting that Sawyer got extremely self-righteous about his own torture but thinks nothing of what he does to Jin that is about the same. Of course, my thought is that Sawyer is inherintly selfish and he doesn't see what he's doing as wrong. It's just serving his own self-interest.

And Locke's point that the group is far too interested in themselves when the real threat is from outside is well made. Will it rally the troops in some way or further splinter them? It's almost like Survivor in a way, where alliances are built and then crumble. It's fascinating to watch and it makes me eager to see the DVDs and watch over from the beginning to see how my perceptiosn of people have changed over the course of the season. And again, I find it of note that Locke shows up with wisdom to dispense at just the right time and place.

Finally, for those of you who were watching carefully--during the flashback where Jin goes to deliver the message the first time, was that Hurley on the TV in the background?

Alias: Echoes
The worst part about Gina Torres being able to return to the show as Anna Espenosa is that it means that Firefly is still cancelled. Honestly, I wish Firefly were still on the air and that Gina was far too busy to return to Alias.

That said, the return of Anna Espinosa almost took the show back to its season one days when Anna was the perfect foil for Sydney and the two had a great, running rivallary (almost literally as the two ran and chased each other a lot.) As much as I've been off the Alias bandwagon this year, this episode almost won me back over. It felt like the show that I enjoyed so much in season ones and two. We had Sydney dealing with how her life as a spy affects her personal life. Also, we had the two main villians Syd has faced back in one episode, doing what they do best--giving our heroes a run for their money. I figured out that Sark's rescue was a ruse to get him to lead them to the new bad guys. And I loved that he was one step ahead of them, leading them on a wild-goose chase. I am almost willing to make a connection that Sark did that to distract the group while Syd and Nadia went after Anna. I think Sark is working with Anna somehow--though for what purpose I'm not quite yet sure.

And wow..Alias went back to its roots even further by--gasp!--ending on a cliffhanger. Holy cow...we've gone back to season one!

I have to admit, I did flinch a bit when they had to cut off the guy's finger to get the piece of the puzzle that Anna demanded in exchange for Nadia. And how cool was the fight between Anna and Syd in the boutique? That was the kind of Alias stuff I've missed--how the real world and the spy world kind of intersect at times.

Also of interest is that there are certain agents Sloane is not allowed to go after. Makes you wonder if the powers that be know he's got an agenda and want to thwart it.

See, now this is a good epsiode of Alias. As opposed to the sub-par episodes we've had all the rest of this year. I hope this is going to be the rule from here on out and not the exception.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/24/2005 08:04:00 AM | |
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Tonight, tonight...
You know, I am seriously beginning to wonder what I'll do when Lost goes to all repeats this summer. Of course, hopefully SciFi will have picked up the rights to the new Doctor Who and start airing it this summer so that will make the loss easier to deal with.

Anyway, new Lost tonight and I'm psyched. I'm also hopeful that Alias is about to take a turn for the better because, quite honestly, it ain't thrilling me this year. And it didn't thrill me last year...

But this is about Lost. USA Today has a nice, long article about the show and where's it been and hints as to where it's going. The good news for me is that unlike the X-Files it sounds like there is a plan behind all of where this is going and not just making it up as we go along.

I can only hope...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/23/2005 04:15:00 PM | |
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Blog Party: The Top Five Villians
Thanks to the Bayer Family blog, I found out about MCF's Blog Party. This week's subject--the top five villians. (I cheated and chose six).

Let's face it--a hero is only as good as his best villain. "You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies" goes the line from an episode of Doctor Who and truer words were never spoken--especially in the real of the fictional heroes. So, with all that said, here are the villians I like.

UPDATE! (I forgot one). 7. Scorpius (Farscape). The best villains are those who don't think they're the bad guys--and that is the reason Scorpius was so good. We first met Scorpy at the end of season one, when he found out that John Chricton has the wormhole knowledge locked in his brain..and Scorpy wanted it. Season two was spent with a clone of Scorpy inside Crichton's head, slowly finding the knowledge and driving our hero insane. At the end of season two, Scorpy has won and destroyed all that Crichon holds dear, ending in one of the top five cliffhangers of all time. But what made Scorpy so great was that he thought he was doing what was right to save his people and to give them the power they needed to continue ruling the universe. Of course, over the last season, Scorpy's continually being resurrected got a bit old, but it's the memorable and vicious Scorpy from season two that stands out as one of the great villians of all-time

6. Locutus of Borg (Star Trek: The Next Generation "Best of Both Worlds") There will never be a cliffhanger that tops, "Mr. Worf, fire!" so they might as well stop trying. Season two of Next Generation showed us the Borg but it took until the end of season three for them to come back...in one of the most memorable stories ever in the Star Trek universe. The Borg kidnap Picard and turn him into one of them, leading up to the greatest cliffhanger in history. The horrifying part is the Borg take all of Picard's knowledge and experience and use it against the Enteprise. The image of the ships destroyed at Wolf 359 is truely one of the more memorable in all of Trek. And it was early enough in TNG's run that they could have killed Picard off in order to stop Louctus. It's one of those great the enemy from within is the deadliest, similiar in many ways to Angelus.

5. Angelus (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) The best enemies are those that know us best..and Angelus knew Buffy best. Angelus didn't just want to kill Buffy so much as destroy her first and then kill her. Season two of Buffy is my favorite simply for how brillinantly Joss Whedon sets everything up. The ill-fated romance of Buffy and Angel takes on new nuances as we find out that Angel is cursed with a soul that he will lose if he has one moment of true happiness. Whedon in his brilliance makes this one moment the first time Angel sleeps with Buffy. Angel loses his soul, goes to the dark side and threatens to destroy Buffy, her friends, her family and the world. He's such a bad-ass that Spike betrays him to Buffy. Angelus is a true monster and one that David Boreanaz has a lot of fun playing. Angelus comes back several times in Angel but there was no time that his effect was more clearly felt than in season two. Also, I love how Joss Whedon took the old chestnut of "when you sleep with someone they change" and really, really ran with it. Angel changed on some many levels and became a different person entirely--so much so that Angel and Buffy could never be together again. A great idea, a great role, a great villain. Buffy tried hard to top Angelus but never quite succeeded. No other villain on the show had the emotional resonance that Angelus did..and the decision to send Angel to hell to save thw world was a defining moment for the show.

4. Professor Moriarity (Sherlock Holmes). The equal of Holmes in just about every way. He only appeared in a handful of stories but he was so memorable and such a great nemesis for Holmes.

3. Khan Noonian Singh (Star Trek "Space Seed" and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) Over the years, Captain James T. Kirk made a lot of enemies, but none quite the Moriarty to his Holmes that Khan was. Fleeing Earth at the end of the 20th century for his role in the Eugenics Wars, Khan is one of the only villains on the original series to wrestle control of the Enterprise away from Kirk for any length of time. After gaining control of the ship back and exiling Khan to Ceti Alpha V, Kirk warps off and doesn't about Khan again until years later in the masterpiece Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan is back and he's pissed. Ceti Alpha VI exploded less than a year after Kirk left and Khan want revenge for the death of his people and for being exiled. Khan is one of those villians who is hell-bent on revenge and won't let anything stand in his way. It proves to be his undoing in the end, but he's one of the few villians who brought Captain Kirk down a peg. A lot of credit for how great Khan was has to go to Richardo Montalban who gives two mesmerizing performaces as Khan. Khan's imprint is felt upon every Star Trek villain since that time...he's the gold standard to which all Trek villians are compared and found wanting.

2. The Scorpion (Spider-Man) Now here was a villian created specifically by J. Jonah Jamison to kill Spider-Man. As they said in the comic, "The scorpion is the natural enemy of the spider." To my young mind, the Scorpion was the greatest Spidey villain of them all. He could go toe-to-toe with Spidey and more than hold his own. He was created to exploit Spidey's weaknesses and you always felt like Spidey dodged a bullet when he defeated the Scorpion. I would love to see Spidey 3 feature the Scorpion, but I doubt it will happen.

1. The Daleks. (Doctor Who) A good villain can make all the difference in the world. A prime example is the good Doctor's long-running nemeis, the Daleks. Created in 1963 in the second Doctor Who serial, the metal-plated pepperpots made Doctor Who an overnight sensation and catapaulted the show to the success it enjoyed for 26 seasons. One of the marks of a great villian or monster is that it's hard to imagine a series or a hero without them...and I cannot imagine Doctor Who without his greatest enemies. The Daleks were wonderfully created--a once great society, reduced to monsters that resided inside a metal shell, shulking about and shouting "Exterminate!" Terribly xenopohobic and hating of anyone who was different in any way, the Daleks are some of the great villians of all time. Not every story featuring them is a classic, but there's always this sense of excitmenet when you know a Dalek story is coming up. And the Daleks will be back for the first new series of Doctor Who stories that begin airing in March..which is as it should be.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/22/2005 02:57:00 PM | |

Where Do We Go From Here?
Since mid-November, the great debate in and around Nashville has been, "What will the Titans do next year?"

For those of you who don't know, the Titans are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the NFL salary cap for next year. There were two schools of thought about how the Titans should approach this issue in the off-season. One is you mortgage the future, restructure contracts for now and make one last run for the Super Bowl. The other is that you blow up the team and start over again, rebuilding for success that is not immediate (we're talking three to five years here).

Yesterday, the Titans announced which of these two paths they'd follow. The Titans are clearly building for the future, as they cut six veteran players from the roster, with as many as five more players expected to follow in the coming weeks. The players cut are: receiver Derrick Mason, cornerback Samari Rolle, defensive lineman Kevin Carter, tackle Fred Miller, kicker Joe Nedney and running back Robert Holcombe.

By making this move, the Titans shave a good chunk of the cap figure this year and could end up as much $7 million under the cap in 2006. And this is just the first of what is expected to be several such moves for the Titans in the weeks and months ahead.

Of course, this cutting of players is bitterly dividing Titans fans--well, at least those that call into the sports talk shows. Discussion of this dominated the airwaves last night and again this morning. A lot of fans question why Steve McNair is still here when Billy Volek did such a good job in relief last year when McNair was forced to shut it down early to get healthy. Pretty much, it's cheaper to keep McNair than cut him and let's face it, MVPs don't grow on trees. I like Volek (heck, he won me a lot of fantasy games down the stretch last year) but I still think McNair can be good if the offensive line stays healthy. Of course, now he's facing a dilemma--by cutting our first, best reciever in Mason, who is he going to throw it to? Tyrone Callico had a potentially great season cut short last year by injury and while I like Drew Bennett, is he ready to be the go-to guy?

While I'm sorry to see these six players go, I also understand that this is the way the NFL works today. The Titans are doing what it takes to get better by getting less expesnive free agents and building from within. Face it, the one good thing that came from the 2004 campaign was that a lot of younger players got some playing time and that can only help down the road. Also, the Titans have shown they know how to take advantage of the draft and build well. Let's hope this streak continues, especially now that we have a high draft pick. Also, last year when we had a large number of veterans out and the young guys playing a lot of time, we were in most of the games. There was no quit in this team, which makes me believe that this team will get better sooner rather than later.

Does that mean that 2005 is going to be a banner year? I'm not holding my breath. But I think the Titans could be that team you don't want to play at any given time. Yes, we have some issues at wide reciever and cornerback now (Peyton Manning and the high powered Indy offense must be delighting in this) but I still think the team has potential. And really, this was the only way to go--the team was going to have to be dismantled at some point. Why not do it now and start the rebuilding process rather than trying to plug holes in a dam later (ala the San Fran 49ers)?

I will miss these players. As one caller pointed out, you don't forget your first love. These players were a group that won over many fans to the Titans and gave us the Music City Miracle and our trip to the Super Bowl. The team had phenomenal success with these guys and I hope they have a ton of success wherever they land next. I'm sorry it can't be for the Titans, but I understand that this is how it works these days. And I stand behind my team even now. I will still support the Titans and love them--win or lose. I will still do my best to go to games, watch them on TV and wear more Titans apparal than any one person should.

I just hope the rest of Titans fans will do the same and not be band wagon jumpers.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/22/2005 01:26:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
24: Day Four, 4-5 p.m.
First of all, a bit of self-congratulations. I called it weeks ago that Audrey's ex-husband would somehow be tied to the terrorist plot.

OK, shameless patting self on the back is done. Let's move onto the episode.

Sometimes I don't understand everything that happens on 24. Such as--why was CTU quick to go to the torture of the president's son and then Sarah but yet Mary Anne is not instantly tasered the minute they tried to get information out of her. Does that make a lick of sense of anyone else? Also, MaryAnne tries to use the fact that she is one of two thumbprints that can unlock the computer system...but yet CTU has the other one right there on a body. If you're looking to keep her contained and not allow her a chance to escape, then why not (and this is grim, but follow me here) remove the hand of the guy who is already dead and take it along with you to by pass the fingerprint security system? Does the fingerprint also have to be warm? I don't think we said anything about that, but I could be wrong.

And boy it sure does not pay to be a bad-guy this week. MaryAnne dies as does TerrorDad. As soon as TerrorDad's gun hit the floor, we knew that Behrooz would shoot him. It would just be too easy if Jack took him alive. I think just for that blunder that Behrooz must now hang out with Kim for a couple of episodes and be chased by a cougar. That'd be an appropriate punishment, I think.

Meanwhile, things become almost "As CTU Turns" with the re-instatement of Tony Almada, Driscoll's concern that she is being kept out of the loop on some things and needs allies and Sarah's coming back to work after being tortured. You know, I love my job but I think if they arrested me and then tazered me I'd be a bit hesistant to dive back into the job right away. Also, I get more and more annoyed that Heller can get Tony reinstated but it's too much of pain to have him pick up the phone and save Edgar's mother last week. And you know, I think Edgar deserves at least a five minute break to mourn the loss of his mother. Also, I think I know why the deficit is getting out of control--it's all the overtime we're paying CTU people. Can you imagine the time and a half these people are making?

Also, was it just me or was the whole idea of finding the override within a certain window of time dropped a bit quickly in the final twenty or so minutes. We see Audrey headed across town to find out some info about it and Jack is following up a lead. But suddenly, info on Paul's possible connection to the terrorists comes up and everyone diverts away from finding the override and saving our collective bacon and goes after Paul. And while I understand that this may all play out that he is a bigger piece of the puzzle, it doesn't make sense to divert two of your primary operatives to something that may or may not yield any results in finding and stopping the terrorists. I will also go out on a limb here and say that Jack and Audrey's relationship will be so strained by all that's going on that by the end of the day, they will not be as happy as they were at the start. Face it--Jack's been looking for a reason to point a gun at Paul and threaten him since he returned on the scene. And Jack went to the hitting a bit fast--especially when he knows full well Audrey is having some doubts about the marriage that were placed there by Paul earlier in the day. I have a feeling that Jack's usual tactic of smack a supsect around, ask questions later is going to come back to haunt him. Audrey is seeing a whole new side of Jack and it may not be one that she's particularily fond of.

Stargate Atlantis: Before I Sleep
From what I'd heard about this one via the previews and on-line rumors (I knew months ago that the aged woman they find in the city turns out to be Weir), I was kind of expecting a re-tread of Next Generation's "Time Squared." Instead, what we got was an episode that delved into the paradoxoes of time travel. Follow me here if you can. In one reality, Weir and company come through the Stargate to Atlantis where nothing goes right and everyone but Weir dies. She finds a time ship that sends her back in time a couple of thousand years. She sets up things so the next time the crew will be successful and everyone will live a bit longer. She then goes into cryogenic storage to wake up every couple of thousand years to make sure the city is still running. OK, now as nice as that all sounds, there are still some huge gaping holes. First of all, if back-in-time Weir wakes up and something is broken how does she know how to fix it? We've seen that Rodney is more the guy who fixes stuff in the course of the show and not Weir. I guess basically she's doing the equivalent of starting the engine every few years so the car doesn't rust out in the front yard.

That said, the episode was interesting enough and one that at least tried to have some fun with the whole meeting another version of yourself angle. Honestly, the first half was far better than the second, when the flashbacks of Weir back in time weren't nearly as interesting as seeing her interact with the usual Atlantis crew. I liked seeing the first mission fail so miserably and how Weir goes about dealing with that. It also brings up some questions of--a few weeks ago on Stargate, our crew tried to head out to Atlantis because they hadn't heard from the crew there in a while...so which time line will they make it out to? The one that we are seeing or the one that originally played out?

Oh man, time travel shows make my head hurt somtimes...

Stargate SG1: Citizen Joe
I'm really of two minds about this episode. Part of me really liked the self-aware nature of this show--from making fun of itself ("How many times can they save the world?!?") to the fandom as a whole. But then, there's a part of me that says--you know, we only get 20 episodes a year, so why are we spending an hour here with flashbacks and filling in the backstory when there is a whole lot more interesting stuff we could be doing. I would have far preferred we have some movement forward with the long-term plot lines of the season rather than just a fluffy hour that didn't do much more than give the regular actors a week off.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/22/2005 08:21:00 AM | |

Fourth Worst Job in Sports...
This morning's USA Today features an article about a woman who has "the fourth worst job in sports"

The funny thing is--I go to church with the person who is the focus of the article, Beth Binkley. You can check out the article here.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/22/2005 08:12:00 AM | |
Monday, February 21, 2005
My nephew NEEDS this entire toyline!
Yesterday, I braved the downpours to head out to Wal-Mart to pick up some lunch supplies for the week. Hoping that if I spent more time in Wal-Mart it might stop raining, I decided to spend some time wandering the store (always dangerous).

My wanderings took me to the toy section, which is one of my favorite sections of the store. Being Uncle Michael to BB, GG, Gracelyn and Davis means I am always on the alert, looking for new and exciting toys on the off chance that a birthday, Christmas, holiday, day that ends in Y is coming up. (I'd spent most of Saturday afternoon on the mission to find BB a b'day present (the flu set me behind a week) which I did find and can't wait to send it to him).

So, I was wandering the aisle with toys for the toddlers when I saw without a doubt some of the coolest toys EVER!

Growing up, I had a ton of Star Wars toys. I also had some Battlestar Galactica toys. In fact, many an epic battle took place in the back yard between a mixed universe of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica toys and characters. I had so much fun playing with them that I want to share that with BB and Davis. Over the years, I've given BB a vareity of Star Wars related stuff from Legos to a 3-D puzzle of R2-D2. But, I've yet to be able to get Davis any Star Wars toys, namely because he's only just turned one and most of the Star Wars toys are too small for him.

Until now.

PlaySkool has answered my fondest wishes. They've made a line of Star Wars toys that are for the smaller children. Larger action figures with big pieces that won't be easily swallowed, big toys that make lots of cool sounds when you press a button. One of them is Luke's X-Wing Fighter, which I stood in Wal-Mart drooling over for a long, long time. One of the coolest features is a button that you push and it plays the Star Wars theme! How cool is that?!? And they've got a whole line of action figures from Darth Vader to R2-D2 and C3PO (who come as a set...as they should!) to Chewbacca. It was all I could do to not put every toy in the cart, rush to the front of the store, buy it all and head over to visit Davis so that I could play he could play with them.

Needless to say, I didn't buy any of these toys because the labels on the box said they are for children three and up. Which I am hopeful by his b'day and Christmas (he'll be two) that we can fudge a bit and I can get these toys for him. I did tell my family about these toys, which they all responded in the same way. "Does Davis need these or does Uncle Michael need them?"

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/21/2005 08:14:00 AM | |
Sunday, February 20, 2005
TV Round-Up
Enterprise: Affliction
What an absolute blast of an hour of Enterprise this was.

It ties together not only some plot threads from within Enterprise itself, but also uses those to a larger degree to explain some things within the Star Trek universe. Within the Enterprise universe, there are so many nods to previous epiosdes this year--from the Augments arc to the Vulcan storylines. It's nice to see that things aren't happening in a vaccum and that things that occurred four or five episodes earlier are having an impact on the course of events here. I love the the Auguments and Soong's genetic manipulation of them is having unexpected consequences within the Klingon empire. The Klingons, fearing that humanity will start putting Augments on their ships to take over and destroy the Klingons, try to create their own genetically enhanced supermen. But things don't work so well, resulting in the non-cranial ridged forehead Klingtons with big eyebrows we saw on TOS. Add to it that the genetic enhancements mutated with a flu virus and are now airborn, wreaking havoc and you've got one of the more plausible reasons as to why the Klingons of TOS era looked the way they did. My inner geek was dancing with joy at this little revelation because it actually works. It's been well set-up within the context of what we've seen on Enterprise and it's an interesting and well thought out way to explain a question that has been around the Trek universe for years. I have to applaud Manny Coto and company for a great, plausible and interesting take on this age old question. Again, this is what Enterprise should have been doing all along and it does make me a bit sad to think that just as it's getting interesting and compelling and telling stories that are uniquely Star Trek that it gets cut down and cancelled.

Of course, this revelation is helped by the fact that this is one of the stronger episodes we've had in 2005. From the begining with Phlox's kidnapping to Tripp's trying to fit in with a new crew to the ship being taken over by a Klingon computer virus, this one was nicely plotted and paced. The mark of a good "To Be Continued" is when you get to it and can't wait to see the next episode--and I am definitely looking forward to where we go next.

Now, that is not to say it was prefect. I refer specifically to Malcolm's apparently being part of Section 31. I found myself thinking about the revelation on DS9 that Bashir was genetically manipulated as a boy and was, in many ways, superior to those around him. This revelation was one that, in the context of the series, made a lot of sense and suddenly made you look at old Bashir episodes in a new light. And while I think that's what they were trying to do with Reed's character here, I am not sure it's worked as well. I like the idea that Reed is working for someone else and that his loyalties are conflicted. That was all well done. But I am not sure that the idea was established well enough by the previous storylines about Reed and what we've come to know about him. He seems too straight-laced and by the book to really be part of a covert group like Section 31. As the episode unfolded, I found myself thinking back about what we knew about Reed and seeing if this new information gelled with what was previously established and I just don't see it.

All of that said, I'm also a bit nervous that part two won't live up to the standards of part one. Part one felt epic and it felt like--things are happening here. Big things, important things. If there's one huge area that Trek has dropped the ball over the years it's having brilliant initial segments and coming up a bit short in the second half wrap-up. Enterprise has done a decent job this year of telling well-paced multi-part stories, though I do admit that sometimes part three can be rushed. I just hope that I don't come away from Friday's episode disappointed because this really was, nitpicks on Malcom's arc aside, a good hour and one of the most enjoyable we've had all year.

Battlestar Galactica: Six Degrees of Separation
I really hate it when the shows I get into reward me for not having a life. In the case of the two discussed in this post, both episodes this week made it really worth my while to stay in and watch them on Friday evening.

I loved what this epiosde of Battlestar Galactica did. Baltar rejects Six's religious ideals and gets punished for it--in a big way. A copy of Six comes on board with evidence of Baltar's betrayal and slowly begins to put the screws to him. I loved how Baltar tries everything in his power to try and cover up the evidence of his betryal--evidence that was fabricated to start with. I do admit that as the episode unwound, I found myself less and less certain that Baltar would be exonerated in any way. There were so many great scenes with Baltar slowly losing control of the situation--from the early scenes with Baltar's disbelief that everyone can see Six to his conversation with Gaeta in the restroom to the scene where the President tells him she is disappointed because she believed him. It makes you wonder if Six's manipulation of Baltar here has created a sense of distrust between Baltar and the crew. As the President said, the evidence against Baltar FELT true and that was what hurt the most. I have to think that Adama and company will keep an eye on Baltar a bit more in the future.

But I really liked that all this was a test to break Baltar down. And notice that Baltar does not call up gods in his prayer at the end by prays to god--we're assuming the god of the Cylons. I love how one of the central conflicts of the series is between two races with very different views of god. And how the Cylons are willing to wipe out humanity because their view of god doesn't agree with what the Cylons believe. It's fascinating and one of the many great things about this show.

Meanwhile, there are other things happening. Starbuck is nursing her injury and the crew is trying to figure out the Cylon raider. Also, there is some continued fall out from the end of the Tyrol/Boomer affair from the last episode. I loved seeing Tigh go down and get after Starbuck to get her out of bed and back on her feet. And the continued paranoia about the fact that Cylons are among the crew was great. Of course, I do wonder if the Cylon's didn't play a hand a bit early to teach Baltar his lesson here by having Six revealed to the crew .

Of course, it's interesting that in both cases of Cylon clones manipulating members of the Galactica crew--Baltar and Hilo--that both are reverting to the emotions of love and lust to do so. With Baltar, Six has pretty much got to him through his lust since the beginning (I loved that Baltar throught that Six wanted a profession of love right after she pulled her vanishing act from his mind) and Hilo is being manipulated to care for Boomer--which is expressed here in how he takes care of her and then they're making love. (As Boomer's spine glows red no less). I guess the Cylons know how to hit humanity and its weak point and are exploiting it. Interesting also that Six tries to pull a simliar trick on Adama, but he is more resistant to it. I also think that the Cylons are targeting people who are lonely and in need of a touch--both physical and spiritual--and manipulating that. I just wonder if there are male Cylon agents who are doing the same thing with females within the fleet. And will Adama's apparent rejection of Six's advances make him more dangerous to them as their plan continues to unfold.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/20/2005 01:48:00 PM | |
Friday, February 18, 2005
Friday's Feast
Appetizer - Name 2 things you do that you consider beneficial to your health.

1. Exercise
2. Try to eat five fruits and veggies a day.

Soup - If you made a New Year's resolution, how's it going so far?

Didn't make any.

Salad - Name something that has happened lately that bothers you.

It seems like more and more at the Y, people are talking loudly on cell phones while on the equipment.

Main Course - What is your favorite quote, and who said it?

"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."

Dessert - What do you collect?

Dr Who epiosdes on VHS and DVD.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/18/2005 01:26:00 PM | |

A wacky turn of events.
Rivallries are what makes sports fun. If you're a fan of a certain team, there's just that one (or possibly more) team out there that you just really like beating. As a Redskins fan, I despise the Cowboys and wish nothing but losses upon them--esp. from the Redskins. As a Vols fan there is just someting special about beating Alabama.

When I was in high school at Woodbridge Senior High in Woodbridge, Virginia, our big cross-town rival was Gar-field. The Woodbridge/Gar-field games were always a big deal and in most cases, the schools were on a fairly even talent level.

It's the rivallries that make sports fun.

But sometimes they can take wacky turns....

As is the case here in middle Tennessee right now. The TSSAA recently forced Cheatham County girl's basketball team to forfeit 18 wins this year because of having an ineligible player. Katie Morehead transferred from Hillsboro to Cheatham County this year, but because of some complications in moving residences, she was deemed ineligible. The Tennessean explains:

In the hearing [Wedneday] morning, Cheatham County presented information to the TSSAA staff and the Middle Tennessee board members to show that the Morehead family had moved from its house in Pegram to an apartment in Ashland City in August.

The school admitted the Moreheads retained ownership of their Pegram house, but said they rented the house to their elder daughter who was living at home while commuting to college. Leasing the old residence is one action suggested by the TSSAA to demonstrate that the move to a new residence is a bona fide change.

Because the elder daughter remained in the Pegram house, the Moreheads said they did not disconnect the phone, utilities or remove all furniture from the residence. Each of these actions are also TSSAA guidelines to show a bona fide change of residence, which is required for a student to be eligible to participate in athletics at his or her new school.

If there is not a bona fide change of residence, the athlete must sit out 12 months from his or her last date of athletic competition.

Listening to some debate on this story, there are more details that have come out. The father of Katie Morehead contacted the TSSAA when the move occurred and asked what he needed to do. He was thinking of having his daughter go to private school but was encouraged to have her attend school and play for Cheatham County. He was also told that they were in compliance with the TSSAA rules for a transfer of schools.

I guess the moral of the story is--even if the TSSAA office tells you're OK, get a rule book and make sure.

Of course, I could be a conspiracy buff and point out the timing of this is pretty intriguing. Turns out Cheatham County and Hillsboro were tied for first place in the district. And now did I mention they are both big rivals? If I were a fan of Cheatham County, I might be a bit suspicious of these events.

That said, I really have to feel for not only Katie Morehead but also the other players on her team. They all worked hard all season to get to first place in the district and a chance to have a high seed in the tournament. But it's all been taken away now due to an oversight. And I knowr the rules exist because there are less than scrupulous people out there who would take advantage of them. But I am not sure the punishment fits the crime here. It was not a crime done with malice or to create an unfair advantage. It was one done out of ignorange and it the punishment ends up causing embarassment to the girls and the team. Also, I don't know much about Katie Morehead, but I do know that district tourneys can be a time to get your name out there for college scholarships. Since she can't play, she may be denied a chance or a look by a school that might help pay for her college education and I find that a real shame as well.

Again, the morale of the story is--even if TSSAA tells you that you're in compliance, have a rule book near by to make absolutely sure.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/18/2005 11:53:00 AM | |
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Commenting Update
Well, it's been quite an epic little struggle this week with the ability to comment on my blog. HaloScan is just not loading anywhere I go and no matter how often I try to drop back in the code for it, the loading kills by my blog load time. I know some of you out there actually have lives and don't want to spend most of your day waiting for my blog to load, though I, quite honestly, think it's worth your while...

So, I tried Blogger's comments for a day or so and was pretty much underwhelmed. I figure I didn't set it up right becuase I did it quickly and I probably screwed it up.

So, I found another pop-up comment add-on via some other bloggers and am using it. Honestly, I'd like to get back with HaloScan, assuming it stops lagging and acting like a pain in the you know what. But until then, I'll use this one which seems rather nice. Also, for those of you who left comments in my Blogger comments, I've kept those in the new comments here now.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/17/2005 02:49:00 PM | |

Volunteer Tailgate Party 2005 v. 2.2
Thomas over at Newsrack is hosting not one but two Rocky Top Brigade events today.

The first is the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, feautring the best and brightest from the past few weeks of the Rocky Top Brigade.

The second is the Rocky Top Brigade's Best of 2004 entries.

Surf on over, pull up a comfortable chair and read some of the best and brightest of the Rocky Top Brigade.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/17/2005 01:12:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
Lost: Outlaws
While I was down with the flu last week, I watched some of my Firefly DVDs. Watching them, I was reminded again of just how much I loved that show and how stupid FOX is for cancelling it when they did.

In watching the episodes, I was struck by the character of Jayne. Every time you came close to liking Jayne, he'd always go and do something that struck you as to just how selfish the character was. And I loved how unapologetically Adam Baldwin played Jayne. It was all about Jayne, pure and simple, no matter what. (In a lot of ways, very similar to the character of Rygel on Farscape).

So, as I was watching Lost this week, I was struck by the similiarities between Jayne and Sawyer. Both characters are unapologetically who they are...and while there are times when they could gain some points or get a bit of redemption, they will, more often than not, pass those up. Both of them have their own self-interest firmly at heart. And why reveal information or give something away for free when you can use it later to your own advantage?

Like Sawyer does here. We've found out over the course of this season that Sawyer is a collector...from bits and pieces he's found in the wreckage to now he's collecting information. Sawyer had a chance to give Jack something--a bit of peace of mind about his father, but instead he passes it up. Why? I think Sawyer is saving the information for later. Also, looking at Sawyer's past, he's not really one who seems like he builts lots of male freindships. I strongly suspect that Robert Patrick's character set him up as a "free" hit man. Sending Sawyer out to kill the man he's hunted for years was interesting and it's fascinating how Sawyer never questions the information until after he's shot the guy in question. The fact that the guy was hiding out in the Outback makes you wonder a bit. Also, did we get an explanation of why Sawyer was in the police station in Boone's flashback--was it because of his having the gun?

Sawyer's obsession with the boar was interesting as well. Again, the question comes up about what the agenda is for each person is on the island. Also, why would a boar torment Sawyer so? Was it an innocent and Sawyer couldn't bear to kill it because of what happened in Australia? Or is there something more going on here? And I don't think it was coincidental that on this journey that Locke suddenly shows up out of nowhere. Locke seems to be in on everyone's journey somehow, showing up at key moments to push them in the right direction. Just look as the big grin on his face as he, Sawyer and Kate are talking. I can only think that Locke's agenda will come out eventually and it's not going to be a good scene.

Meanwhile, things continue to be interesting of the island. Charlie is dealing with the after-effects of killing Ethan. One question I had--was Charlie being the one who had to bury Ethan his idea or was it the groups? Was it some kind of punishment for killing Ethan before they could get any information out of him?

More and more, Hurley is becoming the conscience of the island. We see him go with Charlie and help him bury Ethan, despite Charlie's insistance that he (Charlie) can do it alone. Then we see Hurley ask Sayid for help in helping Charlie deal with the ramifications of what he's done. I like Sayid's conversation with Charlie about how what he's done will be with him for the rest of his life. A nice, quiet, well done scene that goes to one of the strengths of this show.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/17/2005 08:56:00 AM | |
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
No Hockey for you.
It's official--there will be no NHL season this year. As much as I feel the pain of my fellow sports-fan who love hockey, I can't help but be a bit relieved that they've finally done the inevitable and cancelled the season.

I love how in all this debate back and forth between the sides, there's never once been any consideration given to the fact that you are aliennating fans and by not having a season, you've cost some other poeple their livelihood. I'm thinking about downtown Nashville, where hockey games drew fans downtown on weeknights and weekends to local restaurants, bars and other estabalishments for food and beverage before and after the game. That revenue is lost...also, there may have been some hours or even positions cut for servers because there were fewer customers to serve. Add to it that there was an entire infra-structure to support a hockey game, beyond just players. What about the refs who have lost their jobs because of this? What about the vendors who had the job of selling overpriced beer, hot dogs, chips, etc? No one seems to take a second to give a damn about them.

No, instead we have two sides who are making more money playing a game than some of those poeple will see for many years of hard work, whining and moaning that they aren't making enough money.

The thing is, the Predators were gaining some momentum here in Nashville. They had huge interest after last year. It's all gone now. Instead what is left are feelings of hurt and betrayal. Should the NHL ever come back they face a long, up-hill battle to win any fans back.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/16/2005 01:52:00 PM | |

50 Book Challange Update
More books I've read as part of the 50 Book Challenge

43. To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonian Singh by Greg Cox

Greg Cox's trilogy about Khan comes to an end with this story that bridges the gap between "Space Seed" and The Wrath of Khan. It's a good book, though not a lot of unexpected things happen here. There is not the sheer joy there was in the first two volumes of watching Cox tell the story of Khan and pepper it with references to recent and current events. That said, the book does have a couple of twists and turns within what must happen to set up the events of Star Trek II. It's just not as much fun as the first two segments were.

42. Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendevous by Sean Stewart

This book really makes Yoda come alive on the printed page, as well as giving us some side characters we can care about.

41. Murder off Mike by Joyce Krieg

Reading this murder/mystery, a thought struck me. Do real-life detectives ever get irritated that, in fiction, just about anyone can do what they do?

This is the story of Shawna Bogart, an on-air personality for a talk radio show in Sacramento. When another host and friend apparently commits suicide, Shawna suspects foul play is afoot and investigates. The style of this one is very readable and the pages keep turning. I love the setting in the radio genre and there are a lot of good asides about the current state of radio stations--talk and otherwise. The ending, where it all becomes part of a huge conpsiracy, is a bit too much for my liking, but don't let it ruin the great character created in Shawna Bogart.

40. Trill and Bajor (Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Vol. 2) by Andy Mangels, Michael A. Martin, J. Noah Kym

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again--the DS9 relaunch is one of the more enjoyable on-going series in the Star Trek novels today. It rival the New Frontier as the Trek books I most look forward to seeing appear on the shelves.

That said, the first volume of the Worlds of DS9 trilogy left me feeling not too excited. It was OK, but not up to the usual standards. The good news here is volume 2 makes up for that. Two good sized novellas continue the story from Unity--esp. the story on Trill. Seeing the fall out and the collapse of Trill society is well done. The Bajor story is a bit more of a personal journey but it works well.

39. Labyrinth of Evil (Star Wars, Episode III Prequel Novel) by James Luceno

Before Attack of the Clones came out, DelRay gave us the forgetable "The Apporaching Storm" by Alan Dean Foster to get us ready for the new sstar Wars movie. This time around, we get James Luceno's "Labyrinth of Evil" a story that takes place in the month leading up to the Revenge of the Sith. It's a far better book. Luceno does a great job of setting things in motion for what we may see unfold in Revenge of the Sith. He draws upon the first two prequel movies as well as the Clone Wars series of novels to weave a great story that did exactly what it was intended to do--left me panting for the opening of Revenge of the Sith. To say this one ends on a cliffhanger is an understatement.

38. Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen

Haissen's books usually make you smirk or giggle but this one had me laughing out loud at points. It's the story of two winning lottery tickets and the people whose lives they touch. It's absurd, it's funny and it's clever. If you've read any of Hiassen's works this is a great place to start.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/16/2005 11:31:00 AM | |
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Things in the News (That Caught My Limited Attention Span)
It's been a long time since I posted random things from the news that caught my limited attention span. But there were quite a few today starting with...

Fans Buy 'Fawlty Towers' Hotel
I guess having the DVD set just wasn't enough....I find it funny that the hotel has a butler who is the spitting image of Manuel.

Did the Teacher Say to Put Your Tongue in My Mouth?
After a really bad date, Chery Byrd started a kissing school to teach the art of lip-locking. Thankfully for his ego, the gentleman with the poor kissing technique is not mentioned by name here.
"It's hard to truly connect with your beloved in our society because we're
in such a hurry," [Byrd] explained. "Multi-tasking leads to sorry, sloppy
smooches."

If you're so busy in your life that while kissing an attractive member of the opposite sex (or the same sex if that is what floats your boat), that you are multi-tasking, you really need to take some time off. There are just some things in life that should be savored and enjoyed.

Surprised Customer Says Penis Pills Don't Work
So, you're shocked that a product, advertised during sport call in shows on the radio doesn't do what it's supposed to do?!? One that was endorsed by "porn stars and doctors"?!? Yeah, because you know the AMA is thinking--who can we get to legtimitately push a health care product or a healthy life style--why porn stars! Everyone looks up to them and respect their opinion!

I think the people suing should just count it lucky they only lost $39.95 on the pills and move on while they have their dignity and self-respect in tact. I mean, it's not like the whole world knows they felt deficient and bought the product....oh wait, too late!

Philly's spitting mad at Kats
I saw some of this Arena league game Sunday afternoon (I was in bed with the flu and I flipped over during commericals in the Lady Vols/Vandy game!) and I didn't see any thing going on between the two teams. I did see the Kats playing pathetically at times, but I didn't see any dirty football being played.

Though I have to love the quote from Philly's co-owner, Jon Bon Jovi.
''That's the dirtiest team I've ever seen,'' Bon Jovi told the Delaware
County Times.
''They're a bunch of punks and they deserved to be beat. When you can't play well, you play cheap, and that's what the Nashville Kats are.''

Yeah, when I think about hard-hitting, in-depth football analysis, I think Jon Bon Jovi...

On a more serious note...
Last week, middle Tennessee made national headlines with the Pamela Turner story--the 27 year teacher who is accused of having had sex with a 13-year 0ld student. There have been a couple of stories in the past few days that put a sobering light on what can happen to the victims in these situations. Both of them are worth reading: here and here

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/15/2005 01:28:00 PM | |

Local boxers featured on upcoming reality show
The upcoming NBC reality series The Contender will feature not one but two Nashville natives--Jonathan Reed and Brent Cooper.

This morning's Tennessean has an article about them.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/15/2005 12:38:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
24: Day Four, 3-4 p.m.
TV Guide On-Line's Watercooler declared the latest hour of 24 the "best of the season." I couldn't help but disagree. Don't get me wrong--there was some very good stuff that happened here, but overall we didn't really learn much of anything new. No twists, no turns, no major plot revelations. I'm not saying the latest hour didn't have a lot to it I liked, but there were some nitpicky things that really bothered me.

Trying to be positive, I'll address first what I liked. It was nice to see Dina fall into CTU's custody and to make it more than five minutes without getting killed. (It just doesn't pay to be taken into protective custody by CTU!) I really the way Jack tried to connect with her about Behrooz. Did anyone else want to hear him launch into--well, at least your son didn't fall into an animal trap and get threatened by a cougar. I think that would have been great. Also, Dina's upping the stakes at the end--save Behrooz or I won't help you as I really am committed to the cause.

On the less positive side, man, it sucks to be Edgar. You save the nation's collective bacon twice in the last six hours and they can't pick up the phone and save your mom?!? Come on! American owes the man a favor! Seriously. All Audrey had to do was call up the commander of the guard, say who she is and that the DoD would like it if they'd swing by and pick up Edgar's mom. And you can bet that unless that commander wants to be stripped down to buck private, he'll send some sargeant to do that. The chain of command would allow for a suggestion like that to be carried out and no one would blink twice. But instead, we have to milk it for the drama of seeing Edgar's mom die and it just felt wrong.

Also, I had to wonder at one point of Jack carries around Presidential pardons in his back pocket, on the off change he needs one. That seemed a bit much, though I loved the President's comment of "Make it non-binding." How much you wanna bet that one is gonna come back to bite Jack before this day is done?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/15/2005 09:09:00 AM | |

HaloScan disable
For the past two days, my HaloScan has been giving my blog fits. I've disabled the old comments field and am using Bloggers for a couple of days to see if HaloScan gets back up and running.

So, if you're a semi-regular commentor and you notice all the comments are to zero, that's why. I hope to have the old system back up and running as soon as HaloScan comes back on-line.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/15/2005 08:39:00 AM | |
Monday, February 14, 2005
Rats! I missed it!
Another casualty of my being off my feet with the flu all weekend was that I missed a gathering of Nashville Bloggers yesterday. Luckily, Blake of the NashvilleFiles.com was there and offers a full report.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/14/2005 04:05:00 PM | |

TV Round-Up
Enterprise: United & The Aener
With this now being the final run of Enterprise episodes, it seems highly likely that this will be the last time we see Jeffrey Coomb's wonderfully portrayed Shran on screen. If this is it for the character, than it was a great way to go out on top.

Coomb's work in this trilogy of episode has been superb and it's nice to see that Shran gets a chance to bid farewell before Enterprise rides off into the sunset.

That said, this trilogy was simliar to the other three-part storylines we've had all year long--start off with a bang and then slowly lose momentum as we get to the finish line. This one may be the most guilty of it, simply because there were so many good ideas floating around only to have to spend too much time on the surface of Andoria. Part two did a great job of bridging a gap--showing how Archer and company are going from the role of new kids on the block to the leaders in the quadrant for bringing different alien races together. Also, the battle between Archer and Shran was reminiscent of Kirk and Spock's epic battle from "Amok Time" even down to a loophole that gets everyone out of trouble and still saves face for all the respective parties. I liked seeing how Archer creates the fleet, builds trust between two enemies and then sees some of the reward when they decide to sit down and talk about their differences rather than just blow each other up.

That said, I'm not sure there was a lot of story left for part three. And it showed. "The Aener" were an interesting idea, though I guess they're only going to be a one-episode wonder. It felt as if we had created an alien-race just so that we could have a telepathic alien controlling the Romulan ship. I'm not sure who would have fit better under the mask, but after the big reveal to end part two, the storyline lost all momentum. Part of it was that I felt as if Archer and company should be out there trying to keep the quandrant stable or continue the fleet defense agianst the drone while everyone heads off to Andoria. Also, I wasn't really all that compelled that the Aenar forced to commit all these crimes was another's brother who we just happen to run across. I wanted to see more of the finding of the Romulan ship and maybe a bit more of an ending space battle than we got.

And I had to admit I was really over the whole Trip/T'Pol unrequited romance thing, until the last two or so minutes when Manny Coto suddenly redeemed the whole thing. Seeing Trip go to Archer and ask to be transferred was a nice way for it to go. I didn't really see that one coming--again, thankfully I am not a huge SPOILER junkee. I liked the tension between Archer and Trip as Trip refuses to give any good reason as to why Archer should transfer him. Of course, I think Archer is a smart-enough cookie that he can put two and two togther and figure it out, but I get the feeling he wanted Trip to admit it. Of course, we all know that Trip will be back on the ship by series' end, though it could be interesting to see how he gets back.

Battlestar Galactica: Litmus
After a Cylon agent sets off a bomb in a secure area of Galactica, Adama and company are left with no choice but to bring the rest of the population in on the fact that Cylons are among us and they look like us. Adama also appoints a tribunal to look into things, which quickly gets out of hand when several of Tyrol's subordinattes cover for his sneaking off to be with Boomer.

One thing that this show is really doing well is giving choices conseequences. Adama made a choice to not tell the fleet of the new Cylon threat, thus leading to his being brought in front of the tribunal. (Great scene and I gain more respect for Edward James Olmos every week). Tryol and Boomer made a choice to continue their romance despite being ordered not to and it cost one man his freedom and several people their lives. Seeing Tyrol break up with Boomer because the price of being with her wasn't worth it any more was a great scene. (One thing I did wonder about was--why didn't the tribunal try to piece together the accident a few weeks ago with this bombing now..in both cases, Tyrol was tangentially involved)

Everyone makes their choices and they have to live with the consequences, as highlighted by the scene between Adama and Tyrol. Boy, Adama is not having a good month when it comes to trusting those around him--first Starbuck and now Tyrol. One can only imagine what will happen if and when he finds out Baltar is betraying them all to the Cylons.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/14/2005 01:40:00 PM | |
Friday, February 11, 2005
Woo-hoo!
Battlestar Galactica has been renewed for a second season. If I didn't have the flu, I'd be dancing....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/11/2005 09:40:00 AM | |
Thursday, February 10, 2005
TV Round-Up
Lost: Homecoming
As I reflect on this week's episode of Lost, I find myself in a quandry. Yes, it was great, but was it as great as I think it was? Or was it just that it was the first new episode in two weeks and I'd really, really been looking forward to it?

I think this episode was potentially a huge one for the rest of the season. Claire shows back up, still pregnant and with amnesia. She doesn't remember anything about the plane crash or her couple of weeks on the island before Ethan took her. I've got to say that I think she was allowed to escape. Something's been done to her. I found myself thinking of the sleeper personalities hidden inside of people from Babylon Five--the person looks and acts the same, but deep inside is a spy that can be triggered at the necessary time. Has Claire become that? Or did they have to send her back to the group because they have Jack, a medical doctor, to help her deliver her baby when the time comes?

And how pissed is Danielle going to be if Ethan was her son and she finds out that Charlie killed him? Again, going back to Babylon Five, we all know Mira Furlan can play pissed off really well and part of me anticipates her return to the series.

I will admit the scene where Claire remembers the peanut butter was very sweet and it took some of the dark tinge off this entire episode.

Because it's taking these characters to some dark places. Charlie kills Ethan to show he can "take care of" Claire. This, after the flashbacks reveal pretty much what we already knew--Charlie as a drug-addict was not a good thing. He was pretty much a jerk. I did like the conflict we saw in his life there where he starts to fall for the woman he's trying to use and wants to go straight. Interesting that there was no catalyst like Locke in his life before to help him back on the path to coming clean and going straight. I think we're seeing how easy it is for Charlie to be influenced either way--though I will admit he's coming into his own and getting stronger now that he's off the heroine. (Speaking of which, does Locke still have his last stash or was it destroyed?)

Meanwhile, things are getting more interesting. A couple of weeks ago, we had an episode that felt a lot more like a tapestry of the island than just "Oh, let's focus on this character." We get that again this week. I like the conflict Jin feels at wanting to be apart from the community but yet slowly being drug into being part of it. I think it's only a matter of time before Sun reveals she can speak and understand English to help Jin become part of the community. Hell, the man is providing the group with their biggest source of protein in the fish--he's the Richard Hatch of the island. (For those of you who don't remember, Richard Hatch was the self-proclaimed provider of fish in the very first Survivor).

Meanwhile, I begin to wonder what Jack's agenda is. And if his keeping secrets is going to catch up with him. Locke's line about "You've been holding out on me, doctor" when Jack reveals the stash of guns was interesting. I also liked Sawyer's giving Kate his gun that he'd kept hidden. But, back to Jack--he seems to want to set up an elite group on the island who are in the know and have the power. Will there be another group that is left out that begins to challenge that authority? Jack has been given the responsiblity of leadership by the group, but is he now starting to get too caught up in the power and neglecting his responsiblity? Or being blinded to things because of what he thinks is best and not what is actually best for the entire group?

Also, there was some kind of odd non-verbal communication between Locke and Boone when Boone volunteered to be a sentry. They know something more than we've seen...

This episode just flew by with a lot of jaw-dropping moments. Ethan's coming up from the ocean to kill a passenger was one, as was his capture in the forest and then Charlie's shooting him. And does it strike anyone else interesting that both times Jack and Ethan have fought, it's been raining? Significant? I don't know...I could be overthinking this one. It could be the rain is used for dramatic effect. But, man, Jack did beat the crap out of Ethan.

So, going back to my original question--yes, I think this episode was as great as I think it was.

Alias: Nocturne
Two weeks ago, I complained that Alias ripped off one of the later season episodes of The X-Files. And now, here they do it again...only this time, they take elements from two episodes from the glory days of The X-Files. This one had elements of "Sleepless" (attempts to create super soldiers fby removing the need to sleep) and "Wetwired" (the one where Scully gets the subliminal messages from the TV and becomes increasingly paranoid) all over it. So, those elements really took me out of enjoying the episode as much as I should have. Also, some of the plotting was a bit obvious--Vaughn asks Syd why she wants to take it slow and then by the end of the story, under the influence of a mind-altering drug, she tells him. Yeah, didnt' see that one coming.

That said, I did like the way Syd's hallucinations played out. Especially the remarks by Jack. I loved the casual way Jack said--yeah, I killed her mother and I'm gonna kill her too. She just annoyss me with her voice.

Issues with your father, much?

Meanwhile, the one part of the episode that really blew me away was the scenes between Dixon and Slaone. Having Slaone call Dixon on the carpet for doubting it Syd should be back in the field was great...but the final scene between them was just great. I love Dixon's reasoning for staying around and working for Slaone--he wants to be there with Sloane's real agenda comes out so he can stop it. I love it. Absolutely one of the best character scenes this show has had in a long, long time. Please, if any of the Alias writers and producers are reading this--we want more stuff like that.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/10/2005 08:27:00 AM | |
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
As if there was any other result...


Captain James T. Kirk

Charasmatic tatical leader/ egotistical womanizer. Your arrogant cowboy mentality is forgiven because of your deep concern for those close to you.

Your middle name is Tiberius

Take the Star Trek Quiz

Tip of the hat to Danielle for this...


posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/09/2005 02:24:00 PM | |

If it's Wednesday...
It's been two weeks since we got a new episode of Lost. Two very long weeks. (Thankfully I've had the new BSG to help tide me over.) Honestly, I am not sure how I'm going to make it through the summer without new epiosdes.

But, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Some tid-bits of news about Lost.

First up, is a bit from USA Today about tonight's all new episode.

Second of all, I've heard the season has been extended from 22 epiosdes to 24. So that's two more episodes of potential Kate frollicking in her underwear.

Thirdly, the DVDs are rumored to be coming out in September with tons of cool extras (one of them being an exclusive to the set mini-movie that answers one of the questions about the series!) and might be price at only $39.95 for the box set. Sign me up!


posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/09/2005 02:07:00 PM | |

Hey look, we made the national news!
Well, middle Tennessee has made the national news...and it's not for anything good.

Seems that McMinnville has its own version of Mary Kay Louterno with Pamela Turner, a 27-year old teacher who was taken in on allegations that she had sex with one of her 13-year old students. She's out now on bond and will be in court again later this month. (How much you want to bet it's a media circus?)

She'd best get a good lawyer...sounds like she's gonna be in court a lot since her husband has also filed for divorce on grounds of "inappropriate marital conduct."

Now, reading this story, a couple of things boggle my mind. First of all, I visited McMinnville's The Southern Standard site to get the local reaction--a lot of people are shocked and appalled (they always are). The Standard also has a photo of Turner as does the Smoking Gun and this report. (The only images I've seen on the news are of her with her hat down and hiding her face...honey, that ain't gonna work long in the Internet age). Looking at her, she's not unattractive and she was married. So why was did she allegedly have sex with a 13 year old boy? I just don't get the attraction or the appeal.

That said, local radio host Steve Gill had an interesting point about this story this morning. He went on at length about the double standard we have in our country...and how if this were a male teacher allegedly sleeping with a 13-year old female student, then we'd be out to tar and feather the guy. But because it's a 13-year old male, he kind of snicker and make a few jokes about it but don't get outraged that she abused her authority with this minor and conducted an inappropriate relationship with him.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/09/2005 01:40:00 PM | |
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