The past few weeks, I've been visiting a variety of churches in and around the middle Tennessee area in search of a new church home. It's not been an easy process becuase it involves me getting out of my "comfort" zone, something that I'm not as good at doing as I should be. But it's a necessary step and one that I really feel as if God is leading me in.
I'll admit I've used the Internet to help facilitate my search. I've looked at web sites to find out things such as when do services begin, directions to the church, what types of ministries are offered and what kind of service will I be attending--traditional, contemporary, somewhere in between. One thing I like to find out is how formal or informal a service is before I go. I visited a really nice church a few weeks ago, but I was totally overdressed, based on the rest of the congregation gathered there. I don't want to be a snob, but I just feel comfortable coming to church in a nice shirt, khaki pants and a tie. Part of the reason I dress that way, especially in visiting a church, is that I already feel a bit nervous about going and maybe not knowing anyone. Dressing like that helps me to feel a bit more comfortable and hopefully able to not worry about what I'm wearing and to go about the task that I'm really there for--to worship.
But the church I visited was a smaller one and the congregation was dressed more casually than I. So, I'll admit for a few minutes I felt a bit self-aware. I quickly decided I could either be self conscious throughout the service and totally miss the point of why I was there or I could get over it and worship and not worry about outward appearances. I decided the later, though I will admit when I decided to visit a church this past Sunday, I did contact some friends who attended
there and ask their advice on if I should don a tie or not.
The thing is--it shouldn't necessarily be about what you wear, so much as coming to worship with an open heart and the spirit of worship. I mean, looking at the example of Christ in the Bible, Jesus took people as they were. He didn't say, "Well, get a nice shirt, tie and a suit and then we'll talk about it." He interacted with everyone, regardless of their condition or state of dress. I seriously doubt some of the lepers he healed were cutting quite the rug in a tux.
So, today when Brittney over at Nashville is Talking
linked to a new Baptist minister's blog
with a lengthy post about churches making themselves more accessible and his response to that, I felt myself getting a bit irritated.
Well I could rant and rave and tell you why I think all of this is wrong but I believe the problem can be summed up in one sentence.
"Seeker friendly churches are confusing culture with sin"
therefore you are not making your church culture friendly you are making it sin friendly. Now I know I know the church is for sinners and I believe that but the sin that we have in the church needs to be preached on and repented of. Not told that it is OK.
I want you to listen to some of the seeker friendly preachers preach. Like Joel Osteen for instance. Joel is a phenomenal speaker and he makes people feel good. But have you ever heard him preach on repentance of sin?
Which my response to that one is--hold on a minute, buddy! I think you're kind of missing the point here. One thing the church desparately tries to do be this days is relevant to people's lives. Again, I go back to Jesus, who met people where they were, at the point in the lives they were and interacted with them. He didn't have a dress code, he didn't have a set of rules and regulations for people to follow to have fellowship and communion with him. He accepted people for their hearts and not for their external condition.
I'd like to think that the blogger in question had good intentions in posting this. Or maybe that I've misconstrued what he's saying. I know I've read it about three times now to make sure I'm not missing something. But I don't think I have.
It seems to me that this judgemental attitude is what may keep people who might want to seek a church from finding one. "Well, I'm not good enough, so I might as well not go until I am," a person might think. News-flash--none of us are worthy of the gift Christ gave us by taking our sins and dying for them on the cross. And nothing we can do in this world will ever earn that for us. But it's a gift freely given. It's grace from our Father in heaven. And Christ made that sacrfice for you, me and everyone in the world. The church is for sinners and while I do think we should hear sermons and preaching on repetance and following Christ's way, that we shouldn't condemn any one who has fallen short. Cause I am here to tell you I've strived hard in my life and I've fallen way short a lot of times. And if anyone tells you they haven't, they're lying.
I like the idea of a seeker church. In my church visits, I've been really impressed with congregations who have warmth and friendliness. I've visited a couple where I felt immediately embraced and welcome by the people there, by the worship experience and by the pastor. I like that. One church I visited even sent me an anonymous survey, asking me to tell them what impressions I had and how they could make the worship experience and welcome better for other visitors.
It's not a sin to come to church just as you are. The Bible says you are to offer best. I think the minister here has misinterpreted that to mean you should wear your best outfit. I take it as more of you offer yourself fully to worship. You tithe or give from your abundance, not what's left over. It's an attitude of putting God first in your life and it's not about how you appear or how you dress. It's about giving your best to God, just as He always gives His best to us.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/31/2006 01:00:00 PM
Battlestar Galactica: Black Market
When then executive producer of a show spends the entire 45 minutes of a podcast apologizing to the audience for an episode, you know it's got to be pretty bad. And that's basically what Ron Moore does this week. Let me sum up the podcast for you--"What the hell were we thinking?!? It sure seemed like a good idea at the time but boy howdy did it not turn out that way. And yes, it is all my fault as the show runner and please don't blame anyone but me."
I'll give Battlestar a mulligan this week for the episode. I think a lot of it was that this one was trying too hard. It could have been interesting to really deal with the black market that's grown up in the fleet due to the nature of supply and demand. It could have been interesting to have some of the backstory filled in on Apollo and to look at why he wasn't happy when he was rescued after bailing out of the stealth ship a few weeks ago. It could have been interesting to see how Tom Zerrick straddles the line between being a black market operative and player and the politician we've seen him become in various episodes leading up to this one. Notice that I say--could have. There's a lot of potential for a good story here and some good character work. And that may be why so many of us (myself included) came away from this one disappointed. It was lackluster, yes, but there was so much more potential for the show to be something special, to be something more that in the end, we were all disappointed by it.
I will agree with Ron Moore--the best scene in this one was the confrotation between Tigh and Apollo. That was a nicely done scene. It doesn't make up for the staggering dissapointment of the rest of the story, but it's nice to have one small nugget of greatness in there.
I'll give Galactica an A for effort and a D for actual execution. I'm hoping next week gets things back on track...
24: Day Five, 12 - 1 p.m.
Watching 24 last night, I began to wonder something. So, these terrorists are going out of their way to get rid of Jack Bauer, right? So, why not pick up the phone and call the Chinese government and go--hey, remember how you thought that Jack Bauer guy was dead? Yeah, not so much. And here's how to find him.
Seems to me that would be a bigger distraction and would kill two birds with one stone. The Chinese would want Bauer turned over to them and it would distract Logan and CTU from the developing threat for the day.
I wonder if this will become a tactic for the terrorists as the season progresses.
But enough with the "what if"s and onto this week's hour.
Ah, the wonders of the soap opera that is CTU. Audrey still loves Jack, Jack still loves Audrey and in fine soap opera tradition that can admit it to everyone but each other. I love how Connie Britton comes in and gets confessions of love from both of them as a virtual stranger to Audrey, but yet the two can't really say those words to each other. I have to remember that next time I'm in a relationship that if I get her really mad at me, I should fake my own death and turn up 18 months later and it will make everything OK. Cause that sure seems to be working with Audrey.
Meanwhile, the power struggle between Bucannan and McGill continues. There has to be some connection here, though I'm not sure what it is. Was Bucanna once McGill's boss and now the roles have reversed? And will McGill's by the book leadership style come back to haunt him or CTU before the day is out.
Meanwhile, over at the White House, Logan is cracking under pressure. So, you're Secretary of State comes to you, says--hey, by the way, I'm working with terrorists and you're gonna help me--and Logan goes along with it?!? I love how Logan is consumed by the spectre of his legacy--which we've seen since the beginning of this day. He's far more concerned with the public perception of him and his administration and not as much with whether what he's doing is right or wrong. He thinks the nerve gas will be used to wipe out terrorist cells and never used on innocent civilians. Yeah, right and I've got real estate in Florida you might want to buy. I kept thinking is some guy wandered into Palmer's office and told him this, Palmer would rip him a new one right there on the spot. But then again, Palmer was more concerned with doing what was best than his legacy.
Thankfully, there are people in Logan's staff who are loyal to the office and not to him. If they were, Logan would still be between a rock and a hard place and Jack would be hauled away in chains. And the day would be over after six hours in a shocking turn. We'd see Jack rotting in a prison cell and maybe Kim would come by to visit, chased by a cougar, no less.
But that doesn't happen. Instead, Jack kicks some butt, interrogates a prisoner and is allowed to continue on doing what it is Jack does best. Kick butt, breaking hearts and taking names. And now there is a retalliation set for the U.S. with the nerve gas in play. Hands up if you saw that one coming, because I sure did. We can't find it this early in the day....what else would we do for the remaining 18 hours?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/31/2006 07:37:00 AM |
I'm glad that Jane reminded me about this.....
I opened up The Tennessean on Saturday to see that some anonymous parent in Williamson County wants to ban To Kill A Mockingbird from being read as part of the eighth-grade curriculum. I've said it before and I'll say it again--some group standing up and telling me what I can or cannot read, see, hear or experience (in terms of artistic expression) really makes me see red.
First of all, if you're that upset and offended by the book, then step up and lend your name to the cause. This whole anonymous thing is a lot of crap and shows you are gutless. If you are this upset about it, take a stand. Allow for a debate of ideas or allow the other side to respond to you, to debate you, to maybe make arguments that might make you change your mind or see why some people think reading this book is a good idea. But to not stand up and allow a free discourse but to instead just drop a bomb and then run away...I have no respect for that.
Second of all, has the person actually sat down and read the book?!? OK, so there are some bad words in there and adult themes. But if you seriously get to eighth grade and haven't heard those words and confronted those themes, you're way too sheltered. And why is it that people can't understand that just because a word is used to establish a time-frame or setting for a book that it doesn't make it OK for that word to be used. You know, reading Huckleberry Finn, I never felt that after I was done that cause Mark Twain used a certain word that I could go around and use it. But I understood why it was used and how it was part of the story Twain was telling and the point he was trying to make. Because I understood the context.
I think sometimes we get so obsessed with the minute details that we miss the context. The context of how those words and themes are used in To Kill A Mockingbird is what's important. I challenge this anonymous person to read the book with an open mind...
It's a classic for a reason. And I think the children of Williamson County deserve a chance to read it and discover it for themselves. And to form their own opinions on it--not just be told by someone what is right and acceptable. Let them make up their own minds. They may not like the book, but let's make it their choice..not ours.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/30/2006 04:33:00 PM |
Last night, I was over at my sister's house having dinner and spoiling my neice and nephew. At one point, Davis was hauling out some toys and pulled out one of Gracelyn's toys that she wasn't using. From across the room, I heard Gracelyn yell, "That's my toy!" and go running across the room, grab the toy and put it back in the toy box.
"Why can't you share with Davis?" her father asked.
"Because it's mine," she said.
And seemingly, to Gracelyn's mind, the arguement was over. Of course, she's just going on four and so this stage of selfishness and not sharing should end when she turns 40 or so.
Earlier today, my good friend Katherine Coble wrote a long post, responding to Kay West's "review" of the new Maggiano's restuarant that just opened up on West End. In the review, West spends at least four paragraphs talking about looking at all the people she's call Resolutionaries who show each year the YMCA for approximately six or so week (I think it ends around Valentine's Day in most cases). In the article, I got the impression that West was kind of a "Y snob" and basically saying, "Well, I was here first so why don't y'all get out of my way so I can exercise since I'm a real exercise person and all of you are not."
I made a comment in Katherine's blog about it in a humorous vein, but I forgot that sometimes it's hard to tell vocal inflection in a text only post. So, instead of cluttering up Katherine's blog with a long reply, I figured I'd weigh in on it here. (Plus I get to tell a story about Gracelyn and Davis, which is one of my favorite things).
I'll admit it--I can be a bit of a Y snob at times. In a lot of ways, the interplay between Gracelyn and Davis last night was similiar to a conversation that we had in power cycling last week.
Cute girl #1: What time did you have to call to get on the list for class today?
Me (Stunned that cute girl #1 has spoken to me and isn't macing me for looking at her the wrong way): I usually call Sunday afternoons as early as I can. I think yesterday was around 1 or so.
Cute girl #2: Yeah, I called around then, too.
Cute girl #1: I called around two and got the last slot. How is it that this class is so popular.
Instructor: Well, it's the first of the year, it's cold outside and people are coming inside. Plus you have new people joining and trying the class.
Lady on waiting list: Well, I hope they don't show up cause I want a bike and I've been coming since it started.
Instructor: Oh, it'll all slow down soon....
Cute girl #2: Should we call help for the guy who called around one yesterday? He has a vacant look of disbelief on his face.
Me: I can't believe y'all spoke to me....I'm stunned. Will you marry me?!?
Cute girl #2: Creep!
Cute girl #1: Don't even look at me!
OK, so maybe that's not exactly how it went, but you get the idea...
Interesting that the type of Y-snobbery exists...and heaven help me, I'm part of it. I think part of it is that I have a certain routine and by jimminy, I don't like it disrupted. What if--gasp!!--I had to wait 30 seconds for a machine. Or worse yet--how can this new person not know that it's mine, mine, mine, dammit!
And we wonder why people get discouraged and we stop seeing them?
I will admit, I'm selfish. But I am working on it. I'm trying to be better.
But it can be a bit harder if you're a swimmer. With a stair-stepper or an exericse bike, there is a right and a wrong way to use it. If you're pedaling the exercise bike with your hands, that is the wrong way to go about it. Also, if you're sitting on the treadmill for ten minutes just chatting and not moving, that could be a problem. The thing is, if you misuse a piece of equipment you could break it or--worse yet--hurt yourself. And so the staff can correct you or politely show yo the right way to use it.
Not as much with the pool.
I think people have good memories of playing in the pool from their younger days. I know I do and I loved it. I still do love it. I find swimming to be very refreshing and theraputic for me both physically and mentally.
But there are times when I just want to scream--this is my pool, you go away!
I wish we had some simple rules that would help everyone. For example, if you're gonna share lap lanes, please use googles. They put enough chlorine in an indoor pool to bottle it and call it Chlorox. Trust me- you don't want to look like the crew of Galactica from "33" when you're done swimming. Also, I think that we should share and share alike. If I have the lane to myself, I will share it with you. And I ask the same thing in return. Last year, I was waiting for a lane and a woman came in. She started to go off on how she always shared a lane and no one would let her share one now and it was just horribly unfair. I didn't say anything and eventually someone saw me and shared a lane. She was upset at that I got a lane even though I was there first and was sharing. Funny thing--I saw her there a few days later with a lane to herself. Someone came in, asked to share and she said no....
And swimmers remember. We're our own little clique and we know who shares and who doesn't. Trust me--I've seen it.
But I'm working on it. I don't want to be a pool snob. I do want others to use and enjoy their membership. And maybe have that resolution last past Valentine's Day. I was a newbie once and I still remember how it was. Heck, I use a couple of Y's around town, so in some ways I'm always gonna be a newbie.
I'm working on sharing...it's just hard for me. My inner three-year old isn't as good at sharing as he should be.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/30/2006 03:52:00 PM |
Some of you may have seen a posting on Nashville is Talking Friday afternoon wondering where I'd gone and why I wasn't answering my e-mails. I was supposed to be the Regis Philbin to Britney's David Lettermen over the weekend, hosting the greatness that is Nashville is Talking. But, due to circumstances I couldn't do it.
What happened was--my 92 year old grandfather took two falls Friday morning. He fell once at his residence in the assisted living center. The combination of having fragile skin, leukemia and being 92 meant he had some big cuts on his arm that would require going to a doctor to have bandaged. So, my sister went to get him and take him to his doctor (my parents were on their way out of town, having just barely left the state when the call came in). At the hospital, my sister let my grandfather out of her car near the entrance while she parked her van. In that time, he took another tumble onto the concrete. He then got to have a ride from the front of the hosptial to the ER, where they weren't sure if he'd have to be admitted to the hospital or not.
My sister called me because my parents have left some documents that allowed she and I to authorize care for my grandfather and his medical history..but they were at the house and she couldn't go get them. I left work in a rush and went to help take care of him...forgetting until late in the day--oh yeah, I am supposed to guest host this weekend.
Anyway, long story short....he's doing OK. Nothing broken and he's at home now. His right arm is pretty banged up and scraped. He goes back today for some follow-up appointments to see how he's healing. So, that is good news. I honestly had visions of broken hips when I heard he'd fallen....
I would like to thank everyone for their concern and a big word of thanks to Sarcastro for taking my place on short notice and Brittney for understanding. And thanks to everyone in the Nashville is Talking community who had concern and said a prayer for me or my family this weekend. Prayers are still needed for my grandfather and they are always appreciated.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/30/2006 06:56:00 AM |
Wondering what that far-off sound is, just over the horizon? It's the apocolypse coming.
Why, do you ask, is it coming? What makes today any more likely than any other day?
I'll tell you. The Lady Vols have lost two games in a row. Last night's loss was to the UK's women's team, which I don't think had won an SEC game this year. The wheels are off the wagon and we're in a downhill spiral. By this afternoon, I fully expect the same idiots who called for the firing of Phillip Fulmer and Randy Sanders during football season to be calling for the head of Pat Summit.
Somewhere Gino Aurimmo is gloating. Man, I hate that guy. (He's written a book and I figured I'd try to read it so maybe I could understand the guy a bit more. I gagged on the intro by Diana Turassi who talked about those of us who hate Gino don't understand what a great guy he is, yada-yada-yada. We just don't "get" him. No, I think what she doesn't "get" is that Gino is an ass and the rest of the world has realized it while those up at UConn have drunk the Kool-Aid and can't see it).
I've heard that sections of I-65 will be close today as Pat makes the team walk back to Knoxville from Rupp Arena.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/27/2006 08:20:00 AM |
So, the 100th episode of Smallville aired last night and, as promised since the start of the season, someone close to Clark died. If you've not yet seen the episode and don't know who shuffled off this mortal coil on the show and prefer to watch the show unaware of the identity of the deceased, please turn back now.
OK, still with me?
So, as I'm watching "Reckoning" unfold, I'm loving the first 30 minutes. Clark reveals his secret to Lana, Jonathan wins the election, Lex goes over the edge and confronts Lana in a drunken stupor. In short: the first 30 minutes felt like we were actually pushing forward with plots, changing assumptions and putting new things into play at long last. Then, we get to the jaw-dropper that--holy cow, they really are going to kill off Lana! Lana perishes in a car wreck, after calling Clark because Lex has had his suspicions about Clark hiding something confirmed and seeing Clark come running up at super speed.
Yes, yes and yes, I'm screaming at the TV. Yes, please give us more. This is how you do a big, 100th episode of a show.
Nooooooooooooooooooooooo! We got to a commerical break and Clark is up in the Fortress and luckily Jor-El has a magic crystal that contains a reset button. Clark can go back and save Lana, but watch out Kal-El because tampering with destiny has unintended consequences. Yeah, I don't care says Clark, I just want me some Lana back. So, we go back in time, Clark is acting like a weenie (again), Lana dumps him, Jonathan wins the election, Lana still has a drunk confrontation with Lex and Jonathan dies of a heart attack after punching out Lionel, who is hiding some secret about the Kent family (does Lionel know for sure that Clark is an alien? Or is it just bringing up that Lionel pulled strings to help the Kents adopt Clark?) Jonathan dies and it appears there's no magic reset button this time. Instead, we have an interesting closing scene in which we see the various people in Clark's life all come into his orbit at different distances. Lex is far away, looking hurt and torn. Lana takes his hand for a moment and then drops it. Chloe and Lois look at Clark with sympathy. Mom is there with Lionel lurking over her shoulder. Is it foreshadowing of how all these relationships play out? Or am I giving Smallville too much credit?
The show has reached a crossroads. For one thing, Clark apparently has memories of the day that Lana died but he changed so he knows some things. I think the schism that could have resulted between the two because Lex's actions led to Lana's death could have made for some great television there. But then again, we'd have Clark pining for Lana for approximately 17 weeks, so maybe that'd be boring to watch. But I could see Clark being a bit bitter toward Lex since in his mind, he could see Lex's actions as forcing him to choose Lana to save over his dad. In reality, it could have been that Jonathan's heart condition would have killed him in the time line where Lana dies as well, so Clark could be saving himself a doubling of his grief. But we get the impression that exerting himself in beating the crap out of Lionel is one factor that led to Jonathan's death. Should Jonathan have been at the accident with Clark, that might not happen in the way it did. Also, Clark knows that Lex has designs on Lana and how will that play out. You know, I've said all along that I think the most fascinating part of this show is the dynamic of how did Clark and Lex go from friends to mortal enemies...but if it's all over Lana, I think I may have to riot in the streets. Give us something more than that, please.
So, half of this episode was brilliant and half of it was the same kind of ground we've covered before. I can only hope that conseuqences of this continue to spin in interesting directions. I do wonder if next week, Clark will conviently forget his expereince of having lived the same day twice and the expereinces and memories he gained from it. But I have a feeling these will not be addressed...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/27/2006 07:44:00 AM |
Interesting that both last night's Lost and Veronica Mars would deal with the issue of trust and violations of that trust. Sometimes there's just TV karma, I guess....
Lost: Fire + Water
First of all, I think Lost missed the whole point of what baptism is. It's not an insurance policy to get you into heaven. From my understanding of what baptism is, it's an outward sign of an inward comitment and relationship with Christ. It's not a magic "get into heaven" free card as Locke and others on the island make it out to be. There was a better exploration of baptism and what it means on Scrubs last week than we got here.
Of course, I'm assuming that the entire Claire gets baptised so she won't be separated from Aaron should they did plotline will never be brought up again. Mayhaps this will actually lead to something more from the Claire storyline and bring a bit more depth to her character. Heaven only knows I think she could use it since her character has been really under-utilized and barely explored since the last time we saw flashbacks about her. And let me also say this--for someone who's survived a plane crash, had a baby, had the child kidnapped and then got the child back, she's looking pretty good. And apparently the bunker had her exact make-up shades and colors since I noticed she was pretty well made-up throughout last night's episode.
OK, enough nitpicking and onto the big things.
I think part of me has a hard time working up a lot of sympathy for Charlie. Part of that is the personal agenda of jealousy that Dominic Monaghan got to star in Lord of the Rings, lives in Hawaii, has this cool job and, oh yeah, is dating Evangeline Lilly. (OK, so maybe it's mostly the last one...)
Seems to me that the storyline is taking Charlie to a dark place. Charlie has all of the best intentions, but he just isn't so good on the follow through. On both the island and in the flashbacks, it ends with Charlie brutally beat-up. At least in the flashbacks it was only emotionally and not physically, such as happens on the island. I have to admit I was taken aback when Locke decked Charlie three times after Charlie sets the fire and takes Aaron. I wondered if Charlie was running for the ocean in an attempt to baptize Aaron (since he felt this was what he needed to do to save the Aaron) or to do something worse, such as the visions Batlar saw of Adama earlier this year on BSG. Charlie's vision certainly do seem to set up Aaron as some type of Christ-figure on the show--we see images of Charlie's mom and Claire in the Virgin Mary attire, we have the dove coming down from the skies and we have Hurley as potentially a John the Baptist figure. (Does Hurley prepare the way for Aaron to be some type of prophet or redemptive figure for the island or am I reading waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much into it here?)
Also, we see that Charlie sees redemption in a couple of things, both of which slip away--the pianio and Aaron. The dream sequence to start the episode hits that point home again and again with Charlie's mother saying that now Charlie can save them all via his musical gift and make the world right for everyone in the family. Meanwhile, a faceless father figure tells him that he won't amount to anything and should learn a trade. Basically, telling Charlie he his hopes and dreams have little value. Then on the island, we see this played out by the father-figure of the island, Locke. Locke suspects Charlie is using, catches him with the statues and then refuses to believe that Charlie was coming out in the jungle to destroy them. I do wonder why Locke didn't destroy the statues in the end, instead locking them up in the bunker. What is his plan for the statues? Will there be another test for Charlie later? He passed the first tempation but has succumbed to the later one. Will Locke test him again and that will be his redemption and acceptance back into the circle that is the group?
And is this strife within playing into the hands of the Others? If you are so busy concentrating on petty squabbles like this one, do you lose track that--oh by the way--this group of people on the island are out to get us?
Meanwhile, in lighter moments, it's like junior high school dating on the island. Kate is helping Sawyer with his rehab, Jack is flirting with Ana Lucia (which Sawyer points out to Kate and she goes all green-eyed monster. So what--does girl want to have all the men on the island to herself?) and Hurley, bless him, is jonsing for Libby but feels completely awkward talking to her. It even gets worse when Libby tries to encourage him a bit with some flirting... Hurley, my friend, I know exactly how you feel!
Veronica Mars: Donut Run
First of all, UPN you are evil, evil, evil! I wound back my tape of VM to watch it last night only to catch the last ten seconds of a preview for VM leading into the first new episode in weeks. I caught Keith saying, "You played ME, Veronica!" and looking pretty upset--which pretty much ruined the entire episode for me! I guess I know where all those guys went to do promos after FOX fired them for giving away too much about 24. Man, I avoid SPOILERS and promos for weeks and then five seconds before the show starts--ruined!
OK, now that my venting is done....well, at least for now...let's turn our attention to Veronica Mars.
What a way to come back after seven long weeks of no new Veronica Mars. This episode, written and directed by series creator and the new Joss Whedon, Rob Thomas, ably juggles all the balls in the air this season and helps bring everyone back up to speed on what's happening. And along the way, it brings some resolution to one plotline. I'm assuming this will be the last we see of Duncan for a while and in a way, that's a good thing. I think his plotline had all but run its course and to see him go on the lam with his baby is a nice exit for him. And it does set up a lot of complications for Veronica as the rest of the season unfolds--most noticeably that Keith ain't gonna trust her. That should be good, esp. since we see how quickly Keith goes to bat for her, despite her betrayal of his trust.
I will have to say that I loved how Veronica played everyone in this episode. Boy, talk about plots within plots. But when she went to the apartment next door and found Duncan there, I fully expected the other detective to nab them both and thus ruin the entire plan. It just seemed so deliciously deceptive and the kind of twist that is right up Veronica Mars' alley. But, it didn't happen.
But as one plot drops, another begins. We find out the real reason for Wallace's return and we continue to see Logan and Weevil's investigation. I have a feeling that investigation is a lot of one step forward, two steps back kind of thing. At least until we find out something truly devestating, which I have a feeling there is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off there.
Welcome back, Veronica Mars. I missed you. Now, let's not have any more seven week gaps, please.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/26/2006 08:09:00 AM |
In this morning's Living section of the Tennessean, there was an article about SPOILERS for TV shows and movies that asked the question--how long should the statute of limitations run on SPOILERS?
It's funny because my friend Sarah and I were having this conversation earlier this week about Lost. She said she'd finally found a friend with tapes of this season's episodes and was going to catch-up. Before I could say a word, she said, "And don't tell me who dies...I've made it this far without knowing and I want to be surprised."
Last year, I was listening to a podcast where the podcaster had TiVOed all of BSG's first season and was upset that a TV Guide cover gave away a SPOILER for the first season on the cover two months after the episode had aired, thus ruining one of the many twists of last year's season finale.
The article in the Tennessean had a warning that when discussing a TV show, movie or a book, a polite person would ask the people around if they'd seen said show, movie or read the book and not ruin plot twists for those who hadn't seen them. It even went as far as to say you really shouldn't discuss the ending of Million Dollar Baby just yet without asking if the person had seen it since it was just now hitting pay cable.
Which, I can understand being sensitive to SPOILERS. I try to go out of my way to avoid them, preferring to find the twists and turns of the plots as they occur. It's why I tend to avoid the previews for Lost, 24, and The Shield as they sometimes give away the last five or so minutes of the story--really Gilmore Girls has been the biggest offender on that front this year. (In the case of GG, it was more of the teasing the last minute of an episode and making you think the episode would deal or address that conflict and being disappointed when the show took forever to get to that point...) But I think there's a difference in spoiler levels before and after a show has aired.
For example, Smallville celebrates the 100th episode milestone this week with a big honkin' death of a major character. I know this because the WB has been teasing this for weeks now, not only on TV but also at other places around the Net. So, going in, I know someone is going to die. But I don't know who and I intend to not find out until we get to the episode tomorrow evening (I do know that Clark and Lex can't die and much as I'd love it, I doubt the producers will kill off Lana). Same thing earlier this year on Lost--I knew someone was going to die, but I didn't know who. (I'm not going to give it away here out of respect for Sarah, but the answer is lurking here in the blog if you look at November's archives). The funny thing was the next day you could barely log onto just about any web site and not see know who'd died...and those weren't even message boards. I don't know why Yahoo! Finance needed to tell us that this character had passed away, nor am I sure exactly what affect it had on interest rates, but it was pretty vital I'm sure.
So how long after something airs do we have to keep the SPOILER rule? I know some people who prefer to pick up the entire season of a show on DVD rather than waiting a week in between episodes. So, do we not give away SPOILERs for the new season of 24 because some fans prefer to wait and see the whole day in one large gulp? Where does my responsiblity to not spoil end and yours to not be spoiled begin after something is out there and part of the popular culture? With movies and books it's a bit easier since we can assume not everyone sees the movie on opening weekend and not everyone can consume the book the second it comes out. But what about TV?
And also, I think the term SPOILER is one of those things that can have a wide vareity of defintions. Last fall, I went to see Serenity at the blogger preview evening. Being a Firefly fan, I was stunned by the two deaths in the film, but to my mind that revelation wasn't nearly as big as what we found out as to who and what created the Reavers. So, when I posted my review, I hinted at that, but came out and said who died in no uncertain terms. (I am keeping it a bit shrouded here as Barry has just watched all of Firefly but hasn't seen Serenity yet so if he's reading, I don't want to ruin it for him.....) SPOILER can be a subjective term in a lot of ways--what I think is a huge plot twist might not be one for you and vice versa.
Also, I seem to recall that in the case of two big movie soundtracks in the past few years--Star Wars: Episode I and Serenity--that events late in the movie were spoiled by the track names. And since the soundtracks came out before the movie, some of the surprise was ruined--esp. Episode I where I didn't know that QuiGonn was going to die.
Oh yeah, and if you're visiting and do know the twist of who dies on Smallville, please let me remain in my bliss state of ignorance until tomorrow evening....thanks!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/25/2006 08:53:00 AM |
Florida athtletic director Jeremey Foley is upset that UT fans stormed the floor Saturday night after the big win over Florida.
Ummmm, hello, Mr. Foley? You're Florida. By law, if UT beats you at anything, we are required to storm the field, court, bowling alley, pick-up stick venue, etc. I think it's part of the state law in Tennessee that this is allowed and a fully accepted practice, esp. when our team keeps your team from rising to the status of number one team in the country. Plus, ya know, I've been a UT fan for a long time and we haven't really had a lot to be excited or proud about for a long time when it comes to men's basketball. I know Billy Donnoavan has turned you into perpetual NCAA Tournament contenders who then go on to choke in the first or second round no matter how highly seeded you are, but it's been a while since we even thought about maybe being in the Big Dance (oh heavens, I'm having flashbacks of the North Carolina choke....make it stop, make it stop!)
I do get that UT knew about the potential for this and they did take steps to keep the court from being stormed. But seriously--numbers were on the side of the stormers. And your coach said it was fine and he and his players never felt or were threatened.
But wait, there's more....
"We lost. They won the game," Donovan said. "But I think if Bruce Pearl was down there or if their administration was down there and heard what was going on behind our bench, I can't believe that they would feel good about that."Yes, because I'm sure all your fans are saints and only wish well upon the visiting team players and fans....
Meanwhile, the Vols have cracked the top 25 for the second time this year. We're 19th in the AP Poll and 20th in the USA Today poll. This development has led to some discussion this morning by Vandy fans on why their team hasn't cracked the top 25. They are quick to point out that they went up to Rupp and beat Kentucky.
To which I say--yes, that was a good win. But you followed it up with a loss at Arkansas and then choking away a game on your home floor to South Carolina. Also, UT's RPI is higher and we've got wins against Texas and Florida on our record. And yes, UT is suddenly the media darling, Cinderella, dark horse story that has captured the attention of the national media. But as a UT fan, I have this nagging feeling of worrying about a letdown--as early as tomorrow night against Mississippi State. I don't want to be doom and gloom, but we can't look past anyone or assume a win any where in this league. I am enjoying the heck out of this season (particularily after football season was so disappointing) but I'm going into every game with catious optimism. I think we can hang with and beat just about anyone but I also think we can lose to anyone.
But back to Vandy--I know it's hard, but I think if you have patience, you'll get there. As I said back when you won over Kentucky, it's what you do with that win. Y'all went out and had two losses--one that you should have won. I say the same thing for UT--it's all about what we do with this Florida win. Too many times in the past we've had a big win only to not have it count for much by losing some games we shouldn't.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/24/2006 02:11:00 PM |
At first, I thought it was one of those nasty little rumors that springs up from time to time--like the one yesterday about the re-uniting of the Friends cast for four one-hour episodes next season.
But it looks like this one may be true--WB and UPN are shutting down and combining forces to make one network.
Now, I have to admit, this does worry me, simply because I wonder if Veronica Mars will survive the consolidation. I also wonder what this does to the fate of the proposed Spike movies or mini-series on WB.....will it happen or will it get lost in the shuffle?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/24/2006 11:24:00 AM |
During this morning's drive into work, Mark Howard brought up this story about the 17-year old kid in a Pennsylvania high school who wore his John Elway Denver Broncos jersey to school Friday.
The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor and take the test Friday -- two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC championship game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a "stinking Denver fan," Vannoy told The Associated Press on Monday.Howard brought the story up in a humorous vein, but it wasn't long before callers were on the line, taking him to task for the humorous intent. Of course, Howard doesn't really take criticism well on the air, but I can't say I blame him. It's difficult to keep your composure and professional demeanor when callers are ringing up and chastizing you on the airwaves. As the host, you have rules you have to follow and the callers don't necessarily have to abide by the same set of rules.
Kelly said Vannoy, a junior at Beaver Area Senior High School, just didn't get the joke.
"If he felt uncomfortable, then that's a lesson; that's what [the class] is designed to do," Kelly told The Denver Post. "It was silly fun. I can't believe he was upset."
I can see both sides of this story. I can see the lesson the ethics teacher was trying to make, though I'm not sure his methods are exactly kosher. I can also say that having gone to high school in northern Virginia when UT beat UVA in the Sugar Bowl and wearing my orange proudly to the school the next day, that I can understand how the kid would feel singled out and abused. Shoot, my AP English teacher my senior year was a Kentucky fan and every time I'd wear orange, I'd get some kind of sarcastic comment sent my way about how it might affect my overall grade in the class.
So, I can see both sides in this the situation. I'm not sure it was fair to the kid in question to make him take an entire test under such circumstances. I think the kid should be offered a chance to make-up the test under less stressful circumstances.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/24/2006 09:47:00 AM |
24: Day Five, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
If the first four hours of day five of 24 were about hitting the ground running and a non-stop rollercoaster ride, then hour five was all about setting the groundwork for what is to come for the rest of the season...and by the rest of the season, I mean at least the next three to four hours. After that, all bets are off becuase this is 24 and the plotlines can spiral out of control at anytime and go off on a multitude of different tangents (just please dear heavens, no Kim being stalked by a cougar again this year!)
Hour five basically says a lot of the huge events of the first four hours were smoke and mirrors--a distraction to cause CTU and the viewers at home to focus on one event while others were lurking in the background. I noticed this week's episode was written by two of the series creators and so I was expecting a lot of new plot threads to come out of it--and for the most part, I wasn't disappointed.
One thing that CTU does not really encourage is healthy, stable relationships--either friendship or romantic-wise. It's interesting to me that the only person at CTU who has been able to form any kind of lasting friendship or long-term relationship with anyone is Tony Almeda. He's buddies with Jack and while he and Michelle hit a rocky patch, at least they were able to communicate and get things back on track. Others at CTU don't fare so well--such as Jack and Audrey who have that awkward moment of--hey, I was pretending to be dead and you were really upset with me last time we checked in. Also, I may or may not have been sleeping with the new woman who you have to interrogate. Yeah, I think Jack is gonna have some major 'splainin' to do when this day is over and done. The awkward tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. And Audrey's wanting to hug Jack and then not being able to....so well done. I love seeing these awkward scenes where you don't quite know how you'd react under similiar circumstances but you feel as if the show is getting it just about right.
Meanwhile, we find out that Spencer is the new mole inside CTU. This makes his whole sleeping with Chloe thing cast in a whole new light. Chloe is already brutally honest and awkward as it is..I can only imagine that therapy bills this is going to ring up for the CTU insurance company. Cause let's face it--even if we find out Spencer really did like Chloe, she will always wonder--was he using me for information. And I loved his attempted defense of--well, she's crazy cause we slept together and now she's feeling spurned. Yeah, we cut through that in about five seconds flat. I'm glad to see that didn't drag out his interrogation. Also, I kept talking to the TV and saying, "Tell him you'll have Jack come interrogate him." Seriously, you tell me Jack is gonna come question me and I'll tell you pretty much everything you want to know. Cause Jack has pretty much no rules to how he interrogates a suspect. And you'd think that'd be some kind of urban legend around CTU headquarters . Of course, when Jack does come in at the end, it takes all of three seconds before Spencer is spilling what he knows to Jack.
Speaking of Spencer--I think CTU needs to reconsider who's running background checks on new employees. Seems like every year we've got some new mole or security threat in there....
Meanwhile, Jack is kicking behind and taking names. In five hours, he's gone from a man on the lam to being the number one suspect in the assignation of his friend and former president and now he's back as the CTU golden boy. He's got level two access, but how long before that's bumped up to super Jack Bauer clearance. I'm betting about ten minutes becuase dammit, Jack is gonna need it. And he's even going so far as to say--well, you know what? I am going after the president's chief of staff since he's in on the conspiracy. And no one at CTU blinks an eye...oh, it's just Jack and he doesn't work for us anymore since he's supposed to be dead. Now, I didn't watch the previews for next week (FOX tends to give away too much in them) and so I have no idea what was teased. I'm going into next Monday's episode fresh and with no expectations--other than being entertained that is.
And back at Logan's camp, I love how we can get his wife committed to the Vermont rehab center in under forty minutes. They must have that place on speed dial.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/24/2006 07:42:00 AM |
Friday afternoon, I got a call from the Smyrna library, reporting that I had a book on reserve in for pick-up (I think I'm on speed dial since they call my house a lot!). Saturday morning, I was out and about running errands and stopped by to pick up the book.
I returned some books and then went to the desk to see what treasure had come in. I had a suspicion of what it might be since last time I'd looked, I was first in line for only one book on my reserve list. But since said novel wasn't supposed to hit the street until Tuesday, I wasn't getting my hopes too far up.
The librarian scanned my card (alas, it was not the cute new woman who works at the reference desk!) and then went off in search of my treasure. She came back a few minutes later with two items--a DVD of Cinderella Man and a book with a mostly white dust jacket. She plopped them onto the counter and--lo and behold!--my wildest dreams had come true.
Yes, it was the new Stephen King book, Cell. Yes, it was in before it hit the streets (I stopped by a book store Saturday just to check and be sure I wasn't dreaming). And yes, I was reading it before it came out. I felt almost like some kind of book royalty as I got it. I wanted to run through the library and declare that I had the book before anyone else did and ha, ha, I was going to start reading it that very day. Thankfully, common sense (and the desire to not have cute reference desk lady remember me as that guy) returned and I didn't.
So, yes, I've got the new book and yes I've started reading it. And yes, it's good.
And yes, this has set me back on my 12 step program to overcoming my book addiction. But it's so worth it.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/23/2006 02:09:00 PM |
Battlestar Galactica: Ephiphanies
I've been thinking about this week's episode of Battlestar Galactica pretty much since it faded to black last Friday evening. This week's episodes and its events--well, one event in particular--have been rolling around in my conscious and subconsious mind all weekend. If you think about it and you saw the episode, you probably won't have to guess which plot point I had a big issue with.
Let me warn you that if you've taped the latest episode or somehow haven't seen it yet, this is your last chance to turn back.
OK, still with me?
So, this week it's an episode focusing of Roslin and her illness. Over the course of this season, we've seen that Roslin's attempts to hold the cancer at bay or postpone the inevitable are slowly, but sadly failing. The whole cancer fight takes on a more bittersweet note in light of the affection that now-Admiral Adama showed her in the waning moments of last week's episode. It seems as if this is the exact wrong time for Roslin to die--things are moving with Adama, she is comfortable with her role as president and she's learning how to wield that power effectively. She's become the leader the colonies need and since we all know Baltar is one make-out session with Six away from going completely crazy, her dying now and putting Baltar in charge would be a really, really bad idea. But, unfortunately, life doesn't always work out like that and as we start out, Roslin has entered into the last few days of her life..
It's interesting to see that in her final few days of life, Roslin makes some hard choices. She makes the executive decision that allowing Helo and Boomer's human/Cylon child to be born wouldn't be in the best interests of the fleet and orders the pregnancy terminated. We also see flashbacks to her life on Caprica before the attack when she put the president of the colonies in an awkward position by negotiating with the teacher's union (apparently they're a bit more violent there than they are here, though give our teachers a few more years and they may be there) and seeing Baltar with Six, making out on the town square. Now, this does raise a huge continuity error in that Batlar and Six were hanging out at his house on the day of the attack, but I do wonder if this was Roslin's memory putting things together for her. We've seen she has a natural mis-trust of Baltar, so it could be her mind's way of piecing together information to re-affirm or support what she thinks or feels in her gut--that Baltar is up to more than he lets on. Indeed, her note to him that he opens and reads confirms this (kind of a moment out of classic Trek's "The Tholian Web" in a way).
Ironically, that big honkin' continuity error isn't what bugged me so much and kept my mind pondering this episode all weekend long. You'd think that would be what would have me jumping up and down, declaring "Shennanigans!" over and over at Ron Moore, but it wasn't.
No, what had me delcaring "Shennaingans" is the magical cure for Roslin. Turns out the Cylon-baby's blood has some element to her that can magically cure Roslin. I was so just thrown by this development that I decided to download and listen to Ron Moore's podcast before I typed up my thoughts on this episode. (I tend to not listen to them until after I write up my thoughts to avoid any influence or bias of others about the episode). In his podcast, Moore addresses this--he says he doesn't feel as if they cheated but that this was earned. I'm glad he does because I really don't. Maybe I need to go back and watch season two again, but it doesn't seem like this magic cure out of left field was really all that well established within the show's continuity. Which is a shame, since Galactica usually does a great job of setting things up like this. Don't get me wrong--I did not want to see Roslin die, but I really feel as if this was a last minute, out of left field way to cure her cancer. I won't say resolve the storyline because I think we've got some more potential here--since now that Roslin is not going to die now, what does this do to the prophecies of a dying leader she's embraced? Ron Moore addresses this question is his podcast a bit so I have a feeling it's going to come up as the season progresses.
I hate to say it, but that part marred what was, otherwise, a very good episode of Galactica. The new Cylon sympathisers in the fleet were interesting and Baltar's continued descent into crazy-town was nicely done. Interesting note of dialogue: mental Six comes back after being gone for "several weeks" I loved seeing the scenes where Six is grabbing his tie in the hallways in Galactica as wandering crew members go by, giving Baltar funny looks for acting so out of it. I have to say that when the truth about him does come out, there's going to be a lot of head slapping and people saying, "I should have known becuase..."
And to show how continuity can be done right, we have the return of the nuclear warhead into play. Baltar sends it to Pegasus Six, who is now leading the rebel cause on board Cloud Nine. Apparently, Baltar wants to be appreciated and have the respect of his peers, which he doesn't. Even Starbuck just used him as a substitute for Lee back in "Kobol's Last Gleaming." Seems as if the only people who have embraced Baltar and strokes his ego (among other things) are the Cylons. Hence why he seems to find himself more and more compelled to betray humanity and help out the enemy.
So, apart from one glaring thing, the rest of this episode was pretty darned good. I have a strange feeling we're setting up some things for the end of the season--esp. the plotline of the movement within the fleet to embrace the Cylons and stop the war.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/23/2006 10:19:00 AM |
A pysychologist in England has declared today, Jan 23rd, as the most depressing day of the year. He used some kind of complex formula that takes into account the fact that the holiday bills are rolling in, the weather and the fact that it's a long stretch until the next long weekend as some of the factors contributing to this day being the most depressing of the year.
Now, I suppose that I could go all gloom and doom about this and give in to the depression. But you know, despite all these depressing stats mentioned, I still can find a few random things to be positive about in the world. Saturday night, the Vols played a phenomeonal game against Florida, upsetting the then-number-two-and-going-for-number-one Gators before a sold-out, rocking crowd at Thompson Boling Arena. Simply an awesome sight to see and man, Bruce Perl is really just doing a great job as coach. Last week, Pat Summit got her 900th win as the coach of the Lady Vols and tonight goes for 901 with a one vs two match-up against Duke. There's new episodes of 24, Lost and Battlestar this week. Also, should the day go just OK, I've still got a bit of leftover birthday cake and ice cream at home.
OK, sure these aren't life-shattering, world-changing events of happiness but as Sheryl Crow once wisely said, "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad." So, while this may be the most depressing day of the year for some, I'm going to try and buck the trend and at least have a positive outlook for a bit. And hey--if the wonderful traffic in Nashville couldn't suck the positive spirit of the morning, I think we're off to a pretty good start.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/23/2006 07:34:00 AM |
It's Friday and as we all count down hours to the end of the work week, here are some humorous 24 related lists to hopefully bring a smile to your face.
First up: Top 30 Facts about Jack Bauer
My favorite: Jack Bauer does not sleep. The only rest he needs is what he gets when he's knocked out or temporarily killed.
Next up: Things You Will Never Hear Jack Bauer Say
My favorite: "I want to be in Charge of Secret Santa This Year"
I will warn you...some of the things are laugh out loud funny, so be warned that your co-workers might hear you and think you're up to something...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/20/2006 12:41:00 PM |
I'd like to thank everyone in the blogsphere who dropped by and wished me a happy birthday yesterday. A special note of thanks to all of you who put a link in your blog to send traffic and well wished my way. I really appreciate it. Y'all helped make my b'day very special to me and sometimes it's nice to be reminded how blessed I am to have so many friends.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/20/2006 10:32:00 AM |
Ticket to Lady Vols vs Vandy game: $20.50
Parking for game: $5.00
Dinner at Cheeseburger Charlie's before the game: $7.00
Witnessing Pat Summit's 900th win in person: Priceless
Congratulations to Pat Summit for setting the standard of excellence for women's college basketball for 30 plus years now. It was an honor to be in attendance last night to witness the Tennessee Lady Vols win their 900th win for the head coach. After the game, Summit gave credit to the players and coaches over the years who have helped make this possible. As always, Pat shows she's a class-act and a superb representative of what I hope all of UT's athletics programs, coaches and players would strive to be.
The game itself was a good one. Vandy came out early, fired up and I admit I was a bit concerned when we got in early foul trouble (poorly called game by the way when all our players had to do was breath on Dee Davis to get a foul!) and Vandy got up by 14. But the Lady Vols cut the deficit to five at the half and then roared back for a monster second half, powered by some awesome defense and timely shooting. Like I said--a great game.
The crowd was pretty much 50/50. I saw a lot of orange in Memorial Gym and I will give the Vandy fans credit--they were gracious and kind. Yes, they were enthusiastic, but they were never rude. (Walking to Memorial Gym, one fan in a Vandy car rolled down their window and yelled "Go Vandy!" at my orange and white....but hey, I don't blame y'all for having some enthusiasm. It's a rivallry game, after all!) I've been to a couple of away games and pulled for the visiting team and last night's game was one of the most pleasant I've had. Of course, I was lucky that I sat in section of largely UT fans and was near a large contingent of Lady Vols supporters. In fact, during the game, I tried to behave in the first half but my natural UT enthusiasm took over as we went on the run to close out the first half. At halftime, one of the women next to me said to me, "Son, if you need to cheer for the Lady Vols louder and more, you go right ahead. We'll be with you." So, we did and the game turned around. I figured Pat and company were worried I hadn't made it and once they heard me cheering, they relaxed a bit more. Becuase, as we all know, it's all about me.
I did find it amusing that there were times when the Lady Vols fan were louder than the Vandy cheers. And there were a few times when the choruses of "De-Fense!" were loud enough to possibly disrupt the rhythm of the Lady Commodores offense and create some much-needed turnovers for UT.
Fun game and it sets up a huge showdown Monday night with number one UT vs number two Duke. Game is on ESPN2 and I hope its a showcase for all that is good and great about college athletics.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/20/2006 09:17:00 AM |
Yep, it's my big b'day! I am now officially celebrating the fourth anniversary of my 29th birthday (that's 33 in case you're mathmatically challenged like me).
At the Middle Tennessee bloggers meet-up the other day, I hinted that I was going to shamelessly beg for comments and b'day wishes for the big day. Yes, I have no shame, though I won't be purchasing any celebrity's kidney stones any time soon, thank you!
Actually, I was hoping y'all would do one small thing for me on this big day. See, a while ago, I got a Frappr! map and so far, I've only had three people locate themselves on the map--and one of them is me! So, if you'd like to stop by and add yourself to the map and make me feel a little more loved, I'd be grateful.
Big plans for the day? Well, I hear the Pride of the Southland pep band is coming to Nashville to play a few choruses of Rocky Top just for me. OK, so in order to justify the expense the University had to announce it as the Lady Vols coming to town to take on the Lady Commodores. But come on, we all know it's so I can hear my favorite band playing my favorite song on my big day. I've got a ticket for the game and will be there this evening cheering for the orange and white. Can't wait!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/19/2006 12:25:00 PM |
So, it's my birthday--a time to reflect on the past year and who I am, where I've been, what I've become and to ponder where this wacky journey called life might take me in the next year.
But I doing all that pondering, not one of these things came to mind about...
(begin Rob Sterling voice) Submitted for your approval (end Rob Sterling voice)
Tip of the hat to Busy Mom for this...
- Big Orange Michael can grow up to three feet in a 24 hour period.
- Bees visit over three million flowers to make a single kilogram of Big Orange Michael!
- If you break Big Orange Michael, you will get seven years of bad luck.
- Most bottles and jars contain at least twenty-five percent recycled Big Orange Michael.
- 99 percent of the pumpkins sold in the US end up as Big Orange Michael.
- In his entire life, Big Orange Michael will produce only a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey!
- The blood of mammals is red, the blood of insects is yellow, and the blood of Big Orange Michael is blue!
- Only one person in two billion will live to be Big Orange Michael!
- Europe is the only continent that lacks Big Orange Michael!
- Big Orange Michael cannot burp - there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in his stomach.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/19/2006 12:18:00 PM |
Lost: The Hunting Party
"The Hunting Party" feels like a big episode of Lost. But I'm wondering if that feeling of this is a big episode is a deceptive one. I mean, yes, we finally had a confrontation and conversation between the Others and some of the castaways, but did we really learn anything new or different. In fact, in the long run, did we just have a lot of suspicions confirmed. The Others consider this their island and they see our heroes as intruders. I suspected that but now we have that confirmed. And I had to suspect that the Others were not happy about losing the bunker when Desmond was forced to abandon it when Jack, Locke and company found what was down the Hatch. But now we get some idea of why they might be so happy--I suspect our heroes stumbled across a cache of weapons. As we've seen with the other hidden rooms on the island, it seems as if supplies and other things are stored in various places. But are there specific rooms for specific items--in this case, our heroes found the weapons store and now the Others are scrambling since their supplies are now limited to what they have on hand. That would explain "Zeek's" interest in the surrender of the weapons by Locke, Jack and Sawyer.
I do think this episode felt huge becuase a lot of stuff was unfolding on the island. After a lot of early season episodes establishing the tailies, we are finally moving forward and getting back to the original cast that we all knew and loved. Interesting that the triumbrant of Jack, Locke and Sawyer would all be the ones to go out looking for Michael. It's almost like you've got some kind of strange Kirk/Spock/McCoy vibe building here, though I'd argue that not one of them is quite the established leader/head of the trio that Kirk was. Jack seems to reluctantly accept his role as leader of this group, though I wonder how much of that comes from who he is and how he leads and the fact that he's the only trained medical professional in the group. In a lot of ways, he's been forced to become a leader because he's the doctor on the island.
We did get some intereting tid-bits. Locke knows that Sawyer's name isn't Sawyer. Jack lets slip that he knows Sawyer loves Kate. And at one point, Locke is ready to pack it up and head home becuase he doesn't think the group has the right to tell Michael he can't go looking for Walt. I still suspect the Others lured Michael into the jungle to bring out some of the rest of the group. Was it to reveal themselves and tell them to stay away? And do the Others really think that this group is going to be so complacent? Do they really believe deep down that by telling Jack and company to not come after them and to stay on their side of the island that they're going to do it? The Others seem to know a lot about the group and the dynamics and I can't really see how they think telling them to just leave them alone is going to keep Jack from coming after them or that natural curiosity won't take over.
But maybe this is their plan. If their plan is to create dissent and separate the group, it may be working--despite Jack's great idea to create and train an army.
In the flashbacks, we find out more about Jack, who I think is the writing staff's favorite character to do flashbacks for. I think part of this is that Matthew Fox cut his teeth on primetime melodrama with Party of Five, so he can do these scenes with no difficulty and make them feel authentic. Or maybe it was predicated on the fact that everyone wondered what happened to Julie Bowen's Sarah and they could get her in for a guest spot during this time and so they went with it. In looking at the storyline, I have to admit was fairly much predictable. Jack is called upon to do a surgery that is risky--but then again so was Sarah's. Jack is spending way too much time at the hospital while his marriage crumbles. Jack is attracted to hot daughter of his patient, even kissing her when the surgery fails and the father dies. Jack confesses to Sarah, who was already leaving him anyway. Tears are shed and Sarah makes the point of the whole Jack backstory for this time--Jack is all about saving people. Once he's saved them or fixed what's broken, he doesn't really know how to related to them. Interesting to see that the kiss between Jack and Gabriella and Jack and Kate was similiar. Indeed, I'd even say the two women have similiar appearances which may explain why Jack doesn't pursue things with Kate--a sense of guilt over what happened with Sarah.
So, Jack wants to fix things. He wants things in a certain harmony. Now, I found the way we got there a bit predictable, but there were some good ideas brought up along the way that I hope we'd see addressed. One is Jack's reputation as a miracle worker. That is what brings Gabriella and her father to him. I'd love to see more flashbacks that maybe deal with that issue. It's one of those unintended consequences that could make for some interesting character stories as the series progresses. The other is what led to the downward spiral of Jack and Sarah. How'd they go from the couple we saw in flashbacks earlier to the cold, barely talking couple in the flashbacks we saw now? I do know that with Julie Bowen being on Boston Legal, this complicates the abilty to tell more stories with Sarah, but I think that this is a storyline that could and should be developed, should they be able to get her back on the show.
Like I said, this episode feels like it's a big one. But it's a deceptive thing. I'm not sure if it was a big one or we just had a lot of confirmation of things I'd suspected all along. I will say that it has put some things in motion that could have some big pay off in the upcoming episodes.
But give "The Hunting Party" credit. Real or imagined, we had some forward steps of the storyline. And when Zeek called out in the darkness to the group, I sat up and was really paying more attention. Those two things alone re-energized me on Lost and really make me look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/19/2006 08:58:00 AM |
This must just be my day for scratching my head and going--huh?
So, the Vols are taking on in-state rival Memphis this evening in basketball. The Vols are 11-2 overall, 2-1 in SEC play and could crack the top 25 if we keep playing well. Oh yeah, we also beat Texas on their court by 20 back in December. Memphis is the number four team in the land and has shown the potential to be a great team come post-season tournament time.
So why oh why is this game not on TV?
I can get that when the schedule came out pre-season that ESPN and company might not want to carry the game. But now that the game has more potential than it originally did, why has no one picked it up? (I'm thinking of FOX Sports SouthEast here or CSS here!) I mean, if we can get Kentucky taking on every cupcake on the schedule on regional TV why can't we at least get this game that has the potential to be very good and, at the least, a very entertaining game? Surely FOX SS has the ability to pick up and drop games on the fly.
I bet if it was Kentucky playing, this game would be on national TV and Dick Vitale would be there...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/18/2006 03:26:00 PM |
I was surfing blogs via the Nashville is Talking blogroll, when I found this plea on Jane's Blog. She said it better than I could, so I'm borrowing her words:
A good friend of mine recently was blessed with the birth of a new son, Dalton, back in November. The little guy was born with trisomy 21 (down syndrome) and a severe heart defect (missing a wall). Sometime in March, he will undergo open heart surgery to build a wall and some valves in his heart. His mom and dad are totally prepared for this daunting task, but ask for your thoughts and prayers.
My friend's brother-in-law, a surfing youth minister, named Dave has created a MySpace account for Dalton to spread the word of the mission - to gather strength through prayers and educate others about the disability and how it can affect anyone at any time. Dave has issued a challenge to anyone he knows, to begin growing a beard between now and Feb. 1 in honor of Dalton. The concept is that every time you think you want to shave it off, you think and pray about Dalton, his impending challenge and others afflicted with similar disabilities
Visit Dalton's MySpace! This little fellow could all the friends in the world.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/18/2006 10:59:00 AM |
I'm not sure which I find more disturbing here--the fact that William Shatner would think it's a good idea to sell his recently passed kidney stone or the fact that there was someone out there who would pay $25,000 for it!
I'll give you the money went for a good cause--Habitat for Humanity. But I'm still struck by the thought--why the hell would you want to own the man's kidney stone?!?
Don't get me wrong--I love original Star Trek and when it comes to captains of the Enterprise, Kirk is the man. But I guess I'm just not that big a fan since I think I'd be happy to settle for an autograph or maybe a picture with Shatner....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/18/2006 09:38:00 AM |
The proposed downtown ballpark for the Sounds seems to be one of those hot-button topics these days. Last night was the second of three votes on the bill required to approve the deal for a new stadium. The bill passed, though it looked for time that the bill might be tabled to the next Metro Council meeting. Passing this time, the bill must pass a third reading in two weeks and from the indications on the radio, the bill is one vote short of passing.
For a deal that seemed to be a slam dunk a few months ago, this one has certainly become controversial in a big hurry.
Honestly, I don't see the downside to building a stadium downtown. It would bring in some revenue during the summer, it would stimulate business and it would be a good use of the land. I have tried to find a downside to the whole deal and I'm just not seeing one. Of course, I'm a sports fan, so the idea of having a nice minor league ballpark downtown where families could actually afford to take in a game every once in a while doesn't sound like all that bad an idea to me. I'm all for encouraging the next generation of sports fans.
In reading about the objections and listening to the debate on the stadium, I've heard that several council members said they still had questions about the stadium. But from what I gather these are rather vague questions because not even the council members who have them can put them into words. And I do feel the plight of the Metro workers who haven't got a raise in two years, but let's be honest--if the stadium doesn't pass, do you think that will mean you get a raise instead? I think it's comparing apples and oranges really. A good bit of the stadium is being backed by several banks in the area, so it's not like there is some huge fund that is for the stadium that would be used to give the workers the raises they deserve. Also, I have to say that having the stadium come in, might stimulate some spending which would raise the tax revenue and might lead to the raises these workers deserve.
The Tennesseean has a poll this morning that asks if you think the stadium in a good idea. As of this posting, 78.2% say yes while 15.8% say no and the rest are not sure. I feel certain that number will change as the day goes along and more people vote in the poll.
I think the stadium is a great idea. I've been to a few games at Greer and while it's servicable, it's not great. I've worked for a couple of minor league teams during my high school and college years and I've been to a couple of the minor league ballparks around the country. I see Greer and I go--how is it that a city like Nashville has such a substandard ballpark?
Last year the Sounds won the Pacific Coast league. It'd be a shame to now lose the team due to them not having the facility to play in. Which is what could happen is this bill fails.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/18/2006 08:01:00 AM |
I was fortunate enough to be driving home last night right as the light rain changed over to snow and all of Nashville went totally insane. I imagine the internal monologue went something like this.....
Wow, that rain sure is pretty and...wait a minute..that's snow! Snow! Holy cow! I suddenly need bread, milk, beer and some videos! I'd better rush to my nearest grocery shopping establishment and pick up all these vital items! Oh look, that guy in the new Honda is actually driving safely and not following right on the bumper of the person in front of him in case we have to suddenly stop. He must be reserving that area of road for me so I can get to the grocery and video stores faster. That sure is kind of him! Let me pull over there right NOW!OK, so maybe that's not exactly how it went, but I have a feeling it's about how it went.
And I will give you that once I got home and didn't have to contend with the insanity of driving, the snow coming down was beautiful. I will also admit that I was worried during Scrubs when they came on and said there would be "no significant accumulation." Yeah, that said that back in Knoxville before the Blizzard of '93. I had visions of two-feet of snow and being off work, relaxing in front of the TV with a nice fire blazing and watching DVD box sets for a couple of days. Alas, it turned out to not be and it was icy enough to be dangerous for a while but it melted when the sun came up...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/18/2006 07:40:00 AM |
Saturday afternoon at the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcasters Meet-Up, one of the many topics of discussion was the Rocky Top Brigade. Gunner and I are both members and we discussed the good old days when we had the Volunteer Tailgate Party and the sense of community. Well, apparently, Cathy from Domestic Pyschology was there in spirit because yesterday she started up a new mailing list for the RTB. You can join at the link below if you want! Sign up! It'll be fun!
Click to join rockytopbrigade
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/17/2006 03:16:00 PM |
24: Day Five, 9 - 10 a.m., 10 - 11 a.m.
I have to give 24 a lot of credit--I don't think I've quite had my stomach in that big a set of knots over a suspenseful TV show since the Vols took on Alabama early this year. (I got close with the Redskins vs Philly game and the Skins vs Tampa Bay game a few weeks ago, I will admit). Especially the 10 to 11 a.m. hour of day five. As the events unfolded, I was literally talking to my television saying, "You guys at CTU can get Jack's message that it's a trap any time now!" and getting more and more frustrated that they weren't getting it or we weren't getting any indication that they were going along with the plan. For a while, I thought maybe Curtis and company were in a different entry location and setting up the terrorists to all be gunned down in a brutal, horrible trap that CTU so often loves to run.
But, then Sean Austin's Lynn McGill shows up and, thankfully being anal retentive pays off for the show. Without ever having met Jack, Lynn smells something fishy and figures out the message Jack is sending just in the nick of time--just as earlier in the 9 a.m. hour, Chloe sent over the code to detonate one of the terrorists harnesses just in time to save Derek. Those are just two of those white-knuckle, digging your fingernails into the palm of your hand suspenseful moments that 24 excels at. Now, I will often complain about the complete lack of internal logic from the show and I know that I and others have wondered--just why do we put up with this? I think these two sequences showed me why I put up with the nitpicky things that would drive me nuts on other shows--because 24 delivers suspenseful, entertaining moments like those two more often than not. Sure, the set-up may at times be absurd, but damn if more often than not the writers don't make it all payoff and worth the effort.
I remember a friend of mine said back during season one that before each new epiosde, he had to take a Valium or two before and after each episode to help him relax. I have to wonder how he felt about two nights and four hours like we got here.
But despite all that, I do have to wonder--OK, now what? I hope we haven't gone top-heavy on plot, drama and suspense this early in day five only to see things lag a bit now. So far, Jack has flown a helicopter, escaped the FBI and the Secret Service, stolen a car, defeated terrorists and is now in CTU custody. Most of us would just call it a day at this point, but not Jack. He's got 20 hours left of twists and turns--and he probably won't be helped at all by President Logan.
Logan seems to be a very self-serving politician. The numerous references to his legacy and his place in history last night and in the first two hours go to show this. We rarely hear him refer to the plight of the hostages so much as how what could happen will reflect on him and his presidency. Interesting that the man is quick to assign blame when things are going wrong, but quick to take credit when things go so well. I hope that if they're setting Logan up for a fall that it's a big one. Looking at the timeline of the 24 universe, I have to wonder how much longer does Logan have in office. Is he a lame duck? Does he know that? Is he coming up to re-election (or in this case actually being elected to the job) and he knows this, hence why he feels he has to step up and have something to build a campaing around? And does he look weak to the American people and the world still for running and hiding during day four? And did this affect why he cut off David Palmer from the White House? Thinking on the timeline, season three was in the heart of the campaign, season four was a year or so later and now season five is 16 months beyond that. So, the idea that Logan now has to consider if and how he might be re-elected is a valid one.
And I know I didn't comment on it yesterday, but Jean Smart is just doing a great job as Mrs. Logan. Using every trick in the book to get what she wants and needs. Her desperation to have Logan believe and listen to her about Palmer's phone call. It begs the question of what did Palmer know and how? And how many other secrets are in his memoirs? Will that be the key file and evidence we end up chasing later in the day?
Right now, it's all speculation. We've had a taste of what's to come. If 24 can continue to deliver in the promise of these first four episodes, day five may be the best day of 24 yet...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/17/2006 01:45:00 PM |
Dear Peyton Manning bashers,
I'm glad the entire Colts team could lose Sunday afternoon so that you could come out of the woodwork to bash Peyton Manning for any and every little thing that went wrong not only in the game but also in the world in the past couple of years. As popular as Manning is both on the field and off, I seriously doubt he had anything to do with the hanging chads in Florida nor do I think he was the one who gave Bush the intelligence documents to invade Iraq and which have now mired us down in this war. But, you know since, according to most of you, Peyton has the powers of Superman, Batman, Spider-man and the pyschic ability of Dionne Warwick.
Last time I checked, it took an entire team to win or lose a football game. So, while Peyton does deserve a share of the blame for Sunday's loss, it's not entirely on him. Also, those of you who come out and shout, "Oh he can't win a big game" let me remind you that he led his team to 13 straight wins this year, including the Patriots in Foxboro. Then if you want to shout out, "Oh but he never beat Florida" let me also point out that in his tenure for the Big Orange, Peyton led the team to a winning streak over Georgia, we ended a losing streak to Alabama and then won two more and he won an SEC title. The team also beat Ohio State when they had a certain Heisman Trophy winner named Eddie George in the backfield. Let us also not forget that Peyton set a great example for college sports by staying his senior season at UT instead of taking the easy payday in the NFL. And off the field, Peyton is a class-act. He gives back to his community, he takes blame for losses and he spreads the acclaim when they win. He's the type of player you'd want to have on your team.
And maybe that's what all this comes down to--he's not on your team.
But let me also point out some things--John Elway didn't win a Super Bowl until late in his career. Jim Kelly made it to four straight Super Bowls and lost all four. Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl. But yet, all of these players are highly regarded and respected. They were in their careers and after. Now, I'm not saying Peyton's career is over, but how about we get over this bashing of him?
So how about let's turn off the bashing of Manning and turn the harsh spotlight of what is wrong with the NFL to such players as the entire Oakland Raiders organization and Pacman Jones. Those are the guys who deserve bashing--not a class act like Peyton Manning.
Big Orange Michael
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/17/2006 07:31:00 AM |
Saturday afternoon was the monthly meeting of the Middle Tennessee Bloggers and Podcasters group in the big city of Smyrna. For the first time in months, the group had a meeting that didn't conflict with a UT football game, so I was able to come out to Espresso Joe's to meet with some of middle Tennessee's finest and funniest bloggers.
TN Girl decided to visit the group all the way from the Rivergate area on Saturday. She came down early and we met for lunch at the Famous Chinese Buffet in Smyrna. No--seriously, it's called the Famous Chinese Buffet. I am not being sarcastic here (I know, it's hard to tell sometimes). After having a pleasant lunch, I realized--crap, we have five minutes to get to the meeting. Luckily this is Smyrna and we were able to make it to the meeting in five minutes.
As I drove up to Espresso Joe's, I nearly ran over some guy who was standing in the middle of a parking space. Ironically enough, it turned out to be Chip, also a blogger and/or podcaster. I didn't know this at the time, so I'd've felt bad had I run him down and he turned out to be a blogger. Actually, I'd've felt bad running him over because, well, my car is still relatively new and blood stains are hard to get out of a new paint job.
I went in and was greeted by Michelle of This is Smyrna, TN and Ivy of Bad, Bad Ivy. I've met Michelle in person before, but I'd never had the priviledge of meeting Ivy. Chip came back and said he knew from my car it was me (and I've not even got the new UT decals for the windows yet!). I apologized for almost killing him, but he seemed pretty cool about it. Funnily enough, the guy working the counter at Espresso Joe's also has a blog, though it's over on MySpace. I think Michelle went by and commented on it.
Now, since the Redskins were playing the evil Seahawks later that day (boo, the northwest!), I had on my Redskins shirt. But to confuse everyone, I had on my new Titans jacket I got at Wal-Mart on clearance a few weeks ago. I have to admit I was self-consious going to the meeting as last week, I was cleaning my glasses when I heard a snap. I looked down and my frames were broken--the portion that holds the lens in place. So, I had to go with my back-up pair that are fine as the prescription hasn't changed much in the past dozen years but they look like the ones the dad wore on Undeclared. Yeah, they're a little big. I've got new ones on order with new super-cool, smaller frames, but I was still feeling pretty self-aware going in as if I had a sign on that said--dude, I've got the biggest glasses EVER!
Michelle revealed she'd been at Espresso Joe's since 1:30 (it was now 2) and was apparently doing some experiment wherein she wanted to find out how much caffeine she could consume before a)her account ran out of cash or b)her head exploded. I'm not saying Michelle is addicted, but seriously, there are 12 step program that might help you out, Michelle. I only say this because I care. As we sat there and translated our sites into hip-hop via Gizoogle, a couple came in. Now, we were kind of loud and boistorous, cutting up and having a good time. Ivy found it amusing that Gazoogle was having a field day with stories about her car. Someone asked me something about my b'day, which is coming up and I stated I was going to the Lady Vols game up at Vandy and suddenly from across the room comes a loud, "You must be Big Orange Michael." Since the person speaking wasn't pointing a gun or a tazer at me, I identified myself as such, even though I'd gone to a blogger meet-up incognito since I had on no orange.
We all looked over and the gentleman asked us if we were the bloggers. We said we were and it turned out to be Gunner and his wife Elizabeth whose blog is called Hare Lipped Frog. Gunner shared with us the story of how Hare Lipped Frog got its name because it's an unusual name. I also expressed how I hadn't consulted my inner seventh grader when I'd named my blog and if I wanted to shorten it, it was B.O. Michael, which I really think sends the wrong message when I'm commenting on other blogs. Ivy and Michelle came up with a different shortening of my screen identity, which generated quite a few chuckles...
So, anyway, hilarity ensued. We talked about a lot of random stuff from knitting to canning to the Rocky Top Brigade to why Ivy insists upon hard coding her other bloggers on her page when she could just get BlogRolling and life would be so much easier. We also talked about others who said they might come but couldn't and tried to come up with cool ways to get them to come out to the next meeting, which is set to take place on Feb 11th at 2 p.m. at Espresso Joe's in Smyrna.
Finally, about 3:15 I had to excuse myself so I could get home in time for kick-off and watch my mighty Redskins get screwed out of a game by bad officiating. (OK, I made that last part up...we lost, but I just wanted to see if anyone would comment on it or notice that I'd said that.)
I will admit, I was a bit nervous going into the meeting, but that wore off quickly. I was lucky that I'd already met Michelle in person before and so knew who to look for. Chip took pictures of everyone there and they're up on his site if you want to look. I promised to put links from my blog to everyone there and I hope y'all will go over and visit them, add them to your blogroll and say howdy. And while you're at it, set aside Feb 11th to come out for some coffee (if you're into that), conversation and to put faces with blogs.
And we did discuss bringing a microphone or two next time and making our very own, best of podcast right then and there. So, even if you can't attend, you could feel like you're there. But you know--it could be Memorex or it could be live. I can attest that if you come to the live meeting, Espresso Joe's has really good, rich brownies.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/16/2006 02:05:00 PM |