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Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Babylon Five: The Lost Tales
If you're a fan of Babylon Five, you've probably been counting down days until we get the arrival of Babylon Five: The Lost Tales, the first in what could be a series of direct-to-DVD adventures set in the universe of B5.

Now, I have to admit I was of two minds about this. As a B5 fan who watched the epic story unfold episode by episode for five seasons, I'm always glad to get to spend a bit more time in the B5 universe. That said, B5 was a show that had a definite beginning, middle and end point defined before the first frame of the show was committed to film. So, to go back and try to fill in gaps in the series didn't seem like a great idea (indeed, the weakest of the B5 movies "Thirdspace" suffers from this...trying to fill in a gap that wasn't really there).

So, when I heard there was a new series of direct to DVD movies coming out, I was both excited and wary. Excited because it was new B5, written and produced by the creator of the show. Wary that it might just be another attempt to get some more money out of an extremely profitable (at least in DVD sales) franchise by Warner Brothers. After all, since the series is over and done, it's not like there is going to be any new product to put out any time soon. And there's only so many times you can re-release the entire series on DVD.

Well, I've seen the first of the new Babylon Five: The Lost Tales and I've got to say, so far so good.

It's really two episodes in one--each a separate story, but both of them dove-tailing together. The common link is that it's the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Interstellar Alliance and various dignitaries are gathering on Babylon Five to celebrate. The stories here feature the familiar faces of President John Sheridan, Col. Lockley and Galen.

The first story is Lockley centered and finds the commander of B5 summoning a priest to the station. A worker in brown sector has been possessed by some type of demon and Lockley seeks the priest's help in figuring out how to deal with the demon. The story itself has some interesting ideas such as how once humanity ventures into space and finds the realms of heaven, that a general disillusionment with organized Christianity begins to develop. And how this demon possession could be a great boon to the faith and restore people to the pews is an interesting concept. But I wish the story had gone a bit more toward the exploration of faith and issues related to it such as the third season's "Passing Through Gethsemane" did in exploring the issue of forgiveness. And the resolution of the story is interesting with Lockley coming up with a third option and an interesting idea of why the demon possession has come to Babylon Five.

The second story features the familiar faces of Sheridan and Galen. Galen comes to Sheridan and shows him New York being destroyed by Centauri forces. In 30 years, a new ruler will ascent the throne, taking over for Vir (who we all know takes the throne once Londo passes away). This new emperor will determine that Centauri needs to become a galactic power again and last out at the one planet that can stand against them--Earth. Galen tells Sheridan that he (Sheridan) can prevent the tragedy. The third-in-line to the throne is aboard Sheridan's ship as they travel to B5. Galen arranges to create a way for the regent in training to be killed and prevent the future from occurring.

It's in this story that the movie feels most like B5. A lot of this has to do with how comfortable Bruce Boxlightner is playing Sheridan. But a bigger part of it is that this is what B5 did best--tell a good story. The dilemma Sheridan faces as he must make this hard choice is fascinating and it does lead to some great tension as he debates what he can and should do. It also feels like an organic long-term plot that could be played out and resolved over the course of this series of direct to DVD stories, should JMS choose to take it that direction. If he does, I think it'd be a satisfying story arc and one that would fit within the B5 universe we've come to know and love.

Visually, the effects are stunning. B5 was one of the first shows to use all digital effects and the technology has really jumped forward in the ten years since B5 wrapped up. To see the station digitally rendered using today's technology is breath-taking. And the jumps out of hyperspace are a treat as well.

So, if you're a Babylon Five fan, I recommend you pick this one up or Netflix it. If you're not a fan, I can't recommend the series enough. And I must say that it'd be best to leave this movie until you've seen most of the series run and some of Crusade, the attempted spin-off. If you've not seen those, very little of what you'll see here will make much sense.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/31/2007 09:03:00 PM | |
Monday, July 30, 2007
Star Trek XI release date

Star Trek XI will open Dec. 25. 2008.

So, wait...does this mean that if I want to see a midnight screening, I will have to leave my Christmas Eve midnight service early?

Labels:



posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2007 10:28:00 AM | |

August Happiness Challenge
I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I can't. It was initially the idea of the Pretty Purple Princess, who I can't seem to track down via this great powerful thing we call the Internet.

But, anyway...

For the past couple of years, each August, I've participated in the August Happiness Challenge. It's pretty simple really. Each day in August, you post about things that make you happy. (It doesn't have to be every day, but you get the idea).

In previous years, I've found it to be a great way to remind myself that there are positive things going on in my life, my community and the world. So, I'll be taking the challenge again this August and was hoping to get some of the rest of you to join in. If you're interested, leave a comment and let me know you're participating.

And as the Partridge Family theme song says, "Come on, get happy!"

Labels:



posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/30/2007 06:03:00 AM | |
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Eight Random Facts (Finally)

A couple of people have tagged me for this one, I believe. I know Tish and Logtar at least have and if you have and I've forgotten about you, I apologize. But you know, after posting 100 random things about myself, it's hard to come up with eight more...OK, well, eight more that are interesting

Anyway, here are the rules:
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

And away we go...

  1. I get up extremely early for work (we're talking 3 a.m. here most weekdays). And at this point in my life, I assume everyone knows this...which I know some of you do and some of you don't.
  2. I've only seen three movies in the theater this summer--Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3, The Simpsons Movie
  3. I've been outside the continental United States but never outside of the United States itself.
  4. I am now a big fan of bluegrass music.
  5. I've read the entire Bible from cover to cover several times. A couple of them were for Bible studies and a couple were on my own in my own personal journey.
  6. I participated in a spin-a-thon last weekend. Helped raise over a hundred dollars for a ministry in Cool Springs that tutors children after-school.
  7. I got a door prize for participating (talk about entering at the right time....I entered two minutes before they drew for prizes for that hour and won. I had no idea at the time)
  8. I still haven't used Twitter.
So, that's eight random things....and since I'm so far behind, I won't tag any of you. If you've not been tagged and want to join in, please feel free to do so.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/29/2007 06:30:00 PM | |

Blog Tips Meme
SciFi RanterGirl tapped me to play along with the latest meme. This was several days ago and I'm just now catching up...I know...the word you're looking for here is "slacker."

1. Look, read, and learn. *****
-http://www.neonscent.com

2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. *****
-http://www.bushmackel.com

3. Don't let money change ya! ***
-http://www.therandomforest.info

4. Always reply to your comments. ***
-http://chattiekat.com

5. Link liberally -- it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. **
-http://chipsquips.com

6. Don't give up - persistance is fertile. **
-http://www.velcro-city.co.uk

7. Give link credit where credit is due. *
-http://www.sfsignal.com

8. Never underestimate the power of a good looking blog. *
http://scifiranter.blogspot.com/

9. Write about things of interest to you and that you're passionate about.
www.bigorangemichael.blogspot.com

OK, I'm not going to tag anyone..but if you want to play, jump in.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/29/2007 06:08:00 PM | |
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Personality Test
Tip of the hat to I am (dis)enheartened with my Jetta for the link to the test.

Your Type is
ISFJ
IntrovertedSensingFeelingJudging
Strength of the preferences %
67121267

ISFJ type description by D.Keirsey
ISFJ type description by J. Butt and M.M. Heiss

ISFJ Career Choices Provides the list of occupations most suitable for your type taking into account the type formula and strength of the preferences. Based on a sample representing 40 most popular and high-demand occupations. Jung Career Indicator´┐Ż


Qualitative analysis of your type formula

You are:
  • distinctively expressed introvert
  • slightly expressed sensing personality
  • slightly expressed feeling personality
  • distinctively expressed judging personality
So, take the test and tell me where you fall....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/28/2007 07:43:00 PM | |

The Simpsons Movie
Caught a matinee of The Simpsons Movie this afternoon.

I have to admit when I heard they were doing a movie, I was worried it'd be nothing more than three episodes slapped together and passed off as a movie.

Thankfully, that isn't the case. Instead, what you get is (essentially) a super-sized episode of the series. The humor is pretty much throw everything at the wall and see what happens. For the most part, this works and there are a lot of good laughs. There are a few jokes and gags that miss the mark, but overall the hits to misses ration is quite good. (And they even get in a good jab at FOX, something the show does on a regular basis).

If you're a Simpsons fan, this one is a must-see. If you're not a huge fan, I still recommend it. It's fun and it's got a good ratio of jokes. Oh and make sure you stay until the credits are done rolling. You'll miss a few good jokes if you leave too early. (Plus, it only runs about 90 minutes so you might as well get your money's worth).

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/28/2007 07:14:00 PM | |
Friday, July 27, 2007
Bluegrass at the Ryman: Steep Canyon Rangers, Grascals, Mountain Heart
Last night was the final concert of the season for the Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman. I've really enjoyed the series this summer and it's been a pleasure to be introduced to so many great groups and to hear such a wide variety of bluegrass. To tell you how much I enjoyed it, I was hoping last night I'd win one of the three sets of tickets to the big bluegrass awards show that takes place later this year so I could hear some of these acts again (Cadillac Sky not withstanding).

The evening opening with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Best act of the evening and could be one of the top three or four acts of the entire series. They did a great set and then their encore number that was an acapella number. Just incredible. I went up to look into buying a CD but the crowd was stacked dozens deep to get up to the table. Also, most of their stuff is on their new CD that comes out in two weeks. I'll definitely be picking up one.

We had an intermission and I assumed we'd get Mountain Heart next. Instead, we got the Grascals. I was kind of surprised by this (I thought they were the bigger headliners...but maybe that's because I'd heard of them) but went with the flow. I will say this--everything I've heard about the Grascals and how good they are, they more than lived up to. One song in particular of "Me, John and Paul" was superb.

That said, the Grascals show wasn't nearly as enjoyable at the first set for one big reason--the fans of the mandolin player. One woman in particular, who sat about three rows behind us. Every time he did anything, she screeched in such a loud, piercing voice that is began to ruin the show. I almost began to dread that he'd show off or sing or look at the audience or smile for fear she's let out her loud war whoop that could, quite frankly, have peeled paint off the walls. I appreciate her enthusiasm and I honestly didn't mind that much the first two or three times she showed the enthusiasm. But the entire show--come on! Show some respect for your fellow audience members and maybe recall that you're at the Ryman, not a stadium or outdoor venue. I wasn't the only one bothered by her--a guy behind us had to move to get away from her and some people who sat near this section of Grascals fans were forced to move seats. Why you ask? Well, it appears the Grascals fans were only there for one thing--to hear their group. And so they talked through the entire first set of Steep Canyon Rangers. Loudly, apparently. I just find that a bit rude. You'd react negatively is someone talked loudly or ruined your enjoyment of the show by the group you were there to see, so could you not, maybe show the same respect to everyone else there?

I hate to say it, but a couple of fans took away a lot of my enjoyment of the overall set by the Grascals. And let me say again--they were great and I can see why they're so heralded and praised and respected.

Finally, we Mountain Heart, who were good but didn't do as much for me as the other two bands of the night.

Overall, the series was a great one at the Ryman. It turned me onto some new favorites in the music world and outside of a few hiccups, it was a great series of shows. I'm glad to hear it will be back next year and I'll definitely be getting another season ticket.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/27/2007 10:28:00 AM | |
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Not that I don't appreciate the rain...
I don't mean to sound like a whiny, petulant child but every time I've stepped out the door to head for the pool the past three days, it's immediately thundered.

In terms of my wanting to swim, it's been good the storms are short-lived and I've only had to adjust my work-out routine a little bit to get in some laps.

However, I do wish we could get a nice, long soaking rain (without thunder and lightning). It'd help with the drought and I could still do laps.

Because, after all, it's all about me...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/26/2007 11:48:00 AM | |
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Conversation with my nephew
Saturday evening, we had a big family gathering at my parent's house. Some cousins were in town and we decided to have a family dinner together and to catch-up a bit.

Let me just say that two of the things I love most in this world are a good meal and spending time with my family. So, combine the two and it's all great.

During dinner, I was sitting next to my nephew (he'd have it no other way and had told me long before we sat down I was eating with him) about his recent trip to the beach. I was asking him how he liked it when he looked up and me and asked, "How come you didn't go to the beach with me?"

I replied, "It was a trip for your family." (Meaning: his immediate family of he, sister and parental units).

He looked at me, a bit perplexed. Then he said, "You're my family. Next time I go to the beach, you have to come too."

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/24/2007 11:38:00 AM | |

Real crime or Scooby Doo episode?
I got nine of ten right.

I'm not sure if I should be proud of that fact or not....

Give it a try and let me know how you do.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/24/2007 08:36:00 AM | |
Monday, July 23, 2007
My Harry Potter 7 adventure
A couple of weeks ago, Amazon sent me this wonderful e-mail that said if I pre-ordered the latest Harry Potter book before a certain date, I'd get a $5 gift certificate to use sometime in August.

Since there are two new Doctor Who DVDs coming out in August and since it seems that it can be hit or miss as to whether or not they're easily available locally (they usually are, but gas is too high to spend much time or effort chasing them all across town), I decided to take advantage of the offer and use the five bucks toward the two new DVDs.

I read the instructions, placed my order and felt pretty satisfied with myself....

So, we get to Saturday. Saturday morning, I got up, worked and then cruised out to my favorite local hang-out for breakfast. I'd volunteered to be part of a spin-a-thon Saturday and after taking in enough calories to power myself spinning for at least three weeks (I love a good Southern breakfast!), I headed out. The spin-a-thon was at the Cool Springs Y and I headed over that way, hoping I'd digest enough to get on the bike. I'd signed up for a 10 a.m. slot becuase we were supposed to have some kind of instruction at that time. I got there early and passed a couple of bookstores.

I sighed. I wanted my new Harry Potter book. But I had visions of it arriving later that day and sitting patiently on my doorstep when I got home.

I got in, did some spinning, won a door prize and then headed up to the Maryland Farms Y to take advantage of the outdoor pool. Now, let me say this--the Maryland Farms outdoor pool is the Cadillac of Y swimming pools. First of all, they have five lanes dedicated to lap swimmers, which I love. Second of all, it's an Olympic sized pool so I can see just how in shape I really in and where I need to work to get in better shape using it. (Most indoor and outdoor pools have 25 meter lanes, about half the size and it's easy to get used to knowing you've got the wall to help you out ever 25 meters instead of every 50).

I changed, got in, did some laps and got out of the pool. It was a warm summer day so I sat on a deck chair for a bit, sipping some water and drying off in the warm sun. I had brought a book with me, but honestly I was in the mood for my new Harry Potter book and try as I might, I couldn't get really into the book I had with me.

I eventually got up and headed for home, visions of me sitting in my easy chair and reading a chapter or two dancing in my head.

Got home. No book on the doorstep. Checked the mailbox. Nothing.

Now, I'm starting to get worried. So, I fired up the Internet, logged onto Amazon and found....my stupid order hadn't been sent. It would arrive maybe sometime by the end of July. Now, I'd read all the instructions and followed them to get the book here on the day it came out. I sighed and wondered what to do. I got back into the car, went to Wal-Mart and found the book. I plunked down my cash for it, came home and cancelled my Amazon order, sending them a note of complaint about my order status.

Which this excursion had eaten up most of my time I had set aside for reading and while I did read about five pages, I didn't get very far on Saturday.

And I was kind of annoyed--I had a perfect time, by the pool and with great weather that was perfect for reading. And it was wasted. I passed at least three bookstores and several other places that I could have picked up the book on the way there. But for some reason, the Amazon system glitched.

Oh well...looks like I'll be paying a bit more for those Dr Who DVDs.

That said, I've read the first 200 pages of the book and so far, so good. If you've finished, don't tell me. I don't want to know!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2007 03:44:00 PM | |

More evidence we have too many lawyers.
Seems that David Ortiz isn't signing enough autographs and someone's suing.

Insert your own "lawyer" joke here.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/23/2007 10:54:00 AM | |
Friday, July 20, 2007
Bluegrass at the Ryman: Cadillac Sky and Ricky Skaggs
The penultimate week in the Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series and after last week's show, I knew this week would have to work hard to equal or top it.

And for the first act, it didn't look it. It was a new group from Texas called Cadillac Sky. Five guys who all came out in flightsuits and proceeded to play. They didn't look like your typical bluegrass band nor did they sound a lot like your typical bluegrass band. Now, I know there are some "new-fashioned" bluegrass bands out there and maybe this is one of them....but I will have to admit I didn't care much for their set at all. Let me say this--in isolated spots, you could tell they were all extremely musically talented. But as a band and a show, it left a lot to be desired. For one thing, I think they totally misjudged their audience--there have been acts that have joked around with the audience but all of the humor they attempted fell flat. And last week I said that Cherryholmes was high energy....and so were these guys. But they were high energy in the same way I'd expect a hair metal band to be high energy--jumping around, head-banging (to bluegrass?!?) and acting like the audience was one at a club where everyone had had a few drinks. I've got to say that Cadillac Sky has been my least favorite act I've seen in the series and I was in no rush to buy a CD. An indicator of how poorly received they were--no encore. First group this year to not get one.

But that negative taste in my mouth lasted about ten seconds into Ricky Skaggs' set. I'd not heard Skaggs before, but he came out and was superb. His group, Kentucky Thunder was great, highlighted by a fiddle player who lit it up. I thought his fiddle was in danger of bursting into flames a couple of times during the set--he was that fast and that good. The group played some new stuff, paid homage to tradition and even though the set was a long one, it felt like only a few minutes had passed before Skaggs was coming out for his ovation. Easily one of the top three or four shows I've seen at the Ryman this year in this series. And Skaggs was engaging, talking to the audience, cutting some jokes and you could tell having a great time.

Next week is the finale of the series with two headliners and an opening act. Since one of the acts is the Grascals, I bet this series goes out on a high note.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/20/2007 12:37:00 PM | |
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Welcome Back, Potter

What happens if you combine "Welcome Back Kotter" with "Harry Potter"?



posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/18/2007 08:22:00 AM | |
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Michael Vick indicted
Michael Vick has been indicted in the federal investigation into charges surrounding dog-fighting around his property.

ESPN had a report a few months ago (which I expect we'll see again now) that Vick is a big player in the world of dog-fighting.

So, now the interesting question becomes--what does the commissioner of the NFL do? He's already created a history of swift, severe punishment for those who have run-ins with the law. So, will the punishment for Vick be as swift and as harsh as the punishment for Adam Jones?

Should it be just as harsh? Or will Vick get some leniency since he's a "star" player in the league?

All I can say is--you know, you never hear about this kind of stuff happening around Peyton Manning...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/17/2007 06:36:00 PM | |

I'm declaring.
I've decided to run for the highest office in the land.

Before I do that, I'm officially changing my name to "None of the Above."

According to the AP, I am a shoe-in for office.....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/17/2007 08:27:00 AM | |
Monday, July 16, 2007
The Pick-Up Artist
Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of joining two attractive women for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Now, before all of you go and start getting too excited, both of these women fall into the category of "friends" and it looks like that's all it's ever going to really be.

So, we were sitting outside on the patio, enjoying dinner, drinks and conversations when one of the two women decided she wanted a cigarette. She didn't have any and looked over at the table next to us that was full of what looked like college guys. She stood up, went over and was able to obtain a cigarette from one of the guys as well as a light (like I said, she's attractive and from what I observed, it didn't take too much persuasion.)

She came back to our table and sat down, talking to us. I joked I appreciated her smoking since it helped the school systems now and we started to discuss how many cartons you can take across the border from outside of Tennessee before you get into trouble. (Actually, they'll just find you and assess the tax on you...but that's another story).

Suddenly, one of the guys from the other table had come over to ours, plopped down in the empty chair and started talking. He introduced himself to each of us. But let's be honest here--he was no more interested in my name and who I was than in man in the moon. He was here for one thing--to hit on the girl who'd bummed a cigarette from him.

So, I sat back and sort of observed the dynamic of the conversation. The guy was a bit on the tipsy side, admitting he'd drunk an entire pitcher of strawberry daquari himself (question ladies: is that too girly a drink to make a good first impression? I ask this since both of my friends were both drinking beer. I heard somewhere that sometimes what you drink or order can tell a woman a lot about you...dear heavens, is it any wonder that dating is so freakin' complicated?!?). He told us about his major and how much money he was sure to make in the near future.

Now, I found all of this amusing for a variety of reasons. One is that when I was in college, I thought asking about majors was a pretty decent ice-breaker myself. So, I've been in his shoes (though maybe not as confident as to just plop down at a table with a woman I hardly know and launch into my routine). But, I also knew that my friend was a couple of years older than he was and that she has a six-year old son. And you know, as I sat there and he kept bringing up how much money he was destined to make, I wanted my friend to drop either or both of these little details. Just to see the look on his face when it came out. Of course, that wouldn't be fair to the friend, because you could tell she was enjoying the flirting and the give and take.

It kept going a while with him begging both of my female companions to join he and his buddies at this local club next. There was going to be a great band. Oh he couldn't recall who they were mind you, but they were great. I also realize that if a giant hole had opened up in the earth and swallowed me, he'd not have noticed or care.

Eventually, one of his buddies started to talk to myself and my other dinner companion. We'd mentioned something about God's House being in Knoxville (Neyland Stadium to be exact) and he jumped in. We discussed UT football for a minute and then he apologize for his buddy because he was "a little drunk." We laughed it off and said he wasn't hurting anyone and it was fine.

We were finally able to head out. Dude did follow us out to ask the ladies one more time if they'd make an appearance at the club.

And then we all went our separate ways. I have no idea if they showed at the club or not. I'd be interested to know how the guy reacted if they did.....or if he even recalled who they were.

But hey, I got some a great deal of amusement out of it..and a good story. So, win-win.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/16/2007 07:42:00 PM | |

That should snarl traffic for hours....
According to Jim Cooper, President Bush will visit Music City on Thursday...

And we all know what that means...traffic will be a nightmare.

Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/16/2007 03:21:00 PM | |
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Why I love football
CSS repeated the classic (well, if you're a UT fan) 5 OT UT vs Bama game from 2003. For those of you who don't recall, that's the one the Vols won in the fifth overtime, after holding Bama out of the end on the final play of the fifth overtime.

As I watched some of the game this afternoon (including the entire overtime), I was reminded again of just how much I love football. In one of the first overtimes, the Vols are facing a fourth and nineteen. They make it, they can then look at getting in the end zone and keep the game going. They don't make it, game over and the evil empire wins. And even though I know how the game comes out and that it will all work out for the greatest college football team in the known universe, I still couldn't help getting the butterflies in my stomach as each team took a time-out and then the play went in motion. And the feeling of complete and utter euphoria when the Vols converted....sorry, but no other sport can duplicate that. And it's just a repeat, folks!

(Yes, I am terrible to watch a game with if I'm really into it....ask any member of my family or close friends who have been crazy enough to watch a game with me).

I felt this same thing a few weeks ago. The Y has the NFL Network and they were showing a re-air of the Titans vs Colts game here in Nashville last year. You know, the one that ended on a 60-freakin' yard field goal kick with about two seconds left and the Titans won. Yeah, that one. I watched it and even extended my time doing some cardio so I could see the end. And again, even though I knew how it would all end, I still felt that anxiety and then euphoria when Rob Bironas lined up and then made the big kick.

Great games...but they also bring back some memories of where I was when they aired. The UT vs Bama classic was the first week of my nephew's life and I remember telling him that UT would beat Bama to start his life on the right note and hopefully, they'd never lose to the Tide in his lifetime. (Alas, this turned out to not be true, but I think we can start a streak now so that he'll never REMEMBER a time the Vols lost to Bama. That'd be almost as good).

Ah, I love football. And just think--these were re-runs. I cannot wait for actual games to start up--games where I don't know the outcome and can be on the edge of my seat, rooting for my teams.

The first of September cannot get here fast enough!

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/15/2007 07:34:00 PM | |
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Bluegrass at the Ryman: Cherryholmes and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Two weeks ago, I was blown away by the bluegrass show at the Ryman. Great music, great acts and a great time.

This week's show topped it.

The double-bill featured two great bluegrass bands. The opening act was Cherryholmes and then we were treated to Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.

I heard Doyle's group last year and had high expectations for this year's performance. And, just like last year, Doyle's show was great. He and the band all had a great time on stage and it's interesting to see the various personalities. The give and take of good-natured barbs was a show's highlight as was Doyle and company's rendition of "Four Walls." There were three new members to the band but listening, you wouldn't have known that a couple of them were performing as part of the group for the first time publically.

But the treat of the night was Cherryholmes. I can see why the bluegrass and the music world is so in love and abuzz for this group. The group is a family who is extremely talented. And the thing that blows my mind is they hadn't picked up an instrument or played together until a few years ago. The group came together out of a family tragedy and from what I understand they heard bluegrass songs played at the eldest sister's funeral and decided to honor and remember her by playing.

Well, let me just say the concert was high energy, high octane and brimming with talent. It's one of those where every song was great and it's hard to figure out exactly which one I like best. In the running are several--from the youngest daughter, Molly Kate's stunning rendition of "Sweet Hour of Prayer" (only disappointment: it's not on CD yet...hopefully the next one!) to the fun "Don't Give Your Heart to a Knoxville Girl" or the encore song "He Goes to Church" about a man who starts going to church after the death of his wife so he make sure he is reuninted with her in heavy. Sandy Lee, the mother, yodeled, Jere (the father) entertained with pleas to buy their CDs, brothers B.J. and Skip both sang well and played a wide variety of instruments. To hear the two fiddle players "duel" at times was incredible. And I haven't even talked about how during one number the siblings and mom all danced.

All that and I haven't even talked about Cia Leigh who has a strong, rich singing voice, only topped by her younger sister in "Sweet Hour of Prayer." The title track from their latest CD "Black and White" is haunting and most of that is due to the sheer incredible depth and power of Cia Leigh's vocals.

And the way the family's voices blended so well in many of the songs...

I could go on and on, but I won't. It was an incredible, incredible show with two great bluegrass talents. If either group is anywhere near you, I highly recommend getting out to a show. I noticed that the Ryman wasn't sold out for this show and all I know is a lot of y'all in middle Tennessee missed a heck of show.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/14/2007 12:30:00 PM | |

LiveBlogging: Buying Titans Tickets
9:46 a.m. Single-game Titans tickets go on sale this morning! It's one of those signs that indicates that the greatest sport is on the horizon, ready to return.

I've got my account updated and am poised to try and get tickets to see Vince and the Titans this year.

I'd love to go to the pre-season game vs my beloved Redskins but honestly if I'm going to pay full-price for tickets, I want to see the starters play more than half a quarter. I'd love Colts tickets but since that is the Colts and the first home-game of the year, I am not holding my breath on getting those. I imagine those will be popular.

Well, 10 a.m. is inching closer....so here we go.

9:52 a.m. La, la, la...I'm still waiting. This is riveting reading, I know.

9:58 a.m. Last two minutes....always the longest.

9:59 a.m. I keep refreshing...I wish TicketMaster had a timestamp or something so I'd know how their clock is running in relation to mine...

10:00 a.m. The gates are open...let the games begin!

10:06 a.m. Well, looks like I will get to see the Titans take on the Texans this year. My ticket purchasing is done. Hope that if any of you tried to get tickets you were also successful.

Labels:



posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/14/2007 10:07:00 AM | |
Thursday, July 12, 2007
TNG episode or hard rock Christian song?
http://brunching.com/metalortrek.html

Interesting little quiz. Would've been a bit more interesting if I didn't know the titles of every TNG episode ever made.

Watch out--there are a couple of them that could be tricky if you forget the tidbit about this being TNG episodes....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/12/2007 08:26:00 AM | |
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
What's on your summer reading list?
Last Thursday's Metro Pulse had a cover story about what various people in Knoxville have on their summer reading list.

As an avid reader, I'm always interested in what others are reading and what they recommend. I can't begin to count the number of marvelous books I've found because of someone recommending a book or an author to me. (That said, I still like to read the book and make up my own mind....)

I'll admit I'm not just curious about what people are reading, but what draws them to the book? Why did they pick the book? What about it interests them?

I've got a large list of books on my "to be read" list and I'd say a good number of them qualify as "summer time reading." You know, those books that are perfect to enjoy on a warm afternoon with a cool bottle of water while sitting by the pool. (Or on the beach, if you get there....) And, of course, a certain book about some boy-wizard is on the list...maybe you've heard of it? I think it comes out sometime soon. Hopefully the nice people at the bookstore will know about it and can help me out.

So, I'm curious. Besides Harry Potter, what's on your summer reading list? What have you read or what do you want to read this summer? Any good recommendations?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/11/2007 03:17:00 PM | |

Battlestar Galactica: Razor - Trailer / Preview

In case you didn't watch "Eureka" last night, here's the trailer for the 2-hour "Battlestar Galactica" movie event coming in November. I cannot wait!



posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/11/2007 03:02:00 PM | |

What passes for casual on Fridays?
USA Today had an article yesterday about the confusion over what casual means when it comes to the working world.

As I read the article, I was once again thankful that I'm a guy because, for the most part, we have it a whole lot easier than our female counterparts when it comes to figuring out what to wear to the office or professional work environment. Speaking from my experience, the two biggest questions I have when it comes to casual Friday are--is there one and can I wear jeans?

But reading the article about the various definitions of casual reminded me of an office I worked in several years ago. The office guidelines had very strict rules on how you dressed every day and these extended even to casual Friday. And by strict, I mean there were percentages of how much of your foot should be covered if you choose to wear sandals. (I believe it was around 45% but don't quote me on that one). It also stated you couldn't wear a polo shirt with a logo on it--no matter what the logo was. If you came to work dressed inappropriately, you were taken off the clock to go home and change.

I have to admit I found all the rules a bit extreme and also fascinating. As the guy joked about putting warning labels on things for events or situations that shouldn't really be an issue, someone, somewhere at some time had to have tried it, thus creating the need for the the warning label. I had images in my head of people's feet being measured and then figuring out if the sandals met the guidelines....or what if it only covered 44.4 percent of the foot and you couldn't round up? Man, that would stink.

I've worked in a variety of places and been subject to a variety of dress codes. Some jobs I could come in jeans and a t-shirt five days a week if I wanted to. Others have had a more strict definition of what could and could not be worn. It just all depends on the environment, I guess. And the professional image you're trying to put forward.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/11/2007 10:41:00 AM | |
Monday, July 09, 2007
It's Harry Potter mania
If you're a Harry Potter fan in the way I'm a Doctor Who fan, you must be on overload as we go through the next two weeks.

First up is the fifth Harry Potter movie that hits theaters Wednesday (and we here in Nash-vegas can see it on the IMAX with the last 20 minutes in 3-D....man, talk about exciting!) and then a week from Saturday, the last installment of the series comes out.

Or is it?

I saw a report this morning that fans are already petitioning J.K. Rowling to write an eighth novel in the series. (I imagine a lot of bookstores are as well, since beyond this, what other "event" books do they have that will draw sales like those of the boy wizard?). I haven't decided if I'm going to sign the petition or not. I am taking a "wait and see" attitude on this. I want to see how Rowling ends the series before I decide if there should be anymore.

Take it from a sci-fi fan whose read a lot of the later works of Robert Heinlein and Issac Asimov in which both authors went back to the well several times too many. Sometimes having a series end is a good thing.

That said, I must admit I am a bit wary of this final volume of the Potter saga. For so long, it's been so built-up and speculated about that I can't help but wonder--will it live up to the hype, both real and imagined?

I guess we'll all find out a week from Saturday.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/09/2007 09:38:00 AM | |
Saturday, July 07, 2007
The person to blame for all of this...
Apologies to A Southern Girl but if this report from EW is true, here's a reason to despise Clay Aiken.

Apparently Clay loves the show Jericho so much that he posted on his blog that he wanted it back and his fans rallied to bring the post-apocalyptic drama back to the airwaves. (Well, at least that's the way Aiken sees it...he feels he rallied the troops and they helped bring the show back.)

Which is reason number one for me to dislike the guy....all that goodwill I had from when you did a nice guest-spot on Scrubs....gone!

Let me quote the little guy from the end of all the Mutant Enemy shows when I say, "Grrrrrrrrrrr! Argh!"

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/07/2007 08:01:00 PM | |
Friday, July 06, 2007
Bluegrass at the Ryman: Vince Gill
After last week's great show, I made the bold prediction that this week's act, Vince Gill, had some big shoes to fill when he took the stage this week.

Arriving at the Ryman last night, you got the feeling that a superstar was in the house. There were people outside, looking to buy tickets for the sold-out show. There was a large contingent of Vince Gill fans there and there was an electricity in the air as the show began.

This week's show opened with Jessie McReynolds and the Virginia Boys. Again, my knowledge of bluegrass is limited so I didn't recognize the name. That said, I was impressed by McReynolds and his group. McReynolds played the mandolin extremely well and he did a wide variety of songs. One memorable song was an acoustic song about a lake down in Florida. As I listened, I could imagine being on the lake, out with my fishing pole on a warm summer afternoon with my Grandpa. As is the case with a lot of bluegrass bands, McReynolds group had a family connection--his grandson played with him and he got his granddaughter to join him for a couple of numbers. McReynolds even got Vince Gill to come out to play a song with him.

Gill arrived on stage in jeans and a t-shirt. During intermission, my parents speculated on if Gill would change before he came on stage or if we'd seen his outfit for the evening.

Apparently, we'd seen his outfit for the evening. Gill took the stage and was very relaxed. He was up there, having a good time with himself, the group and the audience. Gill talked amiably with the audience between numbers. He spoke about the danger of a hot mike ("those Dixie Chicks found about it that, didn't they?" he quipped), his new bluegrass aerobics program ("play a fast songs four times a day, lose that ass.") his history in bluegrass and his love of the songs. He talked about hearing families sing together in natural harmony and said one of the great fulfillments of his career was getting to sing on records with his daughter Jenny and hearing that natural blending of voices.

It was a very laid back, comfortable show. Almost as if Gill were playing some bluegrass with some good friends and we'd been invited into the room to hang out. There were times he'd forget the words or where he was in the song--and his encore in which he had to figure out how to go bluegrass on "Go Rest High on That Mountain" was a treat.

About the only two things that disappointed me were--that while he bragged about his singing and harmonies with his daughter, she wasn't there or didn't join him for us to hear. And that while he talked about Amy Grant being there, she never joined him on stage. That's probably just an expectation and it's not fair to judge the show on that, but it would have been a lot of fun of hear the two of them sing together.

And you're probably wondering now--so, did he live up to the great show I saw last week? I'm going to have to say, almost. The show this week was good, but last week's just had something extra to it.

Of course, next week is one I am really looking forward to--Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, who were incredible last year and Cherryholmes, who I've heard their first CD and I can't wait to hear them in person.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/06/2007 05:02:00 PM | |
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
All these years later, I still get choked up...
So, to celebrate the 4th of July, 104.5 The Zone has been re-running some great games in Titans' history.

Today I heard bits and pieces of the playoff game in Baltimore a few years ago, the huge game in New York against the Giants when Steve McNair willed us to win and this year's game against Indy. The day was capped off with a repeat of the greatest moment in Titans' history and one of the top three great moments in sports history....the Music City Miracle.

Interestingly, I got into my car just in time to hear the last ten or so minutes of the game. I've heard the Mike Keith call of the play itself, but hearing the events leading up to it and hearing Pat say we needed a miracle of some kind to win the game seconds before it happened....it was hard not to be a little bit excited. Then, the famous call and then the discussion of it afterward as we waited for the review.

I've said it before and I'll say it again--Mike Keith is the best play by play guy in the NFL. He's a definite homer, but that's exactly what you want in the guy calling the game. He is all for the Titans and to hear his voice go from resignation at the Bills going down and scoring to the sheer delight and euphoria when the Titans pulled off the greatest play in NFL history is a joy to hear.

I have to admit, I still got a little choked up hearing it...a bit misty-eyed at the play.

I can only hope in the years to come that Vince Young and the Titans will give us all some more plays that are just as memorable--not only for my generation of Titans fans but also for the new generations of Titans fans.

And the re-broadcasts of these games did one more thing--made me miss football that much more.

Seriously, can we just skip to late August and get a REAL sport rolling, please?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/04/2007 07:44:00 PM | |






posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/04/2007 08:41:00 AM | |
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I fear change
I was a bit shocked yesterday when I surfed over to the City Paper's web site to find everything had changed. No longer could I quickly and easily read the stories on the site, scan the headlines and find the stories that I needed or wanted for my personal and professional purposes.

There are a lot of people who've talked far more eloquently about this than I have. But here's my two cents on the whole thing.

Here's a note for the City Paper. If you have to publish a "how to use our web site" guide in your paper to explain how to use your site, you've made a huge mistake, especially if said how to guide runs three pages.

I realize the big trend is to move over to these e-papers, but to quote Mr. Horse from Ren and Stimpy, "No sir, I don't like it."

I visit all of the daily newspaper's web sites in the state and several around the country as part of my job. And I have to admit, the harder you make it for me to easily navigate your web site, the less happy I am about it. Having been on the other side of the Net and worked in a new media department, I understand there's a give and take between giving away everything for free and trying to drive revenue via your site. Web sites cost money to update and maintain--not just for the server space and the layout but for the people to put the information on-line.

Of all the papers in the state, I think the Chattanooga Times Free-Press has the best model. They put a majority of their content on-line "free" for anyone to use. They also have an e-paper, but it's a subscription model and the thing is--you can choose. Do you want to see it as an e-paper or just a standard edition? That model works for me for a variety of reasons. One is that if you want to share a link from a story, it's easier to do without the link being sixty lines long. The other is that it allows the reader to quickly and easily view the paper, find the articles that are relevant and read them without having to click on page after page after page until you find what you want. And finally, it doesn't clutter up your monitor with umpteen pop-up windows to read the story.

Another issue I've found is that the new e-paper has meant the City Paper's web site is updated later. One thing I respected about the City Paper was when I visited their site after a certain early hour of the morning, that it would be updated. It was consistent in how and when it was updated. Also, the site could be updated during the day with breaking news and it was easy to find. I'm not sure if or how the new site could or would be updated if something colossal such as Elvis returning were to happen. Now, the updating thing could be the web crew working out a few wrinkles with the new system. I know I got at least four e-mails yesterday from the City Paper with Monday's headlines. Annoying but these wrinkles happen when you have a new system.

The thing is--the City Paper has great content. It's got some good writers and some interesting articles. But it's just made all of that harder to find--at least for the e-user.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/03/2007 04:32:00 PM | |
Monday, July 02, 2007
Wow..that is just cool
Last week, I went to the big bluegrass show at the Ryman, had a great time and wrote a post about my experience.

I found out today it was linked this weekend from Nashville is Talking, which is always flattering.

But I was even more flattered to find out that one of the guys from one of the bands, Nuthin' Fancy saw my entry and commented on it. I am not a professional music critic by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm really honored that they found what I'd written, took the time to read it and then commented on it.

If I weren't already a new fan of the band to begin with, the fact that they'd take the time to do that has pretty much put me over the top...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/02/2007 09:30:00 AM | |

Vote for Tennessee!
Voting has opened to see which Springfield will host the premiere of The Simpsons movie.

Springfield, Tennessee is one of the cities in the running. What could be cooler than the premiere of the movie here in the Volunteer State? Also, factor in that we also have a Shelbyville in the state and you can see why is just makes sense we host the premiere.

Go and vote now!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/02/2007 08:12:00 AM | |
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    Qualitative analysis of your type formula

    You are:So, take the test and tell me where you fall....|W|P|701266819265022543|W|P|Personality Test|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com8/03/2007 10:38:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Sarah Ashlee|W|P|Very interesting! It seems that most of the people that I get along best with are, so-called, "Introverts". I many introverted tendencies as well so it's hard for me to see "extroverted" as my result.7/28/2007 07:14:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Caught a matinee of The Simpsons Movie this afternoon.

    I have to admit when I heard they were doing a movie, I was worried it'd be nothing more than three episodes slapped together and passed off as a movie.

    Thankfully, that isn't the case. Instead, what you get is (essentially) a super-sized episode of the series. The humor is pretty much throw everything at the wall and see what happens. For the most part, this works and there are a lot of good laughs. There are a few jokes and gags that miss the mark, but overall the hits to misses ration is quite good. (And they even get in a good jab at FOX, something the show does on a regular basis).

    If you're a Simpsons fan, this one is a must-see. If you're not a huge fan, I still recommend it. It's fun and it's got a good ratio of jokes. Oh and make sure you stay until the credits are done rolling. You'll miss a few good jokes if you leave too early. (Plus, it only runs about 90 minutes so you might as well get your money's worth).|W|P|6279701234471428297|W|P|The Simpsons Movie|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/27/2007 10:28:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Last night was the final concert of the season for the Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman. I've really enjoyed the series this summer and it's been a pleasure to be introduced to so many great groups and to hear such a wide variety of bluegrass. To tell you how much I enjoyed it, I was hoping last night I'd win one of the three sets of tickets to the big bluegrass awards show that takes place later this year so I could hear some of these acts again (Cadillac Sky not withstanding).

    The evening opening with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Best act of the evening and could be one of the top three or four acts of the entire series. They did a great set and then their encore number that was an acapella number. Just incredible. I went up to look into buying a CD but the crowd was stacked dozens deep to get up to the table. Also, most of their stuff is on their new CD that comes out in two weeks. I'll definitely be picking up one.

    We had an intermission and I assumed we'd get Mountain Heart next. Instead, we got the Grascals. I was kind of surprised by this (I thought they were the bigger headliners...but maybe that's because I'd heard of them) but went with the flow. I will say this--everything I've heard about the Grascals and how good they are, they more than lived up to. One song in particular of "Me, John and Paul" was superb.

    That said, the Grascals show wasn't nearly as enjoyable at the first set for one big reason--the fans of the mandolin player. One woman in particular, who sat about three rows behind us. Every time he did anything, she screeched in such a loud, piercing voice that is began to ruin the show. I almost began to dread that he'd show off or sing or look at the audience or smile for fear she's let out her loud war whoop that could, quite frankly, have peeled paint off the walls. I appreciate her enthusiasm and I honestly didn't mind that much the first two or three times she showed the enthusiasm. But the entire show--come on! Show some respect for your fellow audience members and maybe recall that you're at the Ryman, not a stadium or outdoor venue. I wasn't the only one bothered by her--a guy behind us had to move to get away from her and some people who sat near this section of Grascals fans were forced to move seats. Why you ask? Well, it appears the Grascals fans were only there for one thing--to hear their group. And so they talked through the entire first set of Steep Canyon Rangers. Loudly, apparently. I just find that a bit rude. You'd react negatively is someone talked loudly or ruined your enjoyment of the show by the group you were there to see, so could you not, maybe show the same respect to everyone else there?

    I hate to say it, but a couple of fans took away a lot of my enjoyment of the overall set by the Grascals. And let me say again--they were great and I can see why they're so heralded and praised and respected.

    Finally, we Mountain Heart, who were good but didn't do as much for me as the other two bands of the night.

    Overall, the series was a great one at the Ryman. It turned me onto some new favorites in the music world and outside of a few hiccups, it was a great series of shows. I'm glad to hear it will be back next year and I'll definitely be getting another season ticket.|W|P|5325068717844840794|W|P|Bluegrass at the Ryman: Steep Canyon Rangers, Grascals, Mountain Heart|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/28/2007 09:33:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous sistasmiff|W|P|I'm glad you got to sorta hear the Grascals. I'm sorry some folks kinda messed up your enjoyment of the evening. I enjoyed the Steep Canyon Rangers, too.7/26/2007 11:48:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|I don't mean to sound like a whiny, petulant child but every time I've stepped out the door to head for the pool the past three days, it's immediately thundered.

    In terms of my wanting to swim, it's been good the storms are short-lived and I've only had to adjust my work-out routine a little bit to get in some laps.

    However, I do wish we could get a nice, long soaking rain (without thunder and lightning). It'd help with the drought and I could still do laps.

    Because, after all, it's all about me...|W|P|999995151964994044|W|P|Not that I don't appreciate the rain...|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/24/2007 11:38:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Saturday evening, we had a big family gathering at my parent's house. Some cousins were in town and we decided to have a family dinner together and to catch-up a bit.

    Let me just say that two of the things I love most in this world are a good meal and spending time with my family. So, combine the two and it's all great.

    During dinner, I was sitting next to my nephew (he'd have it no other way and had told me long before we sat down I was eating with him) about his recent trip to the beach. I was asking him how he liked it when he looked up and me and asked, "How come you didn't go to the beach with me?"

    I replied, "It was a trip for your family." (Meaning: his immediate family of he, sister and parental units).

    He looked at me, a bit perplexed. Then he said, "You're my family. Next time I go to the beach, you have to come too."|W|P|7771307946629282224|W|P|Conversation with my nephew|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/24/2007 08:36:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|I got nine of ten right.

    I'm not sure if I should be proud of that fact or not....

    Give it a try and let me know how you do.|W|P|3406795639480868670|W|P|Real crime or Scooby Doo episode?|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/23/2007 03:44:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|A couple of weeks ago, Amazon sent me this wonderful e-mail that said if I pre-ordered the latest Harry Potter book before a certain date, I'd get a $5 gift certificate to use sometime in August.

    Since there are two new Doctor Who DVDs coming out in August and since it seems that it can be hit or miss as to whether or not they're easily available locally (they usually are, but gas is too high to spend much time or effort chasing them all across town), I decided to take advantage of the offer and use the five bucks toward the two new DVDs.

    I read the instructions, placed my order and felt pretty satisfied with myself....

    So, we get to Saturday. Saturday morning, I got up, worked and then cruised out to my favorite local hang-out for breakfast. I'd volunteered to be part of a spin-a-thon Saturday and after taking in enough calories to power myself spinning for at least three weeks (I love a good Southern breakfast!), I headed out. The spin-a-thon was at the Cool Springs Y and I headed over that way, hoping I'd digest enough to get on the bike. I'd signed up for a 10 a.m. slot becuase we were supposed to have some kind of instruction at that time. I got there early and passed a couple of bookstores.

    I sighed. I wanted my new Harry Potter book. But I had visions of it arriving later that day and sitting patiently on my doorstep when I got home.

    I got in, did some spinning, won a door prize and then headed up to the Maryland Farms Y to take advantage of the outdoor pool. Now, let me say this--the Maryland Farms outdoor pool is the Cadillac of Y swimming pools. First of all, they have five lanes dedicated to lap swimmers, which I love. Second of all, it's an Olympic sized pool so I can see just how in shape I really in and where I need to work to get in better shape using it. (Most indoor and outdoor pools have 25 meter lanes, about half the size and it's easy to get used to knowing you've got the wall to help you out ever 25 meters instead of every 50).

    I changed, got in, did some laps and got out of the pool. It was a warm summer day so I sat on a deck chair for a bit, sipping some water and drying off in the warm sun. I had brought a book with me, but honestly I was in the mood for my new Harry Potter book and try as I might, I couldn't get really into the book I had with me.

    I eventually got up and headed for home, visions of me sitting in my easy chair and reading a chapter or two dancing in my head.

    Got home. No book on the doorstep. Checked the mailbox. Nothing.

    Now, I'm starting to get worried. So, I fired up the Internet, logged onto Amazon and found....my stupid order hadn't been sent. It would arrive maybe sometime by the end of July. Now, I'd read all the instructions and followed them to get the book here on the day it came out. I sighed and wondered what to do. I got back into the car, went to Wal-Mart and found the book. I plunked down my cash for it, came home and cancelled my Amazon order, sending them a note of complaint about my order status.

    Which this excursion had eaten up most of my time I had set aside for reading and while I did read about five pages, I didn't get very far on Saturday.

    And I was kind of annoyed--I had a perfect time, by the pool and with great weather that was perfect for reading. And it was wasted. I passed at least three bookstores and several other places that I could have picked up the book on the way there. But for some reason, the Amazon system glitched.

    Oh well...looks like I'll be paying a bit more for those Dr Who DVDs.

    That said, I've read the first 200 pages of the book and so far, so good. If you've finished, don't tell me. I don't want to know!|W|P|6163020744471939937|W|P|My Harry Potter 7 adventure|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/23/2007 10:54:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Seems that David Ortiz isn't signing enough autographs and someone's suing.

    Insert your own "lawyer" joke here.|W|P|4806334308652215752|W|P|More evidence we have too many lawyers.|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/20/2007 12:37:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|The penultimate week in the Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series and after last week's show, I knew this week would have to work hard to equal or top it.

    And for the first act, it didn't look it. It was a new group from Texas called Cadillac Sky. Five guys who all came out in flightsuits and proceeded to play. They didn't look like your typical bluegrass band nor did they sound a lot like your typical bluegrass band. Now, I know there are some "new-fashioned" bluegrass bands out there and maybe this is one of them....but I will have to admit I didn't care much for their set at all. Let me say this--in isolated spots, you could tell they were all extremely musically talented. But as a band and a show, it left a lot to be desired. For one thing, I think they totally misjudged their audience--there have been acts that have joked around with the audience but all of the humor they attempted fell flat. And last week I said that Cherryholmes was high energy....and so were these guys. But they were high energy in the same way I'd expect a hair metal band to be high energy--jumping around, head-banging (to bluegrass?!?) and acting like the audience was one at a club where everyone had had a few drinks. I've got to say that Cadillac Sky has been my least favorite act I've seen in the series and I was in no rush to buy a CD. An indicator of how poorly received they were--no encore. First group this year to not get one.

    But that negative taste in my mouth lasted about ten seconds into Ricky Skaggs' set. I'd not heard Skaggs before, but he came out and was superb. His group, Kentucky Thunder was great, highlighted by a fiddle player who lit it up. I thought his fiddle was in danger of bursting into flames a couple of times during the set--he was that fast and that good. The group played some new stuff, paid homage to tradition and even though the set was a long one, it felt like only a few minutes had passed before Skaggs was coming out for his ovation. Easily one of the top three or four shows I've seen at the Ryman this year in this series. And Skaggs was engaging, talking to the audience, cutting some jokes and you could tell having a great time.

    Next week is the finale of the series with two headliners and an opening act. Since one of the acts is the Grascals, I bet this series goes out on a high note.|W|P|583791529075431348|W|P|Bluegrass at the Ryman: Cadillac Sky and Ricky Skaggs|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/21/2007 11:54:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I believe you are mistaken regarding Cadillac Sky. I attended the Ryman show last Thursday and it was great. I also noticed that many others were excited about their music. Cadillac Sky is a fresh new bluegrass band that dares to step out of the box. I felt the flight suits showed their originality and was definitely appropriate for their "maiden voyage" at the Ryman as stated by Eddie Stubbs.

    Perhaps you have never heard of New Grass Revival. Even during their time, they dared to be different and are now considered one of the best. Unless you have never seen them, let me remind you that Sam Bush and Chris Thile have been known to do some "head banging." If Ricky Skaggs can see the talent in Cadillac Sky enough to sign them to his label, perhaps you should open your eyes and ears.

    Ricky's show was exceptional, as always. However this Ryman show provided the audience the experience of the traditional and the new bluegrass styles.

    I suggest you buy Cadillac Sky's CDs (both of them) and discover the wisdom in the moving lyrics and musical talents.7/28/2007 07:49:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Michael|W|P|I appreciate your difference of opinion. I can tell you enjoyed Cadillac Sky. I didn't really and have no real desire to purchase their CDs.7/18/2007 08:22:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|

    What happens if you combine "Welcome Back Kotter" with "Harry Potter"?

    |W|P|7168308444042799660|W|P|Welcome Back, Potter|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/17/2007 06:36:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Michael Vick has been indicted in the federal investigation into charges surrounding dog-fighting around his property.

    ESPN had a report a few months ago (which I expect we'll see again now) that Vick is a big player in the world of dog-fighting.

    So, now the interesting question becomes--what does the commissioner of the NFL do? He's already created a history of swift, severe punishment for those who have run-ins with the law. So, will the punishment for Vick be as swift and as harsh as the punishment for Adam Jones?

    Should it be just as harsh? Or will Vick get some leniency since he's a "star" player in the league?

    All I can say is--you know, you never hear about this kind of stuff happening around Peyton Manning...|W|P|111753307887636550|W|P|Michael Vick indicted|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/17/2007 08:27:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|I've decided to run for the highest office in the land.

    Before I do that, I'm officially changing my name to "None of the Above."

    According to the AP, I am a shoe-in for office.....|W|P|6968560738784826809|W|P|I'm declaring.|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/16/2007 07:42:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of joining two attractive women for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Now, before all of you go and start getting too excited, both of these women fall into the category of "friends" and it looks like that's all it's ever going to really be.

    So, we were sitting outside on the patio, enjoying dinner, drinks and conversations when one of the two women decided she wanted a cigarette. She didn't have any and looked over at the table next to us that was full of what looked like college guys. She stood up, went over and was able to obtain a cigarette from one of the guys as well as a light (like I said, she's attractive and from what I observed, it didn't take too much persuasion.)

    She came back to our table and sat down, talking to us. I joked I appreciated her smoking since it helped the school systems now and we started to discuss how many cartons you can take across the border from outside of Tennessee before you get into trouble. (Actually, they'll just find you and assess the tax on you...but that's another story).

    Suddenly, one of the guys from the other table had come over to ours, plopped down in the empty chair and started talking. He introduced himself to each of us. But let's be honest here--he was no more interested in my name and who I was than in man in the moon. He was here for one thing--to hit on the girl who'd bummed a cigarette from him.

    So, I sat back and sort of observed the dynamic of the conversation. The guy was a bit on the tipsy side, admitting he'd drunk an entire pitcher of strawberry daquari himself (question ladies: is that too girly a drink to make a good first impression? I ask this since both of my friends were both drinking beer. I heard somewhere that sometimes what you drink or order can tell a woman a lot about you...dear heavens, is it any wonder that dating is so freakin' complicated?!?). He told us about his major and how much money he was sure to make in the near future.

    Now, I found all of this amusing for a variety of reasons. One is that when I was in college, I thought asking about majors was a pretty decent ice-breaker myself. So, I've been in his shoes (though maybe not as confident as to just plop down at a table with a woman I hardly know and launch into my routine). But, I also knew that my friend was a couple of years older than he was and that she has a six-year old son. And you know, as I sat there and he kept bringing up how much money he was destined to make, I wanted my friend to drop either or both of these little details. Just to see the look on his face when it came out. Of course, that wouldn't be fair to the friend, because you could tell she was enjoying the flirting and the give and take.

    It kept going a while with him begging both of my female companions to join he and his buddies at this local club next. There was going to be a great band. Oh he couldn't recall who they were mind you, but they were great. I also realize that if a giant hole had opened up in the earth and swallowed me, he'd not have noticed or care.

    Eventually, one of his buddies started to talk to myself and my other dinner companion. We'd mentioned something about God's House being in Knoxville (Neyland Stadium to be exact) and he jumped in. We discussed UT football for a minute and then he apologize for his buddy because he was "a little drunk." We laughed it off and said he wasn't hurting anyone and it was fine.

    We were finally able to head out. Dude did follow us out to ask the ladies one more time if they'd make an appearance at the club.

    And then we all went our separate ways. I have no idea if they showed at the club or not. I'd be interested to know how the guy reacted if they did.....or if he even recalled who they were.

    But hey, I got some a great deal of amusement out of it..and a good story. So, win-win.|W|P|307042389173557215|W|P|The Pick-Up Artist|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/16/2007 03:21:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|According to Jim Cooper, President Bush will visit Music City on Thursday...

    And we all know what that means...traffic will be a nightmare.

    Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!|W|P|7149299216595372730|W|P|That should snarl traffic for hours....|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/16/2007 05:27:00 PM|W|P|Blogger 'Coma|W|P|Glad I'm in Hooterville7/16/2007 08:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger GingerSnaps|W|P|yuuuuuk!7/15/2007 07:34:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|CSS repeated the classic (well, if you're a UT fan) 5 OT UT vs Bama game from 2003. For those of you who don't recall, that's the one the Vols won in the fifth overtime, after holding Bama out of the end on the final play of the fifth overtime.

    As I watched some of the game this afternoon (including the entire overtime), I was reminded again of just how much I love football. In one of the first overtimes, the Vols are facing a fourth and nineteen. They make it, they can then look at getting in the end zone and keep the game going. They don't make it, game over and the evil empire wins. And even though I know how the game comes out and that it will all work out for the greatest college football team in the known universe, I still couldn't help getting the butterflies in my stomach as each team took a time-out and then the play went in motion. And the feeling of complete and utter euphoria when the Vols converted....sorry, but no other sport can duplicate that. And it's just a repeat, folks!

    (Yes, I am terrible to watch a game with if I'm really into it....ask any member of my family or close friends who have been crazy enough to watch a game with me).

    I felt this same thing a few weeks ago. The Y has the NFL Network and they were showing a re-air of the Titans vs Colts game here in Nashville last year. You know, the one that ended on a 60-freakin' yard field goal kick with about two seconds left and the Titans won. Yeah, that one. I watched it and even extended my time doing some cardio so I could see the end. And again, even though I knew how it would all end, I still felt that anxiety and then euphoria when Rob Bironas lined up and then made the big kick.

    Great games...but they also bring back some memories of where I was when they aired. The UT vs Bama classic was the first week of my nephew's life and I remember telling him that UT would beat Bama to start his life on the right note and hopefully, they'd never lose to the Tide in his lifetime. (Alas, this turned out to not be true, but I think we can start a streak now so that he'll never REMEMBER a time the Vols lost to Bama. That'd be almost as good).

    Ah, I love football. And just think--these were re-runs. I cannot wait for actual games to start up--games where I don't know the outcome and can be on the edge of my seat, rooting for my teams.

    The first of September cannot get here fast enough!

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    |W|P|6215203732096047233|W|P|Why I love football|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/14/2007 12:30:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Two weeks ago, I was blown away by the bluegrass show at the Ryman. Great music, great acts and a great time.

    This week's show topped it.

    The double-bill featured two great bluegrass bands. The opening act was Cherryholmes and then we were treated to Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.

    I heard Doyle's group last year and had high expectations for this year's performance. And, just like last year, Doyle's show was great. He and the band all had a great time on stage and it's interesting to see the various personalities. The give and take of good-natured barbs was a show's highlight as was Doyle and company's rendition of "Four Walls." There were three new members to the band but listening, you wouldn't have known that a couple of them were performing as part of the group for the first time publically.

    But the treat of the night was Cherryholmes. I can see why the bluegrass and the music world is so in love and abuzz for this group. The group is a family who is extremely talented. And the thing that blows my mind is they hadn't picked up an instrument or played together until a few years ago. The group came together out of a family tragedy and from what I understand they heard bluegrass songs played at the eldest sister's funeral and decided to honor and remember her by playing.

    Well, let me just say the concert was high energy, high octane and brimming with talent. It's one of those where every song was great and it's hard to figure out exactly which one I like best. In the running are several--from the youngest daughter, Molly Kate's stunning rendition of "Sweet Hour of Prayer" (only disappointment: it's not on CD yet...hopefully the next one!) to the fun "Don't Give Your Heart to a Knoxville Girl" or the encore song "He Goes to Church" about a man who starts going to church after the death of his wife so he make sure he is reuninted with her in heavy. Sandy Lee, the mother, yodeled, Jere (the father) entertained with pleas to buy their CDs, brothers B.J. and Skip both sang well and played a wide variety of instruments. To hear the two fiddle players "duel" at times was incredible. And I haven't even talked about how during one number the siblings and mom all danced.

    All that and I haven't even talked about Cia Leigh who has a strong, rich singing voice, only topped by her younger sister in "Sweet Hour of Prayer." The title track from their latest CD "Black and White" is haunting and most of that is due to the sheer incredible depth and power of Cia Leigh's vocals.

    And the way the family's voices blended so well in many of the songs...

    I could go on and on, but I won't. It was an incredible, incredible show with two great bluegrass talents. If either group is anywhere near you, I highly recommend getting out to a show. I noticed that the Ryman wasn't sold out for this show and all I know is a lot of y'all in middle Tennessee missed a heck of show.|W|P|978942433680939242|W|P|Bluegrass at the Ryman: Cherryholmes and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/14/2007 10:07:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|9:46 a.m. Single-game Titans tickets go on sale this morning! It's one of those signs that indicates that the greatest sport is on the horizon, ready to return.

    I've got my account updated and am poised to try and get tickets to see Vince and the Titans this year.

    I'd love to go to the pre-season game vs my beloved Redskins but honestly if I'm going to pay full-price for tickets, I want to see the starters play more than half a quarter. I'd love Colts tickets but since that is the Colts and the first home-game of the year, I am not holding my breath on getting those. I imagine those will be popular.

    Well, 10 a.m. is inching closer....so here we go.

    9:52 a.m. La, la, la...I'm still waiting. This is riveting reading, I know.

    9:58 a.m. Last two minutes....always the longest.

    9:59 a.m. I keep refreshing...I wish TicketMaster had a timestamp or something so I'd know how their clock is running in relation to mine...

    10:00 a.m. The gates are open...let the games begin!

    10:06 a.m. Well, looks like I will get to see the Titans take on the Texans this year. My ticket purchasing is done. Hope that if any of you tried to get tickets you were also successful.

    Labels:

    |W|P|5163623522765234277|W|P|LiveBlogging: Buying Titans Tickets|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/14/2007 10:31:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Kerry Woo|W|P|Hey Michael!
    I was at LP Field photo blogging the campout - see http://wonderdawg777.blogspot.com/

    and the line moved so fast this morning that I decided to join in after the 32 people cleared out quickly - so I scored tickets to Carolina & San Diego!

    I'll update the morning activity after I go through the bulk of the photos...

    Go Titans / Cowboys / Broncos!7/12/2007 08:26:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|http://brunching.com/metalortrek.html

    Interesting little quiz. Would've been a bit more interesting if I didn't know the titles of every TNG episode ever made.

    Watch out--there are a couple of them that could be tricky if you forget the tidbit about this being TNG episodes....|W|P|7400823886544055472|W|P|TNG episode or hard rock Christian song?|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/11/2007 03:17:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Last Thursday's Metro Pulse had a cover story about what various people in Knoxville have on their summer reading list.

    As an avid reader, I'm always interested in what others are reading and what they recommend. I can't begin to count the number of marvelous books I've found because of someone recommending a book or an author to me. (That said, I still like to read the book and make up my own mind....)

    I'll admit I'm not just curious about what people are reading, but what draws them to the book? Why did they pick the book? What about it interests them?

    I've got a large list of books on my "to be read" list and I'd say a good number of them qualify as "summer time reading." You know, those books that are perfect to enjoy on a warm afternoon with a cool bottle of water while sitting by the pool. (Or on the beach, if you get there....) And, of course, a certain book about some boy-wizard is on the list...maybe you've heard of it? I think it comes out sometime soon. Hopefully the nice people at the bookstore will know about it and can help me out.

    So, I'm curious. Besides Harry Potter, what's on your summer reading list? What have you read or what do you want to read this summer? Any good recommendations?|W|P|8671009494269131132|W|P|What's on your summer reading list?|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/12/2007 05:36:00 AM|W|P|Blogger LeBlanc|W|P|I'm just finishing up the final Hannibal Lecter book. I read all 4 in a row and they are pretty darned good...7/13/2007 11:30:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Grace|W|P|Oooh!

    I've been reading "Gracie: A Love Story" by George Burns. It's beautiful. I just also finished up "Lolita" but that was actually a bear to get through for me... a little too twisted and psychological for the season.7/13/2007 11:34:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous megan|W|P|Right now I'm reading Dante's Inferno because I never had to read it in school and heard it's good--and funny, in a messed up sort of way.7/13/2007 01:19:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Jasmine|W|P|I'm totally on a Philip K. Dick kick lately. Although as soon as the library has it available, I'm jumping into William Gibson's new novel. So, scifi/cyberpunk is my game this summer, it seems.7/14/2007 12:55:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Michael|W|P|I read "Gracie" years ago. If you liked it, you might try "All My Best Friends Are Gone" which reflects on some of the giants of old time radio that George Burns was friends with. As an old time radio person, I enjoyed it.

    Jasmine--I enjoy reading PKD as well, though I try not to read too many in a row or else I start getting paranoid...LOL7/14/2007 01:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Jasmine|W|P|Michael, you are right, you start having a weird view of everything after you read a few.

    Anyone who is interested, be my goodreads.com friend!7/11/2007 03:02:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|

    In case you didn't watch "Eureka" last night, here's the trailer for the 2-hour "Battlestar Galactica" movie event coming in November. I cannot wait!

    |W|P|1697062294799090550|W|P|Battlestar Galactica: Razor - Trailer / Preview|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/11/2007 10:41:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|USA Today had an article yesterday about the confusion over what casual means when it comes to the working world.

    As I read the article, I was once again thankful that I'm a guy because, for the most part, we have it a whole lot easier than our female counterparts when it comes to figuring out what to wear to the office or professional work environment. Speaking from my experience, the two biggest questions I have when it comes to casual Friday are--is there one and can I wear jeans?

    But reading the article about the various definitions of casual reminded me of an office I worked in several years ago. The office guidelines had very strict rules on how you dressed every day and these extended even to casual Friday. And by strict, I mean there were percentages of how much of your foot should be covered if you choose to wear sandals. (I believe it was around 45% but don't quote me on that one). It also stated you couldn't wear a polo shirt with a logo on it--no matter what the logo was. If you came to work dressed inappropriately, you were taken off the clock to go home and change.

    I have to admit I found all the rules a bit extreme and also fascinating. As the guy joked about putting warning labels on things for events or situations that shouldn't really be an issue, someone, somewhere at some time had to have tried it, thus creating the need for the the warning label. I had images in my head of people's feet being measured and then figuring out if the sandals met the guidelines....or what if it only covered 44.4 percent of the foot and you couldn't round up? Man, that would stink.

    I've worked in a variety of places and been subject to a variety of dress codes. Some jobs I could come in jeans and a t-shirt five days a week if I wanted to. Others have had a more strict definition of what could and could not be worn. It just all depends on the environment, I guess. And the professional image you're trying to put forward.|W|P|933014566292900877|W|P|What passes for casual on Fridays?|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/09/2007 09:38:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|If you're a Harry Potter fan in the way I'm a Doctor Who fan, you must be on overload as we go through the next two weeks.

    First up is the fifth Harry Potter movie that hits theaters Wednesday (and we here in Nash-vegas can see it on the IMAX with the last 20 minutes in 3-D....man, talk about exciting!) and then a week from Saturday, the last installment of the series comes out.

    Or is it?

    I saw a report this morning that fans are already petitioning J.K. Rowling to write an eighth novel in the series. (I imagine a lot of bookstores are as well, since beyond this, what other "event" books do they have that will draw sales like those of the boy wizard?). I haven't decided if I'm going to sign the petition or not. I am taking a "wait and see" attitude on this. I want to see how Rowling ends the series before I decide if there should be anymore.

    Take it from a sci-fi fan whose read a lot of the later works of Robert Heinlein and Issac Asimov in which both authors went back to the well several times too many. Sometimes having a series end is a good thing.

    That said, I must admit I am a bit wary of this final volume of the Potter saga. For so long, it's been so built-up and speculated about that I can't help but wonder--will it live up to the hype, both real and imagined?

    I guess we'll all find out a week from Saturday.|W|P|1642115631593191516|W|P|It's Harry Potter mania|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/07/2007 08:01:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Apologies to A Southern Girl but if this report from EW is true, here's a reason to despise Clay Aiken.

    Apparently Clay loves the show Jericho so much that he posted on his blog that he wanted it back and his fans rallied to bring the post-apocalyptic drama back to the airwaves. (Well, at least that's the way Aiken sees it...he feels he rallied the troops and they helped bring the show back.)

    Which is reason number one for me to dislike the guy....all that goodwill I had from when you did a nice guest-spot on Scrubs....gone!

    Let me quote the little guy from the end of all the Mutant Enemy shows when I say, "Grrrrrrrrrrr! Argh!"|W|P|342441008854032414|W|P|The person to blame for all of this...|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/07/2007 11:13:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Southern Girl|W|P|Don't blame my pretend Boyfriend -- he has an overly inflated idea of just how good his fans are. While it's true some of them joined in on the already existing nuts campaign, they didn't instigate it and probably only made up a small portion of it. Bless his heart, he's just so used to us having the mentality of what Clay wants, we want to give him, so he figures "Jericho" being saved was our little gift to him. ;)

    Don't worry, I'm sure it'll flop again, and all the nuts in the world won't bring it back. And Clay'll get over it -- he's already glommed onto "The Riches" on FX.7/06/2007 05:02:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|After last week's great show, I made the bold prediction that this week's act, Vince Gill, had some big shoes to fill when he took the stage this week.

    Arriving at the Ryman last night, you got the feeling that a superstar was in the house. There were people outside, looking to buy tickets for the sold-out show. There was a large contingent of Vince Gill fans there and there was an electricity in the air as the show began.

    This week's show opened with Jessie McReynolds and the Virginia Boys. Again, my knowledge of bluegrass is limited so I didn't recognize the name. That said, I was impressed by McReynolds and his group. McReynolds played the mandolin extremely well and he did a wide variety of songs. One memorable song was an acoustic song about a lake down in Florida. As I listened, I could imagine being on the lake, out with my fishing pole on a warm summer afternoon with my Grandpa. As is the case with a lot of bluegrass bands, McReynolds group had a family connection--his grandson played with him and he got his granddaughter to join him for a couple of numbers. McReynolds even got Vince Gill to come out to play a song with him.

    Gill arrived on stage in jeans and a t-shirt. During intermission, my parents speculated on if Gill would change before he came on stage or if we'd seen his outfit for the evening.

    Apparently, we'd seen his outfit for the evening. Gill took the stage and was very relaxed. He was up there, having a good time with himself, the group and the audience. Gill talked amiably with the audience between numbers. He spoke about the danger of a hot mike ("those Dixie Chicks found about it that, didn't they?" he quipped), his new bluegrass aerobics program ("play a fast songs four times a day, lose that ass.") his history in bluegrass and his love of the songs. He talked about hearing families sing together in natural harmony and said one of the great fulfillments of his career was getting to sing on records with his daughter Jenny and hearing that natural blending of voices.

    It was a very laid back, comfortable show. Almost as if Gill were playing some bluegrass with some good friends and we'd been invited into the room to hang out. There were times he'd forget the words or where he was in the song--and his encore in which he had to figure out how to go bluegrass on "Go Rest High on That Mountain" was a treat.

    About the only two things that disappointed me were--that while he bragged about his singing and harmonies with his daughter, she wasn't there or didn't join him for us to hear. And that while he talked about Amy Grant being there, she never joined him on stage. That's probably just an expectation and it's not fair to judge the show on that, but it would have been a lot of fun of hear the two of them sing together.

    And you're probably wondering now--so, did he live up to the great show I saw last week? I'm going to have to say, almost. The show this week was good, but last week's just had something extra to it.

    Of course, next week is one I am really looking forward to--Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, who were incredible last year and Cherryholmes, who I've heard their first CD and I can't wait to hear them in person.|W|P|1298700729624680352|W|P|Bluegrass at the Ryman: Vince Gill|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/04/2007 07:44:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|So, to celebrate the 4th of July, 104.5 The Zone has been re-running some great games in Titans' history.

    Today I heard bits and pieces of the playoff game in Baltimore a few years ago, the huge game in New York against the Giants when Steve McNair willed us to win and this year's game against Indy. The day was capped off with a repeat of the greatest moment in Titans' history and one of the top three great moments in sports history....the Music City Miracle.

    Interestingly, I got into my car just in time to hear the last ten or so minutes of the game. I've heard the Mike Keith call of the play itself, but hearing the events leading up to it and hearing Pat say we needed a miracle of some kind to win the game seconds before it happened....it was hard not to be a little bit excited. Then, the famous call and then the discussion of it afterward as we waited for the review.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again--Mike Keith is the best play by play guy in the NFL. He's a definite homer, but that's exactly what you want in the guy calling the game. He is all for the Titans and to hear his voice go from resignation at the Bills going down and scoring to the sheer delight and euphoria when the Titans pulled off the greatest play in NFL history is a joy to hear.

    I have to admit, I still got a little choked up hearing it...a bit misty-eyed at the play.

    I can only hope in the years to come that Vince Young and the Titans will give us all some more plays that are just as memorable--not only for my generation of Titans fans but also for the new generations of Titans fans.

    And the re-broadcasts of these games did one more thing--made me miss football that much more.

    Seriously, can we just skip to late August and get a REAL sport rolling, please?|W|P|8633485317320031458|W|P|All these years later, I still get choked up...|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/04/2007 08:41:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|


    |W|P|862553510103006736|W|P||W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/03/2007 04:32:00 PM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|I was a bit shocked yesterday when I surfed over to the City Paper's web site to find everything had changed. No longer could I quickly and easily read the stories on the site, scan the headlines and find the stories that I needed or wanted for my personal and professional purposes.

    There are a lot of people who've talked far more eloquently about this than I have. But here's my two cents on the whole thing.

    Here's a note for the City Paper. If you have to publish a "how to use our web site" guide in your paper to explain how to use your site, you've made a huge mistake, especially if said how to guide runs three pages.

    I realize the big trend is to move over to these e-papers, but to quote Mr. Horse from Ren and Stimpy, "No sir, I don't like it."

    I visit all of the daily newspaper's web sites in the state and several around the country as part of my job. And I have to admit, the harder you make it for me to easily navigate your web site, the less happy I am about it. Having been on the other side of the Net and worked in a new media department, I understand there's a give and take between giving away everything for free and trying to drive revenue via your site. Web sites cost money to update and maintain--not just for the server space and the layout but for the people to put the information on-line.

    Of all the papers in the state, I think the Chattanooga Times Free-Press has the best model. They put a majority of their content on-line "free" for anyone to use. They also have an e-paper, but it's a subscription model and the thing is--you can choose. Do you want to see it as an e-paper or just a standard edition? That model works for me for a variety of reasons. One is that if you want to share a link from a story, it's easier to do without the link being sixty lines long. The other is that it allows the reader to quickly and easily view the paper, find the articles that are relevant and read them without having to click on page after page after page until you find what you want. And finally, it doesn't clutter up your monitor with umpteen pop-up windows to read the story.

    Another issue I've found is that the new e-paper has meant the City Paper's web site is updated later. One thing I respected about the City Paper was when I visited their site after a certain early hour of the morning, that it would be updated. It was consistent in how and when it was updated. Also, the site could be updated during the day with breaking news and it was easy to find. I'm not sure if or how the new site could or would be updated if something colossal such as Elvis returning were to happen. Now, the updating thing could be the web crew working out a few wrinkles with the new system. I know I got at least four e-mails yesterday from the City Paper with Monday's headlines. Annoying but these wrinkles happen when you have a new system.

    The thing is--the City Paper has great content. It's got some good writers and some interesting articles. But it's just made all of that harder to find--at least for the e-user.|W|P|2621672507799533905|W|P|I fear change|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/02/2007 09:30:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Last week, I went to the big bluegrass show at the Ryman, had a great time and wrote a post about my experience.

    I found out today it was linked this weekend from Nashville is Talking, which is always flattering.

    But I was even more flattered to find out that one of the guys from one of the bands, Nuthin' Fancy saw my entry and commented on it. I am not a professional music critic by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm really honored that they found what I'd written, took the time to read it and then commented on it.

    If I weren't already a new fan of the band to begin with, the fact that they'd take the time to do that has pretty much put me over the top...|W|P|7296962149516889036|W|P|Wow..that is just cool|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com7/02/2007 08:12:00 AM|W|P|Michael Hickerson|W|P|Voting has opened to see which Springfield will host the premiere of The Simpsons movie.

    Springfield, Tennessee is one of the cities in the running. What could be cooler than the premiere of the movie here in the Volunteer State? Also, factor in that we also have a Shelbyville in the state and you can see why is just makes sense we host the premiere.

    Go and vote now! |W|P|5608563692311288154|W|P|Vote for Tennessee!|W|P|bigorangemichael@gmail.com-->