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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tough one for the Preds

The Preds take on the Vancouver Canucks on the road tonight. As the Vancouver Sun reports, the Preds are pretty hot right now, but they generally don't play well in British Columbia. Nashville is 3-10-1 all-time (with the 1 being a tie prior to the arrival of the shootout) at Vancouver, but a lot of those losses were absorbed by less talented Preds teams. It should be another good test for a young and promising Preds squad. Here's hoping the Preds get out to a steady lead and, for once this season, hold onto it. Go Preds!!

Sad news for the Doster family

This news from the Tennessean is a sad addition to an already sad story. I hope that there will be justice eventually for the Doster family, and I also hope that the suspect in question is deserving of having charges dropped. I honestly don't know.

Pumpkins, non-extreme

These pumpkins aren't extreme, but I did witness the carving of all of them Sunday night. Ours is the Macaulay Culkin version in the middle of the top photo. (Yes, ours is from a template. We're not ashamed.)

Halloween reloaded

Halloween 2.0 has arrived, courtesy of Pith in the Wind.


I early (and electronic) voted today. Even at 9:15 a.m. at the Green Hills Library, all the voting machines were occupied. There was not a line, but there appeared to be a steady stream of voters coming in. I have some concerns about a "paper trail" documenting electronic results, but otherwise my experience was positive. It was easy to vote, and I was in and out quickly.

I tried to capture a shot of the machine in action on my Treo, but I accidentally obscured the image with my thumb. Oops. The stock photo above will have to suffice.

KISS your friends today

For 364 days each year, I consider these two people my friends. Today, I consider them rock stars. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Coke is it...

...but what is Coke? Sorry, it's a secret. Is it all just a marketing ploy? Could someone really make a pretty decent facsimile of Coke without knowing the exact formula? Let me know if you figure out how to make homemade Coke Zero. That would reduce our grocery bills considerably.

Because he could

This page explaining how to build a computer inside a pumpkin (yes, really) had me recalling one of my favorite quotes, this one from Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park: "You were so busy trying to see if you could do it that you didn't stop to think about whether you should." Be sure to check out all three pages of the fun because the comments at the bottom of page 3 are worth it.

Reject this!

How do you reduce the sting of a rejection letter? By posting it anonymously online, of course. Ah, the power of the internet ... but it does make for an interesting site to scroll through. Many of the letters originate from the Knoxville area, so thank our neighbors to the east for this innovation.

Most dangerous cities: New Orleans

I thought this post was a good point about the latest safest/most dangerous cities list. New Orleans didn't submit statistics. I'm not trying to pile on a city that's been through a terrible ordeal, but certainly New Orleans would rank high on the dangerous list. I get why the city probably hasn't kept good statistics yet, but I think the study should have addressed that somewhere in its public announcements.

Here's the full list, by the way.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Most dangerous cities list

I have a hard time buying the idea that Nashville is the seventh most dangerous city in the U.S., as a research company lately announced.

I realize that the company used data to come to its conclusions (which is the respectable thing to do), but I still have a hard time believing that Nashville is more dangerous than Houston, which placed tenth on the list of most dangerous cities above 500,000 in population. I've been to both cities, and I'm not buying it.

I think part of the problem lies in how cities are categorized. For example, according to the study (and the U.S. Census, depending on how data is presented) Nashville is larger than St. Louis and Atlanta. This is because cities are classified according to their literal population data within their city limits rather than by the population of their metropolitan areas. Does anyone really think Nashville is larger than Atlanta? I don't. (Atlanta did rank tenth on the list of most dangerous cities with populations of 100,000 to 499,000, for what it's worth.)

Further muddying the waters, the report separately lists the safest and most dangerous metropolitan areas. Nashville, assuming it is included in this count, doesn't even make the top 25 most dangerous metropolitan areas, but Jackson, Tenn., does. I love Nashville, but does anyone really think it is safer than the considerably smaller city of Jackson? Again, I sure don't. Detroit is the most dangerous metropolitan area and the second most dangerous city, and that makes sense anecdotally, too. But is Macon, Ga., more dangerous than Houston?

The study also omits Chicago, the nation's third largest city, because some of its crime statistics don't translate adequately for the report. (This is apparently an ongoing omission.)

I think this study is useful and hopefully will spur discussions of how to make communities, including Nashville, safer, but I won't be looking to it for an accurate assessment of safety in our cities.

Digital Influence

The Wall Street Journal has a thought-provoking story today on public relations as it relates to blogging. Here's a quote from John Bell, an Ogilvy employee who is quoted in the article:

"The interesting thing about digital influence is that control is the wrong word. You can't really control everything. What we can do is get involved in the conversation. When we're [dealing with] bloggers for instance, our best strategy is to start to talk them as fellow bloggers. Many of us are bloggers, myself included."
I like the use of the words "fellow bloggers" because I feel like bloggers have a high sensitivity toward deception and inauthenticity. Communicating with a blogger only works if you are sincere about it, I think, if you're being proactive and if you're coming to him or her with something that is legitimately suitable for their blog. If you're just trying to blast your message out, it isn't going to succeed.

Participating in the conversation is the appropriate way to dive in, too, I think. It will only work if you're willing to participate and willing to give up the control Bell mentions above. That lack of control is what gives blogging its credibility. Giving up control and being open and honest are essential behaviors, in my opinion. That's the same advice I give anyone who's about to interact with traditional media, so in that sense I guess new and old media share some similarities after all. This bit of advice is straight out of kindergarten, but that means it's pretty solid advice.
"As marketers, we believe in and support the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association's ethics guidelines, which boil down to: Be honest. Be transparent. Don't trick people."
If we all did that, this would be a much easier world to call home. :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Are you sure about that?

I know what the folks at the White Bridge Road Shoney's meant, but I'm not sure they thought much about how this sounds. If it's all the same to you, I think I'll pass on the breakfast bar tomorrow morning.


My very first commenter, Mary, has passed along some useful information: Nashville has its own Stephen Colbeagle the Eagle at Liberadio, a local radio political talk show. Liberadio airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on Mondays on Vanderbilt University's WRVU-FM (91.1).

Liberadio's site has tons of useful information on current events and a list of great resources on the Web. Progressives should find plenty there to like. I did.

Save Ferris

USA Today has seriously underestimated Ferris Bueller, if you ask me, in this story from Friday's edition.

The article does make a good point, though, for most teenagers: Technology has dramatically changed the high-school and young-adult experience during the last five to ten years. Many cities have passed daytime curfews for school-age children, graduated drivers licenses now prevent many teens from leisure driving with buddies, and cellphones with GPS devices mean that parents now can track where their children are throughout the day.

There are a lot of other new challenges for students, too, if they're looking to wreak a little mayhem. For a pro like Ferris, though, I have to think that he'd still find a way to get around them. How about a fake ID and passing his cell phone to a friend who's still at school? He could easily have his calls forwarded to another number, and maybe he would borrow a cell phone from an older friend for the day.

On the whole, I think these restrictions are probably a good thing, although I'm sure I wouldn't have been happy about them as a high schooler. I think it's still important to balance between trust and accountability, and it sounds like that's becoming an increasingly difficult thing to do.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It was just a matter of time

School kids + YouTube = trouble

I have to admit that in seventh grade, I would have thought this was hilarious. As an adult, I know this is wrong, but it does strike me as funny. (I'm glad they took it down, though. It's a bad precedent, and geez, all of YouTube's bandwidth would be gone within days once American kids copied the feat.)

The report on Colbert

I've been meaning to look up Stephen Colbert in Wikipedia ever since he began encouraging viewers to vandalize the well-known collaborative encyclopedia.

I finally did so just now, and it was worth it. First of all, there are two entries: one for the real-life actor Stephen Colbert, and one for his pundit characterization that is the star of the Colbert Report. I spent most of my time on the latter, and it is a good read.

Did you know that Colbert's real middle name is Tyrone? Or that he has a pet goldfish named Anthrax? Trust me, it's worth the visit.

I was sad to learn from this Toronto Star article that Stephen's push to have a bridge in Hungary named after him did fail, though it appears he was cheated out of his victory. At least he has a hockey mascot named after him:

Lately Colbert has been dispatching his followers "on a rampage of merry mischief," including "bombing the website of a junior-league hockey team holding a name-our-mascot campaign (the team's mascot is now Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle)" and "hijacking an online poll posted by Hungary's Economic Ministry to name a new bridge over the Danube the Stephen Colbert Bridge (he topped the poll, but Hungary disqualified him because he's not dead)."

Galactica Friday: Collaborators

Tonight's episode, Collaborators, looks to be intense based on this brief description and on the preview scenes. I am really curious to see where Galactica heads from here. The writers have finished the New Caprica storyline, as far as we can tell, and they've sent the Colonials back into space (where they belong, if you ask me). Tonight's episode looks like it will focus on the aftermath of the settlement and the Cylon occupation as humanity begins picking up the pieces of a catastrophic 16-month existence.

I am hoping to see more of the painful consequences of everything that has been taking place. No, I'm not a sadist, but I do appreciate the realism that the writers incorporate in the stories they tell. (Yes, I just argued for realism on a show where robots are chasing people around outer space, but if you watch the show, I think you probably understand what I mean.) The current scenario on the series would rank as one of, if not the, greatest tragedy to befall humanity if it were true, and there needs to be fallout from that kind of turmoil. I feel confident that no one on the series will be the same after all of this, and that there won't be a sense that this segment of the storyline never happened. We'll see for sure in a few hours.

I'm also curious to see where the Cylons go from here, whether Baltar stays with them and, most importantly, if we get to see any of it.

Preds edge Sharks

The Preds (5-3-1) edged the Sharks (7-4) by a score of 4-3 last night in a thrilling, fast and physical matchup. Here are my answers for yesterday's three questions:

  1. I don't think the Preds' five-day break between games or the Sharks' game on Wednesday night seemed to matter much on the ice. This was a hard-fought, physical game the whole way through, and it was really fun to watch.
  2. The Preds outshot the Sharks 29-27 and, most importantly, considerably reduced their shots against from 46 during their previous game. That's a good sign.
  3. The Sharks still outmuscled the Preds at times in the first and third periods, but the Preds' size upgrades were noticeable on the ice. They dominated the second period, too.
Here are a few other observations I had while watching the game. Both teams forecheck aggressively, and that made for a lot of back-and-forth skating. On the Sharks goal that opened the scoring at 1-0, Dan Hamhuis only partially connected on his signature hip check near the left boards, and Joe Thornton (who was a beast all night) shook it off and found Mark Bell for an easy goal.

Alexander Radulov's score to tie the game at 1-1 was a wicked wrister that caught Sharks goalie Vesa Toskala totally off guard. Not bad for Radulov's first NHL goal. As he should have, Radulov was exuberant in the wake of the score and leapt off the ice before being surrounded by his teammates. Radulov logged about 11 minutes of ice time and was all over the place during play. He looks to be a stud in waiting behind a talented set of Preds forwards. He easily slipped behind the Sharks defense a couple of times and was blazing fast at times. He played sound positionally on most shifts and had a couple of solid checks, too. He didn't hesitate to get in front of Toskala in the second period and attempt a redirect on a shot from the point, either.

Scott Hartnell was a force on the ice all night. His goal to make the score 2-1 came on a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play that left him alone in front of the net. His second goal late in the contest, the eventual game winner, was all hustle and a brilliant play, as he bounced the puck off Toskala from behind the goal. The Arnott, Kariya and Erat line played extremely well all night and continues to be huge for the Preds. Erat, in particular, stands out in my mind so far this season as the team's most improved player. Tomas Vokoun was exceptional in net, as usual, and he bailed the Preds out at times in the third. I am concerned that the Preds yet again surrendered a two-goal advantage in allowing the Sharks to tie the game 3-3, but they didn't buckle down the stretch.

All in all, this was a good way to wrap up a short homestand and head out for a long road trip on a high note. We'll see how the team plays as it makes the typically tough Northwest swing through Canada over the next week or so. Go Preds!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Preds back in action

The Preds (4-3-1) are back in action tonight hosting the San Jose Sharks (7-3) , and I'm pondering the following questions as they prepare to take the ice:

  1. What will matter more: the Preds' five-day break since losing to Vancouver on Saturday, or the Sharks' loss to the Red Wings last night?
  2. Which team will give up more shots tonight? The Preds (46) or the Sharks (39), who both were heavily outshot in their last contests.
  3. How will the Preds matchup with the Sharks now that the Preds have added some size at forward (Arnott, Dumont and Vasicek, the last of whom is likely out for tonight)?
We'll see in a few hours. This one should make for a good game. Go Preds!!

Extreme makeover: pumpkin edition

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? If you're like me and you haven't, don't worry. can give you some advice on how to make a really unique design. The site also has techniques for preserving your pumpkin, so it isn't black and rotting by next Tuesday. My favorite pumpkin is rated PG-13, but he's still funny.

Lost: Every Man for Himself

Note: If you haven't seen this week's episode, there are spoilers below.

I have come to love Lost since my wife and I began watching it on DVD this past summer. My initial impressions of this show, based on the preview ads show before its debut in fall 2004, were that the series was basically a serious take on Gilligan's Island: a bunch of castaways stuck in the middle of nowhere, minus the hi-jinks.

Boy, was I wrong. I thought the writers would run out of ideas within months. It's no secret that many fans are tiring of the constant mystery and confusion that Lost displays and it's tendency to generate new questions before answering those that it has already raised. I love that about this show, though I'd be happy to see a few more answers emerge, too. The creativity in storytelling is unique and amazing, and I love seeing them continue to tangle the Web. I can be patient, but my one sincere hope is that, in the big picture, the writers know where this whole mess is going over the long run. I'll only be truly disappointed if they never make an effort to connect the dots, or if their resolution isn't satisfying. Until that day comes, I'm along for the ride and enjoying the breeze.

The psychological torture inflicted on Sawyer last night was fun to watch. (The injection scene in the midst, however, was not. Pulp Fiction 2.0.) The writers continue to give him great lines each week, and his approach to the character makes him a very likeable jackass. (That's my favorite kind.) When one of the Others tries to bait Sawyer into a beating as he's been taken off for a phantom surgical procedure, he says, "Give me a reason [to beat the hell out of you.]" Sawyer's reply, "I thought I just did," is classic and gave me a good laugh. I feel like his character is an adult take on John Bender from The Breakfast Club, and most any show can benefit from that kind of personality when it's done well.

I liked seeing the Others have to call on Jack for help in trying to save Colleen's life. I thought it was powerful that Jack couldn't do it, and that will make for increased tension in this storyline. (It sure did in the aftermath, when Colleen's husband takes out his wrath on Sawyer. Wow.)

The big tease from last night: There are two islands. Whoa! All this season, the writers have allowed us to believe that the Others have been holding Jack, Kate and Sawyer on the opposite site of the island from the rest of the Oceanic flight passengers. We knew Jack was underwater, but I had still assumed he was near the shoreline. Now we know differently, but we still don't know what it means. Oh, and now we know there's a submarine, too.

I sure hope this is all leading up to an exhilirating cliffhanger in two weeks, when the series prepares to take its mid-season break until February. We'll see.

Google Maps for Treo

I love the recently released Google Maps Mobile application for smartphones. I downloaded it a few days ago and have used it frequently on my Treo 650 (that's a 700p above), and it is genius. I think it's essentially a Web browser that surfs only to Google Maps, but it is really well designed.

It loads quickly and displays only the map interface. Adding locations from the Menu is really easy, and the application very quickly loads the relevant area. This has been so handy for me when heading toward a new destination around town. I highly recommend it.

Ready to check it out? Visit from your phone's Web browser. (You may want to go there on your PC first to make sure your phone is compatible.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Beware the onslaught

I would say that it has begun, but we all know that the holiday machinations of consumer America are well underway. Keep your eyes open, lest you be trampled at the entrance to your favorite store.

Titan fan loyalty

Josh Tinley makes a good point about the recent report ranking the Titans poorly for fan loyalty (28th out of 32 NFL teams): The team's first season in Tennessee, when home games were played in Memphis, drags down the attendance numbers that drive the loyalty scale considerably.

I'm not sure he's completely right, though. Fan support for the Titans has been high for most of the team's time in Nashville, but I think it's been pretty low the past couple of seasons. I would be curious to see an assessment of actual attendance instead of paid attendance. What I'm getting at is: Are the fans actually going to the games while the team is losing? I''m thinking that some of those sellouts actually include a decent number of empty seats.

One thing is for sure, if you ask me: Titans fans, including myself, were spoiled from the start by the team's performance. Landing in the Super Bowl in the team's first season in the Coliseum and posting double-digit win totals for several years will do that. Now we're learning how to deal with the lean times, too.

Osteoporosis and soft drinks

I'll admit that this news that carbonated beverages may increase the risk of osteoporosis alarmed me, until I read that this risk appears only to apply for women, not men. (Whew for me, but still not good news.) I know I am not the only cola aficionado out there, and aficionado is putting it lightly for me. I have turned almost exclusively to Coke Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper these days in order to avoid the sugar, which is the reason most often cited about health concerns for these drinks (but not the only one).

Gay marriage vote

I'm hoping this possibility turns out to be true in regard to Tennessee's proposed gay marriage ban. I'm not naive enough to think that a majority of Tennesseans oppose this amendment, but I still hope it does not pass. At least the possibility of not having a majority of voters in the gubernatorial election vote "yes" allows for a chance that the amendment won't succeed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wise words from the Preds

True and very challenging words to live up to, courtesy of your Nashville Predators.

Two minutes for holding

The Preds run a tight ship, and they didn't hesitate to throw us in the penalty box. We didn't mind so much. ;)

She shoots, she scores

My wife and I attended the Preds Meet the Team party last night at the Arena. We had a ball. This is a great event done absolutely right by a great organization. (Thanks to my friend Chris Woodruff for the photos.)

Way too much time on their hands

I have to admit that this Cylon pumpkin is very creative, but wow, have these guys seen daylight anytime recently? Thanks to Galactica Station for the link.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My favorite bumper sticker

My photo didn't turn out to be legible, but the bumper sticker in the window above this car's license plate made me laugh Saturday. It reads: "Jesus loves you ... even if you voted for Bush."

I like this because I believe it's true. I also like it because it's another take on the "God is not a Republican ... or a Democrat" slogan. I think the left and the right have valuable contributions to make to our society. One represents compassion, the other courage. We need both, and we need everyone to cut down the vitriol, if you ask me.

Granted, this sticker just continues the antagonism, but I still like the point it makes.

Too Far

I love Coca-Cola (OK, Coke Zero these days), but this is too far. There's got to be a line, and that's crossed it. :)

Thanks to Nashville Is Talking for the discovery.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weather, or not

I totally agree that weather teasers by local TV networks are annoying. (That link is worth it for the Fozzie the Bear image alone.) So is the introductory weather brief on many newscasts. That's the one at the very beginning when the meterologist says "Are we in for a blizzard? Your full forecast is just ahead," and then makes you wait until 12 to 15 minutes into the newscast to tell you what's going to happen.

I opt for the Weather Channel instead, as I think any Jeep Wrangler owner is wise to do. (It's bailed me out of many a messy day with the top down.) Plus, is it just me, or is the Weather Channel forecast generally more accurate than the local news? Why is that? You would think it would be just the opposite.

Promote this man

Someone in the adminstration has finally admitted that the emperor has no clothes. Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, made the following remarks late yesterday:

"We tried to do our best but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," he said.
"We are witnessing failure in Iraq and that's not the failure of the United States alone but it is a disaster for the region. Failure in Iraq will be a failure for the United States but a disaster for the region."
Naturally, someone else in the administration soon refuted these comments, but at least it's a start. I strongly believe that honesty, courage and diplomacy are all needed to begin to unravel the Iraq disaster and to start to restore our broken relationships with other nations.

Canucks down Preds in OT

You can't win them all, but I see some concerns emerging for the Preds after last night's loss to the Canucks. Some of these concerns have been lingering despite the recent win streak.

Vokoun is facing too many shots. He saw more than 45 last night, and though he's still playing outstanding right now, he can't expected to perform miracles and bail this team out every night. It wasn't all late in the game while holding the lead, either. The Preds were heavily outshot in the first period before they leveled things out in the second.

The Preds are surrendering late leads, too. It happened during the recent road trip, but the Preds eked out a win in New Jersey anyway. Last night, Vancouver scored with 1:40 left in the third before winning the game in overtime. On the heels of allowing two goals in the final two minutes against New Jersey Thursday night, this is a pattern. It's a bad one.

Alexander Radulov's debut, according to The Tennessean, met with mixed reviews. He didn't record a point in limited ice time, and he took a bad penalty in the third that shifted momentum. I wasn't expecting an all-star night on the very first try, though, and I am sure Radulov will settle in over the next few games.

On a positive note, Martin Erat scored again for the Preds. He's averaging a point per game so far this season and looks strong on the ice. Erat and the rest of the Preds now have until Thursday to enjoy their road trip success and recover from Saturday's defeat. They take on last years playoff foe, the San Jose Sharks, at home next.

How does this help us?

I'm still thinking about the Scene article on the gay marriage amendment. Seriously, how does thinking like what is described below help anyone?

"An enormous American flag drapes the back of the stage, flanked by big-screen monitors on each side, a trademark of Dobson events everywhere. The crowd stands and erupts into applause when asked, 'How many of you love America?' Many raise their arms above theirs heads and begin to sway as the blaring music resumes."
I wrote in my earlier post about how much humility and respect are lacking on the American public stage, and this quote is good evidence. I respect, yet disagree, with the opinions of people who support this amendment, but I don't think anyone involved "hates America." It's blatantly implied in the actions above that anyone who disagrees with banning gay marriage loathes this country.

I think that's a silly and disrespectful notion, and it's a big part of what bothers me about public debate on both sides of the political aisle. All this kind of activity is doing is preaching to the converted on either side, and it is stifling, if not destroying, constructive debate and discussion.

This quote from the article strikes me as ridiculous, too: "Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, informs the audience he has no intention of telling them how to vote, but urges them to keep their Christian values in mind when they go to the polls." Yeah, right.

I'm not naive enough to think that the amendment will fail, but I don't think any of the rest of this is doing anyone around here any good.

Maybe so

Saturday, October 21, 2006

What's missing

The Scene takes on Tennessee's proposed gay marriage amendment in this week's issue. It's fair to say that the Scene has a pretty progressive, if not liberal, point of view much of the time, so if you're on the "yes" side when it comes to the amendment, you may not find much to agree with in the article.

The article makes an interesting contrast between Focus on the Family leader James Dobson, who led a local rally recently, and protester Christina Wing, who expressed her opinion outside the venue. The Scene describes Dobson as a "controversial figure who has been quoted as comparing proponents of same-sex marriage to the Nazis, and who has also likened embryonic stem cell research to the Nazi scientific experiments on humans." That strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

Wing, on the other hand, had the following to say: “My goal has always been to change one mind at a time,” Wing says. “If that happens, then it’s worth standing out here for hours.”

Who's really making a difference here? My vote is for Christina, and it's not only because I agree with her opinion on this issue. Granted, she doesn't have the notoriety and clout of Dobson, but she's going about this the right way, in my opinion. I think Dobson, on the other hand, is heavy-handed and polarizing, to say the least.

I feel like humility and mutual respect are missing, big time, on the American public stage. I'm not expecting that we'll all come to agree on our hot-button issues anytime soon, but can't we all get along at least a little better?

Preds host Canucks

Can the Preds make it five in a row tonight against the Canucks? I hope so, and I hope the Canucks also used up all their luck last night when they beat Saint Louis 3-2. Vancouver scored with less than a minute remaining in the third to tie the game, and they scored again (depending on whom you ask) as the clock expired in overtime to earn the win.

This looks to be an even matchup on paper. The Preds are 4-3, and the Canucks are 4-3-1. I'm stoked about Alexander Radulov making his regular-season Preds debut. I won't be there tonight, but I can't wait to see what happens. Go Preds!

No more mustache

I'm also pleased to see that Adama shaved his mustache at the end of last night's episode. I thought it was a great scene to include because it was symbolic of Adama and humanity shedding the agony and the apathy of the New Caprica storyline. The mustache also reminded me way too much of Edward James Olmos' character Martin Castillo (above) from Miami Vice.

Galactica: Exodus Part Two (spoilers)

I thought last night's episode of Battlestar Galactica (official Web site) was another solid installment. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been a little concerned about the resolution to the entire "New Caprica" storyline. On the whole, I was not disappointed last night.

One reason, as morbid as it sounds, is that there was collateral damage as a result of the Colonials' escape. It just stands to reason, in my opinion, that there would be losses during such a large-scale attempt. The scene where Tigh poisons Ellen was moving and powerful, and I am glad the writers chose to include it. I also love that the Cylons now have Sharon's child. I thought it was a great resolution to the impending nuclear detonation that D'Anna chose not to deploy the bomb because she found Hera. That made sense.

I also loved that Apollo had to sacrifice the Pegasus in order to save the Galactica. It was great (and expected) to see Lee come to the rescue, but it was much more meaningful that his heroics had a huge cost for the fleet: the loss of its strongest means of self-defense. I say that Lee's decision was expected because the previous episode and the early segments of this one foreshadowed it, but I still had to wonder as the Cylons bombarded Galactica. The visual display as the show's namesake vessel took blow after blow had me wondering, if only for a moment, if the writers were going to destroy the ship and Admiral Adama. The unfounded rumors months ago that Edward James Olmos (above) might be leaving the series crossed my mind immediately during this scene, but I was glad to see them proved false.

I didn't realize until last night how many Colonial vessels were on the ground, so understanding that situation made the escape seem more plausible. It was more a question of giving those ships room to escape than it was having to bring ships to the surface to retrieve people. I do wish there had been more scenes of the Cylons preventing people from leaving (violently or otherwise) and more emphasis on the anguish of having to flee without bringing everyone along. The scenes from the miniseries where Colonial One and other ships abandon ships that are unable to follow them is incredible, and I think it remains one of the best segments of the series even now.

Watching Baltar wrestle with his very limited options was also a pleasure. I am glad to see him take the (marginally) more appealing choice and stay with the Cylons, and I'm curious to see where this decision ultimately leads him. He is resembling the original series Baltar more and more at this point, although James Callis' performance exhibits angst and indecisiveness that John Colicos' character never had room to explore.

I can honestly say that I loathe Leoben, and that means that Callum Keith Rennie is doing his job. The scenes this season between him and Starbuck have been powerful and have been a great juxtaposition of their previous interactions in the first season (Flesh and Bone). I love that Kara exacted a measure of revenge by once again killing Leoben in order to escape but that Leoben had an even better answer when Kara discovered that Kacey was not really her child. Knowing that Leoben cannot die because he is a Cylon, who really caused more pain?

I thought this episode was excellent, and I'm excited that the series is headed back into space and away from New Caprica. I love that the writers have me and my wife asking, "Where will they go from here?" That's a big part of the wonder of this series: I honestly don't know. I hope at least that Galactica will have major repairs to struggle with and that the aftermath of humanity's despondent sabbatical on New Caprica will have many side effects. I am also very curious to see what the Cylons do to respond. Is there a shred left of their "plan" at this point?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Radulov on the way

I can't wait to see Alexander Radulov play for the Preds, and he'll be playing for them soon.

How good is he? I don't know yet, but the odds are good that he'll be outstanding even on the NHL level. He posted junior-level numbers near what Mario Lemieux did in the early 80s, and he was named this season's first AHL player of the week--during his first-ever week in the league. I guess he earned it with seven points in three games.

It's easy to fall into hyperbole with promising young players, but Alexander looks like the real deal.

Demonbreun Street bridge

I am very happy to hear that the Demonbreun Street bridge is officially re-opening to the public on Wednesday (Oct. 25). Eastbound connector roads into downtown Nashville are a funny thing, in my opinion. Broadway attracts major traffic and is by far the pipeline of choice for most commuters, from what I can tell. Church Street, which I consider far easier to navigate, generates significantly less traffic most weekdays, but that has changed somewhat now that it is a two-way street from First Avenue all the way to I-40. Charlotte probably ranks second to Church in terms of traffic, but even it is much easier to travel than Broadway most of the time (and certainly right now since Broadway is currently under construction).

I've found that it is easier to enter and exit downtown whenever you can avoid Broadway. I did not typically travel on Demonbreun every day prior to the bridge's closure in July 2004, but I sure found it to be a handy shortcut when I needed it. It's nice to know that another route will once again be available coming to and from downtown.

Galactica Friday: Exodus Part Two

Battlestar Galactica is the first television series I've consistently followed in more than a decade. Several critics have called this series the "best show on television," and I definitely agree with them. The storytelling is fantastic, and it has renewed my own interest in imagining engaging tales to tell. What I enjoy most is its realism in terms of character and plot development and its tendency to turn television cliches and conventions on their ears (for example, leaping forward in time an entire year in the second season finale and abandoning the working premise for the show, at least temporarily). Because I enjoy this show so much, I'm going to devote time each Friday before the latest episode airs to discussing the series. (For those looking to check it out, it airs at 8 p.m. central time on Fridays on the SciFi channel.)

I'm very curious to see tonight's episode, Exodus: Part Two. The Galactica is preparing to stage a rescue operation that is huge in its scope (involving the rescue of tens of thousands of people controlled under Cylon occupation on the planet of New Caprica). My primary concern about this season's opening scenario (most of humanity ruled by the enemy) has been how it will be resolved. I wonder how effective a rescue of this size can be in such a short period of time. Will this seem contrived and hokey? Will the whole scenario seem like a four-and-a-half episode pointless diversion if humanity escapes back to space again so quickly? (Granted, it's only quickly in episode length: The Colonials have been on the planet for one year and a half, and they've been under Cylon control for more than four months.) My gut says yes to these questions, but previous experience with the show's writers and producers leads me to think the answer is no. We'll see.

What does all of this mean for Baltar, the much-maligned president, in name only, of the colonies? Will he be better off staying with the Cylons or begging for mercy and siding with humanity? I love this character and am eager to see how this unfolds.

Road warriors

Let's hear it for the Preds! Going undefeated on multigame road trip is impressive, especially three games in the greater Big Apple area. Last night's 4-3 shootout victory is the Preds' fourth in a row, so they've gone from ice cold to red hot in one week's time. Here's the AP story on the Devils' site, too.

It was nice to see Jason Arnott tally against his former team, as did Martin Erat, who again looked solid throughout. Erat also netted the lone goal for either team in the shootout. I am hoping that the end of the third period will teach the Preds that they can't sit on any lead, no matter how much time is left. Coach Peterson is quoted in the Preds' recap story, and he's right: They definitely laid back over the last several minutes of the period. Surrendering a 3-1 margin in the final two minutes is ugly, but at least Nashville recovered and reclaimed the win in the shootout.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hell yes

I'll be awfully impressed to see the Preds take out the New Jersey Devils tonight off the turnpike. Going undefeated on a three-game road trip, especially one covering the greater NYC metro area, would be an impressive feat and a resounding rebound from the Preds' woeful start to the season.

This is a homecoming of sorts for new Preds center Jason Arnott, who hoisted the Stanley Cup as a Devil in 2000 before eventually signing with Dallas, his last stop before landing in Nashville. It's a reunion of sorts for Nashville, too, because the Devils would now call Nashville home if not for the Devils' first Cup championship in 1995. A sixth-seeded Devils team rode a red-hot Martin Brodeur and a stifling defense to the title that year and played itself right out of needing to move to a new city.

Speaking of Arnott, I've been very pleased to see his play along with linemates Martin Erat and Paul Kariya recently. They are a good combination of size, skill and speed, and they anticipate each other's positions on the ice well. This is shaping up to be an excellent line for the Preds. I've never been one to nickname lines, but this one has me wanting to start. My first choices so far are the Crisis Line (because they have the numerical combination 9-1-1 in their jersey numbers: 19, 10 and 9 respectively) or .38 Special (because their jersey numbers add up to 38.