Lou Pickney's Online Commentary
April 30, 2000
8:35 AM EDT
My plans for the weekend fell through at the last minute. I was supposed
to go up to Athens, Ohio and party up at OU with my friend Mike Waterhouse
from work, with a couple other people from work coming up on Saturday.
Mike ended up leaving town instead, so I spent the weekend here in
Huntington. You guessed it, Lou against the world again.
This was a weekend for brawling though, which further reminded me of
another advantage about Evansville -- having backup. On Friday I went to
this bar called the Stoned Monkey. I had heard a wide variety of things about
it, as most people seemed to either love or hate the place. It seemed
alright to me, though the $5 cover was a bit steep I thought. They had
some live bands, including the headlining band called Boba Flex. The name
sounds similar to Bela Fleck, though the music is completely different.
They had the rap/rock thing going on, which I happen to like, so I
enjoyed it. When the hardcore mosh pit broke out, I felt old. Moshing was
fun for me back when I was in high school and I guess some in college (like
the crazy pit at the Foo Fighters concert in St. Louis in 1996, which is a
great story I'll save for another time). Granted, the Monkey draws a
young crowd, only 18 to get in (too bad Indiana and their ridiculous rules
about being 21 to get in bars kept there for being anything like this in
Evansville), but still I guess the young professional in me felt out of
place. Anyway, some guys were getting out of control, and security stepped
in to lay down the law. There were like four one-on-one situations with
security and a rowdy fan. Looked like an ECW Taz match with them locking
on the Tazmission, or whatever control/restraint moves they did. One of
them nearly collided with me, but I moved quick. Some rowdy guy lost his
hat, and another guy picked it up and took it. Finders keepers, I guess.
But like half of the crowd disappeared with that, along with friends and
hootches (to quote Scott Steiner) leaving with the rowdy bunch. Later, this
hot girl traded her shirt for the lead singer's Boba Flex shirt (those guys
were smart self-promoters with the merchandise), so they traded and of
course he saw her tits too. Seemed rather Mardi Gras-esque. If I had any
musical ability at all, or a singing voice (I was blessed with a strong
speaking voice but not a singing voice), I would have loved to do the rock
and roll thing.
So then Saturday rolled around. I've wasted enough space on here lamenting
the apathy of my co-workers when it comes to weekend partying. I ended up
at The Drink, which is normally a fun place. However, the place was VERY
packed, which I should have suspected with the long line to get in. Reminded
me of Jaspers or Krystals (not the restaurant) in Grantham, England with
the lines. So once inside it was a tight squeeze, and adding alcohol, some
really rude assholes, and sure enough tensions were high. I could tell
that things were getting tense over where I was standing, so I ended up
moving real quick to another area. About a minute later a major fight
broke out. I'd have loved to get that on tape, it was wild. Looked like a
swarm of angry bees, with punches flying like crazy. This one guy I saw
use a bottle as a weapon. I had my guard up in case I would've been drawn
into the brouhaha, but it finally broke up when security did a run-in. That
killed what little party spirit I had, so I left as soon as I could (with
the mayhem that ensued, it took about 15 minutes to make it to the front
and out the door).
So that was my pseudo-wild weekend. Thursday and Friday I played tennis for
the first time in a few weeks, and boy was I rusty. But by the end of Friday
I was hitting my shots much better, which was nice. Deborah and I are
supposed to play tonight, which means I need to end this now so I can get
to sleep so I can get up in time to play. How regimented, how fun. But
it's worth it to play tennis.
April 26, 2000
8:03 PM EDT
You blink and a week goes by. The old continuum of seconds and minutes
and hours building up like normal seems to be a thing of the past, with
time flying by. How does that Ben Folds Five song go? "When seconds pass
slowly, and years go flying by." That's from Factory, the first song on
their first (self-titled) CD. Time zips by when you sleep your days
But there hasn't been much to write about in the past week, not much that I
care to post on my webpage at least. There's a certain line when it comes
to emotional disclosure and self-expression in a medium where anyone and
everyone can peer in, voyeurs of thought in a digital age. A point where
you have to execute optimum caution that the broadcast of the actions of
the day don't ultimately end up altering or affecting the very chain of
events that you attempt to comprehend. But there I go again being too
The Counting Crows have issued "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" as their next
single, at least according to an e-mail sent by their official website. In
fact I have that very song playing in my CD player right now. What a great
tune it is.
There was some excitement around the station yesterday with Al Roker coming
to down to open the CSX time capsule. Lots of engineer types and people
there to make sure the satellite uplink with the Today show went well. Of
course the time capsule, buried by the Today show crew in 1956, ended up
being a dud due to some problem with the deterioration of the capsule
itself. This morning on the Today show Katie Couric was ribbing Al Roker
about it a little bit, about his "big trip" to Huntington, West Virginia.
At least they didn't start knocking West Virginia or anything. Until I
moved here, I had no idea how people liked to knock the state. Not to say
that it doesn't have problems with poverty and economic problems in a time
when the rest of the nation is thriving, but still I guess I was just
inobservant about it. Of course it also provides an excellent example of
what years and years of the unions and the Democratic party being in charge
of the state congress can do to overtax and undereducate the people, but
that's a commentary for another time.
I caught some of 60 Minutes on Sunday, and it was interesting to hear the
Governor of New Mexico speaking out in favor of drug legalization. Ed
Bradley grilled him on the usual anti-drug arguments, but the Governor
made some interesting points, in particular pointing out the hypocracy of
marijuana being illegal while at the same time tobacco, a far more
dangerous product, is legal, and he asked the question of would we lock up
all of the cigarette smokers out there? Of course there was no mention
made by CBS about personal liberties and freedom of the individual, but I
can't say that really surprises me all that much. Say what you will about
drugs pro or con, but it is interesting to see someone in such an important
post make a stand like that.
It's hard to believe that the St. Louis Blues lost last night. The San
Jose Sharks knocked them out, and the Western Conference is wide open.
Here's hoping that the Detroit/Colorado conf. semifinals will be up to the
same intensety level that their previously playoff encounters have reached.
Claude Lemieux is gone from Colorado, but I have a feeling that there is
still plenty of bad blood there to go around.
Yankees finally got their act together again and won today. I'd have been
pissed if the Twins would have swept them in the Bronx. Later.
April 19, 2000
10:45 PM EDT
You've gotta love West Virginia. About 20 minutes ago I went over to Big
Bear to buy a few groceries, and I picked up a bottle of vodka. Well when
I went to check out, the computer wouldn't accept it cause it was past 10
PM! And apparently state law in West Virginia is that beer or wine you can
sell after 10 no problem, but not hard liquor. Crazy stuff. Now it's time
to head off to work.
April 19, 2000
6:28 PM EDT
The last time I got a haircut was before I went to Mardi Gras more than a
month ago, so I was overdue for the haircut I got today. The guys at the
barber shop next to Marshall do a great job, and it's funny because when I
first moved here I needed a haircut and I didn't know where to go and I
drove around and found the place by chance. And it turns out that Don Ray,
the GM at WSAZ always gets his hair cut there, and it's the only place that
Jimmy Treacy (sports) has ever gotten his hair cut.
Last night was fun, ended up over at Sharkey's with Tali. I'd never been
there before (it's a bar for you non-Huntington people), but with me having
to work at 11 I couldn't exactly get soused. But it was a fun time, plus I
showed Tali the hockey puck I caught at a January 1999 Predators/Sharks
game. How about that, the first NHL game I'd ever gone to, and I walk away
with a puck.
This should be an exciting weekend, or at the very least more interesting
than last weekend was. We'll see what all happens.
April 16, 2000
8:21 AM EDT
I just finished watching
Shawshank Redemption on DVD. Wow, what a great
movie. If you've never seen it, you owe it to yourself to hunt it down
and watch it sometime. It's one of the best movies of the 1990's in my
Right now I have the Counting Crows playing. My lease has a stipulation
saying that I can't play music or sing in my apartment from 11 PM till 8 AM,
so after a quiet night I'm enjoying a few minutes of music before I go to sleep.
But anyway, what I have playing is the first
CD by the Counting Crows, August and Everything After. What an awesome CD
it is. When I was at Harlaxton in 1998, there were like 3 or 4 tapes in
the Snooker room which were played over an over. One was U2, but it broke
during the semester. Another was CCR's Greatest Hits, with some extra
songs thrown on the leftover B-side room. And then there were the first 8
or so songs from August and Everything After. No matter how much I heard
it, I never got sick of it, which is a good thing considering that it's one
of my all-time favorite CD's. A few songs on there have particular
meaning to me, too.
April 16, 2000
1:56 AM EDT
To say that this weekend has been uneventful would be a major
understatement, particularly compared with last weekend. I guess that's
what I get for picking a profession where most of the people I work with
are in their 30's or older and the majority of whom are married. Why
would they want to go hit a college bar? Mostly if they drink they like to
chill out and hang with friends, not go out to where new people are. And
there are many times where it is fun to just chill and talk with people
you know, but after awhile a little excitement can be nice. But that was
one of the sacrifices I made moving here -- leaving behind all my friends
and people I knew and familiarity for a new situation. I'll have to admit,
it hasn't been easy. If I knew more people at Marshall it probably
wouldn't be as bad, or if there were more guys my age at WSAZ. There are a
few guys like Mike Waterhouse (whose 21st birthday celebration was part of
why we all went out last Saturday), but even he is only in town every now
and then, and this summer he'll be living in Cleveland. And the girls my
age I work with don't exactly want to go out and pick up chicks, so that's
the situation I deal with. Sometimes I'll take a me-against-the-world
philosophy and hit the bars on my own, but c'mon that gets old after
awhile. What I need to do is find a way to meet more people, but that can
be a challenge with the job I work and the hours I keep.
I saw some of the NFL draft today. The Colts took Rob Morris, a linebacker out of BYU, which I was happy about. Also, the Titans got Keith Bulluck, a linebacker from Syracuse who was real high on Mel Kiper Jr.'s draft list, so that was good. The Colts have been my favorite team since I started watching the NFL in 1987 (when Indy won the AFC East), but now Nashville has the Titans and since I'm originally from there, people around here seem to like to assume that I pull for the Titans first and foremost. That especially became the case
when they made it to the Super Bowl this past year. I like the Titans and will cheer for them and enjoy their games when I am lucky enough to go (my parents have season tickets), but I am still a Colts fan first and foremost.
Sex and the City starts on HBO tonight... well, it's actually the reruns of
last season, but since I just got HBO in January I haven't seen them. I
saw one episode once, when I was in Ireland of all places in the fall of
1998. It was on an over-the-air network and ran after Seinfeld. With the
way the United States is so puritanical in nature you'd never see that
here. Anyway, the one episode I saw was pretty entertaining, despite the
appeal to the female demographic with all of the main characters being
women. I don't like all of the HBO original series -- Arli$$ seems a bit too
contrived for me, and Oz is just bizarre (though at times very disturbing).
So we'll see how it goes.
Tonight I went to a place I'd never been before called Cell Block G. It was
a four dollar cover, but the bouncer let me in for just three for some
reason. There was a pretty good band playing there, but being out on my
own just got old quick. Last night I went to The Drink, and while it wasn't
like it was the Friday after Mardi Gras for me, it was still a good time
there. I like to get out and dance when I can, and at least Huntington has
an edge over Evansville in that regard with more dance bar type places.
April 13, 2000
7:15 PM EDT
They say as you get older that time moves faster for you. I'm not sure if
that's the case for everyone, but I know that since I graduated last May
and started working the overnight shift in TV news that time has flown by
so quick. Perhaps not the month-to-month time (though things like the rent
seem to come over and over in rapid fashion), but more day in and day out
time flying by. Luckily I enjoy my job and my work time seems to fly by,
but in general time moves very quickly for me. I mean I blink and five
days have gone by since I've updated the commentary page.
For you pro wrestling fans, Mike Awesome is supposed to drop the ECW World
Title tonight in Indianapolis. He showed up on WCW Nitro and attacked
Kevin Nash, despite still being under contract with ECW. Tomorrow ECW
runs my old town of Evansville with their first-ever show there. Hope they
have a strong turnout for that show.
We "went digital" at WSAZ this week. The process has taken a little
getting used to, but ultimately it's worth it as the on-air product looks
much better with BetaSX as opposed to BetaSP (digital vs. analog). From
what I understand, the other stations in the Huntington market run on
DVCPro, which I have been told is inferior to BetaSX.
I'm listening to Oasis' second CD as I type this, "What's The Story
(Morning Glory)". What a great CD; if you've never heard it you're missing
By my calculations, I should have enough cash to get a new computer by June,
or possibly July. I've been saving up to put money in my Roth IRA, and that
coupled with things like the rent and car insurance and other bills has
pretty much zapped my financial resources for the moment. The computer I
have now runs on Windows 3.1 and is woefully inadequate to handle alot of
the things I'd like to do with it.
My younger bro Matt turns 19 tomorrow, so happy birthday ahead of time to
him. He's pledging Sig Ep down at Mississippi State, and from what I
understand they're having a massive party there this weekend. Wish I could
be there for it, but Starkville is a long way from Huntington. So I'll
party here this weekend and be happy with that.
Speaking of weekend partying, last Saturday night was very interesting.
The 20th Street bar and Yesterdays can be unpredictable and fun places to
be. I'll leave it at that...
April 8, 2000
3:20 AM EDT
The weekends may be the strangest part of my life. And I'm not talking
about living in a town and a state where I know relatively few people, but
the long overnights. I keep my weekday sleep schedule on the weekends
sleeping 9 AM-5 PM. For those people who can shift back and forth from
normal sleep schedules to sleeping during the day, more power to them, but
not me. No way. I'd be a zombie at work on Monday if I did that. The
greatest challenge is in the fall during football season when I miss out on
college games by being asleep. With the NFL I'd usually bite the bullet
and try to tough it out, but it was tough. At least here in the Eastern
time zone now I can tough it out a little easier.
Meeting new people around here has been a trick. With my job producing a
morning newscast, it's not as if I interact with a large number of people,
and those I do talk with from outside the station are calling on the phone
in the middle of the night. Luckily I work with some good people who I
have fun going out drinking and hanging out with. Though, with many of
them being in their 30's, if not older, the demographic skews older on me,
to borrow some TV ratings termonology. At least Huntington has Marshall,
which means more people in a similar age category being around. This is
still worlds better than Evansville, where it seemed like the elderly
controlled the town. Not to knock senior citizens, but it's nice to have
women my own age around.
I bought the new Counting Crows CD last night. If you haven't purchased
"This Desert Life" yet, do it. It's a must-own in my book after just one
listen. Even in this era of napster.com and mp3 files (not that my slow,
sorry-ass computer could handle them), there are some CD's worth owning,
and this is one of them.
I bought it at, of all places, Blockbuster Video. I know that Blockbuster
Music folded in Evansville, though I'm unsure of what it did nationwide.
Dunno if it's a conglomogration of the two operations or what. But anyway,
Blockbuster had "guaranteed" in a TV ad that they'd have The Sixth Sense on
VHS or DVD, but when I got there they were all out. There might have been
a way to get something out of them not having it if I had rented something
else, but I didn't particularly want anything else. All I know is that
nobody had better spoil that movie for me, as I never saw it in theatres
(another downside to my schedule -- missing out on matinees).
Another show to add to my favorite show list is... Unhappily Ever After.
One of the dumbest shows on TV, but to quote Diamond Dallas Page, "good
gawd", there are some things on that show that just grab your attention.
Whoever cast Nikki Cox in the Christina Applegate role (the show is a total
ripoff of Married With Children) was an f'n genius.
April 5, 2000
8:36 PM EDT
One of the best shows on television today is The Sopranos. If you haven't
seen it, you really don't know what you're missing. When I moved to
Huntington I got HBO for the first time in my life, which was great.
Uncensored television, what a concept. I personally feel that all of cable
should be able to act under the same rules that HBO has -- why does having
commercials give the FCC jurisdiction over them? If anyone know the reason
for that, drop me an e-mail.
But this isn't a rant about the FCC. The Sopranos is a really compelling
show, and I wish that I had been able to see the first season of the shows.
I haven't missed a show in the second season (including the week when I went
to Mardi Gras), and the season finale is this Sunday. I can't wait.
It's not the violence and the cussing and the nudity that makes the show
great, though. It's solid writing, compelling characters, back history, and
believable continuity. Not to mention the high production quality, and the
genius used in mixing in music to set the mood just right.
Last night I tried to give Falcone on CBS a chance, but it was just so
tough. Not to knock the show or its producers -- from what I understand,
the final product of the pilot was much tamer due to CBS' demands than the
version of the pilot which they originally shopped around to the different
networks. Perhaps it was because I had just seen a great Sopranos episode
on Sunday, but I couldn't get into Falcone. As it is, I don't watch all
that much television
While I'm at it, here are some shows from the 1990's (and the beginning of
2000) that I also enjoy/enjoyed:
Seinfeld (particular the Larry David years)- With its brilliant
writing and incredible ability to tie plotlines, it was a sitcom I loved,
and I dislike almost all sitcoms. Cosmo Kramer is one of my all-time
My So-Called Life- What a shame that such a great show lasted for
just one season. Thanks for killing it, ABC. Anyway, it was a compelling
look at the life of a high school girl, told not through the stereotypical
stories, Saturday morning dumbing-down or typical predictability that many
shows use. Rather, the producers actually went out and did their best to
learn modern-day slang (well, modern day as in 1994-95 when the show aired)
and use believable characters, clever writing, and compelling storylines to
make the show come to life. At one point MTV had the rights to re-broadcast
this show in the United States, but I'm not sure if they still do or not.
Beavis and Butt-head- This show was one of the best examples of
social commentary and satire on television in the early-to-mid 1990's,
thought that fact was sadly lost on many people. It was absolutely
hilarious as well, with the cleverness of Mike Judge shining through.
Sadly, many people concentrated far too often on the crude language or the
fire controversy (parental irresponsibility blamed on television) and missed
many of the points being made.
South Park- Animated brilliance, and like Beavis and Butt-head the
genius behind this show is also often missed by viewers and critics alike.
One of my favorite lines is from the "Sexual Harassment Panda" episode when
Kyle's dad explains that political correctness isn't fascism "because we
don't call it fascism." The show often makes great digs at the
contradictions and absurdities of modern American society.
Frasier- I never got into this show at first (see Seinfeld for my
usual thoughts on sitcoms), but thanks to a certain woman I used to date I
started watching the episodes in syndication over at her apartment when I
was in Evansville. The show is an intelligently written comedy, which is
almost unheard of on modern American television.
The Simpsons- This is one of the all-time greatest shows on
television. The writing for this show is incredible, with the humor being
great as well. I've almost run out of suitable superlatives to use to
describe this show, but it is intelligent and very funny and constantly
full of twists and surprises that make you laugh. Homer Simpson is right
up there with Cosmo Kramer among my all-time favorite TV characters. The
plot sometimes gets a bit crazy (though not Flintstones level crazy), but it
overall is a show worth watching every time. The 1992 softball episode I
almost know by heart after seeing it so many times.
Family Guy- A great animated comedy with solid satire.
Once and Again- One of the greatest new shows on television. It's
too bad that ABC moved it to Monday nights, as that conflicts with WWF Raw
is War. But it is a compelling look at modern-day life for a family
dealing with divorce and dating and high school and issues that many people
deal with on a regular basis. Strong characters and great acting help
make this show come alive.
That's all for now.
April 5, 2000
8:45 AM EDT
It is early and I am sleepy. While other people are battling to get going
in the beginning of their work or school day, or still snoozing away on the
west coast, I'm enjoying the last few moments of my "Wednesday night". When
you produce a morning newscast and work the graveyard shift like I do, the
yesterdays and tomorrows all run together -- there is only today, the here
and now. I sleep the shift that most people work, 9 AM until 5 PM. This I
say not to complain, but just in reflection, with sunlight peeking through
the black screen over my window that lets more sunlight into my room than
There's no particular reason that I decided to choose today to start my
online commentary, other than it's something that I've been wanting to do
for awhile. It's tough when most of your good friends are scattered across
the country. Communication is difficult. I am fortunate to be living in
the Internet era, as it really helps to keep in touch with people far away
from me. People who could never take the discipline to write a letter can
spend a minute replying to an e-mail, no stamp needed. And no 3-4 day
Huntington, West Virginia is a fun town to live in. I moved here in
December, and I'm still happy here, which is a good thing. My job brought
me here -- I knew no one in the entire state, save for the people I met
during my whirlwind 6 hour interview visit in November, when I came here.
This feels like a rambling collection of thoughts, which it is, fueled by a
desire to write and a sleepiness that will overcome me at some point. It's
ironic in a sense that I would want to write after spending my work day (or
should I say work night -- even nights and days run together) writing and
producing a 2 hour newscast, but that's what I enjoy doing.
No tennis today (tonight) in all likelihood, which is too bad because I
could go for some tennis. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and
it will be a possibility. I played tennis on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
of last week, which was great. If I could play tennis every day, I would.
It's so much fun. When Justin Smith and I would play back in college in the
1997-99 days, we'd have some classics. And there's a certain elation and
feeling you get after playing a long, greuling game of tennis that's hard to
We had a call over at the station yesterday from a viewer who was tired of
our coverage of the Elian Gonzalez saga. Actually I think he was tired of
NBC's coverage, as the Today show was running something on it when he
called, but the average viewer often can't dissern between local and
national programming. But I really feel sorry for the kid either way. He's
become a symbol for something that goes far beyond himself, and sadly there's
no easy way to resolve things. His dad is in Cuba and his mom died trying
to bring him to safety. I must plead ignorance to life in Cuba, though I
did read an interesting series of articles online at
GoPBI.com yesterday from a link on the
Drudge Report that shed a lot of
light to me about how tragically poor conditions are for many people in
Cuba. Communism fails yet again.
Sleep beckons for now. Until next time, enjoy these quotes from this
"Do you know how to use a microwave?"
-Deborah Cramer, to me (and yes she was serious)
"I'm not going to wash my ass until the price of gas drops to 86 cents a
-Daryl Adkins, mocking the story of a guy in Iowa who says he won't cut his
hair until the price of pigs reaches $50