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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Guess Who's Back

September 5, 2008

It's about time I show back up on here, don't you think? Well, here I am.

So where have I been? Dallas and Atlanta and eastern North Carolina and Charleston, SC and other parts unknown. My creativity on here was lacking, so I took a break.

I do have some travel story columns to retrofit on here, most of which are in various stages of completion. I'd prefer to not have a goose egg for the summer of 2008, and I'll end up putting them on here and backdating them. So look for that on here hopefully sooner as opposed to later.

My father and I have been playing tennis on a regular basis over the past couple of months. That has been great fun, and both of our games have been improving. I've won them all to this point since we started our tennis series at Rock Island in early July, but it hasn't been domination by any means. Even at 60, my father has great reflexes and lightning-quick speed. I've never had much quickness, but I make up for it with power and aim. But, win or lose, it's fun to get out with Dad and mix it up on the court.

Both college football and the NFL have started their seasons, which for me is great fun. That's not only because of the attention that it helps draw to Draft King, but also out of enjoyment as a fan of the sport. We finally made the switch from Comcast to DirecTV, which has helped that enjoyment even more. Comcast gave me the brush-off when I e-mailed them asking about ESPN U, and they can stick it -- now I get not only ESPN U but also a whole host of sports channels that I couldn't get with cable.

Last month I tried out for the game show Million Dollar Password in Atlanta. I passed the written test (which I found to be rather easy but which eliminated about half of the room, including my friend Stacey) and I did an on-camera tryout in front of the show's casting director, which was a blast. So now I'm in the contestant pool. Theoretically they could call me at any time to fly out to Los Angeles to be on the show, or I might never hear from them. I did my tryout on literally one hour of sleep, and I figure that I either made a great impression or a terrible one since I tend to be more demonstrative when I'm sleep deprived. That wasn't done by choice; it just worked out that way. Regardless, I'm in the mix, and the experience itself was a blast.

The best sugar-free drink that no one knows about is Milo's Splenda sweet tea. My bro Matt discovered it at Kroger, and now I look for it every time I go there. They don't have much of it in stock typically, so I buy them out every time I'm there. Try it and, believe me, odds are that you'll like it. Unless you must have sugar in your sweet tea, you should find it to be quite tasty.

Ashleigh, Andy, and Parker
Ashleigh, Andy, and Parker from Highway 18 attended a Karg Brothers show in Goldsboro, NC.

I went on tour last month with the Karg Brothers, and I met three of the people on the Golf Channel show Highway 18. Two of the people I met, Andy Crain and Parker King, comprise one of the five teams on the show, which is a blend of a low-budget version of The Amazing Race mixed with golf skills challenges. The show itself drags at times, and it really made me appreciate how well produced The Amazing Race is. Then again, I figure Highway 18's budget is a sliver of what The Amazing Race has.

I later met Ashleigh Korzack (who came up to North Carolina to see Parker while I was there -- read into that what you will). Her partner on the show, Ashley Davis, hilariously ended up going to Tennessee State on a scholarship and then won the national women's minority golf tournament as a freshman, since Ashley was a minority (white and Canadian) at predominately black TSU.

Andy and Parker held close on not revealing any results from the show (even when drinking at a Karg Brothers gig), and I saw people try several tactics to procure the information. As for the fellow cast members, Andy admitted to me that he didn't like Jay & Peach (who haven't come across well on the show) and liked Raul & Jameica the best. Some interesting comments about the show:

-The running scenes are mostly staged.
-When a team arrives at a location, they don't start the challenge right away. Instead they have to wait 7 minutes (or however long it is) for the camera crew to set up. It's fair in that all teams have to do that, but it was amusing to hear it explained first-hand.
-Apparently the host (the very attractive Keri Murphy) flubbed her lines sometimes, which required plenty of retakes in the explanation portion of the show.
-The contestants were given no information about what the show involved and only found out what was expected of them as the show went along.
-Teams were given cars with audio navigation... though Andy & Parker's car didn't have it equipped. That hardly seems fair in a competition for $50,000.
-Teams were not allowed to go over the speed limit in driving from one location to the next; the in-car cameraman served as an enforcer on that.
-Andy was *very* well aware that the winners don't receive their money until after the show's last episode airs.

In an interesting side-note, Andy mentioned that if he manages to get his PGA tour card, "they" (I presume the Golf Channel show producers) are interested in creating a reality show with him being caddied by Parker. Also, Andy (who wears a Detroit Tigers cap at times on the show) is a legit Tigers fan. To point, the night that the Karg Brothers traveling crew spent at the Crain home (thanks to them for putting us up there), Andy stayed up well past his bedtime to watch a Tigers at White Sox game, only to see Detroit lose the game in a gut-wrenching 14 innings. That's a tough way to end a night, I say.

My neck spasms continue to cause me pain, though with the proper medicines (and I'm a traveling pharmacy at this point) I'm able to control them from triggering the hellish cluster headaches that plagued me for almost all of February of this year and that have tortured me off and on for eight years now. The addition of Nortriptyline at night has helped. Short of surgery, I don't know that I'll ever be able to completely do away with the neck spasms. But I can control them with medication, and there's something to be said for that.

I have much, much, much more to write. But the hiatus is broken, and after I do my retrofitting, hopefully things will be back on track.

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