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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

February 2002

February 27, 2002
9:05 AM EST

Here we are, on the downslide of the week. Two days to the weekend. Nothing too compelling planned at this point, but it's wide open. And there's something to be said for that.

Word has it that Game Show Network is planning to revive the classic show Press Your Luck. While the revival of great shows worries me in the potential bastardization of the format (like seems to be the case with Donny Osmond's $100,000 Pyramid), I'm willing to give a new PYL a chance.

I hope to watch last night's episode of 24 sometime soon. The tape is in my VCR, unwatched as of now, much like the tape of Sunday night's ESPN show "Sidelines" (which came recommended from the brilliant Bill Simmons of ESPN's Page 2). They will be watched soon enough, but time is tight these days.

Right now I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to watch the Bubba the Love Sponge animal cruelty trial through I won't get into the full story here, but for those of you not in Bubba's listening area, he is a DJ with a syndicated morning show based out of Tampa, FL. Anyway, I will say that it disgusts me that my tax dollars are being used on prosecuting these trumped-up charges. If they can do this to Bubba, and Bubba's producer Brent Hatley, who's to say I couldn't be prosecuted for producing a newscast which featured pig racing at a fair? It's damn frightening to me... and it should be to you, too.

February 26, 2002
8:07 PM EST

"How do you feel?
How do you feel?
I can't seem to breath with a rusted metal heart..."
-Sparklehorse "Piano Fire"

First of all, let one and all admire my eBay skills. A Peyton Manning Starting Lineup figure for 50 cents? Believe it!

The link

Tonight is a good night for TV on Fox. Undeclared followed by the best drama on broadcast TV, the always-compelling 24. Undeclared is an interesting show -- very cleverly written, with a few subtle things that really capture the little things about contemporary college life. The line last week about Lloyd's overflow was amazingly similar to the Steve Badelli runoff of 2001. Some shows just "get it" -- this is one of those shows. It's an interesting lead-in to 24, since that show is so different, but 24 is brilliant in a totally different way.

Ugh... as I type this, I've discovered that Undeclared is pre-empted tonight by a second episode of the medicore That 70's Show. Bad times, for sure.

But in a happier note, my vacation time is set (for the most part) for the rest of 2002. Three trips are in order: Starkville, MS in April (to visit my bro at Mississippi State), the big California vacation in early June (San Diego, L.A. *and* San Francisco -- should be an adventure), and then in late June a trip to St. Louis for Mike Miller's wedding. Speaking of Mike, I need to get ahold of him and figure out plans and what not for that weekend.

These are slow times for sports fans. The football season is over, baseball hasn't begun, and basketball and hockey are in that waiting-for-post-season mode. But March Madness will soon be here... which should be a very fun time.

February 25, 2002
9:41 AM EST

"Maybe in a month or two
Maybe when things are different for me
Maybe when things are different for you
You know all of this shit, just sticks in my head
Is there anything different these days?"
-Counting Crows "Chelsea"

These are interesting times, yes indeed. It's certainly intriguing when there's no set path and no real set course. Of course, sailing through uncharted waters can get a little scary sometimes, but what's life without a good adventure now and then?

Enough of the poetic stuff. The Winter Olympics ended last night. I watched some snippets here and there of the closing ceremonies, if nothing else out of sheer amazement at the appeal of the kid with the light and the dude with the pushbroom. Rather strange if you ask me.

A couple of memorable olympic moments for me were the women's figure skating finals (and Sarah Hughes' priceless reaction when she found out she won the gold) and the third period of the United States/Russia semifinal men's hockey game (where the Russians were taking shot after shot and it looked like they were going to tie the game at 3). Hey, I got Sarah Hughes' name right this time around (for some reason I miswrote her name as "Katie Hughes", who's a PIO in some county around here, in a script at work). Actually I made a graphic for the skating story that I was particualrly proud of, trying to explain the scoring difference between the top three. I even included a little arrow at the bottom saying that Hughes won the gold due to a tiebreaker with her scoring better in the long program. I don't know figure skating AT ALL, and it was like trying to use the NFL playoff tiebreaker system trying to understand it all (meaning it was difficult)... but ultimately I was proud of that little graphic. Sometimes it really is the little things that matter. I mean, I write an hour of news every day and the days and weeks and months and years pass by, and ultimately you could compile a book with it all (but my, what a sad book you have by measure when you add it all up in the end).

Dammit, there I go ahead getting all unintentionally deep and psychological. I guess my brain went back on break, like it did for about an hour this morning when I had the toughest time trying to concentrate. And I'm not all that tired either, as I had what was by my standards a rather calm and relaxed weekend.

Yesterday morning was interesting. I was here writing an e-mail at my computer when I heard this whap whap whap sound, like a car door being opened and shut quickly. I look outside, and there was this big guy (about my height, 6'2", but he was pushing 300 lbs.) stumbling away from the car. Now I didn't know whose car it was and I thought maybe it was his. Then about five minutes later that same sound came again. I looked out the window and saw the dude literally beating the car with a shrub he had apparently uprooted from outside the gate here at my apartment complex. The car was covered in dirt, I mean it was filthy dusty. It was like Pig Pen from Peanuts had come to life or something. At that point, I called my apartment security.

Unfortunately, the answering service informed me that security had gone home at 6 AM. I suppose they figured the Ybor City Saturday night riff-raff had all gone home. After all, the bars close at 3 AM here. But nope, there was big-man outside giving the car a giant bitch-slap with an uprooted bush. To call it surreal would be an understatement.

So I did the next logical thing and called the Tampa police non-emergency number. On the first try I received a recorded message saying their number had changed. What, did they move?!?!? It was kind of bewildering. But then I got through to a recording that varied back-and-forth from English to Spanish asking me to please hold. Finally an operator picked up, and I explained to her what was happening.

I went back to my voyeuristic post and watch the guy stumble away from the car again. I figured with my luck he'd be gone and the cops wouldn't find him. But soon enough he was back... pushing what looked to be a stolen Kash 'N Karry grocery cart. He then began bashing the side of the car with the cart. I really wondered at that point if I had fallen asleep and woken up in bizarro-Ybor City or something.

But the guy wandered off again, and I figured uh oh that's it. But then about 10 minutes later, I saw a cop walking down the sidewalk with the big man. I smiled. Seeing the cop point at the car and the shrub laying next to it was one of those priceless moments you'd really have to have seen to appreciate. Some moments transcend language.

Quickly enough I was downstairs, and I walked over to the gate. The officer asked me a few questions, and I confirmed that big man was the guy who had been bashing the car with the shrub and the cart. The cop thanked me and said he'd handle it, so I went back upstairs to watch the action from my makeshift box seat.

Two more squad cars showed up ("Think you all brought enough guys?" -Todd Hockney in The Usual Suspects), and the humor was in full effect. Apparently the guy knows someone who lives somewhere in the complex, but he ended up separated from his friend. How that translates to uprooting a shrub and ramming a shopping cart into a stranger's car, I don't know. The ended was anti-climatic though, as the guy ended up riding off in a taxicab instead of the back of a squad car, like I'd hoped.

February 3, 2002
3:26 PM EST

I thought it'd be a good idea to update the page. I've got big plans for a redesign and a new URL, so I've been hesitant to add a great deal of material to here until that happens.

Let's see... The Super Bowl is today, Rams vs. Patriots. This morning, ESPN was showing 30 minutes recaps of all the past Super Bowls, including the Rams/Titans game from two years ago. I had forgotten that the Titans were down 16-0 in that one... only to rally for one of the most dramatic finishes in Super Bowl history.

The Gasparilla day parade was yesterday. It was an interesting scene, for sure, with hundreds of thousands of people packed into downtown Tampa. Earlier in the day, Bay News 9's weather forecast had promised partly-to-mostly cloudy skies. And with it being early February, it seemed believable enough to me that it'd be comfortable, with temps in the mid-70's.

It seemed true to form over at my friend Andrea's house. My friends Adam and Amanda from Orlando were over there with me, and we walked over to a nearby Kash 'N Karry grocery store to pick up some more beer. It should be noted that the Gasparilla day parade is the one day out of the year where having 3 or 4 beers before noon is seen as completely normal in Tampa. As ESPN Page 2's Bill Simmons would say: Good times, good times.

The parade itself was fun, an interesting assortment of organizations ("Krewes") and media outlets. Unfortunately, Channel 10 (my station) had no float. Otherwise, you would have seen me up there...

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