Friday, March 28, 2008


Last night the UT Basketball Vols lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The closed out a 30+ win season with a regular season SEC Crown and a 1 week #1 ranking.

Is that satisfying? Not even close.

This group had the teamwork potential and depth to make a deep run in the tournament, but once again proved that Tennessee basketball is ultimately about lack of discipline and schoolyard hoops that they always have been known for.

Multiple turnovers, little focus, bad passes, poor shooting, ticky-tack hand check fouls....I'm highly disappointed and not a little bit upset.

I'm mostly disappointed, really, in our new wunderkind Bruce Pearl. SEC Coach of the Year, Pearl worked magic since the day he stepped onto campus but in the games it counted most he couldn't come up with the words or plan to reign in the Wild Bunch.

From last year's Butler and Ohio State games, to this year's Arkansas and Louisville - the games with the most on the line - we looked helpless, lost, bereft of leadership and a plan. When UT doesn't have a plan, they fall back on the old blaze-it-down-the-floor-and-put-up-something most kids learn on the playground.

True, it looked a couple times during the game we were going to pull it together and wipe off Louisville's lead. Both times we fell apart around the 3-pts down mark and let the Cardinals build it back up to 10 or more. They let their momentarily success get to their heads and lost focus.

So, except for those nice milestones mentioned earlier - 30+ win season, #1 ranking, SEC season championship - we progressed no further than we did last season. Lost early in the SEC Tournament, lost in the NCAA Sweet 16. Normally I'd be happy with even that progress. But not with this team.

We had the best first 10 players I've ever seen on a Tennessee team, and maybe the best in the country. We had the potential for so much more, but failed to take advantage of it.

I think we may have just seen UT's best shot at making the Final Four evaporate. One of the best UT players ever, Chris Lofton, is graduating. As are JuJuan Smith (2nd best player on team) and Jordan Howell. It's even possible, now even more likely after this loss, that Tyler Smith (3rd best player on team) may go pro early. We could be left next year without our 3 best players and an inexperienced freshman class coming in.

You think Florida had trouble this year after losing so many of its talented leaders? Yikes.


How many people said in 1997 after Peyton Manning played his final game as a Volunteer that UT just lost its best chance ever to win a football National Championship? I probably did, as did many, many other Big Orange faithful.

You may remember a motley group of no-name scrubs led by Tee Martin and Al Wilson that went defied the odds, went 11-0 and won the 1998 National Championship. So there's always hope.

You just have to focus.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Particularly Proud

I'm Seventh on Google searches for the name "Barry".

At least at this writing...

I don't know why this makes me happy but it does...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stupid Is As Evil Does, But Communication Trumps It All

I kind of like this adage:
Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. (Source)
...but I don't think it goes quite far enough.

I've found that a lot of the problems that plague us today when there is interpersonal strife is much less likely to be attributed to one or other of the parties actively seeking to undermine the other. It's much more likely that they just don't realize what's going on.

In fact, while stupidity might be a major factor I typically feel fairly charitable to my fellow human beings and see more a lack of communication as the cause of friction and conflict. One person has a problem with another person, person A speaks to a friend, person B speaks to a co-worker, words are exchanged, rumors spread, inappropriate actions taken, all leading to hurt feelings and lack of forward momentum - all due to the fact Person A never really spoke to Person B about their conflict.


I'm caught up in a situation like that now with our church, but I see it everywhere - especially politics. Democrats and Republicans don't agree and hate each other not because it's in their nature - it's because they don't communicate. At least, they don't communicate with any real desire to see the other side of the argument and understand the other's position. It's not that either side is evil, and they're not (usually) stupid. They just don't know how to learn and develop ideas.

You can see that here, in an editorial in yesterday's News Sentinel by a young woman named Jessica Davis:

Ode to conservative evangelical
Liberal-infested academia despises the Religious Right for its small-minded inability to simultaneously contemplate the nuances of each side in political matters and sagaciously realize that truth is relative. But, by its very nature, Christianity demands absolutism and rejects relativity; it cannot reconcile with other religions' core theologies. These Christians, then, are merely acting rationally in accordance with what they know to be true.
Ms. Davis champions the belief that Christianity is an absolutist religion that morphs into a political philosophy. Because she - and many other Christians - believe that the absolutism of their religion must, by definition, extend to their interaction with everyone else in the world they reject the idea of open-minded communication. We don't live in a world where Christians are isolated on a hilltop and the unwashed rabble of the world are spread below, unworthy of interaction. To work through problems with people who may not necessarily believe the same as you requires communication, cooperation, and possibly putting for an effort to actually understand what they believe. This doesn't just apply to people of other religions (or no religion) but even to other Christians who don't quite subscribe to every tenet of their interpretation of Christian doctrine. Left-Behinder Capital-E-Evangelical Real True Christians (tm) don't mix with the rest of us, because we don't subscribe to their views. And as such, since the light should not have fellowship with the darkness, refuse to communicate in an effort to make the world (the one, incidentally, in which ALL of us live) a little better for all who live here.

Are they evil? No, I don't think so. Stupid? Some, maybe, but mostly I think they're scared of communicating with others and risk their world-view being shaken. And maybe learning things about other people - things that they're afraid will cause them to rethink their positions, but just as possibly will get them to strengthen their positions and understand how the world works.

So therefore, I offer:
Barry's razor: Never attribute to malice or stupidty that which can be adequately explained by inability to communicate.
Thus I communicate to you. Are you listening?

UPDATE: Ok, maybe I wasn't clear...

I wasn't trying to say that I thought people could just pick and choose what to believe in the Bible.... I just feel very strongly that there are parts of the Bible we don't understand, and some that we have misunderstood. And parts are mightily misunderstood, I think. We only have to look back 50 or so years in our history and remember there were churches in the south that were ready to preach blacks had no part in white society, because GOD said so. And they were believed.

There are people who believe the Bible tells them to condemn mightily homosexuals - not just in word but in deed, picketing funerals of soldiers who are defending this country. There are some who believe the Bible tells them, clearly, to beat their children within an inch of their life, and to horribly opress their wives to the point of involuntary servitude. And to handle snakes without fear of being bitten. And so on...

Yes, there is a Truth. And it's in the Bible, I just don't think humans have figured it all out yet. And probably never will, until the second coming... until that time no mortal or groups of mortals has a monopoly on the Truth..

Now, I'm sure that we all believe we understand the Truth. Or rather, believe our own interpretation of the Bible and God's acts, to be The Truth. And that's fine... it's great to believe. It's great to have Faith. But we have to be intellectual enough to understand that just because we believe we know The Truth, it doesn't mean we can't learn from other people. Even people of other faiths - even radically different faiths. There are always Truths to learn out there, Truths to better understand... Truths to get better perspectives on. And so forth.

You don't have to drop a belief of your own in order to understand someone else's. Communication can strengthen one's own faith, but we don't have to be so afraid that we might introduce ourselves to something so radical it changes our beliefs.

Don't be afraid to reach out to other people, test communications, test boundaries. Be strong in your faith and you'll grow even stronger.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quick LOST flash (*SPOILERS*)

Spoilers for tonight's "Meet Kevin Johnson".


Ok, so supposedly the island won't let Michael die when he's on the mainland. Something about the island, some property of it is twisting fate and course correcting the world to keep him from offing himself.

In Jack's flashforward at the end of last season, we see him reading the obituary of someone while on a plane (apparently from hanging), getting tremendously upset, attempting to commit suicide himself, attending the person's funeral, and finally committing himself to going back to the island. People have been speculating for a while that the dead person was Michael, especially since no one came to his funeral and it was in a black section of town. But why the anonymity? And why was Jack so upset?

Somehow in the time between now and when the Oceanic 6 left the island, they discovered what kind of power would keep someone alive back home. They figured out or were told this property. Whatever it is. And there was always a constant threat that that power might someday go away. And if it did go away, they would all be in danger. That's why Jack wasn't afraid of being in another plane crash, and even prayed for it with every flight from the LA to the Far East and back.

Since he read that Michael hanged himself in the obituary (or "Kevin Johnson", since nobody came to his funeral because nobody knew his name but the Losties and the O6), Jack realized that protection was gone. You could be killed out on the mainland. He tried to kill himself, but was stopped from jumping off the bridge by the car wreck.

That knowledge drove him to the drunken despair we saw in the flashforward. And it finally strengthened his resolve to get to the island and rescue those left behind. Whatever happened on the island to remove its protection galvanized Jack to action.

I think that's what we'll see play out over the rest of this season - the O6 being rescued and we'll catch up to the flashforwards. Then next season will pick up with FutureJack and FutureKate at the airport and we'll move forward from there in real time to the end of the series.

Note - I can't remember. Is next season the last season? If not, then they may stretch out the game plan somewhat.

Friday's Feast

Appetizer - Given the choice, would you prefer to live in the country or in the city?

Depends on how you define "city" and "country". I wouldn't want to live in a big city like New York or Chicago - too many people, too much steel and concrete. I wouldn't want to live out in the country - not enough people, too far from civilization. I like right where I am - right outside a nice, medium-sized town next to the mountains. If there was a beach on the other side instead of, well, Farragut it'd be perfect!

Soup - Who is the cutest kid you know?

Both my kids, of course. What else am I going to say?

Salad - Fill in the blank: I couldn’t believe it when I heard ___________.

Salad - Fill in the blank: I couldn’t believe it when I heard Battlestar Galactica wasn't starting up again until APRIL!?!?.

Main Course - If you could star in a commercial for one of your favorite products, which one would you want to advertise?

Carnival Cruise Lines, or Walt Disney World. I'm not picky.

Dessert - What type(s) of vitamins and/or supplements do you take on a regular basis?

I don't take any vitamins, per se, but I do take medicine for high blood pressure and cholesterol which both work amazingly well. And I take a baby aspirin every day, as probably everyone my age or so should.

Monday, March 17, 2008

GREASE is the Word. Hopefully, For a Long Time to Come...

I just started rehearsals for "Grease" at the Oak Ridge Playhouse, and things are thus far going swimmingly.

It's great being a more-or-less established musical director, because I use the same musicians over and over (and being such a swell guy) they just tend to enjoy coming back and playing again. I'm using the same pianist from "The King and I", and my drummer and bass player have done several shows with me. It's great to go into a show without constantly worrying about putting together a band.

The cast is great, young people who are excited about a show that's been around for years and is ready for a fresh chance. One of the big problems about producing a show that's a) been around for a long time, and b) spawned a highly successful movie version, is that cast members can fall into the trap of imitating the previous performers. Being that John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John made their parts so famous and distinctive (along with Stockard Channning, Jeff Conaway, Fabian and other stars) it's difficult to go back to the original script and score and treat it as if it were brand new. As I told the cast in the first rehearsal, if people wanted to see them imitate Travolta, Newton-John and others onstage they should just go rent the movie. It's our job to create something fresh, new and entertaining.

And that's really the same for every play or musical. Directors shouldn't simply copy a convention or design that's been used in the past, either in their own experience or based on a particular staging from a famous version of the show. They should always try to bring something of themselves, and the performers to the show and make it unique to this place and time. This is something I believe community theatre has over professional and maybe even regional theatre. Professionals perform in dozens, hundreds, even thousands of shows over a lifetime. Their experiences and memories or particular shows begin to blur over time. Even as my own resume' grows, memories of shows start to run together. But more often than not, I remember very distinctive parts of almost every show I've ever been involved in. And that should be the same for anyone who's ever worked in community theatre. Each one is separate and unique, and the good memories of casts, performances, relationships, friendships and emotions should be treasured their whole life. I certainly hope to for myself.

I recently got back in touch with an actress that was in "Company" almost 5 years ago. She's in college pursuing a masters. I've worked with several people in "Grease" before, one in particular who's playing Danny also played Horton in "Suessical" and Drake in "Honk". Another friend from "Company" and "King & I" I keep in touch with via Facebook. So connections continue and experiences go on.

Anyway, "Grease". The performances are weekends of April 25-May 11. I hope you'll try to

Saturday, March 15, 2008

LOST in Thoughts

My thoughts on "Ji Yeon"...

  • I was completely faked out on the flashback/flashforward. In fact, I didn't realize it was a dual flash until I came onto some messageboards after the episode. In my brain, I'd worked out the elaborate pretense that somehow Jin had arrived back in the world separate from Sun, and had to mask his identity. He had moved to China (hence visiting the Chinese ambassador, disregarding the fact you don't visit the Chinese ambassador in China, you visit them in whatever country they're ambassador to, like, oh, South Korea?), taken another wife for two months, and had taken pains to drop out of site of the rest of the world - even from Sun. And that Sun actually thought he was dead. Somehow as part of the Oceanic 6 deal, he had to disappear (something like Sayid). Of course, presenting yourself as a representative of Paik Automotive should've been the tipoff but it didn't occur to me till later after reading the boards.

  • So is Jin dead? I believe that Sun thinks so. That was no "you're not here, you're still on the island, but I'm going to pretend your dead to play along with the cover story" performance at his gravesite. In her mind (and possibly Hurley's, though that's not certain) Jin is dead. But is he really dead? Either he dies at some point between now and when the O6 are taken off the island, or Sun thinks he dies but he's still alive and being held with the rest of the O816 survivors. I hope it's the latter, because no man should totally miss his first child...

    This of course means that if Sun is, what, 9-10 weeks pregnant now (and in 3 weeks will be going through the 2nd trimester), and it appears the baby was born slightly premature due to labor starting painfully and all of a sudden in her hotel suite, she was born probably somewhere around the 36-40th week. And of course Sun doesn't die of SIDS (Sudden Island Death Syndrome), so she must leave the island in the next few weeks, make it back to civilization and become part of the Oceanic 6 within the next 20 weeks of show time. That means the flashforwards start as early as, say, March or April 2005.

  • The dates on Jin's headstone state he was born in November 1974 and died on 9/22/2004 (the date of the plane crash) so obviously the cover story is he died on the plane crash. Obviously nobody tested Sun back in civilization to discover she got pregnant after the crash, or it didn't matter to anyone. Is there a body in the grave? Is it the body of the fake crash victim that was at the bottom of the ocean? Is it Jin's real dead body they bring back from Lostopia Island? Is it empty? Who knows. Another question - there's another date on the opposite side of the headstone, that just says a date in 1980. I assume that's Sun's birthdate, and they bought the dual plot long ago for both of them to make final use of eventually?

  • I was actually shocked that nobody tried to take the baby. Combine the sudden labor, the substitute physician, the overly helpful and friendly nurse, the mysterious passerby in the hallway the Sun thought was Jin....I assumed as a matter of course that Widmore/Oceanic/Dharma/Ben/Paik/Hanso/whoever was orchestrating to take the baby soon after birth. When Hurley turned up at the apartment later and the baby was right there, I was actually surprised. Way to telegraph an obvious plot development and actually not go the easy route, Lost!

  • I am surprised that the cabal mentioned above wouldn't have interest in Sun's baby. It was conceived on the island and the mom survived to give birth.

  • Although, Juliet, who has been known to tell a fib here and then, maybe lied about the conception date, or was mistaken. Maybe it isn't really Jin, and could still be her lover's? Nahh, that's a stretch.

  • Two episodes this season end with women holding babies...

  • Where did Frank fly off to with the helicopter???

  • Man, Daniel Faraday, you are a terrible liar. At least pretend you're more than not a geeky spazoid... "That'" I love how Sun is direct in her questions.

  • Does Desmond know Michael? I can't remember if their paths ever crossed...

  • Where's Walt? Is he onboard the ship? Guess we'll find out next week.

  • I would bet Walt's the last of the Oceanic 6. His identity as such will be revealed next week. Michael will likely not survive the season, and will die to protect his son. The Oceanic 6 would thus be Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Sun and Walt. Aaron and Ji Yeon don't count, because they were born after the crash. Ben doesn't count because he's not likely in the open, nor was he on the plane (as well as Desmond and Juliet).

    UPDATE: (Saturday, March 15)

  • I liked seeing Bernard, and wish the show would use he and Rose more as mentors to the younger cast members. The show really needs some age and wisdom - everyone's so young!! I was surprised they made Jin to be 30, when in real life Daniel Dae Kim is about 39. Usually when age of a character comes up later and isn't integral to the plot, they make the character close to the age of the actor. In this case they deliberately made Jin 7 years younger than the actor (allowing for the 2004 time period of the show). I wonder why? Similarly, Yunjin Kim who play Sun was born in 1973 which would make her 7 years older than Sun.

  • I really wanted to see a parrot on the shoulder of one of the swabbies on deck of the freighter ;)

  • Hurley, dude, how many polyesters died in the line of duty to make that suit for you?

  • Kinda makes that web-episode with Jin on the golf course take extra meaning...

  • People are all up in arms over Zoe Bell's brief appearance as Regina. She's guarding the cabin, reading a book upside down. Then she's taking a dive covered in chains. I checked her IMDB page - who is she? She doesn't seem to have done that much except as a stunt person. Why is she so supposedly well-known?

  • Do we trust the captain or not? He seems trustworthy, but we know the people who hired him aren't (Widmore, Abbadon) and at least some people on the boat we knew weren't trustworthy (Naomi). Why should the captain be one of the good guys? Sure he laid some cards on the table we can probably assume are true, but if they have no intention of rescuing Satid, Desmond and the others, why should he care if they know? After it, it helps earn their trust.

  • Whose blood was all over the wall? Ick. Someone sure cut themselves shaving. Nice CGI cockroaches ;)

That's all I have for now...

Monday, March 10, 2008


Sarcomical posts these from time to time - they're a quick, fun diversion.

Here are the ground rules:

1. After reading my answers, copy and paste the list into your comment.
2. Change my one-word responses with yours (yes, only ONE WORD, even if it hurts the most painful of hurts).
3. Submit your comment.
4. And hey, you can always post your finished list on your blog, too.

You're Feeling: Unsure
To Your Left: Carbonation
On Your Mind: Frustration
Last Meal Included: Pimentos
You Sometimes Find it Hard To: Fortify
The Weather: Cool
Something You Have a Collection of: Starships
A Smell that Cheers You Up: Popcorn
A Smell that Can Ruin Your Mood: Gif Jif
How Long Since You Last Shaved: Hour
The Current State of Your Hair: Long
The Largest Item On Your Desk/Workspace Right Now (besides computer): Triceratops
Your Skill with Chopsticks: Laughable
Which Section You Head to First In the Bookstore: Sci-Fi
...and After That?: Fantasy
Something You're Craving: Clarity
Your General Thoughts On the Presidential Race: Pointless
How Many Times You've Been Hospitalized this Year: Zero
A Favorite Place to Go for Quiet Time: Computer
You've Always Secretly Thought You'd Be a Good: Director
Something that Freaks You Out a Little: Spiderwebs
Something You've Eaten Too Much of Lately: Chips
You Have Never: Skiied
You Never Want To: Skydive

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Day 4 of the Lost Crisis

"Lost" update: Four days later, and Jin and Sun are still searching in the jungle. No sign of them emerging before Thursday.

Return to your homes, citizens...

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Feel Sorry For...

Sun and Jin, from "Lost", still wandering the jungle looking for Daniel and Charlotte...

How long did they search around, in the pouring rain, till they headed back to camp? And when Jack and Juliet didn't return, did they just go back to bed?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Failed His Final Saving Throw

Gary Gygax, Dungeons & Dragons creator, dies
Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.
This is too bad. Thanks, Gary, for creating the game that gave me (and my wife) many, many hours of enjoyment while we were in college. I'll always have many great memories of the great adventures my friends and I embarked upon.

**Warning: Extremely Geeky D&D Talk Ahead**

I had never played D&D until I was at UT and in the marching band. Several of my friends played, so I joined them in rolling up a character or two in the basement of Andy Holt Apartments. My first and overall main character was a fellow named Joshua, a Ranger who eventually made it to about 12th level. The first module I ever played was called "Ravenloft", which I'm sure many D&D alum will recognize as one of the best ever written. My novice, low-level character was the one to deliver the killing blow with a special artifact the Dungeon Master provided himself.

My enjoyment of D&D and eventually doing some Dungeon Mastering myself came from a strong storytelling place inside me that is still there today - it manifests itself in my love for theatre and dramatics, and for that I'm grateful. Even the Dragonlance world this site, "The Inn of the Last Home" is based on is a D&D creation.

So thanks again, Gary, and may you find the Happy Hunting Grounds...

UPDATE (03/05): I think this photo sums it up:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Our Name in Lights

There's something indescribably cool about seeing this:

Doug, Rich and LissaKay were kind of enough to join The Atomic Horns last night at Ray's ESG - Doug has a great review, and Rich will have video soon. Watching bloggers at an entertainment event, Twittering, Utterzing, Seesmicing and blogging away was a bit surreal but fantastic. Thanks guys, it meant a lot to have your support!