Saturday, December 12, 2009


The actors in "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" at Dollywood are better than the material they have to work with. To be honest, the material isn't all that bad. The simple story revolves around a young girl who wishes that Santa will help her brother and sister travel home for Christmas. All the cast members have excellent singing voices, so the more music the better.

A corny subplot with some mice looking for cookies didn't work for me. The two lead mice imitated Abbott & Costello, including part of the famous "Who's On First?" routine. My other gripe was with a supporting cast member who played several parts including a mouse, a sailor and a neighbor of the main characters. He looked to be a better dancer than the others but I felt that he was trying to steal the spotlight by turning his er... flamboyance up to eleven.

My wife knows the family of gifted ten-year-old actress Amelia Bryant, who plays Grace Baxter in the show. Her acting is natural and her singing voice is strong. We sat with Amelia's parents and siblings at one of the three performances tonight. We were supposed to be there for the 5:00 p.m. show but ended up at the 7:00 show after we got stuck in traffic on Chapman Highway. Apparently the road was closed for the annual Seymour Christmas Parade. I'm kicking myself for not knowing about the parade. I could have either avoided it or volunteered to be in it.

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Monday, August 17, 2009


The folks at Dollywood invited a few of us from the radio station to ride their new SkyZip ziplines. We brought along some lucky listeners too. The ziplines normally cost an additional $40 on top of the price of admission to the park.

The actual ride was pure joy. In fact, I've been on roller coasters that were less comfortable. The most difficult part of the experience was hiking uphill and that wasn't too bad at all. If I had a fear of heights, it might be a different story. I was comfortable walking off into thin air, knowing that the zipline would support me. The guides told us to lean back, like we were in a recliner.

The four zip lines form a rough square, so that we finished near where we started. Even though I wasn't wearing a microphone, I still made sure not to make any odd sounds like Beth Haynes did when she rode the ziplines.

There are photos of our group on the radio station's website. Here are a few of me, crossing the rope bridge and zipping away.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007


A family friend approached me after Mass this morning. She thought I might be able to offer advice for her 20-year-old daughter who wants to pursue a singing career. I have no expertise in that area but was willing to do some on-the-spot brainstorming. Please feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments section. The daughter is mainly interested in country music, so I suggested that before picking up and moving to Nashville, she go to the next set of auditions for Dollywood. There's a bulletin board at Broadway Sound where musicians post notices looking for band members. Maybe she could find a local singing gig that way. Of course, if she's as good as her mother says, there's always "American Idol" and "Nashville Star."

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

nice to have you back where you belong

Some out-of-town relatives will be arriving late tonight for a family celebration this weekend. We'll probably spend most of the time at home but if any of our house guests are looking for something to do while in East Tennessee, there are plenty of choices this weekend.

The Mystery Mine officially opens at Dollywood tomorrow, which is Friday the 13th. Dolly Parton herself will be on the premises to do a satellite TV interview with "Fox & Friends." For fans of musical theatre, a touring company of "Hairspray" is at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. A show Saturday at the World Grotto called "Night of 1,000 Dollies" will combine aspects of the two with a DP drag show assuming it doesn't get shut down by Dollywood's lawyers.

Of all the events this weekend, the one I'm most likely to try to attend is the Dogwood Arts Festival Parade. It's supposed to have a giant helium balloon or two.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

avoid rubbing

Tonight was the first time I had to miss an Einstein Simplified performance due to illness. More on that later.

As an improv fan, I like the concept of "Thank God You're Here" but I didn't love the execution. The celebrity who walks into a scene had to completely improvise but the rest of the cast stubbornly stuck to their scripted outline even if it meant denying the improviser, a cardinal sin of the genre. I started liking the show a little better when I began to think of it as a fleshed out version of an improv game called "Every Other Line." A reviewer for TV Squad pointed out several specific examples of the denials that drove me crazy.

Since I was at home tonight, I watched "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" in real time. That reminds me, what were Lance Bass and Alfonso Ribeiro doing together in the audience during Monday night's dancing show? Maybe they were doing some belated joint promotion for their 2005 made-for-TV movie "Lovewrecked." I did a Google Blog Search and found only one other person in the blogosphere who also noticed them. During tonight's Big & Rich performance (with special guest Drew Lachey), I called WATE to complain that the broadcast was not in HD. Like any red-blooded American male, I wanted to see Cheryl Burke fill the screen. A nice man in the control room told me it was not his fault, it was a network problem. Nobody else could see the show in HD either. While I had him on the phone, I got a chance to mention a pet peeve. I told him that I didn't like the way they always switch back to SD a couple of seconds too soon before airing local commercials during "Lost."

During the commercial breaks in tonight's shows, I sent invitations to join LinkedIn to a few people whose email addresses I didn't have handy when I first registered with the site. I now have 39 connections. But I also have 179 outstanding invitations.

Yesterday my wife, our son and I rode the Mystery Mine, the fantastic new roller coaster at Dollywood. After the ride, we had lunch and then went to see "Rhythm of the Dance" in the same theatre where I had seen the Fercos Brothers last July. There must be something soothing about the sound of pounding Irish feet because just like when I went to see "Riverdance" in LA, all I wanted to do was relax and go to sleep. At the end of the show, I could barely get my eyes open. That's when I first suspected that I had the pinkeye!

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

most innocent and unlikely of places

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly includes a behind-the-scenes story about "Survivor: Cook Islands." It says that all the members of the Manihiki tribe except one became seasick on their way to the starting point of the game. The one who didn't retch was Rebecca, which makes perfect sense. She works on "The View" as Joy Behar's makeup artist. Clearly she has a higher tolerance for nausea than the rest of us.

The new Christmas CD from my friend Richard Cheese comes out on Tuesday. I told you about it some time ago. Mr. Cheese also has another project that will amuse you. It's a collection of songs that he sings under the name "Lt. Solo." My son and I went through the track listing trying to remember where the word "fire" turns up in the lyrics of each song.

Many fans of female news anchors have found this site through some of my posts. The other day Maxim put up a list of their top ten anchor babes. Number one is a French woman my friend Bean wrote about.

Pirates of the Caribbean is pretty good but regular blog readers know my favorite Disneyland ride is the Jungle Cruise. Now they're going to make a movie based on it. They had better include the joke about the gnu.

Blogs everywhere are gushing over the season premiere of "The Office." I loved it so much I haven't been able to delete it from my TiVo yet even though I need the space. Regular readers should not be surprised by this.

Several months ago I recorded a testimonial for Hosenfeld Chiropractic. It's now been posted on the WVLT website in case you want to watch me speak extemporaneously for four minutes about chiropractic.

My daughter reminded me that today is the 23rd day of the month of September. She said we should all watch (or listen to the soundtrack of) "Little Shop of Horrors."

I sent an email to my cousins inviting them to read my blog. I don't know if they'll be interested in everything I write but they might like reading about our cousin Terry or about my father. Hi cousins! Let me know that you stopped by.

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