Thursday, November 29, 2007

Could the Tennessee Volunteers really beat LSU to win the SEC title?

In mid-October, the Tennessee Volunteers had just been whipped by Alabama 41-17, and their record fell to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

They looked like dead men walking. The cries for Coach Phillip Fulmer's ousting began again after temporarily being silenced following a win over Georgia a few weeks earlier.

However, the Vols seem to be at their best when their backs are against the wall. Whenever they can play with a chip on their shoulder and complain that they don’t get any respect, magical things seem to happen. It happened in 1998 when they won the national championship, and it happened in the ruins of the Alabama loss.

Tennessee strung together five consecutive wins. Two were in overtime. One was a one-point win over Vanderbilt in which the Commodores barely missed a winning field goal in the final seconds.

Now, the Vols face the LSU Tigers for the conference championship on Saturday. Most of the year, commentators believed the Tigers were not only the best team in the conference but in the country.

However, they enter the game reeling after getting upset by Arkansas last week. Their national championship hopes are dead.

LSU clearly has more talent, but one has to wonder about their emotional state. They expected all season to be playing in the national title game, but that is gone. If they beat Tennessee, the only reward they get is a trip to the Sugar Bowl, which they played in last year. Will they be motivated?

As for Tennessee, will they have the energy to play? Anybody who watched their four overtime win against Kentucky last week has to wonder if they will have the physical spunk left to beat a team as talented as LSU.

Tennessee’s defense was on the field for 110 plays last week, which set a national college football record. The defense is already shaky, but if their legs are heavy against LSU’s talented playmakers, it could be a long day.

Call me crazy.

The pick: Tennessee 31 LSU 30

As for the Tennessee Titans, it is now panic time. Three weeks ago, they were 6-2 and in great shape for a playoff berth. Three losses later, including an embarrassing 35-6 loss at Cincinnati last week, they are 6-5 and would not qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today.

The loss to the Bengals was troubling. Their defense stinks yet we could only score six points. Additionally, the Titans’ defense has given up 34 and 35 points the last two weeks. A bad offense plus a bad defense equals big trouble.

This week’s game against Houston is a must win. A loss will likely dash any realistic playoff hopes. We beat the Texans earlier this year on the road. So we should be able to beat them at home, right?

The pick: Tennessee 21 Houston 20

Other NCAA picks: Navy over Army, Missouri over Oklahoma, USC over UCLA, West Virginia over Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech over Boston College, Arizona State over Arizona

Other NFL picks: Indianapolis over Jacksonville, Dallas over Green Bay, Miami over N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh over Cincinnati

Last two weeks: 10-3 (.769), Overall: 106-35 (.752)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The hearty people of Barrow, Alaska

If nothing else, I respect people who have patience and endurance. You know, the type of people who get put in situations that are beyond their control and have to just sit there and take it as it all plays out.

This is probably why I have always had a fixation with Barrow, Alaska. Barrow is the northernmost permanent settlement in the United States, and the folks there face an assortment of challenges.

The current challenge they are facing is that they are in the midst of approximately two months of darkness. The darkness began on November 18 and will end on January 24. The sun does not rise or set during this time though there is some twilight.

I think I would have a hard time handling that. The town of 4,000 borders the Arctic Ocean so coldness is its biggest challenge, but add continuous darkness to that and it all becomes a bit much to take. Therefore, you have to respect the tenacity it requires to live there.

On the bright side, they experience continuous daylight from mid May to early August, but I think that would be hard to handle, too. Perhaps the Barrow Chamber of Commerce should adopt the motto: "Welcome to Barrow! Land of Excesses."

Hang in there Barrow. We are thinking of you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

'The Nightly Daily' recommends: 'Awful Announcing'

In the latest installment of blog's I like, 'Awful Announcing' keeps close tabs on an area that is of interest to many men my age: sports broadcasting.

Sports have a prominent presence on the broadcasting landscape, especially on weekends. One big pet peeve of mine is that the largest and most powerful sports network, ESPN, is not objective when it comes to presenting sports news and analysis. Their commentators play favorites and often take cheap shots.

However, this blog does a good job of keeping folks in this industry on their toes. They don't just focus on ESPN, but on all the networks. It is good to hear other folks offer criticism in this field because I often feel like a lone wolf in the wilderness when it comes to some of the things I see and hear.

Sometimes the blog does get a little nit-picky, but it is worth a read if this field interests a person.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Take it easy on retail workers this Christmas season

The Christmas shopping season officially began on Friday and bedlam reigned at malls and shopping centers all over the country.

I guess that is good when it comes to companies making a profit, but I’m not sure it adds to the spirit of the season. From what I saw reported in the media, many folks had a take no prisoner’s attitude to ensure they got what they needed.

As for me, I avoid shopping on Thanksgiving weekend like the plague. It’s just not worth it. The rudeness. The waiting in lines. The hype. It just doesn’t put me in the mood for Christmas. In fact, it detracts from it.

Many moons ago, I had a retail job during the holiday season, and trust me, it wasn’t pretty. I worked at a J.C. Penney, and I sold men’s suits and accessories. I worked hard, but it was definitely a mixed experience.

As consumers, I know it can be pretty frustrating dealing with store personnel at this time of year. However, a lot of folks you encounter are people hired specifically for the holidays and have little training and experience.

Big companies look for warm bodies to fill a space to get them through the next few weeks, and they hope they will learn their job on the run. As we all know, some do and some don’t.

So, give them a break. They are just looking to make a little extra money to help themselves and their families.

As consumers, I know we should expect a certain amount of professionalism from businesses wanting our money, but that doesn’t mean we should forget to love our neighbors (even if it is an employee that can’t answer any of our questions).

After all, it’s Christmas. Let’s enjoy it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lots to be thankful for this year

We are now a few days removed from another Thanksgiving, and I hope the holiday was a special one for everybody reading this.

Thanksgiving can mean different things to different people, but I hope all of us took time on Thursday to give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy.

We all have problems that we struggle with both on an individual level and as a nation. However, despite these problems I believe we can all agree that we have it pretty good.

On a personal level, I appreciate the way God has blessed my life. I am grateful Jesus chose to act as a sacrifice for my sins so that I can spend eternity with Him. Additionally, God has blessed our country in many ways, and I hope those who don't realize that will understand it soon.

Also, I am grateful that I got to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

There are folks scattered all over the world who would love to spend this day with their loved ones, but they cannot for a variety of reasons. However, I got a chance to spend the day with mine. It is a blessing that is easy to take for granted, and I hope I never do.

There are a lot worse ways to spend a day than being with your family, eating a delicious meal, and watching football until your eyes won't stay open.

I am thankful for the health and comfort I enjoy in my life. Like I wrote earlier, we all have challenges that try our patience, and for many folks, the primary challenge they have is with their health.

As I stumble into middle age, my bones creak in ways that I never thought possible, but other than that, I am grateful the problems I experience are manageable.

I am thankful that I live in the United States. If a person were to judge our country only by what is reported on the nightly news, he would shake his head in dismay.

True, we are a country with a lot of problems and challenges. But we are also a big-hearted and wonderful country.

We have been blessed with a wonderful amount of liberty and freedom, and I know that I take that for granted. Just being able to have a blog like this without the fear of governmental censorship is one way that I get to enjoy my freedom.

However, freedom comes at a cost, and many people throughout our nation's history have sacrificed greatly just so we can enjoy this freedom.

An important question we all need to ask ourselves is: Do I make the most of the freedom that I have been given?

It's an important question that we see people answer every day if we will open our eyes.

For example, though there is a lot of disagreement regarding the Iraqi War, I think most of us would agree that the people serving in the armed forces are an excellent example of people willing to sacrifice to protect our country's interests.

On the other hand, there are others who seem to view freedom as a commodity to be consumed without giving anything back. They are content to wallow in their own crapulence without understanding that our way of life could go up in smoke if it isn't nurtured carefully.

In the coming year, there is a way all adults can play an active role in nurturing our nation's way of life.

Next year is a presidential election year, and the last eight years have shown us all just how close these elections can be. Cynics will cry that one person's vote does not make a difference, but the closeness of the 2000 election showed us otherwise.

If you are not already examining the candidates, start doing this now. Tennessee's primary is only a little over three months away.

Remember, we get the government we deserve. If the voting public remains apathetic and uninformed, then we will get elected officials that reflect that.

Or if people really pay attention and hold our leader's feet to the fire, then the people we elect will reflect that.

The choice is yours.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to all....

"The Nightly Daily" will be taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday and will return on Monday, November 26.

I am thankful for all of you who read this blog. I enjoy doing it and hope that it brings a small amount of entertainment into your daily life.

On a lesser note, I obviously won't be making my weekly football picks, but just so I don't leave you hanging, I am taking the Titans over Cincinnati and the Volunteers over Kentucky.

Take care and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Remember why we celebrate this holiday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Santa Claus' relentless assault on Sydney, Australia continues

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the presence of Santa Claus, but the jolly old man apparently is causing big problems for our friends down in Sydney, Australia.

It seems officials in Sydney have told people portraying Santa not to use his traditional greeting of "ho ho ho" because they are afraid it might offend women. Instead, they have instructed them to use the greeting "ha ha ha."

Ha ha ha? As funny as this sounds, this is no joke. Since the word "ho" has been adapted by society as a slang term for a prostitute, the folks down under felt they had to make the change to avoid confusion.

For better or worse, I believe I am more sensitive than the average person, but never have I made a link between "ho ho ho" and prostitution. Then again, I am not a woman and have not had a stranger in a disguise approach me chanting "ho ho ho."

This is dumb. This is dumber than dumb.

I wonder what Don Imus thinks of this controversy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Drugs, alcohol still dominate music

Music plays a big role in our society because most folks are exposed to it for great lengths of time every day.

We listen to it when we are in the car. At work, somebody usually has a radio on to help make the day go faster. Just about all businesses softly play some type of music when we are in their stores.

In most cases, we can't get away from music even if we wanted to.

Because of this, the results of a recent study that examined the content of popular songs should make us pause and think.

In a study authored by Dr. Brian Primack, who is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, it was determined that drug and alcohol use continue to be a popular subject of many hits songs.

The study examined 279 bestselling songs from 2005 that included five musical genres: rap, country, R&B/hip-hop, rock, and pop.

According to the study's findings, 37 percent of the top country songs from that period included references to alcohol and drugs.

Only 14 percent of rock songs included those references, while 77 percent of rap songs, 20 percent of R&B/hip-hop songs, and nine percent of pop songs had those references.

The study did not attempt to link the subject matter of the songs to the behavior of those listening to them, but music often has a big impact on the attitudes of our society.

Certainly, back in the 1960s, musicians who experimented with Eastern religions and tried drugs had an impact on many who listened to their music. Because of this, I don't think it is much of a stretch to believe that that type of influence still exists today.

Perhaps the most surprising result of the study is that many more country songs had references to alcohol and drugs than did rock music.

After all, the image of the rock and roll lifestyle is one that embraces the excesses of the world. Rock and roll history is littered with people who pushed the envelope of drugs and alcohol and paid the ultimate price. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and others are well-known examples who pushed it too far.

There are examples in country music history like Hank Williams, Sr., who had those types of problems, but it is an image that really hasn’t stuck to country music. True, "crying in my beer" type songs are a common country music theme, but those songs don't come across as dangerous as the behavior associated with rock and roll. Then again, maybe those songs should.

I freely admit that I know little about rap music so I don’t have a lot to say about the study’s findings regarding that genre. All I will say is that if I were a parent, I would talk with my child about rap music if they listen to it.

If that genre is that focused on substance use and abuse, then it is clearly time to have a heart to heart talk about why they are listening to this.

The bottom line is a lot of music is targeted at our youth, but many kids aren’t ready to deal with the subject matter they are listening to.

However, a person can say that about all types of entertainment these days. Television programming that falls within the "family hour" is often laced with sexual innuendo and other topics that are too much for young people.

Also, how often have you been at an "R" rated movie and seen a group of young kids that are watching the film without adult supervision? It is a situation that happens far too much.

So what can be done about this? If you are a parent, take an active interest in the music your child is listening to. Even if kids don’t like it, they need moral guidance from adults and monitoring their music listening habits is one way this can be done.

Also, be careful what kind of music you listen to in front of kids. Children learn mostly from what they hear and see at home.

Whether we like it or not, we are all role models.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Two wins and the Vols go to the SEC title game

It has been a crazy college football year, hasn't it? Despite all the adversity that has surrounded the University of Tennessee's football program, the team can advance to the SEC title game if they can beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the next two weeks.

Like everything else this year, it will not be an easy task. This week, the Volunteers host Vanderbilt. The most unnerving aspect of this match up is that Vandy needs one more win to qualify for their first bowl in 25 years. I'm sure they would love nothing more than to get that win against their bitter rival.

As their 5-5 record indicates, Vandy has had an up and down year. They scored an impressive upset when they won at South Carolina. However, they fumbled away a chance to beat Georgia and lost to the Bulldogs by three points. They have a formidable defense that has ranked in the top three of most conference statistical categories this year.

As for Tennessee, if they can play like they did against Arkansas, then they should win the game. The offensive line controlled the entire first half against the Razorbacks while the defense gave its most inspired effort since the Georgia game.

I say the Vols get it done.

The pick: Tennessee 24 Vanderbilt 16

As for the Tennessee Titans, where has the offense gone? In recent weeks, the team scratched out wins by playing good defense and controlling the clock by running the ball effectively.

However, that all changed last week, when Jacksonville came to Nashville and cleaned their clock 28-13. It is time for quarterback Vince Young to step up, and what better stage to do that on than Monday Night Football? The Titans played on MNF earlier this year and whipped New Orleans 31-14. This time, the Titans visit Denver to face former Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler.

Despite last week's loss, Tennessee did not lose any ground in the standings because Indianapolis lost. However, the offense continues to trend downward, averaging only a little over 15 points a game over the last three games. I know the Broncos are struggling, but I can't see the Titans winning with such an anemic offense.

The pick: Denver 23 Tennessee 17

Other SEC picks: Georgia over Kentucky, LSU over Ole Miss, Florida over Florida Atlantic, Arkansas over Mississippi State, Alabama over Louisiana-Monroe

Other NFL picks: Jacksonville over San Diego, Indianapolis over Kansas City, New Orleans over Houston, Dallas over Washington

Last week: 7-4 (.636), Overall: 96-32 (.750)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Behold, the wonder of the power nap

I was surfing the net the other day when I came across some medical advice that was right up my alley. The advice encourages people to take "power naps" each day to help increase life expectancy. The length of the nap is recommended to be 10, 20, or 30 minutes.

I've heard of taking power lunches before, but the power nap is a little new to me. However, if it means I can squeeze a little more sleep into my daily routine, then I am all for it.

I love to sleep. If it is possible to be a glutton for sleep, then I am that. If sleeping was an Olympic event, I would be a gold medalist.

I know this is one of those things that sound too good to be true, but here is the link for you to check it out yourself.

Sleep, how I adore thee.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Across the Universe" gets a mixed recommendation from me

I recently saw the film "Across the Universe," which is a history of the 1960s that uses the music of the Beatles to navigate its way through the decade.

I have read several outstanding reviews of the film, including a four-star review from Roger Ebert in the "Chicago Sun Times." However, the film didn't reach me to that degree. It was a film where the sum of the parts just did not equal a whole.

The film was well made and is quite visually striking. The acting was good, and the singing was first rate. So, what was the problem?

I am a big-time Beatles' fan, and I have been disappointed in the past by artists who have tried to interpret their music. I think this is where the film went wrong for me. While sitting there watching it, I couldn't stop thinking that I wished they had just used the Beatles' music instead of letting actors interpret it.

The music sounded too "Broadway" to me. Don’t get me wrong; Broadway plays are an exciting form of entertainment. In this case, merging this style with the Beatles didn't work for me.

Then again, the problem may be me because everybody I know who has seen it has liked it a lot. So keep that in mind.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Beware the power of gossip

Because of the growth of technology, the media now has the power to feed us information around the clock, and many of us are more than willing to gobble down what is provided.

The desire for fresh news and information is one of the primary challenges that folks in the media face. Twenty-four hours is a lot of time to fill, especially on a slow day.

Because of that, standards regarding what is reported have been lowered in recent years. This compromise is a common complaint the public has against the media, but it hasn't stopped them from tuning in to see what the latest scandal of the day is.

An obvious example of this is how news related to Hollywood celebrities is reported. For better or worse, the latest exploits of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton are a staple of most media outlets.

Most of their exploits contribute little in the form of substance to society. If they were food, the Food and Drug Administration would say they have no nutritional value whatsoever.

However, like kids who can't stop eating bowl after bowl of Frosted Flakes, many people consume this news with an appetite that appears insatiable.

While most of what is reported about these folks is classified as news, it really should not be. Really, it is nothing more than gossip.

For example, in many of these stories, information reported is attributed to anonymous sources. "Sources close to the star..." or "Sources with knowledge of the situation..." are phrases that are often used in these stories.

Of course, this means the information reported could have come from anywhere. Somebody walking a dog could have stopped to peak in a celebrity's backyard and saw something they thought needed to be reported.

Then they peddled their information to a media outlet desperate to fill their programming on that day, and suddenly, a new tabloid headline is born.

Among the worst offenders are the paparazzi. Though that term can have a pretty broad meaning, the paparazzi in this case usually are free-lancers who prowl the streets looking to take photos of celebrities and then sell them.

Of course, the photos that have the most value are ones that show celebrities in compromising positions. Unfortunately, there just isn't a lot of demand for photos of stars on their way to church.

Usually, the type of photo they look for are folks who are coming out of night clubs where the celebrity may have had a little too much to drink or something of that nature.

As we all know, negativity sells in our culture, and this is no different.

Having said all that, there are times when using anonymous sources is acceptable and necessary. In recent history, the best use of anonymous sources was when "Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used them when investigating corruption in President Richard Nixon's administration.

Without using reliable anonymous sources, there is no way they could have successfully pursued the stories they worked on.

Unfortunately, for every legitimate news story that requires using anonymous sources, there are dozens of frivolous ones where news outlets take the cheap and easy way out. And I believe most entertainment reporting falls into that category.

As stated earlier, I believe a lot of entertainment reporting is just an excuse to spread gossip. While most folks don't see what the big deal is, the public's willingness to accept gossip as truth is another example of how calloused our society's heart is getting.

Recently, the LiveScience web site reported on a study that demonstrated how powerful gossip can be. According to that site's story, the results of the study showed that people sometime place so much stock in gossip that they accept it as true even if their own observations suggest otherwise.

Think about it. Gossip can be so powerful that it can overrule observations that we have made with our own eyes.

Gossip hurts especially when we are on the receiving end of it. It is a powerful weapon that can shape attitudes even if there is not hard evidence to support what is being communicated.

This means we need to be very careful about what we listen to and what we say.

We can do a lot of damage without meaning to.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Don Imus' predictable return to radio

In a media-driven culture like ours, a fascinating aspect of watching the ups and downs of public figures is seeing how long it takes them to be embraced by the mainstream after committing a tremendous blunder.

We see this in varying forms every day, and the amount of time it takes for a person to be rehabilitated is obviously shaped by the mistake they made.

For example, last week, television reality star/bounty hunter Dwayne "Dog" Chapman got in hot water when a recording of him using racial slurs reached the media. He immediately apologized, but production of his television show was suspended.

It will be fascinating to see how long it will take for his controversy to ease so that his show can return (if it does at all).

The big question is: How long does it take for the stench of racial slurs to drift away from a person before they can work in the media again?

In the case of radio personality Don Imus, the answer is apparently about eight months.

The shock talk radio host got canned from his powerful radio program back in April after referring to members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."

His stupid comments resulted in a firestorm of condemnation as well as a lot of discussion of what the boundaries really are when it comes to shock radio. After all, Imus had been making outrageous and offensive statements for years, but the Rutgers controversy appeared to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

Imus profusely apologized, and when he went into exile, many thought the veteran broadcaster's career was over while others believed he deserved a second chance after a long time out of the spotlight.

Now, after only eight months, he is poised to return to a New York radio station in early December.

Has he paid a high enough price for his mistakes?

I believe Imus deserves a second chance. I'm not really a fan of his because his humor and style comes across as mean to me. I understand that we live in a caustic society, but that is not a good thing and it certainly doesn't justify taking cheap shots in the way Imus often does.

After all the obsessing back in the spring about whether he should be fired, it does surprise me that he will be back on the air so soon. As the controversy played out, there was lots of rhetoric about how this situation would force the media and the public to re-examine what was passing for entertainment.

As many people said back then, how was what Imus said any different than the image of women being presented in the lyrics of rap music? Certainly, there was a similarity in some of the attitudes.

What happened to all that re-examination? Did I miss it? Civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton drove strong to the hoop when trying to get Imus fired. Where was Sharpton's follow up work to clean up the other issues related to this controversy?

The bottom line is a lot of people missed a tremendous opportunity to closely examine some of the biggest problems our society currently faces.

The coarseness and insensitivity that is a trademark of Imus' humor is a reflection of what society is becoming. We had a great chance to take what is considered 'entertainment' and move it in another direction.

However, as the controversy faded, so did interest in this issue.

Basically, it appears like nothing has changed, and we are back at square one. Imus will be back on the air soon, and likely will return to the abrasive style of humor for which he is known.

The entire controversy appears to have been nothing more than a bunch of noise.

I've written on this blog before that the way our society has become more calloused and coarse in recent years is one of the biggest challenges we face. People not only seem to care less, but they get pleasure out of others failings.

Unfortunately, I think it will keep getting worse.

I hate to be Captain Bringdown, but it is all getting to be a big drag.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

If the Vols aren't careful, they will get steamrolled this weekend

Despite the ups and downs of this season, Tennessee is the only team in the SEC Eastern Division that controls its own destiny. What does this mean? It means if they can beat Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky to close out the season that they will play in the SEC championship game.

Let's see a show of hands of those who believe that will happen. Just what I thought. The Vols have been too darn inconsistent to believe they will win three in a row. However, it's been a really wacky season where the unexpected has repeatedly happened. So who knows?

This week Tennessee hosts Arkansas. I believe this is a bad match up because the Razorbacks' strength feeds right into one of Tennessee's big weaknesses. Arkansas leads the SEC in rushing, averaging 315 yards per game. Tennessee's defense ranks toward the bottom of this category, giving up 167 yards per game.

Last week, Arkansas piled up more than 500 yards rushing against South Carolina. The week before, Tennessee rushed for slightly more than 100 yards against Carolina.

The bottom line is Tennessee just doesn't match up well with Arkansas. Tennessee's defensive front seven won't be able to take the pounding the Razorbacks will dish out.

The pick: Arkansas 31 Tennessee 21

As for the Tennessee Titans, who thought they would be 6-2 half way through the season? I certainly didn't. This week, the Titans host Jacksonville in a re-match of a game Tennessee won 13-10 in week one.

Quarterback Vince Young seems to be going through a sophomore slump as his production the last few weeks has been lackluster. However, fellow second year player LenDale White is rounding into form as the team's feature back. White rushed for 100 yards last week against Carolina though it took him 31 carries to do it. If nothing else, he is proving he can take the pounding a number one running back must take.

Look for another low scoring game with the Titans using short passes by Young to set up their methodical running game. As always, it won't be pretty, but the result should be a win.

The pick: Tennessee 20 Jacksonville 17

Other SEC picks: Florida over South Carolina, Auburn over Georgia, Kentucky over Vanderbilt, Mississippi State over Alabama, LSU over Louisiana Tech

Other NFL picks: San Diego over Indianapolis, Pittsburgh over Cleveland, Green Bay over Minnesota, Kansas City over Denver

Last week: 12-1 (.923), Overall: 89-28 (.761)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

'The Nightly Daily' wins Internet award

This little blog has only been around since May, but recently was on the receiving end of a nice tribute.

'The Nightly Daily' recently received the Jones Award that recognizes web sites, blogs, and other forms of media.

According to the announcement on his blog, Jones wrote: "'The Nightly Daily' isn't so much unique in regards to being a blog and being about a variety of things, but is unique in that Chris is a great writer, expressing thoughts with clarity and wit."

I like the sound of that so let's enjoy it again.

"'The Nightly Daily' isn't so much unique in regards to being a blog and being about a variety of things, but is unique in that Chris is a great writer, expressing thoughts with clarity and wit."

That's pretty nice. Thanks Jones.

Monday, November 5, 2007

'The Nightly Daily' recommends: 'A Man's Gotta Eat'

In what I hope will be a semi-regular feature, I'm going to highlight some blogs that I like with the hopes that you will like them, too.

Today, I feature 'A Man’s Gotta Eat.' The blog is a guide to restaurants and eating in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Why did the blogger begin this site? He states: 'Because no man should settle for a restaurant best known for its grilled-chicken salad.'

As you can gather from that statement, the blog is not about rabbit food. It is all about good food that will stick to your ribs. If a man likes a good meat and three, this site will give you opinions on good ones. Also, tasty recipes are a common feature as well.

Let's face it: one of the best pleasures in life is eating a good meal that fills you up so completely that you can barely move. This blog is a good resource to find restaurants and food that will help you reach that goal.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The miseries of being sick

I was sitting in a training class recently when a strange sensation overwhelmed me.

I was reviewing some notes when a chill went up and down my spine. I had goose bumps, and despite the fact that it must have been 80 degrees in the room, I put on my sweater.

I didn't think much about it until I went out to my car at lunch. By the time I made that short walk, I was shivering in a way one would if they got caught outside on a cold and windy January night.

Then, in the remaining hours of the day, I developed enough sinus pressure to last me a year.

At this point, I realized that I was getting sick for the first time this season.

I am not a very easy person to deal with when I am sick. I don't say this with any amount of pride, but we all have personal shortcomings. And I realize this is a big shortcoming of mine.

I say this because we all know people who suffer with all sorts of serious physical problems. Not some temporary ailment that leaves in a few days, but debilitating illnesses that are a constant part of every day they live.

I know several such people, and I am constantly amazed at how they endure their situation. In every case, these folks deal with their problems with patience and grace, and they are truly an inspiration to me.

I'm sure they have their private moments where their challenges appear too much to bear. However, when I am around them, they often carry themselves with a dignity that is awe inspiring.

Which brings me back to my little sickness.

When I am sick, 'dignity' and 'grace' are not the words that immediately spring to mind.

Within the context of all the suffering in the world, it is really quite pathetic.

I whine. I complain. I whimper softly on the couch. I whimper softly in my bed.

I renew my relationship with my old friend 'self-pity' as I stare out my bedroom window watching everybody enjoying their daily life. I tell myself my sickness is causing me to completely waste the day.

Of course, what I am momentarily forgetting is that I am a homebody by nature so even if I wasn't sick, I would probably still be hanging around the house, working on one project or another.

We rarely make the most of our time. It is only when we lose the ability to live our lives as we please that we believe we are wasting our time.

When our lives are interrupted by things like an illness, we pledge to ourselves that when everything gets back to normal that we will live life like we never have before.

As we all know, that rarely happens.

On an episode of the television show 'The Simpsons,' Homer suffered a serious health scare and pledged to get the most out of life. In the next scene, he is shown sitting on the couch, eating pork rinds, and watching bowling on television.

I guess the main point of all this is that good health is something that we all take for granted. We don't appreciate it until we lose it.

I think this is the case with most aspects of life that are truly important. The routine of every day life can lull us into a sense of false security that we will always have these things.

However, as we get older and our health declines, we really appreciate how good we once had it.

This knowledge should make us stop now and assess our lives and what we want to achieve. But our human nature just doesn't allow us to do that.

We all know that we will die some day, but we tend to look at that as a far-off and remote possibility. But we could go tomorrow.

We all need more urgency in our lives.

But most of us are too busy to be urgent.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Kind of a dull weekend slate for Titans, Vols

The Tennessee Titans host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in a match up that will not send Nielsen ratings through the roof. But, then again, this is about competition not entertainment, right? All we want is a win, and we don't necessarily need style to make that happen.

Last week's win over Oakland was an ugly thing to watch. Still, the win improved the Titans' record to 5-2, which is a beautiful sight. As for the Panthers, they are 4-3 overall, but 4-0 on the road. That's right, they are undefeated on the road, but winless at home. Go figure.

I say, they lose their first road game this week. I like the Titans chances any time they play at home.

The pick: Tennessee 19 Carolina 14

As for the Tennessee Volunteers, they host Louisiana-Lafayette this week. The Vols' woeful secondary guarantees that they can not blow anybody out, but they should pull away late for a comfortable win.

The pick: Tennessee 38 Louisiana-Lafayette 20

Other SEC picks: Florida over Vanderbilt, Georgia over Troy, Arkansas over South Carolina, LSU over Alabama, Auburn over Tennessee Tech, Ole Miss over Northwestern State.

Other NFL picks: New England over Indianapolis, New Orleans over Jacksonville, Oakland over Houston, Pittsburgh over Baltimore, Detroit over Denver

Last week: 6-5 (.545), Overall: 77-27 (.740)