Monday, April 27, 2015

Explosion of SS Sultana

On April 27, 1865, SS Sultana exploded and sank near Memphis in the Mississippi River. An estimated 1,800 people died, many of them Union troops who had survived the Civil War and were returning home.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Gardening and Barbecue

We just got back to the house after having lunch over in Knoxville with our friend Johnny, who was in town this weekend from Atlanta. He was craving Buddy's Bar-B-Q, and we were happy to accommodate him. We both went to Bearden High, so we ate at the one down the street from our former school. On the home front, the girls and I went to Lowe's this morning, and Sherry found us proper liners for our window boxes, which are now full of red flowers.
We still  have a few empty containers, but we bought enough flowers to fill several of them. I may yet plant some tomatoes and/or herbs later this spring.
Sarah wanted a cactus, and selected this one, which she promptly named Sandy. Behold! Sandy the cactus.
My Grandmother Ogle always grew begonias along the back of her home on North Jefferson Street in Winchester, and so we bought a few in her honor.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

At Home on Saturday

I took this photograph yesterday afternoon, and you can see our irises are in full bloom. They smell delightful, but some of the first blooms are already spent.
This morning we've attended to spring chores. After grocery shopping, Target, the library and an auto parts store, Sherry rearranged Sarah's room while Sarah used the pruning clippers to trim our decorative cherry tree. I told her I'd give her five bucks, which in retrospect was way too much for the job. It only took her ten or fifteen minutes, but I honored my word.
Usually when I find Molly up on the rail like this I also find the neighbor's big grey cat stalking her. On this occasion she was just hanging out.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Glad Winter is Over

With spring in full flower here in East Tennessee, it is easy to forget our wretched winter this year. Further north, in Finnish Lapland, winters get a bit worse. While these things may look like some giant ice worms from Hoth, they are in reality trees brutalized by winter's wrath in the frozen north. Brrr! (Via NASA.)

I'm glad I live in the South.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Ledo Pizza, Washington, D.C.

When we visited with our cousins in Washington, D.C., for Sarah's spring break, they introduced us to Ledo Pizza, a local favorite. We arrived via Megabus at around 8:00 p.m., so pizza seemed like a good, quick option to get everyone fed at that hour, and David and Margaret suggested Ledo's. The store at 1721 Wisconsin Avenue is nearest to their house, but there are several locations in the area. We were not disappointed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Audiobook Review -- The Beatles: The Biography, by Bob Spitz

I recently finished the audiobook version of The Beatles: The Biography, by Bob Spitz. I knew some of the story, but it was interesting learning about how some of their songs and albums came to be. I came away with the impression that John Lennon was an angry jerk, and the book confirms the idea long cherished by fans that Yoko Ono played an important role in the break up of the band. I knew the story had a sad ending, and this book pretty much ends with the disintegration of the Beatles as a band, although it summarizes what has happened since then like the deaths of John and George.

The New York Times has a review here, and there's a post alleging the book is riddled with factual errors here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring Flowers

We have fog in our neighborhood this morning, but the forecast is for dry conditions today, which is a nice change after the rainy week we're had. Spring flowers, of course, need the water, and as of Thursday afternoon two of our irises had bloomed.
This picture was taken a few minutes ago, and it shows how many more have opened up since the first picture was taken.
Our azalea is in full bloom, and the flowers have held up better than they did last year, when they were all dashed off by the rain in a couple of days. The cats also appreciate the warmer conditions, and Molly in particular has been wanting out a lot.

I'm solo this weekend inasmuch as the gals are away in Nashville visiting Joey, Jake and Grams. I had considered camping, but rain is supposed to move back in tonight. I decided to settle for accomplishing some chores around the house until my womenfolk return tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Gift List

Put this on my gift list. I don't ask for much but a castle with a moat. I hope there's a moat monster! Also, I'd like to situate it over the Lost Sea cave so that my dungeon opens into the cavern complex.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Few More Snapshots from Blowing Rock

Here are a few more photographs from our road trip to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, the weekend before last. We paid another visit to Canyons for food and the view.
We dined outside, but learned after our meal that there was live music in the person of a guitar player doing Jimmy Buffett tunes. We dallied a bit inside before departing to our rooms.
The kids went for an after dinner swim, and everyone eventually made their way back to the rooms for some quiet time.

Meadowbrook Inn has a pond with ducks on the grounds.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Assassination of President Lincoln

On April 15, 1865, one-hundred and fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln died after being assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., by actor John Wilkes Booth. When we visited Ford's Theater in March, they were renovating part of the museum area in the basement for the arrival of several artifacts connected to that fateful night, including the pistol Booth used to shoot Lincoln. The Smithsonian has quite a collection of Lincoln artifacts as well.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Robots on Mars

We live in a remarkable time in history. It is a time when I can truthfully say that Mars is inhabited by robots, and those little guys have given us a lot of science. This image is the shadow of the Opportunity rover on the surface of Mars. The rover has been up there since 2004.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Lauriol Plaza, Washington, D.C.

During the day that my cousin Andrew was chauffeuring us around Washington, Sherry requested Mexican food, and Andrew took us to Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th Street NW, Washington, D.C., in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. To say this was an upscale Mexican restaurant does not do it justice, but the white tablecloths let you know right away that this isn't your everyday Mexican restaurant.

All of the food was very fresh, and even the salsa and the cheese dip were a cut above what you expect. The salsa had a roasted flavor that was delightful, and the fish tacos Sherry ordered, tilapia, I think, were delicious. The service was prompt and courteous, and the menu was extensive. If we were Washingtonians, I suspect this place would be one of our regular spots.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lunch at Mom's House

We gathered at Mom's yesterday for a lunch of Honey Baked ham, mashed potatoes and green beans in late celebration of her birthday.
Les made it, but Uncle Fuzzy was under the weather.
Sarah and Grace pretty much have the run of their grandmother's house, so they headed straight for the computer. I note that Sarah has never been to New York.
Mom is delighted by the opening of the new Whole Foods on Papermill Drive in Knoxville. According to Mom, they have a wide variety of gluten-free foods, including this Schmoo Cake, which was delicious.
The girls decided to soak up some sun.
Grace and Sarah burned off some lunch playing ball in the yard. One of Mom's neighbors keeps pigeons, and they were out of their coop and flying around. A hawk tried to pick one of them off, but he scared it away. They are interesting to watch. I wonder what got him started.
Mom basks in the warmth of her granddaughters' love.