Friday, February 29, 2008

Destin News

There's an article in the Destin newspaper's website this morning that there is a controversy down in the communities east of Destin, Florida, where we vacation. Apparently, the state has installed a bunch of ugly blue signs that have the locals up in arms. The installation has stopped, and it sounds like the signs will come down. Since we're going to Washington, DC, for vacation this year, we may never see them.

Thursday Afternoon Gathering

Mom, Laura and Grace and Terry all came over yesterday afternoon for a visit. Sherry and I both got off work early, and I brought Sarah home when I came back from court yesterday. We had a nice visit, and La brought Subway sandwiches for us. Sarah went home with Mom to spend the night, and Sherry and I are going to pick her up on our way through Knoxville on the way to Nashville for Grams' birthday today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

House Nest


Sarah has created the ultimate sofa fort, which she dubbed "the house nest." When my sisters and I were kids, we would make pillow forts we called "nests." Last weekend, I pulled the love seat and sofa together (facing each other) and filled it with blankets and pillows to make such a nest.

Sarah came up with the idea of setting up her princess tent within the sofa/love seat nest yesterday, and I agreed to help her execute the idea this afternoon. She's very pleased with the outcome.

Terry Cornell to Submit Application to Law School

My friend, Terry Cornell, is about to submit his application to attend law school at my alma mater, the University of Tennessee. I've been encouraging him to do so for years. Terry was a philosophy major in undergraduate school, and he will bring an interesting perspective to the law school and the profession. I think I will get some vicarious enjoyment out of Terry's law school experience. Perhaps I can even take a class with him.

Winter Weather in East Tennessee

We saw some snow showers here in East Tennessee this morning, though we didn't get any accumulation in Maryville. There were still a few flurries blowing around this afternoon when I brought Sarah home from school, though the sun is shining. It's pretty chilly here, too, at 35 degrees Fahrenheit backed by a stiff wind.

Brrrrr!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Man Found Dead in Car Submerged in Little River

A man was found dead this morning after a driver saw his car upside down in the Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park between the Wye and Gatlinburg. There were no skid marks where his car left the roadway for the river.

Fire's Out

I woke up to a gully washer in progress here in Maryville. The fire was winding down at dusk last night, and everything burned except for one log. I got the oven cleaned, and I brought down all of the boxes that we've packed upstairs and stacked them in the kitchen. I also cleared out some room in the master bedroom so I can take the bed apart, which is quite a chore.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bonfire and Swingset Removal

I have had a fire pit filled up with wood, including our Christmas tree and some big logs Fraz and Les brought over, for some time now. I've been feeling like I ought not leave it for the landlady, so I poured Coleman fuel on it this morning and set it alight. It took it a minute before it went, but it was impressive when it did.

Since I've been out tending it and burning old client papers, I decided to take Sarah's swingset apart and gather up tools while I was at it. It turned out to be a pretty nice morning for working outside.

Movie Review: Matilda

During our movie weekend, we watched Matilda, which is a story about a little girl who discovers she has magical powers. It wasn't as bad as the Annie flick we watched, and it wasn't quite as good as Nanny McPhee. We made it through the whole movie, but I'd say it will be a while before we'd view it again.

The Week Ahead

I have no appointments today, and plan to use the day to complete the paperwork I didn't get to on Friday. I may also clean our oven in preparation for our move. Sherry has her biggest deadline of the month on Wednesday, which sometimes causes her to work late, but once Wednesday is over, it's downhill for her from there. That's good, because we're heading to Nashville for Grams' birthday on Friday, and we should be able to leave early in the day.

Cousins at Grandmother and Grandpa Isenhour's House


Here are a trio of photos from one of the rare occasions when the Albamontes and Ogles visited Grandmother and Grandpa Isenhour at the same time. Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy and Julie lived right next door. I am obviously enjoying my meal.

Clockwise around table: Cousins David, Phil (who now goes by George, after his father), Elena, Andrew Albamonte, Julie Isenhour, and one of my sisters, Leslie, I think. I'm in the yellow shirt.

Mom and L&L

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Star Wars: A New Hope

I'm not going to call this a movie review, since I've seen the flick so many times, but I've wanted Sarah to see the original movie ever since we started watching the Family Guy version. It didn't hold her interest at first, but we watched the whole thing this morning. I tried to explain aspects of the story to her as we watched, and I think it helps her understand and enjoy it more, though my play-by-play would drive an adult nuts.

I have an old version of the movie on VHS, which doesn't have the added scenes and effects that the DVD version has, so I really enjoyed the movie with all of the material George Lucas was able to add once the digital imaging technology improved. The battle scene at the end was really cool with the added effects.

Movie Review: Nanny McPhee


Although the themes in this movie are fairly tired, Nanny McPhee was a fun movie. (Magic nanny tames brat children and fixes dysfunctional father, who marries scullery maid.) It was enjoyable enough that we've watched it a couple of times now and will probably acquire it for Sarah's collection at some point. She's wearing us out on Annie, so we need to get some new material for her to watch.

Movie Review: Annie: A Royal Adventure

We checked Annie: A Royal Adventure out from the library, and it was totally lame. We turned it off after about ten minutes.

Grandmother and Grandpa Isenhour

Here is a nice photo of my maternal grandparents, Eula and Harvey Isenhour. Both are of German stock, and I suspect we are related on Grandpa's side to President Eisenhower, whose name is pronounced the same way.

Vol's Men's Basketball Team Number One!

The University of Tennessee men's basketball team made history last night by defeating the University of Memphis in Memphis. This is the first time the men's basketball program has ever been ranked number one in the nation. The score was 66-62.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Washington's Birthday

Yesterday was George Washington's birthday. I'm in the middle of an audiobook, The Great Upheaval, that focuses on events in the later years of the 1700's. I've been trying during the past year or so to study more about Washington, and I find it interesting to examine how modern scholars try to explain him, as if it were possible to explain any human being, much less the father of his country.

This painting is of Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732, as colonel of the Virginia Regiment of the British army, painted in 1772. Washington's most important contribution to our political culture was the idea of voluntarily relinquishing power, which he did at the end of the Revolutionary War and again after serving two terms as President, setting a precedent that was followed until Franklin D. Roosevelt and then subsequently made a part of the Constitution by amendment.

Paul Johnson, in George Washington: The Founding Father, wrote,
The actual resignation of his command, having made peace between the civil and military powers of the new country -- and, in an emotional ceremony, bidden farewell to his officers on December 4, 1783 -- took place in Annapolis, Maryland, on December 23, when he formally handed back to Congress his commission as commander in chief, which they had given him in June 1775. He said he would never again hold public office. He had his horse waiting at the door, and he took the road to Mount Vernon the next day.

No one who knew Washington was surprised. Everyone else, in varying degrees, was astonished at this singular failure of the corruption of power to work. And, indeed, it was a rare moment in history. In London, George III qustioned the American-born painter Benjamin West what Washington would do now he had won the war. "Oh," said West, "they say he will return to his farm." "If he does that," said the king, "he will be the greatest man in the world."
Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

Redneck Weenie Roast

My friend Michael Sheldon from Atlanta sent me this photograph. You have to love the ingenuity involved here. This type of rake would work as a grill grate to grill just about anything if you were camping or in a pinch.

Friday Night in Maryville

Sherry and Sarah and I went out to eat last night at Uno's Pizza. We had the classic, and it was delicious. We ran into Uncle Al, a lifelong friend of my dad's, and it was fun to see him and his wife, Diana.

Sarah got a Blockbuster gift card from Papa John and Jan for Valentine's Day, and so we picked up a few DVD's, including Star Wars, which I've been meaning to watch with Sarah since she likes the Family Guy version so much.

Stealth Bomber Crashes on Guam

Stars and Stripes is reporting this morning that a B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed on Guam today shortly after taking off. The pilots ejected safely, and no one was hurt on the ground either.

Golf in Cuba

I just read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, which says that there is a movement in Cuba to build golf courses to attract tourist dollars. Apparently Castro does not like golf, not only because it has a reputation as a rich man's game, but also because he's a sore loser. The newspaper reports,
In 1962, Mr. Castro lost a round of golf to Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who had been a caddy in his Argentine hometown before he became a guerrilla icon. Mr. Castro's defeat may have had disastrous consequences for the sport. He had one Havana golf course turned into a military school, another into an art school. A journalist who wrote about the defeat of Cuba's Maximum Leader, who was a notoriously bad loser, was fired the next day.
I'm not much of a golfer myself, unless you count Putt-Putt. (I especially love Hillbilly Golf up in Gatlinburg.) However, I found the article interesting. I've been interested in Cuba since Mom lived in South Florida, where affairs related to Cuba and the rest of Caribbean are frequently in the news. The Caribbean is such a paradise in some ways and such a hell in others.

There are businesses that would love to build and operate golf courses and other facilities for tourists in Cuba, but private property ownership is not permitted under the communist regime, so why would anyone bother? It will be interesting to see if the passing of Fidel Castro from the scene changes anything in Cuba. The article demonstrates how a dictator's personal whims become law.

Grace's Turn on Film


Laura sent this clip of Grace wrestling with a monkey and playing Grandmother Ogle's piano. The monkey pretty much wins the wrestling match, but the piano playing isn't bad for a one-year-old.

Friday, February 22, 2008

TGIF

It has been a long week, and I suspect I have a long Friday ahead of me. I have a preliminary hearing in a criminal case this morning, and the scuttlebutt says the docket is swamped. My client is incarcerated and was transported here from a penitentiary in West Tennessee, so I expect my case will be heard. I would not be surprised if I get bumped to the afternoon docket, though.

On the moving front, we've packed up almost everything we can, except for some clothes. We will probably also have to take our sleigh bed apart, which is quite a task. We close on our new place two weeks from today. I talked to my friend who performed the title work on Wednesday, and there are no title problems to worry about, so everything is still going forward.

There is a certain excitement in moving your household, but it is a daunting task, even if you do it with the breathtaking regularity that we have in the past several years. Humans enjoy familiar surroundings, and most of our familiar household items are in boxes, and will be for several weeks to come. It will be nice to be on the other side of this move as springtime comes to East Tennessee.

Stop, In the Name of Love

Here's Grace decked out in her Sunday finest for Jane's mom's funeral.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tomorrow


I've been under the weather for a couple of days, and busy catching up with work today, since I'm feeling more like my normal self. Here's a cute clip of Sarah singing "Tomorrow" from Annie, which is her latest favorite movie.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fidel Castro Resigns

The Miami Herald is reporting this morning that Fidel Castro has submitted a letter saying he will step down as President of Cuba due to his poor health. I'd be interested to see the party in Little Havana tonight.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Birthday Party 2003


I found this invitation, which Sherry created, to my 40th birthday party as I was moving files. Sarah really did wear a doo-rag in utero, and she survived the Evil Bessie to boot.

Family Photo

Here is a photograph of Dad and Mom and us kids, obviously from sometime in the Seventies. Get a load of the sideburns on Dad and the bun on Mom. (Thankfully, it was before Dad got into leisure suits, poor man.)

Audiobook Review: Age of Lincoln by Orville Vernon Burton

I just finished a lenghthy audiobook, Age of Lincoln, by Orville Vernon Burton. It was on the new book shelf at the local library, and because it had Lincoln's image on the cover I wrongly assumed it was a biography. It was actually about the time during which he lived, and was thus aptly titled.

Recently written, the book's main theme was the millennial asperations of the era, and how the idealism and freedom that Lincoln represented was lost after his death in the drive for wealth as the country focused on the profits associated with western expansion. This was not a Civil War book, either, though the war was a prominent part of the story, but an effort to give the reader a feeling for the time in which it came about. I enjoyed the audiobook.

Sartorial Splendor


Dressing a four-year-old can be a challenge, and I can't quite fathom why. One morning last week, Sarah pulled her cheerleader outfit out of the closet. I'm certainly not going to discourage the child from donning orange and white, though I insisted she wear a long-sleeved shirt under it. Then she decided she wanted to wear her boots. Sometimes it's just easier to let her pick out her clothes.

She is holding her favorite stuffed animal, a cat that looked like it had been hit by a car when we took it off the store shelf. I literally held it up by the tail as if it were dead as we were walking down a crowded Gatlinburg sidewalk, and the crowd parted in disgust. She's been lugging the thing everywhere for a couple of years now, so it looks even worse now. She named it "Kitty Leeter," which is kind of fitting.

More on Presidents' Day

I just perused this morning's Maryville Daily Times, and the editorial was about how these days people don't really know the history of Presidents' Day nor really observe any such holidays, except to be pleased about having a three-day weekend. As a history geek, I was chagrined.

The editorial also pointed out that although George Washington was the first President under the United States Constitution, other men served as President under the Articles of Confederation. I did a quick internet search and found an article on Wikipedia listing not only the Presidents under the Articles of Confederation, but the Presidents of the earlier American assemblies such as the Continental Congress and the Stamp Act Congress.

Happy Presidents' Day!

Last week was pretty busy for me, and I didn't realize we had a three-day weekend until Friday, so today is sort of a bonus day for me. Blount County and Tennessee government offices will be closed today, and I'm not really even sure if Sarah's day care is open, though I think it probably is. If so, I'll take her in and try to get some paperwork and/or some bar association work done, though I may also try and round up some more boxes for more packing.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ms. Austin's Obituary

Austin, Martha Driscoll- Passed away peacefully at home on Saturday morning, February 16, 2008. Martha was a native of Knoxville who devoted her life to providing unconditional love to her family. She is preceded in death by parents, Mr. and Mrs. B. Leo Driscoll, siblings Leo Driscoll, Eleanor Driscoll and Father James Driscoll, and granddaughter Katherine Carroll. Martha is survived by her husband of 51 years, William C. Austin. She is also survived by her siblings, Brother Roland Driscoll of South Bend, IN, and Mary Reese and Julia (and Robert) Schriver, Knoxville. Martha is also survived by her seven children: Anne Austin Carroll, Chattanooga; Betsy (and Ritchie) Case, Knoxville; William C. (and Christine) Austin, Jr., Trumbull Connecticut; Neil Austin, Daytona Beach, Florida; Jane (and Al) Barron, Knoxville; Jacqueline Austin Russell, Kingston Springs; Kristen Austin, Greenville, SC. She leaves seven grandchildren: Kristen (and Wes) Loden, Jakarta Indonesia; Graham and Michael Case, Knoxville; Ashley and Leanne Austin, Trumbull, Connecticut; Jennafer and Melody Russell, Kingston Springs; also three great grandchildren: J.T., Lyndsey, and Kaleigh Loden, Jakarta, Indonesia. There are also several nieces and nephews. A Funeral Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at All Saints Catholic Church with Father Gerard Austin and Father Ragan Schriver officiating. A graveside service will follow at Highland Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends Tuesday 6-7:45 p.m. followed by a prayer service at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.

Making Progress

We've had a productive weekend of packing for our move, and I feel pretty good about where we are with the task. Our kitchen, my office and Sarah's vast toy collection are all pared down to the absolute minimum.

Sherry's got cabin fever, and so she and Sarah have gone out to run a couple of errands. I'm out of boxes, so there's not much left I can do today as far as packing goes.

Jane's Mom

Our friend, Jane Austin, lost her mother yesterday morning. Here is the obituary from this morning's News-Sentinel:

AUSTIN, MARTHA DRISCOLL - of West Knoxville, daughter of the late Leo and Nell Brennan Driscoll, died Saturday February 16, 2008 at her home. Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel. www.rosemortuary.com

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone.” Gone where? Gone from my sight—that is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and beauty, and just as able to bear her load of living freight. Her diminished size is in me, not in her, and just at that moment when someone at my side says, “Now! She’s gone,” there are other joyful eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Moving Blogging

We've worked all morning packing boxes, and Sherry is down for a nap. Sarah is awake, but is on the sofa with her mom. I'm pleased with our progress. As I expected, the job isn't as bad as it could be because we left so much of our belongings in boxes when we moved in here.

I think I have more work in me before I call it a day. My garage calls, while it is relatively warm outside.

The Child of Her Parents

We've been working up in Sarah's room packing boxes. While doing so, Sherry went through a bunch of Sarah's books and found a cat book. (My wife loves cats.) Sarah started looking through the cat book, and as she did, she meowed the theme music for Star Wars. (I am a confessed Star Wars geek.) This child is definitely the product of her parents.

At least Sherry is normal.

Carload of Boxes


I just got back from a run to Kroger to gather some cardboard boxes for moving. I found an aisle full of empty boxes, and a clerk helped me fill up the Nissan with them.

Three Day Weekend!

I've been so busy this week that it completely escaped me that Monday is Presidents' Day, and the courthouse will be closed. We'll be packing boxes for our move three weeks hence.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sarah's Alphabet Song


One cute Boong

Space Shuttle and Lunar Eclipse

The shuttle Atlantis finally made it into space on its latest mission, and astronauts are installing the Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. There is a spacewalk scheduled this morning as part of the installation process.

Next Wednesday, February 20, 2008, there will be a total eclipse of the moon. The eclipse begins at 8:43 p.m. and ends shortly after midnight.

"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."

Children and Home Decor

I just read a New York Times article about how children impact home decor. The story is told from the point of view of yuppie types who spent a bunch of money on high end furniture, but the tale sounded familiar. Kids are hard on furniture, and ubiquitous toys don't make for a stylish look for the average home.

I would describe Sherry and me as being neither neat freaks nor clutter bugs, but we are engaged in a never-ending battle to keep toys, crayons and the clothes the children constantly shed onto the floor put away. When you have kids, your home and furnishings by necessity become more utilitarian and functional than stylish, which suits me well enough. We haven't really done much to decorate our present home, other than to hang a few pictures on the walls, because we did not intend to live here for very long. I suspect we'll give more attention to decorating our new place.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day in Court

Judge DeLozier, the General Sessions Judge who married Sherry and me, has been hearing his successor's docket while Judge Gallegos has been at a judicial conference. This morning my friend Sharon, who has served as secretary to both judges, called me and asked me if I was available to handle some appointed cases. I agreed.

When I got to court, Judge DeLozier was alerted to my presence and prepared the appropriate orders to appoint me to the cases Sharon had called me about. As he did so, I told him how pleased I was that my duties had brought me before him this morning, and I asked him if he knew what happened in that courtroom six years ago, almost to the hour. He looked at me quizzically, and I reminded him that six years ago he married my beautiful wife and me in that courtroom. I was standing on the spot where we exchanged our vows.

The gallery of the courtroom gave a collective, "Awwwwwwww."

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Six years ago today, in a quiet civil ceremony performed by Judge DeLozier in the Blount County Justice Center, I married the beautiful woman pictured above. Before I met Sherry, I never had a reason to celebrate Valentine's Day. It is now the most special day of the year to me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nashville Zoo


Here are some photographs from last Saturday's trip to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. It was about 55 degrees, and the weather was perfect for a walk through the zoo.

This is a photo of the kids popping up through a viewing tube in the meerkat exhibit. Since the weather was warm, the little critters were pretty active. If you look closely, you can see one sitting up on his haunches in the background of this shot. Below is a shot of one from much closer to him.

Here are Jake and Sarah at the petting area of the Nashville Zoo.

Funeral in the Snow

I just got home from New Providence Presbyterian Church, where I attended the funeral of the uncle of my former law partner. His uncle was a minister in Texas for much of his life, so I never met him, although he moved back to Maryville last spring, at about the time we did. It was nice to see both of my former law partners and their families, despite the circumstances.

We are having freezing precipitation and falling temperatures here in Maryville, so I decided to bring Sarah home from school in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Sherry called this morning from North Knoxville, and she said it was snowing hard. I hope she doesn't have trouble getting home this afternoon, but I believe her boss drives a four-wheel drive truck if it gets bad.

Law School Reunion and Visiting the Waterfowl

I saw three of my classmates from law school yesterday, which is incredibly rare, even over the river in Knoxville. My friend Brent Nolan met me at the Blount County Courthouse yesterday to serve a lawsuit on me as the administrator ad litem of a probate estate. I then went over to the justice center and ran into two other law school classmates, Monica Franklin and Wayne Wycoff, who were chatting in the hallway with Phil Reed, a member of the Blount County bar. Monica said she had a case to refer to me and couldn't find me online, so I need to get to work on getting a lawyer website up and running for myself.

I was in court until about 4:00 yesterday afternoon. Sherry and I have started packing the kitchen, and we pulled a lot of stale cereal, crackers and chips out of our pantry this weekend. I put it in the car yesterday morning so Sarah and I could feed the ducks and geese at Springbrook Pond again. They must have heard we were coming, because there were hundreds of them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Two Places at Once

Today is another one of those days where I have to be in two courts in two buildings at the same time. Fortunately, I was able to move one of the cases to the afternoon docket. My client is in jail, so he won't be going anywhere.

Judge DeLozier, who married Sherry and me, is substituting from Judge Gallegos, so I'm glad I'm glad I had a case there today. I'm heading back there as soon as I scare up some lunch.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Note From Laura: All We Are Saying Is Give Peas a Chance


Gracie LOVES peas! We just gave her some for the first time and she’s poppin’ in her mouth as fast as she can, bypassing the carrots mind you…

Later,

la

Car Fixed

La came out to take me to pick up my car, which had a bunch of little piddling things to be fixed. They fixed my headlight, my taillight and my lighter and changed the oil. Sherry's car needs to have the turn signals, headlight and lighter fixed on her car, too. These are the joys of used cars.

More Photos from Fuzzies' Opera Night

Here are some more photographs showing Les and Frazier all duded and gussied up for the opera last Friday night.

Came Home in a Squad Car

I dropped my car off at Ogle's Auto Center this morning since I was due to sit as substitute judge in juvenile court again today (and tomorrow and Wednesday) while the judge and referee are away at judicial conference. It turned out that there are no cases on the afternoon docket, so one of the court officers was kind enough to drive me home on his way to get lunch. I'm sure the neighbors will be wondering why I came home today in a squad car.

The Future's So Bright . . .


It was pretty bright in the back seat of the car Saturday, and so Sarah asked for her sunglasses. She was obviously pleased with herself once she got them on.

Kentucky Brown

Although it sounds like a horrible disease, Kentucky Brown is actually a delicious open-faced sandwich. Mom and La and Grace and Les and Fraz all came over yesterday, and Laura made the sandwiches for us. They consisted of a piece of bread with turkey breast covered with a cheese sauce. It was nice to have company upon our return from our visit with Joey and Jake and Grams.

Before everyone got over here, Sherry and I filled up four boxes of stuff from our pantry. With less than a month until moving day, packing is upon us!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Professional Attire

I just read an interesting article on the Higher Ed website about professional attire for college professors, and the gist of the article is a complaint that professors don't dress professionally enough. The comments were full of statements to the effect that part of the reason the person became a professor in the first place was because the person wanted to be free of neckties and suits.

I, for one, have often said that I would love to have a time machine so that I could travel back in time and find the first human male to tie a piece of silk around his neck and choke him to death with it, thus freeing those of us in the present from the discomfort of having to wear a tie every day. However, in truth, when I am about in the world during my work week as an attorney, I wouldn't be caught dead without my business suit and tie. It is an important part of what identifies me as an attorney. (That, and the use of multisyllabic words devoid of my customary East Tennessee accent.)

I will never forget in the summer after my first year in law school I clerked with a law firm in Clinton, Tennessee, just north of Knoxville. Because it was hot in the summer, I never wore my suit jacket to the courthouse until it started to cool down in the fall, though I did wear a necktie. On the first day I wore the suit jacket, a man in overalls in his seventies opened the courthouse door for me to allow me to pass in, and I immediately realized how important it is to look like a lawyer. I then picked my lower jaw up off of the sidewalk and entered the building.

Because I wear a suit and tie everyday for work, I'm usually in a T-shirt and jeans (or, in the summer, a tank top and shorts) when not on duty. I am treated much differently in casual dress than I am treated in my suit, because people identify a man in a suit as someone of some importance, even though it is just me.

I remember a trip some of my friends and I made to see the NASCAR races in Bristol some years ago. My friend Mike Simpson, also a lawyer, was there, and I was somewhat chagrined that the people we had met while camping at the racetrack had no problem believing that Mike is a lawyer. They were not, however, willing to believe that I was, until I quoted some Latin for them. "Expressio unius est exclusio alterius." That convinced them. Had Mike and I both been in suits, there would have been no questions about my status as a member of the bar.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fuzzies Go to the Opera


Les and Fraz went to the opera last night. I incorrectly reported that they went last Friday. Here's a photo of them heading out last night.

A Visit to the Nashville Zoo

Since it's a warm day today in Nashville, we took the kids to the Nashville Zoo, which was enjoyable. Sarah ran through most of it, so she got pretty tired out by the time it was all said and done. We're back at Grams' house now, and we're going to take Joey and Jake to a nearby bowling alley and arcade where one of their friends is celebrating her birthday this evening. We head back home early tomorrow morning.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tennessee/Georgia Border Dispute

Georgia's legislature, concerned about the state's water supply after this summer's drought, is considering challenging the border between our two states in order to get access to the Tennessee River near Chattanooga. I haven't read much about the controversy, but moving boundary lines that have existed since before the Civil War sounds pretty far-fetched to me.

Lunch at Bosco's

Sherry, Grams, Sarah and I dined at Bosco's in Hillsboro Village, near Vanderbilt, for lunch. I had a wonderful spinach canneloni. Bosco's is where Sherry and I had our first date, way back on March 2, 2001, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Nashville's Oldest Estate Case

My hearing in Judge Kennedy's probate court this morning went well, and he told me something I didn't know. The estate I went to court on is now the oldest open probate estate in Davidson County. The only older one was just closed, and it was an estate with around $100 million in assets. Mine is, shall we say, significantly smaller.

Basically, my motion was aimed at causing this nearly eleven year old estate to be closed. Judge Kennedy agreed with me that enough is enough.

Courthouse Protesters in Maryville

When I went to court yesterday afternoon, there were a bunch of protesters picketing the front lawn of the Blount County Courthouse. They were protesting fluoridation of the local water supply.

Cool Novelties Website

Check out this website. It's a novelties store's website, and they have a lot of cool gag gifts and items, including a few items we own. For example, they have band-aids that look like bacon. We've had a box of those for months now. They also have Sigmund Freud watermelon flavored lollipops, which would make a good birthday gift for Mom. (We already got her the Freud action figure a couple of Christmases ago.)

Court in Nashville

I have a hearing in Davidson County Probate Court this morning at 10:00 a.m. central time, which is 11:00 a.m. eastern time. Our goal is to be on the road at 7:00 a.m. eastern time, so this house is getting ready to be very busy as we get ourselves loaded and out the door.

Blue Oyster Cult Rodeo Gig in Nashville

Blue Oyster Cult is playing a gig in Nashville's Sommet Center immediately following a rodeo tomorrow evening. That is an interesting combination of entertainment. I hope Godzilla doesn't eat too many rodeo cows.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Photos of Mom


Here are three photographs of Mom hamming it up for the camera.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Reminder of Old Age

I just came downstairs, and Wheel of Fortune was on since it comes on after the NBC news here. A contestant was just solving the puzzle, and the answer was "Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith." Wheel of Fortune was a favorite of my Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle. If Aerosmith has become the subject of game show questions, I am truly old.

Back from Bar Association Meeting

I just presided over my second meeting as President of the Blount County Bar Association, and it was another interesting program. The statute that provides for selection of judges in Tennessee is about to expire, and we discussed the consequences that could flow from that. We also had an interesting program based on To Kill A Mockingbird about the ethical and other considerations that faced Atticus Finch and the other characters in that story.

I also brought Sherry home some of the wonderful salad featuring feta, dried cranberries and pecans that they serve at Sullivan's, the restaurant where we conduct our meetings, so she'll be a happy camper this evening.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Damned Sleestak


I just read that Will Ferrell is contemplating a Land of the Lost movie.

Old Man

One of my favorite movies is Star Wars. My child has just learned to say, "Your powers are weak, old man."

Docket Done

I've completed the afternoon juvenile court docket, and the day went fairly smoothly, asided from locking myself out of the house this morning. I ended the day by admonishing the last defendant, "Go, and sin no more." I've been wanting to use that line ever since a friend of mine reminded me of it.

Acting Judge Breaks Into Own House

As I climbed into my car this morning, I got a call from juvenile court asking if I could substitute for the judge today. I said that I would, and rushed back inside to change into a business suit. I was in kind of a hurry trying to get out the door, and as I shut it I realized I had just locked my keys in the house. Fortunately, locked doors are one of my specialties, and I was in the house within about a minute of realizing my predicament.

You never know when those hard times will hit you, and I don't want to lose my touch.

Sarah's Loot

Sherry came home with a couple of nice toys for Sarah from Nashville, both from Sherry's grandmother's house. One was a Raggedy Ann Sherry played with as a little girl. Sarah liked it so much she wore her Raggedy Ann dress and took the doll with her to school. The other is a doll-sized high chair, which is in the garage pending cleaning.

Super Fat Tuesday

In the political world, today is Super Tuesday, and many states, including Tennessee, have Election Day today. Sherry and I voted early, so we won't have to fight the crowds. Meanwhile, in New Orleans today is Fat Tuesday, the main event for Mardi Gras.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Flooded!

Our neighbors in the back and to the side of our townhouse have had their yards flooded today. There is a pond in back of us about 150 feet long by 80 feet wide, and the fire pit in our back yard is filled to ground level. We've really needed a good rain. This is the only time we've seen flooding like this since we moved here last March.

Rainy Monday

We're getting a very steady rain here in Maryville this afternoon. I had an afternoon hearing scheduled, so I decided to stop by a bean lunch for a local paramedic who just lost her husband to illness. When I got to the church where the lunch was to be held, there were no cars in the parking lot. I guess they got rained out.

I grabbed lunch at Krystal's instead, and while I was there I got a call from one of the lawyers in my case telling me it had been reset. I went by the post office before returning home, and I ran into a friend of mine, Richard Rice, who is a local title attorney. He was on his way to perform the title examination on our Forest Avenue house. In a small town, everyone knows everything about everybody, but it is nice knowing a friend is the one doing the legal work for your real estate transaction.

I, for one, detest doing title work. I would rather have my fangs removed.

Sherry Returns From Nashville

Sherry's coming home today after spending the weekend in Nashville with Grams and Joey and Jake. She's due at work at noon, so Sarah and I won't see her until after work. We're both ready for her to come home.

Sarah and I just hung out at the house yesterday. La and Grace came over for a visit, which was nice. Other than that, we just played and watched television. I'm not much of a pro football fan, and the only interest I had in the Super Bowl was that Peyton Manning's brother was in it. In recent years, the Super Bowl hasn't started until 8:00 to 9:00 p.m., which is too late for me to start watching a ball game on a Sunday night. It aired at 5:15 p.m. yesterday, but I didn't bother with it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Grandmother Isenhour's Chili

Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy recently sent me Grandmother (Eula Powell) Isenhour's chili recipe. I just made a batch, and it is delicious, and colorful. I may have already shared Grandmother's photo here, but it seemed approriate to the post. Here's her recipe:

Brown:

1 lb. ground beef (I used chuck.)
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt (Sarah did this part, and probably added an extra half tsp.)
1 cup chopped onion (I used one medium onion and did not measure.)
1 cup green pepper (Ditto.)
2 tbs. chili powder

Add:

I drained the above after browning, and transferred to a large cooking pot, and then added 2 cans tomatoes, including juice, a can of pinto beans and a can of kidney beans, also including juice. You can cook it down and/or add flour from there.

Madeleine Albright

When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, my daughter usually responds that she wants to be a ballerina or a princess. I recently responded, "How about President?" She said, rather emphatically, "No. I'm a girl!" She's said the same thing when I've pointed out an airplane passing over our house and suggested that a woman was the pilot.

In an effort to make her aware that in this day and age women hold many positions of responsibility, I have tried to point out such women to her. A couple of weekends ago, I was watching an interview with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and I tried to explain who she was and what an important office she held in a way a four year old could understand.

Yesterday, I brought in the latest issue of Time magazine, and Sarah called to me to show me that she'd found a photograph of Albright in the magazine. I was impressed when she showed me a picture of Abraham Lincoln a while back after we'd talked about him, and I was similarly proud that she was able to recognize Secretary Albright as a person of importance.

Springbrook Duck Pond

Sarah and I camped out at Mom's last night, and we came back home this morning to grab our bag of stale bread and chips to feed the Springbrook ducks (and seagulls). We had a huge bag of stuff, and there were probably 50 to 75 birds gathered about us by the time we had exhausted our supply of feed for them. Sarah always enjoys feeding the ducks.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beef Roast at Wannie's

Sarah and I are over at Mom's house, and Mom has a beef roast in the oven. Les and Frazier should be over here shortly, and I assume La and Stew will be too. Sarah has Mom locked away in her play room, so I'm just hanging out. The roast smells lovely!

Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, and once again, the Yankee groundhog saw his shadow, supposedly dooming us to six more weeks of winter. How about some groundhog barbeque?

More Smokies News

WBIR, the local NBC affiliate, just reported that there is a rock slide in the Smokies that has closed Newfound Gap Road.

Townsend IGA Robbed

The Maryville Daily Times reported yesterday that the IGA grocery store in Townsend, Tennessee, was robbed at gunpoint early Thursday morning. I've shopped at that store countless times over the years inasmuch as it is the last real grocery store before you reach the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the Maryville side. A robbery at the IGA is definitely counter to Townsend's status as "the Quiet Side of the Smokies." How sad.

Speaking of Nashville

Sherry's pining for her boys and mama, so she's going to head to Nashville this morning for a visit. Sarah and I are going to stay home, since we're all three going back next weekend for a court appearance I have next Friday in probate court there. It is one of only two cases I still have going in Nashville, and they both involve the same parties. I'm asking the court to set a timetable to conclude the probate case, which will bring me down to one Middle Tennessee case left to finish.

Webb Wilder to Play Barley's in Knoxville Tonight

Former deejay Webb Wilder of Nashville will play Barley's in Knoxville this evening, and the tickets are only $5.00! He also has a new label and new album Born to be Wilder. A bunch of us went to see him on the Cumberland Avenue strip some years ago, and he puts on a rockin' show. I'll have to check out the album.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Uncle Fuzzy Goes to the Opera


You can't make this stuff up. Uncle Fuzzy apparently aided a bicyclist recently, and the bicyclist has connections with the Knoxville Opera. In repayment of Frazier's roadside assistance, the operaman bicyclist has given him free tickets to the opera tonight. Leslie won't go, so he's working on Mom and Laura to go with him. Hell, he may even have backstage passes.

I am never going to let him live this down.

Jolly Holiday With Sarah


I just figured out how to take a video clip with Sherry's camera and to download it to her computer. As a follow up to my last post, in this one Sarah sings "Jolly Holiday" from Mary Poppins.

Again, I ask. Can she be any cuter?

How Cute Can This Child Be?

Sarah has the music in her today and has been singing songs from Mary Poppins and "Tomorrow" fron Annie. Can she be any cuter?

Snowbirds

My friend Michael Sheldon set me this photograph of his birdfeeder providing food and refuge from the snow for a few little birds.

Friday Musical Treat


This clip runs for a couple of minutes, but it is worth your time. The little guy with the harmonica brings the house down.