Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Midday Kitty Blogging

I haven't seen Molly the kitten this morning, but I didn't think that strange since Sarah had been chasing her around the house earlier this morning. I figured the beast had curled up under a bed or some other piece of furniture. The satellite television guy came out today to fix our service because we haven't been able to receive our local channels. It turns out that when the foliage came out on our trees, it blocked the satellite that transmits those channels, which the tech who installed the thing should probably have known.

Anyway, I usually keep to myself when someone is performing repairs at my house so as not to be underfoot, and I've been studying a couple of files in two new cases I have. Once the tech left, I looked around for the cats and heard a meow. I opened the door to the downstairs and garage, but there was no Molly there. I heard another meow and a scratch and discovered the poor kitty trapped in one of our dresser drawers. She apparently went in there to hide from Sarah, and I kicked it shut this morning as I was heading out the door to take Sarah to school. The poor animal was in there for about four hours. I think I heard Emma snickering as the poor kitty charged out of the bedroom.

Molly is upstairs with me in the office now, so I guess I'm forgiven.

Gregory's Bald

On my first overnight hike in the Smokies as an adult we hiked up to Gregory’s Bald. All the rest of the guys on the trip kept talking about hoping we didn’t see any boar. On the last leg of the trail, everyone was flagging badly, especially my friend, John Penland, who was a smoker, which is not condusive to aerobic activity, and who had also developed a Charlie horse. I was literally pushing him by the backpack up the trail when we got to the bald.

A bald, as the name implies, is a bald spot without trees on top of a mountain. When we emerged from the wooded trail onto the bald it was sunny and beautiful, and there was a fawn grazing there. It suddenly got spooked and bolted away. My friend Biff Byrd said, “Did anyone hear that?” We all looked at him and said, “No.” Then we heard a snort from something far bigger than a human being. Biff said, “Pig!” And then everyone, including an amazingly fleet-footed J.P, who had suddenly recovered from his Charlie horse, ran down the other side of the bald to the designated campsite. I promptly took and old log and made a ramp so I could easily get up onto a low tree limb if I needed to. We never did see the boar.

There was already another small group of campers up there with a campfire already going. We were setting up our tents when they came over with some leftover beefaroni and offered it to us. We inhaled it and thanked them. They inquired what we brought for dinner, and it was filet mignon, pasta and olive oil and acorn squash. (J.P. is a chef.) They were amazed.
Another of our friends, Jeff Bond, did not hike up until after dark, something I do not recommend, especially in the mountains. Jeff is kind of goofy, and quite a prankster. As he came into camp, he saw the other guys, and bumbled into their camp roaring as if he were a bear. They were experienced campers, did not buy it and pointed him to our nearby camp.

Jeff is also an experienced hiker, but he was totally discombobulated when he came into camp with his sleeping bag uncoiling and stuff falling out of his pack. He carried a cooler five miles up the mountain, also something I do not recommend, but it was full of fresh shrimp. Jeff is also a pretty good cook, though he no longer does it for a living, and he brought a chef’s hat and apron. The next morning a park ranger rode into camp on a horse as we were cooking breakfast, and J.P. had the hat and apron on and was sauteeing the shrimp. When the ranger saw what we were having for breakfast, he smiled, shook his head and rode away.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another Busy Day

I was in juvenile court all morning today, and as usual had a multitude of calls and paperwork to get to at home. I just picked up Boong from school, and she has the kitten captive on the sofa watching James and the Giant Peach.

A man who lives next door to where Sherry works knocked on their door today and told her that her back tire was low. One of her headlights is out, and the car needs an oil change, so she took it to a mechanic near her office. They advised that the steel belts were showing on two of her tires and that she needs to replace all three. She's planning a road trip to Nashville this weekend to see Joey and Jake and Grams, so it is fortunate she discovered it before her road trip. We had a blow out in my car last year on Interstate 40, and it was no fun.

Grace and Cousin

Here's a photo of Grace and one of her cousins who recently visited La and Stew.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Play Ball!

I caught the last few minutes of Sarah's gym class, and they had the kids lined up practicing throwing a baseball-sized ball back and forth. It was pretty amusing, but they all got better with practice. I'll have to find an appropriate ball and throw with her. Mr. Tom, one of the gym teachers, suggested her brothers could throw with her too, which I'm sure she would love.

Short Court

I had a case on this afternoon's juvenile court docket, but the hearing did not occur, which got me out of the courthouse pretty quickly. I've been back here at my desk working on some paperwork, and I'll probably leave within the hour to see the last few minutes of Sarah's gymnastics class, which I have not done in a while.

After a dreadfully dreary morning, the sun is starting to come out, and the weather is supposed to be nice through the rest of the week. This morning's rain erased about a week's worth of sidewalk chalk art, so I bet Sarah will be anxious to create something new.

Vet Blogging

I took Molly to the vet this morning for a couple of shots and so they could look at her surgical wound from her spaying operation. The bulge at the site of the wound has diminished in size, and so the vet decided not to operate, which is a relief. The vet detected a heart murmer, and she called in another vet in their office who concurred with that finding. Since Molly otherwise seems quite healthy and happy, we are to monitor, and they will check on both issues again in about a month when the little beast has to go back in for another booster shot. Apparently congenital heart murmers in cats are not unusual, and it sometimes corrects itself as the cat grows.

Sarah would have been heartbroken if she had to stay away from the kitty, so I'm glad no surgery is needed. Sarah can continue to manhandle the poor little creature with impunity.

Molly the Fierce

Cave troll

Molly the kitten was literally pulling the chain of the cave troll that lives upstairs at our house, and she's been batting one of those little purple-haired trolls all around downstairs. She also discovered an ant in Sarah's room and apparently ate it, after pawing and dancing on it a bit. I would recommend that she stick to the ants and lay off of the cave troll.

Mom, La and Grace Visit

Mom, Laura and Grace came over yesterday for a visit. Mom came over first and arrived while Sherry and I were hanging pictures, so she took Sarah down the hill to Five Points Restaurant for lunch, which she compared to the Snack Bar in Hickory, North Carolina, a high compliment. La and Grace arrived shortly after Mom and Sarah got back from lunch, and we ordered pizza for supper later in the afternoon.

Les and Fraz have been battling a stomach bug. They were feeling better yesterday, but stayed home so as not to expose us to what sounded like a horrible illness. There are respiratory and stomach bugs going around here in Maryville, and I am really hoping to avoid any further illnesses.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Damned Paparazzi

When we were up at the Townsend Spring Festival yesterday, a photographer from the Knoxville News Sentinel photographed Sarah at play. Our local newspaper publishes several publication besides the area daily, one of which, Skirt! Magazine, Sherry does advertisements for. The photographer was taking pictures for a semiannual publication focused on Townsend, and he said if they use it, it will probably be this fall or next spring.

Sarah's Chair at School

About a week ago, Sarah took an interest in two wooden chairs on the front porch of her school. There's a Heartland Series episode where a guy makes these chairs, and I'll have to find it for her and show her. Anyway, when I pick her up in the afternoon, she wants to sit in these chairs for a few minutes before we get in the car. I thought I'd take a photo since she likes them so much.

More Kitty Blogging

Molly the calico kitten took an unnatural interest in Lady and the Tramp yesterday. Maybe we should play Aristocats for her. She is at the moment gleefully attacking all of the buttons on J&J's futon at once. Those buttons haven't a chance.

Update on Jake and Joey

Joey had a friend over to spend the night on Friday, while Jake went over to another friend's house for the night. I guess it doesn't surprise me that they are starting to make separate friends. As twins they've pretty much always done everything together, but as they get older no doubt they'll continue to develop different interests and friends, much as Leslie and Laura did in their younger days. Sherry talked to Mark yesterday morning, and we was on his way to get Krispy Kreme donuts for them for breakfast. That's a good dad.

Dirt Under Me Fingernails

Well, not really, because I don't have fingernails and I wear gloves when I work in the garden. We used up the bag of potting soil I bought Friday, and gave some love to an Easter Lily that Sherry's had since we met. It lives on our kitchen counter, and it has desperately needed to be repotted. We ended up breaking it up, and Sherry traded a piece of it to our neighbor from across the street for a few bulbs of some sort. We put a big piece of the lily into a large terra cotta pot, and put a small piece back into the decorative pot for our kitchen counter.

In other gardening news, we planted the obligatory bean plant that Sarah brought home from school. Hopefully it will be more successful now that we've liberated it from that plastic cup. Finally, we potted a geranium that we bought a couple of weeks ago, and moved it onto the back deck to provide a little color back there.

Hubble Space Telescope

Here are some spectacular photographs taken from the Hubble Space Telescope. Makes you feel sort of insignificant, doesn't it?

Starry Night, so named because it reminded astronomers of the Van Gogh painting. It is a halo of light around a star in the Milky Way.

The Trifid Nebula. A 'stellar nursery', 9,000 light years from here, it is where new stars are being born

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Townsend Spring Festival

Sherry, Sarah and I attended the Townsend Spring Festival today, and we just got back down into town a little while ago. It was really fun, and there was a little something for everyone. They had activities for the kids, lots of vendors, three sets of earrings for Sherry for $5.oo, plenty of food, live bluegrass music breaking out everywhere and homemade ice cream. It was a bit on the warm side, so I elected not to wear my overalls, but we found this photo op, which included its own overalls.

One maid a-milking is udderly ridiculous. There was a barnyard play area which included wooden chicken eggs. Sarah gathered them all up in a cooking pot that was in the play area, and I cautioned her against putting all her eggs in one basket. The other adults present groaned.

Ford tough

Wild as mink but sweet as soda pop up in Tuckaleechee Cove

Sarah learns how to do laundry the old-fashioned way, with lye soap and a warshboard. (Yes, I spelled it that way intentionally, because that's the way you say it.)

Experimental Breakfast Casserole X-715

Deviating daringly from our tried and true breakfast quiche recipe, I am attempting an experimental breakfast casserole that I just sort of threw together. To give it that Boy Scout flair, I've added Spam, and I also put in some brocolli. There aren't many chefs willing to risk so much to go so far.

Godspeed, breakfast casserole.


Yesterday was ANZAC Day, which is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand like our Memorial Day to honor soldiers who gave their lives in World War I, or as they called it The Great War.

Steve "the Colonel" Cropper Plays Nashvegas

Steve "the Colonel" Cropper, from the Blues Brothers, will play Nashville tonight after the Music City Marathon, which is taking place today. They shut down a lot of streets downtown for the marathon, and so it catches my attention. Sherry, Leslie, one of Sherry's friends and I walked a half marathon (13 mile) in Nashville in 2001, and it was quite an event. It ended in what was then Adelphia Stadium, where the Tennessee Titans play, and you got to watch yourself cross the finish line on the Jumbotron. Then you go eat and be entertained.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Maryville Art Walk

The streets of Maryville were busy this evening. Sherry, Sarah and I dined at Los Amigos, one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants. The Maryville arts community was hosting the Last Friday Art Walk, which I had never attended before. We heard live music up the hill from the Greenbelt Park, and found our way up there to find a good band and an old friend, Tom McCroskey, whom I have not seen since our return to Maryville. He and his wife were enjoying the music, and we were able to catch up a bit and exchange business cards. It was a fun outing.

Balloon Release

It was organized chaos this afternoon as the fine people at Perpetual Motion School conducted a balloon release to commemorate the Week of the Young Child. To celebrate the event, I joined the children and released a balloon for a kid named Matthew, who was unable to attend. When the balloons went up, everyone cheered and clapped, except for a couple of really young kids, who burst into tears as they realized their balloons weren't coming back.

Sarah watched the balloons until they got pretty high in the air. It will be interesting to find out where they land. They have tags on them requesting that anyone who finds one call the school.

Note the horses in the background. They were very interested in all of the humans coming up to the fence until the balloons went up, and then they bolted.

Smiling Boong with Balloons


Here's the view at this hour toward Cade's Cove from the webcam at Look Rock tower in the Smokies. There's fire on the mountain, lightening in the air. I hope this is another controlled burn.

La on Campus Life at UT

After wondering around campus looking for a Timetable/Course Catalog for Andrew, I was told, “they don’t print those anymore” you can only get them online! There used to be stacks of them everywhere!

Then I come back to the office, one of our student workers was in the office showing another student how to type a label on the typewriter. He said, “have you ever seen one of these things?”

Campus life sure has changed…..

Tales of the Lake

Editor's note: If you've already read this, give it a miss. If not, I thought I'd share it here.

I am captain of an old, formerly red, now pink, sixteen foot Mohawk canoe, the Enterprise, and I used to keep a log of the activities each time I went out on it. I lived on Louisville Lake, which is connected to the main channel of the Tennessee River. I didn’t have frontage, but my next door neighbors did, and when I bought the Enterprise for $250.00, they kindly invited me to chain it to a tree on their property right down by the water’s edge. In return, I told them they could use it anytime I wasn’t, and it turned out to be a good bargain.

I had more fun on that lake than I could ever put into words, even though in a canoe you can’t really paddle very far unless you really want to work, which I didn’t. I cleaned up the interior of one island, about ten minutes paddling distance from my house, and over the course of a couple of years made one of the coolest campsites I’ve ever camped in. From the lake, it still looked like an overgrown island of scrub bushes and privet hedge, inside it was nicely cleared and had a rock-lined firepit and a couple of tables made out of the spools that electrical cable comes on. (A friend’s family was in the business.) Laura named that island Mad Goose Island, because we stirred up a goose on her nest when we were going out to check out the island the first time one spring. The water was also very high after a flood, and so that probably had the goose upset anyway.

We also made a pretty decent campsite on another, larger island, which was handy when we had lots of campers. We never quite got it as nicely situated as Mad Goose. We went out to have a look around last year, and it is still fit for camping, if you take a rake and shovel. We haven’t checked Mad Goose, which had two goats living on it during part of the time we lived in Nashville. My sources say the goats are no longer out there. I just hope they like to eat poison ivy and privet hedge. I hate privet hedge!

The only river canoeing I’ve done is at the Narrows of the Harpeth, which is west of Nashville. It is at a place on the Harpeth River where there is a big bend in the river, so that the place where you put your canoe in is very close by land to the place where you take it out. The trip by river can take as long as a day, though we usually did the half day trip. The Harpeth flows all through Bellevue, the area of Nashvegas where we lived, and I always thought it would be fun to see the neighborhood from the river.

I know that when I first got my canoe on Louisville Lake part of the fun was meeting my lake neighbors. There was one guy at the end of my street, Boilermaker Bill, who I met because he usually sat on his dock in the evenings when I liked to go out for a paddle. Another really nice fellow I met on the lake was Dave the Fishmonger, who also lived on my street, and who, despite his trade, loved to fish. If I told him I was going fishing, he’d either join me on the lake, or run in and get me the bait fish that he’d just caught with a casting net so I could fish with what the bigger fish were eating anyway. He knows what he’s doing. I’m an amateur.

I’ve got to put my boat on the water!

Spring in My Homeland

We all love the part of the Earth we live upon, and I am fond of the hills and mountains of East Tennessee. Our state flower is the beautiful iris, and they are abloom all over Maryville, including in my next door neighbor's yard. I took this photo after dropping Sarah off for school this morning.

File This Under "K" for Kitty

When we are working upstairs, Molly likes to jump up in the bottom drawer of Sherry's file cabinet to nap. You can barely see the kitten's tattoo, which is her identification number, on her shaven belly. She's also got a microchip, but it will really be neat when they come up with a kitty remote control.

Molly goes back to the vet next week so they can inspect the problem she had with her surgical wound from being spayed. Since the anti-inflammatory hasn't helped, I suspect they're going to cut her open again. Poor kitty!

Presidential Trivia

Mom stumped me this morning on a bit of Presidential trivia. James Buchanan, who preceded Abraham Lincoln as President, was the only United States President never to marry.

Gag a Maggot

After a very nice post, I will now treat readers to a truly disgusting account of my visit to the Hardee's restaurant on East Broadway Avenue this morning. The restaurant was permeated by the rank smell of unwashed human body odor, and I am not gifted with a particularly sensitive olfactory sense. Needless to say, I got my biscuit "to go."


Double Dose of Cuteness

Sherry took this photograph of Sarah holding Molly, our new calico kitten, this morning before school. They are releasing balloons this afternoon at Sarah's school with notes on them asking whoever finds them to call or write the school. A sign about the event at her school said one of them landed in North Carolina last year.

Molly the cat is stretched out asleep on Emma's spot on the back of the sofa. Poor Emma! Evicted by a kitten.

Mess in the Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk's Office

The Criminal Court Clerk's office in Nashville is located in the new A.A. Birch Building downtown, and this week the sprinkler system in the new building malfunctioned, drenching much of the Criminal Court Clerk's office. From the report I read from the Tennessee Bar Association, no files were damaged, but the indoor shower damaged a bunch of computer equipment. Fortunately, my only case in Davidson County Criminal Court concluded earlier this year.

Finally Friday!

Hurray for Friday! I don't have any court or appointments today, and I am reasonably caught up on paperwork, though I still have a rather large file I have to plough through. Since I have my real lawyer desk set up in the garage now, and it has a big surface area, I may take the file down there and work on it some today. I'm just glad I don't have to put on my suit.

Happy Anniversary

. . .to Jane and Al Barron! They will be celebrating in the mountains this weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Worn Out

We're all worn out around here. Sherry worked until 9:00 or so last night, and she just called to say she was on the way home tonight. I've been cranking through a busy couple of weeks myself, and am very pleased to have no appointments on the calendar for tomorrow. We're ready for the weekend!

Engineer's Guide to Cats

This is humorous, but it takes about five minutes to watch. It's worth watching if you know any cats and/or engineers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Saint George's Day

I noticed on my calendar that today is Saint George's Day. I looked it up online and learned a bit of something I didn't know. I must confess, the Bulgarian lamb roast looked pretty tasty.

Can't Stop Working

I am forcing myself to stop working. I left the house at 7:30 this morning, and I left the justice center at about 5:10 this afternoon after conducting a preliminary examination. I'm still all wound up from being in trial mode. I also feel guilty because poor Sherry has a deadline, is by herself and has no idea how long she'll have to be at work. What a day!

Early Start

I had a Red Cross board of directors meeting this morning at 8:00 a.m., so my day started early. I also had a meeting at the courthouse after that, and it lasted for about an hour and a half. I've returned most of my telephone calls, though I still have a few to make, but I've got to be back out the door to court in about an hour.

Sun Rising

I can really tell that the sun is rising earlier in the morning. I need to start back on my walks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Interview Wtih a Pirate Captain

Once upon a time, I had occasion to hire a pirate captain. I put an advertisement in the local newspaper, and after a time I had a knock upon my door. I looked through the spy-hole, and sure enough, there stood a genuine pirate captain, with a patch over his eye, a hook where one of his arms should have been and a wooden peg leg. As I opened the door he said, “Arrrrrrgggghhh!”

He seemed authentic, but I thought I should proceed with an interview for what was, after all, an important position.

“With all due respect, sir, you appear to be very qualified; however, I would like to ask you a few questions, if I might,” said I.

“Aye, matey, get on with it,” the pirate captain sighed.

“Could you tell me how you came to have that wooden peg leg?” I inquired.

The pirate said, “Well, matey, I was sailing my schooner in the Atlantic Ocean, when a great white shark jumped up over the bow of my ship, and bit off my leg. That’s why I hobble along on this wooden peg leg.”

I persisted, “Well, then how did you come to have that hook?”

“Matey,” the pirate continued, “I was harpooning a killer whale in the South Seas, when he twisted his head around and tore off part of me arm, and that’s why I have this here hook.”

Curious, I asked, “Well, what happened to your eye.”

The pirate answered, “I was searching with my spyglass for an island with buried treasure. I heard a seagull call in the sky above me, and I looked up. Then a seagull turd hit me right in the eye.”

Amazed, I inquired, “A seagull turd put out your eye?”

The pirate responded, “No, matey. That was the first day I had me hook.”

Bumper Sticker

I saw a bumper sticker today that said, "Isis, Isis, Ra, Ra, Ra." I'm not an Egyptologist, but it made me grin.

Busy Day

I went to court this morning and had two clients on the docket. We reached a plea agreement in one of those cases, and I was appointed to three more cases, so I came home with a net four cases. It takes a certain amount of administrative work to take in a new client, so I've been taking care of that most of the afternoon. I also have a bunch of phone calls to make, but I'll have to pass some of them off until tomorrow.

Happy Earth Week

This is Earth Week. Love your mother.

More Kitty Blogging

Molly the kitten slept with Sherry and me pretty much all night last night. Sherry is trying to train Molly to sleep on her pillow, as Ceasar, her Himalayan, once did. Molly didn't sleep on the pillow last night, but slept right next to it.

I took the kitten to the vet yesterday, and they inspected the surgical wound from the spaying operation. It looks herniated, and they decided to put her on an anti-inflammatory medication and look at her again next week, when she needs to be brought back to the vet for a booster shot.

All and all, Molly is getting over her initial shyness and is very personable. Sarah is still manhandling the poor beast, so we continue to work on teaching her to be gentle with the tiny creature.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Molly Wars

Molly the kitten invaded Lawyer Steve's desk, and confronted the hissing hand fighter. It didn't scare her too badly, since she's now asleep in my desk.

Hail to the Chief

Sarah has learned the tunes to several new songs recently, including "Hail to the Chief", with which she serenaded me on the way home from her school, so I'm feeling very presidential this afternoon.

I also like to pull into the justice center with the theme from Perry Mason blasting on my car stereo, just so everyone knows I'm coming.

Networking Luncheon

A psychologist I know from Red Cross invited me to attend a networking luncheon, which was today at Blount Memorial Hospital, in my capacity as President of the Blount County Bar Association. It was a very nice meeting, and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet all of the professionals there, most of whom are part of the local mental health community.

Tricycle Track

I made some more progress out in the garage this weekend, and emptied enough boxes to give Sarah room to maneuver her tricycle around the garage. I still need to break the empty boxes down, which will open up a lot more room.

Most of what is still left in boxes are oddities from my den, so I am enjoying finding some of my strange treasures, including souvenirs from my travels. I am very pleased to have my stereo hooked up downstairs, and it sounds good down there. There's something about rock and roll and a garage that just go together.

Sarah is very pleased with the art and home living areas I made for her down there, so it is becoming more like living space and less like storage space, though it will serve both purposes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mexican Coke

I read some time ago that Coca Cola bottled in Mexico and made from cane sugar, like the Coke sold in the United States used to be, was being imported and sold here. A few weeks ago, I picked up a bottle of the Mexican version to sample it, and I agree that I can taste the difference between the Mexican product and the corn syrup based soft drink I buy at my local grocer's store. Jake and Joey and I split the bottle. I hope they don't go back to Nashville and tell their teachers they had Mexican Coke with their stepdad.

I've posted about soft drinks before, and I still prefer a variety. Right now Mountain Dew and Cheerwine are what I drink the most of.

The In-Box

Jane Austin Barron sent these cool photos of albino fawns in the snow, and Uncle Mack sent this video of a very old weiner dog whose owner is apparently an engineer of some sort, because the dog has his own machine to play fetch with.

More Garage Foo

Sherry left about 45 mintues ago to take J&J to Cookeville to meet their dad, and I've been working down in the garage. Fraz helped me put the top back on my big desk yesterday, and Jake helped me put the marble top on Grandmother Ogle's dresser this morning. I've been working on getting my stereo unpacked and should have it playing again shortly. Neighbors beware!

I'm also working on setting up a play area for Sarah and recreational area for me down there. Sarah's school has play areas, or centers, and I made her a pretend stove with a box and aluminum foil as part of her "home living center" like she has at school.

Cat Tattoo

This is another photo of our new kitten, which we named Molly this weekend. We adopted her from the Young Williams animal shelter over in Knoxville, and they spayed her before sending her home. They also tattooed the cat, and put a microchip in her.

When Bessie got shaved once so the vet could sew her up after a fight, I joked about taking her down to a local tattoo parlor and asking them to tattoo her. I never thought I'd actually one day own a tattooed cat.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

to Laura and Stewart!

Fuzzy Tennis Anyone?

Les and Uncle Fuzzy are going to take advantage of the nice weather to get in a quick game or two of tennis. After that, they are going to swing by here for a visit.

Young-Uns at the Duck Pond

Jake, Sarah and Joey

Duck and ducklings

Stale bread Olympics

Fermat's Last Theorum

I hate math, but am aware of Fermat's last theorem from Star Trek - The Next Generation because Captain Picard studied it in one episode. Fermat, a French lawyer and mathematician, tied a mathematical "knot" (as Picard called it), and tantalized scholars for centuries with a note in the margins about the "wonderful proof" Fermat had devised.

In the fictional 24th century of Star Trek, humans had not yet untied the knot; however, in 1993, an English mathematician did. I remember reading this Time magazine article at the time and being moved by the idea of this man solving a problem that people had been working on since the 1600's. I love the article's description of the scholars at the conference realizing that their colleague was working equations to provide the "wonderful proof" and bursting into "wild applause" as he solved the centuries-old puzzle. It is a wonderful story, even if you hate math, because of this one man's triumphant success and his colleagues' enthusiastic response to it.

Patriots Day

There's a lot more information about Lexington and Concord, including Paul Revere's own account of events, here.

Fleas and Ducks

There was a break in the rain this morning, so we went out and walked Green Acres Flea Market, but it was pretty dead. The folks with the chickens and rabbits were there, and the place is always good for people watching. We headed back home by way of the Springbrook duck pond and unloaded a bunch of stale bread on the ducks and geese.

Cup A Joe

Joey Smith, a childhood friend of mine, runs a coffee shop in Knoxville called Cup A Joe. Check out the artwork.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What Do You Say When Someone Sneezes?

I once represented a woman from Kabul, Afghanistan, and during one of my meetings with her and her family I had occasion to ask what people from Afghanistan say when someone sneezes. (Someone must have sneezed during the meeting.) The answer was something like "sabid," which means "patience" in their language, which I believe is a dialect of Farsi.

I am by no means a linguist, but I wish I were. I'm very curious what members of other cultures say when someone sneezes. Speakers of English typically say, "God bless you!" (Though my Grandmother Ogle would chastise Granddaddy, "I sneeze too, but not that loud.") Gesundheit, which is German, is the second most common response to another's sneeze in the United States, and it is a wish for good health. I studied Russian in college, and they say, "Bood zdrovye." In classic Russian style, it is a command. "Be healthy!"

What didn't occur to me about all of this is the idea that humans have a fundamental inclination to acknowledge a sneeze in some fashion. I usually enjoy for debunking urban myths, but I really enjoyed the discussion of this subject I found there, though it is by no means authoritative.

Back from Nashville

Jake and Joey and I just got in from Nashville after what was for me a long day in the car and in deposition. I enjoyed seeing everyone at my old Nashville law firm, though I didn't get to visit much. I had a hard time overcoming the urge to check my message slot. I have the same problem when I visit my former firm here in Maryville. Old habits are hard to break.

Sarah at School

Today was teacher appreciation day at Sarah's school, and I took some donuts there this morning. They sent us a thank you note and included this photo of Sarah playing with one of her friends. How they got the child to wear a hat, I'll never know.

Lunch with Scott

I just talked to my friend Scott Mayer, and we're going to meet for lunch in Nashville, so I'd better get myself on the road.

Persian Cat Names from Nazie

Sherry's friend Nazie had these suggestions for cat names. Pretty cool.

Here are a few of my suggestions... Persian names of course ; )
Peeshee (means kitty)
Malous (means cute) pronounced Maalous (long A)
Asal (means honey) pronounced Aasaal
Raha (means free) pronounced Raahau
Saba (means gentel breeze) pronounced Saabau
Tala (means gold) pronounced Taalau
Hugs and kisses to everyone...

Revere's Ride

Today is the 18th of April, and it was 233 years ago that Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn the Massachusetts country folk that the British were on the march from Boston. The American minutemen met the British regulars at Lexington and Concord, and "the shot heard 'round the world" was fired, marking the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.

My Aunt Jane Ogle Webb, a school librarian, introduced me to the Longfellow poem about Revere's famous ride when I was a boy. I still have a copy of it she sent me when I was in college, and I make an effort to read the poem on this day each year and remember the men who fought so long ago. I posted the poem here last year.

Grandmother and Granddaddy took us to Boston when we were kids, and we climbed the tower of the Old North Church. The Old North Church link has some history, as well as a link to a National Public Radio site that has a reading of the poem. If you really want to get in the spirit, take a look at the live webcam overlooking Boston Harbor, which is particularly beautiful this morning.

There and Back Again

No, it's not a hobbit's holiday. It's my trip to Nashville and back today, which will mean I will spend most of today in the car. Fortunately, I have an audiobook on Geronimo, the Apache leader, to get me there, and an audiobook of ghost stories to entertain the boys and me on our trip home tonight.

I am attending the deposition of a witness in a case that was filed in Blount County, but the witness has since moved to Nashville. A local lawyer here asked me if I would handle the deposition in Nashville for him, since he knows of my Nashville connection. Joey and Jake have not visited us here since the weekend we moved, so it made sense for me to bring them back with me when I conclude my deposition. I suspect we won't get home until 8:00 to 9:00 p.m., which is about the time I normally head for bed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Naming the New Cat

So now we have to come up with a name for this new kitten. The name they had on the cage at the pound was Emma, which is, of course, already taken in this household. The boys will be here tomorrow, so we'll have their input, and perhaps we'll settle on a name by this weekend.

I looked at a cat name website for ideas, and I didn't see anything that jumped out at me. It helps to have a feel for the cat's personality, and this kitty's still pretty shy right now.

I saw that the website had a list of names for tuxedo cats, and I was curious if Bessie was on the list, since that was the name my sister Laura gave the tuxedo cat she gave me back in the 90's. She named her that because her markings reminded her of a cow, but that must not have occurred to the people who made the list.

Messing with the Eye Doctor

I am working on getting my eye doctor's records from Nashville so that I can schedule an appointment with my Maryville eye doctor. I signed the release and put it in an envelope to mail. I just noticed that the envelope was one of my letterhead envelopes that was misprinted so that the writing looks blurry. That ought to mess with them at the eye doc's office.

A Picture of Emma

I thought I would post a photo of Emma, also a calico, to compare with the new kitten. Right now I think Emma's position is essentially that old age and treachery will overcome youth and cuteness. So far, she seems tolerant of the little kitty.

Beautiful Sarah

You always hear about how cruel children can be. This morning when Sarah came into her classroom sporting one of her new dresses, one of the little girls in her class said, "Sarah, you look so beautiful!" Kids can be pretty sweet, too.

Kitty Blogging

Here are a couple of photos of our new kitten. Sarah has the poor thing imprisoned in a closet. No wonder the creature hides.

Kitten Resurfaces

Sherry was up all night worried about the missing kitten. The cat resurfaced this morning hungry, but none the worse for the experience. She was hiding somewhere in Sarah's room.

Bad News for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services

The Tennessee Department of Children's Services, which is charged with protecting abused and neglected children in our state, is about to lose 160 employees due to a change in federal funding. I worked at the Department's central legal office in Nashville for a little less than a year, and it had problems before this news. This is not a good day for children at risk in our state.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Kitten Missing Already

We have a really cute new calico kitten, but she's already missing. I think Emma ate her.

Sea Foam

Jane Austin Barron sent me an E-mail with several images of a foamy phenomenon in Australia. It checks out with Looks like fun, even if it is kind of gross.

Ice Cream Social at Sarah's School

Sarah's school had an ice cream social after naptime this afternoon, so I picked her up a little early so I could join the festivities. I checked out The Little Mermaid and Alladin at the library this morning when I went to get audiobooks for my Nashville trip Friday, and she's just started watching The Little Mermaid.

Unless something changes, I'm going to be bringing Jake and Joey home with me Friday, so I got the sequel to a book of ghost stories we listened to last time we made such a trip.

And Then There's the Beach . . .

This is Panama City Beach this morning. Sandestin is about thirty or so minutes west of PCB on the Florida Panhandle.

Speaking of Washington . . .

It is a pretty morning in Washington. This is from the park service webcam.

Free Week at the Beach

We got confirmation yesterday that we have a free condo in Sandestin, Florida, for a week in July. From what I understand it's a three bedroom unit in a high rise building, and all we have to pay is a $62.00 cleaning fee. We normally pay about $900.00 for the modest one bedroom unit we usually rent in Beachwood Villas in nearby Seagrove Beach. Mark and his girlfriend, Tara, will be down there the week before us with Jake and Joey, and Jake and Joey will remain with us for the week we're down there, so they'll have two weeks solid at the beach. The condo belongs to Tara's dad, and they are very kind to let us stay down there.

Unfortunately, this will abort our plan to vacation in Washington, DC, in conjunction with our family reunion in Roanoke in June. With all of the communication going on with my Albamonte cousins who live up in the Washington area, I was looking forward to visiting up there. The kids are at the age where they could appreciate all of the sightseeing, though I'm not sure if we could get them to eat Ethiopian food, which was all the rage in Washington the last time I visited. We can't pass up the free posh pad at the beach, so we'll have to postpone our Washington trip.

Laura's New Job

Laura started her new job at the University of Tennessee on Monday, which means that Grace is in daycare for the first time. It is a huge adjustment for them, but it is good for both of them to be out and about in the world again instead of cooped up at home all the time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Kitten

Sherry picked us out a new kitten at the Knoxville animal shelter today. The kitten, as yet innominate, will be spayed tomorrow morning, and will come home with Sherry after work. More soon.

Five Shots, a Finger Stab and One Screaming Boong

Sarah had her doctor's appointment this afternoon, and she was a trooper. She had to have a finger stabbed for a blood sample, and everything checked out fine. She had to have five shots, and she screamed bloody murder, poor child. She will have no more vaccinations until she's about eleven, except for one booster shot about six months from now. Once the ordeal was over, she recovered very quickly, and since she got some stickers (that didn't include needles) when we left, she was okay. I bought her some cotton candy on the way home for being so brave.

I had to haul her to court with me this afternoon, and I'm glad I did, because we would have never made it to the doctor's office on time if we hadn't. The judge's secretary very kindly entertained her while I took care of my brief hearing, and Sarah left the courthouse with a kitty sticker book. I owe the courthouse a big thanks for accommodating us.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tax Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the deadline to file taxes, and I haven't heard from my accountant. I'd better call in the morning. It's also when the lake levels come up in this part of East Tennessee. I'll have to check the water release website.

Sarah the Sailor

Here's another photo from the riverboat. Note the bridges in the background.

Feels Like Monday

I was in court pretty much all day, though I did get home to have lunch. It was a busy day, and I have court and a pile of office work to do tomorrow. Fortunately, I don't have court on Wednesday, so hopefully that will give me some time to catch up. I'm ready for the weekend already.

Kitchen Floor Full of Water

When I moved the refrigerator so Sherry could get at the wallpaper in that corner, the pipe that carries water to the icemaker came slightly loose. I tightened it, but it loosens up when I try to shove that heavy refrigerator back into place. Our kitchen floor is accordingly full of water. Oh well, it needed cleaning anyway. I have some special tape downstairs that may cure the problem. I'll try it later this morning.

I also broke an electrical outlet, so I've got to get an electrian out here to fix it. I'm pretty handy with a pen and paper or with the Tennessee Rules of Evidence or Civil Procedure, but around the house I cause more damage than I'm worth in help. I need to hire a handyman.

UPDATE: So far, so good. We'll see if there's a lake in the kitchen when I return from court.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Deep Tracks

Our new satellite television service has XM Radio, which we've had before. I really like their Deep Tracks station. As the name implies, the station features songs from popular groups that were not necessarily released as singles. Most recording artists have hundreds of songs, but only a few of the songs get any airplay. Not every good song that a band cuts is released as a single. Deep Tracks plays those songs, and we've had it on today while we've been working around the house.

Excursion Aboard the Knoxville Star

Here are a few photographs from our trip on the Knoxville Star riverboat yesterday. Neyland Stadium (on the right) and the Thompson-Boling Arena (framed by and under the railroad bridge) are visible behind Sarah and me.
As you can see, it was a beautiful, if windy, day. The service was good, and the ride was pleasant. If you were eating on the porch at Calhoun's on the River just before 5:00 p.m. yesterday, that was me doing the Tarzan yell from the boat.
I posted the group photo earlier, before I downloaded these from the camera.
Lounging with Leslie

Pretty in Pink



Sherry is downstairs teaching Sarah to strip . . .wallpaper. Our kitchen wallpaper is rather dated, and we plan to update the entire kitchen. Sherry took the first step today by taking the wallpaper down. It is cold and gloomy here, but we have the fire going. It is a good day to do indoor activities, like blogging.
Sarah is wearing one of the dresses Sherry picked up for her at the consignment sale on Thursday.

Birthday Steak House Photos

These photographs are from Thursday, which was April 10, Mom's actual birthday, at a nearby steak house. I missed lunch that day and ate way too much at the steak place. Ugggh!

It was a fun outing, though. Here's Mom posing with Stewart and her granddaughters. Grace is wearing one of Sarah's dresses.
My beautiful wife

Sarah's really hamming it up with the flowers, isn't she?

Leslie (and me peeking over her right shoulder)
Here's a very pretty photograph of Grace. She's got some good chompers coming in there.

Laura and the back of Mom's head are caught in a gravity storm. It's a weird photo, but still kind of cool.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale . . . .

Fortunately, our riverboat tour did not result in stranded castaways. We had a really good time on the Knoxville Star riverboat, though from the stretch of water we cruised along I can now understand why the Wall Street Journal once infamously called my beloved Knoxville "the scruffy little city on the river."
Sarah was very excited about the whole thing, and pretty much ran all over the boat during the cruise. The food wasn't anything fancy, but it was good. The menu included rubber chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, a wonderful salad, and carrot cake. You can pretty much sit me down and give me mashed potatoes, and I'll be happy.
I think Mom enjoyed her 70th birthday pretty well. Laura gave her a pretty locket with her granddaughters' photographs in it. I made a mummy's finger out of the box, which entertained Sarah, who had never seen the gag before. She went home with Mom last night to spend the night for the first time since our move to Forest Avenue, so I'm quite sure they wore each other out. I'm going to give them a bit more rest, and then I'll drive across the river to the scruffy little city and pick up Sarah.