Monday, June 30, 2008

Willie Nelson and Foreigner to Play Foothills Fall Festival

The Daily Times reports this morning that Willie Nelson and Foreigner will be among the musical acts playing the Foothills Fall Festival this October. We usually visit the festival but opt out of paying for the tickets to see the music. I've never seen Willie, and this would be a cool opportunity to hear him play.

I have seen Waylon Jennings. I went with Mom to see David Allen Coe play a venue called the Palomino Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, and this guy dressed like Waylon, with the vest and hat and the whole nine yards, was managing the show. When the guy got up on stage with DAC and they played "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," we knew it was Waylon for sure. Mom went up later to get his autograph, and she got a kiss to boot.

Red Panda

While I'm on pandas, Sherry took this photograph of a Red Panda at the Knoxville Zoo.

Pink Panda

Sherry bought Sarah a Pink Panther DVD to watch on our road trip to Roanoke. The DVD was mostly cartoons of the Inspector, which ran with the Pink Panther cartoons. Since there's a big panda movie out, Sarah calls the Pink Panther the Pink Panda.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tommy J

Here we are at the Virginia Welcome Center with Thomas Jefferson. I am horrified that our hairdos are strikingly similar, though I keep mine shorter in the back.

Back Home

We just got back home from our road trip, and boy are we tired! We had a wonderful trip, and I wish it could have lasted longer. I am downloading photographs on Sherry's Macintosh and will post some shortly.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Windy Morning in Roanoke

We arrived in Roanoke about an hour and a half before our scheduled meeting time, which was a little over four hours travel time for us. We stopped in the Virginia Welcome Center, and Sherry took a photograph of Sarah and me with a mannequin that was dressed as Thomas Jefferson. We couldn't resist that photo op.

We rented a meeting room at our hotel for supper, and they had a nice meal for us. We haven't whipped out the guitars yet, but I think I'll tune mine up this morning. A goodly contingent of my cousins are here, and we've enjoyed mingling and exchanging family news. For effect, I started the evening in my lawyering clothes, appeared in my overalls for an hour or so, and then finished up the evening in my comfortable and familiar shorts and a T-shirt. That pretty much exhausts my sartorial range.

It is pretty windy here, though I can see blue sky from the hotel's business center. I'd still like to explore Roanoke a bit, and I think we'll round up a group to go into town when everyone begins to awaken.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Roanoke Blogging

We're staying at the Courtyard Hotel in Roanoke, and I saw on their website this morning that they have a business center, so I may be able to manage a post or two this weekend from Virginia. It is about a four hour trip up Interstate 81, which isn't too bad, especially with three drivers and a Boong to keep us company.

White Lily Flour Leaves Knoxville

The Knoxville Metro Pulse has an article this week about the Smuckers company deciding to shut down the White Lily Flour mill in downtown Knoxville. They are moving these operations to the midwest. How sad.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Roanoke Bound

I have an appointment in the morning, and after that we're going to head across the river to Mom's house, load our luggage into her car and drive to Roanoke, Virginia, for our family reunion this weekend. I threatened to wear overalls, but Aunt Joan said she would run me back to the hills from whence I came, so I'll wear my lawyering threads, at least for the two fancy meals we have planned. It should be a fun weekend.

Ocean Robot Gliders

I just saw a cool spot on CNN about robotic gliders a team at Rutgers University is using to explore the ocean. They gather information as the gliders travel through the ocean and transmit data back to the lab. There's more, including photos, here.

Cuff Links

Last week I was looking through a box in the garage and found Dad's cuff links. I tried wearing them a few years ago, and my impression then was that they were more trouble than they were worth. Of course, that was when Sarah was much younger, and anything that I could omit from my morning routine, including my morning walk, fell by the wayside.

I decided to give the cuff links another try, and I find that I like them a lot more this time around, especially since they were Dad's. I need to take them to the jeweler and have them shined up, but I'm enjoying wearing them so far. I don't have many of Dad's things left, although I wear his watch daily. The cuff links are another nice reminder of him.

Audiobook Review: Write It When I'm Gone

I finished Thomas DeFrank's Write It When I'm Gone about a week ago. When he was Vice President, Gerald Ford blurted out something he wished he hadn't said in front of DeFrank, a journalist assigned to cover him. Ford, a former football player, grabbed DeFrank by the necktie and made him promise not to publish it until after Ford died. This began a special relationship between politician and journalist that lasted until Ford's death.

I saw DeFrank deliver a lecture on his book on C-SPAN's Book TV, and you could tell both from the lecture and from the book that he was fond of Ford. Especially poignant was DeFrank's description of the end of Ford's life. Ford died at age 93, and DeFrank's description of Ford's deterioration reminded me of the deaths of both of my grandparents on the Ogle side.

Mass Transit

In the past couple of days I've heard or read news that the bus systems in both Nashville and Knoxville are considering cutting routes, and Nashville's is also considering raising rates. I've never used mass transit, except on vacation, but it is a shame that it is becoming harder to use at a time when gasoline is at $4.00 a gallon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Early Start

Sherry's got deadlines looming, and so she's going to go in early and stay late in the hope of still being able to take off Friday for the family reunion in Roanoke. I'm still trying to decide how to use my morning, and I have juvenile court this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Veteran

By Dorothy Parker

When I was young and bold and strong,
Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!
My plume on high, my flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
"Come out, you dogs, and fight!" said I,
And wept there was but once to die.

But I am old; and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and say, "The world is so;
And he is wise who lets it go.
A battle lost, a battle won-
The difference is small, my son."

Inertia rides and riddles me;
The which is called Philosophy.

Insane Calico Kitten

The microbeast has gone insane, and is giving one of Sarah's smaller stuffed animals a sound thrashing up here in our office. What an eccentric performance!

Mission to the Hubble Space Telescope

The space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to travel to the Hubble Space Telescope in October to perform repairs and upgrades intended to extend the life of the orbiting instrument for another five or more years. There is plenty of information about it here.

Mixed Bag

I spent most of the morning in juvenile court, and got back home in time for lunch. I've been scheduling some meetings and preparing paperwork this afternoon, and I'm about to call it a day and go pick up Sarah from school.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Molly Blogging

Molly the calico kitten is at rest after conquering those frilly things at the edge of the rug. She also vaporized one of the neighbors with her laser eyes, and she scares away invaders with her really big tail.

Two Three-Day Weekends in a Row

I just looked at my calendar and realized that my next two weekends are three-day weekends. We are taking off this Friday to travel to a family reunion in Roanoke, Virginia, and the Friday after that is Independence Day. We plan to attend Sherry's mom's big Independence Day party, which we have missed the past couple of years, and then head out to the Camp that Saturday.

I told Sarah last week that I was spending last Friday out at the Camp, and she identified it as the one with "a creek and tunnel," so she knew I was talking about the cabin in Estill Springs and not one of Laura's rentals in East Tennessee. She's excited about getting out to the Camp to wade in the creek. Hopefully I'll be able to catch her a crawdad or two since they are making a comeback out there.

B.B. King Gets Keys to City of Manchester, Tennessee

When I visit our cabin in Estill Springs, I often pick up a local newspaper for a friend of mine in the Blount County Public Defender's office who used to live in the area. I brought him a copy of Friday's Winchester Herald Chronicle, which featured a photograph of B. B. King receiving the keys to the City of Manchester, Tennessee, as part of the festivities surrounding the Bonnaroo music festival.

Since my dad's parents lived in Winchester, and I had great aunts who lived in nearby Tullahoma and Manchester, I associate those places with my childhood and family gatherings. It is hard for me to get my mind around the idea of B.B. King, one of the masters of blues guitar, in Manchester, though I'm sure he loved the area as much as I do.

Summer Fun

Graham, Jake and Joey relax on the swing on the deck.

The boys set up this extended Slip and Slide using my big tarp. What the picture does not show is that the slide is aimed straight for a maple tree. Luckily, they managed to avoid hitting it.

Sarah, like most kids her age, enjoys her plastic wading pool this time of year.

Cool Spacewalk Photos

I've seen these before, but they were on Professor Reynolds' website this morning, so I thought I'd share them here.

Laura, Grace and Chicken Salad

Laura and Grace came over yesterday, and we made our craisin and pecan chicken salad out of the chickens we roasted. We let the girls play outside in Sarah's little plastic wading pool before retreating inside from the heat. After a day of industry Saturday, we really didn't anything Sunday that came anywhere near work, except to grocery shop and prepare food.

We have a four-day work week this week, since we've taken Friday off to drive to our family reunion in Roanoke, Virginia, and amazingly, I have no appointments on my calendar all week, though that is always subject to change. I have office work to keep me busy, at least for today.

George Carlin Dead at 71

George Carlin has died of heart trouble in California at age 71.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Bubbles

We consulted with Terry, and added glycerine to our bubble mixture. It really worked well, and we sent some rather large bubbles floating around our immediate neighborhood. I read on one of the websites I posted earlier that white Karo Syrup can be used instead of glycerine, and it's cheaper. I'll try that soon.

Word for the Day: Capon

I'm cooking two chickens, and was driven by my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook to look up "capon" in the dictionary. A capon is a castrated male chicken, poor fellow.

Good Samaritan Returns Steve's Checkbook

In my hurry to get over the Knoxville to help Sike yesterday, I apparently pulled out of the driveway with my checkbook on the roof of the car, which is not a very good place for it. Fortunately, one of my neighbors, a good Samaritan, found it and called me. I returned his call this morning, and walked over to his house to collect the checkbook. It is nice to have honest neighbors.

Giant Bubbles

Grams sent Sarah a toy that makes giant bubbles. From my friend Terry, the Bubble Ninja, I have learned that glycerine can be added to firm the bubbles up, which should make the giant bubbles sturdier than making them with only the solution that came with the wand. I also found this website with cool information about blowing bubbles. For the science of bubbles, look here.

ALCOA South Ingot Plant Afire

On the way home from the grocery store, we saw smoke rising from the Aluminum Company of America facility. There's a lot of smoke coming from the area, and according to the local paper, the South Ingot Plant is on fire. We've heard lots of sirens as firefighters hurry to the scene.

Roosters at Smoky Mountain Market

Sell my clothes, I'm going to heaven! Rooster sandwiches are back in Knoxville.

As we were driving down Northshore yesterday we pulled into a little convenience store. I was excited because it was sporting one of the old Smoky Mountain Market signs from the 80's, when they were all over Knoxville during and after the 1982 World's Fair. One of my favorite sandwiches of all time, a chicken sandwich called a Rooster, was one of their specialties. You could buy them on special for 99 cents, and you got a small drink with it.

The Rooster is a pretty simple fast food sandwich. It consists of a deep-fried breaded chicken patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo and cheese on a hamburger bun. In our high school and college days, we lived on them. I remember when I was talking Mom and Laura and Leslie into moving back to Knoxville from North Carolina I would tell them that as soon as they got off the interstate, stopped at the Smoky Mountain Market and had a Rooster their lives would already be better.

When I walked into the Smoky Mountain Market I discovered on Northshore Drive, I indeed found the Rooster on the menu. I inquired of the clerk, "Is that a real Rooster?" She confidently said it was, and it turned out that she worked at the Taco Rancho restaurant that was just up the street from my McDonald's. We used to trade food with them, and she remembered that, as well as the Smoky Mountain Market near the McDonald's and Taco Rancho, so she knew her stuff.

Sherry and Julie picked up a sack of Roosters for Sike and me and a club sandwich for Ms. Simpson, and it was a close to a Rooster as I've had in a long time. The patty they are using is somehow different. The breading is crunchier, I think, but it was still a good sandwich.

Moving Ms. Simpson

Sike called Friday while I was driving into Estill Springs to ask me to help him move his mom on Saturday from her apartment to a small house he owns. We got over there about 11:30 yesterday morning and spent most of the day on the project, though we really didn't work all that hard because we paced ourselves.

Sherry and Julie took Sarah and Ellie out to lunch and then over to Stately Simpson Manor to play. Toward the end of the day, all of us were at Ms. Simpson's apartment, which has a very long hallway. Sarah and Ellie started running up and down that hallway, and absolutely wore themselves out. We don't get to see the Simpsons as much as we like, so it was fun to spend the day with them. His mom, in her mid-eighties, is remarkable.

Jake Cranks Some Blue Oyster Cult En Route to Nashville

On the way to Nashville Friday my stepson Jake made me proud by pulling a Blue Oyster Cult tape out of my tape box and putting it in the stereo. They have the Guitar Hero game at their dad's house, and they are picking up some rock and roll taste from that.

We made good time to Nashville, but got caught in traffic in downtown Nashville after a truck stalled out on us just as we reached their dad's office. It took me about twenty minutes of orbiting the Nashville Electric Service building before we finally made it into the parking lot, where Mark was waiting for us.

I had about an hour and a half before court, so I went by my old law firm, Cynthia J. Bohn & Associates, to greet everyone. I also had a gyro at Kebab Gyros, one of Sherry's favorite lunch spots when she worked in MetroCenter, which is where Cynthia's office is. I'm still looking for a comparable gyro in the greater Knoxvegas area.

After court, which was pleasant, though time consuming, I headed out to Estill Springs and our cabin there for a quiet night by the creek, which was nice. Leslie reported to me earlier about the huge tree that has fallen out there. It was HUGE, and it barely missed the house. I also got to see a rather large owl fly off of the deck of the cabin to a nearby branch to check me out from high above me. He was one cool, very graceful bird.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Trip to Middle Tennessee

I've got court this afternoon in Nashville, and am going to deliver Jake and Joey to their father at his office downtown. I've been cleaning up loose ends here this morning, and we'll probably hit the road within the hour. When I'm through with afternoon court, I'm going to make a side trip to our cabin in Estill Springs and cool my toes in the creek. I'm just going out there for tonight, and I'll hit the road early tomorrow morning in order to be home about the time Sherry and Sarah get up. It will be a busy day!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Report From the Lake

Our adventure to Louisville Lake was a success. We're all sunburned, and I wore all three of the children completely out. We investigated Mad Goose Island. It is the first time I've set foot on it in six years, and it has gone completely back to nature. I couldn't even find the path I had so persistently purged of privet hedge. We hung out there for a while anyway and played in the water before launching the canoe again to explore the big island across from Louisville Point Park.

Joey and Sarah and I played in the water at the big island while Jake fished. I'm happy to report that there is still an area there with enough room to set up a tent or two, but there's a bunch of trash there that needs to be burned and/or hauled away. I would like to try and camp out there before the end of camping season this year.

We finished our excursion at Louisville Point Park, and families with kids started arriving shortly after we did. There's a playground there, so Sarah played there while the boys continued fishing. There was a big, stinky, dead bass on the shore right where we pulled the boat up, and Sarah was disturbed by its glazed-over eye. It was pretty disgusting.

There was a little girl there with curly hair, and Sarah thought it was Johnny and Karen George's daughter, Natalie, with whom she recently camped out at Mighty Oak. They played together in the water some. I'm impressed at how willing Sarah is to make new friends. That is not a bad characteristic to have.

We were all in the water in the swimming area at the park when Sherry arrived. She worked late last night due to a deadline, and so she was able to take the afternoon off to spend some time with her boys before I haul them back home to Nashville tomorrow. We all loaded up shortly after Sherry arrived, and got home around 1:00 p.m. All in all, I'd say we had a pretty good outing.

Pictures from Greenbelt Park

Off to the Lake

I'm taking the day off to take the kids to the lake. We're going out on Louisville Lake, where I used to live, to explore the islands.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Busy Week

I find myself in the middle of a fairly busy week, and I was in court most of the day today, though I did make it home for a sandwich and to the post office during the lunch hour. I'd still like to do something outdoors with the boys while they are here, and I hope we can take my canoe out on Louisville Lake on Thursday to inspect Mad Goose Island.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Savannah in August!

I have just learned that I have been granted a scholarship to attend the National Counsel for Children annual conference, which will be in Savannah, Georgia, in August. I have attended a number of conferences for advocates for children in Tennessee, but this will be the first I have attended on a national level. I am pleased to see that some of my friends in the child advocacy legal community, from both East and Middle Tennessee, will also be attending. It is my understanding that part of the training will prepare me to sit for the next examination for certification as a Child Welfare Law Specialist in Tennessee.

I have never visited Savannah, and as a history buff, I am thrilled!

Father's Day

Sherry ran the photo of Sarah and me posted above in Sunday's Daily Times, our local newspaper, and several people commented that they'd seen it this morning on my way to court. Sherry also got me a tie for Father's Day with Sarah's picture printed on it, and I had fun showing it off this morning as well. Sherry got me Jimmy Buffett's new novel Swine Not?, which I think I will save to read on vacation in July. Sarah made the artwork at school. All in all, I think I got a pretty good haul of loot for Dad's Day.

Spaghetti Pot Roast Recipe

Uncle Mack's delicious, scrumptious, spaghetti and pot roast

This is Uncle Mack's recipe, in his own words:

Here is a recipe that everyone who has eaten it says it's absolutely the best meal ever.
One two pound chuck/pot roast....about two-inches+ clove garlic, quartered /two tablespoons of olive oil/ two tablespoons butter/ one clove garlic, minced/ one small onion, chopped/ Italian seasoning to taste/ 1/8th teaspoon cinnamon/ salt and pepper to taste/one teaspoon of sugar/two six oz.cans Hunts tomato paste/ water/ a pound of spaghetti/grated parmasan cheese. (If I want more sauce, I add a medium to large can of tomato sauce.)

Make four slits in the roast about half way through the meat....insert garlic quarters in slits....Heat butter and olive oil in a electric fry pan,(that's what I use)...salt and pepper meat..brown slowly on all sides...remove the meat and lower the heat...add minced garlic, and small chopped onion and let simmer in the juices.

Take a large 10" to 12" bowl and add the following: one large can of crushed tomatos, two 6-oz cans of tomato paste, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, one teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper to or two bay leaves...2 teaspoons of Italian seasonings..add a little water and stir.
Return meat to fry pan....pour sauce over meat...lift the meat so the sauce runs under it...that will keep it from burning or sticking. Bring to a full boil....lower the heat, cover and let it simmer slowly for about two hours, turning the meat occasionally and spooning the sauce over the meat while it cooks.

When the meat is tender and the sauce thickened, cook spaghetti.
After you make it once, if you like it, you can add or subtract to make it to your taste. It's almost impossible to make it wrong. It's always good.

Bon appetit'

2015 UPDATE: I've cooked this recipe a few times over the years, and have cooked it using a pressure cooker. I browned the roast and sauteed the garlic and onion in an iron skillet, and then put them and the other ingredients into the pressure cooker and cooked for ninety minutes. The meat will fall apart in the sauce. Yum!

Sunday Afternoon

Sherry got home with Jake and Joey and their friend, Graham, yesterday afternoon. Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy's spaghetti pot roast was delicious. I also bought ingredients for Shepherd's Pie, one of my favorite recipes from my poor days as a college student, only I made it with ground chuck rather than lamb. I had planned to make it later in the week, but Jake requested that we throw it together yesterday as well. I put him on potato peeling duty, and we had it ready for the oven in short order.

It was a scorcher yesterday, and so we set up Sarah's pool and the slip and slide for the kids to play in the water. Sarah's certainly happy to have her brothers home with her.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Parker House Rolls

Sarah loves Parker House rolls, and she will eat half a package of them at a time. I was curious about where the name came from, and it is from an historic hotel in Boston. I also found a recipe, so I may have to try and make some fresh Parker House rolls here at home, though I guess that would make them Ogle House rolls.

Saturday Night at Wannie's

Sarah and I camped out over at Mom's yesterday, and Mom made me a steak and baked potato for an early Father's Day meal. As I suspected, Sarah made us watch Cinderella III several more times, but Mom got her playing computer games so we could watch a program Mom recorded about Winston Churchill's early life. We got up early this morning, and Mom sprung for breakfast at Waffle House before we headed for home.

Happy Father's Day

Here is my father, Phillip Ellis Ogle, who died in 1993. I have to admit that I always find Father's Day a bit sad since the deaths of my father, and in 2000, of my paternal grandfather, William Ellis Ogle. My fathers are gone.

Mike Cross has a song, "Green of His Eyes," about his daddy:

And some of you are listening, like you understand, as a teardrop hangs
over a smile.

All I can say is if your daddy's alive, you ought to go talk
for a while.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Visit at Fuzzy Manor

Sarah and I met Mom this afternoon out at Stately Fuzzy Manor, and we visited with Les for a while, though we missed Uncle Fuzzy. His mom is back in the hospital, so keep the Fraziers in your thoughts and prayers.

Discovery Lands Safely at Kennedy Space Center

The space shuttle Discovery just landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center on Florida. It was the first time Commander Mark Kelly landed the craft.

Work Hard. Laugh Often, and Keep Your Honor

Here is a link to a post with video of Brokaw announcing Tim Russert's death yesterday. The poor guy did a good job choking back his feelings. There's also a clip of an interview Russert gave to Larry King in which he shares telling his son, "Work hard. Laugh often, and keep your honor." Good advice from someone who gave great thought to the duties of a father.


I have filled the larder with foodstuffs in anticipation of the arrival tomorrow of three hungry twelve-year-old boys. Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy gave me a recipe recently for beef roast and spaghetti that sounded pretty good, and I'm going to give it a try tomorrow.

More Photos From The West

Here are a few more photos that Sherry's friend Elizabeth took on a trip to Montana and Wyoming. Here, an elk nibbles on the Lord's lawn.

Undine Falls, Wyoming


Friday the 13th

It just occurred to me that Tim Russert died on Friday the 13th. They've already put him in the past tense on Wikipedia.

Discovery Returns to Earth Today

Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to land today, and the weather is good down in Florida, where she is to land. Here's the latest from NASA:

Discovery's first landing opportunity is at 11:15 a.m. EDT on orbit 217. If
controllers elect to take it, Commander Mark Kelly will perform the deorbit burn
at 10:10 a.m. to begin the descent to Kennedy. Orbit 218 provides a second
opportunity at 12:50 p.m.

The kid in me thinks it would be cool to be the guy who performs the deorbit burn. What a great item for water cooler banter:

"What did you do last weekend?"

"Oh, I had to perform the deorbit burn to begin the space shuttle's descent to Earth. All in a day's work, you know"

Happy Flag Day!

I will be flying ours proudly, as I do each day. For more on Flag Day in the United States, click here. We celebrate the day because it is the day the Second Continental Congress adopted Old Glory as the national flag in 1777.

House Cat

Molly the kitten takes being a house cat very seriously

Friday, June 13, 2008

Discovery Heading Home

Mr. Mom

With Sherry headed for Nashville, I am on duty as Mr. Mom until Sunday. Sarah is playing a game on Sherry's computer while I take care of a few administrative chores to close down shop for the weekend. I may still haul the child out into the woods to camp tomorrow, but I haven't quite decided yet.

I have had a busy Friday, having attended courtroom proceedings most of the day. I had lunch with couple of friends from the public defender's office, and it was nice to have company for lunch for a change.

Tim Russert Dies of Heart Attack

Tim Russert, NBC Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press died at work this afternoon, apparently of a heart attack.

JP to Visit in July

Speaking of Rocky Hill, my friend John Penland called last night and said he would be visiting his kinfolk in the area in July. He has three cousins that live in my neighborhood, and his sister Angelyn lives out in Louisville.

Bonnaroo Music Festival This Weekend

The Boonaroo music festival is this weekend in Manchester, Tennessee, which is near our cabin in Estill Springs. I'm planning to spend the night out at the cabin next Friday after court in Nashville, so I'm glad I won't be fighting Bonnaroo traffic.

Rocky Hill Center Burns

A fire severely damaged Rocky Hill Center on Northshore Drive yesterday. I went to Rocky Hill Elementary School, which is walking distance from the shopping center.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Four Down and One to Go

I'm at the end of my business day, having picked up Sarah from school. Her mama should be walking in the door at any moment. Sherry is leaving tomorrow for a weekend in Nashville, and she will return on Sunday with Jake, Joey and their friend, Graham. We've had Graham over before, and he's a good kid. I have court in Nashville a week from tomorrow, and I'll deliver the three boys back to Nashville then. I'm not sure what Sarah and I will get into this weekend. I may take her camping at Look Rock or Abrams Creek campground in hopes of seeing the cool fireflies.

More Space News

The Discovery undocked from the International Space Station yesterday, and the shuttle is heading back to Earth while the astronauts enjoy a day off. The upper photo was taken from Discovery yesterday before the undocking, and it shows the station's solar panels. I posted the lower photo because I thought the astronaut's pony tail looked funny floating in the zero gravity. She is Mission Specialist Karen Nyberg, and she is looking at Earth through a window in the newly installed Kibo space lab on the station.

Searching for a Satellite

We are still having problems with our satellite television despite Direct TV putting the dish right smack in the middle of our front yard. I had planned to decorate the dish with a pink flamingo, but alas, such was not meant to be. Sherry got the Direct TV supervisor over here this morning, and they have formulated a plan that will involve slaying a bush on the corner of our lot. The lowly bush is apparently interfering with the satellite. In low tech versus high tech, the low tech usually loses.

Sherry's Selection of Kids' Pics

Sarah and Josie talk turtle at the zoo I wonder how many kids have had a photo taken on this turtle.

This is a photo of Jake and Sarah about a week ago at Sullivan's. We like that place!

Here's Sarah chowing down on a muffin at Look Rock Pizzeria and Bagelry last Saturday in Alcoa. I had a roast beef and Swiss sandwich that rocked. It is Alcoa's answer to City Limits, a bakery and sandwich shop we used to frequent in Nashville.

Here are is another photo of Sarah and her friend, Josie, this time aboard a camel at the Knoxville Zoo. We met Josie and her parents at the zoo last Saturday, and we had a really nice time, though it was very hot. Josie attends the same preschool that Sarah attends, though they are no longer in the same class.

Flaming Cookeville Porta Potties

There is an arsonist in the Cookeville area getting his kicks by setting fire to porta potties. Charming.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sullivans for Supper

Tonight was $5.00 hamburger night at Sullivans on Broadway here in Maryville, and that got us in the door for a quick, nice supper. We had a storm pass through this afternoon, and lightning hit really near the house. I could feel the electricity in the air it was so close, and I immediately started unplugging computers.

I had court this morning, an appointment to meet with a client in the jail at noon, and finished off the day with paperwork.

Caputured Audience

Sarah has Molly the kitten trapped in the closet. The child is laughing maniacally, and the cat is meowing. Poor, poor kitty.

LinkedIn Networking Website

My cousin Elena, who lives in the Washington, DC, area sent me an invitation to join a networking site. Since joining LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago, I have connected back up with several old friends. Also, I just read an article about it, and it sounds pretty cutting edge. I feel like such a geek.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Love Note From Long Ago

My maternal grandmother, Eula Powell Cloniger Isenhour, wrote this love note to my grandfather, Harvey Elester Isenhour, some seventy-one years ago this spring. My mother, Wanette Isenhour Ogle Bolen, was born a little less than a year later.

Montana and Wyoming Scenery

No Bull! (They are Bison, actually.)

Lower Yellowstone Falls

Elizabeth, one of Sherry's friends from Nashville, recently went on a trip out west to Montana and Wyoming, and she took some wonderful photos. She has permitted me to share some of them here.

Sherry Gets Sarah Some Radio Airtime

Sherry likes to listen to a morning radio show, the Bob and Sheri Show. They recently had a bit on the show where they asked their audience to submit stories about weird things people eat.

About a year ago, Sarah found Sherry's contact lens case, and the child ate both lenses. Sherry submitted the story to the Bob and Sheri show, and they used it on the air yesterday morning.

Tomato Recall

Buy Grainger County, Tennessee, tomatoes! There is a recall involving salmonella, but our homegrown 'maters have not been recalled. I'm glad it was a Grainger County tomato I had on my sandwich yesterday.

What Were They Thinking?

Mountain View Youth Development Center, located in Dandridge, Tennessee, is a hardware secure facility for juvenile offenders. It is not unusual for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services to employ behavioral contracts to get children to alter bad behavior. It usually involves a promise not to misbehave or engage in some unwanted behavior for a period of time. If the child fulfills the promise, he gets a reward.

Up at Mountain View, they had a thirteen-year-old boy who was making shanks, which are homemade knives inmates in prison make. The authorities at Mountain View entered a behavioral contract with the child whereby he would receive candy and soft drinks for making fourteen shanks a week.

The News Sentinel reports that the superintendent at Mountain View and the top DCS psychologist in East Tennessee signed the contract. What were they thinking?

Kibo Components of International Space Station

A spacewalking astronaut took this photograph last Friday. These are two of the three components of the Japanese Kibo space laboratory. The third component is still on earth. The long part is about the size of a bus and will be the largest working area on the space station. The cylinder on top of it is a storage unit.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monkey on Jake's Back

As my ability to carry my daughter around has begun to decline, Jake's ability to carry her is growing. Sarah's figured that out and is now bugging poor Jake to carry her on his back. This photo was taken in our dining room, looking into the living room

Bear in Oak Ridge Yesterday

The Oak Ridger reports that a bear showed up wandering around Oak Ridge yesterday. Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officers "shooed" it away.

Having grown up in East Tennessee, and as a former scout, I know to beware of a black bear. They can kill and eat you, and one did so to a woman up in the Smokies just a few years ago.

Just about every local up here can tell you a story about some fool group of tourists getting too close to a bear. In fact, the first time I saw a bear in the Smokies was in Cades Cove. The beast was in the middle of a field, far from any cars, and there was a ring of people around it closing in on it. If the bear had wanted to kill one of them, it sure could have.

Cows With Guns

Sherry sent me this video this morning, and it is very silly. The weird thing is that you never see a cow with a gun during the five minute video.

The Truman Show

There's an interesting article in the Destin Log today in which locals share their memories of the movie The Truman Show, with Jim Carrey, was filmed in Seaside. Seaside is just east of Seagrove Beach, where we usually stay when we vacation in Florida, and we always walk the shops at Seaside.

Alexander Hamilton's Home Moved

The home Alexander Hamilton owned and lived in in New York was moved to a new location a short distance away on Saturday. His last day in the home was the day he left it to duel political nemesis Aaron Burr. Burr killed Hamilton in that duel.

Carnivals and Fairs

There are a bunch of carnival rides in the Foothills area of Maryville, and they've been there about a week. We passed them yesterday on the way to the post office, and it started a conversation about carnivals and fairs. Sherry has fond memories from her childhood of the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville. I've only been there once several years ago, and the consensus in Nashville is that the State Fair is a shadow of its former self. I was shocked by how expensive everything was. It was about $20.00 for our family to ride the Ferris wheel for example.

Coincidentally, there is an article about the State Fair in the Nashville City Paper this morning. The movers and shakers are considering what to do with the fair, and there is some discussion about the fair moving to Wilson County, which is just east of Davidson County. We have not been to the Wilson County Fair, but they had twice the attendance of the State Fair last year.

The Tennessee Valley Fair comes to Knoxville each fall over at Chilhowee Park on the east side of town, and it is the fair that my sisters and I used to go to when we were kids. I haven't been to the fair in Knoxville in many, many years, so perhaps we'll visit it this fall.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Audiobook Review: The Great Upheaval

I just completed a 26-cassette audiobook, The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800, which I found quite interesting and informative. It follows historic events in America, France, Russia and the Ottoman Empire during the period set forth in its title, and places the events of the Revolutionary and Constitutional period of American history in the context of events occurring elsewhere in the world at the time.

The book impressed upon me, yet again, what a miracle the founding of our nation was and is. While the French republic descended into blood and death, our people turned to politics and lived with the outcome, whether their party won or not, and we provided an example to the entire planet that government need not be completely based upon power and violence.

The peaceful transfer of power was not taken for granted then the way it is today in many places all over the world. George III, upon learning that Washington intended to step down from the Presidency and return to his farm, Mount Vernon, exclaimed, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." He did, and the world owes him a debt of gratitude for setting the example.

Still Posting Mighty Oak Photos

At the camp out several weekends ago, we lost Sarah's shoes, and her water shoes did not fit, which is the only reason she is barefooted here. I am a strong believer in wearing water shoes in the lakes and rivers we like to play in, because I've seen too many outings ruined by someone injuring their foot on something sharp in the water. I later used my Buck knife to cut her water shoes open so she could wear them, and they should make it through the season.

Joey and Jake are coming back to visit us the week after next. They are bringing their friend, Graham, and they want to take him camping at Mighty Oak. Sarah loved having her brothers to swim with.

Sherry bought Sarah a pink princess rod and reel, which she really likes. This was taken on Bart's dock. The nose of Biff's boat is in front of Sarah.

Moving Mothers

On Mother's Day, Sherry and Laura moved our porch swing to our upstairs deck, where we get a lot more use out of it. The deck is one of the areas at our new house that has unrealized potential. Our sun porch on the front side of the house is another area that needs some attention.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Movie Review: Cinderella III -- A Twist in Time

Mom has Cinderella III for Sarah, and we watched it this afternoon. I'd have to say it was pretty nicely done. It is updated with action, and Cinderella is a much stronger character than she was in the original movie, as is the prince.

The gist of the plot is that the evil stepmother and stepsisters wind up with the fairy godmother's wand, and they use it to make the prince fall in love with one of the stepsisters. Evil magic, of course, is no match for the power of pure love, and Cinderella and the prince end up together against all odds.

At the end of the movie, Sarah wanted to start again at the beginning immediately.

Trip to the Zoo

Sherry, Sarah and I went to the Knoxville Zoo today and met one of Sarah's classmates and her family. It was a fun outing, but it was very hot. We met Mom for lunch at the Ruby Tuesday near her house, and have been here at her place since then. Sarah is going to camp out with her grandmother tonight, and Sherry and I are going to head home shortly.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Soldiers' Pets

Soldiers in Iraq are adopting dogs and cats as companions far away from home, and some of those lucky critters get to come home with the soldiers. It is a nice story.

Comfy Kitty

Molly the kitty enjoys the view overlooking the flower box from the cat platform in Sarah's window. Sherry loves it when Molly crosses her little paws like this.

Los Amigos and Ice Cream

We just got back from eating supper at Los Amigos Mexican restaurant and from having ice cream cones from McDonald's. La is headed up to Cozy Creek for an overnighter in the mountains, and Les and Fraz are heading for our family cabin in Estill Springs. Sherry and Sarah and I are planning on going to the Knoxville Zoo tomorrow morning before it gets too hot, but other than that have no major plans for the weekend. It has been a busy week, so it will be nice to have some down time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Let Us Cultivate Our Garden




Soggy Kitten

Molly the calico kitten discovered the danger of curiosity this evening when she fell into the bathtub, which was full of water for Sarah's bath. Sherry heard the commotion, fished the beast out of the tub and has been tending to her lovingly. I suspect Molly will steer clear of the bathroom for a while.

Quietly Making Noise

Sarah asked me to play with her in the basement, so I went down there and put some Jimmy Buffett on, and we danced to "Quietly Making Noise" from the Fruitcakes album. Dancing with your four-year-old daughter in the garage to some happy music is not a bad way to end your day.

Play those kindergarten toys!

Sniper, No Sniping!

Parents of preschool children will no doubt recognize this character as Swiper, the fox that always tries to steal things from Dora the Explorer and her friends. When he tries to swipe something, Dora encourages her audience to repeat "Swiper, no swiping!" to prevent the theft.

The other day Sherry, in a slip of the tongue, called the character "Sniper." I've been teasing her ever since with "Sniper, no sniping!" I'd hate to be picked off by a masked cartoon fox with a rifle and a scope.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I spent most of today on bar association business, though I did manage to scratch out a couple of billable hours on client work as well. We had a very good meeting, and our program was a legislative update by Representative Doug Overbey, who represents Blount County in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Sarah's neighborhood friends were playing outside when we got home, and she spent about thirty minutes playing with them before the mothers announced suppertime. I was glad, as it is quite hot outside at the moment, and I've been in the heat in a wool suit most of the afternoon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More From Mighty Oak

Natalie and Sarah enjoyed the hammock.

Sherry took this photo of a deer. Sarah and I saw a deer just before Sherry and Jake and Joey arrived at Mighty Oak Saturday morning.

I was impressed by the boys' paddling ability. This is Bart's canoe, not the Enterprise.