Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dustin Hoffman Sells Volkswagons

I've never seen this commercial, with Dustin Hoffman selling Volkswagon automobiles.

Pat Hutchinson

I just heard from my friend, Pat Hutchinson, who lives in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina, area. He is involved with an environmentally friendly company, and asked me to share their website. Check them out here.

The Old Woman and Her Pig

ONCE upon a time an old woman was sweeping her little house, when, to her great joy, she found a silver sixpence."What," said she, "shall I do with this little sixpence? I think I will go to market and buy a pig." So the next day she went to market and bought a nice little white pig. She tied a string to one of the pig's legs and began to drive him home.

On the way the old woman and her pig came to a stile, and she said:"Please, pig, get over the stile."But the pig would not.

Just then a little dog came trotting up, and the old woman said to him:"Dog, dog, bite pig;Pig won't get over the stile,And I sha'n't get home to-night."But the dog would not.

So the old woman held up her stick, and said:"Stick, stick, beat dog;Dog won't bite pig;Pig won't get over the stile,And I sha'n't get home to-night."But the stick would not.

So the old woman gathered some bits of wood together to make a fire, and set them on fire, and then threw her stick into the fire and said:"Fire, fire, burn stick;Stick won't beat dog;Dog won't bite pig;Pig won't get over the stile,And I sha'n't get home to-night."But the fire would not.

So the old woman fetched a pail of water that was standing near and said:"Water, water, quench fire;Fire won't burn stick;Stick won't beat dog;Dog won't bite pig;Pig won't get over the stile,And I sha'n't get home to-night."But the water would not.

Then the old woman saw an ox coming; so she said:"Ox, ox, drink water;Water won't quench fire;Fire won't bum stick;Stick won't beat dog;Dog won't bite pig;Pig won't go;I see by the moonlightIt's long past midnight;Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."But the ox would not.

So the old woman turned around and saw a butcher, and she said:"Butcher, butcher, kill ox;Ox won't drink water;Water won't quench fire;Fire won't burn stick;Stick won't beat dog;Dog won't bite pig;Pig won't go.I see by the moonlightIt's long past midnight;Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."But the butcher would not.

So the old woman took a rope out of her pocket, and said:"Rope, rope, hang butcher;Butcher won't kill ox;Ox won't .drink water;Water won't quench fire;Fire won't burn stick;Stick won't beat dog;Dog won't bite pig;Pig won't go.I see by the moonlightIt's long past midnight;Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."But the rope would not.

Just then a large brown mouse ran across the meadow, and she said:"Mouse, mouse, gnaw rope;Rope won't hang butcher;Butcher won't kill ox;Ox won't drink water;Water won't quench fire;Fire won't burn stick;Stick won't beat dog;Dog won't bite pig;Pig won't go.I see by the moonlightIt's long past midnight;Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."

"Yes," said the mouse, "I will, if you will give me some cheese."So the old woman put her hand in her pocket and found a nice piece of cheese; and when the mouse had eaten it:The mouse began to gnaw the rope,The rope began to hang the butcher,The butcher began to kill the ox,The ox began to drink the water,The water began to quench the fire,The fire began to burn the stick,The stick began to beat the dog,The dog began to bite the pig,And the pig began to go.But what time the old woman and her pig got home you, nor I, nor nobody knows.

45th Birthday Roundup

This isn't a photograph of my 45th birthday cake, inasmuch as we had a dual purpose cake celebrating both my birthday, with a pirate theme as Sarah and I agreed a couple of weeks ago, and Thomas Cornell's first party. I found this online this morning, though, and love the idea, so I thought I'd share it.

We had a good turnout yesterday for our festivities, and our guests brought lots of good food and loot. (I love loot on my birthday, especially if you're having a pirate birthday party. Arrrrgggh! But I regress.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weird Diners

Check out some of these strange eateries. I don't think I want to eat with Nazis or vampires.

View From Everest

I love this website, but I usually enjoy it for space photographs. Here is a beautiful, earthly view from Mount Everest.

Making Ready

We're having a shindig for my birthday and for Terry and Rachel's baby shower. We have chili and homemade pimiento cheese, and many of our guests are bringing food as well. After a rainy week, the weather has cleared off and is nice, so it is a good day to entertain. Blogging will be light this weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Handyman Can

We hired a handyman, Mr. McLemore, to hang some cabinet doors, to fix an electrical outlet and to install a new ceiling light in our kitchen. I try to stay out of the way when someone works on my house, but I conversed a bit with him when he had a moment.

He was a very nice gentleman, and did the job for a reasonable price. I'm glad that work is done, and that we have a reliable handyman we can call when we need one, inasmuch as I am not a handy man.

Sherry and the Kids Headed to Maryville

Sherry and the children should be home from Nashville in the next hour or so. Sherry and Sarah liberated Joey and Jake a bit early from school, which I am sure the boys didn't mind. I didn't intend to work today, but the telephone rang all morning. I also got a fax that got me all riled up on one of my cases, so I hauled off and drafted a motion. It has gotten too hot up here in the office, so I'm calling it quits for the long weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sherry and Sarah Arrive in Nashville

Sherry and Sarah have arrived in Nashville in order to visit Grams and to pick up Joey and Jake so that they can join in our festivities this weekend. I hope the weather will allow us to go into the mountains or out on the lake while the boys are here.

Captain Randy's Peril

My friend Randy, who lives down in Mary Esther, Florida, near Destin, recently had a perilous adventure on his small sailboat. A microburst of wind hit his boat as he was sailing in the bay within eyesight of his home, and capsized his boat within seconds. He and his guest had to go underwater and swim out of the boat after it went under, and they were about to give the boat up and try to sink it the rest of the way down so it wouldn't be a danger to other boats when a guy in a boat with two huge motors pulled Randy's boat to the beach in front of his condo.

The sailboat's mast was broken, though it sounded like Randy thought it was repairable, and everything electronic that was on the boat was ruined. Fortunately, Dawn bought Randy the stereo system that he installed on the boat, and she knows her man well enough to know to buy the warranty that will replace the stereo if anything happens to it in the year after you buy it. At least the good Captain will have music to enjoy as he repairs his vessel.

New AC/DC Song

Angus and the boys have their new song playing on their website.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Emperor's New Groove

Sarah's latest favorite movie is The Emperor's New Groove, an eight year old movie with a new lease on life, at least at our house. She hasn't been this interested in a movie for quite some time.

Ugly Dip

Sike and Julie are bringing an appetizer known as "Ugly Dip" to our festivities this Saturday. Here's a recipe I found online with the same name, and I look forward to sampling the Simpsons' version this weekend.

Natalie and Sarah

Here is a pair of photos of Natalie and Sarah enjoying Sarah's pool on Saturday.

Case Closed!

I actually closed not one, but two appointed cases today, including a child support contempt case that I have been dealing with since last September. I also got called back to court this afternoon on a client who was arrested for failure to attend an earlier hearing, and I was able to negotiate a plea agreement for him that concluded his case. A lawyer's cases can have incredibly long lives, so to close two in one day is pretty nice.


When I was in Savannah, I watched Castaway, the movie in which Tom Hanks goes native after an airplane crash leaves him marooned on an island. I had not seen the movie in a while, and I enjoyed it. I have been having fun with the idea of Wilson, the soccer ball that is Hanks' only companion during his confinement on the island, ever since I first saw the movie years ago.

Back in the Mad Goose Island days out on Louisville Lake, we found a ball washed up onto the island, and it was the island's Wilson for a while. I remember one occasion when we were evacuating the island one morning as rain came in, and we only had my canoe, the Enterprise, to take our crew and equipment off of the island. As I watched my canoe pull away from the island, leaving me behind, I held up the ball and hollered, "Wilson!!" Fortunately, they came back after me about fifteen minutes later. I don't know what became of Wilson.

Man Missing in the Smokies

There is a man missing in or near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and there has been a manhunt underway to find him. When we were at the Blount County Red Cross Chapter House yesterday, volunteers were assembling to provide food and drink to the people participating in the search, which will resume at daylight.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nineteenth Amendment 88 Years Old

The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified 88 years ago today. The Amendment gave women the right to vote, and its ratification was accomplished when Tennessee ratified it on August 18, 1920.

Rain at Purchase Knob

Meanwhile, it is quite rainy at Purchase Knob, North Carolina. That webcam is here.

Weather From Look Rock

Here is a photo from the National Park Service webcam at Look Rock Tower. Weather moves through the mountains in an interesting fashion. I would love to be on that tower right now to watch the system pass through.

Sarah Swingin'

Annual Meeting of the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross

Sherry and I just attended the annual meeting of the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and it was a very nice event, which included Buddy's BBQ. I got tied up in court and was half an hour late, but got to enjoy the rest of the program. I sit on the Board of Directors of our chapter, and was appointed Vice Chair for the coming year by my fellow Board members. I was quite flattered, and am pleased by the opportunity to serve.

Rain on the Rooftop

Everyone I talked to yesterday was happy about the prospect of some decent rain this week. I awoke this morning to the sound of rain on the rooftop, which is pretty nice.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tazmanian Devil

Have you ever wondered what a real Tazmanian Devil looks like? Here's one of them, but he doesn't look anything like the guy that chases Bugs Bunny.

Boomsday 2008

Knoxville's Boomsday Labor Day celebration with be on August 31, my 45th birthday, this year because the Vols are playing UCLA on Labor Day evening. Fireworks are cool, but they can't compete with UT football, at least not here in East Tennessee.

Nashville Scene Review of Springsteen Show in Nashville

Here's a link to the review of last week's Bruce Springsteen concert in the Nashville Scene.

Webb Wilder Played Crossville Saturday

On a happier note in Crossville, Webb Wilder played a free concert there Saturday.

Crossville Kids Back to School

I started following this story when I heard about it a week or so ago on public radio. The politicians in nearby Cumberland County, Tennessee, could not agree on how to fund their school system's budgets this year, and so the schools could not open. According to the public radio story, this happened last year, and they found a one-time solution. Unfortunately, they did not use the intervening year to resolve the problem, so schools' openings were delayed until today.

Bald River Falls

I've been meaning to drive up to Tellico Plains to show Sherry and the kids Bald River Falls, pictured here. There are several more photos from the area here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dad's 71st Birthday

Today would have been my father's 71st birthday, had he lived to see it. It was also a year ago today that Sarah was attacked and bitten in the eye and head by a Labrador retriever.

Oldsmobile 1972 Cutlass

My friend Sike has been working on his red Cutlass convertible for years. This one is similar to his. He loves his automobiles.

There Otter Be a Law

I'm sorry.

John Ogle of Delaware

I have found another website describing my ancestor, John Ogle of New Castle, Delaware. Family legend has it that he came to Delaware to help liberate it from the Swedes, and I am in the middle of an audiobook that has described the Swedish colonization of the Delaware River Valley.

Nathan Hale

Most of us know the story that before Nathan Hale, martyr of the American Revolution, was hanged by the British, he said, "I only regret that I have only one life to lose for my country." You can learn more about Hale, a son of Connecticut, who was executed at age 21, here.

Saturday's Fun

In addition to the George family, Mom, La and Grace, and Les and Fraz came over yesterday to visit and for supper. Sherry and Sarah made another Apricot Nectar cake, and we cooked a pork tenderloin, which we marinaded in homemade apple jelly, Dijon mustard and spices. I also had some red potatoes in the 'tater cellar, and we threw together a decent cheesy potato casserole, though it was somewhat different than our Working Girl's Potato Casserole. Les brought a batch of very tasty Jambalaya, and we had various snacks for appetizers.

With four kids on hand, we played sidewalk chalk, bubbles, doll house, blocks, painting, coloring, dress-up, swimming and general roughhousing. We've had a fun, but tiring, weekend.


Johnny and Karen George and their children, Natalie and Teddy, just hit the road from Maryville. They are heading to Knoxville to visit some of Johnny's kinfolk before they head back to Atlanta. Here are a few photographs of the kid-a-rama this weekend. Above are Natalie and Sarah posing at the playground over at the Everett Ball Field.

Teddy, Sarah and Natalie feed the Greenbelt ducks in Maryville.

Sarah, Natalie, Teddy and Grace in Sarah's pool on our deck yesterday.

A pair of pretty princesses pose. (I realize that this is too much alliteration, but humor me.)

Quiche Recipe

Well, this isn't really quiche, but it is a recipe for an easy breakfast casserole that cannot be beat, at least if you like cheese. The ingredients are as follows:

8 Eggs
Quart heavy cream
4 cups shredded cheddar
Bag of frozen chopped broccoli
2 packages chopped ham
Praise Wally (Tiger Seasoning, formerly Praise Allah)
Red pepper or Tobasco sauce

Put the cheese in the bottom of a 9" x 13" casserole dish. Add a layer of broccoli and then the ham. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour into casserole dish over the cheese, broccoli and ham. Bake at 375 degrees for around an hour.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Upper Creek Falls

I recently found this cool website with photographs and descriptions of hikes to waterfalls in western North Carolina. This is Upper Creek Falls, near Morganton.

Salt Pig

I had never heard of a salt pig until I read this article about them. We use salt and pepper shakers at the table, but I have glass bottles with cork stoppers I use for the salt and pepper I cook with.

Farmers' Markets

An apartment complex in Bellevue near where we used to live in Nashville has opened up a field it owns as a farmers' market on Saturday mornings. Evening concerts are also underway at the Red Caboose Park, and those are always nice community events in Bellevue.

Sherry and I want to walk the Maryville Farmers' Market, which is also open Saturday mornings. I've driven by it several times, and they always seem to have a good crowd. I've also seen musicians there as I've driven by.

At Jane's Pool

Loyal Boongablogger reader Jane Barron and her husband, Al, have invited us over for a swim this morning. This is remarkable, since I am renowned for terrorizing Jane's pool with my vast array of hydrobolic water launchers. She had one neighbor, who would groan and move to the other side of the pool whenever I'd arrive. Some people just don't appreciate a good squirt gun, and Jane banned mine for today.

Through the wonder of the internet (and, this post is programmed to be published at 11:00 a.m., at which time we should actually be in Jane and Al's pool.

Ambulance Surfing Cat

I found this story about an ambulance surfing cat on I agree that this story is not news, but it is a feature story that is hard to resist. I imagine that cat was pretty horrified, and that it won't get up on top of an ambulance ever again.

MGM Planning Remake of Poltergeist

MGM has hired screenwriters to prepare a screenplay for a remake of Poltergeist.

Bullet Cluster

For more on the Bullet Cluster, click here.

Springsteen in Nashville

Here is a slideshow with photos from the Bruce Springsteen concert in Nashville on Thursday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chilhowee Dam to be Repaired

The Daily Times reported today that the Aluminum Company of America plans to draw down Chilhowee Lake to perform repairs on the dam. The lake will be at its lowest level in September. It will be interesting to see the lake as it is drained.

Honor Guard

This has been a week of funerals. I attended a graveside service for a court officer I know who suddenly died earlier this week. He was a very nice, grandfatherly man, though he could be stern if he needed to be. The sheriff's department turned out in full force, along with many other members of the community. The services included prayer, bagpipes, rifle fire and Taps.

Molly the Kitty Confirmed Evil

I became concerned about Molly, the younger of our two calico cats that live in our house, when she started beating up on a unicorn. I just walked over to the stairs, and she was hanging out with Darth Vader and a stormtrooper, who are battling Luke Skywalker and R2D2 at the top of the stairs.

Man Catches 21 Pound Caffish on Barbie Fishing Pole

I love this story. Grandpa takes his little granddaughter fishing. She goes with Grandma to the potty, and Grandpa reels in a record 21 pound, one ounce catfish on the little pink rod and reel! This happened in Elkin, North Carolina, which is just over on the other side of the mountains from East Tennessee.

I have a lot more respect for Sarah's little pink Barbie fishing pole now.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Student Shot Dead at Central High in Knoxville

A fight between two students this morning at Central High School in Knoxville resulted in one student shooting the other to death. How horrible!

George Family to Visit East Tennessee This Weekend

Johnny and Karen George and their children will be in East Tennessee this weekend from Atlanta to attend Johnny's aunt's funeral. Stand by for further details. I expect we will have a gathering at our place on Saturday, which will mean events here two weekends in a row.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bronze Fonz

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has just unveiled a statue of The Fonz, from Happy Days, and Henry Winkler showed up for the event. He even combed the statue's hair. Journalists, of course, cannot resist the "Bronze Fonz" headline, so I share it here. The Brits are even covering this momentous event.

Restaurant Review: Gracie's, Alcoa, Tennessee

Sherry and I had lunch in Alcoa today at Gracie's restaurant. We figured they had to be good since they are named after our favorite niece, and we weren't disappointed. I had their meatloaf, cheesy potatoes and fried okra, and Sherry had a salmon croquette, corn and cooked apples. Yum!

Gracie's had a busy lunch crowd, but we were served promptly enough considering how slammed they were when we got there. Also, the price was right. Lunch for two was $16.00, and I'm still full five hours later. We will without doubt dine there again, especially since it is so close to our house.

C is for Cookie (and Cupcake)!

Here's a link so you can check them out in more detail. Sarah would love these!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tennessee's Beautiful State Parks

Having grown up near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I usually headed up there when I wanted to camp. During my years in Nashville, I began to explore the wonderful Tennessee State Park system. This is a photo of Fall Creek Falls, where we met our friends the Simpsons a couple of years ago for a camping trip. Here is a slideshow from the Tennessean showcasing our beautiful state parks.

Vols Play UCLA on Labor Day

I incorrectly reported here that UT plays UCLA on August 30. I guess that was wishful thinking. They will play on Labor Day instead. I defer to Sports Illustrated.

Shoe Found in Bear's Stomach

The necropsy has been performed on the bear that attacked the lad from Florida a week or so ago near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The dad lost his shoes in the battle to save his son from the bear, and the bear ate one of them. This confirms that the bear wildlife officials killed was the bear that attacked the child.

Fay Spares Keys

Tropical Storm Fay blew through the Florida keys without causing too much damage down there. Now it is heading for southwest Florida and is currently making landfall near Cape Romano, Florida, about an hour south of Fort Myers.

Another Busy Day

I have a fairly busy week this week, mainly because I have a huge file I have to study along with several court appearances and other tasks. Sherry is determined to get the kitchen finished before our soiree on August 30, so she's been painting up a storm in there. I have to meet with a client this morning, but I'm hoping we can get in another walk this morning before it gets to hot.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Evening

We've had a busy Monday. Sherry and I got in a walk this morning at the Greenbelt Park in downtown Maryville. She spent most of the day painting the kitchen, and I spent most of it meeting with clients and doing office work. A friend of mine lost her son a few days ago, and we stopped by this afternoon for the receiving of friends, a most sad affair.

Tropical Storm Fay

Tropical Storm Fay has passed over Cuba and is bearing down on the Florida Keys. We may see some good rain from this storm system later in the week here in Tennessee.

Bart's Truck Stolen

My friend Bart had his truck stolen at one of his family's properties in downtown Knoxville last week. He left the keys in it, which is never a good idea. This is the second time he's been victimized by criminals recently. He had an outbuilding broken into and property stolen out of it at his home on Melton Hill Lake a month or so ago.

Springsteen to Play Nashville on Thursday

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play the Sommet Center in Nashville this Thursday. That should be a fun show.

Metro Nashville Gives $12 Million Tax Break for Redevelopment of Bellveue Mall

The Nashville City Paper reports this morning that the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County has approved some $12 million in tax breaks for the redevelopment of the pitiful Bellevue Mall, which is not far from where we used to live in Nashville. Naturally, other parts of town are looking for similar public funds for improvement projects in their retail areas, including Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch, which is at least as pitiful as the Bellevue Mall. I haven't been in the Bellevue Mall in many months, but aside from a few anchor tenants, most of the space is filled by consignment shops and professional offices like Realtors. Unless someone has opened one since I last went in there, the mall doesn't even have a music store where you can buy CD's. The article also mentions that the funding in Bellevue is also tied to improvement of the local library, which is far too small given the amount of use it gets.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Halfway to Ninety and Other Reasons For a Celebration

Click on the image to enlarge.

Tennessee vs. UCLA

Sherry and I are planning a party for Saturday, August 30, which is the first game of college football season for the University of Tennessee and the day before my 45th birthday. The Volunteers play UCLA out in California at 8:00 p.m., and we're planning a multipurpose celebration. In addition to the birthday and football festivities, we're also throwing a baby shower for Terry and Rachel Cornell's new son, and it is the first big party in our new house, so it's a housewarming as well. Stand by for further details.

Murder of Myrtle

Sherry, Sarah and I got out in the morning's relatively cool weather to cut down a crepe myrtle on the front corner of our lot that was interfering with our satellite television signal and growing into the neighbors' power lines. Just as we were contemplating how to get the last part of the plant that was the most tangled up in the neighbors' lines, the man of that household pulled into his driveway. He ended up helping us carefully removing it, which was quite nice of him because he was dressed for church. With his help, we managed not to disrupt power to his house.

Since I already had my drop cord out in the front yard to use my electric chainsaw, I also trimmed the shrubbery along the front of our house. Sherry and Sarah helped drag, rake and pick up the detritus from my destruction.

Glad We Stayed Out of UT Yesterday

Before we settled on the idea of cooking out at the Fuzzies' place, I was thinking about meeting everyone to eat out at Old College Inn on the Cumberland Avenue strip, which runs through the University of Tennessee campus. The News Sentinel reports this morning that the freshman were moving into their dorms yesterday before class starts this Wednesday. I'm glad we didn't get tangled up in all of that traffic, though it is always nice to see the University area spring back to life when the students are back for class.

And, most importantly, the first Volunteer football game of the season is now less than two weeks away! Who needs the Olympics when you have UT football.

A Note on the Olympics

Although I am not a great Olympics enthusiast, I thought this blog should acknowledge that the games are occurring in Beijing, China. I get enough Olympic coverage from the news and from the events that we happen across from time to time. Since Sarah takes gymnastics at her preschool, we've called her attention to the Olympic gymnastics competition, which does not resemble in the least the skills Sarah is working on, like hopping on one foot.

As Americans, we are quite proud of Michael Phelps, who just broke Mark Spritz's record seven gold medals from the 1972 Munich games. Phelps now has eight, and has broken world records right and left. Curiously, our Canadian guests Friday night acted as if they had never heard of him. "Isn't he the guy who came in third?" Of course, I couldn't name one Canadian athelete if you were to pay me good money to do so.

Sunrise at Purchase Knob, North Carolina

I just captured this predawn photograph from the National Park Service webcam at Purchase Knob, North Carolina. You can see the fog for which the Smoky Mountains are named creeping down the valley, although as you can see from the map below the camera photographs land just outside the national park.

Molly Goes Evil

Although she is very cute, I am coming to the conclusion that Molly has an evil streak. Sarah has a toy unicorn, a creature of goodness, and it has become Molly's favorite thing in the house to attack, other than the legs and feet of foolish humans that stick out from under the covers in bed at night.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fuzzy Cookout

We grilled some lunch over at Uncle Fuzzy and Auntie Les's place today, and we just got home. Sherry and Sarah are resuming painting tasks, and we just finished ice cream cones we picked up from McDonalds on the way back from South Knoxville. Sarah spent the night with Mom last night, and I'm sure Mom is ready for some quiet time at her place. I'm ready to settle into mine for the evening.

Cool Album Cover Slideshow

This slideshow of old album covers takes a few minutes to scan through, but I enjoyed it.


I happened upon these photographs of Louie the tuxedo cat, who went missing shortly after we moved to Forest Avenue.

Saturday Bar -- Legal Aid of East Tennessee

I am participating for the first time this morning in the Legal Aid of Tennessee Saturday Bar program. Not everyone who has legal problems can afford my $250.00 hourly rate, and like most lawyers I know, I take appointed cases at $40.00 an hour and perform pro bono services free of charge for citizens who cannot afford to retain counsel. Lawyers who volunteer for the Saturday Bar program provide legal advice to clients free of charge at the LAET office in Maryville.

Friday, August 15, 2008

John Ward

I found this John Ward website with sound bites. It makes me miss my dad, who was a tremendous UT fan.


Sherry has stowed her sandpaper and paint brushes and is busy in the kitchen preparing for the family to come over for Mexican food. Stewart has company in from Canada, and they've been enjoying the mountains. Everyone is coming over this afternoon for a Friday fiesta. Ole'!

Up Early

I got up early this morning, even for me. At 4:00 a.m. I heard Sarah crying and went in her room to check on her. Molly the kitten had clawed her foot, and both of the cats were running madly all over the house. I was tempted to put both cats in the drier and turn it on, but I came upstairs and have been churning out paperwork, which was perhaps the better choice.

I have a meeting with a former law school classmate at her office in West Knoxville at 9:00 a.m. with regard to a conservatorship we are both involved in, and I have a couple of other tasks I'd like to accomplish before I knock off for the day. It has been a busy and eventful week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Sarah has been working online jigsaw puzzles for about a week now, and she's getting really skilled at it. She started with twelve-piece puzzles, but she's working on an eighty-piece puzzle now and is about halfway finished with it.

All Day Trial

I left the house at 8:00 a.m. for an all day trial, and I just got home. The chancellor was kind enough to give us an hour to get some lunch, which gave me some stamina for the afternoon. I'm bushed, and I have a 9:00 a.m. meeting in Knoxville tomorrow.

Scotty's Ashes

I knew that actor James Doohan, who played Mr. Scott in Star Trek, had arranged for his ashes to be sent into orbit. According to Popular Mechanics, that didn't turn out too well. What a shame.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Audiobook Review: The Pearl by John Steinbeck

When I checked The Pearl audiobook out of the library, I thought I remembered reading it when I was a child in school. After having listened to the story, I realize that when I read it I was too young to realize the abstractions in it. It is a far darker story than Cannery Row, the denouement being the death of the protagonists' infant son.

Sarah at Silver Sands

Here is a photo of Sarah taking a break from shopping at Silver Sands outlet mall in Destin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cygnus X-I Binary Star System

This, of course, reminds me of a Star Trek episode. Here's the real story from an astronomer.

Always Have a Project

Sherry has started to work on her renovation project in the kitchen, and she has removed all of the doors and hardware from the many cabinets in there. She and Sarah have gone to Home Depot to buy paint and other supplies for the project's continuance tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing the kitchen's transformation.

Restaurant Review: Aubrey's Maryville

Sherry and I had lunch at Aubrey's restaurant in Maryville today, and I am still full. I had the Hickory Burger and smashed red potatoes, and Sherry had a salad that looked very fresh and tasty. They serve bread and butter while you wait for your order, so Sarah, the family bread lover, would make a meal of bread there, as she does whenever she is served fresh bread in a restaurant.

The parking lot was packed, but they had our food to us within 15 or 20 minutes of our arrival, so it is easily possible to have lunch there within an hour. It was a bit pricey. Lunch was about $25.00, and we left a $5.00 tip.

Black Bear Attacks Floridians in Smoky Mountains

The News Sentinel reports this morning that a male black bear about a year old attacked an eight year old boy near the trail head of the Rainbow Falls Trail off of Roaring Fork Motor Trail in Gatlinburg. The boys' father fended off the bear, and although both of the Floridians, who were from Boca Raton, near where Mom used to live, were injured, the injuries are not life-threatening.

Stay away from bears!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Knoxville Back to School, Too

The local NBC affiliate has a reporter broadcasting from Rocky Hill Elementary School, where I attended classes as a boy. Knoxville's children are returning to school today, too. Blount County's schools have been in session for a week or more, depending on the system.

Joey and Jake Back to School

Today is Jake and Joey's first day of classes for the 2008-2009 school year. There was an open house event at their school, Bellevue Middle School, last week while Sherry was there, so she got to meet their teachers.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dolphin Puzzle

Sherry found a puzzle website that Sarah has enjoyed today, and I have posted a dolphin puzzle here to calm readers who may have been frustrated by Jane's hell ball.

Fiendish Ball Game from Jane

Check out this game, which will test your hand-eye coordination, courtesy of Jane. The trick is in making the ball bounce close to the cursor, rather than in moving the cursor toward the ball, though it takes a bit of both to be successful. You click on the ball to get it to change colors.

Photos from Yesterday's Outing to the Greenbelt Park

Here are a few photos from our outing yesterday morning for Art in the Park at the Greenbelt Park in downtown Maryville.

Hope's Boy

Andrew Bridge was the speaker at the closing session of the conference of the National Association of Counsel for Children that I attended last week. An attorney who took his J.D. from Harvard Law School, Mr. Bridge spent eleven years in foster care in California. He was removed from his mother's custody when he was seven and lived in a foster home until he reached the age of majority at age eighteen. His mother suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, which led to his removal from her custody, but upon his attainment of adulthood, he sought her out, as many children in foster care do, and maintains a relationship with her. His presentation, and his life, are remarkable. His book about his experience is Hope's Boy.

The main point I took away from the event was to remember that no matter how unable a parent is to raise a child, the child still loves and needs to feel loved by the parent, even if all she could do was "to hold my hand" as Mr. Bridge said last Wednesday. His mother, whose mental illness is degenerative, meaning it worsens with time, often has a stuffed animal for him when he visits, no doubt remembering the son that was taken from her so many years ago.

Death by Hot Dog

Amazon's Al Dente cooking blog has a post featuring "Five Hot Dogs that Will Kill You." Those are some deadly dogs! I'm glad I did not gain admittance to Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah. Hot dogs with lard sound pretty disgusting.

Audiobook and Movie Review: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck


I recently picked up America and Americans, a collection of nonfiction pieces by John Steinbeck. I prefer nonfiction, especially history and biography, but I thought it would be good to expose myself to some of Steinbeck's fiction, since that is what he is known for. I just finished Cannery Row, which I really enjoyed. The central character is Doc, who is based upon Steinbeck's friend Ed Ricketts, whom Steinbeck wrote about in America and Americans after Ricketts' death.

In Cannery Row, Doc, like Ricketts, is a marine biologist who makes his money by collecting specimens to sell to laboratories and universities for study and experiments. One of the funniest scenes in the book is the one in which Mack and the boys, local nee-er-do-wells, capture a bunch of frogs to sell to Doc so they can throw him a party. I liked the book so well, I borrowed a movie version from the library yesterday.


The movie version, however, was lame. Nick Nolte played Doc. The movie was set in Cannery Row and involved many of the same characters from the book, but the similarity between the book and the movie ends there. The plot of the movie was completely different from that of the book, and the story centered around Doc's romantic relationship with Susie, a call girl at the local brothel, played by Debra Winger. I was very disappointed, since I was not expecting a love story, and did not watch much of the movie. I give it a major thumbs down. Yuck.

Nashville Public Defender Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Ross Alderman, the Public Defender for Davidson County, Tennessee, was killed in an accident while riding his motorcycle in Williamson County yesterday afternoon. I did not know Mr. Alderman personally, but he was very well regarded in the Nashville legal community.

Sarah on Stage

I neglected to report that during our visit to the Greenbelt Park yesterday, we walked up onto the stage where the musical acts perform during the Foothills Fall Festival. Sarah, devoid of stage fright, perhaps because of the lack of an audience outside of her mother and me, belted out a formidable performance of "Tomorrow" from Annie. I hope the child comes out of her shell one day.

Go Ask Alice

Sherry took Sarah for a gals' night out Friday evening to see a production of Alice in Wonderland by Southern Kids in Theater, a Maryville children's theater group. As you can see, Sarah decked out in her finest princess attire for the occasion.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tired Kids

Sarah enjoys a Jake lounge at the condo in Sandestin last month.

Wannie's Home

Everything's cool with Mom, and she's back at home.

Fine Arts Blount Art in the Park

Sherry and I took Sarah, our budding artist, to an Art in the Park program presented by Fine Arts Blount. They were out at the Greenbelt Pavilion behind the courthouse and had a series of art experiences for children to enjoy. Sarah participated in a printing activity and got her face painted. They also had materials for making masks out of the side of a gallon plastic milk jug, but Sarah wanted to bring hers home to work on in her grotto studio in the basement. Artists are so temperamental.

After exercising the right sides of our brains, we went to the library to exercise our intellects. I have been considering learning Spanish, and I checked out an instructional audiobook to begin the process. I am serious about the attempt, and my brain is oriented toward language. I studied Russian for three years in college, but my knowledge of that language has atrophied with disuse, though I have a few lawyer friends, including a former classmate, whom I greet in Russian from time to time. I know I will get much more use out of whatever amount of Spanish I learn, and I plan to include Sarah in the experience, as I believe her absorbent mind will take it in readily.

We finished our outing with lunch at the Lemon Grass Thai and Sushi Restaurant in Maryville. Sherry, the sushi queen, ordered some very tasty sushi. We buy sushi at the Kroger, but fresh sushi prepared by a chef to your order is a much better dining experience. I ordered a yellow curry dish, inasmuch as I am still exploring Thai cuisine, which I find I really enjoy. I'm still a redneck, and I still love my good ol' Southern fried chicken and mashed potatoes. But them fellers at the Lemon Grass rustle up a pretty good mess of grub, too.

Stringbean's Murder

The Tennessean this morning carries a headline you would only see in Nashville, "Stringbean's Killer Denied Parole." Dave Akeman, a banjo player and comedian known as Stringbean, was a regular on the Hee Haw show. I remember him mostly in his role as a scarecrow, but he's pictured above playing with Archie Campbell. A man named John A. Brown killed Stringbean and his wife in 1973, and fellow Hee Haw performer Grandpa Jones found the bodies the next day when he went to pick Stringbean up for a hunting trip. Brown was recently denied parole.
One of the routines I remember Stringbean for was his reading his letters from home. He'd always say he kept the letters right next to his heart, but when he went to pull a letter out, it would invariably be in his back pocket.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sherry Enters Kids in Photo Contest

Sherry entered her favorite photo of the kids from our recent beach trip in a photo contest through the Tennessean newspaper. Check it out here. We really had a good vacation this year down in Destin.

Update on Mom

I spoke with Mom this morning, and she was in good spirits, though hooked up to an IV. The docs confirmed that she has pancreatitis, so at this point I think they are enforcing bedrest and trying to get her bodily fluids back on track with the IV. She asked for her down pillows, so she sounds like Mom to me.

Wannie Hospitalized

Mom was very sick on Tuesday. I just got back to town Wednesday evening from a conference in Savannah, but I know she saw her doctor while I was gone and had blood work done. The results of those tests came back yesterday, and her doctor advised her to report to the emergency room at University of Tennessee Medical Center for admission to the hospital.

Sherry and Sarah and I took her over there yesterday afternoon around 5:00. Mom said she was not in any pain, but was "weak as a kitten." She said that her doctor was concerned that she might have pancreatitis. I've looked at a couple of online articles that say the treatment is a hospital stay for rest and intravenous replacement of fluids. Mom's doc told her to expect to spend a couple of days at the hospital.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vulcan, Alberta

My brother-in-law, Stewart, hails from Alberta, Canada, and so an article in the U.S. Airways magazine I scanned through on my flight yesterday caught my eye. There is a town in Alberta named after the Roman god Vulcan, and they have hitched their town's wagon to another Vulcan, Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame, pictured above. The town attacts Trekkie conventions and has other Trek-based entertainment. Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We're Home!

Sherry and Sarah were waiting for me at the airport, and I am very happy to be home with them. When I got to the Savannah airport this afternoon at about 2:30, I was informed that my flight had been cancelled. They booked me for a flight that would have put me in Knoxville at 9:00 tonight. Needless to say, I was not amused, as I expected to be home by 7:30.

As is my practice, I went to find my gate, and I noticed that the flight at that gate was departing for Charlotte. I asked if there was a seat available on it, and there was. The flight from Charlotte to Knoxville sat on the runway for about an hour, but they got me to Knoxville by 6:30 p.m., which was still earlier than my original itinerary. The pilot even banked the plane to afford me a very nice view of good ol' Louisville Lake and my big camping island. I am glad to be back at home near my mountains. I'm had enough of the flatlands for a while.

This Hotel Room

By Jimmy Buffett

This hotel rooms gotta lotta stuff
Laundry bag and a shoe shine cloth
Thirty two hangers and a touch tone phone
And a light that comes on when I aint home
I aint home
I aint home
You better leave a message causeI aint home

They got an air conditioner for when Im hot
A radiator for when Im not
Two big chairs sittin side by side
With a holy Bible and the tv guide
TV guide TV guide
Great God almighty
It's the TV guide

I gotta second story view from curb to curb
I gotta sign that reads do not disturb
A monogrammed towel and a bucket of ice
A chest of drawers and a mirror that lies
Mirror that lies
A mirror that lies
That couldnt be me
In the gorilla disguise

They got a room service menu for food and drink
A porcelain throne and an aluminum sink
Two big pillows to rest my head
Magic fingers and a king-size bed
Put in a quarter
Turn out the light
Magic fingers makes ya feel alright
Feel alright
Feel alright
Magic fingers makes you feel alright
This old hotel's all right with me
They pay the postage if you lose the key
This hotel rooms gotta lot of stuff
But I do believe I've had enough
Called my baby. said dont you pout
I'm packin my bags and Im checkin' out
Just as soon as you hang up the telephone
Stick a candle in the window
I'm comin home
Comin' home
Comin' home
Stick a candle in the window
I'm comin home
Whoa comin' home
Comin' home
Stick a candle in the window
I'm comin home

Last Day in Savannah

I have had an enjoyable visit to Savannah, but I miss my loving wife and daughter terribly and will be happy to be in their embrace this evening when they pick me up from the Knoxville airport. My conference adjourns at 2:00 p.m. today, and I have learned a lot while I've been here. It has been interesting to enjoy the fellowship of lawyers from all over the United States who do the same sort of juvenile court work that I do. I even met a lawyer from Guam. I didn't see any East Tennessee lawyers I know until yesterday, but I finally ran into them then. After traveling to Destin and then to Savannah, I will be ready to be at home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains for a while.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Two More Savannah Restaurants Reviewed

Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub and Restaurant

I had a nice lunch of bangers and mash at Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub and Restaurant yesterday for lunch. Bangers are sausages, and mash is mashed potatoes. I washed it down with Boddington's Ale. Molly's interior was much nicer than Kevin Barry's Irish Pub, which was one of those places described by Jimmy Buffett. If the floor caves in, you'll go right straight to hell. Molly's had the feel of someone's living room with a bar in it.

Exhange Tavern

For supper, I went down to River Street again and discovered the Exchange Tavern, which was another dive like Kevin Barry's. They served a delicious Rueben sandwich with German potato salad that hit the spot at the end of the day. Their were more musicians on River Street last night, and they were quite good.

Sightseeing in Savannah

As I've strolled about the historic downtown area of Savannah I've seen a number of interesting historical markers. In Johnson Square is a monument to Nathaniel Green, a Revolutionary War hero, and he and his son are buried beneath it. The cannon pictured above was one of two presented to the Savannah artillery garrison by President George Washington on his tour of the South in 1791. Also, in front of the Hyatt Hotel where my conference is being presented is a bench that marks the place where James Oglethorpe, who has a very cool, if overly long, surname, pitched his tent in 1733 to found the City of Savannah.

Martian Cliffs

I'm still pondering the confirmation of water on Mars by the Phoenix Lander last week. This photo was taken by the Mars Express satellite orbiting our neighboring planet. The erosion of those cliffs certainly look like the work of water to me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Restaurant Review: Kevin Barry's Irish Pub and Restaurant, Savannah, Georgia

When I got out of my seminar yesterday afternoon, my intention was to dine at Paula Deen's restaurant, but when I found the place it was locked up, so I went down to River Street along the Savannah River yesterday and found Kevin Barry's Irish Pub and Restaurant for a bit of supper. It was a dive, but they made me a delicious dish of Shepherd's Pie, which I washed down with some Guinness stout. They had my food out to me about five minutes after I placed my order, which was good because I had not eaten lunch. The interior was a rough combination of brick and stone, and the atmosphere was very dark and appropriate for such a tavern. When I left the establishment and stepped back out into the sunshine, there was a man playing saxophone by the river, which was quite cool.

The Bluesmobile

Is it the new Bluesmobile or what? The Bluesmobile from the Blues Brothers movie was a 1974 Dodge Monaco. I dubbed my second car, a blue Oldsmobile Delta 88, the Bluesmobile, which Mom bought from my Uncle Mack for me, and it was a great car at a time when gasoline only cost around a dollar a gallon.