Saturday, February 28, 2009


Be it ever so humble, after week on the road there is no place like home. We're home and have unloaded the car and unpacked the suitcases. La looked in on our home and our kitties while we were in Nashville, and so everything was in order and the cats were well fed when we got home, though the kitties are usually somewhat needy after we've been away. Sherry's downstairs watching television with Emma, our eldest cat, lying on her, and Sarah and I are upstairs listening to AC/DC, with Sarah accompanying T.N.T on the bongos with pencils.

The child just asked me to turn it up. That's my girl.

Snowy Weekend?

I just perused the Maryville Daily Times, and it is reporting that we may get two inches of snow tonight in Maryville and more snow on Sunday. It is raining here in Nashville this morning, and it is a chilly 37 degrees Fahrenheit. After a week in a hotel, it sure would be cool to get snowed in at home when we get there this afternoon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nashville City Paper Shrinks

I used to read the Nashville City Paper, a free daily newspaper in the capital city of my state, nearly every day when I lived here in Nashville, and I still look at the newspaper's website regularly. I picked up the publication this afternoon, and it is about half the paper it used to be. The clerk in the convenience store where I discovered this shrinkage told me that the paper is now delivered only three days a week instead of five. Newspapers are dying, including the Rocky Mountain News in Colorado, which published its last edition today. It is sad for journalism, and for democracy.


I'm not sure where she learned it, but Sarah has been shouting "Geronimo!" before jumping into the swimming pool at our hotel this week. I was curious about why people yell the Chiricahua Apache's name before jumping, and I suspected it came from paratroopers during World War II. According to this website, I was correct.

I am no great student of the Old West, but I have read a little about Geronimo. His is a tale both heroic and tragic. There is litigation pending over his skull, which is rumored to be housed at the Skull and Bones headquarters at Yale University. I hope the rumor is not true.

Back in Bellevue

We just got to Grams' house after having lunch at Jim and Nick's Barbecue. It has been an enjoyable and educational week, but I am happy to be out of the hotel because I haven't left that building since I arrived there last Sunday. As Jimmy Buffett sings, "This hotel room's got a lot of stuff, but I do believe I've had enough." I'm looking forward to returning to the homestead and to getting back into the swing of things at the justice center next week, armed with my new prosecutorial knowledge.

I tried Brunswick Stew for the first time at Jim and Nick's, and it was delicious! I'm going to have to try and make a batch one of these days.

The Mill

Gals' Night Out

Sherry reunited with some of her former work colleagues last night at Swanky's Tacos in Cool Springs, while Sarah and I hung out here at the hotel. We went to sleep before she returned, so I haven't heard a report on the outing or the restaurant, but I'm sure Sherry enjoyed catching up with her friends.

Today is my last day of classes in my new prosecutor training, and we only have a half day today. Today's sessions will focus on practice in General Sessions Court. Sarah and I will no doubt hit the pool one last time before I hit the books, and we will make our way to Bellevue and Grams' house this afternoon. Tomorrow morning we will breakfast at La Peep Restaurant with Sherry's family before heading home to Maryville.

Thackston School Update

Thackston School, where my niece Grace attends day care, has found temporary quarters at the Knoxville Convention and Exhibition Center at World's Fair Park, and a local pet store has donated a new bearded lizard to replace the school mascot lost in last weekend's fire that severely damaged the school building near the UT campus.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jake and Joey Make the Team!

Joey and Jake tried out this week for the Bellevue Middle School soccer team, and both boys made the team. They've both played soccer since they were four or five, and it will be a fun experience for them to play for their school.

A Girl With A Watering Can

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. I saw two people yesterday with cross ashes on their foreheads, which is a traditional way of observing the day, though I must confess I'd never seen it in person before.

Gruesome Pictures

Today turned out to be the day of gruesome photographs at my training seminar. These included a severed hand being analyzed at a laboratory and something called "arterial spurting," which resulted in a very bloody wall. All in all, today's sessions were more useful than I thought they would be.

Mayonaisse Versus Miracle Whip

I have used Kraft Mayonnaise for years; however, my friend Rock, with whom I used to go camping on a regular basis, prefers Miracle Whip on his sandwiches. Rock usually brought enough food to feed the Russian army on every camping trip we went on, and since we frequently camped on the islands near my former home in Louisville, I usually ended up with whatever food was left over from the campout, including the Miracle Whip. I find I agree with Rock, and I prefer Miracle Whip on a sandwich, though I usually use the first jar I come to in the refrigerator. I always use the mayo for recipes, like potato or chicken salad. For much more on this compelling issue, including instructions on making homemade mayo, click here.


Wednesday is upon us, and I have a day of what I expect to be fairly rudimentary material ahead of me today. Today's sessions of my training seminar for new prosecutors are really more for new lawyers inasmuch as they focus on the various aspects of a trial, such as opening statements, direct and cross examination and closing arguments. It never hurts to have a refresher course and/or a new perspective, but I've been there and done that a few times in my fifteen years of law practice.

Sherry and the kids didn't get back to the hotel until about 7:30 p.m. last night, so I pretty much just relaxed in the room, though I did enjoy the live guitar music drifting up from the floor of the hotel atrium. We had a class yesterday that featured a law enforcement officer from Franklin who used to write and perform songs on Music Row. In Nashville everything has a country music angle.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday, which is the culmination of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. The local newspaper down there has plenty of coverage of the festivities.

The Edsel

The Car Lust blog has been looking at unsuccessful automobiles, and the epitome of a failed automobile is the Ford Edsel. According to Car Lust,

The tale of the Edsel is fascinating because it's an instance of a large
organization full of talented, competent, well-intentioned people setting a goal
that seemed perfectly reasonable, marching confidently toward that goal--and
going straight off a cliff.

Report for Monday

I got all the kids up yesterday morning, and we all went for a swim. The hotel has a wonderful buffet breakfast, so everyone filled up before starting their day. Sherry took the boys to school in Bellevue yesterday morning, and I'm sure they enjoyed telling their friends that they had started their Monday with a swim. Sarah was listening to one of her kid CD's on the car stereo, so Sherry cranked up "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as she dropped the boys off at school, much to their chagrin.

Sherry and Sarah hooked up with Grams for lunch, and they went to Sylvan Park restaurant and then to Green Hills Mall, where Sherry scored several blouses and Sarah got a couple of new dresses. I had a very full day of enlightening classes, and the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference provided us with a nice sandwich bar for lunch.

Joey and Jake are trying out for the Bellevue Middle School soccer team this week, which entails being at the school until 5:30 p.m., so Sherry and the kids didn't make it back to the hotel until about 6:15 p.m. They arrived with Sir Pizza, one of our Nashville favorites, and we munched out on pizza before an evening swim and bedtime.

Today is the boys' dad's birthday, and Sherry's going to take him, his girlfriend and the kids out for supper tonight, so I probably won't see them until close to bedtime because it doesn't make sense for Sherry to drive from Bellevue to the airport and back to pick me up for it. Fortunately, there is plenty of leftover pizza, so I should be fine as far as supper goes.

Han Solo in Guacamole Carbonite

I had no idea there was one Star Wars cookbook, much less two. Check out the making of Han Solo in Guacamole Carbonite on the creator's website.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Carina Nebula

The latest ESO image reveals amazing detail in the intricate structures of one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky, the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372), where strong winds and powerful radiation from an armada of massive stars are creating havoc in the large cloud of dust and gas from which the stars were born.

Grace Naps in Big Girl Bed

My niece Grace, age 2, reached a milestone yesterday, taking her first nap in a real bed. Laura said that Stewart had to work to keep Grace in the bed, but they got her to go to sleep in it. I haven't heard yet whether she slept in it last night.

Kids in the Pool

As you might expect, the kids love the indoor pool and hot tub at the hotel. The jets in the hot tub must come from rocket engines. Joey and Jake's friend Graham, the tall guy with the soccer ball, stayed with us last night, and I am to get all three of them up at 6:00 a.m. for a morning swim before Sherry hauls them to school and I start my classes.

Snow on the Plateau

Since I grew up in East Tennessee, and my Ogle grandparents lived in Winchester in Middle Tennessee, I've been across the Cumberland Plateau in the wintertime countless times. We had a good inch or two of snow on the ground in Maryville yesterday morning when we headed for the interstate via Highway 321. By the time we got to Lenoir City, there was no snow on the ground. As we climbed the Cumberland Plateau on Interstate 40, there was more and more snow. By the time we got off the plateau on the west side of it, the snow was gone. It was pretty snowy up on top of the plateau, though.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

George Washington's Birthday

Happy birthday to George Washington, the Father of our country.

Hotel Blogging in Nashville

We have arrived in Nashville after a snowy drive across the Cumberland Plateau. We stopped by the U.S. Border Cantina in Bellevue, our favorite local Mexican restaurant, and had some fajitas before picking up Jake and Joey, who will be staying with us in our hotel for the week. We just had a swim and enjoyed the hotel hot tub, and everyone is cozy in the room, so I've ventured down to check out the business center. J&J's friend, Graham, is to be dropped off by his parents to join us shortly, and I suspect the three boys at least will head back down to the pool.


I'm not sure, but I think that Sherry's mom probably took this photo on her back porch a couple of years ago.

Photographs of Thackston School After Fire

Laura, or perhaps Stewart, took these photos at Thackston School yesterday after the fire was extinguished. How sad!

More on Thackston School Fire

WBIR has a more detailed report on the Thackston School fire. Laura and Stewart drove down to survey the damage, and both were pretty upset by the sight. On the bright side, they heard that the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church at 2931 Kingston Pike offered space to house the school next week, and that Wal-Mart was donating supplies and a local pizza restaurant is donating pizza for lunch. Students and parents are to report to the church for school at 9:00 a.m. Monday. WBIR has a video clip here.

According to the News Sentinel, the school is asking for donations. "We need anything kid-friendly. We need toys, books, markers, pencils, paper, pillows. Anything would be appreciated." You can donate by calling (865) 689-3016 or via. e-mail to Since Laura's going to take care of our cats, I'm going to gather some things for the school.

Thackston School has been an important part of Knoxville for a long time. I don't think a fire will kill it.

Snowy Sunday Morning

This is the view from our front porch looking at Forest Avenue. As you can see, it hasn't started sticking to the road yet, but there is still snow falling. It was about 65 degrees yesterday. If you don't like the weather in East Tennessee, just wait a second.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sundown at Look Rock Tower

Saturday Afternoon in the Backyard

We just got indoors after enjoying the warm February breeze this Saturday afternoon. We surveyed the garden, gathered some bugs, blew some bubbles, drew on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and made hot chocolate for Sarah using our new Coleman stove. Sarah enjoyed a game in which she was Supergirl, and she flew (ran) up and down the driveway, which has done a good job of tiring her out for some quiet time.

What the Heck is a Courgette?

The green curry recipe was from a British Broadcasting Company website, and one of the ingredients is a courgette. I had to look it up. It's a zucchini.

Green Chicken Curry

I found a recipe for green chicken curry that I may try to make one day. In the past several years I've tried to try some Thai cuisine, and I find I like it a lot. In Maryville we have a wonderful Thai and sushi restaurant, Lemon Grass, and in Knoxville there is another great Thai restaurant, the Stir Fry Cafe, which is also going to open a Maryville restaurant in the building that used to house Roy's Record Store on West Broadway Avenue.

Thackston School Burns in Knoxville

Thackston School near the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus caught fire early this morning. My niece Grace attends day care there and just transitioned to a new class. Since Laura works on campus, it was a convenient day care location for her, but it doesn't sound like they'll be able to open the building on Monday.

Nashville Restaurants

One of my colleagues at work asked me to suggest some restaurants in Nashville, and I thought it would be fun to blog about it. Here are some of my favorite Nashville restaurants, in no particular order:

McCabe Pub -- McCabe's feels like someone's den, by which I mean the atmosphere there is always very comfortable. The food isn't fancy, but I've eaten there many times and never had a bad meal. It is in Sylvan Park at 4410 Murphy Road. I especially like their meatloaf.

Sylvan Park Restaurant -- If you are in the Sylvan Park area of Nashville and looking for country cooking, Sylvan Park Restaurant is within walking distance of McCabe's at 4502 Murphy Road. In Nashville, this type of restaurant is known as "a Meat and Three."

Pie Wagon -- The Pie Wagon is downtown at 1302 Division Street, and it is another good Meat and Three. I used to love to eat there for lunch.

Loveless Cafe -- The Loveless Cafe is just west of Bellevue on the west side of Nashville at 8400 Highway 100, and it is a Nashville classic. I think of it as a breakfast place, because we used to eat breakfast there so often, but it is also a Meat and Three, with legendary biscuits and photographs of country music stars and politicians all over the lobby walls.

Demos' Restaurant -- Located at 300 Commerce Street in downtown Nashville, Demos' Restaurant is a nice place to go for steak or Italian food. It is pricy, but the food is great and the atmosphere is dimly lit and upscale without being stuffy.

Old Spaghetti Factory -- The Old Spagetti Factory is also in downtown Nashville at 160 North Second Avenue, and it is a fun place. It has a lovely bar area with an antique decor, and a street car inside the restaurant with tables inside it. It is a nice place for a date, but it is also very kid friendly.

Kebab Gyros -- Kebab Gyros is a fast food restaurant with several locations in Nashville. I've eaten most frequently at the one at 2288 Rosa Parks Boulevard (formerly Metrocenter Boulevard), but I've also eaten at the one downtown at 210 Fourth Avenue North. There's also one on White Bridge Road, which is near Sherry's mom's house, that I've been meaning to try. They serve two meats. One is a combination of beef and lamb, cylindrical in shape, that slowly rotates so that it can be shaved off. The other is grilled chicken seasoned with Mediterrenean spices. They serve either as a gyro or as a dinner with rice and Tabouli. My only complaint is that they don't spend enough time getting the stems out of the parsley in the Tabouli.

Fat Mo's -- Every city has its favorite hometown burger joint, and in Nashville it is Fat Mo's, which has several locations throughout the city. I've eaten at the one on White Bridge Road, and they indeed make a quality hamburger. After three and a half years working at McDonald's as a kid, I've made enough of them to know a good one.

Paradise Ridge Grille -- This restaurant has a sports bar atmosphere, and they specialize in barbeque, though they have a lot of good food on the menu. I especially like their sandwiches. They have one of the few sandwich steamers in Nashville. They are located at 3736 Annex Avenue, which is on the west side of Nashville off the Charlotte Pike exit from Interstate 40.

More on Comet Lulin

The Lulin comet will come closest to Earth early next week, the the thing is spraying water out in space on its way toward us. This image is from the Swift satellite. The comet appears green in the night sky, rather than the pink and purple in this image.

Gollum as a Verb

One of the bloggers at Amazon's pet blog has coined a new verb, the infinitive of which is "to gollum," which the blogger defines as "to obsessively and compulsively covet without the ability to enjoy that which you covet."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday and Foot Relief

Although my foot felt somewhat better this morning after last night's first dose of one of the two medicines Dr. Franklin prescribed for my gout, I planned when I left this morning to minimize the walking I normally do between the two courtrooms I appear in on Fridays. One of the courtrooms had a jury trial going in it, and the docket was cancelled leaving me in only one court for the morning, which was nice.

I took the prescribed doses of both medicines this morning, and my foot felt better as the day progressed. It's not back to 100%, but I can walk without a pronounced limp now. Also, I can avoid shoes for the most part for the next two days while the medicine continues to do its work. I've been in rather extreme discomfort for two weeks now, first with the stomach bug and then with the gout, and I am very happy and grateful to be close to feeling like myself again and am ready for our trip to Nashville. We'll see if we can squeeze in a visit to the cabin next Friday, weather permitting.

Sarah and the Greenbelt Ducks

These are a couple of photographs of Sarah feeding the ducks at the Greenbelt Park in Maryville a couple of weekends ago. Most of what we fed them floated downstream. Those are some well fed ducks!

New York Movie

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Benjamin Franklin and the Gout

Benjamin Franklin suffered from gout, and he was carried to many sessions of the Constitutional Convention in a sedan chair, or litter, as depicted above. He wrote a dialogue between himself and Madam Gout that is most amusing.

Bout of Gout

I was diagnosed this afternoon with gout, which is what has been crippling me for over a week now. I have been concerned that I would have to have surgery to correct the problem, since I already have problems with arthritis in my feet. Gout can be treated with medicine, so I am somewhat relieved of anxiety. Now I'm ready to be relieved of the discomfort and inconvenience.

I still have to tolerate tomorrow in dress shoes. (Ouch!) I'm going to try to avoid shoes over the weekend, and I'm hoping the medicine will start to kick in by Monday, when I start my week of prosecutor training in Nashville.

View From the Spam Can

My sister Laura works in the Stokely Management Center on the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee, from whence my entire family graduated from undergraduate school. UT students, at least when I attended the university, refer to the building as the Spam Can. The upper photo shows the building, and the lower photo shows the view of the undergraduate library from Laura's office window. I've tried to capture the view from my office window of the Great Smoky Mountains on film, to no avail.

Puelo's Restaurant Coming to Alcoa

The Daily Times reports this morning that Puelo's Restaurant is coming to Alcoa. The restaurant will move into the building that used to house Up the Creek Restaurant.

Comet Tail

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Corn Dog Pizza

All this needs is bacon, and perhaps ketchup.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Train Wreck Pizza Meatloaf and Cheese Casserole

I'm still disappointed that the pizza we tried to make last weekend was a train wreck. I was left with the feeling that the pizza could have been saved with more toppings, since the main problem was too much dough for the crust, which was 3/4 inch thick. My first homemade pizza had too many toppings for too little crust, so last weekend's pizza had the opposite problem.

I cooked a meatloaf on Sunday. I layered the doughy pizza on the bottom of a Corningware casserole dish, put a healthy layer of meatloaf on top of that, then doused it with cheese and baked it off. The world can rest easy knowing I will never try this again, though I am pleased to have fetched a decent casserole from the jaws of doom.

In any event, the kids and I enjoyed working in the kitchen together. Sarah likes to add the ingredients to the bowl.

Limping Lawyer

I injured my foot last week and have been hoping it would heal up on its own, but I took it to the doctor this afternoon after a week of pain. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain, but it seemed reasonable to consult my physician, who has referred me to a podiatrist. I see the podiatrist on Thursday. I'm glad he was able to see me before we leave for our trip to Nashville next week. Getting old is hell.

VW Beetle

Two of my first four cars were VW Beetles, and when I see one on the road I sometimes think it would be neat to own one again someday as an extra vehicle. It would be a nice car for driving in the mountains, and they're great in the snow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Coleman Recipes

The Coleman website has a recipes page, and it wasn't anything like I expected. For example, I am unlikely to prepare Egyptian Green Beans at a campground in East Tennessee, though I am intrigued by the recipe and might make it in the privacy of my own home.

I remember camping with a bunch of my friends up on Gregory's Bald and having a fairly unconventional dinner for a hiking trip. It is good to hike with a chef. When I think of camping food I think of Spam, hot dogs, pork and beans, a Super Granddaddy sandwich from Kenjo Market, with Pop Tarts for breakfast, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, though steak and taters is easy camping fare as well.

Camping Gear

Having spent the morning in the Great Smoky Mountains, the only way to round out the day was to buy some new camping gear for the coming camping season! I have given up on my old propane Coleman stove and am going back to white gas. Actually, this model will also burn unleaded gasoline, and I like that as a survival feature. I'll use white gas unless I'm in a spot. There is another two-burner stove that was $30.00 more. It has a bigger gas tank and burns hotter, but I think the $100.00 model will serve my family well.

While I was at it, I also ordered us this king size air mattress and pump. Ostensibly I do this for my city girl wife to make camping more appealing to her so I can drag her out in the woods more often. In reality, we'll both enjoy the camping comfort.

Trip to Cades Cove

Sarah and I took a ride up to Cades Cove this morning. We left about 8:30 a.m. and took our time going around the loop. Outside the gift shop Ranger Ed had a table set up with various pelts, including a black bear pelt.

I estimate we saw 50 to 75 deer this morning.
We walked through the graveyard at the Primitive Baptist Church, and went into the church. On the altar were several Bibles, a hymnal and many written prayer requests on loose leaf paper. I know a man who grew up in Cades Cove. He is getting up in years, and I wondered if he will be buried in the Cove with his ancestors. I noticed the tombstone of a woman who had been buried there in 2006, so I guess it is not out of the question. Sarah took this picture of me near the John Oliver cabin at the beginning of the loop.
We stopped at this little waterfall on our way up to Cades Cove. I let Sarah out of the car without her coat, so this didn't last long. The brown thing she is holding is her beloved stuffed cat, Kitty Leater. This is, I believe, Kitty Leater's first appearance on this blog. Kitty Leater loves the outdoors.

Blago Burger

I love a culinary entrepreneur and merchant. In Chicago a restaurant called Kuma's Corner has created a sandwich called a Blago Burger, pictured above, inspired by former governor Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office for corruption. The sandwich is a hamburger, topped with bologna and cheese, with grilled cheese sandwiches as buns.

Nuclear Submarines Crash

Two nuclear submarines, one English and one French, HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant, crashed into one another earlier this month in the Atlantic Ocean, which is a pretty big place.

Amish Tech

I just read an interesting article about how Amish communities decide what to do with new technology when someone wants to use some new device. When we were kids we drove into the Amish area of Pennsylvania with Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle, and I've always found their rejection of technology rather odd. According to the article, many Amish families use various technological devices, but community leaders regulate it strictly. Their goal is to keep their community cohesive by avoiding as much as they can the outside world. For example, you might be allowed to have a telephone if you really need one, but you'd have to keep it in a shed away from your house so you wouldn't use it unless you really need to.

Coopertown Speed Trap

Coopertown, a small Middle Tennessee town on Interstate 24 northwest of Nashville in Robertson County, developed a reputation as a speed trap town during the time we were living in Nashville. I had several cases in Robertson County, so the story caught my eye. At the time Coopertown's mayor, Danny Crosby, was also the subject of controversy, and the voters of Coopertown have now voted him out of office. According to an article in the Tennessean, the town is down to three or four police officers after having as many as twenty during the height of the speed trap on I-24. Apparently the Coopertown officials did not follow proper procedure to be able to patrol the interstate, and the Robertson County courts are dismissing tickets because of the irregularity.

Happy President's Day!

Today is President's Day, commemorating our first President, George Washington, who was born February 22, 1732.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Susan B. Anthony

Pioneering women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, 1820. Because of her, and others like her, my daughter can vote.

Weekend Roundup

Sherry and the kids are on the road to meet Mark in Cookeville. We had a relatively quiet weekend with Joey and Jake in town, though we did go out to Aubrey's Saturday for a Valentine's Day/Anniversary lunch, which we all enjoyed. I had their chicken salad melt, which I've had before, with cheese grits on the side. I hadn't had the cheese grits before, and they rocked.

We rented and watched a couple of movies yesterday. Sarah rented Igor, and I watched most of it with her. It was a cartoon rendition of the Frankenstein tale. Jake and Joey rented Will Farrell's Step Brothers, and they watched it while Sarah and I watched Igor. I made my third attempt at homemade pizza, and failed miserably this time out. Instead of the store bought Kroger pizza dough I used the first two times, I made this pizza from scratch with yeast and flour from a recipe Sarah found online. To make a long story short, I made way too much crust, so it wound up too doughy. I was disappointed, but I'll try again.

I'm off tomorrow for President's Day, and I plan to keep Sarah out of preschool and spend the day with her, though I haven't decided what we'll do. I'm in a mind to go up into the mountains, and I think Sarah would enjoy a trip to Cade's Cove if the weather cooperates.

Dover Plains, Dutchess County, New York

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is also the anniversary of my marriage to my beautiful and loving wife. We married on February 14, 2002, and I am very fortunate to have wed such a wonderful woman.