Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sticky Buns

I've never tried to make sticky buns, but this recipe from the Nosh and Tell blog is tempting, though I might leave the raisins out of mine.

Tennessee State Capitol Building

I recently learned that this year is the 150th anniversary of the Tennessee State Capitol Building. Construction was completed on the building in 1859. I visited the building several times when I worked in downtown Nashville, including once to see the Governor make an announcement to the press. A tornado hit downtown Nashville years ago, and the wind blew out the blue circle with three stars from the middle of the State flag, and that flag was on display in the Capitol Building when I visited.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Truck from Bugtussle, Tennessee

Car Lust recently had a post about the Beverly Hillbillies' truck, which was designed by George Barris, who also designed the Batmobile and the Munsters' family vehicle. One of them, pictured above, is on display at the Ralph Foster Museum in Missouri.

Some New Ideas for Lasagna

The How to Cook Like Your Grandmother blog had a post recently about making lasagna. I should state that I never knew either of my grandmothers to make lasagna. Mom, however, makes wonderful lasagna, and I follow her recipe, which I love to make. It is one of those dishes that I always loved, and eventually learned to make myself, which I am still impressed by. I call these dishes "lookie-what-he-can-do" recipes.

The recipe on How to Cook Like Your Grandmother has two variations on lasagna that I'll have to try. The recipe calls for Italian sausage, where I usually use ground beef. It also calls for homemade pasta. I have a pasta machine, but have never tried to make lasagna noodles, which should be pretty easy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Butterfly Nebula

This image is from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website, and it is from the recently refurbished Hubble Space Telescope. According to NASA, "With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the central star of this particular planetary nebula is exceptionally hot though -- shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust."

Yom Kippur

Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Starry Night

(He painted it while in an asylum.)

Harpeth Valley PTA

Jake and Joey attended elementary school at Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue on the west side of Nashville. Our family had a very positive experience with the school, which was minutes from where we lived. We joined the Harpeth Valley PTA, and got a laugh out of the similarity to the Tom T. Hall song, "Harper Valley PTA." According to Wikipedia, Hall's inspiration for the song came from the school, Hall being a resident of the area.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Audiobook Review -- How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life by Peter Robinson

A couple of weeks ago when I went to a conference west of Nashville, I borrowed the audiobook How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life from the Blount County Public library. The author, Peter Robinson, was a speechwriter for the Reagan White House. It was Robinson that penned the speech President Reagan made in Berlin during which he challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

In his book, Mr. Robinson, who was in his twenties during his time as a White House speechwriter, recounts how he came to view President Reagan as a role model and explains various lessons he learned about life by watching the President. As a part of this process, he provides the reader with interesting insights he learned about Reagan, not so much as President, but as a man.

Heading for L.A.

We're in Gadsden, Alabama, where we spent the night last night, and we're heading for Lower Alabama and on to Florida this morning. Look out Gulf of Mexico, here we come!

Friday, September 25, 2009


After consulting my beach file (Lawyers have files for everything.), I discovered that we will be staying in a condo complex called Beachfront II, rather than in Cassine Station, which we considered. Here are photos of the living room in our unit and the complex pool and tiki hut, courtesy of Seagrove Beach Realty, our hosts. It looks like a pretty cool place.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stowaway Calico

I left our half-packed suitcase on the floor of our bedroom when we left the house this morning. When I got home, Molly the cat was curled up and asleep in it. Like most owners of domesticated beasts, we miss our cats when we're gone and fancy that they miss us as well. Perhaps Molly was hoping to make the trip.

Packing Up

I started filling up our big suitcase this morning for our trip to Seagrove Beach, Florida. We plan to start the trip after work tomorrow when I return from another clerk meeting in Morristown. We'll find a hotel somewhere in Alabama, and arrive at our Seagrove Beach Realty rental unit in Cassine Station, pictured above, on Saturday. We've never stayed in this condo before, but it is just down the street from Beachwood Villas, where we usually stay.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sarah Visits the Zoo

Sarah went on a field trip to the Knoxville Zoo today as part of her school's Dynamic Discovery Days, and she came home worn out. She's had her supper now, and is feeling more chipper. They left Maryville on a bus at 8:30 a.m. and arrived back at school around 2:30 p.m., which is a pretty full day for kindergartners. I was amazed that when I picked her up at 4:30 p.m., she still wanted to go out on the playground with her schoolmates.

Back to School

I was back in class at the University of Tennessee Conference Center yesterday. I attended a leadership class taught by a PhD level psychologist. I expected that I would know no one there, but I was happy to see several fellow Blount Countians in attendance. I still have online courses I can work on, but I won't have another classroom course until October.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Aroma Cafe

I've been meaning to eat at the Aroma Cafe on East Broadway Avenue in Maryville for months now, and I had a delicious lunch of red beans and rice and a Cuban sandwich there today. They had quick service, and my meal was around $10.00, including the gratuity and a soft drink.

Elves in the Basement

I am not one to rush the holiday season, but with seven birthdays in my family in October and November, I've learned to start shopping early. I have most of the birthday presents wrapped, and actually wrapped the first few Christmas presents this morning. Santa's elves have been busy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lightyear Completes Mission, Returns to Earth on Shuttle

Famed explorer Buzz Lightyear, pictured above courtesy of NASA, has returned to Earth from duty aboard the International Space Station, just in time for the release of Toy Story 3. He returned home on Space Shuttle Discovery, which is on its way to Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the back of a modified 747.

Litigation Settlement Clears Way for Production of The Hobbit on Film

I have been wondering why I haven't heard anything about production of The Hobbit in movie form, but I just read that J.R.R. Tolkien's estate filed litigation against New Line Cinema over proceeds resulting from the Lord of the Rings trilogy on film. The litigation has been settled, and production of The Hobbit can begin.

Winding Down the Weekend

Sarah requested that we dine at Hot Rods 50's Diner this weekend, and we did so for breakfast yesterday. We had a visit from Les and Fraz during the afternoon, and we made pizza for supper. Sarah has access to an online learning website through her school, and she enjoyed using it. Also, much to the child's delight, I pushed the sofas together to make what she used to call a house nest.

I woke up this morning to discover rainy weather, After consulting a radar map, I decided to ditch my walk this morning and stay dry.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mars, Courtesy of Sarah (and NASA)

Sarah and I have been discussing our neighboring planet, Mars. She said, "If you could show me a picture of Mars, that would be awesome." I obliged with these, from NASA.

Chomped in the Swamp

After Greekfest, I watched the UT vs. Florida game, which was played at Florida in the Swamp. The Gators were favored to win by 29 points, but the final score was 23-13. Many, including me, were fearing a complete rout of the Volunteers, but the team played well and should be proud of their performance. I loved defensive end Chris Walker's comment quoted in this morning's Knoxville News Sentinel, "A lot of people said they were supposed to put 62 on us, or whatever else, but we weren't having too much of that."

Report from Knoxville Greekfest 2009

We had a fun afternoon at Knoxville's Greekfest 2009. We saw our friends Sike and Julie and their daughter Ellie, as well as our friends Caveman and Dana there. I've known Caveman since elementary school and Sike since junior high, and we don't get together very often, though in our twenties we pretty much hung out together every day. I was excited to learn that Caveman and Dana will be at the beach when we are the week after next, and we plan to get together down there.

Above is a photo of Sike and me and our young-uns. Sarah wore herself out dancing to the Greek music, and we feasted on delicious Greek food. I had pastitsio, which is Greek lasagna, and Sherry had a chicken pita, both of which were tasty. I also saw and spoke to George from Sam and Andy's, and was amazed that he knew me by name, even though he hasn't seen me in fifteen years. Of course, in the early '90's he recognized my dad, who frequented Sam and Andy's while he was in college in the '50's.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Anchor at WSMV in Nashville

I have always preferred NBC news, so I watch the Nashville NBC affiliate, WSMV. Dan Miller, their evening anchor, died last April, and I noticed this week that they still had not filled his seat. Yesterday, they announced that Washington, DC, anchor Bob Sellers will fill the position and anchor the evening news with Demitra Kalodimos.

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Today is the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrrggh! In celebration of the event, I am posting a link to my favorite pirate joke.

Kindergarten Photo

Sarah brought home her kindergarten portrait yesterday. Unfortunately, they didn't get much of a smile out of her, but it's still a cute picture.

Pizza Shack Closes

On my way to my court clerk conference this week I passed the former location of the Pizza Shack, a cool little business that rented canoes and sold pizza. It is near a place called Narrows of the Harpeth, which is the huge loop in the Harpeth River shown in the northwest corner of this map. This is where we went canoeing when we lived in Nashville. The upstream point in the loop is about a tenth of a mile from where you take your canoe back out, and the trip from one point to the other is from three to five hours, depending on how fast the river is running and how many stops one makes on the way downstream.

We liked to camp in nearby Montgomery Bell State Park, where my conference took place. You could rent a canoe at the Pizza Shack, Tip-A-Canoe or Foggy Bottom, spend the afternoon on the river, and then come back to the Pizza Shack and take a hot pizza back to your campsite for supper. Now that's roughing it! The other two canoe rental businesses are still in operation, but it appears Pizza Shack is a thing of the past.

Ghormley Convicted

Two years ago from yesterday, on September 18, 2007, a man named Anthony Todd Ghormley savagely beat three women with a baseball bat in a house across the street and one lot down from the townhouse apartment we rented when we first moved back to Maryville. He held one of the women hostage for several hours, and law enforcement officers responded in full force to the scene. I remember counting 24 law enforcement vehicles, and the Knox County bomb squad and the Blount County SWAT team at one point that day. Yesterday a Blount County jury convicted him of seven counts, for which he faces the possibility of 255 years in prison.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vol Football, From a Different Point of View

My friend Rob Huddleston posted yesterday on his blog about a UCLA fan who attended the contest last weekend between his favorite team and our Vols. The UCLA fan's account of football Saturday on the University of Tennessee campus will make any Vol fan proud, and I am proud of the Vol fans he encountered that made his experience in Neyland Stadium enjoyable.

Barbecue Review: Full Service Barbecue, Maryville, Tennessee

I had lunch with Sarah at school today. On my way, I picked up a barbecue sandwich at Full Service Barbecue, conveniently located near the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Washington Street in Maryville. I got the small pork sandwich, with slaw on it, for $3.50 plus tax, and it was plenty to fill me up. I got the standard barbecue sauce on mine, but they also have South Carolina style mustard barbecue sauce, which I will have to try next time. I was pleased that it only took them a couple of minutes to serve me. I am perplexed by some restaurants that take fifteen minutes to put a sandwich together.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Three Words for Constitution Day

Those three small, but important words, "We the People" changed the course of history when our Constitution was adopted in 1787. The United States Constitution, which I studied with great interest during its bicentennial year in 1987 and thereafter while I was in undergraduate school, led me into law school. Unfortunately, I have had relatively few occasions to use constitutional law as a lawyer, though I once got a case dismissed in Nashville based on the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

Randy and Dawn's New Sailboat

Our friends Randy and Dawn, who live just west of Destin, Florida, just bought a larger sailboat, which features a roomy cabin, a head (toilet) and a hot shower. Here are some photos of the new vessel.

It sure is hard to beat a sunset viewed from the gulf coast of Florida!

I'm Home!

After about four hours of driving in the pouring rain, I am home from my court clerk conference, which I enjoyed. Everyone was very kind to me, and I learned a lot from the programs presented at the conference. I've camped several times at Montgomery Bell State Park, but this is the first time I stayed at the inn, which was very nice. I saw four deer on my morning walk yesterday, though I had to confine myself to the exercise room this morning because of the rain.

I missed Sherry and Sarah, and I'm glad to be home!

Cheese or Font?

The internet has something for everyone, including the Cheese or Font website, where the goal is to guess whether a word is a kind of cheese or a kind of font. My sisters are cheese fiends, and my wife is a graphic designer, so this looks like it is right up their alley.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hubble Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope was recently refurbished and is sending back spectacular new images. For more, visit the NASA Hubble Website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Clerks' Conference

I am off to Middle Tennessee, the booming metropolis of Burns to be precise, this afternoon for a conference for clerks of court at Montgomery Bell State Park. I've camped there several times before because it was the most convenient campground to our neighborhood in Bellevue on the west side of Nashville. When I first signed up for the conference, they had no room for me at the park inn, pictured above, but I had decided to camp so I could attend the conference anyway, barring some really bad weather. I found out a little over a week ago that I'll have a room at the inn, and all of the rooms have a view of Lake Acorn, which will be nice. Both of these photos are from the park's website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Education Week for Steve

In addition to the conference I am attending this week for clerks of court, I am also beginning work on materials required by the the Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service's County Officers Certificate Training Program. I started work on the County Government Handbook, today, and almost made it half way through it. It is basically Tennessee County Government 101, and has been very informative so far.

The training program requires 60 hours worth of course work, which you can take online, by correspondence (i.e. open book test) and in a traditional classroom setting, after which you attend a "capstone" event for a week to complete your training. There is a modest financial incentive for getting one's certificate, and I feel certain I will benefit from whatever training they provide to me.

Mellow Sunday

We spent a quiet Sunday. Sarah was in an artistic mood, and we drew and worked on her homework until Sherry got home from Nashville. Sarah also watched the extra disk from the Mike Myers Cat in the Hat movie, and that held her interest for quite a while. I cooked our breakfast casserole, and it was coming out of the oven just as Sherry walked in the door.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Unless my eyes fool me, the man on the left is George, who ran Sam and Andy's on the Cumberland Avenue strip for decades. My sisters and I, and just about everyone else we know, were regulars at Sam and Andy's during our college years, and so was my dad during his college days. I was quite impressed when I took Dad there for lunch one day, and George greeted him warmly, "Hi, Phil!" Dad went to UT in the Fifties. You can't beat a good Greek restaurateur.

Greekfest 2009

Knoxville's Saint George Greek Orthodox Church is hosting Greekfest 2009 next weekend! I've gained five pounds just thinking about it.

Star Wars Dukes of Hazzard

I thought I'd find Waylon playing the theme from the Dukes of Hazzard on You Tube this morning, and I found this clip of the characters from Star Wars with the Dukes of Hazzard theme in the background. It is hysterical, at least if you're a Star Wars geek and like Waylon.

UCLA Beats Vols

We watched our Vols go down in defeat to UCLA 19-15. There has been a lot of hype about Lane Kiffin, our new football coach, but the best coaching in the world doesn't win games when you keep turning the ball over and making other costly mistakes. Next week the Vols play Florida in the Swamp, and I suspect I won't be the only fan missing Phil Fulmer.

One more thing. I wish Kiffin would quit wearing his Spurrier visor.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Waylon Fried Chicken

I am hosting a meal here at the house today for my Aunt Joan and Cousin Andrew. When I visit my kinfolk in the Washington, DC, area they delight me with exotic foods I would never encounter here, like Moroccan chicken and Ethiopian fare. Since they are visiting here in Dixie, I am cooking country-style. I'm frying chicken according to Grandmother Isenhour's recipe (Salt it. Salt it again. Put some more salt on it, and when you think you've put too much salt on it, salt it some more.) in the black iron skillet while listening to Waylon Jennings. It doesn't get much more country than that.

Evening in the Mountains

We had a fun evening up here at Sunset Ridge, and the rest of the crew is still asleep at this hour of the morning. Sarah and Grace enjoyed playing together, and we all filled up on pizza from Stone House Pizza, a local pizza joint just down the road from here. While their bread and butter is no doubt tourists, they make a special effort to make locals happy, and they provided us with pies that were loaded with toppings. No one went hungry.

When Sarah and I got here, La and Stew and Andrew were in town for appetizers, and so we explored the yard. We built a rock castle last year using the flat stones that are plentiful up here on the ridge, and we worked on it a bit. We also beat up some of the poke plants in the back yard, an activity I've enjoyed for many years and shared with our children for the first time this summer.

We enjoyed much conversation last night, and I stayed up way past my bedtime, though as usual, I am awake before the sun is up this morning. When Sarah wakes up, we'll make our way down the mountain to do our grocery shopping and make ready for entertaining at the homestead.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pigeon Forge and Nashville

Sherry's heading to Nashville for a weekend with Jake and Joey and Grams after work this evening. My Aunt Joan and Cousin Andrew arrived in Knoxville last night from Washington, DC, so Sarah and I are staying here to visit with them. We're heading up to Laura and Stew's Sunset Ridge cabin to share a bit of the Smoky Mountains with our city mouse cousin. It should be a fun evening up there. I plan on watching the sunset from that porch this evening.

September 11

Eight years ago today terrorists took over four commercial jet airliners. They crashed one into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, bringing both towers down and killing thousands of innocent Americans. On the fourth jet, brave Americans rushed the cockpit, forcing the jet to crash in an empty field in Pennsylvania.

I vividly remember learning about the event from another lawyer as I sat in Chancery Court here in Blount County during a docket sounding that morning. After I concluded my business in court, I went downstairs and joined a group in the Blount County Justice Center and watched on television as the towers fell. At the time I was the chair of the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and I spent most of the rest of the day at the Chapter House in Maryville. No aircraft were allowed to fly for several days after September 11, 2001, and at the time I lived in Louisville, where planes flew overhead constantly because it is near the airport. It was creepy to have no planes in the sky, and to this day I get a bit unnerved when I see a plane flying low in the sky.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ye Olde Outhouse

This outhouse is situated on the hill above the cabin, and fell into disuse in the late Eighties, when we finally got running water out there in the country. When my sisters and I were in our early college years and visited the cabin, this outhouse was our only toilet facility. It was much better maintained back then (by our fastidious grandmother), and it even had an electric light for night usage, which would have been fancy when it was first installed.

We often brought friends with us to stay at the cabin and to visit Grandmother and Granddaddy, and part of the initiation ritual for one's first stay at The Camp was a prohibition on using the indoor plumbing if one had never used the outhouse. Once you used the outhouse, you were permitted access to the indoor toilet.

I do not know why, but my grandparents, and everyone else for that matter, called the outhouse "Miss Murphy." I don't know who the real Miss Murphy was, or what she did to Grandmother to cause Grandmother to so name the outhouse at The Camp, but before we got plumbing going to the bathroom was referred to as "going to visit Miss Murphy." Aunt Carrie, Grandmother's eldest sister, painted a portrait of the outhouse that is on display in the cabin's living room to this day.

It is sad to see the old girl in such disrepair. We turn the water off in the winter so the pipes don't freeze, and it would be useful to have a functional Miss Murphy for the occasional winter cabin visit. Unfortunately, it is now rare that we visit the cabin in the dead of winter, and rebuilding Miss Murphy doesn't make financial sense with the cabin having so many other needs. I wanted to take a few photos, one of which I've posted here, to document this scatological bit of Ogle family history.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Professor Don Paine

One of my favorite law school professors, Don Paine, was recently honored by the Supreme Court of Tennessee for his long service assisting the Court in promulgation of the procedural rules under which our court system operates. I was a procedure geek from my first exposure to the subject, and I took Evidence from Professor Paine at the University of Tennessee School of Law.
Professor Paine played guitar in class, and he frequently used a large stuffed panda as a prop for cross examination. One of my favorite single classes of law school was when we had Evidence class at the pool at Londontown Apartments where I lived at the time. Professor Paine brought Buddy Bear, and bought food to feed all of us for what turned out to be an day-long event. I remember sitting on the stairs of the pool in the shallow end taking my notes on the edge of the pool.
Though a fun person, Professor Paine is a serious and talented lawyer and teacher who has influenced, in one way or another, every attorney in Tennessee. I am proud to be able to say that I am one of his students. Congratulations, Professor Paine!

Smokies Quarter

The United States Mint is going to coin a new set of quarters to commemorate our national parks, and a quarter honoring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be released in 2014.

Some More Estill Springs Photos

When visiting Estill Springs, we usually eat breakfast at Samples Family Restaurant, which used to be known as Pat's Place. They make a wonderful omelet, and have good hash browns and biscuits and gravy. I tried their country fried steak and gravy Sunday morning before we headed back to East Tennessee, and it was delicious.
In these two photos Sarah, Natalie and Grace (in order of size) pose in front of Samples Restaurant.

Another feature of our cabin that we loved as children is the king size bunk beds Grandmother designed and had built in the bedroom at the cabin. Sarah, and perhaps Natalie, are big enough to climb the ladder to the top bunk, but I think it would be a bit much for Gracie at three and a half years old, so we put the ladder on the top bunk, rendering it off limits. Sarah really wanted to climb up there, but the three girls made do with playing movie theater in the bottom bunk with a portable DVD player after we hung a sheet from the top bunk.

Edible Schoolyard at Bellevue Middle School

There is an article this morning in the Nashville City Paper saying that Bellevue's Metro Councilman wants to help create an edible schoolyard at Bellevue Middle School, which Joey and Jake attend. The idea is that the kids learn to grow food in the schoolyard and learn how to cook it in school. Fort Craig School, where Sarah attends kindergarten, has a nice garden, which is mostly flowers, but there are also pumpkins and apple trees.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gym Night

Sherry and Sarah are at Sarah's Tuesday evening gymnastics class. Sarah has complained of a tummy ache all day, but she said she wanted to go to gym this evening. She has an appetite, so we're hoping for the best.

Playing in the Creek

The creek at The Camp is a joyous place to be a child. It is about a foot or so deep at its deepest at our property, and it affords many wonders for adventuresome children. Kids can pretty much be entertained by giving them a bucket of water and a cup to pour out of it with. Give them a creek full of water, and they are in paradise. Sarah and Grace are cooling their feet in the cold water in this photo.
The government took part of Grandmother and Granddaddy's land at the cabin by eminent domain (i.e. condemnation) in order to build Rock Creek Road, which passes over Taylor Creek through this culvert. This occurred before I was born, so I don't remember the creek without the culvert, which to a child is very dark and mysterious. No little kid wants to go up in there alone, but they beg for an escorted trip. The photo above shows me taking Grace back downstream to our property after walking upstream through one of the three sections of the culvert.
Sarah spotted and caught this little salamander on Saturday. She kept it in a bucket for about an hour to observe and love on it. I convinced her that it should be returned to its family, and she released it back into the creek as I sang "Born Free."
The last three shots are of Grace, sporting one of my favorite dresses of Sarah's that we handed down to her, and Sarah, in an orange tie dye dress I bought for her at a conference in Savannah, Georgia, last summer. The little girl in the pink is my friend Johnny's daughter, Natalie.
When we were about this age, Laura, Leslie and I thought that just about every large rock in the creek was an island, and we named them. There is a rock ledge where we always put our chairs that became known as Sitting Island, and both of the last photos show it. The creek bed is about under about a foot or more of water here, but flooding in the past couple of years has piled up a bunch of small rocks, making a gentle slope that makes walking up out of the water easier for little kids.
Sarah and Natalie assist Grace up onto Sitting Island.