Sunday, February 28, 2010

Steamboat Sandwiches on Market Square

I had completely forgotten about Steamboat Sandwiches until I saw this post on the Sunsphere is Not a Wigshop blog. I haven't had a sandwich at Steamboat in years, but now there's one open on Market Square in Knoxville. Metro Pulse has more.

(C)old Men Survive

Fraz and I just got back to town from our camping excursion, and we had a great day in the mountains. As I suspected, there was plenty of firewood, though most of it was frozen solid and had to be melted and cooked dry. Once we got a fire going, though, we had a big one. We listened to the UT v. Kentucky men's basketball game on the radio, and cheered the Vols on as they upset No. 2 Kentucky 74-65.

There was snow on the ground when we got to Cades Cove yesterday morning around 10:00 a.m., but most of it melted during the day. Old Man Winter, however, pelted us with enough of a snow shower yesterday afternoon to turn the ground white again, and it was snowing when we loaded out at dawn. This was the kind of camp out that makes you appreciate your nice, warm home.

Pei Wei Asian Diner

Sherry took Grams out for her birthday dinner this weekend at Pei Wei Asian Diner in the Green Hills area of Nashville, and she really liked it. There's also one over in Knoxville on Parkside Drive.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

(C)old Men Camping

My brother-in-law Frazier, to whom we affectionately refer as "Uncle Fuzzy," and I are going to head up to Cades Cove for some camping today. The Cades Cove Loop Road is closing, and this is the last weekend it will be open until May so that it can be resurfaced. You can follow the link and find out more about the closure and the process they will be using to do the work. The closure doesn't affect the campground, though. is calling for temperatures in Gatlinburg to be in the low '40's today and high '20's tonight, and we may get some snow while we're up there.

Have we lost our minds?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Girl Scout Cookie Recall

According to the Girl Scout blog (Who knew there was such a thing?), the company that makes Girl Scout cookies has recalled certain lots of the Lemon Chalet Creme cookies. Sarah sold a few boxes of these, and the Girl Scout blog doesn't say what states are affected. It does list the lot numbers of the cookies, though.

Lights Out

The electricity went off in our neighborhood at about five o'clock this morning, which made getting ready this morning a bit problematic. I have a trusty little tent lamp that came in quite handy.

Snow on the Mountains

The bottom photograph is from the webcam at Look Rock tower, and it shows snow on the mountains, including Mount LeConte, which you can see nicely from the justice center parking lot. The top photograph is what it looks like on top of Mount LeConte, from Life on LeConte.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I heard recently week that the Hubble Space Telescope had captured an image that may show the aftermath of two asteroids colliding, and this is the image.

Ear Infection

Sarah, who has had an obvious sinus infection since last Friday, came home last night complaining that her ear was stopped up. I asked her if it hurt, and she replied, "Badly." She has not seemed to be in pain, but rather discomfort. I took her to the doctor this morning, and he opined that she had an ear and sinus infection and prescribed an antibiotic. He said she was not contagious and sent her back to school. I was pleased to get her back in time for her class field trip to Metro Pizza.

A Bit of Snow on the Avenue

When I got up this morning around 5:30, there wasn't any snow on the ground or coming down. Since then, we've had a light snow shower and now have a bit of snow on the ground and on Forest Avenue in front of our house. I moved the cars to the street as our rather steep driveway began to turn white.

Jake and Joey to Have School Days Lengthened

The Metro Nashville school board voted on Tuesday to extend the school day for Metro schools by thirty minutes from March 8 through April 28 to make up for unplanned snow days. I expected that they would take days from spring break or extend the school year. I'm not sure whether Joey and Jake will have to go to school earlier or stay at school later, but either option sounds like a bummer from a kid's point of view.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Window Work

Space Shuttle Endeavor landed safely earlier this week, having completed its penultimate mission, which included installation of the cupola space windows pictured above.

The Center Formerly Known as Sommet

One of the main entertainment venues in Nashville, the Sommet Center, will soon have yet another new name inasmuch as Bridgestone, the tire company, has purchased the naming rights. When I moved to Nashville in 2002, the place was called the Gaylord Entertainment Center, and it was called the Nashville Arena before that. The football stadium where the Tennessee Titans play has changed names several times as well. Where's the tradition? I hope they don't change the Ryman Auditorium's name.

Nosh and Tel Aviv

The Nosh and Tell bloggers are abroad and are posting about some unusual (at least to me) food. The red stuff is Shakshuka, which is a spicy tomato sauce that one cracks eggs into. You serve the dish once the eggs are poached.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New September 11 Photographs

I recently learned that some new photographs of the horror in New York City on September 11, 2001, had been made public. ABC obtained them from the government through a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The ABC slideshow of the photographs is here.

End of a Gray Tuesday

We have had a very gray, cold and gloomy day with a constant drizzle, and snow is back in the forecast for tomorrow night through Thursday. Sherry and I have been distributing Sarah's Girl Scout cookies, and we had a couple of moms stop by this evening to pick up their daughters' supplies of cookies, so our living room is starting to clear out. Sherry has taken Sarah to her gymnastics class, and I await their return.

Wiggle Stereoscopy

Check out the cool 3d images, which were created using a technique called wiggle stereoscopy.

Audiobook Review: Inventing a Nation by Gore Vidal

I am just finishing up an audiobook, Inventing a Nation, by Gore Vidal. It is the author's take on the founding generation, and he has a rather cynical view. I understand that it is a historian's role to see historical figures as real people living real lives, but Vidal seems to take delight at taking shots at Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and especially John Adams. It was interesting, but I'm ready to move on to something more pleasant.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Welcome to Girl Scout cookie central. Sherry accepted delivery of Sarah's Daisy Scout troop's entire inventory of cookies earlier this afternoon, and this is what all of those boxes of cookies look like in their cases all over our living room. Sarah sold a bunch of them at the justice center. I'll be popular when I deliver them tomorrow!

Coulter Grove Groundbreaking, Take Two

They broke ground again at the site of Coulter Grove Intermediate School, where Sarah will likely attend middle school, or what we called junior high school in my day. The project was halted over a year ago because of financing problems, but federal stimulus money has made it possible to resume construction. The construction is expected to be complete in October 2011.

Washington's Birthday

George Washington was born 278 years ago today. Perhaps the greatest gift the Father of His Country gave us was his voluntary surrender of power to return to the life of a farmer at Mount Vernon. George III famously said Washington would be the "greatest man in the world" if he did so. He did, and he was.

Abbey Road Update

EMI, the company that owns the Abbey Road recording studio, has announced that the studio is not for sale, though it says it is looking for ways to make the studio more profitable. The company suffered a 1.57 billion dollar lost last year, and that launched speculation that the studio might be sold, as well as efforts to save the British landmark.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Finished Product

Here's what the breakfast casserole looked like when it came out of the oven this morning. I like the sausage version, but I think the consensus was that we like the original recipe with cubed ham the best.

Sherry should be on her way home from meeting Mark in Cookeville. Sarah, who has a bad cough and runny nose, and I have had a quiet Sunday so far. Molly the cat is on her bed, so Sarah has been hanging out with her there.

I'm still a little freaked out that Joey's voice is changing, though I suppose I shouldn't be since the boys are fourteen. I came into their lives when they were about a year younger than Sarah is now. Those boys are growing up fast, and so is their little sister!

My Name Tag

I worked for three and a half years at a McDonald's when I was a teen, and when I left that job I vowed I would never wear a name tag again. I go to conferences from time to time where they hand out name tags, and I usually toss them in the trash can on the theory that if someone wants to know my name they can ask me. I know what I'm going to do with the next one I get. (From Things I Think are Kinda Cool)

If you have no idea of who Inigo Montoya is, click here.

Centennial Park Renovations

According to the Tennessean, Nashville's Centennial Park is to be renovated. The park's central attraction, the Parthenon, was renovated some years ago, but other features in the park need attention.

Sunday Breakfast Casserole

I just put a breakfast casserole in the oven. I used our usual recipe, but substituted a pound of sausage for the ham and added a layer of fresh mushrooms. I've wanted to try sausage in this recipe for a while, so I await the finished product with great anticipation.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cold on LeConte

The hoar frost looks beautiful and cold on Mount LeConte.

Big Time Under the Big Top

We just ordered three tickets to the Jimmy Buffett Under the Big Top Tour show in Nashville on May 1. It will be Sherry's first Buffett show, and Sarah's first live concert, unless you count Disney on Ice or the Wiggles. I think I can make it right on through this cold winter, after all.

Tennessean Interviews Buffett

The Tennessean interviewed Jimmy Buffett, and it was published online yesterday. He misses Starwood Amphitheater, too. Buffett said, "Well, they closed the great outdoor amphitheater. What a stupid thing that was." Amen.

Jake and Joey Arrive

The Brothers Ferrelli arrived last night. Sherry met Mark in Cookeville, and she and Joey and Jake made it here about 8:30 last night. Sarah assisted me in making meatloaf and mashed potatoes yesterday evening while we waited for them.

The Nintendo Wii continues to be a success, and Sarah's in the living room at the moment engaged in a fierce sword fight. The kids and Sherry were still playing it when I went to sleep last night.

Friday, February 19, 2010

More Nashville Jimmy Buffett News

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, a restaurant, retail and performance venue, is coming to Nashville. It will occupy the old Planet Hollywood building downtown, and is expected to open by the end of 2010. I've only been to two of them, the original store down in Key West shortly after it opened in the '80's, and the new one down in Panama City, Florida, the summer before last. I look forward to seeing what the Nashville version will have to offer.

Persian Meat Loaf

When Sherry and I went to Los Angeles several years ago, her friend shared some Persian food with us. My favorite was a skewered ground beef dish that I called Persian meatloaf. I discovered this recipe for Kafta, or Kofta, on I wonder if this is my Persian meatloaf?

New Music Store in the Old City

Knoxville has a new music shop, featuring vinyl records and musical instruments, in the Old City. The store is called the Hot Horse, and is a collaborative effort that includes several different retailers. It looks very inviting from this photograph from The Sunsphere is Not a Wigshop.

I miss Roy's Record Store and Tommy Covington Music Store in downtown Maryville. I bought one of my acoustic guitars from Roy and Alma, and used to like to walk down the street from the office to pick up a new CD every now and then. They had quite an extensive collection of vinyl records, and I bought a few vintage records there as well, though I am sad to say that I now have no functioning turntable to play them on. I got to know Alma better than Roy, since Roy was usually otherwise occupied when I was in the store.

The Covington store was operated by Jimmy Ross, and I usually bought my guitar strings there, since the store was even closer than Roy's. Jimmy closed after Roy and Alma did, though I think he still has inventory to liquidate.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wii Report

My womenfolk love the Nintendo Wii. Sarah is a vicious sword fighter!

JFG Building

I remember reading that the company that was converting the JFG Building in Knoxville into apartments was repainting the building and keeping the JFG logo and sign. Knoxify posted this photograph showing the finished product.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wii, Wii, Wii, All the Way Home

The Nintendo Wii Sherry and I bought as our Valentine's Day/Anniversary present to each other arrived today, and we have it set up in our living room. We anticipate that Jake and Joey will show us the ropes this weekend. In the meantime, Sherry and Sarah are downstairs experimenting with this strange machine.

Funky Tut

King Tut is back in the news in reports that say he had a cleft palate and a club foot, and that he probably died from a badly broken leg and malaria. Also, there is evidence that his parents were brother and sister. "He gave his life for tourism."

Down on the Farmville

Sherry and Sarah have been hooked on Farmville, and a number of other games on Facebook, for months now. We are not the only family affected by this, it seems. (Via Michael Silence)

For Sale: Abbey Road

EMI, the company that owns Abbey Road, the famous recording studio, put it up for sale yesterday. Most people think of the Beatles when they think of Abbey Road, but Pink Floyd also recorded Dark Side of the Moon there.

Mardi Gras Report

I took a look at the New Orleans Times-Picayune website this morning to see how Fat Tuesday went yesterday. There are a lot of fun, colorful pictures, and as one might expect, the good people of New Orleans are making this Mardi Gras a celebration of the Saints' victory in the Super Bowl.

Ash Wednesday


Today is Ash Wednesday. says, "Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption."

Window on the World

This is a view looking out the new observatory windows on the International Space Station. Two astronauts opened the shutters yesterday during a space walk. What you are seeing through the windows is the Sahara Desert.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Your Mom's Love

Is there anything more awesome?

Buffett to Play Nashville

I've been hoping Jimmy Buffett would play a concert somewhere nearby on a weekend so we can go see it, and he has obliged me by booking a show for Saturday, May 1, 2010, at the Sommet Center in Nashville. The last time I saw Buffett live was 2003, so it's about time! This is good news for a cold, snowy February day.

Doug Fieger Dies

Doug Fieger, the lead singer of the Knack died Sunday of cancer at the age of 57. The Knack was a one-hit wonder band known for the song "My Sharona" in 1979. The New York Times reports that Sharona is now a realtor in California specializing in expensive properties.

UPDATE: I did not know that Dr. Kevorkian's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, and Doug Fieger, are brothers.

Snowbird Flies in Nashville

Davidson County schools are closed today for snow, so Joey and Jake get to sleep in today. The Nashville NBC affiliate, WSMV, has a mascot, Snowbird, for winter weather. When schools are closing for winter weather, "Snowbird is flying."

While Snowbird may be flying in Nashville, he is waddling in Blount County. We only got a dusting, and all three Blount County school systems are open for business. I'm ready for some warm weather and sunshine.

Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday, the height of Mardi Gras. I've been to New Orleans, but not during Mardi Gras. I've had King Cake, though.

A Day off in Space

The crews of the International Space Station and Shuttle Endeavor have some down time today after relocating this docking port yesterday. There is another space walk scheduled for tonight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Winter Weather

We have another winter weather system moving through East Tennessee at this hour. From the images they are showing on television, Knoxville and points north and west of here have some pretty good snow accumulation, but we've mainly been getting rain here in Maryville, though some snow is starting to fall with it. Sarah's school and the county government are closed today for Presidents Day, so Sarah and I have the day off anyway. Unless the weather takes a turn for the worse, it looks like Sherry will be heading for work.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stupid Pet Tricks

If this is a sign from the Egyptian god Horus, I'm not sure what it means. Here, the Horus in our aquarium has his wings cleaned by our pair of Plecostomi this morning. They also serve as a new pair of aquatic wings for the ancient diety.

Baking Biscuits

I helped Sarah bake a batch of biscuits this afternoon. She is a bread lover, and worked hard kneading and rolling out the dough.

Buttery goodness!

Happy Anniversary!


Sherry and I celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary today. We were married by Judge DeLozier in his courtroom in the Blount County Justice Center on Valentine's Day in 2002. We rented tuxedos for Jake and Joey, and they wore red bow ties and red cummerbunds with them. Happy anniversary to my beautiful bride!

Only a Master of Evil, Darth

I have to admit, kittens with light sabres are kinda cool.

Happy (Geeky) Valentine's Day!


My Mom shared Max Ehrmann's Desiderata with me when I was in my early 20's, or perhaps earlier, and I find that it comes as close as possible to stating how I try to live my life. I've been asked to recite it at two weddings. I just learned that Ehrmann was an attorney, which pleases me. Here is his prose:
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Cheeseburger Quiche

They say real men don't eat quiche, but I am secure enough in my masculinity to admit I've enjoyed quiche when I've tried it. Sherry and I have a recipe that bills itself as quiche, but it has no crust. I've started calling it a breakfast casserole. I've been meaning to try my hand at making a real quiche, but haven't quite made the leap. I like the look of this cheeseburger quiche from The Noble Pig, but I think I'd like to try a more conventional recipe when I get around to cooking my first quiche.

Now, I think I'll go out back and chop some firewood and chew some tobacco, so no one will think I'm a sissy.

A Red Hat and A Red Bird

Mom and Les and Fraz came over yesterday to visit. Mom came to us after attending a meeting of the Red Hat Society in Knoxville, so she was suitably attired as you can see from the photograph below. Sarah liked the hat.

Sherry, Les and Sarah

Mom poses in her red hat and pants.

I took this picture of a cardinal in the ornamental cherry tree in our front yard shortly after filling the bird feeders. The photograph doesn't fully capture how red this guy was, especially against the dull winter colors in our yard.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flee From the Robot Menace!

We've been cleaning the house in anticipation of company later this afternoon, and have unleashed our robot vacuum cleaner. I just came upstairs to get an envelope, and found both the cats up here hiding from the robot. Luckily for them, the robot hasn't been programmed to climb stairs.

Strange Bear Video

Check out this video showing a three-legged bear walking upright. Strange!

Nashville 99

The Nashville Scene's Pith in the Wind blog has a post about a short-lived television show called Nashville 99 that debuted, and died, in 1977. It featured Claude Akins, Jerry Reed and Charlie Pride, and the opening sequence shows some cool old photographs of downtown Nashville. Sherry will get a kick out of this.

More Fun With Graphs

Michael Silence provides this guidance about the Cartoon Dora the Explorer. A couple of years ago I had some fun making graphs for grins.

Friday, February 12, 2010



A photograph from earlier today from Life on LeConte.

Snow Cat

Since I'm showcasing our cats today on Boongablogger, here is Molly, who is still outside freezing her little paws off out on our back deck, and a view of the trees gathering snow.


Above, Molly and behind her, Emma, relax at the foot of our bed. Below, Molly finds comfort on Sarah's Sorry game, much to Sarah's annoyance.