Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sweet Potatoes and Bacon and Onions

I never thought about putting bacon or onion in sweet potatoes, but I like the idea.

UPDATE: Here's another recipe pairing bacon and sweet 'taters.

Monday, November 29, 2010

R.I.P. Leslie Nielson

Leslie Nielson, best known for his performances in Airplane! and The Naked Gun movies, died yesterday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at age 84. He gave us a lot of laughs.

Battle of Fort Sanders

The Battle of Fort Sanders was fought on November 29, 1863. Union forces under Ambrose Burnside held the fort against a Confederate attack commanded by James Longstreet.

I lived on the hill where the battle occurred when I was a freshman in college, and on Sunday morning after a UT home game it sometimes looked like a battle zone.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shrimp Creole

We've been eating Thanksgiving leftovers all weekend, pretty much for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we needed a break from turkey sandwiches, so Sherry made a batch of Shrimp Creole for us to enjoy today.

Shrimp Creole

1 lb. shrimp (medium to large)
½ cup chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup dried parsley
½ chopped bell pepper 3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup water
2 cups chopped tomatoes (28 oz. can)
1 cup tomato sauce (15 oz. can)
½ tsp. Tabasco
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cups rice

Saute shrimp, onion, garlic, celery and parsley in olive oil. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, Tabasco, salt, water and Worcestershire sauce and simmer five minutes. Cook on high to thicken for thirty minutes. Serve over rice.

Forgot About Football Traffic

We planned a visit to Knoxville yesterday to see the Fantasy of Trees, to check out Mast General Store and to have lunch at the Crown and Goose. Unfortunately, I forgot all about football traffic for the UT v. Kentucky game, so we drove to Knoxville, drove around downtown fruitlessly looking for parking and then gave up and drove back to Maryville, where we met some friends for lunch at Chili's at Hamilton Crossing, which was fun. They had the game on in the restaurant, and I got to see the second half back at home. It was a fun game to watch, especially since the Vols won, giving them an opportunity to play in a bowl game and finish with a decent season with so many young players.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fall on the Gulf of Mexico

I sent my friend Randy, who lives on the panhandle of Florida in Mary Esther, which is between Destin and Pensacola, an e-mail to wish him a happy Thanksgiving, and he sent back this report from his latest sailing adventure. The poor fellow has such a boring life. I've shared his e-mail below, and it describes the photos he took.

Hey Steve.
Sorry it took me so long to reply. Living it up is taking up all of my time. The cool weather has been wonderful, around 75 in the day, 55 at night, a break from the heat. It’s like outside air conditioning, which has encouraged many multi-day sailing trips. The latest to Pensacola Naval Air Station for an air show. It was a great adventure.
I left Friday at 8:00 a.m., by my lonesome. Sailed the intercoastal all the way to PNS. Anchored in front of the Naval Air station Light house. Arrived at 2:00 p.m., just in time to watch the Blue Angles from the boat. Met up with some old friends that are Naval and Coast Guard pilots who had a camp site on the base. The night led into bonfires on the beach. We grilled oysters, fish, shrimp and other seafood, and told lots of good stories, some of which are doubtful. Why ruin a good story when you can exaggerate about one?
The next day we made our way to the airbase to watch the air show landside. Awesome is all I can say about it. Again night time fell into the same as the night before with a larger crowd. Lots of fun. Sunday I set out to sail home but decided to go our through the Pensacola Pass to sail the Gulf eastward along the coast. I trolled, and caught lots of fish including a swordfish. First time I ever caught one of those.. Made it back to port around 4:00 p.m.
JPG 730: view from my boat
JPG 423: Blue Angles
JPG 013: one tired sailor heading home
Peace Out,
Captain Randy
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. –Mark Twain

Lawyer Dreams

I awoke this morning from a dream about cross-examining some guy in court about a dispute with his neighbor. It is hard to believe it has been over a year since I have examined a witness in court. I miss it.

Thanksgiving Feast

Here are a few photos of some of the dishes in yesterday's Thanksgiving feast.

We decided not to serve the cat.

Mayflower II

After recently visiting replicas of Christopher Columbus's Nina and Pinta during their stay in Knoxville, I wondered if there is a replica of the Mayflower, the ship that brought the Pilgrims to the New World. Sure enough, the Mayflower II, pictured above, is at Plimoth Plantation, an interpretive museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The original Mayflower, which took the Pilgrims to Massachusetts in 1621 did not fare so well. It fell into disrepair by 1624, and was likely sold for scrap.

You Can Get Anything You Want . . .

It was forty-five years ago today that Arlo Guthrie was arrested for littering on Thanksgiving Day in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The photograph is of the church where Alice and Ray lived and decided they didn't have to take out the garbage for a long time (It is now The Guthrie Center.), and if you have no idea what any of this means, listen to Arlo play his most famous song.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Remembering Grandmother Ogle

My Grandmother Ogle, who was born Willie J. Spencer, died on Thanksgiving six years ago today. I would be thinking of her anyway today, since she presided over most of the Thanksgiving dinners in my life at her home on North Jefferson Street in Winchester, Tennessee. Among the many things I am thankful for is a loving family, which I have been and continue to be blessed with.

Vader Explained

Vader must have ditched this Thanksgiving scene for ours. This came from Geek Dad, where there is a list of ten geeky things to be thankful for. At the top of the list is news about the film The Hobbit, which is appropriate since Gandalf is carving the turkey.

Let Us Be Thankful

Who invited Darth Vader? Sherry put this together last night in Photoshop. I hope the fire-breathing turkey in San Francisco Bay doesn't see this.

We're Having Ham

This is disturbing.

Restaurant Review -- Cheddar's Casual Cafe, Alcoa, Tennessee

Sherry and Sarah and I had lunch yesterday at the new Cheddar's restaurant at Hamilton Crossing. I've heard good things about the place since it opened a few months ago, and this was my first visit, though Sherry had been there before. I've been meaning to try a Monte Cristo Sandwich for a while, so when I saw it on the menu I ordered one. It was very rich, but delightful. Sherry ordered the Buffalo Chicken Wrapper, which she let me sample, and it was really good, too. (Sarah ate lunch at school earlier, so she just ate Sherry's fries.) The service was good, considering how busy they were, and the tab was about $21.00 plus tip. I want to go back and try their Shepherd's Pie.

The First Thanksgiving

The Englishmen and women we now know in the United States as the Pilgrims, left Plymouth, England, in September 1621 bound for North America. When they arrived in what is now Massachusetts, they shared a harvest feast with members of the Wampanoag tribe, and this is generally regarded as the First Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

My sister Laura, her husband Stewart, and their daughter, Grace, are hitting the road today to drive to Hamilton, Ontario, pictured above. Stewart has a sister that lives there, and they are driving up there to visit her and her family.

Jake and Joey are also on the road this Thanksgiving, traveling to Destin, Florida, with their dad to attend his wedding. It is supposed to be in the mid-seventies over the next several days, so they should have good weather during their stay.

We're staying close to home for the long weekend. We're hosting Mom and Leslie and Frazier for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and we're responsible for sweet potatoes, Sherry's cranberry gelatin salad, deviled eggs and a pecan pie. We'll start preparations after work this afternoon.

Oh, My My

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Check out Ghosts of Amsterdam, a series of photographs of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, taken in 1945 and superimposed over photographs of the same place in the present day. This one shows the city's parade on June 29, 1945, celebrating its liberation by the Allies. I visited Amsterdam with my family in 2000, and it is a very cool city.

Happy Birthday Boris Karloff

Today is the birthday of Boris Karloff, who was born on November 23, 1887, in London. He died at the age of 81.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mararitaville Nashville Opens Today

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Nashville opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:00 a.m. central time, and the restaurant will begin serving lunch at 11:00 a.m. I've visited the Margaritaville in Panama City a couple of times, and enjoyed the experience both times, and I went to the original Margaritaville in Key West when it was the only one that existed. I look forward to seeing the Nashville version at 233 Broadway, which is the building where Planet Hollywood used to be. (In Nashville all directions must include a reference to a business that no longer exists.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sarah's Birthday Party

Here are a few photographs from Sarah's birthday party last Saturday at Foothills Gymnastics. Jake drove us home. It is going to take me a while to get used to seeing that boy behind the wheel of an automobile.
Boys will be boys.

Sherry and I pose for the camera.

Sarah's birthday had a cat (specifically a Maneki Neko) theme this year. Her guests took home gift bags, which included a little Maneki Neko.

The birthday girl pauses from her workout to smile for the camera, the little ham!

A Quiet Weekend So Far

Mom and I picked Sarah up from school on Friday so that the two of them could have a sleepover at Mom's place in Knoxville. Sherry and I had a quiet supper at a new Mexican restaurant, El Tapatio, in Midland Plaza where the Cuban restaurant used to be. Before that, it was an Italian restaurant, Alexandro's, and It still feels like Alexandro's when you walk into the place. We enjoyed out meal, and were served within five minutes of placing our order. Our supper cost us about $25.00 plus tip.

I picked Sarah up from Mom's early yesterday, and delivered her to Sherry at the Blount County Animal Shelter, where the girls have been volunteering on weekend mornings for several weeks now. (I note that the shelter has a nice new website.) Yesterday was the first Saturday the shelter has been open to the public, and from Sherry's report it sounded like they were quite busy.

The only productive thing I did yesterday was to make a batch of our Cheesy Potato Casserole, one of our favorite comfort foods. I had some bratwurst in the freezer, and cooked it in the oven with the casserole. Usually I cook link sausage in a frying pan on the stove, but I like the oven method much better.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Major General Fred Forster

Our community is mourning the loss of Major General Fred Forster, who passed away Thursday after a long battle with cancer. Major General Forster was known for his community involvement and leadership, and although I did not know him well, I have served with his wife, Carolyn, a delightful person, on the board of the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross. Our thoughts and prayers are with Carolyn and her family during this sad time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his most famous speech, which has become known as The Gettysburg Address, at the dedication of a cemetary where soldiers killed during the battle at Gettysburg were buried. It is a very short, but powerful speech. The photograph is of the Soldiers National Monument at Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Suddenly Seven

My daughter, Sarah, was born seven years ago today, and like most parents on their children's birthdays, I am astounded by how quickly she is growing up. In these photos, from top to bottom, she was two, 18 months and one.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Siege of Knoxville

On November 17, 1863, the Siege of Knoxville began, with Union forces commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside (right) occupying the city. Confederate forces commanded by Lieutenant General James Longstreet (left) attempted to take Fort Sanders, the Union fortification, but Longstreet gave up the siege on December 4.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

British Car Show in Nashville

Back in October, Nashville hosted a British car show at Centennial Park. Car Lust has details, and pictures of some cool, old cars. I wish we'd known about it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Space Aliens Visit Fort Craig School

Sarah performed this evening in a play at her school involving space aliens. She played an Earthling specializing in law enforcement. She had a visit to her doctor and a flu shot earlier in the afternoon, but she is getting better with shots, so she was in good spirits for the show, especially after a hearty supper at Los Amigos.

So You Want to Be an Evil Emperor?

I came across a list of 100 suggestions about how to be a successful evil overlord, which I might look into if being a lawyer ever becomes boring.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Birthday Celebration

Because Sarah's birthday falls on Thursday of next week, we're celebrating it this weekend with a party for her and the little girls in her class at Foothills Gymnastics, which is more commonly known as Tumblebears locally. Sherry drove to Cookeville yesterday to pick up Joey and Jake from their dad, and they got caught in traffic on the interstate that turned a three and a half hour trip into a five hour trip. Jake got up to go with the gals to the animal shelter, but Joey is still sleeping, though I have been directed to disturb his rest in about two minutes. After the event at Tumblebears, we're meeting Mom and La and Les at the house to further celebrate all three birthdays, since L&L share November 18 with Sarah. I have a batch of Santa Fe Soup cooking in the crock pot to feed everyone.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Nina and Pinta

Here are a few photographs I took of the replicas of the Nina and Pinta over in Knoxville. They are painted all over with pitch, which is, well, pitch black. I now have first-hand experience of where that expression came from. I was surprised at how tiny these vessels were, and I was impressed at the courage of the men who sailed in them to North America from Europe. I was also a surprised to learn from the literature they handed out that Columbus never really cared for his flagship, the Santa Maria.

James Ellis Ogle

I have one last item for Veterans Day. I have been on a family history kick for the past couple of weeks learning about my mom's family. On a whim yesterday I searched on Google for my second great grandfather, James Ellis Ogle, who died in Tullahoma, Franklin County, Tennessee, which is also where my father died. I discovered a website that says that he served in the 37th Tennessee Infantry in the Civil War, and I recognize him from some old family photographs that my grandmother kept in a green box. In fact, I'm pretty sure a couple of the photos from the website are in that box.

I have Ogle genealogical information from one of my cousins that traces my lineal ancestors back to John Ogle, who came to Delaware from England in the 1600's, and some of the dates and other information that I have does not match up with what is on the website. However, I believe it is still the same James Ellis Ogle. (My grandfather, William Ellis Ogle, always went by "Ellis," partly because my grandmother, who was born Willie J. Spencer, went by "Bill.")

Breakfast Sandwich

How about a BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato) sandwich? (The recipe and more lovely photos are at Kiss My Spatula.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Barry Long

My friend, Barry Long, and I met each other as students at Rocky Hill Elementary School across the river in West Knoxville. Barry has done three tours of duty in Iraq, and has recently returned to his family in Knoxville. I know I have some photographs of Barry in full combat gear, but I haven't been able to find them, so I've posted one of him in his civilian attire. He visited us in Nashville when he was training nearby, and showed us a lot of photographs he took in Iraq, including some of Saddam Hussein's former Presidential Palaces.

I can't hardly stand to be away from Sherry and Sarah for a couple of days to attend a conference, and I can't imagine what a sacrifice it is to be separated from one's family for a year or more, much less to do so in a foreign land where people are trying to kill you. I sent Barry an e-mail this morning to wish him a happy Veterans Day and to thank him for his service, but I will also do so here publicly. Thanks, buddy, for keeping us safe!

More Veterans Day

Visit No Silence Here for some excellent military music on the acoustic guitar, and then take a look at some video of soldiers being greeted by their dogs and kids after returning from duty, and have a box of tissue handy.

Also, read about a hero from Maryville who died this fall, and a hero from Nashville, who saved a town from the Nazis and recently received the French Medal of Honor and the gratitude of the town he saved.

The Arlington Ladies

I have family in Washington, DC, so I'm rather surprised I had not heard of the Arlington Ladies until I read this article, which I found on Mental Floss. According to the article,

These volunteer women are known as "The Arlington Ladies." They attend every funeral at Arlington to ensure, first and foremost, that no soldier is ever buried with no one in attendance, and second, to serve the needs of family members, whether they are present at the funeral or not.

Bobby Calvin Cloninger

My mother's brother, Bobby Calvin Cloninger, served as a gunner on a ship in the Pacific theater in World War II. He was twelve years older than she was, and was only nineteen when the war ended. He returned to Hickory, North Carolina, with tales of blood washing back and forth across the deck of his ship, and of a Japanese Zero hitting his gun turret and killing everyone up there but him. He was born 1n 1926, and died in 1991.

Clyde Frazier

My brother-in-law, Steve Frazier, who is married to my sister, Leslie, asked me to recognize his father, Clyde Frazier, a combat veteran of World War II, this Veterans Day. Frazier's dad fought the Nazis and was a prisoner of war in Germany during the war. He returned from the war and purchased property on Chapman Highway in Knoxville, where with his wife he raised identical twin sons, Steve and Roger. I regret that I did not know him.

UPDATE: I'd hoped Fraz would share a photograph of his dad. He provided the image above, and my sister adds this:
Frazier is especially sentimental, patriotic … and proud of his papa today! Frazier has his father’s canteen from when he was captured. Also, he was a foot soldier in the infantry under Patton before he was taken prisoner.

P.S. In the pic, the triangle box contains the flag that was draped over his casket…a present from Stephanie…very cool!

Les calls Fraz by his surname because everyone else does, and because he and I share the first name Steve. His daughter, Stephanie, lives here in Maryville.

Veterans Day

The War to End All Wars, which we now call World War I, ended with an armistice that went into effect on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m. The anniversary of the end of that war became a holiday called Armistice Day, a holiday to honor those who fought in the Great War. In 1954 the holiday became Veterans Day, a day during which Americans honor the veterans of all of our wars. The photograph depicts American soldiers in France two minutes before the armistice that ended World War I went into effect.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Got His Permit

Here's Jake displaying his learners permit and behind the wheel of Sherry's car.

Exploding Star

Here is an exploding star from the Hubble Space Telescope.