Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall In Middle Tennessee

For their sixteenth birthday Grams bought Jake and Joey tickets to fly in a biplane, and Sherry joined them in Nashville this weekend for the big event. Sarah and I met Leslie and Fraizer out at our family cabin in Estill Springs. It was a perfect fall weekend, although it was pretty chilly. We were very satisfied with ourselves after having a rick of firewood (cured oak and hickory) delivered to the old place, and we stayed quite warm thereafter. Sarah was on a firewood gathering mission all weekend, and her efforts provided us with plenty of kindling. I am sad to report that the door has now fallen off of the outhouse, also known as "Miss Murphy." I would love to know who Miss Murphy actually was, and what the poor woman did to cause Grandmother to name an outhouse after her.

A cold October night overlooking the creek will make one appreciate a cheerful fire inside.

Frazier and Sarah, the latter in a snit at the moment, sit by the fireplace with Sarah's Cat-O-Lantern.

The tree service that dropped the tree that was threatening to fall on the house quoted us their $175.00 minimum to cut the tree that fell parallel to the creek into two foot segments. It is a lot bigger than it appears in this picture, and it will be worth it to us to have it cut up so we can burn it in our fire pit down below.

No trip to the Camp is complete without at least one rainy night. There is no better sleep than sleeping under a pile of covers on the king size top bunk at the cabin with rain hitting the roof just three feet from you. The Boong quickly fell under its spell Friday night.

That's No Pumpkin

Behold the Death Star pumpkin! The link takes you to a website that shows how to do it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reading Group

Pictured above from top and then counter-clockwise are Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. This is no doubt from the set of the 1964 film Comedy of Terrors.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spookiness From New Orleans

These photographs are from Saint Louis Cemetary Number One in New Orleans. We hired a guide from Haunted History Tours, and we weren't disappointed. We took the earliest tour, and there were maybe ten people in our group. Our cost for two adults and one child, age seven, was $50.00, plus tip.

This is the desecrated grave of Marie Laveau.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creature From the Black Lagoon

I always thought the Creature from the Black Lagoon was pretty creepy.

Statue of Liberty 125th Birthday

Today is the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from France. The statue will close to the public tomorrow for renovations, which include installation of webcams.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Haunted New Orleans

According to Fodor's, the Lalaurie House is one of the most haunted buildings in a haunted area. We didn't see any ghosts there, but the Bourbon Orleans hotel, where we stayed is most definitely haunted by a rather flamboyant ghost.

Kids' Sports

We signed Sarah up for a running club at her school, and she started running this week. With soccer winding down we thought it would be a good way for her to stay active during the next few weeks. At first she protested, but after the first session she declared that she liked running club. Since her brothers both run cross-country at their high school all three kids are now running. Joey has also joined a Nashville basketball league.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pit Stop: Drive-Through South Knoxville Convenience Store

There's a little drive-through convenience store, the Pit Stop Drive-Thru, 3130 Circle Oak Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee, that is on our way to the Fuzzies' South Knoxville home. It is near the Weigles store at the intersection of John Sevier Highway and Old Maryville Pike. It is a metal building that you drive your car into to be waited on. You don't even have to get out your car. Michael Silence posted a film clip today from a local dad who was impressed by the operation.

Lugosi As Dracula

Although we seem to be overrun by vampires these days, none of these upstarts compare to Bela Lugosi's Dracula. Lugosi's son has a nice biography of his father on the official website.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Karloff As Frankenstein's Monster

Sarah loves the song "Monster Mash," and when she sings it she emulates Bobby "Boris" Pickett's imitation of Boris Karloff. Karloff is pictured here in the role he made famous, Frankenstein's monster.

To listen to "Monster Mash" on You Tube, click here. Or, if you prefer something heavier, click here for Edgar Winters' "Frankenstein" from They Only Come Out At Night.

Monday, October 24, 2011



The movie Hellraiser was the last horror movie I ever went to see, and one of the few I've seen that actually caused a nightmare. I used to really go for the horror genre as a kid and in my twenties, but as I've aged I find I don't enjoy the thrill of being frightened like I used to.

UPDATE: I just found out his last name is Spencer. I'm not going to sleep tonight.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lon Chaney, Sr., and Jr.

Lon Chaney, Sr., the Man Of a Thousand Faces, appeared as the Phantom in The Phantom Of the Opera in 1925. Mom insisted that we see the Andrew Lloyd Weber production when she took me to England in 1993. I tried to talk her out of it, but I'm glad we went. There aren't too many East Tennessee hillbillies who can see they saw The Phantom Of the Opera in Her Majesty's Theater in London. I still have the coffee cup with the disappearing mask. I grew up listening to rock and roll, but I admit that I enjoy "Music Of the Night."

Lon Chaney, Jr., appeared in the Universal Studios film The Wolf Man in 1941. Click here to hear Adam Sandler's cover of "Werewoves Of London" by Warren Zevon (via Miss Cellania).

Sarah At Sunset Ridge

When we were up at Sunset Ridge last weekend I took these pictures of Sarah in the back yard while we were waiting for Mark and the boys.

Presbytere Katrina and Mardi Gras Exhibits

When I visited the Presbytere in New Orleans in 1997, there was a small civil war submarine at its entrance. This time, there was a boat used to rescue people from the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. The lower floor of the building has a very moving Katrina exhibit. When you walk in the first thing you see is Fats Domino's ruined piano, and then you look up to find bottles and hands floating in the air above you giving you the feeling of being underwater and looking up at debris and hands reaching down to help you.

The high winds shredded part of this flag.

This pirogue was used to rescue Katrina survivors.

This garage door was particularly moving to me because of the note about the owner wanting to bury his family's dog, though their cats apparently survived. The exhibit explained a bit about the X-Codes shown here. One source says, "Investigation of the code revealed that this graphic is clearly prescribed by the Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force manuals. As I learned to decipher the codes, I found that each included a date, a time, an identification of the search unit, and sometimes other information about hazards encountered. Whether anyone was found, alive or not, was recorded in the bottom quadrant."

As I said, the Katrina exhibit was very moving. It is rather nice that after you move through a rather heavy exhibit, you enter a Mardi Gras exhibit to cheer you up. Even the doors to the rest rooms were kind of cool.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tough Game

Sarah had a soccer game this morning at 8:00 a.m., and she played goalie for the first quarter. The other team scored three goals on her, which upset her terribly. The coaches were both very supportive of her and appropriately attentive. She sat on the bench during the second quarter, composed herself and played well at another defensive position for the entire second half. After the game, I told her I was proud of her for shaking off her unhappy experience in the first quarter and coming back to help her team in the second half. If sports are a metaphor for life, she learned an important lesson during this morning's game.

Sherry Watches Star Trek

In an effort to show me the utility of her new I-Pad, Sherry watched the entire "Encounter At Farpoint" episode, the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with me last night. She has never watched an episode before, so I guess it makes sense to start with the first one, though there are several I think she would have liked better. I frequently tease her about actors in shows she likes having performed on the show, so she got revenge last night teasing me that various actors in "Encounter At Farpoint" had appeared in The Golden Girls and The Nanny.Link

Computer Recovery

Something fried my home computer several weeks ago, and I got it back last weekend after having the power source and hard drive replaced. Thankfully, they were able to save my Word documents, which included all of my legal forms, as well as my photographs. I got the Internet up and running on it last night, so I just have a couple more things to accomplish before it is fully back to normal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Battle of Trafalgar

On October 21, 1805, the British fleet under the command of Lord Admiral Nelson defeated the fleets of both Spain and France in the Battle of Trafalgar off the coast of Spain. I have had the pleasure of visiting Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory, in Southhampton, England, when Mom and I visited England in 1993. We also stayed in the same building in which he lodged before he departed for the battle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wild Animals, Including Qadaffi, Killed

I still usually get my first bit of morning news on television via NBC, and the story that caught my interest this morning was the terrible news from Ohio about the man who set a bunch of wild animals, including lions, tigers, wolves and bears, loose upon his neighbors before shooting himself dead. Most of the poor beasts were killed by local law enforcement so that they could not attack any humans. It was a wise decision, but I am sad for the poor creatures that had to die because of the actions of the person who was supposed to be taking care of them.

The big story of today, I learned online a little later this morning, was the death of Qaddafi in Sirte, Libya, where he was reportedly found cowering in a hole like Saddam Hussein was when he was captured. I viewed some of the online coverage from U.S. and international press sources, and some pretty gruesome photographs and video of Qaddafi shortly before and after his death were quickly available. I will no doubt watch television coverage tonight and in the days that follow, but at the moment all I know about this important story I learned online, which is a new experience for me.

Acorn Squash Parmesan

I learned to like acorn squash in my early twenties. The first time I had it was on Gregory's Bald in the Smokies on an overnight hiking trip. I remember when our group got up there the neighboring campers were just finishing their supper of Beefaroni, and they kindly offered us their leftovers, which we hungrily scarfed down. They asked us what we were having for supper, and we told them steak, shrimp, pasta with olive oil and acorn squash. They though we were nuts, but we had J.P., a friend of mine who is a graduate of the Hyde Park Culinary Institute, so we knew we were going to eat well. He even brought a chef's hat and apron.

I found a recipe for Parmesan-Roasted Acorn Squash, pictured above, on the Noble Pig. I may try to work it in during the holiday season.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cornwallis Surrenders At Yorktown

On October 19, 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army to General George Washington after the British were defeated by American and French forces at Yorktown.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Othodontist Report

Sarah's dentist recently referred us to an orthodontist, and she had her first appointment this afternoon. He is ready to put appliances on her upper teeth immediately, but his staff said it would be fine to wait until after the New Year, which will allow us to pay it through our flexible spending account and save a bit of money. The orthodontist expects that she will need this treatment for about a year, and then she will have appliances on all her teeth when she is ten or eleven. She will not have to have teeth extracted.

Swamp Tour

Sherry suggested that we take a swamp tour during our trip to New Orleans. The desk clerk at the hotel recommended the Cajun Encounters Honey Island Swamp tour, and said her children really enjoyed it. As you can see, they get you pretty close to the local wildlife. The big fellow coming up out of the water to fetch a Vienna sausage is called Brutus.

Sarah was pleased by the very fast motorboat ride.

Honey Island Swamp is full of cypress trees covered with Spanish moss. Our tour guide showed us that Spanish moss turns green when you put it in the water, and he told us that it can be cleaned off and used as stuffing for upholstery.

Here are a few photographs showing the part of the swamp we visited. The Pearl River and its tributaries flow through the swamp. The river was named by European explorers who found pearls littered along its banks, left there by Indians who were only interested in the oysters' shells and meat.

We saw a couple of these bridges in Louisiana. The huge rectangular concrete blocks are counter-weights that allow the bridge to rise to let boats through.

Sarah surfs on a 'gator's back.

Happy Birthday, Chuck Berry!

Guitar legend Chuck Berry was born on October 18, 1926. He is 85 today.