Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birthday Girl

Here is Sarah in her birthday tiara seated on her mother's lap.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I went out to get our newspaper Sunday morning just as the front that brought us all the rain we've had over the past two days came in, and the sky was absolutely beautiful, though these photographs do not capture the glory. I took the photograph of the rainbow over Alcoa looking north from the top of our driveway on Everett Hill, and I took the lower photograph of clouds at sunrise from the same spot, facing south toward the mountains.


I frequently order carnitas when I dine at a Mexican restaurant, so this recipe from Smitten Kitchen caught my eye. It sounds easy enough, and it would probably cook well in our Dutch oven. We love Mexican food, but rarely cook it at home, despite how easy it generally is to prepare, and perhaps because we are blessed by several good Mexican restaurants here in Blount County. (My favorite is Los Amigos.)

The gentle reader may also refer to the Homesick Texan for further carnitas knowledge.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Italian Grandmother's Lasagne

I recently discovered a new (to me) foodie blog, Almost Italian, and I may incorporate some of the suggestions from this recipe for lasagne into my next batch. Boiled eggs in lasagne seems counter-intuitive to me, but if an Italian grandmother does it I should try it. The post at the link also explains that the proper spelling of the dish is lasagne, lasagna being singular for one of the flat noodles in the casserole.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

High Resolution Global Topographic Map of the Moom

According to NASA,

The science team that oversees the imaging system on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has released the highest resolution near-global topographic map of the moon ever created.

This new topographic map, from Arizona State University in Tempe, shows the surface shape and features over nearly the entire moon with a pixel scale close to 100 meters (328 feet). A single measure of elevation (one pixel) is about the size of two football fields placed side-by-side.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cajun Beefaroni

Inspired by our recent trip to New Orleans, I plan to try out this recipe for Beefy Cajun Mac from Smoky Mountain Cafe. It is apparently a favorite pre-game meal for the New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees. This may impress Jake and Joey, who are Saints fans.

Friday, November 25, 2011

1949 Candy Advertising

I enjoyed perusing these images from a 1949 candy salesman's catalog. My Granddaddy Ogle was a salesman for a wholesale grocery outfit, Smotherman's, before he retired. This would have been right up his alley, I suspect, as he was a great lover of sweets.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

In October 1789 George Washington signed a proclamation declaring the first Thanksgiving under the new government created by the United States Constitution. This document set aside Thursday, November 26, as the day set aside for Thanksgiving, which we now celebrate on the fourth Thursday in November.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Is Mincemeat?

Sherry asked me this afternoon about mincemeat. I tried mincemeat pie once, and I remember it being like pecan pie, which is this Southerner's favorite dessert. I told her that mincemeat did not actually have meat in it, but I subsequently found out that it once did. Wikipedia has mincemeat recipes from the 16th century and the 19th century that call for beef.

2011 Nashville British Car Club Show

It is not everyday one sees a bobby on the grounds of Centennial Park in Nashville, but here's one guarding the Parthenon during the recent 2011 Nashville British Car Club Show. Car lust has much more.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

1953 Hudson Jet

For more photographs of this fine old automobile visit Car Lust.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Breaking Down a Door

Since a fireman is pictured in the diagram, I will stifle the urge to suggest obtaining a warrant as a necessary first step, though as a former prosecuter the temptation is there. This handy guide is from the Art of Manliness.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winding Down the Birthday Weekend

We had Sarah's birthday party yesterday morning at Michael's craft store, and it was a success. The kids made Christmas ornaments and ate cupcakes, while the adults tried to avoid getting covered with glue and glitter. At Sarah's request, we had lunch at Gatti's Pizza, which I still call Mr. Gatti's, as it was known in the distant past. We sometimes also refer to it as "Mr. Eddie's," as Sarah referred to it when she first went there.

We met Laura, Stewart and Grace, and my friend, Mike, and his family at Gatti's, and enjoyed hanging out and catching up with Mike and his wife, Julie. Mom came over later yesterday afternoon to visit and discuss Thanksgiving plans, and also to dispense birthday loot to Sarah, who has pulled in a pretty good haul on her eighth birthday. Leslie and Frazier are also planning on dropping by this afternoon for a visit and to dispense yet more birthday loot.

Sherry is helping her friend, Angel, decorate a tree for the Festival of Trees across the river in Knoxville. She's had a busy week baking cupcakes and preparing for Sarah's party. I suspect she will be ready for a sofa, a quilt and a kitty when she gets home.

The Sad, Doomed Bellevue Mall

When I moved to Bellevue, which is on the west side of Nashville, in 2002, the Bellevue Center Mall was thriving. I'm not sure whether there is community agreement as to what slowly killed the mall, but I'm sure that other shopping opportunities in Cool Springs and in Green Hills had a lot to do with it. Now the only remaining business operating there is Sears. A new development company is looking at the site, but its representative told a Bellevue meeting that it is unlikely that the mall will be reopened because costs associated with strip malls are lower. It will be interesting to see if anything comes out of this new outfit.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Second Grader

Here is Sarah's second grade photograph from school. It is hard to believe my child is eight years old. I remember when Sherry and I first told Jake and Joey that they would soon have a younger sibling, and I remember telling them that they would be eight years old when the baby was born and that when she was eight years old, they would be sixteen and driving. The quickness with which that has come to pass is stunning to me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sarah, Leslie and Laura!

Today is Sarah's eighth birthday, one that she shares with her twin aunties, whose great age I will not divulge here. Sarah is pictured here at eighteen months. Happy birthday to all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gruyere Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is not one of my family Thanksgiving traditions. We like green beans, but we usually just buy canned. This recipe from Smoky Mountain Cafe, which includes sauteed mushrooms, heavy cream and Gruyere cheese, also uses fresh green beans. I think I might try it out for this year's Thanksgiving feast.

The Open Window

By Henri Matisse, 1905

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ghost of the Cepheus Flare

The cool name caught my eye on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Articles of Confederation

On November 15, 1777, in York, Pennsylvania, the Second Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the fledgling United States of America. The document is known mostly for its defects and the weak, ineffectual central government that it created. We think of George Washington as the first American President, and he was the first to serve under our present Constitution, which came about ten years later. However, ten men served as President under the Articles of Confederation, including John Hancock and Richard Henry Lee. It is interesting to note that only five of the politicians that signed the Articles signed the Constitution ten years later.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Twister History

I love this photograph of Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor playing Twister on the Tonight Show in 1966. For more on the history of Twister, visit Mental Floss.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Turkey Tetrazzini

My mom's solution to the problem of leftover Thanksgiving and/or Christmas turkey is to make her wonderful Turkey Tetrazzini, which was a comfort food staple at our house during the cold months as we were growing up. The American dish was apparently named for Italian opera soprano Luisa Tetrazzini.

Mom recently gave me her recipe, and I am hoping to have the dish mastered during this holiday season. Here's Mom's recipe:


2 medium onions, chopped
1 bunch fresh celery, chopped
8 oz. package fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 to 4 tbsp. dry white wine (Any clear liquid will do.)
3 to 4 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 cups (or 14-15 oz. can) chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup flour to thicken
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 cups shredded turkey
2 cups cooked noodles (elbow or spaghetti)
2 to 3 oz. package of slivered almonds
4 to 6 cups mozzarella
1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmesan

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and add celery. Saute the celery for about five to ten minutes and add onion. Saute another five to ten minutes and add mushrooms. Add the wine and salt and pepper during this process and cook the mixture down until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Add the broth as the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a slow boil, turn heat to low and add flour to thicken. Add the cream and simmer a bit before turning off the heat.

In a bowl mix noodles, turkey, almonds and saute mixture, and then pour into casserole dish. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake on 350 to 375 degrees for thirty to forty minutes.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I may be a bit sentimental, having lost a childhood friend this week, but this Veterans Day video hit me hard. It is worth the nine minutes, but have your tissues handy.

Mayflower Compact

Today is 11-11-11. It is also the anniversary of the Mayflower Compact, which the pilgrims signed on November 11, 1620, to establish government among themselves in North America. Translated into modern language, it states,

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620

Goodbye, Friend

I was out at the new Veterans Cemetery in South Knoxville on John Sevier Highway yesterday for the internment of my friend, Barry Long, a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq. Barry was a year younger than me, and we met each other in elementary school. He fell ill last week and died early Sunday morning. The ceremony with full military honors and a bagpipe was very moving, and my heart breaks for his family. He was a great guy.


Today is Veterans Day, originally celebrated as Armistice Day, commemorating the cessasion of hostilities on November 11, 1918, in World Way I, which was then known as the War to End All Wars or the Great War. The following November President Wilson proclaimed that Armistice Day would be a special day to honor the veterans of the Great War.

Unfortunately, the War to End All Wars did not put an end to armed human strife. After World War II and the Korean War, legislation was enacted in 1954 changing the holiday to Veterans Day, on which Americans now honor the veterans of all our wars. President Eisenhower is pictured above signing the first Veterans Day proclamation. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has much more.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Word Of the Day: Mirepoix

While we were in Louisiana I heard more than once that sauteed onion, celery and bell peppers constitute the "Holy Trinity" of Louisiana cooking. When I looked it up online I discovered the word Mirepoix (meer-PWAH), which is sauteed onion, celery and carrots and forms the base of many dishes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1959 Oldsmobile Super 88

This 1959 Oldsmobile Super 88 is for sale for $26,000.00 at Hemmings Motor News.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mmmmm, Ribs!

For instructions on how to cook this, visit Coconut and Lime.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Restaurant Review -- Court of Two Sisters, New Orleans, Louisiana

When I was a teenager, Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle took my sisters to New Orleans. Being a typical teenager I refused to go so I could stay home and hang out with my friends, which in retrospect was foolish and short-sighted. The grandparents took Leslie and Laura to eat at the Court of Two Sisters, 613 Rue Royale, and my two sisters insisted that we go when Sherry, Sarah and I visited New Orleans this fall.

We had the jazz brunch, which featured a buffet that invites one to sample many local specialties. I had shrimp etoufee, crawfish Louise, and duck a l' orange, and a dab of a lot of other things. It was one of those buffets where even if you just take a spoonful out of the dishes you want to sample, you'll still eat too much. The meal wasn't cheap. It cost right at $100.00 for two adults and a child, including iced tea and tip, but included live jazz.

Sherry is charming at the Charm Gate.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

End Of Daylight Savings Time

Saint Stephen's Clock Tower, which houses the bell, Big Ben, in London.

If you did not set your clocks back one hour last night, now is the time to "fall back." daylight savings time having ended overnight. Your local fire department would also want me to remind you to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Sarah's First Trophy

Sarah's soccer team, the Red Foxes, played their last game yesterday afternoon, and they won, which made the kid happy. They had a pizza party afterward at Mr. Gatti's, one of Sarah's favorite pizzerias, and the children all got trophies. She is quite proud of it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Morning

We have a quiet weekend planned after being on the road last weekend. Sarah has her last soccer game this afternoon, with a pizza party following that. I suspect the girls will go to the animal shelter this morning, as they usually do on weekend when we're home. I plan to stay close to home, though I plan to go to the grocery store this morning, and I probably should do our recycling this weekend. A weekend at Grandmother and Granddaddy's cabin in the fall requires work, mostly in the form of gathering, breaking up and hauling firewood, which we did plenty of last weekend. I plan much less physical activity during the next two days.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nashville Food Trucks

I've been reading recently that Nashville now has a bunch of food trucks that operate around town. The development has not been without controversy, but the phenomenon has a very Nashville feel to it. There's a website that helps you find what truck will be where on a given day, and it has links to several Nashville foodie blogs.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

For My Wife, the Graphic Designer Whom I Love

A font walks into a bar.

The barman says "we don't serve your type here"

So the font called the serif.

(Sorry, Honey.)

Breakfast, Anyone?

How would you like a piece of Margherita Tart from Nashville's Love and Olive Oil blog?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Restaurant Review -- Buddy's Restaurant, Dickson, Tennessee

I had a good cheeseburger at Buddy's Restaurant, 2926 Highway 70 East, Dickson, Tennessee, when I was in Middle Tennessee in September. I got the regular size rather than the one pound Buddy Burger, which was a good decision since the smaller burger was still huge. It was cooked to order and delicious. Lunch cost $7.50, which included iced tea and gratuity.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review -- The Rear Guard of the Revolution by James R. Gilmore

I recently read Rear Guard of the Revolution, the first part of a two volume biography of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, who was known among the mountain folk of early Tennessee as "Nolichucky Jack," after the river where he built his home. I previously read the book's sequel, John Sevier as a Commonwealth Builder, not knowing it was a biography in two volumes. In Rear Guard of the Revolution, Gilmore takes Sevier from his arrival in the Watauga settlement at Sycamore Shoals near present day Elizabethton, through the Battle of Kings Mountain and a war with the Cherokee, Chickamauga and Creek Indians that occurred shortly thereafter.

I've been interested in learning more about the Battle of Kings Mountain, and how the pioneers west of the mountains traveled to the east to fight the British, whose Patrick Ferguson, threatened to "march his army over the mountains, hang the leaders and lay waste their country with fire and sword." One should not make such threats to hardy mountain folk. Sevier was one of several leaders who marched his men to confront Ferguson, meeting him on a ridge known as Kings Mountain, and defeating his force of loyalist forces. Ferguson did not live to tell the tale.