Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Diana Spencer

Diana, Princess of Wales died on my birthday, August 31, in 1997 in an automobile accident. She was born into the British Spencer family. My Grandmother Ogle was born Willie J. Spencer in Lois, Moore County, Tennessee, and she always claimed to be related to the British Spencers, though she had nothing to document it. My middle name is Spencer, after Grandmother, and I passed it on to Sarah, so I could invoke it the way Mom used to with me, "Sarah Spencer Ogle!
I visited Kensington Palace with Mom in 1993, but my British cousin did not emerge from her apartment to greet her Tennessee kinfolk, if that we were. I think it is more likely that I might find out if and how I am related to Thomas Sharp "Bigfoot" Spencer of Tennessee.

Audiobook Review: Ready Or Not: What Happens When We Treat Children As Small Adults

I just finished the audiobook version of Ready or Not: What Happens When We Treat Children As Small Adults, by Kay S. Hymowitz. The title caught my eye because it contains the premise that we should not treat our children as small adults, and I agree that our society seems to rush children toward maturity more than is warranted. Although I encourage Sarah to make some of her own decisions, like what to wear to school, I find myself to be a much more stringent disciplinarian than I expected myself to be. I learned from many years of practicing law in juvenile court that although children will resist boundaries, they need them. I want Sarah to understand the reasoning behind parental commands, but I expect them to be obeyed first. I don't want a debate when I tell a child not to go out into the road because she might get hit by a car. Once she's safely away from the danger I explain why it is important to stay out of the road. I want to raise a rational, independent human being, but it is the job of her parents to get her safely to adulthood and to teach her what will be expected of her once she gets there.

In her book, Hymowitz analyses the history of parenting in the United States, and argues that for many years after the founding of the country the goal of parenting was to raise citizens prepared to operate a free republic. Autonomy is important in American society, but Hymowitz believes that we have gone too far and that children today are so autonomous that they are not properly indoctrinated to the culture into which they were born. She calls this "anticulturalism."

The result of anticulturalism is that today's children are pushed at a rapid pace toward adulthood. For example, the copy of the audiobook I borrowed from the library, unlike the image from Amazon above, has a photograph of children passing through a metal detector to get into school. Our society has come to believe that children, given only the appropriate tools and stimulation from their parents, can find their own way to a happy and productive adulthood.
Because children are propelled toward adulthood in such a rapid pace, they fail to properly achieve it once they come of age, which is why people marry later in life and live in their parents' basements into their twenties and thirties.

As I got further and further into the book, I found it to be more and more negative, though it concluded on a positive note. As I've aged I sometimes find myself looking around at what society has become during my life, shaking my head and thinking, "It's all going to hell in a hand basket." The latter part of this book had the same flavor to it, which I found myself resisting. I usually favor history and biography, and this book was more like something that would be assigned reading in an undergraduate course, which was a nice change from my usual fare.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Location at Hillsboro High School

According to the Tennessean, a film crew was out in front of Sherry's alma mater, Hillsboro High School, yesterday, and the name on the school was changed to Middle Bend High for the filming, which was for a new Nicole Kidman flick. Nashville encourages filmaking, and Kidman lives there at times with her husband, Keith Urban, so it sounds like a good fit.

I wonder if the Inukshuk statue will appear in the film.

Pig and Pie

Pig and Pie, a Nashville barbecue joint that inhabited the food court at Bellevue Center Mall prior to the mall's untimely death, has opened a restaurant at 336 White Bridge Road, which isn't far from Sherry's mom's house. I read a review on the place in the Nashville Scene, and the headline characterizes the quality as "uneven," though the review overall is fairly positive. The restaurant is in the little white house that used to be the home of a Persian restaurant, Hot Kebabs. We've eaten at Hot Kebabs before, and I'm sorry to learn that it has closed. I bet Pig and Pie does well there, though.

Wookie Steak

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mammatus Clouds Above North Carolina

This is a photograph of Mammatus clouds over North Carolina from Rich Bruner on Earth Science Picture of the Day. According to the accompanying article,

The orange color of the clouds is attributed to a low Sun. Sunlight has been attenuated by the greater path-length that occurs when the Sun lies near or below the horizon. Here, the Sun has already set (at the surface), but the lofty clouds are still exposed to the Sun's lingering rays.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bill Enclosed

Rainbow Rose

I found this confused but pretty rose on Neatorama.

Homeward Bound

I talked to Leslie yesterday morning, and she said that she and Frazier will be heading home to South Knoxville after their week at Seagrove Beach. They plan to spend the night in Birmingham, Alabama, this evening and then drive the rest of the way home tomorrow.

Mom said that on their way down they visited the house in Birmingham where we lived when I was in first and second grade. I remember piling a bunch of pillows, couch cushions and blankets on the bushes underneath my second-story bedroom window and jumping out the window onto the padded bushes. We had a line of kids running through the house to jump out the window until Mom caught on to what we were doing. I was younger than Sarah is now. How we survived to adulthood is beyond me.

Busted Bear

The local media outlets have reported that a bear was menacing a lady who lives up in Townsend. According to the News Sentinel's Bob Wilson, authorities trapped the bear in Sevier County Friday afternoon. In addition to the M&M's that baited the trap, the bear is being treated to a nice trip to Cherokee National Forest where he can hopefully find better food to eat than household garbage.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This image from Hurricane Irene is from NASA.

Crockett Tavern, Morristown, Tennessee

Yesterday I attended a meeting of the Eastern Division of the Tennessee Court Clerks Conference in Morristown, Tennessee, which is little over an hour's drive from Maryville. I arrived a bit early for the meeting, so I took a short drive to visit Crockett Tavern, which was operated by David Crockett's parents. The building that is shown in the picture is a replica of the tavern where Crockett spent part of his youth, but according to the Crockett Tavern Museum website, it was built on the site of the original. It is pretty cool to think that yesterday I walked ground that Crockett once walked.

Kid Likes Havarti

When we were up at La and Stew's Mountain Springs Chalet last weekend, I shared some Havarti cheese with Sarah. I'm pretty sure Laura bought it last time we went out to the Camp, and it ended up in our cooler. Sarah liked it so much she specifically asked me to buy some at the store. A small block of it was six dollars, so I bought her mozzarella sticks instead, but I'm impressed that she liked it enough to try to say "Havarti." Because I'm sure she'll ask me where it came from, I looked it up. According to, Havarti is named for the farm in Denmark where it was first produced by a Dane named Hanne Neilson.

My sisters, Leslie and Laura, are greatly fond of cheese, and they will be proud that their niece is carrying on in their cheese-loving footsteps.


It has been a while since we've had a weekend with no plans, and we are looking forward to hanging out together at the house this weekend. I woke Sarah up, and we're going to give Sherry an hour of extra sleep in a quiet house by going out to do our recycling and to have a bite of breakfast. Sherry will most likely be up by the time we get back and ready to take Sarah to the animal shelter, where they help out on the weekends.

I've been working on cleaning up our garage. Most of the fluorescent lights down there have been out for a while, but we've been getting new fixtures up so that the lighting problem should be solved once we're finished. After the hail storm, I shoved everything we have stored down there to one side so that we could pull both cars in if we were to have another fierce storm. With lighting restored I have been reorganizing things in storage and have set up and cleaned off (mostly) Sarah's art table so that we can use it again and can still pull the cars into the garage if we need to.

Friday, August 26, 2011

1943 Parking Lot

This photograph was taken in 1943 in Chicago. I found it on the Hemmings Motor News blog, where they invite readers to try to name the make and model of the vehicles in the parking lot of the U.S. Army Consolidation Station. One of the comments points out how drab the automobiles are in comparison to the brightly colored trucks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fire on the Mountain

There's been a fire burning in the mountains for the past several days, and the smoke from it has been visible via the webcam at Look Rock Tower off of Foothills Parkway. I read somewhere that a wildfire is burning in the area that was hit by a tornado this spring, and the authorities are letting the fire burn up some of the debris.

Fuzzies Back At the Beach

Les and Fuzzy are back down at Seagrove Beach, Florida, for the week, which they deserve. Poor Fraz spent most of our family vacation there earlier this summer in the hospital, and Leslie spent most of her time on the telephone keeping kinfolk back home apprised of the situation. I talked to Les yesterday, and they were enjoying the beautiful weather down there. Hurricane Irene is menacing the Bahamas and the Eastern seaboard, but when a hurricane forms down there it sucks up all of the clouds, energy and moisture, leaving the weather nice elsewhere.

Earthquake Damage Closes Washington Monument

The above photo from the National Park Service shows a crack at the top of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC, that was caused by this week's earthquake in Virginia. The below photo shows the Washington Monument as it existed during the War Between the States, its construction being halted by the exigencies of war. My Aunt Joan felt the earthquake, and told Mom that it was a frightening experience. Here in Maryville, Sherry felt her chair rocking back and forth at the hospital. I was here in town, too, and didn't feel a thing.

Restaurant Review: Becky's Grocery & Grill, Maryville, Tennessee

A year ago I said I wanted to have a meal at Becky's Grocery and Grill, 3856 Laws Chapel Road, Maryville, Tennessee, and last week I finally got around to it. I found it using MapQuest, but it took me a couple of tries, because it is way out in the country in the eastern part of Blount County. One of the roads you travel on to get there is unmarked, so look for the signs to Laws Chapel. Parking is also pretty tight, but it is worth the drive, which is part of the experience. To be honest, I'd never been in that particular part of the county before, and it is quite beautiful, consisting of rolling farmland at the very foot of the mountains.

Upon the recommendation of many, my first meal at Becky's was a hamburger, which I had with milk. The milk was poured from a gallon jug, and the hamburger was quickly cooked to order on a grill that was in plain sight. I noticed a sign on the wall boasting of a 100% health department score, and everyone was friendly and welcoming. I overheard the proprietor, Becky, tell another first-timer who commented on the long, winding drive, "The road gets straighter and shorter every time you drive it." There was also a friendly patron in the place showing a photograph of a raccoon he caught in a coyote trap on his property nearby. It doesn't get much more country than that. He said he eats there about every day, and highly recommended the macaroni and cheese, which Sarah will like.

I thought Becky's place was wonderful, and the prices were about what you'd expect to pay for lunch. The drive from the justice center was about twenty minutes, not counting the time I spent wandering around lost. They are open 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 11:a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The business is yet another Blount County treasure.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today would have been the 74th birthday of my father, Phil Ogle, had he lived to see it. He died at the age of 55 in 1993, just a few weeks after I began the practice of law in Maryville, and his was the first probate estate I ever handled. Happy birthday, Dad.

Metorite Hits Sagamore Hill

On August 24, 1908, a meteorite hit the Earth at Sagamore Hill, home of President Theodore Roosevelt. According to author Jim Rasenberger (via A Natural Curiosity),

Just past midnight, August 24, as Roosevelt slumbered in his bed, a small meteorite bored into Earth’s atmosphere and blazed across a clear starlit sky toward Oyster Bay. Secret Service agents who were posted outside heard a hiss, then saw a flash that bathed Sagamore Hill and its lawn and tennis court in intense light. The meteorite landed less than a hundred yards from the house, just missing the President of the United States. It exploded into a hundred fiery pieces and disintegrated into dust.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We Don't Need No Education -- Well, Maybe

My duties took me to a class on community economic development this morning at the University of Tennessee Conference Center in Knoxville. The conference center is a nice facility, although the outside of the building is under renovation, and I've attended several seminars there over the past couple of years. The atrium of the conference center is pictured above, and the conference rooms surround the atrium.

My job requires me to take sixteen hours of classes a year, and the Supreme Court of Tennessee requires me to take fifteen hours of continuing legal education classes a year. I confess that I appreciate these opportunities to further my education, and I am glad that my second-grader knows that her old man has to go to school every now and then, too.

Satellite Image of the Smokies

This is an image from Landsat 7. According to NASA's Earth Observatory website,

This Landsat scene shows the park, with its southern boundary along Lake Fontana. The central high ridgeline through the spine of the park is evident, with the light green forests of the lower lands and slopes giving way to the darker green regions of the ridges and peaks. The lower region forests are dominated by deciduous leafy trees (which strongly reflect near-infrared radiation, which is colored green in this image). At higher altitudes, deciduous forests give way to coniferous trees like Fraser Firs, which are less dramatically reflective at near-infrared wavelengths, and so appear darker in the scene.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Sweetheart Come"

Mountain Springs Chalet

While Sherry was in Nashville visiting Jake and Joey and Grams, Sarah and I spent the weekend at La and Stew's new rental chalet on Ski Mountain, which Laura has dubbed Mountain Springs Chalet. The place is already renting, but they plan to install a hot tub to sweeten the deal. Although Sarah and I strolled Gatlinburg, spent money on tacky merchandise (see her purchases below) and visited the Noah "Bud" Ogle home, we spent most of our weekend in the chalet. La and Stew haven't added it to their website yet, but they can be contacted about renting any of their three cabins with the information listed there.

Sarah waives a greeting from the front steps.

They see you.

You shall not pass!

The spring on the property is really just a trickle, but Sarah had a good time exploring the ditch through which it flows along the driveway. She found a salamander, which pleased her greatly.

Maple Mustard-Glazed Chicken

Sherry and I have made pork and chicken dishes with peach preserves and Dijon mustard, but I never thought to try mustard and maple syrup together. The Nobel Pig did.Link

Sunday, August 21, 2011


We saw this vehicle in Gatlinburg Saturday morning.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011


I was born in North Carolina and lived for several years in the western part of the state, but I had never heard of scuppernongs, the North Carolina state fruit, until recently. As you can see from the photograph they are a type of wild grape, a bronze muscadine, and Giovanni de Verrazzano wrote about wild North Carolina grapes in his log as early as 1524.

According to Wikipedia, the fruit is named after the Scuppernong River in coastal North Carolina, which explains why I might not have heard of it in the foothills of western Carolina. Also, it is mentioned a couple of times in To Kill a Mockingbird, which pleases me as a lawyer from the South.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Family Rivalry: Hillwood High Versus Hillsboro High

My stepsons, Jake and Joey, attend Hillwood High School, and their mother attended Hillsboro High School. The two teams meet at Hillwood's stadium tomorrow night to open high school football season. Sherry is off tomorrow, and plans to travel to Nashville to attend with the boys. This morning she asked if she could borrow my T-shirt that says, "Embarrassing my children, just another service I offer." The boys are understandably concerned.

Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare, the first European Christian born in America, was born on August 18, 1587, on Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The image depicts her baptism on August 24, 1587.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fiesta Biscuit Casserole

My sister Leslie has been collecting casserole recipes, and this recipe for Fiesta Biscuit Casserole from My Wooden Spoon caught my eye. The ingredients include Ro*Tel, ground beef and cheese, which sounds like a good foundation for a casserole to me.


Sarah is learning to read to herself for pleasure, though she far prefers reading aloud to her parents while dramatizing the story. She's been on a Berenstain Bears kick lately, though she is pictured here reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Loving Wife and Some Veal Parm

As I expected, I came home from work today tired and hungry after spending the day moving files from one shelf to another. Sherry had an appointment in West Knoxville this afternoon, and she greeted me when I got home with Veal Parmesan from Sam and Andy's. God I love that woman!

Manual Labor

There are a few thousand files at the office that need to be moved, and I plan to get started on that task today. If the project is anything like the last time, it should require several work days of elbow grease. I wear a business suit to work, even on casual Friday, but I'll make an exception for a day's worth of moving files. I expect I'll sleep well tonight.

2011 FIAT FreakOut

Nashville's Centennial Park, always a nice venue for an outdoor event, recently hosted the 2011 FIAT FreakOut. (Via Car Lust)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old Friends

They say that spending time with old friends is therapeutic. My friend Mike, who I met in seventh grade, came over Saturday with his daughter, Ellie, who is a couple of years younger than Sarah. The girls played well together, which gave the adults plenty of time to visit. We're hoping to round up some of the old high school gang sometime in the next month or so, which will be fun if we can pull it off.

This made two weekends in a row of visiting with old friends inasmuch as we spent last weekend with our friends Ken and Renee over on the Carolina side of the mountains. I've known Ken since freshman year in college, so we've known each other for most of our lives, too.

When you are busy raising kids, it makes it difficult to see your friends as much as you'd like to. The past two weekends have been good for me.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel, named for Pope Sixtus IV, who consecrated it on August 15, 1483, is most famous for the painting, The Creation of Adam, that Michaelangelo painted on its ceiling.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Sophomores

As I reported earlier, Jake and Joey had a half-day of school on Thursday, were off on Friday for a teachers' in-service day and will attend their first full day of their sophomore year at Hillwood High School tomorrow. I met their mom when they were five, little tykes, and remember holding their hands to help them wade the creek in the Warner Parks when Sherry and I were dating. Now, they are practically men. It is amazing how quickly the current of life carries you along sometimes.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Lady, The Pie and The Guy

Read the story. It will break your heart, and make you want to bake a peanut butter pie. (Thanks to Beth from Eat. Drink. Smile and Michael Silence.)

It'll Be Winter Before You Know It

I'm cleaning up the desktop of the computer in Sarah's room and ran across this photograph of our front yard covered in snow last winter. As hot as it is outside, I know I'll be complaining about how cold it is soon enough.

Who Are You And What Did You Do With My Daughter?

Although Sarah takes her dirty dishes to kitchen to be washed at school, we're constantly reminding her to take them to the kitchen at home after meals. Thursday evening, without being asked, she took her mom's plate into the kitchen after dinner. Needless to say, we were both impressed, and Sarah was quite pleased with herself as well. A little courtesy goes a long way in life.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Made It To Friday

We've had a busy work week and are ready for a weekend at home after being away last weekend in North Carolina. Joey and Jake had their first day of school yesterday, beginning their sophomore year in high school. Poor Joey had to have two teeth extracted last week in connection with his braces, but hopefully he's healed up some since then. They are off today, and they start their first full week on Monday.

Sarah has been in school since July 18, so she is well into her first session of second grade. Her school, Fort Craig, has its final carnival this Saturday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. There is a time capsule that was sealed 25 years ago, and they plan to open it during the carnival at 5:00 p.m. The school is closing after this school year.

Shrimp Terrebonne

This is shrimp wrapped in bacon, covered in cheese and grilled, from Smoky Mountain Cafe'. How can that be anything but wonderful?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Restaurant Review -- The Coffee Shop, Sylva, North Carolina

When we visited our friends in western North Carolina last weekend we drove into Sylva to find a bite to eat for breakfast Saturday morning. We saw a Waffle House on the drive to their place in the mountains south of Cullowhee, but stumbled across the Coffee Shop, which is at 385 West Main Street. The restaurant has been in business 84 years, so they've been doing something right. I had country-style steak, gravy, biscuits and eggs, all of which were delightful. There's nothing I like better when I travel than finding a good, home-town eatery, and the Coffee Shop certainly fit the bill. Sherry, Sarah and I had breakfast for about $28.00, including the tip.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Macabre Feast of Saint Lawrence

According to the Smithsonian website, Saint Lawrence is the patron saint of grill cooks. I wish I had invoked him during the 3 1/2 years I spent working for McDonald's as a teenager, but I would not like to share his fate.

Audiobook Review -- America 1908, by Jim Rasenberger

I recently finished the latest audiobook I checked out of the library. America 1908 by Jim Rasenberger, as one might expect, focuses on the year 1908, a year of momentous changes and accomplishments in America. It was the year Wilbur and Orville Wright demonstrated the possibilities of human flight and Henry Ford began producing the Model T automobile, which first made the machines that we depend on so heavily available to the masses. There was a race that year to be the first person to make it to the North Pole and a global automobile race. Rasenberger depicts 1908 as a turning point in history and the beginning of the modern era.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cook Out Restaurant

While perusing the Knoxville Business Journal yesterday I saw that a hamburger chain from North Carolina, Cook Out, is opening two restaurants in Knoxville. One is on the Cumberland Avenue strip, and the other is on Kingston Pike just west of Papermill Drive. I was curious about whether they sold a burger the way they do at Homer's Windy City Grill in Hickory, where they top their hamburgers with slaw, chili, mustard and onions, so I checked their menu. Sure enough, their Cook Out Style hamburger is served the way they make them at Homer's.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Day on Neptune

On the planet Neptune a day is only sixteen hours long. For more on our heavenly neighbor, visit NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

On John's Creek

We spent the weekend on a mountain above John's Creek, which is in a remote area south of Cullowhee, North Carolina. We were the guests of our friends, Ken and Renee, and Renee's brother, Steve, and his wife, Helen, who were wonderful hosts. Sarah and I adventured down to play in the creek, and Helen let Sarah and Sherry ride her horse. Unfortunately, the horse was stung by a bee while Sherry was riding her and reared up on her hind legs. That's a bit too much of a thrill for a city girl, but she was uninjured.

We got home yesterday shortly before noon, and Mom came out and brought Grace for a visit. Sherry bought the cartoon movie Rango for Sarah yesterday at the grocery store, so Sarah and Grace watched it while the adults talked. We had a good weekend.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mayflower Departs Southampton

On August 5, 1620, two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell left Southampton, England, for North America. The Speedwell had a leak, and the ships were forced to return to England. The Speedwell didn't make the trip. The Mayflower did and also made history, departing from Plymouth on September 6, and reaching Cape Cod on November 11, where the pilgrims signed the famous Mayflower Compact establishing government for themselves.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

My sister Leslie makes a killer chicken fried steak, and I've been meaning to give it a try. I found a good recipe at Smoky Mountain Cafe'. (Via Michael Silence)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just a Reminder

T.U.F.F. Puppy

T.U.F.F. Puppy, a cartoon about a group of undercover crime fighters, pictured above, is another odd cartoon Sarah has taken to recently. One of the villains is a character called The Cameleon, who sounds like Peter Lorre.