Saturday, March 31, 2012

Caribbean Adventure Begins!

Sherry drove to Nashville after work yesterday, and she, Grams, Jake and Joey fly out of the Nashville airport this morning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they will board a ship for a Caribbean cruise for the next week. Their ports of call include Saint Kitts, the Virgin Islands and Haiti.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dreamsicle Cupcakes

From the same lady that served up Samoa Bundt Cake, behold Dreamsicle Cupcakes!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome Bear

After a recent trip to Cozy Creek Cabin up in the Smokies, I thought about how long we've been going up there. Sarah had just turned three years old when we moved to Maryville from Nashville in 2007, and I'm pretty sure we visited Cozy Creek before we moved, when Sarah was still two. It was La and Stew's first rental cabin, and they now have three. When we first visited Cozy Creek, the front porch had a little statue of a black bear holding a sign that said, "Welcome!" Sarah asked me what it said, and I told her. Thereafter, she called it "Welcome Bear," and identified Cozy Creek as the cabin with Welcome Bear to distinguish it from The Camp in Estill Springs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Made Me Laugh

Here's a link to a 1:20 minute video of some young folks rolling a big tire down a mountain. Wait for the celebration at the end, when the tire hits the water.

The Internet Does Not Like Steve

Behold the meme Scumbag Steve. He's the guy you knew after high school that never brought over anything to eat or drink, but always showed up at just about dinner time and stole your last roll of toilet paper from you when he left. Mental Floss has the story of the man behind the meme, along with those of several other people whose photographs became internet memes.

There is also a marshmallow named Steve roasting out there in the interwebs. My campouts will never be the same. Then there's the shark focus group that wants to eat a guy named Steve after feeding him the new Snickers with peanut butter. I'm told that sharks will not eat lawyers because of professional courtesy, but I'm not going to tempt them by ruining a Snickers bar with peanut butter.

Poor Steve!

Restaurant Review -- Kenjo #4 Deli, Maryville, Tennessee

Everyone around the justice center has been talking about the deli in Kenjo #4, which is located at 2902 East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville. There aren't many lunch choices near the justice center, so a new option just down the parkway appeals to many. Sherry, who usually eschews eating at any location where gas is sold, let me talk her into having breakfast there last weekend, and we all enjoyed the meal. Their biscuits were huge and fluffy, and their sausage gravy was really good. We were served quickly and ate for around $15.00.

I haven't been there for lunch yet, but so far the reviews I hear at work are all good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Restaurant Review -- Steph and Andy's Pizza Plus, Blaine, Tennessee

My duties required me to drive to Rutledge in Grainger County, Tennessee, this afternoon, and it was a very nice day for a drive in the country. On the way back I stopped in Blaine, which is a town on the Grainger/Knox county line, and had a sandwich at Steph and Andy's Pizza Plus at 863 Rutledge Pike (Highway 11E). I had the submarine sandwich, which comes with potato chips and a dill pickle slice, and iced tea. The sandwich was heated in the oven, and it was quite good. My total was ten dollars, including tip. I saw another location in Rutledge, and learned that there are a bunch of them in northeastern Tennessee and western Virginia.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Couple of Maryville Jokes

The first one is from Miss Cellania:

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York Scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion, that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, A story in the LA Times read: “California archaeologists, finding of 200 year old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers”.

One week later. A local newspaper in Tennessee reported the following: “After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Maryville, Tennessee, Wade and Bob Dudley, self-taught archaeologists, reported that they found absolutely nothing. They therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Tennessee had already gone wireless”.

The second one I've heard a couple of times. A man visits a church in California, and on the wall is a golden telephone. He inquires about it, and the minister tells him that it is a direct hotline to heaven. For $10,000.00 one can call the Lord. The man travels across the country, and every church he visits along the way has a similar golden telephone by which one could call Our Heavenly Father for $10,000.00. However, when he visits Maryville, Tennessee, he enters a church, finding a golden telephone within. There is a sign next to it that reads, "Calls to the Lord -- 35 cents." He tells the pastor that every other such telephone he's seen costs $10,000.00 a call. The pastor smiles and says, "Ah yes, but here in Maryville it's a local call."

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

Everyone loves mozzarella sticks, especially kids. We order them at restaurants with some frequency, but I never considered that one could make them at home. The Nobel Pig has a recipe that looks fairly simple to make. The photographs are enticing.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grilled Cheese Donut

A simple, yet delicious idea, the grilled cheese donut is bound to please. (Via Neatorama)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blount County Courthouse 1911

This is an image I had never seen of the Blount County Courthouse as it existed in 1911, from a vintage postcard from, where there a bunch of other cool old postcards of early Maryville. The building is made of distinctive yellow brick. I'm not sure whether it used to be painted white or if the publishers of the postcard just thought it would look better that way. I put a photograph of the building as it currently exists above the vintage image for comparison.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blue Dancers

By Edgar Degas, c. 1899

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring

Today is the vernal equinox, which is the first day of spring, though we've had spring weather for about a month here in East Tennessee.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?

David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary and explorer, was born on March 19, 1813. He spent much of his life spreading Christianity in Africa. In 1871, during an expedition, he was not heard from for many months. Another explorer, Henry Stanley, went looking for him, and the two men met in the fall of that year. Stanley greeted Livingstone saying, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Demolition Begins at University Center on UT Campus

The News Sentinel reported yesterday that demolition work is underway at the parking garage next to the University Center at the University of Tennessee. There was a row of ATM's on the side of the garage, and they removed the ATM's from the "money wall" earlier in the week. The University Center is right across Cumberland Avenue from the law school, and I have had many meals (and bought hundreds of dollars worth of textbooks) there during my undergraduate and law school days. I will have to go visit the old building sometime before they tear it down, and perhaps have a waffle or western omelet for old times' sake.

Randy Rhoads' Last Show

I saw Randy Rhoads' last show on March 18, 1982, in the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. He was the lead guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne's band at the time, and was killed in a foolish airplane accident on the way to the band's next gig in Orlando. He was a classical guitar player, which brought some sophistication to Ozzy's horror show theatrics.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goodbye, Imogene -- Ditching the Land Line

This weekend is the fourth anniversary of our moving into this house, and when we moved here we acquired our present land line telephone number. The person who had the number before us was a lady named Imogene, and her creditors have been calling her on our land line at the rate of eight to ten times a day every day for the past four years. They will have to find someone else to pester, because we've decided to turn the land line off and rely on the cellular telephone and other technology for communication. The land line costs us $70.00 a month, and Imogene gets more calls on it than we do.

Samoa Cake

I was a boy scout as a kid, and we boy scouts regarded it to be our duty to be supportive of the girl scouts when they conducted their annual cookie sale. We also wanted to have a good supply of Samoas, Thin Mints, Do-Si-Does and the like for the first camping trip of the spring. It is a tradition I have honored throughout life, and I have already purchased my two boxes of Samoas this year. One of them didn't last a day, and the other is stashed in the camping gear awaiting that first camping trip. Samoas are by far my favorite of the girl scout cookies, so I was pleased to learn of the existence of Samoa Bundt Cake, which I will soon attempt to make.

Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! The photographs show Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

UPDATE: Here's more on Saint Patrick's Day, with an OUCH:

"This must be really old. It’s from the History Channel, and it’s about history!"

Today's History Channel would argue that Saint Patrick was a space alien in cahoots with Bigfoot and that they drove Nessie out of Ireland to Loch Ness.

Samuel "Shemp" Horowitz

Samuel Horowitz, whom we know as Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges, was born on March 17, 1895. He was older brother to Moe and Curly, and he replaced Curly in the Stooges when Curly suffered a massive stroke in 1946.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Samoset Visits Pilgrims

On March 16, 1621, Samoset visited the Pilgrims of Plymouth:

The Abenaki chief Samoset from what is today Maine learned to speak English from fishermen who visited his coastal territory. So it was a surprise to the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation when he entered their settlement and announced, "Welcome, Englishmen!" The first Indian to greet the Pilgrims, Samoset fostered goodwill and trade with the Europeans. He introduced the white men to Squanto, an emissary of the great Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, who facilitated the long-term peace between the Pilgrims and Massasoit. In later years, Samoset signed the first land sale transaction to the colonists.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beware the Ides of March

SOOTHSAYER: Beware the Ides of March.

CAESAR: What man is that?

BRUTUS: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR: Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS: Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR: What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

SOOTHSAYER: Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Metcalf Bottoms and the Little Greenbrier School

As part of Sarah's spring break we went up to the mountains for a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms. The Wye is perhaps Sarah's favorite spot in the park, so we made a stop on the way. You can't tell from this picture, but the water was up and running very swiftly.
These Canadian geese were enjoying the sunshine at the Wye.
Once we got to Metcalf Bottoms, I started working on getting our hamburgers ready while Sarah explored the river.
In addition to the five geese we saw at the Wye, these two panhandlers circled our picnic spot the whole time we were there, hoping for a free lunch. Sarah found them interesting, though one hissed at her.

After we finished our lunch, we put away the grill and supplies and went up to the Little Greenbrier School, pictured below.

We drove up to the school, but Sarah discovered the path back down to the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area after she saw a schoolmate and his family emerge from the woods. Once she saw the bridges, she set off to explore, and we walked most of the way back to the Bottoms before returning to the car.
Trillium is coming up all along the trail, and a few, like this one, are ready to bloom.

"A Boy Named Sue"

Sue K. Hicks

Most East Tennesseans are familiar with the song "A Boy Named Sue," first performed by Johnny Cash in 1969 at San Quentin State Prison in California. Cash first heard the song, which was written by Shel Silverstein, at a house party at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Silverstein drew his inspiration for the song from a judicial conference he attended in Gatlinburg during which Judge Sue K. Hicks, who was born in Madisonville, gave a presentation. The character in the song, of course, meets up with the father who named him "Sue" in Gatlinburg. As for the real Sue Hicks, his grieving father named him "Sue" after the child's mother died from complications associated with his birth, not to make him tough, although it seems to me that growing up without a mom would be enough to toughen anyone up. In addition to serving as a Tennessee state court judge, Sue Hicks served as a member of the prosecution team during the Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee.

Mental Floss describes how the San Quentin performance of "A Boy Named Sue" came about:

In February 1969, Johnny Cash had a party at his house in Hendersonville, TN. As the evening went on, the party turned into a guitar pull, with some of Johnny’s friends trying out their latest songs. “Bob Dylan sang ‘Lay Lady Lay,’” recalled Cash. “Kris Kristofferson sang ‘Me and Bobby McGee.’ Joni Mitchell sang ‘Both Sides Now.’ Graham Nash sang ‘Marrakesh Express.’ And Shel Silverstein sang ‘A Boy Named Sue."

. . . .

Cash said, “I’d only sung it the first time the night before and I read it off as I sang it. I still didn’t know the words. As a last resort, I pulled those lyrics out and laid them on the music stand, and when it came time that I thought I was brave enough, I did the song.”

Despite reading the lyrics, Cash gave the song his all, investing it with an actor’s bravado. There’s also a spontaneity and joy about the performance, with Cash obviously amused by Silverstein’s clever lyrics. And the inmates loved it, whooping and laughing along, especially when Cash shouted the lines, “My name is Sue! How do you do? Now you’re gonna die!” From the ovation at the song’s end, Cash suspected he might have a hit on his hands.

I agree with the Mental Floss article's author about the feeling of joy Cash conveys as he plays the song, which you can see by clicking on the Mental Floss link above. I've always thought that the best music comes from musicians when they are really having fun playing it. What a fun song!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Granddaughter's Day With Wannie

Mom graciously agreed to take care of Sarah today, and from what I could tell the child took full advantage of the situation. When I got home, they were still out having ice cream, and I could deduce from the evidence I found at the house that Sarah talked her grandmother into buying her a new dress, a new nightgown and a new Nintendo DS game. They had lunch at Shoneys, a classic place for grandparents to take grandkids, at least in our family. Grandmother and Granddaddy Ogle certainly fed my sisters and I there plenty of times. I'm glad Mom and Sarah had a fun day together.

Country Fried Bacon on a Stick

This country fried bacon on a stick is brought to you by Neatorama. I can almost feel my arteries clogging.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dads, Kids and Mountains

My friend Johnny and I met when we were eleven or twelve years old. His family lived one street over and a few houses up from mine, so we've been friends since we were little kids. A week ago we took his kids, Natalie and Teddy, and my Sarah up to La and Stew's Cozy Creek Cabin on Flat Branch Road in Gatlinburg for some woodland living. The cabin has acquired a coonskin cap, which kept my head warm while we were outdoors.
Besides being in a quiet holler in the woods just outside busy Gatlinburg, Cozy Creek also sports a hot tub, which Laura and Stewart have recently had refurbished. The kids loved it, and played really well together all weekend.
The kids pose in front of the barbecue pit. I have never cooked on it, but we got a roaring fire going in there to keep warm while the kids played in the backyard, on the side of the mountain and in the little creek that runs alongside the cabin. As kids Johnny and I had a lot of fun exploring the woods near our neighborhood, and it is fun now to watch our kids enjoy the outdoors together.
The creek is small, but it was up from our recent rains, and the kids busied themselves building this rock dam. They were quite proud of their accomplishment, and we dads enjoyed watching their effort.

Teddy poses next to a pile of rocks the kids gathered for their dam.
Natalie poses in front of the dam.
Sarah has loved this porch swing since she was about two, when La and Stew first acquired Cozy Creek, which was the first of their now three rental cabins in the Smokies.


We went over to Les and Fraz's house in South Knoxville Saturday to cook some hamburgers and enjoy some spring weather on their back porch. They live at the foot of a little mountain, and there's a small cave (just a rock overhang, really) on its side. Joey and Jake climbed up to see it, and when they got back the kids built dam on the little creek that flows under the porch. I suspect they'll have to rebuild the dam on the creek at the Camp given all the rain we've seen recently.

We put the boys back on the Megabus Sunday at noon, and Sherry, Sarah and I all climbed into it to have a look around. It looked very nice inside, and the other riders we talked to around us liked the bus. One lady had been to Memphis and back for $5.00. The boys' dad picked them up at the station in Nashville, and the bus was on schedule. They enjoyed the ride, and we are looking forward to trying it out, too.

Printer's Devil

When I was a freshman or sophomore in college I had a job as an assistant in the school print shop. It was a good job at the time and was convenient because it was on campus, and it mostly involved hauling paper around campus and watching mechanical printing presses to be sure nothing went awry while they were operating. I just learned that a printer's assistant is sometimes called a printer's devil, though I do not recall that the position was particularly diabolical. I am slightly concerned, in retrospect, that my boss was known on campus as "Red." I assumed that it was because of his graying red hair, but one never knows.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daylight Savings Time Begins

If you didn't set your clocks forward one hour before you went to bed last night, you should do it this morning inasmuch as Daylight Savings Time has begun. Like many families, we also change the batteries in our smoke detectors when the time changes.

Venison Chili

Jake and Joey rode to Knoxville from Nashville via Megabus yesterday, and we picked them up at the terminal in dowtown Knoxville at 7:10 p.m., which was the time they were scheduled to arrive. The bus looked very nice, and fare for both of them round trip was about $45.00. It would cost that in gas if you drove, and the boys seemed to enjoy the experience, which included wireless access.

Jake and his dad generously keep us supplied with venison from their hunting adventures, and we used some of it yesterday to make chili for the boys, which they tore into readily when we got them home. I used my standard chili recipe, which includes two cans of chili hot beans, a can of kidney beans, onion, crushed tomatoes, chili powder and red pepper. For a different recipe from Nashville visit Art of Manliness.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

I loved the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when I was a kid, and have watched it plenty of times with Sarah. I did not know until recently that the story was written by Ian Fleming, of James Bond fame. His estate commissioned Frank Cottrell Boyce, a British author of children's books to write Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again. Two more Chitty books are planned. More here.

Song of America

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the naturalization ceremony I attended here in Maryville. I saved the program from the event because I wanted to share a quotation in it from "Song of America" by George Magar Mardikian, pictured above. He wrote,

You who have been born in America, I wish I could make you understand what it is like not to be an American -- not to have been an American all your life -- and then suddenly with the words of a man in flowing robes to be one, for that moment and forever after. One moment you belong with your fathers to a million dead yesterdays -- the next you belong with America to a million unborn tomorrows.

Mardikian was Armenian, and had every reason to want to escape his native land for a better life. According to Wikipedia,

As the Ottoman Empire was thrust into the First World War in 1914, the Armenians faced their own war at home. On April 24, 1915, 250 intellects and community leaders were arrested and executed. Mardikian’s father, Magar, was one of the 250 that was arrested that day. After his arrest, Mardikian’s mother’s family, the Amirians, were driven out of their homes and marched to Erzincan. Mardikian’s maternal grandmother, Vartanoush Amirian, committed suicide by jumping in the Euphrates River, while the rest of the Amirian family was either beaten to death or burned alive.

He eventually fled to the United States, arriving at Ellis Island, and became a restaurateur in California, and a proud American citizen.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hot Dog Pizza

I cannot think of a food kids would like more than Hot Dog Pizza. Two great tastes taste great together! I shall have to make one for Sarah.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula, which NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day describes as a "stellar nursery," is about 5,000 light years away.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Siberian Forest Cat

I wasn't aware of the Siberian Forest Cat until recently. This one looks at home in the snow. If you're from Siberia, I guess you deal with plenty of it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sunsphere in the Sunlight

Yesterday afternoon as she was leaving work for the day, my sister Laura took this photograph of Knoxville's Sunsphere from her office on the seventh floor of the Stokely Management Center on the University of Tennessee campus. Nice shot, La!

Basketball Joe

Joey joined a basketball team and has been playing for several months now. He poses here in his uniform.

Around the House

With spring weather arriving in February this year, our cats, particularly Molly with her long fur, are shedding their winter coats. We have learned that having them shaved at the vet's office when we take them in for their annual vaccinations and examinations makes life easier for them and prevents our wooden floors from developing little fur tumbleweeds. I plan to take Molly to the vet this morning, and I will take Emma next week.

In addition to the cat maintenance, Sarah had a bracket from her braces pop off last night during supper, so I will schedule an appointment this morning for her to go back to the orthodontist during the next several days to have the braces repaired. This will be a busy week.

Little Debbie

Whenever it is Sarah's turn to bring snacks for her class to school, we inevitably send Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies. The treats were named after a real person, Debra E. McKee-Fowler, who is an executive vice president and member of the board of directors of the Chattanooga company that produces them. You can see a photograph of Ms. McKee-Fowler at Mental Floss.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Volkswagen Beetle

Two of my first four cars were Volkswagen Beetles, and one was light blue like this one from Car Lust. I remember reading somewhere that Beetles "thrive on abuse," and both of mine certainly did. They didn't go very fast, but the four gears got you up to full speed pretty quickly. Beetles got good gas mileage, maneuvered well in traffic and were good in the snow. I remember mine fondly.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. Suess!

Dr. Suess was born on March 2, 1904. The stage at Fort Craig is decorated with Dr. Suess memorabilia, and Sarah says that there will be a Dr. Suess show at school today. For lunch yesterday, the school served green eggs and ham. According to the good doctor, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”

UPDATE: This afternoon Sarah brought home a Truffala tree, fashioned cleverly from newspaper, as well as a white oak sapling, which we will plant at the Camp the next time we visit Estill Springs. I have been wanting to plant a tree with the child.