Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I'm Changing My Name to Fannie Mae

Because mortgage lender Fannie Mae has been in the news lately, Arlo Guthrie has been performing the Tom Paxton song "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler," which has been converted to "I'm Changing My Name to Fannie Mae." Arlo is presently on tour, and he will play an excellent venue, Spirit Square, in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday, February 18, 2012. I saw him play there on March 30, 1985, and it was an excellent show. (Via Instapundit)

The song, which was initially about the government bailout of Chrysler, now says, "I'm changing my name to Fannie Mae. I'm getting in that great receiving line. So when they hand a million grand out, I'll be standing with my hand out. Yes sir, I'll get mine."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Too Cold For Camping

Johnny and I came to the conclusion that it was a bit cold for camping this weekend, and he decided to stay at home in Atlanta to help his mom some around the house. Sherry, Sarah and I stayed home for the day as well and cooked up some chicken and mashed potatoes. Sarah is crazy about the mashed potatoes they serve at her school, but is ambivalent toward the mashed potatoes I make at home. She complained that my version isn't mashed enough, and I admit that I like some chunks of potato in my mash. Yesterday, we used the potato masher and then a whisk to produce a very smooth batch of mashed potatoes, of which the child, who did much of the work, was quite proud.

Most of Sherry's group for girls' night out bailed out, but her friend, Michelle, and her daughter, Emma, one of Sarah's schoolmates, picked them up so that the four of them could go out for dinner. I went to bed last night before they came home, but from the empty shoe box in the recycling basket I deduce that shopping followed supper.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Cades Cove

Sherry and I had a conference with Sarah's teacher yesterday afternoon to discuss her progress, and the child is doing well, though she needs to work on her spelling. The highlight of her week was a field trip to Safety City over in Knoxville. She was very excited about the trip, and it did not disappoint her.

My friend Johnny and I have talked this week about camping up at Cades Cove campground this weekend, but it is supposed to be 26 degrees overnight here in the valley. It will be 5 to 10 degrees colder than that up in the mountains. Sherry and some of her friends have talked this week about having a girls' night out this evening, but she's not sure whether that's going to come together or not. We'll see what the day brings.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Apollo 1

A cabin fire on a test pad on January 27, 1967, killed all three members of the Apollo 1 crew, pictured here. They were Virgil "Gus" Grissom, the commander of the mission, Edwin White and Roger Chafee. NASA has more here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eggs Benedict

I like Eggs Benedict, though I've never tried to make it at home. I sometimes get it at The Donut Hole in Santa Rosa Beach when we're vacationing at Seagrove Beach, Florida. They have a version that includes crab meat, and it is delightful. Eating Well has a recipe for Eggs Benedict that involves artichokes, which I find interesting. Perhaps I will work up my nerve and try to make it at home one day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mike Cross

I've been a fan of Mike Cross since the early '80's, when I discovered his music in North Carolina. I have his CD Carolina Sky in the disk player in my car, and listened to the second song on the disk, "Green of His Eyes," on the way home from work. It is a song about Cross's deceased father, and since my own father died at age 54 in 1993, it makes me think of my dad. These lyrics in the last verse always get to me:

And some folks are listening
Like they understand
As a teardrop hangs over a smile
Well all I can say is that if your daddy's alive
You ought to go talk for a while

When I got home I found Cross's website and learned he was born here in Maryville. They should book him to play the Foothills Fall Festival.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Silence Returns

I was pleased to learn today that Michael Silence, formerly of the Knoxville News Sentinel, has returned to the Tennessee blogosphere. His old blog was a daily read for me, and was usually my portal to the Sentinel, which has a link to his new home on his last post over there. I saw mention of the news on several Tennessee blogs today.

Molly And an Angry Bird

Sarah received this plush Angry Bird for Christmas. Molly the cat doesn't trust it a bit.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fragment of Asteroid

This is a very small meteorite from an asteroid that fell to Earth and landed in the desert in Sudan. According to NASA, it was the first time a meterorite has been recovered from a known asteriod, and it is about 4 centimeters in diameter.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Colorized Vintage Photographs

My sister Laura sent me this link to a bunch of colorized vintage photographs from Reddit, where people are colorizing old black and white photographs all the time. I found these images of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt to be striking. I like Lincoln's red tie and the warm look Roosevelt gives the baby in his arms. It really makes the photos come to life.

This Weekend

Aside from making our weekly grocery run, I have been rather lazy this weekend, although I have at least one task to perform today. A vandal killed our mailbox with a baseball bat last weekend while we were in Nashville, and our letter carrier gave us notice Friday that our new mailbox must be more securely attached to our mail post than it is now, with bungee cords. It will give me the chance to try out the new drill Mom gave me for Christmas.

Sherry rearranged the furniture in our bedroom and Sarah's bedroom, so our downstairs area has a new look. Sarah was invited to a classmate's birthday party, and Sherry took her to the party and then to a friend's house afterward. I did nothing of any consequence, which made for a restful Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Restaurant Review -- Bread of Heaven, Alcoa, Tennessee

It was a gloomy Friday here in Maryville, as it was in much of East Tennessee, and it is not much better today. When the weather is dreary, nothing brightens one's mood quite like comfort food. Accordingly, my former law partner and I dined yesterday at Bread of Heaven in Alcoa, and we did not leave hungry. I became aware of the restaurant and catering business when a fire temporarily put them out of business, and I finally got around to visiting the establishment when they reopened after the fire.

The restaurant is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and the buffet yesterday featured pulled pork barbecue, two different batches of chicken, chopped steak and gravy, baked beans, sweet potato casserole, fries, macaroni and cheese, greens, corn and, of course, banana pudding for dessert. I warned Mr. Colquitt, the proprietor, that I would soon return with my teenage stepsons.

Kitty Leater

I recently looked through drafts of posts that I never published. Back in 2009, I took these photographs of Sarah's favorite and most beloved stuffed animal, Kitty Leater. The intervening years have not been kind to Kitty Leater, but Sarah still loves her the best of all of her toys.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Salsa Verde

Sherry likes salsa verde. I see canned versions in the grocery store, but would like to try making it from scratch.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jerome "Curly" Howard

Jerome "Curly" Howard of The Three Stooges died on January 18, 1952, at age 48 (my age), after many years of poor health following strokes. Mental Floss has an article about his life after the Stooges.

Beanie Wienies

The Homesick Texan blog has a recipe for Beanie Wienies for grown-ups. I like the idea. Basic Beanie Wienies is classic camping and kid food, and is easy to make if you don't just buy the canned version. I have enjoyed the simple dish since I was a Boy Scout heating it up and eating it around the campfire. By switching up the beans and using various sausages in lieu of hot dogs you could easily concoct many variations of this childhood classic.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Battle of Cowpens

In the Battle of Cowpens, which took place in South Carolina on January 17, 1781, American forces commanded by General Daniel Morgan defeated British forces commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarelton. The American forces included some of the overmountain men who fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jupiter From Cassini

This is an image of Jupiter's northern hemisphere is a mosaic of images taken from the Cassini spacecraft (via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Out On the Town

We visited Nashville this weekend, and we stayed at the Nashville Downtown Doubletree Hotel, which was quite nice. Above is a photograph of the view out of the window of our hotel room at dusk.

In 2002 I had an office in a building on Printers Alley. It is quiet during the day, but lively at night. Let us say it is not kid-friendly.

This is Nashville's Bat Tower. Batman was not in on this particular evening.

We had supper last night at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Nashville and encountered this marlin as we entered.

We were expecting a long wait, and were camped out in the gift shop until we started to see Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers fans filing out the door to get to last night's hockey game. (The Preds won 4-2.) There was live music and a stilt walker making balloon sculptures and hats on the first floor.

Here we are in our balloon hats. Sarah made friends with the upstairs stilt walker, and he made her a flower and a parrot in addition to our hats. (You can't see it in this picture, but mine was a shark fin.)

Sarah poses with the upstairs stilt walker. He was quite entertaining.

The Doubletree is just a short walk from Margaritaville, so we hoofed it rather than wait for the hotel shuttle. I'm glad we did. It was fun to stroll around my old stomping grounds for a bit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th, a day that we do not consider unlucky in our family inasmuch as Jake and Joey were born on a Friday the 13th. According to an article in the UK's Independent, the origin of the superstition may come from there being thirteen people at the Last Supper and from Christ's Crucifixion being on a Friday.

Interestingly, a Google image search brought up nothing except images from the movie franchise. I saw the first couple of movies in the '80's, but have not seen any of the more recent flicks. I don't really enjoy horror movies like I did when I was younger.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aletsch Glacier

This is the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland, via Earth Science Picture of the Day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Earhart Flies Honolulu to California

On this date in 1935 Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly from Honolulu to California. She landed in Oakland.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Wampus Cat

I grew up in East Tennessee, and heard many stories around campfires as a Boy Scout. I was unfamiliar, until recently, with the legend of the Wampus Cat. According to various accounts it resembles a cat walking upright like a human and roams our mountains in the night. I will add the legend to my fireside storytelling repertoire.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gilligan's Birthday

Bob Denver, who played Gilligan on Gilligan's Island, was born on January 9, 1935. I remember the show from when it was in syndication, and like many people my age I still know the lyrics to the theme song by heart. The show used to run in the afternoons after I got home from school as a child.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jellyfish Don't Pay Rent

Jimmy Buffett has a song, "Mental Floss," in which he sings, "I'd like to be a jellyfish, 'cause jellyfish don't pay rent." Fittingly, this nice shot of a colorful jellyfish can be found this morning on the Mental Floss magazine blog, along with a link to some more photographs of the creatures.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our Week

We had a short work week this week because both our offices were closed Monday for the New Year holiday. Sarah started her winter session Wednesday, so by the end of the week we were back into our normal routine. I love the holidays, but I also like getting back to work once they are over.

We had kinfolk in town from the Washington, DC, area this week, and we entertained at our place Wednesday evening, which was fun. We put a sirloin roast in the crock pot Wednesday morning and let it cook all day, which always gives you a delightful welcome when you come home from work in the afternoon and smell the roast cooking. We've cooked two of those roasts in the crock pot recently, and I believe I have decided I like beef roast better cooked in the Dutch oven as Daube of Beef Proven├žal. It requires more work, but the roast is much more tender and flavorful. Importantly, it also makes for better leftovers.

Sherry and Sarah had a girls' night out last night, with the women gathering at Naples Italian Restaurant in West Knoxville. They are still asleep, and I may slip out and do our grocery shopping once the sun comes up.

Charles Addams

Today is the 100th birthday of Charles Addams, creator of the Addams Family, and Google has honored him by featuring his characters in today's Google doodle. The Addams Family musical winds up its Nashville stint at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center this weekend.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chicken alla Cacciatora

Visit Almost Italian to learn how to make Chicken alla Cacciatora.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Death Of Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor died sometime during the night of January 4-5, 1066. He is notable for the establishment of Westminster Abbey during his reign. He is entombed there.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Street At Biskra

Henri Matisse, 1906

If you are interested in visiting Biskra to perhaps see this street, you can check out their website. It is an oasis in Algeria, and the denizens boast of having 150,000 date trees.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Going To Buy Me a Mercury

This is a 1964 Mercury Montclair Marauder from Hemmings Motor News. If you want to hear Steve Miller's "Mercury Blues" click here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Almost Like Home

This is NGC 6744, a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way, via the Anglo-Australian Observatory.

Washington's Crossing: McKonkey's Ferry, December 26, 1776

By Mort Kuntsler, 2011

Sunday, January 1, 2012

On the Slopes

Here is a photograph of Laura and Grace on the slopes in Canada.

Tournament Of Roses Parade

The first Tournament of Roses Parade, a New Years Day tradition in the United States, took place on January 1, 1890, in Pasadena, California. The official Tournament of Roses website is here.