Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday to Grams!

Sherry's mom, known as "Grams" because that is what her grandchildren call her, was a Leap Year baby.  Happy Birthday, Grams!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

USA Today reports that an organization called the X-Prize Foundation is offering a handsome reward for the development of a tricorder from Star Trek.  (Via Instapundit)

That would be pretty cool, but I'm much more interested in the transporter.  "Mr. Scott, beam me directly to Key West, Florida."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Mountain Photographs

Here is the second installment of the snapshots we took during our hike at Look Rock.  Here we pose upon a rock behind the weather and air quality station near the tower.
Sarah and my friend Johnny's kids discovered some good climbing rocks behind Look Rock tower when we were up there in October, and Sarah couldn't wait to explore their nooks and crannies again.

This isn't the best picture ever taken, but you can see what a clear day it was from the mountains behind us.
 As our last stop of the hike, we rested on the top of the cliffs that adjoin the parking area for the Look Rock observation deck.  The view was extraordinary.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Winter Walk

Sunday was spectacular, and Sherry, Sarah and I went up to the Smokies for a hike in the woods around Look Rock campground.  We were planning to hike up to backcountry campsite number 2, which is accessed via the Top of the World community.  Unfortunately, I forgot my map, so we walked the Look Rock area instead.
After owning our digital camera for some seven years or so, we recently figured out how to use the timer on it, so we used it to take a picture of ourselves on the porch of the Look Rock Ranger Station.
Sarah climbed a rock to pose with this interesting tree.
This is Sarah beneath the overpass that carried Foothills Parkway over the (now closed) road to the Look Rock picnic area.
Moss was abundant on the path up to Look Rock tower.
 We paused for a breather and a photo op on the way up to the tower.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Joey's New Wheels

We just heard from the boys' dad, and they just bought Joey's first car, a Toyota Rav 4.  It is has a manual transmission, and Sherry is looking forward to helping to teach him to drive it when she visits Nashville next weekend.  It has been a big week for Joey.  He got his braces off and his first set of wheels.  These kids are growing up fast.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Treasure Quest Golf, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

I don't generally frequent the many tourist attractions up in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, but I make an exception on occasion.  We recently played Hillbilly Golf, which I've played since I was a kid, and since then Sarah has been lobbying us to take her to play Treasure Quest Golf, which she calls "Indiana Jones Golf" because they play the theme music from the Indiana Jones movies at the entrance.  Last weekend, I finally relented.  There is a velociraptor at the entrance, and Sarah's cousin Grace could not be convinced to enter the place, despite Sarah's attempt at persuading her, pictured above.
Despite the velociraptor, Sarah and I entered the facility, and we immediately encountered a mummy, and several pirates, though none interfered with our golfing.

The place used to have a room that was decked out as the bridge of the Enterprise-D, but unfortunately that room was eliminated from the course.  The game cost about $20.00 for the two of us, and it was a fun way for a dad and a daughter to kill thirty minutes in Gatlinburg.

High School Mock Trials

The Young Lawyers Division of the Blount County Bar Association is hosting high school mock trials today in Judge Denton's courtroom at the courthouse, and I served as a member of the jury for the first two rounds this morning, despite the fact that I have not been a young lawyer in many moons, while Sherry and Sarah were in a workshop for Sarah's Jungle Book play.  I was happy that the YLD asked me, no young lawyer, to participate.

The competing teams were from Seymour and Jefferson County, and all of the participants were well prepared and presented convincing cases.  It was an enjoyable way to spend Saturday morning, with some good kids, their supportive families and the hard-working attorneys who organized and participated in the event.  When I left to rejoin my family, everyone at the courthouse was about to enjoy pizza before heading into the afternoon competition.  Good luck to all!

Friday, February 22, 2013


I recently saw a television show about this sort of thing, and the zookeepers do it to keep the animals engaged in the activities of daily living.  This guy appears unhappy with his particular challenge.  (Via Miss Cellania)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Paul McCartney to Play Bonnaroo

I read earlier this week that Paul McCartney is going to play Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee, this year.  Tom Petty will be there, too.  My experience with music in Manchester was our extended family singing Christmas carols during my childhood accompanied by Aunt Lucy, my Grandmother Ogle's sister, on piano.  I have no doubt she would've rocked "Junior's Farm" or "American Girl."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


My stepson Joey had his braces removed.  Look at those chompers!

Photoshop Fun With Calvin and Hobbes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rocket 88

This is a 1957 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Holiday, and it can be yours for $54,900.00.  To listen to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats play "Rocket 88" click here.

1883 Version of the DSM-V

I am familiar with the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders both from my work as an attorney and from what I have learned from my mom, who is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. Here's how they did it in 1883.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cousins in the Mountains

Snow fell Saturday morning in Gatlinburg, and we enjoyed watching it while having lunch at Calhoun's on the parkway.

My cousin Jon and his wife, Carolyn, and three of their kids were over here on our side of the mountains from their home in North Carolina, and they stayed at Sunset Ridge in Pigeon Forge.  We are lucky to have a wonderful extended family and are close to many cousins.  My daughter, Sarah, and my sister Laura's daughter, Grace, appear here frequently.  They are, of course, first cousins.
I am pictured here with Jon, my second cousin.  His mom and my former employer, Barbara, is my mom's first cousin and therefore my first cousin once removed.  Jon is Sarah's second cousin once removed.
Jon's daughter, Charlotte, in gray on the right, is third cousin to Sarah and Grace, and she is my second cousin once removed.  She is Mom's first cousin twice removed.  There will be a test on this later.
Brantley, Spencer and Carolyn relax after a day at Ober Gatlinburg.
We had lasagna for supper, conversation thereafter, and Laura and I played "Heart and Soul" on the piano for a long time and to our children's chagrin.  Mom held court from her recliner, and all was well in the mountains that night.

Presidents Day

Today is the day Americans set aside each year to honor our Presidents, particularly George Washington, the first person to hold that office under our Constitution, although several men served as President of the United States prior to Washington under the Articles of Confederation, which the Constitution replaced.  Sarah's school and my work are closed for the holiday, but Sherry has to work, so I'm celebrating by being Mister Mom for the day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Snow on Ski Mountain

We went to Gatlinburg this weekend expecting snow, and we were not disappointed.  Here's Sarah on the front porch of Laura and Stewart's Mountain Laurels A-Frame in Chalet Village on Ski Mountain Road.

Sarah and I walked down to investigate the creek across the street from the chalet, which you can see in the background.  Sarah declined to accompany me down to the creek, but I clambered down anyway to take a couple of pictures of the water making its way down the mountain.

Like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, Mom claimed the blue recliner that she donated to this cabin as her "spot" for the weekend, and she dispensed wisdom from that seat throughout the weekend.

Bad Day in Court

In litigation involving a bar fight in which a man lost an eye, he was on the witness stand, and his prosthetic eye fell out and onto the floor.  The judge declared a mistrial on motion of defense counsel.  I've seen a lot of unusual things in court, but I can't top that one.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Red Elephants

At a national park in Kenya red elephants roam.  They get that way because the mud they bathe in is red.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine's Day, and the eleventh anniversary of my marriage to my beautiful and loving wife.

Laura's Book Gets Favorable Blog Review

The Savvy Saving Couple blog has a complimentary review of my sister Laura's recent children's book, No-No Nona and No-No Nita.  There's a link at their site to Warren Publishing Company, La's publisher, where you can purchase her book, and it is also available at

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bigfoot at the Beach?

This time of year I like to keep an eye on the news down on the panhandle of Florida where we vacation each summer.  Not long ago I read that a deer wound up in the surf down there, and now there's news of a Bigfoot in Walton County, Florida.  Maybe he's on his way down to Bud and Alley's in Seaside for some crab cakes.

Back in November Knox County celebrated Bigfoot Day, so I guess the big guy is making a comeback.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Onion Eyes

I just put together some spaghetti sauce and put it on the stove, and my eyes are still burning from cutting the onions.  I plan to turn most of the sauce into lasagna, but I always end up with enough for two standard casserole dishes of lasagna and a pint or so of sauce left over.  Sherry and Sarah are having lunch with our neighbor, Anita, and her daughter, Jamie, and then they are going to Target, where Sherry plans to buy Sarah some clothes.

Sarah checked four movies out of the library to watch this weekend, and she also got a load of books for her afternoon reading after I bring her home from school.  I have several books I am reading and listening to via audiobook, though I am making slow progress in all of them.  I am reading a biography of John Marshall, who was a very important Chief Justice of the United States, and I am working through audiobook versions of Bill Bryson's At Home:  A Short History of Private Life and Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.  I am primarily a non-fiction reader, but am trying to be better about reading or listening to more novels.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February Friday

Some time ago I signed up to attend a County Technical Assistance Service class today over in Knoxville, but it occurred to me earlier in the week that I am to be in court today.  I neglected to put it on any of my calendars when I scheduled the hearing, which is rare for me.  I regret that I will miss the class, but I am looking forward to court today and again three days next week.  It is good to be busy.

After Sherry's trip to Nashville and my and Sarah's trip to Gatlinburg last weekend, we are looking forward to being at home together this weekend.  My cousin Jon and his family are visiting next weekend, so I expect we will cook this weekend in anticipation of their visit.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Kingdom for a Parking Spot!

I learned earlier this week that experts have determined that human remains discovered under a parking lot in England are those of Richard III, who was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field.  The Washington Post has more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Battle of Fort Henry

On February 6, 1862, Union forces commanded by Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant and Flag-Officer A.H. Foote defeated Confederate troops commanded by Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman in the Battle of Fort Henry.  The Union captured the fort, opening up navigation of the Tennessee River to Union ships as far south as Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Old College Inn to Reopen

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that the Old College Inn is going to reopen at its familiar home at the west end of the Cumberland Avenue strip in Knoxville.  I couldn't fathom why they moved it, other than the parking problem, which was largely solved by the time they moved, and I never figured out where they moved to.  The businessman who is reopening OCI plans to return it to the way it was when I was at UT.  I wonder if he has the pieces of goal posts that used to reside there.  At any rate, I look forward to seeing the restaurant restored.  They made some wonderful sandwiches and burgers back in the day, and my dad loved the mett and beans, a dish that was served at the original location on the Hill, if my memory serves me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Marathon Television

This article on Neatorama caught my eye.  Because people have greater ability to record television shows they want to watch, viewing habits are changing.  Sherry discovered House, and devoured the series by recording it on DVR and watching it on the weekends. Some people wait until a series has run its course before starting it, so that they can do the same.  As you might expect, the television industry is reacting to this by providing suitable content for people looking for a marathon television experience.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snow Chasers

With Sherry visiting Nashville this weekend, Sarah and I went up to Gatlinburg to stay at Laura and Stewart's new A-Frame on Ski Mountain Road. It is four houses up the road from Mountain Springs, and they are calling it Mountain Laurels, though I intend to refer to it as Mountain Laura's.
There was snow still on the ground when we got up there Friday afternoon, and it snowed again Saturday, and then again this morning, so we got plenty of the snow we went up there to enjoy.
Sarah and I have started a bit of a tradition of putting jigsaw puzzles together when we visit La and Stew's cabins. Sarah and I started one Friday, and Grace and Sarah finished it this morning over hot chocolate.  Laura and Grace came up Saturday, and our friend Cathey, who tutored me in high school, spent part of the afternoon with us.  Cathey was on the other end of town at Cozy Creek, in celebration of her birthday.
Sarah and I climbed up the hill behind the cabin, both for firewood gathering and for the view.
This is the view looking down at the house from the mountain above it.
This morning's snow was heavy and wet, and it quickly covered Ski Mountain Road. The problem with driving in the snow, especially on a mountain road, is that you are limited by the worst driver in the vehicle least equipped to handle driving in winter conditions. This photograph shows a few of the cars that were backed up on Ski Mountain Road before the snow plow came through and cleared the road.