Sunday, March 31, 2013

Redondo Beach, California

After visiting Terranea, we headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway to visit Redondo Beach and walk the Strand.  It reminded me of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, with all manner of booths and merchants hoping to separate you from some of your money.  Some were successful.
I took this photo of Sarah and Nilu as we waited for the moms to get the car parked and the parking paid for.  The girls were anxious to get down to the beach.
Once they got down there, Nilu and Sarah played the eternal game of racing away from the ocean's waves as they come ashore.  They did this on every sand beach we visited, and they were soon joined by Nilu's elder sister, Naseem.
Gulls on the Redondo Pier are quite placid, and don't mind the tourists and paparazzi much at all.

We were blessed with highs near 70 and lows near 50 during our whole week in California, and for the most part, the skies were clear.  This good ol' boy about got sunburned, but I managed to get by without sunscreen that week.

A Note About My Orange Sweatshirt and Boots

I spent part of this weekend uploading photographs from our California trip onto this blog, and they will be posted over the course of the next week or so.  Readers will notice that I frequently appear in these photos wearing my UT orange sweatshirt.  The Weather Channel accurately reported that the highs for that week were around 70 degrees, but it was chillier that I thought it would be because of the wind.  Accordingly, I only packed one sweatshirt, which I washed frequently and wore pretty much every day at one point or another.  Sherry toughed it out in T-shirts all week, but she tolerates cold better than I do.

My walking boots show up in a lot of these snapshots, too, because we did a lot of waking, and my poor, tired, old feet need all the help they can get.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rubbing Shoulders With the Stars

We encountered two different film crews shooting scenes on location for television during our visit to California.  Our first was on the Santa Monica Pier, where we encountered the sign pictured below.

Being tourists from Tennessee, we were impressed just to see the set and equipment.  They let everyone walk right through the middle of everything.

We walked out the pier far enough to feel like we were out of the way, and turned around to gawk as tourists are wont to do.  We recognized Mike O'Malley, the fellow in the blue shirt and cap, from Yes, Dear, a show Sherry likes to watch.  He and the fellow in black on the right, Ricardo Chivera, started running down the pier toward us, one chasing the other.  Sherry and I and some other bystanders had to dodge out of the way, so if you see a lawyer in a Tennessee orange sweatshirt and his lovely wife on the pilot of the NBC show Welcome to the Family, that will be us.

Spring Break in Los Angeles

We spent our spring break this year visiting with our friends, Nazanin and Arsulan, in Torrance, California, which is in Los Angeles County.  Nazie and Sherry have been friends since they were in third grade, and it is a delight to see such friends together.  On the first day of our vacation, Nazie took us hiking along the Pacific coast in the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, which was about ten or fifteen minutes from their home.  It was a beautiful place!
In this photograph Sarah and Nilu are menaced by some scary plants.
Sherry and Nazie posed for this picture with a less frightening species of plant life.
We were decked out in green for Saint Patty's Day.
This area of the coast was quite rocky.  The ocean rolls the rocks up and back with the waves, and the rocks are worn smooth just like our river rocks in the Smokies.  Our mountain rock-hopping skills served us well here.  The girls liked this little cave the ocean has carved out of the side of the mountain.
I thought the pelicans out west were huge, but it may have been that I just haven't seen them so close.  I usually see the birds on the panhandle of Florida at a distance, either in the air or skimming the Gulf of Mexico.  These Pacific pelicans swoop right down over you.

Sherry, Nilu, Nazie and Sarah pose next to the cove we walked down to from the resort.  There were some scuba divers there, and it was cool watching them head into the waves as we explored the rocks.
 Nazie took this picture of Sherry and me perched on a rock above the Pacific.

Friday, March 29, 2013

President John Tyler

John Tyler of Virginia was born on March 29, 1790, and he became the first Vice President to assume the Presidency upon the death of a President when William Henry Harrison died a month after being sworn into the office.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Moons of Saturn

Pictured above are Saturn and five of its moons, to wit: Titan, Enceladus, Tethys, Mimas and Dione.  (Via Earth Science Picture of the Day)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Life in Lake Vostok, Antartica

Russian scientists drilled a hole in the ice at Lake Vostok, Antartica, and discovered bacteria down there that are less than 86 per cent similar to anything humans of yet discovered.  (Via The Laughing Squid)

Monday, March 25, 2013


Today is Pesach, known in English as Passover, which commemorates the events set forth in Exodus.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem as recorded in all four of the Gospels.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Stamp Act

On March 22, 1765, Parliament adopted the Stamp Act, which imposed a tax on just about any printed material in Britain's American colonies.  People on this side of the Atlantic were not pleased.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mount Etna Eruption

Last month, on February 19, 2013, Mount Etna erupted on the island of Sicily, where my cousin J.G. lives with his family.  The mountains near my house are much quieter than Etna.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring

Today is the vernal equinox, which marks the first day of spring.  Bring it on!  I've had enough of winter this year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fighting the Alien Invaders

According to Slate,

This is either:

1) The European Southern Observatory’s little known SHADO (Supreme Headquarters of the Alien Defence Organization) group preventing yet another alien invasion, or

2) A powerful laser beamed into the sky to help astronomers achieve higher-resolution images.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Trolled by the Tooth Fairy

It seems Emily's tooth fairy was unable to find her tooth because of the mess in Emily's room, and so the expected transaction did not take place.  It is my understanding that Emily remedied the situation and that her tooth fairy will be back soon.  (Via Neatorama)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day

Today is Saint Patrick's Day, which also marks the fifth anniversary of the weekend we moved into our present home on Everett Hill in Maryville.  Although people of Irish descent were treated quite poorly in the United States when they first began to migrate here, that particular prejudice is a thing of the past, and most Americans now embrace all things Irish on this day, especially the wearing of green clothing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Samoset Comes to Call

On March 16, 1621,  English colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts, were stunned when a Native American of the Abenaki tribe named Samoset walked into the settlement and announced in English, "Welcome!  Welcome, Englishmen."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Beware the Ides of March

On the 15th day of March in 44 B.C., the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was assassinated, stabbed to death, in Rome on his way to the Roman Senate.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's Got a Big Ol' Bird on the Hood

If this car gives you the urge to hear Jerry Reed perform "Eastbound and Down," by all means indulge yourself.  My friend Randy had a red Trans Am in high school, but I don't think it had the big ol' bird on the hood.

Ali Baba's Time Out Deli To Close

I just learned via an e-mail from my sister that Ali Baba's Time Out Deli in West Knoxville will close later this month after forty years in business across from Bearden High School.  Being a Bearden graduate, I've had many a burger and deli sandwich at Ali Baba's.  I hope I can get over there one last time before they close.  The News Sentinel has more.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

More Greenbelt Photos

Once we made our way up to Broadway from the Greenbelt trails near the courthouse, the girls took a seat on the bench in front of Something Savory, a local bakery and sandwich shop.  They have wonderful desserts, some of which are gluten-free for folks like my mom who have to steer clear of wheat products.
The digital camera focused on the grain of the wooden plank I set it on, so our faces are blurry in this picture, but this turned out to be an interesting image anyway.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Twentieth Anniversary of The Great Blizzard of '93

A  huge storm developed over the Gulf of Mexico on March 12, 1993, and it became known as the Great Blizzard of '93.  I was living in Londontown Apartments in Knoxville at the time, but I was invited to stay with some friends nearby so I wouldn't get snowed in at my apartment by myself.  As it turned out, that was fortunate, because Londontown lost power for a couple of days.

After a few days, the snow subsided, and I decided to hike back to my apartment, which was probably about five miles away.  I hadn't walked very far at all before a kindly firefighter picked me up in his truck and delivered me to the apartment complex, where power had already been restored.  Here in Blount County, Townsend experienced flooding caused by the snow melt.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Greenbelt Walk

We decided to do our walking in town at the Greenbelt Park yesterday rather than driving to the mountains, and it was a splendid outing.  Sherry and Sarah pose here beside Pistol Creek with ducks in the background.
The last time Sarah and I visited this area of the Greenbelt was for a field trip, and the children explored here for insects.  Sarah wanted to see how the bugs have been since then.
We are still pleased with ourselves for having learned how to set the timer on our digital camera.
This alley was how one entered Byrne's Drugstore when I first came to Maryville to practice law in 1993.  I miss their hamburgers and club sandwiches, and learned much over lunch there as a young lawyer.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SNL Alumni

According to Neatorama, Steve Martin tweeted this photograph of Saturday Night Live alumni recently.  I fell out of watching SNL years ago because I do not customarily stay up late enough to watch it, but the advent of DVR recording I have started watching it again, though at my advanced age I don't get all of the pop culture references.

UPDATE:  Sherry and I just watched last night's episode.  Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd returned to their roles as "wild and crazy guys," and Martin Short did the salute from Three Amigos.

Daylight Savings Time Begins

Daylight Savings Time begins today, and clocks should be moved forward one hour to reflect the change.  Your friendly neighborhood firefighters would want me to also remind readers to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Gals' Night Out

Sherry and Sarah and one of Sherry's friends and her daughter went to see a production of Mary Poppins at the Tennessee Theater last night.  The show began at 8:00 p.m., and they didn't get in until late, so they are still asleep.  I hope they still want to go hiking after being out on the town last night.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Green Onions

The Nobel Pig explains how to grow green onions right on your window sill.  I will try this the next time we buy green onions.  (More Green Onions)

Busy Saturday Morning

Sherry and Sarah and I just returned home after we spent a busy morning running errands.  We all had a busy week last week, and are looking forward to a quiet weekend at home.  After quite a stretch of cold weather, temperatures are expected to be in the sixties today and tomorrow.  We are considering a second attempt to locate the trail to backcountry campsite 2 in the Smokies tomorrow to reconnoiter the campsite, but we'll have to see how motivated we are tomorrow morning.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Captain's Holiday on the Slopes

If you are not familiar with television's Star Trek:  The Next Generation, this will not amuse you.  I, however, thought it was hysterical.  (Via Miss Cellania)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Emma the Mouse Slayer

I will preface this by saying that I understand that a cat killing a mouse is not a particularly remarkable event.  In fact, I once had a cat named Bessie that was a bloodthirsty killer.  Finding dead animals, or their giblets, on the doorstep was a regular thing back then, and she regularly preyed upon mice, moles, voles, birds and an occasional rabbit.  She once made a try for a great blue heron, and she considered going after a collie one day.  The collie wisely retreated and was thus spared.

Our current cats, Emma and Molly are unrepentant wimps, and are often frightened by bugs.  This morning, however, when I was riding my exercise bike in our unfinished basement, Emma began stalking what I figured was a bug, a cricket perhaps.  A few minutes later, I spied her navigating the basement with a mouse in her mouth, and she was heading toward the stairs that lead up into the main level of the house.  I managed to shoo her back off of the stairs, and I blocked up the cat door to keep her downstairs until she finished "playing" with the mouse.  (I'm sure the mouse didn't see it that way.)  I later tossed the mouse carcass into the back yard as a warning to his fellows.  Well done, Emma!

Daniel Webster's "Seventh of March" Speech

On March 7, 1850, Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts rose in the United States Senate in support of what is now known as the Great Compromise of 1850, which delayed the American Civil War for a decade.  His "Seventh of March" speech is considered one of his most important.  President Millard Fillmore appointed Webster Secretary of State later that year.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mmmmm, Pizza

While this looks like a mild-mannered slice of pizza, it is actually Spam, peas, rice, eggs and spices.  Coconut and Lime has the recipe for this frittata.  Can I have cheese in mine?