Tuesday, April 30, 2013

City of Lights

A horizon rainbow appears above Paris in this image from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Last Oldsmobile

Ten years ago today, on April 29, 2004, the last Oldsmobile rolled off of the assembly line.  It was an Alero.  My first car was a Delta 88, and it served me well in a time of relatively cheap gas.  It was a heavy family car, unlike its muscle car sister, the Cutlass, but with a 350 Rocket under the hood, it would still go when you stepped on the accelerator.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hillside 2013

Sarah and I spent the weekend with my sisters, Leslie and Laura, and my niece, Grace, at the Camp, our cabin in Estill Springs, Tennessee.  We expected rain, and got plenty.

We spent most of our time Saturday inside, keeping a fire going and entertaining each other with song and conversation.  We did a rendition of "The Rattlin' Bog" that had me laughing to the point of tears.  (You Tube rendition)  It's been too long since we've all been together at the Camp.
High Water

 This trillium plant has claimed the walkway into the cabin as its home.

That's all, folks.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

You Don't Have to Outrun the Bear

You just have to outrun your slowest friend.  (Via Miss Cellania)

In all seriousness, bears are wild animals and are accordingly dangerous.  If you encounter a black bear here in East Tennessee, the National Park Service has some advice you should carefully heed.  (For instance, running from a black bear is not a good strategy should one take interest in you.)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tennessee's State Flower

The first couple of irises opened in our front yard overnight.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Estill Spring Cleaning

With spring in the air here in Tennessee, I foresee a trip to our family cabin in Estill Springs, Tennessee, in my future.  It will be our first visit of 2013, which means spring cleaning is in order.  My Ogle grandparents had a nice home in Winchester, but Grandmother wanted a little place in the country, I suspect to remind her of her roots in rural Lois, in nearby Moore County.  The cabin had electricity, but not water, when my sisters and I were kids, so it was and still is a step back in time, although we now have plumbing, including an indoor toilet.  It is a good thing, for the outhouse has fallen into disrepair.

Grandmother always maintained, "Ellis wouldn't have bought a chicken coop if it weren't for me."  I suspect, however, that she didn't have much trouble talking Granddaddy, an outdoorsman, into their investment in a country place.  Their generation enjoyed spending time there with their children and grandchildren.  Their great-grandchildren, my daughter and niece, are now learning to love and care for the old place as the generations before them have, and that gives me great joy.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Is a Jimador?

Near our house is a Mexican restaurant, El Jimador, and we dined there recently.  I wondered what a jimador is, and according to Wikipedia a jimador is a Mexican agave farmer.  Agave is used in the production of tequila, so the name is a way of advertising the restaurant's margaritas.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kill It With Fire!

For some reason the internet has been producing two-headed sharks recently, though this one would not require obtaining a bigger boat.  Creepy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Stroll Around Our House

We put out some flowers over the weekend, but the beautiful azalea that adorns our front porch came with the house.
Sherry loves daisies.  This is a Shasta daisy.
Our neighbors' dogwood tree is blooming quite nicely.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mad Bomber Busted


Like everyone else, I've been transfixed by the events that have unfolded in Boston over the last several days, and I've been amazed by the response of law enforcement and the citizens of that city.  It will be interesting to see what else we learn in the coming days and weeks.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Orange and White Game

My womenfolk and I went over to Knoxville to see part of the Orange and White game at the University of Tennessee today.  I bought myself a couple of new business suits first, and then we drove to campus, which was much busier than I anticipated.  I wanted to take Sarah to Fan Day, but the lines were so long by the time we got there that it was apparent we wouldn't make it inside in time.  We beat a hasty retreat to the Copper Cellar and had a nice lunch.
It was much easier to get inside Neyland Stadium for the game, and we got there in time to see the two scrimmaging teams take the field.  The orange team was defense.
The white team was offense, with the quarterbacks in red jerseys and off limits for contact. The cheerleading team and dance squad were there, as was the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, which you can see in the upper right of this picture.  They played Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."  I am truly old.
The crowd was enthusiastic, and everyone seemed to be in a good mood.  There were lots of children, but there were certainly lots of Vol fans of all ages enjoying the day.  Sarah's shirt is a hand-me-down from her brothers.
Though we entered the stadium above the north end zone, we decided to walk up into the upper seats, which were pretty empty, as you can see.  Sherry wanted to catch some rays.
My daddy took me to my first game at Neyland Stadium when I was about Sarah's age.  I was already a well-indoctrinated fan at that point, having listened to the games with Dad on the radio before we moved to Knoxville when I was in second grade.
On the way out of the stadium, I snapped this shot of the Henley Street Bridge, which has been undergoing rehabilitation for months now.  It was a beautiful spring day in East Tennessee!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Beauty and Devastation

I have many fond memories of Chilhowee Lake, pictured above.  I took this snapshot Sunday on the way home from our Abrams Creek hike a couple of weekends ago.  I had my best day bank fishing in my life on that lake years ago, when it seemed like every time I lowered a hook with a worm on it into the water a sun perch hit it.  The lake is created by Chilhowee Dam on the Little Tennessee River.
This bare Monroe County mountain was covered with trees but a few years ago.  The devastation of a tornado removed the timber on that mountain.  I went up there shortly after the 2011 storm with my friend J.P., who grew up in East Tennessee, but lives in Florida now, having married an island princess.  He pondered where all that timber ended up after the storm removed it from that mountain.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Poetry by Abraham Lincoln

When he wasn't practicing law, running a nation at war and hunting vampires, Abraham Lincoln wrote poetry.  Here are a few lines he wrote after visiting his childhood home in Indiana:

My child-hood home I see again,
And gladden with the view;
And still as mem'ries crowd my brain,
There's sadness in it too--
O memory! thou mid-way world
'Twixt Earth and Paradise;
Where things decayed, and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise--
And freed from all that's gross or vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle,
All bathed in liquid light--

(Via Neatorama)

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Volcanic Lightning

This is volcanic lightning from a Japanese volcano.  (Via Neatorama)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day

Today is tax day, the day by which citizens of the United States of America must file our income tax returns and pay our income taxes.  On a brighter note, when I lived on Louisville Lake I always thought of it as a good time to look for TVA to raise the lake levels, a sure sign of spring in East Tennessee.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Andrew Jackson

Rapid City, South Dakota, has a bunch of bronze statues of U.S. Presidents.  Here's Tennessee's Andrew Jackson guarding the way to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  (Via Neatorama)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Restaurant Review -- Ashoka the Great Cuisine of India, Artesia, California

During our visit to Los Angeles we visited the Little India area and dined at Ashoka the Great Cuisine of India at 18614 Pioneer Boulevard, Artesia, California.  The restaurant is named from an Indian ruler, Ashoka, who reigned from 268-232 B.C.

I'm an East Tennessee country boy, so I don't have a lot of experience with Indian food, but I liked both the Chicken Curry and the Chicken Tikka Masala.  The dining area was very nice, with white tablecloths and excellent service.  We were hungry, but the portions were large, which provided leftovers to take home, some of which I breakfasted upon later.  I've had mostly Thai curry dishes recently, and the Chicken Curry at Ashoka tasted more like the curry you can buy on the spice aisle at Kroger, although the former was a bit spicier.  The Chicken Tikka Masala was spicier still.

After supper we browsed the shops nearby, all of which catered to the Indian community they serve.  The girls looked at jewelry and saris, and Nazie bought the girls bangles, a set of small, circular bracelets that are worn together.  Sarah's make a pleasant tinkling sound as she moves her arm.  I was more interested in household things, the items someone from India might need to set up proper housekeeping.  I was particularly interested in foodstuffs, for example special flour or beans one might want from home, or a particular type of serving dish or cookery.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Best Anniversary Gift Ever

A son bought his parents a 1948 Plymouth convertible, their first car as a married couple, for their sixtieth anniversary.  Watch this with a box of kleenex nearby.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Anemone Blanda

Last October, Sherry bought some bulbs for Grecian Windflowers, or Anemone Blanda, and she had Jake plant them in the spot where our ornamental peach tree used to grow in the front yard.  The picture on the package they came in showed flowers ranging in color from dark purple to light pink.  Most of the pictures of the plant I found on the Internet were dark purple.  It will be interesting to see what our blooms look like.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy 75th Birthday, Mom!

I wish a very happy birthday to my mother, who is celebrating her 75th birthday today!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On Deck

We got outside and enjoyed our deck a bit this weekend.  Sarah found a bunch of books she liked at the library, and she fancies reading in the sunshine.
When we were outdoors Saturday, we noticed that a backhoe was taking down a building below us on East Broadway Avenue.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Malibu, California

For our last day of exploring California, Nazie drove us up to Malibu, where the girls hoped to spot some celebrities.
Sarah is under the boardwalk.
The weather was nice in Malibu the day we were there, and there were plenty of people surfing in that cold Pacific water.  We did a little bit of wading, but other than that we stayed dry.
We encountered the second television crew we saw in California in Malibu.  They were shooting for a show called Franklin & Bash.
After the television crew ran us off the beach, we decided to walk out the pier.  They were also shooting on the pier, and they asked us to walk out to the end so they could shoot.  We happily complied, since that had been our plan anyway.

 Sherry and Nazie confer while Sarah plays in the sand.
The area where the sand is wet on this beach, just where the waves come ashore, was crawling with some little bugs that I assumed to be a juvenile stage of a crab or something.  Sarah was creeped out by them.
We found a little restaurant where we had lunch, and then the girls window-shopped the nearby stores, again hoping to see someone notable.  Alas, it was not to be.