Friday, January 31, 2014

Space Rock

In 2005 the Opportunity rover captured this image of a meteorite on the surface of Mars, the first discovered on a planet besides Earth.  Opportunity's original mission was only ninety days, but it has been trucking around its little corner of Mars for a decade now.  Its twin rover, Spirit, ended its mission in 2011.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Snowblogging

Here are a few snapshots I took when I went outside yesterday morning to dash snow off of our cars with a broom.  Although it was beautiful and sunny out, the temperature was about 8 degrees Fahrenheit.  This shows Forest Avenue looking west toward downtown Maryville.
Our house developed some fierce icicles.

These are a couple of pictures I took in our backyard.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Pics

Sarah and I ventured outside for a few minutes yesterday to walk about the neighborhood.  I let her out of the house without gloves, and after she tried to make one snowball, she was ready to flee the cold.  Her school and the justice center are closed again today, but the last we heard Sherry was going to have to be at work at 10:00 a.m.

Compromise of 1850

On January 29, 1850, Whig Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky rose in the Senate chamber to propose what became the Compromise of 1850, which postponed the Civil War a decade.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The justice center closed at 10:00 a.m. today due to snow and school closures.  We were in court when we got the word at 9:55 a.m. that the Maryville school system was closing at 10:00 a.m.  It took me about an hour to drive the short distance to Sarah's school, pick her up and drive home.  It normally takes about fifteen minutes.

We made it safely home, despite having to drive around a truck that was spinning its wheels going up the hill on Everett High Road at the ball fields.  Sherry called shortly after we got home and said her office is going to remain open until at least noon, which should give time to allow all the parents picking up kids from school to get off the road.  Temperatures are just below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and snow has been falling since 9:00 a.m., so it'll be with us for a while.  The photograph is from our back door looking from the top of Everett Hill down to East Broadway Avenue, where traffic was moving slowly the last time I looked.

Rich Kids With Regular Jobs

I have said many times that everyone should at some point in their lives work at a job that requires you to serve other people and a job that requires strenuous physical labor. I worked at a McDonald's restaurant as a teenager, and the experience taught me a lot about people.  I was at the receiving end of several tirades from customers upset because I suggested they might want french fries or something to drink with their sandwich.  It is called suggestive selling.  It was part of my job, and it works.  Be nice to the person who serves you, particularly if that person is serving you food.

It is good to have experienced strenuous physical labor to appreciate the people who do it everyday, even if you no longer have to in order to make a living.  I have worked a number of jobs that required hard work, but one particular summer unloading furniture trucks comes to mind as my most physically demanding job.  Apparently there is a college in Morocco that requires its wealthy students to experience regular jobs as part of their program.  Frankly, cooking and serving food and moving heavy objects as a young person makes me appreciate having employment at my age that requires neither.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cousins at the Cabin

Here are some snapshots I took up at Buckberry Creek Chalet when my sister Laura and I took our daughters up there Friday.  The girls played in the snow a bit, and then we gathered some firewood.

Buckberry in a bit different in having a Jacuzzi right in the living room across from the fireplace.  The kids stayed in there until they were wrinkly.

I couldn't resist taking these pictures showing the two cousins with antlers.  This is what I call a prom date picture, and I have a file of them of Sarah.  These are embarrassing pictures of Sarah as a child that I can show to her prom date when she's in high school and can be embarrassed most easily.  "This is before we had her horns removed."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day, which commemorates the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip at Sydney Cove in 1788.

(Via Phils Phun)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Back From Gatlinburg

Sarah and I met Laura and Grace up at Laura's Buckberry Creek Chalet on Ski Mountain Road in Gatlinburg yesterday evening.  We had intended to stay at Mountain Springs Cabin, but the frigid weather burst a water pipe there.  There was plenty of snow on the ground, so I was glad Laura brought some dry firewood and a box of Duraflame logs.  The kids enjoyed the Jacuzzi and helped me gather some extra firewood in exchange for powdered donuts.

Sherry is returning from her Nashville trip today.  She's going to hang out with her mom and Jake and Joey until the boys have to go to work.  We're expecting her home by 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.  We stopped by A.J.'s Hearth and Kettle in Townsend for breakfast on the way home this morning, and I discovered I know the lady who owns it.  It is one of Sarah's favorite breakfast restaurants when we visit the mountains.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lost Tooth Affidavit

When you have a lawyer for a parents, things can be a little different for the average child.  For instance, I once explained to Sarah that I was attorney for Santa Claus and had drafted the collective bargaining agreement between him and his elves.  Young Emily Winter's parents were both lawyers, and devised a clever legal strategy to induce the tooth fairy to leave the customary cash under Emily's pillow despite the tooth having been lost.  A few tenths of an hour later, they had prepared a Lost Tooth Affidavit.  Counsel wishing to review the original document can find a readable version here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blue Lava

This blue lava is molten sulpher.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sam Houston

Neatorama recently featured a short biography of Sam Houston, and it pointed out that he is the only person to be elected governor of two states, Tennessee and Texas.  He "took a dollar from the drum" to join the United States Army here in Maryville, where city fathers plan to erect a statue of him.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Titan's Lakes

This image is a composite of images of Titan, the largest of Saturn's many moons, recorded by the Cassini spacecraft.  The blue areas are liquid lakes of methane and ethane at -180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Holiday Weekend

Sherry is at work today, but Sarah and I are home enjoying the MLK holiday after running errands and bowling a couple of games at Crest Bowling Alley.  Sarah's been after me to take her bowling, and we were in that neck of the woods, so I indulged her.  As I expected, we were truly awful, especially in comparison to the ladies' group that was also there.  They humiliated us, which wasn't hard.

We had quite an adventure yesterday.  Sherry has been a fan of Molly Ringwald since the '80's, and we learned that she was performing yesterday afternoon at Hiwassee College in nearby Madisonville.  We decided to make a day of it and drove down to Monroe County in the morning intending to visit Bald River Falls and the Tellico Trout Hatchery.  Unfortunately, I missed the turn, and we ended up driving the Cherohala Skyway all the way to the North Carolina border where we encountered snow and a temperature of 28 degrees.  I'd been meaning to check out the skyway, but I was disappointed not to be able to show Sherry the area between the falls and the trout farm.  At least she got to see the falls, and the river was raging.

The Molly Ringwald event was a jazz show.  She sang, and had a lovely singing voice.  She was with a very talented band consisting of a stand-up bass, piano, saxophone and drums.  Jazz was my dad's favorite kind of music, and the show made me think of him.  I told Sarah that when I was her age her grandfather would come home from work and play jazz on the piano to unwind.  After the show, Sherry got to meet Ms. Ringwald, who autographed her CD.  I managed to convince Sherry not to tell her that we named our cat after her.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lincoln Day Dinner

We had our Blount County Lincoln Day Dinner yesterday evening at nearby Heritage High School on East Lamar Alexander Parkway.  Sarah was fortunate to have her photograph taken with United States Senator Lamar Alexander, a Blount County native and the man for whom the aforementioned parkway is named.  Senator Alexander campaigned for governor wearing a red and plaid shirt.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Visit to Knoxville

During Sarah's winter break we visited the East Tennessee Historical Society museum and James White Fort over in Knoxville.  The museum had an exhibit about the history of broadcasting in Knoxville that I wanted to see.  I was not surprised to see video of Big Jim Hess at the exhibit.  He lived down the street from us in West Knoxville, and was a very nice man. The video they showed was from the same time.  I had forgotten his big sideburns, but not his deep voice.

This is the house on Noragate Road where my family lived in West Knoxville when I was a kid.  We moved there when I was in third grade and moved out when I was a junior in high school.  The maple tree in the front yard is massive compared to how it looked forty years ago.
I drove Sarah all over Rocky Hill, and we went down Keller Bend Road in search of the access road to the cave I used to explore there as a teenager.  I am sorry to say I couldn't find it.  As I recall, the cave was on TVA property, and they maintained the access road, which was gated the last time I saw it.  We saw this deer foraging in the woods along a stretch of Keller Bend Road.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pop Tarts Camper

We've seen the Oscar Mayer weinermobile before, in fact, here's a picture of Sherry and Sarah with it, but I had never heard of the Pop Tarts camper.  Pop Tarts are required camping food, so it wouldn't hurt to have a trailer full of them when you head out into the woods.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Pero's on the Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee

We recently dined at Pero's on the Hill, 7706 South Northshore Drive in the Rocky Hill community in West Knoxville, where I grew up.  The old Pero's on Kingston Pike was one of my dad's favorite restaurants, and when I learned that there was a new incarnation of Pero's in Rocky Hill I knew I wanted to check them out.  Sarah and I met Mom for lunch there during the holidays, and we were not disappointed.  I had the veal parm, which was delightful. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Today is my niece Grace's seventh birthday.  As a break from winter, here's a picture of her and Sarah at the beach last summer.  Happy birthday, Gracie!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grandmother Ogle's 105th Birthday

Today is my Grandmother Ogle's 105th birthday.  She is pictured in her back yard on North Jefferson Street in Winchester, Tennessee, with my sister Laura.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cousins in the Snow

Mom brought my niece Grace over Tuesday to play with Sarah.  The kids spent most of their time together inside, but they asked me to take them outside to enjoy the snow for a bit, despite the bitter cold.

I had my North Face goose down coat to keep me nice and warm.  I had to improvise to keep the children from freezing, but they were fine for the short time we were outside.
I received a shillelagh for Christmas, and we took it for a test drive around the neighborhood.  We took turns using it to bust up pieces of ice on the street.
The girls were happy to find these nice icicles.  They, too, fell to the might of the shillelagh.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Battle of New Orleans

On January 8, 1815, American forces commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee soundly defeated British forces commanded by General Edward Pakenham in the Battle of New Orleans.  Pakenham was killed in the battle.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cold Hill

We had snow in Maryville today, and are expecting bitter cold tonight.  City schools are already closed tomorrow due to the frigid weather.
It didn't take Sarah's T-shirt long to freeze in the cold wind today.


On January 6 Christians celebrate the Epiphany, a feast day commemorating the revelation of Christ as divine.  In Western culture it commemorates the visit of the Magi (the Three Wise Men) to baby Jesus.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Saturday at Buckberry Creek Cabin

With Sherry in Nashville for the weekend, Sarah and I went up to Laura and Stewart's Buckberry Creek Cabin on Ski Mountain Road in Gatlinburg looking for snow.  We were not disappointed.

Skippy the rat loves the snow, but he was in the hot tub within five minutes of this picture.
I wanted a wood fire, and we worked for it.  With all of the snow on the ground, the firewood was soaked, but we got a good blaze going after a while.

Santa brought Sarah a set of Prang colored pencils for Christmas, and she spent a lot of time drawing yesterday while I tended the fireplace.
This is Buckberry Creek, for which the cabin is named.  It is across Ski Mountain Road from the house.  I could hear the creek and drips of water from snow melting as I woke up this morning.