Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leap Second

Today we get an extra "leap second." It makes me think of the Styx song "Too Much
Time on My Hands."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cataract Surgery Complete

My cataract surgery only took about an hour this morning, and I am back home from Knoxville now and under doctor's orders to recover at home today. They did not put me under, so I was awake for the procedure. The doctor operated on me for about ten minutes or so, and what I saw was a bright light he asked me to look into, and a swirl of colors, mainly light reds and blues until the new prosthetic lens was in place. When I was first able to distinguish objects with my left eye, everything looked a bit pink, and the nurses joked that they'd given me the proverbial rose-colored glasses. It cleared up after a couple of minutes, but my vision is still a bit blurry in my left eye, which they said to expect. I wore my Big Ed's Pizza T-shirt today, and had everyone in the operating room talking about the wonderful pizza there and hopefully inspired them to make the trip to Oak Ridge for some of our area's best pizza. I have an appointment with the surgeon first thing tomorrow morning so that he can inspect his handiwork and give me further instructions.

Security Duck

(Via Phils Phun)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bionic Steve

The rain clouds have cleared out, and we have an absolutely beautiful summer day to enjoy this Sunday. My spaghetti sauce and lasagna cooking went well, although the fresh mushrooms I bought for the sauce had gone bad. Luckily, we had canned mushrooms, and I returned the bad batch to the grocery store this morning. Sherry has gone out to lunch with some friends, and I have a pork tenderloin to grill for supper this afternoon. It has been marinating in Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and Tiger seasoning since this morning.

I am scheduled for cataract surgery on my left eye tomorrow morning at 8:15 a.m., and have been instructed by my surgeon to apply a variety of eye drops in preparation for the surgery. The cataract has become more problematic in recent years. For example, it is difficult to drive in the dark because of the refraction of the street lights and headlights off the cataract. From what I understand, he will take out the bad part of the lens and install a prosthetic which will improve my nearsightedness in that eye. I will have a bionic left eye, just like Colonel Austin. Fortunately, it will not cost six million dollars.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Finally, Some Rain

We are finally getting some rain today in East Tennessee, and I'm sure our local farmers are glad to see it. We've had hot summer days in the middle 90's for long enough now that the sound of rain on the roof is quite welcome.

I have ingredients to make lasagna, which I haven't done since April, when I cooked a batch for my office staff for Administrative Professionals Day. Most of the work in it is browning ground chuck and chopping onion, celery and mushrooms. I've been training Sarah on chopping lately, so I will try to enlist her assistance.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Last Round of Beach Snapshots

Here are the last of my beach photos from last week. This was my morning commute each day, and you can see our orange canopy on its prime beachfront real estate. The early bird gets the primo spot.
The first several days we were down there, they had the red flags up, indicating dangerous currents, and purple flags up, indicating dangerous marine wildlife (i.e. jellyfish). I only saw one jellyfish on the beach, and no one got stung. The waves were impressive under the red flags, and the surf was still plenty dangerous even when they went to the yellow flags. When I was out with Jake and Sarah under yellow flags, I could feel the rip current trying to pull me out to sea as soon as I got to where I couldn't touch the bottom. Fortunately, I was able to get my feet under me, and Jake was able to grab Sarah's float and haul her back to shallow water. He also helped a couple other young girls who were scared and calling for their daddy. In this picture, you can see the high wind from the flag, as Joey and Jake head out into the waves under Skippy's diligent watch.
Sister Leslie was dedicated to spending as much time on the beach as possible, and she made good on that commitment. Unlike her brother, she is not ordinarily an early riser if she can avoid it, but she brought pastries down to the beach for her breakfast each morning. There is no more contented human being than Leslie Ogle on the beach with some Jimmy Buffett playing.
Sherry has been posing the children in front of this purple wall in Seaside every year for several years now. They just keep growing up.

It will surprise no one who knows her to see this photograph of Mom with a book on vacation. When I took this picture I was focused on Mom and her book, and only later noticed the beautiful reflection of the gulf and the sky above it behind her. This patio was our morning coffee house before moving the group on down to the beach.
Have duck, will travel.
Waves crash on the beach during one of my early mornings out there waiting for the rest of the family to wake up.
The kids sleep like kittens piled up in the back seat with Sherry's quilt on the way back home. Sarah bought the watermelon purse in Seaside with some cash that Grams gave her.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For Throwback Thursday, here is a photograph of Sarah, Jake and Joey jumping into a pool in Sandestin about seven years ago. Sherry had a poster made of this, and also submitted the image to a summer photo contest in Nashville that got it on the Tennessean website back in the day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kids Cook Beach Food

We found out a couple of weeks before our beach trip that our condo would be available a day early, and so we rented it for that extra night. Because Mom and Laura and Leslie had our beach chairs and canopy in their rental SUV, we had to make do sitting on towels out on the beach the first day.
As I mentioned in a previous post, we included the kids in the cooking duties during this trip. It was pretty easy to get them to join in because the kitchen in our unit, which we had never rented before, was very nice and well equipped (except the microwave didn't work, an inconvenience on vacation). Sarah has been working on her chopping skills, and she cut up celery, garlic and onion for our homemade salsa.
The salsa was pretty in the blender, and plenty hot (jalapenos and chilies) on tortilla chips.
As always, Skippy the rat accompanied us on vacation. We stored a bunch of Sarah's Monster High dolls, and I claimed these shades for Skippy since his old pair got broken.
I taught Jake, pictured here, and Joey, how to fry chicken according to Grandmother Isenhour's admonishment to "Salt it; salt it again; salt it some more; and then when you think you've put too much salt in, salt it again." We used Whistle Stop Cafe chicken batter, which we got for Christmas last year. It has been a big hit. The box coated about twelve chicken thighs, and the boys' chicken was delicious!

The boys graduated from high school last year, and had so many senior summer activities going on that they could not come to the beach with us last year. I had forgotten how much food two teenage boys can wolf down in a week. We had gone through $500.00 worth of groceries in three days, and decided we'd better start throwing carbs at those two young men. Sarah helped me make a filling batch of homemade macaroni and cheese.
There is a competition at the beach among dads with canopies to see who can claim the best spot. As we considered buying our own canopy, I boasted that if the competition is to see who can get up the earliest, I can win that game, and I did every morning we were there, claiming the spot directly in front of the stairs and on the front row facing the gulf. The fringe benefit for me, was having about 45 minutes or so each morning enjoying the beach in relative solitude as the sun came up. The fringe benefit for everyone else was having a loud man who gets up insanely early in the morning out of the condo so everyone else could sleep. This is what is known as a win-win situation.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Seagrove Beach 2015

We returned Saturday from our annual summer vacation in beautiful Seagrove Beach, Florida, where we've been vacationing for close to twenty years. As you can see, we had beautiful weather the whole week, and we spent most of it right there on the beach where this photograph was taken.
In the past, the realty company we rent through allowed renters to check in early if the unit was ready, but they are converting over to keyless entry. It is nice not to have to keep up with a key at the beach or the pool, but now you can't check into your unit until 4:00 p.m. central time (5:00 p.m. eastern time) because that's when your entry code becomes operative. We arrived around 2:00 p.m. local time, so we just enjoyed the pool for a couple of hours.
Although we've stayed at other places over the years, we always come back to good ol' Beachwood Villas, shown here. It reminds me of Londontown Apartments, where I lived during college and law school, albeit Beachwood's units are better furnished and less cluttered than my old apartment at Londontown. Mom and my sisters rent a condo at Beachside Condominiums, which is across the street from Beachwood and on the beach. We just lug our beach gear over there for the week.

Behold our new canopy we bought for the beach (and for camping and such back here in Tennessee). For years we rented an umbrella and two chairs from local vendors for $75.00 per week, but over the past several years noticed more and more canopies cropping up. Then they went up to $85.00 per week, and more canopies started showing up on the beach. That prompted our family to join the movement, especially since the canopy was $50.00, and we have plenty of collapsible camping chairs. This year the chair and umbrella rentals were up to $25.00 per day, or $175.00 per week.
As usual, we did a lot of cooking on this trip, and we enlisted the help of the children, who all three did a good job of stepping up to help keep us in food for the week. Jake and Joey fried a batch of chicken for us.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

Today is Fathers Day, and in celebration here's a picture of my dad, Phil Ogle, with his young family in the 1970's (obviously). Happy Fathers Day to all of my fellow fathers out there.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fancy Crawdad

Scientists have recently identified a brightly colored crawdad that lives in Indonesia. Below for comparison is a crawdad I caught in our creek in Estill Springs last month.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Creek

This is a short video of the creek at our Estill Springs cabin. I will enjoy this a lot next winter.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Here are the kids in 2010 for Throwback Thursday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Review -- Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation by John Carlin

I recently enjoyed the audiobook version of Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation by John Carlin, the compelling story of Mandela rallying the newly democratic South Africa around the country's national rugby team, the Springboks, in order to reconcile the races and create a new South African identity after the end of apartheid. I have been interested in South Africa since undergraduate school, so I really enjoyed the story. There is a movie version, Invictus, with Morgan Freeman as Mandela, which I will borrow from our local library in the near future. The New York Times has a review of it here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Nashville Neighborhoods

Mental Floss has had a series of articles recently about how the neighborhoods in various cities got their names. They recently gave Nashville the treatment. I knew some of the stories, but learned things I didn't know as well.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day in the United States, commemorating the adoption of the national flag by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. It is also the birthday of the United States Army, which came into being on June 14, 1775.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Sarah loves the pool!

Restaurant Review -- Larry's Bar-B-Que, Decherd, Tennessee

When we visited The Camp back in May, Sherry picked us up some barbecue from Larry's Bar-B-Que at 1941 Decherd Boulevard in Decherd, Tennessee. You can't help but notice the building inasmuch as it sports a pig on its roof. They closed Heavenly Hog Barbecue in Estill Springs, which was very convenient to the cabin. Larry's requires a ten minute drive, which is no big deal. We were pleased with the meal, which fed seven of us, including three teenage boys, and a reasonable price.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mandela Sentenced to Life

On July 12, 1964, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage. He served 1964 to 1982 in this cell on Robben Island. He was released from prison in 1990, and served as the first democratically elected President of South Africa from 1994-1999.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Committee of Five

On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress appointed the Committee of Five to draft the Declaration of Independence. Its members were John Adams-MA, Roger Sherman-CT, Thomas Jefferson-VA, Benjamin Franklin-PA and Robert Livingston-NY.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Peery's Mill Dam

As I mentioned yesterday, Sherry took Sarah up to Peery's mill to swim on Friday afternoon. She was surprised to learn that I had not been there, at least not in recent memory, and she was pleased to have enjoyed an outdoor recreation venue in Blount County that was new to me, so she suggested that we go back up this morning. As you can see, this picture is from just below the mill dam.
Sarah models a new tie-dye sun dress a friend handed down to her. This is just above the dam. The mill house was on the far side of the river.
I liked the gnarled roots of this wizened tree.

Sarah insisted that I try the swing, and I accommodated her. I have the feeling my arms are going to regret it next week, but it was a fun ride. The river gets deep pretty quick.

BONUS: Check out this video of the Little River at flood stage flowing over the dam in January 2013. The area is known to be treacherous if you aren't careful.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sunny Saturday

The girls spent yesterday afternoon swimming with friends at Peery's mill on the Little River just above the dam. There is a swing there, and Sherry took some video of Sarah swinging over the river and dropping into it.

Sarah had a friend sleep over last night, and they are playing video games in Sarah's room while Sherry finishes up a book in the sun on the deck. We've been to breakfast at the Midland, to the library and to the Maryville Farmers Market this morning, so we've already had a busy day. Sarah requested chili, and I will probably make some for her this afternoon and likely do some household chores as well.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Book Review -- Socrates: A Man for Our Times

I recently enjoyed the audiobook version of Socrates: A Man for Our Times by Paul Johnson. I confess that I have never been much of a student of antiquity, and that someone with more knowledge about that time would probably be able to enjoy this book more than I did. Despite my lack of orientation to the people and ways of ancient Athens, I still got a lot out of the book. The author certainly has an engaging way of describing his understanding of that ancient city and its then inhabitants, including Socrates.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Throwback Thursday

This is from a group of family pictures taken at a studio in 2002. Before I became a father I always wondered about parents commenting that children "grow up so fast." I now know what they meant.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Anniversary of Casey at the Bat

On June 3, 1888, the San Francisco Examiner published Ernest Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1988." It is a poem about baseball that ends with the home team hero striking out. It ends as follows:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Jiffy Burger, Manchester, Tennessee

On my way from the May clerks conference in Nashville to our cabin in Estill Springs, I stopped in Manchester for a cheeseburger at the Jiffy Burger, 1001 Hillsboro Boulevard, Manchester, Tennessee. I've been there before on several occasions, but I always used the curb service. This time I went inside. While I was eating I noticed a certificate that announced that the Jiffy Burger has been declared a haunted location. The lady at the cash register said it was Dave's mother, and that she liked to tap people on the shoulder or throw bread. I love a good poltergeist with my fast food.

At any rate, the burger and fries were delicious as usual, and the iced tea was nice and fresh. The service inside is just as quick as the curb service, and you get good, hot food at a very reasonable price. The decorations inside show that the restaurant caters to the Bonnaroo crowd, which probably fills a lot of local coffers when it comes to town.

Monday, June 1, 2015


I never thought I'd see the day when I would be looking at cats on a mobile phone while Sherry and Sarah are busy reading actual books. The cat, of course, is our calico Emma, the old lady, age 15.