Friday, July 31, 2015

Sombrero Galaxy

This is the Sombrero galaxy as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope. (Via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Trump Your Molls

In our effort to stay current and relevant here at Boongablogger, I give you Molly, unwillingly participating in the Trump Your Cat meme. That is all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First Day of School

Sarah begins the sixth grade today as the Maryville  City Schools academic year begins today. Sarah is excited to be participating in her school's ranger program, which in my day we called safety patrol. Her first patrol shift isn't for a couple of weeks, though.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Guillotine Claims Robespierre

On July 28, 1794, Maximilien Robespierre, a principal architect of the Terror in Revolutionary France, met his fate on a guillotine, like so many of his countrymen before him.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I Am Your Father

There is a new Star Wars app, and it includes a selfie function for a father-daughter portrait.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Camping on River John's Island

At the invitation of our friends Tom and Denise, we camped this weekend upon River John's Island on the Little River in the Wildwood community of Blount County. The island is about three acres, and there is a plaque in the pavilion that says it was conveyed to a previous owner by a Clerk and Master's deed in 1927, which is an interesting piece of history. Sarah is pictured at the south, upstream end of the island.

This is the aforementioned pavilion, and it was the focus of food and socializing when we were not engaged in water activities.

This view is from an observation deck on the north, downstream end of the island. As you can see, the water was a bit muddy from rains late last week. It cleared up significantly between Friday night and Sunday morning. It is about a day's journey by canoe from here to Laura's house, where the Little River flows into the Tennessee River.
River John, quite a nice fellow, is a canoe outfitter, and Tom rented a fleet of seven canoes for those who wanted to float the river. We put in just below Peery's Mill dam, and the trip downstream to the island was about three and a half hours. Sherry, Sarah and I dumped our canoe at a place where a tree was down across the section of the river we were trying to pass through. I was a boy scout, have my canoeing merit badge and was trained as a kid on what to do when your canoe capsizes. Unfortunately, I had not provided such training to my good lady wife and daughter. As it happened, both kept their heads in what could have been a bad situation. We all came up quickly and got ourselves, the boat and one of the paddles to the shore. After quickly bailing the water out of her, we jumped back in and caught up with the other paddle.
A few of us fished, but none of us had any luck. Tom tried again this morning after the water cleared up, but had no takers.

Sarah explores the quieter part of the river on the west side of the island. She said she saw a snake here.

The island also features this cool tree house, which has a futon and a single bed. Both structures have electricity, and the pavilion has a refrigerator/freezer, as well as a nice propane grill that has a stove burner.
River John helpfully has a stop sign to let his clientele know where to get off the river.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Auntie Les and Nieces Visit Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge

Here are some more pictures from sister Leslie's trip with her nieces to the new Margaritaville Island Hotel up in Pigeon Forge.
They dined on the patio by the river, and ordered a magnificent dessert.

Apparently Gracie, like her mother, is a fan of the King.
The Margaritaville in Nashville also has folks who will make balloon figures, or in this case, swords.

Friday, July 24, 2015


On July 24, 1969, after their successful quest to put the first humans on the moon, the astronauts of Apollo 11 safely landed in the Pacific Ocean aboard the command module Columbia.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For today's Throwback Thursday picture, I again give you my maternal grandparents, Harvey and Eula Isenhour, with their two children, my mom Wanette, and my Uncle Mack. I adjudge this to be about 1940, and I suspect it may have been taken at the home where Grandpa Isenhour grew up in Alexander County, North Carolina.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Auntie Les and the Kiddoes

Sarah spent the morning at Sherry's office, and I went over to the hospital to walk the child back over to the justice center so her Auntie Les and Cousin Grace could pick her up there just before lunch. Sherry and I had lunch at Midland Restaurant, and it was her first time to have a meal other than breakfast at one of our favorite local restaurants. She had chicken and dumplings, and I had their wonderful turkey club sandwich. Sister Leslie hauled the girls up into the mountains for their lunch.
Les sent us this photo of the kids cooling down in the rooftop pool of the Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge. Lucky girls! I'm glad the weather cleared up for them. We had some showers down here in the valley.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

I recently read The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, written in 1883 by Howard Pyle. It is from his adaptation of old English ballads about the outlaw of Sherwood Forest that our modern idea of Robin Hood is derived. It is written in a contrived Old English. Although it sent me to my dictionary a few times, it wasn't too thick to dampen my enjoyment of the stories, each chapter standing alone as a story to itself, though connected to form a pleasant narrative of the adventures of the yeomen of Sherwood. Sadly, it ends in the death of Robin, who is bled to death by a treacherous nurse/nun. It is in the public domain, and thus available to read for free here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hammersley Gorge, Western Australia

I usually link to Phils Phun for funny stuff, but he usually leads off his weekly post with a beautiful picture from his native Western Australia. This is Hammersley Gorge.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Family Weekend

We enjoyed a fun weekend at home and were pleasantly surprised that Jake and Joey came to visit us, arriving Saturday afternoon. Having been reminded of how much teenage boys can eat after last month's beach trip, we were ready with a killer cube steak and gravy recipe Sherry found online. We served it over rice, and it went over nicely.
Joey and some friends have rented an apartment in Clarksville for when his classes start at Austin Peay at the end of August. We sent him home with some pots and pans, a box full of drinking glasses, cups, mugs and the like and a stack of some nice plates Mom wanted out of her cupboard. I suggested that we buy him a copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, which was my first cookbook when I got my first apartment and which I still rely frequently. It is a great first cookbook for anyone.
Sherry's had a landscaping project in mind for the boys for some time, and so this weekend became a home improvement project. When I used to visit Mom and Ron in Blowing Rock, my stepfather would plan work for me to do when I went up there. In retrospect, I understand that it was meant out of a sincere desire to spend some manly time with me working on household projects, but at the time I felt put upon because I'd gone up there to have some relaxation in the mountains. I assured Joey and Jake that they did not have to work, but that we would be glad to pay them to do so. They took the money.
The project involved digging a bed along the front of the house, and digging out a boxwood that died over the past several weeks, as well as a burning bush that was poorly placed and being crowded out by the surviving boxwood. They planted several new boxwoods along the front of the house, and used monkey grass from the back yard as a border for the bed. The red mulch looks nice against our white house.

Here's the front of our house as the boys finish up on the landscaping job, which included planting a new tree in the ring where our ornamental peach tree used to live. The new tree is a type of magnolia that only grows ten to fifteen feet tall, but flowers nicely in the spring. We'll see what it does in 2016.
After the landscaping job concluded this morning, we hauled the kids up to Peery's Mill to swim and clean off in the Little River in Walland. The boys loved the rope swing, and Jake did a back flip off of it, much to the delight of the young kids who got there as we were winding down our time there.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Exploring the Plutonian System

This is Pluto's largest moon, Charon, named after the boatman who takes one across the rivers Styx and Acheron to the world of the dead. Astronomers are calling the dark spot on top Mordor.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Disneyland!

Today is the 60th birthday of Disneyland, the only amusement park in the Disney franchise that was designed by Walt Disney himself. I've been there twice, once with Sherry and the boys when Sherry and I were dating and I got sent out there to take depositions and then again a couple of years ago when we took Sarah. The picture below is in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, I think.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For throwback Thursday, I give you a picture of my maternal grandparents, Harvey and Eula Isenhour of Hickory, North Carolina. In his younger days, according to family legend, Grandpa Isenhour ran moonshine through Knoxville on Thunder Road. He later settled down to operate a dry cleaning business in Hickory.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Puelo's Grille

We met my sisters, Leslie and Laura, and Laura's family, at Puelo's Grille in Alcoa for lunch last weekend. We'd initially planned to go to neighboring Texas Roadhouse, but the church crowd had them backed up with at least on hour wait. Puelo's had a lot more variety, and we were seated immediately.
My niece Grace had just returned from Edmonton, Alberta, in western Canada, and still had a bit of jet lag, but she contented herself coloring the kids menu.
Sarah and her Aunt Leslie got in on the coloring, too.
I'm still not really good with the whole selfie thing yet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hello, Pluto!

The dwarf planet Pluto is coming into focus for the humans of Earth. Our little New Horizons spacecraft has been heading to the outer reaches of our solar system for many years now, and today is the day we expect it to make its closest pass by Pluto and its largest satellite, Charon. The spacecraft is already sending us images that scientists will be studying for years to come.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Northwest Ordinance

On July 13, 1787, the U.S. Congress, as it existed under the Articles of Confederation, adopted the Northwest Ordinance to govern the settlement of the Northwest Territory, pictured above. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were hard at work at the time working out the details of what became the United States Constitution, which would be adopted that September.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Amazing Grace

This is a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on piano and Jenny Oaks Baker on violin. Nice! Have a good Sunday.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

At Home on Saturday

With the girls having been to Nashville last weekend, we're enjoying some family time at home today and plan on grilling chicken and cooking some cornbread later in the day. I got out early, ate breakfast, carried our recycling to the collection center and bought our groceries. I also went by the library and then the bakery, so we have entertainment and an assortment of baked goodies.

We are planning a trip to Mom's home town of Hickory, North Carolina, and I have enjoyed catching up with some of my friends from the other side of the mountains. I look forward to showing Sarah the house where Mom grew up, and we have plans to get together with family and friends the weekend we are there. It should be fun!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday

This throwback Thursday picture may bring a tear to Sherry's eye. This was taken in early 2005. Sarah had just turned one. To her right is Caesar, Sherry's Himalayan cat, a good beast who died of kidney failure when we lived in this house in Nashville. He is buried in the back yard there under a tree near where the kids' swing set was. He used to sleep on Sherry's pillow curled around her head.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


I've only just recently heard of currywurst, but then ran across a recipe for it on the Coconut and Lime blog. I've sampled several different curry dishes at local Thai restaurants, and have wanted to try using curry at home. I shall have to try to make it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Space Shuttle Headed Toward Space

Once upon a time the United States of American had the ability to launch human beings on rockets into space. The last such delivery vehicle that was in use was the space shuttle, one of which is seen above piercing through the clouds and heading into space. Pathetically, we now rely on the Russians to take Americans into orbit.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Roland's Bistro, Maryville, Tennessee

We have a new restaurant nearby, Roland's Bistro, 1805 East Lamar Alexander Parkway here in Maryville. I had lunch there recently with a friend, and we were both intrigued when we learned that they serve German food. I had currywurst and broccoli with Hollandaise sauce, and both were good, although I think the sausage could have used a bit more of the curry sauce that was served on it. Service was slow. It took thirty minutes for our food to arrive, but I suspect they are still working out some kinks because they just opened. If they want to cater to the nearby justice center and hospital during the lunch hour, they'll need to up their game. Everyone was nice, and the prices were reasonable. They also serve American food, so customers aren't limited to only German fare.

The business is located in the building that most recently housed Shiloh's Brew and Chew. When I was a kid, the building housed the Jail House Lounge, so named due to the bars on the windows. It was one of those places you hear about where "the drinkin' starts at 7:00 and the fight starts at 9:00." When I moved to Nashville in 2008, it housed Lowell's which served food, drink and hosted live music, and back then Lowell's did pretty good business. He brought in the lunch and supper crowd, and then brought in the live entertainment for later in the evening. I've come to view the building as one of those doomed buildings in which all similar businesses in it eventually fail. Maybe Roland's can break the cycle. I've seen buildings become undoomed, but usually when a totally different type of business operates there. For example, Maryville Jewelers now thrives in a building that was originally a Burger King, and then had a series of failed restaurants until the jewelers moved there.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Good Times With Old Friends

Sherry and Sarah are in Nashville visiting Grams and Jake and Joey, so our house became a bachelor pad over the long weekend, with my friend Tom, known as Brush, in town from his home in lovely Sugar Grove, North Carolina. Our friend Terry and his young son Thomas also joined us for a fun holiday weekend. Brush is wearing my blue tank top. Terry is the skinny ninja.
Like me, Terry is a relatively late in life dad, and I was glad he was able to bring little Tommy along to hang out with us. He is a good kid, easily entertained, and not the least bit intimidated by being the only child around. He was a good addition to the group, and you can't say that about all kids.
It was fitting and proper as I was enjoying the Fourth of July with two of my old friends, that my sisters should turn up with Rhonda, their dear friend since elementary school. Rhonda lived in the same subdivision where we grew up in West Knoxville, just a couple of streets over and a few houses up the hill from our house on Noragate Road.
Tommy was intrigued by our driveway, and spent quite some time crushing some pieces of asphalt he found. I broke out some of Sarah's sidewalk chalk, and we decorated the driveway yesterday evening.
Handsome devils
Good lookin' wenches
The cats were the only ones in the house not having fun this weekend, especially Molly, who pretty much stayed under Sarah's bed all weekend. She came out as soon as Brush headed back home this morning.
We spent a lot of time this weekend on our freshly painted deck, despite some rain. Friday night I brought out my guitar, maracas, bongo drums, harmonica and kazoo, and we proceeded to have a hootenanny out on the back porch. I hope we did not disturb our neighbors too much. Little Tommy was rocking the harmonica, and we encouraged him to become a bluesman.
Sarah's vast collection of art supplies served us well this weekend, and Tommy occupied himself with her big art pad and markers.
Emma was more sociable than Molly, and Brush reported that she slept with him on the upstairs futon. She'll be ready for Sherry to get home this afternoon so she can sleep on her on the sofa.