Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Courthouse Clock Tower Repairs

Repairs are underway this week on the clock tower of the historic Blount County courthouse. As you can see, the hands of the clock have been removed, and the tower looks like it can use some love.

Plutonian Mountains and Plains

The New Horizons spacecraft recently sent this picture of Pluto showing both mountains and plains on the icy dwarf planet. (Via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Stroll Around Downtown Nashville

After I checked in to my hotel in Nashville last week, I walked around downtown a bit, which is always a bit of a stroll down memory lane because I practiced law there for five years. Nashville's new mayor was to be inaugurated Friday afternoon in front of the Metro Courthouse, but the event was moved indoors due to rain in the weather forecast. Some of the awnings were still in place when I walked by.
I liked this sculpture of roses in front of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
This is the Arcade, a covered walkway lined with stores and eateries. It is very close to Printers Alley, where my first office in Nashville was located, and not far from where I worked at the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, so I ate at the Arcade frequently. It opened in 1903.
This is the Downtown Presbyterian Church. According to its website, "Presbyterians have worshiped at the corner of Fifth and Church since 1814." This building was built just before the Civil War.
The mighty Cumberland River flows through downtown Nashville past the stadium where the Tennessee Titans play.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Knoxville Greekfest 2015

We went to Knoxville's Greekfest at Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, which had a fire last year. We haven't been in several years, so we thought this would be a good time to spend some money on some yummy Greek food. I had pastichio and spanakopita, which was very filling. Above are Sherry, Sarah and her friend Grace enjoying baklava sundaes.
These children performed several different Greek folk dances.
This lad from Sarah and Grace's school was one of the performers. They had a good crowd, and I suspect they will have raised some funds by the time Greekfest 2015 ends.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Busy Elevator

I was in Nashville yesterday for a meeting of the Tennessee Bar Association House of Delegates, and they put me up in a nice hotel downtown right down the street from TBA headquarters. I went to the elevator to go downstairs so I could walk up the street to my meeting, and when the elevator doors opened Lou Ferrigno and another guy were in there talking. I politely climbed aboard and rode down with them and walked up the street to my meeting. Before it started I turned my phone back on and texted to Sherry that I thought that I'd just been on the elevator with Lou Ferrigno, but I shut off the phone before she texted back because the meeting was starting.
After my meeting, I returned to the hotel to change clothes and check out. I got on the elevator to go back up to my room, and as the doors were closing Eric Estrada came hustling up and asked me to hold the doors, which I did, and he climbed aboard. I got off before he did, and I bade him a good afternoon as I exited to display some Southern hospitality. When I got back to the room and turned the phone back on, Sherry had texted "No selfie?" When I replied that I hadn't, but that I'd just ridden the elevator with Frank Poncherello from CHiPs, she said, "You're killing me!"

I watched both The Incredible Hulk and CHiPs as a kid, so it was cool to meet both actors, but the few times I've encountered a well-known person I've tried to treat them as I would any other human being on the planet, which is how I would think anyone would want to be treated, so I refrained from requesting selfies. Nashville is known as a safe place for celebrities to visit without being accosted by crazy fans, and as former Nashvillian, I wanted to keep in that spirit. Both actors were in town for the Wizard World convention, where I'm sure they got their fill of selfies.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Spirit Week Outfits

Last week was spirit week at Sarah's school, and the kids were encouraged to dress according to a different theme each day. Sarah sported my Resistol cowboy hat on Western day. She pulls it off a lot better than I do. I end up looking like Hoss Cartwright in a cowboy hat.
She's the hero Maryville deserves, just not the one it needs right now.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For this week's Throwback Thursday picture, here are Joey, Jake and Sarah in the waters of Melton Hill Lake at a wonderful place called Mighty Oak when they were all three little shavers, as Granddaddy Ogle would say.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Front Lawn of the Courthouse

I took this picture as I was coming out of the Blount County courthouse today. You can tell that fall is in the air.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I posted this from my I-phone, which is why the image is relatively large. Boongablogger is mobile!

Autumnal Equinox

Today is the Autumnal Equinox and therefore the first day of fall. I took this picture from the breezeway between the old Blount County Courthouse building and the annex looking toward Court Street last year in October.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Texas Eclipse

This partial solar eclipse was captured over Texas. (Via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Hobbit

The Hobbit, also known as There and Back Again, by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published on September 21, 1937, about a month after my dad was born.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Enjoying the Last Few Days of Summer

We went up to the mountains yesterday morning with the intention of camping at Abrams Creek campground, but were disappointed to find every campsite full when we got there. This is the second camping trip this season that was thwarted by the campsites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park being full. Unfortunately, nearby Look Rock campground has not opened for the past couple of years due to lack of federal funding. I sure hope that changes.

We decided to drive up to Look Rock anyway, and as you can see, it was a beautiful day in the mountains of East Tennessee. Just thinking of that cliff has my hands getting sweaty, and with two kids, eleven and nineteen, roving around up there yesterday it was even worse. We drove back home after Look Rock and spent the afternoon visiting with friends on the deck in the sunshine.
Family selfie at Look Rock
Sherry and Jake are in Louisville this morning so Jake can do a bit of fishing. She just sent me this snapshot, and I told her I recognized the spot, which is under the bridge next to the marina. It is less than a five-minute paddle from there to my former residence on Hardy Boulevard. I've fished it many a time, from the rocks where Jake is standing and from my canoe.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lazy Molly

To start out Friday, which hopefully heralds a lazy weekend, I give you Molly the cat at peak lazy.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Constitution Day

Today is Constitution Day in the United States of America, the day we celebrate the adoption of our Constitution on September 17, 1787. When the Constitutional Convention concluded, Benjamin Franklin was famously asked by the wife of the mayor of Philadelphia, "What do we have, Doctor Franklin, a republic or a monarchy?" To which the good Doctor replied, "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Biscuits and Gravy

Here's some biscuits and gravy for breakfast this morning, courtesy of the Nobel Pig. It includes Old Bay seasoning, which I am generally unfamiliar with, though it keeps cropping up in recipes I see from time to time. Sherry and Sarah aren't much for sawmill gravy, so it is a treat I don't enjoy often.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tellico Blockhouse

During our recent trip to Monroe County, Sarah and I visited the Tellico Blockhouse, an outpost built by the federal government between 1794 and 1795, before Tennessee had been admitted to the Union.
Sarah mainly liked walking on top of the reconstructed foundation of the blockhouse, while I of course soaked in the history. There are three interpretive panels there, although they didn't tell me anything I haven't already read elsewhere.
With autumn only a week away, you can see the plant life giving way to fall. The purple thistle was very pretty among these pretty yellow and white flowers of late summer and early fall.

Monday, September 14, 2015

R.I.P. Gary Richrath

Kevin Cronin announced on the REO Speedwagon website that former REO lead guitar player Gary Richrath died yesterday. Media reports state he left the band in 1989, but played a benefit concert with them in 2013. REO is scheduled to play the Tennessee Valley Fair Wednesday night, and we have made plans to go, if they still play the show. Richrath was a very talented musician, and the rock and roll world will miss him.

The Star Spangled Banner

On the morning of September 14, 1814, lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote a poem he entitled "The Defence of Fort M'Henry" after seeing the United States flag shown above being raised above the fort. We now know the poem as our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." We were fortunate to view this flag at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History when we visited Washington in March.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pizza in the Afterlife

Unlike my sister Leslie, who has a remarkable ability to remember her dreams, it is rare for me to remember anything from mine. Last night was one of those rare instances, and since it had metaphysical implications important to all right-minded people, I will share it.

There was a group of family and friends who were guests at my mother's friend's Chris's house, and Chris was there. Chris died several years ago, and I was lucid enough to realize it in the dream, so I asked her if there is pizza in the afterlife, an issue that must have troubled my subconscious mind for some time. Chris happily confirmed that there is pizza in the afterlife, and said that she had some just the other day. Remember, you heard it first here. Thanks, Chris!

Cherokee Fall Festival in Vonore, Tennessee

With Sherry in Nashville and Clarksville this weekend visiting Grams and the boys, Sarah and I went out to the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore yesterday to attend the Cherokee Fall Festival. There was also a group of Civil War reenactors, and they were assembled right across from us as we walked up to the main gathering area.
When we got there we heard the Star Spangled Banner playing, and after the anthem concluded an armor guard from the Steve Youngblood American Legion Post 143 from Cherokee, North Carolina, hoisted the United States flag and the Cherokee flag as part of a moving and patriotic ceremony that recognized the veterans present.
I have spent many pleasant hours on and in Tellico Lake, and Sarah and I walked down to it for a bit. I was jealous of the campers from the festival that were set up down by the lake, which I have camped on many times.
Although there were a lot of clouds moving through, we also had some blue sky, and had nary a sprinkle of rain.

Sarah wanted to look through the museum, so we did that, and bought some brownies from a booth set up just outside the museum doors. We were just finishing them up as we passed this cabin on our way down to the vendors area for snow cones.
This beautiful hawk was on a perch posing for pictures, and was slated to perform, though we missed his performance.
We had a fun outing, and will try to return to Vonore next month when Fort Loudon has its trade fair.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fall Clerks Conference 2015

I attended the annual clerks conference at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tennessee, last week. In addition to continuing professional education, the conference offers an opportunity for networking with other court clerks and allows us to enjoy to scenic beauty of this very nice state park. Above is Acorn Lake, which is adjacent to the inn and conference center.
This cylindrical structure is on the grounds of the park. My guess is that it is some sort of water tank, but that is just speculation.
There are a lot of hummingbird feeders hanging outside the inn's restaurant, and they attract plenty of the little birds. I also saw several deer during my stay.
This was the view from my room at the inn.
This is another view of Acorn Lake.
Jake and I went canoeing at the Narrows of the Harpeth, and had a good trip on the river, although the water was quite low. In addition to waterbirds, fish and turtles, we saw two copperheads and the carcass of a rather large rattlesnake. It was a nice afternoon on the river.

Friday, September 11, 2015


Since I posted a picture yesterday of us as kids in front of the Vulcan statue, shown above, I thought I would dedicate another post to it. Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, and is reflects the history of iron and steel production in Birmingham, Alabama, its home. According to Wikipedia it is the world's largest iron ore statue.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For today's throwback Thursday picture, here are (from left to right) me, our cousin Julie, and my sisters Leslie and Laura, before they were old enough to protest being dressed alike. We are at the Vulcan statue in Birmingham, Alabama, where we lived at the time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Our Only Hope

Sherry bought me this T-shirt for my birthday. I love that woman!