Friday, April 29, 2016

It's the Enterprise

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, has had experts working to restore the museum's model of the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701 (No bloody A, B, C, D or E.), which was used in the filming of the classic Star Trek television series from the 1960's. Public Radio International reports that the curator responsible for such things has decided that when restoration is complete, the Enterprise will be displayed in the Milestones of Flight gallery, which you enter upon entering the museum.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday

For today's Throwback Thursday, here is a picture of Sarah in her nursery in early 2005.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

North Carolina Murder Ballad

A recent Mental Floss article about a North Carolina murder ballad caught my eye, mainly because my friend Gregg was photographer for the Lenoir News-Topic for many years, and this image appears in the article. The ballad was allegedly authored by Frankie Silver, who was hanged for killing her husband with an axe in 1830 in Burke County, North Carolina.

East Tennessee has its own famous murder balled, "The Knoxville Girl."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Jake's favorite hot sauce is Frank's RedHot sauce, and Sherry recently found a Buffalo chicken casserole recipe that includes it. We used the same ingredients as the recipe she found online, but changed the amounts a bit.


3 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
8 oz. egg noodles (or other pasta), cooked and drained
2 cups (16 oz.) Alfredo sauce
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of feta (or gorgonzola, blue cheese or Roquefort)
8-10 slices provolone cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 11 x 8 x 2 inch casserole dish.  Mix chicken, Frank's sauce, ranch dressing, Alfredo sauce and Parmesan cheese in large bowl.  Stir in pasta and mix.  Move into casserole dish and top with Provolone, cheddar and feta.  Bake for thirty minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serves six about one cup each.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Crick and Watson

On April 25, 1953, Francis Crick and James D. Watson published "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids:  A Structure for Dioxyribose Nucleic Acid" in the scientific journal Nature. In it they described how DNA allows genetic traits to be passed down from one generation to the next.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate our home planet and the life it sustains. The City of Maryville has a very good recycling program, although no curbside service yet, and our household sends a lot less trash to the landfill than we would were it not convenient for us to recycle. Do your part, and be happy to live on such a beautiful world.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Today's Throwback Thursday picture is from the end of Jake and Joey's soccer season in 2005. They were about ten, and Sarah was about two. It seems like it was yesterday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing eleven workers, injuring others and spilling massive amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The leak continued until July 15. Since we vacation on the gulf, we were concerned about the leak affecting our stay. We went to Seagrove Beach as planned, and while we saw some oil, and workers removing it, we still  had a good vacation and continue to visit Seagrove each summer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ferrelli Brothers

Sherry took this picture of Jake and Joey in the back yard of their grandmother's house on the Cumberland River during a visit a few weeks ago.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Paul Revere's Ride

"The Landlord's Tale"
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,—
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said, "Good night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade, —
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay, —
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled, —
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm, —
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tax Day

Today is the deadline for filing one's income tax returns (and paying any taxes due) in the United States. Tax lawyers and accountants will breathe a sigh of relief when this day is over.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday

For today's Throwback Thursday picture, I give you a little, bitty Sherry smiling for the camera. Parents of that era must have loved blue velvet for toddlers, because our parents clothed us in it, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Like a Phoenix

This image of an aurora, which looks like a flying bird, was captured over Iceland. (Via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Halifax Resolves

On April 12, 1776, North Carolina passed the Halifax Resolves, explicitly permitting its delegates to the Second Continental Congress to vote for independence from England. It was the first colony to do so, although Virginia would direct its delegates to vote for independence the next month with the adoption of the Lee Resolution.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Great Aunt Carrie's Floral Paintings

My Grandmother Ogle's sister Carrie Weddington (They were both Spencers before marriage.) was an artist and love to paint, and we have several of her oil paintings. They were children of a farmer and village blacksmith, Ira Lorenzo Spencer, in tiny Lois, Tennessee, in Moore County, which is very remote and rural, even today. These two floral pieces have been traded around the family, and I recently rescued them from Mom's outbuilding to display in our living room.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Happy Birthday to Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April Weekend

For the past couple of weeks or so workers have been installing new, energy-efficient windows in the Blount County courthouse, which has been undergoing some renovations recently. I was walking past these windows in the top floor recently and took a quick shot of this man working on the older part of the courthouse.

Sherry took Jake and Sarah to see the William Blount High School production of Grease, which features my co-worker's daughter as Sandy. I stayed at home for another screening of The Force Awakens, which came out on DVD last week. We are experiencing a quiet Saturday so far. Jake is working down the hill at the bakery, and the rest of us are just hanging out indoors since it is cool and blustery today. I plan to make spaghetti sauce today and a Buffalo chicken casserole tomorrow.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Civil War Ship Found off Carolina Coast

A blockade runner from the Civil War has been found off the coast of Brunswick County, North Carolina. Experts have narrowed it down to one of three ships, and they believe it still has its cargo. It will be interesting to see what they find. (Via Mental Floss)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Throwback Thursday

For today's Throwback Thursday picture, here's Joey, Sarah and Jake, in about 2008, during a visit to the Sandestin resort.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


This is an image of Charon, Pluto's largest moon, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016

Death Of William Henry Harrison

On April 4, 1841, President William Henry Harrison became the first United States President to die in office. He died of pneumonia on his 32nd day in office, rendering his the shortest Presidency in history. He was succeeded by his Vice President, John Tyler.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Ferrelli Brothers

Sherry took this picture of Jake and Joey last weekend in her mom's backyard above the Cumberland River.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Quiet Saturday

We are enjoying a quiet Saturday morning, with the exception of Jake, who is working down at the bakery until this afternoon. We agreed to let Sarah have her friend Grace come over to spend the night, and she is excited about that. I'm going to cook a meatloaf at some point during the weekend, probably today since we plan to grill hamburgers tomorrow. We plan a mostly restful weekend.

Friday, April 1, 2016