Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sunny Saturday in Maryville

With the Primary Players beginning preparation for their February performance of Aladdin Jr., Sherry and Sarah are across town where the group is fitting the performers for costumes. I've had a typical Saturday morning shopping for our groceries and making a stop by the library. I plan to make meatloaf and potatoes, although I haven't decided how I want to prepare the latter yet. We talked last night about making date nut bread or pumpkin bread, but I could find neither canned pumpkin or dates at the store.  I was part of a panel of lawyers for a continuing legal education seminar in Knoxville all day yesterday, so I plan on enjoying a quiet day at home.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Mummy

In 1932 Universal Pictures released The Mummy featuring Boris Karloff, who had previously performed the role of Frankenstein's monster.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Throwback Thursday, Halloween Edition

For this week's Halloween Throwback Thursday, here is Sherry with her older brother Jay for dressed for trick or treating as kids.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Wolf Man

In 1941 Universal Studios launched another classic monster movie, The Wolf Man, featuring Lon Chaney in the title role. Mental Floss has a list of twelve facts about the movie in time for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


For today's installment of classic Halloween monsters, we come to Frankenstein's monster. Although many people incorrectly call the monster itself Frankenstein, that is actually the surname of the doctor who brought the creature to life. Most people think of Boris Karloff in the role of the monster, but I started off with an earlier version from 1910 featuring Charles Ogle, pictured above, as the monster. However, in deference to Karloff fans, including myself, I've included him below.

Monday, October 24, 2016


As Halloween kicks off, I give you  Dr. Van Helsing holding off Count Dracula with a crucifix in the movie classic Dracula, released in 1931 during the depths of the Great Depression. When I was a kid, they showed horror movies in the afternoons after school, and so I was a great fan of ghost and horror stories from early on. I've probably read Dracula more times than I've seen all the various movies combined, because as a kid I usually read it at least once a year. The 1931 movie version of Dracula, featuring Bela Lugosi, however, remains a classic.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Visit to Forbidden Caverns

Sarah and I went over to Sevier County during her fall break, and on the way there we decided to go through Forbidden Caverns. We've been before, but Sarah was too young then to remember it.
As with many of the commercialized caves in our area, these are well lit and very accessible. They use colored lights for extra effect.
Sarah posed with some nice flowstone in the background. (Having been an avid spelunker in my youth, I had to throw in a little speleological jargon there.)
This river runs through part of the caverns. I've camped out it a cave or two, but never in one with a river. I can imagine what a wonderful night's sleep one could have listening to that creek in the total darkness of a cave.
This is known as the Grotto of the Evil Spirits, which is perhaps less accommodating for a good night's sleep.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Martian Butte

This is one of the Murray Buttes which the rover Discovery has been traveling through on the surface of Mars. (Via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Throwback Thursday

For today's throwback Thursday picture, here is my maternal grandfather, whom I knew as Grandpa Isenhour. His first name was Harvey. This is the dinner table at my Isenhour grandparents' home in Hickory, North Carolina. The property adjoined Lenoir Rhyne College.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Siege of Yorktown Ends

On October 19, 1781, Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington ending the Siege of Yorktown. Two years later the Treaty of Paris brought a formal end to the American Revolutionary War.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Visit to Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo

During our recent visit to Sevier County, Sarah and I visited the Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo. This red kangaroo was napping in the sun.
The zebras were eating when we passed their enclosure, so I was able to get this close-up shot of one with his nose in the food trough.
There's something about an emu that just exudes attitude. I wonder if they are any good to eat. He'd sure make a big Thanksgiving bird.

Of course Sarah's favorite animal, felis catus, was on display at the gift shop. His name is Howie, which I thought was a pretty cool name for a housecat.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trip to Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo

Sarah and I recently went to visit Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo in Sevierville, and these are a few pictures I took of the animals they house there.
I tried to get him to sing some Jimmy Buffett tunes, but he declined, preferring his own screeching material.
The ring-tailed lemurs had just been fed when we went through, and it was fun watching them enjoy their breakfast.
This little prairie dog was very active. 
Eight years ago, a fisherman caught this caiman in the Little Pigeon River in Sevierville. He is a lot bigger now than I remember him from local news coverage at the time. He was most likely bought as a pet and grew to big for his owner to care for and was turned loose.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chimney Rock

Here are some snapshots from our trip to Chimney Rock, North Carolina. I took this shot from the parking lot below it.
There is an elevator at Chimney Rock, but it was out of service during our trip, so we got to climb the 498 stairs to the main viewing platform. There are several different viewing platforms as you climb up, and they offer different views of the surrounding mountain.
We all spent some time resting at the main viewing platform, which gives a panoramic view of the area. Sarah perched on this rock to enjoy some sunshine while we took in the views.
This is Lake Lure seen from the parking lot below Chimney Rock. The area has been used to film several movies over time, including Dirty Dancing and Last of the Mohicans.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Asheville Pics

As part of Sarah's fall break we took a little trip up to Asheville, North Carolina, to visit Jake. Here are a few snapshots from our trip.
We rented a cabin in nearby Hendersonville, and found it quite comfortable. Sherry and Jake relax on the front porch in the traditional Southern manner.
Sherry is crazy for sunflowers, and when we passed this barn she determined that it was a perfect backdrop for a photograph.
Sarah poses atop Chimney Rock, with Lake Lure in the background.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Restaurant Review -- Bob's Dairyland, Roan Mountain, Tennessee

After visiting Roan Mountain several times now, I finally got to have a meal at Bob's Dairyland, 8361 Highway 19-E, Roan Mountain, Tennessee. I had the Philly cheese steak sandwich and was not disappointed. They have a wide selection of sandwiches and dinner plates that includes burgers, chicken and barbecue. Thumbs up!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Throwback Thursday

I'm only going back three years for today's throwback Thursday picture. This is Sarah in 2013 at the visitor center at Roan Mountain State Park.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Yom Kippur

Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for those who practice Judaism. It is also called the Day of Atonement.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Audiobook Review -- Igniting the American Revolution: 1773-1775 by Derek W. Beck

I recently enjoyed the audiobook version of Igniting the American Revolution: 1773-1775 by Derek W. Beck. It focuses on events from what John Adams called "the destruction of the tea" to the capture of Fort Ticonderoga from British regulars by American colonial forces commanded by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen.

Arnold had not turned traitor at this point in history, but someone else had, a doctor named Benjamin Church, who was part of the Massachusetts colonial leadership but also an informant to General Gage. I was interested in this because I have an ancestor known as Yankee John Church, who fought on the American side in the Revolution and was born in Massachusetts, though by the time the war started he was living in North Carolina. I suspect there is a family connection, but I do not have enough information to know for sure. For a more scholarly review, visit the Journal of the American Revolution.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Holding Down the Fort

Sherry and Sarah and Sarah's friend Grace are in Nashville this weekend visiting, and as usual I'm holding down the fort at home. The Tennessee vs. Texas A&M football game will be played this afternoon in College Station, so I will have the game on television to entertain me. Mom and Leslie are also contemplating coming for a visit later in the day. Sherry and the girls are due back tomorrow.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Review -- Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution

I recently finished the audiobook version of Bunker Hill:  A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick. It was a very detailed account of events in Revolutionary Massachusetts from the Boston Tea Party in 1773 through the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Both this book and Igniting the American Revolution by Derek Beck have made me interested in learning more about Dr. Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary leader in Boston who was killed in action at Breed's Hill during the battle. It is likely he would be remembered with the likes of Washington, Jefferson, and both Samuel and John Adams had he not perished.  For more, see this review in the Washington Post.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Throwback Thursday

For throwback Thursday I give you Sarah dressed as a princess back in 2007. She wore a decidedly more creepy Halloween costume last year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Battle of the Thames

On October 5, 1813, American forces commanded by General William Henry Harrison defeated a combined British and Indian forces commanded by Major General Henry Proctor in  the Battle of the Thames in what is now Canada. The Indian leader Tecumseh, who had gathered a confederacy of various Eastern tribes to fight American expansion, was killed in the action, and the confederacy dissipated.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Io and Jupiter

This is a picture of the moon Io over Jupiter taken in 1979 by the Voyager I spacecraft. (Via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Monday, October 3, 2016

More Roan Mountain Pictures

These are some more snapshots from last weekend in Roan Mountain State Park. As usual, I was the first one out of bed Saturday morning, so I decided to go on an early morning hike. I took a left at this sign to stay near the Doe River, but I apprehended no moonshiners.
I sat down for a break next to this miniature waterfall. It was a pleasant little spot in the woods with the sound of the water flowing down below.
I found this patch of stonecrop, which I cultivate at home, although I have only seen it a few times in the woods. It is supposed to be good luck if it grows around your house, but it heralds death and bad luck if it dies on you.
The three amigos pose for a group photo on the front porch. Tom's friend, Junior, and his wife, who live in Elk Park, North Carolina, just up the road from Roan Mountain, stopped by for a visit, and we got Junior to snap this picture of us at the cabin. Junior's wife is in the rocker in the background.
This is the view from the top of the hill near our cabin. We discovered a big new fire pit and a ring of benches around it have been built since I was up there last time. Accordingly, we built a huge bonfire Saturday night. Roan Mountain is fairly remote and far enough from city light so that you could see the Milky Way and stars in abundance.

Brush and Tracey lounge on the porch.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Trip to Roan Mountain State Park

Last weekend I met my friends Tom, known as Brush, and Tracey, known as Tazmar, at Roan Mountain State Park. Brush lives in nearby Sugar Rock, North Carolina, and Tazmar lives down the mountain in Lenior, which is about an hour and a half from Roan Mountain, Tennessee. This water wheel turns next to the visitor center, which was unfortunately closed when we entered the park.
This is the Doe River looking downstream from the visitor center toward the town of Roan Mountain.
This is the Doe River looking upstream from the visitor center toward the cabins and the interior of the park.

The cabins are thoughtfully equipped with nice rocking chairs on the front porch, and we made good use of them. This is Brush.
Tazmar got good use out of the rockers, too. The lows were down in the fifties, which was very nice and enabled us to enjoy a fire in the wood stove.