Sunday, August 31, 2003

"Future Archeological Find"

In Carl Reiner's new memoir, "An Anecdotal Life," the legendary producer/director relates a story about the time he visited a friend's home in France. His friend was a sculptor named Arman, who had many strange and unusual creations in and around his home. One such sculpture was:

"...A two-ton bronze sculpture of a vintage Citroen auto, so badly pitted that one must surmise it had been dredged up from the ocean's floor. Its title, "Future Archeological Find", suggests that it had been resting there for hundreds of years."
Here's my question: If, hundreds or thousands of years from now archeologists unearth the remains of M. Arman's home, will they deduce that "Future Archeological Find" is:

  1. A 20th/21st century automobile unearthed during their own time but brought back in time by Temporal Travelers, or

  2. Due to its advanced age over anything that should exist from this era, evidence that automobiles were in fact invented centuries earlier than the 20th century?

I wonder about these things.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Tennessee 24, Fresno State 0, Casey Clausen -6

Well, UT won their season opener against Got-No-Offense State today. A few thoughts from one of the 103,000 in attendance:

  • Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

    That was me laughing at all the people in the sun all day long, while I was in the nice breeze and shade of the row 54 in Z12 ("in the dry"). Ok, sorry, that's my one and only snide comment for the whole year. Back to being nice....

  • Casey Clausen looked like...well, he didn't look like a leader, and he certainly didn't look like a senior today. He was innefective on long passes, was off target on several others and threw two incredibly (potentially) costly interceptions. I haven't seen the TV coverage, so I couldn't see his face very well but he looked to me like a guy with something other than football on his mind. Never mind first-game jitters, the heat, the sun, new receivers and all that - he never seemed focused on the game, and played like his mind was somewhere else. I've known people to play ball, while at the same time trying to deal with personal problems. It definitely affects your concentration and decision-making, and that's what he looked like today. I may be way off base, but that's what it looked like to me.

    Oh, and if I were the defense, I'd duct tape him to the goalposts overnight for blowing their shutout with that ill-advised and ill-timed interception returned for a TD.

  • Welcome back, UT Running Game. After taking a vacation last year, it was nice to finally have more than one tailback show some results. Unless I miss my guess, the tandem of Houston, Davis, Riggs, Larkin and co could be as special as Garner/Stewart/Hayden in the early 90's. And that may be what our offense has to count on this year. That's ok, plenty of championships have been won with superior running games.

  • While I thought it was good that starting kickoff man Phillip Newman was lifted and replaced by JC transfer Fusco (who did a great job in relief), in fairness to Newman, his two kickoffs were 1) The very first kick of the season, which went out of bounds - I can forgive almost every player on the team who flubs their first play from scrimmage), and 2) A squibber that was taken by an upback and returned to FS's 45. He had to kick from the 20 due to a penalty on the previous touchdown, and that can screw up any kicker's rythem. If Fusco can continue to kick like he did today, he should have the job, but give Newman another look at placekicking....because there - well, as Tootie always said, "We're in trou-bllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle!"

  • Did FS really not Pass Interferere on our first offensive series near the goalline? And did we realy miss that second field goal attempt?

  • I liked members of the Vol Booster club greeting people as we went in. If this is another of new A.D. Mike Hamilton's ideas, score another one for him.

  • Dumbest Big Orange Tradition that Everybody Loves:
    "We urge you, to pay these prices...and please pay no more!!"

  • Dumbest Big Orange Tradition that Probably Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time But Now Seems to be Thankfully Gone:
    Reciting General Neyland's "Maxims" before the game.

  • Classiest Big Orange Tradition that I'm Probably the Only One in the Stadium that Appreciates:
    The Marching Band playing the opposing team's fight song in the pregame show. I've liked this ever since I spent my three years in the Pride of the Southland band back in the mid-80's. It's just classy.

  • Newest Big Orange Concession (To Me):
    Italian Ice. Is this the first time it's been available, or did I just miss it last year? Along with the Petros, the North End zone has an eclectic food menu.

    Next year: sushi!

  • Prediction: The Vanderbilt game this year will be the highest attended game in history at Neyland Stadium. Reason? You have a one-in-107.000 chance of walking away with a truck, a boat, and Running through the "T" before the game as the 25,000,000th fan to visit the stadium. Speaking as one who's actually helped form the "T" for three years, there's nothing like it.

    Question: What would happen if the mythical 25,000,000th fan is a Vandy fan? My advice for Vandy fans coming to the game (all 3 of you, that is) is wear a UT shirt to the game and change after you get inside the gates.

Well, that's it for now. Next week: Marshall, 45-21 winner today over Bill Cosby's nemesis Hofstra.

Happy Blogiversary!

SayUncle's site is one year old!

Funny, he doesn't look a day over 6 months...

Friday, August 29, 2003


Score Prediction
Tennessee: 16
Fresno State: 14

Pulse of the 'Pulse

Comments on the passing scene in this week's Metropulse

  • A Curious Man - County's new library director is 'a seeker'
    ""Life is a constant exploration." He adds, smiling, "That's why I'm in Knoxville."
    I think I'm going to like Larry Frank. He sounds like just what Knox County needs to shake things up a bit. That is, if isn't run out on a rail first.

  • Seven Days

    "Saturday, August 23 - The Associated Press reveals that the future of Tennessee Meiji Gakuin, the only high school for Japanese students in the state, is threatened by declining student population since September 11. Naturally, Japanese parents are timid about sending their kids into the internationally acknowledged terrorist target of Sweetwater.
    I was sitting at the bar at OCI on the strip this afternoon having lunch, and happened to laugh out loud when I read this entry...

    GUY BEHIND THE BAR: (filling my tea) Something funny in the paper?

    ME: Yeah, I was reading this - supposedly they're closing the only Japanese high school in Tennessee, and apparently their population has gone down since 9/11, and the "Japanese parents are timid about sending their kids into the internationally acknowledged terrorist target of Sweetwater"...

    GUY BEHIND THE BAR: (a couple moments of silence, staring at me) Terrorists...

    ME: Yeah, well, as if out in Sweetwater...

    GUY BEHIND THE BAR: (wanders off)

    ME: *sigh*

  • Air Wars
    "...the Rogero arsenal has what many consider a Weapon of Mass Destruction in the person of writer/producer/director Tom Jester.


    He generally gets top dollar for his services, and says he had "a meeting" with Haslam and his campaign manager Bill Lyons, but felt committed to work for Rogero. "The Haslams couldn't afford me," he jokes."
    It's nice to know some people in this county can't be bought, and aren't awed by the might power of the Haslam gas pump. Maybe he can come up with a good, subtle, well-placed ad that will knock the other side's ads on their knees. However, I also hope it takes the high road and doesn't sling mud. I've seen Haslam's ads, and well...they're innocent enough - family man, pillar of the community, beneficiary of nepotism, that sort of thing. It's too innocent for me though - they might as well shown him kissing a baby or helping an old lady across the street.

  • The Restrained Campaign - Political points made too polite
    "The point is, once upon a time in America, political campaigns were spectacles. They were epic battles for the honor of representing fellow citizens in a government for the beagles, by the steeple, and of the people.
    If we had a government for the beagles, then my dog would be the President and she'd bark incessantly, whine when she doesn't get her way, and poop all over the White House.


Thursday, August 28, 2003

All Right, Who Moved the Commandments?

I could have sworn they were here a minute ago. What's going on?

Ok, guys, quit fooling around and find the Commandments. Cute, very cute.

Kids today...

Say It Ain't So, Jim!

Lileks to quit Bleating?

(Doubtless this will make some people very happy...)

But no, looks like he's moving to...well, that would be telling. Go read and find out GnatDaddy's latest career move....

UPDATE: Yes, I know the link to Rush's site is wrong. He doesn't need the traffic, remember? He's swimming in faithful followers.... You get the point, though.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


The Knoxville News Sentinel's online poll sez:

Do you agree with the judge's decision to have the monument removed?

And the survey says (as of 4:30pm EDT 8/27/03) ....

(1) Yes - 33.8 % (73)
(2) No - 65.3 % (141)
(3) Not sure - 0.9 % (2)

Not surprising. 65% of visitors who bothered to take the poll don't understand the 1st amendment. I'd say about the same number don't understand the 2nd one, either.

UPDATE:Wow. What a difference a day makes...

And the (updated) survey says (as of 3:10pm EDT 8/28/03) ....

(1) Yes - 47.8 % (229)
(2) No - 51.8 % (248)
(3) Not sure - 0.4 % (2)

Ballot-stuffing? Not by me. Interesting and developing....

It Might Be! It Could Be!

Cubs' days as lovable losers are over

"Their young starting pitching is that good, their farm system that deep, their resources that vast. New manager Dusty Baker is rapidly eroding a tradition of failure that dates back nearly a century. General manager Jim Hendry, who took over little more than a year ago, is showing the moxie necessary to shake a franchise out of its doldrums. Put it all together, and Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty says of the Cubs, "They're always going to be there."
When Knoxville cable first starting carrying WGN-TV from Chicago lo these many moons ago, I stopped watching the Braves and started following the Cubs. Jody Davis, the Sarge: Gary Matthews, Ron Cey, Shawon Dunston, Rick Sutcliffe, Andre Dawson and of course Harry Carey and Steve Stone were great ways to pass the time after school. I remember my favorite game that I saw - I don't remember who they were playing, but they came back from an 8-run deficit with a 9-run 9th inning to win it. Thrilling.

While since then I've returned to the Braves as my favorite team, the Cubbies still hold a special place for me in the Baseball pantheon. Looks like they're doing well this year, and could progress in the playoffs.

Plus, I just wanted to remind everyone of my prediction I made on opening day (lest you forget).

Oh, and Kevin thinks this may be a sign of the End Times. Let's hope not.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Making the swamp?

Words matter. Often

Joshua Marshall of Talking Points Memo writes:

"Look at the difference thus far between Afghanistan and Iraq. In the first place, we drained the swamp. In the second, we've made the swamp. "
I'm puzzled. Does Joshua actually think this "swamp" did not exist in Iraq before the invasion?

From all of the reports that I've seen, the "resistance" fighters who are continuing to harass our troops are either: a) former Ba'ath party members left over from Saddam's regime, or b) Islamic terrorists who've entered from neighboring countries to fight (or c) mercenaries, in which all bets are off).

The difference between this "swamp" and the former Afghan "swamp", however, is that terrorists were able to camp, train, hang out and watch The Sopranos via satellite at the various training compounds in Afghanistan. It really was a breeding ground for terrorists, as the Taliban actively supported the creation of training camps while working with (or for) Osama Bin Laden.

Now, there is good evidence that similar type camps were operating in Iraq with Saddam's blessing before the invasion; although it hasn't been proven beyond the proverbial shadow of a doubt, there is really actual doubt that it was so. I tend to doubt they exist anymore, except possibly in small pockets, but to the extent they were in Afghanistan? Probably not.

So is there a "swamp" in Iraq? You could probably call it that, but it's a little one, we didn't create it (in fact, we helped drain it), and it will only get smaller.

Line Item Principles

Polite Society

"But I am difficult to label politically. I am pro-gun, for gay rights, anti-death penalty, anti-tax, anti-big government, think abortion should be legal, think responsibility should lie with the people, think civil liberties should never be threatened, but I still see the need for government monitoring of certain things. So, I don’t fit in really with most Democrats or Republicans (or Libertarians for that matter).
(This is from fellow Rocky Top Brigadier SayUncle's site.)

I wish more people would have the courage to admit they have opinions and beliefs in subjects that may contradict or agree with "traditional" political platform topics all across the board.

I think it's short-sighted to assume that, if you're a liberal you must be: a) pro-choice, b) for bigger government, c) higher taxes, d) open immigration, e) gun control, f) environmentalism, etc and if you are a conservative you must be a) pro-death penalty, b) more religion in the schools, c) for a bigger military, d) pro-big business, e) anti-welfare, f) anti-gay, etc.

I, like SayUncle, look at each issue and make our own choices - not based on what each group is "supposed" to support, but where your heart and mind tell you is right.

This, of course, is anathema to party leaders - how else to keep the converted in line, and to bring more into the fold - than to do their thinking for them. Are you pro-choice? Want to be politically active? Join the Democratic Party - and, oh, by the way - here's what else we believe...we've done all the thinking for you, no need to worry about deciding for yourself, just follow the scorecard. Hate big government? The Republicans are for you! And while you're at it, light that cross in that yard over there, if you don't mind...we'll let you know the rest of the bylaws later.

Thanks, SayUncle, for being your own person. I hope more people can do the same thing.

Maybe that's something good blogs can do as the concept evolves - move away from the Freeper and IndyMedia mindset, and discuss/debate the issues as issues, not political pawns.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. IX

Manish at Damn Foreigner has the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

Manny has put together a cornocopia of collectible, carefully crafted creations from the cream of the columnist crop!


Thursday, August 21, 2003


One of the RTB's newest members, Queen Medb's Castle, has deigned to shower her grace down upon me, and offer up five interview questions for me to answer in front of God, John Ashcroft, the New York Mets, and the rest of the world.

Part of the rules is that I will do the same next Friday to whoever leaves a comment that says "interview me". So, please, feel free!

*Rules, as laid down thruout history:
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying "interview me." I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
2. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions. (Kindly leave me a comment telling me that you have!)
3. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
4. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Not the same as mine, of course.)

Anyway, here we go:

1) Are you interested in guns, and if so what gun would you most like to own?
Oy vey, vhat a loaded qvestion.....;) Ok, SayUncle and others, just plug your ears and go, "la la la la - I'm not listening!!!"

I hate guns. I loathe guns. I appreciate their usefulness in the professions of law enforcement, security, and the military, but I fail to grasp the slightest hint why anyone would feel proud to own one. I don't see why anyone (outside of above jobs) would see the need to carry one concealed on their person. I don't think the statistics of successful defense of one's home against unlawful encursion outweigh the risks to accidental discharge by a child finding one in their parent's bedside table.

I believe the 2nd amendment provides for allowing guns in use of a state militia, meaning a National Guard. I don't see how it can be interpreted to say it allows private citizens to own guns and keep them in their homes for their own personal protection or other purposes.

I don't derive any pleasure from the thought of hunting. Going out to deliberately shoot deer, rabbit, quail, ducks, etc turns my stomach. I understand many people eat what they catch, but it's not a survival necessity today.

Guns are not glamorous. Guns are not a symbol of status, guns are not bats/knives/javelins/hammers/golf clubs - each of those weapons have different primary purposes.

The one and only use of a gun is to injure or take the life of another human being or animal, and leaves no room for second thoughts.

Does that answer your question? :)

2) Lake, river or ocean?
I remember growing up here in East Tennessee, on a Monday morning in school everyone would say they went "to the lake" for the weekend. Just which lake in particular was rarely specified, but supposedly there was a lot to do "at the lake". I never went "to the lake", so I have no idea what the big deal was - partying in a houseboat? Waterskiiing? Picnicing? Well, we did that too, but never "at the lake". Hm.

Similarly with rivers, we have the big Tennessee River that oozes through Knoxville - it gets wide enough to be called Fort Loudon Lake as it runs through downtown (could that be the "lake" they were referring to? Naah, not unless you wanted to dodge carp while waterskiing and risk growing a third arm). I've only ridden on personal boats a few times down the river - it was fun, and I'd like to own a boat someday.

But, the ocean...*ahh*. I love the ocean - and I'm not necessarily talking about what's out off the Panama City Beach coast (where I got stung by a jellyfish when I was 12), but the Ocean. My wife and I went Carnival Cruising on the Paradise last fall for our 10th annualversity, and snorkeled in St. John's, kayaked and swam with sea turtles off the coast of Barbados, and explored the black sandy beaches of St. Lucia. I saw the northern coast of Cuba ("Yoo hoo....Fidel!! Over here! Yoo hoo!!!!) and watched a rainbow on one side of the ship while a waterspout menaced the other side.

The Ocean. Definitely.

3) If you could have any magical/mystical/superhero power, what would it be?
That's a great question. When considering the myriad of superpowers of all the superheroes I can think of from DC and Marvel Comics, there are so many great ones to choose from: Super Speed (my hero is, and always has been the original modern Flash, Barry Allen), elasticity (Mr. Fantastic, The Elongated Man), invisibility (The Invisible Girl), power ring (Green Lantern), and ice power (Captain Cold, Mr. Freeze - ok, they're villains - and Ice Man).

But the best is in the basics as they say, and when it comes right down to it the absolute best superpower anyone could ever have is:

Flight. Definitely.

4) How much cash money is in your wallet/pocket right now?

What, are you going to hit me up for a loan?

I had about $6 in ones, then I knew we were going swimming with some friends this evening and going to order pizza so I got out another $30. I used $10 of it for the pizza, so now I guess I have $26.

What the heck kind of question is that? :)

5) If you could be famous for something, what would you like to be?
I would like to be famous for being the Father of one of my children who just did something wonderful - found a cure for cancer, achieved world peace, that sort of thing.

Barring that, I'd like to be famous in a small circle of people for being a very good Theatrical Director.

That's it - Thanks, Your Majesty!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The Magical Patriot Tour!

Ashcroft Kicks Off Patriot Act Campaign

"Ashcroft's speech marked the start of a campaign-style offensive aimed at countering criticism from leading Democrats and civil liberties advocates about the Patriot Act. He plans a road trip Wednesday and Thursday, with remarks to law enforcement audiences in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit and Des Moines, Iowa.

Among the dozen or so future stops are Salt Lake City and Boston, officials said.
My crack ace gully dwarf reporter staff has unearthed the heretofore secret Patriot Act Campaign Theme Song. Many gully dwarfs were killed, arrested, imprisoned, or wandered off relaying this information back to us:

The Magical Patriot Tour

[Shut up! Shut up for the Magical Patriot Tour! Step right this way!]

Shut up, shut up - it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up, shut up - it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up...
Shut up it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up...
Shut up it's the Patriot Tour.
The Magical Patriot Tour is waiting to take you away,
Waiting to take you away.

Shut up, shut up - it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up, shut up - it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up..
Shut up it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up
Shut up it's the Patriot Tour.
The Magical Patriot Tour is hoping to take you away,
Hoping to take you away.

Shut up, shut up - it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up, shut up - it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up...
Shut up it's the Patriot Tour.
Shut up...
Shut up it's the Patriot Tour.

The Magical Patriot Tour is coming to take you away,
Coming to take you away.
The Magical Patriot Tour is dying to take you away,
Dying to take you away, take you today...

Fair Cassidy and the Balanced Kid

Paul Newman Is Still HUD By PAUL NEWMAN

"The Fox News Network is suing Al Franken, the political satirist, for using the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of his new book. In claiming trademark violation, Fox sets a noble example for standing firm against whatever.

Unreliable sources report that the Fox suit has inspired Paul Newman, the actor, to file a similar suit in federal court against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly called HUD. Mr. Newman claims piracy of personality and copycat infringement.

In the 1963 film "HUD," for which Mr. Newman was nominated for an Academy Award, the ad campaign was based on the slogan, "Paul Newman is HUD."
This is too funny. Patricia Neal, in town this week for the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center Golf Classic and the Covenant Platinum Awards received an Academy Award for HUD as well.

The last paragraph is the kicker:

"A coalition of the willing — i.e., the Bratwurst Asphalt Company and the Ypsilanti Hot Dog and Bean Shop — has been pushed forward and is prepared to label its products "fair and balanced," knowing that Fox News will sue and that its newscasters will be so tied up with subpoenas they will only be able to broadcast from the courtroom, where they will be seen tearing their hair and whining, looking anything but fair and balanced, which would certainly be jolly good sport all around."
Way to go, Butch!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Dream Come True, for Some

Y bother: men are doomed after all

"MEN are doomed to extinction, victims of the decaying human Y-chromosome, the only piece of DNA men possess and women do not. So says Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, in a book that envisages the "Sapphic reproduction" of women by genetic manipulation.


His strategy for perpetuating a new female race depends on tweaking the proven technique of injecting sperm into eggs. Instead, the nucleus from a second egg would be injected.

The only difference from any other birth would be that the baby would always be a girl. "The entire process has been accomplished without sperm, without Y-chromosomes and without men," Professor Sykes says."
There's an Ann Coulter joke in there just waiting to get out. I'll let you know when I find it.

(Hat tip to Resonance)

Bill O'Reilly - Does Anyone Still Care?

Calling Al Franken a satirist is a farce

It is simply a sorry joke to see a political activist like Al Franken labeled a satirist by The New York Times. Attempting to smear and destroy the reputations of those with whom you politically disagree is not satire. If that were the case, Richard Nixon's Watergate plumbers would all be writing for "Saturday Night Live."
Now we see you're true motivations, Bill. All your life you wanted to be a comedy and satire writer, but were never taken seriously. Now it's come down to this.

Reminds me of the old X-Files episode: "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man". The CSM is the main villian of the show, but in a speculative/flashback episode, he is shown to moonlight as a writer. His submissions to various magazines go ignored all his life, and he finally realizes he is actually a hack after all and goes after all those who show creativity and insight.

Bill, CSM. CSM, Bill.

Rocky Top Brigade Update

Welcome to new members: Long Pauses, My Quiet Life, Rebel Yell, Queen Medb's Castle, and Forkum of Cox and Forkum.

Also, BusyMom has moved to Adjusteth thy linketh accordingly.

Friday, August 15, 2003


I had to rebuild the whole code for my site last night - apparently I lost internet connection in the middle of a save or something, and all that was left was the top half of the page of code. I hadn't uploaded it, so the blog didn't actually go down, but I couldn't do an update.

Well, I found some old copies of the code and fixed it - all except for the permalink code. Would someone be so kind as to email me the Blogger permalink code?


UPDATE: Thank you, Danielle!


Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times apparently believes a belief in the Virgin Mary -- by Christians and non-Christians -- is a firm step down the road to becoming an American Taliban.

I just find it interesting that he's concerned about believing in the Virgin Birth is a shift toward "mysticism", but doesn't reference the Resurrection as such.

Surely the Resurrection is more "mystical" than a Virgin Birth? How intellectual is coming back from the dead?

I was also confused by some of his numbers:

"Americans are three times as likely to believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus (83 percent) as in evolution (28 percent).


America is so pious that not only do 91 percent of Christians say they believe in the Virgin Birth, but so do an astonishing 47 percent of U.S. non-Christians."
Do those numbers add up? I'm no statistician, but they seem off to me. 83% of all Americans believe in the Virgin Birth - comprising 91% of the Christians and 47% of Non-Christians. Maybe I'd need to know an actual % of Americans who are Christians to understand.


"...Because most Biblical scholars regard the evidence for the Virgin Birth [...] as so shaky that it pretty much has to be a leap of faith."
He expects us to believe at least 51% percent of Biblical "scholars" believe the Virgin Birth is a myth? What defines a Biblical "scholar", anyway? He cites two and only two theologians as reference.

Passing off a conviction as convential wisdom (i.e. "most Biblical scholars") without providing real evidence to this belief is disingenious. And it's a popular tactic these days, by a lot of people - on and offline.

Thanks for Bill Hobbs for the link, plus Donald Sensing and Rod Dreher have more.

Blount County Loses Power

For some reason, a lot of Blount County has lost power, although Mcghee Tyson Airport does not seem to be affected.

My office is nearby, but all seems okay for th--

UPDATE: Your outpouring of support and concern is overwhelming...


While others attack the idiocy of this issue with scathing satire, I'll go a different direction.

Don't forget the Tennessee Valley Fair opens September 5th and runs through the 14th.

The fair's been a fixture of Knoxville and East Tennessee culture for years upon decades upon centuries -- I think when settlers first moved into the Tennessee Valley, they discovered Cherokees engaged in Horse-Pull competitions over in what would become Chilhowee Park.

A little known fact is that when the settlers first began bartering with the Indians in this area, the natives introduced a strange, tubular shaped vegetable known as a foon. They would cook it (mixed with some animal fat) and leave it out in the sun to dry. The Tennessee settlers considered the foon a delicacy and traded for it in great numbers. Often cooked to a golden brown, the foon had a dry, crispy quality that was delicious - but it wasn't until Ms. Nell Keck, the wife of one of the areas early governors, arrived that it began to achieve a lasting popularity. Ms. Keck had brought with her from her native Scotland a collection of sugars and other sweeteners (at her husband's great expense, of course) and one autumn night at a harvest festival a local Indian leader cooked up a batch of foon to bring to the celebration. Legend has it that Ms. Keck sampled the foon, found it to her liking but a bit dry, and proceeded to add some of her sugared flavoring. The result was a hit, and the new confection - from then on called a Foon-nell keck has been an East Tennesee tradition. It has been served at autumn harvest festivals ever since.

More about the Fair later...

Today is Fair and Balanced Day

Let the festivities begin.


Ok, it's my fault. I plugged in my cell phone to recharge, and looks like I brought down the entire Northeast Power Grid. Sorry! My bad! Won't happen again...

Actually, I'm reminded of the guy from Airplane!, who, when all the power goes out at the airport just as the plane's about to land, is discovered lurking by a control panel with the unplugged power cord in his hand: "Just kidding!"

The first thing that occured to me was that with all the people streaming out into the streets of Manhatten, they would be sitting ducks - exposed, out in the open, slightly confused, and vulnerable to a chemical or biological attack.

Second, as I watched them walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, I wondered how many were on the bridge at one time, if (plus the cars) it was more than normal. Another image of sitting ducks.

Similarly, I saw them boarding the Staten Island Ferry en masse, and remembered the ferry boat warnings from earlier this month.

Finally, would it be easier for someone to smuggle something into the city or the country under cover of nonpowered darkness?

I hate how paranoid I've become, and I hate how unsafe I feel.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Friday is Fair And Balanced Day on the Internet

Save Al Franken!

"Yes. This Friday, August 15, is Fair And Balanced day on the Internet. You are all hereby instructed to use the words Fair And Balanced in very creative ways on your various websites."
Ok, you've heard the call - so will you strike a blow for non-censorship and tort reform everywhere???

Hot on the Trail

The new audit report detailing formet UT President John Shumaker's misdeeds has been released - you can snag it here:

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Tas, Come Home

We returned this evening from a pool party to see our big, white cat Tas scurrying off around the side of the house. We don't know how he got out, but now he's gone and we can't find him.

Be safe, Tas, and come back tomorrow...

QUICKEST UPDATE IN BLOG HISTORY: He's Back! I went outside to check his food bowl that I left for him, and heard him meowing next to the side of the house. A little dirty, but unharmed. The ka-tet remains unaltered.

Of course, I also just discovered we have a basketball-size hornet's nest in our backyard. But that's another story.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Catching Up

Some Bits and Pieces....
  • A Spammer gets Scammed - Jim "Rant-Man" MacQuarrie takes one of those "Nigerian Prince with $35 Million I Need To Transfer Out - Fast!" Spammers and runs his own scam right back at him. Read Parts One, Two, and finally Three. It's refreshing to see one of these lowlifes get taken....

  • Pupdate - Little Ramona is growing, noticably larger than in the pictures below. However, one thing is blisteringly obvious: cats are easier to housetrain. Let's just end it there.

  • The Party has Moved On - Michael Totten has some interesting analysis of what's happened to the Democratic party. I touched on this topic some months ago, essentially saying that Democrats have moved from being liberal to Leftists. Someone needs to get a strong rope and pull it w-a-a-a-a-a-y back toward the center. Thanks, Michael.

  • Distractions.... - Wednesday night Ah-nold announced his candidacy, and I was at Barley's Tap House watching my bro play some tunes (you did go, didn't you? Didn't you??? Grr...) Anyway, on the TV above the bar FoxNews (motto: We've Dropped "Crazy Like A..." from our title - and passed the savings on to you!) was broadcasting the event ad nauseum. Finally the pundits got into the act. It's Matt Drudge - in all his ill-fitting Panama-hatted glory! (Does that guy ever look like he's more than half-awake? He looks like Mandy Patinkin on Prozac).

    Who's that? Sean Hannity, of Hannity and Colmes - *snore*. Does he still have on of those Not Rush radio shows? You know, there's Rush, and then everybody else who's Not Rush. Hard to tell them all apart.

    Oh, good - there's Geraldo, drawing technical schematics for the T-1000 unit in the sand. What happened to your MSNBC gig, Gerry? Weren't there any openings on the pork-bellies futures desk at CNBC? Oh, I hear Animal Plane's hiring for a new reality series about treasure hunters who go out after nonexistant treasures - it's called Crock Files.

    Finally...oh,'s - it's - Ann Coulter! She seems to be alluding to Ah-nuld's being married to a Kennedy automatically makes him a liberal and a traitor. In fact, anyone who's ever seen one of his movies is a traitor! You're all traitors! Ah-hahahahah!!!! (runs out in a screaming, frothing frenzy as her head explodes).

    Oh, yeah - there's music here. *applause applause* - "Free Bird!!!"

    UPDATE: Oh yeah...

  • I've added a new feature to my site - What I'm Doing. It's up there in the top right, and I'll be listing whatever books, audiotapes and/or DVD's I'm watching right now. I've also become one of those Amazon Associates, so each of the titles has a link to their info/purchase pages on Amazon. If you buy it through that link, I get a small percentage! So, like, buy stuff...

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. VIII

Deb at Sugarfused has the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

Deb has put together a plethora of pithy posts to peruse, ponder, and pontificate upon.


Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Acceptable Losses?

Girl, 15, killed by shotgun discharged by brother, 11

"A 15-year-old girl died Monday night when her 11-year-old brother shot her with a shotgun in their Northwest Knox County home, authorities said."

"At this point it looks accidental," Knox County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Martha Dooley said late Monday. "
I'm thinking that I can see ten stories like this for every one where a gun was successfully used in thwarting a burglary or other attack.

So, ten kids killed, ten more lives ruined by the ones who pulled the trigger. Is it worth it?

UPDATE: SayUncle has some good discussions in the Comments. Trouble is, as evidenced by the title of my post, the relatively low number of children's deaths/year by guns is misleading. It's not the number of deaths, but that there are deaths at all. The key phrase here is relatively low number - there's no relativity about it. The fact that even one child has been killed due to a combination of their own curiosity, their parent's negligence in proper safety training and home safeguarding and the fact that the gun exists in the home at all is an unacceptable loss.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

He's Ba-a-a-a-a-a-ck....

Well, just when I thought he wasn't going to darken our door again, the lone gunslinger returns to town.

Yeah, my pesky little brother has come back home for a couple of days.

He seems to think he can, like, sing or something. Well, we've humored him for all these years - it's kind of a habit, so I'll just keep doing it. Y'know, that brother...thing. Whatever.

Anyhooo....he'll be at Barley's Tap House in the Old City (that's in Knoxville for those of you connecting from, say, Equatorial Guinea) Wednesday, August 6 at 9pm. If you like this style of music, came take a listen.

Seriously, though, he's good. Really good.

OH, crap - he reads this I'm screwed - I've been nice to him, and it's in print and like, official and everything. I'll have to think of something mean to do to him to make up for it. Anyone got any tomatoes?