Thursday, November 27, 2003

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. XVI

Buddydon of wandering hillbilly is hosting the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

Caution: break out your Hillbilly/English dictionary for this one - hit's a good'un!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Another Brick in the Wall

My wife related to me a story that happened to her today.

This morning we attended BrainyBoy's Thanksgiving program at his school. He goes to a private religious school, so I was privileged to hear him reciting Psalm 100 with a few other of his classmates. After the program we went to lunch and from there I went back to work briefly and he and my wife ran some errands. In the midst of their travels, they went by Target and were looking through the toy section. Since my son wants a GameBoy for Christmas, they were discussing possible cartridges that he might like.

Also in the section was a grandmotherly type, looking for an XBox cartridge for her 7-year-old grandson (the same age as BrainyBoy). She must have been rather clueless about such things, and, spying the game the lady was examining a helpful salesperson came up to help her.

Grandma was perusing Grand Theft Auto III Double Pack for XBox. (You can probably see where I'm headed with this)

Salesperson: Um, ma'am, I'm not sure that game is right for your grandson.

Grandma: Well, he says all his friends at school have it..

Salesperson: You can see there's a rating system on the package that tells which games are suitable for which age group. "E" you see is for Everyone, "T" is for Teens and "M" if for Mature audiences. [GTA is rated "M"]

To make a long story short, Grandma hemmed and hawed about it for awhile and bought it anyway.

Oh, yeah, she also said it wasn't available for for this kid's Gamecube (!!!) so she had to get it for his XBox (!!!).


Y'know, where do I start?

First of all I can maybe give Grandma the benefit of the completely technical ignorant. Some people just couldn't tell the difference between a splatterfest like GTA and Chutes and Ladders if their life depended on it. If the highest technical achievement you ever mastered was the iron, then hey, I'm not going to get bent out of shape.

But thankfully (and hopefully) only a very few people are like that. For everyone else, there's no excuse. Any logical, rational person should be able to see and understand the difference between an "E" game like Mario Brothers and an "M" game like GTA. One contains violence, the other doesn't. Everyone should be able to tell the difference.

Unfortunately there are some that just don't care, or think it's important that their kids not be exposed to certain material. Are the persuasion powers of kids these days that great, or is it only exceeded by the apathy levels of their parents (and grandparents)? I think it's the latter - while kids are great for whining and needling about needing this or that, it's the parent's responsibility not to filter out the noise and listen to their kids. And to understand that every decision - every decision they make concerning their kids is vital, and can resonate throughout their entire life.

If Grandma knew that sonnyboy - seven! Did you hear me? He's seven!! - gets whatever he wants for the electronic babysitter which means that Mom and Dad are willing and probably relieved not to be burdened with the nuances of their son's upbringing. And we see that all the time - "all my friends have it!" That may or may not be precisely true, but we see it all over.

So sonnyboy will probably get the game for Christmas from Grandma, fire it up that afternoon and proceed to splatter hookers and pedestrians all over the street, then return to second grade - second grade - when school gets back in.

What will he be like when he's 10? 15? 21? I hope his parents are wondering the same thing...

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Welcome to the Rocky Top Brigade

Big RTB welcome to the newest Brigadiers:

Aaron Chapman at The Golden Calf, John at In A Mays, The Conservative Zone, and Goobage.

Collect your membership cards at the door. Your decoder rings will be mailed to you.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Nursery Rhymes

Gigglegirl came home the other day from day care,

Her: "Daddy? Want to hear the new song I learned?"

Me: "Sure."

Her: (ahem)
"There is a castle on a cloud.
I like to go there in my sleep.
Not many floors for me to sweep,
Here in my castle on a cloud."

Me: (jaw dropping). "Wow, sweety, that's beautiful!"

That's the first four lines of "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miserables. I see bright things for this girl...;)


Tonight we went to see the boat parade on the Knoxville riverfront near Calhoun's on the River. Had dinner with some good friends and their toddler, wandered around the Christmas-bedecked waterfront and Volunteer Landing and felt guilty for being in the Christmas spirit. Then we realized it was actually just about a month till Christmas. Oh, ok then.

I put GiggleGirl on my shoulders and walked around with her, watching the boats and fireworks and helped her feed the ducks. She had on her ruby slippers she got from her birthday and fell asleep on her way home with a red balloon tied to her wrist.

I don't blog about my son as much as I do her - maybe a four-year-old has such wonder it's easier to relate than a seven-year-old boy. He's so smart, she's so innocent - I still don't know why or how I deserve them.


Attorney Wants Jackson's Children Removed

"An attorney who has tangled with Michael Jackson (news) called Friday for child welfare authorities to temporarily remove the pop star's three children from his custody because of new child molestation allegations."
This would fall squarely in the "It's about damn time" category.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Thank you

"From the WVLT VOLUNTEER TV Newsroom:

The Knox County Commission has voted 10-9 to withdraw the so-called "God Resolution." The resolution recognizes God as the foundation of American heritage and government. It has already been adopted in several other East Tennessee counties."
Link and more info when it's available online.

UPDATE: Commissioners table God resolution (Knoxville News Sentinel: 11/17/03, by Michael Silence)

"Knox County commissioners today essentially killed the God resolution by voting in a narrow margin to withdraw it from the agenda.

The vote brought a standing ovation from some people in the half-filled auditorium, most there to see what would happen on the issue."


Shortly after the meeting began, Commissioner Diane Jordan moved that the resolution be withdrawn. Several commissioners called for the question, ending debate, and Jordan's motion passed 10-to-9.

Joining Jordan in voting to withdraw it were Thomas "Tank" Strickland Jr., David Collins, Billy Tindell, Wanda Moody, John Schmid, Phil Guthe, Mike Arms, John Griess and Mary Lou Horner.

Voting against withdrawal were Ivan Harmon, Craig Leuthold, Mark Cawood, Larry Stephens, Scott Moore, Mike McMillan, John Mills, Larry Clark and Howard Pinkston.
Remember this list next election day...

Sunday, November 16, 2003

More on the "God Resolution"

    ( 11/16/03)

    "Two groups had separate petition drives Saturday, one in Mascot, the other in Seymour. The organizers say they're trying to protect America's heritage, which they believe, is founded in God.

    "If our children lose this now, the disrespect we see in the schools now, with prayer already taken out," says petition organizer Susie Davis, "I feel like this is one more step in removing God from everything we have."
    This is one of the most dangerous attitudes people are having now. It's not the school where children learn disrespect - it's at home. Your home. The one you're passing the buck from. If you don't teach children respect at home, the mostly Godly school in the world isn't going to help them. Parents, responsibility. Now.

    Besides, looks at what she says, "I feel like this is one more step in removing God from everything we have." What she's actually saying is that she is so insecure in the way she is teaching her children about God that if the Government doesn't supply it, it's being taken away from them. I've got news for you, ma'am -- noone can take God away from you, or what you have, unless you let it slip away. And that's exactly what's happening -- You refuse to look after your children's souls and blame the government. Nice.

  • Sam Venable channels Ina Hughs, and gets it: God can take care of Himself

    "It's none of the government's business. Period. It isn't now and it wasn't in 1954, when the fear of "godless communists" was so pervasive in this nation that the words "under God" were inserted in the Pledge of Allegiance.

    I have read the God resolution that's to be considered by Knox County Commission. Parts of it I can accept in the vein of atta-boy fluff - although I reiterate that the God I worship certainly doesn't need political assistance.

    But parts of this thing are flat-out wrong. The whole business of that Ten Commandments statue in Alabama was ill conceived from the get-go, and the Alabama Court of the Judiciary was 100 percent correct in giving Judge Roy Moore the boot.

    The court did not tell Judge Moore he couldn't practice his religion. It simply said he couldn't practice it on company time. There's a huge difference, and anyone not blinded by dogma can see it.

    Anyone not blinded by dogma can also see the difference in a typical government proclamation and the time bomb of the God resolution."
    What's more interesting, is the online poll the KNS is running next to Venable's column:

    Do you agree?
    (1) Yes - 90.8 % (59)
    (2) No - 7.7 % (5)
    (3) Not Sure - 1.5 % (1)

    Obviously there aren't many responses, but if it's any indication of the true feelings of Knox Countians the County Commissioners supporting this issue had better understand which of their constituents have the true power.

This Just In...

N.J. Rock Station Won't Play Jethro Tull

'Jethro Tull is off the playlist of a classic rock station after the band's frontman criticized displays of the Stars and Stripes.

"I hate to see the American flag hanging out of every bloody station wagon, out of every SUV, every little Midwestern house in some residential area," Ian Anderson was quoted as saying in an interview published Sunday in the Asbury Park Press.


"The reaction of our audience has been 99 percent in favor of the ban and 99 percent incredulous that he would say such stupid things," said Phil LoCascio, WCHR program director and on-air personality.
However, the remaining 1% of the listeners were confused and puzzled because they always thought the name of the lead singer of Jethro Tull was a guy named Jethro Tull.

Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2003

So then, why do it?

Knox County Commissioners are prepared to vote on a resolution recognizing God as the inspiration and founder of America's legal system. Or government. Or something like that -- it's a little unfocused.

Law chief: God measure shouldn't have 'rightfully'
(Knoxville News Sentinel: 11/14/03, by Michael Silence. Hat Tip, SayUncle)

"The resolution has drawn both praise and condemnation and has been passed by several counties in the state. [Commissioner and resolution co-sponser Ivan] Harmon has said it is symbolic and simply recognizes God's influence in the founding of the country."
So then, if it's non-binding and has no real value beyond the symbolic yet is controversial and divisive, plus constitutionally suspect - why do it?

However, it's getting mixed reaction in this area...

Resolution stirring mixed area response
(Knoxville News Sentinel: 11/14/03, by Jeannine F. Hunter.)

"Anybody that would not adopt this resolution, ain't no hope for them," said June Griffin of Dayton, Tenn., who spent five years visiting county commissioners statewide to encourage passage of resolutions recognizing the Ten Commandments as the nation's historical foundation.
Well, we all know what kind of enlightenment has historically flowed out of Dayton, TN. Apparently correct grammar does not. (All right, that's petty, but why is she your spokesperson?)

"I think the fear of God is beginning to creep across this state and across this nation in light of the tyranny that's being exercised in Alabama."
Scary stuff. Tyranny? The Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice refuses to obey a federal court order, and that's tyranny? Do people know what real tyranny is? Tyranny is taxation without representation. Tyranny is getting sent to gas chambers via train cars. Tyranny is being dragged into the street and decapitated in front of your children because your husband was an Iraqi dissident. But I digress. Oh, and that's not all...

"Our leaders better make a public statement that we will acknowledge God no matter what judges say. Better to lose your job than your life," she said. "This is eternity here. Denying God is atheism."
No, ma'am - not making a public statement is not denying God. Respecting the established authority is not denying God. A state or municipality cannot "deny God" any more than it can feel guilt, harbor jealousy or hate the city across the river. A person's choice to deny or accept God is their own, and neither you nor County Commissioners nor any other "resolution" will affect it. I think Ms. Griffin would be better off examining her own life and relationship to God before she starts examining others'.

Quite a few local religious leaders said they had not fully read news stories or the resolution for themselves and declined commenting on the record. Others suggested that private opposition could not be expressed strongly and publicly due to the region's conservative nature.
Nothing like being fully informed, but at least they didn't publicly express an opinion. I think every local religious leader should be fully aware of the scope and ramifications of this proposal - pro or con - because their parishioners deserve guidance from their spiritual leader. Of course, as the second part of the paragraph suggests, oppose the resolution at your own risk because a lot of local conservative church-goers have deep pockets that might take them elsewhere if they don't agree with your position.

'Dr. Bob Bevington, founding pastor of the Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle, said, "I am for separation of church from state, _but I am not for separation of state from God."'
Again, they don't quite get it - the state cannot have a relationship with God. Obviously. To mix the two is to invite a theocratic-based democracy, where specific religious rules have a chance of turning into laws - rules that not everyone who lives her may agree with.

For instance, it's basic that murder, theft, assault, etc are all crimes that hurt other people. What happens when a community's leadership is directly controlled and influenced by a certain religious practice? Adultery could become illegal. So could relationships between people of the same sex. Or certain sexual acts -- oh, wait, that's already illegal in Georgia -- or certain speech...or say, maybe, criticism of the government could be seen as criticism of the church and God and then seen as un-Godly. Maybe since some say the Bible teaches women are inferior to me, women could be forced not to work, or to walk behind their husbands in public, or not allowed to go to school, or to wear completely unrevealing clothing....well, you can see where I'm going with this.

"[Immaculate Conception Catholic Church member Phyllis] Lockwood said each individual should be allowed to use the word "God."

"God can symbolize the universe, or an almighty power or whatever it is that you want to attach to the name. ...You can't take the word away," Lockwood said. "It's in the dictionary. It exists and it's up to each individual, the meaning that they place behind that word that determines its significance."
But we all should realize that the resolution is not intended by its backers to refer to a universal "God". It's deliberately written to acknowledge the Christian God, and no other. To interpret it to refer to anyone's own interpretation of God is fine, but to not recognize the actual purpose of the resolution - to promote one religion over all others - is short-sighted and naive.

I belong to a Methodist Church here in town, and I suspect a number of my friends and fellow church-members probably support this proposal (as well as the Alabama judge), which makes me uncomfortable discussing it among them. But the bottom line that seems to be continuosly trampled is that America, which I acknowledge likely had its government and legal system established using Christianity as its basis) is no longer that same country it was 200+ years ago. Our Constitution was written specifically to protect us from the same religious persecution the Pilgrims fled in England - a theocracy that didn't allow them to worship as they pleased. America changed all of that, and welcomed people of all different faiths and beliefs. We want them to come, we want them all to worship and build churches/mosques/synagogues/whatever. We want their ideas and influences and diversity to become part of our communities.

But some people were never taught that.

It's their way or the highway. Their God or none. This proposal is another step in the direction that our fathers wanted to avoid. And it's one thing we're struggling against half a world away. Losing the freedom to choose how and who to worship would be to lose a fundamental stone in America's foundation. I hope they realize that.


SayUncle is all over this as well (link).


On the way to Daycare...

Me: (Engaging in harmless banter with daughter)

Gigglegirl: Knock it off!

Me: What? Now-w-w-w, that's not a very nice thing to say to your Dad!

Gigglegirl: (pause). Knock it off!!

Me: Arrgh!

Gigglegirl: Hee hee!



Gigglegirl: Daddy, what's that ladder for? (pointing to metal ladder attached to the back of an 18-wheeler)

Me: That's so people can climb up to the top of the truck.

Gigglegirl: Ohhhh...

Me: they can go up and get the Mynocks off.

Gigglegirl: (puzzled) What's a...Mynock?

Me: It's these big leathery lizard bird things that fly around and eat through the top of trucks.

Gigglegirl: (pause) Ohhhh....

I'm a b-a-a-a-d boy...

New Record

Thanks to the InstaDaddy, yesterday was the most visited day ever on Inn of the Last Home. I hope everyone who travelled here from any of the Rocky Top Brigade sites enjoyed their visit, enjoyed reading what our brothers and sisters had to say, and know that they're welcome to come back any time.


Thursday, November 13, 2003

Official Starfleet Log Entry: Regarding Matter of Lost Ancient Earth Artifact containing data regarding "Volunteer Tailgate Party, Vol XV"

Captain's StarLog: November 11, 2145. Captain Jonathan Archer, commanding USS Enterprise.

Science Officer T'Pol has finished salvaging the ancient artifact that was found floating through space in the Expanse. Actually, it was Trip who identified it as an Earth device, circa early 21st century - what they used to call a Palm Pilot, or a PDA. Nice, compact design for information storage and retrieval - I'll have to speak to Starfleet about updating the design. It's unknown at this time how it came to be way out here, but they're working on some theories.

Anyway, the memory module - while badly damaged - was still barely intact and barely readable, still an amazing fact after all this time. Ensign Sato has been able to recover most of it. The contents of the memory seem to be a collection of personal logs, of various description and styles. Hoshi says she thinks they used to be called "webpages" or even something called...what was it, "flogs"? Regardless, these journals apparently were stored where others could read them across Earth's primitive global information network. The variety of opinions and viewpoints is astonishingly diverse - it's no wonder they nearly destroyed each other in the Eugenics Wars and World War III.

Following is a report on the contents of the memory module - only fragments remain, and are disjointed, but each of the people who wrote these journals seem to have been part of some kind of Alliance known as the "Rocky Top Brigade". We're running this term through our historical records, but as everyone knows details from that time are sketchy.

  • Entry #1 is short but seems to be regarding a matter of great import to the author, Deb of Sugarfused: "Quitting". She seems to have decided to kick a bad habit.

  • Entry #2 is entitled, "Dear Governor Dean" from someone who calls himself Stoney at Rebel Yell. 21st century politics and morality seem to be a popular topic for discussion, and Mr. Stoney has decided to refer to a politician as a "gutless moron". 21st century slang is difficult to understand, but Hoshi is working on a primer for me.

  • Entry #3 comes from a flogger who calls himself SayUncle - Hoshi says that's an archaic Earth expression for "surrender". Hm. His post is called, "Second Amendment stuff" which I believe refers to the United States Constitution. It has to do with controversies surrounding individuals' rights to possess firearms at that point in history.

    Hoshi informs me that the correct term is not "flogger", but "clogger". I apologize for the mistake.

  • Entry #4 is an entry from clogger Chris at Quiet Life entitled, "Currency Speculation 101". Financial science was apparently of very great interest in the 21st Century, judging by this record. It also seems people used finances to further political causes. Barbaric....

  • Speaking of barbaric, Entry #5 from Bjorn (this global net reached all the way to Switzerland at that point in history) called "Is acknowledging a higher power really that bad of an idea?" discusses mass graves and the effects religion has and has had on the formation of human governments. I would ask Ensign Mayweather what he thinks about this subject, but I can never find him.

    Dr. Phlox informs me it's time for my physical. End of entry


    Captain's StarLog: November 12, 2145. Captain Jonathan Archer, commanding USS Enterprise.

    Continuing the report on the contents of the ancient human "Palm Pilot" found adrift deep in the Expanse...

  • Entry #6 seems to have been written by a ruling monarch of one of Earth's nations, Queen Medb. T'Pol has been as of yet unable to find this queen in the political database, nor venture a guess at which nation she rules. Her entry is entitled, "The Machine That Went Ping, Blah and Tick". It is the general concensus of the research team that the poor Queen may have been insane because it seems to detail a treatment for a brain disorder that went terribly wrong.

  • Entry #7 was submitted by one known only as Bugly. His/her post is called, "Good food thats good for you..." and details a snack food that seems to have popular at that time - something called a "Doonut" that was available in rest rooms. I don't understand this one, but Lt. Reed seems to find it very interesting...

  • Entry #8 is entitled, "Poisonous Politics" from Mason at The Southern Reporter. Again, politics was very important to people of the era and it's been postulated that some people even worshiped their elected leaders. There are even some radical historians who suggest they even broke up into political "parties" that were worshipped by the leaders themselves and proved to wield more power than the people they purported to serve. This concept has generally been considered preposterous and fanciful by most historians. Still, this post may lend evidence to the idea that not all of Earth's leaders were good, just and moral.

  • Entry #9 is a heartwarming post that demonstrates they allowed even people with low intelligence to make their views known. The poor fellow they designated Big Stupid Tommy submits his story of the time he heard something called a "zinger": "The Best Thing I've Heard Anybody Ever Said to Anybody Else". Archives suggest a "zinger" was also a snack food at that time in history, so perhaps it has something to do with the "Doonut" mentioned earlier.

  • We're a bit confused as to the meaning of Entry #10 from Guy Montag entitled, "My Dollars for Sharpton Effort". Could humans running for government office actually have accepted currency for political favors? This would on the face to be as absurd a concept as "political parties". But then again, nothing's that far-fetched.

  • Entry #11 is from Peggy of A Moveable Beast, and is called, "25 DEGREES OF PROCRASTINATION". This Peggy seems to have a fascination with horses, as there are several images that were salvageable. She seems to have trouble beginning a project...

    Goodness, Hoshi informs me again that they were in fact not called "floggers" or "cloggers". The true designation of these people was, "Fred". I have congratulated Ensign Sato and will recommend her for promotion.

  • Entry #12 comes from an interesting Fredder called Hatamaran who seems to be a great philospher or expert on human mental health. She has posted an analysis entitled, "it's only natural... " that discusses something called "dissociative identity disorder". The terminology seems even to be beyond that used now in the 22nd century. Could this Hatamaran be a time traveler? That's next on T'Pol's things to discuss with the Vulcan Science Academy.

    Hmm. I think Porthos wants to be fed. Where'd I put those space biscuits? Pause recording...


    Captain's StarLog: Supplemental. Captain Jonathan Archer, commanding USS Enterprise.

    Bad Porthos! Bad, bad Porthos - I just had my carpet sub-molecularly cleaned!

  • Entry #13 is actually two entries from the same person, CJ of Up For Anything. The first is called, "See What Stealing Gets You?" and has to do with one of the popular sporting events of the day, football. I've never understood the appeal of football - it's nothing like a good water polo match. The second post is again about politics, "Liberals Hate Conservative Minorities" - could there be an unknown virus at work that causes political obsessions among 21st Century Earth's technical elite? Perhaps Hatamaran brought it back from the future in order to destroy humanity in the past. Worth checking into.

  • Entry #14 seems to have been almost hopelessly garbled - even Hoshi is unable to fully clear up the recording. The best she can make is it's from someone called Buddy Don of Wandering Hillbilly and the post is entitled "'Dinner with ole friens of buddy don: a evenin full of coincidents". All the text in the entry is garbled as well. That's a shame, because he was probably a good old boy.

  • Entry #15 is entitled, "Those wacky Republicans" from Manish at Damn Foreigner. I believe judging from this article one leader of the late 20th century was not important enough to have a motion picture created about him. We do have one of this leader's movies in our archives on board ship, and we all love the funny monkey.

  • Entry #16 comes from a former member of the armed forces, Democratic Veteran. His entry is entitled, "OMG - Hearts and Minds redux" having something to do with a minor military squirmish that happened in 2003.

  • Entry #17 was the last entry we were able to salvage. Barry from Inn of the Last Home discusses a recent trip with Tennesee Theatre Association 2003 Conference - Part 1 and A Great Opportunity.

    That's all we got. It seems obvious that humans of that time period were passionate about certain ideals and went to great lengths to express their viewpoints - sometimes with satire, sarcasm and the occasional "zinger". It's a good thing that here in the future humans have evolved past that. But there may have been hope for these people, as well.

    Archer Out. End Recording.


    Captain's StarLog: Supplemental. Captain Jonathan Archer, commanding USS Enterprise.

    Trip has discovered what seems to be a temporal rift forming just off our port bow. Sensors picked up another memory module floating out of the rift - it appears to be identical to the one we salvaged earlier, and T'Pol and Hoshi have been able to download its contents as well. More entries may be recoverable:

  • Entry #18 is from Fredd-- stand by...


    Hoshi has revised her terminology once again - the proper designation for these online authors is not, in fact, "Fred" but seems to be "Roto-rooter". I am extremely sceptical about this latest interpretation, so I've decided to just call them a random name...oh, I don't know...maybe "bloggers". Yeah, that sounds good. Continuing..

  • Entry #18 is from a blogger name Les Jones - his entry is entitled Longmire and chronicles Mr. Jones' hero-worshipping another blogger. I suspect both Mr. Jones and Mr. Longmire have been affected by the insanity virus brought back in time by Hatamaran. Apparently it also causes a strange romantic longing for firearms in Mr. Jones as well, which I also noticed in SayUncle's writings. Strange.

    The Human Adventure is Just Beginning
  • Wednesday, November 12, 2003

    My Baby

    Covenant Health At the Mall Brings High-Tech Health Info to West Town
    "Covenant Health’s newest community service, located at West Town Mall near JC Penney, might be described as “one stop shopping” for good health. It’s also innovative, informative, and interactive!"

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003

    A Great Opportunity

    Well, here's the highlights of the rest of the Tennessee Theatre Association Convention for me:

    • Co-adjudicating the High School Scholarship auditions.
      The TTA awards a $500 scholarship to a Tennessee high school senior who goes to any in-state college or university. The students prepare a 2-minute monologue and audition for us. The one whose monologue shows the most skill wins. This was interesting - I'd never done anything like this before, and there ended up being about 20 kids. Some seniors, some juniors - the juniors were ineligible for the scholarship, but encouraged to audition for the experience - but all with relative skill levels.

    • Plays, Plays, Plays
      I didn't get to see many of the performances, but there were 5 colleges, 8 high schools and 3 community theatres that brought shows and performed over the course of the weekend. All were judged and presented scores at the end of the festival. Bearden High School from here in Knoxville won their competition, so kudos to them. I did get to see my wife's alma mater, Lambuth University, perform a funny show called "On the Verge".

    • Nothin' Dirty Going On
      The best part of the weekend is that I was able to get this job that I talked about before... I will be musical directing a staged concert version of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" with the Royal Palm Players in Boca Grande, FL this coming February. Refer to the aforementioned article for the details of how the opportunity came up, but they will be flying me down, paying a salary and providing housing for me in a condo on the beach. Looks like my family will be able to join me for several days as well.

      I received the music in the mail, and while I was initially a little nervous - I play the piano, and play it pretty well but it's mostly by ear and I'm not great at interpreting full scores - I was pleased to see that it's basically from one of those "singers editions" of the show, and not the actual accompanist score. I.e. it's not difficult to play, and allows for a lot of improvisng which, if you've seen the movie or the show, you'll know that most of the songs are fast-paced, rock/country kind of numbers. One drawback - the music only includes the melody lines, and no chorus parts, which means either they'll be coming separately or I'll need to arrange the chorus parts myself. This is no big deal, really, and I'd look forward to doing it - especially since I have several months to get it done.

      Anyway, I can't wait to sit on the beach in South Florida in February while everyone's freezing up her in Knoxville :)

    And that's the way the beach ball bounces...

    Monday, November 10, 2003

    State of Tennessee 2, City of Miami 0

    Quotes of the Weekend:

    "It's war. They're out there to kill you, so I'm out there to kill them. We don't care about anybody but this U. They're going after my legs. I'm going to come right back at them. I'm a ... soldier.''

    -- U. Miami TE Kellen Winslow, Jr. after Vols 10-6 win Saturday

    "As for my reference to being a soldier in a war, I meant no disrespect to the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces. I cannot begin to imagine the magnitude of war or its consequences.''

    -- "U. Miami TE Kellen Winslow, Jr.", aka U. Miami Sports Information Office

    "We couldn't run it, and we couldn't throw it. That is not a good combination.''

    -- Miami Dolphin QB Brian Griese, after Titans 31-7 win Sunday

    Sunday, November 09, 2003

    whistling in the dark

    go vols.

    don't get me wrong I'm ecstatic. judging by the last time the volunteer nation celebrated after a huge win - an upset win at florida in 2001 resulted in the vols losing the next week in the sec title game - i'm going to wait till after the season is over to truly celebrate the vols 10-6 win over miami.

    so, golf clap for the vols then back to business against miss. state, vandy and kentucky.


    Thursday, November 06, 2003

    Smack-Dab in the Middle

    Via One Hand Clapping:

    You are Psalms
    You are Psalms.

    Which book of the Bible are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Random Passing Thought of the Day

    Zell Miller has been making the talk show/news show rounds heavily these last few days, promoting his new book, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat. He was even on the Rush Limbaugh show today, with whoever was hosting this week.

    My thought - given this guy's appeal to both the left and the he gearing up for surprise Presidential run?

    If others have brought this up already, I apologize, but I haven't seen it speculated anywhere yet.

    Tuesday, November 04, 2003

    This Just In....

    Wal-Mart Receives Target Letter From U.S.
    "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday it has received a "target letter" from the U.S. Attorney's Office saying the world's largest retailer allegedly violated federal immigration laws."
    In related news, Target has announced it too received a letter, this one addressed to K-Mart.

    K-Mart could not be reached for comment.

    That's the news! Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

    Bach'in it

    My wife's in Charleston (hi, L!), my kids were at the grandparents last night - so I had the night free!

    No strings! No ties! Free as a bird like my ol' bachelor days!

    What wild, exciting thing did I do last night? What hedonistic trouble did I get myself into? What dire predicament did I stumble upon that required calling the police, the national guard, 6 squads of Marines and two Cub Scout Troops?

    Er, um, nothing really. I ate dinner at Savelli's, rented "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and did laundry.

    Man, I'm getting old.

    P.S. I've ordered a new graphics card for my home PC which should be here in a couple of days. Hopefully it will solve my video problems and I can continue my TTA story soon. Work is ok for light blogging but I feel guilty about spinning a big yarn, even if I am just waiting for my logfile tracking reports to run.....

    Oh, by the way - L, if you're reading...I ordered a new graphics card. Just thought I'd let you know....(ahem)

    Monday, November 03, 2003

    O, John Ward, Where Art Thou?

    Tennessee beat Duke Saturday 23-6 for homecoming. Boring game, team not good, yadda yadda yadda - I'll let others comment on the Vols themselves, but there's another facet of the UT game-day experience that bears some close scrutiny.

    Now it's not my style to criticize, especially when the object of criticism is out of my field, but the current University of Tennessee football radio host, Bob Kesling, needs to have some serious reconsideration of his abilities as a play-by-play announcer.

    Kesling, while a good sportscaster and speaker, clearly has deficiencies when it comes to calling a football game. In Saturday's game, for instance:
    • His descriptions of the plays lack accuracy. Several times he would say something similar to, "He's hit at the line and slides forward for a couple of yards", when in reality the running back got 6-7 yards. You're expecting 2nd down and 8, and all of a suddent it's actually 2nd and 3. Big difference when you're trying to follow the image in your head.

    • This didn't happen as much last night but it's been a big problem since he first started five years ago - getting the name of the running back or receiver wrong. Now I know it's tough sometimes to see the number of the ball-carrier in the piles of humanity but the Vol Network has spotters that are supposed to help him with that sort of thing. Worse is when the player is in plain sight, such as running in the open field. If #11 James Banks catches the ball and is sprinting toward the end zone, it's confusing and unfair to the players to hear Kesling give another player credit for the catch/run. Even when it's obvious who's got the ball, he doesn't correct himself until much too late.

    • After Tennessee went up 16-6 in the 4th quarter, numerous times he said the score was 16-10 (apparently he knew in his head there was 10-point lead and misspoke). Of course, there's a big difference in football between a 10-point lead and a 6-point lead, and when the game is only on the radio without the benefit of a TV or scoreboard in front of you, it's misleading. Again, he never actually corrected himself or made it plain he had gotten the score wrong.

      As I said above, Kesling has spotters that feed him names and statistics from time to time. You'd think that they would also give him a hand when there's been a glaring error, such as a consistently incorrect score. The only answer I can think of is that he's very strict about not being corrected and has created an atmosphere of "the big guy's always right" in the Press Box. That doesn't quite follow his public image of an affable, fairly genial kind of sports guy so it's difficult to reconcile, but I don't know how else to explain.
    There are other examples, but it would be a bit excessive to sit with pen and paper and try to catch them all. And it's not the worst thing in the world, but when you follow a favorite sports team you'd like to expect the play-by-play man to be accurate at least 95% of the time. But Bob is not, unfortunately.

    The ghost of the Voice of the Vols, John Ward, looms heavily over UT radio broadcasts (well, not literally - Ward's still very much alive) and it's impossible to measure up to such a legend. Trying to follow a legendary coach or actor is always difficult and you are never able to satisfy everyone. I've always respected Bob Kesling as a sportscaster and a local personality, but it's just getting difficult to listen to the game on the radio, when you can't be confident that what you're hearing is what's actually going on down on the field. And that's a shame.

    Child of the 80's

    That's definitely me - started High School in 1980, graduated college in 1989. Couldn't plan it any better.

    Pop Music Quiz at Sugarfused - guess the missing words to the 80's lyrics!

    I scored a 52.25%, although for some reason they deducted 30% because of when I was born (like I'm to blame for the 80's? I just lived in it, I didn't create it. Ok, I did have a pair of parachute pants and a white blazer, but that's all!!). Anyway my read adjusted score would be 74%.

    Quote of the Day

    "The Twenty-First Century's kind of like the Twentieth Century, except everybody's scared and the Stock Market's way down..."

    -- Lisa Simpson