Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Wise Men beat up the Little Drummer Boy. Who Knew?

The Top 50 Amazing-but-True Holiday Facts for 2007

Some of my favorites:
  • Contrary to the rosy picture painted by the song, the little drummer boy was in fact taken behind the manger and beaten by the three wise men for repeatedly making the baby Jesus burst into tears with his loud drumming.

  • Although the popular song, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," is meant to be whimsical, 20-30 people are tragically killed every year in reindeer collisions -- more than half of them elderly women.

  • When Good King Wenceslaus went out, historians have proven that he took with him an ancient form of the current-day treat, cole slaw.

  • Played in reverse, the opening line of "A Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...") eerily predicts John Lennon's untimely demise.
If you know of some others (or just make them up) add them in the comments...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tink in Las Posada festival

Tink portrays Mary in the traditional Mexican festival Las Posada at her school.

The little ham...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Something I've Never Quite Been Able to Understand...

Why in exactly would a kid not play with this toy just because he's a Charlie-in-the-Box, and not a Jack-in-the-Box?

I mean does a kid really care what his name is? I've never quite understood why he was a misfit toy.

Well, other than the fact that he had a really disturbing, scary voice, looked like one of Joker's henchman and sat around all day feeling sorry for himself...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Christmas Meme

I got tagged for the Christmas Meme by Frank Murphy....

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of "Getting to Know Your Friends."

1. Wrapping or gift bags?
A little of both. However, if it's a choice between the two, it's a gift bag all the way. I hate wrapping, and am not very good at it...

2. Real or artificial tree?
We used to have a real tree but it just got to be too big of a pain to get in the house (and expensive) so we got one several years ago that's (ta daa!!) pre-lit! But of course, since the lights built in don't blink we still string a couple of strands of blinking lights. Just to accent things :)

3. When do you put up the tree?
Well, this year we actually put up the tree a couple weeks ago, but it say with only its built-in lights until this past weekend when we finally found time to decorate it...

4. When do you take the tree down?
It's been known to still be standing until several days into the New Year... again, it just depends on when we have a spare moment to take it down.

5. Do you like egg nog?
Gag. Can't stand it. Way, way, too sweet and cloying. It's like liquid Brenda Lee.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Has to be this baby. As a matter of fact, it's still up in my mom and dad's attic - last time I checked, I'd reassembled it for my son to play with...

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, we have a really nice ceramic set that sits on a shelf over the TV (no symbolism intended). What's nice is there's a lamp just above the set that shines down on it... We also have a stuffed one the kids made long ago that still sits down on the hearth. Well, if we unpacked it the cats would drag away all the pieces but at least the stable is there...

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I really can't think of a bad Christmas gift I ever got. Certainly nothing my *parents or *wife ever got me!

(* readers of my blog)

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
We mail our cards. I don't know if I've ever sent a serious Christmas eCard. Maybe something as joke, but not intended to be real. There's something special about paper, in the mail Christmas cards. Our sessions putting our own together every year, finding just the right picture and just the right message, is always a highlight of our Christmas.

10. Favorite Christmas Movie?
"A Christmas Story" is obviously the best Christmas movie ever (why do people like "Christmas Vacation" so much??? you got me...). But a close second is the ever-popular Rankin-Bass, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
If I do much actual shopping, it's online so that's done...whenever. If I ever actually go physically shopping somewhere, it's never until a few days before. Laura does a lot of her shopping on Black Friday and in the week or so after that. We're usually done with all our major shopping pretty early.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
One thing is Laura's aunt's cheesy potato au gratin they serve every year....mmmmmmmmmmm. :) Plus all the good ham you can always get around Christmas. But my favorite food is always my mom's sausage balls - we had them all the time when I was a kid, and lately she's made an extra batch just for me ;) Thanks mom!

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Well. I love colored lights and Laura loves clear lights.

Guess what's on our tree :(

14. Favorite Christmas song(s)?
"O Holy Night" and "Do You Hear What I Hear" are my favorite carols, "Sleigh Ride" is my favorite secular standard song, and probably "Snow Miser/Heat Miser" is my favorite "novelty" song. Does that count? Oh, and I do have a warm place for Amy Grant's, "Tender Tennessee Christmas".

Of course, I also just have a warm place for Amy Grant, but that's another story.... (don't tell my wife)

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Late Christmas morning every year, after the kids have opened their presents, we drive to Jackson, TN to spend a few days with Laura's extended family. It's a great tradition, especially since there are so many kids these days. When everyone's there, there are about 10 kids with BrainyBoy being the oldest.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen. And Rudolph. And Bruce...and Marvin...a-a-a-a-a-aaand Clyde! (hee haw!!!)

17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
A star - I think an angel just looks odd on a tree. Call me a traditionalist.

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
My parents let us open one present Christmas Eve, and I've extended that tradition to my own family. But everything else is on Christmas morning. Otherwise, what exactly do you do Christmas morning?

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Unfortunately there are a number of things in recent years that have become quite annoying: The everpresent start of the Christmas "hype" sometime around mid-October (if we're lucky). But some things are annoying, not in and of themselves but in people's reactions to them. Some folks get all bent out of shape over not being "allowed" to say Merry Christmas, or recognize Christmas in a religious manner - I haven't seen anyone yet that did more than gently request a more ecumenical recognition of the holidays. It's not like Winter Nazis are marching the streets, forcing everyone to say "Happy Holidays". Relax, say what you like, and don't worry about offending the offended...

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?
Laura loves to collect Santa ornaments, so almost every ornament on the tree has some sort of Santa on it.

21. What do you leave for Santa?
Homemade cookies or fudge, and a glass of milk.

22. Least favorite holiday song?
I really get tired of "Deck the Halls" for some reason. It's just something about the way it's structured musically got old to me many years ago....

23. Favorite ornament?
One of the ornaments that the kids really like (and I do too) is Santa flying a red biplane. It's pretty cool.

24. Family tradition?
For a long time we left "reindeer food" out on the front porch. I also always make sure to open the glass doors on the fireplace a crack so Santa can get in easier. Hey, always trying to do my part...

25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Even services?
Our church always has a 5pm and an 11pm Christmas Eve service. We always go to the 5pm, since the kids need to get in bed. I'm not sure if I've ever been the 11pm before the kids were born...

I'm not sure who to tag, but glancing around at various blogs I visit that haven't played yet, I'll tag the usual suspects: Michael, Tish, LissaKay, Will, Julie, Becky, and Logtar.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy Two

Appetizer - Make up a word and give us its definition.

A while back an online friend of mine was pregnant, and I used the term "preggerventures" to describe the trials and tribulations she was going through. She thought that was pretty funny and suggested I sent it in to Urban Dictionary. I did, but never heard anything.

Soup - What is currently your favorite song?

For a long time, my favorite song was "The Long and Winding Road" by the Beatles. I've long since passed my Beatles fascination phase but not many songs have come along to replace it. Probably the only one that comes close is "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio.

Salad - What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?

Well, I already posted about this but my wife seems to think it's not very feasible and even less likely I'm getting it for Christmas. Fine, when I do get one, I'm going back in time to when she was a kid and picking on her mercilessly. Then she'll think twice about messing with a guy that can time travel in a Ford Focus.

But seriously, at the very top of my real Christmas list is respect, something I've sorely lacked this past year.

Main Course - Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.

Speaking of my wife, when we were first dating she wore a perfume called "Colours" (sp?) that, well, let's just say it was a very unique and memorable scent :)

Dessert - Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why?

I find it difficult to see Martha Stewart back on the air as if nothing had happened, as if her "fans" just ignore the real behind-the-scenes person she seems to be. Not that anyone doesn't deserve a second chance, but it's just odd that she seems to have slipped right back into her "domestic diva" role after being in jail pretty easily.

I also get tired of Donald Trump sticking his ugly toupee'd face into things at NBC. The first couple seasons of "The Apprentice" were decent, but he's just become a parody of himself.

Now, if you asked who is someone who shouldn't be on the radio, I could give you Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levine, Michael Savage, Neal Boortz and a host of other past and present radio show hosts that should never have graced the airwaves with their one-sided, reactionary, egotistical farcical shows. (Remember when G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North even had shows? Good grief. Are they still on the air? I hope not...)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hillbilly Hawaii

Question of the Day: Does anybody remember if the Beverly Hillbillies ever went to Hawaii, or tried to wear Hawaiian-type clothes?

If so, leave a comment - I need to find some images of hillbillies in tropical/vacation clothes (don't ask me why, it'd only confuse you).

Someone Took a Wrong Turn

This is our jalecat Kitiara again, getting into misadventures way up inside our half-decorated Christmas tree...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Brainyboy shoots a free throw - and hits!!!

You Can Now Call Me Captain Dunsel

Captain's log, stardate 4729.4. The M-5 computer has been installed onboard ship, and we have left the space station for test maneuvers.
Looks like I've been replaced by a computer. Or should I say third party website design company.

To all extents and purposes, my function now is basically to upload stuff and make changes after the fact.

Glad I could help.
Commodore Wesley: "Our compliments to the M5 unit, and regards to Captain Dunsel; Wesley out."
McCoy: "Dunsel? Who the blazes is Captain Dunsel?" (Kirk stiffens and walks toward the turbolift) "What does it mean, Jim?" (to Spock) "What does it mean?"
Spock: "A dunsel, doctor, is a midshipman's term used at Starfleet Academy; it refers to a part that serves no useful purpose."
Fire up the M-5, Dr. Daystrom.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Right on the Very Tippy, Tippy Top of My Christmas List

Back To The Future Flux Capacitor Replica
A Diamond Select Release! Get your own time machine up and running with this high-tech replica from the 1985 classic Back to the Future! Reproduced with full light effects and adjustable power settings, the Flux Capacitor replica recreates the 1.21 jigowatt-controlling heart of the De Lorean time machine. Measuring over sixteen inches tall and twelve inches wide, each replica features hand-numbering with a matching box, Certificate of Authenticity and Care Instructions!"
I know, it doesn't come out till April of 2008 but once I get it, I'll just install it in my Ford Focus, hop back 4 months, and give it to myself (from you) as a Christmas present!

But then, of course, I won't be able to keep from crowing about it. Which means you'll know I already got one and then you won't order it for me...which means I would never get it in April, and would never go back in time to give it to myself, which then....

Time travel gives me a headache.

Thank You To My Fans on the Pacific Rim *

Hopefully these awards aren't made out of cookies... Wait, maybe they are... Anyway.

Tish gave me the "Christmas Spirit Award". According to Santa, these bloggers “have a generous and caring nature. They care about others. They have a kind word to say or a broad shoulder to lean on in the times that others need that. They display the Spirit of Christmas.”

And from her co-blogging site, BlogsWeLuv, I received the "Good Buzz Award". The Good Buzz Award is intended “for blogs that have generated a happy hum in the blogosphere. Whether it be for their blog in general, one outstanding, unusual or controversial post, or for something cool the blogger has done.” Well, thank you :)

If I'm Tracy Jordan or Jenna Maroney, Tish is my Liz Lemon for sure because she gives me all these great awards I don't deserve yet I display proudly anyway ;) Thanks Tish, you're the best (and any comparison to Tina Fey is always a bonus!)!!!

As usual, since my readership is limited and I'd just be awarding the same people over and over, feel free to assume you're one of the recipients ;)

* - If you don't already, you have to watch 30 Rock...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pooch Kick

Man who placed kicked a dog gets light sentence (Knoxville News Sentinel)
A man convicted of kicking a dog like a football and killing it has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Chad Crawford had faced up to a year in jail after being found of aggravated animal cruelty in October.


The man accused of holding the Yorkshire Terrier for the kick is also facing a trial.
I hate this story. I can't understand how someone can do something as deliberately cruel as this to anything. And I think the sentencing should've been more severe. But as vile and disgusting as both the act and the lack of real punishment are, there's something tremendously funny about that last sentence regarding the guy holding the terrier.

Does this mean there are also charges pending against whoever was the long snapper?

You're Only as Old as You Feel

There's a strange byproduct I've noticed about getting older. Everyone else seems to be getting younger.

While this is hardly a revelation to anyone's whose looked at today's high schoolers and college-agers and thought they look like little kids. But it's more than that, at least to me.

For years I've never felt I was quite my age. And I mean that, when I turned 30 I didn't feel like I was 30 and all that entails. I still felt like I was in my 20's or mid-20's - physically, mentally, emotionally. I was just entering the main job I would have in my life to that point (still there, as a matter of fact, 10 years later) and very much low man on the totem pole. I had no one reporting to me, and was pretty much at the call of all the clients in the health system who needed websites for their hospitals or facilities. We'd not been going to our current church very long, and tended to hang out with couples who already had kids in school (10 years ago BrainyBoy was 1 and Tink wasn't even a thought yet). So automatically everyone was older than me. Just as a matter of course.

I might have peers, those my own age but there weren't many of them. And even fewer that were younger we interacted with.

Or so it seemed.

By my nature, I'm still a big kid. Really. I love cartoons, I love the things my own kids love - Disney, board games, video games, playing with blocks on the floor, whatever. I tend to still treat most everyone around me in some kind of non-peer relationship as older than I. It's been that way since i was in my 20's, I suppose. That's why it's difficult today to see understand that probably more than half the people I interact with personally, professionally or casually are as old as or actually younger than myself.

I'll be 41 in about three weeks... I don't feel the slightest bit like I'm 41. As far as I'm concerned, I'm 27. That's probably how I'll feel the rest of my life - just out of college, newly married, young kids (although in real life kids didn't come till I was almost 30 but who's arguing). Therefore it's sometimes shocking to think of people I speak with or work with as my age.

This waitress, that cab driver, this bank teller, that politician. This cop, that pharmacist, this doctor, that major league baseball player. They didn't go to sock hops, or protest the Vietnam war, or experience Kennedy being shot, or watch the Nixon administration collapse (and know what was going on). These people sat in front of their TV's in the jammies on Saturday mornings and watched H.R Pufnstuf and Land of the Lost and Scooby Doo. They begged their parents for quarters to play Space Invaders and Asteroids and Pac Man. They danced to Michael Jackson when he was good, and listened to Journey and Whitesnake and Aerosmith. They saw Back to the Future with a date and experienced Star Wars originally, through a kids' eyes. These are people with the same experiences as me, in positions of responsibility and leadership and authority.

It can be a little overwhelming when you're so used to the older kids being in charge. They still are, to an extent, but it's your generation now and the one behind you that are really beginning the run the show. And it's hard to wrap my brain around that...

I still feel like I need to be subordinate to people I go to meetings to. It surprises me when I realize those folks watched Gargamel chase the Smurfs or those wacked out Ninja Turtles battle the bad guys...

I don't want to grow up. I doubt I really ever will (thank goodness). But I do hope I can learn to relate correctly to everyone around me, regardless of whether they cared who shot JR?

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy One

Appetizer - What was the last game you purchased?
The last board game was probably the expansion set for our cool came called "Carcassone". The last video game was Star Wars Lego II, just after I subscribed to World of Warcraft. They're great time-wasters :)

Soup - Name something in which you don’t believe.
That's an interesting question. I don't believe in the Designated Hitter rule. I don't believe in the NFL's Sudden Death overtime. I don't believe nobody doesn't have some good in them somewhere.

Salad - If you could choose a celebrity to be your boss, who would you pick?
George Lucas or Disney President Bob Iger - as long as I worked directly for or with them, and they weren't, like, my boss's boss's boss's boss's boss's boss.

Main Course - What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
You have to have a lot of patience to even think about getting what you want or feel you deserve... And even then sometimes it never comes, and you have to learn to deal with that, too.

Dessert - Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.

My living room on a warm, spring day. The sun is shining in the windows, there's a gentle breeze coming in the window. The ceiling fan is turning. I'm laying on the couch reading a good book or just drowsing, there's some good music on and I have a big glass of iced tea and a full bag of chips. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Simpsonize Me!

Frank Murphy did it, so I thought I'd give it a try...

What do you think? Kind of uncanny. Like looking in a mirror. Ok, maybe not so much but it was still fun to do.

Go Simpsonize yourself! I would personally challenge Michael, Tish and anybody else to post their SimpsonSelves on their sites...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Evolution of My Blog

This is a really tough post. Tish tagged me to come up with a brief story of how my blog came to be, and how it evolved to this point. The trick is we have to use five posts from throughout the site to illustrate the changes here and with me along the way...

Sometime around 2001 or 2002, I participated in a Yahoo! Group called "K2K" which may or may not be still around. It was a discussion forum for Knoxville/Knox County issue. and a number of regular folks and politicians alike took part in rolling conversations of the local issues of the day. This was just before blogs started coming on, and as time went on several of the participants starting building their own sites to chronicle their own lives and experiences. Randy Neal, aka "SouthKnoxBubba", was a heavy participant in K2K and also created probably the first blog I ever saw. After a few months of commenting on his and others' sites, in January 2003 I decided to create my own and relate my experiences online. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to write about, so one of my first posts outlined my search for an online identity: Who am I? Who am I? I'm Jean Valjean!.

To be honest, and compared to Tish's evolution, not much has changed in my home life really in the almost 5 years I've been blogging. My kids have grown from 6 and 3 to 11 and 8, undergone a couple of name changes. I decided early on to keep them anonymous so they were BrainyBoy and GiggleGirl (who eventually became Tink). I still have the same job, same house, my wife also has the same job, we go to the same church and we all still have the same problems any normal family does. I did get mentioned in the News Sentinel for one of my posts (A Round Dog Day) so I started getting some exposure fairly soon. I was also one of the first to join the Rocky Top Brigade, which was the group of Tennessee bloggers who helped each other by commenting and linking to each other.

I had a lot of fun posting about my 20th High School Reunion in 2004 (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) that was a source of a lot of introspection for me. At that point I realized it was kind of ok to be in your late 30's...

In early 2005 I posted what would be the most popular post I've written, the one that still gets lots of Google hits today: "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz" - The Unplayable Symphony - this sheet music is a mess, and hilarious for anyone who's ever played (or tried to play) in an orchestra. Folks continue to return and return to the site to download the music sheets.

In June of that year I posted my experiences on trips to both Virginia/Washington DC and Orlando (both links are beginnings of several posts - just read the whole month to be safe). I love to travel, and I love to write about the interesting things that happen when I go to new places with family and friends.

That fall I also get back into what would begin to be a good productive theatrical streak for me, Diary of a Musical Director (Part 1) where I write over the next month and a half about my experiences as the Musical Director for "Annie" at the Oak Ridge Playhouse. I was able to break a long dry spell with that production and proceed to do about 5 more shows over the next couple years, culminating with "The King and I" last fall. I'm taking a break right now but will be Musical Director for "Grease" next spring in Oak Ridge.

To be honest, other than my big Blogging From Orlando (keep scrolling) series I did last month, my blogging hasn't been terribly meaningful or prolific in the past year or so. I attribute that to nothing really more than my own continuing flat attitude toward the outside world and my own contribution to life and the blogging community. I'm hoping things will pick back up soon, but thank all of you for reading this far.

And thanks, Tish, for pointing this way. I hope you enjoy a walk through the Inn of the Last Home.

Oh, I think I'll tag some of my long-time blogger friends: Michael, Rich, SayUncle, Logtar and The Beast.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Website Grand Opening and Video World Premiere

Yes, Tennessee plays for the SEC Championship today.

Yes, the Atomic Horns play tonight at a Christmas party for a bunch of engineers.

But the really special thing about today is the opening of! is not my new website, but I feel like I've had a bit of hand in its birthing. My college roommate Gary (aka "Rex") and his brother Philip (aka "The Beast") are huge amusement park fans. I've blogged about them many times before. They just collaborated to open the internet's most comprehensive and entertaining amusement park website/blog to date:

Even more exciting than that is the project the three of us worked on while we were in Orlando in October. Click below to watch the exclusive World Premiere of the new web video, "Mission: IOA 2 - Universal Revenge" starring Gary as "Rex", Philip as "The Beast", and myself as "Keys".
"Mission: IOA 2 - Universal Revenge" (13:38): Friends/rivals/hit men Rex and The Beast have put aside their differences and resumed their partnership. However, a shady character from their past threatens to pull them apart and send them all careening to their destiny....

They're Going Down, and They're Going Down Hard....

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sorry, Can't Find Any of Those Here...

Should I be concerned that my site was found by someone searching on Google for this word?

Or should I be more concerned that someone is so obsessed they actually worked their way through the first 500+ pages of search results to get to my link?

Geez, and I thought I was bad...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy

Appetizer - What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?

If I had to pick one, it'd probably be the Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World. Honorable mention would go to the Haunted Mansion at WDW, Twister at Universal Studios, and the old Okefenokee Swamp at Six Flags over Georgia

Soup - How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?

I pull off the side and don't interact with anyone. I wander, waiting for someone a little more extroverted to strike up a conversation with me.

Salad - On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?

I'd say about a 7, although my technical and academic knowledge of actual philosophy is very limited. I do have my own beliefs and I think I can converse with someone fairly coherantly.

Main Course - Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?

Of course. I got mine a couple weeks ago, and it's provided by my work. One of the perks for working for a health system. Why wouldn't someone get a flu shot? Can't be that expensive...

Dessert - Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?

Not counting time just occupying the same room a TV happens to be on, probably about 10 hours actually sitting down and watching a program on TV.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coming Soon





Coming December 1st

Monday, November 19, 2007


My girls both have assorted sore throats, fevers, swollen glands, and other general malaise. On top of that the boy left a pen in his pocket and inked a whole laundry load of his school uniforms. I feel like I'm being slowly made obsolete at work and my other personal responsibilities keep mounting. I need to help get the house clean, and help fix the clothes and all that. I feel helpless. And at times kind of useless. I'm trying...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated

My good friend Tish (who is still my friend even though she ditched our gig last night - just kidding, Tish!) has bestowed on me a Major Award!

Thanks, Tish! You're one of my favorite friends, too.

I'd like to pass this award on to several of my blogging friends whom I'm fortunate to have known already in real life: Big Orange Michael, Lane at Masses of Everything, Annie at The Beaver Dam, Rachelle at Tennesee Mama Duck and Phillip at The Beast's Lair. Congratulations!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Sixty Nine

Appetizer - What was your first “real” job?

My first "real" job was as an usher at Halls Cinema 4 in Halls, Tennessee (north of Knoxville) the first summer of college. It will always be one of my favorite jobs I ever had, because - hey, free movies and, hey, free popcorn. But seriously, I learned to stay on a schedule, be responsible for my finances, manage my time, learn customer service, and I also made friends through that job that have lasted to this day. After a couple of years, I parleyed that job into an Assistant Manager at Sevier Cinema 3 in Sevierville, which at the time was owned by the same company.

Although technically my first job was working at the UT Music Hall as a stagehand/tech it was Work Study job arranged with the financial aid department and not one I actually applied for. I did end up working off and on there as well the whole time I was at UT.

Soup - Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?

The theatre. I'm at my most creative when I'm in a theatre, surrounded my musicians or actors and in the midst of rehearsal.

Salad - Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…

I am embarrassed when… I once again forget something I was supposed to remember. I have the worst memory in the world, and it's not something I've been able to make any progress beating. I think I'm just brain-damaged.

Main Course - What values did your parents instill in you?

You name it. All of them. Fairness, kindness, listening to other people, empathy, patience...

Dessert - Name 3 fads from your teenage years.

I was a teenager in the 80's, so all my formative fads are from there. I remember:
  1. Rubik's Cube - not just it, but a dozen other hand-held put-them-back-together puzzles. I know I had a couple others besides The Cube. People might remember all the various self-help books that came out about that time on how to beat the Rubik's Cube, plus a number of books on how to beat all the video games that were just getting popular - Defender, Qbert, all of those..
  2. Winged Hair - not the Farrah Fawcett "feathered" look, specifically, but the parted down the middle, swept back to the sides hairstyle that a lot of teenage girls (and some guys whose hair was long enough) favored. Let's just say I REALLY liked that look on some of the girls in my school... :)
  3. Hand-held electronic games - The precursors to GameBoys were Electronic Football and Electronic Basketball. Small boxes about the same size as a GameBoy but using LED lights you manipulated around a screen to simulate a sporting event. They were specialized - they could only play the one specific game they were designed for - and they were everywhere. I remember sitting in high school study hall and hearing, "beep boop! beep beep beep boop!" all over. The teachers eventually confiscated most of them, but we learned to disable the sound and keep them out of sight.

    You know, I could go on and on with 80's fads...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Please, Just Don't...Don't....DON'T Get Them Wet!

You remember last month I warned everyone about the gremlins in the water?
Is it just me, or does there seem to be an inordinately high number of school closings lately, especially those based on breaks in the local water systems?
  • Broken water main washes out Pigeon Forge classes
  • Water problem gives Jefferson County students school break
  • Water main break closes Pellissippi’s main campus
  • Central High back in session tomorrow after dishwasher problem
Either there's some mad plot by a Batman-type villain, determined to keep students out of school (Could it be the dreaded Drainer? Or how about the Mad Sprinkler? Or dare I even mention the maniacal Captain ColdorHot?) That or there are some fiendish Gremlins wreaking havoc across East Tennessee, determined to get wet after midnight and spawn more of themselves.

Well, apparently the gremlins couldn't get enough of Pellissippi water, because they're at it again - this time at another campus:
Classes are canceled Thursday night at Pellissippi State's campus on Magnolia Avenue, due to a water line break.

Officials say classes are expected to resume Friday morning.

Maintenance crews are working to make repairs.
What are they making these water lines out of - posterboard? Saltine crackers? Flan???

And You Thought The Only Dead People Were Animatronic...

Apparently some folks are tossing more than their cookies on some popular amusement park rides:

Looks like the Haunted Mansion has more than 999 Happy Haunts...
he big problem isn't graffiti or hot-to-trot teens in a back row, it's park visitors smuggling in the cremated remains of their loved ones and then spreading the ashes inside a favorite attraction. The Haunted Mansion is by far the most popular location for this, but you'd be surprised where else people are dumping cremated remains at Disneyland.

The craze seems to have gotten its start at the Haunted Mansion, with the earliest known incident taking place in the late 1990's. Ever since then the practice becomes more popular by the year, and it happens so frequently now that Disneyland has trained the ride operators how to handle such an incident and what to do when remains are discovered inside the attraction. Sometimes the person spreading the ashes is seen on the surveillance cameras and the Cast Members can respond quickly.

Because they have been instructed by the Security and Legal departments to never actually detain a park visitor, most of the perpetrators spreading the ashes are never actually caught however, and they disappear into the park. But when a Haunted Mansion Cast Member sees ashes being spread from a passing Doom Buggy, the attraction is cycled out and shut down for hours at a time while the Custodial department comes in and begins the clean up. The Anaheim Police are also involved in the incident, but there's rarely anything they can do about it either.
I'm assuming the problem is as big or bigger at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, but the article doesn't specify. Think about the air you're breathing next time you roll through the Haunted Mansion's graveyard scene :)

Apparently the Mansion isn't the only popular venue for quick disposal of Dear Aunt Betty:
While the rate of "HEPA Cleanups" has been increasing lately at the Haunted Mansion, the recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie craze (with its supernatural plot themes) means that ride isn't immune either. Just this past Friday a Cast Member watching the security cameras noticed a woman in the back of a boat throwing a powdery substance into the lavishly decorated sets in the cavern scenes near the beginning of the ride. Even though Pirates is a 15 minute long ride, by the time the lady spreading the substance returned to the loading area Security had yet to arrive.

The college age Cast Members operating the attraction knew that legally they were not supposed to detain anyone, and when they confronted her about what she was doing in the cameras she told them she was only throwing baby powder around. The woman quickly disappeared out the exit, never to be seen again, but she'd actually left more than baby powder all over the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Security and the police finally arrived, and the ride was shut down on a busy afternoon of a holiday weekend. The ash was identified by the Anaheim Police as cremated remains, and the custodial department found most of it all over the "Captain's Quarters" scene in the caverns. The woman had done a very thorough job of spreading the ash everywhere though, and after an hour of cleaning with the HEPA vacuums there was still work to be done.

Because those lavish sets are maintained by costumers and maintenance crews that don't come in until Midnight, and with a growing crowd of cranky tourists outside wanting to know when Pirates would reopen, Disneyland management was faced with the decision of reopening the popular ride with ash remaining on the bedspreads, props and antiques in the caverns.

While custodial did a thorough job of cleaning the ash from the rockwork and the areas closest to the passing boats, much of the cremated remains would have to stay there until the set could be dismantled and cleaned completely after the park closed for the night. So after a lengthy downtime, Pirates of the Caribbean was reopened by management with the remains of a very devoted fan still spread through much of the Captains Quarters.

Still, that's not so bad as the torture some poor family could put their dearly departed through:
It's a Small World is another long, fifteen minute ride that doesn't have a single security camera anywhere. All sorts of illicit things happen inside Small World at the end of the night, and leaving Grandma's remains in there to listen to that catchy song for all eternity is definitely a possibility.
Nothing like floating serenely by happy animatronic children, singing about peace and joy and togetherness, while glancing down to see a fragment of a femur floating by....

They may have to change the nickname to "The Happiest Place...for all Eternity".

Dang! My Secret is Out...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Atomic Horns Concert Tomorrow Night (Friday)

My band, The Atomic Horns, will be playing tomorrow night at the Elk's Club in Oak Ridge at 8:00pm.

The blogging public is invited, but I'd ask you let me know if you're planning to come because I have to give them your name at the door for access. There's no cover, and I'm sure there will be plenty of liquid refreshments :)

I believe the Elk's Club is across from the Home Depot on the Oak Ridge Turnpike, near Traffic Light #3. I can have more detailed directions available soon.

Come out and hear us!

From Knoxville…getting into OR from the east…jump on Melton Lake Dr (starts near Bull Run Steam Plant – winds beside the lake where they row)…when you get to the marina take a left on Emory Valley Rd, heading west. About a mile or two…it’s on the right at the traffic light.

From Knoxville…getting into OR from the west…you’ll be on Illinois Ave – take a right on Lafayette (at the big intersection next to the old K-25 entrance)…take another right on Emory Valley Rd…about a mile down, it’ll be on the left.

Googling “Elks Lodge in Oak Ridge ” does a good job.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is A Puzzlement....

Ok, here's a word puzzle for all you math whizzes out there... This is an actual word problem that's on the Kid's Menu "Fun" sheet at Calhoun's restaurant in Knoxville. Our whole family - myself, Laura, Brainyboy and Tink - could not figure out the answer. At least, we apparently couldn't figure out the answer correctly. The answer we came up with is different than the answer they provided. Try it yourself and see what you come up with:

At the beginning of each hour a train leaves Memphis for Chattanooga, and at the beginning of each hour a train leaves Chattanooga for Memphis. If it takes 7 hours for each train to complete its journey, how many trains will an eastbound train meet on its way to Chattanooga?
So, what's the answer? I know the answer they give, and what my answer is, but I want to know what you get. I'll post their answer and mine in a couple of days...

Show Your Work!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Flickr of Light

I've added some photos to our Flickr account, including pictures of my suite at the Venetian Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. Take a look, if you like...

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Sixty Eight

Appetizer - Which snack do you like to get when you go to the movies?

Popcorn, always. I used to like it smothered in "butter" but now I ask for it sparingly. I also like the spicy salt stuff all over it, and if they have sprinkle cheese flavor I'll put that on it too. Mmmm. Now I want some...

Soup - What year did you start using the internet?

I'm not sure what year the actual "internet" came into being, but I was on the precursor to IRC (Internet Relay Chat) when it was just called "Relay" back in college, so that would have been the mid 80's. I subscribed to Compuserve eventually, then was pretty heavy into the old dial-up BBS's back in the day. Those eventually evolved into the internet we know and love today.

Salad - What is your first name in Pig Latin?


Main Course - Name something you are picky about.

I'm very picky about food - I don't like a lot of things most people consider staples. Peanut butter, fish, most chicken, peas, corn...

Dessert - Fill in the blanks: I ____ ____ yesterday and I ____ ____ today.

I was hopeful yesterday and I lost hope today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

This is Totally Unacceptable

A new No. 3 in Tennessee?
Chattanooga has been the fastest growing major city in Tennessee in the 21st century and may someday bypass Knoxville as Tennessee's third biggest city, according to new population figures touted by city officials Wednesday.
Ok, people, listen up.

For my entire life, Knoxville has lagged behind only Memphis and Nashville as the largest city in Tennessee, and has ruled the roost in the eastern section of the state.

Chattanooga has always been the kid sister to the south, straddling the border between Tennessee and Georgia. Nice rest stop on the way to Atlanta back in the days of 55-mph 2-lane highways, today there's a good aquarium and an IMAX theatre. I'm sure the folks that live there are very nice folk. But guys, it's Chattanooga. They have the UTC Moccasins, for goodness sake. And a place called Red Bank. And, oh my, Soddy-Daisy....

Knoxville has UT, TVA, Oak Ridge - not to mention the world's greatest blogging community - and hundreds of other things going for it. It's up to us, people of Knoxville, not to let those upstarts from downstate push their nosy selves ahead of us.

So don't move - stay here. I know our government situation is in a shambles, but hey, whose isn't? Relax. Retire. Find jobs. Make babies. Offer scandalous bribes. Do anything, but keep Knoxville #3 in Tennessee.

In fact, that's our new motto - repeat it often:


*sniff*. I feel so proud...

***Disclaimer: Citizens of Chattanooga, Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy, elsewhere - you have a lovely town. I'm just joking :)***

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Johari Window

Kind of interesting, and a companion to this post:

Barry's Interactive Johari Window

The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.

Go to the site, pick five or six words from the list that you think best describes me, and submit. The results are compiled to determine how you are perceived, how you perceive yourself, and the differences therein.

Please go give it a try!

Wonder What I Can Bet $20 On?

Remember last week I posted I lost money playing poker at the theatre conference?

I neglected to mention that the next night, I won it all back. And another $20 :) So you could say I ended up the weekend pretty well.

So, what that means is I'm going to save that extra $20 and take it Las Vegas with me tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow I'm flying out to Las Vegas for the 11th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference. I've been twice before and both times I had a great time.

The conference is at the Venetian, which is a spectacular hotel/casino right on the strip, near Caesar's Palace and the Bellagio.

I also was invited to dinner with a vendor we've done business with in the past at the Parisian hotel, in a private dining room overlooking the Bellagio Fountains across the street. I don't know if they just like me a lot or they're trying to sell me something ;) Guess I'll wait and see.

UPDATE: I also will just miss the Blogger Conference :( Ah well, would've been fun to visit it for a while.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Getting to Know the Real Barry

Tish has asked me to post this on my site - it's a good one!

Bloggers tend to be very honest, spilling their deepest thoughts into the blogosphere without a moment’s hesitation. It is that openness that allows us to feel that we really know the people behind the blogs. But what if we could get to know them even better? You’ve read the bloggers’ words. Now read what the people closest to them have to say.

Please take a moment to tell my readers about the real me - the Barry that many of them know only from my own words. Do you have a memory to share? A story to tell? Thoughts to pass on? If so, please leave a comment.

I challenge all of my readers to tackle this assignment. I would love to get to know you better. If you do choose to participate, please let me know, as I would love to leave my thoughts about you on your post!

Now, how about telling my readers all about me?

The Family That Staggers Together, Stays Together...

My nomination for Picture of the Week

The McGaughan Family continues to outdo themselves in the name of (Addams) Family Togetherness.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Possibly the Most Hollow Victory in Years

Just go read Big Orange Michael to read everything I would've said, but can never put it quite into the right words.

One thing - if you don't like the announcers...seriously, mute the TV and turn on the radio. As bad as Bob Kesling is, it's not terribly awful when you can see what's going on the field and get an idea of down and distance yourself. And you get the great benefit of Bobby Scott color commentary, up-to-the-second injury reports and other insider info, and just good old-fashioned "homer" game coverage. If I want an objective game call I'll go listen to a Pac-10 game.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

HUGE Coaching Blunder of the Game

Forget everything else.

Fulmer WASTED our 2nd timeout to "ice" the USC kicker.

There has never been any conclusive evidence that "icing" a kicker has ever really affected them in kicking a field goal.

We now have a little over 1 minute to score at least a field goal. And now we have only 1 time out. Traditionally that time out is used to set up the field goal at the last second.

If we run out of time getting downfield into FG range because Fulmer wasted that timeout.........................


I am so sick of following sports, and being constantly disappointed.

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em...

...and unfortunately I don't know one from the other.

Every year at the TTA theatre conference several of us play a rolling game of, ahem, "friendly" poker. This year I came in on the second night, and only won one hand the whole night. As a result, I'm down almost 75% of my original stake.

Although it could have been a much better night, if I'd been paying closer attention.

We were playing a 7-card stud variation called "Baseball". 4's get an extra face-down card (a "walk"), and 3's ("outs)" and 9's ("innings") are wild. The thing about 9's are if you get one dealt face-up, you have to match the pot to continue. I was working on a straight flush, needing only one particular diamond or a wild card - when I was dealt a 9.

Which required me to match the pot, or get out. The pot at that point was over $4, and matching it would've put me very very low. So low in fact, not to mention the fact that my up cards weren't worth much on their own (the strength was in the 3 and diamond in the hole), I decided to fold. I couldn't afford to stay in and risk losing almost my entire set of chips.

Yes, you read it right. I forgot the 9 was wild. I was so intent on deciding whether I could match or not, I forgot. So I folded. With a straight flush.

Which would've won me a pot of about $20 or so.

I think I should stick to music....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Five Strengths

Tish has tagged me for this meme:

“So, here’s the challenge: make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list.

1) I am a very good theoretical musician. What that means is while I'm a slightly above average pianist and singer, I have a very good grasp of the makeup of music. How music fits together, how it wraps around itself and forms patterns, creates new combinations.... I can sense how music can complement emotion, and even create emotional states in listeners. I sometimes feel music can be like a living entity - the voice of God.

2) I'm a very good vocal sightreader. A sightreader is someone who can immediately read the notes on a page and sing what's written, while making few mistakes. Using my skills in #1, I can sense the patterns that a song is following, and anticipate where the notes are going next. This means sometimes I can actually skip ahead and prepare for an upcoming section, while my voice is still a few notes behind my eyes.

3) I'm a very good keyboardist. This is different than just a pianist in a couple of ways. A pianist will typically play what's written on the page, using the actual piano score. A keyboardist, which I love being, will supplement the piano in a musical by providing different instrumental backup when either an orchestra is called for in the score, but not available, or other more unique sounds are needed. In any given play, I might use my keyboard to emulate a saxophone, a trumpet, or a violin. Usually I'm not playing full ensembles, but mainly melody lines or counterpoints. When I performed keyboards for "The King and I" last fall, I probably used it to play strings, cello, flute, pan flute, low brass, bass, bells, french horn, and many other tones in one piece alone, the "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet. Doing this is one of, if not my favorite part of being a musician.

4) I feel like I'm a good singer. I have a wide range, and typically sing tenor - although with a microphone, I have sung bass before. I did a show a few years ago called, "All Night Strut" where I was one of two guys in the musical revue, and I had the lower register of the two. So I sang bass. I also have the ability to sing in a number of different styles: ballad, belting, full voice, whatever.

5) The last one is not really a talent, but I suppose it might be: I can do voices and read aloud with expression and many different voices, and styles of voices. I've always been convinced I would make a very good voice-over artist, in cartoons or even things like books on tape. I love reading stories to my kids, making up distinct voices and mannerisms for all the characters. My biggest hit lately is "Ramona" from the Beverly Cleary series of childrens books - who sounds remarkably like Lily Tomlin's "little girl in the big rocker" character...

I play a talking game with my little girl we call, "The Goofy Game" - I imitate Goofy's voice, and he has a "conversation" (in character) with Tink. Often Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, other Disney characters and even a stylized version of Walt Disney himself will join in the verbal adventures. These are memories that are priceless...:)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dragonlance Movie Trailer

Very Sad, But In a Way it Kinda Proves Their Point...

Police: Van carrying Amish had blowout
A tire blowout may have caused a van carrying passengers from an Amish community to flip over on a highway, killing three children and two adults, police said Monday. Eleven others were injured in the crash.

The victims hailed from Amish communities in Indiana, police said. Troopers believed that the van may have been taking people home after a church function.

Amish people generally shun modern conveniences but sometimes enlist non-Amish as drivers.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Well, thanks to the hijinks and shenanigans of a couple of boobs, at or about 11:20 pm, someone from Keller, TX using Verizon Internet Services became the 100,000th visitor to the Inn of the Last Home.

To commemorate the occasion, I'm giving away a custom-framed, signed and authenticated photo of me in the shower to all 100,000 visitors. Expect yours in the mail next Friday. Or sometime after that. Maybe.

Seriously, thank you to all the friends I've made while blogging, everyone whose stopped by looking for that blamed "Fairie's Aire and Death Waltz", and all the great conversations.

Oh, and in addition I had the biggest one-day visit total since, well, since I don't know when. That was nice, thank you guys :)

Here's to 200,000!

I Love TV/Internet Synchronicity

...or should I say, "Scrantonicity"? (sorry..."Scrantonicity II")

Trip Advisor Traveler review of "Shrute Farms"
Schrute Farms is the number one beet-related agrotourism destination in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We offer the finest accommodations for the casual traveler and/or beet enthusiast. Come join us and experience majestic Schrute Farms. ROOM AMENITIES: -Three Themed Rooms: America, Irrigation, and Night-time...-Handmade mattresses... -Beds do not conform to traditional sizes; closest is twin.PROPERTY AMENITIES:-We cater to the elderly...-Field and barn tours...-Side car Rides...-Table-making demonstrations...-Tractor Mosey...-Homemade Beet Jam demonstration...POLICIES:-Check in time: After 5:30pm on weekdays, 3pm on weekends...-Check out time: Before 9:00am, 11am on weekends. This description is based on information provided by the B&B / inn.

Try the wonderful complimentary breakfast beets!

I wonder how many people who don't know it's fake will really try to reserve a room?

Random Political Banner Ads is Funny Things...

There's a great site everybody should add to their RSS feed: Oddee - A Blog on the Oddities of Our World.

It reads like the old "Book of Lists" that the folks behind the Guinness Book of World Records put out several years ago, and I used to check out of the library over and over again. Oddee has posts like, "10 Most Bizarre People on Earth" and "15 Unfortunately Placed Ads" (which may need to add #16 after you read on..) and "50 Greatest One-Hit Wonders".

Anyway, today's topic was, "World's Most Bizarre Political Candidates", which included the likes of
  • Mitsuo Matayoshi (Japan), The self-proclaimed Jesus Christ
  • Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey (USA), The Satanic Vampire that ran for Governor in 2006, now runs for US President 2008
  • Jackson Kirk Grimes (USA), Running for US 2008 election with "the ideologies of Mussolini and Saddam Hussein"

...and so on. Interestingly, today there was an unintended addition to the top of the list of "World's Most Bizarre Political Candidates", due in part to an unfortunately-timed paid rotating political banner ad at the top of the page:

You make your own jokes. I have no opinion one way or the other on Barak Obama, I just thought it was funny... :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Random Citationless Quote of the Day

Yeah, the odds of Ann Coulter telling the truth is substantially decreased by her either speaking, typing or writing. I don't know her record in sign language, but I wouldn't rely on it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Disciplining Other Children

A few months ago, I noted some good lessons attempting to be taught by an adult to some kids at the movies: Politeness
Overheard in the movie theatre the other night

Two 13-yr-old kids running down steps of theatre, one stumbling: "Sh*t!"

Man with wife, passing them on stairs going up to seats, back at the kid: " 'Shoot!' "
Doug relates a recent example of how he took it upon himself to reprimand some kids who were littering and otherwise making nuisances of themselves:
I watched 3 younger boys, 11 or 12ish, tossing an empty 20 ounce beverage container back and forth like a football. They pause and one of the boys rips the label off, tearing it into 3 pieces in the process, and threw them to the ground. I spoke instantly and instinctively. "Gentleman! I need you to pick up this trash and throw it away."
Doug wonders if he should've ignored it, in today's age of hyper- and micro- parenting, but concludes he was correct - and hopes others do the same to his kids if they see them misbehaving.

I totally agree. Last night at the baseball field I observed Tink, with other younger kids, playing at the playground next to where BrainyBoy was tearing up the diamond. I happened to glance over and saw this young boy, maybe 7 or so, throwing gravel in the general direction of my daughter and other youngsters nearby. I hopped off the bleachers, marched straight over to them, and in a no-nonsense, I'm-the-grown-up-and-don't-you-forget-it voice instructed him to "...kindly stop throwing rocks, and don't throw them any more. DO YOU UNDERSTAND???"

(meekly) yes sir..

"Ok, thank you."

My wife informed me when I returned to my seat the boy was also calling names such as "Cheesebutt" but I didn't hear that part at the time. Plus it was actually kind of amusing. So I let it slide. But that's beside the point.

The point is, every parent - every adult, actually - has a responsibility to look out for the kids in our field of vision, to keep the area reasonably clean when possible, and generally do what we can by working together to help keep a general sense of order wherever we are. This shouldn't be something we even think about - if there's a coke bottle on the ground, pick it up and throw it away if you can. If some kid is throwing rocks in a general area where someone might get hurt or a window could be broken - stop them. If some young hooligans are causin' a ruckus (forgive me, I watched the Jubal Myers/Moonshine/Opie's Secret Club episode of "Andy Griffith" last night and it's on my mind) then you should have no qualms in breaking it up and restoring order. You are the adult, they are the child(ren). It is our job to teach, and their job to learn. Of course, all children have rights but they have to respect the way society works and it's up to us to teach them.

Some people might be apprehensive about correcting and instructing other people's children. Now, I don't advocate attempting to convince the 5-yr-old daughter of a college professor to join the Republican party, or admonish a middle-schooler on paying attention to hot stock tips or whether to invest their paper route money in Mutual Funds or IRA's, but it's up to all of us to build and maintain a productive society. And how kids behave in that society is a huge part of the future.

So I say, if a kid is doing something wrong, never hesitate to correct them. Do it wisely, do it fairly and compassionately - don't lash out. Unless the situation calls for quick and decisive action, take care of your tone of voice.

One last thing - if the parent of the child is nearby and either oblivious of the situation, or just unaware anything's going on, it might be a good idea to bring the disruption to their attention first. Let them discipline their own kids in the way they see fit. It's only fair. But if there are subsequent incidents even after the parent has spoken to the child, you may have to remove your children or yourself from the situation. It's a touchy subject but deal with it fairly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Missing Kentucky Home

Should I read anything into the fact that the UT football schedule printed in today's Knoxville News Sentinel lists all the games Tennessee's played so far, plus the games yet to play - but it leaves off Kentucky as the last game of the year?

Seriously, it stops with the home game vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 17. We are supposed to play the 'Cats the following week in Lexington to close out the regular season. If both UT and UK win out their remaining games, that game will decide the SEC East title.

Judging by the way Kentucky's playing this year, plus the fact we haven't lost to them since the 1984 season and they're due... I wouldn't mind just skipping that game, myself, thank you.

I blame "Small Mike", the serial sports radio caller that hates Philip Fulmer and really just hates UT and himself, too. There's no real reason to blame him, he's just convenient.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Music? What's Music?

Tish has tagged me on this one...

What music are you currently grooving to?

For a while the last few weeks I was getting myself psyched for the trip to Orlando by listening to my Disney stuff. I know, go ahead laugh, you magically-deficient fools. I have the album, "Millenium Celebration" which is the music they play at EPCOT for Illuminations fireworks, plus the big 25-minute "Tapesty of Dreams" parade Music - which is awe-inspiring. I have a CD compilation of all "Haunted Mansion" music and sound effects - some of which are from other country's like France's version of the Mansion. Also some outtakes and original recording sessions, plus the great Barenaked Ladies cover of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" (that's for Tish). I have another CD of various music played throughout the other parks, and finally a CD of the incidental music played all around Islands of Adventure park. It's a great way to get in the mood.

What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favorite album?

Probably "Abbey Road" by the Beatles.

What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it?

I can't remember - it may have been MECO's disco-rock version of "Star Wars" that came out in the summer of 1977 and was all over the radio at that time.

Good grief, stop laughing already - you're going to hurt yourself.

Which musician have you ever wanted to be?

I always wanted to be Billy Joel - one man, one piano, all talent.

What do you sing in the shower?

I'm usually not awake enough to put coherent lyrics together while I'm in the shower - besides, that's the best time to listen very closely to the voices in my head telling me what I'm supposed to be doing that day... When I do sing it's usually was playing on the radio when I woke up.

What is your favorite Saturday night record?

What's a Saturday night record? Something you listen to while club-hopping on a Saturday night? Ok, now it's my time to laugh hysterically...

And your Sunday morning record?

Christian Contemporary, pretty much.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Sixty Four

Appetizer - When was the last time you were surprised?

GAAAHHH!!! Oh, sorry, you scared me. I guess it was just then.

Soup - Fill in the blanks: My eyes are ________, but I wish they were __________.

My eyes are very nearsighted, with some astigmatism, but I wish they were 20/20.

What, you expected me to actually give an typicals answer?

Salad - If you were a Beanie Baby, what would you look like and what would your name be?

*blink blink*


I would be a dolphin and my name would be, um..."Dolphin". Maybe "Killer Dolpin" with Kung-Fu Grip® and optional Attack Sled® (sold separately)

Main Course - Name two things you consistently do that you consider to be healthy habits.

1) I very rarely eat sweets. The rest of my family covers that very well.

2) I avoid driving off cliffs, dropping anvils on my toe, drinking sulphuric acid, swimming with Brazilian piranhas, screaming "I'M NOT A TERRORIST!!!!" in the middle of a crowded airport, letting hard grounders one-hop me in the chin, hiding from T-Rex's in an outdoor toilet, getting stuck in the 50's in my Delorean without sufficient plutonium or a working flux capacitor, or watching UT play Florida in the Swamp. Other than that I'm pretty reckless.

What? Why are you looking at me that way?

Dessert - What brand of toothpaste are you using these days? Do you like it? Why or why not?

Aquafresh. I've used it for years, and I like it. Especially when you get near the end of a tube and the green, red and white stripes have all mushed together in a kind of grey mess...

TV Questions

A good set of questions from Will of Hit Coffee:

Here are some questions that y’all can answer here, on your own blog, or not at all:

1. What are the TV shows that you miss the most? Not that you necessarily wish they were still on the air because perhaps they had run their course and had a good conclusion.

2. What TV show do you think was the biggest victim of circumstance or not given a chance to find its market? For instance, last year CBS’s The Class was cancelled despite decent ratings. A lot of people really believed that it could have been The Next Great Show. More popular examples are Arrested Development and Firefly, which had dedicated followings but not sufficiently large ones.

3. What fiction TV show (no reality TV) are you dumbfounded as to its popularity and longevity?

4. Have you ever discovered a band from a TV show? Ever heard a song that you really liked, looked it up, and bought the CD it was on?

5. Are there any shows that you prefer watch on DVD rather than watch in week in and week out?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Soon, My Pretties......Soon....

I am slowly creeping up 100,000 unique visits to my site. Sitemeter reports me at this moment at 99,522.

However, with my paltry visit count these last few months, it'll be a year before I pick up the next 478 visits.

C'mon folks, pick up the pace. Tell your friends and neighbors! If I can recognize the person who's the actual 100,000th visitor to the Inn of the Last Home I'll make a special post just for you. And even send you a framed photo of myself in the shower, how's that? (Guys, you'll have to just settle for the mention).

Good News!! Good News---- Wait....What???

Land of the Lost film a go
Universal Pictures has just signed Brad Silberling to direct the big screen version of the '70s cult hit Land of the Lost. Silberling joins Will Ferrell on the project which is set to start shooting in March.

The original Saturday morning series told the story of explorer Rick Marshall who, while on a "routine expedition" with his children (for some reason) Will and Holly, fell through a fault in the Earth and ended up in a prehistoric world filled with dinosaurs, cavemen and evil lizard creatures known as sleestaks.
This is great news - even though Will Ferrell is involved and that can only lead to trouble, at least there will be a film. Unlike a certain animated fantasy movie that's supposed to be out right now but is having trouble seeing the light of day.

But I digress. I was troubled after reading on in the article:
The big screen version of the film will cast Ferrell as a disgraced paleontologist who ends up in the prehistoric land with his assistant and a tour guide.
Wait-wait-wait-a-minute!!! assistant?? Tour guide???. No, uh-uh, no way. Will Marshall finds himself in the Land of the Lost with his son and daughter. The charm of the show is not the dinosaurs, or Sleestak, or even the cute little neandrathal Paku - it's the fact that a dad and his young children are forced to work together to survive in a hostile environment. The kids must grow up and learn about their own strengths and weaknesses. That's what made that show fun. If you take the "family" away and have it be about three unrelated adventurers - that's it, the movie's "Lost" before it even films a frame. I hope this is either early information, or that the assistant and tour guide are actually Will and Holly. And even that won't work, because Holly's a young girl. You can just throw in a 20-something tour guide daughter and call it "Land of the Lost". Grrrrrr

Then there's this:
The original creators of the series, '70s TV legends Sid and Marty Krofft are on board with the film and have expressed excitement over the script. "What they did is keep the integrity of the show," said Marty Krofft "but they made it very funny for Will. The adventure is all there. There are going to be 50 Sleestaks!"
I think the next quote they cut for space would have been, "And there will be ponies! And lots of candy for everyone! And maybe some puddin----zzzzzzzzzzz" as an obviously senile Marty Krofft drifts off to sleep. Or rather this demented puppet substitute for the real Marty Krofft (who last I heard he and his brother Sid were in good health). If he really said this, and is enthusiastic about the fundamental altering of the premise... I fear for his mental faculties.

Wait and see...wait and see...

What??? We Can't Have This...

A celebrity actually taking responsibility for the wrong things they do? And thinking of their coworkers and the people who depend on them? Scandalous!!

Sutherland to jail, but '24' OK
"24" star Kiefer Sutherland will serve 48 days in jail, but that is not going to affect production on his hit Fox series.

After reaching a deal with prosecutors, Sutherland pleaded no contest Tuesday to a charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit a week ahead of his Oct. 16 arraignment.

The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office on Tuesday recommended a 48-day sentence for the actor to be served in two installments -- 18 days for the probation violation beginning Dec. 21 and 30 days for the DUI charge to be completed by July 1.

The schedule allows Sutherland to serve his time when "24" is not in production -- during the Christmas break and after the show wraps its seventh season.

"I'm very disappointed in myself for the poor judgment I exhibited recently, and I'm deeply sorry for the disappointment and distress this has caused my family, friends and co-workers on '24' and at 20th Century Fox," Sutherland said.
Now, it's no excuse for getting drunk and getting behind the wheel of a car. Sutherland's gone down in my estimation of his character just for that. But standing up for his actions and taking responsibility show he's got a little bit of maturity. I've always liked him, even though if you've ever seen or read interviews with him, he seems pretty quirky.