Thursday, August 30, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Fifty Eight

Appetizer - Who is the easiest person for you to talk to?

That's easy, my wife. We can talk about almost any topic on an equal basis. What interests me typically interests her, and vice versa. Except for why her fantasy baseball team is beating mine. Can't talk about that one...

Soup - If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose?

I'd love to live in ancient Athens or perhaps Sparta. To see Greek theatre, to explore the beginnings of logic and civilization would be fascinating. Although it'd also be interesting to live in Washington DC in the early days of the country. Not quite so ancient, but still.

Salad - What is the most exciting event you’ve ever witnessed?

I've been to several UT Football games that were plenty exciting. If you've never been in Neyland Stadium, it's no ordinary football game. Other than that the most exciting events I ever witnessed was perhaps the opening of the 1982 World's Fair. But the most monumental things I ever saw were the birth of my children ;) Ok, 1...2...3... awwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Main Course - If you were a celebrity, what would you do for a publicity stunt?

I'd actually do something mind-numbingly decent for a change. And not just do something charitable like simply donate money. I'd take time and effort to use my celebrity to make some kind of real difference in the world.

Dessert - What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child?

I'd say no younger than 25. Brainyboy was born when I was 29, and that's been wonderful. I'm still way young enough to participate in his sports and other rough-housing type events, still able to carry Tink on my shoulders and she's almost 8. I'm still young enough to share some of their interests. It's a great time.

Sing with me! "Uptight, out of sight...."

Red Rover, Red Rover, tag's all over
An elementary school has banned tag on its playground after some children complained they were harassed or chased against their will.

"It causes a lot of conflict on the playground," said Cindy Fesgen, assistant principal of the Discovery Canyon Campus school.
I read these stories and just shake my head and laugh, sadly. I can't help wondering, what kind of home lives did these poor administrators have as children? Do they have no memories of running around outside playing tag? Red Light Green Light? Red Rover?

I may be a slightly above-average protective parent to my kids, but in this area that means not being so overly permissive you let them do whatever they like, or indulge them so much you throw them 15th Birthday parties complete with high school Chippendale dancers and new cars... I can't help but wonder how sad these admin's childhoods must have been, to not be allowed to play tag - and how repressed these current kids' lives will be.

Thoughts about Gouging

On occasion while flipping through the radio dials I'll take a couple of minutes to listen to Neil Boortz. He's only slightly less annoying than Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh (who I can never listen to) but that's not saying much. All the nationally syndicated Republican/Libertarian/anti-Democrat talk radio hosts are self-righteous prigs, but on occasion they do bring up a topic I'm interested in.

A couple days ago I was scanning the channels and Bortz was talking about price-gouging. Since this is the 2-year anniversary of Katrina, he was specifically having a conversation, or rather a monologue, about how motel and hotel owners raise prices of their rooms in the wake of an evacuation.

Now, Boortz is a fan of something called the "Fair Tax." He's written a book about a proposed revamp of the American Tax System, and takes all opportunities to promote it and the concept on the air. Anyway, he's a big proponent of capitalism and the duties of businesses to make as much money as they can, which supposedly benefits a capitalist society. Ok, fine. I can sort of live with that as long as everything is fair and equitable for everyone involved.

But his defense that day of businesses' right to price gouge in the face of a catastrophe had me seething. Tell me which side you fall on.

He provided an example - when Florida was hit by a hurricane some years back (don't recall which one but I believe it was a South Florida hit. Possible Hurricane Andrew) thousands of people fled in cars up the peninsula to safety. Hotels and motels along the way were filling up fast, but not before the owners started jacking up prices. Rooms that would normally cost $69/night suddenly could only be had for prices upwards of $300+/night. The benefit of this, according to Bortz, was so people wouldn't buy up multiple rooms - at rates they can afford - to house a few members of each family in each room. So a family of 4, plus grandma, would rent three rooms - 1 for mom and dad, 1 for brother and sister, and 1 for granny. And theoretically 80 families might be taking up 120 rooms.

First of all, while some people are shallow I don't think you're likely to see more than one or two families taking advantage of "low-ish" rates and spreading out the family. But I apparently have a little more faith in Americans than Boortz does, especially Americans during a crisis, and assume that most people are going to pull together and endure a little hardship while helping out their fellow citizens. I do think it's incumbent on the motel owner to perhaps put limitations on how he sells his rooms - it's certainly better than jacking up the prices - in the interest of the public good.

But Boortz is a big fan of owners raising prices and gouging guests up to 300-400% of the normal price for a room, to keep the occupancy dense. What he also fails to grasp is, in a crisis, where does he expect the people who can't afford $300/night motel rooms to sleep? Now I have a credit card, and in an emergency I can lay down a fairly big purchase if necessary. I could rent three rooms at $69/night on the spot, and deal with it later when the bill comes. Poorer people, just as deserving of shelter as myself and my family, may not have a credit card handy and may have even escaped with just the cash in their wallet. What are they supposed to do?

I guess Boortz figures they can just go sleep in the streets with the rest of the homeless and unwashed, as long as he gets his Presidential Suite to warm his tootsies.

He also has no problem with shopkeepers charging $20 for a bottle of water that normally costs $1 in a crisis. To, of course, keep the demand down and the supply available. So that one person doesn't buy up and horde 20 bottles of water when 19 other people could benefit from drinking them. I can see the logic in that, somewhat since these are physical objects you can save for later. But still, a man with a wife and two kids who have no credit cards and maybe $40 to their name could buy 2 bottles to share between the four of them according to that logic. Nice. Thanks, Neil for your compassion.

If I remember correctly during 9/11 a lot of shopkeepers in lower Manhattan opened up their stock to feed and water anyone who needed them - firefighters, rescue personnel, survivors, evacuees - anyone. I don't recall massive hording of those areas. They seemed to regulate themselves and, as long as supplies held out, everyone got what they needed and not much more.

I can't recall anything that has gotten me angrier in recent days than hearing him come out in support of hotel price gouging.

People can work together during a crisis, and no matter how much one reveres and worships capitalism (the way some people worship politics), simple cooperation will always win out.

UDPATE: In a related item, here's a post about horrible treatment of a customer by Delta Airlines, and how the local hotels jacked up their own prices to take advantage of stranded customers. The travelers had little to no available cash and were gouged out of their socks. And this is looked favorably on?

An elegant weapon for a more civilized age...

Star Wars Lightsaber To Travel 6 Million Miles In Space

The original Jedi lightsaber will travel 6 million miles in space to mark the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars episode.

Doug Mattice, a spokesman for Space Center Houston, said that the prop -- used when Mark Hamill played Luke Skywalker and fought Darth Vader -- would ride aboard the shuttle Discovery, which is scheduled for launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 23. It will be docked at the International Space Station and travel around Earth's orbit before returning to Earth.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why I Never Throw Anything Away

A few minutes ago one of my co-workers sent an email around to everyone in the office, asking if anyone had a copy of the News Sentinel's "Book of Lists 2007" she could borrow for a couple hours.

Whatever that is. Sounds kind of important, so whatever.

Anyway, I've had a copy sitting on a table in my office. It's in the original mailing packet, unopened. I probably got a copy in the mail from the Sentinel sometime around the first of the year. I had no need for it, but I figured it would come in handy sometime, for someone.

And so it did, today. And now my job here is done.

January 18, 2038

Apparently there's something very significant about that date. I am quite convinced that time travel will effectively be invented on or before then, because I am constantly inundated with spam supposedly sent from 1/18/38.

Of course as long as I'm speculating, I suppose it's just slightly less plausible that a time traveler jumped into his (or her) Delorean, jumped back to just before World War II, hooked their PC up to a primitive telegraph-based internet and is in the process of changing the past while we simply delete their emails.

Now pardon me, I have to go back and pay tribute to our time-traveling Overlords--- whoops, did I say Overlords? I meant Protectors!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Fifty Seven

Appetizer - Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version?

To make my wife happy, I'd have Sean Connery narrate it. If he's not available, Matthew Broderick (as Ferris Bueller) or Michael J Fox (as Marty McFly).

Soup - Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)

I daresay only nice things leave indefinitely. Kinda easy now, until they stay.

Salad - If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?

I'm assuming this means in the 20th century? Well, the 80's were very formative for me - I started high school in 1980 and graduated from college in 1989. I'd love to go back and straighten out all the things I screwed up then...

As for nostalgia, I don't really get a hankering for any particular era. Maybe if I could go back to a real 50's town, that might be fun.

Main Course - Name a song that brings back memories for you.

One of my wife's and my "songs" when we were separated by distance for a few months while dating was, "A Groovy Kind of Love" by Phil Collins. Another one was, "Right Here Waiting For You" by Richard Marx.

Dessert - Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?

Warm water. Just seems to kill more germs that way. Probably more psychological than anything...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Overreaction of the Week

A lot of people and organizations are in a tizzy over companies editing their own Wikipedia pages:
Last year a Wikipedia visitor edited the entry for the SeaWorld theme parks to change all mentions of “orcas” to “killer whales,” insisting that this was a more accurate name for the species.

There was another, unexplained edit: a paragraph about criticism of SeaWorld’s “lack of respect toward its orcas” disappeared. Both changes, it turns out, originated at a computer at Anheuser-Busch, SeaWorld’s owner.

Last year, someone at PepsiCo deleted several paragraphs of the Pepsi entry that focused on its detrimental health effects. In 2005, someone using a computer at Diebold deleted paragraphs that criticized the company’s electronic voting machines. That same year, someone inside Wal-Mart Stores changed an entry about employee compensation.

Jimmy Wales, founder of the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, says the site discourages such “conflict of interest” editing. “We don’t make it an absolute rule,” he said, “but it’s definitely a guideline.”

Internet experts, for the most part, have welcomed WikiScanner. “I’m very glad that this has been exposed,” said Susan P. Crawford, a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School. “Wikipedia is a reliable first stop for getting information about a huge variety of things, and it shouldn’t be manipulated as a public relations arm of major companies.”
Here's what bothers me. It's the purpose of sites like Wikipedia to be as accurate as possible. I think the truth and accurate facts is everyone's goal. Well, who's going to be more knowledgeable about the truth in an organization, assuming it has nothing to hide, than the organization itself?

If the people who work at Sea World say they know more about the etymology of their animals than Joe Orcafan in Cleveland who's been there once but decided to take it upon himself to "update" the Sea World page - well, who are you going to feel has access to more trustworthy data?

It even is more important to clear away editorial data, like the diatribe against the captivity of killer whales that was on the Sea World site and subsequently deleted by an employee. It's fine to criticize something if you feel strongly about it, but a page like Wikipedia could include hundreds of different, even conflicting opinions regarding the treatment of their animals if allowed to.

If someone wants to acknowledge there is controversy, that's fine but make it a link on the page to another site that addresses the controversy directly - not there with the description.

I have no problem whatsoever with a company editing their own Wikipedia page. A lot of paranoid conspiracy enthusiasts will readily see demons and ulterior motives behind every edit, but it's mostly nonsense. It's in a company's best interest to provide factual information about their organization, and if there's a site out there that is providing false or misleading or biased information that purports to be, as Wikipedia likes to think of itself, as an "authority" on these subjects, then they have the right to set the record straight.

My company was in just a predicament one time. A Wikipedia page about one of our affiliates was edited to include some horribly biased, inaccurate information. We contacted the Wikipedia management and it was removed with more basic, truthful information restored. And the page was locked from further intrusion. To some that's corporate hands overreaching their bounds - to me it's responsible stewardship of online information.

Monday, August 20, 2007

And Now For Another Episode of...."Guess The Minus"!

Here's our "Plus Side" Statement of the day...

"But On The Plus Side.....I got an extra hour of sleep!"

Now it's up to you to...GUESS THE MINUS!

UPDATE: Here's what happened...

With my wife going to work a golf tournament on Monday before the crack'o'dawn, it was up to me to get the kids ready for school. I had my alarm set for 6:45, with the objective for all of us to leave the house by 7:45.

Brainyboy wakes me up about 7:50..........

Apparently the alarm didn't go off. Fortunately we'd planned well enough the night before and they were both dressed and ready to go. Only at 10 till 8 did they start to wonder why they hadn't seen dad yet...

I threw on some clothes and my contacts, and we burned rubber to school.

Epilogue: We got to school at 8:05. No problem. Somehow I managed to fold time and space and get there in five minutes when it normally takes about ten at best. I'm not sure how that happened...

Actually I think I do - turns out my bedside alarm clock was set about five minutes fast. So actually he woke me up at 7:45 and not 7:50. Which game me an extra five minutes I didn't realize I had...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kicking It Up a Notch

For the last two nights, I've cooked dinner.

And I don't mean just warming up leftover pizza - last night I cooked something called Beef Skillet Tortilla with ground beef and tomato soup, and tonight I cooked spaghetti with crescent rolls and baked fruit with cinnamon.

Last week I made a quiche with ham, bacon and cheese and a hash brown crust.

This, my friends, is a major, major accomplishment.

The HEAT, the HEAT!!!

Actually, it's not too bad today. Signed Brainyboy up for fall baseball at Rocky Hills and drove there and back with the windows down. Sure, it's warm but the humidity's not too bad and before noon the main waves of thermal energy haven't reached their peak yet.

I just like being out and about on a Saturday, and not cooped up in an office.

Friday, August 17, 2007

School Matters

Yes, this is late :)

If you or someone you know has children in any school in the Knox County school system (public or private), encourage them to participate in School Matters:

This new site (Cathy is one of its blogmammas) is for parent networking and discussion of issues facing Knox County schoolchildren of all ages and walks of life.

Things in Fours

This one comes from Rich (I've done a "fours" meme before so some of the answers may be similar). Here goes:

4 jobs I've had:

  • Program Director at UT Wesley Foundation
  • Tech Support for Shareware company (worked with Tish! and Michael had the job after me!)
  • Asst. Manager at movie theatre in Sevierville
  • Bookstore clerk

    4 films I could watch over and over:

  • Back to the Future (I or II, not III)
  • Jurassic Park (I or III, not II)
  • Star Wars (any)
  • Mr. Holland's Opus

    4 Places I have lived:

  • Knoxville, TN
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • that's
  • it

    4 Favorite TV shows:

  • Picket Fences
  • Mad About You
  • Friends
  • AlienNation

    4 Favorite Foods:

  • Pizza
  • Popcorn
  • Cheeseburger from Littons or Margaritaville
    (Hey Buffet fans: new 90-minute CD/DVD coming in November, "Live In Anguilla"!)
  • Fettucini Alfredo

    4 Websites I visit everyday:

  • Various
  • and
  • sundry
  • blogs too numerous to mention. You know who you are.

    4 Places I would love to be:

  • Walt Disney World. Hey, going in September! Woot!
  • Snorkeling
  • Cruising in the Caribbean, enjoying said snorkeling
  • Watching BrainyBoy play a baseball game

    4 Favorite Colors:

  • Kelly green
  • Orange & white, in just that right shade :)
  • Deep blue
  • Scarlet

    4 Names I love but would/could not use for my children:

  • Raistlin
  • Luke
  • Scotty
  • Throckmorton T. Ruddygore
  • Clarification

    Yesterday I posted about hoping I don't offend any of the real life friends who read my site when presenting opinions they may strongly disagree with.

    I had no one in particular in mind when I wrote it, nor was it in response to anything that anyone has said to me, in person or other teh interwebs. I just thought it prudent to head off any potential bad feelings with some preemptive damage control. That way six months from now someone I'm friends with hopefully won't suddenly stop speaking to me, or become chilled in their relationship with me.

    That's all, I promise. Nothing to see here, move along...

    Friday's Feast

    Feast One Hundred & Fifty Six

    Appetizer - Describe your laundry routine. Do you have a certain day when you do it all, or do you just wash whatever you need for the next day?

    Neither. When I finally run out of socks or khaki work pants, that's when we usually do laundry. Although for the kids and their school uniforms, we wash them sometime during the weekend every week.

    Soup - In your opinion, what age will you be when you’ll consider yourself to truly be old?

    100. You just can't deny triple-digits. I hope I live long enough to call myself old.

    Salad - What is one of your goals? Is it short-term, long-term, or both?

    I used to have some long-term goals but they've either been met or discarded as impractical or unattainable.

    Main Course - Name something unbelievable you’ve seen or read lately.

    That Mary Winkler is free after only a few months. See a couple posts below for details, but I don't really care to talk about it anymore. Some people are just so swayed by emotion it blinds them.

    Dessert - On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how happy are you today?

    Not too bad. I'm going to try to cook for the family tonight and I'm looking forward to it. It's a kind of ground-beef dish with tomato soup and cut-up tortillas in it and fried up - we'll see how it goes. Nothing is going on at work (as you can see). I'd say at the moment I'm at about a 6.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    A Public Service Announcement

    May I have your attention, please.

    One of the hallmarks of blogging is the anonymity that it affords. We can be who we want to be online. Some do it to protect themselves, not disclosing their true names or identities to remain confident that their online persona will not reflect on their personal or professional lives. Others pretend to be someone they're not, putting on large and cumbersome masks that fool people into thinking they are someone entirely different. Others throw their online and personal lives together, and make a name for themselves in their respective communities that cross and mix together.

    I purposefully have tried very hard to keep my identity fairly anonymous, although someone who really wants to know who I am can find me. I've alluded to my job from time to time, and everyone knows I live in Knoxville. I've made no secret of my theatre jobs and my band gigs. I haven't used my last name just because I don't want to make it easy, in case I post the wrong thing and make someone mad.

    I don't typically post those kinds of rants - usually my posts are fairly genial and light-hearted. I like to "bring the funny" whenever I can, but there are times I have an opinion on an issue and I like to discuss my viewpoint.

    I understand full well some people who read may not agree with my opinions, and that's cool. If they want to discuss it in comments or by email that's fine. We're all adults here (I assume - there's that anonymity thing again...).

    Several of the people who visit here I've known online for a pretty long time. But that's the only way I know them - online. Either I've never met them face to face, or we've maybe only seen each other at Blogfests or something like that.

    But others I've invited to read my site I know in Real Life, or have subsequently gotten to know well in Real Life. These are people I see all the time, or converse with freely by email when they're not in the same town. But they are people I've formed a relationship with outside the blogging realm. And in many cases, some of the more controversial topics I discuss probably would never come up.

    I want that set of people to know that if I say something you disagree with, or take a position that you feel is offensive to what you believe - please tell me about it. I don't want a Real Life friendship to go sour based on something I wrote here, and never realize why things turned bad between us. I know we all have opinions, and good friends can still strongly disagree, but if I post something that offends you I hope you will bring it to my attention when you see me, or by email and not let it come between us. Our friendships are too precious to let miscommunications hinder us.

    Thank you.

    'We have broken speed of light'

    A pair of German physicists claim to have broken the speed of light - an achievement that would undermine our entire understanding of space and time.

    Dr Gunter Nimtz and Dr Alfons Stahlhofen, of the University of Koblenz, say they may have breached a key tenet of that theory.

    The pair say they have conducted an experiment in which microwave photons - energetic packets of light - travelled "instantaneously" between a pair of prisms that had been moved up to 3ft apart.
    If this is true, I'll finally be able to break out my suitcases I've been saving for just such an occasion (well, that or an alien abduction) and travel to the stars...

    Arcturus, here I come!

    Guess I'd Better Post, Then...

    Tish from The Kat House has presented me with a Daily Blogger Award.

    I must say I'm honored, although this is about the 3rd or 4th award she's given me so I'm about to erect a shrine for her to use when I'm not around ;) Still, I'm a little disappointed the award didn't come with a big lamp shaped like a leg. Ah well, maybe next time.

    I still owe her about three or four memes, they'll come eventually.

    You know, everybody and their second cousin has an award these days, I think I should come up with one of my own. Any suggestions? Something like the "Blogger Who's Not Afraid to Stick It to the Man" Award. I don't know. Maybe the "Own Many, Many, Many More Pets Than They Need" Award, and I can give it to myself and Hataraman.

    Anyhoo...thanks Tish!

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Mary Winkler Released

    Mothers, lock up your sons.... she's on the prowl!

    Let this be a reminder to all husbands out there - better behave extra nice to your wife, because she's liable to whack you with a shovel or shove you off a building...or worse, shoot you in the back with a shotgun if you make her mad. Cause all she has to do is claim she was "abused" and she's out in seven months.

    Let's see..where's the nearest flower shop?

    Dr. Helen is not amused, which is not surprising.

    The archcrone is angry that people are upset, which is also not surprising because if you use the handle "archcrone" for blogging, then pretty much everything upsets you.

    The Next Level

    Brainyboy started middle school today.

    Just taking time to let that soak in.....

    Ok, it's taking a while.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    All I'm Saying Is Just Don't Get Near Me On Space Mountain....

    A few days ago, the owner of a Chinese toy manufacturer committed suicide by hanging himself.
    Cheung Shu-hung, whose Lee Der Industrial Co. manufactured lead-tainted Sesame Street toys at the centre of a massive U.S. recall, hanged himself, a state-run newspaper said yesterday.
    I'm not here to merit the justice or injustice of his actions, but as James Lileks today notes, the fact that the guy's name is "Hung" is a story that just about writes itself.

    Obviously, "hung" in Chinese doesn't mean the same thing that "hung" does in English... nevertheless I was quite dismayed to learn that in Chinese, "Barry" means "bludgeoned to death by a frozen tunafish when riding a defective roller coaster that has been doused by sulphuric acid rain from tear in the ozone layer, while suffering an aneurysm brought on by excessive ingestion of iced tea and used tires".

    Who knew?

    Meanwhile, in Chinese "Hung" actually means "tricycle". Wow, the things you learn....

    And Folks Get Paid For This?

    Earlier today, a judge rejected a request to throw out the News Sentinel's lawsuit against Knox County and the Knox County Commission for violating the Sunshine Law:
    Deputy Law Director Mary Ann Stackhouse had argued that a quorum of 10 commissioners would have been required to meet in secret to violate the act, which is commonly known as the state sunshine law.

    Fansler ruled, however, that the act does not require any such quorum in order for a meeting between commissioners to violate the spirit of the law.
    Is that correct? I have nothing against Ms. Stackhouse and know nothing about her, but if the Act is that unambiguous...if there is indeed nothing in it that specifies a *minimum number of commissioners needed to satisfy the Sunshine Law....then why bring it up?

    Seriously, that's the best defense you can come up with, to make something up about the law and protest it?

    Let's say I was caught stealing a television from a local store. What would a judge say if my attorney requested the charges be dropped because the law states stealing televisions is ok as long as it's done on a Tuesday, after 9pm, and only if the defendant is wearing a green shirt. The judge would probably bar the attorney from the courtroom and advise me to seek more experienced legal counsel.

    Again, nothing against Ms. Stackhouse - I don't know who's making the decisions in the County legal machine - but if that's the best we can come up with....good grief.

    * On a related note, I just need to say that the most fun word to type on a computer keyboard, if you're a touch-typist like me, is "minimum". There, I'll do it again. minimum minimum mimnimum. You just type it with one hand, which is cool. Sometimes you misspell it, but that's ok. :)

    A Blow for the 'Burbs

    Slartibartfast has some things to say to those who consider suburbanites the Great Over-Washed Heathen:
    I was raised in suburbia. It’s all I’ve ever known. The commute, the multiplex, the mall, WalMart are all part of my “culture”. Many of the left consider themselves multiculturalists; we must accept others as they are, the argument goes, and not make anyone feel bad because they are different. Demands of assimilation are totally out of bounds.

    I wish they’d apply their own standard to suburbanites. After all, our strength is our diversity.
    Go read the article and the comments, they're very interesting.

    I have a similar background as him - I was raised in Fountain City, which is a suburb of Knoxville on the north side. I lived there until I was about 19, and after a stint at UT I've lived in the West Knox 'burbs ever since.

    I spent many emails and posts on the old Knox "K2K" forum (does it still even exist?) going round and round with some folks who think living downtown is all there is to life, and anyone who dwells outside the streets with numbers have sold their souls to the WalMart devil, sacrifice young children inside soccer goalposts and never eat anything that isn't fried or barbecued. While their tastes, of course, were oh-so-refined and oh-so-cultured living withing viewing distance of the defunct JFG Coffee Factory and the old Palm Beach Mill Outlet. There are certain local groupthinkblogs who will remain linkless that often harbor the same sentiments.

    There's enough of life to go around, folks. You enjoy what you like, I'll enjoy what I like. Sometimes downtown interests me and I'll come visit and enjoy. I love going to Mast General Store on Gay Street, the Tennessee Theatre, the World's Fair Site, the Old City... I enjoy strolling around Market Square and any of dozens of other things to do in the center city area. But try and convince some people to come out to Turkey Creek to eat at, say, the new Table 15 restaurant or Abuelo's Mexican Embassy Cantina (I know, pretentious name) or at least shop at the Super Target... you'd think you'd proposed an evening of dumpster diving and a Shopping Channel marathon.

    Let's lighten up, and if you truly confess to being multicultural, let's be multicultural.

    Oh the Pain, the Pain...

    This just in....the stress from my job, and my inability to perform my job to the level I expect from myself has just about met the breaking point.

    That's the news, goodnight folks.

    Saturday, August 11, 2007

    Atomic Horns tonight at Flatwater Grill

    Flatwater Grill
    Oak Ridge, TN

    Part of a Melton Lake rowing regatta.

    What's In Your Wallet?

    Two tickets to a Tennessee Smokies game? $17

    A set of 2007 Tennessee Smokies baseball cards, drinks, nachos and asstd. ballpark food? $25

    Smokies coming from two runs down in the bottom of the ninth to win it on a wild pitch? Worth twice the price of admission.

    Double-high-fiving your son when the winning run scores, looking at his face and knowing that these are the moments you absolutely cherish?


    Friday, August 10, 2007

    Friday's Feast

    Feast One Hundred & Fifty Five

    Appetizer - What is your favorite kind of pie?

    Cherry pie, hands down. There's something about the taste of cherries that I just love...

    Soup - Name something that made you smile this week.

    The continuing antics of our cats amuse the entire family. The new kitten has the ability to jump and twist in ways that defy physics.

    Salad - What do you do to cool off when the weather is hot and humid?

    There's not much that will cool me off except a nice, big glass of sweetened iced tea... wait, we've already covered that one to death... :) I'm not the type of person that will instantly cool off by jumping in a pool, though. Then I freeze to death, and that's just as bad.

    Main Course - You receive $1,000 in the mail with a letter that says you can only use the money to redecorate one room in your home. Which room do you pick, and what do you buy to spruce it up?

    I would finally buy the new back door to our deck that we've been planning on buying for a couple years, but never seem to get...

    Dessert - Fill in the blank: My _________ says __________, but I __________.

    My doctor says I have to exercise, but I don't And I have no excuse. That's why I'm putting on weight. For me it's either a) excercise regularly, or b) miss dinner or at least an hour-1/2 in the evening with my family. It's not practical to work out before work, the only time I can go is after work. That means I don't get home till after 6:30, and the evening's half over. And even if I wanted to I couldn't do it much during the week because in the evenings between my actitivies, my wife's activities, and the kids' activities many days in the week we would have no time to eat. Suggestions?

    Wednesday, August 08, 2007

    Something I've Always Wondered...

    It's said that we should drink Eight to ten 8-oz glasses of water a day (your mileage may vary).

    Now, I drink a lot of iced tea. Sweet tea, to be precise - now there are benefits and detriments to drinking a lot of tea, but I do. I've always wondered how much of that 8-10 glasses of water are fulfilled with the tea? I probably drink at least 4 glasses of tea a day, maybe more depending on how many refills I get. Tea consists of obviously the drippings from the tea leaves and the equivilant of about a pack of sugar or sweetener per glass, but the rest if pure water. If I drank 8 glasses of tea a day, would I be getting the right amount of water? Or is the percentage way lower?

    How many of you drink sweet tea? Do you use sugar or artifical sweetener? Is there anyone that actually drinks it unsweetened?

    While I'm asking questions, how many of you are reading this post via an RSS Feedreader like Google Reader or Bloglines, and how many are actually accessing the site itself?

    Inquiring minds want to know...

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    Bailey or Mary Ann?

    Rex has challenged me to the ultimate cross-genre survey....

    Who do you prefer:

    Mary Ann (Dawn Wells) from Gilligan's Island


    Bailey Quarters (Jan Smithers) from WKRP in Cincinnati?

    In The Dark

    Last night the kids were spending the night at my parents, so Laura and I had a free evening. We first thought about winging out in for the Caribbean in the dead of night and never turning back, but smartly reconsidered and decided to go out to eat instead.

    There's a new place out in Turkey Creek called "The Irish Pub" that we'd passed several times, and it sounded interesting. Being slightly Irish myself (with a bit of Scot for good measure) we decided to check it out.

    If you've even been to Turkey Creek (and face it, who hasn't?) you'll know the new *ahem ahem* Health System's West facility is right on the corner as you enter the Shopping Megalopolis. There's a traffic signal in front, but it was out. Curious.

    As we drove on, it became apparent the traffic signal wasn't the only thing out. Power was out all along Parkside Dr. as it bisected the Turkey Creek Mercantile Emporium - stores and restaurants stood with doors open, no lights, people milling about. I think I saw a mime. Anyway, more traffic lights were out, so we inched along.

    The Pub was on the other side of the HyperRetail Complex and as we made it past Regal Theatres - also sans power and dozens of theatre-goers pulling out of the parking lot, disappointed they were unable to see "Bratz: The Motion Picture" - we saw the traffic lights were on again. Pulling into the Irish Pub parking lot we found a space, went inside and was seated---

    --And pretty much came right back out again after checking the prices. Yikes! Zounds! Back in the car!

    Continuing down Parkside we stumbled across another small shopping SubUnit-to-the-Primary-Adjunct that had a couple places to eat so we tried them. First a new Italian place was also too expensive...

    ---Ok, time out a moment. Here's an observation. When you pass that traffic light heading west on Parkside just past the movie theatre - you know the one, you turn left to go up to Calhouns, the Irish Pub, Hobbytown and Pimento's Cafe, and right to hit Borders, Bonefish Grill, the Mexican Ambassador Cantina-whatever-the-heck-it's-called and Belk's.... you have officially entered Farragut. Please deposit $10 for the privilege of driving on our streets and breathing our imported air---

    Anywho, we finally ended up at a new spot called Gridiron Burgers. Good prices, excellent burgers, lots of UT Football pictures and sports on TV's.. Well worth the time we spent getting to it.

    Well, one small other detail. We've ordered our food, gotten the drinks and sat down...and the lights go out. Power outage had hit finally down that far. Fortunately the grills were still hot enough to cook and we got our food in decent time. The lights (and more importantly, the A/C) returned eventually and we finished up and headed for home.

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    Just A Coincidence, I Swear, Officer...

    This gives me pause:
    Police near Charleston are holding two men in custody for illegal possession of explosive devices. The men were pulled over Saturday night on Highway 176 in Goose Creek during a routine traffic stop for speeding. Police became suspicious when one of the men tried to hide a laptop computer. A search of the car turned up pieces of pvc piping, various model rocket motors and other items considered suspicious.
    I have been known to drive around with my laptop open on the seat beside me, searching for a hotspot to log into for a brief internet access.

    Better make sure I'm not on the way to a model rocket convention...

    Quote of the Day

    James Lileks:
    I don’t know how we missed this: yesterday was the birthday of Loni Anderson in St. Paul. She would later achieve fame as Jennifer on “WKRP in Cincinnati,” a role described in olden times as a “sexbomb.” Oh no, she blew up! There’s sex all over the place! You could say that the Jennifer vs. Bailey Quarters issue was the graduate-school-level version of Ginger vs. Mary-Anne, if you wish.
    I would have taken Mary Ann or Bailey over Ginger and Jennifer any day of the week.

    My dad would differ...

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    Win A Mouse That's Been Flattened

    ...or something like that.

    Anyway, go here and leave a comment, and you could win a 2P Slim Mouse.

    Except, you know, don't. Cause then I have a smaller chance to win... As of this post there are about 100 comments, plus with this link I get an additional 3 entries, so my odds are about 95-1. Which are still pretty good ;)

    Friday, August 03, 2007

    Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters....

    Big Orange Michael's coming to town!!!

    And We Thought She Just Mommy Blogged...

    So we're watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 from Netflix, and Mike and the 'bots are dissecting Space Mutiny

    More horrible a movie I have not seen.

    But that's not my point... here's the lead actress:

    She's a rough and tumble space princess, let me tell you--

    Wait, a second - look closer....

    You know, that almost looks like...


    Couldn't be...

    Could it?

    Ladies and Gents, I believe the star of "Space Mutiny" is none other than our own...

    Cathy from Domestic Psychology!

    And all this time we never knew she was an action hero...

    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    Of Course, Some People Go Both Ways...

    Michael Silence hoists the championship trophy and declares victory:
    When the history of new media is written this could be the moment cited when blogs became the MSM.
    He's referring to retail giants Home Depot and Lowes removing ads from Bill O'Reilly's Fox Network show because he trashed blogs.

    Ok. Maybe.

    But then there's James Lileks, reporting on internet and TV coverage of the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse:
    As much as I love the new media, you have to admit that the old mainstream media comes in handy in times like this. One guy with a website and a camcorder can provide perspective and unfiltered reaction, but there’s something to be said for organizations that have not only reporters and cameras, but helicopters.
    (bold his)
    It seems to me both forms of American media are progressing, and each has its own qualities and deficiencies...

    I still don't have such a lofty view of blogging as Michael and some others do, as the heir apparent to American journalism and commentary. I'm am what I am, play my little piano, sing my little songs (Michael - reference?) and don't pretend to be any sort of reporter or pundit. And there are millions of bloggers just like that. The actual percentage of bloggers who might have some sort of public influence is pretty small - vocal, but small. The day bloggers replace the MSM is still pretty far off because the MSM keeps moving the boundaries.

    With helicopters.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    AIEEEEE!!! Flee from the GHOST KITTY!!!

    Photo taken by me of our new cat, Kitiara. It's completely undoctored, except for some cropping. Click to enlarge. Cool, huh?


    Has anybody had any trouble leaving comments on the posts? I realized recently that my PC at home won't open the Comments link (it must have something to do with pop-ups being blocked, I just haven't figured out how to fix it)

    If you can't comment using the regular link, click on the permalink (my name at the bottom of this post) and comment using Blogger's system. Then I'll know if there's a problem or not...