knox snooze

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

That's so gay

Thursday, September 25
Not that it's a bad thing, but Knoxville is going to become part of the regular distribution area for Out & About®, the Nashville-based GLBT newspaper. The paper will circulate at local gay bars and clubs as well as gay social groups.

Can we get a paper around here that caters to short white guys who spend too much time reading and drinking? Oh wait, we already do.

By the way

scintilla
n.
A minute amount; an iota or trace.
A spark; a flash.

[Latin, spark.]

scintil┬Ělant adj.

Clayton is officially for sale

Clayton Homes has been on the market for some time, and Warren Buffet...excuse me...Berkshire Hathaway has wanted to buy it the whole time. There was some question of fraudulent dealings and coersion [gasp], but the courts cleared it today, and it's about to make some people alot of money.

Sorry, Denver Area Meat Cutters and Employers.

MP in the hizzy

G'morning, MetroPulse. Joe Sullivan talks about, what else, downtown preservation in Insights. No opinions, really, just a pretty straightforward presentation. The city is faced with a decision: to raze the 500 block of Gay Street for the new "transit center" (for which there is as yet no design), or to preserve the row of buildings out of respect for their historic significance.

Seriously, I'm as much a perservationist as anyone. I think downtown is great, and I think that preservation is inherently good and moral as well as financially and socially beneficial. The block in question certainly merits consideration. There is the radio station where Roy Acuff got his start, a Walgreens where desegregation sit-ins occured (the nature of which are a mystery to me), and the old S&W Cafeteria. These are all important places, and they are all registered.

There hasn't been a big push to halt their potential destruction yet, though, and I think that's a disturbing sign. Don't worry, people will protest the removal of these historic buildings. They always do. The problem is, though, that many of the people who will protest didn't even know those buildings were there until their destruction was announced. I assure you that many who are or will be against the city's current plan could not locate the old WROL on a map or even in person.

Knoxville has a lot of great things worth preserving, but it's a little...um...hypocritical to demand for the preservation of things that were previously being left to their own ruin. Preservation is proactive (as much as I hate that word), and if historic buildings are meaningful enough to save from the bulldozer, then they should have been meaningful enough to invest some money and effort into before now. I certainly don't want them taken down, but then again, I couldn't show you where WROL was either.

The other issue that Sullivan mentions is the expansions and so-called improvement of Krutch Park. If the downtown planned layout is reshuffled to preserve some older buildings (now that some people know we have historic buildings down there), then the Krutch Park work is going to be embarrassingly needless. It is intended to become a pedstrian throughway from Market Square to the planned Cinema. What's absolutely shameful, however, is that the city strongarmed the park renovations into approval and got working and wrecking as soon as possible. Now, not only is half of Market Street shut down (limiting access to Market Square, The East Tennessee Historical Society, and Fairbanks), but the ill-advised and cumbersome renovations become a prime reason for the city to proceed with the rest of their plan, which, by the way, was developed before feasbility studies and historic considerations could be completed.

Yay, Knoxville.

Appropriate name of the afternoon

Tuesday, September 23
David Backus -- He's the master distiller at the new George Dickel.

Guess who's back

Dickel's back, baby. George Dickel Tennessee Whisky (no "e") is back in production. It obviously won't hit the shelves for another four years, but it will be a good day when it does.

For whiskey newbies, Dickel is Tennessee whiskey, like Jack Daniels. It is distinct because it is charcoal-filtered and aged for four years. Some likes the tast of a straight Kentucky Bourbon better (and who am I to judge?), but it'll be nice to have George back.

Totally true quote of the afternoon

"We decided to choose the last three days because people tend to put things off. We want it to be as convenient as possible." -- Greg Mackay, Knox County Administrator of Elections regarding the new polling place hours.

More voting goodness

Huzzah, Knoxvillians, you're setting a new record for early voting. In response, the election commission has decided to extend the hours of the early voting polling places. I'm voting at Knoxville Center Mall.

If you're wondering what to expect when you get there, take some time to prep yourself with a sample version of the ballot. Let there be no excuse among you.

Freading

Monday, September 22
There is another reading in the Jack Hodges (that's what all his friends call him) Library tonight. Not quite of the caliber of the last writers, but likely to be good, regardless.

Remember to party on down afterwards at SunSpot.

Stats

I hate the Braves, but Greg Maddux is quite possibly the best pitcher anyone of us has ever seen. He picked up his 15th victory last night. That makes 16 seasons in a row with 15 or more wins. That's more than anyone. Ever. He wears glasses and his biggest endorsement deal is for hot dogs. He doesn't even have a really good out pitch. I think it's probably only fair that he plays for the Braves. It's his only mortal weakness.

And even though he beat my Indians that year in the world series, his 1995 season might be the best of the modern era. That's a .905 win%, a .197 baa, and a world championship.

Low Overhead

By the way, Cleveland was a grand success this weekend. No flats, no running out of gas, no running out of money, even. Also, we discovered that Cleveland has the best Harp/Dollar value of any city that I've been in. Detroit, for instance, will find you paying $7 or so for a plastic cup of tepid Killian's at an "Irish" pub. Not Cleveland, baby. Flannery's Pub: $4.50 for a real 20oz glass of well-chilled Harp. Johnny's Little Bar: $4.75 for (I'm not kidding) a ginormic 40oz glass of the good stuff. Seriously, I couldn't finish mine.

Oh yeah. Also, there was a baseball game.

Quote of the moanin'

"It may be 10 years or longer before that decision is made. The options could range from draining the shallow lake and excavating the radioactive sediments to using various techniques to isolate the hazards." -- Frank Munger of the KNS on what will be done about White Oak Lake

Something in the water

White Oak Lake in Oak Ridge is scheduled for cleanup sometime soon. Well, ok, there's actually no specific plan, per se, but everyone is agreed that it's gross and needs to be cleaned up. We just don't know how. Fortunately, the state has taken a strong stand on the radioactive pollution. Specifically, they're against it. Which is my stand too. We also agree that death and pain are bad.

Let's review: pollution bad.

Our plan: remove chicken-like heads and run around.

My Ninjas

It's about farking time we had a real website around here. pa7m3r has a beta version of Dorkocracy online now.

Oh my gob, it's so sweet.

Pretty freakin gross

Friday, September 19
The Chicago Bulls are apparently poised for another big run at the title. And in the sprit of the big run, they've decided to accent it with some big fun.

Seriously, I hope you haven't eaten in the last hour.

Good n00z

Oh, I almost forgot. My father-in-law back in Carteret County had a tree knocked over in the yard, but no damage. The neighbors on either side of him sustained significant damage, though.

Isabel was worse than most storms in terms of wind and wind damage. Floyd, back in 1999, was a major flood producer, which, in many ways, is worse than wind damage. With wind damage, at least you can rebuild things and set them upright again. Floods just make everything gross, screw with sewers and septic tanks, and take a long time to drain.

speaking of doing something about it, if anyone knows about rebuilding efforts, please post them here. You can email me too. When the storm clears, I'd be more than happy to go work over there. Plus, I could publicize to all 2 of the people who read this blahg.

zzzzz

Not much happening here. Leaving for Cleveland in a few hours. Want me to pick anything up for you? Give me a call, and I'll see what I can do. I go right past the international homes of Rubbermaid®, Smuckers®, Longaberger® Baskets, and Goodyear®.

Hmmm...sounds like a pretty kinky shopping list.

More Mayoral Musings

Thursday, September 18
Good grief, Jack. Just get on with it and tell us who you like in the big September 30th showdown. You do know who you're going to vote for, right? Secret history turns secret future in the MP.

Neely's prognostication and mulling over of the mayoral candidates does a pretty fair impersonation of my feelings about it, minus the personal acquaintances. I really don't have a bad impression of either candidate. Just don't tax my beer and cigarettes.

Seriously, though. I'll probably pop a bottle or two of champagne as soon as we get rid of Victor Ashe.

Homeless

The new MetroPulse in online and the feature article is a bit by Joe Tarr about the homeless "problem" in Knoxville. That's an interesting notion, homelessness being a real problem for anyone besides those who are actually homeless. I've heard many people describe K-Town as a magnet for the homeless. To which I feel compelled to respond: God, I hope so.

Interesting/depressing sidenote: This morning on NPR there was a piece (scroll down to: 'Homeless Veteran - Revisited') about a woman who is a U.S. Military veteran and who has been trying for some time to find a home in Boston. It talks about how close she felt to homelessness, and how desperate she was for a place to live. They mentioned a stat: Veterans make up 9% of the total U.S. population, but 28% of the homeless population. What happens in our military that breeds that sort of destiny? What happens back at home that makes it so hard for a vet to find a place to live?

Homelessness seems like it's something more than not having enough vacancies in a housing complex. As a society, we have low-cost housing coming out the butt. There's no lack of wealthy individuals and foundations, even churches, who would be more than willing to give money and labor to provide housing. But it isn't housing, is it?

Why do people become homeless? Why do they piss on parking meters, sleep in doorways, and mutter to themselves when no one else cares what they have to say?

Why are we constantly cutting funding for state-subsidized mental healthcare, reducing the number of state-employed social workers, and making an effort to gloss the homeless guys out of downtown with every renovation proposal? Seriously, why are there no public restrooms on Market Square or Ft. Sanders?

Isabang

Down East is getting pounded now. Big gnarley waves and all.

Quote of the morning: At Howard's Pub on isolated Ocracoke Island, bartender James Tucker said he and five other employees resolved early Thursday to "hang out and drink beer until the cable runs out."

Well I heard that.

There's supposed to be a lot of residual precipitation all over the East Coast because of this. I just hope it doesn't rain out the baseball game I'm going to.

Batten down the hatches, boy

Wednesday, September 17
Mah peeps down east are about to get a thrashin'. This bigass storm called Isabel is supposed to land smack in the town where I was married. Last estimate had the prevailing gale at 110 mph. Which is fast, in case you were wondering.

My favorite note was about the guy who lives in a houseboat in Bogue Sound. He's prepared to weather it out on the boat (which is retarded, for anyone thinking about getting in a boat right now). He has 100 pounds of ice, 50 gallons of water, and half a gallon of Rum.

Argh, matey.

Blogged down

Sorry for the down time in the blog. It's been a truly hectic week. We're moving into a new apartment, school is fully upon me, and my job still sucks ass. On the whole, things are great.

The new apartment will probably get a nice fat broadband connection, and I'm about yea-far from convincing my wife that a wireless router is entirely in order.

"Why do we need a wireless network in our apartment?"
"So we can, you know, check our email anywhere. Like the toilet."
"Why on earth would you need to check your email on the toilet?"
"Convenience."
"Maybe I should just bring you a beer and a bowl of pretzels too."
"Would you? Thanks."

Yes, my wife is a sensible, sexy woman who fails to grasp that being able to get online across the room from my desk is sooo much better than just being able to get online when I'm physically at my desk.

But you understand. Don't you?

Real live creature

In my ongoing pursuit of beer-guzzling, camel-smoking, cussing christians, I've found a promising blog. Actually, a friend of mine introduced me to it. It seems pretty good, so far. We'll see where it goes. It's a bit slow-loading, but have patience. Be sure to check the 'opens in a new window' box at the top of this page first.

I got GAIM

What you should do is spend less money, and get on the open-source bus, my friend. For instance GAIM has got to be the coolest toy/WMDistraction I've seen in awhile. Too bad it has to be downloaded, or I'd have the hookup at work. You should totally get it on your machine, though.

Publiminal message

Friday, September 12
Knoxville gets a little bit of love from Chris Fowler on ESPN.com. If you scroll to the end, you'll see he mentions we're a good town to party in after the game on a Saturday. It's a little odd that this is coming from Fowler, who is the lead anchor for the ESPN GameDay crew. GameDay is held in an esteem barely higher than Steve Spurrier by many in Big Orange Country. Their commercials featuring "Vol Fans" herding pigs into a hotel elevator raised the ire of some, even managing to inspire a few letters to the editor of the KNS.

Maybe that's why Fowler seems to think getting away from the football crowd in K-Town is a good thing.

Golden Tee

Thursday, September 11
I have to admit it: I'm addicted to Golden Tee. It's unbelievable. I like regular golf too, but I don't know if I really have the attention span to get good at that. Cassie Moore has a fine article on the GT phenomenon in old Knoxvegas.

Ballpark utopia

Eric Neel, the ESPN.com writer, has the final installment of the Ballpark Summer Tour. He lays down the guidlines for building the perfect ballpark, and I have to admit that I'm now hungry for a hot dog.

Are you serious?

the KNS has an unbelievable knack for making itself look pathetic. Today's edition is no exception. Welcome to "the news."

Fribooz

It doesn't look like the online edition of MP has an updated events and exhibitions calendar. There's really only legit prospect for...ahem..."complimentary refreshments" so far:

Friday, Sep. 12:
A1LabArts Fall Art Show KMA Art Studio, Ground Floor, Candy Factory. 6-8 pm f/ Dr. David Brown's Experimental Video presentation. Free

Going Medieval on your ass

Have an inexplicable craving for a flagon of mead and a good jousting match? Maybe that's because you're a renaissance man...or woman (one of those with the bosoms popping out of that beer wench bodice). Well, you're in luck, if you're in Knoxville, that is:

Medieval & Renaissance Festival will be held Sept. 11, 12 & 13, at Circle Park on the UT campus. Crafts, jousters, actors, food, puppets, sword fights, etc. Free. Call 974-1859 for info.

Awake

Hey, you're up, MetroPulse. We missed ya.

In the spirit of Joe Sullivan's endorsement of Haslam for mayor last week, Brian Conley surveys the landscape of the City Council elections and offers his opinions. It appears he feels the MP readers need an election primer. Either that, or he was having trouble meeting a minimum word count:

The four new Council members who get elected in November will bring fresh ideas and leadership to city government at a most challenging time. Severe budgetary constraints and pivotal downtown redevelopment decisions head the list of issues that will immediately confront them. For the longer term, however, candidates should be judged not only by their stances on these issues but also by the ways in which they would seek to make the city's decision-making processes more inclusive.

Easy Brian. Don't give it to us all at once. Now, what was that part about the difference between short-term and long-term? I'm kidding. It's nice to see some attention paid to the elections for those offices that actually have a little more nuts and bolts control over what happens in Knoxville than the new mayor will.

He gives a surprising (in my humble estimation) endorsement to Joe Bailey. Brian cites Bailey's emphasis on downtown development and convention-centerphilia as his strong points. Yeah, we are really hurting for people in local politics who want to draw more visitors to the convention center and send money downtown. I think those are both good things, but I doubt Bailey is really going to be any more of a catalyst for getting it done than onyone else who is already there. I'd much rather see Charles Thomas or Hubert Smith, both proactive opponents of urban sprawl and proponents of alternative transportation, get elected to give some attention to other issues. I'd also like an NEA grant to write this blog, but that ain't happening either.

Wake up, MetroPulse

The scruffy little newspaper is not yet online for this week. How am I supposed to find free booze without it?

Bush League

Wednesday, September 10
Hunter Thompson must be getting out the vitriol before he sits down to get a head start on next year's Valentines. He's got nothing but love for you, baby.

Parking in rear

Not that I'm unhappy that you're still concerned about the quality of the proposal, but isn't today a little late to be revising the contract to be voted upon by the City Council, KCDC? Yeah, yeah, fix it up, do whatever, just get it there so the council can finally poo or get off the pot. For serious, I'd love for there to be less parking because there is radically improved public transportation, but that ain't happening. As it stands, anything more is better than what we've got. Scott West's comments pretty much sum up the feelings of everyone who has spent any time caring about downtown development. In honor of his forthrightness, I think I'll buy him a beer tonight. And by that, of course, I mean I'll buy one from him.

I would like to see the city give up on putting in residential units in every contract. Do city stuff, not landlord stuff. Seriously, 12 units? Whoa, hold the phones; 18 people can now move downtown. Give incentives to private developers and let them do it better than you can.

re:tardination

It has become my bitch. Comments, anyone?

retardination

Things might be a little jacked up over the next few. I'm wrestling a scaly heap of commenting script into submission.

Civic Doodie

Early voting in the Knoxville Primary begins today. Seriously people, go vote. Try to do something meaningful.
Of course I'm not voting today. I forgot my voter card at the apartment this morning. I did see Madeline on the side of the road on my way to work today too, so I felt guilty about forgetting it.
Wait a second, I am voting today. Tonight, actually. Tonight is the Preservation Pub Club meeting. I think I left my card on the counter the last time I was there, so I hope they let me in.

Sounds like I need to get some kind of card remind-me-not-to-forget kind of thing. Dr. Infozo, go invent something like that for me. Make sure it's fashionable, though. I can't bear to be unfashionable.

Give me my money back, you...lobbyist

The University of Tennessee has booted another criminal from its lucrative employ. Van D. Hipp Jr., the man hired by the UT Memphis campus to lobby on their behalf in DC, was unceremoniously sacked yesterday. It was recently "discovered" that Hipp has a bit of a checkered past. Said past includes 14 felony charges and 7 misdemeanor convictions. You know, no big whoop. At least they were good, wholesome crimes...wire fraud, phone sex scam, campaign corruption. Seriously, this guy had to wear an elctronic monitoring device and was under house arrest. He couldn't have gotten a job at the post office, but UT signed him up.
We'll still pay him the pro-rated amount we owe him. After all he did help "get tentative language in pending defense spending bills in the House and Senate that eventually may provide $4.25 million to $8.5 million for programs at UT's Memphis campus." Well, gosh, if he was that close, why don't we just give him the full hundy?
I shouldn't bitch about UT's lack of quality control. I have a sneaking suspicion that half-ass background checks might be a big part of why I am currently employed full-time.

That's "Dumas"

Utterly pointless platitude of the morning: "Drugs, alcohol and guns are a deadly combination." -- Knox County DA Randy Nichols in his report on the death of Sean Gillespie

Don't act surprised.

KPD officer Jason Keck has been cleared of any wrongdoing from the night of May 18 when he shot and killed 19 year-old Sean Gillespie. The investigation took all Summer and was conducted by the DA's office.
I'm not clear how the incident can be considered free of wrongdoing on the part of Officer Keck. He shot a man who no one else could see through the tinted windows of the backseat of a parked car. Only he could see Gillespie, and there is only his own testimony to validate that he had a clear sight line. Officer Keck claims to have seen Gillespie "digging around" for a gun on the seat beside him when he decided to shoot. Incidentally, no fingerprints have been recovered from the gun Gillespie was allegedly reaching for. That's interesting.
It sure would be nice if there was a full disclsure of the investigation and its findings, instead of just having to take Randy Nichols and Officer Keck at their word. Specifically, where are the crime scene photos? I'd like to know where the gun really was in relation to Gillespie when he was shot.
I wonder if he would have been shot if he had been a white kid in the back of a Saturn, instead.

Feh, I don't want to think about this anymore. It's far too depressing.

addendum


Check out the slideshow from the Weigel's security camera. Does anyone see alot of people partying and dancing around the white Caprice? The one shot where more than three people are seen in the parking lot is the last one in the series, and was taken after the shooting occured.

Vaio, Silver. Away!

Goshdangit! My Vaio notebook has pooped out. The touchpad went nuts on it. I've had it for about a month. It's at a retail repair center that shall remain nameless (but rhymes with messed my), so the blogging may be somewhat intermittent until its return.

Who am I kidding? We know I do all this on my machine at work.

Tuesday, September 9
"The Road To Nowhere" is in the news again. I'm not sure how this qualifies as a news story, but Mike Easley, the NC Governor, is recommending the federal government pay $52 million to Swain County. This is the number that Swain County itself came up with and ratified about 6 months ago. The crux of the matter is that the federal government, namely TVA, promised the people of Swain County, NC that there would eventually be an access road to those areas cutoff by the Fontana Dam. This was, of course 60 years ago, and the road has never been built.
What I've never understood about this is why a cash settlement somehow solves the problem. The Park Service has done the research and says that building the road would be an environmental disaster. But the people of Swain County say not having the road is a huge problem; about $55 million huge. If it's that big of a problem not having the road, and if you won't be able to build a road with the money, then how in the hell did they come up with that number?
Yes, TVA screwed them. Welcome to the Smokies. But that $55 million isn't really going to fix anything, and it isn't going to repair the damaged lifestyle of the people who actually lived there in 1943. That money has to come from somewhere, doesn't it? Come on, Swain County, why can't you just be pissed off like the rest of us and learn to live with it? Get a blog, it's therapeutic.

I'm not the kind of person to go around saying, "I told you so," but I did. It turns out that the mayoral debate at Fulton High School was a little more exciting than the rest of the campaign thus far. Both of the candidates (mmm...candied dates) were more than ready to abandon the facade of cordiality they'd been presenting. I wasn't there, so I don't know who started it, but from what I can tell in the News-Sentinal (and who knows how much that is), Madeline came out the worse for it. That's not to say she was any worse than Haslam, but she's the underdog, and those sort of stabs and complaints tend to sound a bit like a tattletale, which is not necessarily bad, but doesn't do much for her image. Too bad it's gotten to this point. I was really hoping someone would rise above it. Oh well, the governor's race was much worse, and we got a great guv out of that. If Joe Sullivan is right, we'll have similar luck with Haslam.

Why wasn't I there, you ask. That's a good question. I thought I made it clear, I was at a reading. Wier was great. He read a new story called The Taste of Dirt. It was a sort of conscious memory exploration, recalling life in segregated Louisiana in the 60's. It's easy to do that sort of stuff and come of really cheesy, sentimental, and overly political about it. There wasn't any kind of agenda to the story, though. It was just a naked recollection. Wier's stuff is always rich with description and that sort of slow-voiced pace that Carver did so well. It was very good stuff. It'll be published in a literary magazine later this year, but I can't recall what one right now; someplace in Atlanta.
Stephen Corey, the poet/editor from The Georgia Review wasn't quite so hot. Some of his poetry was quite good, but I think that he was just a little too wispy at the podium. He didn't have much reading presence like Wier, and seemed almost apologetic with all of his work. He warned the audience at the beginning that he wouldn't preface any of his poems with explanations, that he would assume everyone in the room was smart enough to catch the references. When he proceeded to break that promise on nearly every poem, though, it was pretty clear he didn't think the audience was that smart at all. He read some from a cycle of poems that he said were short pieces, short enough to fit on a motel memo pad. They were quite good, but would have been better if he hadn't set us up for short poems, which I think of as ten lines or less, and ambushed us with pieces that were clearly not short. It probably would have all been better in my memory if he hadn't saved a ten minute piece for last.

Monday, September 8
The M-W.com word of the day is: prolegomenon - prefatory remarks; specifically : a formal essay or critical discussion serving to introduce and interpret an extended work.

Damn. That's a good word.

Ok, we have a new plan. Ditch the meaningless mayoral debate. Forsake the well-known maker of below-average movies. Go instead to hear the associate editor of The Georgia Review and Allen Wier read at the first Writers in the Library event this year.

Just in case you were worried that all the stupid people in at UT were centered at the Knoxville campus, Chattanooga has spoken up. There has been a moratorium placed immediately upon impending raises for administrators. Ok, so that's not stupid, but this is: It somehow took an outcry of the collective voice of the faculty and support staff of the University before this halt was made. It shouldn't have taken that much, but good for them. Dr. Infozo needs to get on his battle steed and ride on down to the hometown to help his people out. Some incomprehensible bumper stickers ought to do the trick.
What's this with the paying $83,000+ (a $30,000 raise) to a State Senator's daughter to be the Chancellor's assistant? That $30,000 bump is supposed to cover "additional reposibilities" that she will take on.

Oh, I get it. She must have had to pay for her phone-system out of pocket. It makes sense now.

Unlikely quote of the morning: "This means that a Hiwassee student could go down to the student center with his/her notebook computer, pick up some lunch, sit down at any table and check on his/her class assignments." -- Paul Barker, Computer Center Director at Hiwassee College, regarding the new Wi-Fi network on campus

Hiwassee College is catching up with the rest of the 21st Century. They just received a grant for $1.8 million to upgrade their campus technology, specifically the installation of a campus wirelss network. They'll begin by providing all of the faculty with laptops, and then install Wi-Fi access in three dorms. This is a good thing. The goodness of it is slightly overshadowed by the ungoodness of the actual article. I can't decide if the writer's reference to "sart" classrooms is more ironic or depressing.

I suppose I should be thankful for small blessings. Like the fact that they didn't mention that Hiwassee is installing a campus-wide wireless network among other things for about the amount of money that UTK would spend on remodeling an already plush house for a president/crook.

What are you going to do tonight? It's rare that there's a glut of good stuff to do in the scruffy little city®, but tonight features two big'uns.

First is the mayoral debate between Madeline Rogero and Bill Haslam at Fulton High School. This should be good. It will be interesting to see how Haslam reacts to his posh surroundings there. The Fulton/St. Mary's/Old North Knox/4th and Gill/Fountain City is the only part of town that appears to be solidly in Rogero's camp. There were several Rogero banner wavers on the side of Broadway as I drove to work this morning, and Madeline posters certainly outnumber Haslam in the yards of those older houses. The downside to the event is, of course, the apparent doom of the Rogero Campaign. With the Metro Pulse giving a glowing endorsement to Haslam, the end is in sight for Madeline. She's also resorted to "clever" parodies in her ads, which is never the sign of a healthy campaign. It should be interesting to see what Madeline says tonight. I imagine she'll probably try to spark things a little, maybe even throw a little outlandishness into the mix.

What I'll probably end up doing, though, is going to hear the writer/director John Singleton speak at UT. It's free, and it's been poorly advertised, so it should not be difficult to get a seat. UT is a bit bipolar in it's guest speakers. I've seen Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck D., and now Singleton, but I've also been there when a serious egg was laid. Howard Zinn was a major disappointment, but I don't think that's any fault of the University's.

Actually, I'll probably just end up at Golden Roast playing Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2002. Again.

Sorry for any lapses in thought over the weekend. Blogger was a little less than perfect.

You missed it! Dr. Infozo and I spent another loverly Friday evening consuming all kinds of intoxicants. There was the obligatory Falafel Hut and their gorgeous bottles of Rolling Rock for $1.60. These go surprisingly well with a slab o' baclava.
There was also Champagne to be had along with fine meats and cheeses at the Lawson-McGhee Library downtown. It was a welcoming event for the new director of the County Libraries. He seems to be a sharp guy. He even writes (gasp). The event itself didn't impress, but the free food and wine was good.
Finally, there was the Old Candy Factory Gallery on the other side of the tracks. There were two shows there, each featuring more free edible goodness.
This is when it occured to Dr. Infozo and myself that there is a great deal of free alcohol to be had around here if you just know where to look. It's usually centered around semi-cultural activities, particularly those that suggest a donation. With this in mind, it has become our quest to find these events and venues. And we're not selfish. No. We'll freely disseminate all knowledge of free booze. What did you take us for?

Friday, September 5
Hey, why doesn't anyone tell me anything? If there's one thing I get excited about (publicly) in Knox County, it's the fact that we have the beginnings of a good bike trail network. This is a great place to peddle (especially if you have some uphill fortitude), and it makes sense to ride a bike all over the place. We have great weather, relatively low violent crime rates throughout most of the city, and Knoxville is small enough to get just about anywhere in town on a bike with a smidge of patience and planning.

Now, Our Oil Baron Mayor-elect-to-be has said he plans to aggressively support our bike trails, and further pursue state and federal funding for their improvement and expansion. Why didn't anyone tell me this? This was like 3 weeks ago! Come on, people. I need a shred of good news every now and then too. Sheesh.

Wow, if you thought election officials in Florida were bad, wait until you get a load of Monterey County, California. Local election officials there (please note the odd pop-propaganda style art) have just had their plans for the upcoming recall election finally approved by California Justice Department. See, they were trying to save some money, and those damned polling places are expensive to run ($3000 each), so they decided to scale back from 190 to 86. Also, they were planning on hiring less bilingual polling place workers (we all know how expensive they can be). This, of course, would have saved them somewhere in the neighborhood of less than $500,000. That's a lot of money to me, but I don't think it's even a drop in the bucket in Monterey County. Anyhoo, they were accused of whittling away at the polling places and polling place workers in such a way as to discriminate pretty strongly against hispanic voters. I'd say. Who in the hell thinks that hiring less bilingual workers saves money? Don't bilingual people speak, you know, BOTH English and Spanish? Wouldn't it be easier to just hire less people, but require all of them to be bilingual? I mean, maybe that's just me, but I think it makes sense.

The solution to it all, you ask? The state made them bump the number of polling places back up to 91. Stop the presses.

For what it's worth, I sure am glad I live in Tennessee, where I knew in May who was going to win an election in late September. None of this screwing around with polling places for me.

Word of the day (according to M-W.com): megillah - a long involved story or account

Is it bad if the dictionary is trying to drop hints for you?

Thursday, September 4
The state of Tennessee just released its findings in the "No Child Left Behind" testing program. Result: miserable failure for Knox County. All surprised people, raise your hands. That's what I thought. The big shocker was that certain subgroups fell further behind than others. These groups include: black and economically disadvantaged students. [For those of you outside of Knox County, yes, those are two separate groups.] What are the odds? What would SKBubba have to say about something like this? Much.

Draw battlelines now, kiddos.

I'm with the Guv on this one so far. I think we should demand more, and measure it in the best way we know how. This is going to identify the areas that need the most help. What's wrong with that?

The principle argument from the opposition is tendered here by Tennessee Education Association President Judy Beasley:
"The so-called No Child Left Behind law relies totally on standardized tests, forcing teachers to teach to the test and interfering with real learning. It forces all children into a one-size-fits-all model even though we know that children learn in different ways and at different rates."

Point taken, but we're not trying to measure the performance of one student. We're going for the performance of a very large group of students. Not all of those individuals will respond appropriately to the testing because of specific nuances of learning and experience. The large group, however, will be rather accurately profiled with this sort of testing.

Of course, the state probably isn't helping itself by calling these "target" schools. That does make it sound a bit like practice at the shooting range.

P.S.

Manny was back in the lineup last night. He went 2-4 with a double. He was the tying run in the bottom of the eighth inning in a game the Red Sox won by one run.

Is there entirely too much crack being passed around ESPN.com? Sean McAdam is writing today that the Red Sox are sure to move Manny Ramirez because of his cost and his "behavior" over the last few weeks. This behavior includes, being sick, being in a restaurant on the first floor of the building he lives in, having his location unknown for a few hours the other morning, and telling coaches he was too weak to take an at bat in a game against the Phillies.

Let's look at this a moment:

1) Being sick is not a reflection of attitude or work ethic, if I'm not mistaken. In fact, proper rest during illness should be seen as responsible maintenance of an expensive investment.
2) Going to a restaurant in the building where he lives seems reasonable, especially if he's sick. I hate to cook when I'm sick, and sometimes I just want to get out of my apartment for a change of scenery, even if it is just to the mailbox and back. His socializing in the restaurant consisted of a conversation with an old friend who was in town on business. Sure, that friend is Luis Sojo, a Yankees coach, but that doesn't change what actually happened.
3) Being in parts unknown for an hour or so doesn't seem unreasonable either. Of course he didn't come to the game. He was still sick. Maybe it wasn't the smartest move not to let everyone in the organization know he was still feeling bad, but it doesn't really constitute a lack of concern for the team's welfare.
4) Wouldn't you be glad, if you were Red Sox management, that Manny was honest about his condition? "I'm feeling pretty weak still, so I don't really want to bat. I'm not the best option." seems like a good thing to know if I'm shuffling the lineup. Doesn't that also show confidence in his teammates to get the job done?

McAdam goes on to cite that Manny asked to be placed on the DL in the middle of a pennant run two years ago. Sorry, Sean baby. That's not really pertinent. It is, however, consistent with the theory that Manny communicates his physical limitations better than the average ballplayer, which is also consistent with the generally held notion that he is better than the average ballplayer.

Manny isn't a visibly intense player. He may not even be a very passionate player. But, he makes plays in the field and produces runs at the plate. He has been a winner in Cleveland and in Boston. Players do not fall ass-backwards into that kind of success. The Red Sox might deal him in the Winter, that's true. But it won't be because he didn't get over a cold as quickly as they wanted him too.

Weirdass quote of the morning: "The craziest thing is, we're closer now and better friends than ever before. We're truly committed to maintaining a good relationship, but not a marriage.'' -- Lance Armstrong on his relationship with his wife with whom he is finalizing a divorce

Senate Majority Leader (and Tennesseean, whoo!) Bill Frist is being a good guy in Africa. He's an MD and a former surgeon, and he's spent a couple of days at a hospital run by The Samaritan's Purse in Sudan. He apparently assisted in a few operations as well. He was on the continent with a U.S. envoy that was checking out AIDS relief efforts (which we are going to start funding when, Mr. Bush?). He broke away from the envoy, flew a DC-3 himself to Sudan, didn't tell the State Department, and took no security along with him (although he managed to find a camera crew).

Not bad for an entrenched Republican who is the current leader of a Senate that cannot put together a decent Medicare prescription plan. Should I feel guilty because I keep reading this, trying to figure out what his angle was? I mean, for a guy who managed to win the Senate leadership only 6 years after his first election, you would think he'd do a better job alerting the world in general to his heroic nature (think flight suit, rousing speech, action figure). Maybe he's just a good guy who also happens to be a Republican with some unsavory party debts to pay in the Senate. Is that possible?

The Krystal on Cumberland now has free Wi-Fi access. That's right, you can now order up a box of Chili Cheese Pups and look at clown pr0n online all at the same time. But why would you?

Honestly, who is running their marketing team? Oh well. Warchalkers rejoice.

Well, MetroPulse has given its endorsement to Bill Haslam over Madeline Rogero in the Knoxville mayoral race. That's no small blow to K-Town liberals with hopes for a progressive new voice in local government. Haslam is no Victor Ashe, certainly, but the fate of the Rogero agenda of alternative social action, community-group led reform, and outlandish notions such as meaningful public transportation and proactive historic preservation may have to go into hibernation again for a few years.

Or maybe Haslam will have an open ear. Who knows? If all else fails, as always, find solace in your local library.

Wednesday, September 3
New word for the evening: Sodality.

/stolen from the (epic) introductory material to The Feminine Mystique

I'm reading The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. It's supposed to be the seminal [snicker] work of the women's movement in the U.S. during the latter part of the 20th century. Or it's at least one of them. So what if I'm 40 years behind? I'm a guy, so I get slack, right?

Sure, I do.

Nothing to see here, folks. Just follow a link.