knox snooze

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

TV Tuesday

Tuesday, August 31
Now that the Olympics have closed let's review!!
1. How much of the Olympics did you watch?
Not much, but about as much as I wanted too. I got caught up in the swimming stuff at the beginning, but it sort of fizzled after that.

2. What's your favorite Olympic sport?
I really like baseball, which made this sort of a tough Olympics to watch. Other than that, I like basketball, especially now that it's a more even playing field.

3. What's your least favorite Olympic sport or one you feel should be removed?Dude, the equestrian stuff is crap. Come on, at least give the medal to the horse; it's doing all the athletic stuff.
~Bonus~ If you could participate in the Olympics what sport would you want to be in?
Probably the hammer toss or something arbitrarily violent like that. Any "sport" where the ability to throw a traditionally unthrown object (i.e. a hammer) is a plus has some appeal to me.

Play TV Tuesday

Garden State

Yes, Misty, it was good. Gooder, actually, than any other movie that I have seen this year (that I can think of right now, at least). It was touching, funny, depressing and totally refreshing. I want to think that Braff is going to be a great film-maker, but I'm a little worried that the only character that he can really write is the hesitant, pathetic guy who just wants to be loved. Not that he can't do anything else, he just hasn't yet.

The soundtrack was great too. I saw the movie on Friday and bought the soundtrack on Sunday. Very, very good. It includes Simon & Garfunkel's The Only Living Boy In New York, which I have been waiting to hear on a soundtrack for awhile. It's possibly their most underappreciated song ever.

In summary, it was the most gooderest movie this year.

Movie Time

Friday, August 27
Woohoo, I'm going to a movie tonight. Just like a person with a real life.

Have a good weekend.

I got your breach of contract right here

Just when you thought you had heard the last from John Shumaker, he shows up again, demanding more money. After causing monumental amounts of shame for the University of Tennessee across the state and the nation by misusing travel privileges, expense accounts, and ordering enough improvements on the Presidential residence to make Extreme Makeover Home Edition blush, Shumaker claims the state (that's you and me) still owes him $423,000.

Come again? That's right, not only does the crook have the grapes to even show his face in the state again, he wants our money. I doubt there is any legal ground for this that would stand up in court, but if he is awarded the money, I think he should personally apologize to the students of the University of Tennessee. As a matter of fact, there are just over 20,000 students at UT. Let's give each of them a $20 bill for Shumaker and let him collect them personally. That way he'll be able to explain more clearly to each of us what he did with the rest of our money and why, exactly, we should give him some more.

Holy stack of books

I just noticed, as I added yet another to the reading list at right-->, how many books I have going right now. Six. That's probably too many. Probably, I'm going to lose track of what is going on in each one.

I'm making myself quit cable TV, though, and this is the only way I can do it. Well, this and Methadone.

Battle of the bands

I think that everyone agrees there should be an better way to protect plaintiffs and defendants from one another in domestic court disputes. The intimidation and abuse that can happen right outside the courthouse doors undermines the efficiency of of the judicial system and the protection it provides.

But marking plaintiffs and defendants with day-glo armbands that they have to wear all day? Come on. Is that the best we can do? It seems a little condescending on the part of the court, and more than a little disrespectful to the individuals in court that day. Not everyone who goes to court on "domestic Thursdays" is there to whip the piss out of his or her estranged spouse. In fact, I'd say that very few actually are.

I certainly hope this is being considered an emergency measure. Continuing this practice would be tragic.

Ok, maybe not tragic, but it would be a disheartening commentary on the court's ability to deal with minor crises.

In other news, Tim Hutchison dodged the issue completely. Way to lead, Sheriff.

Theater Thursday

Thursday, August 26
This week's questions are about movie soundtracks.
1) What is your favorite soundtrack from a movie?
Orchestral is probably 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pop-style is probably Magnolia. I know I've mentioned both of those before. Sorry for the lack of ingenuity.

2) Which movie's soundtrack didn't fit the tone of the movie, or was so badly composed it detracted from the movie?
I can't say that it really wasn't consistent with the rest of the film, but the whole That Thing You Do! phenomenon really annoyed me. The music actually made the character played by Tom Everett Scott much more sympathetic as he grew distant from the fluffiness of it all.

3) Who is your favorite film music composer? really can't go wrong with John Williams. He sort of made modern film scoring what it is today.
BONUS) Do you prefer an orchestral soundtrack, or a popular-music soundtrack? Why?
It depends upon whether you mean to listen to by itself or as a part of the film. Obviously, orchestral scores are little more difficult to enjoy on their own, but they are usually less intrusive and more cinematic as part of the film. If I'm going to put one in the CD player to listen to on a roadtrip, though, it's going to be something with 3-minute songs that have lyrics and guitars. Or keytars. Cause I rock the suburbs.

Play Theater Thursday

Joint Institutes

Wouldn't you like to know where all the money goes at UT? Tution has gone up, wages have barely budged, and everywhere one turns on campus there seems to be another cost-cutting measure in place. Of course, we all know about the ridiculous and highly criticized expenditures, but wouldn't it be nice to know we're not wasting it all?

It would be. In this week's Metro Pulse Joe Sullivan takes a look at how UT is spening money on the joint research institutes in Oak Ridge. It's pretty impressive.

Joint facilities you say? Whoa, the things I could do with a whole facility dedicated to joints.

Arby's in the UT Library

Wednesday, August 25
Hey, we have a new writer-in-residence (well, one who is officially recgonized, at least). R.B. Morris is officially an academic.

Recommended Reading

I'm not a big graphic novel fan (unless you count American Psycho), but I just finished Maus, A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History, and I really liked it. Since you're reading a blog right now, there's a solid chance that you're enough geek to have read or heard of the book by now, so I'll spare you the details.

It was good. I'm just starting Maus, A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began. I hope it works out as well.

And you thought you had an exciting job

Tuesday, August 24
My friend Palmer works for a newspaper in Indiana. Apprently newspaper work is a little more rigorous than I previously thought. He wrote feature stories for papers where he worked before, but he took this job in Indiana because it would let him be a full-time photographer. Somehow, he still finds himself writing the odd story. Or the very odd story.
We tried going higher to see if we could catch a better wind to move us off the path of the lines. We tried leaning over one side of the basket to try to steer the balloon a little more in that direction.

Nothing was changing the direction of the balloon.

TV Tuesday

It's that time of year again and everyone's heading back to school! So we'll talk back to school this week!!
1. What's your favorite show that deals with school in some way? (Facts of Life, A Different World, Saved by the Bell, Fame, etc..)
There's a cartoon on The N (Noggin) called O'Grady that I haven't actually seen a full episode of, but it's still better than anything else I've seen.

2. Which TV school would you have attended if given a choice?
Probably one of those "schools" on PBS on Saturday mornings when they had the GED prep shows. Everyone was so cooperative in those, and they were always pumped whenever they finally grasped the simplest concepts. I like those standards.

3. What's your favorite back to school commercial?
I can't say that any of them really stand out in my memory, but I love how any retail establishment latches onto the back-to-school "season" as a time to have a sale. Because we all need back-to-school savings on a vacation, right? Beat the rush, take a vacation during the first two weeks of class.
~Bonus~ Reality check! What's your most memorable back to school moment?
Probably when I went back to college after being out for a couple of years. I was expecting to be much more productive and industrious than had been before, when I was "just a kid." Big news, I still like TV and checking email more than studying.

Play TV Tuesday

The spirit of the law

Friday, August 20
In my constant quest to be odder than I need to be, I came across an interesting candy today:

Yes, you too may purchase your own box of Vegan Gummi Bears. That's right, animal-friendly food...shaped like a bear.

Wait for it...

Disturbing picture of the week

Thursday, August 19
In a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium last night (I wondered why the lights were blazing), Coach Fulmer gave each of the five QBs an equal number of reps with the first team offense. Who had the highest completion percentage, most passing yards and a passing TD, you ask? Rick Clausen. I don't know the kid. He could be a really nice guy, but he's a Clausen and he looks like he might already be getting a little too big for his britches.

Hey, shades...I hope you don't take that 16 too lightly. That's a real QB's number.

one oh two

It's the 102nd birthday of Ogden Nash. Too bad he's not around anymore. Go read some of his poetry today. It's enough to make you smile.
Whales have calves,
Cats have kittens,
Bears have cubs,
Bats have bittens,
Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have little guppies.

Something I don't understand

Tuesday, August 17
Why is it that the Olympians seem most interested in gaining more attention for their sport? Almost to a person, all of the U.S. medalists have said that at least one aspect of their fulfillment as a champion is that they can help bring more attention to their sport. You know, maybe get some of the kids interested in it (not that they aren't past being kids themselves). It's an interesting phenomenon. What does an athlete get out of it? Is it a form of validation? If the sport in which you excel becomes more popular, do you become more popular? Do your achievements become more valid by proxy?

I'm not against it, and I can empathize with the feeling. I played soccer in college and every time I see a Sportscenter highlight of a soccer game that is little more than laughed off by the anchors, I immediately become defensive. Why is that, though. I want it to be more than a subconscious form of self-affirmation.

Happy Bad Luck Day

Friday, August 13
It's Friday the 13th. Make yourself an appropriate drink.
Lucky Stiff
2 oz. Gin
2 oz. Orange Curacao
4 oz. Cranberry Juice

Pour over ice and stir.
(drink recipe from webtender)

Who's your Pappas?

Thursday, August 12
I think this may be the first and last time in history that the Metro Pulse and ESPN, The Magazine both feature the same shirtless athlete on their covers.

You know, I'm all for the "no shirt, no shoes, no service rule," but if I was cut like Pappas, you'd have a hard time convincing me that I shouldn't walk around all the time wearing nothing but shorts and sneakers.

Happy Berfday

It's my mom's birthday today. Happy birthday, mom. I won't tell you how old she is, but it rhymes with nifty. Which she is.

Man, I'm so lame.

Theater Thursday

Remakes - we see them more and more frequently. Taking an old movie and completely reshooting it with a new cast, new effects, new styles and even new genres can be a hit or miss proposition. This summer we've seen several remakes already, from The Stepword Wives (original and remake) to The Manchurian Candidate (original and remake), plus there's even an Alfie remake in production (original and remake).
1) What is your favorite remake of an older film? Did it actually improve on the original?
Ocean's Eleven (original and remake) is pretty good. The Italian Job (original and remake) wasn't that bad, either. Maybe it's something about those 60's action flicks.
2) What remake was handled so poorly even if the original was not great it would've seemed Oscar-worthy?
The Planet of the Apes (original and remake) was cruel and unusual.
3) Are there any classic films you feel would cause the fabric of space/time to rip apart were a remake made of it? 2001: A Space Odyssey
BONUS) What film would you most like to see remade, and what would be your dream cast?
Bye Bye Braverman (original) starring Woody Allen, Bill Murray, Stanley Tucci, and William H. Macy.

Play Theater Thursday

That's kind of the point

Wednesday, August 11
I'm surprised lately at how the requirements for maintaining Hope Scholarships (the new TN Lottery Scholarship) have become newsworthy because they are "strict." Students must maintain a C+ (2.75 GPA) their freshman year, and a B (3.0 GPA) every year after that.

Of course they must. The scholarship allows more students to go to college, and encourages those who go to succeed. Everyone gets that "free year" where you get money for school if you are good enough to get in, and you are only required to maintain grades that are barely above passing. Every student gets a shot at college. Marginal students have an incentive to find a way to maintain better grades, and those who cannot, for one reason or another, succeed in college are no further subsidized by the state to attend. They can still get student loans and part-time jobs, of course (a road well-traveled by yours truly), but the "scholar dollars" no longer go to them.

Imagine if the studying harder and utilizing tutors became the expected norm at UT? That would be nice.

Still waiting

Tuesday, August 10
On my drive to work this morning I saw one of those electronic road signs that construction crews put on the shoulder to flash messages at drivers. They're sort of mobile digital billboards. The one I saw this morning had a two-page message:
Right Lane Closed
Expect Delayse
I was so distracted by this new word, "delayse" that I nearly hit the car in front of me when it slowed down.

I began to wonder, though: what if it isn't a spelling error at all? What if there really is some guy whose last name is Delayse? Maybe he is some kind of character of urban legend (like the skunk-ape) who preys upon hapless motorists stuck in traffic jams.

Probably not, but what else did I have to think about on my way to work?

Monday, August 9
Tom Lemming has released his ranking of college football recruiting classes on ESPN Insider. It's relatively early in the recruiting season, but Lemming sounds pretty impressed with what the Vols have done so far. I wonder if there will be any backlash from Fulmer's absence from SEC Media Days and all the negative coverage it received. Here's what Lemming had to say about UT's current class:
8. Tennessee
The Vols are No. 8 with a bullet. They only have five committed players, but have been mentioned often by recruits and it's the best year in the state in 10 years. UT has a shot to finish No. 1.
Key commits: DL Wes Brown, RB LaMarcus Coker, QB Jonathan Crompton

Debt up to my...

The missuz and I closed on our first house on Friday. It wasn't very glamourous or exciting, especially the part where we handed them the check for down payment and closing.

It's funny how a house you are thinking about buying has potential, but the house you just bought has problems. I don't have buyers regret or anything, but I've noticed that the home improvement projects we talked about with a lot of excitement and anticipation last week have begun to carry some negative modifiers. For instance, what was last week a "kitchen remodel" is now the "damn kitchen remodel." Some have suffered more than others. I think the worst is that "tear up linoleum and re-tile floor" has become "mop linoleum, get over tile floor thing."

But isn't this the American Dream? Of course it is.


Thursday, August 5
WBIR reports that Clayton Homes has been busted for forging documents in Texas in order to acquire some land. For anyone who has ever placed a foot on a Clayton lot, this is no big shocker. The company had a rather useless response to the accusations:
The company said in response that it has zero tolerance for any misrepresentation to customers, suppliers or anyone.
Well, yeah. Except for those other times when we're pretty sure we are going to get away with it.

Theater Thursday

Starsky & Hutch is the top selling DVD this week. With that in mind, this week the topic is TV shows that have been turned into movies.
1) What movie based on a television show is your favorite?
There really are not any truly good ones that come to mind. Batman was pretty good, but I feel strange calling it my favorite. M*A*S*H was really good, but the movie came first on that one.
2) Your least favorite?
The Wild, Wild West was absolutely butchered. It's hard to believe too, considering the quality of actors they had (Kline and Branagh). The old show was really cheesy too, but in a low-budget kind of way, kind of like Batman, so it was easy to forgive.
3) What television show would you like to see turned into a movie?
Most TV series that are well-written would probably be tough to translate to the big screen. I suppose that dramatic shows with storylines that last multiple episodes would be best. Alias and The West Wing would probably both draw interest, but I don't know how good they would be.
Bonus) Should the actors that portray these characters on TV also be used in the movie? Or would you like to see different actors?
They should usually stick with the original actors as long as the movie production is relatively close to the same time as the TV production. Obviously, waiting 20 or 30 years to make a movie out of a series is a different situation.

Places I didn't know I had

Monday, August 2
A few friends from college and high school got together this weekend to play some basketball and have a few drinks. We played ball on Saturday night in a driveway, and then yesterday afternoon at the gym for a couple of hours.

Damn, I feel old and busted today.