October 31, 2014

East Tennessee sugar levels expected to rise significantly by Saturday

Sugar-level rise is occurring much faster than East Tennessee parents expected, exposing hundreds of children to mad sugar rushes, reduced nap times and bouncing off the walls, new research suggests.

According to a parent forecast, sugar levels could rise to unacceptable heights by early afternoon Saturday, if not before.

The rise in sugar levels is due to what scientists call trick-or-treating, a once a year activity in which impressionable children with little impulse control are given pounds and pounds of free candy by their neighbors.

The implications are serious, especially for areas of East Tennessee populated by parents. The fast rising sugar levels means the parental authorities will have to deal with small humans crashing around the house like drunken flying monkeys until they finally collapse hours later in a heap of stomach aches and chocolate-covered malted milk ball-induced comas.

"Many of East Tennessee's toddler and elementary school children regions will be hit the hardest by this," said one observer. "As trick-or-treat bags are dumped onto the bedroom floor, and as Starbursts are unwrapped and eaten by the handful, we will see these obnoxiously high sugar levels. I'm honestly scared for my future, for all our futures."

"A lot of people say sugar-level rise isn't happening, that it's just a myth," added Dana Coffey of Oak Ridge. "But they haven't seen Landon's tiny mouth and hands sticky and gooey with melted chocolate, or his sister Chloe passed out in a pile of Reese's and Twix wrappers. This is real, and we need to address it quickly. Maybe I could help them out by finishing off the Tootsie Rolls and all of the king sized candy bars."

But not everyone believes the dire warnings.

"Children have always gone through sugary and non-sugary cycles," said sugar change skeptic Trina Fowler of Knoxville. "The next thing you know these same scientists will be warning us that children need more candy in their diets."

October 30, 2014

Area Halloween partygoer either strawberry or prostitute

According to a survey of those attending a Halloween party Wednesday, one costumed woman was dressed as either a piece of fruit or a lady of the night. Partygoers attending the Old North Knoxville masquerade noticed a young woman seemingly dressed as a strawberry, complete with a green stem hat, fuzzy red dress with dotted texture and green leaf trim detail. However, the outfit's tube-style mini dress and black boots gave some socialites pause. "I have never seen a piece of fruit with a skirt that short, or with boots that high," said Craig Meraz of Fort Sanders. "I must be shopping at the wrong supermarket." Lynsi Caputo agreed. "She certainly looked like a strawberry," she said. "But she wouldn't have been out of place on Central Avenue either. It was all very confusing."

October 28, 2014

Nation still unsure what gourds are

Citizens of the United States today announced that they still aren't quite sure what gourds actually are. Hundreds of the nation's Pinterest users and autumn-themed dining room table place setting decorators have been arranging displays featuring the lumpy objects, leaving many Americans confused and unsettled. "They sell gourds at the grocery store, but it doesn't look safe to put those things in your mouth," said Matthew Smertka of Knoxville. "It looks like a reptile might be hiding in it somewhere." Neal Baisden of Farragut agreed. "My wife puts them on the porch in a basket," he said. "I guess so that trick-or-treaters will throw them through our windows. I mean, I never really feel comfortable around a vegetable that's a homophone of 'gored.'"

October 26, 2014

Ex-lovers Lane Kiffin and Tennessee share awkward reunion Saturday

A meeting between Tennessee's football program and the head coach who abandoned the team after a single season for his mistress University of Southern California was described as super awkward. The two began dating in late 2008 and, despite a rocky first year, were thought to be happy together. But in 2010 Kiffin abruptly broke up with the Vols and moved in with the USC Trojans. "The last time Tennessee saw Lane Kiffin, she was throwing his clothes on the front lawn and screaming expletives at him," said one close friend of the University of Tennessee. "I didn't think he would ever show his face around here again." Relationship experts describe the Saturday reunion as more awkward than tripping up the stairs and trying to play it off anyway, but as less awkward than if Tennessee had tried to be friends with Kiffin to win him back.

October 24, 2014

Knoxville couple proud new mortgage owners

Brandon Scott and Audrey Palace couldn't stop smiling Thursday, when they received the keys to their very own new mortgage loan.

The happy couple grinned from ear to ear as they gave tours of the first multi-decade loan they could call their own.

"This is just a dream come true for us," said Scott. "We've been renters for a long time, but we finally said to ourselves, 'Instead of renting, wouldn't it be great to put $10,000 down on a home that will finally be ours in 30 years if we don't default on the loan?'"

Scott and Palace spent the day walking friends and family through the modest mortgage, pointing out their favorite aspects of the long-term fixed financial arrangement.

"Over here we have this great $487 payment, which includes the principal and interest," said Palace. "And right off the estimated homeowners insurance you have the estimated mortgage interest. Oh, and the estimated property taxes are just lovely. They really just make this loan pop. Only $45 a month. Try finding that in Illinois or California."

"The 4.25 percent interest rate and the 4.609 annual percentage rate give us some excellent curbside appeal as well," said Scott. "And the loan origination fee and the appraisal fee really set our mortgage apart from our neighbors. All in all, this is a lot of mortgage for the money."

Scott and Palace say they look forward to raising a family in the new loan.

"We don't have kids yet, but hopefully they aren't too far off," said Palace. "We would love to hear the pitter-patter of little feet bringing us our latest statement from Ocwen. That would just melt my heart."

The mortgage loan, owed on the home in Holston Hills, is currently held by an intermediary lender in West Palm Beach, Fla., but that is likely to change 37 times in the next 30 years.

October 23, 2014

Knoxville man going as cable news coverage of Ebola for Halloween

Knoxville costume wearer Nigel Stinnett plans on dressing as the scariest thing he can think of this Halloween: cable news coverage of the Ebola virus. A veteran trick-or-treater and wearer of disguises, Stinnett originally planned to go as something else scary, such as a zombie or the middle-aged American male's chances of getting heart disease. But after watching three straight weeks of news coverage of Ebola in Dallas, he knew he had his costume. "According to scientists and medical doctors, there is virtually no chance of an Ebola epidemic in the United States," said Stinnett. "Or as they are putting it on cable news, 'Oh my God oh my God oh my God!' So, yeah, this is pretty much going to be the best costume ever."

October 21, 2014

Clinton woman takes all health advice from photoshopped images on Facebook

An East Tennessee woman has learned everything she needs to know about nutrition from images of food shared on social media that have text superimposed over them. Vitamin-enriched photography expert Kristen Westbrook, 33, has learned a surprising amount of information about prostate health and blood pressure regulation from photos she has liked on Facebook. "I know this is accurate nutritional information because it was told to me in perky white text typed over a photo of broccoli," said Westbrook. "And plus, it has been shared 789 times. I think that's what scientists mean by peer reviewed." "I find it hard to believe that a picture of a banana with no source information could be wrong about cancer," added Westbrook. "That just does not seem like the Internet I have come to know and love."

October 19, 2014

Dates for standing in line for Bonnaroo porta-potties announced

A Middle Tennessee music festival has announced dates for when music fans will be able to wait in line for hours to use portable toilets. The 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will take place June 11-14 in Manchester. It will be the 14th annual time music fans have had the opportunity to wait in line to use a free-standing toilet on a farm in Tennessee. An estimated 90,000 people were on hand to use Bonnaroo's portable toilets this year. "Next year's wait for the porta-potty is going to be so great," said veteran Bonnaroo porta-potty user Cheryl Byrd of Nashville. "I mean, Lollapalooza and Bumbershoot both have some good bathrooms made from hard plastic. But Bonnaroo is the best." Tickets for waiting in line to use the music festival porta-potties are expected to go on sale early next year.

October 17, 2014

Urban Land Institute recommends big box stores for downtown Knoxville

An internationally-recognized nonprofit focused on urban planning has recommended that Knoxville add some big box stores to its downtown neighborhood.

Those are some of the findings from the Urban Land Institute's presentation last Friday.

The group was invited to spend five days studying the downtown Knoxville region. During that time representatives from the ULI met with nearly 150 people from the community.

"The one thing we have learned in our research is that people really love big box stores," said El Paso-based architect and bargain hunter Doug Grizzel. "And West Knoxville only has so far to expand. Obviously you can annex Lenoir City and Oak Ridge. But why not head towards downtown as well? You could get four or five anchor stores in here, and still have plenty of room for surface parking. People could even drive from one store to another without having to get out of their cars and walk anywhere."

Possible sites for the new big box stores would include the World's Fair Park, west Jackson Avenue, the old Supreme Court building and the Civic Coliseum. Other parts of downtown could be torn down as needed to add parking.

"Ultimately, what do you want to have downtown," asked urban planner Sandy Trevino. "You don't want to have people walking around enjoying themselves outdoors like it was some European hippie commune. You want people to be able to get their groceries, toys, furniture, hardware, gardening tools, clothing and electronics all in one place, under the comforting glow of fluorescent lights. If we could figure out a way to let the cars drive through the stores it would be even better. Maybe that's something Google or Apple could look into."

City officials say they will have public meetings to discuss the proposed changes first, but added, "Hey, it would be pretty handy to have a big box store so close to my house."

The Urban Land Institute's other recommendations included adding moving sidewalks to the University of Tennessee campus and opening some floating casinos on the Tennessee River.

October 16, 2014

Study: 80 percent of drivers weirdly unable to drive speed limit on Kingston Pike

A new study shows that a large number of Knoxville drivers are inexplicably unable to drive the posted 45 miles per hour speed limit on Kingston Pike. The study generally looked at why the red Kia Optima in front of us is cruising along at 38 miles per hour despite having no one in front of it on a Wednesday night at 8:22 p.m. "Our research shows that even when traffic density is light and motorists are on stretches of Kingston Pike with few stoplights, a majority of motorists are weirdly not able to drive 45 miles per hour," said a spokesman for drivers considering using the center turning lane as a passing lane. "But go to any other major highway in this city and people can only drive 10 miles over the speed limit. It defies all logic."

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