September 23, 2014
Knoxville residents had a few less bushes, shrubs and trees Monday after the city participated in Plant(ing) Day. The perennial worldwide event transforms vegetation into tiny power generating plants to highlight the need for more industrial facilities in urban, commercial and residential settings. "Plant(ing) Day is where community members uproot flowers and trees and temporarily reclaim them as miniature nuclear power, coal and oil power stations," said industrial landscaping architect Anya Leidig. "We were especially focused on areas that have way too much green space. It's been fun to think creatively about how we can turn even the smallest spaces into industrial wastelands." This is not the first time Knoxvillians have thought creatively about public space. In 2011 South Knoxville residents briefly filled Mead's Quarry with honey wine.
September 21, 2014
According to a report released by a security company with absolutely, positively no vested interest in you being afraid of the city you live in, Knoxville is the fifth most dangerous city in Tennessee. The findings were based on data collected on some but not all cities in Tennessee by the FBI in 2012. "Oh my God, Knoxville is the fifth most dangerous city in Tennessee," said Jackson Rossi, director of scary things that must be true because they are presented in top 10 list form. "Well, as long as I'm here and we're on the subject, could I interest you in a home security system?" Other criminologists agreed. "This report must be true because Crossville and Athens are way more dangerous than Memphis, and Springfield, wherever that is, is way more dangerous than Nashville," said Zane Frost, director of scary things that must be true because they are accompanied by a stock photo of crime scene tape. "Well, as long as I'm here and we're on the subject, could I interest you in a home security system?"
September 19, 2014
Hoping to reward local building demolition and subsequent surface parking lot creation, the city of Knoxville has created a Surface Parking Lot loyalty card.
The program makes use of special punch cards to track how often developers tear down historic buildings and replace them with paved surfaces. For every six surface parking lots that a developer creates, he or she gets the seventh one free.
"We want people to know that we deeply appreciate their attempts to destroy 100 year-old buildings and to replace them with surface parking lots," said the city's superintendent of surface parking lot loyalty Mike Doute. "We don't want them going to other cities to make them. We hope these loyalty punch cards will keep our loyal customers coming back for more."
Officials say the hope the new marketing strategy will increase the presence of surface parking lots downtown and in the neighborhoods surrounding the city center.
"This is going to be so great," said bargain shopper Colleen Marshall. "The next time someone wants to restore a historic parking garage with a city grant but then doesn't get the grant, so then they tear the building down, they'll be well on their way towards getting a free parking lot. That's some really great savings."
"I love a good bargain," said free stuff enthusiast Toby Wiffen. "I don't even like surface parking lots that much. But now that I know I can get a free one, I'm going to go out of my way to make a few of them just to get something for free."
Others aren't so enthusiastic about the program.
"I have all these stupid punch cards in my wallet and plastic cards on my keys," said loyal surface parking lot shopper Scott Robbles. "I never remember to use them. I probably could have earned three free surface parking lots by now. I really think they should just put this on an iPhone app."
September 18, 2014
The University of Tennessee's iconic Rock wants passing motorists to take their eyes off the road for just a few seconds to read an important message: don't text and drive. The note painted on the communication boulder is part of a pledge asking students not to text while driving. The message encourages passing drivers to text #ICWVOLS to 464329 to sign the pledge. "I was driving by The Rock and I saw something written on it, so I stopped looking at the road in front of me to see what it said," said pledge taker Jenna Morton. "It was kind of small, so I had to squint. It directed me to a website: ItCanWait.com. I was afraid I would forget the URL, so I pulled out my phone and went there right away. Then I kind of crashed into a parked car. So, yeah, The Rock is spot on about that."
September 16, 2014
The Republicans lost Tennessee junior senator Bob Corker to a knee injury late in the third quarter of Monday's game against the second-ranked Democrats. Corker's last carry was a nay vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act with 1:07 left on the clock. The former construction company executive was carried off the floor in a stretcher and did not return. Corker, a former starting mayor for Chattanooga, emerged from a mediocre 111th Congress to become a ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The junior senator signed with the Senate Republicans in 2006 with the reputation of a scrappy policy wonk who could block legislation hard, but who was injury prone. Corker may miss the next several games. The loss could be a tremendous blow for the Republican Senators, who are already playing without star legislation blocker Ted Cruz, who is currently on the injury list with a broken femur.
September 14, 2014
Tennessee apparel stores Wednesday began selling a new gray jersey with an orange and gray checkered pattern on the sleeves and shoulders. The move has fueled speculation that the Vols' new uniform may be a chess board and that the team may open with the popular 1.e4 move. "We suspect that the Vols will be playing 1.e4, which is a popular opening maneuver with many strengths," said chess jersey analyst Tammy Scollan. "This opens lines for both the king's bishop and the queen. But it does leave the Vols open to the Sicilian Defense or to Alekhine's Defense." Fans hope that the Vols are able to checkmate black by using a two knights endgame. Other analysts say the new jerseys will instead be a racing flag, indicating that the race is finished.
September 12, 2014
A super-powered Knoxville resident is able to see the downside of good news about his city with shocking ease.
Dwayne Comer of Old North Knoxville was born with the superhuman ability to take any positive development and turn it on its head, seeing that situation in the worst possible light. Comer, who does not wear a mask or hide his identity, uses his incredible ability for the benefit of Knoxville's citizens whenever possible.
Earlier this week, for example, he was able to rescue a downtown resident from the perils of positive downtown developments by informing her that the center city can't sustain retail businesses and that "Mrs. Doubtfire" didn't make the cut for Movies on Market Square this year.
The previous week he saved an optimist by reminding him that even though Knoxville now has bicycles for rent downtown, no one will use them, and anyway, cyclists don't know how to share the road with cars.
"Sure, Boomsday was attended by about 325,000 people, the Vols have opened their football season at 2-0, and Knoxville has recently had positive news coverage in the New York Post and in USA Today," said Comer. "But I think what's important to think about is that it took me 10 minutes to find a parking spot downtown on game day and that the Vols' new 'third down for what?' slogan makes no sense."
At one time Comer was even invited to join a team of superheroes called the X-Men. But he was quickly kicked out of the group after he told the team's leadership that their comic books and movies were confusing, boring and, overall, pretty terrible when you think about it.
Local residents say they are grateful to have someone like Comer protecting their city from good things.
"Just imagine what would happen if the people of Knoxville saw their city as a cool place to live that people from other cities could fall in love with too," said Jenni Gower. "It would be a total disaster."
September 11, 2014
UT football fans Wednesday reported deep regret at having Googled the phrase "What is a Sooner?" The obscure proper noun is both the University of Oklahoma's nickname and a tremendously boring thing having something to do with American history. "I saw the words 'Homestead Act of 1862' and 'Indian Appropriations Act of 1889,' and then about 12 paragraphs of text unaccompanied by a photo," said Tennessee fan Ellie Rao. "Then I just kind of closed that browser tab and took a couple of Buzzfeed quizzes to get the taste out of my mouth." "For a state shaped like a meat cleaver, Oklahoma sure knows how to make a guy stop reading after two sentences," added Garrett Ackerson. "It must have something to do with being right next to Kansas."
September 9, 2014
According to an East Tennessee man who ate the weight of a small mammal in fried dough covered in powdered sugar, East Knoxville is not very safe. Fairgoer Jimmy Arrol spent Sunday afternoon increasing his risk of heart attack, stroke, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, while he simultaneously explained to his friends that he would not be caught dead on Magnolia Ave. at night because it would be too risky. "I've heard that East Knoxville is in a bad part of town," said Arrol between bites of Italian sausage, popcorn and cotton candy, and gulps from a gallon of sugary soda. "I'm going to play it safe by leaving before it gets dark. I don't want to take any chances with my health."
September 7, 2014
An East Tennessee man has yet to take a stance on the controversial political issue of adding fluoride to drinking water. According to sources close to Jim Mayes of Oliver Springs, the 43-year-old electrician has not definitively come out against or in favor of adding the inorganic anion to municipal drinking water. This despite a Thursday vote by his town's Board of Alderman to discontinue adding the chemical to its water supply. "Where does Jim stand on the issue of fluoride," said one concerned citizen. "Does he think we are poisoning the water system? Or does he think that we are increasing tooth decay? This is one of several thousand very important issues that Jim needs to form an opinion about. We really need to know what side he is on." This is not the first time Mayes has remained undecided on a hot button issue. He has also failed to form an opinion about same-sex marriage and fast food chicken, spelling the word "women" as "womyn," or on whether John Cena should regain the WWE world championship at the upcoming Night of Champions pay-per-view.