January 2011 Archives
January 30, 2011
OLD NORTH KNOXVILLE--An entire city block is reveling in the smooth musical taste of Justin Dycus. Neighbors who have traditionally created their own song playlists and listened to them in their homes are instead delighting in what sounds like a clowder of cats being strangled over a pulsating beat. "I was going to listen to my iPod, but then Justin started playing some music," said Mary Nobles, who lives six houses away. "I could understand the words well enough to sing along in my kitchen, so I figured, why not?" Dycus has a history of sharing his favorite songs with his neighbors at decibel levels comparable to those found on rifle ranges. "He's a really generous guy," said Amber Shapiro, another neighbor. "Whenever I need some new music in my life, I can count on him to stream it into my house."
January 28, 2011
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE--Knoxville's iconic Sunsphere is no more. Early this morning, the beloved 266-foot tower was devoured by a 500-foot tall sea monster migrating through East Tennessee on its way to Europe.
Witnesses described the colossal beast as green, slimy and as having several tentacles. Military authorities have been tracking the beast's movements for weeks, as it tramped its way from the West Coast across the country.
The relatively mild-mannered behemoth has been previously spotted eating grains in the Great Plains and snacking on barbecue on Memphis. Experts believe the creature has a sweet tooth and was simply seeking desert.
According to witnesses, the monster first made its way toward downtown Knoxville. It was spotted wandering along Gay Street, whispering about gelato and mixins.
"I think it was kind of sad that some of the ice cream places in the city were closed," said downtown loft resident Heidi Ford. "I felt sorry for him."
The sea monster next made its way toward the University of Tennessee campus, where it tore down the hexagonal truss structure and gobbled it.
"I thought it was ice cream," said the apologetic behemoth. "It was dark. I didn't have my glasses on. I thought it tasted a little metallic, but when I'm hungry, I sort of lose my head a little. In fairness, if you're going to have a giant statue commemorating a World's Fair, you shouldn't make it look like food. Monsters are always eating stuff. We're notorious for it."
Authorities considered pressing charges, but thought it best to let the beast go on its way.
"It really wasn't worth it," said police spokesperson Tinah Miller. "We don't really have the facilities to incarcerate sea serpents."
The former Sunsphere has had a history of trouble. In March of 1996, the tower was toppled by an irate Nelson Nuntz, resident of Springfield. Earlier this month, custody of the Sunsphere was awarded to Gov. Bill Haslam and was scheduled to be taken to Nashville. The Haslam administration could not be reached for comment.
January 27, 2011
DOWNTOWN--A giant man rowing a boat has finally reached his ultimate destination on the eastern bank of Gay Street. The beefy sportsman first plunged his oars into the murky canal near the open plaza at the corner of Church Street and Gay Street in 1988. He has been trying unsuccessfully to row across the concrete tributary for the past 22 years. "I never thought it would take me that long," the man told cheering onlookers as he climbed out of the small boat. "It's been treacherous. Do you know how hard it is to row through composite construction material? And I forgot to pick up bread. Jenny is going to kill me." The boater, who was breathed into existence by David Phelps, was last seen walking north on Gay Street.
January 25, 2011
WASHINGTON--The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on another piece of controversial legislation this week. Following last week's vote to repeal health care reforms President Barack Obama signed into law nearly a year ago, House lawmakers are scheduled take up the pronunciation of the word "Appalachia." The third vowel of the geographical region has traditionally been pronounced with a short "a" sound by those living there, and with the long "a" sound outside the expanse. The pending legislation would uniformly require the use of the short "a" sound when pronouncing "Appalachia." "As a man with a hard to pronounce last name, I stand before you as a witness to the failures of a government-run linguistics model," said U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a freshman Republican from Jasper, Tenn. who has promised to vote against the bill. "This is legislation we don't need and can't afford. That said, it really should be pronounced App-a-latch-a."
January 23, 2011
KNOXVILLE--City officials have confirmed closing off several metered parking spots on Walnut Ave. in downtown Knoxville yesterday for the express purpose of annoying one local resident. "Why do they keep closing off those parking spots?" grumbled an agitated Bill Tomlin on Saturday after discovering cloth bags arbitrarily padlocked to the meters near Lawson McGhee Library. "This really pisses me off. I just want some new books." The city's vast network of spies corroborated that the sole reasoning behind the temporary closure was to infuriate Tomlin. "We've got cameras hooked up all over downtown," cackled a clandestine operative on condition of anonymity. "We really get a kick out of watching him drive around in circles looking for parking. You should see how red he gets. One week he threw a copy of 'Moby Dick' at a squirrel."
January 20, 2011
SEVIERVILLE--Country songstress and theme park magnate Dolly Parton commemorated her birthday yesterday by delivering unrestrained blows to the mid-section of actor and daredevil Johnny Knoxville. "It's my gift to her for all she has done for East Tennessee," said a weakened Knoxville as Parton's tiny fists pummeled him in the kidneys and rib cage. "I'm half bear, the other half cat," growled Parton as she bit off Knoxville's left eyebrow. "I may be sweet as soda pop, but I'm wild as a mink." The beating was filmed, and is expected to be included in Knoxville's upcoming direct to DVD release, "Jackass 3.75 ½." Parton concluded the evening's festivities by singing karaoke at King Tut's Grill while wearing a funny hat. It is rumored that she will wrestle Triple H at WWE's WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta on April 3.
January 18, 2011
KNOXVILLE--A group of about two dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church gathered at the intersection of Broadway and Adair Drive to protest a local puppy's failure to condemn homosexuality. The puppy, Bella Lockhart, was killed Sunday after running in front of a car on nearby Woodrow Drive. "God hates soulless, sodomite puppies," the church's pastor Fred Phelps shouted from a megaphone at the funeral protest. Phelps and his church stage hundreds of demonstrations each year. The group is known for what the Apostle Paul described in his letter to the Corinthians as the "spiritual gift" of picketing. The church has previously marched against pop concerts, AIDS victims, homosexuals, dead American soldiers, the late television host Fred Rogers, hardware stores selling Swedish vacuum cleaners, sunshine, rainbows and happiness.
January 16, 2011
PHILADELPHIA--The Cooper family of Billingsley, Ala. was disappointed to learn that the East Tennessee town of Philadelphia is not the home of the Liberty Bell or the Eagles NFL football team. The Coopers, who made the 280 mile drive from Alabama to Tennessee with their two elementary school-aged children, had hoped to teach their son and daughter about early American history. Instead they spent Saturday afternoon looking at cattle near Interstate 75. "The wife and I were excited to see Independence Hall, and to eat some Tastykakes and Philly cheesesteak," said Glen Cooper, 40. "Admittedly, Philadelphia, Tenn. has an old post office, an elementary school and some stop signs. But we were a little disappointed." Elizabeth Cooper noted that she would now be in charge of planning mini-vacations for the Coopers.
January 14, 2011
NORTH KNOXVILLE--Stephen Forthman shoots first and asks questions later. He wears a shirt proudly displaying the words "I don't dial 911" next to a picture of a hand gripping a six-shooter. When it comes time to contact local emergency services for assistance, he'd rather just shoot at the problem until it goes away--even when the problem is his own home being on fire.
No injuries were reported in a large structural house fire in North Knoxville at Forthman's residence on Whittle Springs Road yesterday. Knoxville firefighters were alerted by neighbors at 2:15 p.m. of smoke at the residence, according to Knoxville Fire Department spokesman Capt. John Nickleton. The Knoxville Fire Department responded to an initial report of heavy smoke coming from the garage, and of a large bearded man in the front yard screaming and shooting into the house.
"At first I didn't even notice the fire," said neighbor Tricia Perkinson. "I heard gunshots coming from across the street. When I looked outside, I saw Steve in his front yard waving a gun at the house. He was yelling obscenities and just shooting. He was saying, 'You better get out of here you bleeping bleep.' I thought he had lost his mind. Then I saw the smoke."
"When we arrived at the scene, the house was completely engulfed in flames," said firefighter Daniel Cummings. "Outside, the homeowner was shouting and firing a semi-automatic pistol into the fire."
Firefighters were able to contain the flames to the Forthman residence, but the massive fire gutted the two-story home. Police were called to restrain Forthman, who had to be disarmed and handcuffed before he would stop shooting at the blaze.
Fire investigators are expected to return to the scene today to determine the fire's cause.
This isn't the first time Forthman has refused to dial 911. In 2004, Forthman tried to shoot himself in the torso after having chest pains. His brother-in-law wrestled a rifle away from Forthman and called an ambulance.
January 13, 2011
THE SOUTH--Major winter storm systems passing through the southeastern United States this week have delayed The South's plan to rise again. Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville and multiple other southern cities have received ice and several inches of snow, bringing activity to a standstill, and delaying any and all plans for forming a new southern nation. "The former and future Confederate States of America has had its three collective snow removal trucks running non-stop all week," said The South spokesman Robert Bedford Anderson Jefferson Davis. "Our salt reserves have been depleted cleaning the carvings at Stone Mountain. We hope to return to our schedule of rising again once the roads are clear." Over the course of the past 146 years, The South has encountered numerous setbacks in its plan to rise again. In August, for example, delays were caused by a shortage of deep fried Moon Pies. In July, it was just plum too hot.
January 11, 2011
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI--Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Lane Kiffin's surprise departure for Southern California after just one season as head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team. For Haitians who were devastated by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that same day, time has not healed all wounds. "I'm still upset about Kiffin leaving," said Abdias Pericles. "What kind of person does something like that? Our death toll may have been 230,000, but that's nothing compared to how people in East Tennessee must feel." Brunel Pierre, 43, agreed. "I still remember where I was when I heard the news," said the Haitian carpenter. "My home had been destroyed and I had just learned that my wife and daughter were dead. I thought to myself, 'Haven't Tennessee football fans suffered enough?'" Haitians are expected to hold candlelight vigils all over the country tomorrow in memory of Vols fans.
January 9, 2011
KNOXVILLE ZOO--One of the red panda cubs featured at the Firefox Live website is rumored to become the acting mayor of Knoxville tomorrow. Knoxville City Council will hold a special meeting Monday morning, Jan. 10 to elect a new mayor, who will serve the remainder of Gov.-elect Bill Haslam's term. Haslam will be inaugurated on Jan. 15 as Tennessee's newest governor. Originally the Council planned to elect one of its own members as acting mayor. But rumors have circulated that the position will instead go to Spark, a seven-month old red panda. "Spark is outgoing, enjoys climbing legs, and drinks milk with a passion that reflects her desire for good government and fiscal responsibility," said City Council member Chris Woodhull. "And she's soooooooooo cute. Yes she is." If in fact elected, Spark will finish out Haslam's term, which ends after the November election.
January 7, 2011
SOUTH KNOXVILLE--A troll who has made his home underneath the Henley Bridge for the past 78 years has relocated to Mead's Quarry at Ijams Nature Center.
River-troll Foignus Lulir, 537, took up residency near the bridge not long after its construction began in 1930. When the Henley Bridge was finished, he began living in the waters beneath it. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which was established in 1934, provided a steady diet of southbound tourists for Lulir to consume.
"I had it all: food, water, shelter," said the grey-skinned Lulir. "Once a year, the city put on a big fireworks display for me. But with the construction, I can't keep living here."
The Henley Bridge closed on Jan. 3 for 24-30 months for major renovations to address years of decay. Contractor Britton Bridge, LLC., is taking the structure down to its concrete arches. The bridge will then be reconstructed. The bridge construction will make living underneath the structure nearly impossible.
Lulir isn't bitter. In conversation, he accepts the construction as a necessary evil.
"I live in the modern world," he says. "Bridges have to be repaired. I'm lucky it hasn't come crashing down on me already."
But other local monsters aren't so forgiving.
"Everyone is talking about traffic jams and the negative impact the bridge closing will have on South Knoxville businesses," said Fasolt, a giant who resides in Alcoa. "I don't hear anyone talking about what this means for Knoxville's troll population."
"This isn't right," agreed Oneida-based witch Arachna. "He's lived here for almost 80 years. You can't just force someone out of their home. Sure, he's eaten a tourist or two. Most of them probably deserved it."
But for Lulir, the move is a chance to make some much needed changes.
"I think I'm going to become a vegetarian," he said. "I'm getting older, and I have high blood pressure and cholesterol. I've eaten my share of people and talking goats. Mead's Quarry will be a great chance to turn my life around."
January 6, 2011
THE FORT--A 21-year old University of Tennessee student will no longer be consuming copious amounts of beer, margarita, rum, Everclear, sangria, Sex on the Beach or Big Orange Freeze. This time she means it. For real. For the fourth time this year, junior Alicia Forbes has decided to become a teetotaler, forsaking all forms of intoxicating beverage. "I swear to God I'm never going to drink again," Forbes told her friend Agnes the toilet bowl last night shortly before vomiting into her. "Oh, make it stop." Forbes added that if she fought you she would win, and that she could text her boyfriend, but not her boyfriend's mother. It remains to be seen if this will be the final final time Forbes passes out in front of her apartment, or if there will be a final time after that.
January 4, 2011
WASHINGTON--With the 112th Congress set to convene on Jan. 5, Republican and Democratic members of the Senate and House of Representatives are looking forward to not doing much of anything for the next two years. "I think we'll probably spend this term trying to repeal Obamacare," said U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan, the Republican representing Tennessee's 2nd District. "Of course, President Obama will veto that. But why spend time working together to craft meaningful legislation when we can grandstand? It's such a rush." Tennessee's Democratic U.S. Rep from the 5th District Jim Cooper agreed. "I think both parties are enthusiastic about a little competitive obfuscation and spinelessness," he said. "And we all get a kick out of Jon Stewart playing back to back contradictory statements spoken by the same Congressman. We might even give ourselves another raise, just for funsies."
January 2, 2011
NASHVILLE--Say goodbye to Knoxville's beloved Sunsphere. When Gov.-elect Bill Haslam is sworn in on Jan. 15, he will be taking the 266-foot tower with him to Nashville. The Sunsphere's new location will be in the back yard of the governor's mansion. East Tennesseans will be allowed supervised visits with the Sunsphere at the Executive Residence on first, third and fifth weekends. "Situations like this are always hard," said Erika McMartin, an attorney specializing in custody arrangements. "But the most important thing is to provide a stable, loving environment for the Sunsphere. More than anything, it needs undivided attention and predictability right now." "There are several ways you can help the Sunsphere adjust," said child and family therapist Jenna Bruner. "Your patience, reassurance, and listening ear can minimize tension as the Sunsphere learns to cope with its new circumstances."