February 2011 Archives
February 27, 2011
OLIVER SPRINGS--A local wizard fended off five Dementors Saturday night after conjuring what onlookers described as a Patronus Charm that took the shape of a large, bushy moustache. Oliver Springs sorcerer Betrum Wagtail was coming home from the grocery store when he was cornered by a pack of soul-sucking Dementors. The dark creatures began feasting on Wagtail's happiness. Witnesses say the 52-year-old wizard then grabbed his wand and shouted some words in Latin. "There was a wisp of silvery mist and I saw a thick, unkempt explosion of lip hair flying through the sky," said neighbor Cepheus Pilliwickle. "It chased the dark creatures down the street and off into the night." Dementors were used as prison guards at Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex until the facility closed in 2009. The creatures, which gorge on the positive emotions of humans in order to survive, can be dangerous in the wild, and should only be approached by an experienced wizard.
February 25, 2011
OAK RIDGE--The scientific community is pessimistic about the nation's chances for replicating the technology depicted in the film "Back to the Future Part II" by the year 2015.
A team of Oak Ridge scientists has been working around the clock for nearly three decades to prepare the way for a pair of time traveling adventurers from the year 1985.
"On October 21, 2015, Dr. Emmett Brown and his colleague Marty McFly will appear in a time machine," said Jules Brown, one of the physicists attached to the project. "Their goal is to prevent Marty's son Marty McFly, Jr. from participating in a robbery. That event starts a chain reaction that will ruin the McFly family forever. Great Scott! We can't let that happen."
According to Brown, the problem is that technology has not progressed far enough for these events to take place as they are recorded in "Back to the Future Part II." Brown and his team are concerned that this lack of preparation could result in a breach in the space-time continuum, which they say could wipe out reality as we know it.
"Although we have successfully brought about plastic surgery, personalized advertizing, video conferencing technology and a Miami-based baseball team, there are other areas where we are in serious trouble," said Verne Brown, another team member. "We are a long way from having hoverboards, flying cars or electronic clothing that can dry itself. We are decades from a "Jaws 19." And we certainly haven't abolished all the nation's lawyers. Great Scott!"
Others in the scientific community are skeptical of the Browns' claims.
"I think those two buttheads have been watching too much TV," said scientist Miff Tannen. "Humanity has obviously created a different timeline than the one portrayed in those movies. The future isn't set. And why would you even travel to the future to change the future? Everyone knows you change the future by changing the past. I don't even understand why they would be coming here. The Browns should make like a tree and get out of here."
February 24, 2011
KNOXVILLE--Several East Tennessee hobbyists are working hard to recreate the look and feel of America's class war. Unlike Civil War or Revolutionary War reenactors, those who participate in a mock class war spend weeks taking the identity of an upper, middle or lower class American. "Usually we flip a coin," said Jesse Marret, 42. "It's really hard work when you have to be the lower class or the shrinking middle class. No one likes sleeping outside in a tent city or foraging for food in a dumpster. I've learned to how make a thick gruel from dirt and a paste of wet newspaper." "I love it when I get to be upper class," said Jill Scholle, 33. "I usually outsource half my workforce, give myself a $20 million bonus and then tell all the people who I laid off how lazy they are. What a time to be alive."
February 22, 2011
KNOXVILLE--The Knoxville focus of a new crime show called "Sins and Secrets" has made East Knoxville residents aware of just what a perilous wasteland their neighborhood is. The program, which premiered on Feb. 17 on the Investigation Discovery channel, examined the Channon Christian/Christopher Newsom murders. Many of the comments in the debut episode describe the rampant dangers of East Knoxville. Cherry Street, for instance, is described as "no place for the faint of heart." "I knew it was bad here," said East Knoxville apocalyptic hellhole resident Tyrone Dobson. "But I thought everyone lived this way. Between the toddlers on tricycles riding through the streets with Uzis and the jackals feasting on the corpses strewn all over 5th Avenue, it's hard to get out of bed in the morning. Some days I just pray that God will take me in my sleep."
February 20, 2011
KNOXVILLE--Thousands of people took to the streets of Knoxville over the weekend to demonstrate against what they say are the unfair policies of winter. The protestors, who began gathering as early as 9 a.m. on Saturday, milled about on Market Square and Gay Street downtown. Hundreds more gathered on the University of Tennessee campus. Many carried sporting equipment and sang songs in solidarity against frigid temperatures. "We've put up with winter for far too long in this country," said Megan Hoover, 26. "I'm tired of my rights being abused. We're going to take summer back once and for all." "It was a remarkably peaceful protest," said police spokesperson Tinah Miller. "Usually when you have this much anti-winter sentiment in one place, it's a recipe for trouble. But we had only had a few minor incidents."
February 18, 2011
CLINTON--A 42-year-old valentine and mother of two managed to work through an assortment of chocolates this week without falling victim to a putrid mouthful of coconut.
Bobby Amelang has purchased his confection-loving wife Samantha a box of assorted Russell Stover chocolates every year on Valentine's Day for the past 20 years. This was only the fourth year Samantha has been able to effectively avoid her arch nemesis, the dreaded piece of chocolate-covered coconut.
"I love the ooey, gooey caramel-covered ones that overwhelm your taste buds and give your jaws a workout," said Samantha of her love for mystery chocolates. "And those pink roman nougat ones with bits of nuts that kind of taste like toffee. But when I pop a round piece of milk chocolate into my mouth expecting fudge and then get a crunchy mouthful of rancid, tropical fruit vomit, it's like someone scratching nails on a chalkboard, but right in my mouth. Just thinking about it makes me ill."
The box of assorted chocolates has long been a non-lethal game of Russian roulette for candy enthusiasts. But for those who hate the fetid, crusty taste of coconut, it is a serious matter indeed.
"Some people just do not like coconut," said Clara Basilone, who runs her own chocolate shop in Knoxville. "I've gotten death threats. I've even heard talk of government legislation to require permits for concealing coconut in chocolate."
But for Samantha Amelang, it's a risk she's willing to take, though reluctantly.
"I really love chocolate," she said. "I've considered paying one of my kids to weed out the veiled coconut menace, but they might get some of the good pieces. So I just have to take my chances. I don't know why my husband doesn't buy me the boxes of chocolate that have the little map inside. I could avoid gagging and retching every year that way. But I got lucky this time. I haven't been this happy since Hershey phased out its line of chocolate-covered antacids in the mid-80s."
February 17, 2011
WASHINGTON--Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam may soon be trademarking both his name and the names of his three children. The move comes just weeks after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's move to trademark her name and that of her daughter, Bristol. Attorneys are reportedly set to submit applications on Haslam's behalf with the United States Patent and Trademark Office early next week. Should the move be successful, anyone using the word "bill" would be forced to send a quarter to Haslam. Anyone speaking the names of the Haslam children would be required to pay a similar royalty. The Haslams have three children: son Sawdust, and daughters Light Bulb and Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. "This will forever change the way people talk in America, and I think that's great," said trademark attorney Madison Brown. "People will think twice about the way they order the manicotti and ask for the check."
February 15, 2011
KNOXVILLE-- The inflated ego of rapper Kanye West is set to headline this year's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The announcement today by Knoxville's A.C. Entertainment ended months of speculation about which musical act would top the bill of the festival's 10th installment. West's ego will join more than 125 other artists at the four-day, multi-stage camping festival held on a beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn. in June. West's gargantuan ego rose to prominence in the early 1990s when it ended the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop rivalry by devouring several prominent rappers whole. The leviathan shrank considerably after appearing on the 2007 season of NBC's "The Biggest Loser." However, it has since regained its sizeable girth. Previous Bonnaroo headliners have included Jay-Z's wallet, Adam Lambert's mascara and Bono's sunglasses.
February 13, 2011
KNOXVILLE--For the fourth straight Valentine's Day season, 34-year-old Victoria Pipping's frequent objections about her singlehood have failed to secure her a potential mate. Pipping, who ended a long term relationship in late 2006, has spent dozens of evenings since bemoaning her fate to whomever would listen. "I feel just like Bella when Edward wouldn't turn her into a vampire," Pipping told a cashier at Food City again this week. "I'm never going to meet anyone, ever." "It's hard to believe men aren't attracted to Victoria's drunken soliloquies about being alone for the rest of her life," said marriage and family therapist Jenine Kirkpatrick. "The single male clients I see tell me over and over that that's what they typically look for in a relationship. Men just aren't interested in fulfilled women who take charge of their lives."
February 11, 2011
KNOXVILLE--The City of Knoxville has agreed to continue not taking advantage of its relationship to an immensely popular and critically acclaimed novelist.
Knoxville has a strong link to Cormac McCarthy, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Road." Instead of constructing a museum dedicated to the author or hosting a literary festival in his honor, the city has decided to virtually ignore the association for another year.
McCarthy moved to Knoxville with his family when he was four-year's old. He attended Catholic High School and the University of Tennessee. Later, as an adult, he at various times resided in Sevier County, Rockford and Louisville. His early novels "The Orchard Keeper" and "Child of God" both take place in Tennessee. "Suttree" is set in Knoxville on the banks of the Tennessee River. Despite this, a quote from "Suttree" cemented into the ground on Market Square is the only way one might ever know that McCarthy once lived there.
"We are proud of our connection to Cormac McCarthy, who resided in our fair city for several years" said the City of Knoxville in a press release. "McCarthy has been singled out by famous literary critic Harold Bloom as one of 'four living American novelists...who are still at work and who deserve our praise.' He has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. His 2005 novel "No Country for Old Men" was made into a film which garnered four Academy Awards. He is a perfect example of why Knoxville is such a great place to live, work and play. We look forward to pretending that Cormac McCarthy never resided here for many years to come."
McCarthy is not the only influential Knoxville-related writer the city plans to ignore in 2011. The city is also determined to pay little or no attention to its associations to Nikki Giovanni, Elizabeth Gilbert, James Agee, David Madden, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Alex Haley, Richard Yancey, Shannon Burke and Michael Knight, among others.
February 10, 2011
KNOXVILLE--A local couple's relationship took a turn for the legitimate yesterday when their Facebook profiles made the transition from "single" to "in a relationship." Britny Nodini and Colin Lankford have been talking since December, prompting many to speculate about their relationship status. "They were always together," said Nodini's friend Jasmine Lundy. "And they were texting when they weren't. I was like, 'Girl, what's going on?'" The lack of a red heart followed by "Britny is in a relationship with Colin Lankford" in their friends' Facebook news feeds was a cause of concern for many. "When I was in school, a boy asked you to go with him and that was that," said Nodini's mother Jennifer. "Now you have to post it on Facebook. It's about time that little punk asked her out. I was getting worried."
February 8, 2011
KNOXVILLE--Mayoral candidate Madeline Rogero announced today that she has enlisted the support of popular Muppet and baked dessert enthusiast Cookie Monster for her political campaign. Cookie Monster is best known for his role on the long-running children's television show "Sesame Street." "Cookie Monster is an exceptional leader who has profoundly impacted the lives of millions of children with his positive and hopeful message. No one has done more for flat, sweet treats over the past 40 years," Rogero said. "Me like cookies. She like cookies. COOKIES! Om nom nom nom," said the furry blue puppet moments before shoveling a plate of snickerdoodles into his mouth. Rogero is not the first East Tennessee politician to receive such a high profile campaign endorsement. Last year, Tennessee Republican gubernatorial candidate Basil Marceaux was endorsed by a plate of ham.
February 6, 2011
KNOXVILLE--The lineup of the Knoxville Ice Bears hockey team has increased the city's Canadian population by nearly a dozen. More than half the players on the roster of the Southern Professional Hockey League team hail from Canada, making for an interesting cultural dynamic. "Living here took a little getting used to," confessed one Ice Bear. "I have to drive to Kentucky or Virginia to get some Tim Hortons. And the maple syrup and fur trading industries are terrible here. But I do really like shooting at things. It snowed here a lot this winter, too, which was nice. I made an igloo in my yard." "It's too bad my country put up a border fence to keep out the Americans who come for cheap medicine," said another team member. "Now my American teammates have to go to a local pharmacy."
February 4, 2011
KNOXVILLE--Several Knoxville residents are soaking in the luxurious amenities of a new community of gas station-side luxury condominiums and townhomes.
Today The Sanctuary at Sunrise Quarter opened for business on the unspoiled shores of a petroleum lake shaded by immaculate neon billboard trees.
"I love it," said Sherry Bruns, 34. "My boxes are in and I'm starting to unpack. I love nature and I've been excited to see some of the local wildlife. This morning I watched an overweight man in a wife beater smoke an entire pack of Kool Milds. And that was only 15 minutes into my stay here. My binoculars are ready for some action."
Bruns owns one of the 112 units on the property. The upscale project has been years in the making. The community was developed by Lincoln and Sons, a development firm specializing in waste management and the construction of lifestyle-friendly housing. Units on the property range from the more affordable--a 750-square foot unit that sells for $175,000--to the expensive. The most costly unit is a 2,000-square foot townhome selling for $550,000.
"Our family is beyond thrilled," said resident Adam Mangis, 43. "The area really supports our walkable lifestyle. We just go out the front door, dodge across four lanes of traffic, and boom, we can buy toilet paper and dried meat. That's the kind of commitment to neighborhood you just don't find in most cities."
The Sanctuary's developers take pride in the community's commitment to unspoiled natural beauty. The condominiums all feature private balconies, many of which overlook the nearby gas station parking lot. Interiors include nine-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and piles of trash that residents can have pumped directly into their homes.
"I think we picked a great location," said John Clardy, senior project manager. "Here by the gas station you can see a lot of wildlife native to Tennessee. There are rusty cars, tires and the wonderful aroma of petroleum. When people see our incredible location within The Sanctuary and tour our homes, they are sold."
February 3, 2011
NASHVILLE--Al Gore, America's most famous meteorological prognosticator, saw his shadow Wednesday morning, signaling six more weeks of summer. The former Vice President emerged just after dawn in front of an estimated 20,000 witnesses. After surfacing, the pudgy rodent sniffed the air, noticed his shadow, then crawled back inside his den and went to sleep. According to German tradition, if a hibernating environmental activist casts a shadow on Feb. 2, summer will last an additional six weeks. However, if the animal does not see its shadow, fall will come early. This is the fifth year in a row that Gore has seen his silhouette. "Looks like it's going to be another hot and humid summer," said Nashville meteorologist Emily Tramel. "I hope people shoveled some of that snow into their freezers because we're going to need it."
February 1, 2011
KNOXVILLE--A man who used to own his own business is enjoying his exciting new career as a door greeter at a retail store. Hank Winston spent 30 years as the owner of Hank's Hardware. He sold tools and small appliances to customers who he knew by name. Last August his sales dipped and he was forced to close his doors. Now he initials the receipts of people bringing back items for refunds, and he does it with a big smile. "The satisfaction I used to get from owning Harold's is nothing compared to the satisfaction I get from saying hello to people as they come in the store," said Winston. "I used to run every department, order new merchandise and come up with catchy advertising slogans. Now I don't have health insurance and can barely afford to shop in the store I work in. Now that's excitement."