April 2011 Archives
April 29, 2011
NASHVILLE - The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would change the status of macaroni and cheese from a casserole to a vegetable.
As written, the bill will allow people who have eaten the creamy, cheese-infused pasta to count the dish as part of the five servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the USDA as part of a healthy diet.
Thursday's 19-12 Senate approval is the first time a side dish has been changed to a vegetable by either state legislative chamber. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R), who unsuccessfully pushed the same legislation for several years while serving in the House.
"The good people of Tennessee have known for a long time that mac and cheese is a vegetable," said Campfield. "Is it really fair for farmers and scientists to tell us otherwise? I don't think so."
In Knoxville, nutritionists have come out strongly against the legislation.
"This could redefine eating as we know it," said Joeanna Langman, a Public Health Nutrition Professor at the University of Tennessee. "Traditionally, a vegetable has been defined as an edible part of a plant other than the seed or a sweet fruit. Now apparently it's also a mixture of cheese, milk, butter and elbow pasta. What's next? Is bacon a vegetable, too? Pigs in a blanket? Hashbrown casserole? Potato salad? Where does it end?"
The House Nutrition subcommittee is scheduled to review the bill on Wednesday. For it to become law, the bill must also pass in the House.
"I've accomplished what Ronald Reagan attempted when he tried to change ketchup and pickle relish to vegetables," said Campfield. "Am I a better politician than the Gipper? I don't know. But the proof is in the pudding. Incidentally, that's going to be a fruit soon."
The bill is not the first time politicians have intervened in matters related to food and nutrition. In 1994, President William J. Clinton caused a firestorm when he commuted the prison sentence of an infamous sandwich thief known as the Hamburglar.
April 28, 2011
Indicating that it is no longer 1983, a local church has agreed to retire its quartet of gospel singing puppets. The foam and fabric music group formed in the early 1980s in the fellowship hall of the Third Baptist Church of Clinton. Though initially popular enough to tour several East Tennessee churches and Bible schools, interest in the group has waned since the 1990s. "Kids don't seem to respond to us the way they used to," said one of the group's puppeteers. "Well, except the kids that physically attack the puppets. Not long ago a little boy reached across the stage and started punching the baritone in the head. I don't think he'll be buying one of our CDs." The group caused controversy in 1992 when it named its African-American puppet Malcolm.
April 26, 2011
For the past week, a local farmer has been unable to work up the strength necessary to milk her herd of imaginary cows. Over the course of the past year, 29-year-old Rita Capella has grown her FarmVille dairy farm from a single, domesticated ungulate to a force of 40 milk cows. The cows must be milked once a day. Each cow brings a harvest of six coins, making the pixilated ranch a lucrative enterprise. Despite the extensive profit margin, Capella no longer has it in her. "At first I could keep up," said Capella. "But it's so overwhelming. Sweet God, they never stop giving milk. Never. I can't go on vacation. I can't sleep late on Saturdays. I've gone from being a productive member of society to having passed out on the couch from sheer exhaustion. I just can't do it anymore."
April 24, 2011
KNOXVILLE - Last Thursday's first Sundown in the City event of the season produced record amounts of human waste in the alley behind Gay Street, meteorologists say. The annual Market Square concert series drew thousands of music fans downtown for what was the first of five events that will take place this spring and summer. Many of those fans took the opportunity to relieve themselves in the nearby alley. "We typically see a lot of urine fall downtown during Sundown in the City," said Knoxville meteorologist Seth Minard. "But this year we're already above average. In fact, Thursday we saw more urine fall than we did during last year's wettest concert. I believe conditions are right for us to see even more precipitation next month." The next Sundown concert is scheduled for May 12. It will feature Better Than Ezra and Johnny Astro & the Big Bang.
April 22, 2011
KNOXVILLE--Citing the return of Earth Day and the American spirit of hard work and ingenuity, several East Tennesseans have taken on a huge task: completely wiping out life on planet earth by the middle of the century.
Fueled by a passionate environmental speech yesterday by President Barack Obama, a group of citizens from Knoxville have formed a group known as the Earth Summit Task Force. Its mission? The complete eradication of cellular life from the planet by the year 2050.
"I've seen the reports that say London will be underwater by the year 2100," said the group's founder, Katie Gorman. "That's also true of large portions of New York, Boston, Miami, Honolulu, New Orleans, Seattle and San Francisco. I say, 'What's the holdup?' This is America. We put a man on the moon. We perfected the automobile and corn syrup. Surely we can obliterate the world more quickly than this."
"We're going to have to think big," agreed task force Vice President Daniel Fedukovich. "No more of this mindless throwing away plastic bottles because we're too lazy to find a recycling bin stuff. No more of this driving to the store when we could walk five blocks. Anybody can live a thoughtless, self-absorbed lifestyle. If that's all we can come up with, we'll have another couple of centuries at least. No, we're going to have to work harder to actively destroy the planet."
The group has come up with several ideas to spur along the utter annihilation of human, animal and plant life. Proposals include requiring all electronic devices to run only on gasoline, knocking down all existing buildings and rebuilding them from scratch, and chopping down at least half of the world's trees.
"We've got to stop waiting around just hoping the planet will fall apart," said Gorman. "If you want something, you have to go out and work for it. You can't just half-ass this kind of thing. We're all going to have to sacrifice a little."
April 21, 2011
Late last night authorities shut down what they described as South Knoxville's most notorious stuffed animal fighting ring. The illegal fight club was uncovered in a bedroom on Glenhurst Rd. near Chapman Highway. Two siblings are being held for questioning in conjunction with the brutal brawls. "I've never seen such horrible violence," said one observer. "Elmo was being forced to headbutt a small, brown bear. The bear retaliated by jumping up and down on Elmo's face. Then Elmo was slammed into a wall several times and thrown into a mirror with such force that his eyes cracked the glass. It's a good thing Elmo doesn't have any bones or most of them would have been broken." Those responsible for Wednesday's stuffed animal fight will reportedly have to pay for the mirror out of their allowance.
April 19, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS--The United States Olympic Committee is considering a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics and the timing of the procedure makes it likely that the town of White Pine, Tenn. would be its most viable candidate. The bid plan would emphasize use of the White Pine Library, the White Pine School and the White Pine Golf Course to host the games. The bid would include a plan for unticketed visitors to watch the games at Mrs. Arbuckle's house on Maple St. "I think that it would be difficult for any other American city to organize an Olympic bid in this time frame," said U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Douglas Moen. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host of the 2020 Olympics in 2013. Based on previous timetables, the USOC will have to present its bid in early autumn 2011.
April 17, 2011
A Knoxville salon refused to cut Donald Trump's hair Saturday after the real estate mogul's awkwardly combed mane was unable to supply a hairstylist with its birth certificate. "We wanted his hair to show its birth certificate," said Nina Ciampa, a styling specialist at a West Knoxville hair salon. "It kept making excuses. There's something on that birth certificate that it doesn't like." Trump's hair, which features a unique double comb-over weave rarely seen in nature, has been an object of curiosity for years. "It's inconceivable that after 20 years of questioning, Donald Trump's hair still hasn't produced a birth certificate," said Ciampa. "We just asked him to show us the birth certificate. If you go back to my 20s, my 30s, people remember my natural hair. Nobody remembers his. Why is he making an issue out of this? Let's get to the root of the problem, you know, figuratively speaking."
April 15, 2011
TOWNSEND--The increase in warmer temperatures and a narrowly averted government shutdown are luring thousands of suburban-dwelling Americans to sit in traffic on the 11-mile Cades Cove loop.
"I spend about 10 hours every week sitting on I-95," said Suzanne Williams, who commutes from Virginia to Washington, D.C. five days a week. "Huge chunks of my day consist of me screaming at the people in front of me and threatening to kill them with my bare hands. At least here I can do that while also looking at dozens of majestic, white-tailed deer."
Cades Cove is a broad valley surrounded by mountains and filled with a variety of wildlife. Visitors routinely see deer, black bear, coyote, wild turkey, foxes, raccoons and other animals native to East Tennessee. The historic area was used for hunting by Cherokee Indians before it was settled by Europeans in the early 1800s. Several historic buildings are preserved in the loop, including churches, log homes and a working grist mill.
Visitors can drive through the park at their own pace on a one-way loop road that circles the cove. Thousands sit in traffic in the cove each year from all over the nation.
"This is my favorite time of year," said Summer Rumsey, a mother from Glen Ellyn, Ill. "We bring the kids every spring. We love just stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures while thoughtlessly ignoring the people stuck behind us. Oh, look, is that a bear?"
Only bicycle and foot traffic are allowed on the loop until 10 a.m. on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. The road is otherwise open to motor vehicles from sunrise until sunset.
"I love smelling the sweet mixture of fresh mountain air and tailpipe exhaust," said Dave Gerlings of Hoover, Ala. "It's good to get out in nature in your air conditioned truck. I have a special mix CD I like to listen to while I'm enjoying the scenery. AC/DC, fast food hamburgers and the mountains are a surprisingly great combination."
April 14, 2011
KNOXVILLE--A local man who thinks taxes are too high in the United States is lamenting the good old days of bartering with the regional warlords in the capital city of Somalia."Every year when the government steals my hard earned money for its so-called roads and education and hurricane tracking, I think about how much I miss trading charcoal, scrap metal and bananas for the protection provided by armed militias," said 38-year-old Byron Raby. Raby lived in Mogadishu for a year following the fall of the Siad Barre regime and the resulting civil war. During that time he grew accustomed to a self-reliant lifestyle. "We need to learn to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps in this country. And if you don't have any boots, take some off one of the corpses lying in the street. You might be able to trade those for food later."
April 12, 2011
THE OTHER SIDE--The specter of West Point graduate and former President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis has asked Confederacy advocates to finally let go of their longstanding grudge against the Union. Davis has called for an immediate end to hostilities against the North. "It's been 150 years," said Davis' ghost in a press conference Tuesday morning. "It's time to move on. Seriously, it's going to be OK. I know the North doesn't even understand how to drink tea or what to call caffeinated beverages, and that they call cookouts barbecues for some reason. But they're really a nice bunch once you get to know them. We lost the war fair and square. Let's all take a deep breath and let it go." Davis sheepishly added that "it really was about slavery that whole time."
April 10, 2011
ALCOA--Following an incident last week in which an air-traffic controller was fired for intentionally sleeping on the job, Knoxville's airport will also now require all such employees to have heads. Currently there are no such air-traffic controllers working at McGhee Tyson Airport. But there have been in the past. The new policy would require all future employees who work in the airport's radar room to either have or acquire heads. "People who don't have heads should not be able to work in a job where they guide planes in a 50-mile radius around an airport," said a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration. "That's really the sort of job you need at least a cranium and some combination of brain, eyes, ears, nose and mouth to be able to pull off."
April 8, 2011
KNOXVILLE--Some inhabitants of the Fourth and Gill neighborhood are irritated with what they describe as a menacing group of undead creatures terrorizing North Knoxville.
Residents describe marauding reanimated corpses that have escaped from Old Gray Cemetery. The so-called zombies are now ambling through the residential area's streets at night.
"So far they've mainly been annoying," said homeowner Erin Mardus. "After dark I can hear them foraging for food. They've knocked over my trash cans a few times. They're like raccoons, but a lot dumber. I guess that's why they eat brains."
The dead of Old Gray Cemetery began returning to life last month. Groundskeepers initially assumed that someone was digging up graves as a joke. But after a ghoul was spotted staggering down the street repeating the word "brains," officials knew they were dealing with a zombie outbreak.
Police are unsure what triggered the epidemic. Speculation is that nuclear radiation from Oak Ridge may be to blame.
"We're exploring our options," said police spokesperson Tinah Miller. "We've never really seen this before, so we don't know if we should call in the military. The zombies haven't actually attacked anyone, so we can't really say they're dangerous. There have also been reports that they've been performing Michael Jackson's 'Thriller,' so it could be that the undead have higher aspirations than consuming yuppie flesh."
Neighborhood residents remain divided over whether the zombies pose a threat. Some have raised concerns about the spread of disease and the risk to home prices.
"First it was the mission district," said resident John Crews. "Now we've got zombies wandering around. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about what all this is doing to property values."
For others, the outbreak is a chance to witness history firsthand.
"Old Gray is such a historic landmark," said University of Tennessee history professor Shandra Jarrells. "I've been hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the Confederate troops formerly buried here. Last night I think I spotted a zombified Wyoming territorial governor George White Baxter. I'd recognize his moustache anywhere."
April 7, 2011
City residents are still recuperating from what the Tennessee Tea Party referred to in a recent newsletter as "the socialistic principals" of former Knoxville mayor and current state governor Bill Haslam. Haslam served as mayor of Knoxville from 2003-2011. During his time in office, Haslam strictly enforced the common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and the allocation of the city's resources. Dissidents were punished by public execution. "The day he nationalized Knoxville's banks, that was the day I knew that freedom had died in East Tennessee," said Thomas Sparrow, a political prisoner who narrowly escaped capital punishment by digging a hole in his cell wall with a spoon. "Thank God Daniel Brown is in power now. I missed owning private property." Haslam relinquished power over Knoxville in January after he seized control of the state government during a bloody coup.
April 5, 2011
Prosecutors say a Knoxville man has been sentenced to driving back and forth through Pigeon Forge nonstop for an entire week after a jury found him guilty of cocaine possession. Judge Philip Eubanks handed down the sentence to Clarence Melton, 45, on Monday. "Please, anything but this," wept an emotional Melton on being read the sentence. "This is more unbridled economic development than any human should have to bear." Melton's attorney has already filed an appeal. "This is a blatant example of cruel and unusual punishment," said Public Defender Jessica Robbins. "Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic while being subjected to Confederate flags, airbrushed t-shirts and miles of outlet malls? My client would rather spend life in prison. I don't see how a judge could even think of sentencing someone to this."
April 3, 2011
A cruise line specializing in leisure voyages across Fountain City Lake has filed for bankruptcy protection. Ticket sales for Fountain City Cruises have been in sharp decline in recent months, with tourists favoring Tennessee Riverboat Company, Volunteer Princess Cruises and other local companies that instead sail the Tennessee River. Company President Walter Hitchens cites numerous factors behind Fountain City Cruises' decline in popularity. "The ducks from the lake kept robbing the tourists," said Hitchens. "We've had four families robbed at gunpoint in the past two months. In retrospect, we probably also should have found a larger body of water to boat across, and one not so close to a four lane road. We really didn't go on cruises so much as we went on floats. I think people have been disappointed."
April 1, 2011
ATLANTA--World Wrestling Entertainment announced today that wrestling stables the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will face one another this Sunday, April 3 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia at WrestleMania XXVII.
The two adversarial groups of wrestlers will square off in a steel cage as one of the main events during WWE's annual sports entertainment extravaganza. Representing the groups will be Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John Boehner.
"You see, John Boehner is here for one reason, and one reason only," said Republican Party heavyweight champion Boehner, "and that is to fulfill his destiny--fulfill my destiny, and that is to beat Barack Hussein Obama right in the middle of the ring at WrestleMania: 1...2...3."
"You know something Mean Gene, you don't have to remind me and my Obamamaniacs that at the Georgia Dome we're gonna face the ultimate challenge, brother," retorted Democratic Party world champion Obama. "But Obamamania is running wild like it's never run before. I sure hope you're a good loser, John Boehner. Whatcha ya gonna do at the Georgia Dome when the largest ears in the world and Obamamania destroy you?"
The Democratic Party and Republican Party have been rivals for more than a century.
The modern Democratic Party is one of the oldest wrestling factions in the United States. Its modern inception began in 1828. Its past world heavyweight champions have included such superstars as Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson and James K. Polk, master of a dreaded finishing maneuver known as the Manifest Destiny. In recent history, the group rose to power and popularity when Obama won the unified world heavyweight championship against Republican challenger and angry old man John McCain.
Not to be outdone, the current Republican Party got its start in 1854. Its past heavyweight champions include beardmonger Abraham Lincoln and perhaps the greatest wrestling heel to step into the squared circle, Richard Nixon. The Republicans led a devastating attack on the champion Democrats last year. The group is now led by the orange-faced Boehner.