July 2011 Archives
July 31, 2011
WASHINGTON - Congressional Republicans weary from the current debt ceiling stalemate are enthusiastic about their prospects for electing a member of their own party to the presidency in 2012. That way, they say, they can finally put caring about lowering the national debt behind them for another four years. "It would be so much easier if we could go back to saying how much we hate deficits and debt while at the same time racking up trillions of dollars worth of deficits and debt," said House Speaker John Boehner. "I'm so tired. I can't wait to go back to being a complete hypocrite under a president from my own political party. But it looks like we're going to have to pretend to stick to our principles for at least another 17 months or so."
July 29, 2011
RUTLEDGE - A 25-year-old East Tennessee woman has given birth to a fully ripened tomato.
Jessica Stokes and her husband Daniel thought they would have another week before they would meet their baby. They also expected him to a primate, rather than a red edible fruit of the Solanales order of plants. But Noah Jayden Stokes had other plans.
Born at 2:34 p.m. Saturday at Lakeway Regional Hospital in Morristown, Noah is the first known piece of fruit born to a human in the state of Tennessee. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces, which is abnormally large for a member of the nightshade family. Stokes says he is healthy and beautiful.
Ironically, Stokes and her husband were attending the Grainger County Tomato Festival when she started feeling contractions.
"I was enjoying the festival's local art show when they hit me," said Stokes. "My mom had me at 41 weeks, so I wasn't expecting him to come early. But here he is."
Examinations indicate that Noah is a Campari tomato, a variety known for its sweetness and juiciness.
"The child has low acidity and a lack of mealiness, as well as a deep red hue," said Morristown tomato farmer Brent Kannapel. "Later in life he should exhibit resistance to the tobacco mosaic virus. Best of all, he'll be able to wear sweatpants that say 'juicy' across the butt and it will be completely true."
Scientists are baffled by how Stokes could have given birth to a fruit.
"In the wild, tomatoes originally required cross-pollination," said University of Tennessee Botany Professor Jenny Ramos. "They later developed the ability to self-fertilize. Usually that happens in soil though. Frankly this is a little too 'Rosemary's Baby' for me."
But so far Noah is exhibiting no signs of being a despicable hellspawn, the Stokes' family says.
"He poops, he cries, he sleeps," said Jessica. "So far he's a pretty typical kid, except for the tomato thing. Hopefully he won't go all 'Day of the Triffids' on us when he becomes a teenager."
Larry the Cucumber of "VeggieTales" has been selected as the child's godfather.
July 28, 2011
PIGEON FORGE - A Fountain City man is calling on Dollywood Splash Country to come up with a more inclusive dress code after he failed to enter the park wearing Vol orange Crocs or a rebel flag T-shirt. On July 16, Barry Fuller and his girlfriend traveled to the Sevier County water park. Fuller was wearing a white T-shirt and black swimming trunks. "We were walking into the gate area and the man taking the tickets told me I would need me to change my clothing," said Fuller. "I questioned why and he told me it was because Dollywood is a family park. Guests are required to sport mullets, Crocs, a T-shirt tucked into denim shorts, a Confederate flag shirt, or a 'Jesus is my homeboy' shirt. First no 'marriage is so gay' shirts and now this. I'm going to have to go buy some clothes that were popular in 1994."
July 26, 2011
WASHINGTON - The medical community has diagnosed the Republican Party's leadership with retrograde amnesia, a medical disorder which results in the loss of pre-existing memories. Doctors familiar with the disorder say that the condition was probably caused by physical damage to the brain, most likely in the form of a head injury. "Republican majorities voted to raise the U.S. debt ceiling seven times while George W. Bush was the president," said Knoxville-based neurologist Brian Graham. "Today they can't remember ever having done that. They also seem to have forgotten that the previous president added $4 trillion to the national debt, an increase of something like 71 percent. These are classic signs of retrograde amnesia." Doctors are uncertain if the GOP's memories will ever fully return. "With traumatic brain injuries, how much memory will return is a relative unknown," said Graham. "It varies widely largely based on the extent of the damage to the brain."
July 24, 2011
FARRAGUT - An 18-year-old woman who is now legally eligible to vote, join the armed forces and purchase tobacco products has something she refers to publically as a "boyfwiend." According to multiple Facebook statuses, Courtney Measimer has the best boyfwiend in the world and is completely in wuv with him. Further reports indicate that he is the Edward Cullen to Measimer's Bella Swan and the Harry Potter to her Ginny Weasley. Speculation is that Measimer will miss her boyfwiend while she is at college a whole wot. "I'm not sure what a 'boyfwiend' actually is or why a grownup would have one," said Jennie Swanson, who will serve as Measimer's English composition professor in the fall at the University of Tennessee. "It sounds positively awful. I hope she gets this checked out right away before it spreads."
July 22, 2011
HALLS - A growing season buffeted with hail, flooding, damaging winds and extreme heat are wreaking havoc on Tennessee's vital candy corn agriculture market.
Confectionary agriculture is a mainstay of the region's autumn economy. But a series of intense storms combined with a summer of severe heat has done extensive damage at a number of East Tennessee candy corn farms. One local farmers' association has estimated that half a million tons of the tri-colored corn kernels have been destroyed. Losses could be in the billions of dollars.
"It's been a bad year to be a candy corn farmer," said Clyde Newsome, a third generation planter who harvests on his family's land in Halls. "The most difficult aspect of the growing season is normally pest control. Children are a natural predator of the candy corn crop. Fortunately children are easily distracted by strategically placed toys and Voldemort scarecrows. You can't distract a hail storm. And this constant heat melts the crops."
The Food and Drug Administration and the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization on Thursday warned that there could be significant shortages of the corn this Halloween.
"The devastation to the yield is immense," U.N. humanitarian operations spokesman Ibrahim Soomro said on Thursday. "I think it's safe to say it will take some billions of dollars to recover. This is going to have far-reaching consequences for trick-or-treaters come October. But it will also hurt the United States overall as a diabetes-producing nation."
East Tennessee children and their parents are already preparing for candy corn shortages.
"Candy corn is one of my favorite things to get on Halloween," said nine-year-old candied vegetable connoisseur Sophia Mason. "But I think if I compensate with a combination of 3 Musketeers, M&M's and SweeTarts I should be OK. The important thing is to consider both the loss done to the treat bag's artificial color spectrum and the blend of sugar and corn syrup that candy corn offers the palate. If properly managed, there's no reason why this Halloween shouldn't be an appropriately delicious and hyperactive holiday."
July 21, 2011
MARYVILLE - Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain opposes a Shaquille O'Neal move to Maryville, Tenn. on the grounds that state residents would then have to obey Islamic law. O'Neal, who is Muslim, was spotted on several occasions in the Maryville area in 2010. Cain fears that the mere existence of O'Neal in East Tennessee would be enough for the nation's 1.8 million Muslims to force Tennesseeans to follow the Shariah code of conduct, at the very least on Tuesdays from 3-5 p.m. "People idolize him," said Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza. "He's a four-time NBA champion who averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. That's a slippery slope. One minute the guy is eating a large bowl of Bert's Chili at Waffle House, the next thing you know every woman in Tennessee will be required to wear a burqa. Not in my house, son! Not in my house!"
July 19, 2011
Three years ago, Joseph Rodriguez of Knoxville was hopelessly addicted to Mafia Wars and taking quizzes like "What type of skin rash are you?" Today he has come to a comfortable place in his interactions with Facebook. But a recent invitation to Google Plus may change his life. "I don't know if I have the strength to start over," the 35-year-old graduate student said. "I made such a life for myself in Facebook, even if they did constantly redesign the layout. I don't have it in me to figure out the difference is between a Huddle and a Hangout. Facebook is also a much better verb than Google Plus." Rodriguez is one of 750 million worldwide Facebook users who may or may not give a rat's ass about yet another social media platform.
July 17, 2011
OLIVER SPRINGS - Social security recipients, government employees and others who may be affected if Washington politicians refuse to raise the nation's borrowing limit are ready make sacrifices if necessary. "Well, I always tell my Walter that if Friskies are good enough for our Fluffy, then they're good enough for us," said Wilma Bailey, 72. "If they stop sending our Social Security checks, we'll tighten our belts, just like the government. And if we get hungry enough, we'll eat our belts. Or we'll eat Fluffy." Sally Holmes, a soldier who recently returned home from Afghanistan, agreed. "I know Washington only has our best interests at heart. They aren't just playing a game of chicken with the nation's economy. And since a lot of the Senators and Representatives are God-fearing Christians who will still be getting paychecks, I'm sure they'll be glad to help me with my rent. Or maybe Eric Cantor will let me live in his backyard in a hut made from worthless treasury notes."
July 15, 2011
NASHVILLE - In a shocking turn of events, the political career of Republican Tennessee state Senator Stacey Campfield has been unveiled as the final Horcrux created by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
The news has jolted the local wizarding community.
"It appears as though there were eight Horcruxes, not seven as originally reported by Hermione Granger and Harry Potter," said 64-year-old Gulliver Toothill, a Knoxville-based wizard. "The last one has been right under our noses this entire time, posing as the bizarre agenda of a goofy-looking politician."
A Horcrux is a powerful magical object used by a dark wizard to hide a portion of his or her soul. A single Horcrux gives one the ability to resurrect one's body if it is destroyed. By creating eight Horcruxes the Heir of Slytherin acquired near immortality.
"This means that the Chief Death Eater is still out there somewhere," said Egbert Kettletoft, 45. "We're dealing with some very advanced dark magic here. How do you handle a situation like this?
"Clearly we'll have to destroy the Campfield Horcrux, but that's no easy task. This is a white man who tried to join the state's Black Legislative Caucus in 2005. This is a bloke who introduced legislation to issue death certificates for aborted fetuses. Not even You-Know-Who at the height of his power was as tough as this one."
But with the whereabouts of Potter, Granger and their compatriot Ronald Weasley unknown, the task of destroying the final Horcrux has fallen to Glinda Wagstaff. Wagstaff, a 42-year-old witch, sees victory in the political realm. By unseating Campfield in the next general election, she believes the final Horcrux will be destroyed and, with it, the Dark Lord himself.
"We have some work to do between now and 2014," she Wagstaff. "An election is not nearly as exciting as a wand battle. But this comes down to good government that represents all the Muggles and wizards of the state of Tennessee. That means even the gay, half-blood wizards who don't mind paying a little more in taxes."
July 14, 2011
An East Tennessee man is not trying to be sexist or anything, but women suck at sports and can't parallel park worth sour owl crap. Those and other findings were produced by representatives of Lyle Dunson of North Knoxville today as examples of how not sexist he is. "Women want equality, but a blonde guy has never almost run me over when I was walking on the sidewalk at K-Mart, even if he was texting," said Dunson in a statement to the media. This is not the first time Dunson has failed to be sexist. In early May he was not trying to be sexist, but women should not serve in the military since they can't even tell a gun from a hair dryer. It ain't right is all there is to it and he is just saying.
July 12, 2011
NASHVILLE - State Rep. Julia Hurley, R-Lenoir City, confirmed today that she was disciplined for passing notes to a colleague during a late-night session in May. "It was a fact-finding mission," Hurley said of the incident. "My girlfriends and I thought this would be a good way to get to the truth. The note read, 'Do you like me?' Underneath were boxes with the words 'yes,' 'no' and 'maybe.'" Unfortunately for Hurley the note was intercepted by a teacher's aide. The State Rep.'s name was quickly scrawled on the chalk board to the delight of her peers, many of whom have taunted Hurley ever since. Hurley, 29, was forced to miss an entire session of recess for the incident. "It really wasn't so bad," said Hurley. "Rep. Mary Pruitt and I didn't get to play four square, but she cheats anyway. I'm just lucky the teacher didn't read the note to the class. More importantly, this reiterates how much we need education reform in this country."
July 10, 2011
VONORE - An aging, Italian plumber has confirmed that a princess thought to be a captive at Fort Loudoun, Tenn. has been moved to another fortress. According to Mario, a sewage systems tradesman who performs covert operations for the Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach, 42, was being held against her will in the reconstructed British colonial fort in Monroe County. "I infiltrated the stronghold and dropped the turtle-dragon man who kidnapped her into a vat of hot lava," said Mario. "But then a talking mushroom told me that the princess was somewhere else. It sounds like I've been dropping acid when I say it that way, huh?" An anonymous tip indicates that the princess is now imprisoned in Fat Man's Squeeze at Rock City near Chattanooga. Peach was initially taken from her home in the Mushroom Kingdom in 1985. She has been rescued and re-kidnapped dozens of times since, leading law enforcement experts to swear and blame the computer for cheating.
July 8, 2011
Following New York's decision to legalize same-sex marriage last month, Tennessee has become the first state to legalize marriage between humans and waterfowl.
Saturday at 2 p.m. Scott Crown of Halls and an unnamed female Mallard of Fountain City will exchange vows near Fountain City Lake.
"This is the day we all feared," said Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly on learning of the impending wedding ceremony. "I predicted several years ago that this would happen. The secular progressive movement wants to have marriage abolished. Under the guise of equal rights, they are destroying the foundations of civilization and the definition of marriage. And now we have a man marrying an aquatic bird. Admittedly, she's a very pretty duck. But these are not the principles this country was founded on."
But for Crown, the wedding is not a political statement. It's a matter of sharing his life with "the one."
"It was love at first sight," he said of meeting his bride to be. "I was taking a walk and eating an apple. She was biting an old woman who wasn't dispensing bread quickly enough. Our eyes locked and I knew she was my soul mate."
He speaks of the marriage hopefully, but with a dose of realism.
"It's going to be a challenge," he said. "I can't swim, so living in the lake is out of the question. But my apartment doesn't allow animals. She eats bread. I'm allergic to gluten. I guess marriage is always a lot of work. We'll figure it out."
Most of Crown's family is supportive of his decision. A few, however, admit skepticism.
"Honestly, I'm a little worried for the guy," said Crown's brother. "The ducks in Fountain City are an angry bunch. I saw three of them rob a convenience store once. Those things are not marriage material. I hope he knows what he's getting into."
A similar wedding almost occurred on July 4 when Tim Brooks loved America so much he considered marrying it. Cooler heads prevailed when he realized that might be an inter-species marriage. Then he shot a Canadian.
July 7, 2011
New data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the average Knoxville resident is a portable, muzzle or breech-loaded weapon from which projectiles are shot by the force of an explosive. According to figures released earlier in the year, the city of Knoxville grew from 173,890 to 178,874, an increase in population of nearly three percent. The new numbers further indicate the typical citizen of the city is not a bipedal primate, but rather a weapon featuring a hollow, tubular barrel that fires objects at a flat trajectory. "The findings surprised me a little," said Urban Growth Manager Michelle Vegel. "Knoxville is getting younger. The minority population is also increasing. Those things I saw coming. But I expected more people reflected in those numbers, and far fewer trigger-initiated, hand-held firing armaments. I would be curious to see how our population stacks up against the rest of the state."
July 5, 2011
KNOXVILLE - Country music star Lee Greenwood announced today that he made it through Independence Day without having to suffer through his best known single, "God Bless the USA." Greenwood, who spent the holiday watching fireworks in East Tennessee with friends and family, admitted that "that thing gets on my last nerve." "I hate that song, man," said the irritated singer. "Why must they play it every single year? Woody Guthrie's 'This Land Is Your Land' is a much more nuanced portrait of patriotism. Play some Springsteen or Steve Earle. Just leave me out of it." Greenwood avoided hearing his popular song synced to explosions through a triune strategy of stuffing his ears full of partially chewed up hamburger meat, wrapping his head in red, white and blue gauze, and playing cymbals throughout Knoxville's entire fireworks display.
July 3, 2011
Several hundred shirtless people descended on Market Square on the evening of July 1 for a five minute flash mob. The revelers pranced about in the semi-nude while onlookers reacted in horror, laughter or downright confusion. "I've seen a lot of disturbing things in my life, but this is up there," said Gwen Kennedy, an observer who happened to be eating at Tomato Head at the time. "Some people shouldn't go topless in public. There was a lot of sagging and pasty white old man flesh. My retinas are burnt out husks now." Some experts were critical of the event. "A flash mob doesn't mean you literally flash people," said Katrina Hampton, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City. "How embarrassing for Knoxville. I can't think of a more epic fail. Unless maybe the event was so well-publicized that three TV news crews showed up."
July 1, 2011
An impending vote by the Tennessee state Senate to ban the sale of magic beans has gained the support of downtown Knoxville's open-air farmers' market.
"We are very happy that the Senate will be taking this step toward prohibiting a potentially dangerous product," said Market Square Farmers' Market Director Victoria Hobson. "We've all heard the horror stories. A poor widow sends her son to market to sell the family's only cow. Then a con artist tricks the boy into trading the cow for a handful of magic beans. The next thing you know, there's a big-ass beanstalk in the middle of downtown."
The bill has widespread bi-partisan support and is expected to be added to the Senate's consent calendar later in the month, which is used to allow for final passage of noncontroversial bills.
To become law, the legislation must also pass the state House of Representatives and receive Gov. Bill Haslam's signature.
"Except for a few isolated incidents, including Shaquille O' Neal's presence in and around Maryville last year, East Tennessee has been giant-free since the early 1920s," said the bill's sponsor, State Sen. Jamie Woodson, R-Knoxville. "We have a reputation as a great place to go where tourists don't have to think about being eaten by leviathans. We aim to keep things that way."
Woodson added that the beans aren't what people think.
"What people don't realize is that these beans grow kudzu," she said. "What do you think happened to South Knoxville?"
Not everyone supports the ban, however. For Knoxville residents like Travis Barger, the bill is one more instance of the government telling him what to do.
"If I want to be able to buy magic beans and plant them in my yard, I should be able to. This is America, not Russia. I don't need the government or some hippies at the farmers' market telling me what I can and can't plant in my yard. Maybe I like killing giants. I've got a double barrel shotgun that says the bigger they are, the harder they fall."