August 2011 Archives
August 30, 2011
A perplexed Creator of the Heavens and the Earth declared in a statement to the press today that He is unable to follow what passes for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's logic. "Bachmann told an audience Sunday that I tried to get the attention of politicians in Washington with an earthquake and hurricane," said the Ancient of Days. "Apparently this was my way of letting them know that their spending is out of control. First of all, why would I cause billions of dollars in damage if I was concerned about overspending? That's the sort of behavior she should expect from the Norse deity Loki, not me. And secondly, why wouldn't I just write Congress or the Obama administration a letter? Using earthquakes and hurricanes to get people's attention is so 2,400 B.C. I have Facebook and Twitter now. This Bachmann person sounds like a real drama queen."
August 28, 2011
A Knoxville literacy program received 17 boxes of adverbs yesterday from Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling. Rowling is known for her philanthropy, but this is the first time she has contributed parts of speech to those in need. "I guess she had so many adverbs that she didn't use in the novels and she thought she would donate them to a good cause," said Knox County librarian Amber Odom. "I don't know why she picked Knoxville, but we are extremely grateful. Whoops, I just used one of them myself." Rowling's characters are known for speaking loudly, sharply, sleepily, glumly or even shrilly. Literacy advocates in Knoxville are confident that those and many other modifiers will serve the East Tennessee community. "We're hopeful that some of these adverbs can be auctioned to angst-filled teenagers writing about lovesick vampires," said Odom. "I only hope she kept a few spares in her study, in case she decides to write 'Harry Potter and the Cauldron of Dangling Participles' someday."
August 26, 2011
When Christos Papadopoulos made the decision to pledge the Delta Chi Chi fraternity at the University of Tennessee, he expected to eat gyros over rousing discussions about Stoicism and the tragedies of the playwright Sophocles. Instead he found himself hearing a lot of talk about a brotherhood of men who work toward common goals, binding himself to his new friends through rituals, and the pros and cons of drinking beer produced by the New Belgium Brewing Company.
"It wasn't quite what I expected," said Papadopoulos, who moved to the United States from Greece in 2004. "When I was looking at attending UT this fall, people told me I should take the time to learn more about Greek life on campus. I was like, 'I'm from Greece. I know all about Greek life. I'd love to see how it has been integrated here in the southeast.' But this isn't really Greek life. When I asked someone about where I could get some good ouzo and moussaka, all I got was an awkward laugh and a glassy-eyed stare."
Papadopoulos isn't alone. Vasso Tolias moved to Chicago with her parents when she was 11-years old. She started her freshman year at UT last week and accepted a bid from the Zamba Zeta Lamba sorority.
"The culture of Greece is thousands of years old," said Tolias. "It began in the Mycenaean period and continued into the Hellenistic Period. We pretty much invented philosophy and theater. We have two of the most influential epic poems in literature. But all my sorority sisters talk about is football, men, and how great they look in red dresses and black pants."
Nonetheless, Papadopoulos and Tolias have resigned themselves to bonding with their new Greek families.
"Don't get me wrong," Papadopoulos said. "Family is very important in Greek culture. This is a new kind of family. My brothers and I just don't seem to have any parents, so we kind of drink a lot. I'm starting to get really good at beer pong."
August 25, 2011
The lustrous yet brawny facial mane of personal injury attorney Stephen A. Burroughs has thrown its oversized fists into the Knoxville mayoral race. The beard serves as Burroughs' personal army and is reportedly the reason God rested on the seventh day. "I believe in this city we share and I know we can do better in delivering on the basic services that Knoxville residents depend on," said the cavalcade of whiskers in a statement to the press. "We need a city government that governs more effectively, and I want to work with you to get there." "I don't think any of the other candidates stand a chance now," said Knoxville political analyst Timothy First. "This beard is a force of nature. It accidentally caused a 5.8 earthquake on the East Coast Tuesday. It successfully lured a Trader Joe's store to Knoxville and was instrumental in the reopening of J's Mega Mart. Not even Cookie Monster's shocking endorsement of Madeline Rogero will make up the difference in the race now."
August 23, 2011
About 50 topless women marched through downtown Asheville Sunday as part of a protest organized by the group GoTopless.org. The organization argues that laws preventing women from baring their breasts in public are unjust. About 1,000 teenage boys and a few dozen creepy, middle-aged men also attended the rally. "When I first heard that women were being oppressed in this way, I thought to myself, 'I have to take a stand,'" said 15-year-old Austin Troyer. "If women want to walk around without shirts in my presence, they have that right. And please, I'm begging you, exercise that right." Gender equality enthusiast Kyle Dunlow, 16, expressed similar views. "This is an important day for fairness," he said. "Forget about equal pay for equal work. This is the next step in the battle against sexism. I saw so much freedom here today. I've never felt so patriotic." "A lot of people support the right to bear arms," added Troyer. "I support a woman's right to bare her chest. It's definitely what the founding fathers would have wanted."
August 21, 2011
A Knoxville group recently released a report that included community input detailing recommendations on creating solutions for homelessness in the city. One proposed solution suggested that the area's transient population be moved to Chattanooga. The assembly was formed after the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness was temporarily indefinitely put on hold. The group's job was to gather input from the community in coming up with possible solutions for the city's homeless. "Chattanooga is a fantastic city that some in the community believe would be a better fit for homeless individuals in our city," said homeless advocate Robin Condin. "'Forbes Magazine' ranked Chattanooga 8th out of 100 metro areas as a best 'bang for your buck' city. There are parks and zoos and a nine-day music festival. The air is cleaner there and the public transportation is superior. I can't think of a better place for Knoxville's homeless to live. I'm only looking out for my, I mean their interests."
August 19, 2011
The Volunteer State is hardly the most crowded locale on the planet. But with a population density of 154 people per square mile, according to 2010 census data, it doesn't seem like the type of place where one could get lost.
But that's exactly what happened to Mark Evry when he stepped out of his home on the morning of April 15.
"My wife Janet and I had just moved to a new house in a brand new subdivision," said Evry. "I was taking our dog Jack out for a walk around the neighborhood. Well, Jack got away from me and I started chasing him. The next thing I knew, not only could I not find Jack, but I didn't know where I was. All the houses were exactly the same."
Evry, who had left both his keys and cell phone at home, wasn't too concerned at first. But as the morning stretched into afternoon, and the afternoon into dusk, he became worried.
"I played it cool for a while, yelling my dog's name, hoping that I would recognize one of my neighbors," he continued. "Unfortunately I didn't actually know any of my neighbors. I couldn't remember my house number either."
Featuring four bedrooms, a large garage, short driveway, well-manicured lawn, and mixture of brick and vinyl siding, the West Knoxville home had no features distinguishing it from all the others in the neighborhood. Unbelievably Evry spent four months roaming the small subdivision.
"I survived by eating grass clippings and collecting rainwater in an old boot. Then miraculously one day I saw Janet coming out of our house, just like that. Unfortunately she had given up hope that I would be found and had gotten remarried. Now I know how Tom Hanks felt in 'Castaway.'"
Now an older and wiser Evry has words of caution for new homeowners.
"If you're going to move to the suburbs, make sure you write your address on your hand. Or memorize your wife's phone number before going outside. And above all else, for God's sake leave the house wearing pants."
August 18, 2011
OAK RIDGE - Scientists told Tennessee voters Wednesday that they don't believe in Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, calling the Texas governor a scientific theory that has not been proven. "We have seen little verifiable evidence that this so-called Rick Perry has the capacities associated with personhood, in either a moral, legal or physiological context," said Grant Braden, a molecular biologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "How do we know he isn't really a flock of chickens dressed up as a rootin' tootin', succession-happy politician? From our perspective, we don't want to be engaged in spending millions of dollars of campaign donations on a scientific theory that has not been proven and from our perspective is being more and more called into question." Braden's opinion runs counter to the view held by an overwhelming majority of Americans, which is that Perry is a hominoid with a semi-highly developed brain who is somewhat capable of abstract reasoning, language and problem solving.
August 16, 2011
Former University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl's eleventy hundred thousand-square foot home in Gettysvue will be turned into student housing, according to a source close to the college. The home, which was reportedly listed for $2.69 million, is located in the Gettysvue neighborhood. Situated on an acre lot, the home has five bedrooms, a formal dining room in a turret, a billiard room, a theater, an exercise room, six-and-a-half baths, eight fireplaces, three laundry facilities, a saltwater pool, a moat, three bowling alleys, a petting zoo with llamas and chimpanzees, two roller coasters, a working space shuttle, a 27-store mall with an escalator and a small Alpine village of 30 residents. "It's obscene how big the place was for such a small family," said Executive Director of Athletic Coach Housing Charlotte Sherrill. "We thought, why not keep it with the university and house a few hundred students at the same time? Naturally we'll let the football team stay there. Really, who else would we give it to?"
August 14, 2011
Starting today, shoppers traveling to West Knoxville from other parts of the city will first have to pass through security checkpoints placed along a 30-mile long border fence. Those passing through the border will show their passports and answer a few basic questions. A small number of cars may also be searched at random. "We like to know who is coming to our stores," said Josh Palmer, a West Knoxville border patrol officer. "It's nothing really, just a precaution. But, well, people from South Knoxville and North Knoxville and East Knoxville, they aren't like us. You have to keep your eye on them. Most of them are completely harmless. It's the ones who aren't that I worry about." Additionally, border security will check the radiation levels of shoppers coming from Oak Ridge.
August 12, 2011
NEW YORK - The bicameral legislature of the United States earned major accolades on Thursday when the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced nominations for the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony.
The Senate and House of Representatives collectively were nominated for 24 awards, the most the legislative branch of the federal government has ever received.
The announcement is unprecedented. Normally the Academy announces its nominations just a few weeks before the year's award winners are made known. This year, for instance, award nominations took place on May 11. Awards were distributed on June 19 on a broadcast on CBS. The 2012 awards will not be distributed until next year.
"We decided to go ahead and nominate now," said Malachy Wienges, a National Academy of Television Arts & Science Chairman. "Nothing is going to top this year's performance by Congress. It was like 'Lost.' There were so many unanswered questions: Would the Republican Party cave to demands from the Tea Party? Would Democrats be able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Would Barack Obama furrow his brow? Would there be bipartisan cooperation and unicorns and rainbows? Those were the things Americans were wondering as we stood around the water cooler."
"There were so many great moments this summer," agreed Vice Chairman of the National Academy of Television Arts & Science Chairman Barbara Williams-Perry. "Nancy Pelosi turned out to be Ronald Reagan's long lost daughter. John McCain was revealed to be a robot. We learned that John Boehner and Harry Reid are secretly lovers. Short of them revealing that the entire debt ceiling thing was a dream, I don't think that the writers could top this stuff."
Nominations include Boehner for Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Reid for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Pelosi for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Congress itself received a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series.
Congress gained the highest total with its 24 nominations, followed by "Sesame Street" with 21 and "Days of Our Lives" with 20.
August 11, 2011
Saturday one of Knoxville's most heavily used greenways will host an all day celebration of rubbish and debris. The first annual Third Creek Litter Festival will honor the otherwise barren area's enhancement by empty candy wrappers, grocery store shopping bags and discarded plastic bottles half filled with urine. "I think it's great that our city's residents are so collectively committed to throwing things into the Third Creek watershed," said Mindy Barrett, 33, who plans on attending the festival Saturday with her family. "I can't believe there are some people out there who put this kind of stuff in trash cans. What a complete waste." The festival will take place on the greenway from the area near the entrance to Tyson Park to the Earth Fare store in Bearden. Festival goers are encouraged to purchase food and beverages from venders to throw on the ground.
August 9, 2011
There are four new members of the Knoxville Police Department, and while they can't drive cars or fire guns, they can moralize at a moment's notice in song form. Short in stature, and armed with green hair and orange skin, the Oompa Loompa unit was added a month after city officials made a public plea for the new glee squad. "We are very excited," said police spokesperson Tinah Miller. "The Oompa Loompas are fully trained but young enough to give a full life of service. We're looking forward to some of the songs they come up with to sing about bratty children and their parents. Personally I hope they find a way to rhyme 'sunsphere' with 'brassiere.'" Police department funds had initially been too tight to purchase the Oompa Loompas, estimated to cost about $20,000 each to acquire and train. But within days of making public the need for the new unit, residents were donating money. "Knoxville clearly sees Oompa Loompas as an essential tool for fighting gluttony and excessive television watching," said Miller.
August 7, 2011
An afternoon potluck supper hosted by the Third Baptist Church of Sweetwater today will feature almost two dozen types of multi-colored, gelatinous salad. According to a spokesperson from the church, the salads represent every color on the visible spectrum and contain ingredients from all of the major food groups. Included are salads enclosing shaved carrots; pineapple, cottage cheese and walnuts; cherries, pretzels and marshmallows; as well as Sister Mary's ham and mayonnaise surprise. "This is more fruit than I've eaten all year," said Bill Giles, a deacon and Sunday school teacher renowned for his triangular pimento cheese sandwiches. "I hope I don't spend all night on the toilet." Also scheduled to appear at the potluck are fried chicken, pigs in a blanket, JoJo's famous potato salad and Meemaw's deviled eggs.
August 5, 2011
Eating locally grown food is a growing trend. Food produced in local communities is being sought out by urban socialites and down home country boys alike. Some will dismiss locally grown food as just another elite trend. But now even East Tennessee's undead population is getting in on the action.
"We're eating all fresh and local ingredients," said the former Michael Lewis, an animated corpse who became local food himself after he was attacked by zombies. "We're sourcing most of our food through Knoxville right now. It's much easier when you hunt your own sustenance right off the street. The brains taste so much better when they aren't shipped from California or somewhere in Canada."
Lewis is one of dozens of local zombies who have decided that the best food is from right here in East Tennessee. He cites a variety of reasons the undead are choosing food grown in their neighbor's own backyards.
"It's better for the environment for one thing," said Lewis. "Local food also stimulates the economy here at home, rather than lining the coffers of some corporation. Then there's the thrill of the chase. You don't get that with food shipped from out of state."
"The food is so fresh," the former Lois Pedrosa of Jefferson City agreed, as she ate a tourist with Hamblen County plates on his Sedan. "I can't believe I spent so many years buying my meat at the market. The fresher you get it, the better. I'll be coming back for more for sure. Probably when you least expect it."
Knoxville officials aren't as happy about the trend.
"Look, I'm all for fresh food and environmental sustainability," said Knoxville Police Department officer Brian Romero. "But frankly I like not being eaten by plodding creatures of the night. So what if the zombie food comes from Kentucky or Alabama. The zombies might have to tear off a wife beater or apply some deodorant to the meal first, but that's not such a big deal in the big scheme of things."
August 4, 2011
A confused woman from Birmingham, Ala. was freed from a roundabout at the intersection of Concord Road and Northshore Drive Monday after she spent seven hours driving in circles. Firefighters noticed Tammy Burns, 39, repeatedly driving around the roundabout without exiting at 3:30 p.m. After spotting the woman's Alabama plates, Knoxville Fire Department Capt. Jim Bishop pulled up beside the vehicle and guided it to safety. "We get this occasionally," said Bishop. "Some people have never seen a roundabout before." Bishop explained the purpose of the roundabout to Burns and sent her on her way. "I've never been so confounded in my life," said Burns. "Why in the world would people in Tennessee drive in circles for hours? The only thing I could think of was that my ex-husband had built the thing."
August 2, 2011
When you think of firefighters, you probably have a mental image of men and women in uniform sliding down a pole to board trucks and put out fires. But for some Knoxville residents, poles mean one thing: strip clubs. "I don't like it, "said Sara Yarbro, a member of Mothers Against Poles. "Firefighters shouldn't encourage this type of behavior. Firefighters should be rescuing cats from trees and protecting our city from burning down. They don't have time to be running houses of ill repute." MAP also has complaints about several traditional Knoxville barber shops. "Barber shops should be cutting hair, not making men stare," said Yarbro. The Knoxville Fire Department declined to comment for this story, but could be heard rolling its eyes in the background.