September 2011 Archives
September 30, 2011
An animated 24th letter of the English alphabet fired up a tea party rally Thursday by announcing that it has seceded from the written system of symbols used to represent sound units.
The former letter told the audience that the oppressive overreach of the federal alphabet had forced its hand.
"We had a great union," said the former 24th letter. "There was absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But big alphabet continued to thumb its nose at letter's rights. Sometimes you have to stand up and say, 'I'm not going to take it anymore.' I just want the alphabet to stay out of my way."
Reaction to the letter's decision varied.
"This actually isn't that big of a deal," political pundit Frederic King said after hearing the letter's decision. "There will be some fallout, of course. The hardest hit will be mutants, pornographers and mathematicians. But we're confident that Marvel Comics will be able to rebound. We'll have to see about the smut industry. And, frankly, we could all do with a little less algebra in our lives. Take it from me, solving for that letter is pretty pointless after high school."
Others took a more dismal view of the situation.
"This does not bode well for future Super Bowls and WrestleManias," said University of Tennessee political science professor Dorothy Hetrick. "Roman numerals will have to be phased out immediately. And how will pirates mark the spot? With P? Don't be ridiculous."
Chemist Dan Clark agreed.
"The scientific community is taken aback by this news," he said. "We're going to have to call it Zenon now. The periodic table will have to be amended. This is a significant blow to the noble gases. Generally they're an unreactive bunch, but I think we're going to see a reaction this time."
The modern English alphabet was finalized in the 16th century after the letter w declared its independence from England, and following the formation of the unique letters u and j. This is the first time a letter has seceded from the alphabet since a, b, t and u formed their own alphabet during the American Civil War. The letters quickly rejoined the union after realizing they could only spell 14 words.
September 29, 2011
Real-estate business owner George Wallace will consider changing his name if he wins against John Stancil in the November election for Knoxville City Council At-Large Seat A. Wallace, 52, shares his name with former Alabama Governor, segregation advocate and professional jackass George Corley Wallace, Jr. Knoxville's Wallace received 51.3 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election. He will go on to face Stancil in November. Stancil garnered 20.1 percent of votes Tuesday. "Let me be clear," said Wallace. "I am not in favor of segregation: today, tomorrow or ever. My parents named me before the other George Wallace started acting like a lamewad racist crazy person. It sucks that one guy ruined a perfectly good name for the rest of us. But I have formed an exploratory committee to consider possible new names. Right now I'm leaning toward Sergeant Whoopass or Grover Cleveland."
September 27, 2011
Fans of slow-cooked hog suffered a crushing defeat Sunday when a "barbecue" held by Amy and Craig Quinn of Knoxville featured hamburger patties and hotdogs heated on a grill. Almost two dozen hungry East Tennesseans traveled to the Quinn residence that afternoon expecting to eat pulled pork served alongside potato salad and baked beans. But that's not what they found on their paper plates. "First she tried to hand me something that was clearly not pulled pork doused with tangy barbecue sauce, served on a bun, and topped with cole slaw and a pickle," said Carrie Cook. "Then she had the nerve to ask if wanted a pop. I swear before God I almost punched that woman." "It was a little awkward," added Matt Brooks. "I had my bib and wet naps all ready to go, and there was Amy's husband was putting hotdogs on a plate with tongs. They've obviously not been in the South very long." Knoxville has not experienced such a culinary disaster since the Pritchard family served spaghetti topped with chili in 2008.
September 25, 2011
During a campaign stop in Knoxville Saturday, Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry unveiled his plan to show that government is the problem. Perry, who cut funding for Texas fire departments by 75 percent this year, leaving the state more susceptible to the wildfires that have recently destroyed more than 1,500 homes, is eager to demonstrate what damage the federal government can do with him in control of its executive branch."Ronald Reagan famously said that government is the problem," said Perry. "I'm here to prove it. I have ample experience in using the Texas government as a conduit to make life worse for everyone. But I can only do so much harm at the state level. With the full backing of the federal government, I can do some real damage that will negatively impact the country for years to come. If you're looking for self-fulfilling prophesy in 2012, I'm your man."
September 23, 2011
When Sharon Shepherd opens her eyes tomorrow morning, she will roll out of bed having not slept with a rock embedded in her spine. She will breathe in the pleasing aroma of clothing not permeated by wood smoke. And she will fry several slices of bacon on a stove eye in a matter of minutes, instead of first splitting tree trunks, arranging the logs into a small pyramid and blowing on embers for hours to ignite a fire.
It's all part of a rugged weekend that Shepherd plans to spend not camping in the Great Smoky Mountains.
"I have a house," said Shepherd. "I like sleeping indoors in my queen-sized bed. I like not having to build my bed first before I sleep in it. I like not having to gather sticks if I want to eat a piece of meat. I like being able to shower every day and use the bathroom without burying anything in a hole. I like not having to scratch poison ivy and bug bites. Not camping really is my idea of the perfect weekend."
Shepherd's views are in stark contrast to her husband Patrick, who will spend the next four days in the woods with several friends for an extended male bonding weekend. Patrick will eat partially cooked meat, not shower and trudge through the woods all day for no particular reason.
But Shepherd will spend that time taking bubble baths, getting a pedicure and reading a thick novel on the couch.
"Oh, I thought of something else," said Shepherd. "The longest hike I'll take will be if I want to go upstairs to get another pillow to make myself extra comfortable. And I won't have to keep moving around the living room to keep the campfire smoke from burning out my retinas every time the wind shifts.
"Best of all, when I don't come home from the woods, I don't have to spend four hours unpacking the car. Not camping is so much fun. I may even go not camping again next weekend."
September 22, 2011
Furious local Facebook users took to the Facebook status updates Wednesday to express dissatisfaction with the latest layout changes implemented by the world's largest free social networking website. The demonstrations come just two days after protestors typed their anger over Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' announcement that Netflix would split into two companies. "I haven't been so upset since the last time Facebook changed its layout," said Facebook user Brandi Russell. "This is the next to next to next to last straw. I'm moving to Google + but I'll probably be back by Saturday. I'm sure Facebook's layout will have changed again by then." Nathan Szabo agreed. "This makes me want to hurl a virtual brick through a virtual storefront window or beat up some 'Grand Theft Auto' prostitutes," he said. "Mark Zuckerberg, you really are a jackass."
September 20, 2011
People listed on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry will now be monitored 24 hours a day with a magical artifact under an executive order issued Monday by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. Registered sex offenders will be observed using a device known as a Marauder's Map. The map was created especially for Knox County by the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in England. The document will show every inch of every library location and its grounds, and will alert authorities when a registered sex offender is present. The order follows an executive order by Burchett last week which bans registered sex offenders from visiting county libraries. "This seems the best way to enforce the original executive order," said Burchett. "After all, how will the library know when sex offenders are present? I don't think each librarian will be able to memorize the faces of all the registered sex offenders in the city of Knoxville and Knox County. And unfortunately we don't have the funds for retina scanners at the front of every library. Magic is the way to go here."
September 18, 2011
The Tennessee Valley Authority is adding about 6,600 megawatts of electricity to the power grid by harnessing the crushing disillusionment experienced by UT football fans. The Vols lost to the Florida Gators yesterday 23-33 in Gainesville, ending UT's season winning streak at two games. The Vols have not won against Florida since 2004, when the Gators lost in Knoxville 28-30. TVA is expected to power approximately three million homes in East Tennessee with the feelings of bitter resentment and soul-wrenching despair generated by the loss. "We are pleased to move forward with another source of locally-produced, renewable power for the TVA service region," said TVA spokesman Carl King. "This is a clean burning energy that we expect to be able to tap into for many, many years to come. If only we could figure out how to get power out of Derek Dooley's orange pants."
September 16, 2011
East Tennessee is no stranger to festivals celebrating food. The Grainger County Tomato has been going strong for decades. Knoxville's International Biscuit Festival, just two-years-old, was named by Livability.com as the best food festival in the nation. Then there's this weekend's pork-themed Bacon Fest.
But watch your arteries because there's a new festival in town. Just in time for summer, Knoxville will host the world's first Heart Disease Festival. The event, which will take place on Saturday, June 23 next year, looks to celebrate the positive aspects of unhealthy eating.
"You're always hearing about the negative side of cardiac disease and how it's the leading cause of death in the United States," said Thomas Kuosa, one of the festival organizers. "We're here to focus on the positive side of heart disease. For instance, there's the joy of consuming 10 triple cheeseburgers topped with sawmill gravy, followed by a chocolate chip funnel cake, followed by double deep fried Double Stuf Oreos crumbled in chocolate ice cream and topped with whipped cream."
"The media is such a Debbie Downer," agreed Stacey Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the festival. "You're always hearing about how many people die because of their poor diet. Where are all the positive stories about how great the junk food tastes and how a man's excess fat stopped the bullet that would have lodged in his heart? It's so typical of the media's bias."
The festival will consist of venders selling items like Haribo Gummy Clogged Arteries. Entertainment will include an overeating contest and a surgeon performing a triple bypass surgery onstage synchronized to Pink Floyd's "The Wall." The organizers hope to book musical acts Meat Loaf, Cake and indie rock band The Strokes to perform. The festival organizers also plan to have a record number of portable toilets on hand.
"We're here to put a positive face on overindulgence," said Gonzalez. "I think everyone is going to have a great time. This is one of those events where you can have some fun, eat some food and learn a little something, too."
September 15, 2011
A local black bear attacked an Alabama hiker yesterday after the man was heard incorrectly pronouncing the word "bear." Travis Cox, 42, was scratched and bitten by an unnamed female bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after he told a fellow hiker that "them bars sure are out today." "Normally black bears don't attack unless they are provoked or unless a mother is separated from her young," said wildlife biologist Tim Terry. "I guess this one just snapped. A lot of bears are sticklers for proper pronunciation, and understandably so. It's pretty annoying. There's clearly an 'e' in there." "Learn to enunciate, you son of a bitch," the irritated bear was heard to say before trudging into the forest. Cox was bandaged by a park ranger and released back into the wild. He declined to press charges against the bear.
September 13, 2011
According to sources close to 22-year-old Kyle Glass, he can't believe that he had to wait so long to get his stupid avocado dip and cucumber sandwiches at Swagfest. Glass was one of thousands of people who attended a free celebration held by attorney Stephen A. Burroughs in the Convention Center and the nearby Sunsphere on Friday night. But while many people appreciated being thrown a party by someone they didn't even know, for Glass the experience was distressing. "I haven't eaten all day," said Glass as he suffered patiently in line. "Who the hell only lets 300 people eat at one time when they could go in the Convention Center and eat all at once? And all we got is appetizers. It's ridiculous." This is not the first time Glass has endured significant hardships. Last Tuesday he had to sit in traffic on I-40 for almost forever.
September 11, 2011
A Knoxville man sustained a broken middle finger and a sprained wrist after vigorously applauding Texas governor Rick Perry's capital punishment statistics at Wednesday's Republican presidential debate. Governor Rick Perry received thunderous applause when he was questioned by Brian Williams about the record-breaking 234 executions during his tenure as governor. "I got so excited cheering the deaths of bloodthirsty criminal scum that I clapped a little too hard," said the careless but jubilant David Stahl of his injuries. "It really hurt, but it's nothing compared to the hurt the criminal underworld has felt in Texas. He's had a lot more executions than George W. Bush's measly 152. Governor Perry's rookie card is going to be worth thousands someday." After realizing the extent of his wounds, Stahl managed to crawl to his car and drive himself to the hospital, where he received treatment. He is unlikely to need physical therapy and is expected to make a full recovery.
September 9, 2011
When some 140,000 Tennessee Valley Fairgoers begin storming the gates of Chilhowee Park today, many will be concerned about what all that vendor food will do to their waistlines.
But thanks to a concession booth operated by 35-year-old Kendra Cline of Knoxville, hungry health-conscious patrons can enjoy the taste of deep-fried salad on a stick.
The 92nd annual Tennessee Valley Fair starts today and continues until Sept. 18. Fairgoers will experience livestock shows, concerts, thrilling rides, fireworks, as well as a variety of foods, for a $9 admission fee.
Many of those fair foods will be fattening. But Cline's unique salad offerings promise to be easier on the arteries.
"Most people enjoy the traditional foods: the cotton candy, the hot dogs, the hamburgers, the deep-fried pickles and deep-fried Moon Pies," she said. "Some folks come for the other stuff, like the raccoon and possum on a stick, or the pickled skunk testicles. I'm here with another, much healthier option."
Cline takes leafy greens, as well as vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, carrots and fresh berries, all grown organically in her own back yard. After adding salad dressing, she mixes it all in a blender until what's left is a thick paste. That mixture is frozen, dipped in batter and then heated in oil until the coating is golden brown.
"Most kids today think that eating healthy means adopting a vegan lifestyle or avoiding fatty foods," Cline said. "And while that's important, I'm here to tell them, 'Hey, you can eat a salad and it can still taste really good.' I can't speak for everyone, but for me, I feel most alive when my health food is crunchy and eaten on a stick."
Not everyone shares Cline's progressive outlook.
"These damn East Coast, hippie liberals ruin everything," said Jeff Riddle, a proponent of more traditional fair foods. "My granddaddy didn't fight in World War II so people could eat lettuce at the fair. This is America. We eat meat here, and at the fair, we eat it fried in grease and butter."
September 8, 2011
Three red panda cubs from the Knoxville Zoo are in custody this morning after they hijacked a rebuilt Noah's ark constructed by a theme park in Kentucky. Red pandas Dolly, Bernadette and Winston were arrested by Knoxville police Wednesday night after the 500 feet long and 80 feet high sailing vessel came to rest on "The Hill" on the University of Tennessee campus. The red pandas admitted to stealing the ark from Kentucky due to heavy rainfall in Knoxville from Tropical Storm Lee. The cubs planned to use the boat to evacuate the Knoxville Zoo if necessary, but said they had intended to return it. "We appreciate that they're using it to tell people in Kentucky about Noah's heroic efforts to save carpenter bees, but with all this rain, my friends and I needed it to stay above the flood waters," said Dolly. "Have you seen Chilhowee Park when it rains? It's like someone poured out all of Glenn Beck's tears over here. And that guy can cry."
September 6, 2011
NASHVILLE - The Volunteer State is accused of setting fire to a small Morgan County town in order to collect about $1,000 in insurance claims. The state of Tennessee was arrested Tuesday for what the government officials called an elaborate conspiracy to burn down Wartburg. Tennessee is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in federal court on four counts of aggravated arson and one count of insurance fraud. The FBI said the fire started Thursday near Spring St. but was quickly contained. No injuries were reported. Blame initially centered on "that Cox boy," a resident of Kingston St. But after one resident recalled seeing a seedy-looking parallelogram in the area, the investigation shifted to the nation's 17th most populous state. A receipt for gasoline found in Tennessee's orange Ford truck confirmed suspicions. A federal judge has set Tennessee's bail at $45 and a pulled pork sandwich.
September 4, 2011
First it was outrage over a 52,000-square foot Islamic center facility. Now some residents of the Middle Tennessee town of Murfreesboro are asking the Rutherford County Commission to ban the use of Arabic numerals after one mother heard her fourth grader refer to them while doing his homework. "I found out from my son that the numbers they're using in school were invented by Arabs," said Murfreesboro resident Mary Faulkner. "We are fighting these people, for crying out loud. My children should not be learning about these numbers from a purple vampire on 'Sesame Street.' I knew Congress should have cut their funding." The digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, though popularly referred to as Arabic numerals, were developed in India in approximately the year 500. The numeral system has no known ties to terrorist organizations.
September 2, 2011
Timothy Moneta spent the first 30 years of his life a skeptic. He had little interest in the metaphysical or in what he calls "life's big questions."
But that changed for him last year when he had a powerful conversion experience at Neyland Stadium.
"My friend Kristin had an extra ticket to a Vols' game," said Moneta. "I didn't have anything else going on, so I decided to go. I didn't think it would do anything for me, but man, I was wrong. It was almost transcendental. It was like scales fell from my eyes."
Soon Moneta was watching Vols' games every week, listening to sports' radio programs, even watching footage from old games.
"He was a changed man," said Tabatha Forrest, herself a follower of the Vols. "I've seen a lot of people convert to Volsism, but he really jumped in with both feet."
It is perhaps impossible to know how many Vols followers there are worldwide, but religious scholars estimate the number in the tens of millions. Practitioners are known for dressing entirely in orange and white while singing an upbeat hymn called "Rocky Top," usually performed by a choir known as the Pride of the Southland Band. The most devout members of the faith travel to Knoxville in the fall to attend services and eat a grilled communal meal in parking lots near the open tailgates of vehicles.
"This religion gives me a peace I have never had before," said Moneta. "When times get tough, I ignore my crappy life and throw myself into watching the Vols. If they win, my life has meaning. If they lose, I can channel my rage against Derek Dooley in a semi-healthy way."
"A lot of people think being religious is easy," said Brent Brockman, another adherent to the faith. "It's not. There are a lot of sacrifices that come with this. Tomorrow I'll probably pay $10 for parking and $20 more to eat in the stadium. But then I'll watch the Vols kick some Montana Grizzly ass. In the end, that's what this is all about."
September 1, 2011
A bloated, balding Oliver Springs man found himself disgusted by how poorly many of the members of his high school graduating class have aged. Joseph Rives, a fleshy mass of a human being who graduated from Oliver Springs High School in 1991, attended his 20 year class reunion Saturday. The event left him revolted and dismayed, but still remarkably un-self-aware. "How could this happen?" asked Rives, whose beefy neck has grown to the same thickness as his skull." I remember how hot Jenny Slay used to be. She could really stand to lose some of that baby weight. And Theresa Delaney has a moustache now. How does her husband kiss her? I think her son may also be a sociopath." Rives returned home after the Saturday barbecue and tailgate party to eat pork rinds while watching reruns of bowling on television.