February 2012 Archives

February 28, 2012

Oak Ridge angler catches mercury poisoning

If you want to catch mercury poisoning, you need to have a lot of patience. Perhaps no one knows that better than Richard Cecy of Oak Ridge. Cecy has been fishing the waters of the Clinch River for 45 years with only moderate success. But Monday his diligence finally paid off. Yesterday Cecy reeled in a largemouth bass with a mercury concentration of 1.95 parts per million, setting a new state record. "I caught my first fish around seven yesterday morning, but it only had a mercury concentration of 0.39 parts per million," he told reporters. "That exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's mercury guideline of 0.3 parts per million in fish flesh, but it's not that great to be honest." Cecy didn't get another bite for five hours. But on a whim he cast his line one more time and almost immediately pulled in the monster. "I couldn't believe it," he said. "When I was little, my dad and I used to fish here and he'd say, 'You might catch mercury poisoning today.' Well, he was finally right. I'm going to really enjoy these new mood swings and this weird twitch in my eye."

February 26, 2012

Time accidentally names Dollywood to 'weirdest theme park' list instead of Hollywood

Time.com issued a retraction today after mistakenly naming East Tennessee's Dollywood as one of the world's 10 weirdest theme parks. Dollywood shared the spotlight with theme parks dedicated to Napoleon and the novels of Charles Dickens in an online article published Feb. 16. But the theme park that should have been on the list was Hollywood, not Dollywood, Time.com said in a statement correcting the mishap. "This is really embarrassing," said online editor Claudette Tala. "The letter 'D' and the letter 'H' are in close proximity on the keyboard. It was an honest mistake. Except for the mullet farmers and the Southern Gospel music and the moonshine, Dollywood isn't really all that weird. But Hollywood? Have you ridden the Lindsay Lohan's Career roller coaster? That thing will mess you up."

February 24, 2012

Crocs and denim shorts shake up East Tennessee Fashion Week

KNOXVILLE -- Area fashionistas were enthralled with the fabulous mixture of foam-based footwear and denim on display at East Tennessee Fashion Week.

Models glamorously festooned the latest in Volunteer State fashion, mullet and moustache trends on runways set up in parking lots across Knoxville. The event ran from Feb. 16-22, giving East Tennessee the chance to strut its stuff alongside designers in fashion capitals like New York, London and Paris.

"It's marvelous," said Fashion Week model Dave Coffey, wearing a NASCAR T-shirt carefully tucked into an alluring pair of blue jeans and a pair of brown shoes accentuated with white athletic socks. "It's celebrating everything that is bold and irreverent about being an East Tennessean. The collection I'm modeling at the moment is a semi-formal evening wear, perfect for a rodeo or a night watching some live wrestling in a high school gym."

The event was organized by Kim Norman, 43, an Oliver Springs native and former model. Fashion week was designed to showcase East Tennessee autumn and winter fashion collections. A similar event in September will highlight 2013 spring and summer collections.

Not surprisingly, much of the fashion underscored the 2012-2013 University of Tennessee football season.

"You'll notice I'm sporting some sexy, orange peep toe Crocs," said model Lauren Tan. "They're comfortable and light weight, while still allowing my feet to breathe in the humid Tennessee air. The footwear is accented by my glittery orange nail polish and my gray sweatpants that say 'juicy' on the butt. My outfit says, 'I am ready for both some football and to beat the men off with a stick.'"

Other models emphasized unique hair styles certain to create buzz later in the year.

"Some people say that East Tennessee is where fashion comes to die," said Todd Henley. "I say those people haven't tempted the ladies with a combination of mullet, moustache and a pair of jean shorts. This is a classic look that's back again this season. Some trends last for only a year or two, but this one will continue to stand the test of time. The only thing missing is a cold beer in a coozie."

February 23, 2012

Rapper 50 Cent to receive royalties from new 50-cent stamp

The U.S. Post Office has announced that it will pay rapper 50 Cent royalties if it raises the price of first class postage to 50 cents. USPS is expected to lose up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, making it the most expensive failure since the state of California. "It looks like we're going to have to raise prices again," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "And it's only fair that we give a penny of the sale of every stamp to 50 Cent. It was his name first. Ironically that's more than record companies pay in royalties per album sold." The 50-cent stamp would increase postal rates by eight percent. The last postage increase occurred late yesterday, when the cost of mailing a first-class letter rose from 45 cents to 46 cents.

February 21, 2012

CNN orders 130 new episodes of 'Republican Presidential Debates'

Just 20 episodes into the first season of its new ensemble political horror comedy series "Republican Presidential Debates," CNN has decided to order a new 130-episode season of the breakout hit. There are 100 episodes still remaining in the first season. "It's one thing to have the ambition to reinvent a genre in a way that makes it captivatingly hilarious and terrifying for a broad audience--it's something else to back that ambition up," said Ken Jautz, CNN President of U.S. Operations. "'Republican Presidential Debates' will be simultaneously scaring viewers to death and making them laugh out loud for many years to come." "Republican Presidential Debates" revolves around a series of debates designed to help voters of the Republican Party choose their nominee for President of the United States. The all-star cast features several old white men saying exactly the same thing.

February 19, 2012

KTSC CEO Gloria Ray passes Go, collects $96,350

Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp. President and CEO Gloria Ray landed on the Community Chest space located between St. James place and Tennessee Avenue on Friday. She subsequently drew the "Advance to Go (Collect $96,350)" card from the top of the deck. Other players were none too thrilled by the development. "Oh man, this totally sucks," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who got stuck playing as the thimble again. "She's already got hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place. Plus she got the 'get out of jail free' card. And she always seems to get a percentage of Free Parking even when she had nothing to do with the transaction. Now she gets $96,350, too? All I have is Mediterranean Avenue and this crappy $10 from a beauty contest. And the worst part is, the game will still last another four hours. Next time we're playing Ticket to Ride."

February 17, 2012

Lawmakers approve bipartisan ban on Auto-Tune

By a nearly unanimous vote Thursday morning the House of Representatives passed the For the Love Of All That Is Holy Stop With The Auto-Tune Already Act, which would, among other things, explicitly ban the use of software to distort the human voice during musical performances.

The vote was 417-2, with 14 members absent. The two nay votes were from Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.

"When Cher used this technology in 1998, no one could have predicted that T-Pain would come along and use it to annoy the hell out of all of us," said Rep. Jimmy Duncan, R-Tenn. "We have reached across the aisle to our Democratic colleagues to say, 'No more. We cannot saddle our children with this sorry excuse for vocals. We have to take responsibility now.' America's rich musical heritage spans the gamut of hip-hop to bluegrass. We are better than this."

The bill passed the Senate by a 96-3 vote last week. Nay votes came from Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Scott Brown, R-Mass. President Barack Obama is planning to sign the bill into law.

"This sorely-needed bill will establish for the first time a clear musical responsibility to the people we serve, removing any doubt that the Congress is empowered to investigate and prosecute cases involving what may be the worst musical development since the synthesizer," said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.

Support for the legislation has come from some unlikely places. Even Texas Representative Ron Paul, known for his support of a smaller federal government, voted in favor of the bill.

"While I am generally opposed to the oppressive tyranny of the federal government that I am ironically part of, in this case we are trying to prevent a full-scale robot uprising," said Paul. "Our leaders have betrayed vocalists who are now forced to compete with welfare-receiving robots who will one day destroy us."

But not all members of Congress were so supportive. Steve Cohen, who represents much of Memphis, voiced solid opposition to the ban.

"I can't help it," said Cohen. "It's so fun. My staff Auto-Tuned one of my speeches and put it on YouTube. I'm hoping to record an election year single with Akon."

February 16, 2012

Knoxville student becomes brain surgeon following 30-second montage

A 20-year-old University of Tennessee student successfully mastered the medical specialty of neurology Wednesday after starring in a brief film montage. Austin Swafford of UT's College of Medicine decimated rival students in a series of short shots edited together in a thematic sequence and set to the tune of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger." "This was so much easier than completing four years of college, four years of medical school, a year-long internship and then six soul-crushing years of residency," said Austin. "Condensing 15 years of work into the time it takes to microwave a burrito works like a charm." Austin plans to bike across the continental United States tomorrow. He will become an astronaut over the weekend. "I can see why Daniel LaRusso fared so well in the Under 18 All Valley Karate Championship," he said. "All he needed was a paint brush, an editor and Pat Morita starring as Yoda."

February 14, 2012

Forecast: Frigid; wintry weather predicted for area boyfriend

KNOXVILLE -- A frosty start to the morning could give way to warmer temperatures, but only if Daniel can get his act together and stop acting like he's God's gift to women. Morning lows are expected to range from frigid to downright cold near Edgewood in Knoxville, especially if that sorry excuse for a man thinks that flowers and candy are going to make up for him being an emotionally distant jerk the other 364 days of the year. The weather will turn hazardous in the early evening as tears develop to the southwest. Exactly the wrong thing to say will cause a violent burst of screaming and lamp tossing, lasting into the early hours of Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The mix will transition to light makeup sex. Little or no packed bags are expected.

February 12, 2012

Mitt Romney weds corporation in Tennessee ceremony

NASHVILLE - Tuxedoed men and women streamed into Nashville's business district Saturday afternoon for the modest wedding ceremony of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a small C corporation. Romney, 64, and WorldIncCorp, 22, first met in 2011 and became engaged in November. The pair broke off the engagement in December, calling the decision mutual, but called it back on two weeks ago. The bride wore a golden parachute. She was accompanied down the aisle by the chairman of the board. "Corporations are people, my friend," said a jubilant Romney to onlookers. "This corporation just also happens to be my soul mate. This is the happiest day of my life. I can't wait to grow old with her. And to split her into several smaller wives if it becomes economically viable." Wedding guests reportedly included JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, UnitedHealth Group and Donald Trump's hairpiece.

February 10, 2012

Local woman hired Cupid to shoot neighbor, police say

A Knoxville woman is in custody, accused of trying to hire a winged Roman god to shoot her neighbor with arrows to make him fall in love with her.

Mindy Napier, 25, is facing up to 10 years in prison in connection with the alleged plot. Prosecutors said it started when Napier posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a friend who could "do her a favor." That alleged favor: to pump her way hot neighbor full of magical arrows until he would dump his skank girlfriend and go out with her instead.

Napier received a response to the ad from Cupid, a high functioning, nude baby armed with a bow and quiver of arrows. Police were alerted to the hit after a friend of Napier's saw an e-mail from Cupid on Napier's laptop.

"She was offering to pay $500 for the hit, plus airfare," said Robin Hensley. "I was like, 'Um, I should probably report this.' Her neighbor doesn't even like her. She's so needy. And he'll need someone to help him deal with the emotional trauma from this. I'm a great listener, so it will probably be me."

Investigators said federal agents tracked and recorded negotiations between Napier and Cupid. Napier was arrested last week. She remains in federal custody.

"You can't just go around shooting people with arrows," said FBI task force member Rusty Armes. "Have you ever been shot with an arrow? It hurts. Kind of a lot. And being in love hurts, too. Especially when your ex turns out to have borderline personality disorder and poisons your dog. Hypothetically, I mean."

Authorities are still looking for Cupid, who they believe has fled the area to advance the plot of several romantic comedies that are being filmed in Hollywood.

"This guy is dangerous," said Knoxville police spokesperson Tinah Miller. "Last year around this time he shot a bunch of kids at several local high schools. There was so much drama. Teachers couldn't get anything done for all the daydreaming and texting. This is the kind of thing we expect from the ducks in Fountain City. We don't expect it from flying naked babies. I don't even understand how a baby could shoot someone with an arrow. They have terrible motor skills."

February 9, 2012

Educators award Haslam passing grade for Having Terrible Ideas

The Tennessee Teachers Alliance has awarded Gov. Bill Haslam an "A" grade for Having Terrible Ideas. The association of educators released its Adequate Yearly Progress data and its annual comprehensive report card on state politician education Wednesday. Haslam was awarded the grade for his proposal to lift a cap on class size averages in state schools. "Haslam has shown himself to be highly proficient at having one of the worst ideas I have ever heard in my entire life," said Tennessee Teachers Alliance Executive Director Beth Klein. "His aptitude for creating proposals that could result in hundreds of teacher layoffs while simultaneously destroying student educational benchmarks and increasing the economic burden on local governments is simply breathtaking. He really wrecked the grade curve on coming up with ideas that will not work on this one."

February 7, 2012

Man who likes grandmas cooking probably just forgot apostrophe

A Knoxville man who celebrated getting to "eat some grandmas cooking" is probably a somewhat illiterate high school dropout, rather than a cold blooded, cannibalistic serial killer, police said Monday. Andy Clark, 29, announced on Facebook Monday how much he is looking forward to "grandmas cooking," prompting several of his friends to notify the authorities. "He was always kind of weird," said one childhood friend who preferred to remain anonymous. "But this is twisted. Who eats people? And why would you brag about it in Facebook?" A subsequent police investigation revealed that Clark is more than likely just not very bright. "We have every reason to believe that Andy is either a sub-intelligent lummox, or else extremely careless about what he shares with 637 people on Facebook," said police spokesperson Tinah Miller. "I'm not sure which is worse. Eating people is certainly terrible. But poor grammar is not something his grandmother would be proud of." "We'll be keeping an eye on Henrietta until we're absolutely sure that she is safe," said police lieutenant Davis Anders. "And if she offers us some fried catfish and collard greens, so much the better."

February 5, 2012

Bike tour of KTSC president's compensation package set for Feb. 11

The City of Knoxville announced Friday that it will hold its first annual bike tour of Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp. president Gloria Ray's compensation package this Saturday. The family-friendly ride travels through several pecuniary neighborhoods in this year's inaugural journey. The ride leaves at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 11 from Ray's $220,000 base salary. This year's route is a 10-mile ride that visits a $50,000 signing bonus, passes by a $75,000 performance bonus and loops around 10 weeks of paid vacation. The ride will end at approximately noon near the additional $166,000 Ray would receive for completing her contact, which expires in 2013. Bike helmets are required on the ride. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Riders who complete the race will be invited to cool off in a giant swimming pool of money collected from taxpayers.

February 3, 2012

Area man still trying to find way out of UT Medical Center

A Knoxville man is still trying to find his way the hell out of UT Medical Center.

John Swank, 42, has been attempting to exit the vast labyrinth of winding corridors that is the University of Tennessee Medical Center and to subsequently locate his vehicle for nearly a decade now. He entered the medical compound shortly after the Florida Marlins won the World Series in 2003.

"I was visiting my brother to take him some food after he had surgery," wept an exhausted, confused Swank. "That was so long ago. He's probably already home by now. Nothing here makes any sense. All the hallways and entrances look the same. Good God, can someone please help me?"

After visiting with his brother and sister-in-law for a few minutes, Swank quietly attempted to walk back to the visitor's parking lot where he left his vehicle. But he quickly became lost in the medical center's endless maze of passageways.

"I had cleverly left a trail of breadcrumbs behind me when I came in because I was afraid of something like this happening," said Swank. "But when I came out they had been eaten a janitor. I knew I was in trouble then."

Swank has spent most of his time looking for a way out of the hospital. But he has had several adventures as well. He stumbled into Narnia briefly in 2006 when he put the task of finding an exit on hold to go to the bathroom. There he helped four children and some talking animals defeat a white witch. Last year he killed the Minotaur hiding in the labyrinth near the Bilo Spencer Nelson Lobby.

But for all that, now he just wants to find his car.

"If only I had had a cell phone when I came in here," he said. "Once I asked a nurse for directions, but I ended up in Philadelphia. Just how big is this place anyway?"

"I really hope I can find my way out in time to see my daughter graduate high school," he added. "She was two when I came in here."

February 2, 2012

East Tennessee scientists baffled by salad containing no mayonnaise

The discovery of a mysterious Morristown vegetable dish consisting of arugula, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, avocado, goat cheese and olive oil has stumped a group of local researchers. Discovered near Seymour St., the 14-ounce bowl of vegetation was probably produced for the purpose of ingestion in order to provide for the nutritional needs of human mammals. The salad may have been crafted by the Yankee people, who appeared in the southern United States around 150 years ago. "This is really quite fascinating," said research scientist Michael Potter. "Presumably this is a dish that a human being would actually consume. And yet, without mayonnaise, it has no flavor, and there is no way for the ingredients to adhere together. The next thing you know they'll be making chicken and dumplins with noodles. Yankee trash."

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