July 2012 Archives
July 31, 2012
Katniss Everdeen maintained her extraordinary record in women's archery by helping District 12 win a first ever women's archery gold medal in the team event Monday, leading rivals to wish that Peeta would just kill her already. "She never misses," said Hawkeye, one of the so-called careers from the United States men's archery team. "Even when we dropped a tracker jacker nest on her head, she hit the target. We'll see how she does against the Hulk." Olympians also expressed their dismay about that red-haired girl from "Brave," a representative of 10th century Scotland's women's team. "She shoots a lot straighter with an arrow than she does with that fake accent," said archery analyst Caesar Flickerman. "I think she's really Irish." Everdeen and that red-haired girl from "Brave" have both advanced to the last 16 of the individual competition at Lord's Cricket Ground. Speculation is that the two will share a gold medal by pretending to eat poisoned berries.
July 29, 2012
A Knoxville man who had absolutely positively no help from the government in the creation of his small business is enjoying his own personal Interstate highway system. "Oh, man, it's awesome," said Dave Tillman, owner of Dave's Donuts. Tillman built his own network of limited-access roads on which to transport cargo shortly before opening his own fried dough eatery in 2010. "I mean, it was expensive as hell," said Tillman. "It cost me billions to make my own infrastructure. But I included ramps, so I can make some sweet jumps. And there's no traffic here on Interstate Dave Is Awesome." Tillman said building his own business by himself was worth it, but that it has been difficult at times. "Establishing my own currency was a bit of a challenge," he said. "I had to find a lot of gold. Then I had to design and print my own money. I had to find about 9,000 ink cartridges. And weirdly the police force that I hired to protect my store would not accept Dave Dollars. That's the stuff they don't tell you when you're pulling yourself up by your bootstraps."
July 27, 2012
It doesn't take long to see how rich West Knoxville's history is -- parking spaces and automobiles and strip malls exist on every street corner.
But not everyone knows the stories that lurk here. Maylee Buckner wants to change that.
"I don't think people realize what a substantial history West Knoxville has," the 44-year-old Bluegrass woman said. "There are traffic jams and drive-through windows and 20 percent off sales at chain stores and cheeseburgers packed in cardboard boxes. It really just shakes me to my core."
Last month Buckner formed West Knoxville History Tours, based on the research of several East Tennessee historians. Her walking tours explore the treasure trove of story that exists in West Knoxville.
"People are naturally drawn to story," said Buckner. "West Knoxville has so many of them. Right over there was a big box store. It closed down and moved a mile down the road. Now it's a empty, concrete desert. You just can't get that kind of passionate human drama anywhere except the suburbs."
A published novelist and journalist, Buckner said she also wants to ambassador for Knoxville's more homogeneous areas.
"Over here is where my friend Dave had to sit through a stop light three times because of how congested the intersection is and how heavy traffic is at rush hour," Buckner said. "It's all there: the rising action, the conflict, the climax, the falling action, the resolution. You don't get that kind of engaging storytelling in the city center. You get it right here next to the mall. These are the stories that speak deeply to us as people."
Buckner currently offers three walking tours, including:
"Fast Food," which she says captures the spirit of overpriced, undercooked substances pretending to have nutritional value.
"Strip Mall" tells the epic tale of Knoxville's chain stores.
"Motorcar" visits the scenes that inspired Knoxvilians to spend 10-20 hours a week sitting in gasoline-powered apartments on wheels.
Buckner said other tours are in the works. The cost of each excursion is $15 for adults; $10 for children 6 to 12.
July 26, 2012
A Knoxville Christian who supports same-sex marriage and likes spicy chicken sandwiches is torn about where to channel his bigotry and intolerance. Tim Lofton, 27, has yet to weigh in on recent controversy surrounding the war between Chick-fil-A and a ragtag band of puppets. "They've really got me by the chicken nuggets on this one," said Lofton. "I think everyone should have the right to get married. But I also think a business owner has the right to his opinions and can donate to who he wants. But I also think that puppet makers should be able to boycott that owner's business if they want. But I also like waffle fries and chicken handed to me in tiny, insulated bags and people who say 'my pleasure' when you tell them 'thank you' even though they don't mean it. Life was a lot easier when I just liked tacos."
July 24, 2012
A popular Knoxville music venue today vowed to make it up to the fans who were disappointed last night by a show that started on time. Fans arrived two hours late expecting to rock out to the tunes of New Mexico indie band Meat Shower. Instead they found that the concert had just ended. "We had to start the concert on time," Meat Shower's lead singer tweeted on Monday. "We're so very sorry to the fans. We're devastated. You mean everything to us. We'll try to put together something special just for Knoxville." The venue also apologized, saying that it would never start a show on time again. Many fans were unsympathetic. "Who starts a concert in Knoxville on time?" asked one disappointed observer. It is unclear whether fans that arrived late to attend the show were given refunds.
July 22, 2012
Nearly a month after the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, two Tennessee members of Congress say that critical legal questions about the health care law still remain. Reps. Scott DesJarlais, R-Jasper, and Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, with support from several legal scholars, contend the health care legislation was signed into law on Opposite Day, making it null and void. "The federal statute was signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010," said DesJarlais in an interview. "In this case, he failed to notice that that day was Opposite Day, which means that everything he said or did that day means the exact opposite. Obviously there will be a legal challenge." Not all legal scholars agree with DesJarlais' assessment. "The statement 'today is opposite day' can be interpreted as 'today is not opposite day,'" said University of Tennessee law professor Linda McBride. "This paradox can only lead one to conclude that March 23 was not opposite day."
July 20, 2012
The inability of a small shoe to remain on the miniature foot of an Oak Ridge two-year-old remains a mystery to scientists who are examining the impact on the child's parents.
The shoes of Mason Chambers, now 2, have baffled his parents ever since their son began wearing footwear. Scientists became involved after one of Chambers' shoes was spotted on the ground by Mitsyuki Tsuji, a Japanese scientist who is visiting Oak Ridge.
Tsuji shared his observations with colleagues, who quickly became curious about Chambers.
"By all accounts, this is a shoe that should stay on its foot, given what we know about the three linear dimensions" said Tsuji. "And yet here is the shoe, clearly not on the foot. It's almost like the shoe and the foot are two opposite magnetic poles."
Scientists are now analyzing the shoe, in hopes of being able to identify its unique physical properties. For the time being, however, there is no consensus on what prevents the shoe from remaining attached to Chambers' lower leg.
His parents say the mysterious force of nature makes life difficult.
"It's a struggle," said Tiffany Chambers, Mason's mother. "There are days when I've just wept right there on the bed while he stares at the ceiling and claps. I don't know what to do anymore. I think I'm losing my mind."
"Just getting the shoe on the foot takes tremendous effort," said Dr. Darlene Coffey, a physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "The foot twists, turns, curls, seizes and pivots in ways that we simply don't understand. The means by which the toes contort are still quite perplexing to those of us in the scientific community. And if you can get the shoe on, it's off again in seconds. We simply don't understand it."
"If we could figure out how to get this shoe to stay on for more than five minutes, that would be a powerful tool," agreed Dr. Patrick Holsomback, a research scientist at the University of Tennessee. "We suspect that this could have something to do with string theory or an alternate universe. But it's purely speculation at this point."
July 19, 2012
Police have arrested a question-centered search engine for allegedly trying to kill a website that people actually use. Ask Jeeves, 16, was charged with the attempted murder of Google and with possession of an unregistered firearm. Jeeves told police the popular search engine deserved to die for the many wrongs it had inflicted upon him. "I used to be somebody," said Jeeves. "Look at me now. It's bad enough that I'm a valet. But I'm an obsolete career and an obsolete website, too. How does John Bates put up with this? Hopefully my trial goes better than his." This is not the first time Jeeves has found himself at the center of controversy. In 2005 the search engine was accused of making a sex tape with AltaVista.
July 17, 2012
A sword-wielding Oak Ridge man is in police custody this morning after he allegedly attacked a Knox County man who was cutting up trees in the nude. Witnesses say Jason Bixby, 32, Oak Ridge, was riding through Knoxville on a John Deere lawnmower he referred to as Rocinante. After spotting the naked 46-year-old Eric Oliver cutting trees with a chainsaw, Bixby allegedly stabbed the nudist lumberjack with his sword. "He was yelling something about Sancho Panzo sleeping with his Dulcinea," said Kimberly Meeks, who witnessed the altercation. "I'm not sure what that means. I guess maybe it's from a country song." Meeks said Bixby was then himself shot by a man with a crossbow who said he hunting meteorologists. "East Tennessee has gotten too weird for me," said Meeks. "I'm moving back to Texas as soon as I can." Bixby was spotted Sunday attacking the Sunsphere near downtown Knoxville, which he claimed was a windmill.
July 15, 2012
Nearly two weeks after the United States celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence by setting off explosives and eating red meat, one South Knoxville man has finally exhausted his collection of fireworks. William Lowry, 25, depleted his small arsenal of rockets, firecrackers and small missiles at 3:30 a.m. this morning near his next-door neighbor's bedroom window. "It's really too bad," said neighbor Sandra Mills. "I was looking forward to hearing explosions at two in the morning for the twelfth night in a row. I guess I'll have to sleep instead. It really kind of sucks." Neighbor Marcus Emmert agreed. "Why wouldn't you cause loud detonations outside the home of your neighbor who has a four-year-old? Kids love being awakened from a sound sleep by loud noises. Every night. What kind of jerk wouldn't share that?"
July 13, 2012
A three-year-old Knoxville chimpanzee successfully reproduced two works by William Shakespeare Wednesday, just in time for the Tennessee Stage Company's outdoor productions of the two plays.
George, a primate resident of the Knoxville Zoo, has been working with scientists to help prove the infinite monkey theorem since he was born in 2008. He was the first chimp born at the zoo in 20 years and the first to complete a major theatrical work.
"The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey typing random keys on a keyboard for an infinite amount of time will eventually type an actual text," said University of Tennessee statistics professor Julie Gillin. "Who knew George would get it so quickly? He even changed all the letter f's to s's."
George completed "Julius Caesar" and "As You Like It" Wednesday afternoon. The Tennessee Stage Company used the version of "As You Like It" Thursday night in their opening production of Shakespeare on the Square. It is the 10th season the theatrical troupe has performed for audiences on Market Square.
"This is a big step forward," said Justin Stooksbury, who will play a soldier in tonight's production of "Julius Ceasar." "Obviously George is a chimp, not a monkey, and he gets kind of pissed when you mix those up, so make sure you get that right. But we were thrilled he was able to type 'Julius Ceasar' for us. And it took him less than four years. That's way less time than infinity."
George's trainers have cautioned that there is a slight possibility that Knoxville may have a
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" situation on its hands.
"If George is going to enslave the human race, remember that he loves watermelon," said Knoxville Zoo director Robert Arning. "That should buy you his favor, at least temporarily."
However Arning says that George will continue to produce plays.
"He's actually finishing up a Samuel Beckett play right now," said Arning. "I've read the first few pages and he's improved it remarkably. Not that that would be hard. You could just hold down the 't' key for a couple of hours and do that."
July 12, 2012
Climate scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory warn that rising global temperatures will increase the risk of church sign word play over the next four decades. Even if carbon emissions that increase global warming were to decrease, many parts of East Tennessee could still face a greater risk of intense signage humor. "Climate change has altered the odds of some of these events occurring," said climate scientist Jim Starritt. "Sure, we've always had the occasional 'Satan called. He wants his weather back.' But our computer simulations calculate a tremendous increase of gems like 'we are souler powered' and 'our church is prayer conditioned.' We predict steady increases of 'exposure to the Son will prevent burning later.'" "Admittedly 'no it is not hotter than Hell' and 'it's not the heat, it's the brimstone' are kind of clever," said climate scientist Hannah Winstrom. "But ultimately I think these trends are a cause for concern. I just hope it's not too late to turn things around."
July 10, 2012
A Clinton father of two Monday convinced three people in his immediate vicinity that his young son was the source of a particularly rancid burst of flatulence. Chris Hilliard, 28, successfully employed a strategy of sniffing his son Jayden's backside and saying, "Did you make poopy?" Hilliard then immediately responded, "Oh you did" in a cutesie voice. His son, who has not yet mastered the English language, failed to call his father a lying bastard. "I think I sold it," said Hilliard. "I knew when I ate beans and eggs in the same meal that I was asking for trouble. But after I blamed it on Jayden, I took him to the side and changed his diaper, even though it was clean. They seemed convinced. That's not going to work in a few more months. But for now it's you and me, egg, asparagus and bean burritos."
July 8, 2012
Oh my God, oh my God, it is so hot outside I think I may just lie down right here and die is expected this afternoon and through at least Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Sweaty thighs, sunburned scalps, and dammit, those seats are hot, I should have started the car first are all possible with the hell, I'm just going to go sit in a kiddie pool filled with ice expected throughout the early part of the week. There is a 70 percent chance of seriously, my shirt and hair is soaked, it's so gross, why doesn't the air conditioning in my piece of crap apartment work? Temperatures are expected to drop off to a more moderate listen to the sound of the crunch of my nice brown lawn by Thursday.
July 6, 2012
Members of the U.S. Olympic swim team traveled to Knoxville Thursday to practice before flying to London to compete. The athletes will spend the next several days swimming in the murky waters of Fountain City Lake to prepare for the London Games. Only one team member has been lost so far in the hideous sludge of feathers and bird poop.
"We were extremely excited to host the swim team here in Fountain City," said the facility's Director of Ooze Sarah Brock. "Our lake's muck is comparable to some of the best in the world."
Boasting a ratio of 75 percent biohazardous waterfowl glop to 25 percent water, the small lake is patrolled by menacing ducks who are known for beating motorists with tire irons.
The swim team chose the lake because they say it best matches the conditions they will find in England.
"In my initial 200-meter butterfly warm-up, a duck swam over to me and hit me with a bat," said a noticeably shaken Michael Phelps. "A freaking bat. I mean, what the hell, man? Nothing like that happened in Omaha."
Other East Tennessee locations were considered for the team's practices, but it was Fountain City Lake that won out.
"We considered the Lost Sea for a while," said Phelps. "But those fish are creepy. And we also heard that Batman uses the place as a Batcave in the summer since Gotham City is so damn hot. But I don't think he was counting on it being 110 degrees down here either."
Other locations considered by the Olympic hopefuls were Mead's Quarry Lake, Dollywood Splash Country and the Tennessee River itself.
"They were thinking about Splash Country, but I warned them about that place," said Phelps. "Some of those little kids totally hog all the water slides. I was there once and this kid was such a jerk. He called me fat and told me to shave my back. But he was kind of a chunk himself to be honest. Doritos are a sometimes food, little man."
July 5, 2012
The bestselling erotic romance novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" and its two sequels have proven wildly popular among Knoxville sadomasochists, many of whom enjoy reading the books for the pain it causes them. The trilogy records the unconventional relationship between main characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. It contains actual sentences like, "My inner goddess is beside herself, hopping from foot to foot" and "My subconscious has reared her somnambulant head." "Some people are calling it a literary phenomenon," said Sue Gadfort. "With straight faces. I don't know about all that. I love the writing precisely because it's so agonizing. Every new adverb hurts me so good." Local pain enthusiast Dorothy Wheeler agreed. "It's like they took good writing, doused it with gasoline, lit in on fire, put the ashes in a blender, fed that to Stephenie Meyer, and then took whatever she threw up to use as the text of 'Fifty Shades of Grey,'" she said. "I can't get enough of it."
July 3, 2012
Less than a week after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one Knoxville woman still doesn't know where she will go to flee from the tyranny of health care coverage. Hilary Kuosa, 31, reacted to news of the Supreme Court's decision by feeling sick to her stomach and then refusing to be treated by a doctor. "Canada and Greenland and Cuba all have universal health care, so they're out," said Kuosa. "And Mexico almost does. I guess I could go to Turkey, but Turkish food gives me gas." Kuosa said that she still has a few options and is considering them carefully. "Somalia is really promising," she said. "They also have really low taxes. And they love the Second Amendment. I guess I have until 2014 to decide. But by then some other countries will probably have universal health care. Now I know why Carmen Sandiego was always moving."
July 1, 2012
Stocks in exaggeration, overstatement, hyperbole and histrionics finished the final trading day of a weak second quarter Friday with a huge bang as Wall Street cheered the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly referred to as Obamacare. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than nine percent for the session, led by Barack Obama Is a Nazi, John Roberts Is a Nazi, I'm Moving to Canada, and Freedom and Liberty Officially Died This Week. The good news for Welcome to the Socialist States of America spilled over to The American Dream Gave Way to the American Nightmare, whose stock rose 25 percent Friday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also soared to post their best trading day in 2012