Saturday, September 30, 2006

served it, couldn't eat it

The United Way held a fundraiser yesterday. For $5, you got two hot dogs, a drink and a bag of chips served to you by some local personalities. The servers were mostly media types. I saw two other radio guys and several TV news people there. Mayor Haslam spent a fair amount of time handing out hot dogs too.

Besides helping United Way of course, I was glad that I could visit with the TV folks. I was stationed between two TV newscasters from different stations. Although they don't work together, they both used to live in Florida. I overheard them saying "Go Gators" to one another. I think they both went to school in Gainesville.

I had a chance to chat with Alan Williams of WVLT. He asked how the improv group was doing. It's cool of him to remember. Four lovely TV ladies let me take their picture. Beth Haynes and Michele Silva of WBIR were slinging dogs next to the Mayor. Melissa DiPane and Amelia Daniels from WATE had been serving chips.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

tune in for the flufferettes

An email arrived yesterday that made me wish I could be in Somerville, Massachusetts tomorrow. Mimi Graney wrote that she stumbled upon my website and thought I might be interested in their "What the Fluff?" festival. It's a tribute to that great American product, Marshmallow Fluff.

The festivities include an art exhibit and a science fair with an incredible grand prize: a private tour of the Durkee-Mower factory, where Fluff is made. The event features eye-candy too. The Thru the Keyhole Burlesque girls will be serving Fluffernutters and Rice Krispie Treats from trays like the ones cigarette girls carried in the 1930s. (Hey fellas, don't miss the TKB photo.)

The local politicians involved in the Fluffernutters in schools controversy were invited to participate in a tug-of-war over a pool of Fluff. The Boston Globe reports that one of the politicians has declined the invitation to the surprise of no one.

Marshmallow Fluff was not available in California supermarkets when I lived there. It might have been because Fluff has no artificial preservatives, unlike Marshmallow Creme. My friend and colleague Jessica brought me back two containers of Fluff after a trip to New England. We decided to give one away on my Comedy World talk show. Eventually we contacted Durkee-Mower and got them to send a few cases of Fluff for on-air giveaways.

While our Comedy World affiliates were playing local commercials, we would fill the time with promos and classic TV commercials from an old Tee Vee Toons disc. We heard the 1960s Fluffernutter jingle almost every day. Bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Brian Setzer Orchestra were big that year so I asked the guys in the band Reno Jones to record an updated swing version of the Fluffernutter tune. They did a regular version and a "sexy" version for me. I played the jingles during my interview with the president of Durkee-Mower and with the guy who ran a New York restaurant called Peanut Butter & Co. that served Fluffernutters.

When I moved to Tennessee, I was happy to find Marshmallow Fluff at my local Bi-Lo supermarket. That's the reason I was bummed when Bi-Lo pulled out of the Knoxville market.

You may recall reading about my friend Mother Fluffer. I am hoping to hear from her soon to see how the jar of Fluff on her mantle is doing.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

1,020 words

If you drove a truck for the Meth Task Force, where would you park it?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

rollin' down the Imperial Highway

A friend in Burbank sent me a few episodes of a new local show called "yourLAtv" that airs weekdays at noon on KNBC-TV. It's sort of a modern day version of the old "PM Magazine" shows that used to air in many markets.

As a former Burbanker, I really enjoyed the show. Each day they identify the four best of something, like nightclubs, steakhouses or sushi joints. One of the episodes I saw had a taste test between two bakeries that sell only cupcakes. One was in Beverly Hills and the other was in Burbank. I can't remember which of the two places sells shots of icing. Just icing!
I need to go there on my next visit.

Viewers can send in their own videos to the show. Given that it's L.A., the tapes are better than amateur quality but I suspect that some of the tapes I saw were shot by a crew from KNBC. One of the episodes featured a podcaster giving tips to viewers. He wrote that the TV station sent a crew to interview him.

The best segment I saw was sent in by Paul Scheer, who often appears on "Best Week Ever." The piece was about the show he does at the UCB Theatre. He and his co-stars improvise comedy based on audience members' MySpace profiles. They use a laptop and a projector to display the page on a big screen. Sounds like fun.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


There are seven cousins on my father's side and eleven on my mother's side of the family. They all live either in Central or Coastal Virginia or in the New York suburbs so I don't get to see them very often. On Saturday I sent an email inviting them to peruse my blog as a way of keeping in touch. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that some of the emails bounced back because the addresses I had were outdated. In my defense, I asked in the email for the cousins to send me the current addresses of their siblings. As I await their replies, how do I make sure my email didn't end up in their spam folders?

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goes on sale today (hint, hint)

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Monday, September 25, 2006

inspired by TV Squad

The two TiVos in my house are getting a workout tonight. I started typing this while watching Green Day and U2 perform live on ESPN and while recording "Prison Break" and "The Class." After that, I will record "How I Met Your Mother," "Heroes" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." I'll actually watch three of those shows tonight. The other two have to wait until tomorrow.

I was surprised how much emotion I felt upon hearing "Wake Me Up When September Ends" performed by Green Day with The Edge and local brass musicians. It brought to mind all the sadness that residents of New Orleans experienced last September. The rest of U2 took the stage for a song called "The Saints Are Coming." The two bands performed as one before segueing into "Beautiful Day." If you missed it, go to the Rhapsody website to get caught up.

The TiVos won't be as busy tomorrow night. While I'm performing with Einstein Simplified, I'll only be recording "Dancing With the Stars." On Tuesday of next week, I will sample "Friday Night Lights" and maybe "Veronica Mars." I have wanted to get on the Veronica bandwagon but I missed most of season two. Should I go ahead and start watching season three or do I need to rent the earlier seasons on DVD?

This Wednesday, I will record Terri Irwin's interview on a special episode of "20/20." In future weeks, I'll stick with my grandmother's favorite show, "Lost." She and I discuss it when we talk on the phone. She may want me to tape the episodes on VHS for her so she can replay a scene the same way I do on my TiVo. I will definitely watch "30 Rock" and I will probably try "The Nine" when those shows debut in October. I recorded "Jericho" last week but I haven't watched it yet. Should I bother?

You may have figured out that I prefer to record everything rather than watch any shows live. That means
Thursdays are my biggest TV challenge. I love "My Name is Earl" and especially "The Office," which is so good I will watch each episode at least twice. But I also want to record "Smallville" to watch with my son over the weekend. My wife and I still watch "Survivor" too, which we like to pause to discuss the players' strategy. That's more shows than we have TiVos. Later in the night, I'll record "C.S.I." and "Shark." There is something about the premise of "Shark" that appeals to me. It's as if a member of O.J.'s dream team switched from villain to hero.

On Friday nights I used to record "Best Week Ever" but now I wait until it replays on Saturdays. That way I can flip between the extended 11 p.m. sportscasts on the local channels during high school football season.

Saturday nights are for watching shows recorded earlier in the week. Assuming I have the space, I will record the Saturday night movie on East Tennessee's CW. Not because I want to see the movie but because I want to see the interstitials. Chalk it up to vanity.

"The Amazing Race"
is at the top of my Sunday viewing list. I'll stick with "Desperate Housewives" for a while to see if it improves like they promised. Last night we got caught up in "Cold Case" and ended up watching that too. While "Entourage" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" are off the schedule, I plan to try the new show "Dexter" that people are talking about.

Did I miss anything? I mean besides my daily shows like "Access Hollywood" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live." And of course "The Beverly Hillbillies."

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

how about a nice Hawaiian pest?

Turtles and frogs have always been among my favorite animals. As kids, my cousins and I would look for box turtles and toads at our grandparents' summer cottage. Since starting this blog, I've saved a turtle and many tadpoles from my pool.

Whenever my parents traveled to Puerto Rico on business, they would hear the call of the coqui. One time they even brought back a coqui hand puppet for me. Coquis were recently celebrated at a Florida zoo. Knowing that, it's no wonder that a decorative front license plate caught my eye in a local parking lot. The plate had a picture of a little frog and several Spanish words on it including a word that I recognized: coqui!

I was photographing the truck when the owner approached and demanded to know what I was doing. I told him about my parents and the coqui and asked him to translate the rest of the license plate for me. He said that "Boricua" refers to someone from Puerto Rico and the rest of it means that he is as native as the coqui.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

most innocent and unlikely of places

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly includes a behind-the-scenes story about "Survivor: Cook Islands." It says that all the members of the Manihiki tribe except one became seasick on their way to the starting point of the game. The one who didn't retch was Rebecca, which makes perfect sense. She works on "The View" as Joy Behar's makeup artist. Clearly she has a higher tolerance for nausea than the rest of us.

The new Christmas CD from my friend Richard Cheese comes out on Tuesday. I told you about it some time ago. Mr. Cheese also has another project that will amuse you. It's a collection of songs that he sings under the name "Lt. Solo." My son and I went through the track listing trying to remember where the word "fire" turns up in the lyrics of each song.

Many fans of female news anchors have found this site through some of my posts. The other day Maxim put up a list of their top ten anchor babes. Number one is a French woman my friend Bean wrote about.

Pirates of the Caribbean is pretty good but regular blog readers know my favorite Disneyland ride is the Jungle Cruise. Now they're going to make a movie based on it. They had better include the joke about the gnu.

Blogs everywhere are gushing over the season premiere of "The Office." I loved it so much I haven't been able to delete it from my TiVo yet even though I need the space. Regular readers should not be surprised by this.

Several months ago I recorded a testimonial for Hosenfeld Chiropractic. It's now been posted on the WVLT website in case you want to watch me speak extemporaneously for four minutes about chiropractic.

My daughter reminded me that today is the 23rd day of the month of September. She said we should all watch (or listen to the soundtrack of) "Little Shop of Horrors."

I sent an email to my cousins inviting them to read my blog. I don't know if they'll be interested in everything I write but they might like reading about our cousin Terry or about my father. Hi cousins! Let me know that you stopped by.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

pay these prices and pay no more

The annual Bishop's Barbeque was held before the Catholic High School football game tonight. My wife and I have been there the past few years. Each year we have almost the exact same conversation with the Bishop. He asks what parish we're from, we tell him and then I mention that my grandmother sends her regards. The Bishop's eyes light up as he remembers meeting my grandmother and my mother almost four years ago at my daughter's Confirmation.

The game was a blowout. Catholic beat Wartburg 59 to 0. Two of the points came from a safety. I thought it might be more interesting if the team that gives up a safety lost two points. If that were true, tonight's score would have been 57 to -2. After the game, my wife and I suggested to the band director that his student musicians learn "The Safety Dance."

The best player on the Fighting Irish team attracted some attention from an out of town coach and from a local guy in an orange hat:

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

attention deficit

Unique content is what will keep terrestrial radio from becoming obsolete. Unique content (or the lack thereof) is what will ultimately make (or break) satellite radio. I didn't subscribe to HBO for the movies, it was the unique content that hooked me. Satellite radio may offer lots of commercial free music but I would rather save the money and occasionally buy copies of the songs I want to hear on my car CD player or on my mp3 player/cell phone. I usually listen to news or talk radio in the car anyhow.

RadioDailyNews had a link today to a blog article about a new idea for radio. What if they took all the songs and cut them down to two minutes each? That's the patented concept behind Radio SASS. I knew a morning deejay who had secretly shortened all the songs he played. His program director never quite figured out how he could talk so much each morning and still play the required eight songs an hour. The deejay eventually got another job where he wasn't forced to play music. His ratings went up as he created more unique content each morning. Would you listen to a station that played only the best parts of songs? Do you need to hear the whole thing? Or are you a talk radio fan instead?

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

the stay-puft marshmallow man

What were you doing one year ago today? I was at Patrick Sullivan's, posing for a group photo with the other members of Einstein Simplified. It also was the day my wife and I started following the LA Weight Loss plan.

In August of last year, I posted what is still one of my favorite blog entries. It included a photo of me in front of the "Coldest Beer in USA" sign. I had cropped the picture in an effort to hide my waist. Here, for the first time anywhere, is the original, uncropped shot:

While I'm unburdening myself, I may as well share a couple more photos from 2005. In May, I saw Marg Helgenberger at the "American Idol" finale after-party in Hollywood. In July, I went backstage before Kelly Clarkson's Knoxville concert. It looks like I wore the same shirt both times. Is it any wonder why these pictures stayed hidden?

I can't leave you with these images of me looking like a big ol' tick about to pop. Now that I've lost 60 pounds, I finally have photos I'm not ashamed of. Here are some recent ones that you may remember from my trip to Foamhenge and from my visit with the reptiles.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

pirate when pirate wasn't cool

Arrr! Avast mateys! Shiver me timbers!

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Monday, September 18, 2006

not to be confused with White Castle or Krystal

Hong Ta Show was arrested last week. He was charged with illegal possession of wildlife after being caught selling baby turtles at a local flea market. A blog reader mentioned the story out of the blue in their comment to last Tuesday's post.

The turtles are the red-eared sliders that many of us had as pets when we were kids. They used to come with an inadequate clear plastic container that you would partially fill with water and then stick a plastic palm tree into the island in the middle.

The TWRA relocated the turtles to a tourist attraction in Sevierville called RainForest Adventures. My family and I went to see the little sliders yesterday. The facility is a lot like the reptile house at the zoo. I didn't even try to count all the species we saw. Some of my favorites were the tortoises, macaws, lemurs and a king cobra that put me in mind of Harry Potter and other parselmouths.

Two vending machines offered containers with shed skins from your choice of either venomous or non-venomous snakes. At 3pm, the keeper put on a presentation with birds, an alligator, a tarantula, a toad, a hedgehog and several other animals. Some we could not touch, like the snapping turtle, but others we could, like the snake we draped over our shoulders. The gift shop offered mostly animal related toys and souvenirs but it was a totally random t-shirt that made me laugh.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

how much is that football in the window?

The Redskins play the Cowboys on NBC tonight, which means we'll be able to watch the game. When we lived in Burbank, we got DirecTV and subscribed to the NFL Sunday Ticket so that our family could watch every Redskins game. We kept the subscription when we moved to Knoxville. They automatically renewed it every year until now. I don't know why they dropped us. It's as if they knew that I can't really afford the $249 expense this year.

The NFL Network will show edited replays of select games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I'll be counting on them to show a few Redskins games this season. Although I don't think next week's game against the Texans will be considered one of the week's premiere matchups.

Is there anybody reading
this who has subscribed to the NFL Sunday ticket after the season began? From past experience can you tell me if DirecTV drops the price later in the season? If so, I may still sign up.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

writ of habanero corpus

The Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles became well known during the O.J. Simpson trial. In 1999, I spent almost two weeks there on jury duty but was never selected for a trial. Before my time ran out, they shipped me off to another courthouse to see if I could spend a day on a less complicated case. Instead I sat around in a different juror waiting room all day without being selected. The courthouse staff changed channels on the TV in the juror room as often as necessary to maintain a constant flow of judge shows. I swore that day that I would never watch another judge show in my life.

The people who work for the Judge Maria Lopez show didn't know about my pledge when they sent me a couple of edible promo items. They must have heard that the best way to get a plug on the radio is to send free food. Corey Dietz calls it CarboHeyThanks or Eatola. I think Carbola or Carbobribe might be good words for it too.

They sent a three ounce bag of nacho chips that contain 424 calories and 24 grams of fat. I won't be eating those but I will try the "Justice Will Be Served Spicy Sauce." The bottle of hot sauce came from a company called PromoShop in Los Angeles. I recognized their address as being on the same little cul-de-sac as the old Comedy World Radio Network.

While we're on the subject of sauces and the legal system, I spotted a product called Chaka's MMM Sauce on a supermarket shelf in Fairfax County. Do you think it's the same Chaka who spray painted his name all over Los Angeles?

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Friday, September 15, 2006

one is the magic-est number

Let's go Mets! The Mets could clinch the division title tonight if they can beat the Pirates. People in New York are already starting to think about another Subway Series. I don't care who the Mets beat in the World Series but I can understand why it would be a little sweeter to pay the Yankees back for 2000. Of course a lot has to happen between now and then but I can dream, can't I?

The New York Daily News has a Mets blog. Finding it gave me the idea to look for more Mets blogs. There's one actually called MetsBlog and one called Mets Geek but I think I might prefer Amazin' Avenue, especially after seeing this post from Wednesday.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

if you build it they will come

Monday's post about the September 11th anniversary prompted my sister's husband to send me an article from The Washington Post about an unusual 9/11 tribute. You might recall reading about my visit to Foamhenge last month. The guy who built Foamhenge has now put up a temporary replica of the twin towers in Buena Vista, Virginia. The Roanoke Times has an article with a map. My wife wants to visit some family members in Northern Virginia at the end of October. I'm thinking about going with her so we can stop off in Buena Vista to see it. I wouldn't mind making a return visit to Foamhenge too. Another Washington Post article has got me reconsidering my decision to skip Natural Bridge on that last trip.

Aron Saffell, the firefighter in Texas, sent me a bunch of photos from his 9/11 tribute. I thought the pictures were great even though Aron wrote:
Please keep in mind, I'm not a photographer, woodworker or painter. I'll also send you a couple of overhead shots we took today. I have not taken these types of pics since the 1st anniversary because we kept the same dimensions until this year. Thanks again for allowing me to do this for y'all. If you are ever in contact with any other FDNY family members, let them know that I spent all day today taking a picture of every cross. I can email them any they want.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

phone call for Pete Zaria

Da Vinci's Pizza was closed the first time we wanted to eat there. Yesterday was Tuesday so we gave it another try before the Einstein Simplified show. The pizza was pretty good but the atmosphere left something to be desired. The front of the shop was so dark that I thought the place might have been closed again. The only other customers were smoking cigarettes while they waited for their carry-out calzone order. We picked a table as far from the smokers as we could. I got the special: two slices and a bottle of water (or soda) for $5. The crust was thin and flexible, which is the way I like it. Rather than pizza lovers like me, their target audience might be people looking for a late night snack after an evening at the various drinking establishments in the Old City.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

weighing on my mind

All day long I've been trying to think of something to write about other than the death of Daniel Smith but it keeps coming back to me. Anna Nicole Smith's son was only 20 years old. Like many people, I remember when Anna showed up on the scene as a model for Guess? jeans. Like many people, I laughed at, not with, her show on the E! network. Like not so many people, I feel that she deserves a nice chunk of change for marrying that old guy. My wife and I have a child who is the same age as Daniel. When we lived in Burbank, our daughter and Daniel went to the same high school for freshman year. They didn't have any classes together but it was a small enough school that she would see him on campus at lunchtime. He was quiet and kept to himself. I feel sad for Daniel's parents and for all parents who have had to face the horrible pain of losing a child.

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Monday, September 11, 2006


The tragic events of 9/11/01 affected people in all parts of the world. In almost every community there is somebody who knows somebody who died that day. Terry Hatton was one of the brave few who actually run into burning buildings. As captain of FDNY's Rescue 1, he was killed, along with ten of his men, in the line of duty on 9/11. He was also my cousin.

As kids, we would spend summers together at our grandparents' cottage on Long Island. Later in life, I would see Terry when I traveled to New York on business and when he visited Los Angeles. One time he came to my 9th floor office at KROQ and told me that he didn't like the way the building's fire exits were designed.

In the months after the attacks, a Burbank firefighter made metal bracelets that were each engraved with the name of a deceased New York firefighter. They were similar to the POW bracelets that were distributed in the 1970s. I bought a bracelet from him with Terry's name on it.

Last week I was contacted by Aron Saffell, a firefighter in Garland, Texas. Each year, on the anniversary of the attacks, he erects 343 crosses in memory of his fallen brethren. The Dallas Morning News covered it on their website today. Aron sent me a photo of the cross with Terry Hatton's nameplate.

Here in Knoxville we have a permanent memorial to the victims of 9/11. It's a black obelisk engraved with the names of those who died. There was a photo of it alongside a story in yesterday's News Sentinel.

Terry Hatton made an impact on all those he met. A woman who used to date his uncle wrote about Terry in Saturday's Austin American-Statesman. (Just for clarification, my mother and Terry's mother are sisters. The uncle mentioned in the column is the brother of Terry's father.) Two weeks after 9/11, another journalist wrote about the time she spent on jury duty with Terry.

Rest in peace, cousin.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

piddle, twiddle & resolve

All the lists compiled by the American Film Institute are subjective. It's hard to find much fault with their lists of the 100 greatest movies in any given category. But when they limit a list to only 25 films, some good ones are bound to be omitted. That's the case with their list of the 25 Greatest Movie Musicals. I can think of at least eight movies that I like better than most of the musicals on their list. Can you think of any more? Here are my missing eight:

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

beware of chainsaw

There were several movies released this summer that sounded good but may not have been worth a full price admission. Last night my wife and I went to the discount theatre to see one such film, "My Super Ex-Girlfriend." I loved it. Eddie Izzard was really funny as the villain and Anna Faris was adorable as the other woman. Rainn Wilson was great as the best friend. I got the feeling that they toned it down slightly to get a PG-13. Maybe the DVD will be unrated.

Our son had gone to a high school football game with one of his friends. A movie would be a nice way for the two of us to spend the evening. Unfortunately my nap ran long and we were just finishing dinner at 7:30. Nevertheless we headed out to the theatre knowing that we would be a little late for the 7:45 showtime and would miss the previews.

As the end credits rolled, my wife said that she liked the movie but that it seemed so short. Maybe we missed more of the movie than I had realized. When we walked in, Luke Wilson was bringing a red rose to Uma Thurman on what looked to be their first date. Without giving away the ending, can you tell me what happened at the beginning? And why is Uma called G-Girl? What does the G stand for?

Do they even show previews at the discount theatre? I had assumed they would. I might find out tonight. We're thinking about going back to see "Click" but it starts in half an hour and we haven't had dinner yet. Out front they have a poster for one of the coming attractions. I will be back to plunk down my $1.50 for "Snakes on a Plane."

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Friday, September 08, 2006

buzz off

Today is the final day for Patrick Holland's Buzz List on My blog entry today is a pale homage to the Buzz List. I'll miss it.

"Suddenly Seymour," "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" and "Return to Sender" are three of the song samples you need to hear at Wing's Official Website. Thanks to my sister for the link.

Stephen Colbert was on a rerun of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" on ABC Family tonight. I had forgotten that he guested on that show.

Seeing all seven celebrity contestants sing together on "Celebrity Duets" tonight left me thinking that Lucy Lawless probably deserves to win.

Jimmy Kimmel was interviewed by Joel Keller on one of my favorite sites, Thanks to Jessica for the link. By the way, one night last week Jimmy made me laugh even more than usual with his "Celebrity Barbershop Quartet" bit.

I've been meaning to do it for months but I finally added No Silence Here to my blogroll.

Joseph Mailander sent along a link to an update about his Rose Parade coverage that I mentioned in January. He loved the photo I took of Stephanie Edwards on my TV.

A friend pointed out a newspaper column called the Lean Plate Club. A recent article described several websites that help you track your calories including FitDay, Nutridiary and NutritionData.

The Knoxville World's Fair is the subject of the most recent of "Our Stories" on WBIR's website. It's a great history lesson for locals and transplants alike. My parents took me to the New York World's Fair when I was very young.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

tragedy plus time

My son is taking a personal finance class in high school. On Tuesday his class watched a video by Dave Ramsey. In the video, Dave was preaching about the danger of borrowing money. At one point Ramsey says that the Crocodile Hunter "is going to get it" someday because he is always working with deadly animals. The class was shocked. The teacher paused the video in disbelief.

Every year for Halloween, my friend Charlie dresses as a recently deceased celebrity. I will always remember his Payne Stewart costume. He should buy a khaki shirt and shorts soon. I think they'll be sold out by October.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

what was it that Katie did?

Terry Morrow, the television critic for the Knoxville News Sentinel, invited me to be a guest blogger on his site while he's on vacation. My blog entry appeared there today. I wrote about the backlog of shows on my TiVo.

Speaking of TiVo, I forgot to record Katie Couric's debut on the CBS Evening News yesterday. I remembered to turn it on with ten minutes left in the newscast. I've been trying to watch the rest of it on the CBS News website but I haven't been able to get the video to play on my laptop. I'll have to try it from another computer. I wanted to watch tonight's newscast too since I slept through it.

I had thought that Katie might go back to using the name Katherine for her new job. I remember her days as a local reporter for WRC-TV in Washington, DC. I met her at a couple of charity events and she once came to WAVA to report on a special broadcast we did. Our general manager had made a deal with Radio Moscow for Don & Mike to host a half hour broadcast while President Reagan was in Russia for a summit meeting. The show aired live on WAVA and Radio Moscow. We did the show late at night so that it would be morning in Moscow. After the radio broadcast ended, Katie needed to record the closing for her report. I remember that we gave her a boost so she could sit on a counter top. The camera got a great shot of her with the radio sound board in the background.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

you wanna see my what?

The hot trends at Boomsday this year were monkey nuts and light up grillz. The fireworks were great as usual but I didn't get photos that were any better than I did last year. What is a "Monkey Nut?" One young couple was happy to pose with theirs. It's a cold drink served in a carved coconut shell.

The Monkey Nut sign made me do something out of character. I felt compelled to take a photo of the sign with my cell phone camera and then send it to my improv brother Dave's phone despite the cost. He must love monkeys because he recently emailed a video to the members of the group. You don't have to try hard to imagine what the monkeys are doing in the video.

I saw a lot of people on Neyland Drive with rainbow lights emanating from their mouth. They had purchased a set of light up grillz from a street vendor. In case my mother is reading this, let me explain that grillz are pieces of jewelry that fit over your teeth like a retainer. Rappers usually have lots of diamonds or other gems on they grillz. Oops, I mean "their grillz." The street vendor posed for a photo. He actually posed for two photos because you couldn't see the light in his mouth until I turned off the flash.

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Monday, September 04, 2006


The news of Steve Irwin's death came as a surprise this morning. I had forgotten to cancel my alarm and was awakened at 4-something by the audio of ABC World News Now. I shut off the clock radio and went back to sleep wondering if I was dreaming or if TV's Crocodile Hunter had really been killed by a stingray.

I've been looking for news about Irwin on the Internet and found some interesting video reports from a New Zealand television station and an article from an Australian paper. Another paper says he was a much bigger star in Europe and America than he was at home. A press release from Animal Planet says that they will air tribute programming tonight at 6:00 and all day on Sunday.

Why wasn't Steve Irwin on the list of eligible celebrities for the Lee Atwater Invitational Dead Pool?

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

linen and silk

Fr. Chris Michelson celebrated his last Mass as pastor of All Saints Church today. I'm sure it's no coincidence that his transfer didn't take effect until after today's twelfth anniversary of the parish he founded. His tearful closing prayer at the 11:30 Mass had the congregation all choked up. Of course, I'm biased but my wife and I thought it was a lot better than Andre Agassi's farewell remarks at the U.S. Open. A reception followed in the parish hall with Fr. Chris greeting a long line of well-wishers at the building's entrance. Good photos from the Mass and reception will soon be posted on the Big Orange Professional Photography website. In the meantime, here are some of mine:

Fr. Chris has been given a temporary assignment in Crossville until receiving his next pastoral gig. Nobody knows exactly where that will be but there's a chance he could be assigned to build another parish from the ground up. His new mailing address just so happens to be a wide open field in Powell.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

linky dink and you

The famous painting "The Scream" was recovered soon after a reward of two million dark chocolate M&Ms was offered.

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture is a good resource for information about Cas Walker and the like.

I'll never buy a Supernova CD or concert ticket but it's worth watching Storm Large and Dilana compete for the band's lead singer job.

Look for me as one of the guest bloggers for Terry Morrow while he is on vacation next week.

A dollop of frozen fat free Cool Whip tastes great sandwiched between two warm chocolate chip cookies.

Now that I've found it, Ray Richmond's blog looks worthy of a return visit.

Actors In a Box is not usually my favorite but I really liked both of my scenes in that game tonight.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

still on their mailing list

Earlier this week, Scott West reached a deal to plead guilty in the case I told you about in July. Here's an excerpt from an email I received today:
Dear friends and family,

As you may already know, Bernadette and I have been charged with a federal offence involving money laundering. Further, I have been charged with marijuana trafficking. Bernadette will and I have entered pleas of guilty to these charges, but we have not been sentenced by the court yet. We ask that you help us in our efforts to tell the Honorable Judge Thomas W. Phillips that there is a great deal more to our characters and our histories than these crimes, so that he might find it in his wisdom be as lenient in his sentencing of each of us as is possible in consideration of our good characters and our contributions to this great community. We have made mistakes which have had tremendous repercussions, but as you may already know, we are committed citizens to Knoxville and the revitalization of its Downtown. We love this community and wish to return to our friends and family as quickly as possible. Will you please help us by writing a letter for Bernadette and/ or Scott West to Honorable Judge Phillips, United States District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee.

In addition, let Judge Phillips know that you are aware that we have been charged with this offence. It will not be appropriate to make any comment about your feelings of either mine or Bernadette's guilt or innocence. Most importantly, you should tell Judge Phillips why you believe we are worthy of receiving leniency. You may wish to emphasize our characters, backgrounds, upbringing, scholastic achievements, contributions and commitment to the community, hard work, devotion to our families, hardship that we and our families have already suffered as a result of this case, or any other factor that you believe to be positive and truthful. You may handwrite this letter.

Thank you,

Bernadette Trent West and Ronald Scott West

PS Feel free to pass this letter on to other friends and supporters

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