Saturday, February 13, 2010

tell me ma

Fr. Michael Woods mentioned both Amy Brace and Ashley Reisser in his homily at the 5:00 p.m. Mass tonight. He told a beautiful story about Ashley's mother, who told him she hopes they never find the men who ran from the car that dragged her daughter. She imagines that they are probably scared and praying for Ashley's continued recovery.

Although we had originally planned on eating at home, my wife and I ended up going out to dinner after Mass. We went with my wife's mother and brother, who had stopped off on their way from Virginia to Georgia. They were here on Valentine's weekend last year too and we waited a long time to be seated at Mimi's Café.

This year, I chose a place where the tables would turn over fairly quickly. We went to Hard Knox Pizzeria and used a gift certificate that I had purchased for half price (plus service charge) from the radio station's website. It's a place I've wanted to try since I first heard of it last year.

Fr. Michael was able to join us for dinner before having to head back to All Saints to give a blessing at the Mardi Gras dance which benefits Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. I asked him about Vols coach Derek Dooley, whose parents were parishioners of Fr. Michael's during his days in Athens. He said he had received a response from the coach, who indicated he would bring his parents by the church when they visit Knoxville. As the conversation turned to other topics, Fr. Michael mentioned that there is an old YouTube video of him singing at a biker bar. Why? It was to raise money for the Ulster Project.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

go or geaux?

Although it really doesn't matter to me who wins the Super Bowl, I do want to pick a team and root for them tomorrow. I like both the Colts and the Saints and will have to dig a little deeper to find a preference.

The Colts are especially popular in Knoxville because of Peyton Manning. My friends outside Tennessee might not realize that he is a former UT Volunteer. In addition to all his national endorsements, he turns up on local TV in commercials for Mercy Health Partners. I am impressed with the star quarterback's ability, even if he is a little OCPD.

The City of Indianapolis also has something going for it in my book. One of the boxes in my basement contains the key to the city. Don & Mike and I each received a key when we did a remote broadcast from Indy at the invitation of then-mayor William Hudnut.

Although it has been many years, the Colts lose some points for the way they abandoned Baltimore. They should have left their name and colors behind like the Browns did when they ditched Cleveland. Instead of becoming the Ravens, the old Browns should now be the Colts.

The storyline of the Saints is appealing to me. I like that they were one of the last five teams to have never reached a Super Bowl. Their dedicated fans have been waiting a long time to win a championship. It's almost like the Red Sox or Cubs winning the World Series.

I've been to New Orleans a few times for the Morning Show Boot Camp convention and absolutely loved it. I like going to the Acme Oyster House and getting on their webcam. I love the Bananas Foster at Brennan's and just about anything étouffée at just about any restaurant in the French quarter.

So who's it going to be? Do I cheer for Peyton, whose work ethic and incredible ability I respect and admire? Or do I go with the feel-good story of New Orleans? Maybe I'll think about it tomorrow morning while I'm waiting for Mass to begin at All Saints Church. Hmmm... maybe I just decided.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

disaster relief

The best thing to donate after a tragedy is money. Respected agencies like the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services and The Salvation Army can buy more with each dollar than we could at retail prices. However sometimes we feel more helpful by giving items instead of cash.

One Knoxville retailer is collecting now-worthless Lane Kiffin t-shirts for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Disgruntled fans of the Tennessee Vols were more than happy to be shed of reminders of the coach who jilted them.

Another organization I respect is accepting items. Remote Area Medical will fly their transport plane from Knoxville to Haiti on Friday. Here is the list of needs I received via email today:
Aspirin – as much as you can provide

Ibuprofen/ Tylenol – liquid for infants
Tablets for adults

Anti-diarrhea medication (like Imodium) tablets or capsules (not liquid or liqui-gels) – as much as you can provide

Anti-itch cream (Benadryl)

Vaseline (we can use up to 20 pounds)

Antibiotic cream (Neosporin) as much as you can provide

Ace bandages – as much as you can provide

Ziploc bags – all sizes

Fine tip sharpies - 20

Alcohol in plastic bottles up to 50 bottles

Wash cloths – will be lower priority so will be one of the last things packed

Dish towels (flour sack cotton, not washcloth type – basically those that would leave less lint) these are for use by doctors when treating patients

Empty bottles with multi-hole pop up caps various sizes (these can be filled with water to flush debris) you can find smaller ones in travel item section at Walmart

Crutches – If stoppers, handgrips and arm pads are in good shape.

Eye drops – non-medicated (saline, liquid tears) as much as you can provide.

Gauze pads – 2x2 and 4x4 sizes

Band-Aids – 20 to 30 boxes


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Saturday, December 05, 2009

bake and wake

The annual cookie-baking party thrown by some friends of ours has become a holiday tradition for my wife and me. The host couple provides food and drink and the ingredients for several types of treats. They also had the SEC Championship game on their big TV. The guests each bring whatever is necessary for their specialty. This year, my wife and I made Oreo Truffles, which are well-known to longtime readers of my blog.

During the party, I posted a few bon mots and pictures on Twitter from my cell phone. When I got home, I was frustrated to find that my favorite comment never showed up on the Internet, yet it resides in my phone's "sent items" list. Here it is, because I still think it's funny:
Overheard at the cookie party: "I never heard of this Lady Gaga until this morning on NPR."

For the past several years, my wife has hoped to get the recipe for cappuccino cookies from our hostess. She would get busy or we would get distracted and leave without the recipe. We knew that instant coffee was involved but never had enough information to find an exact match online. There are enough similarly-named recipes out there to really confuse the issue. That changes today, as my wife found the recipe card at the party and transcribed it into the little notepad I carry. I had no idea that the dough had to chill for six hours before baking.

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
½ cup butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon water
1 egg
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons shortening

  • In a heavy saucepan, heat and stir unsweetened chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, stir flour, cinnamon and salt together.
  • In a large bowl, beat ½ cup of shortening and butter until butter softens. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy.
  • Stir coffee into water until dissolved. Add coffee, melted chocolate and egg to butter mixture and beat well.
  • Add flour mixture and beat until well mixed. Cover and chill for one hour.
  • Shape into 7 inch rolls, wrap in waxed paper and chill for 6 hours.
  • Cut into ¼ inch slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove and cool
  • In a heavy saucepan, heat chocolate and 3 tablespoons of shortening. When melted, dip half of each cookie into chocolate. Place on waxed paper and cool until chocolate sets.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

virtual reality

Most people in Knoxville probably planned on staying inside today and watching the Tennessee at Florida game on CBS. A few people might switch over to NBC to see if former Knoxville Catholic star Harrison Smith makes some tackles for the Fighting Irish as they take on Webb Michigan State. My wife occasionally flipped over to ABC to see if the Nebraska band got any screen time while at Virginia Tech. A college classmate of hers directs the Marching Red.

Yesterday, I was told I had tested positive for flu. I feel like I only have a cold and fortunately haven't had a fever. That could be thanks to the Tamiflu or the Mucinex D or the ibuprofen I've been taking. The physician's assistant in training told me to get plenty of rest and fluids. As a result, I didn't go to any of the many things happening today.

Although I wouldn't have danced myself, I would have tried to watch some of the Rocky Top Dance Challenge at the downtown Marriott. I also had thought about dropping in on the Hola Festival at Market Square or maybe even Greekfest at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. While sitting on my couch, I can revisit the events via my blog posts mentioning the Hola Festival in 2006 and Greekfest in 2005.

My illness has also caused me to cancel dinner plans for tomorrow night. My wife and I were invited to a friend's house. It's a shame because he's an excellent cook. It was again our responsibility to bring dessert and I had decided to try a slight variation of a recipe that intrigued me over a year ago. When we reschedule, I will finally get to taste some brownies with a swirl of Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce substituting for the same company's blackberry sauce.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

parable in progress

Do you believe in forgiving or forsaking? The reaction to the news that Daniel Hood has received a football scholarship from the University of Tennessee makes it clear that some are ready to forgive and many still want to forsake.

Hood was a star player and excellent student at Knoxville Catholic High School. He was admitted to KCHS after being in the custody of the Department of Children's Services and completing a rehabilitation program. At age 13, Hood was convicted for his role in a disgusting sexual assault upon his 14-year-old cousin by her 17-year-old boyfriend. He helped restrain the girl with duct tape, retrieved other objects and then stood by during the worst of the attack. He now wishes that he had stopped the older male. At the time he was afraid that the other man may have had gang affiliations and may have been armed.

Columnists and bloggers partial to other SEC teams were quick to write that the University of Tennessee had signed a convicted rapist to their football team. I wonder if their motivation is fueled more by a dislike of the Vols than by any compassion. One writer points out that Hood's age at the time of the offense is the only thing keeping him from wearing an orange jumpsuit instead of an orange jersey this fall. Even fans of the Vols have their doubts about Hood.

If your child got into serious trouble, how might you react? Would you send him to a military school or a parochial school to get straightened out? In the nearly six years since the assault, Hood has become someone that KCHS principal Dickie Sompayrac is proud of. Hood credits his Christian beliefs for making a different person out of him. Mr. Sompayrac says he is willing to stake the school's reputation on its recommendation of Hood. As a parent of two KCHS graduates, I know Mr. Sompayrac and trust his assessment.

The victim herself is for Hood's redemption, not for revenge. She wrote a letter to UT on her cousin's behalf. I guess it all comes down to whether or not you believe that someone can truly change for the better. We often hear about people who change for the worse. Why shouldn't it work the other way?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

unto dust thou shalt return

A recent post on a UT football message board suggested that instead of naming more streets after players and coaches, the University should honor famed forensic anthropologist Dr. William Bass. As I drove onto the campus tonight, it might have been easier for me to find my way if I could have just followed Bill Bass Boulevard to where I needed to go. I turned right one street too soon and then couldn't get into the parking garage without going back out to Cumberland Avenue.

I was part of a huge crowd that showed up to hear Dr. Bass speak at a Lifelong Learning event. Two ladies who rode up in the elevator with me kept looking at me like they knew me. I turned to them and said "you didn't think I would miss this, did you?" At that point, one of them said she sent me an email about the lecture. Several people had, for which I am thankful. I was early enough to get a seat inside the University Center Auditorium. Once that room filled, people were sent to an overflow room, where they could watch on closed-circuit television.

The topic of tonight's talk and slide show was cremation, which played into the plot of last year's Jefferson Bass novel, "The Devil's Bones." Most people don't realize that a recognizable skeleton remains after cremation. After any metallic parts (i.e. artificial knees or hips) are removed from the pile, the bones must be pulverized to create the "ashes."

When Dr. Bass finished his presentation, Jon Jefferson briefly took the podium to preview their next book, "Bones of Betrayal." As mentioned previously, the story is set in Oak Ridge and deals with radiation and murder most foul. Afterward the authors signed copies of their books for a long line of fans.

Jefferson and Bass will launch "Bones of Betrayal" at a fundraising benefit for the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. Tickets are $25 and are available from Knox Heritage, even though Oak Ridge is in Anderson County. After that, they will sign books at several stores in the region. Be sure to get a copy. I've already read a galley proof and it's fantastic. More about that in the days ahead.

Instead of heading straight home, I made plans to grab some dinner with Jon at the Downtown Grill and Brewery. I almost didn't make it because of the incredibly long time it took to get out of the University Center parking garage. Once I got to Gay Street, I found Jon and several of the bar's regulars. They refer to their weekly gathering as "Wednesday Night Prayer Service."

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

rambling with Grambling is a website where you send messages to yourself in the future. I have inadvertently done the same thing with my blog. The other day I was looking at my reviews of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from past few years when I stumbled upon a post that reminded me to record the Bayou Classic this afternoon.

The game between Grambling State and Southern was not the main attraction. As soon as we got home tonight, we fast forwarded right to the halftime show, better known as the Battle of the Bands. The drum majors for both schools began with an incredible limbo-like backward bend. The tops of their hats actually touch the ground.

Unfortunately NBC's audio mix was atrocious. In the background we could hear that each school had an announcer introducing the performance to the crowd in the stadium. Home viewers could not make out a word of it. The television microphones were placed so that only a portion of the instruments could be heard at any given time. Because the band members are constantly switching directions, it would be just about impossible to capture all the sound.

From the letters they formed on the field it looked like both bands might have been wrangling for an invitation to the Inaugural Parade. One of the bands also spelled out the letters BCFX. It wasn't until the commercial break after the halftime show that we saw how it referred to a new video game called Black College Football Experience, the Doug Williams Edition. In addition to the football, the video game has halftime shows and drumline competitions.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

they flew the frontiers of freedom

A small group of World War II veterans flew over East Tennessee this afternoon in a B-17 Flying Fortress. They were accompanied by a few members of the local media. The Experimental Aircraft Association operates the bomber, raising funds by charging for flights all over the country. There will be five Knoxville flights per day on Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving between 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Ground tours will be available after the flights. If you go, maybe you will also be amused by the image of a stick figure getting crushed by the gate outside the Tac Air terminal.

The plane has several gun turrets, the most interesting of which is a ball turret on the underside. Once we were airborne, we could explore the inside of the B-17 and peek into the cockpit.

My favorite part of the trip was crawling down into the nose turret, where bombardiers once sighted their targets. From there I could clearly see the propellers on either side. I happened to look straight down just as we were passing over Neyland Stadium.

It was an honor to share today's experience with members of the Greatest Generation. The flight was especially memorable for the cameraman from WVLT-TV. It was his first airplane flight ever.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

replay booth

A packed agenda kept me from watching all the sporting events I wanted to see this weekend, although Friday night's game was only on the radio. My wife and I heard a post-game interview with Luke Smith of Knoxville Catholic High School as we drove home from a dinner party. The description of their game against Baylor and the overtime period made me wish that the contest had been covered by Wazoo Sports. Wazoo offers a live video stream of a high school game each week on their site, which is also picked up by Next Friday they will cover the KCHS at Anderson County matchup. I couldn't get it to work tonight but in the past, I've been able to click on an archived game to see some of Catholic's victory over Austin-East.

I was at work on Saturday and saw none of the Mets game. I caught a little bit of college football. I'm glad Notre Dame won and Florida lost but I feel bad for all the UT fans. The Vols should have won their game against Auburn.

Today I had a work thing downtown at the same time as the Mets game. I recorded the pregame show on TBS, hoping to see some of the "Shea Goodbye" festivities. Thanks to a brief rain delay, I saw none of it. I found out later that most of the stuff I wanted to see happened after the game. The Mets blew the opportunity to make the playoffs and ended their season today.

I've only just now finished watching the Redskins upset victory over the Cowboys. I had to record the game while I went to a table reading for the independent film I'll be in next weekend. I didn't know the score but had a hint that the Redskins had won from my wife's tone of voice. Meanwhile, I found out that the filmmakers still need a few extras for a party scene on Saturday. Send your headshot to

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

son of glitch

Here's a suggestion for the NFL and DirecTV. Next year, add some preseason games to your fabulous NFL Sunday Ticket subscription package. It's not that I particularly need to see second and third-string squads battling for a place on the roster. Every year the first Sunday of the football season means that it's time to work out some technical problems before being able to watch a game. Why not let us fans get our bugs fixed during the preseason?

The DirecTV Supercast came in handy last year. I often watched games online while at work on Sundays. My first several attempts to log in today failed. The error message told me that the Supercast was only available between noon and 8:15 p.m. There was no way for me to tell it to check its watch and see that it was just after 1:00 p.m. This year, the Supercast uses its own streaming video player powered by Adobe AIR technology. They say it's still possible to watch the feed through a web browser with the latest version of Macromedia Adobe Flash. Unfortunately the computers at work don't have the right software and I don't have the administrative privileges to do anything about it. Once I got home from work today, I gave the Supercast player a test drive and was duly impressed. There was no delay between the video on my television and the video on my computer. The picture quality was very good in the small player, not so much when expanded to full screen. I could easily click between games and the Red Zone Channel. At least next week my son will be able to use my password to watch the Redskins game in his dorm room. During our practice run today, neither he nor I had any trouble viewing the games that were also being shown on broadcast TV in our respective areas.

NBC's "Sunday Night Football Extra" player was less impressive. The bells and whistles are a great idea. It's cool to be able to switch camera angles at will. However the stream was choppy and the picture was a little blurry. During commercial breaks, the NBC feed was replaced with other game highlights presented by studio hosts from the NFL Network. Those hosts and highlights had a much better picture quality than the live game. After a while, the video player tried to cut me off. I had to click "yes" to continue watching. On top of all that, the Internet feed was sometimes delayed from the broadcast by up to ten seconds. I was hoping that NBC would give us picture quality as good as we saw online during the Olympics. Instead I was left wondering if some network executive gave the order to keep the online stream inferior for fear of losing his television viewers to the Internet.

An online promo for Notre Dame football reminded me of something I heard during yesterday's NBC telecast from South Bend. Knoxville Catholic High School standout Harrison Smith is a red-shirt freshman for the Irish. You might remember reading my blog entry when he was being recruited by both Charlie Weis and Philip Fulmer two years ago. When Harrison made a good tackle in yesterday's game, the announcers revealed that the other players call him "Hayseed."

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

lucky number eight

WVLT held a local version of a network upfront presentation this afternoon at the Tennessee Theatre. I called Dino Cartwright and got myself invited. Alan Williams served as emcee for the event, which was targeted to advertisers.

Actor David Keith was there to plug his upcoming appearance on "CSI: Miami." I spoke to him briefly, choosing to tell him that when we met about ten years ago at KLOS, it was the first time I had ever heard anyone talk about Vols football. David responded by saying that he had been in Mark Thompson's first film. It was definitely a better choice than bringing up the time we met again three years ago.

In addition to Keith, I saw and spoke with Chef Walter, Gary Loe, Rick Russo and Bob Kesling. Russo and Kesling took the stage to talk about the Vols for a little while. Most of the time was devoted to watching previews of the new shows coming to CBS this fall:
  • The pilot episode of "Worst Week" looks funny. But can they maintain that frenetic pace in episode two or three or four etc?
  • I'll take a look at Jay Mohr's show, "Gary Unmarried," because I like his guest appearances on KROQ. Will the sitcom writing be up to the level of his standup? He looks like he's taken up weightlifting or something.
  • Of the dramas, "The Mentalist" intrigues me enough to record a few episodes. It airs on Tuesday nights, while I'm out improvising.
  • They said that "Eleventh Hour" got the best grades from test audiences. The short preview I saw didn't convince me to commit to it. I'll probably watch the first episode, just to be nice.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

somber win

The 54-12 victory had the feeling of a loss at Knoxville Catholic High School tonight. One of the team's best players sustained a leg injury that quieted the normally rowdy crowd. Zak Tait did give a thumbs up as he was lifted into the Rural/Metro ambulance. He is a junior who is already attracting lots of attention from college programs. Zak's signal helped ease the tension somewhat. While he was still laying on the field, the players from both Catholic and Livingston Academy dropped to one knee. Zak's brother Dustin, who is also on the team, knelt apart from all the others, closer to his younger brother. The near-silence was briefly broken by a cry of pain from the field as the trainers tended to Zak's injury. A few fans who didn't realize what was happening were shushed by other fans. Many were choked with emotion as they saw that not only were the players kneeling but so were the cheerleaders and members of the "Catechism Corner Crazies." During the rest of the game, people in the stands talked about Zak's injury. The details were sketchy and unreliable. Someone had heard someone say that they had talked to someone else who had gotten a call from the hospital and so on. What I heard later in the game sounded to me as if it have been embellished from what I had heard at halftime. Only one thing is certain. Everyone wants Zak to make a speedy recovery.

It was up to the band and the drumline to restore the enthusiasm. One of the KCHS drummers is actor Jarron Vosburg, who has guest-starred on "Cory in the House." I don't watch a lot of Disney Channel and didn't know until just now that my former colleague Lisa Arch is also on that show. She has been blogging about her pregnancy and should have given birth some time this week.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

look, up in the sky...

Planes towing advertising banners catch my eye. I even get a little frustrated when I can't make out the message due to the distance or the angle. On Friday night a banner plane flew over the high school football game we were attending. I joked to my wife that Pete Michaels might be trying to make a few extra bucks. The banner read "smile --" I clicked over there when I got home. The site belongs to Dave Senn, an enterprising photographer who is selling aerial pictures of several high school fields and of Neyland Stadium.

The high school game had a couple of penalties that were unclear to us in the stands and a couple of big plays worth seeing again. Fortunately for me, WMAK recorded the game and broadcast it last night in HD. The announcers were in a tough spot. From their descriptions and accounts of the game, I thought that they probably couldn't see the field any better than I did from my seat in the stands. They said things like "the ball popped out, no wait it didn't... it's a touchdown." Since I had the benefit of hindsight, it was amusing to me when they praised the team that was destined to lose and when they praised the refs who were destined to make a questionable call later in the game. They gave the cameraman a hard time when he wasn't fast enough to cover one big play. Considering that there's only the one camera and no replay, I thought the cameraman did a pretty good job. After one confusing turnover, the announcers suggested that people at home hit rewind on their TiVo. Perhaps the weirdest thing was at halftime when they left the camera pointed at the band while the microphone only picked up the sound in the press box.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007


On the old "Max Headroom" series, TV executives got instant ratings and made on-the-spot programming decisions based on them. I was reminded of that futuristic '80s show by some modern technology.

DirecTV has a relatively new feature that I only started playing with today. "What's Hot!" is a list of which shows are most popular with DirecTV subscribers at that exact moment. Leave it on long enough and you'll see shows move up or down in the listings. To get to the "What's Hot!" page, I tuned to the News Mix channel and pushed the red button on my remote. Here's a camera phone photo of the biggest shows during the 9:00 p.m. Eastern hour tonight.

It's no surprise that the NFL season opener tops the list. A rerun of "C.S.I." was beating a rerun of "Grey's Anatomy." The MTSU game showed up in the top 5 too. I imagine that TV executives would have a hard time turning off the "What's Hot!" list.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

prospero año

The frequent promos for "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" are making me realize how much Jeff Foxworthy looks like my friend Loo Katz, who hosts morning drive on WASH-FM. Loo might have looked a little more like Foxworthy back when he was hanging out with rock stars.

My family and I saw an autographed picture of Jeff Foxworthy on display at The Varsity in Atlanta. It was near the picture of the landmark restaurant's most famous carhop, the late Nipsey Russell.

If you haven't been to The Varsity, you haven't really been to Atlanta. The Journal Constitution included it as one of their Atlanta icons last summer. The original newspaper article is on display in the same case as the autographed photos. You can read the feature and watch a slideshow online.

While in Atlanta, we learned that Jeff Foxworthy is one of the most famous (perhaps the most famous?) alumnus of Georgia Tech, which is right across the freeway from the Varsity. We also learned that The Varsity was founded by a Georgia Tech dropout who wanted to show his former teachers that he could make something of himself. The Varsity is a short walk from Bobby Dodd Stadium, where I imagine they must sing "Feliz Bobby Dodd" after every touchdown.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

like Duncan Hines

Moist. Does that word affect you? For years "moist" has been part of a running bit on the Kevin & Bean show on KROQ. As I remember it, a female listener once called in to say that she couldn't stand hearing the word. Ever since then, other listeners have gone out of their way to say "moist," especially in voice mail messages played on the air. Try it yourself by calling (323) 520-2376 and leaving a moist-filled message. By the way, you can now download Kevin & Bean audio clips for your cell phone.

Last night on "How I Met Your Mother," the writers decided to have Lily hate the word "moist." I wonder where they got that idea.

For a few minutes I mistakenly thought that "The Class" was a rerun last night. Then I realized that I had watched part of the run-through for that episode on the CBS website last month. It's still available online if you are interested in behind-the-scenes stuff. They've been getting rid of excess cast members on that show lately and now a prop seems to be missing too. I didn't see Yonk's University of Tennessee football helmet in the display case.

As expected, "Heroes" was great last night.
Did you laugh at the "Lost" reference during Nathan's conversation with Simone? "24" and "Prison Break" were very good too, although I didn't watch "24" until this afternoon. I read an article that describes how "American Idol" has pushed all the good shows onto Monday and Thursday nights, which I've griped about before.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

John David Booty call

Because George Mason University doesn't have a football team, I have never paid much attention to college football. As an Irish Catholic, I have sometimes felt that I was supposed to automatically root for Notre Dame. It wasn't until seeing a recent "60 Minutes" interview with coach Charlie Weis that I got somewhat interested in the Fighting Irish. Unfortunately I haven't brought them any luck by watching their game against USC tonight.

I had the Tennessee vs. Kentucky game on in the background earlier today. When UT wins it's good for business. Plus, I have enough friends who are fans that I always hope for a Vols victory. When the game ended, I flipped around the dial and caught the last few minutes of the greatest halftime show I have ever seen. It was at the Bayou Classic and the band was Southern University's "Human Jukebox." The horn section was blasting "Ain't No Other Man" while the dance team gyrated. At first I thought I had tuned in to a movie, not real life. A little research shows the band can rock to Gnarls Barkley too. I need to remember to watch the Bayou Classic halftime show from the beginning next year. In the meanwhile, I can watch SU on YouTube.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

out of the coma

A star from a top rated TV series came to town and invited News Sentinel TV columnist Terry Morrow to spend the day. It's the kind of access that proves Terry is respected as a good writer and as a fair critic. UT alumni James Denton from "Desperate Housewives" went to the UT vs. LSU football game. Terry wrote about their trip to Calhoun's and to the game in yesterday's paper. Terry's blog has a few more tidbits.

Thursday's Ear To The Ground column
in the Metro Pulse had a small blurb about a celebrity spotting. They wrote that James Denton's entourage was seen going to Calhoun's before the game:
As they passed a barbecue booth, a plump LSU fan turned and gawked. The counterman waited for her, as she seemed for a moment unable to speak. But then she said, "Swear to God that looks just like Mike Delfino!" In fact, it wasn't the mysterious secret-agent plumber on "Desperate Housewives," but actor James Denton, who plays him on TV. Whispers of recognition rippled across the crowd as his party entered the restaurant. The actor seemed content to ignore it, but one older fellow in the group seemed to be enjoying his association with the celebrity. As they entered, he turned around and said, "“Yes, that's him!"
Older fellow in the group? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it feels like the local alternative weekly is a little jealous of the mainstream daily. They would have known that Denton was coming and that he would be hanging out with Terry Morrow.

A video interview on the New Sentinel site reveals that James was a morning deejay on the Metro Pulse's favorite radio station, WUTK. He also says that he often meets guys who act like they hate "Desperate Housewives" or guys who act like they don't recognize him while their girlfriends swoon.

I'll admit that I enjoy Denton's performance on "Desperate Housewives." But he was really good on a show called "Threat Matrix." I'm serious. It was a real show and I watched it. Mostly for Kelly Rutherford, but I watched it.

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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 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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