Tuesday, March 23, 2010

come together

Tourism is big business in East Tennessee. Dollywood, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, recently hosted a forum for the gubernatorial candidates on the topic. I saw something in St. Louis recently that might be worth stealing for the Great Smoky Mountains region. An entrepreneur could even sell a ten-second advertisement to play before the message.

In the complex beneath the Gateway Arch, I saw a sign promoting a call-in service for sightseers like me. By dialing the toll-free number, tourists can hear more about the Arch or several other attractions in the area known as the Confluence. The only problem I had was that there was no cellular service in the underground bunker.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

chance of blurries

Movies 7, the place formerly known as the "dollar theater" now charges $2 a ticket, which is still pretty good. While we waited for the show to start Sunday night, my wife and I saw an odd combination of ancient slides advertising the concessions, outdated E! fun facts about movies from the '90s, and some Coca-Cola sponsored trivia questions about movies that haven't come out yet. The "pre-show entertainment" included a commercial for Coke Zero, which made me want some. Unfortunately, that theater doesn't sell any. I had to settle for a Diet Coke.

My wife and I saw "Up in the Air" which had great performances, a good story and a plot twist that I was glad I didn't know about. It didn't matter that the print was a little out of focus. The fact that they even use prints was surprising to me. All the other Carmike Cinemas I've visited have digital projection in every screening room.

The trailers were worse, in that they were noticeably less focused than the main feature. I decided that I could skip "Shutter Island" and "The Road." The trailer for the latter had vertical streaks through the whole thing. The most ridiculous trailer was for the blockbuster film "Avatar." I can understand why people flocked to see it in IMAX and 3-D; it's a technological wonder. But why would anyone watch an out-of-focus print of it? The plot isn't strong enough on its own to support three hours of entertainment.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

unlucky charms

It's time to call B.S. on Gibson Greeting Cards. Last week when I was buying my wife a birthday card, I saw two cards in the St. Patrick's Day section that said "Happy Shamrock Day." That's just wrong. It would be less offensive if they discontinued all their St. Patrick's cards rather than publish ones that celebrate clover.

Back in the prehistoric days before I started this blog, I noticed some napkins with the same offending phrase on them. The idiotic marketing scheme has picked up more negative press since then, including a bit of a dust-up in Waco last year.

"Happy Shamrock Day" is as stupid as "Happy Turkey Day" on Thanksgiving. Not everyone eats turkey then. Maybe I should expect to see "Happy Hard-Boiled Egg Day" or "Happy Firecracker Day" in the near future. Would Gibson dare market a Passover card that said "Happy Flatbread Days?" I don't think so.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

central dark

The campaign for a new camera is going slowly. Rather than wait until I collect $150, I used my cell phone to re-create some of the photos on the memory card that was in the camera I lost.

The parking lot under the James White Parkway is my last resort when looking for a space in the Old City. I prefer to find a metered space on the street close to Patrick Sullivan's. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, my wife and daughter and I parked there and noticed something odd.

Over the summer, my wife and I saw broken auto glass in one of the spaces. It was obvious that someone had done a smash and grab burglary on the isolated pavement. Last week we put two and two together when we saw the decorative projectiles rocks that surround the lot.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

no mo in

The Thursday before Thanksgiving is always the Great American Smokeout. If there are any smokers reading this, I truly hope you are able to break the sinister hold that nicotine addiction has on you. Why not try quitting tomorrow? Maybe you can keep it going the next day and the next day and so on.

Someday in the future when cigarettes have been eradicated, "No Smoking" signs will be obsolete. An exit door at the Knoxville Convention Center offers a suggestion for the signs that could have come from the overlooked and underrated "Idiocracy."

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

same old, same old

Putting Jay Leno on at 10:00 p.m. solved two problems for NBC. They avoided having Leno go to ABC as Jimmy Kimmel's lead-in and they avoided paying big money for an hour-long drama each weeknight. My wife heard a radio report that almost made it sound like script writers are a thing of the past. A related story said the network was taking a big gamble on Leno.

Leno's new show started slow and then stayed that way. I liked seeing Jerry Seinfeld talk about his upcoming appearances on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" but those same comments could have been and probably will be heard on "Live with Regis & Kelly." The conversation with Kanye West was awkward at best. It's too bad that Kanye's first post-VMA-debacle appearance wasn't with a talented interviewer. Jay will have to book guests I really like to compete with whatever happens to be on my DVR.

I think the Leno show is part of the devolution of network television. The broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) will become more and more like the cable networks such as Bravo, USA and ABC Family. There will be more unscripted shows on the big networks but that doesn't necessarily mean the death knell for drama.

My prediction is that the broadcast networks will regularly use their cable channels as a farm system for the big leagues. A show like "Royal Pains" would get a chance to succeed or fail on the USA Network. If it's a hit, it might get promoted to NBC. I remember the half-hearted attempts to show "Monk" on ABC and "Dexter" on CBS. Those were only limited runs. For a popular cable show to survive the transition, it will have to cut ties with its old home.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

thanks for noticin'

A couple of things struck me as weird on store shelves in St. Louis. My wife and I went to Lowe's to make a copy of the key to Aunt Dee's apartment. It was the first time we had seen Disney's latest effort to reach the latchkey kid market. Several characters were represented but we felt that Eeyore was the most appropriate.

At a Shop 'n Save, we saw another product targeted toward children. The bottled water label must have said "Aquapod," however it looked worse. You tell me what you think it says. I was reminded of the Clean Smart sign and of the brave Alcoa lifeguards that I wrote about last year.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The Webster-Kirkwood Times is the very definition of a family newspaper. A typical story might be "Cleaner Stream Thanks to Football Team" or "World War II Statue Dedicated at Jefferson Barracks Park." I enjoyed Mary Bufe's clever column on "swimsuit reform."

You can imagine my surprise when I got to page 20 of this week's issue and saw an article about a dog grooming business with an odd trade name. I know newspaper reporters are not that naïve. They must have known what they were printing. Maybe the business owners are laughing about the joke they perpetrated on the local community. Or could they possible not realize what they've done?

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Friday, August 21, 2009

small talk

If you asked me a year ago, I would have said I didn't need Facebook, much less Twitter. But things change and I joined one and then the other. For a long time, I believed that if any of my friends or former co-workers wanted to find me, a simple Google search would lead them to www.FrankMurphy.com.

At the time I joined LinkedIn, Facebook was still for kids. I found LinkedIn to be rather dry and I couldn't get excited about logging on. Last October, I participated in the filming of a no-budget horror film called "Fish Bait." I quickly discovered that the New York based cast and crew all used Facebook as their networking tool. For show business, Facebook was a better fit than LinkedIn. Through Facebook, I learned that the movie will have its premiere on September 19 at Flat Hollow Marina & Resort.

After a couple of months of rumination, I finally joined Facebook on New Year's Day. By then the service was being overrun with the parents and grandparents of the original audience. For many people, having a Facebook page is now as essential as having a cell phone. I opened an account for people I know from "the business" and another one for me to communicate with listeners. I know of several news anchors who have at least two pages, one for their public persona and another for their families and friends. I post links to my blog entries on Facebook. I also like to post events such as the weekly Einstein Simplified shows and my remote broadcasts. So far I have ignored most invitations to join Farmville, Mafia Wars or whatever flavor-of-the-month application is making the rounds.

Text messaging has been a thorn in my side for a while. I understand supply and demand but it still bothered me that the cellular companies charged so much for texting. Don't even get me started about having to pay for incoming messages. When I got a message that read "Money is tight, times are hard, I just texted you my Christmas card," I called my cell provider and canceled my text service. Recently my wife and I got to the point where we had to increase the number of texts per month that our children could use. The best available option was to pay $30 a month for unlimited texting for the family. Ugh.

When a good friend heard that I had reactivated my texting, he immediately sent the following message: "Hey glad 2 hear u r textable! U want a palm treo phone I don't use anymore? Let's hang out soon." Here's my feeble reply: "Hello! let's chat soon. I Am not good at texting. FRanj." He gave me the Palm Treo but doesn't have the power cable. My son joked that the free phone was "without charge." At this point, I'm not even sure if I will be able to use it. My cellular provider may insist that I carry a data and email package in order to use a smart phone. All I want it for is the QWERTY keyboard. By the way, I"ve been surprised by the number of people I've met this week who didn't know that the QWERTY keyboard gets its name from the letters on the first six keys.

Now that I have unlimited texting, I may as well get my money's worth. I'm usually on the computer early in the morning and late in the evening. I am usually offline from the time I leave work around noon until after dinner. On nights that I have an improv show or other activity, I often don't get back on the computer until after the performance. Some of my Facebook friends with smart phones are able to update their status from anywhere. If I joined Twitter, I could tap out an update on my alpha-numeric keypad and have it simultaneously show up on Facebook by using the Selective Twitter Status application.

Twitter has its own pros and cons. My friend Bean mentioned on his Twitter feed that I had joined and 20 of his followers immediately started following me as well. I haven't quite yet mastered it. I still need to figure out how to send a picture to Twitpic and how to receive messages from certain people but not everyone on my phone. As of now, Twitter is a one way street for me, which is not how it's supposed to work. Just the other day I read a "tweet" that said, "LinkedIn is like your office. Facebook is like your home. Twitter is like a cocktail party."

I agree with all those who think that the words associated with Twitter are embarrassing. Who wants to Tweet? Not me. Tweeple? Give me a break. The Tworld Twide Tweb? Okay, I made that last one up. After a week on the Twitter, I have yet to write anything memorable. It's harder to on some days than it is others, probably because of my pre- and post- improv show sleep schedule. I look at Twitter as a series of disposable comments that were not intended to withstand the test of time. Here are some of the more riveting Tweets I am responsible for (sarcasm intended):
  • Why did "Chad Ochocinco" kick an extra point? They have the TV volume muted here at Backyard Burgers.
  • Note to self: search the YouTube for an a cappella performance of "I Gotta Feeling." Could be funny.
  • Surrounded by thunder and lightning at Turkey Creek. #fb
  • The manager of Pimento's finally asked us to leave at 9:00 p.m. Turns out they had closed at 8:00. #fb
  • My near daily dilemma: it looks like rain just as I am ready for the pool. I need to figure out how to reset my circadian swim rhythms. #fb
  • Some people think that Feast with the Beasts should be a vegetarian event. When the lions stop eating meat, so will I.
If after all that gibberish, you are still interested in seeing my updates, feel free to follow FrankMurphyCom. If I can figure out how, I'll place a widget on this page to show the most recent efforts.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

people pile

After every trip, I have some unused photos left on the memory chips in my phone and camera. Sometimes I remember why I took the picture, sometimes not. All I recall about seeing a bucket of Good Luck Mini Babies is that they freaked me out. They were in the gift shop at Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire. I found out later that the same company makes a whole line of animal replicas, which I understand. But what are you supposed to do with tiny rubbery infants?

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

nothing but flowers

A week ago I bought milk at the Weigel's on Fox Lonas Road near All Saints Church. Today, the building was a pile of rubble.

The store that is no more gained notoriety in the Johnia Berry murder case. After Johnia and her roommate were both stabbed, the roommate ran to the nearby Weigel's for help. Sadly, it was too late to save Johnia.

I suspected something was up when I noticed the Michael Brady Inc. sign out front a few weeks ago. I hope the architecture firm will build a new Weigel's store with an innovative design. Maybe it will be as nice as the Weigel's on Campbell Station Road. That's one good looking Weigel's.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

preparation r

A sticker on the packages of cupcakes at Sam's Club seemed weird to me. Rather than buttercream icing, the cakes and cupcakes are decorated with something called But-R-Creme.

Either some of the packages could have qualified for Fail Blog or I did not recognize what white chocolate looks like nowadays.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

citiots and faddicts

When she saw that I would be on Long Island for a day, my friend Jessica told me to be on the lookout for the guys from "Royal Pains," a new series on USA Network about a so-called concierge doctor in the Hamptons. I had to admit that I had never seen the show. Jessica has good taste in TV, so I made a mental note to try it. I didn't have to wait long.

After we ate the lobsters we had purchased in Newport the day before, we looked for something to watch on TV. I got the idea to see if Cablevision had as good an on-demand menu as Comcast does back home. Sure enough, the first several episodes were available. We watched the 88-minute pilot and the 44-minute second episode. On-demand shows have limited commercials. Now that I'm home, I have watched the third episode via on-demand and set up my DVR to catch the new episodes. Yes, I like the show and I'm hooked.

How do the locals feel about the way "Royal Pains" portrays them? According to Dan's Papers, the president of Southampton Hospital doesn't like the way the fictional hosptial on the show is called a "taco stand" and "the local cemetery."

Before our evening visiting with my sister, eating lobster and watching TV, my family and I walked around Southampton and Sag Harbor. On the way out of a favorite pizza place, my wife saw some almond cookies and thought they looked like they were covered with maggots. I thought they would be great for a party at the Body Farm.

Are you interested in buying a house in the Hamptons? At The Morley Agency, $3.95 million will get you a place on a "most coveted lane."

A few doors down at the Hampton Road Gallery, there was a photo in the window of some guy wearing a Tennessee shirt. Is he a famous artist that I don’t recognize?

My friend Bean could see this either bad news or good news. Is it a sign that the USPS is in trouble or is it the perfect way for Bean to spend his next vacation? The Southampton Post Office is for rent.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

hold everything

Dear Postmaster,

The Automated Postal Centers at the Post Office are wonderful things. I use them to mail packages without waiting in line at the counter. Postal customers have gotten used to the machines being available 24 hours a day.

At this time of year, many people need to stop their mail before going on vacation. The post office has a simple form on a yellow postcard for this purpose (PS Form 8076). During a recent visit to a local branch, all the "Authorization to Hold Mail" forms were locked up in the counter area. Wouldn't it make sense to have a stack out by the Automated Postal Centers? Perhaps the APC could be used to electronically send instructions to the carrier to hold the mail. May I also suggest that there could have been a sign informing customers that it is now possible to print the forms at home and (in certain zip codes) to put mail on hold online. Such a sign may have kept this unidentified man from using a Priority Mail envelope as a tool to retrieve a form after hours.

P.S. My friend Bean says hello.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

high in the middle

To accent our salads, my wife sometimes buys Bac'n Pieces or croutons. She recently found some croutons on sale that are pretty good. The package says they are made from French bread and cut into Texas-size pieces. Maybe they come from Paris, Texas. What I don't get is why the brand name for this product is New York Texas Toast Croutons. Like they used to say in the Pace Picante Sauce ads, "New York City?"

So where do famous New York brand Texas toast croutons come from? The Bronx? Brooklyn? I grew up in Yonkers and never heard of them. Maybe they are from someplace upstate like Buffalo or Rochester. Nope. The back of the package says that these New York slash Texas treats are made in... Columbus, Ohio.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

balancing act

At church parties and other functions, I often find myself trying to hold a cup or bottle of water and a paper plate of food in one hand while using a plastic fork or spoon with the other hand. I saw a clever invention at Kroger yesterday that would theoretically solve the problem. The Go Plate sits on top of your beverage can, bottle or cup. The side of the package warns that the Go Plate should not be microwaved and that "extremely hot food will deform plate." The best part is the reminder to "remove beverage from the Go Plate to drink."

I thought about buying some but resisted when I thought about how weird it might be for me to bring my own plate to somebody's party. Am I wrong?

P.S. Yes, that is Old Yeller dog food in the background.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

sweating the details

The long holiday weekend gave me the opportunity to see two recent movies. Well, technically my son and I saw "Terminator Salvation" on Thursday night at the Regal Riviera. I liked the way the chase scenes and fight scenes were easier to follow than many of the action movies I've seen recently. As usual, I tried not to drink too much so that I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom during either film. (Thanks for the link, Bean!)

"Star Trek" was easily the best movie I have seen in a while. We saw it at the often overlooked Carmike Wynnsong. The seats are almost as comfortable as those at the newer Regal Cinemas. However unlike the Regal Pinnacle, every screen at Carmike offers DLP. However I recently read that Regal plans to install Sony's 4K digital projection system at all its theaters.

There seemed to be more commercials before the trailers at Carmike than at Regal. An ad for Axe Dry was very funny in a Farrelly brothers sort of way. A spot for Dove Body Wash showed some attractive body parts in an effort to be sexy but the ad was about as sultry as a segment on "The View." The combination of ads made me think that someday R-rated commercials will be shown before certain movies.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

april fail

After the fun I had making my own pseudo Fail Blog entry, my son has now made one too. He found a card promoting some restaurants in St. Louis that don't understand the concept of a designated driver.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

get 'em while they're hot

Actor Kellan Lutz said that his plans for a "Twilight" viewing party last Thursday were thwarted when he couldn't get an advance copy of the disc. Like everybody else, he had to wait for the DVD to be released. I heard the story on "Access Hollywood" and would have quickly forgotten it except that Lutz said he and his guests were all going to wear Snuggies while watching the film.

The amazing popularity of the sleeved blanket was highlighted for me on a recent drive to Gatlinburg. As we passed the As Seen On TV store in Sevierville, I noticed that they have now slapped the Snuggie name on all their signage.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

why so serious?

On the flight home from Florida, I was impressed with the in-flight entertainment options. My son and I played a trivia game and watched some short films from the Tribeca Film Festival. We chose "Gerald's Last Day" and "Cold Calls." We also had the option of paying to watch an assortment of recent movies and television shows. Obviously, the free stuff was good enough for me.

At first glance, I thought the article on the front page of this morning's USA Today would describe some of the more interesting features of in-flight technology. Once I started reading, I realized it warned about the dangers of similar entertainment systems. Fortunately we had no such problems on our flight. The only glitch occurred during the safety announcements. The prerecorded audio was fine but the video remained frozen on an amusing facial expression.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

smelly pizza face

There is still more to share from my recent Florida vacation. Here are a few leftover photos that didn't quite rate their own blog entries.

Is it so embarrassing to buy ProActiv that you can't face the sales clerk? The Treasure Coast Square Mall has a ProActiv vending machine. Once your skin clears up, you can have your picture made at the booth next to it.

Dan Quayle never lived down the way he misspelled potato by adding an e at the end. The folks at Nick's Tomatoe Pie don't seem to care about Quayle's mishap. They have a restaurant in Jupiter and a bar inside Palm Beach International Airport.

The neon sign at Jimmy John's got a smile from me. They offer free smells to passersby.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


A long line of soldiers stood waiting to board a plane at the Atlanta airport on Friday, each with a hint of green in their uniforms. They were taking a charter flight aboard Omni Air International. Where were they headed a scant few days before St. Patrick's Day? To Shannon, Ireland, of course!

Have a great holiday. Maybe I'll defrost one of the small loaves of Irish Soda Bread that have been in the freezer since last year.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

second base

Six grown men huddled in a stairwell of the TRECS building only attracted a passing glance from the university employee passing through the space. It was about 7:30 yesterday morning and we were warming up for an Einstein Simplified performance at the UT Dance Marathon.

The sign by the door caught our eye. We were in an Area of Refuge, although the symbol they used makes it look more like an Area of Molestation.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

or else it gets the hose again

The security crew at the promotional screening of "The International" made it very clear that no cameras or cell phones with cameras were allowed into the theatre. They looked into purses of female filmgoers and once the movie started, they used night-vision goggles to scan the crowd in search of anyone recording it.

If someone were trying to pirate "The International" last night, their copy would be easy to spot. The first few minutes of the film on were out of frame, similar to a television with a vertical hold problem. The bottom of the picture was on the top of the screen and the top was on the bottom. The problem got fixed but then returned at the start of the second reel. Two weeks ago, at a promo screening of "New in Town," the first few minutes were out of focus and the pre-show music continued playing in the auditorium. Could these problems be Hollywood's latest anti-piracy measure?

Former News Sentinel
critic Betsy Pickle sat in front of me at both screenings. She told me that her reviews are now available on the Alliance of Women Film Journalists website.

I asked Betsy if she had attended the memorial service for photographer Clay Owen this week. It was held at St. Mary's Hospital in the room that St. Albert the Great parish uses for Sunday Mass while their church is being built. She was there and described to me the priest who spoke. It could only have been Fr. Ragan Schriver, which made sense. I recently found a Fr. Ragan fan club on Facebook and was touched to see that Clay had joined the group before his death.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

what's wrong with this picture?

There is something fishy going on at Dollar General. I thought that the chocolate fish they are selling for Valentine's Day were unusual enough to put on the blog. I mean, what kind of message are you sending to your loved one by giving him or her a foil-wrapped chocolate fish? Why would anyone come up with the idea to mold some chocolate into that shape? Is it supposed to be a trout or a bass or some other species of fish?

I had spotted some chocolate fish at Walgreens recently and taken a picture of one with my cell phone camera. When I saw the same type of fish at Dollar General today, I remembered that I had my digital camera in my coat pocket and could therefore take a higher quality photo. However a Dollar General employee asked me not to take any pictures inside the store. He said it's their company policy. What are they are trying to hide? Could it be that they are selling the fish for only $2 while Walgreens charges $2.99? I would think that they'd want to promote that. So instead of filling web space about the silly chocolate fish that come in boxes marked "You're a Keeper" and "Hooked on You," I'm left wondering what deep, dark secret Dollar General is afraid would be revealed by a photograph.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

crusty cur

The flags were at half-staff at a rest stop in Illinois on Saturday. While the real reason was to honor a deceased retired judge, I thought that Governor Blagojevich might have ordered the flags lowered in mourning over his career. He had been impeached the day before.

Inside the rest stop I saw some funny tourism posters for Illinois attractions. The sign for White Squirrel Town says they have nothing to fear but stubborn grass stains. They sell t-shirts and other items with the same design.

The poster that amused me (and others) the most was for the Cozy Dog Drive In. It shows a nurse feeding a bottle to a corn dog with the caption "Visit the Birthplace of the Corn Dog." There's no need to wait until National Corn Dog Month to get yourself a t-shirt with the poster on it.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

guaranteed gasoline fail

"Have you seen the Censored Count?" asked my kids. Over their Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations I truly enjoyed talking with them about their current favorite websites. We watched the great "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and scrolled through okay sites like I Can Has Cheezburger and better sites such as Totally Looks Like. After getting Rickrolled by the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, we got a chuckle from the Barackroll.

We were passing laptops back and forth in a flurry of Internet activity as each of us brought up various viral videos and other content to share. The site that kept coming back into our conversations was the very funny Fail Blog. For example, as the family was decorating Christmas cookies, Frank Jr. cracked us up by making the Gingerbread Man Fail that you might have noticed in my December 25th post. While we were in St. Louis, I spotted a real-life example that could have been on Fail Blog. I snapped these pictures at a QuikTrip and added the text myself.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

straight from the heart worms

Woodpeckers are a problem in my neighborhood. My next-door neighbor once told me a funny story about how he bought some rubber snakes in the gift shop at the Knoxville Zoo and placed them on his roof in an effort to scare away the birds. He ended up scaring some workmen he had hired to clean the chimney. I have a couple of rubber snakes wrapped around two of the bird-damaged wooden posts on my front porch. I could use several more.

On New Year's Eve, my son was with me for Einstein Simplified's appearance on "Live at Five at Four." As we left the television station, he looked up and noticed that WBIR is using the same method to discourage some birds from nesting in their logo, but with limited success.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

twelfth night

Depending on the culture, the twelve days of Christmas end tonight or tomorrow. Some start counting on Christmas Day, others on Boxing Day. Either way, happy Epiphany Eve, even though my church celebrated the feast yesterday. Or maybe I should say merry Armenian Christmas Eve.

On New Year's Eve, my wife and son and I arrived downtown early for First Night Knoxville. The cold air was making my wife's nose a little runny. I thought that we could probably get a pack of tissues at J's Mega Mart, the combination wig shop and convenience store where I got the unusual Santa Claus figurine that I sent to my friend Bean. I was also curious to see if anyone had purchased the other dusty Santa that was still on the shelf when I did my shopping on December 10.

We walked into the store, peeled off our hats and gloves and started looking for tissues when, what to my wondering eyes should appear but three miniature Santas and possibly six more in boxes behind them. They all appeared to be brand new which means that the store must have had a supply of them somewhere. Since they're going out of business, I doubt that they ordered more just because I bought one. Each had a slightly different pose. Do they intend for someone to collect the whole set? There are many more black Santas available online. The one on the left in my photo has an open hymn book glued to his chest. His hand is in the wrong position to be holding it.

On another shelf, I saw lots of Little Debbie products, including the S'mores that I wanted to try last May. I probably should have spent the 46 cents but I was put off by the fact that they were not labeled for retail sale.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

fa ra ra ra ra

Are you thinking about Valentine's Day? Let me explain. Dave and Melanie, the full-time RVing married couple who work at the See's Candies kiosk in West Town Mall, told me something interesting yesterday. They will work here until the day after Christmas, then they will hop in their RV and head to Florida for January. The big news is that they will be back in Knoxville in time to reopen the kiosk and sell you some Valentine's chocolates for your sweetheart. In past years, the kiosk was only open for the month prior to Christmas.

I also went to Dollar General Market yesterday to get some River Ranch Garden Salad. At $1.25 a pound, it costs less than the so-called gourmet salad at Sam's Club. Last week, it was on sale for only $1 a pound, which is cheaper than even the bland, shredded lettuce I've been buying at Sam's. As I was leaving, I passed a guy delivering several cases of Valentine's Day cards from American Greetings. I will have to go back and find out if they put the cards on display before or after Christmas.

In other food store news, today was opening day for a new Asian supermarket on Kingston Pike. The first thing I saw as I walked in the door at the Sunrise Supermarket was a refrigerator case with fully cooked whole ducks, not far from some stacks of preserved duck eggs.

As I passed through the produce section I noticed that they had three kinds of apples: red, green and Fuji. They also had a sign warning "Caution Spiny Fruit" for something called frozen Durian. It's known for its foul odor, which must be why they keep it frozen.


Beyond the produce, I saw plenty of various pork parts. They had ears, feet, kidneys, livers, tongues and stomachs. I also saw large containers of pork blood, trays of beef honeycomb, fresh goat meat and individual chicken feet on ice. Over in the seafood section they had many fresh and frozen varieties of fish. I was fascinated by the things that were still alive. They had live blue crabs, lobsters, Dungeness crabs, catfish and Tilapia.

On my way out, I spied a stack of books in a rack near the door. Who knew there was such a thing as the Chinese Yellow Pages for the Southeast U.S.A?

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