Monday, March 31, 2008

Downtown Dentite

So at the risk of plagarising Seinfeld I am here to proclaim that I am not an anti-dentite any longer.

I went to my first dentist appointment at my new dentist and was very pleased. Dr. Rudder is a downtown dentist who is conveniently located in the, wait for it, yes the Medical Arts Building. Not only is the location fantastic, the building is great with a truly Art Deco Motif and funky metal work inside. I love it.

Back to the dentist though. the office is cozy, the people are friendly the service is fast and the magazines are mostly new.

I got a cleaning and x rays and was in and out within 45 minutes. Dr. Rudder is very personable and welcoming and I would recommend him to anyone who needs a checkup or something more.

I have only one question I have is:

Why do they always put the film in your mouth, the lead vest over your core, tell you there's no worry about the xrays and then leave the room while shooting radiation at your head? Maybe that's me just being a worrier.

Write in the Pol for Knox 1A

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Pol's first Interview

Ok so that may be an exaggeration. I called into "State Your Case" with George Corta on 100.3 today and discussed downtown development with George and City Councilman Joe Holdquist.

Holdquist is the District 1 councilman and so hopefully my counterpart in August. Joe has supported the development of the south waterfront and the continued growth of our happy little city. If you ever run into him shake his hand and say thank you.

I didn't mention my run, which I wanted to but didn't clear it first so didn't risk it. If any of you are interested in such things like local talk radio etc. I'd really appreciate any mention you can give.

My website is "up". It's so tell your friends. I could use some help with design if anyone is keen on volunteering.

Remember Write In Spellings. (That's the blog)

Friday, March 28, 2008

review : versus

Em noted a while back that she is the happy [?] neighbor of Versus, a new video game "bar" that has opened up on the 100 Block of Gay Street. I had the opportunity to go there last weekend. My brothers were in town, the youngest of which is 10, and I made the mistake of mentioning Versus's existence to him. Ethan pestered me for two days until I finally relented and took him and my other brother, Duncan, on Saturday evening.

I'll start this out by saying I am not a video game guy. I don't own a game system, and I never have. I have, however, had many friends how have had the latest cool video games (especially in college) so I know my way around the gaming world a little.

That being said, Versus IS COOL. It's the just the right thing for the silent majority of us who think that $500 is a bit much for something that will rob you of all your free time and give you nothing but thumb reflexes. But sometimes all of us just want to veg out and play a silly game. Preferably with some friends. Versus provides this, at a mere $5 and hour.

They have a nice clean space, with white walls and a hardwood floor, modern furniture and chrome everywhere, and big windows facing out to Gay Street. They have BIG TVs, with all the different cutting edge systems: Wii, XBox 360, PS3. They also have iMacs in the back and and old wooden console TV with old school systems like Nintendo and Sega Genesis. They have tons of games that are updated regularly.

I played Guitar Hero 3 for an hour on Wii. Ethan played Rock Band and Duncan played Call of Duty on PS3. It was satisfying- you walk in, order a game, they set it up, you sit down on a cool modern love seat in front of a huge TV, and let your brain detox. Pick your poison: kiddie Wii games, intense zombie combat, fantasy dragon fighting, or watching those maddening circles move down the escalator fret board.

I would recommend Versus for the casual gamer. And even if you have your own game system at home, this place gives you a chance to try other systems and games that might not be available for yours. It also gives you a place to go out and meet up with friends late at night that doesn't involve a loud smoky bar. Versus is a welcome addition to downtown: a cool new idea for a business, the likes of which I hope to see more of in Knoxville.

Rating: 8 out of 10 wigs on the Wig-o-Meter.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

i heart cormac mccarthy

[I originally posted this on my design blog yesterday, but I thought I'd share it here, with some added thoughts]
Oh man, I love his books. I'm reading All The Pretty Horses right now and I can't put it down. It's a nice change of pace in my reading of his novels- not as dense as Suttree and not as bleak as The Road. He has made it into the top pantheon of writers in my mind, most of which are dead- so who knows how many more great book he'll write?

The New York Review of Books review of The Road made an interesting observation:

That book [Blood Meridian] is usually viewed... representing a kind of fulcrum, a borderland between the early quartet of Tennessee novels written in the 1960s and 1970s (The Orchard Keeper, Outer Dark, Child of God, and Suttree) that left McCarthy in obscurity and the Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain) that brought him fame. In Blood Meridian lushness of prose counterbalances aridity of setting; digression and indirection have not yet ceded the narrative to the dictates of the trilogy's archetypical western plots; and the Gothic impulse vies fiercely with the call to adventure. Setting aside the halfhearted No Country for Old Men, as charitably even the lover of McCarthy must, The Road seems to work its way back to the rich storytelling borderland of horror and the epic.

In short, we're entering the third stage of Cormac McCarthy's writing. Who's excited now?! For now, I'm plowing through his catalog of books- right now The Border Trilogy. 2008 seems destined to be the Year of Cormac.

Now that No Country for Old Men has gotten so much attention, many people are starting to get into McCarthy. But many Knoxvillians don't realize that McCarthy was once a Knoxvillian himself, and that his first four lesser-known books largely feature East Tennessee and Knoxville. Suttree, in particular, draws a vivid picture of mid-century Knoxville with descriptions of Market Square, the River, and all the old slums that used to hug the riverside. Click on "Searching for Suttree" on our sidebar and see if you recognize any places. Along with A Death in the Family, Suttree is THE classic Knoxville novel. There's no horses or bloody shoot outs-it's a complex character study in a complex context. Sorta like Hemingway. If you're living in Knoxville and like to read literature, Suttree is a must read.

I won't repeat what has been written down elsewhere about McCarthy. He's long gone from Knoxville, though he may visit it in his books- just as the father and son did in The Road. I'll end this with an aside: we're missing an opportunity here. By we, I mean Knoxville. Just as we haven't harnessed Bluegrass as part of our identity, the scruffy places that make Suttree so pithy are still here, but just barely. And we're neglecting them. Case in point: The Corner Lounge. A past favorite of McCarthy himself, this unique bar is currently closed after establishing itself as a center of music in Knoxville. Yesterday it was announced that Emory Place is getting new blood pumped into it. The Courtland Group is renovating just up the street. But let's make sure we don't gentrify out the scruffiness that is part of Knoxville's charm. Let's get the Corner Lounge back open in case McCarthy is back in town and needs a beer at a familiar place.

And a suggestion- we need a bar somewhere, on a back alley preferably, called Suttree's. It would be purposely a dive bar that could be a drinking shrine to one of Knoxville's most famous sons. A place that Sut would feel comfortable in, with fishbowls of beer. I think that would be more appropriate for McCarthy than the park was for Agee.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Knoxville "rocks"

Ok, so I hate puns, well kind of, but I couldn't pass this one up. My wife was driving on Sherrill Road the other day and bam!!

Yep, that's my windshield. A rock nearly came through the glass- I kid you not. I'd bash West K-Town for this if I didn't think I'd get a lot of hate mail for it. But two days later and a call to my insurance company (which coincidentally I work for) and it's all better. Thanks Glassmasters, you guys sure know how to take the pane out of Knoxville. (sorry again for the pun)

Oh- also, as an aside, I learned another lesson today. No leftover fish for lunch in the company break room. Apparently it stinks a bit. I've learned my lesson though- it was oh so scrumptious.

And remember everyone: Write in Spellings

devil squid

After a long hiatus, "Weird Knoxville" is back...
I noticed this "mural" on my way back from work one day, once again confirming that Broadway may be the weirdest street in Knoxville. It's over by Ray's Market (a whole other Weird Knoxville post in itself) near where Broadway goes under I-40 and dozens of homeless people play "Let's See If This Car Will Hit Me While I Walk Slowly Across The Street."

Is it a squid or octopus? I'd say squid, except that it's shooting ink- out of some sort of nozzle, no less. And is that a halo? But what about the devil horns? Do they cancel each other out?

Discuss: this is either a messed up fantasy mural or an illustration of the end of the world from the Bhagavad Gita. Either way, it's weird. Talk amongst yahselves.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

attention font nerds

If you, like me, have an unreasonable interest in typefaces, you may be a "font nerd." Come join your brethren at a screening of Helevtica, a documentary about a font. That's right, you heard me. Not just any font, a font that has enraptured design junkies for 50 years. Many of you may recognize it from its derivatives like the ubiquitous Arial.

Why would you want to watch a a documentary about a font?

If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't come.

Where: Knoxville Museum of Art

When: Thursday, 7:00 PM


Hi Knoxvillians everywhere, sorry for the lack in posts on Em's behalf lately. This little Knoxvillian has been very busy and has consequentially been spending little to no time whatsoever in Knox-town. I've actually been hitting the road for the great Smoky Mountain National Park a lot lately, and I am very reticent to reveal my thoughts about my favorite trails, locations, secret spots, etc., because I dont like to share. Sorry.

And I have, as the Pol stated earlier, however, been running my ass off, perhaps American Gladiator style. I hope not too much though, because those people scare me y'all! That dude named Blaze? Blazer? Laser? Does anyone else think that the new American Gladiators is a lot like a scene from Zoolander? Only, like, not a joke? Weird, weird stuff. Hulk Hogan scares me, and so does his daughter.

Anyway, guess what?! Marathon weekend is upon us! I have decided not to run the half but rather am participating in an awesome relay, which we have named "Bootcamp Blondes." I am the last leg, and I am super pumped to run through SoKno and Downtown!

So...who's running? Which race? Are you excited?

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Stan Abroad

Well, the sunsphere has been a little slow recently.

CK is building a new house, The Pol is running for office, Em is working out like an American Gladiator (the old one not the one with Hollywood Hulk Hogan), Lucas is somewhere in New York, and Regi is... well it's regi so....

But today we are here to discuss our friend Stan (who has been ignoring us for the past week)

Stan has bee globetrotting throughout asia and has been reticent in his communications.
So on his behalf I'll give you a short synopsis of his travels.

First he went to Korea :
where he met this lovely person. He alos got to hang out with our friend and forbearer alittlekorean. Apparently Stan didn't eat dog, but he did get his share of karaoke (noribong) and a chance to see what it is like living in a country that is technically still at war.

but now he is in India, Mumbai to be exact (or if you prefer the colonial names, Bombay).
Stan prefers the traditional form of travel to really get in touch with his imperialist roots. As we have heard nothing from him we must assume that he is miserable and misses his beautiful city. We wish him a speedy voyage home as he rides cattle car between two large texans. Hurry on home Stan, we miss you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sunsphere Politics

I thought I'd direct everyone's attention to a new blog we set up a few days ago for The Pol's campaign: For those of you who haven't been paying attention, our esteemed Pol is running for the District 1-A seat on the County Board of Commissioners. In an attempt by The Man to keep him down, Pol can't get on the ballot. Even though he's running independently and election is still months away, the political parties have made it so ALL candidates have to register before the primary, regardless of if they are actually running in the primary. Not willing to take that sitting down, he's running as a a write-in candidate.

But you can't write in "The Pol" on the ballot, now can you? So I'm officially outing him. The Pol is John C. Spellings. His friends call him Cullin (among other things). You can call him Commissioner Spellings, once you write him into office.

He lives in downtown and knows its virtues and faults intimately. I think he'll bring the insight of a younger, urban generation to the government- the same generation that is whole-heartedly embracing and reviving downtown Knoxville. We need that vision in Knox County.

So if your tired of reading blogs that just analyze politics, go straight to the source and see what kind of guy The Pol is and what he thinks needs to change in Knox County government. We hope that this new blog will also be a forum for discussion, a place where problems and solutions can be put forth. Check it out and get the conversation rolling.

Coming Soon:!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

computer help

Hi, sorry to not post anything substantial for a while and then post something extremely lame like this, but...

Does anyone know a good, reputable and reasonable PC Repair place in town?

I would appreciate your input.

And just to give this sorry excuse for a post some flavor: Hey! How was your St. Patrick's Day? Any fun stories? Guess what I did? I went to bed at 9:30!

But I did enjoy a car bomb on Saturday night at Pat Sullivan's, my new fave knox bar, despite it's uncomfortable booths.

Post your crazy stories in comments.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Clearer Picture Emerging

It seems that the Redflex red light cameras are stirring up the pudding elsewhere in the blogosphere as well. Instapundit and Michael Silence have both done posts on the issue today.

By the way, the city just installed two more in front of West Town Mall. We have to come up with a way to stop this. The proof continues to pile up that these things are a net negative for our drivers both in number of wreck and in the way their money is funneled to another state under the guise of law enforcement. In other instances this would be considered money laundering, but unfortunately when the government does it there apparently is no conflict.

I have called repeatedly for and end to this privatization of law enforcement but the county is apparently deaf on this issue as well. Yet again, showing that our problems stem from a local government that is completely out of touch with its citizens.

As County Commissioner for District 1A I will fight for an end to this abuse of power and to restore the trust of people in its elected officials.

Write-in Spellings, Write out Nepotism

Friday, March 14, 2008

long lost knoxville

I just read a great story by Jack Neely in the Metro Pulse archives. He interviewed Patricia Cash, a former Dolly Parton look-alike prostitute who had "dated" men in the gritty Knoxville of the 1960s.

Many of us here at the Wigshop are big fans of Suttree, Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece placed in the same era of Knoxville that Cash knew. The stuff she describes sound very familiar to anyone who has read the book. Knoxville was a very bizarre place forty years ago. Neely points out:

"Like many other places Patricia knew, it figures in Cormac McCarthy's well-known novel, Suttree, which is on one level a portrait of mid-century Knoxville's underworld so rich and dark that most readers assume its details are fictional."

It's fascinating to read a firsthand account of those times from someone else who knew them. Cash's story sounds like a good outline for a unwritten McCarthy novel. The desperation and sometimes glamor of mid century Knoxville. I'm always amazed when I find out new things about our city's strange history. So seemly pedestrian these days, Knoxville has a vivid world just below the surface, these days and in its past, that requires a little digging. Kudos to Neely for researching and keeping the memories alive in print of Cormac and Patricia's scruffy city.

hat tip: KnoxvilleTalks

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What Would You Do If...

maybe if daniel stern narrated dawson's creek or the oc, i would have watched them. maybe. ok, i did watch the 1st and 2nd season of the oc, but ONLY for the music. maybe

bonus: what other project did daniel stern and fred savage collaborate on together?

hat tip: will cote

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wait, the Cameras Don't Save Us All

Remember the last post I had about the RedFlex Redlight Cameras? I went on about how The Sentinel was wrong to blindly support the use of these things based on that fact that we went from 2 deaths to none. And because we're getting ripped off by a bunch of Arizonans.

Well here to join the fray is the University of South Florida, you may remember them as the team that went undefeated through half of the previous football season and screwed stuff up in the rankings, but they do some real telling research as well apparently.

It turns out that in Florida, North Carolina, Ontario and some other places that were studied these cameras actually increased the number of wrecks that occurred in the intersections. They also addressed that issue of fatalities at the intersections and apparently the numbers in other places are as minuscule as in Knoxville.

Basically the study shows (you should read it, it's good) that the presence of the cameras heightens peoples tendencies to overreact to a situation.I know this is what alot of us thought but now there is proof.

PS- This is part of my platform for County Commission, these things are ridiculous and have to go. Write in The Pol for District 1A.


Looks like Chatta-town is having problems too.

Get Happy Knoxville

I was very sad when Knoxville 520 closed its virtual doors. It was a great (well designed too, ck) place to check in on local happenings, happy hours, etc. More so than the Metropulse calendar, it was an easy and quick place to read not only about nightly bands but also nightly happy hours about town.

It was a sad day when it folded.

But I've just heard word that an acquaintance has started, which looks as if it aims to provide the same services 520 did. It's new, so it definitely still needs some design and content work, but I think it will be a nice edition to our internet world.

graphic art in the knoxville blogosphere

The guys over at Knoxify gently brought up an issue about the state of Knoxville blogs, an issue that I will be less gently paraphrase: Knox blogs are great on content and community, but generally ugly on graphic design. Sorry, guys. We're just bringing it up because we love you.

Speaking of love, Knoxify threw a little our way. Instead of calling out the ugliest blogs (because, those guys try to be real neighborly) they came up with a list of the best. And the Wigshop, with its funky new look, made it! On top of that, KnoxvilleTalks jumped on board and came up with their own list, and guess who was on that one too? You already know the answer. A lot of love for the ol' Wigshop.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

There Really Is a 'Them', and 'They' Live Here

Well, I have a new development in my bid for world power… I mean my desire to serve our community. I went to the county court house to sign up and get a petition to get my name on the ballot. My hopes were high, I was going to get a list of all registered voters in the district and then start sorting them and devising a strategy for canvassing our area.

All that was well and good until... One of the ladies who worked in the office heard me say that I wanted to run locally in the election and she informed me that I couldn’t because I hadn’t registered in December. Well, I thought she must have been confused so I turned to her supervisor, Greg McCay. He is the head of the election office. Well he also said that I had to be registered by December.

This made little sense to me because I wanted to run as an independent and everyone who registered in December was running in the primaries for their party. Apparently that doesn’t matter, the state law (yes we have a state law governing our local elections and I had them give me a copy of it) says that during a presidential year independents have to register at the same time as the party boys, oh but in non-presidential years they don’t.

So begins my rant.

I MEAN WTF!?! Why is the state regulating our local elections? Why would an independent, who cannot run in a primary because they don’t exist for independents, register for an election 11 months away? Why do we allow these two political parties to dominate us to a ridiculous extent? What does the RNC or the DNC have to do with how the leaves get collected in the fall or how the water main gets repaired when it floods Cumberland?

I can answer a few of my questions. A local election is cheaper. An interested citizen could feasibly mount an independent candidacy and get elected. Well, well we can’t have that now can we? I appreciate the purpose of the political party system and am not advocating a destruction of it (I mean I worked for on for 6 months). But I am saying that the quiet agreement between them to keep independents out has got to stop.

The most RIDICULOUS and telling part of this whole thing is the fact that an independent can register for this falls election for a State seat. Of course, in the more expensive more intensive races it’s no problem to let an independent run, they’ve really got no chance. But the two parties can agree that they have to fight the evil threat of a local person who cares about something other than party loyalty getting in there and having a say.

There is a sunny side to this whole thing though. Greg McCay did tell me that I could mount a write in campaign, but something about the smirk on his face and the fact that everyone in the office snickered told me that might not be my best option.

I am still seriously considering a write in race. It could be fun just putting up signs and stirring the pudding some.

We’ve got major problems in our local government and the two party system isn’t helping.


PS- Thanks to Stan for his help with the title.

crown and goose reviewed

if you read this blog at all, and i'm sure you do, you know that we've been anticipating the official opening of the crown and goose for a while. thursday night, several contributors marched off to the 'gastropub' to sample its original brew and cuisine.

one thing that can be said for crown goose is that they spared no expense in design and construction. aesthetically, it feels just like your neighborhood pub should: bare brick walls (one of which has a mural of the bar's logo ), generous horseshoe shaped wooden bar, extravagant beer garden. the place even has its logo on every pint glass. what would an authentic british pub be like without branded pint glasses?

the food was very good as well. we had bangers and mash with blue cheese macaroni. both dishes were very tasty. but it was not exactly pub food. though i was anticipating a higher end pub menu, i didn't realize how high brow the c&g had in mind. entrees were $20 and higher. but the menu is also extensive (i.e. french and english cheese plates, mussels, etc.) and they do have smaller plates priced at around $7 or $8. for quality, it was very good. but i'm not making this my neighborhood pub for the food.

the beer was excellent. they have three home brews: a bitter, a stout, and an ipa. unfortunately, all they had on tap for nearly the whole evening was the stout--which was delicious. it being opening night, it seemed that c&g was still working out quite a few kinks. the service was really bad. there's no doubt that the servers were trying their best to meet demand, but the place was just overrrun. and they were having issue with the kegs, thus no bitter or ipa (they finally got the bitter up later, i enjoyed it as well). they have an extensive list of domestic and imports on tap (these also ran dry during the evening) and unique specialty drink list. i was not disappointed by the beer i drank.

overall, i really liked the place and generally enjoyed myself there. but i should note a few things i didn't like, some of which i already stated.
1. the service. it was was horrible. i know it was opening night and they need to get used to themselves. but, we waited over half an hour for a beer. so you might give the place a month to settle in. i'm sure they'll be up to snuff in a few weeks.
2. the price. i should have know better when a place calls itself a 'gastropub.' and generally, i'd say its worth the price tag for the food you're getting. unfortunately, this makes the place a little exclusive. and if there is anything a pub should be, it is NOT EXCLUSIVE. they do run a special around 6:30pm (subtract a dollar from the $4 you'll spend on a draft), which makes the place still a decent place for a pint.
3. exclusivity in the old city. this is pretty much an extension of my previous point. enjoy the redundancy. as i was preparing to write this post, i got online to see what other people were saying about the gastropub. mostly they believe that the c&g is exactly what the old city needs. if it can put itself on the map with fine dining, the old city could became knoxville's entertainment district. let me be unambigous, i'd like to steer clear of any sort of critique based on 'i don't like it because it's new and nice' and i'm not against this place because it is different than many old city establishments. i like that this place is in the old city. i really like that the owner, jeffery nash, put up a significant amount of his own money and effort to make the place look amazing and have a fantastic menu--he really did a great job. i like that it brings a diversity of establishments to the area. i don't like the idea that this will somehow be a springboard to the make the old city an ok place to hang out. my distaste is more with the clientèle at the c&g than with the place itself. one person told me, "wow, this place is great. this is exactly what the old city needs to get people to finally start coming down here." i know that this will paint me as a stuffy and trite old city rat, but the area has been pulling in people for awhile. admittedly, many are young or still in school. what the above commenter should have said was, "this will pull in a crowd of people more like me." great. like i said, any kind of diversity is welcome.

one of the things i like about the old city is its uniqueness. some places are just outright weird. i believe the c&g adds its own character to the mix. however, i hope it doesn't become the development that brings in a new, more streamlined old city. if, in a few years we need to make signs that say: "keep the old city weird," i'll lend my support.

go to the crown and goose. enjoy yourself. i give it 7.5 wigs.
[sorry stan, the wigometer only has whole wig ratings, so i rounded down. ck]

Monday, March 10, 2008

the great knoxvillian chicken war

i know it might be a little bit passé to talk about the UT strip on our ultra-hip knoxville blog, but there is a war going on down there that merits discussion. it's a chicken finger war. a couple months ago, all was peaceful on the strip. sawyer's was enjoying a dominant share of the chicken finger market and business was good.

then construction began.

first it was guthrie's, then zaxby's. two chicken finger chain restaurants across the street from one another when there was already a knoxville version. all three of these restaurants serve almost the exact same product at a very similar price. i have now eaten at each of these places and here are my findings:

the good - local, unique, great chicken and texas toast, great sauce
the bad - chicken fingers are small, restaurant isn't well-kept, bad hours

the good - nice restaurant, great patio, slightly more variety, breakfast and late-night service
the bad - weak sauce (literally), portions are too small, chicken is greasier

the good - great restaurant and patio, best tasting chicken, seasoned fries, large portions, most variety (zalads!)
the bad - pre-packaged sauce, slower service

conclusion: zaxby's wins. it has the best food, the best variety, and the nicest restaurant. however, if you like supporting local business, then stick with sawyer's. i'm interested to see what the guthrie's breakfast is like, but besides that, i don't really want to eat there again. in the meantime, the war wages on...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

king of the hill reads our blog

tonight's king of the hill was about hipsters and gentrification. pretty funny stuff.

also, we watched a lot of squidbillies (a disturbingly hilarious or hilariously disturbing adult swim cartoon) this weekend, and season one has a pretty great episode about white people stereotypes. white people, otherwise known as "chalkies." they like skiing and ether.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A More Permanant Solution

As I sit here writing, drywall dust covering all of my exposed parts and my bathroom completely unusable, I want to bring up a topic that is near to all of us who live downtown. It's no secret that Knoxville has a homeless, shall we say, situation. Anyone who has been on the 100 Block of Gay St. between 6:30 and 8:00 Am has seen the results of the shelters closing for the day (I assume that is what they are doing). There are dozens of homeless, some call them transients and other things, wandering south for the organization that is set up right there at the corner of the 100 block, their name and function escapes me now.

I bring this up because I read and article in the Wall Street Journal from Thursday that intrigued me. I have often and loudly proclaimed myself a fiscal conservative and desire a small government with a limited scope of social services. That said I can appreciate success when i see it in the form of money saving programs that enable individuals to help themselves.

This article discusses a program/ study in Chicago (a wannabe Knoxville) where there has bee a shift in focus to housing the homeless as quickly as they can in independent housing that they, the no-longer homeless, care for. The results are trending towards a striking cost savings in health care savings per person. If anyone paid attention to the Tenn-care fiasco a few years ago we learned that we could quickly bankrupt our state if health care costs get out of hand.

This particular study dealt with people who were chronically sick and showed that housing people with chronic disease and health problems can reduce their medical costs by millions of dollars.

I want to know what Knoxville plan is. I realize we have some fantastic groups like the Salvation Army, KARM, and others. Stan has been working with a group through his church that aids men with terminal illnesses in a group home setting. Do other people know of other programs that seek to move the homeless into more permanent housing.

It's important to help these people who need help, especially if the end goal is to enable them to help themselves. I'd be thrilled to get feedback from as many people as possible who know of programs or groups and how they operate.

Write in Spellings for Knox District 1A

Friday, March 07, 2008

heads up, blog world

Check out this letter in this week's "Incoming" in the Metropulse:

Attention Cyber People

Metro Pulse will be revamping its website soon and introducing such 21st century innovations as online videos, photo galleries, and bloggers. If you’d like to join us in this bold journey into the future, then show us what you’d like to share with our audience. We’re looking for:
# Local bloggers who have a keen interest in tackling certain aspects of Knoxville life.
# Photographers or artists with distinctive views of Knoxville.
# Local filmmakers with cool clips. is partnering with to create a repository for the best of local video. You can find more details at either website.

Send your bona fides to:

first friday (march)

Well, First Friday is back tonight for the March edition. We've covered the regular stuff extensively, so check it out if you've never been. I won't repeat what's already been posted, but it's always a good time.

Hopefully this Friday will have a better offering of art than last month. February was a strange First Friday. Deka Bakari Gallery got the Award for Most Pornographic Painting. Gallery 1010 made me reconsider eating sausages ever, at least not without thinking of their phallic connotations. There was good stuff too. Unarmed Merchants on Gay Street was a welcome addition, with good eats and kegs on an awesome back porch.

There's one new installation in a different place that I'm aware of for tonight: a friend of mine, Raven Toney, is exhibiting "ressurectionsdesign" in the space next to Nama. He's a carpenter that specializes in reworking old salvaged wood into cool new furniture. So definitely go check it out.

First Friday Tip O' The Month:
The Best Eats
One of my favorite things about First Friday is the free food. But don't fill up on just anything! Not all art exhibits are created equal in terms of free grub. Here's the lowdown:
(1) The Emporium is consistent with lots of good stuff. Bring on the meatballs! They have a kitchen so it won't run out usually. Save this for for your last stop, but get there before 9:00. (2) Unarmed Merchants: two words- "Pasta Trio." This isn't you usual cheese platter. They went all out with catering, we'll see if they keep it up this month. (3) Deka Bakari: they're way off the beaten path for most First Friday goers, so they try to lure us down Gay Street with a delicious spread of food. It's well worth the walk. Most of other places have OK food, but focus on the above galleries first before they run out of the good stuff.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An Exploratory Committee

It's time for a change.

It's a new day in Downtown.

... so I'm still working on the slogans. but the long and the short of it is I'm thinking of running for county commission. I know I missed the primary, but that's the beauty of running as an independent.

My motivation is basically two things, one i think county commission is broken and two I don't think people who are running as a representative of national political parties are necessarily focusing on the local issues.

I have a number of causes, downtown development, the removal of the Redflex red-light cameras, and of course the children. What I'd really like is a little feedback.

Is there an interest in an independent candidate for downtown, and can I find enough people to sign the 25 person petition to get my name on the ballot.

Please let me know. Yea or Nay.

The Pol '08 District 1A.


I met some friends for dinner at Amerigo tonight. I perhaps am not the best reviewer of food right now, as I am restricted to a somewhat limited selection of foods. But, I am good at determining a restaurant's worth by reading its menu. Amerigo has a pretty big menu considering it is more of an upscale joint. Most things looked really, really good. They divide the menu into "New World" and "Old World" selections, and some of the Old World selections were very similar to dishes I used to eat when I lived in Venice. What I like, too, is that the wine list is divided into New World and Old World choices. I had to pass, but there were a lot of good bottles on that list (mostly bottles, the by the glass selection was a little skim).

Another plus is that you can opt for whole wheat penne in any of the pasta dishes. I haven't had pasta in over a month, but I can eat whole wheat pasta! So I did. I got the Goat Cheese Pasta, which was sundried tomatoes, diced tomatoes, scallions, goat cheese, gaaaaarlic and the whole wheat penne I chose. It was really good, but had waaaaay too much garlic for me. I suppose you could ask them to go light on that.

My lady friend had the crab tortellini, and her beau had the lobster ravioli. The tortellini looked heavenly and sinful and my pals said it was deeeelicious. The lobster ravioli looked good but my pal said the portion size was way to small. It definitely looked small, which was a bummer because the other two dishes were quite large, aka American sized and certainly not Italian sized. The pasta dishes were like 13-15 bucks, which I generally think is a little high for a pasta. I would exempt the lobster one, but it was so small.

The filets read good, and so did the pork dishes. There are also pizzas. Yum. The one thing about a lot of Italian restaurants in this area is that they take on an American version of Italian, and I would say that besides some of the Old World selections, Amerigo does as well. Which is probably what they are going for. So while it was very good, this wasn't on a whole authentic Italian food. What I am saying, however, haters, is that's not a bad thing necessarily. I'm just pointing it out.

Had I been willing to spend a little more dough (I save most of my dinner allowance for the weekend), I probably would have chosen the Mahi Mahi special. I may be one of the only fish lovers I know who truly dislikes salmon. Unfortunately, most restaurants offer salmon as their fallback fish. Amerigo included.

I think this would be a fun place to go for a long dinner and drinks with friends. Considering my limitations, I still had a nice time and a nice meal. This would probably be an entirely different review, however, had I been able to drink and eat freely.

8 out of 10 wigs. I don't know how to add those wigs in here.
[update: here you go, em]


goodbye local flour

unfortunately, knoxville's own white lily will be closing down this coming spring. though owned by the larger smucker brand since '06, the mill has continued to produce white lily flour and the three rivers cornmeal.

though i typically show no preference in decisions of flour, it was nice to have a local option in the store (thanks to ck for always reminding me). it is sad to see that option disappear.

by the time the plant finally closes down this june, 72 people will have lost their jobs. the above report mentioned that some will simply retire. but that leaves the rest with the undesireable task of seeking new work. or maybe it's not so undesirable. i never worked at white lily.
the mill was the last of the now depleted industry that formerly occupied the old city, or jackson avenue warehouse district (on the national register). and though of is sad to see the warehouse go, the trend is nothing new. it's our "urban" (if you can truly call anything in knoxville urban) paradox. we could not have trendy lofts, bars, and boutiques in the old city if the industry had not disappeared. i think that is what is so appealing to many people about development in formerly industrial, urban areas. though throwing together cheap, prefab structures is fun, it is also nice to renovate (if also more expensive) and know that in doing so you are transforming and creating structures and communities in what might otherwise have become a wasteland.
of course, some people just like to be able to pay a lot of money for something different. luckily, occupying vacant storage rooms can hardly be called gentrification. undoubtedly, living in old, expensive warehouses is not for everyone. but as we think about one age in knoxville passing, we can see how a new community develops in its place (and has been for a while). that encourages me.

misguided tree huggers

Anyone who has walked by the stage end of Market Square this week has probably noticed that many of the trees along Wall Ave. have been removed. I was dismayed on Monday to see mulch where nice old trees used to be. The bulging blank beige wall of Gus's Restaurant was exposed and one of the most traveled sidewalks in Knoxville (most people come out of the parking garage here) was made a lot less pleasant.

Last night fluorescent colored posters showed up on Gus's wall condemning the murder of the trees and quoting Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi"- They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. I strongly suspect that Trustafarians over at Mama Jan's were behind it. They were little over the top (let's protest something...), but I agreed with them in spirit.

So what's the deal?

"They" turned out to be the City Arborist, who knows more about trees than the average tree hugger. It turns out that the trees in question were 20-year-old Bradford pears. Bradford pears, the darlings of suburban development, are to trees what pugs are to dogs. Cute, but genetically inclined to not do so well later in life. After two decades Bradfords give up and start dropping limbs. Not good for trees next to busy city streets.

We can all rest easy, though. The powers that be of Market Square have informed me that the City Arborist will be replacing the trees with Red Maples. Maples, unlike Bradford Pears, are robust trees that grow tall and shady and can last centuries. So let's all do some research before we start protesting, shall we?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

wizard sighting!

This afternoon I confirmed that our Knoxville wizards are still among us. I passed the Gay St. wizard today. No picture this time, we were facing each other and I didn't want to incur his wrath. Then he spoke to me! He said, "Alright, man." I don't know if he was answering a question in my subconscious or something. The mystery is endless...
I think it's safe to assume that the Battle Royale between the two wizards hasn't happened yet, since the city is still intact. Based on laid back manner of Wizard No. 2 this afternoon, maybe they sat down and had a beer and worked things out.

Monday, March 03, 2008

1st week of March

The first week of March is looking busy and fun for Knoxville.

On the 6th, you've got the opening of the Crown and Goose in the Old City. If you go, let me know how it is. I am sure, actually, that many of the little knoxvillians will be there, but I will not. You've also got Ani DiFranco playing at the Bijou Theatre. If you were ever an angsty teen in the 90s, you perhaps enjoyed Ani DiFranco. I saw her once in Interlocken, MI, and she put on a good show.

Ron White is here for two dates the 7th and 8th @ the Tennessee Theatre. My parents are yankees, and they think this dude is hilarious. Same night, completely different vibe, is the Everybodyfeilds at the Bijou. This is a great, great band out of Johnson City. They are beautiful.

Oooh! Ooooh! Tom Jones is at the TN Theatre on the 9th! Awesome. I may go just to see how tan he is.

UPDATE: I got ahead of myself and forgot to mention that this Friday is also First Friday and the wonderful Bon Iver will be at the P-light on the 9th.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Signs of Progress

Ahh the Ol' hook em with a pun routine. Well these picture do reflect a great positive direction in our town. I saw them cutting over to the old city via state st. Anyways it seems like the Sentinel Building might just become a reality, or at least they spent enough money to make a pretty sign.

This also reminded me of another absolutely inane city planning set up. It takes me 5-10 minutes to drive from my place on the river to the old city, but 2 minutes to get back because of the straight shot along S. Central because of no traffic lights etc.

But that's a rant for a later date.

write in spellings knox district 1A