Glass Half Full
Keeping Abreast of the Situation

I noticed, a couple of weeks ago I noticed driving down Northshore that a T. G. I. Friday’s had closed, which was a disappointment to me because we had infrequent but good experiences there. (More troubling was the closing of Ott’s Barbecue just up the road, but that is not relevant to the story at hand.) There was an obvious rehab underway, even though the signs out front indicated the property was available for lease. As it took shape, I guessed that it might be a Texas Roadhouse, or a Logan’s or some other kind of woodsy steakhouse.

Today, while searching for information about another new restaurant, I found a website called Knoxville Restaurant News, with the not obviously related URL of http://www.easttennesseedining.com/knews.html. , which reported that according to a press release from the parent company the new restaurant on the site of the old Friday’s “will feature 60 flat panel televisions and will be focused on sports.  The chain goes for the higher-end clientele, not necessarily the Hooter’s crowd. The franchisee, Coby Brooks indicated that ‘we build first-class restaurants and feel Knoxville is the perfect sports market for our brand.’ ”

Hooters has spawned other imitators, of course. A local one that closed shortly after we moved here was called The Spice Rack. I will confess that the double entendre in that name went over my head at first. I thought it was just an Asian restaurant with a peculiarly un-Asian name. I’ll also confess that, until I read the press release above with the Hooter’s reference, I also missed the double entendre in the name of the new restaurant.

It’s going to be called:image

And yes, this is apparently their logo. So, when they say it will be nothing like Hooter’s, I think I’ll have to go in just a little bit skeptical.

Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.
Mark Twain
A Larry Mondello Moment

Millions of years ago, when the Earth’s surface had cooled sufficiently to allow for the erection of colleges and universities, for two and a half years I attended one near enough to the house in which I grew up to allow me to commute on a daily basis and save a ton of money so I could afford to transfer to their main campus for the final year and a half and experience traditional college life. I’ve always said if someone would have paid me a living wage to go to college I’d still be there, because it beat the daylights out of an actual career. At the commuter branch of my school I logged a lot of hours in the student lounge playing Hearts and Double Deck Pinochle between classes while reminiscing with other vagrants and layabouts about our not very distant past. What we had in common, in addition to horrifying tales of High School, was Television. In those pre-cable, pre-internet days, television was our common denominator. Because there were only six channels and three networks, the chances were good that if you spent any time at all watching it (and most lounge rats were the kind of people who would have) you’d all seen the same shows and the same reruns, over and over. So, when we waxed nostalgically while the cards were being dealt, the sort of topic that would come up was, what do we recall about those old shows that we all used to watch.

image

This one time we were on the topic of Leave It To Beaver characters and actors. We remembered Lumpy Rutherford. Eddie Haskell. Whitey. June and Ward. Mr. Rutherford, played by Richard Deacon. Hugh Beaumont. Tony Dow. But none of us could remember the name of the fat kid who was the Beav’s best friend. He was always talking Theodore into doing something stupid that would probably lead to a teaching moment and commiserating lecture in which Ward would fondly recall his own childhood. I could see the kid’s face, but the name would not come. It was, as the saying goes, on the tip of my tongue. But by the time the hour between classes was over and we had to leave, no one had been able to recall the name.

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Everything is Awesome

I saw the Lego Movie this afternoon. I have to say that in my humble opinion that even though it is good and fun and entertaining it has probably been overpraised. 

Except for the song the Lego workers sing early on that gets repeated in the credits, “Everything is Awesome”. That song is…awesome. It would make a great ring tone. I almost wish I still had a job somewhere and we could play that song all day and watch people jumping out of windows and going mad, which is probably an appropriate response.

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream

Everything is better when we stick together
Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let’s party forever
We’re the same, I’m like you, you’re like me, we’re all working in harmony

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream

I feel like having some Kool-Aid right now.

thisfeliciaday:

Dale Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating our differences (by MyDailyWorldNews)
This made me tear up. Wow. What a dude.

Spoiler Alert

I’m not an expert in dragon psychology, but it seems to me the normal thing to do would be to finish off toasting the dwarves BEFORE you fly off to punish the village they happened to come from.

Also, while the CGI is real impressive, I miss the days when movie fights were closer to the physically possible.

Sherlock and Watson playing for
opposite teams is kind of a bummer too.

Still, lots of thumbs up.

Ready For Your Close Up?

Dax Shepard, an actor I am most familiar with as the husband of Kristin Bell, wrote this piece at huffingtonpost.com about a cause they are both passionate about, the intrusion of photographers into the lives of celebrity children, prompted by incidents that have recently occurred with their own baby. They have called for a boycott of all magazines that solicit and pay for pictures taken by paparazzi. Shepard and Bell have also promoted this cause on Twitter which is where I became familiar with it because I have been following Bell for the past few months. (Full disclosure, although I have never met her, she was an acquaintance of my niece and sister-in-law before she was famous back in Michigan and also I am a fan of Veronica Mars and, well, the sloth thing

It seems like a clear enough issue, and as Shepard acknowledges in his piece, not the biggest problem in the world and certainly not a problem most of us will ever have to worry about personally. At the end of the piece he replies to a few of the negative responses he and Kristin have received on Twitter, because if you’re famous you can’t put anything on Twitter that won’t get somebody’s dander up.

Ricky Gervais, another celebrity I follow on Twitter, promotes ending animal cruelty. He always gets angry tweets from individuals who think other issues, namely the issues they care about, are more important.

Could we just stop with this sort of response, and acknowledge that life is a complex and twisted mess and that we, as humans, need to work on a lot of different issues that intertwine, and whose solutions are perhaps intertwined as well, and that caring about minor issues doesn’t mean we don’t care about major ones, and that even if we could all agree on what the #1 problem was, and all worked exclusively on fixing that, we might not be able to fix it, or, if we did fix it, our inattention to all of the other issues might make the world a worse place than it was before we started, and that, dropping the ball on all of those other issues might even make fixing the #1 problem impossible to begin with? Poverty, infrastructure, education, the environment, jobs, animal rights, civil and women’s rights, clean air and water, sustainable energy, hunger, freedom of speech, religious freedom and freedom from religion, music, art, tolerance, civility, and common decency, they’re all connected on some level, don’t you think?

The negative tweets Shepard selected for response are full of hostility and appear motivated by self-righteousness (other causes are more important) and jealousy (rich actors should be grateful they don’t have real problems). Here’s one that encapsulates both self-righteousness AND jealousy:

"There are way more important things to boycott than your rich kid getting her picture taken."

This tweeter is apparently of the opinion you can only boycott one purveyor of injustice at a time. As in, gosh, I’d like to boycott US magazine but I can’t because I’m boycotting Monsanto, which is more important. I’m here to tell you you can boycott US magazine AND Monsanto, if you want. And more. You can lead a life in which you oppose all injustices, large AND small. Really. It’s like walking and chewing gum at the same time. You can handle it. Even though the privacy of celebrity children is an issue you might not be passionate about, one that doesn’t affect you personally in any way, what reason outside of petty jealousy and selfishness can you offer for being opposed to it? It’s not like you’re being asked to march in front of hostile rock-throwing crowds while being sprayed by fire-hose wielding police in riot gear. Just boycott the offending magazines. Not only does it take NO effort, it actually takes less effort than you already expend if you happen to be one of those people who actually goes to the store to buy those magazines. You’ll save a little money too.

Maybe, until this thing gets settled, you can fill the void in your life by taking pictures of other people’s children in your own neighborhood. especially people and children you don’t know personally. I’m sure they’ll all be thrilled to cooperate and won’t feel their privacy is being violated in any way. 

Flimsy

This is Flimsy. Thanks to Facebook, I know the outline and bare details of her story. She was a brood mama out in Kansas, which means that after her racing career she was retained by her owner in order to have a few litters of puppies, She might have been a successful racer, maybe she had an impressive blood line, perhaps both. Anyway, the brood mamas (and studs) have a second career and don’t retire as soon as their less distinguished racing greyhound buddies. Flimsy was seven, and up for adoption at last. She was about to become someone’s first foster dog as well.

But then she was bitten by a brown recluse spider. She got very sick and was hospitalized, and intravenous fluids were administered. After a day of treatment and observation she appeared to rally, and went to the vet’s home to recuperate to await transfer to the new foster home, which was still looking forward to taking her in. Yesterday morning she had recovered sufficiently to begin eating, and she even played with a stuffed toy. But by 3 PM she was lethargic and the vet (who is a greyhound owner and rescue worker herself) discovered her legs were cold and without circulation. By evening, with no other treatments to try, she made the decision to euthanize her.

There are a lot of sad stories out there and some people don’t think we should shed tears for animals when humans are suffering all over the world. In the grand scheme of things, the brief life of a single greyhound isn’t a great tragedy. I won’t argue that it is. But Flimsy by all accounts was a really nice dog who not only would have had a happy life as a pet, but could have made a human family happier as well. That’s not nothing.

Home Improvement

I’ve been looking for a desk for a couple of months to replace the one in my spare bedroom converted to an office. The one I had was purchased through Craig’s List for a whopping 40 bucks when we moved here, and it has all the virtues you would expect from a $40 desk, including being kind of wobbly. 

I’ve been hoping to find a desk of better quality on Craig’s List, made of real wood even, but nothing enticing has turned up even in the higher price ranges I was willing to consider. Then Sunday’s paper had an ad for a self-assembled desk that looked nice, even though it was made of  pressed wood and a laminate surface of the sort that is slowing killing us all through toxic emissions, according to some folks, sort of like the desk I already have. I went to have a look and decided, well, the price is right, and I’m getting so old I’ll probably die of cancer from the pressed wood I’ve already been exposed to anyway and a little bit more can hardly make a difference at this point, I might as well buy it.

Internet reviews noted that assembly time was anywhere between 3 to 5 hours, so I figured, correctly, that it would take me at least twice as long, which turned out to be accurate. Long ago I realized that as far as mechanical and construction work goes, I’m a functional idiot. But, a day and a half later, after a lot of head scratching, instruction diagram turning, cursing, and one skinned knuckle, the new desk sits in splendor in the center of my home office, emitting toxic gases and looking really bad ass. It also weighs 150 pounds and does not wobble at all, which was the main thing I wanted out of it, so, mission accomplished.

It’s a good thing it turned out so well because this desk and I are going to be together a long time. The desk is a little bit bigger than I actually was looking for, and I realized even before I started putting it together that, once assembled, it would be too big to get through the doorway or out of the room. Which, it is. So, in that hopefully distant day when we decide to sell the house as we move into the end of life hospice center with terminal cancer, we will probably need to make a selling point out of it. The ad will read, in part: home office, with built-in bookshelves and storage cabinets.

Desk included. 

The War On History

This is just not factual.

You may, of course, choose to celebrate that way, but if you want to be Biblically correct and exclusive, your holiday should not include any of the following, which are borrowed from pagan traditions and are not in any way, shape, or form related to Jesus or even mentioned in the Bible:

Carols and greetings, which come to us from the winter festival of Yule, the Scandinavian fertility god, in the celebration of “yuletide” and the midwinter feast of the dead, Your yule log burning in the fireplace is a pagan tradition.

Wreaths on the door and decked halls, Wiccan in origin.

Kissing under the mistletoe, from the Druids.

A “Christmas” tree, a pagan hangover from the Roman festival of Saturnalia.

The date December 25, which was the date worshippers of Mithras chose to celebrate the sun’s rebirth. The Bible gives no date, but scholars agree it was unlikely to have been December. The early church leaders picked the date to try to usurp popular support for the pagan gods, and it worked out so well we have all but forgotten that originally Mithras was the Reason for the Season.

Gift giving, which can be traced to a number of mythic figures, like Thor, Odin, or St. Nicholas, from whom the tradition of bringing gifts in the night and eventually our Santa Claus, also secular, has evolved.

For you strict Jesus followers, there should be no North Pole workshop, no elves, no reindeer. No chestnuts roasting on an open fire, no sleigh rides, no Miracle on 34th Street, no Wonderful Life, and no Christmas Carol, all of which are not specifically Christian.

Or, how about this: if you “let” the rest of us use the word Christmas, devoid of it’s original specific religious meaning, we’ll “let” you use how ever many of these non-Christian winter holiday traditions devoid of their original pagan meanings you want, without posting divisive, historically inaccurate memes about it.