Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fun Facts about Knoxville

1. Knoxville was named after Henry Knox, President Washington's War Secretary.

2. The corporate headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is located in Knoxville. TVA was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 to provide "Electricity for All."

3. In 1901, Kid Curry, a member of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, shot a couple of deputies and escaped out the back window of a business on Central Avenue in what is now the Old City. He was captured, brought to the Knoxville Jail, but escaped and was last seen riding the sheriff’s stolen horse across the Gay Street Bridge.

4. Knoxville is 20 miles south of Oak Ridge National Laboratory which was instrumental in the development of the atomic bomb.

5. In 1974 Walter Cronkite designated Knoxville as the "Streaking Capital of the World." It was in the spring of that year that an estimated 5,000 people on Cumberland Avenue took their clothes off... stripping on the "strip".

6. Still on the law books: It is illegal to lasso fish in Knoxville, TN.

7. The Sunsphere, built for the 1982 World’s Fair, is 266 feet tall and has 26 stories. The actual ball itself houses only five levels.

8. Knoxville Zoo is the Red Panda Capital of the World, having the greatest success in breeding and survival of baby Red Pandas.

9. Nikki Giovanni, the Princess of Black Poetry, was born in Knoxville in 1943.

10. Pulitzer Prize winning writer James Agee was born in Knoxville in 1909.

11. Current NFL star Peyton Manning played for UT in Knoxville.

12. Knoxville had the last successful World's Fair held in America.

13. Quentin Tarantino, the famous actor and director was born in Knoxville. Creator of "Kill Bill" and "Pulp Fiction."

14. Lastly, there is a street here named Gerald R. Ford Drive, for reasons I have yet to discover.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Michigan Summer

In Michigan, summer is a good thing. Sure, it gets hot here, terribly hot and all sorts of humid, but it's not the type of hot or humid that makes you plan your life around it. About a month ago, a friend who lives in Austin told me she waited until summer to go to movies because escaping the heat in the delightful cool of a theater there is necessary. That's not so here. In fact, going to the theater during the summer in Michigan is sort of sacrilegious. We don't waste sun here. It is a precious commodity, a rare and infrequent gift. Summer here is quite manageable and lovely and good.

Today, I woke up, made some scrambled eggs for a bunch of little boys roaming my parents' house, then took a run down a deeply wooded trail. It was a nice run with the requisite buzzing of giant dragonflies. I nearly stepped on a corn snake winding its way in front of me on the path. I think it was a corn snake anyway. I'm not sure, but anyway, it was the size of a corn snake, which is to say it was fairly small but fast. It's a great running path with all sorts of trunks to hop over and branches to maneuver beneath. I get my G.I. Jane out on this path.

After that, it was off to the craft store to buy materials to make coozies, and then of course, there was the coozie making with my nieces and nephews. Coozies scream of tubing down a lazy river, which is quintessential Michigan.

A nice walk to Target followed by a walk through a human maze topped off the afternoon and then it was back home to a pool and a deck full of sunshine. That human maze, by the way, was a cool thing only there were no wrong moves to make. I cheated after a couple of minutes because a labyrinth - that's what they called it - a labyrinth and not a maze should have multiple paths and many decisions to make. This did not, which really makes it just a path. Anyway, it was still a cool thing. My nephews and niece sweated their way through a dead tear run of the thing and then they sat in the center of it in the direct and open sunshine.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Litany of the Books

As is often the case, at least in attempts at grace and ambition, I am stealing this from Otterbutt:

Bold the books you have read, put an asterisk after the ones you read for school (I couldn't underline), and italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary *
The Odyssey *
Pride and Prejudice *
Jane Eyre *
The Tale of Two Cities *
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad *
Emma *
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations *
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales *
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man *
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World *
The Fountainhead *
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984 *

Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse *
Tess of the D’Urbervilles *
Oliver Twist *
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince *
The Sound and the Fury *
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things

A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter *
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion is this
There is Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye *
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield