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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Return to the Fellinis January 31, 2011 8:03 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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After spending 5 days between Washington, DC and New York City, waking up in Knoxville feels a lot like falling asleep at a big circus and waking up in a sideshow carnival.

Yes, we the freaks; we are the oddities.

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Blip! January 21, 2011 7:09 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Announcements, Of Interest
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Costco is on the radar again

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Florida produces a winning 2012 presidential candidate January 18, 2011 5:09 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Politics, Touchy Subjects, United States
, 3comments

Ryan Lipner wants to be president of the United States but he is only 27 and the Constitution requires a candidate to be 35 years old or older. Is he qualified?

Lipner is known for his obsession with Hallmark stores as a teen and for opening branches without the company’s permission, leading him "to grand theft, bankruptcy, imprisonment, and possibly insanity — all before his 18th birthday," according to a 2001 New Times story.

[Source, Broward Palm Beach NewTimes]

He at least sounds qualified for Congress.


Deep Thoughts January 18, 2011 11:36 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Deep Thoughts, Philosophy
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Ultimately, it’s about understanding.

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Fearing Men – Bad for society January 18, 2011 11:17 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Touchy Subjects
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Thank you Lenore Skenazy!

We think we’re protecting our kids by treating all men as potential predators. But that’s not a society that’s safe. Just sick. [Source, Wall Street Journal, Eek! A Male!]

I have suffered this myself. See, I’m that creepy stalker guy.

I dropped by the high school band practice to give my daughter some money since she decided to stay from practice to the game instead of coming home. My wife and 3 other children were in the van as I approached the field. The girls on the flag team became concerned because “a creepy stalker guy” was approaching the field. Their response was an immediate jump to the negative.

How strong was the impact of this experience with my daughter? Two days ago I offered to drop by during band camp to offer support to the team and my daughter begged me to stay away. She reminded me specifically that I am “that creepy stalker guy.” Wow. Gee. Thank you society for the hollow feeling you have put in my chest, destroying bonding opportunities between my daughter and me, and embarrassing my daughter in front of her peers.

How can we be raising happy children to become happy adults when we are teaching them to focus only on the negative…and a negative that is highly unlikely?

[Source, Reality Me, I am the creepy stalker guy]

Imagine the hysteria that I could have created by trying to take a picture of my daughter practicing. Perhaps I would have ended up in jail.

Our attitudes toward males around children drive men away from the early education system where they are greatly needed. A segue: Our children need more hugs. A child who has fallen on the playground should be picked up and comforted by an adult (male or female) and often that comfort comes in the form of a hug. Touch is important but our society now fears it so much that I think we are turning into a parody of the movie Demolition Man. I implore the teachers of my children to hug them if they need it.

I could easily quote all of Lenore Skenazy’s article but let’s end with this. As you jump to the negative giving in to media driven fearful hysteria, think hard about this incident:

In England in 2006, BBC News reported the story of a bricklayer who spotted a toddler at the side of the road. As he later testified at a hearing, he didn’t stop to help for fear he’d be accused of trying to abduct her. You know: A man driving around with a little girl in his car? She ended up at a pond and drowned. [Source, Wall Street Journal, Eek! A Male!]

See also: Every possible form of interaction between an adult and a child is perceived as yet another opportunity for child abuse.

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The Next Weekend Project – Bathroom January 17, 2011 2:23 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Family, House, Of Being Dad
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When I bought my house, my father said, "Congratulations, you now have something to do every weekend for the rest of your life." And so it began. Although the clubhouse still requires a roof, floor, windows and a door, timing has prompted us to begin the upstairs bathroom remodel. More than a decade ago, I started the downstairs bathroom remodel and it remains in limbo. If this goes poorly, my family will be living in a hotel.

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Knoxville’s First Racetrack Still Exists January 14, 2011 6:00 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History
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Knoxville is so full of interesting secrets and amazing history. Today I had the pleasure of driving on Knoxville’s first racetrack. The story was explained to me that after the civil war, an ex-slave [Cal Johnson] was awarded the gruesome contract to collect and bury the dead Union soldiers. That ex-slave became a millionaire and with his fortune created the first thoroughbred racetrack in Knoxville, TN. The field in the center of the racetrack is also known as being the location of the first airplane landing in Knoxville. This racetrack exists today and later this week, I will upload a video of a drive around the track.

Knoxville's First Racetrack Still Exists

On an unrelated note, I learned that the animosity between South Knoxville and Downtown Knoxville is rooted in history even if today’s Knoxvillians do not know why they detest each other. Apparently when the Great Depression hit, many Appalachians left their mountain homes seeking prosperity elsewhere. Naturally, many found the "big city" of Knoxville. Blue blood Knoxvillians did not appreciate the influx of foreigners to their fair city and took a dislike to the Appalachians. While the blue blood Knoxvillians primarily resided to the north of the river, the Appalachians took residence to the south of the river known today as South Knoxville. The Appalachian influence in South Knoxville is the reason for South Knoxville’s uniqueness and eccentricities.

n.b. None of this has been fact checked and was conveyed as an oral history.

tl;dr: Knoxville’s first horse race track still exists and was also the location of the first airplane to land in Knoxville.


The sun rose 48 hours early in Greenland and, yes Virginia, there is global warming January 14, 2011 3:09 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Environment, Science, Touchy Subjects
, 2comments

For a month and a half, there’s absolutely no Sun in Greenland because of Earth’s angle in relation to our home star. People there eagerly await for January 13, when the Sun rises again, every year. Except this one. This year, the Sun rose 48 hours ahead of its projected date. … [Source, Gizmodo]

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18 hours of ice January 13, 2011 1:15 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cathy, Daily Life, Evan, Family, Of Being Dad, Sarah, Transportation, Travel
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So in the past 18 hours:

Waiting with bated breath to hear that the 5 year old makes it home safely and that the van survives.

Oh, and btw, secondary roads in Knoxville are still precarious. This is why schools get canceled.

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Groceries and the Snopocalypse January 10, 2011 12:34 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cathy, Daily Life, Family, Of Being Dad
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I get a giggle out of Knoxville’s typical overreaction to bad weather. We use a gallon of milk every day or two so I’m often buying milk regardless of weather. When the forecast is doom and gloom the milk and bread shelves are barren. Coincidentally, our pantry ran empty in sync with a predicted 2-5 inches of snow so Cathy and I joined in the madness at the grocery. After spending $150 on essentials and a few day’s meals, we arrived home to hungry children only to realize we hadn’t purchased anything for a quick meal for that night!

So, after getting the droopy, "we’re hungry" eyes from the children last night, I got the same thing from the dogs this morning. Apparently in our effort to feed the humans, we failed to notice the dogs were scrapping bottom in their food supply too. So, now to brave the snow covered roads before tonight’s ice storm comes to get to the pet store for dog chow and a rat (hungry snake too).

Tl;dr: On Sunday, we bought meals for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and neglected to bring home dinner for that night and failed to buy dog food.

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I am the gas fairy, goo goo g’joob January 9, 2011 11:09 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cathy, Daily Life, Family, Transportation, Travel
, 3comments

When I notice the van running low on petrol (gasoline), I attempt to secretly refill the tank so that Cathy is frequently surprised with a full tank of gas. Yesterday she found herself stranded at the mall because the van refused to start. She claims she was out in the cold for an hour and a half. I arrived and after some futzing with the van the engine roared albeit roughly and with a warning light. Eventually we found our way to Autozone whose computer reported that the MAF/MAP sensor was overloaded. Great, sensor replacement time. Wait a minute! Hadn’t seen this before? Oh… yes. I walked out the door to the van, removed the gas cap, and replaced the gas cap, the warning light faded away, and the engine ran smooth. See, in modern vehicles, the fuel system is often pressurized so if the gas cap is not sealed well, like it’s crooked, then the engine has problems getting fuel.

n.b. The gas fairy does indeed sound like a walrus.

Tl;dr The van wouldn’t start leaving Cathy was stuck in the cold for an hour and a half because I put the gas cap on crooked.


Well stated! ‘The loss of civil rights happen slowly’ January 7, 2011 12:08 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Conspiracy, Politics, Security, Touchy Subjects
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Take heed!

The loss of civil rights happen slowly, so we are not supposed to take notice. Once our freedoms are gone, they will not be given back to us. [Source, NetworkWorld, The Stripping of Freedom: EPIC vs. DHS on TSA Body Scanners]

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And I took a week off January 7, 2011 9:52 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Holiday
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I took the week from Christmas to New Year’s off. It was great for my personal well-being; it was terrible choice for my professional well-being.

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What music do you like? January 6, 2011 4:30 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Music, Of Interest
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My favorite band right now is Flogging Molly because, well, Molly just sounds fun.

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From the mouths of babes – my Cats in the Cradle moment January 5, 2011 9:53 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Evan, Family, From the mouths of babes, Of Being Dad
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Evan, 5 years old: "Dad, you don’t play much. You work a lot."

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