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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Quote of the Day April 29, 2011 6:24 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Deep Thoughts, Philosophy, Quote
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A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not why ships are built. [Source, fortune cookie]

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SCIENCE! That planets are aligning in the sky April 29, 2011 10:43 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Science, Space, Technology
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This is a great week to wake your children early and peer into the sky. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are visible to the naked eye. Binoculars or a small telescope will allow you to see Uranus and Neptune. Any camera with a telephoto lens should be able to capture all 6 at once.

For the last two months, almost all the planets have been hiding behind the sun, but this week they all emerge and are arrayed in a grand line above the rising sun.

[Source, LiveScience, Six Planets Now Aligned in the Dawn Sky by Geoff Gaherty]

Picture credit: Starry Night Software. Picture borrowed from LiveScience

Inspire your children. Awe them with the wonders of the universe. Arise early. Hear the birds. See the planets.

If you get confused looking at objects in the sky, consider the iPhone/iPad app "GoSkyWatch" It is undeniably one of my favorite applications. I spent most of my life with astronomy books unsure if I was correctly identifying objects in the sky. GoSkyWatch removes all doubt, adds factoids, and makes star gazing so much more fun. [Link to app]

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This is Knoxville April 29, 2011 10:14 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Knoxville
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RIP Evelyn Sothman April 27, 2011 5:05 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Announcements, Of Interest
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My friend, my Knoxville "mom," has passed away.

To me she will always be "Mom" Sothman sharing the family’s dinner during my college years. She even brought me along to "family" reunions and gatherings of an unrelated family in LaFollette whom she met at a stay in the stay in the hospital. Evelyn Sothman shared video with me of one of the last caretakers of the Wonderland Hotel at Elkmont. Through her, and that smile she wore, I felt closer to the people and the kindness of East Tennessee.

I miss her. May Trisha, Chris and the rest of the family be happy knowing that their mother brought joy to those around her. My love and condolences to you all.


I am happy to have seen her recently. She was working the polls during the most recent election and I had a few moments to get a hug and catch up.

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Stop Outsourcing at Knox County Schools April 27, 2011 12:09 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Activism, Announcements, Education, Health, Local Politics, Of Interest, Politics, Touchy Subjects
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A friend from Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee asked that I help spread their word:

Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee is petitioning to save the jobs of 275 or more custodial workers as Superintendent Dr. McIntyre has proposed an outsourcing plan as part of the 2011-2012 school budget which would:

  • lay off 275 workers across the county
  • reduce custodial wages by $2-$5 per hour
  • decrease quality of work (as shown by the last outsourcing attempt)

Please sign our online petition urging the school board to avoid outsourcing in our schools! http://bit.ly/g69Uz3

Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee is having a lunch for custodians and other school employees and community members this Saturday.

Custodians and other school employees and community members have been circulating petitions and talking to the Board of Education about the proposal to contract out custodial services. This is a very bad idea – bad for employees, students, and the whole community. There are a couple of School Board meetings coming up soon, so this might be a good time for folks to get together and talk about what we need to do next.

Let’s meet for lunch Saturday, April 30, 12 noon to 2 pm at the UNITE Building, 1124 N. Broadway (less than a mile north of Central).

Since custodians work different shifts, Saturday seems like the best chance to get together. We’d like the other folks who have been working on this to attend as well.

Lunch & Child Care are provided.

Family members are welcome at this gathering. Everyone is important. We’ll talk about what we’ve accomplished so far, and how we might move forward to save jobs and the quality of our schools. We can do this!

If you have questions before Saturday, call Jobs with Justice volunteers Karly Safar, 615/519-0157 or Brad Rayson, 865/385-4421.

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Oh! I now understand why TN fears sex education. April 27, 2011 11:41 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Education, Health, Sex, Touchy Subjects
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Apparently sexual education is the gateway to teen sex and deviance! Without sex ed, teenagers would never, ever be aware of the capabilities of their bodies and therefore would never masturbate or have sex.

Seen on BoingBoing

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Not always as nerdy as I should be April 26, 2011 5:17 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Announcements, Of Interest
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Only today have I comprehended the meaning behind HAL’s dirge, "Daisy Bell," at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In 1961, the IBM 7094 became the first computer to sing, singing [Daisy Bell]. Vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews.

[Source, Youtube, First computer to sing – Daisy Bell]

Max V. Mathews, RIP

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We hire fags! April 26, 2011 11:04 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Politics, Regional Politics (SE), Religion / Spirituality, Sex, Touchy Subjects
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I’m thinking of starting a business in Tennessee with the sole purpose of hiring homosexual staff. Here’s the business plan:

Mission statement: To snub our noses at the Tennessee GOP


We can worry about a product or service later. Investors? Angels?

If this post confuses you, see quipsofyellow Gay gay gay gay gay: arrest me, already. and TN House Votes to Reverse Nashville LGBT Workplace Protection Ordinance and Tennessee Legislature moves quickly to nullify Nashville’s newly adopted nondiscrimination ordinance.

Without debate, the House Commerce Subcommittee voted for legislation Wednesday to bar all Tennessee cities from enacting their own policies against gay, lesbian and/or transgender discrimination. The action was taken by voice vote, with no lawmaker offering audible opposition. [Source, Democratic Underground, Tennessee Legislature moves quickly to nullify Nashville’s newly adopted nondiscrimination ordinance]

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Seeking Referral – Landscaper/Landscape Designer April 21, 2011 11:01 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, House
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Has anyone worked with a decent landscaper or landscape designer in Knoxville? I’m not looking for someone to cut my grass but instead to help design the layout of the yard, help cultivate a thick lush grass in some parts and strategically use plants, ground covers, and shrubs in other parts of the yard. Any recommendations?

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It’s April 20th and everyone is stoned April 20, 2011 12:34 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Holiday, Touchy Subjects
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That’s right, if you are not aware, today is a holiday for imbibers of marijuana. You can Google to figure out the various reasons people attribute special meaning to "420". Obviously this means the roads will be riddled with crazed drivers disregarding all rules of the road, maniacs disregarding the rules of society, and wild-eyed reefer madden thugs looking to beat and murder innocent people as well as engage in sexual acts without protection!

I believe in a short time you will see marijuana legalized all over the United States. Even Tennessee has proposed legislation to legalized medical marijuana but Governor Bill Haslam is opposed. There’s even a Facebook page. See also Volunteer TV’s discussion.

A bill that gained approval in three legislative committees last year has been reintroduced in the Tennessee legislature. Sen. Beverly Marrero has introduced “The Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act.” The bill, SB 251, would allow patients with certain serious illnesses – HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few – whose doctors recommend marijuana to legally purchase it from state-licensed distributors.

[Source, Marijuana Policy Project, Round 2: Sen. Marrero reintroduces "Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act"]

Tennessee Leger which covers legislative issues in the 107th general assembly lists the proposed medical conditions which would qualify a person for medical marijuana in TN. Tennessee Leger also has a poll which at the time had 60 voters all claiming they’d vote Aye on the bill.

I was the president of Students for a Smoke-free Campus while an undergrad at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. I like smoke-free buildings and despise walking through cigarette smoke to get into a building. That said, I believe we are at the beginning of seeing marijuana legalized all over the United States. I think we are living in times not dissimilar to when Prohibition (for alcohol) was breaking down. Even former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders supports legalizing marijuana.

See more of Garfunkel and Oates.

Extensive discussion can be made regarding the for profit nature of the US penitentiary system and the cost of enforcing marijuana laws both monetarily and socially. Instead, let’s look at a couple of maps. First, cannabis laws around the world:

[Source, wikimedia]

And now, marijuana laws by state in the United States:

[Source, NORML]

If you feel your tax dollars are wasted on marijuana laws and enforcement, write your representative.

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I love the smell of latex in the morning April 19, 2011 9:38 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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Seeking Referral – Pest Control April 18, 2011 4:03 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Knoxville
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Hello Knoxville! I’m looking to establish a contract with a pest control company. I want regular inspections for termites. I’m looking for someone that can advise or treat for carpenter bees and carpenter ants. I’d like a company that can advise on environmentally friendly methods (grubs etc) versus chemicals. I may be seeking treatments for mosquitoes too.

What companies in Knoxville should be considered? Which ones should be avoided?

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Bathroom renovation needs a $6400 toilet April 18, 2011 2:50 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, House
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We are nearing the end of our bathroom renovation. I think this would complete it:

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Things that should go unsaid April 17, 2011 11:25 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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"Hey, the stairwell light is working today!"

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Always Room for a Farmer’s Market April 16, 2011 10:26 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Of Interest, Travel
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This is Bangkok’s Maeklong Market and shows any city can find space for a farmer’s market. More pictures. Seen on Banned in Hollywood. Here’s another great video.

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