Posted on Leave a comment

Safer at Home Order for Knox County

And Knox County is locked down.

“To further combat the spread of COVID-19, the Knox County Health Department has issued a Safer at Home Order — directing all residents of Knox County stay inside their homes, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.

• Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
• Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
• Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
• Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
• Care for or support a friend or family member
• Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
• Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
• Help someone to get necessary supplies
• Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

• Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
• • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
• Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

Is this Order mandatory? What happens if I don’t comply?
Yes. This is a legally enforceable order.”

Read more

Posted on Leave a comment

The 7 Stages of Knoxville’s Lottery Win

Last night, someone in Knoxville won $259 million on the Powerball lottery! Here is what happened in Knoxville this morning:

  1. Shock or Disbelief: "No one in Knoxville ever wins!"
  2. Denial: "It has to be me. I won’t look at the ticket and when no one else claims it I’ll know I didn’t lose. Argh, I looked and my numbers didn’t match. I’ll put the ticket in my desk drawer and check again later. It’ll be the winning ticket then."
  3. Anger: "Why’d I look at the ticket! If I hadn’t looked, it would have been me! I hope the person who won loses their ticket."
  4. Bargaining: "If only I had bought two tickets. Then I would have won half. Since I didn’t win $259 million, I’ll buy two tickets Saturday and win $40 million."
  5. Guilt: "I really shouldn’t have hoped the winner loses their ticket. After all, I might know them."
  6. Depression: "My life will never be the same without that $259 million."
  7. Acceptance and Hope: "Statistically the odds were against anyone in Knoxville winning. The odds that I know the winner are much higher. I hope I know the winner!"
Posted on Leave a comment

My April/May 2011 Juggling Performances

This is my upcoming performance schedule.

  • April 15 11:15-11:30 and noon-12:15 – UT’s International Festival on the UC Plaza. Fire will be allowed.
  • April 15 3:00-3:30 Dogwood Art’s festival children’s stage near Krutch Park downtown – Fire will be allowed.
  • April 16 5:00-8:30 Zoo-to-do juggling at the Knoxville Zoo. No fire. LED show if darkness comes soon enough.
  • April 17 4:00-4:30 Dogwood Art’s festival children’s stage near Krutch Park downtown – Fire will be allowed.
  • April 30 time tbd (event is 8-5) Dogwood Art’s Chalk Wallk walk-around juggling in Market Square and Krutch Park – details still being worked out. Probably a G to PG-13 rated crowd since this will be atmospheric/walk-around the performances will be shorter more adhoc depending on what crowd gathers to watch. Fire will be based upon each location that is density of the crowd, nearness to flammables, etc. You know.. the standard safety considerations.
  • May 6 5-8:30 Dreamnight at the Zoo with Children’s Hospital – the event is for children with severe ongoing medical concerns and terminal illness. – No fire. LED equipment if darkness comes soon enough.
  • May 7 10-11:30 (probably more like 10:45-11:30 – event is 10am-2pm and the only slot taken is 11:30-noon when Michael Messing performs magic). The event is Children’s Mental Health Week sponsored by TN Voices for Children and will be near Krutch Park.

If you are interested in joining me on any of these endeavors, just let me know. Obviously most of the events are G-rated but I think we can have a little more fun with the UT students. Note: At this point, none of the performances are likely to be amp’d ie. no microphones or PAs. I currently do not have a passing partner for any of these events. If you want to pass with me or have some solo time at one of these events, please let me know. Don’t sell your skills short. If you learn to pass clubs Monday night, you’re already good enough! Performances are much less about perfect juggling and far more about audience engagement.

Juggle til you drop!

Posted on 2 Comments

Knoxville’s First Racetrack Still Exists

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.

Posted on 1 Comment

18 hours of ice

So in the past 18 hours:

  • My wife couldn’t get off our street due to ice
  • Our friend managed to get onto our cove returning our son 11pmish but couldn’t get out
  • My neighbor had to use 4 wheel drive to escape the ice
  • The postman slid into a neighbor’s yard
  • My father-in-law had difficulty leaving the street
  • My 17 year old daughter slid her car into our retaining wall and had to climb out the passenger side
  • My 17 year old daughter took our van to pick the 5 year old up from school

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.

Posted on 2 Comments

The Megabus has Arrived in Knoxville!

We recently took 5 of our 7 member family to Washington DC for the Rally to Restore Sanity. The round trip plan tickets were roughly $250 per person bringing just the airline cost to $1200. Had we brought the two older boys, the cost would have been $1700.

Knoxville now has a new travel service. Megabus! Tickets are on sale now and service starts December 15th. I just ran the cost of a trip identical to our flight to DC and it came to $27 for 7 people. That’s not $27 per person per way. That’s $27 round trip for the entire family! $7 from Knoxville to DC and $20 from DC to Knoxville. That’s a savings of $1670! The trip time doubles from 5 hours to 10 hours each direction but you don’t have to get naked, irradiated or groped to ride the bus. Plus the double-decker bus has free wifi for the entire trip! You could work or play the entire 10 hours. is the first, low-cost, express bus service to offer city-to-city travel for as low as $1 via the Internet. Since launching in April 2006, has served more than 4 million passengers throughout 28 major cities in the Midwest and Northeast.

Our luxury double deckers offer free wi-fi, panoramic windows and a green alternative way to travel. Meticulously maintained with professional drivers at the wheel, when you travel with us, you will be riding in comfort and confidence. We provide low-cost and reliable bus services serving 28 cities from two hubs at New York and Chicago. We offer the highest level of comfort and safety and look forward to serving you!

[Source,, About Megabus]

Imagine the possibilities! Date night in DC. Out of town Tweet up in DC (can your virtual friends stand you IRL for 20 hours?). Holiday shopping in New York City (adds 5 hours each way…30 hour round trip). Business meetings on the bus that culminate in a night on the town in DC. Oh, I’m excited!

See more at

UPDATE: Look for more of these services in a town near you. Here’s Chinatown Bus covering the Northeast and New Century Travel which may just be a marketing site or affiliate of Chinatown Bus.

Posted on Leave a comment

Segregation in Knoxville

Based on 2000 census data, this is how Knoxville is segregated. Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Gray is Other, and each dot is 25 people. [Source, Flickr – Eric Fischer, Race and ethnicity]

Race and ethnicity: Knoxville

And here’s Memphis:

Race and ethnicity: Memphis

And Nashville:

Race and ethnicity: Nashville


[Source, Atlantic Wire, Mapping the Segregation of U.S. Cities]

Posted on 5 Comments

Where the Hell is West Knoxville?!

Our professional journalists don’t know our city. Our newspaper is guilty. All the television stations are guilty. Our "professional" online news outlets, WATE, WBIR, etc. are guilty. WBIR is by far the worst offender. Each of these professional journalism businesses purport "West Knoxville" to be random places that are not downtown or South Knoxville.

Knoxville has a bad case of poor urban planning and sprawl. If you look at Knoxville with a critical eye, and I mean go back and look at the trolley maps, and pay attention to the way schools were laid out, our city’s earlier developers had to believe Knoxville was going to sprawl north. But the people north of Knoxville did not sell their farms. Instead, the people to the west of Knoxville sold and development, and money, built toward the setting sun. Somewhere along the way, some silly "us versus them" started between the westies and the downtownies which continues to this day. Anyone living west is painted as unfairly privileged by the rest of Knoxville; and anyone not west is painted as..well.."not west" but generally downtownies. I believe our news agencies stoke the fires of this west versus everyone else problem. So where exactly is West Knoxville?! WBIR just ran a story about a robbery in West Knoxville that is a 20 minute drive from where I live in West Knoxville. I usually avoid commenting on our local news sites but had to leave this:

Do you have a map that shows the areas of Knoxville? By WBIR’s reports, "West Knoxville" seems to be everything except Gay Street. This Petro’s is practically in Lenoir City. Seems to me that giving a location like "West Knoxville" is supposed to help the reader put the place into their mind but how can we do that when one news report has West Knoxville just North of Alcoa Hwy, another puts West Knoxville at the intersection of Old Kingston Pike and Kingston Pike, another puts West Knoxville in Bearden…West Town Mall..Farragut.

For clarity sake, shouldn’t "West Knoxville" be a little more specific? Heading West on Kingston Pike from Downtown perhaps we need: Downtown -> Campus -> Sequoyah -> Homberg -> Bearden -> West Town -> West Knoxville -> Farragut -> Dixie Lee Junction. Seems to me those are the names that come up in face to face conversations to identify "West Knoxville" specifically.

I’ll start collecting a list of West Knoxville stories and see if we can put together a map.

Update: Here’s a story by Knoxnews where the shootout victims might be in Northwest Knoxville or maybe they are Downtown. See the article’s comments to understand why.

Posted on Leave a comment

Knoxify’s Friday Five

Knoxify is an excellent example of hyperlocal group blogging. The site has a beautiful design with a pleasant balance of photos and words with easy navigation to relevant information. The topic matter is Knoxville, TN and the articles always well written. To make Knoxify even better, they’ve introduced First Friday Five to feature the wonderful non-profits in Knoxville and encourage the Knoxify readers to donate $5 to the organization.

For their first First Friday Five, Knoxify choose one of my favorite non-profits, FISH Hospitality Pantries. FISH provides food and basic staples to any person or family in Knoxville who needs it with no questions asked. People of all economic backgrounds can find themselves in tight economic positions and FISH exists to make sure that no one goes hungry. Well chosen Knoxify!

Chattanooga also has First Friday Five.

Posted on 6 Comments

Knox County Schools – Your lack of creativity astounds me

Yesterday my middle schooler came home with a permission slip for a school field trip to Dollywood with a catch: The price is $43 and only the first 75 students to return a check and signed permission slip get to go. That’s not right! Additionally, the field trip will not allow the students on the water rides because Knox County Schools got all trippy after the death of a student at the waterfall 6 years ago. Yes that was a tragedy but we should have learned from the failings of supervision at that trip and continued water related activities but instead Knox County Schools decided bubble wrapping the children will protect them. Guess what? That won’t protect them either. I suppose Knox County Schools is assuming that of the 2.5 million visitors to Dollywood, our trip will be the one where highly inspected, super safety protected, engineered to simulate danger in the most cautionary way, equipment will fail at the same time all the trained and licensed lifeguards happen to be taking smoke breaks. It could happen! Denying water rides at a theme park? That’s not right! Can we make it better? What about not allowing digital cameras? Yes! Let’s prevent our children from the memorializing their time with their friends by not allowing them to take pictures. Granted, the school is afraid of being responsible for loss, theft or damage to a digital camera. Well guess what Sherlock! If I send a digital camera to school with my child and he loses it, that’s between him and me. I have an old digital camera sitting on my desk wasting away. If it got lost I’m out nothing. Of course, you want me to go buy an antique point and shoot disposable camera that is limited to 24 shots and cost an arm and a leg to print some thumbs over lenses. Brilliant! No wonder our children lag behind. Banning cameras? That’s not right! Eventually we will ban, regulated, lock up, and overprotect ourselves to being scared to death. What will you deny then? Don’t be scared or we’ll suspend you! Well guess what? That’s not right!

Oh, and today, my son brought home a permission slip for the band field trip. Guess where they’re going? Dollywood! (different day) That’s not right! For all the wonderful things we have in East TN, can our schools find nothing fun and mind expanding for our children? Oh, no, of course not; Knox County Schools is too worried about my digital camera. That’s not right!