Tag Archives: Books

Stoned

13 Jul

Blarney Stone

Sharon Stone

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook

Fred Flintstone

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter

Emma Stone

Stone Mountain

“Stoned Cold Picnic” by The 5th Dimension

5th Dimension

The Rolling Stones

The Sword in the Stone

The Stone Pony

Stone Pony

Stonehenge

Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys

“Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan Stone

“Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)” by David Allan Coe

Cold Stone Creamery

Alicia Silverstone

Alicia Silverstone

Stone Temple Pilots

Birth Stone

Gemstone

Gemstone

Stone Phillips

Sly and the Family Stone

The Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Oliver Stone

Philosopher’s Stone

Kidney Stone (unfortunately)

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The Tennessee Bucket List

29 Mar

We spent Saturday afternoon roaming around Nashville. We ate lunch on the patio at Burger Republic and played around at Centennial Park. In between, we browsed through some shops. It was while browsing that I found a book called The Tennessee Bucket List: 100 Ways to Have a Real Tennessee Experience. Actually, it only lists 99 ways because the last one is something that a writer would put in there when he could not think of anything else to add.

Anyway, I bought the book because I wanted to know how many of these I had done. Heck, I have lived in Tennessee my entire life. I must have done most of them. Also, buying the book meant I could write a blog post.

Here goes the list of my real Tennessee experience.

See a Show at the Grand Ole Opry – I have seen the Opry at the Opry House and at the Ryman Auditorium. Thanks to a former student my wife and I were lucky enough to see the Opry backstage at the Ryman. She got her picture with Riders in the Sky.

Behold the Beauty of a Tennessee Walker – We have had box seats at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration since I was a kid. Most people go to Shelbyville for the horses. I go for the donuts.

Watch a NASCAR Race – Actually, I have been to a NASCAR race in Alabama. I will be at the Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time in the Fall, and that will be for a football game.

Sip Moonshine – Everyone has done this, right?

Wander the District – You cannot have the full Nashville experience without going to this part of town.

Explore a King’s Mansion – The TV Room is my favorite part of Graceland. The Outlaw Josey Wales is playing all of the time.

There are three tv's. I left out the one showing the trivia answer.

Be a Part of an Archaeological Dig – I am not sure how much digging is done in Tennessee, but there was once a dig on my family’s farm.

See a Civl War Reenactment – The dad of one of my friends took me to a reenactment of the Battle of Stones River. It was surreal to see people pretend that they were living in the past.

Enjoy a Goo Goo Cluster – You have not had candy until you have had a Goo Goo.

See Seven States at the Same Time – Rock City is an old-time roadside attraction that has survived into the 21st Century. If you are near Chattanooga, then you have to, as the barn roofs say, See Rock City.

Take a Walk Down Music Row – You may not see a famous person, but you will pass buildings where awesome music has been created.

Walk the Field at Shiloh – Almost 110,000 Americans fought on this land. There were more casualties in this battle than in all of America’s previous wars combined. It is a haunting place.

Explore Cades Cove – When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed, land was taken from people who had lived in the mountains for years. This community has been preserved in its rustic state.

Stroll Down Beale Street – The Blues was not born in Memphis, but this is where the great Bluesmen gained fame.

See the Sunsphere – In 1982, the World’s Fair was held in Knoxville. It is the last World’s Fair to make a profit, but the Sunsphere is all that is left.

Buy a Pair of Boots – I admit that I have done it.

Stand in the Footsteps of History – Everyone should visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. It is housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. A few years ago, I took my family.

Explore the Titanic – Yep, the Titanic is in Tennessee. Specifically, it is in Pigeon Forge. It sounds strange, but it is an awesome museum.

See a Shark – Yep, sharks are in Tennessee. Specifically, they are at an aquarium in Gatlinburg, which is down the road from Pigeon Forge.

Hear Al Green Preach – I am cheating on this one. I have never heard Al Green preach, but I have heard him sing.

Visit Franklin on Foot – Downtown Franklin is a great place to visit. The city has found the right combination of preservation and enterprise.

Behold the Statue of Athena – Actually, we saw this on the same day I bought the book. Nashville has the Parthenon because it used to be known as the Athens of the South. Inside the Parthenon stands Athena.image-10

Strum a Guitar – Everyone has done this, right?

See a College Football Game – I have seen games at Neyland Stadium, Dudley Field, Nissan Stadium, the Liberty Bowl and Cumberland University’s Nokes-Lasater Field. However, the coolest one was Chamberlain Field in Chattanooga, which opened in 1908. When it closed, it was the second oldest college football stadium in the country.

Play Miniature Golf – It is one of my favorite things to do. The best place to do it? Hillbilly Golf in Gatlinburg.

Spend the Afternoon Shopping – The book talks about Opry Mills. However, the Mall at Green Hills is the best.

Savor a MoonPie – It is an awesome snack, but it is best paired with a RC Cola.

Visit the Grave of Meriwether Lewis – This is the Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame. He met a mysterious end in a tavern along the Natchez Trace.

See a Bear in the Woods – I saw a bear with her cubs at Cades Cove. Luckily, I did not end up like Leo DiCaprio.

Go Line Dancing – Everyone has done this, right?

Spend a Day at Dollywood – I have been to Dollywood after it was called Dollywood. I have also been there when it was called Silver Dollar City. I have also been there when it was called Gold Rush Junction.

Watch the Marching of the Ducks – The Peabody Hotel in Memphis is a nice hotel. It is also the home of some cool ducks.

Go Whitewater Rafting – Everyone has done this, right?

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame – We try to go there each time they open a new exhibit. It is a great museum

Explore Market Square – This is a part of downtown Knoxville with a lot of cool restaurants and shops.

Pig Out of Memphis-Style Barbecue – Nashville people do not like to give Memphis credit for anything. However, they are tops when it comes to barbecue. Go to Rendezvous.

See an Eagle – A few wild ones can be seen around here.

Discover the Mighty Mississippi – At times, I have just sat and watched it flow by.

Ride a Sky Lift – For years, it has been a Gatlinburg landmark. Everyone has to ride it at least once.

Visit the Jack Daniels Distillery – Jack Daniels is produced in Lynchburg, which sits in a dry county. You cannot buy alcohol where the most famous whiskey is made.

Sit in the “Scopes Monkey Trial” Courtroom – One of my greatest moments as an educator was talking about the Scopes Trial in the courtroom. It is worth a visit to Dayton.

Sing “Rocky Top” – I have sung it thousands of times at the top of my lungs. However, I cannot bring myself to sing the “WOO” part.

Tour a Plantation – They are everywhere.

See a Lady Vols Basketball Game – I have seen a bunch of games and seen a bunch of victories. However, it is not the same without Pat Summitt.

Tour the Home of a U.S. President – There are three. I have seen two. Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk.

Ascend the Space Needle – It is a ride high over Gatlinburg.

See a Titans Game – I have done this a bunch. It was fun when they were winning. These days, it is not as much fun.

Cheer on the South (or North) – When I went to the Dixie Stampede, we were late and could only get tickets on the North side. I was told that the North never wins. That night they won.

Take a Riverboat Cruise at Night – Nashville’s General Jackson is a great ride on a Summer night.

Enjoy an Orchestra – We love going to the Nashville Symphony. They are awesome.

Sink Your Teeth into a King Leo Peppermint Stick – I am not crazy about them, but they are a Christmas tradition.

Walk to the Top of Clingman’s Dome – It is Tennessee’s highest point. Just watch out for the fog. They do not call them the Smoky Mountains for nothing.

Listen to a Country Music Concert – Everyone has done this, right?image-11

Visit a Fort – There are forts, but they are not as cool as forts in the American West.

There is my list. I will not write about the things that I have not done. I am sure the author of the book would love for you to buy a copy to see what else is in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many Great People Have Been Born on November 25

25 Nov

November 25 is a big day in the life of me. It is my birthday. I wonder who else was born on this date. Wait, I have an idea. I will look it up and write a post about it.Nov 25

1753 – Robert Townsend, one of George Washington’s spies during the American Revolution

1787 – Franz Xavier Gruber, organist who composed the music for “Silent Night”

1835 – Andrew Carnegie, industrialist who led the expansion of the steel industry

1844 – Karl Benz, inventor of the first automobile to have an internal combustion engine

1846 – Carrie Nation, anti-alcohol activist who was known for attacking taverns with a hatchet

1881 – Pope John XXIII, who obviously served as pope

1883 – Harvey Spencer Lewis, Imperator of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis

1914 – Joe DiMaggio, center fielder for the Yankees who hit safely in 56 straight games

1920 – Ricardo Montalban, actor known for playing Mr. Roarke and Khan Noonien Singh

1926 – Jeffrey Hunter, who starred alongside John Wayne in The Searchers 

1933 – Kathryn Crosby, actress and wife of Bing Crosby

1940 – Percy Sledge, singer of “When a Man Loves a Woman”

1944 – Ben Stein, speechwriter for Richard Nixon and later a game show host

1952 – Crescent Dragonwagon, writer who has an awesome pen name.

1960 – Amy Grant, former contemporary Christian singer who became a Country singer

1963 -Bernie Kosar, Cleveland Brown quarterback who could not get past John Elway

1968 – Jill Hennessy, actress known for roles on Law and Order and Crossing Jordan

I am stopping at that point. This list will not include anyone younger than me. It is my birthday, and that is my option.

 

 

From Juice Newton to Jethro Bodine

6 Oct

My wife called from the beach with a very important question. Who sang Who sang “Angel of the Morning“? She was in a huge debate with her mother. My wife said it was Juice Newton and my mother-in-law said it was someone else. My wife turned out to be right.Juice Newton

I am glad she was right because I thought it was Donna Fargo, who hit it big with “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA“.

I have no idea why I wrote about our discussion of country music trivia, but it is probably because I cannot think of anything else to write about. There is a post floating in my brain about long pants and socks. However, it would be a controversial topic and might offend some of my readers.

There is a stack of graded quizzes on our breakfast table. They were over a book that I had some of my classes read. In the Heart of the Sea is about the Essex, a whaling ship that was attacked by a whale. I will not tell you what happened because Ron Howard just finished making a movie about it. The only thing I can tell you is that the story inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick.

It is still quiet around the house with everyone gone. I am in one chair and Daisy Dog is in the other one. To tell you the truth, it is kind of boring. I guess that I could watch a movie or get back on the treadmill. However, those are not inspiring choices. There is a Monday Night Football game on, but that does not excite me.

I wonder how Juice Newton got a name like Juice.

(Pause)

After a quick Google search, I learned that her real name is Judy Kay Newton, but there is nothing about how that turned into Juice. However, I came across another song that I forgot she sang. In fact, I think “It’s a Heartache” is better than the other one.

For some reason, reading about Juice Newton makes me think of Bobbie Gentry. Talk about somebody who put out a great song. “Ode to Billie Joe” is one of the all time greats. Although, there was a terrible movie starring Robby Benson that was inspired by the song. It was directed by Max Baer, Jr., better known as Jethro Bodine.Jethro

By the way, did you know that Max Baer, Sr. was boxing’s heavyweight champion of the world?

Anyway, it is time for this post to come to an end. We have not covered much useful information. That long pants and socks post is still rattling around in my mind. Who knows? Maybe that will be the next one.

Seeing Literary Stars

21 Dec

Previously, I have written about one of Nashville’s more interesting features. The fact that famous people can be seen almost anywhere at anytime. Several months ago, we saw Nicole Kidman at the mall, and, many years ago, I met Johnny Cash in a bookstore.

Well, it happened again, and it happened in a bookstore. However, I must first give a little background.

There used to be a great locally owned bookstore called Davis-Kidd Booksellers. It was an amazing place where people could get lost in the shelves of books. Unfortunately, Davis-Kidd went the way of many bookstores and closed its doors.

People throughout the area lamented the loss for all kinds of reasons. However, a main reason was that Nashville had lost a treasure. One Nashvillian was particularly taken aback. Ann Patchett is a bestselling author who felt that the city needed an independent bookstore and decided to open one across the street from where Davis-Kidd once attracted readers.

The other day, I finally made it into Parnassus Books and found another amazing store. It is not as large as Davis-Kidd, but it is a place where book lovers can get lost in the written word.Parnassus

I was browsing the shelves when I overheard a customer talking to one of the people working in the store. As the conversation continued, I thought to myself, “Hey, that is Ann Patchett.” She was working alongside everyone else. How cool was that?

It was not long before I saw the writer once again. She was part of the sing along that closed the last episode of The Colbert Report.

If you are a lover of books, then you need to make your way to Parnassus Books. Who knows? You might run into a bestselling author.

About Time

11 Nov

A few posts ago, I mentioned that this semester has flown by. My timing has been completely off, and it will be difficult to cover everything that I need to go over. One of my colleagues said that he is facing the same thing. It is as if the semester has been shorten. He also thought that previous semesters may have been longer, and this semester is the way it is supposed to be.

On top of all that, I saw Interstellar and its time warping plot. I will not spoil it for anyone, but it made me wish that I could slow down time. At least, I could get caught up on my lectures.

Between the feeling that time is flying and the viewing of the movie, time has been on my mind. Obviously that led me to all of the things that are related to time. You know, things like TIME magazine. Heck, it has time written all over it. Then, there is the Allman Brothers song, “Ain’t Wastin’ No More Time”. Better than that, who could forget the Isaac Hayes rendition of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”? It is only 18 minutes long.

In the movie world, there is Fast Times at Ridgemont High with Phoebe Cates sending every young male into a testosterone-fueled frenzy.Phoebe

Fast times. Man, that is the truth. I always heard that time goes by faster as you get older. I did not believe it, but I should have.

Maybe I could become a time bandit. You remember that movie, right? Time Bandits hit the screens the year before Phoebe Cates hit the hearts of all those young males. It starred Sean Connery, who was still trying to get away from his James Bond persona. Time finally allowed him to escape the clutches of 007.

It is a good thing that Charles Bronson was not after him because no one could escape the Man With the Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West. I wrote a post about Henry Fonda playing one of the baddest dudes in movie history, but he could not escape Bronson any better than the other people in that movie.Fonda

Of course, if you want to get serious about time, then you should read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Doctors once told him that his time was running out due to ALS. He fooled them.

Before I fool myself by thinking that something can be done to slow down time, I am going to stop writing and figure out how I am going to get all of this history covered before time runs out on the semester. Yep, “I Ain’t Wastin’ No More Time.”

 

From Cynthia Ann Parker to Don McLean

29 Sep

Last week, the students in History of American Music discussed All Shook Up: How Rock n’ Roll Changed America, a book by Glenn Altschuler about the early days of Rock n’ Roll. It was a great discussion about music, society and all kinds of stuff. We even threw a little religion in there. I guided as they talked, but I was also thinking about a book that several of those students read for another class.

Last year, I taught Expansion of the United States and had them read The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, a book by Glenn Frankel about the difficulties caused by the mixing of history and myth. On the surface, this book has nothing to do with the other one. However, there is one connection that ties them together, and it is not the fact that both writers are named Glenn. It is a chain of events that links a tragic episode in the American West to a tragic episode in Rock n’ Roll.

On May 19, 1836, Cynthia Ann Parker was abducted from her home by a Comanche raiding party. Her family had settled on the Texas frontier and faced the dangers of that decision. Her uncle searched for her but, after several years, gave up. Cynthia Ann grew to adulthood as a Comanche and raised a family. Years later, she was recaptured and brought back to the Parker family. She never recovered from being ripped twice from the world that she knew.Cynthia Ann Parker

In 1954, a novel by Alan Le May was published. It was called The Searchers and told the story of a man on an epic search to find his abducted niece. Although he studied many abductions, Le May’s story is similar to the Parker saga. However, the book ends differently than real life. The uncle does not give up. Instead, he is killed by a Comanche woman.Alan Lemay

In 1956, John Ford and his stock company traveled to Monument Valley make The Searchers, a film based on the book. John Wayne starred as the uncle looking for his abducted niece, played by Natalie Wood. It is considered by many to be the greatest of all Westerns and Wayne’s best performance. The audience does not know what will happen when he finds her, but, in the end, he takes her home.images-5

On February 25, 1957, Buddy Holly, a Texan, recorded “That’ll Be the Day“, a song inspired by Wayne’s catchphrase in The Searchers. The song reached Number One and was the first song recorded by The Quarrymen, who are better known as The Beatles. On January 23, 1959, Holly died in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson.Buddy Holly

On March 14, 1971, Don McLean debuted a new song at a concert in Philadelphia. “American Pie” is believed to be about the changing musical and cultural landscape of the 1960s. It begins with “the day the music died”, which most people think is a reference to Holly’s plane crash. After all, “them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye singing this’ll be the day that I die.”Don McLean

Yeah, that is where my mind went. I connected two books from two different classes. It probably looks weird, but there are some things that cannot be denied. One of those is a direct historical line from Cynthia Ann Parker to Don McLean.