Off Limits 

TennCare Time Out. Saturday's New York Times front-paged a story about TennCare's current troubles, chronicling, among others, a Nashville woman who takes only seven of her 12-plus daily pills and saves the rest for a rainy, healthcare-less day. Meanwhile Gov. Phil Bredesen and attorney Gordon Bonnyman are taking a week off from negotiations over the beleaguered state health insurance program. Maybe the Thanksgiving afterglow will inspire compromise.

The New Republic for Bredesen. The aforementioned political periodical offers us a roundup of Democratic contenders for 2008, leading with Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and, in the process, fawning all over him and calling him "a star" sure to "make Democrats swoon." In about 500 words, the writer covers everything from the young Bredesen's first failed state senate run in Massachusetts to his second-time's-a-charm election to governor in 2002. Of course, such talk of a national run seems silly. Bredesen would sooner recruit Ben Stein to resolve TennCare troubles than run for president. (Actually, that's not a bad idea.)

The Buck Stops Here. It's been a bad week for black celebrities. Turns out American consumer society likes its bad boy commodities to come with well-defined boundaries. So when Nashville's homegrown rap artist David Brown—a.k.a Young Buck—allegedly stabbed a gentleman at the Vibe Awards last week, it made him the latest famous fugitive from justice—that is, until he turned himself in to Santa Monica police last Friday. Without missing a beat, a handful of NBA basketball players, including the notoriously ill-tempered Pacer Ron Artest, got into a major brawl with each other and with a batch of classless Detroit fans Friday night. American reality television gets realer every day. It's just freedom on the march....

The Role He Was Born to Play. As distinguished an actor as he was a senator, Fred Dalton Thompson will reportedly return to movie screens as the voice of a talking horse. According to the Internet Movie Database, he's among the many actors hiding their faces in January's Racing Stripes, the heartwarming "tail" (gag) of a little zebra with a big dream of becoming a thoroughbred racer. The dumbfounding trailer could clear a theater faster than cholera, but at least Thompson's nowhere to be heard. Not so lucky: Whoopi Goldberg (goat), Dustin Hoffman (horse), Jeff Foxworthy (rooster), Snoop Dogg (dog, duh), and the comedy team of David Spade and Steve Harvey as wacky horseflies—"whose love of song and dance," according to advance press, "is eclipsed only by their love of hot dogs and horse poop." Sounds like they're in the right place. Anyway, congratulate Thompson on receiving a coveted distinction: the Acid Logic Web site's select order of "Interesting Motherfuckers." Don't take our word for it: www.acidlogic.com/im_fredthompson. Not to worry—as the site specifies, "Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required."

Brown's Vigil Continues. Greasy Hillsboro Village-area hangout Brown's Diner caught fire last week (see Shots), and the beer-drinking world wept. Luckily, fire damage wasn't extensive, and smoke damage is nothing new to Brown's. Optimistic owner Jim Love hopes to have the doors reopened and the grease trap refilled by the end of the year; in the meantime, regulars might temporarily plant themselves at Springwater or Rotier's. But there's no place like home.

Farely Pathetic. Can you spot the error(s) in the following passage from a Monday City Paper article? " 'Because Southwest offers lower fairs, we're drawing from Memphis...to Knoxville to Chattanooga,' she said. 'Because of the lower fairs and because more people want to fly [Southwest] because of those low fairs, it has enabled us to recoup a lot of those passengers that we were carrying when we were an American hub.' " Both of the struggling daily's readers noticed the repeated spelling error and began an online discussion about whom to blame for it. A City Paper staffer surreptitiously fixed the error on the paper's Web site, but not before one online poster summed things up nicely: "Blame should not go solely on the writer, but on those who proof," the person wrote. "I think that's only fare, don't you?"

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