Sunday, July 30, 2006

Homegrown

Posted By on Sun, Jul 30, 2006 at 8:42 PM

Now is the time of summer when our neighbor Preacher Thomason brings us tomatoes from his garden, a tidal wave of tomatoes in baskets and sacks and buckets-- so many that it's not worth our trouble to grow our own anymore. Preacher grows an old family hybrid, he says, and, freshly picked, they're pure ambrosia.

But does anyone realize that tomatoes did not always grow in our sweet earth, and that no tomatoes grew in North America at all until the 18th Century? It's hard to imagine, but our Founding Fathers framed the Constitution and formed our wonderful nation without ever having tasted tomatoes. If they had, there would probably be something in the Bill of Rights about it, right up there in the Fifth Amendment with life, liberty, property ... and tomatoes.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

New Music: Lily Allen

Posted By on Sat, Jul 29, 2006 at 7:09 PM

Have you heard of Lily Allen? Probably not. Allen is a 21-year-old London native who dropped out of school at 15 to focus on music. She promoted her songs in that frantic, inexperienced way that people with no professional connections do. Usually it doesn't work. But for this cutesy brunette, it did.

Last year, Allen put some songs on MySpace and somehow (magic?) attracted enough attention to get some BBC Radio One airplay and a record deal with Parlophone. She's had two singles hit number 1 and number 7 in the UK. And now she's on tour...um...nowhere near here. Her stuff is light and melodic; low-key pop with hints of rap. Good for summer. No wonder why people in Britain are falling all over themselves for her.

She keeps a blog on her website that chronicles her recent tour ("left for Italy last Friday to do a tvprogramme called " festivalbar" it was neither a festival or a bar , more of a large stage in the town square of an italian village in the pouring torrential rain with some interesting looking presenters") her ex-boyfriend, her dog, and the sort of hijinks that 21-year-olds tend to have ("Some of the lads from the band got a bit excited and decided to have an arm wrestling contest, not content with proving their manliness they decided to have a hundred metere sprint competition ............. in flip flops").

You can stream her whole album, Alright, Still, from her website. It came out July 17, but I have yet to figure out if it's available in America. iTunes doesn't have it and I haven't had time to check out Grimey's today. I like "Smile" the best. Check out her "Mixtapes" ֠Allen's music combined with everything from CCR to Ludacris.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Drive-By Civility

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2006 at 10:20 AM

As the Scene's P.J. Tobia writes this week, even some Tennessee Democrats are to the right of President Bush on immigration reform policy. (U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. has voted to criminalize anyone who aids illegals, churches included.) The slick mailings from the likes of Congressman Bart Gordon, also a Democrat, offer fear-mongering images of immigrants—and photos of protesting Americans who want to keep them out. This is to say nothing of the GOP U.S. Senate candidates. A coalition of Tennesseans has announced a counter billboard campaign to give face, for lack of a better word, to the people on the wrong end of the demagoguery.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bottoming Out

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 4:16 PM

More good news on Tennessee public schools, this from a new comparative analysis by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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Maggots?!

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 3:11 PM

This week, the Veterans Affairs Oversight Committee of the General Assembly took testimony about substandard care at the Tennessee State Veterans Home in Murfreesboro. It found that the Department of Health had cited the home with nine regulatory violations of life-threatening severity. In one case, the home had allowed a patient's bed sore to become so severe that it became infected with maggots.

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the films of your life

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 10:29 AM

At his site, Lee Walker has a cool thread going about 12 movies that affected his life at an impressionable age. The first one he cites is the hilarious Red Dawn, the Reagan-era classic in which Patrick Swayze acts as our last line of defense against a Commie invasion of Colorado. He also mentions the Phoebe Cates scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (I trust no one need ask which one) and the Ray Harryhausen fantasy Clash of the Titans. The point isn't that these are great movies, but that they had some element—a glimpse of sex, the beyond, or primal terror—that lodged inside his developing psyche, changing him.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

TCAP MIA (cont'd)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 2:48 PM

Here's a bit of followup to my piece in the Scene out today on Metro schools and TCAP scores. We reported that MNPS apparently violated the state's TCAP score embargo last year when it announced test score gains in June 2005, although school officials deny that, claiming that the embargo is "stricter" this year than last (which state officials deny). (Did not.)(Did too.)(Did not.)...

So yesterday, in an effort to either (a) find out what the embargo really means, or (b) persuade the school board and the community that he really is interested in sharing test score results, or (c) perhaps both, MNPS Director Pedro Garcia sent this letter to the Tennessee Department of Education:

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Tearin' Up My Heart

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 1:05 PM

Okay, so the "Which Backstreet Boy Is Gay?" song is a little off.

And maybe it's an obvious statement, like when Yahoo news gave me a headline this morning that said "Fighting Continues in Lebanon" and I thought, "Well...yes...yes, it is."

But...judging by the speed at which the article has been emailed around the newsroom, it's still amusing anyway.

N'Sync's Lance Bass is gay.

Shockin' Y'all

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2006 at 12:39 PM

I can't remember where I first read about it, but Janet has corroborated the story with her account of Ray LaMontagne's performance at the Ryman this past weekend. Apparently, someone in the audience began heckling Mr. LaMontagne (or something to that effect), to which the singer did not take too kindly. From Janet's take on what followed:

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

God Bless Him

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2006 at 3:25 PM

Readers may be curious to know that GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Bryson's prayer force has reached 61 members statewide. An excerpt from yesterday's email "prayer alert" asks the almighty not just to "undergird" the candidate, but also to strengthen the "prayer force" too:

Pray for Jim, for:

נ The ability to keep his mind steadfastly set on the Lord
נ Increased trust in the Lord in all situations
נ Peace to guard his mind, heart and emotions
נ God to undergird Jim so that he will not grow weary in the battle
נ Travel safety and traveling mercies (angelic host) to go with and guard Jim, Carol and all Campaign staff and volunteers when they are traveling about the State
נ That Campaign staff will know and focus in like a laser on all priorities that God would have them to accomplish to conduct a Campaign of integrity and excellence
נ That the timing of all Campaign functions and activities will occur in alignment with God's proper "season" and "timing", with all necessary manpower and resources available to support the Campaign's plans and activities in these remaining three months before the Election
נ That all Bryson Prayer Force prayer warriors across the State would arise and take their places on The Prayer Wall

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