Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Florida's Gay Adoption Ban Overturned

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 1:23 PM

In the wake of setbacks for gays this November, a glimmer of hope has appeared in Florida. Of course, it was done by what spewers of right-wing rhetoric will undoubtedly label an "activist judge."

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman struck down a 31-year-old Florida law that banned gays from adopting. Florida is the only state that specifically banned "homosexual" individuals. Newer actions by other states have been more clever in their wording by refusing adoption rights to unmarried partners--such as the recent "activist mob rule" by Arkansas residents--after first denying marriage rights to gays.

I've mentioned before that the Arkansas initiative particularly bothered me because if it had passed a year ago, I wouldn't have the wonderful nephew that my sister and her partner adopted there. I recently had a chance to visit with him, and I wish anyone who voted for the initiative or others like it could see his happy face and the love bestowed on him by both of his mothers, his grandparents, his great-grandmother and the rest of our family. Then, just maybe, they'd realize the happiness and love they are potentially denying to other children, just because of a fear or hatred of gays derived from misguided interpretation of a religious document.

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Ex-Wife of Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl is Something Other Than Discreet

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 12:51 PM


Normally, throwing open the blinds on a coach's personal life would give us the heebie-jeebies. Sure their weekly paychecks could fund the Physics department for a year. But they're still just educators. Albeit in a different tax bracket.

That's why we're so lucky to have a woman like Kim Shrigley. When she and Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl divorced last year after 25 years of marriage, Krigley did what any newly single women with a little extra pocket change would do: She opened a nail salon named Alimony's.

P.S. The heart over the "i" is our favorite touch.

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White Tuxedo Files: Obama plotter's grand jury not as black as he complained

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 11:00 AM

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The paranoid white supremacist from Bells, Tenn. is apparently hallucinating in court. Daniel Cowart, one half of the duo who planned a white tuxedo-wearing murder spree on the road to offing Obama, initially claimed the grand jury that indicted him was simply too black--like two white out of 23 black. According to the prosecutor, this is hogwash. Grand juries are shrouded in veils of secrecy, but a prosecutor quoted in the Tennessean said nine of them were white. Delusions of persecution? We think so.

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Cold Weather, Hot Blood: Swedish Vampire Tale 'Let the Right One In' Is the Coolest Movie in Theaters

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 9:09 AM



Just the other day, a friend of mine was saying she wished she could see another movie that shook her up as much as Pan's Labyrinth. I think I've got the movie. It's called Let the Right One In, a Swedish vampire thriller becoming a word-of-mouth phenomenon on the Internet. It opens Friday at the Belcourt.

Much of the attention Let the Right One In is getting comes from its place in an ongoing renaissance of vampire fiction. This includes not only the immensely popular novels of Stephenie Meyer and Middle Tennessee's Sherrilyn Kenyon (whose latest, One Silent Night, just debuted at No. 1 on the Times mass-market paperback list), but also the blockbuster movie version of Meyer's Twilight and the HBO series True Blood.

If that helps it get an audience, all the better. But this scary, engrossing and profoundly unsettling movie (based on a well-read novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist) deserves attention even from people who think they can't stand horror movies. I'd love to know if Kenyon has seen it, and what she thinks.

Continue reading »

The Screamin' Delta Demon Screams Again! 'Memories of Opryland' on NPT 7 p.m. Sunday

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 5:00 AM



If, like me, you wasted at least part of every Middle Tennessee summer waiting in line for Chaos, the Hangman, the Wabash Cannonball or the Flume Zoom, plonk yourself down in front of the tube Sunday night for Memories of Opryland, the latest in NPT-Channel 8's money-minting exercises in local nostalgia.

Opryland USA, Nashville's much-missed amusement park, may have closed in 1997 after 25 years. (This timeline brings back lots of memories.) But for the duration of this special, thanks to home movies, archival footage and interviews, the Six Flags of country music is once again up and running. Thrill once more to "I Hear America Singing!" Feel the whitewater of the Grizzly River Rampage rise again to douse your shorts! Hang on again for dear life as the Tin Lizzies roar past at 10 mph!

The clip above isn't part of the show, as far as I know, but it made my high-school years flash before my eyes. I'll have to alert the friend of mine who got a summer job inside the park's Mr. Peanut costume. The costume reeked of vomit and sweat, and my friend spent one day in 100-degree heat staggering dizzily through the park while little kids ran up and socked him in the groin.

Memories of Opryland airs 7-8:30 p.m. Sunday on NPT, followed by the special Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stupid Criminal of the Day: Would-be burglar brings pick tool to gunfight, gets shot in the leg

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 1:02 PM

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Jerry Watson: Now has hitch in his giddy-up

I guess 69-year-old John Lewis had been around long enough to know a cop when he saw one. Jerry Watson, 34, broke in through Lewis' front door Sunday night to burglarize the place. Lewis armed himself and confronted Watson, who shone his flashlight beam in Lewis' face. He claimed to be a cop and ordered Lewis to drop his weapon.

When Lewis asked to see a badge, he happened to notice a pick tool in Watson's hand. Figuring that wasn't standard police issue, Lewis shot Watson in the upper thigh. Watson went down briefly, then fled out the door. He was found bleeding next door. As soon as he's discharged from the hospital, he'll be headed to the Metro jail on an aggravated burglary charge.

Apparently, Watson is new to Nashville. The bulk of his convictions--26 in all, including burglary, theft and drug possession--are out of Roane County in East Tennessee. In 2004, he was sentenced to 17 years, but recently paroled and registered as a con with MNPD. Glad to have ya, Watson.

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The Bat Poet Needs Your Help! Telethon 8 p.m. Saturday on Ch. 19

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:10 AM



As we reported earlier on Pith, Joey Bowker, a.k.a. Nashville public-access TV hero The Bat Poet, has been beset by catastrophic medical expenses--the result of recent bypass surgery and ongoing treatment for diabetes and other ailments. In his honor, Nashville entertainer Melba Toast has organized a one-hour telethon for 8 p.m. Saturday on CATV Comcast Ch. 19, which has hosted his show for most of its 13 1/2-year run.

Those appearing include horror host Dr. Gangrene, the gorgeous gals of Music City Burlesque, Morelia Cuevas (daughter of country couturier Manuel), Suzette Renee Lawrence of Suzette & the Neon Angels, Wild 'n' Woolly, The Hogman, Herman Jenkins, author W.D. Humpfree, Ch. 19 station manager Sam Thompson, and Ch. 19 personality Jesse Goldberg.

For a donation of $25 or more, lucky patrons will receive a feature-length DVD compilation of The Bat Poet's bizarre escapades, of which the clip above should give you some idea. All proceeds go to Bowker, and checks should be made out to Joey Bowker, P.O. Box 60651, Nashville, TN 37206. Send thoughts and well wishes to thebatpoetshow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Or just post 'em here.

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Tennessee Colleges Go Begging

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Things are so tough in state government now that the University of Tennessee's veterinary college might lose accreditation for lack of money. University president John Petersen begged Gov. Phil Bredesen today to build a new large-animal facility at the college to meet standards. But Bredesen said there's no money. Besides, the governor said he's not convinced the accreditation agency is serious about cutting off the school.

"On one hand, of course, I want to have first class programs that can be accredited," Bredesen said during budget hearings this morning. "On the other hand, you have this deep suspicion that there's this one-hand-washing-another thing going on here where the accreditation agencies kind of help the universities get more funding by threatening to remove accreditation if they don't. It would seem to me in the scheme of vet schools I'll bet the UT school is a pretty good one. I want to stay accredited, but I don't want to get jerked around on a chain by accrediting agencies either."

"Do they only visit us when the economy's down?" Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz asked.

"It's an old building and it has a poor design," Petersen insisted. "You can give a degree, but a vet from a non-accredited institution cannot practice."

Petersen said a new building would cost $20 million and the university would raise some of the money privately. (As an aside, there was no mention of Petersen's wife throwing hissy fits and upsetting fundraisers, which is big news in Knoxville today.)

"It's not going to happen," Bredesen said of the vet college project. "There definitely will be a one- or two-year dry spell here in terms of major capital projects."

Layoffs, more tuition hikes and enrollment caps also are under consideration at our colleges.

Obama Supporters Bereft, Despondent Since Win, Onion reports

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 5:17 AM


Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

We all know a few at least. Wide-eyed, enthusiastic, generally young, naive, middle to upper middle class, rabidly passionate and thusly obnoxious Obama supporters. They've got the Obama "O's" pinned to their messenger bags and proselytize endlessly about "Change" and tropes regurgitated from his latest stump speech. The Onion investigates a population of disenfranchised Obama supporters for whom "Change" is something they cannot come to terms with.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Armed Robber Kills Man, Dives Through Window During Gunfight

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 2:58 PM

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Francisco Ancona: Stone-cold killer, or just kinda stoned-looking.

All that ridiculous police state-DUI-weekend enforcement pays off occasionally, I guess. A police helicopter pilot on the extra duty DUI detail made quite the collar Sunday evening when he pulled over a car with a blown headlight.

Francisco Ancona, 28, had cuts on his body and some information on a murder--a bit of an understatement. It began at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He kicked in the door of a guy named John Young, 62, who ran a money lending operation out of his home in East Nashville. He entered the bedroom of Young's brother, George, leveled his gun at him and demanded to know where the "bossman" was. Meanwhile, John Young armed himself. He confronted Ancona. Ancona threatened to kill George. A firefight ensued and Young was fatally hit. Apparently invoking John Woo, Ancona dove through the window and continued firing into the house.

The cop who nabbed him, Officer Jake Patterson, noticed the cuts and his tennis shoes, which were consistent with the description given to police. Ancona admitted to the shooting under questioning from detectives. It comes as no surprise that Ancona has a rap sheet, and a remarkably up-to-date one at that. Last week he received a six-month sentence for carrying a prohibited firearm. In October he got nearly a year for vandalism. A three-year felony theft sentence in 2007 and a four-year robbery sentence in 2002--you get the idea. Apparently convicts are being disgorged from jails and prisons to make room for new convicts. The irony and uselessness of it all doesn't need to be spelled out.

Now Mr. Ancona can add criminal homicide, especially aggravated robbery and burglary to his criminal pedigree. Hopefully we at PITW won't have to bring you any more of his misadventures. Surely, by now, he's attained the rank of career criminal and all the prison years it entitles him to. Put this rabid dog away already.

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