Thursday, December 31, 2009

'Talk of the Nation' Eulogizes Nashville Newspaper Archivist

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 1:20 PM

From assistant editor Dana Kopp Franklin:
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In a piece called "Remembering Some Remarkable Lives Lost in 2009," NPR's Talk of the Nation honors Nashville newspaper archivist and researcher Chantay Steptoe-Buford. I shared a cubicle with Chantay when I worked at The Tennessean, and believe me, the word "remarkable" is pure understatement. Though she died at just 48, she had worked for the newspaper almost 30 years, and I can't imagine that many of the hundreds of people she helped on the job will forget her kindness, her energy and devotion to her work -- and to all the people around her. Her memorial service in an East Nashville church was filled to the rafters, and it was fitting that the eulogies, singing and dancing went far into the evening. Tonya Ballard-Brown, an NPR digital editor who worked at The Tennessean several years ago, salutes Chantay in a short but sweet obituary.

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Martin Brady, Scene Theater Critic...and Terrorist?

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 11:45 AM

click to enlarge If you're on a plane and seated next to this man, be afraid--but only if you're an incompetent thespian.
  • If you're on a plane and seated next to this man, be afraid--but only if you're an incompetent thespian.
On his blog, Sports Media America, Scene theater critic Martin Brady shares a recent travel experience in which he misses his flight to visit his family because...well, he's turned up on the FBI Watch List. He muses about the possible reasons: Did they confuse him with an Irish terrorist of the same name? Is it because he always pays his taxes late? Too much porn surfing? One possibility he failed to consider: Perhaps his association with us radical socialist ne'er-do-wells at the Scene flagged him for suspicion. Martin's ultimate conclusion?
If only my name had been Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Then I might've skated.
As for us, we're not sure which is more bizarre--that Martin Brady is on the FBI Watch List, or that the Scene theater critic has a sports blog.

Memories: A Look Back at 2009's Most Widely Read Pith Posts

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 8:13 AM

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As Pith counts down the hours to the guitar dropping on Lower Broad, we pause for a moment to wring out the old. Revisit some of the year's most controversial topics--and some choice rancor--as we recap the 10 most popular posts that appeared on Pith in 2009: 10. WSMV Names Bob Sellers New Co-Anchor for Dan Miller's Former Slot While the city continues to grieve the hugely popular newsman, the question is finally answered: Who'll fill the empty chair next to Demetria? 9. The Lingering Questions Surrounding Steve McNair's Death A snapshot from the hazy period between the former Titan's death and the eventual murder/suicide ruling. 8. Bernie Ellis Unleashes Reign of Terror Against Quivering Tre Hargett The Dangers of New Media, Part 1,236, from the files of Jeff Woods: Beware leaving an innocuous blog comment, or Tennessee Secretary of State Hargett will tell the TBI you're a suspected terrorist threat.

Continue reading »

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Morning Roundup: Let the Good Times Roll Drop

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 8:05 AM

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Nashville joins the ranks of cities-dropping-things-at-the stroke-o-midnight-to-ring-in-the-new-year tonight when a guitar of some sort drops from a structure of some sort in front of a crowd of some sort down on Lower Broad. Rodney Atkins headlines the Bash on Broadway festivities, which commence at 7:30, and the weather should be manageable in a cold and breezy sort of way. Convention and Visitors Bureau chief Butch Spyridon says organizers will distribute free hand-warmers to the first 2,500 people who show up; no word from Spyridon on whether hand-warmer recipients will be required to pledge a loyalty oath to a new convention center before receiving the goods.

click to enlarge Take that NYC!
  • Take that NYC!
The almighty Wikipedia (insert here usual Wikipedia caveats) inventories the copious collection of objects dropped by cities and towns to mark the turn of the calendar. Here at Pith we're particularly fond of drops involving animals (opossums in Brasstown, N.C. and Tallapoosa, Ga.; a goat in Falmouth, Pa., a crab in Easton, Md., a carp in Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) and food (pickles in Mount Olive, N.C and, yes, Dillsburg, Pa.; an olive in Bartlesville, Okla.; a sardine in Eastport, Maine.; bologna in Lebanon, Pa.).

Top honors go to Mobile, Alabama's giant mechanical banana MoonPie, which the city spent $9,000 to create a year ago. Mobile does it with a twist: the MoonPie doesn't drop, it rises at midnight (like a moon - get it?). Harriet Sharer, the Butch Spyridon of Mobile, recalls that when they first launched the MoonPie gambit last year "some people thought people would make fun of us," but says now that the pie is cast "it's going to grow exponentially."

In other news ... a shocking theft at a funeral home in Goodlettsville. ... Tennessee's A.G. is sitting out efforts by attorneys general in other states to threaten Congress with a lawsuit over health care reform. ... Vanderbilt signs a big lease on office space near the Green Hills mall for back-office operations. ... A hazmat scare Wednesday in Columbia. ... And to wrap up the year, the state health department reports that the most popular baby names in Tennessee in 2009 were ... wait for it ... Shlomo and Ivanka! Or maybe it was William and Emma ...

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Susan Lynn, I'm on to Your Dastardly Plot

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 10:30 AM

I'm reading Jeff Woods' story today about Susan "10th Amendment Fetishist" Lynn's
click to enlarge Rep. Lynn may not have fully thought this 'nullification' thing through.
  • Rep. Lynn may not have fully thought this 'nullification' thing through.
newest plot to stick it to the federal government, and it got me thinking, "Shoot, when even Campfield thinks your crazy idea is crazy, it's pretty dang crazy." Lynn wants to amend our state constitution to grant the state the power to nullify any federal laws the state disagrees with. In this case, Lynn wants to "protect" Tennesseans from health care reform. Now, if you don't think about this too hard, it seems like a smart move for Lynn. She can tap into the tea partiers' anti-government sentiment and, while the whole mess is being hashed out in court, she can ride that anti-fed sentiment into a state senatorial seat. Her plan has one tragic flaw. You still have to pay federal income tax.

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Morning Roundup: Hot Hot Heat

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 10:08 AM

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Read 'em and kneel: Nashville may be the 18th most literate city in America, but we're the fifth most religious state, according to a recent study. (Turns out we actually are behind Mississippi in something--they were No. 1.) But since the literacy study excluded religious bookstores, I guess that means we're not reading our Bibles? ... Wait, no wonder you weren't reading Bible verses. Murder, forgery, bankruptcy and backroom deals--those are the stories you clicked on the most this year on Post Politics. ... Breaking news: Nashville's more than just a country town, and the good news doesn't stop there. It's also really hard to get caught texting while driving here, so LOL away. Nashville's middle and elementary schools have been ranked, with Glenview Elementary sweeping the polls. But if you don't find your school on the list, you'll be happy to hear Metro is planning on adding six new magnet schools next year. ... The Nashville Business Journal has named "30 Women of Influence" from area businesses, and congrats go to the likes of entrepreneur Gina Butler of Gigi's Cupcakes and Emmylou Harris for Bonaparte's Retreat. Speaking of dog-loving entrepreneur types, Fetch! Pet Care is looking to expand in the Nashville area, and is seeking five franchisees to offer their pet care services in town. ... A suspected illegal immigrant has been charged in the fatal two-car crash that took place on Christmas morning on Haywood Lane. Twenty-two-year-old Ramon Olea is currently under a federal immigration hold. ... Three convicted felons have been rounded up on charges in a series of apartment complex robberies--they may be involved in a total of six. Pun intended: Apparently, numerous large-complex apartment fires are burning through the Red Cross disaster relief budget in Davidson County, and the same thing is in danger of happening in Williamson County as well. ... Planning on dressing skimpily for New Year's Eve? It's gonna be cold. ... But that chill can't be colder than the news that the Opry Mills Disney Store is closing by Jan. 23 due to the old economic downturn. I guess fairy tales don't come true.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We're Number 18!

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 2:04 PM

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We all know accolades are a hot commodity in this self-obsessed world, so you can imagine the swell of hometown pride I felt when I learned Nashville was ranked the 18th most literate city in the United States! Thanks, Central Connecticut State University! We did it! We are even the fourth most literate city in the South, which means Raleigh can suck it. Could this be the first time I am actually happy to have all of those Christian publishing companies littering the streets? Let's check out the methodology:
Key factors in his rankings were newspaper circulation, online news reading, online book purchasing, the number of book stores (which notably excluded religious book stores), the number of libraries, how many books libraries circulated and education level.

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Morning Roundup: in Which the Vice Lords Make an Appearance

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Greatness never goes out of style.
  • Greatness never goes out of style.
I was rummaging through the news this morning when I discovered that eight members of the Vice Lords are scheduled to appear before a judge today. And my very first thought upon reading this was, "There are still motherf%$&ing Vice Lords?! Damn, that's a name I haven't heard in years. That's like discovering that there's still Schlitz beer." People, there is still Schlitz beer! What the hell?! Is everything from my childhood making a comeback? Anyway, our Black Caucus of State Legislators went and met up with the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (pdf). ...Metro councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite is holding a public meeting for her constituents about the proposed convention center. ...Speaking of the convention center, Mike Byrd is talking about the poll, the existence of which has been strangely downplayed by certain factions. ... Legislators and the governor are working toward improving the community college system. ...Former Lt. Gov. Wilder was taken to the hospital yesterday. ... And police are looking for more information in yesterday's North Nashville shooting. ...

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Morning Roundup: Nashvillians of the Year, Vic Chesnutt Dies at 45, and More

Posted By on Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 5:55 AM

Now that the shopping's over and you're reading stuff again, read Tracy Moore's superb article about Hal Cato and Rodger Dinwiddie, the Scene's 2009 Nashvillians of the Year, and their remarkable work with the Youth Opportunity Center. ...As if to show just how desperately Nashville needs the YOC's services, Lyda Phillips in the City Paper checks in to see how the city's coming along with that ambitious 10-year plan to eliminate chronic homelessness. The short answer: We've got five more years to bust our asses. ... Sad news from Athens, Ga.: Vic Chesnutt, the singer-songwriter who wrought prickly beauty from his gnarled, grimly funny and bluntly personal songs--particularly in gorgeous collaboration with the Nashville band Lambchop--died Christmas Day of an intentional overdose. He was 45. ...Has the GOP undergone a major feminine shift? Kleinheider sees a Blackburn-Palin-tea party axis with far-reaching implications for Tennessee. ...The Sunday New York Times zeroes in on Nashville's next contribution to the pop charts, Ke$ha, as part of an overview of hip-hop's changing face. ... Clemson makes the chilly Music City Bowl even colder for Kentucky, and perhaps icier still for Coach Rick Brooks. ...Ron Wynn surveys 2009's top stories in television, and the ongoing Leno trainwreck edges out the stealth juggernaut that is NCIS. ...

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Morning Roundup: Holiday Stress Edition

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 9:34 AM

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Happy Holidays, now give me all your stinkin' money: Police are looking for a 6-foot-tall white guy in a Santa suit who robbed a SunTrust bank on Old Hickory Boulevard around 10 a.m. yesterday and jingled off in a midsize gray car. Since nobody's robbed anything in a Santa suit in Davidson County in a few years, it's a real head-scratcher--apparently most people wear sunglasses or Halloween masks to rob banks. ... In other holiday-stress related news where a Santa suit may have helped, some dude threatened to blow up the Nashville Airport on Friday. Continental Airlines told Kevin Craig Quihuis that his seat had been bumped; he allegedly replied:" If I don't get a seat, I'm goin' to blow up the airplane," according to the affidavit. But imagine--if he'd said that wearing a Santa suit, people might have just laughed it off! ... Looks like the devil went down to Second Avenue yesterday morning when thieves arrived at the Charlie Daniels Band Museum and ignored all the super-valuable collectible guitars and such, and instead took $200 bucks from the museum register. ... Check out these hot pics from inside the lobby/ground floor of the new Pinnacle Tower. Sure looks swanky, but rumor has it that the real money shot of the city is from the observation points of the conference rooms on the 27th floor, and there's a super-secret roof floor that's not even on the elevator. ... And finally, From the Dept. of Seriously--Dudes Still Don't Know Better?: La Vergne Whirlpool must pay employee Carlota Freeman over a million dollars in a federal harassment and discrimination suit. Freeman complained of sexual harassment from male colleague Willie Baker to her male boss, who took the complaint really seriously. Just kidding--he showed a "shocking lack of interest" in response, supposedly telling Freeman she should "go ahead and [have sex with Baker] and get it over with." Then he ordered subscriptions of Maxim for everyone. Kidding about that last part, but not kidding about this bizarro detail: The charmingly evolved Baker's method of creating an uncomfortable work environment for the woman included "sexually and racially charged comments" and "highly sexualized versions of Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' and James Taylor's 'Carolina On My Mind.' " Thanks Baker, not just for being an affront to all women, but for getting "Sweet Caroline" stuck in everyone's head for the next week.

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