,

It practically gallops!

T Time

In the current episode of the Einstein Simplified podcast, Aaron Littleton randomly mentioned Mr. T. The reference led me to tell the group about my encounter with Mr. T at WAVA. He was one of the many celebrities I took across the street for a shopping spree at 7-Eleven.

Also in the podcast, Megan Jones and I joke about our shared experience as cast members of The Front Page Follies. We close with an imagined scene of Follies performer Vince Staten (played by Paul Simmons) going on a 7-Eleven shopping spree.

Please use headphones when you listen to the podcast. By my count, there were three words that would have gotten bleeped out of  a radio broadcast.

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The Driving Dead

The salesmen at Twin City Hyundai were excited to show me “The Walking Dead” Special Edition Tucson on their showroom floor. The vehicle’s design is in honor of the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead graphic novel. I was at the dealership on Saturday afternoon for a remote broadcast.

The SUV has a Walking Dead insignia on the tailgate and blood-red hand prints on the door. Some passersby might not immediately recognize the hands in the artistic design. From a distance, they almost look like flames.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the driver’s door was a red footprint on the floor mat. I think the vehicle’s most clever feature is the zombie survival kit in the back. In addition to food, water, and first-aid supplies, there is a backpack with the Walking Dead logo on it. They say you’re prepared for a zombie attack, but as the CDC will tell you, the items also help you prepare for a real emergency.

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Bear Essentials

 Joel Zachry of Appalachian Bear Rescue said he enjoyed our interview on the East Tennessee Report. I did too, so much so that I chose to post a copy of it below. Joel implied that I tired him out with my questions and my energy. As an extrovert, I tend to do that to people.

While listening to the broadcast on Sunday morning, my wife commented that I had a “Huell Howser moment” when I asked Joel about how to back away from a bear. To me, there’s no higher compliment. Huell was one of my favorite television personalities.

Joel shares great information about the natural history of the Smokies and about the feeding habits of bears. I learned the difference between hard mast (nuts) and soft mast (berries), both of which make excellent ice-cream toppings.

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Across the Meals

A Facebook friend shared a link to a list of “Every State in the USA, Ranked by Its Food/Drink.” They were thrilled that Tennessee ranked eighth. We do have some excellent food around these parts, especially BBQ. Memphis gets well-deserved recognition but I am fond of BBQ in East Tennessee too, which has the best features of Memphis and the best features of North Carolina style cooking.

On my next trip to Nashville, I may have to try Hot Chicken, which is unfamiliar to me. I have enjoyed fried chicken at Monell’s and at the Loveless Cafe.

Maryland ranked eighteenth. I bet it would have ranked higher had the authors sampled the Peruvian chicken at Sardi’s Pollo A La Brasa. The state did get points for crabcakes, obviously.

The writers failed to recognize the good foods in the Dakotas. In 2011, my wife and I had an excellent bison burger in Medora and we discovered the great food at Culver’s in Rapid City. If I get the opportunity, I would enjoy going back to the Dakotas.

The article also dismissed Wyoming, which is another state I would like to visit again. The authors failed to consider the fancy resort town of Jackson Hole or even the nice restaurant near Old Faithful, where I had a good bison burger in 2010.

Before returning to the Great Plains, my wife and I hope to travel to the three states she has not yet visited: Alaska, Michigan and Oklahoma. I remember enjoying some halibut in Alaska in 2001 but I don’t have any particular memories of restaurants in Michigan or Oklahoma, both of which I visited on business.

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Avon Calling

The special at Shonos in City on Friday was a crab rangoon roll that was absolutely delicious. My wife and I shared one as we waited to watch Much Ado About Nothing on Market Square.

The Tennessee Stage Company produces two plays as part of Shakespeare on the Square each summer. They run on alternating evenings between July 17 and August 17. My wife especially likes Much Ado About Nothing, so we made plans to attend.

Julianna Sanderson played Beatrice. Her facial expressions were consistently entertaining, especially during a funny scene in which Beatrice eavesdrops on Hero and Ursula.

I recognized two members of the cast. Cameron Hite, who played the Sexton, contacted me about booking an improv workshop at Maryville College at the end of April. Raine Palmer, who played Margaret, also attended. Paul Simmons of Einstein Simplified led the workshop. I went along to assist and I learned a few things too.

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Meta Guy

While preparing to interview comedian Mark Normand on the Classic Hits 93.1 Comedy Couch, I read two other interviews he did. One was on Laughspin, the other on America’s Comedy.

I leaned that Mark, like me, was influenced by the Marx Brothers. I was also interested in his thoughts on indie vs. mainstream comedy. He addresses those topics in our conversation. We talked a little about Bob Hope too. I mentioned visiting the Library of Congress exhibit about his joke catalog.

Mark Normand was recently on Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central’s The Half Hour. He is headlining at Side Splitters Comedy Club this weekend.

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Bat Diamond

 Today was Batman Day, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Caped Crusader. While most of the attention is on the 1939 debut of the comic books, I enjoy reading about the 1966 TV series.

The big news for TV Bat-fans is the upcoming release of Batman on DVD. The Blu-ray edition costs $269.97 on Amazon. The regular DVD costs $179.74. Rather than owning a collection of discs, I would rather watch the episodes via Amazon Instant Video or Xfinity On Demand.

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