The video of my effort in Star 102.1′s Dancing with the Knoxville Stars has received almost 4,600 views on YouTube over the past four and a half years. Today I asked my dance partner, Emily Norris, to guess how many of those views came from each of us. We’ve been watching the routine a lot lately as I attempt to re-learn it.
Why? That’s a good question. At a meeting of the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association, I suggested Dance Tonight as a possible location for our annual holiday party. The planning committee liked the idea and started brainstorming activities. Before I realized what I was saying, I wondered if the professional dancers could work up routines to famous music from movies or TV shows about law enforcement, like the Theme from S.W.A.T. or Mission: Impossible. That’s when it occurred to me that Emily and I had danced to the theme from Mission: Impossible. The planning committee said it would be a perfect end to the evening and put it on the agenda. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Maestro Lucas Richman of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra was my first guest on the Classic Hits 93.1 Celebrity Couch. You’ll notice that it’s the same setup as the Classic Hits 93.1 Comedy Couch. The different names give me the opportunity to interview a wide variety of guests.
The Maestro and I talk about his career and his plans to move on after the 2014-2015 season. We do talk about the upcoming Clayton Holiday Concerts but Richman also wanted to talk about his lecture on composer Ernest Bloch on December 8 at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Bloch’s music will be featured in a February concert called Music of the Spirit.
Maestro Richman tells an interesting story about being pressed into service to conduct his friend Marvin Hamlisch’s last score. Hamlisch was too ill and Richman happened to be in Los Angeles when the music for HBO’s Beyond the Candelabra was being recorded.
Movies and TV shows often make it seem funny to scatter someone’s cremated remains. The fake ashes almost look like gray baby powder instead of the real thing. Cremated remains aren’t ashes at all. They are pulverized bones.
On Saturday evening, the crowd stormed the field after Auburn defeated Alabama with an incredible touchdown at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The next morning, the turf and grounds crew found what appeared to be cremains on the field and posted a photo of it on Twitter. They dug up the patch of soil with the cremains and removed it.
The news story on AL.com included the following quote: “‘It could have been grandma or it could have been grandma’s dog,’ said Scott McElroy, associate professor for turfgrass and weed science at Auburn University.”
When I looked up “turfgrass and weed science,” I found that the University of Tennessee also has such a department. UT has had fans scatter cremains on the football field too. Sam Venable wrote about it last year.
Despite the stories about scattering cremains in the wind or wherever, many people, myself included, feel that cremains should be placed in a cemetery or columbarium. They should be treated with the same respect as a non-cremated body.
There’s a another reason why it’s a bad idea to dump cremains outdoors. In talking with some local funeral directors, I learned that if cremains get wet, they smell awful.
Professional hacker Mark Burnette had a lot of great advice for Cyber Monday during Sunday’s broadcast of The East Tennessee Report. Of course, his advice would be helpful any time of year.
One of his main points was to not click on links in emails that purport to take you to Cyber Monday deals and savings. He said you should instead type the actual URL for the website into the address bar on your browser. You can listen to the thirty-minute show here:
Burnette is a partner with Lattimore, Black, Morgan & Cain in their Security & Risk Services Division, based in their Nashville office. Businesses hire him to find weaknesses in their computer networks. He also sends fake “phishing” emails to his clients’ employees to see if they make the mistake of opening them.
Pope Francis gave a blessing to an unusual statue by Timothy P. Schmalz last week. It shows Jesus as a homeless man. I read about the statue in a New York Daily News article and realized that I had heard of the artist.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote about the artwork Schmalz created for St. Albert the Great Parish in Knoxville. The pastor, Fr. Chris Michelson, is obviously a fan of Schmalz. Some of the artist’s work can be seen at the churches where Fr. Chris was previously assigned.
Five months ago, during the City of Knoxville’s Patriotic Bike Parade on Market Square, I got the idea to ask if the new incarnation of WNOX could be included in other city events. One of the events I specifically had in mind was the Regal Celebration of Lights, which my wife and I attend almost every year.
Happily for me, the answer was yes. The radio station was granted permission to have a booth at the event and I was allowed to appear on stage with emcees Tearsa Smith and Bo Williams from WATE-TV.
I was slotted right after actors from Theatre Knoxville Downtown, who did a White Christmas skit similar to the one they did at the kickoff ceremony on November 4. When I reached the mic, I said that anyone familiar with the plot of White Christmas knows that the next thing on stage should be Bo Williams and me singing “Sisters” in drag.
For the past year-and-a-half, Forest Park has been one of two sites in the St. Louis Box Turtle Project, which is conducted by the St. Louis Zoo and Washington University in St. Louis. As a fan of box turtles, it’s easy to understand why this video caught my attention.