Thursday, September 27, 2007
Lots of activities to partake in around the area in the next few weeks, including:
- Knoxville Symphony Orchestra's Opening Night, tonight at 7:00 at the Tennessee Theatre.
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra, November 7th at Thompson-Boling Arena.
- UT Football's JV squad taking on Hargrave Military Academy, tonight at 7:00 at Neyland Stadium (admission is free).
- Tennessee Firearms Association meeting, October 2nd at 7:00 at Bob's Mountaineer Restaurant in Seymour.
- Mike Faulk for Senate fundraiser, October 11th at 5:30 P.M. in the Nashville City Center.
- GreekFest, Friday-Sunday at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Knoxville.
With good weather expected this weekend and no home football game for the Vols, there aren't too many excuses not to get involved in some fun around the region.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Politicians as Tyrants?
It's an interesting take, and probably has some validity (particularly as it pertains to the idea of forced medical insurance). However, this modus operandi by the Paul supporters is getting a bit tiresome as they attack the rest of the candidates in SCUD-missile fashion while portraying Paul as somehow above it all. It's tiresome, and we're still months away from early voting. Ugh.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Thoughts on Our Vols
Here are two posts - the second by myself - from Volquest.com, both of which I think sum up the feelings of true Vol fans as we head into the game today with Arkansas State.
Out of curiosity - What is it you folks want from this program?
This is is almost political in tone (which makes a bit of sense, I guess...given where we are and what's involved in the discussion). Everyone assumes an agenda if an opinion or honest critical eye has been run over the situation. The rule of discussing religion and politics certainly applies to Southern football.
For myself, I will find no glee for Fulmer's situation. I think he's done a fine job as coach at Tennessee in the past, and it's obvious he loves this university. Folks often tend to overlook the fact that Fulmer is an alum and lifelong fan, just like so many of us. No one want to see a situation such as Majors' departure arise from this, and I truly believe both coach Fulmer and the university will be careful to see that it doesn't. His efforts deserve better. The university deserves better.
But objective reality is pretty barren here, folks. The trend of this university has been down for several years. We have no titles in the last ten years...and nothing in the last two says this is likely to change. Tennessee cannot win bowl games. Tennessee no longer wins the big game at home. Most recently: Tennessee has completely embarrassed itself on the road, twice, in a two week span. The reality is - UT is in real danger of becoming a second tier SEC program. In fact, I'm not so sure things aren't already there. Folks, this should not be.
I lived through the seventies, remember well the latter part of that decade. Several of the older folks - including myself - have referred to this and the nineties as a point of contrast in the past (See Chris Low's statement on Fulmer spoiling the fans). A reference marker for the current situation. And that might hold water if expectations are now as they were then.
But they aren't. One cannot expect a school to taste the success of the nineties and simply accept that those years were an anomaly. An aberration on the path of Tennessee's historically "moderate" success. Those heights were reached. It can be done again. But the question is: Can the current staff take us there?
Most every university not in Texas, California and Florida will face obstacles to have any real success in the NCAA landscape.
Other schools are having that success. Doing it with recruiting and good coaching. We seem to have plenty of one (So Rivals and Scout's services tell us) and not enough of the other. If a West Virginia, an Ohio State or Oregon can make it happen, there's no reason it cannot happen here.
"Does Fulmer deserve a chance to right the ship?" Low asked this question above. In my opinion, he deserves the rest of this year (he'll get that, anyway...barring a catastrophe). If this program cannot finish the year by winning the rest of its SEC games; If Tennessee cannot find a way to a decent bowl and grab a win there....I believe this university must replace the entire current staff.
My reality is this: I simply do not believe Fulmer can do it. Despite the obligatory interviews to the contrary, this team by most reports is confused and undisciplined. Fulmer has had plenty of time and should have seen the the red flags. If they were ignored, this is a bed of his own making.
Excellent post, Jeff.
But I want to answer the question you pose from the outset - "What is it you folks want from this program?"
The answer can probably be summed up in two words - "respect" and "pride." Notice that "wins" wasn't up there, because it really isn't as important. If we had earned the respect of our opponents last weekend, then I wouldn't care if we won or lost. If we could be proud to be wearing the orange and white this week after last weekend's game, then I would consider our program in a positive context. Neither of those two things happened this time around.
Respect must be earned, and we as a program have not done enough over the past 6 years to be respected - either by our opponents or by the national media and fanbase. The younger crowd on this board whines about ESPN not talking about UT. The media is only giving us our just desserts. We have not done enough to be considered with the USC's, LSU's, and Oklahoma's of the country. Quite frankly, UT would have to do more than those schools - and especially the Notre Dame's, Michigan's, and Alabama's of the world - because of the bias that is already present in a media that is predisposed to disrespect UT.
Pride is something that has slowly seeped out of the Tennessee football program. Pride within the program was probably at an all-time high (at least since the days when Neyland roamed the sidelines) when Peyton Manning and Al Wilson were Volunteers in the 1990s. What does it mean to wear the orange & white? Is it special anymore? Yes, there are some kids who play for UT to whom it is obviously more than just a job audition for the NFL. Eric Berry seems to be one of those kids. I thought Jonathan Crompton was one of those kids, and we shall see if that is the case over the next couple of years.
Pride outside of the program will always be a tough one. For whatever reason, the fairweather fan is indigenous to the hills of Tennessee. One can see it most plainly in the Titans crowd. Titans gear is on the backs of their "fans" when they are winning, and it goes into the closet for seasons at a time when they are losing. Those same fans have infiltrated our ranks. These people, in my opinion, weaken the pride that fans who stick with the team through thick and thin have in their program because they create division within the ranks. I've probably gone off on a tangent here...
This past Saturday, for one of maybe 3 times in my life, I had no pride in my bond with the University of Tennessee football program. (1994 vs. Florida would have been another time, as well as the loss to Washington State in 1988, as the 1975 loss to North Texas State was just before my time.) I recovered, though, and proudly wore my traditional UT tie, suspenders, and suit into court on the Friday before gameday this week. Why? Because it's about more than who is coaching Tennessee or who is playing for Tennessee. We are Tennessee, and I'm not giving up on us.
As for our coaching situation, I want someone who can give us pride and earn respect. I would love for that to be someone with a love for Tennessee football and all that it entails. I know that Phil Fulmer loves Tennessee football. I pray that he can turn this around, that we can proudly call him "Coach Fulmer" for years to come. However, like Jeff and so many others, I doubt that he can return the pride, discipline, and identity to Tennessee football. I hope I'm wrong. I hope we run the table, finish the season with 2 losses to Top 10 teams, and play in a quality bowl.
The first step is today. Will Neyland have over 100,000 there today? Will so many people not be proud to be fans of the orange and white? Will so many be so easily dismayed? Will this program take a positive step and take the fight to a team that is certainly not its match? Will they earn the respect of their opponents - today and in the future?
We shall see.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sad Times on The Hill
Even Smokey can't stand it.
The whole area seems to be depressed. Our Vols were humiliated in the Swamp. They will have a tough time against a better-than-expected Arkansas State team this weekend. I have heard several fans state that they are not going to attend in an unorganized protest against the current coaching staff. (I can say that I will not be one of them, as it is when your team is losing that it is most important that you stand beside them.)
That being said, a source on the Hill has told me that "feelers" were put out to perspective coaching candidates yesterday in the event that the current staff can't stop the ship from sinking.
Of course, as I said after the first quarter of Saturday's game, we're just that much closer to basketball season. Oops...
Then came word yesterday that Coach Bruce Pearl is getting divorced.
It's just a bad time all around for the Big Orange.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Crankin' Up the Weekend
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The End of Briley Parkway?
I've seen my share of these police cruiser videos, and here are a few of my thoughts on the videos in no particular order.
1) Before we convict Briley, it should be noted that these videos don't show his handling of the vehicle prior to the field sobriety tests. I note that because Briley's defense attorney is going to have to rely on an argument that the officers did not have probable cause to stop Briley. That got a bit easier under the Tennessee Supreme Court's decision in State v. Binette, a case from a few months ago that has effectively made it a bit easier to get videos suppressed of weaving cars as a pretext for DUI stops. Of course, as has been pointed out over the past few days, Briley likely bungled into a defense - that his actions were caused by medications. You might be able to sell that to a jury, but I sure wouldn't want a judge to hear it.
2) Briley's behavior, language, and emotional outbursts are quite exceptional. This is not really your average DUI tape in that regard. It might be more along the lines of evidence offered in a mental commitment hearing, but not your normal criminal case.
3) As I commented yesterday over at Volunteer Voters, Briley's big problem legally isn't the DUI or the obvious violation of the Implied Consent law. The punishments for those are quite light. Where Briley really messed up was with the destruction of the police cruiser window. Depending on how much damage the prosecution can prove was done to the cruiser (between $500 to $1,000 or damage greater than $1,000), Briley is looking at either a Class E felony (which carries between 1 to 2 years in jail and a $3,000 fine) or a Class D felony (which carries between 2 to 4 years in jail and a $5,000 fine). With the DUI, you're talking about a number of hours in jail. With the vandalism charge, we're talking years. Any defense attorney worth his salt should be able to strike a deal for probation or diversion instead of jail time in regards to the vandalism charge, but the time Briley would be on probation is substantial.
4) With the above, I noted that this is dealing with Briley's legal problems. Briley's political and personal problems are a whole other matter. His political career is in ruins. I hope that the same can't be said for his personal life.
5) Since I am a fan of full disclosure, I have to say thank goodness for YouTube. In the past, Jimmy Naifeh would have made sure this was swept under the rug. That isn't the case in this age of technology.
6) Finally, the time of day may influence the prosecutors in this case and how hard they decide to push the case. In my experience, it is one thing to be caught drunk on a deserted country road at 3 A.M. It's a whole other thing to be caught driving impaired at rush hour in the city.
Just a few thoughts and gut reactions. Why I despise what Rob Briley has done as a legislator to limit the rights of Tennesseans to defend themselves, that does not mean that I am not sympathetic to the circumstances that get one to the point we see in the videos. It's sad, really.
Yeah, I like this one better, too.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
A Message from God
Then the power went out. And it stayed out.
Now some will say that things like this just happen. I took it as a sign from the Almighty that it was time to close up shop for the day.
Labels: Firm Life
I Hate the Florida Gators
Take this video, for example.
Whoa. Now that puts the "gay" in Gator.
I especially liked the part where the one guy says that the DJ has "a butt for television." I think they teach that kind of stuff at UF orientation, if you know what I mean.
There will be more on the game as the week progresses - like Florida QB Tim Tebow's recent remarks to Florida media where he believes himself superior to one Peyton Manning - but rest assured that we will not lose this game.
Knox County YR's Meeting Tonight
Speaking at the meeting will be Bill Lockett, candidate for Knox County Law Director.
Labels: Knox County GOP
Monday, September 10, 2007
U.S. Economy in the Tank?
In his latest column, he takes apart the myth that the American economy is doing just fine, as many in the media would lead us to believe. If there is anything one should take away from his column, it's the point he makes (and other have made many times) about the trumped up unemployment figures.
Roberts comes at this from a macro point of view. I suppose I am in this from a micro perspective, as I am concerned as to why each individual (and I encounter them every day in court) in our current society doesn't see anything wrong when they proudly claim themselves to be drawing disability from the government and no longer seeking employment - many of them in their 30s or younger. (In a good deal of these cases, these people aren't anywhere near what our forefathers would have considered to be "disabled." The truth is that they choose not to work and instead live off of all of those that do work.)
Social Security Disability has become the 21st Century Welfare. In the 1990s, we changed the name, but we didn't fix the problem. I saw a statistic a few weeks back that sadly stated that 52% of all Americans are drawing some sort of government assistance. It doesn't take a PhD in economics to know that a society can't maintain positive growth with that ratio of people relying on the government for their needs.
We have a harsh economic reality coming our way in America. It is going to take real leadership - both in the areas of policy and inspiration - to steer us away from our debtor nation status.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Concerts Galore Coming to Knoxville
For those of you interested in seeing TSO in Knoxville, they have included a show at Thompson-Boling Arena in their Winter 2007 tour. The show is set for November 7th at 7:30 P.M., so it gets you in that Christmas spirit nice and early. Pre-sale tickets went on sale this morning (already have mine, thank you, on the floor in the first few rows), and the pre-sale continues through the weekend. You can buy your tickets online here.
Also of interest is the start of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra season. Of particular interest to me is the special blogger night that they are hosting (thanks to Frank Murphy for the heads up), which is entitled "American Masters" and debuts September 27th. You can purchase tickets for this special night online here.
This should be quite interesting. As regular Trans-Siberian Orchestra fans already know, TSO usually includes local symphony members in their shows, as they did last year with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. The KSO members were particularly impressive last year, setting high expectations for their performance this year.
UPDATE: I just checked with the TSO site, and there are still fantastic tickets on the floor in the first 8 rows of the Center section available.
Grinning From Ear to Ear
Saturday, September 01, 2007
As the Vols prepare to take on California later today, I am amazed that every media outlet is picking Cal to win. Lou Holtz, ESPN analyst and former coaching cancer, quite honestly, should be wary of ever stepping foot in this state again.
But we really should thank idiots like Holtz, because we are best when no one believes. We are best when our backs are against the wall. We are Tennessee.
Coach Fulmer, tell everyone why we will win today against this team from the PAC-10.
I know I'm ready to prove everyone wrong - again. Let's strap 'em on and play our brand of smashmouth football. Go Vols!