July 28, 2016
Hundreds of cornhole players are in Knoxville throwing beanbags filled with corn a full five weeks before football season. Players are competing in the American Cornhole Organization World Championships at the Knoxville Convention Center. The object of the game is to throw the small bags at a slanted platform with a hole in the far end until the hotdogs are ready or it is time for kickoff. "I mean, these are the earliest tailgaters ever," said cornhole fan who is really just a football fan Grant Coberly. "And Neyland Stadium is a few blocks over. They're going to be pretty tired of that game by September. Then again, it could take them that many weeks to drive down Cumberland Avenue."
July 26, 2016
An airline pilot making her way from St. Louis to Charlotte was horrified to fly over a large, 30-foot tall basketball near downtown Knoxville Monday. American Airlines pilot Courtney Klein told reporters there is a freaking ginormous orange ball right in the middle of an East Tennessee city. "Who is playing basketball in Knoxville?" a distraught Klein told her colleagues. "Are the Lady Vols that tall? Has the radiation from Oak Ridge finally mutated the entire region?" Klein made an emergency landing at McGhee Tyson Airport while authorities investigated the 10-ton Baden basketball. "I'm not exactly sure what it's that big," said Knoxville police spokesperson Tinah Miller. "I thought we liked football better. Weird. Either way, Donald Trump's tiny hands will never be big enough to hold it, that's for sure."
July 24, 2016
A North Knoxville resident found a rare Waldo Pokémon Saturday during a "Pokémon Go" hunt on Market Square. Terdasha Jones, 23, found the red-and-white striped creature in a downtown boutique. "Pokémon Go" is a popular augmented reality game lets Nintendo catch players' personal information. Jones was one of hundreds of players to participate in the downtown Pokémon hunt. "Waldo has the rare ability to be able to pull off wearing a red and white striped shirt," Jones told reporters. "I was so excited to find him." Jones was not the only player to find a rare Pokémon. Other hard to find characters that players discovered in downtown Knoxville include the Loch Ness Monster, Carmen Sandiego and an honest politician.
July 22, 2016
Driving on multi-lane roads in Tennessee has been a more pleasant experience since a new "slow poke" law went into effect July 1.
The new law prohibits using the left lane of a three-lane highway for any reason other than passing. Anyone caught violating the new law could face a $50 fine.
Legislators say the law will cut down on bottlenecks of traffic.
But for some slow ass drivers in the Volunteer State, the legislation has taken some getting used to.
Franklin Schrock of Lenoir City is one Tennessee slow poke who has had to make some modifications to his driving.
"It's definitely been an adjustment," said Schrock. "Normally I like to get over in the far left lane and then mosey along at whatever speed I feel like going. I really enjoy looking in my rearview mirror and seeing people screaming at me and giving me the finger. Being one lane over, it just loses something, you know?"
Other slow drivers say more should be done to accommodate people who don't want to go the posted speed limit.
"Not everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere," said Tennessee Slow Drivers Association president Dale Sheehan. "Some of us are in it for the journey, not the destination. And if the journey also takes longer for the 30 other cars stuck behind you, well they'll thank us someday."
State officials say drivers don't have to stop driving insufferably slowly, they just have to move over one lane for God's sake.
"People don't have to quit driving slowly, they just have to quit driving slowly in the far left lane," said state trooper Martin Beeler. "Or better yet, they could just stop driving on the highways altogether. Tennessee has a lot of other great roads. They need love, too."
Other slow drivers say they are considering more drastic measures.
"I guess I'm just going to have to move down to Florida," said Dana Hulihan of Knoxville. "They understand me there."
July 21, 2016
Melania Trump delivered a soaring speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday, calling for Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev to "build up this wall." The third wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told the audience that it is time to welcome change and openness. "There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace," Trump said to cheers. "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the United States and the world, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, close this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, build up this wall!" This is not the first time Trump has given a well-received speech. Last week she preached a sermon on a mount, but became visibly confused when speaking the words "blessed are the meek."
July 19, 2016
Dollywood's slightly used Lightning Rod roller coaster temporarily closed last week after being struck by weather. The 20-story high ride is operating in technical ride rehearsal mode, which means it is subject to temporary closures or delays until it fully reopens. The coaster was struck by an electrostatic discharge, after which park visitors heard a loud, booming sound coming from the Thunderhead coaster. Witnesses also reported seeing a massive rotating column of air near the Tennessee Tornado ride. "I guess we need to come up with less weathery-sounding names," said ride technician David Kaspars. "Who would have thought that a roller coaster called Lightning Rod would have been such a magnet for trouble?" This is not the first time a ride at Dollywood has experienced problems. In 2009 the park temporarily misplaced its Mystery Mine attraction.
July 17, 2016
It's not uncommon to see tourists looking for bears in the Great Smoky Mountains, but officials say the sightings are becoming more common. Park rangers in East Tennessee say the past couple of months have seen an increase in the number of tourists looking to take photos of bears, especially in Cade's Cove area. The National Park Service says your chances of spotting tourists looking for bears are better this time of year because sightseers tend to migrate to national parks during the summer months. "Vacationers usually aren't dangerous as long as you don't get between the papa tourist and his photo op," said park ranger Tricia Sterling. "Still, you want to give them a wide berth. After all, tourists are wild animals." Officials recommend staying out of Cade's Cove in the early morning and late evening to give cars of people from Michigan a chance to park in the middle of the road and gawk.
July 15, 2016
Tennessee officials declared a state of emergency this week after hundreds of grown adults took to the streets in search of virtual Pokémon.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared the state of emergency early Tuesday. By late afternoon agency spokesman Kyle Kruse said they had received reports of people chasing invisible monsters from a popular mobile game all over town.
"It works like this," said augmented reality game player Cambria Adams. "You can find the Pokémon from the game in the real world. To catch one, first you need Pokéballs. You can get obtain those at Pokéstops, which are attached to churches, parks, stuff like that. Then when you find a Pokémon your phone vibrates and you can catch it. Wow, I just listened to myself talking, and I sounded like a complete lunatic."
Several East Tennessee residents have been admitted to hospitals after playing the game, due to bumping into trees, wandering into traffic and even driving their cars into ponds. One player was reportedly bitten after mistaking an actual dog for an Arcanine.
Police said one North Knoxville resident fled his home screaming in terror after finding a nest of Rattatas in his basement. Another interrupted a wedding trying to catch an Aerodactyl perched near a bridesmaid.
"We're a little concerned," said Great Smoky Mountains park ranger Erika Molique. "I don't even know what a Charmeleon is, but I'm told it's kind of like a dinosaur and its tail is on fire. That sounds way worse than a bear."
East Tennessee residents say they hope they will be able to level up so they can battle at a Pokémon gym soon.
"I mean, I thought Pokémon was a card game," said Oak Ridge homeowner Melody Ryan, who is literally standing next to a Meowth right now. "Now all of my neighbors are walking around in the woods, shaking their phones and cursing. On the plus side, that made it really easy to steal my neighbor's TV."
July 14, 2016
A bizarre Knoxville man spent Wednesday evening outdoors without even taking his phone out to try and catch Pokémon characters. Witnesses say Wes Tibbetts was on a Bearden sidewalk last night and was curiously not trying to get the Weedle just five feet away. Nearby Poké Ball carriers avoided the man, fearing he might be a hobo. "It was weird," said Knoxville Pokémon hunter Jaydin Radek. "He was just walking his dog down the street. He didn't even have his phone out. Like some old man. I'll stay off his lawn." This is not the first time a Knoxville resident has managed to experience reality without a phone. Last week a Fountain City resident read a book with pages.
July 12, 2016
Knoxville City Council passed on first reading last week an amendment that would regulate title and payday lenders to the seventh circle of hell. The restrictions in Knoxville would require those who operate "alternative financial services" to set up shop in the third round of the seventh circle of Dante's Inferno, near a large plain of burning sand scorched by fire falling from the sky. The seventh circle of suffering is reserved for those who commit acts of violence. "You would think that those who charge excessive interest against financially vulnerable people would be in the fourth circle, reserved for the greedy," said Brandy Brouwers, the city's director of spherical sentencing. "But Dante has usurers in circle seven. That's cool though because the seventh circle punishments are way better." This is not the first time City Council has changed zoning laws. In 2010 Lane Kiffin was zoned for the ninth circle of hell, reserved for punishing traitors.