December 21, 2014

Area parents wait hours to take photo of their child with obese stranger

Two Knoxville parents spent half the day Saturday standing in line to take a photo of their child with a rotund bearded man who do not know. Calvin and Brianna Arwood of Rocky Hill brought their two-year-old son, Grayson, to the mall, where he was seated on the lap of a strange old man he had never met and photographed. Surprisingly, the youngest member of the Arwood family was terrified by the experience. "We're not actually sure who the guy was," said Brianna Arwood. "He was in a weird red and white suit. Maybe a homeless superhero? He wasn't skinny enough to be a hipster. At any rate, we waited around, took a photo with him and Grayson burst into tears. Kids are so weird."

December 19, 2014

Lazy elf on the shelf hasn't moved in days

A North Pole-based elf sent to Knoxville to spy on a family's children has not moved in days, leading to speculation that the elf is pretty lazy.

The elf is part of a team of scouts sent to the homes of young kids to gather intelligence for Santa Claus. The elves compile reports on which children are naughty or nice each day and deliver the information to the elderly toymaker.

But sources within the Anderson family of Fourth and Gill say their family's elf has remained stationary since Sunday. The elf's lack of movement has raised questions on whether the elf should be removed from his post.

"That rosy-cheeked sluggard is supposed to fly back to the North Pole to tell Santa whether I've been naughty or nice," said eight-year-old Gratz St. resident Olivia Anderson. "The next day he's supposed to move to a new spot in our house to resume his spying. Looking past how utterly creepy that is for just a second, our elf has been on the same shelf for days. I'm probably going to have to go report on my brother to Santa myself. Do I have to do everything around here?"

Other members of the Anderson household surmise that the stress of the holiday season has led the elf to begin drinking on the job.

"I think he got into my dad's Christmas whiskey," said six-year-old Brody Anderson. "I smelled his breath and it seemed OK, but I think he had some gum to disguise the smell. That's how my grandpa hides it, too."

Other sources, who wished to remain anonymous, conjecture that the elf just can't do it anymore.

"It was fine in the beginning," said the source, who goes by the code name mommy. "We'd hide him in a stocking or the tree, or hang him out of the chimney. But my God, there are only so many places to put an elf. And the kids are relentless."

December 18, 2014

Team assembling Memphis Ikea store realizes wall screwed in backwards

A team of builders working to assemble a new Memphis Ikea store Wednesday discovered they had accidentally screwed a key wall in backwards. City officials said the mistake could delay assembly of the furniture retail establishment, which is set to open in the fall of 2016. "There's a lot of frustration," said Memphis director of trying to figure out the directions because they don't have any damn words Gordon Marsh. "We're doing our best, but the little wooden dowels keep snapping. And our fingers are numb from trying to turn the Allen wrench." The Ikea store, the first in Tennessee, is scheduled to have at least five important looking parts left over when assembly is finished. Nonetheless, Memphis officials remained hopeful that they will be able to sell the store on Craiglist a couple of years later for half of what they paid for it.

December 16, 2014

Oak Ridge woman accused of plagiarizing Christmas card letter

Whitney Ringlein of Oak Ridge is facing accusations that she plagiarized portions of the Christmas card letter she submitted to dozens of friends and relatives she hasn't seen in a decade. Ringlein's letter, mailed last week, is a mixture of humble bragging about her family's $350,000 starter home and incredibly boring things that no one wants to read. Included in Ringlein's letter are several passages that appear to be copied almost word for word from Deena Stallo's 2013 Christmas letter. "It's the same paragraph I wrote about my cats last year," said Stallo in a huff. "She just changed the names. Even the clip art is the same. Did she think I wouldn't notice?" This is not the first time an East Tennessee Christmas card letter has caused problems. In 2012 Gretchen King wrote a 47-page Christmas card letter covering the past 18 years in rhyming couplets.

December 14, 2014

Is there any last minute extra credit I can do to get an A in your class, report says

hey i know its kind of last minute but i think im failing in your class is there any xtra credit i can do to get an A in your class, according to a new report released Friday. The study, by Christian Rawls of Introduction to Communication Theory, realized in a last minute panic that not going to class for half of the semester, turning a paper in three weeks late and skipping multiple assignments might have a negative impact on final grading. The report also indicated that this semester has been really hard due to the deaths of at least five grandparents, one second cousin and a beloved goldfish. Experts cautioned that "there is no extra credit, read the damn syllabus."

December 12, 2014

Nation braces for six more weeks of best of 2014 lists

After best of 2014 lists started showing up on the Internet earlier this month, analysts Thursday said Americans should brace for further collections of favorite stuff, as the need for opinions about categories of things continues to grow in December and January.

At least 50 million Americans could be affected by the lists, which are predicted to appear on blogs, magazines, news sites and social media feeds with little or no warning.

"I think we've all been expecting dozens of lists of Best Movies of 2014, Best Albums of 2014, Best Songs of 2014, Best Apps of 2014, Best TV Shows of 2014, Best Video Games of 2014 and Best Comics of 2014," said Rebecca Eckhart, an analyst for likeable things expressed in listed form.

"But what we are unprepared for as a nation are Best Reunion Tours By Rock Bands You Thought Were Dead of 2014, Most Underrated Stand-up Comedians Whose Names Begin with the Letter L of 2014, Best Deep Fried Foods Accidentally Dropped on the Ground and Eaten Anyway of 2014, Best Grizzly Bear Attacks of 2014 and Best Swear Words Used at Tennessee Games of 2014. Somehow we'll get through this, but I don't know if we'll ever be the same as a people," she continued.

Many forecasters strongly urged citizens to flee the Internet until order can be restored sometime in mid-to-late January or early February. Experts said they are especially concerned for those Americans who are naturally drawn to click bait.

"We're concerned that these annual best of lists are getting far too specialized," said Mandy Kirk-Walder of Bearden. "Best Passive Aggressive Comments Posted in the Neighborhood Facebook Group by the Lady Who Is Probably Emily Gilmore of 2014? My life hasn't been this weirdly specific since Netflix recommended Critically-Acclaimed Mind-Bending Canadian Time Travel Horror Movies from the 1980s to me."

"It's starting to get a little meta," added Joe Reed of Lenoir City. "I saw a Worst 10 Best of Lists of 2014 yesterday."

December 11, 2014

Little bagpipes boy giving rest of nativity a headache

A poor young boy with no gift to give the tiny infant sleeping in the manger of a Knoxville nativity scene regaled the child's family with a bagpipe symphony, leading most of the audience to complain of migraines. Eight-year-old Caden Jessup spent Wednesday evening blowing into a squawking musical instrument to make a sound not unlike that of a goose being repeatedly run over by a dump truck. Several shepherds and magi reported taking wool from one of the sheep at the nativity and stuffing it into their ears. "The ox and lamb would probably try to keep time, if he was playing an actual instrument, and not a plaid bag filled with screeching cats," said one bystander. "Why couldn't he play something quieter, like maybe the drums?"

December 9, 2014

86 percent of vegetarians abandon diet due to meat

A recent study conducted by the Human Research Council found that 86 percent of U.S. vegetarians return to eating meat due to meat. Those polled said the most common reason for giving up on a meat-free diet was meat. The study followed 11,399 people over a three year period. The study found that the 14 percent of study participants who did not return to meat had died. "Not eating meat is very difficult, because meat exists and it is freaking delicious," said Ricardo Santos of Knoxville. "Have you ever put that stuff in your mouth? You will not be disappointed." This is not the first time that Americans have had difficulty sticking to a change in eating habits. In 2011, Cookie Monster stopped dieting because Oreos.

December 7, 2014

Knoxville family celebrates ancient 10-year-old Elf on the Shelf tradition

They brought a creepy elf who spies on children down from a dusty box in the attic and placed it on a shelf in the family room, a custom so timeworn many believe it was started 10 years ago by the author of a children's book. More than just a heartwarming reminder that Santa is authoritarian toymaker who answers to no one, Elf on the Shelf is a sacred custom younger than "Anchorman" that is cherished by thousands of traditionalists. "Like my ancestors and their ancestors before them, we are joining in the ancient custom of Elf of the Shelf, which began a decade ago," said Adrienne McWilliams. "This is probably the oldest tradition designed to make me want to buy things since the diamond industry invented engagement rings in 1939."

December 5, 2014

New bus tour spotlights Knoxville craft beard scene

What better way to get to know Knoxville than to partake of its local craft beards firsthand?

Thanks to one new Knoxville business, you can do just that. Knox Beard Tours, which launched last weekend, lets craft beard aficionados hop aboard a bus and visit several local man curtains in a single afternoon.

The tour business is owned by William Koman, an East Tennessee native with a love for locally grown beards.

"I've loved beards ever since I can remember," said Koman from his tour bus. "I love reading about beards. I love looking at beards. I love growing beards. I love smelling beards. And judging by the growth of the craft beard scene, I know I'm not alone."

Indeed, recently the craft beard scene has exploded across the country.

"Over the last two or three years, the number of new beard openings has skyrocketed," said Dustin Kennedy, a beard market analyst at Bearders Association, a craft beard industry group. "We're seeing new beards pop up at a rate of nearly two per day. Knoxville has seen more growth than many markets."

Koman's Beard Bus seats 16 and takes tours to several local hotspots, where they learn about the history of Knoxville beard growing and sample the products.

"Here you have a fine, handcrafted local beard called a Chin Strap," Koman says to his tour group at one North Knoxville manscaping enclave. "This beard is unaccompanied by the burden of a mustache, as it grows down from the sideburns and along the rustic jawline. This beard has subtle hints of auburn, food particles and Abraham Lincoln."

Knoxville beardmongers say they are excited about the new business and the potential for expanding hipster tourism into East Tennessee.

"Craft beard growing is a science," said Alan McNeil. "Normally, when you think of craft beards in the Southeast, you think of Asheville. But Knoxville is quickly becoming a destination craft beard city. There's a reason they call us the 'scruffy little city.'"

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