October 23, 2016
A West Hills family was shocked and excited to see tiny droplets of water falling from the sky. Joanne Morris shared a video of the phenomenon on her Facebook page as her daughter excitedly ran around in the mysterious tumbling liquid. "I used to hear some of the old timers in the neighborhood talk about this thing called rain," said Morris. "I always thought it was just an urban legend, like the vanishing hitchhiker or the killer in the back seat of the car who was defeated with high beams." According to scientists, rain is a legitimate phenomenon that occurs when water vapor condenses, rises, and then becomes heavy enough to fall back to the earth. This is not the first time East Tennessee has been surprised to find out that an urban legend was real. Yesterday a North Knoxville man was stunned to see orange, yellow and red leaves on a nearby tree.
October 21, 2016
According to a new report issued by all the things that are terrifying, Zoo Knoxville's annual BOO! at the Zoo celebration would be far scarier if all the park's animals escaped into the city.
This year marks the 30th year of the family-friendly trick-or-treating event. Costumed children have plenty of opportunities to score candy throughout the zoo. However, officials are quick to point out that none of the park's animals will escape onto the streets of Knoxville and cause a massive panic.
"There are cobwebs and candy and a tribute to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller,'" said city director of existential dread Susan Coble. "But none of the venomous snakes will slither to the airport to play 'Snakes on a Plane.' So, yeah, we're basically phoning it in here."
According to a press release by the zoo, the event features "a variety of entertainment including dancing with some of your favorite characters in the Chick-fil-A Monster Mash Tent, the Zoo Boo Choo Choo and the only 'haunted' carousel in East Tennessee, the Scary-Go-Round." However, BOO! at the Zoo does not involve escaped rhinos charging into cars on the Interstate or tigers hunting in the woods at Ijams.
"We could have chimpanzees escaping the zoo and scaling the Sunsphere, or elephants rampaging through the Turkey Creek parking lot," said Coble. "Instead there will be some photo ops with Disney characters. So it's Elsa and Anna bursting into song every five minutes scary, but not run for your life, there are wolves in the mall food court scary."
Zoo visitors said they appreciate being scared, but not as much as they appreciate not being mauled by bears.
"I like tricks and I like treats, but I do not like being cornered by white-handed gibbons out in public," said Knoxville resident Ashton Quintero. "So it's a tradeoff."
BOO! at the Zoo continues Oct. 21-23 from 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets are $9 for children age 4 and up. Admission is free for kids under 4.
October 20, 2016
A local businessman has proposed adding an aquatic monster to South Knoxville's waterfront. Drew Sims of Knoxville envisions people traveling from all over the country to take blurry photos of a lake monster that is probably just a log. Sims believes some good old fashioned cryptozoology could be just the thing South Knoxville needs to bring in the tourists. "One day I was driving by the area and I said to myself, 'Why isn't there a mythical creature down there that no one can ever properly photograph?'" Sims said. Current plans for the South Knox Monster include no one ever seeing it personally, but their friend's mom's cousin's brother did once up close. "If we could get some of the people buying airbrushed T-shirts in Pigeon Forge to buy South Knox Monster merchandise instead, the amount of money we'd be bringing in would be incredible," Sims said. "Knoxville is just not taking advantage of all the tacky tourism that is only 30 minutes away."
October 18, 2016
According to a spokesperson for Facebook, every social media status you have naïvely reposted without checking Snopes first will be made public tomorrow. "Every photoshopped lottery ticket picture that you have shared, every message from Mark Zuckerberg that you have copy and pasted into a status, every privacy notice that you have posted that has no legal standing, all of it will be made available to all your friends," said Quinn Tyree, Facebook director of reposted statements. Facebook said it would rather be safe than sorry. "With this statement, Facebook gives notice to America that you are a person who reposts anything you read without spending six seconds checking Google to see if it is true first," Facebook said in a statement. "The violation of basic common sense can be punished by law (U.S. Random Numbers That Seem Official Code 1-983- 1 9 964-974 and the You Fell For It Statute)."
October 16, 2016
Tailgaters got a rare treat over the weekend: a chance to spend valuable pancake eating time imprinting selfies onto pancakes. The Pancake Selfie Express was on campus Friday and Saturday. The food truck uses laser printing technology to transfer selfies from smartphones to the front of pancakes. "The computer takes the image and eliminates the shadows, so you get a nice, clear outline of a photo of a face that is not eating a pancake," said senior pancake selfie analyst Jarryd Thomson. For many fans, it was a unique opportunity to spend a minute not eating a syrup-soaked breakfast item. "It only takes 60 seconds to make a pancake selfie," said Rachel Ott. "But it also only takes 60 seconds to eat a pancake. These are the decisions."
October 14, 2016
According to a spokesperson for the holidays, the current presidential election is far scarier than anything All Hallow's Eve could ever dream up.
Speaking to close associates, the fright-themed October holiday said it may no longer have what it takes to disgust and terrify average Americans right down to their very core.
"Yes, ghosts and zombies and creepy clowns lurking out in the woods are pretty scary," said Halloween. "They make me turn on the lights and think twice about walking through a graveyard at night.
"But Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton leading the country for four years?" the holiday continued. "And let's not let Gary Johnson and Jill Stein off the hook either. These are some of the most frightening people I could ever imagine. I really hope the four of them don't decide to join forces. Shudder."
Halloween said it plans to spend October 31 bobbing for four years of being utterly horrified by the direction of the country.
"I was also going to watch a 'Nightmare on Elm Street' movie marathon," said Halloween. "But then I decided that I'll just turn off all the lights and imagine Trump in charge of nuclear launch codes or Johnson in charge of finding the United States on a map. These candidates are even worse than the person on your block who gives out circus peanuts."
December 25, an acquaintance of the holiday, suggested that everyone forget about Halloween and the election, and instead focus on putting up Christmas decorations.
"Only 71 shopping days until me," Christmas said. "And don't forget, the Elf on the Shelf is watching. That's also pretty scary when you think about it."
Halloween said it will probably stock up on half price candy on November 1 and quietly retire.
"I may hole up in an abandoned cabin out in the woods," said Halloween. "It's still kind of creepy and atmospheric. But it's nothing like the past year of the American political process."
October 13, 2016
A Tennessee lawmaker is back from a medical marijuana fact-finding trip feeling lethargic, hungry and paranoid. The trip comes on the heels on a May 2015 bill signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam. The law makes it legal to use cannabis oil to treat medical problems in the state of Tennessee. "I learned so much on my trip, but I could really use a bag of Cheetos," said the state lawmaker, sporting a Cypress Hill T-shirt and a fresh head of dreadlocks. "You don't think the government has bugged my Cheetos do you?" The state lawmaker plans to share his new knowledge with colleagues when the legislature reconvenes in January. He said he hopes to bring paranoia and the munchies to Tennessee. "But first I'm just going to rest my eyes for a minute and wake up on Saturday," he said.
October 11, 2016
An East Tennessee man was asked to leave the Tiny House Roadshow Sunday after he filled several small homes with lawnmowers, weed eaters, leaf blowers and other gardening tools. The weekend event showcased dozens of 100-400 square foot houses at the Sevierville Convention Center. Tim Lefter of Knoxville said his behavior was a simple misunderstanding. "It was a 200-square-foot building," said Lefter. "I thought it was supposed to be a tool shed. I wanted to make sure my chainsaw and wood chipper would both fit. I still don't know where my truck is supposed to go." This is not the first time the tiny house movement has caused problems. Last month tiny homes built out of straw and sticks were blown in by a big bad wolf.
October 9, 2016
Tennessee believes it can give you a heart attack again next week. Fresh off a double overtime road loss to Texas A&M, the Vols are set to face off against No. 1 ranked Alabama at Neyland Stadium Saturday. The loss to the Aggies came a week after a stunning Hail Mary pass win over Georgia and two weeks after a come-from-behind win against Florida. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said you can expect another fourth quarter of rising blood pressure, difficulty breathing, chest palpitations, lightheadedness and anxiety next weekend. "We always have high expectations for giving our fans all the symptoms of cardiac arrest," Jones said. "We've just got to go out there and execute at making you a complete and total nervous wreck."
October 7, 2016
Knoxville had much to celebrate this week, as the mid-sized East Tennessee city rang in 225 years of being under construction.
On Oct. 3, 1791, the city of Knoxville broke ground on a small patch of land near what is now downtown. The backhoe loaders have never looked back.
"This is a really important milestone, one we should all be very proud of," said the city director of street closures Paul Carner. "When Knoxville started 225 years ago, it was just a gleam in a bulldozer's eye. But over time we have really come into our own. Now we close off half the streets downtown and on the University of Tennessee campus to redo all the things at the same time with the best of them."
Knoxville celebrated its commitment to concrete and infrastructure with several festivities this week. Bakers put together a multi-tiered cake that was still being decorated at the time of the city's birthday party. Revelers wore orange traffic cones on their heads as party hats. Knoxville finally blew out its candles by swinging a wrecking ball at the unfinished cake and starting over.
Officials said they are looking forward to several new projects over the next few years to keep the party going.
"We still have to finish up Cumberland Avenue," said Knoxville director of detours Jeremy Karlsson. "We've got the Broadway Viaduct next year. Then there's the South Knoxville waterfront and the Magnolia Avenue corridor to think about. And we still have to get around to doing something about the Civic Coliseum and the former State Supreme Court site on Locust Street. The bottom line is that we are going to be closing the lane you need to be in for many years to come."
Residents say they can't wait to see what construction projects will come next.
"Here's to another 225 years of schematic design and feasibility, Knoxville," said Brandi Valdez. "Raise your construction barrels high."