September 30, 2014
Formerly the home of a lively shopping center featuring a Woolworth's and J.C. Penney Company, the Oak Ridge Mall is set to be redeveloped into an abandoned building. A North Carolina-based developer last week unveiled its plan to turn the indoor shopping center into a vacant, obsolete retail property with boarded up windows. "What we envision is a vibrant mix of high vacancy rates, low consumer traffic, and luxury big, empty parking lot where the police have to come by every once in a while to chase away geese," said a spokesperson for dwindling sales tax revenue. "We're excited to create a destination that Oak Ridge residents and regional visitors alike will want to avoid." The single-story 1980s American-style shopping mall is expected to stagnate as soon as possible. "We're trying to abandon this whole block to benefit the city of Oak Ridge," said a spokesperson for entropy.
September 28, 2014
An East Tennessee professional wrestler who often picks his opponents up by the neck with one hand and slams them down onto the wrestling ring reminded Knoxville schoolchildren Thursday to be kind to each other. WWE wrestler and role model Kane, who once locked The Undertaker in a casket and set it on fire, spent several hours with kids extolling the virtues of treating others the way you would like to be treated. "I think the important thing to remember is that we're all human," said Kane, who earlier this year ripped his injured opponent Daniel Bryan off a stretcher and gave him a tombstone piledriver on top of the ringside announcer's table. "Please be considerate, friendly and generous with each other. We're all we've got in this crazy world."
September 26, 2014
The Vol Nation rejected becoming an independent country Thursday in a historic referendum, saving a union dating back to 2003.
The vote to reject independence was a relief for millions of football fans across the United States, who were troubled by the prospect of having to let another team from Texas into the SEC.
Unionists celebrated the win by getting an early start on tailgating for the Vols away game against the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday. Secessionists conceded defeat by getting an early start on tailgating for the Vols away game against the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday.
Opponents of independence won with 55 percent of the vote and a 47-yard touchdown pass on the fourth down with no flag on the play.
Secessionists were disappointed by the vote, but said they would keep calm and sing "Rocky Top."
"Obviously we're disappointed," said one supporter of independence. "Vol Nation is the largest Tennessee Vols community on the Internet. We have a website and a very orange flag with our website address on it. We have a Vol Army and a Vol Navy, not to mention a catchy national anthem where you get to go scream 'Woo!' in the chorus. What more do you really need to become an independent, sovereign nation?"
Unionists said the Vol Nation will do more good as an online community with a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Tennessee sports.
"As much as I love the Vol Nation, I don't think we would make a very good country," said union supporter Carole Ketterman. "We'd spend all of our time gloating about how Florida is doing this year and talking about Neyland Stadium's field conditions. Actually, that's more work than Congress does, so you never know. It could have worked out."
Other anti-secessionists agreed.
"Do you know how long the Constitutional Convention lasted," said Paul Di'Anno. "It took like four months. Do you know how many football games we'd miss in four months? That's the whole dang season."
September 25, 2014
North Knoxville residents Monday were stunned to learn that Fountain City Lake can sustain aquatic life. The astounding discovery came as the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency moved several large fish from the body of water to Victor Ashe Park. The transfer prompted dozens of surprised locals to shake their heads and say, "Fish can actually live in that?" The lake is currently being cleaned for the first time since the early 13th century. "I didn't think anything could live in that murky abyss," said one amazed homeowner. "It's like gills turn fish into wizards." "Apparently fish can exist in that fetid slop," added another perplexed resident. "I mean, can you really even call it water? You can see why the ducks are so angry."
September 23, 2014
Knoxville residents had a few less bushes, shrubs and trees Monday after the city participated in Plant(ing) Day. The perennial worldwide event transforms vegetation into tiny power generating plants to highlight the need for more industrial facilities in urban, commercial and residential settings. "Plant(ing) Day is where community members uproot flowers and trees and temporarily reclaim them as miniature nuclear power, coal and oil power stations," said industrial landscaping architect Anya Leidig. "We were especially focused on areas that have way too much green space. It's been fun to think creatively about how we can turn even the smallest spaces into industrial wastelands." This is not the first time Knoxvillians have thought creatively about public space. In 2011 South Knoxville residents briefly filled Mead's Quarry with honey wine.
September 21, 2014
According to a report released by a security company with absolutely, positively no vested interest in you being afraid of the city you live in, Knoxville is the fifth most dangerous city in Tennessee. The findings were based on data collected on some but not all cities in Tennessee by the FBI in 2012. "Oh my God, Knoxville is the fifth most dangerous city in Tennessee," said Jackson Rossi, director of scary things that must be true because they are presented in top 10 list form. "Well, as long as I'm here and we're on the subject, could I interest you in a home security system?" Other criminologists agreed. "This report must be true because Crossville and Athens are way more dangerous than Memphis, and Springfield, wherever that is, is way more dangerous than Nashville," said Zane Frost, director of scary things that must be true because they are accompanied by a stock photo of crime scene tape. "Well, as long as I'm here and we're on the subject, could I interest you in a home security system?"
September 19, 2014
Hoping to reward local building demolition and subsequent surface parking lot creation, the city of Knoxville has created a Surface Parking Lot loyalty card.
The program makes use of special punch cards to track how often developers tear down historic buildings and replace them with paved surfaces. For every six surface parking lots that a developer creates, he or she gets the seventh one free.
"We want people to know that we deeply appreciate their attempts to destroy 100 year-old buildings and to replace them with surface parking lots," said the city's superintendent of surface parking lot loyalty Mike Doute. "We don't want them going to other cities to make them. We hope these loyalty punch cards will keep our loyal customers coming back for more."
Officials say the hope the new marketing strategy will increase the presence of surface parking lots downtown and in the neighborhoods surrounding the city center.
"This is going to be so great," said bargain shopper Colleen Marshall. "The next time someone wants to restore a historic parking garage with a city grant but then doesn't get the grant, so then they tear the building down, they'll be well on their way towards getting a free parking lot. That's some really great savings."
"I love a good bargain," said free stuff enthusiast Toby Wiffen. "I don't even like surface parking lots that much. But now that I know I can get a free one, I'm going to go out of my way to make a few of them just to get something for free."
Others aren't so enthusiastic about the program.
"I have all these stupid punch cards in my wallet and plastic cards on my keys," said loyal surface parking lot shopper Scott Robbles. "I never remember to use them. I probably could have earned three free surface parking lots by now. I really think they should just put this on an iPhone app."
September 18, 2014
The University of Tennessee's iconic Rock wants passing motorists to take their eyes off the road for just a few seconds to read an important message: don't text and drive. The note painted on the communication boulder is part of a pledge asking students not to text while driving. The message encourages passing drivers to text #ICWVOLS to 464329 to sign the pledge. "I was driving by The Rock and I saw something written on it, so I stopped looking at the road in front of me to see what it said," said pledge taker Jenna Morton. "It was kind of small, so I had to squint. It directed me to a website: ItCanWait.com. I was afraid I would forget the URL, so I pulled out my phone and went there right away. Then I kind of crashed into a parked car. So, yeah, The Rock is spot on about that."
September 16, 2014
The Republicans lost Tennessee junior senator Bob Corker to a knee injury late in the third quarter of Monday's game against the second-ranked Democrats. Corker's last carry was a nay vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act with 1:07 left on the clock. The former construction company executive was carried off the floor in a stretcher and did not return. Corker, a former starting mayor for Chattanooga, emerged from a mediocre 111th Congress to become a ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The junior senator signed with the Senate Republicans in 2006 with the reputation of a scrappy policy wonk who could block legislation hard, but who was injury prone. Corker may miss the next several games. The loss could be a tremendous blow for the Republican Senators, who are already playing without star legislation blocker Ted Cruz, who is currently on the injury list with a broken femur.
September 14, 2014
Tennessee apparel stores Wednesday began selling a new gray jersey with an orange and gray checkered pattern on the sleeves and shoulders. The move has fueled speculation that the Vols' new uniform may be a chess board and that the team may open with the popular 1.e4 move. "We suspect that the Vols will be playing 1.e4, which is a popular opening maneuver with many strengths," said chess jersey analyst Tammy Scollan. "This opens lines for both the king's bishop and the queen. But it does leave the Vols open to the Sicilian Defense or to Alekhine's Defense." Fans hope that the Vols are able to checkmate black by using a two knights endgame. Other analysts say the new jerseys will instead be a racing flag, indicating that the race is finished.