Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Bipartisan Halloween

I found these bipartisan Halloween decorations at my neighbor's house last evening. Debbie Arnow and her mom, Pat Eldridge, carved the faces of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain in the pumpkins a few days ago. The two pumpkins will be on display at the Arnow's house when kids trick-or-treat tonight.

Debbie and Pat did a great job. Pat told me that the McCain pumpkin was pretty hard because it had a lot of detail. She also said that because there were a lot of small lines involved in McCain's likeness, that pumpkin was starting to cave.

By the way, there are only four days left until Election Day.

Tomorrow: Theme Day

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Poland BBQ King

After two days of Code Blue, we're back to the BBQ:
The Poland BBQ Kings photograph me as I photograph them while they hand out BBQ during the Jack Daniels Championship Invitational BBQ last Saturday.  Team Poland was one of 18 international teams to compete in the championship.  

The highest-placing international team was Barbecue Symphony from Estonia.  They placed 19th overall.  World Barbecue Team from Switzerland won the Home Cooking from the Homeland category (international recipes).  We had some of the Swiss team's entry and liked it a lot.  We also tasted a bit of both Poland and Estonia's entries.

Not just anyone can compete in "The Jack."  In order to be eligible to compete, American teams must have won one or more of the following:
* * * a state championship that has 25+ participants
* * * a championship in an event with 50+ participants
* * * a championship in a world event such as Memphis in May or the American Royal

Tomorrow:  Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Code Blue II

As I mentioned yesterday, the Titans declared "CODE BLUE" for Monday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts. Even the city of Nashville participated, flooding the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge in blue during the game. I took this photo from the same place where I shot yesterday's photo. I just turned 90 degrees to my right to get this shot. I'm standing a little northwest of the bridge.

I took the following photo from a spot southwest of the bridge. Because of street closures, I couldn't get too close. If you look closely at the center of the photo, you can see some of the crowd in the stadium as well as Ghost Dance, the sculpture I've shown you here and here. To see my original post on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge, click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Code Blue!

I know I was going to show you more of the Jack Daniels BBQ Championship, but I have to delay that two days because Monday Night Football was back in Nashville tonight as the Titans took on the Colts at LP Field before 70,000 fans. The team declared the night CODE BLUE, and asked all fans in attendance to wear Titan Blue to the game. In addition, some of downtown was bathed in blue for the game.

CODE BLUE worked! The Titans, at 7-0, are the only unbeaten football team.

We didn't go to the game, but we drove downtown after the kickoff so I could shoot the crowd and downtown. We were on the west bank of the Cumberland River looking east through the southern end zone of the field.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Team Ida Q

One of the team members for Team Ida Q, a barbecue company from Boise, Idaho, carries the team's brisket entry to the judges' tent.  They had their smoker (below right) custom-built to their specifications.  They were nice enough to let us sample their brisket, and I have to say it was good.  Unfortunately, they didn't win that category, but we liked their brisket the best of those we tasted.  They told me that they use applewood, and I thought it gave the meat a great flavor.

"Of those you tasted?" you ask.  Yes!  The interesting thing is that once the competitors send their entries in a particular category to the judges' tent, they hand out samples to the crowd.  We arrived midday, and most of the competitors were handing out generous samples of pork shoulder.  Unfortunately, if you don't have a bowl/plate of your own, you get your sample in your hand.  We ended up tasting a little BBQ from a number of international competitors, including ones fro Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Poland, Puerto Rico and Estonia.  

Even though we really had just a little from each of those places, I am pretty sick of BBQ right now. . . .Actually, I haven't been able to eat meat since yesterday afternoon, and I don't think I will for the next few days.  It's not that it wasn't good, mind you.  It was just BBQ overkill.  

I can't imagine judging one of these competitions.  There were 66 competitors from the States and 18 international ones.  There were EIGHT categories (chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket, chef's choice, sauce, home cooking and dessert), and judges were on duty from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm.

Tomorrow:  Not everyone gets to compete in the Jack Daniels BBQ Championship.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

BBQ- It's Off The Hook!

This weekend was the 20th annual Jack Daniels International Invitational Barbecue Championship, and one of the judges was Food Network star Guy Fieri (above right).  The outgoing Fieri, who has four shows on Food Network (Diners, Drive-ins and Dives . . . Guy's Big Bite . . . Ultimate Recipe Showdown . . . Guy Off The Hook), is known for his sunglasses, knee-length shorts, flip-flops and spiked hair.  His catch phrase is "Off the Hook," which is what he pronounced the BBQ at the championship today.

Held in Lynchburg, the BBQ Championship is one of the most prestigious BBQ championships in the world, and 80 international teams participate in the two-day event.  Lynchburg (population 361 people) welcomes over 25,000 visitors who amble through the booths and watch the competitors prepare their meat for the judges.  Over the next several days, I'll show you a bit more of the BBQ and tell you a little more about it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Turkey Legs, Anyone?

At the Webb School Arts and Craft Festival last weekend, the Bell Buckle Fire Department was selling turkey legs ($7 each or two for $12).  We saw a bunch of people munching on turkey legs as they sat and rested on hay bales (or the ground) or as they walked around the town.  Until recently, I had not seen turkey legs offered at any venue, but they must be a popular item these days as I've seen them at several craft shows and fairs recently.  Personally, I'm not wild about the legs on a roasted turkey, so I don't think I'd eat one that was smoked over a pit.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Speaking of Cuties

"There is no psychiatrist in the world
like a puppy licking your face."
~ Bern Williams

Thanks to my son, Jason, for providing this photo of Uno, the baby Beagle.  Uno, the only puppy in his litter (hence his name), was about one month old when this photo was taken Monday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Canine Model

This littler pomeranian was modeling a visor for one of the vendors at the Webb School Craft Fair in Bell Buckle Saturday.  What a cutie! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Scream. I Scream. We All Scream for Ice Cream

In one of the shops on Main Street in Bell Buckle, you'll find a wonderful, old-fashioned soda parlor/ice cream shop.

Anyone for a double-dip, chocolate cone?  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lynchburg Limo

I was going to show you downtown Bell Buckle today, but I didn't like the photos (crowded with too many craft show attendees). Instead, I show you the Lynchburg Limo.  As much as I love my Mini Cooper, I do enjoy riding in horse-drawn carriages.

When was the last time you took a ride in a horse-drawn carriage?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Victorian Bell Buckle

Founded in 1852, Bell Buckle was once a stop on the railroad between Nashville and Chattanooga, and in the 1870s, it housed a major stockyard.   Trains no longer stop in Bell Buckle, but the tiny town is home to a number of antique stores and specialty shops.  Victorian homes like the one above dot the town today.  In its heyday, Bell Buckle's population was about 1000.  The 2000 census lists 391 inhabitants in town.

There is dispute as to how the town was named.  Some say that early settlers say a cow bell and buckle carved into a tree and thought them a sign from Indians to warn them off.  Others say surveyors carved the symbols on the tree to advise others of good pasture land.  Still others say that some settlers found a cow bell and a buckle tied to a tree and named the town after those.

Tomorrow:  Main Street 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Webb School Arts & Craft Show

This weekend, The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN held its annual arts and craft show.  Held annually on the third weekend of October, the show attracts between 80,000-100,000 people to the tiny town about 40 minutes south of downtown Nashville.  While the Webb School holds a juried show on one of its lots, there are additional vendors located on all the streets throughout the town.

The Webb School, founded in 1870, is the South's oldest continuously operating boarding school. (There is also a day school.)  There are four dorms on the campus - two each male and female - housing students in grades 7-12.  Students in sixth grade do not board.  You can read more about it by clicking here.   NOTE:  Actor Wayne Rogers (Trapper John from M*A*S*H) is a Webb School alum.

Over the next few days, I'll show you a little more of Bell Buckle.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Leaf Me Alone

Autumn is a second spring
Where every leaf is a flower.
~ Albert Camus

Friday, October 17, 2008

SkyWatch FRIDAY: Capitol Building

After a few weeks away, we're back to SkyWatch Friday!  Sunday was a *beautiful* day in Middle Tennessee.  The Capitol stood out beautifully against the brilliant, blue sky.  I've posted photos of the Capitol before (but not with such a pretty backdrop!).  For another view of the Tennessee Capitol Building, click here.

There were over 220 other bloggers participating in SkyWatch Friday.  Check them out!  Click here to get links to the other sites.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Early Voting

C-Span had a bus at the Southern Festival of Books Saturday.  As you probably know, C-Span is a cable network that offers news and insight on the happenings on Capitol Hill, The White House and politics.  You can check out their website by clicking here.  During this election season, C-Span has dedicated an entire portion of their website to the campaign.

Speaking of the election (My gosh!  How many more days until this is over?!?). . . Yesterday was the first day of early voting in Tennessee.  Through October 30, registered voters can go to early voting sites to vote in national, state and local elections.  All polling places are open at 8:00 AM Monday through Saturday, with closing times varying depending on the day.  Most days, the sites close at 6:00 PM, although there are a few days when they stay open later or close earlier.  

To check out the location of Davidson County's early polling places and to check closing times, click here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

31 Years Ago Today. . . . .

Marriage is like a fine wine, 
as it ages, it just gets better.  
Look at all the good times, and 
leave behind the bad  for there 
are more wonders you will find 
in each as time passes by.
~ Unknown

I was going to write this big post about love and marriage today, but I decided I would just write that today is our 31st anniversary.  Wow.  I thought he carried me through that doorway just yesterday.

Happy Anniversary, Punkin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

King of Gaheena

Squire Babcock, associate professor of English and director of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Murray State University, read from his newly released novel (The King of Gaheena) during the Southern Festival of Books Sunday.  The King of Gaheena is set in 1972 and deals with the responsibilities facing 20-year old Calvin Turtle after he inherits his wealthy father's businesses (a playing card company and hunting preserve).  In addition to the businesses, Calvin must also deal with the accusation that he is responsible for the car accident that killed his parents.

Squire is currently working on a memoir and a book of essays about his relationship with his daughter.

I attended a few readings/discussions during the festival, and I always enjoy them.  The authors are always willing to share little bits of information about the process and their works.  If you get a chance, check out a literary festival.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Southern Festival of Books 2008

The Southern Festival of Books, held annually during the second weekend in October, was this past weekend in Nashville.  The free, three-day event features over 200 authors who participate in panels, readings, discussions and book signings.  In addition, there are over 50 exhibitors that include booksellers, publishers, organizations, restaurants, and more.  

Since I'm in a creative writing MFA program, I was particularly interested in a few of the readings this year.  I'll post a photo from one of them tomorrow.

To see last year's post on the Southern Festival of Books, click here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

That's Just Corny

It's autumn when the once-green corn stalks brown up.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Campaign Headquarters

We stopped by Senator Obama's Nashville Campaign Headquarters today so I could get a photo of the action.  It was the first time I've been to any campaign headquarters.  I was pretty surprised that they were out of bumper stickers, yard signs, and most buttons.

Have you ever gone to a campaign headquarters?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sweet Baby

Do you ever wonder what dogs think?  I do.

Note the periwinkle by her right paw. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Green With Envy

I should have bought this green pumpkin when I saw it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Media Tent for Debate

Over 3000 members of the national and international media descended on Belmont University for last night's Presidential Debate.  They worked from the 25,000 square-foot media tent (above) set in the middle of the Belmont Campus.

If you look at the horizon in the middle of the photo, you'll see the ATT Tower, aka the Batman Building.  Click here to see my post on this building when it was the BellSouth Tower.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Road to the White House Runs Through Nashville

This evening, the world will watch the second of three debates between Barack Obama and John McCain, and shining in the background will be Belmont University, the debate's location.  Awarded the second debate last year, the university has been preparing for months.

The debate will take place in the Curb Event Center, a multi-purpose building that is home to the university's basketball team.  In addition to athletic events, the center also hosts concerts, speeches, tradeshows, meetings, and other events.  The 90000 square-foot building has 5000 permanent seats, offices, locker rooms, and more.

Mike Curb, former lieutenant governor of California, stock-car racing enthusiast and founder/owner of Curb Records (Wynnona, Tim McGraw, Sawyer Brown, LeAnne Rimes), is a major benefactor of the university and the arena.  The university honored his involvement by naming the arena after him.

Side note:  Curb does not limit his involvement in higher education to Belmont.  He has endowed programs at both Vanderbilt University and Rhodes College (Memphis) and has pledged $10million to his alma mater, Cal State Northridge.  He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

For more information on Belmont University, click here.
For more information on Mike Curb, click here.

Tomorrow, I'll show you the media tent.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Don't Fence Me Out

Normally home to more than 5000 students, Belmont University was empty of most students over the weekend as students headed home for early fall break. Replacing the students are Secret Service agents and more than 3000 media representatives in town for the 2nd of three Presidential Debates. Chain link fence surrounds the entire campus, and unauthorized people are not permitted on campus.

A couple of interesting notes:
1- A number of students left hidden cookies and treats for the Secret Service agents.
2- The media tent is more than 25000 square feet
3- Nashville hotels are sold out for the next few days
4- The debate is expected to bring $10 million to the Nashville economy
5- Both candidates receive exactly the same treatment in everything, including the exact square footage of their preparation rooms.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Frost is on the Fake Pumpkin

These are fake pumpkins, but they still look beautiful.

Tomorrow:  The national and international media descend on Nashville.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fenced In

I saw these late summer roses adorning an old, wooden fence recently.  There is such beauty in the simple things.

Sorry to have missed posting the last few days.  We were out of town, and I had no computer access again.