Sunday, May 30, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Here are some quotes from my favorite columnist Molly Ivins. I plan to post some periodically.
• I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.
• In the real world, there are only two ways to deal with corporate misbehavior: One is through government regulation and the other is by taking them to court. What has happened over 20 years of free-market proselytizing is that we have dangerously weakened both forms of restraint, first through the craze for "deregulation" and second through endless rounds of "tort reform," all of which have the effect of cutting off citizens' access to the courts. By legally bribing politicians with campaign contributions, the corporations have bought themselves immunity from lawsuits on many levels.
• It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.
• It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.
• One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn't waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it's not that bad yet -- but it's getting that bad.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A MESSAGE FROM THE MUSICIANS HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM
First and foremost, the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum would like to extend our sincerest concern and condolences for the loss of life and property experienced by so many of our fellow Tennesseans from the recent floods. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this tragic event.
Although there is no way to compare our loss to what others are experiencing, we would like to inform those interested about our current situation.
As a result of the city’s decision to have us vacate the museum property in February 2010, through eminent domain, the museum was forced by Third Circuit Court Judge Barbara Haynes to remove everything including all exhibits with 7 days notice prior to the building being torn down. Many of our artifacts were temporarily stored in the longtime revered performance and storage space of SoundCheck in Nashville. Unfortunately, SoundCheck was yet another casualty of the floods and in turn so many treasured musical pieces including ours were affected.
Thank you to all of those who have emailed and called asking how they can assist. If anyone wishes to make financial contributions to The Musicians Hall of Fame to assist in instrument restoration and flood recovery please make checks to The Musicians Hall of Fame P.O. Box 23655, Nashville, TN 37202.
The Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum has remained in continued dialogue, when requested, with city representatives, about seeking an amicable solution to finding a new home for the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville, but to no avail at this point in time.
Check out our website later this week for a filmed tour of The Musicians Hall of Fame Museum just prior to demolition.
The Musicians Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Awards Show has been pushed back to Spring 2011 due to our current situation concerning our relocation with the city of Nashville compounded with the additional uncertainty of our flood-damaged artifacts.
The MHOF Awards Show has become a wonderful tradition and spectacular opportunity to honor those musicians who have made the music that plays as the soundtrack of our lives. Today’s musicians are in the studios creating and carrying on the tradition that future generations will also revere and look back on as the soundtrack to this chapter in our cities history, with the knowledge that we will rise again and continue to move forward with the spirit that makes Nashville a special place to be.
Record label executive and philanthropist, Mike Curb, has provided office space for the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum, due to the temporary museum closure by eminent domain.
The Musicians Hall of Fame is conducting day to day operations in our new offices that are located in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Business building at 34 Music Square East (formally CBS Records Nashville building. Home of CBS Studio A and the famous CBS Studio B better known as the Quonset Hut which was the first studio built on Music Row.)
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Curb and Don Cusic for their generosity and support as well as all of those who have provided their support during this time of change. We encourage you to keep in touch with us as we begin planning one of the most spectacular music shows you'll ever see for Spring 2011!
Posted by Jimmy Carter Nashville
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Explanation HERE which gives the majority of language spoken. For example, English is the blue one.
It was so much fun to see Niecy Nash again! She's so much fun! I wish Erin and Maks had come in second instead of Evan. I liked him at first but then he became smarmy to me. It was a good season, and I enjoyed it.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Erin & Maks - Bruno made the rounds helping Erin with her samba. She loosened up and really danced! There's no doubt that Nicole will and should win, but I hope Erin comes in second. This was fun and had good moves. Len commented on how much she'd improved. Bruno raved. Carrie Ann said it was fantastic. It was!
Samba Scores - 10/10/9 = 29
Maks took a risk and had Mandy Moore come over and help them. No, not the pop singer, the choreographer who's been on So You Think You Can Dance. They danced a contemporary interpretative dance she choreographed. I liked it, and the judges were mixed.
Freestyle Scores - 9/8/9 = 26
Total = 55
Evan & Anna - Len advised Evan to pay attention to his partner instead of focusing entirely on his performance. Guess that comes from singles skating all these years. Their Viennese waltz was elegant and classy. Sometimes Evan looks as if he's skating when he's dancing. The judges praised them but weren't enthusiastic.
Viennese Waltz scores - 10/9/9 = 28
Evan adamantly disagreed with Anna about their freestyle dance. First time I've seen them like this. He went to the rink and left Anna in tears. Anna brought choreographer Bobby Newberry in to help them. Their freestyle was an energetic and fun jive. Not as risky as the dance Erin and Maks did.
Freestyle Scores - 8/8/8 = 24
Nicole & Derek - Carrie Ann, the lift police, said their dance mesmerized her until at the very end there was a lift. I didn't see it that way. He picked her up and walked off the dance floor, but it wasn't what I'd call a lift that she usually complains about. Len said Nicole seemed to lack confidence but that the dance was great. Bruno went nuts about how erotic and beautiful the dance was, which is what the rumba is all about. And they danced to "Lady in Red" which is a sexy song! Wow! Steamy!
Rumba Scores - 9/9/10 = 28
Their freestyle dance was a lively combination of several dance moves which they did really well as usual. Derek fumbled once and said during rehearsal he was going to do lifts he'd never tried before. Their dance wasn't as risky as the one Erin and Maks did. Nicole is such a talented dancer that it's so enjoyable watching her.
Freestyle Scores - 9/9/9 = 27
Total = 55
Erin and Maks dancing their freestyle ...
ebertchicago Where's the TeePee rage against BeePee?
ebertchicago Q for Texas SchoolBookers: If you prefer "constitutional republic" to "democratic republic," does that mean nobody votes? http://j.mp/avjw7p
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Here is the video of the speech.
How many liberal arts majors are here? I feel your pain. All the engineers here are smiling. I too was a liberal arts major.. so like you I have no actual skill. I majored in political science, I graduated in 1989, and I’d focused almost entirely on the Soviet Union and communism.. so when the Berlin wall fell I was, well, I was screwed. I mean I know it wasn’t about me, and I was happy.. for them.. but personally it was a blow.During this graduation season, On Point has been playing excerpts from notable commencement addresses. So far, we’ve heard from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Vice President Al Gore, actress Meryl Streep, and CNN host Anderson Cooper. Below are videos of, or links to, all five that we’ve played so far, beginning with the most recent.
I know many of you graduating today are worried about the economy, about your job prospects. I wish I could tell you not too, but of course you should be concerned. The one thing I can tell you however, is that this has happened before, and we have recovered. The currents of history only move in one direction- and that’s forward.
When I graduated there were hiring freezes at most TV news networks. I tried for months to get an entry-level job at ABC news, answering phones, xeroxing, whatever, but I couldn’t get hired. At the time it was crushing. But in retrospect, not getting that entry-level job, was the best thing that could have happened to me.
After months of waiting, I decided if no one would give me a chance as a reporter, I should take a chance. If no one would give me an opportunity, I would have to make my own opportunity.
I wanted to be a war correspondent, so I decided to just start going to wars. As you can imagine, my mom was thrilled about the plan. I had a friend make a fake press pass for me on a mac, and I borrowed a home video camera… and I snuck into Burma and hooked up with some students fighting the Burmese government… then I moved onto Somalia in the early days of the famine and fighting there.
I figured if I went places that were dangerous, I wouldn’t have as much competition, and because I was willing to sleep on the roofs of buildings, and live on just a few dollars a day, I was able to charge very little for my stories. As ridiculous as it sounds, my plan worked, and after two years on my own shooting stories in war zones, I was hired by ABC news as a correspondent. I was the youngest correspondent they had hired in many years. Had I gotten the entry-level job I’d wanted, I would have never become a network correspondent so quickly, I probably would never have even become one at all. The things which seem like heartbreaking setbacks, sometimes turn out to be lucky breaks.
While I don’t remember commencement, I do remember my senior year of college feeling paralyzed, because I thought I had to figure out my future all at once. Pick a career, start down a path I’d be on for the rest of my life. I now know it doesn’t work that way. Everyone I know who is successful, and by successful I mean happy in their professional or personal life, every successful person I know could never have predicted when they graduated from college where they’d actually end up.
I’m not saying you should take it easy and just see what happens. You need to outwork everyone around you. You need to arrive early, stay late, you need to make yourself indispensable - you should also probably get rid of those facebook photos of you passed out on bourbon street.
But as you consider what to do now, you shouldn’t necessarily feel that your next step is the most important one you’ll ever take. It’s not. You will go down many paths that go nowhere. Especially you English majors. You will try things on and realize they don’t fit. And that’s how it should be. Learning what you don’t want to do, is the next best thing to figuring out what you do want to do.
My father died when I was ten, but he loved New Orleans. His family moved here from Mississippi during world war two because there were jobs here. He used to bring me here all the time, and I remember him saying to me that New Orleans is a city of memory. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I do now.
In New York, where I live, they tear down the old, and build gleaming, gaudy monuments to the new. But New Orleans doesn’t try to erase its past. The Ritz Carlton hotel, used to be a department store, and the old name is still carved in the building’s façade. My grandmother used to sell ladies hats there. If you drive down Rampart you’ll pass a school, the Frederick Douglas academy.. but if you look closely you’ll see carved above the front door, the old name of the school: Frances T. Nicholls. That’s where my dad went to high school. It was segregated in those days, and Francis T. Nicholls was a confederate soldier, a governor of the state, a staunch defender of the old order. Any other city, would have chiseled his name off the building, but New Orleans does not rewrite history. Even that which is painful is not erased. A new layer is simply added upon the old. Walking the streets it’s like reading the rings on a tree.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
When I fell out of TPAC after seeing Jersey Boys, I fell on my right knee and arm and scared Tina to death. I told her this might balance things out. She said it's not all about balance. That fall hurt more than this one did. Maybe I did catch myself on the truck some even though that didn't stop the fall. I can't remember that part because it all happens so fast even though it feels like slow motion.
If you look carefully in these photos, you can see those obstructions. Charlotte is composed of one square around the old courthouse that's used for general sessions court and a few other things. The new courthouse isn't pictured in these. Yes, it's a very small town and where I'm from. My mother and other relatives still live there. These photos show some of the buildings on the Square.
The "new" courthouse, bank, election commission office, and other office building are on the right of this part and can't be seen in the photo. The thing I tripped on wasn't as tall as this one and is off the bottom of this photo unseen.
See how that one juts out in the way of cars? No reason to be out there like that but isn't as noticeable when cars are parked all along there. See those iron things sticking up from the wall around the old courthouse? They were used to hitch horses to. Those two building are old, too.
Charlotte has the oldest courthouse in the state that is still used.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Lost - go figure. I'll be glad when it's resolved, and they let us know what it's been about. David, could you let me know that site you mentioned before that has recaps and commentaries?
Excellent casting on Glee for Idina Menzel and Rachel! I hoped that's how that would go!
I love the e-trade baby! Those commercials are hilarious!
I've been thinking about how we're like hermit crabs. We move into houses others lived in while others move into the places we leave behind. And on it goes.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Erin & Maks - Viennese Waltz - pretty, elegant, and smooth. Erin danced very well and has improved so much. Praise from the judges.
Paso Doble - I liked their paso. It wasn't as passionately intense as some but was entertaining
Scores: 9/9/9 = 27 and 10/9/10 = 29
Nicole & Derek - Argentine Tango - Derek hurt his neck again, but you couldn't tell when he danced. Oh wow! That was precise, beautiful, and intense! And she looks so good, too! Bruno was over the top even more than he usually is. She moved Carrie Ann to tears, and got high praise from Len!
Cha-Cha - Lively, energetic, and fun! Wow!
Scores: 10/10/10 = 30 and 10/9/10 = 29
Chad & Cheryl - Waltz -They danced it smoothly and elegantly. Good job! Chad is the only semi-finalist with no dance experience, and he's doing really well.
Samba - Chad had a rough life but focused on a way out and made it. His dedication and hard work paid off, and he paid attention to Cheryl's teaching and can dance! Great moves during the samba which were even more obvious after he took off his shirt! What a body!
Scores: 9/9/9 = 27 and 8/8/9 = 25
Evan and Anna - Foxtrot - Evan dances technically so well but doesn't seem to have much personality. At first I thought he was very polite, which he is, but now he seems boring. He was more fun tonight and let go some but I'm over him. He said he is shy, so maybe that's it.
Paso Doble - Well, he did danced this paso with intensity and passion (yes, actually). Good grief, I think he kissed Anna on the lips there at the end of it. If he didn't, it really looked that way. No lipstick on him, so maybe it was illusion. Powerful dance! The judges were effusive.
Scores: 10/9/10 = 29 and 10/10/10 = 30
"Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws."
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Still on jury duty for the month. When I did this before, it didn't last this long. I can't remember for sure but think it might have been for a week. We'd call in the night before to see if we needed to report or not. Now it's a month! So far I was lucky this week and didn't have my number called. This morning I got on a jury for a DUI trial which was over fairly quickly. All of the jury trials this week have been DUI offenses. Two more weeks and that's it. They gave us the court dates that first day we were there, so Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week and Monday and Tuesday next week are scheduled. We'll see.
Water is still being conserved in Nashville because a major water treatment plant was underwater during the flood and had to be drained, completely cleaned, repaired, parts replaced, and all before it is operational again. They have many restrictions about using water and drink bottled water until further notice. They can do essential laundry now and can shower, but no car washing, watering lawns (not that anything needs to be watered with all this rain!), or unnecessary use of water.
I'm glad it's Friday and look forward to the weekend. I'm still behind with reading blogs and watching recorded shows on the DVR because of May - the Month of Judgment.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
It can be a constant struggle for parents - keeping tweens and young teens from getting into R-rated movies.
Take this spring's "Hot Tub Time Machine." It shows plenty of drinking, sex and drug use ... just the sort of images we don't want impressionable kids to see. Well, now comes more evidence that it's a fight worth waging.
Researchers from Dartmouth University studied 3,600 middle schoolers. Among those not allowed to watch R-rated films, three percent were drinking alcohol within about two years. But among those regularly allowed to watch R-movies ... a quarter had begun drinking by then. Other studies have found similar links between movies and both sex and drugs.
Kids pressure parents for a lot of things. You may not be considered the coolest parents around but if the study is correct and life imitates art, you should just say no to grown-up movies for kids.
That's a page from my notebook.
I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I'm so proud of Brian and Melissa! First of all, they have a wonderful relationship, and their marriage is a true partnership. That foundation helps Brendan, too, because of the love and security he gets from it. They are involved parents and do everything they can for Brendan. Because of it, he thrives.
I heard from Kathy, and we had a good, long conversation. I'm so fortunate she found me and that we have a close, loving relationship. What a lucky mother I am! And daughter, too! My mother set the tone for this for us as her mother did for her. And on it goes!
I'm not sure this link will work, but you can search for it or see the link on my FB page. It's still really bad here cleaning up and repairing the immense damage. You can see photos and read about what's going on. It's not just Nashville but 52 out of 95 Tennessee counties, especially where the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Harpeth Rivers are but also around creeks and lower elevation fields and roads. I tried to find a map but didn't.
This is good news for the Opry. Some of you probably don't know, but when the Grand Ole Opry was moved to the new Opry House at Opryland, they cut a circle from the wooden floor in the middle of the stage of the Ryman Auditorium where it was held for decades and put it in the new stage. It survived the flood!
Btw, many other performances and events are held at the Opry House - plays, concerts, awards shows that have been televised, and high school graduations.
Grand Ole Opry Circle of Wood Survives Flood
The circle is indeed unbroken.
Submerged under two feet of water, country music's most famous circle -- the six-foot circle of wood on the Grand Ole Opry stage -- has miraculously survived the Nashville flood, even though the rest of the water-logged stage will likely be trashed.
"We were elated," Steve Buchanan, president of the Grand Ole Opry tells the Tennessean. "It is in remarkably good condition. We've taken it up and are taking it out for some TLC, so it will be fine. We have it sequestered for special attention and then it will be back in place. We will ultimately need to replace the stage, but we do that every few years. But the circle will be saved ... and it will be center stage when we open back up."
Cut from the stage of the historic Ryman Auditorium and inserted into the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974, that circle of oak has been stood on and sung on by country legends from Hank Williams and Johnny Cash to today's Opry regulars, including Vince Gill and Brad Paisley. Even Elvis Presley once stood and sang on it in 1954 ... followed by countless singers awestruck by the legacy of that circle of wood beneath their feet.
"Standing center stage in the six foot circle of wood cut from the stage of the Ryman is something I never take for granted," says Blake Shelton. "The history and legacy of that circle is awe-inspiring."
The history and legacy of the rest of the Opry House -- namely, backstage hallways that were flooded and are still coated with noxious filth and mud -- may not fare so well. Last Thursday, workers began wading through the rubble and removing items from flooded lockers that held rhinestone stage wear and vintage guitars.
"It's a profound loss," says Opry member Marty Stuart. "The good news is that the House can be replaced. But there were treasures in there, and some of them cannot be replaced. In my dressing room, there was a tapestry on the wall that was made from what was to be Porter Wagoner's last suit. It was made for him and he died before he could wear it. I don't know if that tapestry made it through or not.
"There was also a lot of stuff at the Grand Ole Opry Museum, Marty continues, "there's the Roy Acuff instrument collection, Marty Robbins' costumes and other things. It's hard for me to wrap my head around all of it."
Although repairs have already begun, it will be months before the doors to the Opry House will be reopened. However, the show will go on in other venues in the meantime, until the Opry is repaired and reopened.
"The show does go on and we are going to fix up our house and move back in," says Buchanan. "This is a building we have a loving and emotional attachment to. There've been moments of significant emotion every day. It's hard for everyone here, because they care so much. The people that work here consider this to be a very special place. We will not feel a sense of relief until we have completed this entire process, until we have gone through and hopefully been able to restore or rebuild."
The Grand Ole Opry House is expected to reopen well before the Opryland Hotel. Both will be open for business by the end of the year.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Chad and Cheryl's first dance was the tango which was showed a connection and was good. The judges said he made some mistakes that show up when they have to learn two dances in a week.
Second dance is the jive, and they had to pick a decade from the "hat" and got the 60's. Chad had on pimp clothes and did pretty well.
Scores: 7/7/7 = 21 and 8/8/8 = 24 Total: 45
Nicey and Louis did the Viennese Waltz for their first dance. It was too ungraceful at times but fun as always with her. Her schedule is something else! She gets up at 4:30 in the morning to get ready for her morning show at 7:30. Then she was at rehearsal with Louis at 11:30. The judges were complimentary.
Their second dance is a 90's paso doble, which was OK but not that great.
Scores: 7/8/8 = 23 and 7/6/7 = 20 Total: 43
Btw, I just love Tom Bergeron! He's hilarious and always brings it all together.
Erin and Maks danced an Argentine tango. Maks had to talk her out of letting their being in the bottom two last week make her nervous. He has a hard time with her anyway. She was afraid to jump off the stage and said he did this for a living but that she never jumped off stages. Apparently she learned because it looked great when she did that. Maks said he just wanted her to do it and then she'd never have to do another jump or leap again.
Scores: 9/10/9 = 28 and 8/8/8 = 24 Total: 52
Evan and Anna had three 10's last week. This week he took her skating. Their first dance is the waltz. Technically, Evan is really good but doesn't looks more like he's figure skating than giving a dance performance. The emotion and passion aren't there.
Second dance is a futuristic cha-cha. It worked out for Evan since he doesn't show emotion anyway. I'm so over him.
Scores: 9/9/9 = 27 and 9/8/9 = 24 Total: 51
Nicole and Derek danced a foxtrot, and what a foxtrot! That was such a pleasure to watch! Loved it!
Second dance was a 50's paso doble. They managed it beautifully!
Scores: 10/9/10 = 29 and 10/10/10 = 30 Total: 59
If based on the best dancer, Nicole will win the whole thing. As we know, that doesn't always work out. She should though. I hope Nicole and Erin are the two finalists. What about you?
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Simon Cowell's one million dollar car! More about it HERE.
All of us on the jury pool sat on the benches in the gallery - the Group W bench for you Arlo Guthrie fans. Fourteen of us were selected by numbers drawn from a box and matched to a list of our names. Two would be alternates, but we wouldn't know which ones until right before deliberation. They called us to the jury box and instructed us to sit in specific chairs and stay there since the attorneys made seating charts. After all the seats were filled, the attorneys asked us questions (voir dire) to determine if we would be effective jurors for their case. I got singled out after the prosecution (State) asked if anyone had a problem deciding on a first-degree murder case. My facial expression gave me away, and he asked me if I did. I told him I did if it involved the death penalty. The judge said it didn't. Then I was asked me about my feelings about the death penalty, so I told him I was against it because we don't have a perfect judicial system and innocent people have been executed. I couldn't live with myself if that happened. It's hard enough hearing about it when that happens as well as when people have served many years and then were found not guilty by subsequent evidence.
The attorneys can remove some jurors and get replacements until they have used all of their peremptory challenges and accept the ones on the jury. Thank goodness they lightened the mood a few times with humor. It does help. It won't surprise you that I was the brunt of most of it, partly because I mentioned watching Law & Order, The Good Wife, and Criminal Minds. It was all in context, and they wanted to be sure we knew real trials weren't like the ones on television and that they don't have all that CSI technology. I said something about their not having the writers they did on TV, and the defense attorney replied, "Our writers are the witnesses." That was an effective answer.
The defense attorneys are famous in Nashville and beyond. I couldn't place who they were but had seen them on the news quite often. Dan Alexander was the lead attorney and John Herbison assisted. John Herbison is brilliant and defends many First Amendment cases. He's most famous for representing Perry March and the Woodland Rapist. Even if you aren't from TN, you've probably heard about Perry March. If not, google it. This article describes him as the absentminded-professor type, which I suspect is true. The article is long but worth reading - interesting and informative. Dan Alexander represented Perry March's father. Both attorneys presented an excellent defense, especially Mr. Alexander since he conducted almost all of their case. The Assistant District Attorney General Carey Thompson was the lead for the State. I've met him a few times and like him. Tina has known him and his family quite a while.
From right after lunch Monday until Wednesday night we were not allowed to talk to anyone else and were not permitted to discuss the trial with other jurors. We didn't and were very careful to make sure no one did. They took up our cell phones, and we had to stick together. That first afternoon after the attorneys made opening statements, and the State began their argument, we left the jury room, walked to the elevator, went out to move our cars and park them together, got our luggage, and got in the van to be driven to the motel. There was a female and a male bailiff in uniforms in front of and behind us every time we had to go somewhere.
They took us to eat dinner at Farmer's, one of those places with overcooked mushy vegetables, meats, and other dishes on a buffet. All these people looked at us when we trekked in there in line with bailiffs escorting us and went to one of the private rooms to eat. Because of the budget, we had to share rooms. One of my former students from about 8 years ago and I roomed together. She was a good student in a class we both enjoyed, so we made it fine. She was having a really hard time with all this because when she called the courthouse earlier, they told her to show up Monday morning but mentioned nothing about packing a bag or anything. She had no idea that could happen and was chosen to serve. Her fiancee drove her there, and she had to have one of the bailiffs call him to bring her clothes and everything for five days. She made a list and was so upset because she didn't even get to tell him good-bye and couldn't see him just to wave when he brought her stuff. They delivered her luggage to the room, and he did really well packing for her and sent her a note along with it letting her know he loved her and missed her. He even bought her a book she'd been wanting to read, mended her favorite bra she'd mentioned something about to him last week, and included a pair of his boxers! We women told her he's a keeper and that she needs to marry him soon!
The bailiffs told us we could stand out on the balcony/walkway (we were on the second floor of a Best Western) but couldn't leave it. The phones and televisions were removed from our rooms. There was nothing on the Nashville news about this trial, so that was a bit excessive, but they couldn't take any chances, I guess. No one could have an iPod, laptop, or anything that got on the internet. The guards' rooms were on each end of ours. One of them did walk with us to a market, so we could get some water and whatever we needed from there. The female bailiff banged on the door with one of those rubber stick things Tuesday morning at 5:30! They told us it would be that early. The male bailiff knocked on the door Wednesday morning which wasn't as jarring. They drove us to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, marched us in, and had us seated in a private section. They told us not to look at anyone and if someone tried to talk to us, to tell them we couldn't talk to them right now. At least we had a good place to eat breakfast. Lunch was ordered in, and we had to eat there in the courthouse. We also entered and left from the back of it on the basement floor and went to the jury room the back way.
The smokers got a couple of breaks each day, but we spent our time in the jury box and jury room. We laughed and joked some about the restrooms and other things because it helped break the tension and keep people from trying to talk about the trial. Also there were 10 women and 4 men, so the men had to share their restroom. One of the men joked that he was going to take the toilet seat off. We got along well and seemed comfortable with each other.
Without going into details, what happened is that a man was charged with first -degree murder and attempted first-degree murder of brothers after an altercation at a fish fry at his house. I have a link to articles that describe it, but several parts of it are wrong, and they misspelled the last name of the brothers. The comments don't reflect the factual evidence, either. The State didn't present enough facts that convinced us beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of that or lesser charges. The defense argued that it was self-defense, and I believe it was. Article in the local paper HERE. Link to the local radio station HERE. I might write about this more later, but right now I don't want to. Those three days seemed much longer and were very intense. I've talked with my cousin and former student who were on the jury, and they both feel this way, too. We're worn out and fidgety and don't sleep all that well. It's hard to explain unless you've done this. It's easier to talk to them than someone who hasn't experienced it.
After both sides rested their cases, the judge drew two numbers from the box for the alternates. These two people were not allowed to deliberate and could leave. I was one of them. The bailiffs brought me my purse and Blackberry, and I left the courtroom when everyone was dismissed. Out in the hall, the attorneys wanted to ask me some questions, so I talked with them for quite a while. It was basically a post-mortem to find out what was effective and what wasn't. Again, I'm not going into detail here either and am not sure I can ever write about the trial. I enjoyed getting to know the attorneys better and am glad I was able to spend time with them as well as the defendant and many of the witnesses. I learned quite a bit we weren't allowed to hear during the trial.
One of my former speech & drama forensics students Chris Norman who works for the radio now and is the author of that story in the link to the radio station called me after the trial to let me know the verdict. Mr. Alexander had already called me since he asked if I'd like him to when I was trying to decide whether to leave or stay to hear it. Of course we had no idea how long it would take. He called to let me know they found the defendant not guilty on all charges about an hour after I left, which I really appreciated. He certainly had enough on his mind and things to do without taking the time to call me. They made the right decision based on everything we heard and saw.
I went to the motel to get my stuff, got home, and called Tina and Mother to let them know I was finished. Tina checked on my cat while I was gone and needed to be thanked and all that. I tried to watch DWTS on the DVR later but couldn't focus on it that well. I checked email, FB, and phone messages but wasn't all that functional. I thought a good-night's sleep in my own bed would help and it did, but it's going to take a while to get back to abnormal. That's hard to explain but is how it is. This is nothing like the other two juries I was on in regard to seriousness and impact. It's almost as if we lived through their nightmare along with them. This tragedy will affect the defendant, witnesses, families, friends, and others for the rest of their lives. He did not get away with murder scot-free but will continue to suffer from this forever. He and his wife will always be part of my heart and mind now, too. This was an experience that has definitely affected me in a profound way.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
What's so bad is that many people didn't have and couldn't get flood insurance because they weren't in a flood plain. Others had flood insurance that said in the "fine print" that it didn't cover damage from water that came from outside the house. And some cover the structure only but none of the contents. Many people have applied for FEMA money, but it is restricted to homes within a certain distance from rivers. Cars were towed that people had to pay to get back and increases every day. Mortgage companies are not going to give anyone a break on paying for homes that no longer exist. I wouldn't be able to pay rent if I were making mortgage payments, too.
There are people who have lost everything. Worse than that are the 20 deaths. Pets and farm animals died and are missing. This is just so strange. We keep saying we've never seen anything like this here before. We are used to rain. We get a lot of it - heavy showers and rain that has lasted for over a month, but this is unbelievable. 25% of the rain we usually get in a year happened in 48 hours. This is from rain - RAIN! There was a stationary front with heavy rain that wouldn't move on the way it usually does, so it just sat there drenching everything in a torrential downpour.
Brad Paisley said that much of the staging and props for his coming concerts — called the H2O tour — were underwater during the floods, and that most of his guitars, amps and equipment had been destroyed. Ben Jumper, the owner of a storage plant called Soundcheck Nashville, where Paisley, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, and other musicians kept their gear, said he expected his losses from the flood would amount to tens of millions of dollars. Keith Urban said he had to borrow a guitar to appear on the telethon and that all his musical instruments and equipment is stored in Soundcheck. Lorrie Morgan said all of hers and her wardrobe is there, too. A publicist for Kenny Chesney told The A.P. that the musician’s home would probably be condemned after water rose above its first floor.
The music performers are donating their time and money to help out. Taylor Swift donated $500,000. Vince Gill said he could eat for a month on that. So far they have over a million dollars which won't go that far during all this.
Tennessee Governor "very pleased" with response to flooding by Obama administration
"I've never seen this kind of response," said Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D), "and we've had our share of tornadoes and so forth." The Volunteer State governor was speaking to reporters on a conference call from Nashville, which has been hit hard by rains last weekend.
"FEMA and the White House could not have been more helpful in this thing," Bredesen said. Record amounts of rain fell Saturday and Sunday, more than 13 inches recorded in parts of Tennessee. Officials Thursday reported the state's 20th death from the storm and subsequent flooding.
After speaking with the governor Monday, President Obama signed a disaster declaration for the state Tuesday, sending federal aid to Tennessee to help supplement the state and local recovery efforts. While Governor Bredesen wouldn't put a precise dollar amount on a damage assessment, he admitted, "it's a lot of money, it's a lot of money. I'd be astonished if not a billion dollars."
Governor Bredesen recognized his state's emergency was "sandwiched between" the news coverage of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square, and while he wanted to call national attention to the "extraordinary event", he noted the Obama administration has been focused from the beginning. "FEMA was on the ground before the rain drops fell," said Bredesen, who noted he'd not only spoken to Mr. Obama, but Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett. "We're very pleased with the response we've gotten from the administration."
Bredesen said that during their Monday conversation, he and Mr. Obama did talk about a future presidential visit. Both agreed it would be counter-productive for the president to come down south in the first days following the storm as so many resources are needed to accommodate a presidential visit. Bredesen said however that "if he wanted to do so at this point, he'd be very welcome."
The Tennessee governor says no one in his state feels "slighted" by the fact the president has not yet been down to assess the damage first hand. "He has a lot on his plate, and we're working through these things with FEMA and the Red Cross," said Bredesen. "But he's welcome to come any time he wants," as is Secretary Napolitano, to whom Bredesen has also extended an invitation. To date, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who was in Tennessee today and participated in the conference call with reporters, has been to the state twice since the weekend's storm.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
So far, so good for me and my family and most of my friends. Just wanted to give you an update. This is all that's on the local TV channels. Weather people are on with their fancy maps and graphics, and we stay informed except for all those people without electricity now. There have been 6 deaths in the state from this and damaged and ruined homes and cars.
I'm watching semis making their way through the flood on I-40 and thinking about Tug.
No rain is predicted all next week, thank goodness!
Check HERE and/or HERE for articles and photos.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
A portable classroom from a nearby high school floats down a flooded Interstate 24 before breaking apart during the May Day 2010 Flood in Nashville, Tennessee. (Video courtesy WTVF - Nashville, TN; no copyright infringement is intended)