No One Ever Reaches There: To Some Desperate Escapees 150 Years Ago, Knoxville Was Oz
Published 6/5/2013 at 12:57 p.m. 0 comments
Just when you think you’ve heard all the interesting Civil War stories concerning Knoxville, here comes another.
Deconstructing Ben Atchley Street: Hatter Road, and the Origins of Homberg Drive
Updated 6/4/2013 at 4:21 p.m. 0 comments
Bearden’s Ben Atchley Street controversy presented me with a learning curve. I’ve been tarrying in that quarter, shopping or dining, at least a couple times a month since Lyndon Johnson was president. But even after that long acquaintance, I wasn’t ...
Turning the Corner: Is Knoxville Finally Learning How to Try?
Published 5/22/2013 at 3:23 p.m. 8 comments
In the city I grew up in, the motto was “That’ll do.” Anybody who tried to achieve something that stood out for its quality or individuality, whether it was a building or a plate of food, was just putting on ...
The Elusive Specialty: Of Hot Dogs, Grilled Cheese, and Biscuits
Published 5/15/2013 at 10:41 a.m. 3 comments
But do we serve anything worth waiting in line for? Something that we’d say, “When you’re in Knoxville, you just have to try a ___”?
Averageville: Is Knoxville the Typical American City?
Published 5/8/2013 at 11:14 a.m. 0 comments
I’ve been talking around that conclusion for a long time, without ever daring to suggest that particular superlative.
Where the Boxcars Are All Empty: The Mysteries of Harry McClintock's Knoxville Youth
Published 5/1/2013 at 10:28 a.m. 0 comments
If you’re a student of folk music, over 50, or both, you can sing along with an unusual song called “Big Rock Candy Mountain."
The National Profile: Some Weird Resonance in the News, and an Appreciation of Terry Morrow
Published 4/24/2013 at 12:18 p.m. 0 comments
Knoxvillians of a certain age have been struggling avoid a certain comparison, but maybe it’s time to go ahead and get it out. Consider two brothers, successful businessmen, the more outgoing of whom has gubernatorial aspirations.
Better 'n You! A Few Reasons Why We Should Stop Citing State Rankings
Published 4/17/2013 at 10:40 a.m. 0 comments
State rankings are kind of like ethnic slurs. We can use them as punchlines of jokes about being grateful for Mississippi, and as motivating tools to talk about ourselves. But when someone else uses them, it can rankle.
The Small Giant: A Spring Saturday, and a "Sudden and Brief Exclamation" About Knoxville
Published 4/10/2013 at 10:53 a.m. 0 comments
I had things to do on Saturday afternoon, but it was such a lovely day I took a walk through Market Square.
Two Corners: Some Resonance Behind the Depot Street Fire and the Marble Alley Project
Updated 4/8/2013 at 1:51 p.m. 0 comments
I’d never looked twice at the building on Depot Street at Ogden. It was just a big, blank, one-story building, looking from the front like any utilitarian warehouse from the 1970s. I remember the ’70s, but can’t account for what ...
Metropolitan? Knoxville MSA is Now Nine Counties—But Not the Ones You Think
Published 3/27/2013 at 10:52 a.m. 1 comment
If you’ve been feeling a little more metropolitan lately, you’ve got some numbers to back it up.
Drivers Only: The Handicapped-Accessibility Problem We Don't Want to Talk About
Published 3/20/2013 at 11:03 a.m. 0 comments
After a couple of recent accidents involving death and injury, in West Knoxville and then North Knoxville, it’s not clear that cars are safe in parking lots.
A New Urbanist Fable: If You Can Discern the Moral, Please Advise
Published 3/13/2013 at 10:57 a.m. 1 comment
Years ago I discovered the easiest way to dull the pain of paying bills is by paying them in person.
Bill and Ali at Café No Sé: Tales of Knoxville, By Way of Guatemala
Published 3/6/2013 at 10:40 a.m. 1 comment
After a few months in charge of the best bookstore in Guatemala, Bill McGowan’s back in town, and wanted to catch up. A skinny guy in a tweed Irish cap and a stubbly white beard, McGowan is originally from Chicago, ...
Kubrick and Agee Walk Into a Bar
Published 2/27/2013 at 2:57 p.m. 1 comment
In my column about filmmaking, to emphasize the unusualness of the fact that James Agee is still regarded as relevant to current cinema, 58 years after his death, I stretched one point. I stated that James Agee died before he ...