Best Of Street Talk 2013

Ah, nostalgia. So many people saying so many fun, articulate, touching, and even important things on the pages of Street Talk in 2013. I enjoyed every interview, and always admire the dedication and that goes into answering my questions, especially the inane ones. Here are a few of the Q's and A's I particularly liked this year.

Lisa Soland, playwright touring to promote her children's book, The Christmas Tree Angel

Is it good to have connections through playwriting?

You don't have to know people for this, you have to know how to get something done. How you get something done is getting off your ass and doing it. One call leads to another and another; that's the whole idea.

John Innes, Designer of the Cherokee Forest "Adventure Map"

Is it aimed at hikers?

If you want to hike 10 miles, or 100—this is not the map for you... Rather, it is for those who want to drive, stop, walk a mile or so and reach a waterfall and have a picnic—a perfect family day-trip guide.

Bryan Stooksbury, Competitor in the 6th Annual World Championship of Big Buck HD

What's the appeal of ‘Big Buck HD'?

I would say being able to connect with people across the United States while drinking beer and killing virtual animals.

Kelly S. Absher, Co-Organizer of Pints for Prevention Beerfest

Is it hard to reach guys with info about prostate cancer? About beer?

It is hard to reach men about the severity of prostate cancer and actually how common it is; it isn't talked about enough, and it should be--early detection is very helpful in increasing survival rates. On the other side of the spectrum, most men enjoy talking about beer: the history of beer, the production of beer, beer infusions, how to cook with beer, and the ever-so-enjoyable stories of crazy antics that involve beer consumption. The ones that usually start with, "I had a friend who…" but end with, "Yeah, I did that."

Bryan Alexander, Creator of Knox Composts

Do you ever retrieve it or deliver it by bike?

Ideally, I would be picking up everyones food scraps on bike, but with the hills and the spread-out nature of Knoxville, it's just not feasible for me personally right now. I think that creating nutrient-rich compost is definitely worth the gallon of gas I'll burn through in a week. Gasoline will not always be so cheap and plentiful, so I think it makes sense to build up the soil in urban environments—thus enabling stronger local food systems—while that's still an option.

Lisa Kurtz, a potter who opened a retrospective show benefiting Alzheimer's Tennessee, at the District Gallery

Can you tell something no one knows about this show?

One of the pieces in the show, a small hand-built basket, I made one week after having brain surgery six months ago... The tumor was pressing on my motor sensory line in my brain which is what controls all your motor function. When I first woke up and saw that I could move all my fingers and toes I was ecstatic. As soon as I got home from the hospital I was making pots on my couch—not recommended, but it worked for me.

David Moon, investment manager and author of Thoughts Are Things

Some of it is based on the Bible?

It is emotional tools, spiritual guidance, written by a guy who does financial statements.

Michael Lucas, Farragut High student and winner of many Krispy Kreme donuts

What's your record eating donuts?

A dozen? I haven't really tried out eating donuts for competition. If I tried I could probably eat 20.

Jennifer Ussery, volunteer and youth specialist with the American Red Cross and "Disaster Dudes" instructor

What should parents and grandparents emphasize with their kids?

Practice what to do, like when you have to leave the house quickly, or when the lights go out.

Have them practice in good weather and bad...A study showed that some kids sleep through the smoke alarm, so be sure to practice when your kids are awake and when they're asleep—set an alarm off in the middle of the night and see how you do.

Carla Lewis, new president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition

Does a sense of humor help you in this role?

I think humor helps in every role. I believe a sense of humor comes from a deep sense of pain that people who don't experience pain don't really have a sense of humor. Considering that, all transgender people should be f---ing hilarious.