Comments by TomB

Written on Letter: Save Knoxville's Mid-Century Architecture:

I agree that 50 year old Brutalist buildings and others do deserve a shot at saving and restoration but the Coliseum was really looking run down when I visited last year.

I hope UT saves at least the Communications Building which is a good example of mid-20th century design.

Written on Williams Creek Revealed:

Shouldn't Williams Creek have been named "Zero Creek" originally in keeping with the sequence of the other creek names, First through Fourth Creeks going east to west? :)

Written on DEEP IN THE MUCK: Reporter Holly Haworth trudges through the hidden urban wilderness of First Creek.:

It would be interesting if someone did a survey in terms of what is living in there still like the fish, clams, snails, etc.

Written on Knoxville: City of Grit and Determination:

Knoxville is already better than Chattanooga so I am not sure what the writer is talking about.

Written on A Hard Lesson: The Saga of the McClung Warehouses Comes to a Close. But What Did These Buildings Mean to Knoxville?:

Great, well researched article. An example of long-form journalism at its best.

Written on A Day in the Life: Where Were You the Night John Lennon Died?:

I clearly remember the night John Lennon was murdered. I was studying at the undergraduate library at UT and walked back to my dorm room at Morrell Hall. Guys were watching Monday Night Football on the TV in the lounge area and Howard Cosell had interrupted the broadcast to tell the sad news. We were all stunned.

His then new song "Watching the Wheels" seemed sad to hear. The album it was on, "Double Fantasy," was a musical comeback after several lost years in a career that was cut short. Songs off that album put me in a melancholy mood for a long time when I heard them.

Written on Piggy and His Pals: An Afternoon's Investigation Into a Winter Mystery at Union Ave Books:

My first guess in reading the article before the secret was revealed was that they were Masons.

Written on Scott and Bernadette West's Bold Scruffy City Hall Raises Another Controversy on Market Square:


Were you sober when you put that comment up?

Written on The Fight Against More Strip Mining in East Tennessee's Campbell and Claiborne Counties:

Can coal mining be replaced by fracking in the same areas of East Tennessee? The lesser of two evils I suppose.

Either way, cheap natural gas is leading to a decline in the use of coal as a fuel as power plants convert. So maybe market forces will save these mountains...

And is the Worley interviewed in this article related to the current Vols QB?

Written on Sly and the Family Stone's 'Greatest Hits' (1970):

The best was yet to come for Sly and the Family Stone with their groundbreaking and controversial album "There's a Riot Goin' On" with the song "Family Affair" and many others. I bought that album while a student at UT.

Written on UT professor John Nolt emerges from the half-mile underground portion of First Creek and faces the T:

Very interesting photo study. It would be nice if more of First Creek could be daylighted as well as Second Creek where it flows under World's Fair Park.

Has anyone at UT done a survey on what types of aquatic life hang on in these urban streams?

Written on Downtown Knoxville's Newest Neighborhood: Jackson Avenue:

Good article. Google Maps satellite view does not yet show that courtyard like setting behind the buildings at Jackson and Gay.

Written on Broadway Viaduct Construction Project Displaces Local Businesses:

Erfurt, Germany, also has a famous medieval stone bridge (over a small river, not a railroad) with half-timbered shops and other buildings on top of it.

Written on Oh, Dear: Urban Outfitters, the Arnstein Deal, and Our Olfactory Nerves:

I have good memories of eating at the Union Street Cafe in the same building in the early 1980s. As I recall it had two levels with dining upstairs and a piano bar on the ground floor at street level.

Written on Ambrosia: 'Life Beyond L.A.' (1978):

That album and hit song by Ambrosia bring back memories of my UT days. The often criticized lyrics of "How Much I Feel" were a surprising yet refreshing and honest jolt. Yet if the line is read in context the singer is committed to his wife and praises the years that they had been going strong.

That whole era of 1970s soft rock has been sadly forgotten for the most part. Do others recall Pablo Cruise, Charlie, Player, or the late Bob Welch' 1979 Three Hearts album with the minor hit "Church?" I would throw Toto into that mix too based on the song "Taking it Back" and others. Pretty songs with great hooks.

That era was swept away by dance, electronic, New Wave, and metal bands led by men with mascara and big hair.

Written on Focus: 'Moving Waves':

I had this album on 8-track tape back in the day. "Hocus Pocus" was spread across two channels so it faded on one then the tape head moved to the next one and the second half of the song resumed, fading back in.

Written on An Archaeological Excavation for the Union's Fort Sanders:

Fascinating article. Looking forward to walking the area in the future.

Written on Spirit: '12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus' (1970):

Plus the fold-out cover and psychedelic photos are cool to look at also!

Written on The Bee Gees: 'Saturday Night Fever' (1977):

David Shire's songs hold up well over time, in particular the soaring "Manhattan Skyline."

Triva note-the song "Disco Duck" appears in the TV version of the movie but not on the soundtrack nor on the theatrical version. Extra scenes were added to keep the running time the same after R-rated scenes were cut for TV.

"Night Fever" seemed strange at the time, like two songs grafted together. The analysis by Rockner helps to explain it.

Written on Knoxville's New Wave of Food Trucks:

It seems unfair that these roaming food trucks are allowed to compete with restaurants that pay rent (and therefore, property taxes via the landlord) and employ multiple people.

Written on 226*: Our 3rd Annual Awesome Issue of Mighty Lists:

Right on the money about the trolls on commenting on articles. Lately they seem to be increasingly nasty and/or illiterate.

Written on Former Lady Vols Sports Information Director Debby Jennings Considers Legal Action Against UT:

Another clueless move by UT that started with the disgraceful way they pushed out Phil would think they would let her stay until 62 when she could qualify for Medicare.

Written on A Walk in the World's Fair Park:

Isn't that fenced off footbridge near Neyland Stadium and over Second Creek from the World's Fair?

Written on Knoxville’s Ever-Changing Public Image:

If you look at historic photographs of most medium or large size cities in the first half of the 20th century they too appear "ugly" thanks to the soot and horse droppings. The move away from coal furnaces to natural gas or electric heat and the replacement of horses with automobiles resulted in the elimination of smoke and most soots and cleaner streets. Yes, internal combustion engines produce waste gases but they are less visible than smoke particles from coal.

Perhaps downtown Knoxville ironically is lucky that it was left to slumber during the mid and late part of the 20th century which spared it from the wholesale destruction of older buildings elsewhere.

Written on No Destination Attractions? Knoxville?:

Though by proxy I would say that the Smokies and Gatlinburg are part of the greater Knoxville area tourism ecosystem.

Within Knoxville it has to be UT itself as the biggest draw.

Written on Wandering Around Knoxville’s Abandoned Industrial Sites:

Well-written article. Industrial archeology is a fun hobby.

Written on Welcome Walmart :

Sounds like a good use for that former brownfield site.

Written on Is Knoxville the Birthplace of the First Rock ’n’ Roll Star?:

Mmmmm...I would call Bill Haley & The Comets the first rock-and-roll band. People today underestimate the influence of big band music on early rock-and-roll.

Written on Can UT Afford Not To Spend the Money for an SEC Contending Coach?:

Firing Fulmer just one year after he won the SEC East, nearly beat LSU in the SEC playoff, and beat a good WI team in a bowl game was the first mistake.

The Lane Kiffin hire was solid at the time and as proven by his first season. No one could foresee that he would jump to USC after one year. Yet he has had a lot of success at USC and he is a good coach.

I understand that UT was spurned by the first number of candidates to replace Kiffin and that Dooley was not a first choice but was young and came from a solid SEC football family.

Johnny Majors had a losing record in his first two years at UT so people need to give Dooley at least one more year. It's hard to build a program when you have four head coaches in four years.

On the other hand the hiring of "Quizno's" Martin as the replacement for Pearl appears to be bad on all measures so far. He had never been to the NCAA with his previous team Missouri State and his coaching resume was thin. I hope I am wrong.

Throwing Pearl under the bus for minor violations was a huge mistake and showed incredible disloyalty to a head coach who had rebuilt the men's program from nothing into a contender.

Written on The Fractured Legacy of a Kingston Pike Novelist:

Were the statues vandalized?

Written on Pressure Mounts on the Hill for Dooley:

The most concerning thing is that under Dooley the Vols have gotten worse, not better, as the season went on. His comments after the UK loss that "we are a bad team" are no way to motivate young players. My guess is that Hart will not hesitate to let Dooley go if they post another losing record in 2012.

Written on The Revenge of Jim Dykes, Newspaperman:

Sounds like quite a character...

Written on Just How Ugly Are Those Two Buildings on Walnut?:

I vote for the Brutalist buildings on the UT campus as the ugliest.

Written on The Case for Saving Two Downtown Buildings:

perhaps their facades can be saved as a compromise if something new goes up in their place. either way, the first priority should be saving them intact.

Written on Known for years as Girls High School, this palatial 1880s building had transformed into the bi-gende:

Nice juxtaposition of the parallel photos and the stories behind them.

Written on Scouting the Future Route of the First Creek Greenway:

Not specific to First Creek, but it relates to the overall waterways theme and urbanized creeks.

The latest issue of "Alumnus" magazine printed by UT includes a vintage photo of Second Creek circa 1860 looking up towards "the Hill." A smaller stream is in the foreground, running west between what looks like Main and Cumberland, and into Second Creek.

That smaller stream is now buried somewhere in a sewer I suppose for the last century or more.

Written on Scouting the Future Route of the First Creek Greenway:

Great series of pieces on the waterways. As I posted to an earlier article by Eleanor Scott it would be nice if the mouth of First Creek were altered to allow for fish to migrate upstream from the Tennessee River.

In its current configuration near the railroad trestle there's a waterfall effect due to the difference in height between the concrete culvert and the normal pooling level of the river which prevents shad and other fish from migrating.

There's a trend nationwide to "daylight" urban streams by liberating them from the tunnels and storm sewers in which they travel.

Written on Know Your Tennessee River:

Agreed that the creeks in the area are diamonds in the rough.

It would be nice to see Second Creek daylighted where it flows under World's Fair Park. Other cities and towns are daylighting their creeks and streams, rescuing them from becoming little more than storm water sewers.

Second Creek was buried in concrete tunnels from Asylum Avenue south to the old Atlantic Ice plant at the viaduct and Main some 80 years prior to the World's Fair when the L&N built a railroad yard over it. When Main and Cumberland were consolidated during World's Fair construction under the Southern Railroad (now NS) viaduct that portion of Second Creek that briefly appeared again by Atlantic Ice was buried as well, re-emerging south of Cumberland.

First Creek too should be daylighted and landscaped in the downtown area. I notice that where it escapes its concrete tomb near the Knoxville & Holston railroad trestle, next to Ruth's Chris restaurant, there's a small waterfall effect due to the difference in elevation between the concrete section and the "natural" mouth at the Tennessee River. This elevation is enough to prevent fish from migrating back and forth from the river and up the creek as they do now with Third Creek.

The small tributary of Third Creek that parallels West High School on one side and the trail on the other side has some interesting fish in the pools between the exposed shale.

On a positive note, at least the World's Fair resulted in Second Creek being cleaned up and partly landscaped between Cumberland and the river. And the Third Creek trails are nice.

Does any other city name their creeks in this type of sequential order, from First through Fourth Creeks?

Written on Downtown Knoxville's Whittle Uprising :

I remember seeing the streetcar rails entering that former Trailways bus station parking lot into the late 1970s. They were one of the last traces downtown of the streetcar heritage.

The other relics of the streetcar era downtown were the poles on the Gay Street bridge, then in 1981 when Cumberland and Main were torn up for World's Fair related rebuilding. Tracks that had been buried in asphalt re-emerged briefly between Henley and the Southern railroad bridge.

Written on Is Knoxville Really the "Worst City" for Public Transportation?:

The key is that buses are relatively unpopular and unused in cities similar in size to Knoxville.

What works better are light rail or streetcar lines which are being installed in medium size cities with great success around the country.

Light rail is perceived as cleaner, safer, and more modern than buses. It also leads to the rehabilitation and renewal of neighborhoods along its routes.

Perhaps Knoxville should consider a starter light rail system that would connect the downtown attractions starting with the Old City and Market Square with UT with extensions going west down Cumberland Avenue and Kingston Pike in a dedicated median strip.

Sure, light rail takes money from various sources but is it cheaper to keep operating mostly empty buses?

Written on UT Ranked #8 Party School by Playboy:

The article is somewhat dated-UT has not had an "outstanding football team" since 2006.

Notre Dame has had it own Bengal Bouts boxing tournament for decades now each spring.

Written on David Madden’s Memory of Meeting Tennessee Williams:

I recall him speaking at the University Center and reading his poem The Carousel in 1979. He stayed at the Sheraton by the Krystals and signed a book I left for him at the front desk.

Written on Asobi Seksu Wants to Bring Back Hi-Fi:

Their album "Citrus" is a modern shoegazer classic. If you had to pick one song download "Pink Cloud Tracing Paper."

Written on Seva David Ball Races Against Time (and Mold) to Save the Earliest Recordings of the Moog Synthesizer:

in response to sevadaflava:

keith emerson has indeed contributed significantly to the Bob Moog Foundation.

now if only everyone who has ever downloaded an illegal song would give $5, just one time, to the Bob Moog Foundation, we'd be able to save every tape, plus build the Moogseum in no time flat. the two biggest influences in pop music in the 20th century were Les Paul's solid-body electric guitar, and Bob Moog's synthesizer.

Check out the Byrds' trippy "Moog Raga" instrumental track from 1967.

Written on Non-Sequitur Letter of the Year!:

Chicago connection with the references?