Tag Archives: Watertown

From Sports Illustrated to The Old Farmer’s Almanac

24 Dec

This is another one of those nights when I don’t have anything to write about. I thought about an expose on Duck Dynasty and the dangers of turning a real person into a television character, but I have heard enough about that topic. All I know is that I don’t agree with the opinions of most of the people around me.

Last night, my mind was running crazy with ideas to blog about. There was this movie character that I was going to compare to a person in my town. Then, I remembered how many people in my town read the blog. I also thought about writing about our dinner at a local establishment. In fact, that could be a future one.

Heck, I even thought about listing a bunch of stuff that I like. One day, I was driving down the road when I came upon a bridge. Out of the blue, I said, “I like bridges.” The lady who was with me said that I sounded like Forrest Gump. It’s true. I like bridges. That’s just the way it is.

As I sat down at the computer, I considered writing about the emails that we get from students when the semester is over, but I have already written about that. It’s usually over by down, but I am still getting emails about grades on Christmas Eve.

Of course, I could write about my current treadmill book. It is Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. No Country for Old Men and The Road have already been scratched off my McCarthy list. They were both made into great movies, and I think this one would make a great movie, too. It would be one of the bloodiest and most realistic Westerns ever made. I am proud to say that McCarthy is a Tennessee guy.

Those are all things that could be written about, but I’m not going to do any of those. Instead, I am going to list some of the things that are on my desk.

There is the latest copy of Sports Illustrated.Sports Illustrated

Next to it is a box of dry erase markers.

A gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond is underneath there somewhere.

My grade book is out for those emails that I have been getting.

There is even a couple of VHS tapes.

There is a tape measure sitting on top of a book called John Henry: The Doc Holliday Story. It was written by Ben Traywick, native of Watertown, Tennessee and official historian of Tombstone, Arizona.

Sunglasses and a stapler are butted up against each other.

Beside them are a couple of lottery tickets that didn’t pay off.

My trusty iPhone is next to my trusty calculator. I know. The phone has a calculator, too. I don’t care because I like the old-fashioned kind.

There is a stack of bills and a newspaper clipping from the Civil War.

A little further away sits the 2014 issue of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.Almanac

If you want to get smarter, then you need to pick up a copy. It’s full of all kinds of great information. For example, November 25, my birthday, is one of the best days to set posts or pour concrete.

That’s the stuff that’s on my desk, and that’s also the reason my wife keeps telling me that I need to clean it.

Walking in the Footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Some Biosphereans

15 Oct

Necole and I just returned from Tucson, Arizona and the conference of the Western History Association. The conference was informative and will be covered in the next post. This post is about the touristy things that we did while there. Obviously, there are lots of places to see, but our time was limited. Necole had never spent much time in that part of the country, and I wanted to make sure she saw some good stuff. With that in mind, I picked one place that neither one of us had ever seen and another place that I have visited several times. In fact, it’s one of my favorites.

North of Tucson sits a giant scientific experiment called Biosphere 2, which was recently named one of the 50 Wonders of the World. In the 1980s, it was built by a private firm for $150 million as a way to study the environment in a controlled setting. For two years, eight Biosphereans were sealed in the facility to live and study their surroundings. After our tour, I am still not sure what they were trying to accomplish, but they came out alive. More people probably remember Pauly Shore wrecking the place in Bio-Dome than they do the actual experiment.

I have always wanted to see Biosphere 2 and thought it would be something good for us to both see for the first time. We had to walk through a little village that is supposed to be the model for a perfect community. I have no idea why people keep trying to create one of these. People aren’t perfect, and, therefore, communities will never be perfect.

Then, we saw it.Arizona 2013 001

Before we went in, I was afraid that we might run into a Sandman. The crystal in my palm has already turned black, and there was no way I was going to Carousel. My options started to run through my mind. I could look for Farrah Fawcett at the plastic surgeon, or I could run. It turns out that I didn’t have anything to worry about. Instead of a Sandman, we found a tour guide.

He took us through a building with miniaturized versions of different environments. There was a rainforest. There was an ocean. There was a swamp. There was a desert.Arizona 2013 004

After touring the upper world of Biosphere 2, we went into the underworld and saw the guts of the place. Then, we sat the dining table in the living quarters of the Biosphereans. It was a nice place, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

It was at some point toward the end of the tour when a German tourist asked about the power source for the structure. The tour guide said that it ran on 2% solar power. Necole said what I was thinking. How can an experiment design to study the environment run on 2% solar power? Shouldn’t they be more environmentally friendly than that? As Necole said, it made the entire thing seem hokey.

The next day, I took Necole to one of my favorite places, Tombstone, Arizona. Known for the Gunfight at the OK Corral, this town has been immortalized in movies, books and television. It’s a good thing because without a gunfight that lasted a few seconds “The Town Too Tough To Die” would be dead. The old mining camp lives off tourist who want to walk in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. I won’t destroy anyone’s opinion of those guys in this post. Instead, I may do it in the next one.

My parents took me to Tombstone when I was a kid, and I have been back several times since. I wanted Necole to see one of the places that made me want to study and teach the history of the West. To do that, we needed to step into the streets of a famous mining camp.Arizona 2013 007

Our first stop, like everyone else, was at the site of the gunfight. Of course, you have to go through a souvenir shop before they will let you in the corral. In truth, that’s not where the gunfight took place. We walked through the corral to a backlot where the action took place. Now, there are cheap animatronic figures representing the combatants. As the narrator describes the fight, they move. However, they don’t fall down when they are shot.Arizona 2013 008

After watching the fake gunfight, which I had explained to Necole before the narrator ever began, we walked down the street. Necole wanted to stop in a jewelry store, and it turned out to be a good thing. That was the place where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday stopped to buy cigars before going toward the corral. Movies make it look like they walked a long way. It was just a block away.

Then, it was on to the highlight of any visit to Tombstone, a meeting with Ben Traywick. We entered his bookstore to find him behind his desk. I introduced myself and introduced him to Necole. Mr. Traywick is the Tombstone historian. He also happens to be from Watertown, a little town in our county where my dad grew up. For the next hour, he told us how he got to Tombstone; talked about the actors who have visited him; talked about people back home; and showed all of the books he had written. I bought too many of them. Mr. Traywick is an interesting person who has lived an interesting life. I wish more people knew to stop in and see him.

We went further down the street to the Birdcage Theater, perhaps the most famous saloon in the West. It served as a theater, a gambling hall, a bar and a brothel. In fact, prostitutes plied their trade in the theater boxes that overlooked the main floor. The boxes looked like birdcages.Arizona 2013 009

If you see anything weird in this picture let me know. The Birdcage is supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the country.

After the Birdcage, we did like Doc and Wyatt and went to a bar for a drink. I was tempted to order a shot of redeye. Instead, I got a Jack and Coke.

Saturday Night Ramblings

11 Aug

This is another one of those nights where nothing is coming to my mind. The house is mostly quiet because I am the only one around. The television is on ESPN, but the sound is turned down. The only sounds are the air conditioning and the wine cooler.

Speaking of wine, I just poured a glass, but I’m not big on having a drink when I am alone. Actually, having a drink is not at the top of my list at any time. I will have a glass of something at dinner, but then it will probably be only one. I know that a lot of people will have a cocktail or glass of wine to relax, but I have never had a problem relaxing. I don’t know. Maybe, it is all about control. I like being in that state and completely feeling what is going on around me. That’s hard to do while ingesting a depressant.

So, here I sit with the hum of cooling devices and a glass of wine that is going to be dumped in the sink. All of the rooms are dark except for the one I am sitting in. Obviously, it is an exciting Saturday night. It is so exciting that my mind has emptied itself of anything to write about. To fix that problem, I will throw some random thoughts out there as they pop in my head.

My nephew moved back to college today. He attends to University of Tennessee.

As I tweeted earlier, The Refreshments should have been a bigger band.

Ned Beatty’s speech in Network is awesome.

I miss my wife and will be glad when she gets home tomorrow.

College football will start in a few weeks. The most exciting game I ever attended was Tennessee’s victory over the Miami Hurricanes in the 1986 Sugar Bowl. Man, that has been a long time ago.

Wright Thompson is my new favorite person to follow on Twitter.

The Commodores only had one good song after Lionel Richie left, but Nightshift was one of my favorites.

For some reason, Sports Illustrated does not interest me that much anymore.

I really want to go back to Monument Valley.

Jerry Reed was the best real life person to make an appearance on Scooby Doo.

If you do an image search of Lebanon, Tennessee, then this is the first picture that pops up.City Hall

If you do an image search of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, then this is the first image that pops up.Mt Juliet

If you do an image search of Watertown, Tennessee, then this is the first image that pops up.Watertown

That is all I have. Thanks for making it this far.