Local Restauranteur Stands up to Local Idiot Politician Stacey Campfield

Two days ago a local restaurant, the Bistro at the Bijou, manager Martha Boggs denied service to Stacey Campfield, Knox County’s representative to the state senate. Boggs was disgusted over Campfield’s homophobic behavior.

What kind of behavior? He’s trying to pass “Don’t Say Gay legislation” that would prevent schools from discussing homosexuality in the classroom. He’s also vocal in the media advocating the discredited theory that AIDS started when a gay man had sex with a monkey in Africa. He also tries to makes light of bullying of gay children in schools. This a few weeks after a gay kid who was bullied committed suicide in Campfield’s home state of Tennessee.

Some local bloggers that I’m often in agreement with – Linoge and Rich Hailey – have a difference of opinion with Boggs. Basically, they feel that intolerance is intolerance and Boggs is no better than Campfield. I disagree.

Campfield’s intolerance is towards an entire group of people – homosexuals. There’s a word for that kind of intolerance. It’s called prejudice or bigotry.

Boggs wasn’t intolerant of Campfield because he just happened to belong to a group she was bigoted against. She was intolerant of the individual behavior of state legislator Stacey Campfield himself because of his bigoted, intolerant, ignorant behavior.

Since there seems to be some confusion, here’s how it breaks down:

  • It would have been wrong (and illegal) for the Bistro to put up a sign that said “No Blacks Allowed.”
  • If Campfield had been black it would have been wrong (and illegal) for Boggs to throw him out for having black skin.
  • If Campfield had been black it would still have been A-OK for Boggs to throw him out for being a bigoted idiot. She’s free to refuse service to anyone. She just can’t do it on the basis of race, religion, or nationality. Thankfully, bigoted morons aren’t a protected class.

Campfield is a bigot and a national embarrassment to the people of Knox County. Boggs stood up to a bigot. Good for her. Bigots should be shunned. I liked her restaurant on Facebook. I plan on eating there the next time I’m downtown.

Others of course may feel otherwise and choose not to eat there. (In which case, they’re discriminating against the restaurant. See what I did there? Discriminating is not the nuclear bomb dirty word Rich and Linoge make it out to be. What matters is the reason for the discrimination.)

So far people seem to be supporting Boggs and the Bistro. Their Facebook likes have jumped from 600 to over 8000 in just two days.

Montvale Springs Photos

From McClung Museum. Hat tip to Katie Dumont King.


Last-minute Christmas Gifts Made in Tennessee

Rex Hammock’s impressive list.

Best Wishes to Michael Silence

Michael Silence helped bridge the newspaper-blog gap back in 2004, bringing blogs to the attention of Knoxville newspaper readers through his blog and Sunday newspaper column. Since then he’s been a strong advocate for and welcome member of Knoxville’s blogosphere. Today he fell victim to the latest round of newspaper layoffs that claimed 7.5% of the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s staff.

Michael, thanks for letting me guest blog at No Silence Here. Thanks for the links. And thanks for bringing attention and respectability to the blogosphere. I look forward to reading you wherever you pop up next. I have faith we’ll see your writing again.

The Drug Addict Judge and the Pedophile Coach

The Christian-Newsom case was Knoxville’s most notorious crime, a double kidnapping, rape and murder. The families went through nightmarish months of grief during the trial, which resulted in four guilty verdicts, including one death sentence.

All of those convictions were thrown out last week because the judge in the case was addicted to and taking drugs during the trial. Katie Allison-Granju has some questions for Judge Richard Baumgartner, who has now been disbarred. She’s also poring over the TBI file that was released this weekend. Baumgartner was pulled over for driving erratically and told officers he had too much wine.

That happened during the weeks of the Christian-Newsom trial and it’s one of dozens of stories that are coming out about the judge’s behavior. His addiction seems to have been a poorly-kept secret. During the trial my father-in-law spotted Baumgartner whom he recognized from television in a parking lot with a woman who was obviously not his wife. My father-in-law thought it was suspicious and suspected it was drug- or prostitution-related.

Baumgartner got some of his drugs from doctors. He got other drugs from criminals who came through his very own court. Drug addicts and criminals aren’t exactly known for their discretion.

He was eventually brought down by of all things a divorce trial. The wife called the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She thought they’d be interested in knowing that her husband was supplying drugs to a judge. She wanted to get her husband in trouble so she could get custody of the kids. To her Baumgartner was just collateral damage.

The Baumgartner story reminds me of the Jerry Sandusky story. A powerful figure breaks the law. Many people know what’s happening, yet no one’s willing to come forward. They don’t want to risk their careers by antagonizing a powerful person or upsetting the machinery of a powerful institution.

The Elvis Burger

I had the Elvis Burger at Hot Rod’s Diner here in Maryville-Alcoa. Angus Beef with sliced nanners and melted peanut butter. I don’t know if I’ll order it again, but I ate the whole thing and liked it. They have a burger with peanut burger and freshly-crisped bacon bits that sounds more tempting.

Fall Color Zen in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The rule of thumb for the Smoky Mountains National Park is that the fall colors usually peak the second or third weekend of October. This was the third weekend. We talked to a park ranger who said the colors were incredible mid-week, then it rained and they turned drab. We just missed the peak.

Still, it’s never a bad time to be in Cades Cove. It’s always a good way to spend a day in the mountains. They had special events to go along with the fall colors. Katie really got into the blacksmith forging demonstration at the visitors center. The Cable mill was open and grinding corn into corn meal.

Horses in Cades Cove:

Cable Family Grain Mill in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

Pelts of Bear, Wolf, Coyote, Fox, and Otter:

It’s a Photography Meme

Photographing endangered buildings in Knoxville.

Kennedy-Baker-Walker-Sherrill House on Kingston Pike in Knoxville

Antebellum House on Kingston Pike in Knoxville, TN

I saw this house the other day on my lunch break and stoppped to take pictures. It’s peaking out of the woods at the corner of a massive real estate development on Knoxville’s main thoroughfare. Google map:

Google Map of House

Knox Heritage has the house on their Fragile 15 list. From them I found out the name of the house and history:

Kennedy-Baker-Walker-Sherrill House – 9320 Kingston Pike:

The house is a two-story brick, three-bay Federal style residence built in a T-shape in 1849. The Kennedy-Baker-Walker-Sherrill house is one of the few surviving examples of Federal architecture in Knox County. Knox County deed records indicate that James Kennedy and his wife Jane Cox Kennedy owned the property in 1840.  Family tradition in the Cox family indicates that the house was built in 1849.

In 1858, Dr. William J. Baker (1800-1865) bought the estate from Kennedy and settled with his family in the house.  In part, he wished to be near his brother, Dr. Harry Baker, who lived in the house known today as the Baker-Peters House (9000 Kingston Pike). Dr. William Baker was appointed a trustee of East Tennessee College in 1836, and was a member of the Board of Heath established for Knoxville in 1849. Dr. Baker moved to the estate, then called “Cedar Grove,” in 1859.  He added the one-story wing to the west of the house for an office. Dr. William J. Baker had no children, and when he died in 1865, the property was willed to his niece, Katherine Elizabeth Baker and her husband J.W. Walker.  The house remained in the Walker family until it was sold in 1942.  The house and land belonged to the Sherrill family from 1953 and until December 2007. At that time, the house and the 104 acres it sits upon were sold to out-of-state developers, Andrews Properties.

And from Josh Flory’s column in the Knoxville News-Sentinel:

Property ScopeFuture of antebellum house under scrutiny:

 In 2007, an Atlanta development company bought 105 acres at 9320 Kingston Pike, a site where it had previously announced plans for a commercial project. At the time the company said a Federal-style home on the site that was built in 1849 would be renovated by another developer. The second developer is no longer involved in the project.

Kim Trent, executive director of Knox Heritage, said in an email that she plans to support the request, saying the house “is in imminent peril” and that its preservation “was basically one of the conditions for the rezoning that allowed the larger development to proceed.”

In an interview, Trent said she visited the house earlier this year and it “was standing wide open, full of … garbage and had obviously been broken into.” She said her group called city codes enforcement and the home appears to have been at least partially boarded up since then, but said she’s not sure how secure it is.

The house isn’t secured. I took this picture of the back window, which was standing wide open when I was there. I emailed Josh Flory at the Property Scope about it. I talked to a friend with Knox Heritage and they’re aware the house isn’t secure against vandals.

Antebellum House on Kingston Pike in Knoxville, TN

Antebellum House on Kingston Pike in Knoxville, TN

“I Wanna Be Sedated”

Moonshine Cherrys “I Wanna Be Sedated” at Brackins Blues Club featuring the Solid Gold Dancers:

More Weather Drama

Honda Odyssey and Maple Tree

Big winds came through last night. A big maple fell on the Honda Odyssey. It’s probably toast. Irony: sitting in the front seat was the title of the car. It had just arrived in the mail because we made the last payment.

Then the power went out and a tree from across the street fell on the power lines behind our house. When the power came on it set fire to the tree. Nice. Everyone’s OK. We’ve turned in a claim and we’re looking at rental cars.

The framing is off on the video. I couldn’t get autofocus in the dark, so I turned off AF, manually focused through the viewfinder, switched to Liveview, and started filming. I kept the camera up to my eye thinking I could keep it lined up, but my aim wandered. Next time I’ll back away from the viewfinder and watch the LCD.

P.S. Another thing I did wrong. I ended the video as soon as I ran out of things I wanted to say. I prefer for videos to linger on a little at the end. Otherwise the end feels too abrupt.

Looking forward to some motorcycle shots on the Dragon

These summer evenings leading up to the solstice are long and getting longer for another week. Last night after work I decided to load the kids into the car and drive up to the 129, the Tail of the Dragon, for some motorcycle pics.

Monday nights must not be a popular night, because we only saw a dozen or so bikes. I let go of the original plan and took the kids to the base of Chilhowee Dam and then on to the overlook. We came back by Foothills Parkway, but had to turn around when we came to a fallen tree blocking the road. We called it in and turned around to go home the way we came.

Chilhowee Dam

I haven’t shot any motorcycles on the Dragon in years. Since then I’ve upgraded my camera, lenses, software, and  brain, so I’m curious to see what I can capture this time.

Red Honda on the Dragon's Run

That’s my favorite shot from last time, but I see a mistake in it. I had learned about the value of polarizing filters and I had the bad habit of leaving the polarizer on the 70-300mm lens even when it wasn’t specifically needed. That cut a stop or two of light, which left the shot much darker than it should have been.

So why wouldn’t this shot be this dark now?

  • My camera – it has two more stops of clean ISO over the D40 I was using then.
  • My telephoto lens – it has two more stops of aperture over the old lens.
  • My software – Lightroom can recover over- and under-exposure better than Picasa, particularly now that I’m shooting RAW.
  • My brain – I know better now and wouldn’t make that mistake.

If you want to see someone who knows how to shoot motorcycles, visit Killboy’s Tail of the Dragon photoblog.

LuckyGunner Shoot Pictures

Jake and the LuckyGunner Ammo Girls

Jake and the LuckyGunner Ammo Girls

Tuesday: 7 Full Auto Videos from the LuckyGunner Machinegun Shoot 2011
Wednesday: LuckyGunner Shoot Semi-Autos: Coonan, S&W M&P, Kel-Tec PMR, RFB and KSG
Today: Photos

The photos are here on FlickR or watch the slideshow below.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.


Thanks to Tam for pointing out this ironic photo op

91,559 Rounds of Ammo …

fired at the LuckyGunner Blogger Machinegun Shoot. Plus 42 pounds of Tannerite detonated.

7 Full Auto Videos from the LuckyGunner Machinegun Shoot 2011

Luckygunner Blogger Machine Gun Shoot 2011 - Kriss Submachine Gun

Dear Guns and Ammo,

I had read stories like this in your magazine, but I never thought it would happen to me.

I spent the weekend shooting machine guns at the Luckygunner Blogger Machine Gun Shoot/Bulletfest 2011 near Maryville, Tennessee. I got to fire full auto versions of the AR-15, Browning Automatic Rifle, Glock 18, HK G3, Kriss Vector, MP40, S&W M76, Thompson, and Uzi.

The guns were great, LuckyGunner supplied the ammo for free, and it was a chance to meet bloggers who came to East Tennessee from all across the country. I put a lot of names to faces.

Today: 7 Full Auto Videos
Wednesday: Video and Notes for non-Full Auto Guns: Coonan 1911, S&W M&P9, and Kel-Tec PMR, RFB and KSG
Thursday: People Pictures and Some More Guns

1. Glock 18

For years John Donovan of Castle Argghhh! has told me that my link to his Glock 18 video sent him more traffic than any other referrer. Last weekend we both got to shoot one.

The Glock 18 on full auto was more controllable than what I had heard on the Internet playground. The 33 round magazine kept it running a good long while, too. I count nine or 10 bursts in that video followed by a single shot.

Me Shooting a Glock 18 on Full Auto:

2 and 3. Browning Automatic Rifle

The BAR was my favorite of the historical guns. Nice piece of history designed by John Moses. That Thirty Aught Six makes it a little bit of a bear to fire in full auto, though its 18 pound weight helped controllability.

Gal Shooting a Browning Automatic Rifle from the Bench:

Me Shooting the BAR from Standing

4. MG42

The German MG42 had a very distinct sound. Even when a dozen guns were going at once you could always tell when someone was firing the MG42 due to the high cyclic rate. I just missed firing this one myself. SayUncle shot it, they said “this is the last ammo belt,” the next two guys in front of me shot it and I stepped up to the line to discover that was all she wrote. It goes through ammo in a hurry.

I’d love for someone to count the number of rounds fired in this short video. It sounds like three shots, but it’s three high speed bursts.

German MG42 Machine Gun:

5. KRISS Vector

KRISS was on hand demonstrating their line of .45ACP pistols, SBRs and submachine guns along with the Sphinx pistols. They were nice guys, very patient and professional, and they ran a good line. The subguns were very controllable and had all the bells and whistles, including suppressor options, red dots, folding sights and forward grips.

Here’s Tam of View from the Porch shooting all three versions and displaying some fine gun handling skills. You’ll also see Reuben (not sure of the spelling) of KRISS doing the orientation. Great guy to have on the line.

Tam Shooting the KRISS Vector Pistol, SBR, and Submachine Gun (full auto begins at 3:00):

6. M14

I didn’t get to shoot this one, so I just imagined shooting a full auto M1 Garand from standing. Sebastian from Snowflakes in Hell described it as “brutal” but he still came off the line with a smile on his face. He don’t want no teenage queen.

Sebastian Firing the M14 on Full Auto:

7. HK G3

Great ergonomics. Very satisfying. This was surprisingly easy to shoot off the bench with a bipod, but I’m not sure how controllable it would be standing. There’s a reason militaries have switched to assault rifles. The full auto AR-15s were a breeze to shoot in comparison.

Me Shooting an HK G3 on Full Auto:

Bonus video: Maxim belt loading mill

There were a couple of Maxim Guns on hand. With their big carriages they’re made more like artillery pieces than infantry weapons. Here’s the crew-served device for loading cartridges into the belt. One person loads cartridges into the hopper and the other cranks. I was told the design prevented cartridges from going in backwards.

Belt Loading Mill for a Maxim Machinegun:

Many thanks to LuckyGunner for inviting me and for all their hard work. Likewise for the volunteers who manned the stations and kept things running, and for the people who donated their arms for us to try.

Special thanks to the person who lives next door and doesn’t mind the sound of machine gun fire for two days. Best neighbor ever!

Come back tomorrow for notes on the guns that weren’t full auto. (LATER: the post is up here.) If you’re coming here for the first time, welcome. You can subscribe to the RSS feed or friend me on Facebook.