justice, afghani style

An e-mail today from my dear friend who is stationed in Afghanistan. He's a lawyer by training:

"Greetings from Afghanistan. I thought you’d like a taste of due process,
Afghan style.

A few months ago, U.S. forces paid a local Afghan to teach English to nearby
students. Being the trusting souls we are, U.S. forces simply paid another
Afghan, expecting he would pay the teacher. Not wanting to break from
Afghan tradition, the middle man took his fair share first. U.S. forces
paid $2,500US. The teacher got about half that.

Fast forward to mid-July. Enter attorney (name omitted) and his team of

Both sides want attorney (a/k/a Lieutenant Colonel and Team Chief )
(name omitted) to make a decision. (No one in law school ever told me one day
I’d preside over a Jurga in Afghanistan.) Wanting to be fair, or as fair as
one can be in Afghanistan, I gathered as much evidence as I could. This
included several emails with U.S. soldiers who had been involved in the
process. All that took several weeks.

But finally the truth became evident: middle man had scammed teacher. But
what’s the remedy? If it were the U.S., the teacher would have to sue, get
a judgment and try to levy on the judgment.

But here, justice can be far more swift.

This morning I met with the teacher to tell him my findings. He suggested I
simply seize the man’s car and hold it until he got his money, since he
feared the middle man would flee faced with a $1,000US judgment. So, not
wanting to get bogged down in technicalities, I mentioned this to my Afghan
National Army counterpart, the battalion Executive Officer (acting as
Commander while the CO is on leave). We agreed that the XO and the teacher
would meet this evening. They did.

About an hour after they met, I was summoned by an Afghan Sergeant Major,
who proceeded to tell me that the XO had ordered the offender seized and
jailed and his car impounded. The Sergeant Major wanted to know how long I
wanted the man jailed. I figured one good night in jail would do for a
common thief, and I decreed that the offender could get his car back if he
paid the teacher the money owed, plus another $100 or so for “incidental
damages.” If not, the teacher would get a rather beat up set of wheels.
(But, beat up or not, it’s more wheels than the teacher now has.)

So justice has been served, and the offender still has his right hand. Why
can’t it be so swift, certain and fair back home? I guess it’s ‘cause of
all those derned lawyers."


Apparently, black NOLA rasidents are "looting," while white ones are "finding" things. Check it out RIGHT HERE


The Times of London appended this timeline to the end of one of their stories on Katrina tonight.

I think they were trying to make a (very good) point:



6.10am (local time) Hurricane Katrina comes ashore as a Category 4 storm at the Louisiana bayou town of Buras

7.40am Most of the windows on the north side of the New Orleans Hyatt are blown out 2pm Many eastern districts of New Orleans reported to have been flooded under six feet of water. Local television stations show footage of looting

10pm Search and rescue operation boats launched 11pm Mayor Ray Nagin tells WWL-TV: “Our city is in a state of devastation. It’s almost like a nightmare that I hope we wake up from”


1:30am A levee on the 17th Street Canal, which connects into Lake Pontchartrain, has a breach as wide as two city blocks

10.27am Governor Kathleen Blanco says that her office expects the loss of life to be high

10.30am New Orleans is under martial law

10.45am The Coast Guard closes all ports and waterways into New Orleans

11.04am New Orleans police say that looting is out of control

11.50am President Bush cuts short his holiday by two days to monitor the rescue operation

the granju boys

As they get bigger -- and more guy-like -- I'm often amazed that I actually gave birth to them.

Today they ran LAX drills together for four hours straight after school.

And Jane had a riding lesson and then schooled another pony.

Busy afternoon.

Horse SHow Parent 015
Horse SHow Parent 013
Given that the head of FEMA is now saying Katrina is the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, it's nice that President Bush this afternoon decided to "cut his vacation short."


not a naked mole rat

This is a baby squirrel that my sister Betsy found in their yard Saturday. Her elderly Golden Retriver had gently carried the baby over near the porch and was standing guard over it to keep the cat away until Betsy rescued it.

They called UT Vet Hospital, which directed them to a local "squirrel lady," who fosters orphan baby animals. When they got to her house, she first stuck the baby squirrel inside her bra to warm it up, and then she put it in a nest in a box with a bunch of other baby squirrels she's raising.

She also had some baby possums (Eddie and Betty) and even a baby hummingbird


elliot ponders life as a seven year old


first day of school


white trash mom on back to school

WTM is all over the back-to-school blues...not for kids, but for us mothers who dread all the parent-focused school events.

I love watching my kids do stuff - like play sports, perform in plays, etc. I enjoy hearing from teachers about how my kids are doing. But I dread and loathe stuff like PTA meetings and the like. I try to avoid them, and usually can, but this Thursday there is one I cannot avoid and must attend. It's the first "Parents' Night" of the year.

White Trash Mom has a pre-PTA meeting checklist that makes good sense to me.

buh-bye A.C.

Arizona's largest newspaper announces it is dropping Ann Coulter's increasingly "shrill" and "bombastic" syndicated column.

Are her 15 minutes up?


go fug yourself

The GFY grrls on Jessica Simpson today:

"Hey, check out my boobs!" "My ass, my ass, now let's talk about my ass!" "You too can have my Daisy Dukes body...just buy my exercise DVD! And my perfume! And my body glitter! And my line of jeans! And my SOUL!"

life, unscripted

Check it out, my friend Roxanne will be featured on the August 30 episode of this TLC Channel show.

Roxanne is the hot mama behind


Today I got an e-mail out of the blue from my old editor at MSN's UnderWire site, for which I wrote back in about 1997-1998. The site disappeared and with it, so I thought, the essays I'd had published there. This was a bummer because I hadn't saved them anywhere else.

(Yes, I know, this is hard to believe, but true)

But this editor informed me that I could still access my MSN essays at an archive site, so I went back and read them.

One in particular left me rather speechless. I'd forgotten I'd written it. I guess I wrote it in 1998 and it's about how sometimes I wondered what it would be like to be single again.

When I wrote it, I never in a million years imagined that a few years later, I would be single.

So here's the essay: Where's the Tingle?



I just tried to call my son Henry on his cell phone, only to discover that his new "I can't take your call right now" message consists of me and his two younger siblings singing "Hospital Bed" by Ben Kweller at the top of our lungs, very off key.

Now I know why Henry kept suggesting we all belt that song out over and over in the car the other day ;-)

The semi-return of SKB

South Knox Bubba is back...sort of
Gawker's funny, snarky take on CNN's Hurricane blogger.
Well, it turns out it's a darn good thing that I am not a REAL redhead.

sharp's ridge

This morning Fiatthedog and I hiked to the top of Sharp's Ridge, which is a 111 acre park at the back of my neighborhood. It's a really good walk and I swear, the view is just fantastic. Best view in Knox County for sure.

There's a skycam up there if you want the view without the walk.

Look close and you can see my house. Look, see, it's the white one, with the trampoline out back and the passel of children running around. There I am waving up at you.




This is a really neat-o, old Phoenix Freemasonry Catalog (hat tip to K-town's own Downtown Randall Brown).
Check it out. My sister Betsy and I are starting a business together and step one is selling on eBay. So we are setting up our eBay store HERE.

It's gonna be a resale store for gently used, top quality riding stuff -- show clothing, boots, helmets, etc. Eventually we'll add saddles and other tack, but we are starting small.

We hope to start having a set-up to take to horse shows by next year.

If you have any equestrian equipment you want to sell, be in touch.

-Katie & Betsy

lax in knoxville

Lacrosse is really starting to catch on in Tennessee, which is cool. My friend Kimi's son Charlie Abernathy just won a full ride college scholarship in lacrosse after graduating from my alma mater, Webb SChool in Bell Buckle. All four of the boys in that family have played LAX for Webb Bell Buckle and they are all really good.

My sons Henry and Elliot have really enjoyed tossing the ball around with the Abernathys when we are in BB, and Henry has been eager to find a way to play here in Knoxville. So we are excited to have discovered this middle school lacrosse league right here in Knoxville.

He starts on Monday. I can't wait to watch. I love watching LAX.

sherry gardner howell

I was never a huge fan of Ms. Howell's family life columns in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Her family life seemed so different from my own that I couldn't relate.

But I am unexpectedly moved by this piece she has in today about having gastric bypass surgery to lose 200 lbs. It's quite a tale.

I can't imagine what it would be like to live life at 366 lbs but she makes the reader have a much better sense of it.

The slideshow following her weight loss is just amazing.
This weekend is my every-other-weekend childfree one, so I've been doing some grown up stuff with friends.

Steve K. just moved back to town (yeah!), so he and I went to see the new Carl Snow Band last night. They were terrific. They closed with a Skynyrd cover that was pretty great. Everyone had a good time and was in a very jolly mood. The opening act played waaaaaay too long, but CSB redeemed the evening. I ran into some folks I hadn't seen in a long while, which was nice.

I am re-reading An American Tragedy (last read it in highschool) and stayed up doing that until 3 or 4 in the morning. The protagonist reminds me of Scott Petersen.

Then, this morning my friend Jay fixed me one of his super brunches (bloody mary, omelette, homemade biscuits, cookies, bacon,mmmmm) and then we went to see a matinee of The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Leaving aside the fact that I automatically love any movie Paul Rudd appears in (he, along with Mark Ruffalo, is my Major Celebrity Crush for All Eternity), this was a great movie.

It's incredibly raunchy but somehow also one of the sweetest love stories I've seen in ages, with a super audacious ending that I loved.

Best lines:

"Act like David Caruso in Jade"
"Love: it's a mysterious fig"

It's a rare comedy that's equal parts plot driven/full of great jokes, but with really fleshed out, human characters, but this movie has all of it.

The movie was so good that I am going to go see it again soon. I can't remember the last time I wanted to do that.


the danger of yellow ribbon patriotism

An excellent essay from Joe Klein on why Cindy Sheehan's Crawford war vigil spurred a long-overdue national dialogue on Iraq.

bad idea


This is a photo of an artist's rendering of the idea for a new tourist attraction to be built at the Grand Canyon. Maybe you can't tell from the drawing, but the thing has a glass bottom and sides.

All I can say is...NO FREAKING WAY would I walk out on that. No way. Just looking at the photo gives me a sick feeling.

Also, I have a friend who does risk analysis for a living and I want to ask him how in the world they could ever get this thing insured.

me n' christianity

Okay, I will admit to posting a lot of stuff lately that pokes fun at certain aspects of certain things undertaken by certain Christians. But I want you to know that some of my best friends are Christians! No, really.

Among my Christian heroes are Jesus, Mother Mary, Paul Tillich, MLK Jr., and Bishop Shelby Spong.

My own views --what Christianity means to me personally -- are best summed up right here.

I also consider myself a Buddhist, in the mindfulness, engaged Buddhism, Budhsim-without-beliefs way. Thich Nach Hahn has helped me through some tough places in the past.


all grown up

I know I must truly, truly be all grown up when my very good high school pal and sometime boyfriend, Tate, is being quoted in Jane's Defense Weekly as the military expert on the progress of our nation's seafaring nuclear program.


dear christian penthouse...

I'm still working on my own Godly story for the site I talked about below, but Toby Martin Applegate is already all over it and he told me I could post his hopeful submission.

Thanks TMA!

And remember, you read it here first...errr, second!


Dear Christian Penthouse,

I can't believe this happened to me. I was on my way back from the Kelly Clarkson concert with my friend Jim. Jim is assistant youth minister for extreme sports at our church, Our Saviour in the WalMart SuperCenter and a really good looking guy. He's the best to be around when you are looking for girls to hang out with because he always has a lot of the guys from the youth ministry with him whereever he goes. Jim has a magnetic personality and a huge tattoo of Jesus on the cross, doing pushups across his shoulders. When we are at the gym, he does a lat-deltoid flex that makes the tattoo look like it is pumping up and down. It is so cool.

Anyhow, Jim suggested that we stop in at the coffee shop next to Books-A-Million. He said a lot of nice girls hang out there, but a lot of them need saving because they buy copies of 'hot books' and sit and read them by themselves. Jim told me that he read a column by James Dobson about these books. Rev. Dobson said that these books are all about making women forget their necessary premarriage chastity. So we resolved to go in to that coffeeshop and do some serious witnessing. Who knows we might meet the women of our dreams and bring her to the Lord!

We went in and I got my usually double mocha decaf latte made with soy milk and Jim -- he's such a stud -- ordered a 'shot in the dark.' Not only does this drink have caffeine, it has espresso added to it! Jim said he acquired his taste for espresso after his missionary work converting Catholics to Christianity in Tuscany. We scanned the place for a place to sit after our orders came up.

Jim spied several likely candidate women for a bit of the old witnessing, but my eyes settled on a target, sitting alone in the corner. She was reading some book called "The Second Sex." I knew this book from our "Confronting Feminism" retreat that our pastor, Harley McCracken, lead last summer! I turned to Jim and said, "That's the one." He looked at her and said "Great men have tried to witness to her. She's hardcore on the side of the Devil. You can try but she will not turn."

I built up my resolve and went over to talk to her. She told me her name was Erin and that she was a doctoral student in post-colonial studies at the University. "Wow! I am so interested in Columbus's good works too," I said. She kind of wrinkled her nose and said, "I don't think you understand" and then launched into some horrid liberal diatribe about how colonialism caused enormous suffering everywhere is was applied. Well, I told her the parable of the Talents and all about how that allowed certain people to act as masters of others because they possessed certain talents that others did not (We read about this at our weekly Christian businessman's meeting -- I own a lawn mowing service, y'know). She laughed and quoted some Scripture! It was something I had never read before in any of our preinterpreted study books that Pastor McCracken recommends. She said that the early Christian communities relinquished private property and shared all things equally. She said it was from Acts, but I didn't believe her!

I knew then that this was the woman that I was willing to give up my silver ring for. I mean she had time to clean, cook, have children AND READ THE BIBLE! I told her my intentions and she laughed at me. I was 'breaking the ice!' About this time, Jim came by with a young man he had met next door at a place called 'The Stud.' Seems the toilet wasn't working well at the coffeeshop and Jim went over there to use it. The young man introduced himself. All I remember was that he was wearing a jacket that looked exactly like the one I wanted from Target. I asked him where he got it and he said 'It's Michael Kors.' Some men are comfortable borrowing other guys' clothes; I am not. Jim said they were leaving and asked me if there was anyway that I could catch a ride home? Sure, no problem! I had that silver ring to get rid of!

Erin agreed to take me to the nearest busstop, but I was only thinking of the altar. She looked at me in a sort of "I am looking at a puppy dog" way that many women do. She said, "You are an awfully sweet guy. My place is on the way to the busstop. Would like to come by for a night cap?" How could I say "No" and why do I need a cap at night?

We went into her place and my heart leapt with trepidation. This is how that biblical king felt when he got taken down into that tiger lair -- I think that's how it goes. I was expecting a feminist's house to have a big cauldron, some black cats, an 8-year-old girl in chains and lots of black leather. But her place was not like that at all. She had a lot of furniture that she had collected when she was in the Peace Corp in Mali. I know where Mali is because our men's weightlifting team at the church holds a benefit contest to build internet cafes in remote villages there. Anyhow, she offered me a beer. Oh, heavens!!! This is the seduction part. I knew she was a succubus of some higher order! When I said, "No, Thanks," she shrugged and made me a cup of chamomile tea. I settled in and asked her all about her spiritual life. She told me she believed in God and, even, went to some sort of church called "Unitarian." I made a mental note to ask my pastor about what this sort of church was like.

I started to get drowsy and she said, "Would you like to stay here?" I couldn't say no; her place was so comfortable and I felt totally safe there. The last time I felt this way was when my mom divorced her 4th husband and remarried my natural father. "Sure. I'll stay." She asked me if I would like to share her bed and I politely demurred. I mean, What Would Jesus Do? I know that's not the "in" Christian bromide, but I couldn't bed down with her, it isn't right. "I'll stay on the couch," I said.

The morning came and she made a wonderful breakfast with, get this, no meat in it! I really enjoyed this interesting Middle Eastern drink called 'Kefir.' Who says that the only thing they have is oil? Anyway, as I was leaving, she gave me a kiss on the cheek and said that she would like to see me again. We said we would meet again at that same coffee shop. For some reason, she said that she didn't think it was necessary to bring Jim along this time.

In the end, I married her after a two year courtship. We have two wonderful children, Luna Ruth and River Christian and we share all of our tasks in life in a big strawbale house. That first night was amazing but something between her and me, so don't go there! Also, I am now attending that 'Unitarian' church and Jim isn't with that guy he met at the coffeeshop. I don't think that lasted too long. But that guy, his name is Lance, goes to our church and has a wonderful friend Joe who 'did' our wedding! So many interesting people are there. Rev. McCracken told me I would not see Heaven's Pearly Gates, but I think he is wrong! I think I have found a bit of it here on earth!

So that's my story and I guess the moral of it is this: Neither Youth Ministers or Feminists are what they seem on first blush!


Minister of Cross-Cultural Music and Crafts, First Unitarian Church of Sheboygan.

the hand that rocks the cradle...and the vote

It's hard to believe, but American women have only had the vote for 85 short years. Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving us grrls the ability to participate in civic life, and you may not know that Tennessee has a lot to be proud of when it comes to making it all happen.

seeking wal-mart reporter

The Little Rock newspaper is seeking a reporter to cover the Wal-Mart beat exclusively.


The London Zoo has unveiled a new "human exhibit."

Remember that scary Twilight Zone episode with the human kept in the zoo by the aliens? The human display at the alien zoo was a 1963 suburban ranch house living room.

Oh my God! It turns out that birth is, like, gross!

NYT Newsflash! Neanderthals can no longer get turned on after seeing the mothers of their children give birth.

Some very funny commentary on this comes from one of my new favorite bloggers, BitchPhD, in her post Vaginas are Scary!!!.

Carl Snow Band

I didn't go see that show (below) last night because it turns out my house is being appraised today, so I had to stay in and clean (plus I watched a very bad movie with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston).

But tonight my friend Steve K. and I are definitely going to see the new incarnation of the Carl Snow Band at the Corner Lounge in their very first show. I took my sons to hear the band practice last week and they are really good. Really, really good. All four bandmembers - Carl Snow, Kevin Trotter, Rick Greene and Scott Davis -- were also super nice to my boys, who are musically obsessed.

I asked Carl to describe, in his own words, what folks can expect of his new band's sound tonight. Here's what he told me:

"Real, real rock and roll, as in the 1970's (a la The Stones, The Faces, The Who) infused with a definitely detectable sound that speaks of growing up to the sounds of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, The Jam, etc and playing in the first wave of local punk bands, 'back in the day,' then aging "gracefully but not meekly" over the years in a thousand dark and dusty clubs, until all these ingredients fermented into a fine and potent spirit. "

So you see, this is a show not to miss. And these are nice, nice fellas, in addition to being immensely talented. Plus, I am told it's Kevin's birthday today, so you need to come wish him a happy one.




Ashley Capps of Knoxville's AC Entertainment has announced the line-up for his newest festival: VEGOOSE.

Ashley mentioned this festival when I was chatting with him at the Sleater-Kinney show on Market Square in June, and it turns out S-K will be on the Vegoose line-up, along with Beck, the Arcade Fire, the Devendra Banhart Band, the Shins, the Flaming Lips, Spoon, Digable Planets, Lyrics Born, Jack Johnson, Blackalicious, Z-Trip, Primus, Phil Lesh & Friends with Ryan Adams, Dave Matthews & Friends, North Mississippi Allstars, Gov't Mule, moe., String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, and surprises.

The four day festival will be held Halloween weekend in Las Vegas. I've never been to Vegas, but am tempted... Bonnaroo was awfully fun and Bonnaroo without mud or tents sounds even more fun. I do like a good buffet...

If I go, I will need a sidekick. I doubt I can talk Bonnaroo sidekick into joining me. He's on a "no travel" kick. If you are interested, be in touch ;-)

Gonna check out this show t'night...


marriage is hard, really hard!

Newspaper ombudsman releases marital frustration IN HIS WORK

poet goldberg

We've had baby "Apple" (Gwyneth Paltrow) and baby "Banjo" (Rachel Griffiths), and now we have "Poet."

Yes, Soleil Moon Frye, better known as former child star Punky Brewster who had major breast reduction surgery, is now the proud mama of newborn "Poet Sienna Rose Goldberg."

Naming your daughter "Poet" is just wrong. First of all, talk about pressure! What if she isn't the literary type? Naming your baby "Poet" is like naming her "Nuclear Physicist" or or "Supermodel." It's setting her up for failure and feelings of inadequacy.

Plus, it's just plain unattractive. No one wants to introduce herself as "Poet Goldberg."

Via my big-time, NYT editor pal, JFM, check it out: it's subscription porn for right-wing Christians, a la Penthouse Letters.

You have to pay to readthe stories, but you can get a FREE subscription if you submit a story and they accept it. Here are the official submission guidelines in case you are interested.

They want:

Stories that show the passionate emotional love that the couple have for each other and only mildly describe the physical sexual side.
Honeymoon and wedding night stories
Writings starting when you met and progress to your honeymoon
Anniversary stories
Vacation stories
A happy day in your married life
Love in some unusual place (where no one is watching)
Average day stories that end in sweet times together

Stories should involve:

Sexual activity between a husband and wife.
There should not be anyone watching the married couple while they make love.
The couple should not be involved in immoral activity such as watching naked pictures or videos of people, or watching or reading about immoral sexual activity.
Oral sex is permissible as long as the method is known to not cause disease or infection. We ask that stories not contain any reference to the husband reaching orgasm inside of his wife's mouth because we have found this seems gross to many married couples.
We believe anal sex is not healthy (there is a lot more on this if you want to go to the site)

Sexual aids are ok as long as they do not symbolize harm, belittlement, restriction, or confinement of a spouse.
Stories may not have a husband and wife fantasizing a situation that is immoral.
We encourage stories that develop the romance and excitement and emotional love that the couple have for each other, and only mildly describe the passionate sexual side.

Blocked Words: slut, bastard, anus, damn, anal, asshole, cunt, fuck, shit, crap, bitch, whore>

They also have a list of "Substituted Words. Check 'em out.

All romantic and passionate writings need to be submitted anonymously to help prevent lust and keep marriage intimacy private.

I don't know about you guys, but I am DEFINITELY going to try to win a free subscription by penning some killer , right wing porn.

elliot at bedtime

Elliot has trouble falling asleep (and Henry has trouble staying asleep). Tonight at bedtime, as I was lying down next to him, Elliot chattered and chattered. Some choice thoughts from E at bedtime:

-Mom, I'm way more hungry than sleepy. Can't you understand that?

-Mom, I caught a toad at recess today. He bit me.

-Mom, do you think the tooth fairy might leave my tooth AND leave me money tonight? I'd really like to keep my tooth.

-Mom, why can't I have a lacrosse stick as big as Henry's?

-Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a bum and live in a tent downtown

-Mom, that airsoft bb that Henry shot me with left a bad bruise and that's why I can't get to sleep

-Mom, I think it's silly that you make me take a bath every single night. Everyone else is way dirtier than I am. I feel different because you make me take so many baths.

-Mom, I think I'm just naturally good at dribbling the soccer ball. I was just born that way.

-Mom, why did the Ramones make a Christmas song?

-Mom, I'd like to have that job that makes the clouds into different shapes.

-Mom, can you explain evolution to me? Right now, just real fast before I fall asleep?

Elliot tries to duck for cover when he comes under fire from big brother Henry in tonight's backyard paintball game

August 20, 2005 058

Elliot Robert Castrillon Granju, age 7

August 20, 2005 043

Elliot and big sistah Jane - August 23, 2005

August 20, 2005 045

Elliot and Henry prepare for backyard urban warfare - AUgust 24, 2005

August 20, 2005 056

new new pornographers

I bought the new New Pornographers CD, "Twin Cinema" today and have listened to it a couple of times. I'm listening to it again while trying to get some freelance queries out now that the smaller people are asleep.

So far, I am not that excited. The third track, "Wrecking Crew" is grabbing me most.

More after I have a chance to listen to it a bit more. I want to like it. I want to love it, actually. It's not very accessible, that's for sure. ANd my initial impression is that it sounds a bit like Jethro Tull...and not in a good way.



I love these photos of my friend Ayun and her daughter India celebrating India's birthday in the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

I love Alan Cumming but...

I don't think I'll be buying this for any of the guys for whom I buy things.

question of the day

What is your personal characterization of a good mother? A good father? Comment below:

howard dean

An interesting article on how Howard Dean's "50 State Strategy" is starting to pan out for the Democrats in, of all places, Mississippi.


Tonight at my 7 year old son Elliot's soccer practice, his coach sat the guys down and tried to get them to pick out a team name before their upcoming first game.

The boys' suggestions:

-The Komodo Dragons
-The Homemade Pizzas
-The Snakes (that was the name of Elliot's team last year)
-The Gibbons
-The Happy Cats
-The Turtlenecks

There were some others I can't remember, but these were my faves. No consensus was reached, so for now, the team remains moniker-less.

Tomorrow afternoon, my older son, Henry, tries out for league lacrosse. I assume that with junior varsity-age guys, they already have a name for the team, but if not, I'll suggest some of these.

Henry, Jane, Elliot - Summer '05

Originally uploaded by kgranju.


the knitters

My Uncle John says The Knitters show in Nashville last weekend was terrible - he described it as a poorly executed send-up of The Stray Cats on a bad day. But my kids' dad told me today that it was a great show.

Did you see it? Have you seen them live? What did you think?


karaoke ban

The president of Turkmenistan has BANNED LIP SYNCHING, citing its negative impact on the nation's cultural development.

That's funny.

liz phair

People gave Liz Phair a terrible time about her last record - the pop-sounding one that came out in '03 -- but I liked it. A lot.

I listened to it a whole bunch during the bone crunchingly painful year of my separation and divorce. The record is all about her own separation and divorce and the lyrics were spot-on.

I'm listening to it again today for the first time in a long while and it's making me sort of melancholy about things that are now finished and done.

I think I'll switch over to some Kanye West ;-)

america's white trash pope

Radical American evangelical cleric calls for ASSASINATION OF WORLD LEADER

big brother

My daughter Jane is now in 5th grade and my son Henry is in eighth grade. This means they eat lunch at school at the same time. Last night Jane told me that Henry sometimes pops over to her table to talk to her at lunch.

"What does he say?" I asked.

"Mostly to take smaller bites," she answered.



QMM recommended that I check out the record Arular by M.I.A., so I bought it Friday and have been listening to it a lot this weekend. It's better with every play. Politically, I'm in an angry mood lately and the record's lyrics and general feel fit me at the moment. Plus, I'm sick of hearing my son's copy of the Gorillaz CD over and over and wanted to get him listening to something more interesting.

You can read more about the CD at Pitchfork.

Christian Lifestyle Industry

The "carpets for christ" billboard (below) reminded me of an article I wrote on the topic of the "Christian lifestyle industry" for Metro Pulse a while back. You can read it RIGHT HERE.

My favorite quote in it is one from the manager of the local Christian radio station. When I asked him if his station or the Christian stores catered to only a narrow segment of Christians, he told me I was wrong and said they offered stuff for everyone "from the conservative to the mainstream."

"serving jesus christ thru carpet"

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
But what about the laminate? Doesn't Our Lord go in for the laminate? I mean, that Pergo stuff is pretty nice...


Jane, Sydney and Eleanor-Saturday, August 20

Jane, Sydney and Eleanor
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Noah's Ark Horse Show - Sunday, AUgust 21 - Elliot, Jane, Sydney and Margo

Elliot, Jane, Sydney and Margo
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

boycott garth

I've always kind of liked Garth Brooks. I was a waitress at a small club in Knoxville called Ella Gurus when he played there in '88 or '89. ABout twenty people showed up. Seriously. He felt so bad for those of us working that night (who took home no tips) that he personally apologized and gifted me with a Garth Brooks t-shirt. I thought that was cute. Soon thereafter, his first single broke out on the charts and he became GARTH BROOKS.

I can't say I've ever bought any of his records, but I do kinda like that friends in low places song. It's fun to sing when you've had too much to drink. And I still have the t-shirt.

I also thought his whole "become another person" experiment back a few years ago was rather bold and interesting. Plus, he was funny when he hosted SNL.

But now I will be boycotting Mr. Brooks. I will no longer wear his crummy t-shirt, even to sleep in, which is what it has been relegated to since that big hole developed over the "R" in his name in about 1999.

Shame on you Garth Brooks. Don't you have enough money? Why not sign a deal to only sell your records in locally owned record stores? At the very least, why not avoid freaking Wal-Mart?

My nephew McLean, crazy Spam-lovin' toddler

McLean - crazy SPAM toddler

Jane's Birthday Sleepover

August 20, 2005 015
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Including a rousing game of "Operation"

August 20, 2005 001
Originally uploaded by kgranju.


guns for god


Check out "Force Ministries", where you can join the "Skydiving-Evangelism" team, or just generally mix your love of guns, cammo and Jesus within an organization that shares your passions.


Henry, age 13

August 20, 2005 007
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

August 19, 2005

August 20, 2005 008
Originally uploaded by kgranju.


In a blatant attempt to suck up to the Christians he alienated with his recent change of heart on stem cell research, my Senator, Bill Frist today told a Rotary Club meeting that he favors teaching "intelligent design theory" alongside evolution in public schools.

In other news, "Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory"


amuse me

Lots going on this weekend, My round-up can be found RIGHT HERE

jane pratt

I love Jane Pratt. I've loved Jane Pratt since I was a young thing reading Sassy magazine, and I was a reader who gew up with her and followed her to her namesake mag, Jane in 1997.

JP the person is a few years older than I am, but she always seemed to get what I would be thinking and talking about -- and wearing -- before any other magazine editrix.

I didn't love everything about Janemag -- for starters, the magazine rarely acknowledged that anyone in their demographic could be a mother AND still love music and art and politics and great shoes -- but I still remained a loyalist to Jane Pratt's voice and aesthetic, which defines Janemag.. I mean, before there was an "O" magazine or a "Rosie" magazine, there was Jane.

(Plus, Knoxvillian Shelly Ridenour is a writer for Janemag, which makes me like the magazine even more.)

So I was shocked and dismayed (love that term) to hear that Pratt is leaving Janemag. It made no sense. I wondered what the real story might be and according to Folio, JP was actually pushed out.

Well, I'll follow her wherever she lands, so best of luck to her.

(And yes, I am indeed a magazine junkie, and no, the fact that my daughter is named Jane is just a coincidence.)

carl snow

I used to be sort of frightened of Knoxville guitar hero Carl Snow. I can't remember exactly why, except that he always seemed really angry, possibly at me, whenever I would encounter him at a concert or restaurant or record store or whatever.

Then I didn't see him for many years, but recently met him again and it turns out he's actually very, very nice.

And he has a new band getting readyto launch, including two other very nice men I know, and tonight they are being kind enough to let me bring my guitarist-wannabe son Henry over to Carl's house to watch them practice. I think H will really enjoy that. He's never observed a real working rock and roll band practice, although he aspires to have his own band.

liberal hawks

An interesting exploration of something the author calls "the strategic class" within the Democratic Party, and how this group creates a climate where folks like Joe Biden (my very least fave high reanking Dem official) and Hillary Clinton become hawkish on the war in Iraq.

40 year old virgin

My buddy and movie reviewer Josh West says "The 40 Year Old Virgin" is very funny -- an "American Pie" for grown-ups.

I love Paul Rudd (be still my heart), Steve Carell and Catherine Keener, so I will definitely go see it.

wal-mart's arts ideaology

Although it sounds like it was written by a very excitable college student (which it was), this article on which books and CDs Wal-Mart will and won't carry is sort of interesting.

I didn't realize that Wal-Mart is the #1 music retailer in the country, with a whopping 10% of all CD sales.
I'm on a Ben Kweller bender this week.


a visitor's guide to downtown knoxville

Referencing the recent Kate Hudson-disses-Knoxville-flap, this is very funny.

cook without a book

My sweet friend Jay's new cooking column is up now. It's about the joys of garlic.

His house does indeed always smell really yummy. Plus, he makes his own really good beer and has a real wine cellar (closet) always full of good stuff.

Jay needs to be somebody's boyfriend. He's perfect boyfriend material. Just look how adorable he is in that photo on his column.

be an indie rock smartypants

With a tip of the hat to KnoxBlabber Rick G., I give you the online guide to faking your way to indie rock insider status. It's pretty amusing.

This is my favorite part -- advising wannabes on which bands are okay to talk about:

"So start somewhere safe: Sonic Youth. You cannot go wrong if you like Sonic Youth. Everybody in indie rock likes Sonic Youth, and those who don't are afraid to admit it. So you can talk all night long about what a genius frontman-guitarist Thurston Moore is, and nobody will ever think you are an idiot or don't know what you are talking about."

cindy sheehan

Why Cindy Sheehan?

Why, after two years without any single person, event or single group managing to muster any cohesive or potent dissent against the war, has this grieving mother finally been able to do it?

I'm not sure, exactly, except the grief of a parent who has lost a child is the most universal grief that exists. It's a raw hurt that no one can ignore, no matter what their political views. When a mother speaks of losing her son, no one can really ignore her.

And now the right wingers, including some in her own family, have gone on the attack, impugning her motives and making things up about her. The fact that her husband has now filed for divorce is trotted out as reason enough to discredit anything she says, despite the fact that MANY marriages end in the wake of a couple losing a child, even an adult child.

Ultimately, I don't really care why it is Cindy Sheehan who has finally captured the media's and the public's imagination in whatever way it takes to get some real momentum behind an antiwar movement. All I know is that tonight I took my children to an antiwar rally and when my seven year old son saw all the people there, he said to me, "Mama, I thought we were the only ones who are against the war."

Now he knows that we are not.

So thanks, Ms. Sheehan.
Tonight my daughter said, "Mom, you know why I am not going to pierce my nose? Because if I do, someday I'll be an 8o year old woman with a pierced nose and I would frighten people."


as jello biafra says...

Be the media.

I've signed on as a field producer with this new Wal-Mart Expose Documentary and you can too. Just go to the site and find out how you can get involved, even if it's just donating money.


Speaking of Hilary Flower (post below), check out her wonderful op-ed piece about how she was recently asked to stop nursing her infant while at a swimming pool.

new book

I wrote the foreword to this just-released book on gentle discipline by Hilary Flower. It's a really good guide to how different parents manage to raise their children without spanking or spoiling

gentle discipline


last batch of search queries people entered to find my blog

Google: granju pleated buffett
Yahoo: friedlander,steven knoxville tn
Google: "modern love column"
Google: Anti-breastfeeding
Yahoo: "become a better version of yourself"
Google: betsy allison tant
Yahoo: "jimmy buffet restaurants"
Google: "Do you need Dr. Phil's help at confronting your friend or family member about their inappropriate habit to breast feed in public"
Google: shonos in city knoxville tn
Google: walmart employees on tenncare blog
Google: walmart tenncare blog
Google: "is your new baby making you gay"
MSN Search: "write for msn"
Yahoo: ££̣ţcãȠ£裡£𣰣񣭣??飣
Google: "Sewanee School of Letters"
Google: "robert allison" and "bell buckle"
Google: "automatic merchandiser" "pastry of the year"
Yahoo: news video HUSBAND trampoline jumping into pool


Have you ever noticed how, from a distance, a certain type oof 25-45 year old hipster guys look a lot like homeless men?

I have noticed this since moving to my house just off Central Avenue, near downtown. Every day I pass both kinds of guys in this area - hipsters and homeless guys -- and often, until I get pretty close, I can't tell which is which.

end of summer

Tomorrow is my kids' last day before school starts. Henry will be in 8th grade. Jane will be in 5th and baby Elliot will be in 2nd. They are getting big.

As usual, the summer has flown by, but I think they've had a good one. Mostly all I've done is work, but it makes me happy to see them doing fun stuff. They all got to go to the beach (Henry twice) and spend time with relatives in Bell Buckle. Jane got to go to horse shows and pony finals.

This year will be the first they have all been at the same school. It will only be for one year though before Henry starts high school after this year (yes, it does seem utterly bizarre that I am about to have a high school age kid). But I will enjoy this year of only having one dropoff and pickup time. One schedule to keep up with. One Christmas program. One PTA to deal with. Etc, etc, etc. Best of all, this year NONE of them need me to pack a lunch because their school serves lunch. Packing lunches is the bane of my parental existence. I loathe it.

Also, tomorrow I start my new schedule at work where I leave at 3pm two afternoons each week. I work in TV news, which means that my schedule has been that I stayed until after the 6pm news goes on the air every single day. And of course when there is breaking news, I often work into the night.

After my little cousin died a few weeks ago, I came back to work and told my boss that I could no longer live with a schedule where I get home at 7pm every day. I told him I simply had to have two afternoons a week where I, rather than the nanny or grandparents, could be the one to handle picking my children up from school, taking them to riding lessons, pediatric appts, soccer practices, etc. I was very happy he said yes and I am really pleased that we will start this new school year with me able to spend more time with the children.

I am so grateful to my employer for letting me make this change that it would take an incredibly sweet offer to ever lure me away. They have earned my gratitude and loyalty for sure. It's really insane that more companies don't figure out that for working mothers at least, this kind of flexibility is almost priceless. No other bonus or benefit they could give me would be more meaningful.


An e-mail I received todY:

Hi there --

Kari Chisholm here, from Mandate Media. I'm a political consultant and internet strategist in Portland, Oregon - and I wanted to let you about a new project we're launching later this week.

It's - and we think it'll become an important part of the progressive infrastrucuture across the country.
Every 10 minutes, LeftyBlogs scans over 600 local progressive blogs and looks for new stuff. Then, on the website, it indexes it all - state by state.

In short, it's a very easy and very fast way for you to find out what's happening in the progressive blogosphere all across America.

Want the latest on the Ohio pay-to-play scandal? Go to the Ohio page. Want the latest on the Maryland governor's race? Go to the Maryland page. You get the idea.

I'm emailing you in advance of our launch - because I want to make sure all the best blogs are being indexed. Drop by, and make sure your favorite local progressive blogs are listed (including your own, if you have one.)


p.s. If you have a blog, feel free to tell your readers about Let's get it started...

i'm in love, i'm in love, i'm in love, i'm in love

This is the most wonderful record.

Here's an interview with Carl Newman.
Big news in Bell Buckle!


If Karl Rove were made up...

OK, you must watch this immediately. It is very, very funny.

I'm sort of obsessed with Rove, and not in a good way.

Arianna Huffington on Cindy Sheehan

By Arianna Huffington at

Thursday 11 Augsut 2005

During my many years as a writer, I've interviewed hundreds of people. But talking with Cindy Sheehan this morning was unlike any conversation I've ever had. Even though we were talking via cell phone - and had a crummy, staticky connection at that - her authenticity and passion reached through the receiver and both touched my heart and punched me in the gut.

She spoke with a combination of utter determination, unassailable integrity, fearlessness, and the peace of someone who knows that their cause is just. Her commitment was palpable - and infectious. It reminded me an old quote about the great Greek orators: "When Pericles spoke, the people said, 'How well he speaks.' But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, 'Let us march!'"

That's the feeling I got from this former Catholic youth minister. She of the floppy hat and the six foot frame (though she's standing even taller than that these days). A woman driven by faith and conviction who used to think that one person couldn't make a difference and is learning otherwise. Her humanity stands in stark contrast to the inhumanity of those who refuse to admit their mistakes and continue to send our young men and women to die in Iraq.

She may not be the kind of media figure the cable news channels would order up from newsmaker central, a la Natalee Holloway. But she is the kind of unexpected leader I've been writing about for years. One who springs not from the corridors of power, but from among the people. One who may come from Vacaville, California, but who makes nonsense of red state/blue state distinctions.

The time has passed when we can stand around waiting for a knight on a white horse to ride to our rescue. We've got to look to ourselves - to the leader in the mirror. Our elected officials have woefully failed to provide the leadership needed on this most vital issue of our time. And stepping into that void is Cindy Sheehan. Inspiring us. Touching our conscience. Calling forth our courage and our commitment. Focusing our outrage. And acting as a catalyst for the tens of millions of Americans who know that the war in Iraq is a disgrace.

Who knows, her example might even be just the thing to give Hillary and Harry and the rest of the Democratic leaders the spine transplant they so desperately need. But don't hold your breath. Instead, use it to show your support for Cindy Sheehan - and for our troops.

thoroughly debatable

Would You Kill A Kid?

By Douglas Herman - USAF Veteran
from this Anarchist/Libertarian Journal

Lots of soldiers kill for their country. Lots more die. Untold millions, hundreds of millions probably, have died for their countries, and their countries were sadly swept away, even though they sacrificed their lives to save it. Likewise, millions of soldiers have died - on both sides of wars - and the struggle remained the same. The First World War. for example, was followed by the Second World War, and the same countries fought almost the same war, only a generation apart. And after each war, countries somehow survived. But the soldiers didn't.

A young man (or his parents) needs to ask himself: Would I kill a kid to preserve my country? That question should be asked of all soldiers who enter the military. Just as important is the second question: How does killing a kid preserve my country?

Would I kill a kid - each soldier should ask himself - would I shoot a woman? Would I ruin a house with machine gun fire? Would I burn a row of shops? How about an entire town? Would I level a town if my commander ordered? Would I napalm a town? (Fallujah was napalmed but US officals deny it). Would I fire into an unruly mob of civilians? Would I fire into an approaching car without knowing who is inside?

We put our soldiers on the spot in Iraq, and suddenly they must decide to do these things. Thus, we should not hesitate to ask Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rove and Rumsfeld all these same questions, one by one (not that any news reporter would ever dare). Would you, sir, kill a kid for 'freedom,' even if that dead kid only wanted to be free of you? No, you cannot consult your lawyer; please answer the following questions. Would you torture a prisoner who was never accused of any crime? Would you smash down doors in the middle of the night, frisking and arresting frightened civilians in their homes? If our leaders answered YES to any of these questions, then we truly know the nature of our leaders. If they answered NO, then the US troops should be brought home NOW.

When you send other soldiers to kill kids, torture civilians, arrest falsely, demolish homes, you ask others to commit civil crimes--felonies--and commit religious sins. We ask our children to kill other children, plain and simple. We ask our sons and daughters to commit crimes that we ourselves would not do. Isn't that what has happened in Iraq? Tell me I am wrong. If so, if you can argue persuasively and morally that I am wrong, I will keep silent forever.

But ask yourself: would you kill your neighbor's kid because some rich person you never met ordered you to do so? Would you torch a school, shoot an ambulance rushing along the highway, shoot an approaching car and kill all the occupants, simply because someone gave a speech on democracy?

Would you protect the weak from bullies? Or would you prefer to bully the weak? Or would you torture the weak because a bully ordered you to do so? Would you shoot the weak, because a group of madmen told you to do so, and gave you no good reasons?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, please enlist now. Or send your son to serve his country. Because this is what is required in a country already defeated.


Douglas Herman served in the USAF during the Vietnam War. 1968-1972. When ordered to serve as a military policeman, he refused, as that would have required service in Vietnam. Instead he went to jail, the full account here.

jane is ten

Ten years ago today I was in labor with my daughter, Jane.

Jane's first birthday

Age 5

On the Paris Metro- France - age 6



Jane, age 8

Jane and Kate - Pawley's Island '04

Happy birthday Jane. I am making a Jane birthday photo album for the grandparents and there are ten years of Jane-ness RIGHT HERE

pony finals

My daughter and I had SUCH a good time at the USEF POny Finals today. She has been there since Monday, but I was only able to go up for the day today. The drive to Lexington is really pretty, thru Cumberland Gap, and it was a beautiful day for a horseshow.

Plus, the show was at Kentucky Horse Park, which is my fave horse show venue. If you like horses or have a child who likes horses, you should definitely visit the horse park. Its like Disneyland for equine lovers. There's miles and miles of riding trails, a cool horse museum, a barn full of famous retired horses you can meet, and usually some big equestrian competition or another going on.

Pony Finals are horse heaven. If you like horses, dogs, kids and horse shows, this was the place to be.

The top 300 hunter ponies in the country were there competing. To qualify, the pony has to have won a championship in a regular division (small, mediums or larges) at an "A" show in the previous 12 months. Or, if it's a green year pony, they can also qualify by winning the reserve at an A show. So these really are the creme de la creme of hunter ponies.

Plus, there is lots of horse trading going on. Since my daughter is the pony jock for her trainer, she got to try out several very nice smalls that her trainer was looking at for other children. Jane also got to ride the medium pony her trainer had for sale in the big national pony auction, which she enjoyed. The pony sold at a good price, which made Jane feel good.

Jane's pony, Cinco, did not break his green this year. Instead we kept him in a non-rated division this year to get him in better shape to start his green year in 2006. So he will start in the greens in December and Jane's big goal is to qualify to compete in Pony Finals in August of next year.

The classes were great to watch. I caught the entire medium disvision (90 ponies) and most of the smalls (80 ponies) in the over fences division. Jane's best friend Sydney's brother, Shawn, was 2nd out of 80 in the smalls in his jumping round and ended up 3rd overall in the entire country. His green small pony was 4th overall in that division. So the Casady family had a pretty amazing Pony Finals this year.

My favorite ponies were Hob Goblin, a medium who did moderately well, but who I really liked, and in the smalls, Cardiff Mardi Gras and Ingenue (who was 1st place). I also really liked Simply Magical, another medium. Actually, there were amazing horses in every direction.

We did have one mishap on the way home, when we drove into Oak Ridge at about midnight to take Jane's friend Margo home. SHe was sleepy and couldn't quite remember where she lived, so I kept slowing down and turning around all over the East side of Oak Ridge while we tried to find her street.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by FOUR Oak Ridge police cars and was informed I had been pulled over for drunk driving because I was driving so erratically. I explained to the half dozen police officers who had me cornered in a side street that I was not drunk, but lost, at which point they became very friendly and one of them had me follow him to the address we were looking for, only he got a little lost too.

It was sort of funny. Oak Ridge was totally dead at midnight on a Saturday and I guess all those police officers had nothing better to do than pull over sleepy, lost people and then get them more lost. But I think they meant well.


not saying no

There are ways I really want my daughter to be different from me and tonight reminded me of one of them.

A few weeks ago I had a first date with a man who really upset and scared me. Seriously, it was probably the most freaky encounter I have ever had with a man, and it left me pretty shaken up. I had offers from several male friends to kick his ass or worse, but I told them that I hoped to just never see him again.

Well, I guess that was fairly unlikely, and tonight I ran into him at a show I went to see (The Divine Brown and The High Score -- a pretty good show, by the way. Hadn't planned to go after the benefit thing but ended up going anyway)

I came out of the bathroom at this bar and there he was, literally standing directly in front of me. Before I could even process that he was standing there, he grabbed me and hugged me. Now you have to understand that last time I saw him, I fled his presence (and his vehicle) near tears. There is NO WAY he could think it was okay for him to put his hands on me.

Not only did he grab me and hug me, he said, "Hey Kate. Can't we be friends?" I muttered something noncommital and started to walk away, feeling creepy, when he began to grab me AGAIN and said something about needing "a second hug."

Why I did not punch him in the face or kick him or at least tell him very emphatically to get his goddamn hands off of me, I don't know. Instead, I was all wimpy and just grabbed onto the friend I had come with and muttered some introduction and then pulled my friend out the door and onto the sidewalk.

And then I just felt terrible. I considered going back into the bar and telling him what I should have told him when he grabbed me, but instead I just came home, feeling like a total wuss.

I have no idea why I didn't speak up. Was it all those "be nice" and "be polite" lessons I had drilled into me growing up? Was I still somewhat scared of the guy, despite the fact that I was surrounded by people whom I know and like, and who wouldn't have let anything bad happen to me? I don't know.

All I know is that I want to figure out why I reacted that way and also try to figure out how to impart to my daughter that she doesn't have to EVER let anyone touch her or even speak to her unless she wants him to, and that it's okay to be aggressively negative with anyone who bothers her.

I'll have to give the whole thing some thought.

Off to bed... big horse show in Kentucky tomorrow...


good show/good cause

Tonight, Friday, August 12, you will find me downtown enjoying the show at Blue Cat's in the Old City. It's a benefit show for the Road Home Animal Shelter and some of my favorite local bands are playing, including Leslie Woods and the Tim Lee Band. Other bands I haven't seen before but am told are very good are also on the bill: Nug Jug and Garage Deluxe.

The show starts at 7:30 pm and is only $7. You can get all the details at the Blue Cat's website.

Hope to see you there. Come over and say hi.

ward's doctor

My little cousin Ward's doctors and nurses at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital were just amazing. James and Julie have said repeatedly that they could not have asked for better or more loving and compassionate care for Ward in his last few days with them.

I met several of the nurses and two of his doctors. One of them was Dr. Heidi Smith, who was caring for Ward that first night when my sister and I drive 100 miles an hour to get to Nashville from Knoxville. When we got there at midnight, she talked to us for at last twenty minutes, patiently answering all our questions, even though she had certainly answered the same questions from a dozen other family members who had gotten there before we did.

Dr. Smith wrote these lovely, amazing words about Ward:

A blessed family...
"I was blessed to have met this special family on July 26th when Ward first arrived in my intensive care unit at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Beautiful face, bluest of eyes, softest of skin...a picture of a perfect little fear, love for the thrill of a sunny day...loved by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends...a whole town...and by way of his death, loved by so many nurses and physicians. I can't explain why I do what I do...except to say that for a brief moment in the worst of nightmares in the sickness/trauma of a loved one, I get to see the deepest of love, the proof of life's worth, the realization that life is not just about the here and now. I felt the love that James and Julie have for Ward in the way they loved him until the end of his journey on earth. Ward fought so very hard, and gave his family a small gift of time...a moment to attempt to adjust and have little regret at the wonder of his incredible life, and the way that he has touched so many hearts. I so appreciate Ward's entire family, especially grandpa and mom for putting their fears aside and giving Ward the chance for life when they rescued him from the lake. Julie described Ward's shoes on the dock, placed neatly there, as he likely jumped in while thinking he wanted to make the biggest "cannon-ball" splash possible...and in some ways he did..."

Heidi A. Beverley Smith, MD
Physician in the intensive care unit at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital

entertain kate

Apparently, Kate Hudson was in Knoxville last April when her husband's band, The Black Crowes, played at the Coliseum. I didn't see her while she was in town, but as one Kate to another, I would have been happy to show her around town and keep her entertained. I probably would have encouraged her to grab some pizza at Tomato Head and a beer at Preservation Pub. She could have taken baby Harley or Spyder or Mango or whatever his name is down to Volunteer Landing by the river to play in the fountains. My kids love that.

But I never knew she was in town and she didn't call, so apparently she just hung out at the downtown Hilton and was pretty bored, which I can certainly understand. (She should have stayed at the St. Oliver). And on David Letterman's show the other night, she told the entire nation that Knoxville was the worst town she visited while on tour with the band.

Her comments have generated some conversation around town, over at KnoxBlab (look at the "Oh Kate" thread) and spurred my pal Jack Neely to write a very entertaining column in Metro Pulse this week about Kate's dislike for K-town.

And now, some clever cleverkins has launched a line of "Entertain Kate" t-shirts.


As someone also named Kate, I plan to give these t-shirts to all my friends and family because, whatever Katie Hudson happens to think of my adopted hometown, I like the idea of people wearing "Entertain Kate" slogans plastered across their chests. It's a good sentiment in general, don't you think?

sea 7 states

Recently, on my WBIR blog, I asked folks to name what they believed to be the best Knoxville rock and roll bands ever. One of my picks was Sea 7 States, and a lot of other people agreed.

I was a big fan of this band in my first two years at UTK. In fact, I accidentally stumbled into some huge outdoor party in an alley they were playing in Fort Sanders on my very first night in Knoxville, when I literally knew NO ONE, and had such a good time that I knew I'd like it here.

I also had a massive crush on Philip Wolff, one of the guys in the band, but I am pretty sure he never knew I existed.

In any event, they were really good. I assumed they would get signed to a major label, but they ddn't and the band members all went on to grown up lives.

Recently, I found out that their songs have been remastered and are available on a CD from Auntie Grizelda Records, and I am getting a copy (Thanks Kevin). I'm really looking forward to it and will let you know how it sounds whe it arrives. Then you can order your own copy. Kevin Crothers at Auntie Grizelda can apparently also send you stuff from other Knox bands you might have enjoyed in years past, like The Homeboys, Awfully Anglo and Everything Tool.


missing monkey

reward two copy
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

editorial (in)accuracy

As the online producer at WBIR, I am in charge of making sure the writing in our online news stories is accurate. I try my best, but sometimes I mess yesterday.

One of our reporters did a story on a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer who accidentally shot himself in the leg (I am happy to report that he is apparently going to make a full recovery).

When I edited that story yesterday, I thought it was weird that the officer's supervisor was quoted as saying that the accident happened while the cop was "re-moistening" his gun. But I figured, "Hey, I don't know much about guns. This must be some gun thing - like you have to wet them down periodically." So I left that (non) word in.

So today I had, like, 100 people call me to ask what the heck "re-moistening" a gun is. It turns out it was supposed to say "re-holstering," but when the reporter spellchecked her story before giving it to me to edit, the spellchecker changed it. And since I thought this was a gun thing, I left "re-moistening" in the story.

I felt pretty silly

damning with faint praise

I was feeling a bit guilty that my breakfast this morning is consisting of a diet pepsi and a cinnamon roll out of the vending machine at WBIR, eaten at my desk, until I noticed this notice on the roll's packaging:

"2005 Automatic Merchandiser Readers' Choice PASTRY OF THE YEAR!!!"

Now I feel better.


speaking of breasts...

Lindsey Lohan now says she wants hers back

mothers against the war

I am a mother who opposes the war in Iraq.

I also support this petition, and I hope you will too.
I used to say I would never get plastic surgery. I still can't really imagine ever doing it, but I have to say that a certain friend of mine who recently had a tres subtle lift and slight upgrade in size looks pretty damn good. After two babies and six years of breastfeeding, she felt that her breasts needed a little gravity-defying assistance and she fearlessly went under the knife.

She's really happy with how she looks, and I was impressed. Then she lifted her shirt and showed me her scars.


I had already seen pix of Tara Reid's infamous and accidental boob job scar reveal. It was quite frightening, but I guess I figured that an aging movie starlet's red carpet scars would somehow be worse than a real person's boob job scars.


My friend's scars are just as definitive.

So I asked her whether it bothers her that while her breasts look quite nice fully clothed, they are now not nearly so nice looking unclothed and she said it didn't bother her at all - that she figures that as she gets older (she's in her early 40s) her breasts are less and less likely to be seen au naturel and more likely to be admired avec blouson.

This strikes me as an odd assumption, but whatever.

Anyway, anyone considering having this suregry really should first take an up-close look at some real person's real postsurgical scars. Then decide.



Via my pals at the always entertaining forum, I found what is definitely my favorite website du jour...or maybe even du month.


Your own deep, dark secrets may seem a lot more mundane, all of a sudden.

John T. Baker

Tonight you can hear local musician John T. Baker, of The French Broads, live on the Funhouse show on 90.3. He'll be on between 8 and 10pm and will be talking about his show coming up this Saturday night at The Corner Lounge.

If listeners are lucky, John will play a few songs from his newest CD, a solo effort titled Rough Skeleton.

Sadly, I will be unable to attend the Saturday night show because, along with my daughter Jane, I'll be indulging my equestrian addiction at the USEF Pony Finals in Lexington on Saturday, but for those of you who can go, you should.

First of all, it's at The Corner Lounge, which is my new favorite Knoxville bar. It's a real neighborhood spot (my neighborhood), but even if you live in Farragut or something, it's worth the trip.

Second, the musicians who will be playing with John as his back-up band include Nug Jug's Chuck Watt, French Broad Jim Rivers, Drummonger (of Angel and the Lovemongers) Eric Nowinski, and Paul Noe on guitar.

Plus, as an added bonus, the opening act will include musicians from the Tim Lee Band and Senryu.



The gaited horse industry (Tennessee Walking Horses in particular) has long had a terrible problem with "soring," the practice of doing various things to the horse that makes its legs and feet hurt so that it will lift its feet higher in the show ring and look flashier.

It's such a terrible problem that an entire industry of federal inspectors and watchdogs for those inspectors has grown around the issue.

Last weekend, the inspectors randomly hit one prominent horse show really hard, inspecting many more horses than usual. The result? The majority of trainers simply packed up their horses and went home without showing rather than face inspection.

This says a lot about how serious this problem still is, despite the Walking Horse industry's claims that it's primarily an issue that they have put behind them.

I grew up riding and showing gaited horses in Middle TN and I can tell you that while the natural gait of a TWH is indeed genetic and something the breed does without any training, the hugely exaggerated gaits you see in the show ring simply cannot be accomplished without very dramatic training methods and phsyical manipulation of the horses via weird shoes, ankle weights, etc. Even the methods that do not technically constitute the legal definition of "soring" are in my opinion, extreme, ugly and often painful for the animals.

The sad thing is that these horses' natural gaits are so wonderful and beautiful. I wish more people would show them in a natural state.


This weekend, I told someone who knows me well that I have a date coming up with someone who "isn't my usual type," and this person replied, "Oh, you mean he's not a complete asshole?"

spike gillespie

My friend (and former Knoxvillian) Spike Gillespie had the NYT Modern Love column slot yesterday with a hilarious essay about her attraction to younger men.

I had an essay in that NYT column slot earlier this summer, which you can read RIGHT

ward's memorial service




I'm back in Knoxville now after spending the weekend in Bell Buckle for baby Ward's memorial service.

It was an entire weekend of people spending time together, remembering Ward, celebrating him and appreciating each other. There was a lot of sadness, but also a lot of joy for having had him with us for two years.

The service itself was Saturday morning at a beautiful little historic church in Bell Buckle, the United Methodist Church on Maple Street, which is located literally directly across the street from Ward's family's house. This is also where Ward (and all my little nieces and nephews) attend nursery school.

Ward was cremated and his ashes are in a lovely old wooden cookie jar that has always been at my grandmother's house (which is at the end of Maple Street, less than a block from the church). So at the front of the sanctuary was the cookie tin with Ward's ashes, surrounded a lot of beautiful flowers picked from gardens and wild around Bell Buckle. None of them looked "funereal" in the last, but they were all very pretty.

There were a lot of wonderful photos of Wardie blown up and sitting on an easel at the front of the church as well.

There were easily over 500 people there. It was standing room only, but didn't seem crowded. All the little cousins were plopped on various laps up front or sitting cross legged on the floor up front. It was a very child-friendly service. Ward's brothers, Gray and Jack, were not dressed up but instead wearing what made them feel most comfortable.

The service was very, very casual in tone and included some beautiful old hymns like "All Things Bright and Beautiful," as well as some flute-playing from my cousin Thomas, Ward's Uncle. He played some of the music he played at Ward's bedside in the hospital while Ward was in the coma. Thomas cried, and I can't recall the last time I saw him cry like that.

James and Julie each spoke to everyone -- but in keeping with the casual tone, they didn't stand at the lectern, but just stood up in front of everyone in the sanctuary and told of their appreciation for Ward and how grateful they feel to have been able to be his parents. Julie talked a little about how she felt that she had been blessed to be the mother of this special boy. Neighbors spoke about seeing Julie pulling Ward all over town in his little wagon and seeing him out fishing and catching bugs (which he LOVED more than anything) with his brothers.

Bishop Milsaps of the Anglican diocese in middle TN presided. He married James and Julie and also baptised all their children. He recalled that when Ward was christened, he (Ward) kept babbling "amen" after everything anyone said.

After the service, there was a huge potluck lunch at the church for everyone. I literally cannot ever recall seeing more food. Everyone ate and ate and the children took off their shoes and ran around outside. It was really lovely. I saw people from the Bell Buckle community and Webb and other parts of my life whom I had not seen in years and years.

We also had several family get togethers over the weekend, including one at the Abernathys' last night before I drove back. It was great to see my children out playing frisbee and lacrosse with Gray and Jack, Ward's brothers, who seem to be doing okay, in large part due to the very graceful example of their parents. Julie told me that one of the last things she promised Ward in the hospital was that she would make sure their home remained a happy one for Gray and Jack, and that's what she intends to do. She is already setting a great example for them of bearing her grief with dignity, and even some joy.

To all of you who have sent or will send money for the Ward Anderson playground, we so appreciate it. I think it will be a wonderful memorial to Wardie and a great comfort to his parents, brothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Thanks to those who came to the service and thanks for the good wishes sent by those who could not attend.


Katie, and the Anderson and Allison families



An online condolence book for baby Ward has been set up so folks can leave messages for James, Julie and family. You can access it RIGHT HERE

bring them home

I have a good friend whose husband was recently shipped to Afghanistan (he's in the reserves), leaving my friend at home with 4 teenagers and a 5 year old.

At a party recently, someone said to her, "I am so sorry to hear about XXXX being sent to Afghanistan. What can we do for him?"

So my friend replied, "Well, just work to get the Republicans out of office."

At which point the other woman said "Now, now, we aren't going to talk politics!"

This irritates my friend a good deal. It happens a lot. People ask her how they can help her husband, or what they can do for him, and they want her to answer something like "Pray for him" or "Support the troops" or "Send him a care package." They do not like my friend to tell the truth, which is that the only meaningful thing they can do for him is work to get him home, and that the only meaningful power people have to work to get him home is to elect Democrats in place of Republicans.
I wasn't much inclined to go see "The Dukes of Hazzard," but now that it's been dubbed by at least one critic as the worst film of the century thus far, I'm actually a little bit curious.

Here's what the hilarious San Francisco Chronicle review actually says:

"The Dukes of Hazzard" is hardly some routine bad movie. Rather, it's one of the elite, right up there with "I Am Curious ... Yellow" (1967) and Bo Derek's "Ghosts Can't Do It" (1990), in stiff competition for the lamest thing ever put on celluloid. Of course, that makes it, by default, the worst film so far of the 21st century, but to say that does little to acknowledge the ambition behind this project. Make no mistake, director Jay Chandrasekhar was swinging for the fences with this one. He was shooting for the millennium.

But this is my favorite part of the review:

Between chases, the Dukes often call upon their cousin Daisy, the prettiest gal in town, to act sexy and use her feminine wiles on some bureaucrat. Singer Jessica Simpson, in her first film role, plays these seduction scenes with admirable self-assurance, but of a kind that's also faintly embarrassing. It's as if someone told her something about herself that wasn't quite true.


My cousin Julie, Ward's mama, is my hero. Tonight, the night before Wardie's memorial service, she took time to sit each of my children on her lap and talk to them individually about Ward and their relationships with him, and to answer any questions they had about his death.

I am learning a lot about grace from observing Julie in the past week. She's a really remarkable woman. I wish I were more like her.



Well, I am definitely entering this year's Vanity Fair Essay Contest, with its $15,000-plus-trip-to-Italy prize....

You should enter too.

I'll have to think about the topic though; I'm really not sure what's on the minds of America's youth these days. I'll have to query my own three youths.

flowers for ward

People have been asking about sending/bringing flowers for Ward's memorial service on Saturday. This is from James, Ward's father:

"We really don't want any "funeral arrangement" type flowers. We'd rather have none at all than the ones on stands and in wreaths. If anyone asks and expresses a wish to bring flowers, would you please tell them that what we are asking for are picked flowers from backyards and wildflowers, put in a jar or glass or vase they
already have or whatever? Maybe we'll get lucky and some June bugs will come along."


We did a little mini-three-day-event at our barn last night and it was really fun. This is a photo of Jane doing the dressage phase