A New Forum

There’s a new forum in town: www.atomiccitytalk.com.

Most of us in the Ridge’s online community found one another through a different online forum, hosted by the town’s daily newspaper. For a few years, it was an arena for spirited discussion on a wide variety of topics — politics, sports, advice, and the kind of general chat that used to occur in country stores, greasy spoons, and barbershops. However, when the original moderator (Shane) left for greener pastures, the quality of moderation began to slide… eventually, to the point where most of us just didn’t frequent the place any more.

I’ve been stopping by less and less frequently since late last Fall. I admit that it’s something I’ve missed; the conversation was intellectually stimulating and often more entertaining than the best stand-up comedy.

Now, there’s a new game in town, and it appears to have all the things I’ve missed about the other one! Topics of the last couple of days span everything from the Gore kid’s 100-mph Prius to the fireworks war… it’s everything that I liked about the old one, and more.

Farewell, Oak Ridger Forums. It was good in the beginning, but we’ve, you know, grown apart, and I need to take a new direction.

Summer Fun

Aahhh… the simple joys of summer!  From left, my godson Buzzy, Texas nephew Quarterback, and Gamma show off a little on the tube.

Yes, there is another picture of yours truly on a slalom ski, but when I look at it, I see every potato chip, ice cream cone, and other indulgence I should have bypassed since February.  So it’s not here.

America’s Birthday Party

I have to admit, Kingston does the 4th of July right.

Oak Ridge usually has a little longer show, perhaps spends a little more on the ammo, but the community band concert and the fireworks are the extent of it insofar as public activities go.

This year, Oak Ridge had nuthin’ for fireworks.

In Kingston, it was a whole-day gig:  there were food vendors, craft booths, a car show, a bandstand with local performers playing all day, kind of like a smaller version of Secret City Fest and Independence Day combined.  They partnered with a nearby radio station and broadcast music over loudspeakers throughout the park, especially during the fireworks, where the show was somewhat timed to the music.

It really does seem odd to me, given the history of Oak Ridge and the reason we exist at all, that we don’t make a really big deal out of Independence Day.  There should be a parade, food and craft vendors, live music all day long, and the fireworks ought to be displayed over the marina, because it’s both cooler and prettier.

I know we used to do that, and moved it because of the traffic snarls.  But get real — if we can bus people from the mall parking lot to the civic center for Secret City Fest, we could bus people to the marina.  Or, (heaven forbid!) maybe we could all just walk a few blocks; most of us could use the exercise.

Perhaps this year’s glitch exposed some folks to other small-town 4th of July festivities, and just maybe we’ll all bring back some ideas to share for making our own celebration a bit more festive.

Rain on the Parade

There’s more than a touch of irony in our most recent liberty lost: the right to celebrate Independence Day — our very freedom — with a municipal fireworks display, safely launched by the fire department.

Well we could, if we’d remembered to pay off Big Brother for permission first.

It seems that the State of Tennessee has passed a new law dictating that the person doing the show has to be state-licensed, having paid $150 to take a test administered by PSI Examination Services (snide aside: any relation to PSI Probation Services?) and having obtained a permit from the State at least 10 days in advance.

Something happened — or didn’t happen, in this case — and we don’t have a fireworks show.

It’s not a total loss; we’ll go to Kingston and watch them over the lake, which is so pretty, and they have a parade and all that stuff.  I wish Oak Ridge still held the display at the marina, as we used to, simply because the reflection off the water is spectacular.  It would be even better if there were a couple of food vendors (Fro’s Fish and a BBQ place come to mind) and maybe even a beer truck, and if the road were simply closed to traffic for the day.  Everyone could walk.

Sure, it’s a long way, but if we’re going to eat and maybe drink, we should walk.

I’m not looking to assign any blame locally for the snafu, because I honestly believe that the state has overstepped its bounds by requiring local governments — the fire chief, for heaven’s sake — to buy a stupid permit for our local fireworks display.  You know, the public display the thing that keeps most otherwise law-abiding people from shooting off explosives in their back yards and the street, simply because the City puts on a good show. 

Ah well.  At least I can pop Independence Day into the DVD player and watch it yet again.  I never tire of it.

Happy Birthday, PunkHP!


















Punk HP is 43 today… a very good year, if I do say so myself. And I do.

Much fun was had by all, including a passel of young ones (and all our kids).

There was considerable flipping, diving,  and other stunts by the revelers, along with a couple of impressive cannonballs courtesy of PunkHP himself.

A fair quantity of delicious eats were consumed, including two kinds of birthday cake — one for the Irish kid who’s camping out with Punk HP and RealtorChick for a couple of months,and the other for the birthday boy himself.

Of course, as is customary for the Irish kids and their hosts as part of the Ulster Project, there was some other activity scheduled such that he had to leave and hang out with all the other Ulster kids and their hosts.  It’s a shame — he missed a good party.