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Reaching My Limit Of Reaching Out

Let me introduce you to the Foulk Newsroom TCS (Trashcan Kicking Scale) One kick is a minor flub….and as the vexation increases, so do the number of kicks, all the way to five kicks, and the very worst is five kicks and a chair toss.
Today, TWO kicks for overuse of the phrase “we reached out”
There’s more reaching on broadcast news than at a drive-in movie. I think some newsrooms could use my mechanical reacher–the one I use to get socks out from under the bed.
The phrase “we reached out to….” usually is news-lingo…translated into understandable English as “we called, tried to call, tried to find, or contacted a PR person’s voicemail …and haven’t heard back.
Better writing: “We’re working to get more information”, “The ________hasn’t returned our phone calls”, “so far no statement from ______”. Plain speak! I hope it’s not a reach to presume someone in the newsroom is the assigned reacher-outer.


A break in the Knoxville heatwave..a little.   And a 50% chance of rain tomorrow.

The United States Navy says it will name a ship after gay rights activist Harvey Milk, assassinated in San Fransisco.  Milk was an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.

The Olympic Flame is supposed to burn continuously as it’s carried to the location of the torch.   Not this time.  A riot in Brazil caused it to be extinguished.

In Morocco, an elephant threw a stone at a seven year-old child… and killed her.

Hillary Clinton is expected to speak at the Democratic Party National Convention tonight in Philadelphia.
Flag controversy continues at DNC.  Now, flags on the podium.. but at the expense of city hall?
Strong storms earlier today caused authorities to order the BNC media tent evacuated.

Nationally syndicated radio host Jerry Doyle has died.   No foul play is suspected.  He was 60.

Knoxville memory of the day, the aroma of the shoe repair shop at Millers’ on Gay Street.  The smell of new leather, polish, and dyes.   You would know where you were without looking.



In Japan, a maniac with a knife has killed 19 and injured dozens.  Reports say the man claimed he wanted to rid the world of disabled people.

Hamilton County authorities have accused a caregiver of withholding pain meds, and cashing disability checks.

In Philadelphia, the Democratic Party National Convention is underway, and so is the controversy.  The invocation wasn’t even through before booing began.

It was good to see singer Paul Simon.  Not so good to hear him.   Obvious technical trouble before his song, and it sounded like he could not hear himself.

Fox News reports evidence points to an Internet hack of the DNC… by Russian hackers. Fox also reports they are apparently the same hackers that breached The Pentagon, and The White House.

Singer Marni Nixon has died.  She was the singer whose voice was overdubbed for stars in movies like West Side Story, and The King And I.   She was 86.

East Tennessee is parched.   But a better than 50-50 chance of precipitation is around the corner.   Meanwhile, one farmer remarks his cows are yielding milk chocolate, and out city guy says he saw a bird catch a worm, but it had to use a potholder.

Not just threats from bullets … a county sheriff in Georgia is seriously injured in a car crash.  His vehicle collided with another.   Be safe, law officers.

On the food beat, you don’t have to book a voyage to Havana to enjoy a bit of authentic Cuban cuisine.
Thanks to one of my kids for recommending a step outside of our usual food patrol.  There’s a place on Old Knoxville Highway, north of Maryville, called Aroma.  It’s on the opposite side of the road, and just south of Richie Creme Donuts,
The Cuban sandwiches come in three sizes, plus plantain, and lots of other authentic fare.
The place is called Aroma… and before you even open the door, you can smell the spices.   Close your eyes, and you can almost imagine yourself somewhere in the Carribbean.  I would have posted  photo…. but the sandwich was gone before I knew it.

And.. we’ve been having some fun on my Facebook page… talking about a Knoxville Blast From The Past… the little restaurant Ollie’s Trolley.   One was on Clinch, and the second on Cumberland.  And the fries at each one were wonderful.   We learned that an Ollie’s Trolley is still open in Washington, D.C.    Have a memory of a special eatery in Knoxville?   Message me on Twitter @davefoulk,   or on my Facebook.


24 July 16

The bloodbath in Nice , France was captured on many cameras.   That includes closed circuit security cameras that some officials do not want released.  Click the link in the previous sentence to learn more.
The American news cycle has spun past the truck attack, and on to other horrors, including a machete attack in Germany today.
You have to wonder what those cameras show, and according to the linked report, the first layers of security in Nice might not have been effective.


Tomorrow morning, I’ll make my way down a long corridor, and into Thompson Cancer Survival Center. I’ll have a nurse access my port…a small bulb-like device attached to a vein or artery and implanted in my chest. The clinician will feel for three little bumps that form a triangle. The needle goes right in the middle of the triangle. It hurts, but not too much. The volatile aroma of alcohol swirls around as the port is flushed and cleaned, and then samples of blood drawn. It’s geek out worthy, but has to be done.


The blood sample go into various machines, and the red liquid is exposed to numerous chemical reactors. Those tiny blood cells will tell a story. The big question is whether the cancer excised from my colon and liver has returned. It turns out blood cells are excellent stool pigeons, as they contain footprints left by the criminal….cancer.


I won’t be the only person getting a cancer re-check in the morning. I won’t be the oldest, the youngest, or the most important. I don’t want to lead the way in the march back to your doctors of re-checks. But if by going first, or going with you…you will, indeed, go… they can stick me twice.


Cancer is not a disease you fight alone. First, if you have a family they should stand with you.  Make your peace with Your Creator.  Foxhole religion is good….having religion before you wind up in a foxhole is better.  Then your friends, and friends you meet along the way. Your best resource might be the nurse who answers the phone, or even the social worker who helps you. But it’s you ….about you….concerning you…and YOU have to decide to get that re-check or re-screening.


Years ago, when we wanted to see our final grade in a class at UT, we had to walk to the classroom or building door….look up our initials, or Social Security number, or some identifier…. then scan across the page to see or grade. That was, for me, an often scary walk because I knew the news was not going to be as good as I wanted…especially when I looked up those grades on the doors of the science buildings.


But…c’mon….lets walk up to the door together, and get checked. Just for today, let’s get that done.


God Bless us all.


Looking to the west this evening, the gray streaks of clouds looked as if the ends were dipped in gold. It’s not drastically cooler today, but there’s enough difference to tell us a change is coming. Soon, we will wake up to hills and mountains covered in a beautiful quilt of orange, reds. browns, and shades of yellow.

I saw a bunch of geese the other day…more than a squadron, more like a flight group. During my flying days, it was always interesting to watch as geese would spot us, veer away, then as soon as they felt safely away from our noisy machine, they’d go right back on course.

Our seasons are just as sure as the reckoning power of those geese. They may veer a bit and order up a change-or-two…. but colder weather is coming, and soon the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of crunching leaves will be in our beloved East Tennessee.

Katrina Memories

Ten years ago, I rode along as a dozen trucks delivered tons and tons of donated goods and water to New Orleans. I was also in charge of more than eighty thousand dollars in checks and cash to help in the relief.
Most of the truckloads of good were immediately received and put to use.
The truck I was in was stacked high with bottled water. Several agencies we contacted told us they didn’t want to fool with the water if it was not already on pallets, that it would take too much manpower to unload it. One LA State Trooper walked up to me at one such location and asked “Sir, did you say you had water on that truck?” I replied that I did. The trooper asked if he could have just a few bottles for his crew who had been out all day with not much to drink. We hooked him up with several crates of water, enough that his Crown Vic was squatted down with the load in his trunk and his back seat.
Then, I got busy on the very spotty cell service to try and contact The Red Cross so we could deliver the monetary donations. It was late in the evening when we arrived, and nobody at The Red Cross wanted to meet us and accept it. Nobody at the shelters or staging area was apparently authorized to accept the funds.
We finally made our way to the government building of West Baton Rouge, where we were able to convince the sheriff to take the donated money and have a deputy escort it to The Red Cross in the morning.
At the time, there were worries that the trucks hauling relief supplies were subject to being hijacked, and the occupants possibly robbed, Trucks entering the area were marked with signs on the doors reading “Disaster Relief”. Drivers passed word to other drivers to remove the signs so the rigs would not be such an obvious bearer of scarce supplies.
We explained that we had a truckload of water, and the sheriff replied that the head of the work camp in that Parish was out with several boats, delivering water and supplies to relief workers in the flooded area, and could use what we had. That corrections chief asked the jail for volunteers, and got several of the prisoners to unload the water. It took a few hours for several men working as hard as they could. One told me “Just because we’re prisoners don’t make us bad people. That’s our family out there we’re helping.”
After being offloaded we immediately rode back to Knoxville, the best home place in the world. Driving down the Interstates close to New Orleans, miles and miles of pine trees looked as if they had been cut by a giant weed eater. Cell phone towers were knocked down, and most gas stations were either out of fuel, or didn’t have the electricity to pump it
My trip to New Orleans to help deliver your donations was one of the most frustrating I have ever experienced in public life. It was if we had corn, but nobody wanted it because it wasn’t shucked. The need was so terribly intense in those days that I couldn’t understand the horrible delays by some in the area who were supposed to be handling what we were offering.
But East Tennessee. You did your part. And I am as proud of that as anything I’ve ever witnessed from you.
We are a good and generous people in these hills and hollers I am proud to call home.

School Days Tough Days For Some

And finally- 
Phil WIlliams and Hallerin were talking about how much harder they had it when they were kids, relative to the youngsters today. 
I don’t believe it. 
Children have to learn more, faster, and under different conditions.  
Computers help, but the computer between our ears has not expanded significantly, and there’s several worlds of new information that have to be retained. 
I remember achievement tests from years ago at Fair Garden School. Students today will remember not just a day or two, but many days of testing.
Some children live in households where parents have to work two, maybe three jobs just to keep their chins above water. That means fewer parents at home at night to help.
A national research project also indicates (reported on ABC) that children are getting far too much homework relative to their grade level. But, as I said, there’s so much more to learn.
And I think we pressure youngsters into making career decisions far too early.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
Then there are teachers– who are swamped with paperwork and ever increasing demands for performance. I admire my wife so much, because she followed God’s call for her to teach, obtained her Masters at Carson-Newman, and taught several years before she had to retire for health reasons. This time of year I can sometimes hear her talking softly in her sleep, reciting lessons. There’s pressure from above, and from below, and it takes extraordinary skill to teach to both the brightest in the class, and those who struggle.
It is harder these days.
And… on top of all that… there are active shooter drills and lockdown drills. You think the little ones don’t know what’s going on?
Baby boomers, I think we were the luckiest generation so far as education is concerned.

Keeping Secrets

A note from The Old Guy In The Balcony
For a while, I worked as a sub contractor at Y-12. It was nothing secret. It was a project for a display module, and I used information to turn out scripts to record for an interactive exhibit. The subject was “Intelligent Transportation”. But I was cleared to work in one building, and I’m sure I could have managed to see something I shouldn’t have…but for two things. I’d like to think I’m too honest a person to go ’round sniffing in places deemed secure and beyond the scope my work. Secondly, I didn’t want a couple of well dressed young people, one at each arm, hauling me out and before a federal magistrate.
There appears to be some top secret material turning up on Mrs. Clinton’s eMail server. The standing order in Oak Ridge was no recording , phone, or photo device of any kind. (This was before cell phone cameras.) Checkers would walk through the building at night, and open random computers to see if they had been tampered, and whether any messages were sent.
I’ve met the FBI contingent in Oak Ridge, and they’re a bunch of tough, smart people. I wonder if we could spare them for a few weeks and clear up this Sec. Clinton E. Mail mess once and for all .