By the Time You Read This, I’ll be a Billionaire

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI normally write this column on Wednesdays.

This week is no different. However, today after I finish, I’m going to go buy a Powerball ticket.

In case you don’t have access to television, radio, phone, or internet, or you don’t go to church, or your neighbors speak Swahili, let me tell you the jackpot has grown to $1.5 billion and counting.

The odds of winning are 1 in 300 million, from what I am told.

I’ve always been told to think positive, so here goes. I am buying one ticket, and I fully expect to win the whole thing.

So, let me walk you through how I see my next few days unfolding.

Tonight, I will fulfill one of my long-time fantasies and order pizza delivery from two different places. In our town, pizza delivery options are pretty pitiful. I don’t like the one Kim likes, and she doesn’t like the one I like.  But, tonight, that won’t be an issue because we’re each getting our own.

I will use no coupons. I will bypass the specials. In 30 minutes, I just want to hear two hiccuping Ford Pintos looking for my house at the same time.

The delivery people probably still will only barely thank me when I tip them, but that’s a gripe for another day.

I will call the Powerball people. I’m sure even someone like me will have to listen to all the options because their menu has recently changed, but that’s fine. I’m in no hurry. When that little recording interrupts the music to tell me to continue holding because my call is very important to them, I’ll just relax.

This being richer than double-fudge brownies business has done wonders for my blood pressure already.

Thursday will be a big day.

My truck needs an oil change, and I’ve been too cheap to do it – because I only drive it in town anyway – so I’ll probably take care of that. My wiper blades turned to dust a couple of years ago, so I’ll let them put on a new pair. And, I’ll tell the guy not to worry about sticking the dirty air filter in my face.

“Just change it, and get one for yourself while you’re at it, big fellow.”

And, even though I washed the truck after a million crepe myrtle blossoms fell and stuck to the hood last September, I’ll probably run it through the tunnel.

Hot wax? Under-carriage cleaning? Yes, yes, and you’re welcome. Keep the change.

Then I will call University of Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart.

I will tell him where I want to sit in the stadium and who I want – and do not want – sitting next to me. Just to let him know I mean business, I will tell him my entourage will not be buying Cokes at halftime that have been sitting there getting watered down since the first quarter.  And, we don’t want those cheap hot dogs, either. We want the all-beef jumbos.

It may cost me a few more zeroes, but while I have the checkbook out, I will strongly suggest we throw the ball down the field more in 2016.

Just as I’m finishing my leftover pizza for lunch, I will announce, “Oh, look, the news trucks are starting to arrive.”

By dusk, I fully expect the street in front of our house to be lined up for a mile in each direction with satellite trucks with news people running up and down the road in a frenetic attempt to get a fresh story angle.

The reporters will probably try to lift their cameras over the fence to get a glimpse of me doing billionaire things. I’ll probably have to take a long stick and poke Geraldo Rivera when he gets too close to the top. I’m especially looking forward to that.

Just in time for the evening news, I’ll hold a press conference. I’m not sure what I will say, but after it’s over, I will invite all the media people over for a big cookout.

I’ll even apologize to Geraldo for poking him with a stick, because that’s the kind of billionaire I am.

SEC Pigskin Picks 10-29: “Halloween Hi-jinks” UT-Kentucky, UGA-Florida

Coach Billy Jack reveals he is a master at winning Halloween contests. You will not believe who he dressed up as once! Chely, meanwhile, tackles childhood obesity as only she can by pledging to give away healthy treats. Featured games, Tennessee-Kentucky and Georgia-Florida.

Calhoun’s

good grub logoCalhoun’s is a long-time favorite Tennessee barbecue restaurant for good reason:

You’ll almost always get a good meal there.

Calhoun’s has seven locations in East Tennessee, including four in Knoxville. The most unique, however, is the location in Lenoir City on Ft. Loudon Lake. Weather permitting, this Calhoun’s features a covered outside dining area at the water’s edge. It’s fun to watch the boats come in to the dock.

Calhoun's on Ft. Loudon Lake in Lenoir City, Tennessee. (image via calhouns.com)

Calhoun’s on Ft. Loudon Lake in Lenoir City, Tennessee. (image via calhouns.com)

Many of Calhoun’s dishes are a party for your taste buds. But you may be surprised which dishes taste best.

The pulled pork and the ribs are both good — real good. However, there are lots of barbecue places around; and Calhoun’s pork doesn’t necessarily stand out.

A pleasant surprise on Calhoun’s menu is the Bar-B-Que Steak Calhoun. It’s served with Calhoun’s own barbecue sauce. The hickory smoked prime rib is special, as well. In short, the beef is better than the pork.

One of the most incredible tastes on planet earth, however, is Calhoun’s cheddar cheese salad dressing. When you go, get a salad and get this dressing. They should not even serve another dressing variety. Another favorite — and Calhoun’s original — is the Spinach Maria, which is served as a side dish. It’s loaded with cheese and spices. Both dishes are delectable. Their cornbread is incomparable, as well.

Make sure to wash it all down with one of Calhoun’s craft beers. They make good food taste even better.

Bottom line: consistently satisfying food and drinks in a fun atmosphere — a good value.

Visit the Calhoun’s web site. Make sure to see a menu.

Save a Seat for Faith and Tim

Upon hearing my accent, no one will mistake me for a New Yorker. While I don’t apologize for that, I do make a point to use good grammar especially when I’m speaking with people who ain’t from ’round here. In those same situations, I also try to keep my mouth shut when I can’t add to the conversation. It’s not a vanity thing. It’s just me trying to help dispel a Southern stereotype or two when I can.

honey boo boo 1

No relation. I’m positive.

I have a need to do my part to prove we’re not all related to the Honey Boo Boo family. (I’m fairly sure they have a real last name, but I refuse to google it.) Thanks a lot, Georgia. But I digress.

So let me set the scene for you: Radio City Music Hall, Midtown Manhattan on Christmas Eve morning. We were sitting there waiting for the Rockettes’ Christmas Extravaganza to start when this retirement-age couple sat down next to us. As soon as I heard her talking, I knew she didn’t make too long of a commute to get there. She sounded a little like Carrie on King of Queens.

Radio City Music Hall, second row.

Radio City Music Hall, second row. I can’t wait to tell Faith Hill about these seats!

She struck a conversation with us. They were from New Jersey. We talked about when and where we got our tickets, and how much we paid for them. I found out quickly that I got the special “tourist rate” on the ticket price, but who cares. It’s Christmas, after all; and we were on the second row. Soon, she couldn’t resist; and she asked me the question I’ve heard 5,000 times:

“Where are you from?”

“Tennessee.”

And then right-smack-dab in the middle of of Radio City Music Hall she honestly asked me:

“Do you ever see Faith Hill?”

I didn’t miss a beat.

“No, but she and Tim live in Franklin there on Highway 96 next door to Kenny Chesney. We’ve driven by their house.”

At that point I’m pretty sure she pictured me driving a Bondo’d ’82 Camaro, belting out “Mama Tried” to my Merle Haggard 8-track, blowing the horn at Faith who was Weedeating her ditch while Tim and Kenny sat on a couch on the front porch swigging PBRs and smacking ‘skeeters.

I wanted to ask her if she ever saw Snooki, but I saved that one just in case she asked me if I ever saw Honey Boo Boo. After all, turnabout is fair play. And I’m certain people from New Jersey know that.

Sernicola’s: Great Italian in Little Cowan, Tennessee

sernicolasI’ve always thought of Cowan, Tennessee, as a charming little place. But I never thought of it as somewhere to get a great Italian meal until we tried Sernicola’s.

We stopped at Sernicola’s while passing through Cowan a few weeks ago. It’s a little place just off the highway on Tennessee Avenue. On the way in, a couple who got there at the same time we did bragged on the salad bar. “It’s the best in the county,” he said. I’m not sure how much competition is there, but he seemed to think we should be impressed.

So on the guy’s recommendation we started with the salad bar. It was nothing fancy, but it had everything we were looking for. It was fresh and tasty. In fact, the vegetables seemed to be cut up right before they opened for dinner. The bleu cheese dressing was good; and I’m a connoisseur of that.

For dinner, we ordered pizza — mushrooms and onions on half and mushrooms and pepperonis on the other half. It was ridiculously good. They put loads of cheese and sauce. But the most impressive part was the amount of pepperonis. They were piled on top of each other like nothing I had ever seen. There were almost too many (but not quite).

Sernicola’s serves beer. If you want wine, you have to BYOB, and they charge a $1.50 corkage fee. I found that a little steep, but that’s your decision.

Visit Sernicola’s web site here. Cowan, incidentally, lies on US Hwy. 41-A at the bottom of the mountain just below The University of the South in Sewanee. Learn more about Cowan here.

Updating the Marion County, Tennessee, big, big mess

beaverdamusa.com coach billy jack hooverUPDATE: We’re not a news source here at BeaverDamUSA.com, but since I wrote about the Marion County, Tennessee, school vandal scandal when it first broke, I feel obligated to bring you up to speed on this crazy story. It started with Marion County HS assistant coach Michael Schmitt’s arrest for allegedly vandalizing his own team’s field house  before a rivalry game to motivate his team. That’s what my original blog, below, talked about.

Within the past 2 days, another assistant coach, Joe Dan Gudger, was also arrested and charged with vandalizing the Marion County Warriors’ field house and being in illegal possession of alcohol on school property. (I’m not sure the old “I was drunk” defense will work, but at least he can give it a try.) . And a third assistant, Tim Starkey, was fired for allegedly breaking into another school’s field house and stealing a playbook.

The following day, head coach Mac McCurry resigned to avoid being fired, according to news reports.

And you want to know how it all fell apart? Text messages. Freaking texts obtained by the cops between Starkey and Schmitt in which they implicate themselves, Gudger and McCurry.

See the texts here on deadspin.com.

In the original blog, I took Schmitt’s side for being a master motivator. Sure it was 90% tongue-in-cheek, but I did think he was creative. Now, with the smoke (hopefully) cleared, it’s just a big mess created by by what deadspin.com called “the worst coaching staff ever.”

ORIGINAL POST: I once heard of a coach who rammed his fist through the locker room wall to motivate his team. Broke it in 3 places. He never played the violin again.

Image via timesfreepress.com, credit Doug Strickland

Image via timesfreepress.com, credit Doug Strickland

That’s pretty neat trick. But if the Marion County, Tenn., Sheriff’s case against coach Michael Schmitt holds up, this will make that look like a broken fingernail.

In the early morning hours before the Marion County vs. South Pittsburg rivalry football game a couple of weeks ago, vandals defaced Marion County’s field house and adjacent buildings with orange and black spray paint — South Pittsburg’s school colors. In a photo from The Chattanooga Times Free Press web site, the graffiti included “SP” and “(seven) and counting” in reference to South Pittsburg’s 7 straight victories over Marion County.

Listen to this week’s episode of SEC Pigskin Picks here

Now, however in a crazy turn of events, Schmitt — a Marion County assistant coach — has been arrested for doing it. According to the newspaper, “Officers involved in the investigation believe the vandalism was an attempt to inspire the Marion County football team before its game against county rival South Pittsburg.” The paper also mentioned that the Sheriff’s department would not confirm or deny whether other Marion County coaches are suspected of being involved.

The paper quoted the Marion County Schools Superintendent as saying whether Schmitt keeps his job depends on whether he is found guilty of the charges.

What?

Do you want a run-of-the-mill coach or a motivational mastermind on your staff? Give me Coach Schmitt any day. If you did it, you’d better own it. Write a book. Hit the speaker’s circuit. This is pure sports motivation gold. Coach Schmitt, I want you in my fox hole.

Who won the game? South Pittsburg. Is anybody going to remember that 25 years from now?

Just ask the coach who broke his arm.

What we Learned in Week 1

What we learned from Week 1 in the 2013 college football season.

  1. Georgia lost their biggest playmaker for the season in Malcolm Mitchell when he reinjured his knee air bumping with Todd Gurley after a Bulldog touchdown. That’s incredible bad luck for Mark Richt’s team who put themselves precariously behind the 8-ball already after losing to Clemson. At least for a while, we don’t have to worry about the Bulldogs doing much celebrating on defense after giving up 38 to Clemson. Which leads us to…
  2. Steve Spurrier surely cannot wait for Saturday to invade Athens to turn up the heat on Mark Richt’s seat. Odds makers are calling this one a virtual toss-up. And for sure it’s the marquee game of the week if not the year. Listen to SEC Pigskin Picks this week to get our prediction for the winner. Of course, it’ll be a slam dunk. Which leads us to…
  3. Basketball is right around the corner, which is a good thing if you’re a Kentucky fan. Last year the Cats could only muster 2 wins. Their 2013 campaign opener proved they probably won’t outpace that this year with a loss to Wild Man Bobby Petrino’s Western Kentucky team. Which leads us to…
  4. Give Butch Jones’ Tennessee Vols an A for effort in their shutout of outmanned Austin Peay. But the playmakers in Knoxville are few. True, games are won up front, and the Vols have that covered on both sides, but big names at the skilled positions are yet to emerge. You won’t hear it publically, but anything less than a 3-touchdown win over WKU Saturday will be a sad statement on the 2013 Vols. Which leads us to…
  5. Johnny Football. ‘Nuff said, right? He has drawn the ire of every college football talking head on TV as well as fans across the nation. And he’s even alienated some of his own faithful after a horribly childish and ill-conceived performance on Saturday. Besides his “show me the money” and “air autographing” gestures after Aggie TDs, he snubbed Kevin Sumlin after  the coach benched him for unsportsmanlike conduct. Sumlin later called the penalty “foolish.” We say Sumlin is foolish if he doesn’t take care of the Manziel Problem immediately. On Saturday, we’ll either see two fools or zero.
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