Parking Garages for the Future!

This is a real, true gag, faxed all over town Tuesday by an anonymous K-Town Smartass (responding to plans to knock down several healthy businesses on Clinch Avenue to provide parking for the new convention center):

Knoxville—Local hotels are reporting unprecedented demand for room reservations following Victor Ashe's announcement of the new tourist attraction planned for Knoxville.

"It is unbelievable," said Dewey Cheatham, local hotel manager. "Our hotel will be booked solid with excited tourists coming to see Knoxville's two new parking garages."

In what promotion experts call the master stroke of the Ashe administration, the Knoxville mayor is proposing to spend $48 million to tear down one parking garage and to replace it with two parking garages.

Ashe timed the announcement to quickly follow up on the national craze started by the publication of the best-selling book by Craig Griffith titled "Live Simply—Vacation in a Parking Garage."

"That's why I surround myself with such high-paid people, " Ashe said while rubbing Griffith's head for luck. "The mantle of leadership requires that we generate a vision such as this. Something that no ordinary schmuck on the street would even consider."

Competing travel and convention planners are reportedly livid with jealousy. City leaders in Chattanooga announced plans to knock a hole in their aquarium and return the fish to the Tennessee River. "It is all over with us once Knoxville opens the ramps to their new attractions," said one dejected Chattanoogan.

For the second day Nashville was covered with a pall of smoke as country entertainers burned guitars in protest of the Knoxville move. "Song and music have no meaning in my life now that Knoxville has sucked all the tourists and their dollars away from Nashville," said a former country entertainer. "All I know to do with my life is to move to Knoxville and hope to get a job taking tickets in one of those new garages."

When asked what in his background prepared him to be such a visionary, Mayor Ashe said, "My mom, of course, would not let me participate in the 1950s or the 1960s but I did get my hands on a magazine in 1961 that gave me the courage to go forward. So whenever things get rough and people say that what I am proposing makes no sense, I just shrug and, remembering that magazine, say to them, 'What, me worry?'"

Knoxville—a city whose motto became, "Two hours—that will be four-fifty please."

That Revolving TV Door

Channel 10's Alive at Five co-host Moira Kaye, who is pregnant, has turned in her notice and says she won't be coming back to anchor the chatty, happy-talk show. Kaye and her husband, Dr. Dan Ely, are expecting their fourth child. Kaye's most likely replacement is early morning show host Terri Gruca.

Old City, Old News

We've been hearing mostly bad news about the Old City for the last three or four years; West Knoxvillians speak solemnly of its unfortunate death. Maybe it figures it would take a reporter for the New York Times to remind us that the place is still kicking. "Notorious And Proud of It," a travel piece in Sunday's Times written by Chattanoogan Nancy Bearden Henderson, makes the old place sound like an American Casbah. Outlining the almost too-colorful history of the neighborhood we once called the Bowery, Henderson writes that the Old City now "bustles with cafes, boutiques and galleries" in the daytime and "is even more fun at night." The article mentions several worthy establishments: 195 Degrees, both Sullivans, Lucille's, Tri-State Barber Shop, Big Don's Elegant Junk, Harold's Deli, Jackson Avenue Marketplace, and JFG (both the coffee shop and the factory). However, the article doesn't mention several of the places that have attracted the most attention just recently, including Barley's, Manhattan's, Birds' Eye View, New City Cafe, or the Rainbow Club. Does the Times have something against homebrew, martinis, folksingers, Christians, and gays? Not necessarily. It's just that when the Times reporter visited, last May, none of those places were open.