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Ear to the Ground

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We're grateful we don't have to put out extras. The News-Sentinel's banner EXTRA edition on Wednesday differed from the earlier "final" edition only with the substitution of one update on the Florida question, disappointing some who shelled out half a dollar thinking they were getting something different from the newspaper they'd already read at home. And that story was been pretty dang confusing.

Headlined "Florida unable to declare winner in presidential race," the main thrust of the story was that it was impossible to declare either George Bush or Al Gore a winner, and that "Bush's lead in the critical state of Florida had begun to evaporate...." Later in the same story were several paragraphs that referred to a clear Bush victory: "Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, who drew 2 percent of the vote nationally and in Florida, appeared to be a factor in Bush's victory...." And "Bush may well decide whether the closely divided [Supreme] court tilts right or left..." And "Bush's victory was attributable to a combination of negative reaction to the Clinton administration scandals and Gore's connection to some of them...."

Get a Horse

Novelist Larry McMurtry, known for his latter-day westerns, especially movie-ready blockbusters such as Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment, has a new book out, and this time it's not fiction. Roads, it's called, and it's basically a travelogue about America's interstates. He chose to spend the year 1999 driving them and recording his impressions. He admits that "the 40" is not his favorite interstate—he calls it "my old nemesis"—but last July he drove it through Knoxville on his way from Washington to Dallas, a route he says he has taken at least 60 times. When McMurtry thinks about Knoxville, he doesn't think about gateways or nature meeting technology or the Vols.

"Knoxville is James Agee's hometown," McMurtry writes. "I once had an intense Agee phase and had several times drifted around Knoxville, looking for the neighborhood described in his early lyrical prose idyll 'Knoxville Summer 1915.' This time, before I could even get into central Knoxville, I was engulfed by a traffic jam of a scope and dimension to equal [one] that I had experienced in L.A. a few weeks earlier. The converging streams of 75 and 40 were not converging smoothly just then. Things were so tight for a while that even a simple lane change had to be negotiated an inch at a time. I was almost to Oak Ridge before I could even ease out of the fast lane—and Oak Ridge is well west of Agee's neighborhood."

That neighborhood, of course, is embattled Fort Sanders. We don't know whether, had he been able to exit, McMurtry would have been happy about Agee's neighborhood today. In any case, he drove on to Nashville, "a mean town that I usually race through with my head down, hoping not to be shot...."

Guilty as Charged

In the hometown-boys-done-good category, we have last week's TV Guide. On the mag's Cheers and Jeers page, there was a long entry under the "Guilty Pleasure" heading heralding the A&E true-crime show City Confidential, which airs Mondays at 9 p.m. "[W]hy can't we click past it?" the scribes ponder. "Could it be the deliciously overheated writing?" Could be. The series is the work of Bearden-based Jupiter Entertainment, and some of that ripe reportage comes from Jupiter producers and regular Metro Pulse contributors Zak Weisfeld and David Madison (who are guilty pleasures in their own right). Upcoming shows include a recounting of Gatlinburg's gruesome Rocky Top murders. Pass the Cheez Whiz!

Home Rule's Dirty Little War

The War of the Roses goes on within Citizens for Home Rule, the anti-annexation group that was formerly a loosely-organized group of west Knox County septuagenarians who didn't want to be sucked up and forced to pay city taxes. These days, the ongoing saga of the battle between the faction led by John Emison, CHR president (or ex-president, depending upon whom you ask), and Patra Rule, CHR board member (or ex-board member, also depending upon whom you ask), has played out to the visible amusement of Mayor Victor Ashe and nearly obscured the group's purpose—fighting annexation.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Daryl Fansler has ruled that he will appoint a special master to open the CHR mailbox, which has been frozen since the dispute came to a head in October.

November 9, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 45
© 2000 Metro Pulse