Archive for June, 2006

That’s 50 in Interstate years.

interstate.gif Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the Tennessee Interstate System. There’s even an Interstate blog. Did you know that Nashville is one of only four U.S. cities where six interstate legs converge within the city’s boundaries: I-65 North and South, I-40 East and West, and I-24 East and West? Other handy facts here.

Originally sold as something necessary for the defense of our country, the system was (and is) not without controversy, but, there’s no doubt it transformed our nation and our economy.

When I was growing up, my grandparents lived in Birmingham, and, I can remember taking the trip before I-65 was finished. The Interstate sure transformed that trip, but, it also meant we didn’t get to go by McDonald’s in Decatur after that, since it was long before the days of a McDonald’s on every exit.

It’s Showtime For Mt. Juliet

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I’ve eagerly anticipated the Providence 14 Theatre in Mt. Juliet for months. Until last week I had assumed it was yet another Carmike or Regal coming to expand eastward. I was pleasantly surprised to find that these theatres are operated by Consolidated. From what I can tell, the Consolidated chain combines the best of our two 400-lb gorillas.

–The theatre was clean and brightly coloured. The decor expands the excitement of going to the movies into the common areas. This has always been a strength of the Regal Entertainment Group, whereas too many of the Carmike Theatres have an air of dimly-lit warehouse. I always appreciate it when a theatre acknowledges that this is an event for its customers.

–As with area Regal Theatres, the Providence 14 Theatre accepts Debit Cards at the box office. Here in Dave Ramsey’s stomping grounds, that’s a good thing. I’m always a bit irked by the de facto surcharge at the Carmike box offices. They won’t take your Debit Card, but will gladly accept cash. Which you can conveniently receive at the lobby ATM–for a low convenience fee of $2.50. None of that nonsense at Providence.

–One of the Carmike strengths is that chain’s superior concessions offering. In addition to the standard candies, popcorn and beverages, the Carmike theatres offer a greater selection of non-carbonated frozen drinks, gourmet popcorn and cotton candy. I didn’t see any cotton candy for sale, but I did notice the slushie machine churning at full capacity, and the free gourmet-topping bar available for popcorn.

–We came a bit late to the theatre, so I’m holding my breath to find out what the pre-show is. Carmike allows you to drink in the theatre by showing an unobtrusive series of slides prior to the trailer reels. This allows patrons to visit quietly before the film while still bringing in advertising dollars. Regal has begun running that most obnoxious of things–The Twenty–as its preshow, assaulting their paying customers with a loud and raucous twenty minutes (hence the name) of television commercials. I hope that Consolidated fits more closely with the Carmike model in this instance.

— Providence 14 Theatres also offer clean, brightly-coloured booster seats stacked at intervals along the hallway. This seemed like a nifty service for parents who elect to take their children to movies.

It is clear that these are very family-friendly theatres. Before you wince and decide to take a pass, I don’t mean that they are a haven for screaming kids. I mean that this theatre aims to make going to the movies a family experience by providing nice surroundings, good snacks, a loyalty discount program for frequent visitors and, most importantly a Movie Mom’s Club.

Each week the manager selects regular adult-oriented features to designate as Movie Moms Club shows (patrons are encouraged to suggest titles.) During these screenings accommodations will be made specifically for the little ones. The theatre house lights are brought up a little higher and the sound will be turned down as not to bother those little ears.

These shows welcome crying! Diaper changes! Breastfeeding! Sleeping! Talking! So, can’t find a sitter? No problem, check out Consolidated Theatres’ Movie Moms Club.

I tried to sneak out of the theatre after our movie was over, but did meet up with the owner of the chain, the manager of the theatre and the Consolidated Marketing rep. I had not been aware that Consolidated once had 44 screens in the Nashville area, which were sold to Carmike. They were quite eager to return and thanked Mt. Juliet for the opportunity. I personally know that Mt. Juliet (and those of us nearby in Hermitage) are glad to have an entertainment option in our backyard.

200 Years as a City

Kate recently posted about defining Nashville’s identity and the response was scattered and kinda vague. It seems that many Nashvillians are not in agreement with what makes us unique. The Metro government recently announced that beginning in October, Nashville will be celebrating 200 years as a city. They are asking for ideas of ways we can show the world the greatness of our city. I am wondering if perhaps we will see some answers that will clarify it for us all.

You can check out Mayor Bill Purcell’s State of Metro address for some ideas. You can email them ideas at celebrate@nashville.gov.

“The dying embers of an altar-place…”

As the state prepares for a double execution, emotions are running high and legal teams are working fervently to reverse the situation. The Tennessee Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Paul Reid, who was convicted for a string of murders in fastfood chains in 1997, but Sedley Alley, sentenced to die for the 1985 rape and murder of Suzanne Collins, is awaiting the court’s decision on blocking his execution. Both are scheduled to be executed on Wednesday morning.

The last execution in Tennessee was on April 19, 2000 when Robert Glen Coe was put to death by lethal injection for the crimes of first degree murder, aggravated rape, and aggravated kidnapping. As always, there is debate about the justification of death as punishment for crimes committed, but it seems this event in particular hasn’t drawn as much protest in comparison. Perhaps I haven’t been paying attention to the headlines… but has anyone else noticed this? Is Tennessee’s silence proclaiming where we stand?

Undocumented Documentary

Feel like arguing about immigration? Thursday is your chance. Watkins is sponsoring the display of Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary on Thursday night, followed by a discussion moderated by Liz Garrigan:

Liz Garrigan, editor of the Nashville Scene, moderates a discussion on immigration problems following Wetback on Thursday. Stephen Fotopulous, policy director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Francisco Flores of St. Edwards Catholic Church’s Hispanic Ministry, local immigration attorney Mabel Arroyo, and author and Vanderbilt University of political science professor Carol Swain round out the list of panelists.

Someone should invite Phil Valentine.

There will also be a showing of The Big Buy, followed by a discussion about public election financing, led by Senator Doug Jackson. This sounds like something right up Krumm’s alley, maybe?

More info here.

My Ode to Bongo Java

Bongo Java had once been my second home. I made it a habit to stop by here every day after my classes at Belmont. Then it developed into a Sunday afternoon habit. Well, here I am again on a Sunday, sitting on the deck, enjoying the breeze. When I lived in New York for a short time I made a great effort to look for an equivalent to Bongo there. It’s funny because I found a place like that the last week I was there, Grey Dog’s CafĂ©.

This is a place where I know I can sit and enjoy the outside and chat with people I see from only time to time. I can forget the troubles of my life and get some work done or read that next chapter in my book. It’s a good place for my mind to wonder too.

So if you’ve never taken the time to stop in you should try. The people are friendly and the coffee is good.

Tastes Kind of Like Nashville

As much as we have awful road construction, tourists in Stetsons, and baristas who are song writers, Nashville has some pretty good eats. Many local eateries (and some chains) were showcasing their wares at the annual Taste of Music City. This party on the Gateway Bridge benefits Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Although the price is a bit steep ($45), you get free reign over the appetizer and entree samplers served locally. Also included is a souvenier wine glass, which you will use, to sample great local beers and some mighty fine wine.

Ambitious me wanted to eat from all 46 food and beverage tents. But, as Mitch Hedberg used to say, like pancakes, after about 10 or so, you just get sick of ’em. There was some delicious barbecue, unique shrimp-n-grits dishes, shepherd’s pie, crab cakes and bruschetta. Surprisingly, the seafood samples traveled very well.

If you go next year, I’d recommend getting there early. The lines get pretty long, except for places like Longhorn and Panera (who shouldn’t have been invited) and a few other places you can find on a short drive down any main thoroughfare in Anytown, USA.
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Taste of Music City – TONIGHT!

340_2006_tomc_jpeg_web.jpgIt’s last minute, but the annual Taste of Music City is tonight. The festival, featuring several local food and wine outlets is a great big party on the Gateway Bridge and proceeds go to Second Harvest. I’ll be there and will blog about it later. Buy tickets here.

Insider Surprise News For Providence 14

You heard it here and nowhere else….
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Have A Blast!

I don’t think the people building the Jones Bros. subdivision behind ours know that anybody works from home. They’ve been blasting. I know that it this rocky land blasting is a necessity for much of the construction around here. But should it shake my floor and rattle my pictures from half a mile away? Repeatedly?

A month or so ago I called the police who directed me to another department who finally directed me to the Fire Marshall. Apparently when you blow things up you need a permit from the Fire Marshall’s office. And if someone around you is not blowing things up correctly you can file a complaint with the Fire Marshall’s office. According to some fine folks there,
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