Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Restaurant Review: Koi Fusion

I had the opportunity to enjoy a few drinks and meal at Koi Fusion on Knoxville's Market Square on Saturday night. This was my second visit, but first for dinner. Here is my take:

Atmosphere: 4/5

The atmosphere at Koi has a very contemporary feel, with plenty of Asian flare. The interiour is cool and shadowy, with sleek lines. It feels like a hip downtown Asian joint. There is a patio which overlooks Market Square. It looks perfect for catching a concert or just people watching on the square. I'd give a higher score for atmosphere except for the annoying fact that the CD playing for background music skipped continuously throughout the night. I don't know if the staff was too busy to turn it off or just didn't notice, but it skipped for nearly half an hour.

Service: 3.5/5

There was a large group of us dining and the arrivals/departures were quite fluid. Our server did a good job of staying on top of who was who and what was what. He wasn't the friendliest guy in the world and didn't help with dinner recommendations, but covered the basics. On a side note we had a great conversation with the hostess who appeared to be hanging out post-shift. She was a bubbly personality that was great at the door.

Food: 2/5

I was very disappointed with the food. We started off with some pot stickers. They appeared to be pan-fried and were stuffed with a pork mix. They were served with a chili based sauce, and were delicious. Ms. Patty had a chicken dish (Mideria, if I recall). It appeared to be pan-fried and was topped with mozarella cheese and a mushroom. It was served with a vegetable medley similar to a stir-fry. I've been to some rubber chicken dinners in my life (politics of course), but this chicken had to take the cake. It was lacking on taste and even worse in consistency. It was similar to chewing on a baseball mitt.

I went with the Asian Grilled Pork Chop with vegetables. The vegetables were wonderfully flavored and prepared. However, I ran into the same problem as the chicken with my pork chop, although not to that extreme. It was better flavored, but still quite tough. Some of our companions had much better entrees. In particular, the Pad Thai looked and tasted (according to others) great.

Overall: 3.2/5

Overall it was a good time. The atmosphere is very nice and service was up to par. We had a drink a piece, plus a small order of sake (Fuki, served hot). The sake was good, but probably served a tad too hot. The tab came out to over $60 + tip for the two of us. Given the price tag, the quality of food was very disappointing and didn't match the service or atmosphere.

Monday, August 27, 2007

County Commission Today

So there are rumors abounding in regards to today's Knox County Commission meeting. I spoke with two commissioners over the weekend who think that Commissioner Pinkston may have something up his sleeve. Pinkston has certainly been the most critical of the Mayor's office.

Many will remember that the Mayor supported Pinkston's opponent (David Keiger) in the last election. Keiger was well funded, but unorganized and had no name idea. While Pinkston was sure to lock up the victory he still ran around town very paranoid and accusing everyone of working against him. Don't expect him to let up on the Mayor anytime soon. I don't really believe he'll drop anything of any importance on the meeting today. Just look for hot air and, if we're lucky, a testy exchange or two. Pinkston is funny when he's mad.

The other rumor has to do with the Mayor offering his resignation. This one is being floated by Commissioners with a beef on Ragsdale. They are just floating the rumor to keep talk going about him possibly resigning. Mark my word, this guy isn't going anywhere unless he's carried out, walked out in handcuffs, or forced out.

The real debate will center on two things: Lewis Cosby and "the Re-do". So I'll offer my predictions:

Cosby will speak during open forum. He'll lay out his case to much fanfare from a few Commissioners who will praise his work and give him a few 'atta boys'. I don't see much else coming out of this.

The "re-do" will get voted down. I'm not sure on the votes, but here is my best take:

We will see a mix of the two factions vote together. For instance, Lumpy and Pinkston will vote "no". They will be joined by Mark Harmon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good 'ole fashioned "we ain't done nothing wrong" speech from Pinkston. Scooby will also vote no, and could be the deliverer of the "we ain't done nothing wrong speech". My money is on Pinkston

I would say that Hammond and R. Larry Smith will vote yes. They will both grace us with their thoughts on restoring public trust, etc. I think both of these guys try to vote their conscience, but both are auditioning for Mayor, so keep that in mind while listening.

I think Bolus, Tramel, and Cate will all vote "yes", but you can't tell with these guys. They probably need the "public trust" points, but are at danger of not being reappointed in the event of an actual re-do. One thing to keep in mind is that the appointed commissioners have to run for election in a few months.

C. Leuthold will tack on an ammendment asking for a contingency that the N-S accept the proposal. He'll vote yes if it passes, no if it doesn't. I think his father will follow.

That's about as far as I got on guessing this one. It's harder to figure out when the factions don't agree within themselves!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Campfield ripped again

This guy sure does know how to stir things up. I don't think I've seen an elected official who is able to stir up more controversy and not have trouble in elections than this guy. Maybe we should call him the "Teflon Man".

I can't believe I am able to say this, but . . . . . this is odd even for him.

City Waste?

The Former Republican Party Chairman Brian Hornback has an interesting post about Knoxville City Councilman Rob Frost. This story made news headlines back in the 2005 city elections. Seems a bit odd that Hornback is bringing it up again. Maybe he's got more info to come.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Roundball Vols European Trip

If you haven't been keeping up with the Men's Basketball team at UT this summer, they are currently on a trip to Europe which has included four games with only one loss. In the three victories the team has had very balanced scoring in the 100's with the team high staying around 20 points. Junior Forward Ryan Childress has played very well, turning in a couple of double-doubles and leading the team in scoring.

What has been even more impressive are the extra curricular activities the team has taken part in, including a trip to a concentration camp and a local children's hospital. This trip will prove valuable for these young men way beyond basketball.

The team has one game left today, before heading home to begin classes.


Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is a millitary doctrine which became popular during the Cold War. It is basically the idea that a nation with nuclear capacity would not attack another nuclear nation, because the counterassaults by both sides would lead to complete annhilation. So why am I rambling about millitary doctrine?

Read this report in today's News Sentinel.

Apparently County Commission passed a resolution, in the fall of 2004, requiring agencies that receive grant money to file annual reports with County Commission. The resolution read:
“Any agency or organization which receives public funds appropriated by the Knox County Commission shall report to the Commission, on or before March 1 of each calendar year, detailing its expenditures to date of those funds appropriated by Knox County."

Report directly to who? That's right County Commission. So what does the Chairman of the that body have to say to their lack of oversight?

"County Commission Chairman Scott Moore blamed the problem on the mayor’s office, saying it did not provide the reports, and on Hammond, for not making sure the resolution was enforced."

So a few years ago, Commission voted to have their own accountability measures for grant recipients and haven't had a single report in three budget cycles? Commissioner Moore thinks this is the Mayor's fault how?

The Mayor's staff can't keep up with them. Commission can't keep up with them. Is either branch doing anything other than attempting to annhiliate the other?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oops . . .

Mike Duncan (Sheriff's Department employee) and Commissioner Paul Pinkston are in such a hurry to get after Mayor Ragsdale that they forgot to follow their own rules.

Remember what I said about politics being entertaining? Keep an eye on this County mess. There is just one big screw up after another on both sides of the battle.


I know I said I would focus on local issues at first, but this post was too great to pass up.

Randy Neal, over at Knoxviews, has a great post of an archived 2004 post from the old South Knox Bubba forum. He posts it wondering if he’s watching the same thing unfold before his eyes. Go check it out.

"I hate to say it, but I told you so. And for some reason, I'm getting the feeling that it's deja vu all over again. "

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Get caught up

I'm going to start off with today's big news, but first we need to get everyone caught up. I'm working on the assumption that everyone is following the stories involving Knox County government. I could take weeks to explain everything, but I won't. I suggest trying the following links to get caught up:

Knoxville News Sentinel - Knoxville's daily paper has really stepped up their investigative reporting since the January 31 appoointments in Knox County. Try an archive search for "sunshine laws", "lobster tails", "Ragsdale", "P-Cards", or "Lump, Scooby, and Chuckie" and see what pops up.

Knoxviews.com- Now I may be a Republican, but Randy Neal runs a helluva blog over a Knoxviews. Sometimes the posters are venomous towards Republican leaning folks. However, it is their blog (says so right in the rules) and most Republican posters over there do so anonymously and just to stir 'em up. Its been my experience that they may disagree like hell with other more respectful visitors, but do return the respect shown. Then again, there are exceptions to every rule. The stories come fast, and so do the comments. This blog is one of the best places to stay on top of what the "word on the street is".

The Halls Shopper- This weekly paper is now a subsidiary of the News Sentinel's parent company. They have several reporters who will follow a story with passion. Sometimes you may think its a little over the top, but you always have to give them respect for often scooping others with many more resources.

These are only three sources to find stories on the stories currrently surrounding Knox County. There are many other bloggers who have touched on the subject, or weekly papers who have covered it some. These are just the ones who are really on top of every breaking story involved.

So get to reading . . . . . if you are up to date. . . stay tuned. . .

Welcome, pull up a chair.

Welcome to my little humble blog. I'm the sausage and I'll be your host. I'd like to host an ongoing conversation about three of God's great gifts: politics, sports, and food. Some of you are probably thinking, "I'm with you on the food, but politics and sports?!" Well that's ok, because we're going to talk plenty of food. This area is blessed with more restaurants than most places in America. I plan on filling you in on some of my favorites. I hope you'll share some of your favorites with us as well.

There are some of you who are probably saying "politics is a gift?!?" Ok, maybe this one doesn't seem as easy as the food. However, let's put the intrinsic values aside for a minute. Let's forget for a minute that it is one of the basic components of our free way of life. Let's just look at politics from a purely entertainment perspective. There are triumphant stories, there are sad stories, and there are humorous stories. Politics and governance often take all of the ups and downs of life and magnify them in ways that are really entertaining, even if you think of them as nothing else. I'll try to stay on top of some of the stories going on in the area. I'll probably start out focusing on local issues, but we'll see where the conversation leads. We have all the scandal, intrigue, and entertainment we can handle right here in Knox County.

I should also point out that I've been involved in campaigns from City Council to President. I have been very active in more campaigns than I'd care to count. I hope I can bring a bit of an insider's perspective to campaigns and local officials. We’ll see how it goes. . . .

That brings us to sports. What can I say? I've grown up in the shadows of one of the largest sports operations in the country. I'm a huge fan of all things UT. Does that mean that I see no wrong in what that the over bloated machine does sometimes? Heck no. Does it mean that I'll be in the stands for most every University of Tennessee basketball and football games cheering my brains out? Heck yes. Does it mean I'd like to talk about some of these things? Sure, that's what this is all about.

So welcome to the conversation. Pull up a chair, grab a drink, and tells us what is on your mind. I'll get the conversation going with some of my thoughts, but jump in as you see fit. Let's see where we go.