Tag Archives: Nashville

Only In Nashville

Songwriter Gary Nicholson has written more hits for more superstars than most of today’s young whippersnappers could ever hope to write (you can check out his songwriting resume here). He also lives in my neighborhood, and last week showed up at a Metro Planning Commission meeting to voice opposition to a truly ridiculous subdivision that had been proposed — a teensy tiny lot big enough for a magnolia tree and some idiot wants to put a dang house on it. That’s such a Nashville thing these days. I like to say I pick up my dog poop on our daily walks because if I don’t some idiot developer will plant a 3-story condo on it.

Anyhoo, Nicholson voiced his opposition in song form, and it’s truly an “only in Nashville” moment:

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Filed under music, Nashville

Solar Panels + Ice + Puppy = Fabulousness

The sheets of ice that had covered our solar panels started to melt this afternoon. They slid off the roof in a loud rumbling whooosh. While I was concerned about getting decapitated by an ice guillotine, I survived and we had the added benefit of chew-safe playtime for the new “puppy.” Willie is now eight months old and is bigger than our full-grown dogs.

I thought this was hilarious:


Filed under Nashville, pets, weather

Black Ice

Chaka and Willie enjoy some playtime.

Chaka and Willie enjoy some playtime.

This morning a local news reporter brought us the sad news of a traffic fatality in which “an SUV hit some black guys.”

Swear to God. Kicking myself for not recording it. This old bit from Key & Peele will have to suffice. Nashville is encased in ice right now. I’m staying home, and if I venture out anywhere it will be on foot.


Filed under Nashville, Tennessee, weather

It’s The Infrastructure, Stupid

Pardon me while I get hyper-local for a bit. But to the current crop of candidates running for Mayor of Nashville and Metro Council, please take note of the following:

Nashville has had yet another water main break this morning. The temperatures have been in the low- to mid-60s for the past week so this is not due to cold weather and freezing pipes.

This is the eighth water main break I’ve counted in the past six months. To recap the other seven:

• January 9, 2015: Natchez Trace/Blair Blvd.

• January 8, 2015: Two water main breaks, one on Harding Place at I-24 and one on McMurray Road in South Nashville.

• November 20, 2014: Harding Place at Jonquil Drive.

• September 25, 2014: Two in Green Hills/Oak Hill area: one on Lealand Lane and one on Harding Place.

• July 31 2014: 100 Oaks/Home Depot. This was the big one that shut off water to thousands of residents for days. The Mall at Green Hills was forced to close. Restaurants closed. It was a mess.

Having said all that, let me add: Clearly I’m waaay underestimating the water main issue because according to this story,

Metro has responded to an average of 450 water main breaks each year. Last January alone there were 168.

Obviously, most of those have been small enough so as to not be newsworthy.

Regardless, as Nashville seems hell-bent on investing tax money on stupid projects like the Gulch-SoBro Pedestrian Bridge, a new baseball stadium, and the new Music City Center which continues to underperform in the convention booking department, I’m wondering if anyone would mind reinvesting back in our existing communities and neighborhoods? Just a bit? Pretty please? I get that tourists are important and all, but honestly, that $16 million you just took out of the general fund to build a bridge to nowhere when there’s already a bridge a block away was just stupid. We need that money so we can get some dang water to our homes and businesses (and hospitals, and schools).

I find it deliciously ironic that today’s water main break has forced the headquarters of Bridgestone America to close. This is the same Bridgestone America that was just handed $52 million in tax incentives (including paying zero property taxes) by our Metro Council so they’d build a new skyscraper downtown. Bridgestone is currently headquartered out by the airport, a part of town that is presently without water. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Serves you right. Can you say, karma?

That’s a few million dollars in revenue that we just threw away that could have gone toward things like, I dunno, rebuilding our ancient water infrastructure. Bridgestone threatened to leave Nashville though — something I find highly unlikely, since they were already here. Now they’ve lost at least one day’s worth of productivity.

Nashville has always been an incredibly short-sighted town where planning is concerned. We’re the geniuses who tore down the governor’s mansion for a Popeye’s chicken franchise. We’re the ones who built a performing arts center without considering the need for parking, because I guess families coming in for a matinee of “Wicked” will just magically teleport themselves downtown.

You could take a band of monkeys from the Nashville Zoo and throw them into our planning department and I daresay they’d do as good a job as our esteemed pencil-necked “planners” who have destroyed our neighborhoods, increased traffic gridlock, stressed our city’s infrastructure, and overseen the bulldozing of historic landmarks.

But it’s always been that way. Nashville has never cared about its history. It would rather build an ersatz Antebellum hotel/theme park and charge you $10 for parking than protect the real treasures in its midst.

But God, at least pay some dang attention to infrastructure, people. How can you call yourself an “it city” when businesses are forced to close because of busted water mains? When people can’t navigate the overwhelmed roads and say screw it, I’ll shop at home?

Stuff needs to be paid for. The people who actually live here need services. It can’t always be all about the tourists, okay?


Filed under Nashville, taxes, Tennessee

What We Do Here In Nashville

Nashville’s chief of police Steve Anderson wrote an incredibly thoughtful response to a critic of the department’s handling of #BlackLivesMatter protests here.

Here in Nashville, protestors were allowed to (briefly) shut down major roadways, including I-24 running through downtown. Here’s how the first night of protests, back in November, went:

Instead of responding with arrests or tear gas, Anderson shut down I-24 to allow the demonstrators to stage their protest safely. As he told reporters during a press conference, it was his duty: “We have to safeguard life, even if people put themselves in some peril.” Anderson further noted that arresting protesters one by one would have taken hours; instead, after about 25 minutes, police reopened the highway, and protesters continued on their way.


In essence, Nashville’s police department made a decision to treat the protests like a parade, an event at which the law enforcement role is to provide security, not confront danger. Officers even greeted protesters with hot chocolate when they showed up at the police department. When the protesters went off script, taking to the highway unexpectedly, the police response didn’t vary. According to Anderson, a group of ministers showed up the following day, “bright and early, just to tell us how proud they were of what went on last night”—a response that he attributed to the close relationships between the department and community groups.

“In Nashville, if you want to come to a public forum and express your thoughts, even if they’re against the government, you’re going to get your First Amendment protection, and you’re going to be treated fairly by the police officers involved,” Anderson said. “That’s what we do here in Nashville.”

A few folks of a more punitive inclination weren’t happy about that, and Chief Anderson shared an email he received about it, which our local paper has reprinted. The critic wrote that he (or she) raised their children to respect the police, wondered if the MNPD was getting pressure from Mayor Dean to not make arrests, and criticized the response as “putting the department at disharmony from the majority of the citizens.”

After assuring the writer that the department’s response was made without any interference from Mayor Dean, Chief Anderson wrote:

As imperfect humans, we have a tendency to limit our association with other persons to those persons who are most like us. Unfortunately, there is even more of a human tendency to stay within our comfort zone by further narrowing those associations to those persons who share our thoughts and opinions. By doing this we can avoid giving consideration to thoughts and ideas different than our own. This would make us uncomfortable. By considering only the thoughts and ideas we are in agreement with, we stay in our comfort zone. Our own biases get reinforced and reflected back at us leaving no room for any opinion but our own. By doing this, we often convince ourselves that the majority of the world shares opinion and that anyone with another opinion is, obviously, wrong.

In other words, your is not the majority opinion. And then this little nugget:

It is somewhat perplexing when children are injected into the conversation as an attempt to bolster a position or as an attempt to thwart the position of another. While this is not the type of conversation I ordinarily engage in, here are some thoughts you may find useful as you talk with your son.

First, it is laudable that you are teaching your son respect for the police and other authority figures. However, a better lesson might be that it is the government the police serve that should be respected. The police are merely a representative of a government formed by the people for the people—for all people. Being respectful of the government would mean being respectful of all persons, no matter what their views.

Exactly. Because government isn’t a building somewhere, it’s people. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

Thank you, Chief Anderson, for reminding us all of that. Kudos.


Filed under Current Events, Nashville, racism

Happy Thanksgiving From Our Militarized Police

Nashville police will use helicopters “to keep Black Friday safe”. From what? Your guess is as good as mine:

“We can support the ground units with an asset like aviation and that gives us a better view of what is going on,” Sgt. Kurt Knapp said. “We can prevent crime and car break-ins and monitor traffic, especially around Opry Mills and the Nashville West areas.”

Sgt. Knapp is one of four sworn officers who pilot the six helicopters in the Air One fleet. Two private pilots are also a part of the aviation unit.

“I think it’s a great deterrent,” Sgt. Knapp said. “Knowing and seeing that the helicopter is there may make a criminal think twice about doing what they are doing.”


Two of the helicopters are equipped with Flir, thermal imaging technology, and the pilots all fly with night vision goggles for nighttime operations.

Wow. Nothing says Thanksgiving like the thrum of police helicopters overhead. Maybe deploy some of those SWAT team battering rams while you’re at it, that sure screams holiday spirit, too. All to prevent a car break-in? Calling bullshit on that one.

Jesus Christmas. So this is the new normal? Is it really necessary? Or does our police department just want to play with its fun toys?


Filed under Holidays, Nashville

Shiny-Sparkly Internet Thingie

Apparently our brilliant overlords think chucking social studies textbooks for, I dunno, Jetpunk geography quizzes and Wikipedia’d history is a great idea:

In a first for MNPS, the district opted not to purchase social studies textbooks this year when the time came to replace outdated versions every six years.

Instead, Metro administrators have asked teachers to use websites, interactive videos and primary resources as the main way to teach history, geography and other social studies topics. Though older textbooks will still be in classrooms, and teachers can use them as resources, they are no longer the central focus.

It’s a “digital classroom” these days, officials say, and teachers need flexibility to use curriculum not offered in the old-fashioned print textbook.

Ah yes, the “digital classroom,” that great beacon of our future. Last time I wrote about this in 2011, I linked to this New York Times piece about the failure of Arizona’s tech-intensive classrooms to actually educate:

Since 2005, scores in reading and math have stagnated in Kyrene, even as statewide scores have risen.

To be sure, test scores can go up or down for many reasons. But to many education experts, something is not adding up — here and across the country. In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.

Indeed. It bears remembering that the very people touting the “digital classroom” and education based on computer gimmicks tend to be the same people selling school districts the high-tech gadgetry in the first place. I’ve long suspected that a big part of this push is to basically advertise certain brands to kids, often at taxpayer expense — to create future customers for Microsoft and Apple, for instance, the same way tobacco companies reached kids with their Joe Camel campaign.

It’s also kinda bizarre that we’re going all-in on technology in the classroom on the one hand, while barely two weeks ago we were told how important it is to teach cursive handwriting in Tennessee’s schools. Weird.

But yes, DO remind me how the problem with Tennessee’s schools is teachers and teacher’s unions. I’m all ears.


Filed under education, Nashville, Tennessee