Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My son, my stepson and I are in Tennessee. I only see my stepson (by an ex-wife) for a few weeks every summer, so we try to make a trip and have some fun when he's here. This year we came to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take in the sights and hit the touresty spots, and ride some roller coasters.

Tennessee is a beautiful state, but there is a lot about it that confuses me. This lush, green mountain land gave the world Morgan Freeman, music's Carter family, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Elvis, and Samuel L. Jackson. But, on the other hand, Tennessee also gave us Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and Ke$ha. As far as I'm concerned, this state owes us three more Arethas just to make up for Ke$ha, alone.

Also, I don't see how the same state could send both Al Gore and Fred Thompson to the Senate, and within a couple of years of each other. Tennessee seems to have identity issues.

And I gotta say that The Volunteers is the lamest, silliest college sports mascot name of all time. Alright, sure, I'm sure there's some badass story behind the name... I'm sure it's something macho and impressive, like the college football team is named after some guys who volunteered to run into a burning whorehouse and extinguished the fire by whomping it with their scrotums while drinking Jack Daniels. But as it is, just on the face of it, the Tennessee Volunteers is only marginally more intimidating sounding than the Tennessee Kindly Old Aunts.

Nonetheless, as tourist traps go, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is as fun as any other, and probably cleaner and friendlier than most. The kids are having a good time. We hit the Aquarium today and walked through an awesome shark tunnel, and then took in the Ripley's "Odditorium" museum, which was a lot more fun than I expected. We laughed and had fun the whole time we were there. Tomorrow it's Dollywoood, which has gotten more and more serious about roller coasters over the years. I expect some real fun there, too.

My stepson and I take a selfie in the warped mirror at Ripley's.
My son in the backward baseball cap is right behind us.