Frank’s Place: Best of 2016!

Posts With the Most

Posts With the Most

Another year come and gone. Not a particularly banner year at Frank’s Place. Of course that had nothing to do with the year that was 2016 a now popular lament as aging Hollywood stars cast off their earthly mores. Although I will say losing Princess Leia was a bit of a gut punch.

No 2016 was only a tough year for me because I struggled to manage my time. I landed a great job at the end of 2015 but the hours were so incredibly foreign, making time to handle my three main hobbies was tough. Yeah I know, cry me a river.

The work schedule actually lent itself to golf, my main hobby, as I had every Friday off. But finding time to blog here and get to the political podcast I do every week with my longtime buddy and comrade in arms was a struggle indeed. Go here: Unfiltered/Unfettered to hear two, old, fat Air Force retirees wax less than poetic about politics and society in general. There wasn’t enough Diet Coke to keep me going I’ll tell you that much.

The irony there is golf takes the longest and I’ve been able to do that the most. Blogging and podcasting might take 3 hours total a week, all after the kids go to bed. As you might imagine, one round of golf can take a bit longer and then there’s the lunch afterward. Of all three things my time with my playing partner/minister/counselor/mentor is more valuable to me than almost anything.

All that aside, it was a good year. The kids began to find their groove in their respective schools. I found my stride at my new job, and 4:30 am wake up really did get a tad easier as the year rolled on. My saint of a mother in law got married after a quarter century of being a faithful widow. We settled  an old score with a certain unnamed bully. And as you might have heard, we got a mutt. Milo Dog to be exact.

Anyway, enough of my gum flapping. I actually managed to get enough posts up to qualify for a “Best Of” this year. So from worst to first, that’s by number of views not quality of course. Although I guess you could make the case views are directly tied to quality, but I think we all know I way too lazy and no where near smart enough to analyze all that.

Here they are, on the cusp of this new year, number 10 to number 1, the best of Frank’s Place for 2016. Click each title link if you want to read the actual story.

10 – Snowmageddon: Aunt Jemimah, Golf, and Pat Summit to the rescue!

Ain't your daddy's tow truck.

Tow truck in front of me couldn’t even hold the road.

We don’t get snow that often in East Tennessee, well not in the Knoxville portion of East Tennessee anyway. But when we do git it, buckle up, cause it’s gonna be a wild ride.

Think of a death defying stunt that should only be tried by professionals. Then picture some hick named Earl easing up outta his busted lawn chair on a half covered porch he ain’t got round to finishing yet, telling his buddy Clem to hold his beer so he can show the pro how it’s done. That’s driving in Knoxville during a snow fall.


9 – War on Christmas: My wife wont let me use the laser!

Christmastime, the air is cold, the cards fill the mail box, and the house is bathed in the warm hues of the red and green season. All powered by a futuristic laser device I bought at The Kroger. What’s not to love. Even the Grinch couldn’t hate on that. Well maybe he couldn’t, but my wife could. What’s next; outlawing the Yule Log?


8 – Back to Work: Three stall monty.

Man y’all are weird. This only got the third best response as far a views, but the response through e-mail and random people stopping me at work and home to tell me about some jag-off who sat right next to them when there were plenty of stalls down the line was crazy. The old potty story, and the breaking of the unwritten rules there-in, really caught people’s attention.


7 – Tales from the Tall Grass: A tree falls in Knoxville

No trees were harmed in the writing of this blog post, Well except that one. (John Stone for scale)

No trees were harmed in the writing of this blog post, Well except that one. (John Stone for scale)

This is from a new series I tried earlier in the year. Merging two of my hobbies didn’t really seem like a great idea but I was in a huge rut/writers block place so I decided to shake it up a bit. When me and John (a fore mentioned friend/golfer/preacher/sounding board and pictured left) ran into a dude on the golf course using a golf ball with the Frank’s Place logo and web site on it I knew we might be on to something. This story about a tree that terrorized me for a decade was the second installment. Again hitting trees really struck a nerve. Lot’s of response to this. And I can say it’s an area I will pursue more as I’ve finally got my time managing feet under me I think.



6 – Growing Up: It sucks man.

This is just me whining about my kids getting old. Hence I’m getting old. Honestly, who uses the word Hence but old people. Obviously seeing Anne Marie grow up is bitter sweet. But this is what were hoping for when she was born at 25 weeks. Now, we want it to slow down. Same with Frank. As the cuteness ebbs and the know it all preteen grows we both are looking for the break pedal.

Also I put my reading fairy tales in German on display. Don’t miss it.


5 – Road Trip 2016 Part 2: Hotdogs, Presidential Waffles, and Good People.

I bet I can get through this daddy!

I bet I can get through this daddy!

We went to Jersey for a summer vacation. I finally listened to my wife and we took three-ish days on the way back to Tennessee and stayed in DC. Glad we did. It made for a great trip. The time in the homeland amongst my fellow Jersy-ites was great. The trip to our Nation’s Capital was even better. This story amounts to home movies in print with a twist. I did a bio on some of the interesting people we met in our few days on the ground in DC. Hint, none of them were in the government.


4 – Back to Work: Driving in Purgatory

Another work story another rant on driving in East Tennessee. This one has nothing to do with weather and everything to do with The Drive. Yes it’s the drive for which I lament. The 20 minute sled dog race with some of Knoxville’s finest motor vehicle operators that makes the 4:30am wake up such a joy. It’s no mystery why this one is in the top 5. I may be the only one ranting publicly about this but I’m not the only one who knows it’s an issue. I can almost guarantee you have a similar tale.


3 – One Year Gone: If I could make it to 30.

This one is a bit of therapy as I grieve the death of my father who passed in 2015. Mostly it’s about the rationalization I concocted for myself as an 11 year old on how I would deal with the death of my parents. Obviously it didn’t work out the way I planned it when I was 11. I made it to 30. In fact I made it to 48 before I lost a parent. Still hurts. Hard. Sad truths you can’t learn until you live through them. Life just blows the big one sometimes.


2 – Sometimes Words Fail



Speaking of the world just blowing sometimes. This is about Lucas, a boy from our neighborhood and Frank’s kindergarten class. It’s impossible to comprehend what must be happening to him and his family as they fight through this.

Be warned there is nothing but hard life in this post. However there is a link as well. this one to be exact : Lucas’ Fight Against Child Cancer. Click it here, click it there. No matter. If you feel led and you are able, do what you can.

I can tell you we are 9 months adrift from the diagnosis and Lucas is still battling. Still fighting the fight. The strength and courage of children is staggering.


1 – Yeah so we got a mutt.

Yeah that's cute. So what.

Yeah that’s cute. So what.

Well good lord was there any doubt this would be the number one post. Just can’t figure out if it’s because of Milo’s cuteness or the fact people know I’m not a dog lover or animal lover for that matter. And yes most people’s predictions have come true. I have bonded with the dog and he with me. My kitchen floor has never been cleaner and the little bastard is sleeping on the bed. Shut up.


Well that’s a wrap. The Top Ten decided by you, the faithful of Frank’s Place. I appreciate your clicks and hope to give you more to click on in 2017.

2016 was a decent year for us personally. Every year will have ups and downs but for my ledger we came out ahead. For that we are grateful.

Happy New Year from Frank's Place!

Happy New Year from Frank’s Place!


Frank’s Place: Best of 2013

Best of the best of the best... with honors

Best of the best of the best… with honors

Ok, it’s that time of year again. Time to recount the posts with the most, the stylings that got you smiling…or something like that. Man another year that just blew by. I guess it’s always like this when you have two or more. Didn’t seem to go that fast when it was just Frank, but now that he has a partner in crime the space time continuum just hasn’t been the same.

Speaking of time, lets stop wasting it. There are trays of pigs in a blanket with my name on it so here goes. I give you the top ten posts at Frank’s Place for 2013, in descending order by total views in a single day.

A Girl Stands in Knoxville! A lot of people clicked on this little gem. And why not. It had everything: a feel good story about a premie standing before she should have, some great before and after pics, and exploitative gambling. That’s right, guesses were made as to when AM would walk, now that she was vertical. The eventual winner was May524 who guessed it to the day, but she failed to reply. Susan Hupp and Andy Traugot tied for next closest at 13 months, 15 days. Hupp took an unedited version of the manuscript of my soon to be book and Traugot failed to claim his prize. Still here if you want it Andy.

Anne Marie Year 1 Few words and lots of pictures vaulted this one to the top of the charts. Not sure how I should feel about that. A momentous year non the less as we went from a weighing 1lb 12oz to eating a 1lb cake.

It was a Hairy Bear This was a little weird. When visiting AM’s twin sisters’ grave on their birthday we noticed a small bear my nephew Sean had put there during the funeral was still there. I mentioned it in a post about AM’s birthday. It got a lot of attention. So much so it became it’s own post. I can report that on this Christmas Eve the bear was no longer there. Although we still have the bear’s twin sitting with a picture of Linda Claire.

This is not a Rock Kicking Contest Mr. Linardo! A sad one for sure. This is what I wrote about my brother-in-law Bill, my sister’s husband, who died way too sudden, way too soon. The title of the post comes from what Bill, or Mr. McClory as I knew him then, would say to me when I was kicking rooks in the school parking lot waiting to walk down to the bus to go home. He said it a lot. I was dense back then. Or should I say denser? Can I say denser? Who knows, it’s late.

A lot of fish died to get this shot. I'll miss them.

A lot of fish died to get this shot. I’ll miss them.

It’s Always Hurricane Season! Hey she can walk. Great. She put her walking to good use, moving around the house destroying everything in her path. Busted up a few things with her wake too. This one got a lot of attention because you people like to see me suffer. I get it. I’d be laughing too.

Is there a Doc in the House? More suffering. Mostly mine. Not really. The whole house took sick and Frank had to evacuate to Grammy’s house with Mrs Frank’s Place as AM’s immune system would not be able to cope. It was a weird 4 days. Frank loved it. Had his mom all to himself. What’s not to love?

Running with Scissors  This is my personal favorite. Coming around the corner to find my 19 month old daughter using a pair of scissors in an attempt to pry open the fridge made me proud. I spent ten years working on an airplane that required serious improvisation to get things done. I was mediocre at it to say the least but to see my girl already developing those skills brought a tear to my eye.

No touch? Yeah no problem, I won't touch the gate. I'll jump over it.

No touch? Yeah no problem, I won’t touch the gate. I’ll jump over it.

Coming in to her own!  This was a post about AM building a ladder out of a diaper box and my wife’s work boxes to jump the child gate on the stairs. But really it was just me bragging on my daughter who turned 17 months old that day. Coming out of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, her brain pan was the only thing that had me worried. My fears were apparently unfounded.

What a Year a Baby Makes We celebrated her one year birthday in March. We celebrated her actual due date at the end of June. So one full year home from the hospital on July 29th, sure we’ll celebrate that too. Another extremely popular post with a lot of pictures and not much of my thoughts or words.

Yeah don’t think I’m not seeing the “just shut up and show us pictures of your kids” trend.

Making his shadow hand touch his shadow forehead

Making his shadow hand touch his shadow forehead

Dancing with Squirrels  The ever popular sequel to Dances with Wolves, this was a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons. Mostly because it was fun to watch Frank make shadow puppets while he was playing in a live soccer game. But it also gave me a little insight into the kids psyche. And I liked what I saw. Apparently y’all did too.

On a side note, I did have a top ten moment myself the other night. At a wedding reception featuring some of the who’s who in Knoxville, including the mayor and a local doctor who has a TV show here in town, my wife introduced me to an avid reader of Frank’s Place.

It was great to meet you LT. I appreciate all the nice things you had to say about the blog. You made my night. It was a humbling to say the least. Especially considering you walked right past Mayor Burchett and Dr. Bob to talk to me.

Of course most of the credit goes to my kids. They really write the stories, I’m just their interpretive stenographer.

So that’s it for 2013. These are the ten top posts for the year, as decided by you, the people who support Frank’s Place. Without you my ego would almost be non-existent. Well, that’s probably not true.

Anyway Happy New Year to LT and all of you from all of us here at Frank’s Place.





Frank’s Place: Best of 2012

Wow, hard to believe another year has passed.  One minute it was March and the next – it’s New Year’s Eve.  There was a summer in there some where.  Might have even been some fall too, hard to tell.  A lot has happened this year.  We, celebrated, we grieved, we cried, we learned, and of course we blogged.

And since blogging is what we’re here to do, lets get to the posts with the most, the verbal stylings that y’all liked better than the rest.  As always they are in order of popularity based on views each post got.

It was a year of loss.

Christian Clopp: A Profile and Linda Claire    First a little boy named Christian Clopp proved it really is the size of the heart that matters and then was called home. Then our little Linda Claire gave us five short hours before she was called home.  I’ve spent more time thinking about those five hours than I’d hope too.  These were the only two posts that hit the four digit mark as far as views.  Heart warming really.  A lot of people weighed in to offer prayers, condolences, and well wishes.  I can’t speak for Christian’s father Mark, but trust me, it helped me a lot.

Christian Clopp

Christian Clopp

Linda Clare  22 March 2012

Linda Clare 22 March 2012










Then we celebrated

Four weeks and famous Linda Claire was a twin.  Her sister Anne Marie soldiered on in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit(NICU) at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. When she was four weeks old and barely 2lbs we were approached about appearing in a video that would be used to fund raise for the NICU.  We did it and Anne Marie was featured as well.  The fund raiser made 1 million american dollars.  Not a bad nights work. Here’s the little diva/star in all her 2lb glory.

Hey, where's that breast milk I ordered!  And turn up the heat, it's freezing in here!

Hey, where’s that breast milk I ordered! And turn up the heat, it’s freezing in here!

The Eagle has Landed     Then after 4+ months they let us take her home.  They expected us to care for her.  Who’s idea was that?  We were apprehensive to say the least.  Tracy went in the hospital in early February.  We took Anne Marie home in late July.  We had been at that hospital in some capacity for 6 months. Being on our own with her was exciting and freaking terrifying at the same time. Plus we made some great friends at the NICU and now we wouldn’t be seeing them very much, after spending days and nights at a time with them.  Ah well, Frank didn’t care.  He was happy to finally meet his sister.

Actual first contact.  We told you she was real Frank.

Actual first contact. We told you she was real Frank.

Then more trauma -Mine  

Teat of Terror, I know that’s not mud, & They can’t do math were all examples of how many parenting lessons failed to translate from Frank to Anne Marie.  I mean the girl terrorized me for the first few months after she came home.  I’ll spare you the pictures, they ain’t pretty.  Actually those three events all occurred in the middle of the night so I don’t even think there are pictures.  I’m currently in counseling over it all, but they were three of the more popular posts of 2012.  Glad I could provide y’all some entertainment. Jerks.

Then a move 

I teamed up with my old broadcast partner from the Air Force to start a cultural/social/political blog called Unfiltered & Unfettered: The World Explained by Us .  It was time to move the political stuff off of Frank’s Place.  The last political posts to appear at Frank’s Place were about the debates during the republican primary.  I did a few posts about all the rules governing primaries, caucuses, and how delegates are sent to the conventions.  It was basically an Electoral College 101 primer.  A post called Unbound Delegates Explained made it into the top ten posts of the year at Frank’s Place.  Turns out, since almost no one understands our ridiculously rule heavy primary system, the phrase “unbound delegates” became the number 1 search term on the Google.  That made the Frank’s Place post 2nd on Google search, and during the Maine primary we were actually first for a week.  Crazy.

Then a fight

A good cause, always a good cause & Look what y’all did round out the top ten at Franks Place.  While we were in our little bubble of going to the hospital every day for four months, sometimes twice a day, life apparently moved on every where else for most. In that moving on, my little sister heard words no one wants to hear.  ”You have breast cancer.”  She has beaten it so far.  Radiation treatments are done and she on to the meds. Outlook is very good.  We live 660 miles from the rest of my family in Jersey so not a whole lot we could do but ask for help, and walk.  Team Kathy was formed in connection with my wife’s company to walk in the Komen Race for the Cure in Knoxville.  Y’all responded and came up with this great effort.

It's cold.  It's raining.  It's a good cause and a good lookin squad.

It’s cold. It’s raining. It’s a good cause and a good lookin squad.

Goal met.  And then some.  Thanks y'all.

Goal met. And then some. Thanks y’all.

So it was a rough year and a great year and everything in between. Documenting it here at Frank’s Place has been fun and cathartic at times. Writing about grief that seemed unbearable somehow made it less so.  Having all y’all follow along makes it even better.  76 different countries have read about Anne Marie crapping on me in the middle of the night or latching on to my man cans thinking they were heavy laden with milk.  They got to read about Frank growing into a hilarious little 3 year old. (God what must that 1 poor bastard in Paraguay be thinking when he reads this?)

More important I get to look back at a year that has been a blur, slowly read, and remember.

That alone makes it all worth it.




Thanks for reading and commenting.

Happy New Year from Frank’s Place!

Bring it 2013!

Bring it 2013!