James Mahon

Reformed Sinner Walks Tennessee Roads

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A reformed Tennessee sinner walks the roads with his sign as a badge of honor.

After “living a life of Sin”, illness and god brought him to this way of life.  He was calmly walking along as grid-lock rush hour traffic hummed quietly at intersections in Chattanooga.

He feels his message is one that needs to be shared, many honked their horns at him as he waved and smiled back, others showered abuse and children gesticulated rudely from car windows.

I took the time to hear his story and see what truly inspires him to do what he does.

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Chainsaw Master creates Tennessee Art

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A retired fire fighter from California settles between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburgh.

While most people who carve giant structures with chain saws do so with ice this man makes rare and unique work with  a variety of chainsaws in his spare time.

Chattanooga Aquarium

Chattanooga Jellyfish

Chattanooga Jellyfish

Decided to see what this famous Aquarium was all about.

It’s divided into River and Ocean sections and features specialist areas for Butterflies to Penguins.

Bit pricey but you do get a whole days enjoyment and wonder out of the place.

Worth the hype I must say, impressive feature piece to add to a stunning waterfront.

The otters seem to attract significant attention and are highly energetic.

I did interviews in both areas one with Turtles.

The other with penguins who seemed uninterested in my presence.

Their entire focus seemed to be on attaining food from the wall behind them.

Southern BBQ, The Archers Way

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On a recent visit to Archers BBQ in Knoxville, Mason the local culinary talent detailed what Hickory, Memphis Style and all these other vague terms meant.

Below is the Irish I-Phone Interview done with him on the making of real Southern Soul Food.

For all you non vegetarians out there, this is quiet the treat.

Smoky Mtn Wood Carving

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Spent time at a Flea Market on way to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburgh in Tennessee.

One local crafts man tells me why his form or making a living is dying in the US and across the developed world.

Where once people took up wood turning and carving he has found over the 40 years of working in the field he has less and less competitors for his goods yet interest is still high.

The Year The World Didn’t End

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It’s that time, when one sits back and reflects and comprehends what we saw in a year that went too fast for some and not enough for many more. A year that exploded with talks and murmurs of the Euro Crises and Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Yemen led to the western world holding its break as North Korea launched and defied sanctions with a rocket that came down faster than it rose.

The Summer months saw a build up of election madness in the US that carried controversy after controversy before London 2012 temporarily reduced unemployment in Great Britain and produced stars and inspired a generation. Mr Munch’s Scream, moved on for just shy of the cost of Christiano Ronaldo as CERN and The Mars Rover push the boundaries of science and exploration.

The first Bionic Eye opens a window to a new world as Islamic blinkers are tightened with the Innocence of Muslims while Felix Baumgartner shows the potential of the human mind and body with Hurricane Sandy reminds us Mother Nature can take lives in the blink of an eye.

The Gaza crisis heightens as children are blown to pieces in Connecticut without the feeble excuse of a superhero movie while lunatics and fanatics destroy one of the greatest monuments from the ancient world as the world almost ends.

Why the EU got a peace prize and Obama got awarded is still a wonder to most as Dick Clark and Whitney Houston show awards are worth very little when life ends and we move into the next realm of our existence.

With a world that didn’t end surely we can dare to dream and hope for a better 2013, a year where less innocent people die where drought and mother nature can be tackled better  and harnessed and where  many must not only see a new year but also a new fishing bowl of possibility where all one can do is cast a line and wait for a bite.

The State of British Journalism

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We live in a strange world. Twelve months ago I moved to the UK in the hope of learning from the most talented and experienced broadcasters and producers in one of the most celebrated media environments in the world, which is the BBC.

Over the course of the time spent being enlightened and taught by former BBC employees in a well structured and informative masters at the University of Sheffield, which included a brief stint at BBC Leeds I was shown the true might and broadcasting standards that made Britain a world media leader.

The Olympics shone more light on the ability of the UK to deliver top quality broadcast content to a global audience yet two scandals can never take away from the now tarnished image of British Journalism. Hackgate and the exposure of Jimmy Saville have set the reputation of British journalists and UK media, back decades.

I spoke briefly on the Rony Robinson show on BBC Sheffield a year ago about the challenges facing trainee and wanna be journalists in Britain as celebrated journalist Piers Morgan and media mogul Rupert Murdoch were connected to the Leveson inquiry. Little did I know how much damage the phone hacking scandal would cause, with Journalists seen as scum and lying deceitful members of society.

While at BBC Leeds I was exposed to the true might and skills of employees that upheld the title of one of the most extensive broadcasters in history, yet it is shocking to imagine that it was at the station’s former studios that Saville, a celebrated BBC and British media icon abused young children.

There is a saying in this world we live and work in, that there is no such thing as bad PR, well when it involves phone hacking journalists and broadcasting institutions that protect serial paedophiles, that is bad PR!

It is also down right disgraceful, the obsession with fame and celebrity that existed from beatlemania onwards in the western world has helped create the very people who become untouchable in media spheres. Those who abuse and take advantage of innocent civilians to shift copies of newspapers or protect iconic employees from being exposed for who they really are, is revolting.

British journalists and media in the UK has some of the most talented, producers, presenters and reporters to have ever graced our columns and channels but there are no excuses for Saville and Murdoch.

What has happened in the exposure of these power houses of British media was not only required but must now set a precedent moving forward. With the advances of social media and blogging has come a whole new strand to western journalism, with the naming and shaming of racists in sports journalism via the internet and the larger wealth of opinions and content allows for greater exposure of scenarios that must never be repeated.

Governments and the media should be kept separate as history has shown, however politicians and those in power must now answer the call of the people who have been fooled and lied to for too long.

The only way for journalists and media professionals in the UK is up and the only way to do that is to expose those who are unethical and abusive and help clean up the profession they and i earn our living in.