Last time I was in Knoxville, I noticed that the planned mixed-use development that had stalled in the slump of '08 was still just a lonely clump of model condos in the middle of a maze of weed-lined streets to nowhere and culs-de-sac of nothing.
Driving out 38th Street to get to MCF&G the other day was bleak. The road is lined with shuttered big box stores, deserted strip malls, and boarded-up chain restaurants. A fun 21st Century travel game is trying to tell the Chili's from the TGI Friday's from the Applebee's by the architecture with all the corporate signage gone. (Carraba's are easy: They're the ones with weeds on the roof.)
Meanwhile, the TeeWee talking heads are cooing at the Dow passing 13,000 again. Investors, they say, are excited about yet another Greek bailout. Let me get this straight: Germany has taken out another cash advance on its maxed-out credit card and given it to its deadbeat cousin, Greece, who swears that this time they'll use the money to get a haircut and a job, instead of wasting it on hookers and blow again, and investors take this as a good sign?
Every time I hear the words "Leading economic indicators are..." come out of a newscaster's mouth these days, I expect them to be followed by "...from the planet Mars."
EDITED TO ADD: I'm far from the only one picking up this vibe...