Thursday, May 31, 2007

So many fat jokes... few column inches.
From this week's City Strobe...

GOP 4 Sale
RU a lobbyist seeking influence? Tuff-wristed Kentucky $enate prez seeks $$$ for Republican Party. Luvs long walks on former mountaintops, God, big corporations & making the state’s largest city dangle in the wind. Turn-ons: 10 cmdmnts, bashing gays, drowning gvt in bathtub. Let’s keep KY in Dark Ages 2gether 4ever. Corporate donations welcome. Convenient sway packages from $5k-$50k. Call David Williams (270) 864-5636.

That little bit of prose might as well be the personals-ad equivalent of the message Kentucky Senate President David Williams delivered to a gathering of about 40 lobbyists last week at the Muhammad Ali Center. The shameless senator, perhaps recognizing that the GOP brand has lost some value in recent years, wants to shore up Republican coffers in advance of the 2008 election. But there‘s a pesky little problem: state law prohibits lobbyists from giving directly to candidates. Because if it didn’t, a legislator might, you know, let the donation corrupt his or her legislative efforts. The gathered lobbyists represented banks, technology, medical and pharmaceutical companies, and other corporations keenly interested in the goings on in Frankfort.

Not to be stymied by mere law, Williams printed up some handy pledge forms and invited lobbyists to give amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to a trust fund set up to filter money to Republican candidates. Because the campaign donations won’t go to candidates directly, the scheme is legal.

If you’re a lobbyist seeking influence and you missed the shindig, don’t fret. Williams plans another sell-out in July.
From this week's City Strobe...

Putting the ick in Medicare
What do you get when you combine a hopelessly complex Medicare system, a commission-motivated sales staff and confused senior citizens? Sweet, delicious profit, that’s what. At least if you’re Humana. The insurance giant’s agents got so greedy that they recently landed the company in the crosshairs of the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.

The practices that riled the senators — a body notoriously difficult to rile — include tricking seniors into switching to Humana products they didn’t need, misrepresenting the coverage of the plans they sold, and — a classic in the annals of capitalism that ranks right up there with long-distance carriers — selling Humana plans that invalidated seniors’ Blue Cross supplemental Medicare coverage without their knowledge.

At issue are the Medicare Advantage Plans approved by Congress in 2004, which poetically combine the obfuscation of legalese with the bewilderment of actuarial science — plans so complicated that even the agents don’t understand them. The salesgoons were loosed by Humana to prey on seniors after just 16 hours of training.

In a near-Sarandon performance before the committee, Oklahoma insurance commissioner Kim Holland passionately described the abuses in her state, which included agents going door to door and into nursing homes and Wal-Marts to target senior citizens. The senators, who gamely discussed the insurance industry without using the word “slimeball,” threatened to hold the companies more directly responsible for the “abuses, deception and outright fraud” of their agents. Humana, lighting a cigar with a $100 bill, growled, “Hey, we’re an insurance company. That’s what we do.”

No, seriously, the company said it would beef up training for agents and implement a zero tolerance policy for crooked sales agents. To watch the testimony, visit

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

And don't get me started on the diagonal mowing
In our neighborhood, people don't weed-whack exactly. Instead, they pretty much beat stray grass blades to smithereens. If a stray blade pops up, they rush out, fire up the gas-powered fishin'-line trimmer, and obliterate that blade before it has a chance to cop so much as a mild photosynthesis buzz. Along with excessive drinking and sports obsession, it's one of the ways we like to display our European heritage.

Everybody weed whacks the fucking daylights out of their weeds, but some of my neighbors are overachievers. They edge. They edge because a blade or two spilling over onto the sidewalk not only can negatively impact property values, but it can also trip the brain's special symmetry sensors into spasms known as a "lawn convulsion," which prompts the need for special psychiatric counseling at Home Depot's Lawn, Garden, and Family Therapy Center.

Either that or they just increase their drinking dosage, which is known to take the edge off edging.

To prevent that need, my neighbors turn their weed whackers sideways and edge the lawn around the sidewalk until the actual lawn bears no resemblance to anything in nature. Instead, it's a smooth-edged brown root mass, extending out of an unnaturally chemically greened carpet, totally bug free and suspected of causing cancer in small dogs and toddlers.

After years of this edging, the lawn recedes gradually from the sidewalk, creating a system of canals around the boulevard, suitable for carnival-style duck games or perhaps a moderately sized koi nursery.

And, it turns out, also suitable for ankle busting. This morning, on my daily walk to exercise Sugar, I stepped carelessly into one of these sidewalk canals, twisting my often-twisted left ankle, sending pain shooting up my leg and words that can only be typed using the Shift key spilling out of my mouth.

Nonplussed, Sugar took a monster dump on the offending weed-whacker's lawn. While I rubbed my ankle and tried to decide if I could walk, I took some solace in Sugar's response to the situation at hand, but then, in the inevitable Catholic-school guilt that lingers after lo these many years, I got out the handy CJ plastic bag (the one my CJ comes in every day, even though it hasn't rained twice in six weeks, but I'll forgive the delivery person because if he or she actually looked at the CJ's weather map, which he or she probably does not, he or she would be confused about the prospects for rain because the weather map frequently shows little cartoon lightening bolts and rain showers even though it hasn't rained twice in six weeks) and cleaned up the lawn.

Poop in hand, I limped back home, allowing Sugar the luxury of running circles around my suddenly slow pace, searching for stray Cheerios and god knows what other treats that might be lurking in the sidewalk cracks and koi canals of the neighborhood. And now I can't ride my bike for at least a week and I'll probably need to bum rides and burn fuels that come from fossils that the Creation Museum tells me are 6000 years old and wear an ankle wrap and get teased at work and whine and complain. But you know what I won't do?

Weed whack.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Classic Mitch
"I've never met a finer man than our governor, Ernie Fletcher."

More classic Mitch here.
TV is making you stupid
Al Gore, arguably the planet's most powerful person at the moment, is making the rounds with his new book, "The Assault on Reason." Time has a good excerpt, here.

I'm sure I'll read the book - it has lots of tasty treats like this one about TV:

"To understand the final reason why the news marketplace of ideas dominated by television is so different from the one that emerged in the world dominated by the printing press, it is important to distinguish the quality of vividness experienced by television viewers from the "vividness" experienced by readers. Marshall McLuhan's description of television as a "cool" medium--as opposed to the "hot" medium of print-- was hard for me to understand when I read it 40 years ago, because the source of "heat" in his metaphor is the mental work required in the alchemy of reading. But McLuhan was almost alone in recognizing that the passivity associated with watching television is at the expense of activity in parts of the brain associated with abstract thought, logic, and the reasoning process. Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made."

Poisonally, I'm optimistic about the future of newspapers - not in print, which is all but dead - but online. TV, radio, and the Internet have never duplicated the power of the in-depth reporting of the daily newspapers, and they're getting stupider, not smarter. Newspapers still don't get it, but at least they've got the reporting infrastructure in place when they finally figure it out. It is still impossible to be well informed watching TV alone, especially in local markets, where TV news is all about car wrecks, tainted milk, and the shooting du jour. What's your bet? Will newspapers figure out the new media or will local television stations figure out how to provide meaningful news? If you ask me, that last clause is absolutely gut-bustingly funny and getting funnier as TV news gets ever stupider. As hopelessly clueless as the Courier-Journal is about blogging, neighborhood reporting, and that horrendous web cesspool they call "StoryChat," you've got to admit it's the only true source for in-depth local news - and that the paper's reporting by and large is excellent. I'm predicting the future of Louisville news is online and it'll be branded Courier-Journal.

One nit about Gore's book: The title is all wrong. I get his point, but how a book called "The Assault on Reason" could be about anything other than religion -- the undisputed kings of assaulting reason -- is further proof that letting your publisher name your book is a mistake.
Americans are not stupid

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Take a long weekend
Take Friday off. Take a four day weekend. You deserve it. Lie around a lot on the couch. Close your eyes until you get bored. Watch Alfie and think, "so that's how my big sister sees me."

Vote for your favorite deity. Drink a growler. Run some laps. Eat some ice cream. Google "human urinary tract fuel source." Spend some time with an angry, pink phallus. Join The Brights. Stop your junkmail. Shoot some hoops. Look at how cute Dylan used to be. Let a cougar catch you. Check out that new tapas joint in Holiday Manor. Top dress your tomatoes. Call your mom. Pet the cat. Sleep in. Smile. –bye-
From this week's City Strobe...

Putting the park back in Park Hill
Last week, Louisville scored a $1 million grant from the EPA to begin cleanup and re-development of the Park Hill neighborhood just west of downtown. The area has long been home to industrial plants, many of which have dribbled petroleum into the soil for decades. Like most older, neglected neighborhoods, Park Hill has a rich history that includes the circa-1800s farming community known as the Cabbage Patch and the original Sts Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, which catered to, among others, the numerous injured victims in the area's early industrial plants. (The neighborhood inspired Louise Marshall's bestselling children's novel and subsequent movie "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch," which includes this prescient rhyme: "In the mud and scum of things / Something always, always sings!")

In the wake of the successful rehab of other near-downtown neighborhoods, the impending $4-gas price, and sprawl's godforsaken O'Charleysification, Park Hill seems like a natural for inner-city revitalization. But how much cleanup can $1 million -- roughly the amount a McMansion owner might spend to polish the palladium faucets in his 11 bathrooms -- buy? Instead of funding actual cleanup, Louisville will use the money to establish a revolving loan fund to assess properties for environmental damage. These "brownfields" are being cleaned up nationwide and are the target of innovative environmental scientists and vulture capitalists alike, thanks to the conditions mentioned above.

More observations of a bicycle commuter:

  • Drivers are crankier in the afternoon than they are in the morning.
  • Almost all drivers are doing something besides driving. They're talking on the phone, eating, smoking, shaving, applying makeup, texting, fiddling with the iPod, suckin on a Big Gulp.
  • Many drivers are doing two or more of those things at once, like smoking and talking on the phone.
  • Almost no drivers have passengers.
  • The exception: dogs. I'm amazed at how many people are driving around with their dogs.
  • In general, cyclists are ruder than drivers, especially the obnoxious ones in the garish costumes who think they own the road
  • Very few people on bicycles are using them for transportation. Almost all are either in it for the workout or belong in the aforementioned obnoxious ugly-clothes club.
  • Slow is better than fast. Downhill is better than uphill.
  • Sometimes it's nice to pull over and stop.
  • On a bike, you have a deeper understanding of what a nasty thing a tailpipe is.
Behold the awesome idiocy of biblical literalists
The American Taliban have outdone themselves: Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs.

I can't wait to see this place. I'm most looking forward to learning about how the Fall led to 'net porn. The Times reports that one exhibit shows a teenage boy sitting at a computer. I guess they show that he's looking at porn by painting him with a glassy stare and his cock in his hand. Astrophysicist Lawrence M. Krauss wants parents of public school kids to be ready to sue any school that sends kids to the museum. But I think all children should go so that someday they can reflect back on the fundy-dominated dark ages of their childhood. Besides, those vibrating chairs in the Noah's Ark exhibit sound like a really cool way to learn about the flood carving the Grand Canyon in a couple of days.

Who's up for a road trip?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today's new word

Live long and prosper... um, and would you mind taking your clothes off?
Spock shoots chubsters.
Aw, that's cute as a button
15 years after the rest of the universe, David Hawpe gets spam. Stay tuned next week, when David notices those teenagers with the sagging trousers.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today's new word

I particularly admire the 7-step cookie
Food for the really, really stupid
Instead of "Democrat," the answers I didn't give the polite precinct worker who asked me how I was registered for this morning's primary election:

"Why, do I look like a bloodthirsty, greedy, war-mongering homophobe to you?"

"As much as I enjoy canning Anne, I have to vote in the other race."

"I'm voting in the contest with a WHOLE BUNCH of criminals, not just three."

"Not the ones Jesus loves – the other ones."

"I just want someone to tax the living shit out of me, is that too much to ask?"

"I'm on the side that believes in science. But since there aren't any, the democrats will do."

"I'm on the side that will fund education. But since there aren't any, the democrats will do."

"I'm on the side that will fund social services. But since there aren't any, the democrats will do."

"I'm on the side that will shut the hell up about gay marriage and actually do something for Kentucky. But since there aren't any, the democrats will do."

"I'm on the side that will get the fuckin' bridge painted. But since there aren't any, the democrats will do."

"Gee, can't I vote against all of them?"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Celine Dion outsucks rivals
The results of the recent OFGS reader poll are in. The poll asked, "If Las Vegas replaced all its lights with compact fluorescent bulbs, who would suck the most?" A whopping 50% of readers agreed that Celine Dion would suck the most. Here's the breakdown:

Celine Dion 50%
Barry Manilow: 11%
Carrot Top: 11%
Blue Man Group: 11%
Chippendales: 6%
David Copperfield 0%

One reader voted for "The Hoff" and one said "either Wayne Newton or Dick Cheney." Thanks to you all for voting. By blowing away such a prestigious field of competitors, Celine Dion's monumental suckitude is clearly a force of wonderment and awe. And now, a new poll:

Which is more likely, that everything in the world evolved randomly from nothingness, that Turtle Mother carried the world out of nothingness on her back, that an omniscient, omnipotent god appeared randomly from nothingness and created everything, or that a great feathered bird crapped everything into existence after getting ahold of some crazy mushrooms?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Darth Vader tried to buy yellowcake uranium from unwed teenage mothers
Instead of wasting time watching the republican debates, just read James Walcott's handy summary. If that doesn't scratch your itch, check out Lois Griffin's talking points on Family Guy.
Hung like an ag commissioner?
Separated at birth...

Former UK basketball star and current Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Reechee Farmer...

and 70's porn legend Johnny Wadd?

Tasty treats in LEO
(And I'm not talking about Robin Garr's condescending column on vegetarian dining.) There's some really sweet stuff in LEO this week. Don't miss Stephen G-Unit's luscious story about going without his car for a month. Yes, I'm in the choir and I'm digging the preaching, but still. The illustrations that go with that story are delicious, too. Also, check out the fist-pump-worthy letter from Mike Perlin. And check out Scott Robinson's thoughtful review of "American Fascists." If you were a Christian of any stripe in the 1970s, that last paragraph might bring a tear to your eye.
You know things are bad in America
when I have to be the voice of reason.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Actual name of a woman interviewed for a story about being stuck in traffic:

Wilma Philpott

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The real Jerry Falwell
Slate has the Jerry Falwell obit you've been waiting for. (Thanks, SW)
Rocket's red(neck) glare
Every once in awhile, a front-page story comes along that reminds you Where. You. Live. You live in a state where people like to blast five-foot rockets into the sky. Out by the airport. Where passenger jets fly. All with the approval of the local FAA official (below, left).

OFGS wonders what future headlines could top "Rockets launched in Lexington flight path"…

Top Ten Future Kentucky Safety Headlines

10. Potato cannons take aim at daycare playground
9. Kite contest held at LG&E substation
8. Sausage necklaces approved for babies at dog parks
7. Jarts match slated for blind school
6. Game Boy retrofitted with real bullets
5. Rifle range, balloon glow to merge
4. McDonald's opens restaurant in children's hospital (Oh, wait. That one already happened.)
3. Program to provide kindergarteners with free Bic lighters, Luckies
2. Hasbro, KFC announce new chicken-flavored marbles
1. New Ford Explorer to include optional wet bar, meth lab
Humana tactics crooked? Stop calling me Shirley.
It's an age-old (pa dum pum) story: Slimy snake oil salesmen preying on the elderly. Run the bums outta town, right? Oh-oh: Humana agents' tactics questioned

One of Louisville's most venerated companies, robbing little old ladies. Shame.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Further adventures in commuting
Oh, Holy Mary Mother of Irony I almost got run off the road today on my bicycle commute by an AMBULANCE! I was on Park Boundary Road, tooling along in my cool-breeze pacified reverie, mouth closed against the gnats, when I heard behind me one of them big ol' diesel sumbitches, the kind that usually has a rifle rack and a sticker supporting some racecar fellow attached. Natch, I assumed it was one of the redneckocracy coming to get me for making fun of Larry the Cable Guy at the InKY last week or, let's face it, any of fifty billion other offenses. Before I could think of somebody to plausibly say my last prayer to, I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw the unmistakable orange and blue of an ambulance, the big boxy kind that is about half the size of the entire hospital I was born in. And the driver wasn't even in a hurry. But, because of the giant size of the box, he needed the entire road to get around me, which left me only enough room to not need his services, for which I was grateful. In other good news, moments later I got one of those electronic police how-fast-are-you-going signs up to 14 MPH.

Monday, May 14, 2007

No sense in making your t-shirt demands too granular.
We shoulda known from the Reagan connection
The June issue of Mother Jones includes a fascinating and terrifying story about Teflon, which, MJ explains, sticks to us … forever. (The story isn't online so far.) The shit that makes Teflon work, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is linked to cancer, birth defects and liver damage, which is why 3M Corp quit making it in the '90s. And once you get it, you got it forever. We quietly accumulate it in our tissue for a lifetime. Alas, DuPont, the company famous locally for helping to create the stinkhole known as Rubbertown, continues to make Teflon (not in Louisville, though). The company plans to phase out PFOA by 2015. Because now is apparently inconvenient.

I thought Teflon was just in non-stick cookware, but it's everywhere:

- kids' pajamas
- those fuckin' Dockers you can spill coffee on without staining
- takeout coffee cups
- microwave popcorn bags
- ice cream cartons
- toilet bowl cleanser
- Stainmaster carpet
- dental floss (!)


But here's an aside from the Mother Jones story that knocked me over:

"…We're all toxic dumps anyway. EWG [Environmental Working Group] studies have found a "body burden" of 455 industrial pollutants, pesticides, and other chemicals in the bodies of ordinary Americans…"

Is it any wonder we're as sick as we are? We keep building greater and more technologically marvelous hospitals, medicines, surgical procedures and other ways to treat our diseases but we make so little effort to prevent what's causing them.

If you want to learn more about what's in your tissue (or your baby's), the EWG study is here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Features page takes a break from totally sucking ass
Serious and major kudos to Judy Egerton for getting something meaningful on the CJ's chicken-thigh-American-Idol-gold-faucet-barbecue-high-heel hell hole in Features. The only problem is I had to devote more than the normal 30 seconds budgeted toward that section today.
Circle, circle, dot, dot
This is testament to the empowering nature of the Internet:

How to make a cootie catcher

In the old days, you had to learn shit like that on the street.

Fair warning: I am going to be giving out cootie shots at the Rud tonight.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Today's new word

The second-hottest restaurant in town
This makes me feel so darn citified: O.J. Tossed From Steakhouse on Derby Eve

Now we just need Paris to drive drunk here or maybe some symphony hooligans to go off, and we'll really have arrived.
Hottest restaurant in town
So, some loser tossed a cigarette into the bushes and torched the Perkins Restaurant in Hurstbourne Hell. The butt ignited mulch, which torched a fake brick column and the whole joint went up in flames. Middletown Fire Chief Donnie Brooks, warning of the smoking ban that begins in July, advised restaurants to use decorative stones instead of mulch. You know, before this happens to a good restaurant.
Louisville's most superficial citizen identified
Organized by season? Is there, like, a spreadsheet involved?
"Dear Mitch"
What are you hiding?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Whack a knuckle and save a soul
Sista's a dead ringer for Sr. Elizabeth Ann, 3rd grade, St. Mary's School.
Further evidence of the impending demise of the human race
Steak & Potato flavored Tato Skins! Enjoy them in an ethnically diverse gathering today! The marketing weenies say: "The secret to the popularity of these thick, crunchy chips is using real potato skins and the finest potatoes. One bite and your family members and guests will realize that you have an oasis of potato chip paradise right in front of them."

And now, let's hear from the label:
"vegetable oil (corn oil, soybean, and /or cottonseed oils), dehydrated potatoes, potato starch, corn, sugar, salt, potassium chloride, monosodium glutamate, artificial color, artificial flavor citric acid, malic acid, mono-& diglycerides, maltodextrin, dextrose, onion powder, torula yeast, dried worcestershire sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, caramel color, garlic powder spices, tamarind, natural flavor, sulfiting agents), garlic powder, yeast extract, brown sugar, hydrolyzed soy/corn/wheat protein, natural flavors (including grill), sodium diacetate, partially hydrogenated soybean and / or cottonseed oil, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, spice, malic acid."

My favorite ingredient is "natural flavors (including grill)." Mmm-mmm!
Boost your immune system this Friday at The Rudyard Kipling
Buddhist monks in Japan practice laughter therapy as a way to become one with the universe and gain happiness. Here in the US, gelotologists have discovered that laughter boosts your immune system, decreases stress, relaxes tense muscles, lowers blood pressure, and increases oxygen flow to your naughty parts. (OK, I made that last one up, but it sounds plausible.) Pretty much everyone agrees: laughing is fun and good for you.

Because I care about your well being, I hope you'll join me at the InKY Reading Series at the Rudyard Kipling this Friday, May 11. This month's theme is "Revenge of the Alt-Weeklies" and features talented writers Tom Nord, Glenny Brock and, humbly, me. Singer-songwriter Nick Peay will also perform. Open mic (gregarious Irish?) performers begin at 7:00 p.m., with the featured performers beginning at 8. I think I'm safe to guarantee you will laugh in one or more of the many common varieties, ranging from delighted guffawing to embarrassed looking-away. At the very least, I promise to cuss a lot, which always seems popular. (We seasoned performers believe in sticking to the classics.) Other popular words like "sneezeguard" and "splash-o-gasm" are also on the agenda.

The whole shebangbang, including parking, is free and worth every penny. Reasonably priced alcoholic beverages, which are known to lubricate your body's laughter system and make the rest of us more attractive, are available, as are fun-to-say dinner items, such as guacamole and burgoo.

Come, won't you?

The Rud is located at 422 West Oak Street. Here's how I prefer to get there: Drive downtown, heading for that area the chamber of commerce is trying to get everyone to call "SoBro," for "South of Broadway." Don't call it that, just to be obstinate. Get momentarily lost on some one-way streets but meander toward U of L. Squint at the street signs and vow to get your eyes checked. At Oak Street, turn right. The Rud is on Oak between Fourth and Fifth. Park on the street or in one of the free lots nearby.

Please bring everyone you know to the Rud this Friday, or starry-eyed liberals will take over your country and remove "God" from you Pledge of Allegiance.

See you there!

Monday, May 07, 2007

WTF, Amy Holmes?
Amen on this one, Death Wore A Feathered Mullet. I saw that same episode of Real Time with Bill Maher and it was quite an exercise in incredulity. I don't watch any icky, creepy right-wing TV, so I'd never heard of her before. I'm guessing conservatives are also rubbing their fists with their eyes. What is your deal, Amy Holmes? WTF?
Ballless Wonders
A recent Oh, For God's Sake! poll asked you to vote on whether or not you have the balls to vote in the poll. In an OFGS first, absolutely nobody voted "Yes." 75% of you said you don't have the balls to vote in the poll. One voter said, "Neuticles, pally. Big ones." And another voter said, "I have the ovaries to vote in this poll instead!" Thanks to all of you who voted. Now, a new poll:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Finally, an A-list celeb
God Save the Queen (some burgoo)

From this week's City Strobe:

Arena comes with extended warranty package
When Louisville struck a deal to build a shiny new cathedral to basketball, the state agreed Louisville wouldn't have to pay operating expenses to keep the arena afloat. Instead, the city agreed to pay $6.8 million annually over 30 years to help finance construction, plus another $3.5 million if needed. Now, the Louisville Arena Authority wants the city to help pay operating expenses, which caused a minor spat between Councilman Jim King and Arena Authority chairman Jim Host. King wants no part of paying operating expenses, even though the position could signify a lack of confidence in the arena's financial viability, which could ultimately make the arena more expensive through a capitalistic Catch-22 known as bond funding. Host did what he does best: stamped his feet, gathered up his Legos and went home. What both men understand is that public arenas are notorious money losers, pissing away cash like a neocon on a freedom-spreading bender. City psychotherapist-in-chief Jerry Abramson grabbed both men by the ear and, after group counseling, emerged with language that mirrors King's position, but that ultimately won't be nailed down until the council agrees on a bond ordinance. What's a taxpayer to do? Drink the sweet photoshopped nectar of the arena's comfy seating and superior sightlines, conveniently PDFed last week at The arena's design, which brings fans closer to the floor and provides wider seats for today's modern asses, should take some of the sting out of having one's wallet perpetually empty.

From this week's City Strobe:

Smog 'em if ya got 'em
Take a deep breath, Louisville. That delicious aroma is the smell of the US Environmental Protection Agency's proclamation that Louisville now meets federal standards for ground-level ozone, nemesis of allergy sufferers and other people fond of breathing. (Well, that plus the elephant ears at Fest a Ville.) Ground-level ozone ("smog" to the casual breather), occurs when sunlight (which industry is currently trying to blot out) interacts with car emissions, coal-burning power plants and other pollutants. Thanks to cleaner cars and tighter restrictions on power plants, the city is in compliance with EPA smog limits, pending a 30-day public-comment period, which ends well in advance of the Ohio-valley cough-up-a-lung summer breathing season. (E-mail your adventures in breathing to Besides the advantage to breathers, the proclamation is helpful to the city in its efforts to attract new businesses, ideally ones that don't smog up the joint. So, breathe deep, Louisville. Just not too deep. We've got a handle on smog, but you wouldn't want to suck in too much soot, butadiene, trichloroethylene, chromium, acrylonitrile, carbon tetrachloride…

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Today's new word

Charlton Heston where are you?
Among the list of items banned from Churchill Downs on Derby Day are weapons, including guns and knives. That just doesn’t seem safe to me. What if somebody goes crazy or something? Wouldn't it be better if everybody were armed? That way, we could all blast a cap in the loser's ass before things got out of hand. NRA, can you please get on this? If everybody in Churchill Downs had an automatic weapon, Derby would finally be as safe as the rest of America. Please, Churchill Downs, remove this dangerous ban so Derby can be secure!
Really, Betty Baye?
I wish SNL's Seth and Amy were here for Derby so they could do their "Really?" schtick on today's Betty Baye column. I almost always agree with Baye, and in person she is a force to be reckoned with. I could listen to her talk all day. But, Betty, the Derby presents a challenge to Christians about betting? Really? And guilt will come on Sunday about gambling, Betty? Really? And, intellectual that you are, Betty, your God doesn't like you putting down $2 across the board on a longshot at the track? Really? And he's looking over your shoulder at the betting window and plotting the various ways he's going to burn you to a crisp? Really? And you're going to face eternal hellfire and do it anyway? Really? Etcetera.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

In Vogue

Top Ten New Stores in the Old Vogue Theater:

10. Gifts Soon Recycled
9. Soffits, Wainscoting 'n' Beyond
8. Where In The World Is Matt Lauer's Heated Gel And Lather Machine? In here!
7. Everything for $599.50
6. Men O'Paws
5. Pentecostco
4. Sew You're Gay
3. Stuff You Could Plausibly Give To The Queen
2. Swingin' Moods
1. The Hush Puppy 'n' Slaw Pie Emporium

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Today's new word

Mow like your great grandpa
Check out my badass lawnmower. It's the Scotts Classic reel mower: 20" wide, 30 pounds svelte, and guaranteed to make you the envy of every sanctimonious environmentalist on your block. I got mine last year but this is its first spring - when the Kentucky fescue grows faster than the list of washed-up celebrities coming to Derby - so I wanted to make sure I lurved it before I blogommended it. I do.

The cut is perfect if you aren't too anal, the silence is golden, and the exhaust is non-existent. I figure I've easily recouped the $120 price, when you factor in the $3/gallon gas price, the cost of driving to buy the gas, and the taxes you have to pay in America to get your government to torture and kill the people necessary to get the oil out of the ground. Plus, it's a minor workout to mow the lawn, meaning I don't have to pay for a spa membership or a yoga instructor or a wushu guru. So I figure I'm way ahead of the game financially.

We have a small yard, so it's not too big a chore to mow with a manual mower. It takes about 20 minutes to mow our yard, perhaps a bit longer when I stop to savor my neighbors' thought balloons, which read, "There goes that goddam liberal again," and "Sweet – he's mowing Amish. Let's compensate by pouring some old oil down the sewer!"

The cut is a little less perfect than with a gas mower, but the slightly uneven cut serves as a reminder to my neighbors that they are in the presence of an Al Gore voter. It's kind of like a political yard sign without the crass marketing logos and bullshit stylistic American flag treatment.

My only complaint is that smallish twigs can cause the mower to stop in its tracks, so you have to pick up sticks instead of grinding them to smithereens like you do with a gas mower or your mower will come to a sudden halt when its scissors hit a twig. The occasional sudden stop also gives me a weird fingernails-on-a-chalkboard sensation. I'm not sure what that's about. A hitch in my git-along. A negative energy jolt to my manipura chakra. But that's a minor price to pay for saving an entire planet.

I copped my badass Scotts Classic at Keith's Hardware, but they're popping up everywhere now that C02 is so 2005. (I even got a certificate from the city thanking me for the purchase. No, really. It's hanging in the garage if you want to stop by to see it.) The blades need to be sharpened yearly, but Keith's does it for $10, which I'll probably do when I go in for some twine emergency or an impulse sledgehammer. Now if I can just trick the kids into trying it…
Memo to my ten-year-old hoodie, which has endured little-league games, camping trips, hikes at Bernheim, lazy Sunday mornings on the couch, countless washings, and the obvious sidelong glances of people who are tired of seeing us together again, only to remain as loyal, reliable and soft as the fine wisps of rich chocolate hair growing placidly out of the back of Laura Bush's neck:

How do you DO it? I love you. Don't ever change.