Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My new hero

Robert Shields, Wordy Diarist, Dies at 89
"In addition to 91 boxes crammed with 25 years of his life, Mr. Shields is survived by his wife, the former Grace Augusta Hotson..."

Friday, October 26, 2007

From this week's LEO:

Bottle effrontery
Hey, you — the hybrid-driving, fluorescent-bulb-using, Nobel-laureate-admiring, Whole-Foods-shopping environmentalist drinking from the Evian bottle. C’mere. Got a funny story for ya. Guess what’s one of the most earth-unfriendly things you can do. Yup: Drink bottled water.
The bottled water industry is reeling from a nascent backlash as restaurants, schools and whole cities ban their crispy deliciousness in favor of good old-fashioned tap water. Turns out that tap water is better regulated than bottled water (except for the 40 percent of bottled water that actually IS tap water), perfectly safe and much better for the environment.

Bottled water burns up massive amounts of fossil fuels on its way to your lips — both in manufacture and transport — and billions of the plastic bottles end up in landfills. Bottled water also undermines confidence in public water systems and wastes crucial Benjamins you could be spending on cigarettes and fried chicken. Log on to a faucet or fountain near you to say no to Big Water. And if making promises to complete strangers online keeps you honest, take the pledge at http://www.thinkoutsidethebottle.org/.
From this week's LEO:

Because you don’t know where this paper’s been
Unlike most of the seemingly terrifying stories TV news anchors shout, MRSA is a freak-out you might want to have. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It’s a type of staph infection that is resistant to common antibiotics, including methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. After playing in smaller venues such as hospitals and nursing homes for the past decade, MRSA is now embarking on a stadium tour and has been spotted in all corners of the United States, including Louisville.

The bacteria are spread by casual contact and are found in about one-third of the population. You won’t get sick unless the germ enters your body through a cut or other wound. If not treated quickly, MRSA can turn your sore into an abscess and your abscess into something you might parlay into an acting gig in the next “Shaun of the Dead” movie. In extreme cases, the infection spreads to the lungs, bones or bloodstream, where it killed nearly 19,000 people in 2005. Young people, old people and those with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable.

How did we get into this mess? The wanton overuse of antibiotics, both in prescription drugs and in cattle, chicken and pig factory farming. These antibiotics find their way into our water supply and encourage bacteria to mutate in their never-ending quest to return to their pre-Louis Pasteur glory days.How do we get out of this mess? Well, we could stop overusing antibiotics, but this is America, so we’ll come up with stronger antibiotics. But oh-oh, they’re expensive to develop and are prescribed only in extreme cases, so drug companies aren’t too keen on the work (no, really).

Meantime? Keep an eye on your sores and wash your hands like David Sedaris after a dumpster dive. LEO readers are nothing if not hygienic, but with microbes gone wild, you can never be too OCD. For more info, see www.mayoclinic.com.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oster, why do you hate all living things?

Dear Oster Corporation,

Love my new toaster. I know I truly live in, as Voltaire showed, the best of all possible worlds when I enjoy a couple of poached eggs sprinkled with a dash of homemade habanero sauce atop two perfectly toasted slices of my neighbor's homemade sourdough bread. And it's a testament to the industrial revolution that I have not only the planet's hard-dug coal to fuel my toast needs but also your $19 Target toaster, its tiny coils harnessing hell's fire to lightly brown my bread in but a few seconds' time. But as I was copping a mild endorphin buzz this morning while enjoying my breakfast, one question did occur to me:

Why in the fuck does my toaster have lights?

Have you not heard of Al Gore? Do you not get Laurie David's e-newsletter? Do Leonardo Di Caprio's baby agates not haunt your every waking moment? Like seemingly all appliances these days, my toaster jauntily emits a blue light 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether it's toasting or not. The lights indicate which setting the toaster is on -- "Toast," "Bagel," or "Frozen" -- even though none of us ever change the setting and instead just drop in the goods and push the lever. So, clearly, the lights aren't enhancing our toasting experience anyway. But what they are doing is sucking energy around the clock. Energy that could be better put to use writing letters to corporations that design shitty appliances with useless lights that waste energy.

So now I have to remember to unplug my stupid toaster whenever I use it, so it won't drain energy and my kids' kids will have some coal left to make toast, assuming you haven't destroyed the planet by then with your poorly designed products. In the future, if you would be so kind as to design toasters without energy-wasting unnecessary lights, I would really appreciate it. Oh, and if you run into Sunbeam at the "Destroy the Earth" conference, would you please tell them my coffee maker doesn't need a fucking clock?"

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Oh, For God's Sake

Monday, October 15, 2007

Extinction Timeline
Finally, we know the exact dates of the demise of newspapers, lunch, buckteeth, and Rocky films.
Great Moments in White Trash
In anticipation of the Iron Quarter and City Center projects coming to downtown Louisville, White Castle HQ has decided to demolish its store at First and Market Streets. But fear not, you foodies who like your beef steamed, square, and partially pre-digested. In its place the company will build the chain's largest White Castle.

The restaurant (if by "restaurant" you mean White Castle) has long been a favorite stop for celebrities (if by "celebrities" you mean Kid Rock). The Courier-Journal cites White Castle spokesman Eddie Smith:

"The Market Street store has become a favorite haunt for celebrities in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, Smith said, including Kid Rock, who several years ago treated White Castle customers to free food and drinks.

Last year, Smith said, the rocker ordered through the drive-through -- and left one worker a sizable bonus.

"'He gave her a big enough tip to buy a prom dress,' he said."

Join us again next time for more Great Moments in White Trash.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The rest of the way
This morning, at 7:45 a.m., I reached the exact halfway point of my life. I know this because, on her way out the door, my daughter said this to me:

"Peace out homeskillit, f'sheezie, yo."

This seems like an impossible-to-miss signal that from now on I'm gradually going to devolve until I do not understand anything anybody says. This is good to know because now I know exactly how long I'm going to live and can plan accordingly; also I can stop pretending anything makes sense.

I immediately went to urbandictionary.com to translate her message. Apparently, it means:

"Good bye, friend, for sure. Oh, and by the way, I'm pretending to be black, despite the obvious fact that I am as white as Bertie Wooster's Aunt Dahlia's inner thighs."

So here's how I think the rest of my life will go:

The next ten years will be similar to the past decade, during which I will be mildly irritated at all times, yet somehow naively optimistic that, despite the evidence, the world is going to get better. Just because I will have a crabby look on my face won't mean I don't want you to get the hell away from me.

The decade after that will be similar to the decade before last – a period marked by mysterious uncontrollable urges and bouts of giving a shit. I will find a need both for baby car seats and lumberyards. I will wax poetically about exotic foods but end up ordering the Szechuan shrimp.

During the ensuing decade, I will devote all of my time to caring about me, to the exclusion of anyone else. I will consume copious amounts of drugs, and wonder why I haven't done so sooner. Christmas will be fun again, especially that warm, candlelit part when it's mostly over and everybody keeps repeating a joke that really isn't funny but makes us feel clever and alive. I'll wear the same jeans for days on end but nobody will notice because I did that last decade, too.

The following decade will be marked by nonsensical exclamations, possibly including the word "f'sheezie." I'll become fond of wearing football jerseys and listening to R&B. I'll borrow lots of biographies from the library (if libraries still exist) and admire their smell almost as much as the information they contain. Despite my stampeding fragility, I'll be quite popular among my peers, who will admire me for my tendency to forget they owe me money.

After that, drool, baldness, and a tendency to scratch myself by accident.

Peace out homeskillits, f'sheezie, yo.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just because your skull is crushed doesn't mean we don't want your liver.

I'm all for helmet-wearing and organ-donating, but isn't this a little sardonic for a Kentucky transportation worker?

"Not wearing helmet? Please sign your organ donor card."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Operation Power House
I can't get this story about Sputnik out of my mind. I've read a lot of appalling shit this week, but this is the most appalling:

The roots of the crisis went back to 1953, when Dwight D. Eisenhower swept into the White House on a platform of securing the country against communist threats. Under the stewardship of John Foster Dulles, his hawkish secretary of State, Eisenhower devised a new defense doctrine to counter the spreading "Red menace," which had recently claimed Eastern Europe and was infecting Asia. The U.S., according to Ike's doctrine, would no longer get bogged down in "minor" wars like in Korea. Instead, it would prepare for "total war," an all-out nuclear holocaust designed, in Dulles' own words, "to create sufficient fear in the enemy to deter aggression."

To keep the Soviets sufficiently frightened and in check, the Air Force's Strategic Air Command, or SAC, began a systematic and sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation. Every day, U.S. planes took off from bases around the world and penetrated Soviet airspace, probing for weaknesses in Russian radar defenses. Huge exercises with ominous names like Operation Power House scrambled hundreds of nuclear-laden long-range bombers that charged across the Atlantic, headed for Moscow. At the last minute, they would turn around, but in some war games, squadrons of B-47 Stratojets would take off from Greenland, cross the North Pole and fly deep into Siberia in attack formation -- in broad daylight. "With any luck, we could have started World War III," the SAC commander, Gen. Curtis LeMay, famously declared.

The Russians were not amused. Had the Soviets tried the same stunt, Khrushchev indignantly responded, "it would have meant war."

Throughout the campaign to demonstrate overwhelming American air superiority, the United States violated Soviet airspace more than 10,000 times. Our thermonuclear stockpile increased tenfold, while LeMay publicly speculated about the 60 million Soviet citizens targeted for annihilation under the Dulles doctrine of massive retaliation. The term was a bit of a misnomer because Soviet planes at the time did not have the range to reach U.S. soil and never once infringed on U.S. territory.

The double standard was not lost on Khrushchev. "Stop sending intruders into our airspace," he thundered at a visiting U.S. Air Force delegation in 1956. But he was largely powerless to prevent the incursions, which, of course, was the entire point of the exercise.
War mongers suck.
Genuine American Heroes

Edith Macefield
Big offer for tiny home leaves woman unmoved

David McCarty
Man vs. Mart

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

He only comes out when I drink my gin
Is it just me or are y'all a little moody lately, too? Maybe it's just my global warming anxiety disorder acting up, but I've been all Dr. Jimmy and Mr. Jim lately. These guys too:



For you aficionados (Tsup, Ponge?), here's an awesome clip from 1973 – horrible audio but amazing video…

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ultimate Questions
If The Incredible Inman married The Buzz, and their union produced a delirious and disingenuous pro-"war on drugs" editorial like the one in today's CJ based on the outstanding Chris Kenning story about marijuana in Sunday's paper, would that baby's name be "The Incredible Buzz?"
Goodbye salmon, guacamole, and Bulgarian hookers. Hello mosquitoes, poison ivy, and predator squid.
The Center for American Progress lists the Top 100 Ways Global Warming will Change Your Life.
Ultimate Questions
Now that we have Google, should The Incredible Inman consider a name change? "Incredible" seems like a stretch. Maybe he could go by "The Inman" or "The Guy with Google."
Happy Halloween!
We had some special guests on the harvest table last weekend: punkins! These three fellers survived the attack of the squirrels and ants, which got some of their punkin brethren. Thanks to the drought, the squirrels have gone to town on our squash and punkins, scratching them open and sucking out the life-giving juju inside. Once penetrated, the vegetables become easy pickens for the ants, which seem to multiply like Baptists at a youth revival full of drunk second cousins. Fortunately for them, we are good sharers. One enterprising little squirrel has no fear and gorged him or herself on the goodies while we worked in the garden. Lucky for him/her, I wasn't wearing my head-mounted pistol at the time.

As you might have noticed from the two fine specimens on the harvest table in the top photo, we also have a bumper crop of baseball gloves, plus a festive stained-glass candle shade that makes the porch look all trippy at night. Also, a plague of habaneros. If you want some, email me. But I gotta warn you: They're hotter than Dorothy Parker describing a 1920's Park Avenue living room full of daffodils on a mild Scotch buzz.
Ultimate Questions
Why does The Incredible Inman publish an email address? If his readers have email, they have Google. And if his readers have Google, they could learn the answers to their TV-trivia questions in .3 seconds instead of waiting for months for an answer to appear in the paper. Perhaps it's time for The Incredible Inman to move on to some tougher questions that aren't so Googlable, such as "Why does The Incredible Inman publish an email address?"
From last week's City Strobe:

Thank you sir, may I have another?
Last Saturday, many local citizens gave up their cars for World Car-Free Day, which was sort of like burning a stick of Nag Champa in a Port-A-John on day 10 of the Derby Festival. A nice thought, but the stink is already entrenched. And it might seem tough to focus on the emissions coming from all our jammed traffic when the city’s got Rubbertown chemical plants spewing carcinogens into the air.

But Rubbertown neighbors are fighting back. In an August settlement, residents won a class action requiring Zeon Chemicals to install a thermal oxidizer to reduce the cancer-causing chemical 1,3-butadiene, and to reduce emissions of styrene and acrylonitrile (which help put the “lay” in latex).

If they agree to the $5.3 million settlement, Zeon’s closest neighbors would also receive $1,200-$1,800 each, which won’t pay to remove a tumor, but hey, times are tough. In order to receive their settlement, though, neighbors must sign an agreement to A) not say anything negative about the company; B) not file another lawsuit; C) collect no damages from the company for 10 years; and D) allow a Zeon executive to come by once a month and administer a wedgie. OK, D is a slight exaggeration.

Besides hamstringing its neighbors from keeping an eye on future violations, the agreement would effectively silence Rubbertown’s most vocal advocates. District Judge John G. Heyburn II will review the fairness of the appropriately named gag rule in November.
From last week's City Strobe:

Damn that traffic jam
A new study shows Louisville ranks third among mid-sized cities with the worst traffic jams, costing local drivers an annual $395 million in gasoline and lost time they could have spent standing around the water cooler demanding more concrete and bridges.
According to the Texas Transportation Institute study, the average Louisville driver wastes 42 hours and 14.4 gallons of gas each year sitting idly in traffic — if by “idly” you mean talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, shaving, watching SpongeBob and tickling the CrackBerry. The 42 hours Louisville drivers waste in traffic jams compares with the medium-city national average of 28, and our own 1982 average of 18.

The study, funded in part by the Coalition to Pave Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot … er, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, found that drivers nationwide lose 4.2 billion hours and 2.9 billion gallons of gas per year sitting in traffic. Their surprising solution? Build more roads. While the funding source of the study might raise eyebrows, there’s no denying Louisville has serious traffic hairballs. (Besides, when has a Texan ever lied to you?)

The state’s brain trust agrees with the road-builders, as current plans include building two new bridges and a 24-lane-wide concrete bonnet over a big chunk of downtown. The Bridges Project got a wee setback last week when companies bidding on the East End portion said they want at least $5 million more than the $14 million projected just to drill an exploratory tunnel that might eventually become a traffic tunnel leading to what might someday become an East End bridge. Because it’s not what they do, none of the researchers or the road-builders are talking about better bus service, light rail, bicycling or sensible suburban design; building the bridge to common sense, of course, is up to you.