Thursday, December 31, 2009

581. Farewell to 2009

Thus ends another year. The skies are dark and grey, although it is not all that cold right this moment. The temperature here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 is about 42 degrees and the wind is, oddly, southerly. All that is scheduled to change later tonight when the mercury will dip into the high teens or low 20s, amidst what is now rain and drizzle, there will likely be ice and sleet for the year's-end celebration.

This entry is set to review the blog over the year and here and there a look ahead to 2010 and what plans might be made. This will be the 154th entry for the year, down from the 167 of 2008, and considerably down from the 250 during the first year's writing. There is a message in those numbers which will probably be borne out sometime in 2010.

The year started with a recollection of the Kentucky counties which I visited in 2008, something I've kept track of since 1979. I've been to all of Kentucky's counties at least twice, but usually make it only to 45 or 60 in any given year. This year's number is 45, compared with 44 in 2008. For the 22nd year in a row, Elliott and Lawrence have eluded me. These two counties I've been to only twice in the 31 years I've been keeping count - in 1979 and 1987. Twenty-two years is too long not to visit places like Ordinary, Sandy Hook, Blaine, Louisa, and Fallsburg, the latter being the hometown of former governor Paul Patton. Sometime this year, I'll see those places again - maybe I'll ask the inhabitants thereof what is on their minds as we begin the statewide races for 2011. Elliott is the most reliably Democratic county in the Commonwealth.

Later entries in January 2009 dealt with my return to City Hall, a trip to Washington to see Barack Obama inaugurated, and an ice storm of grand and trajic proportion visited upon the city. I'm not as pleased with President Obama as I was with candidate Obama - is anyone ever so? He has had a year to play. I hope 2010 is far more successful for him and the country than 2009 proved to be. I'm not sure how he is to accomplish that, but I am hopeful that he has some idea. One of the deficiencies of the last administration was their clear lack of a plan - other than the schemes of Big Dick Cheney. This administration must put forth some plan of action. Failed plans are better than no plans. FDR went through several iterations of plans when he was dealing with his recession.

February's entries marked Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, a visit to Belknap Theater, the viewing of two films at the cinema (the last time I've "been to the movies"), and a decision regarding my religious affiliation. On the 15th I announced that I would begin the steps necessary to leave the Roman Catholic Church and join the Episcopal Church. It was a decision I had been very slowly making since the summer of 2003. That decision will become final on January 24, 2010, when I am officially received into the Episcopal Church of the Advent by Bishop Ted Gulick of the Diocese of Kentucky.

March's entries seemed mostly concerned with basketball. Imagine that - a blog in Kentucky mentioning basketball in March. There is also an entry on Kevin Triplett's deer-meat chili, a truckride to the Indiana village of Orleans, and the unfortunate passing of Chuck Olmstead, who was a friend for many years.

With Spring springing in April, it is obvious I took to the roadways. There are pictures from Bath County, the community of Salt Lick, the Nada Tunnel in Red River Gorge, and an intersection in Perry County. There are also pictures of Kentucky's earliest division of counties, a Louisville road map, and a flooded Churchill Downs.

May began with a 50-1 shot winning the Kentucky Derby - Mine That Bird. And while 2009 was a non-election year, May is still, even without an election, a naturally political month in Kentucky, the month in which our primaries are held. In a variety of entries, I manged to mention Gore Vidal, Jim Wayne, Perry Clark, Doug Hawkins, Dan Borsch, Robert Linn (of Pennsylvania), Rand Paul, John Yarmuth, Richard Nixon, William Taft, James K. Polk, Steve Beshear, and Stuart Perelmuter. Stuart, by the way, will be 30 (Damn!) next week and is celebrating the big day with a party. He is one of my favorite people on the planet.

On June 1st, we celebrated Kentucky's 217th birthday. Well, at least I did. I don't think there were any official commemorations. Later entries were all over the board - a Lincoln statue dedication, an immigration discussion with fellow blogger Paul Hosse, a trip with my friend Preston to a place called Preston Plantation, and a meandering discussion on racetrack slots wherein I mentioned ten different Kentucky counties, threw in some Scripture, invoked the names of former members of Congress Anne Northup and Henry Hyde, and reminded my readers of the fun I had with a bottle (and a half) of Old Forester Bourbon the night John Yarmuth was elected in 2006. That was quite an entry. June closed in a much more somber and recollective manner upon the death of music icon Michael Jackson.

The long, hot, summer days of July saw Craig Greenberg exit the mayor's race and Sarah Palin exit the governor's office in Alaska. Then there was the "Dan" entry - some political coverage of Dan Mongiardo, Dan Seum, Dan Kelly, and the son of Danny Meyer. Other entries mentioned Shakespeare in Central Park, and memories from 1998 of the race for Mayor of Louisville, and 1969 of Neil Armstrong's landing on the moon.

The first Saturday in August marks the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County. For the first time in many years, I did not attend. Instead of the hot and sweaty winds of west Kentucky and arguably vulgar mouth of Jack Conway, instead I wrote of Louisville's inundation by a flood on August 4th. It was devastating to a number of mostly inner-city neighborhoods, the same areas which flooded in the Great Flood of 1937. I lost a water-heater and furnace due to standing water in my cellar. Others' losses were much, much greater. Mid-August brought the State Fair and the special election of Robin Webb in east Kentucky, and the long-awaited but hard to accept death of United States Senator Edward Kennedy.

September's entries included a trip with Chris Hartmann to an Indian restaurant on Bardstown Road, comments on Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina effectively calling the president a liar, and former President Jimmy Carter effectively calling Congressman Wilson a racist. Tense times. By the way, Joe Wilson is being challenged in 2010 by Rob Miller, a former Marine, who also ran in 2008. You may want to look into that race. Later entries centered on activities at the Kentucky Democratic Party and the revival of a proposed amendment to the KDP By-Laws concerning Special Elections in Fayette and Jefferson counties, a proposal I first made in 2005. My proposal was repeatedly opposed by Tim Longmeyer, the Jefferson County Democratic Party chair. As politics is strange at times, Tim has now proposed virtually the same language he opposed for several years. Whatever his reasoning, I support the changes. Finally, there were several entries on my father's failing health. I'm happy to report that since late October he has been doing considerably better.

Comments on President Barack Obama's win of the Nobel Peace Prize were among October's entries. Others included roadtrips to Owen, Carroll, and Fayette counties, and another through the 14th Senate District in Kentucky's so-called Holy Land. A Harvest Moon began the month and an extremely funny and rather over-the-top sexually performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Actors Theater closed it out.

November was mostly consumed with my trip, aboard a Greyhound, to San Antonio, Texas. I had a great time both on the trip and in the city, and wrote several entries to that effect. The trip was inspired by one taken by my friend Keith and his friend Daniel earlier in the year to Los Angeles and back, also on a Greyhound. A note - the two of them arrived early this morning in New York City, again, by way of a Greyhound bus. At some point I might write about the problems of riding the Greyhound, but not now. The end of the month brought the number of visitors to my blog to 60,000. Wow.

That brings us up to December with its shorter days and longer nights. Entries mention President Obama's war, a memorial tribute to my grandfather on Pearl Harbor Day, stunning losses to the Kentucky Democratic Party in two Special Elections, a discussion on political correctness with a Lexington friend, the possibility of new tax revenues mentioned by Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, the celebration of Christmas, and the passing of a very wonderful and giving person, Mrs. Sylvia Cross, at the age of 92. She will be sorely missed for many generations to come. May her souls and the souls of all the departed Rest In Peace.

So long 2009.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.