Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hidden Location #7

It's been a while - the "camera" part of my phone has been sending pictures other than to my email.

This one should be easy.

Happy Fifth Day of Christmas. Seven more to celebrate.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

667. Merry Christmas and all that

First, some old business. On December 1, someone (Anonymous) posted a comment (which for some reason did not show up until today) about me singing Frank Sinatra's My Way in Mr. Moorman's Chemistry class and Mrs. Risner's English class. In my music list published in September, I failed to include it. While it has not remained one of my favorites, it was in fact at one time one of them. I learned to play My Way on the piano in Shera Baker's living over in Treasure Island. I still play it often as it is one of the few songs I was actually taught to play, by Shera no less, as opposed to most of my music which I picked up by ear. But Shera and I were never in class together so whoever posted that comment has to be someone in my class, another person who probably turned 50 this year. Whoever it was, I appreciate your reminder about what was once one of my favorite songs.

With that out of the way - sort of, we'll get back to the turning 50 - today is Christmas Day. Merry Christmas to all of you, Christian or not. Christmas is at once a religious holiday, a cultural one, and significantly a commercial one. Most people get something out of it, even the atheists. That's all fine with me.

I used to get more out of Christmas than I do nowadays. Growing up Christmas was a big, big deal. We celebrated five different places usually, the main one being at home with my maternal grandparents where me, my mother, and my brother lived. We usually had relatives staying one or two nights, either Aunt Dorothy, my grandmother's aunt, or Uncle Milford, my grandfather's little brother. We'd also go to my Dad's house, and to my Dad's parents' house, as well as my great-grandparents' houses in Frankfort - the Lewis family home on Old Louisville Road and the Hockensmith home, originally on Devils Hollow Road, but later on Cavern Drive off what used to be called Parkside Drive but is now the West Frankfort Connector.

Most of those people are dead - my great-grandparents (I knew four of my great-grandparents, six if you count step-great-grandmothers), all of my grandparents, Aunt Dorothy, and Uncle Milford, and quite a few others. Even a generation closer, my dad's older brother, Uncle Don to everyone who knew him, has been dead since April 2005. The family members have been replaced generationally by my brother's children - six of them, ranging in age from 23 to 7. So, at least the Christmas morning part of Christmas is reserved for them. The youngest three are still at my brother's house and while I didn't this year, I have been over there in Christmasses-past to see the wild abandon of opening presents.

The adults in my family, along with these three youngest members, will gather later this week at my Mom's for our family celebration, a small but nice affair. We'll eat dinner and exchange presents, many of which will be gift cards. My mother decides the day we actually celebrate (not only Christmas but all the other holidays including birthdays) based on a number of factors with this year's decision being complicated by her not feeling well the last week or so.

For me, Christmas has come to mean attending Mass. Over the years I've done so mostly at Holy Family, my church home for just over thirty years, up until this year. When I was in my twenties, I regularly attended with a number of college friends at Saint Francis of Assisi. A few times I went to the Cathedral of the Assumption downtown, once to St. John's UCC downtown, and a few other times I went to the Episcopal Church of the Advent, the church I finally joined very early this year after wandering in the religious desert for several years, all the while maintaining an active membership at Holy Family. Since joining Advent, I've tried to be just as active there as I was in my old church.

Christmas comes just once a year, so the song goes. Frankly, as I get older, I am thankful for that. Getting older, by the way, is what 2010 has mostly meant for me. While I had a very busy and successful year politically, all of that has been internally overshadowed by two related events - being 49 while anticipating being 50, and actually being 50, which I've honestly not yet mastered as I've at this point passed the 1/3 mark of my 51st year. For most of the year being 49, I recognized that I was getting older. I'm still apparently healthy despite significant health problems when I was 44. I'm also still active enough to enjoy myself. But I also realized that there is lots left to do.

On September 23rd I turned 50, celebrating in grand proportion (as far as I'm concerned) with a party (on the 19th) attended by 175 people and recorded for posterity and subsequently posted on my Facebook page. Friends from throughout my life attended and I was very pleased. My entire family was there at some point as was many in my current political family, noticeably my congressman who stayed for most of the three hour party. But then, instead of "getting" older, I actually got older when the 23rd rolled around four days after the party.

Suddenly, the terminus of my life is not so far away. Hopefully it is still well on down the road, but I am likely much closer to the end than the beginning. And that has not been a pleasant experience thus far. In all of my life, while I've had a few relationships, none of them have lasted long, and none of them have been entirely fulfilling. And now, at 50, I've come very close to deciding that I do not want to be alone as I wander into the twilight of my life a few years from now. And I've decided that there are things left to do which cannot be left undone. That famous "bucket list" that people have is rather full for me and the time has come to do something about that.

My guess is that means more than making new friends and going to new places. It also entails a new attitude about what and who is and isn't important. While I have few extremely close friends, I am blessed to have lots of friends, many of whom I've kept as friends for ten, twenty, thirty, and even a few for forty years. I've also worked hard at creating and maintaining a friendship base with those ten, twenty, and even thirty years younger than me. Somehow I think that helps keep one's outlook in perspective, as there are far more people younger than me in control of society than those of my age or older. Even President Obama is younger than me. Having young friends is also good for the soul. Further, some with whom I've been close the last few years are finding their own ways, independent of my control or influence. While it is hard to let go of some of that, it is also a necessary component of life but one that is fairly new to me. In particular my friend Keith, whom I first met in 2000, has departed with his new partner for New York to do whatever it is that people do when they are in their mid-20s and free of most any restraints. And I'm very happy for him and have been supportive when asked. I love him dearly.

I've also decided to divorce myself from a very limited number of people, although I'm not quite sure I'm fully prepared to do so. Thus far there has been only one on that list although I suspect 2011 will see a few more be set aside. And I've decided to aggressively pursue some new friends while I have time to do so. Such pursuit is the direct result of one conversation I had with the one person I've thus far set aside. I hope it will work. I have no idea if it will or not.

I have other plans for 2011. One is to continue the diet I've been upon since November 3rd. I've lost 25 pounds so far, just under half my goal. I'm very happy about that - it is the first time I've lost weight in twenty years. Ironically, the last time I went on a diet, twenty years ago, one reason was because I thought I was getting older. Now I am; now I have to.

My hope is 2011 will see siginificant change in my life. I'm not all that sure what that change might be, but I am planning to engage it, envelope myself in it, and enjoy it for all it may be worth. That's my Christmas present to myself. A renewal of my life plan. It is the best Christmas present I've given myself in a long time, perhaps the best ever. We'll see how it goes.

I hope Christmas has been and is and will be for you as rewarding as what I am planning for it to be for me. To my seven faithful readers, and all the rest of you, Merry Christmas and God's Blessings.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Latest Winner on Hidden Location

Marty Meyer must be following me around. He correctly identified the location as River Road, looking toward downtown, alongside the old River Road Country Club property.

The old country club property is being converted to a park by Louisville Metro government which owns the land. The clubhouse was recently raised. One of the features of this property is the appearance, here and there, of an old set of railroad tracks. The Louisville, Harrod's Creek, and Westport Railroad once ran alongside River Road, or just to the southeast of River Road. The rail line never quite made it to Westport, an idyllic little village in Oldham County. The final destination along the line was Propsect.

The narrow-guage tracks remain along quite bit of the route, covered over by time and topsoil. There are sets of tracks below many parcels of land in our county, and more than a few streets. They are most noticeable when one of the utility companies are doing work and their construction takes them below the current grade of the road. Arguments are considered to revive Louisville's already-on-site light rail system which formerly served horse-drawn trolleys and later interurban lines reaching out to places like Okolona, Valley Station, Middletown, Jeffersontown, and Prospect.

I'm not sure which lines are still there or which rights-of-ways remain. But it is worth considering - something I do every time I see those tracks peek through the ground along River Road at the old River Road Country Club.

Congratulations, Marty. There will be another hopefully more difficult hidden location soon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy 37th, Rob. Rest In Peace, Mr. Ambassador

Today would have been my friend Rob's 37th birthday. I miss him. Next summer he will have been dead twenty years, the victim of a motorcycle wreck on Preston Highway at Standiford Lane.

Rob was joined today in eternity by Richard Holbrooke, a man I've never met, but one whose name has been in an out of American diplomatic news since before Rob left this world.

Mr. Holbrooke, a former American ambassador, was President Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, two places among many that the president and America needs a second set of experienced eyes and ears. Mr. Holbrooke was that. This is a sad and great loss for America's ship of State.

Happy Birthday Rob. Rest In Peace Mr. Ambassador Holbrooke.

665. Can't we at least say "No" to anal? -- from The Rude Pundit

I received the following in the email today from my friend Ray Crider. I like it a lot. Be warned, there are enough f-bombs in it to start a decent orgy. It comes from "The Rude Pundit" whose writing can be found at


Note to the Weary Left: It's Okay to Have Principles:

So after backing President Obama on compromise after compromise on various bills, on the stimulus, on health care reform, after supporting and advocating for deals that were not only far from perfect, but were in some ways detrimental to the cause for which the bills themselves were created, after watching the President reach out again and again to Republicans, only to be told he wasn't reaching out enough and only to watch Obama say that he needs to do more to compromise, after seeing Republicans drub Democrats in an election because many Democrats were too afraid to stand for anything Democratic for fear of seeming too "partisan," after listening to Obama justify doing almost everything that George W. Bush did in the name of national security and, in some cases, going further, after years and years of watching Democrats allowing Republicans to set the terms of all arguments, whether in the majority or minority, after investing in Barack Obama the modicum of hope he asked for in changing the terms of that long, ongoing American political fistfight, only to see the whole thing twisted again by the right as they put forth the most obnoxiously anti-American candidates they could find and obstructed progress in an unprecedented way, finally, on this one thing, on absolutely opposing allowing the tax rate for the wealthiest 2% of Americans to rise by a small margin, we on the left are told by people across the political spectrum that we want too much and that we need to back down and that we need to be happy because this is the best we're gonna get.

To which the Rude Pundit can only say, "Blow me." You're allowed to dissent, dear, worried liberals. You're allowed to draw a fucking inviolable line. The Rude Pundit has supported Obama on issue after issue, but he is allowed to join with many Democrats in the Congress and call, "Bullshit." No one gets a blank check.

No, thank God, Allah, Buddha, Everyone, or No One, he's not facing the panic and horror of having his unemployment insurance cut off, the extension of which should never have been tied to the tax cuts at all (and was the stupidest move by every Democrat in DC). But what he's facing is the long-term horror of our decimated economy after a decade of irrational policies, topped by the political suicide bomb of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. He's facing the inevitable result of multiple decades of unending attacks on the poor by government budget cuts and corporate exploitation. And who fucking warned everyone about this? Who stood there, even in the good times, waving their fuckin' arms and saying that there's gonna be hell to pay, when Reagan gutted programs for the poor and then slashed taxes while building up the military for no good reason other than to pay off contractors? Who jumped up and down for attention while Clinton triangulated the fuck out of the welfare safety net? Who had the most credibility when Bush II raided the Treasury to give money to the rich while fighting two wars? While all three of them gutted regulations on financial and other industries? Yeah, we on the left, motherfuckers.

Bernie Sanders' epic speech on the Senate floor wasn't just about the tax cut. It was about an insanity of instant financial gratification that puts the desires of the very few above the needs of the very, very many, an insanity that has fucked this country for the rest of our lives. Again and again, with the assistance of the conservative Democrat Mary Landrieu, who voted for the original tax cuts, Sanders came back to the income disparity that has turned the United States into an oligarchy. Shit, it was always that way. But at least it was a benevolent oligarchy. Not anymore, as Wall Street greed pulls on our flayed flesh to finally skin us all alive.

Don't worry. The tax cut extension will pass. The unemployment benefits extension will pass, as it should. We will put off any hard decisions on our future again for two years. And then, don't worry, we'll put them off again. Because that's who we are. That's our learned behavior. We are Americans and we've forgotten how to sacrifice anything because no one for a generation has asked us to. We're like Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas: we've decided to drink ourselves to death while being cared for by whores.

Oh, dear weary, weary leftists all, we've been treated like the once-virginal cheerleader who gave in when the quarterback wanted a hand job and then gave in again when he wanted a blow job, saying that it wasn't sex, no, not really, giving in, yes, even though it was against our core beliefs, to straight fucking, but, god, can't we at least say "No" to anal? Or is that too much to ask anymore?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hidden Location #6 and the winner on #5

Marty Meyer correctly identified Hidden Location #5 as the corner of South Park and Blue Lick roads. Specifically the picture is looking to the south-southeast. The industrial building in the background, on the southeast corner, is a boat sales, service, and storage outfit. That property is the old Mohr property. Across the street for many years stood the old Holsclaw house, which was moved when I was a kid from that corner to just down South Park Road to the west. A Korean family has operated a small farm at that site for over thirty years. The Silver Heights Shppoing Center is just south of this intersection and I was standing in the property that was known, when I was a kid, as the Moody property. The old Moody mansion, historically the McCawley mansion, was torn down in the early 1990s.

Of the two streets in this intersection, Blue Lick is by far the older and may have been a part of the branch of the Wilderness Road which broke off from the more well-known one in central Kentucky. History tells us that a branch generally followed the Salt River west from Harrodsburg over to the Shepherdsville area, specifically to the Bullitt Salt Licks, thence northward to what is now Preston Highway in Okolona, and from there northwestward to the ancient Buffalo crossing of the Ohio River at 26th Street. All of these roads follow old buffalo paths established long before this area was occupied by the pioneers of the 18th century.

South Park, on the other hand, is relatively new. It was called either Depot Station or Deposit Station Road well into the 20th century and connected Okolona to Fairdale via Minor's Lane (or as the county now calls it, Minor Lane). The section from the southern terminus of Minors Lane, where Pape's Hardware once occupied the building on the northeast corner, was pushed through over to Blue Lick in the 1920s. The final section, connecting Blue Lick to Preston came somewhat later although I am unsure of when.

We have a new location today for your perusal and comments. In identifying the location, I would ask that you be specific - street, location, and general area. Good luck.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

664. Which should be of more concern?

Should I be more upset with the governor's overlooking of the Kentucky Constitution, as pointed out in my post last week, in granting economic benefits - read your tax dollars at work - to a religious theme park or should I be more upset that the Commander-In-Chief of the United States of America, who ran on a platform of Change, has now decided that not only is it important to move to the center to govern, but it is even okay to cross the center line and grant millionaire's an unneeded tax break? Which is it?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hidden Location #5

I've already mentioned that Curtis Morrison got the answer to Hidden Location #4 in a matter of fifteen minutes. Below is the next entry in the game, Hidden Location #5. Leave your comments below. The answer will be either acknowledged or revealed on Thursday.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

663. Senator-elect Rand Paul and the potential end of the American empire, briefly

At first, I thought Sen.-elect Paul would be alone, relegated to a corner by the real senators, including Mitch. But, Rand is going to be a leader. He will succeed at cutting everything since the Republicans have given into to the Tea Party and the president is giving into to the Republicans. Maybe that is what it will take to get the country back on course. Cut everything down to where we become the third-rate country they keep saying we are. It will be their fault. They have or will cut taxes and spending and eventually everyone - white, black, other, rich, poor, educated, ignorant, straight, gay, religious, atheist, and all others will be on the receiving end of a government that can do nothing. And that point, and only then, when everyone and everything is effectively affected, will be the turning point. It might take a few months or a few years. But it will happen. And that's when America will either completely fail as a result of the Republicans and their ilk financially starving the country, or we will again start paying the pipers for the dances and retake our place of hegemony in the world.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

662. Mt. Ararat in Grant County, Ky. - and a winner on Hidden Location #4

Let's handle the Hidden Location news first. My friend Curtis Morrison, one of the leaders of the anti-tolls group in Louisville, an erstwhile supporter of Councilman Hal Heiner's unsuccessful bid to become mayor, and a blogger in his own right, wordsmithying at, correctly identified Hidden Location #4 within fifteen minutes of my posting it, a new record. While I was prepared to accept "Dixie Highway and Ralph Avenue" as the most correct answer, Morrison, who likes pushing envelopes to their most inconceivable limits, was even more specific, identifying the location as "Dixie Highway and Clinton Place," which is actually a few hundred feet south of where I was standing when I took the picture. Clinton Place is the rather unknown name of a street of government-subsidized apartments on Shively's northside. Very few people would ever had gotten that specific, so my commendation goes to Mr. Morrison. A new Hidden Location will appear soon after my return to the Commonwealth.


On a different matter, I was in another state today when, lo and behold, there upon the TV screen appeared the Honorable Steve Beshear, governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The governor is a friend of mine who is seeking reelection to his office in 2011. Today's appearance was to announce an economic development project which will assist in the funding of a Noah's Ark-based theme park in Grant County. I have a First Amendment-based problem with those plans but there may be facts I've not been made aware of.

Noah's Ark, you may recall, settled, at least according to the 4th verse of the 8th chapter of the Book of Genesis, as found in my well-read and well-worn Bible, on the 27th day of the 7th month of the flood in the "Mountains of Armenia" which we've decided is someplace called Ararat on or near the border between Iran and Turkey. Today's announcement would have a theme-park built around the biblical story of Noah and the Ark placed in Grant County in northern Kentucky.

Having seen the press conference, upon my return to Kentucky I intend to pen a letter to my friend the governor. I heard him explaining this Ark-thing as an economic development venture. I'm trying to recall if bringing the Presbyterians to Louisville in the 1980s was a similar economic development venture. There are some tax rewards to be sure, but does respecting the views of one religion over another, something the United States Constitution prohibits, merit such an investment on the part of the taxpayers? The governor said he would invite other denominations with similar plans to make their pitch for similar projects. It makes me feel the earth move under my feet - actually more of a slippery slope down which I do not want to go.

If we are to maintain the so-called "separation of church and state," words which, by-the-way, do not appear in the United States Constitution, should we not avoid entanglements such as this one, where taxpayer dollars are being used in what appears to be a "respecting the establishment of religion," words which, by-the-way, do appear in the United States Constitution.

Further, Section 5 of Kentucky's fourth (and present) Constitution, under the heading "Right of Religious Freedom" offers the following language:

No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

I'm not an attorney so maybe I simply do not know what I am talking about. I've been in that situation before. But I am a Christian who feels that my religious practice should be just that - mine, and by extension, so should everybody else's practices be theirs. I'm not much of an evangelizer even though the Bible says I should be. But that is a problem between me and my God and not me and my state. And that's the way I think it should be. There should be a separation of my civil practices and my religious practices - a separation of church and state. They should neither overlap nor interfere with each other. Nor should they overlap or interfere with others' practices or non-practices of their own beliefs.

If the government is to fund this religious undertaking in the name of an economic development project, we should also reap the benefits of taxing the property, income, and other assets of the park just as we would any other piece of property. And, maybe we are. Someone needs to make that clear.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hidden Location #4 and the winners on #3

Ok, so the last one was too easy. Brook, just south of Main, looking south, correctly identified by all involved. Michael's comment tells a tale. Last week, after coffee, wine, and dessert at Bristol, my friend Elizabeth made a request, so I delivered.

Here is Hidden Location #4 which is, hopefully, a bit more difficult. Leave comments.

661. Errant Strokes

Well into the night, I had some surprise conversation with a friend I had been missing. We're both suffering from a similar malady and it was good to reconnect. I'm recognising I often hastily and callously paint a canvass with the wrong emotional colors and that time eventually corrects such errant strokes. Even in these shortest of days, it is best to be optimist (and I am), even if not a very good one at times.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hidden Location #3 and the answer to #2

The responses were in the neighborhood but not on the money. The answer is W. Hill Street looking east. That's the 14th Street Railroad overpass in the distance and beyond that 13th Street and the Park Hill area.

The hint had to do with the street intersection where the picture was taken. On the south side of Hill it is 16th; on the north side it is 15th. Hence the -1, the difference between 16 and 15. And the railroad, which takes the place of 14th, allows for the second -1.

Here is a new photo --

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hidden Location #2 and a winner on #1

Well, that didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. Thanks to JeffNClifton and Marty for their answers. JeffNClifton was in the neighborhood but a little to the northwest.

Marty's answer, Ormsby looking east at I-65, is correct. The picture was taken in the 300 block of E. Ormsby Avenue. That's S. Preston Street in the distance.

Here is a new photo --

I await your comments/answers. Thanks for playing.

UPDATE - - This one is taking longer than the last one. None of many, many present players have correctly guessed the location. So here is your first obscure and probably not too helpful hint:

-1 behind you, and -1 more in front.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hidden Location #1

As promised, a new feature - a new feature admittedly blatantly copied from Here is your first Hidden Location to guess its location. Leave answers in the Comments section. We'll see how this goes. One other note: if you click on the picture, it should open up in a much larger window.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

660. Changes

That title - Changes - implies a lot. 2010 has been a year of changes for me. But this posting will not address all of that. I'm not ready to face all of those changes just yet, and much less write about them anymore than I have.

But I get comments not on the blog but in person from people reminding me to blog more often. I have gradually gotten out of the habit of blogging. While I could blame it on a number of things, mostly it has just been laziness - not taking the time to do it. And, like billions of other people, I have been blogging, so-to-speak, a lot more often in short paragraphs on Facebook and in 140 space comments on Twitter. Somehow I need to marry these social media thoughts with the blog so that we don't lose relevance or viability here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. It may or may not be too late, I don't know.

So, as a starter, my plan is to blog here more often by repeating some of the things I write about over on Facebook. I know I have at least one time copied over here a lenghty exchange on Facebook between me and Preston Bates, someone I used to converse with a lot but that haven't actually spoken with or seen in person for over three months. Nonetheless, we do get caught in the Facebook web now and then. So, again as a plan, I will be entering shorter posts on occasion copied from my own words, and those of others, from Facebook and/or Twitter.

I plan also to outright steal an idea from Brandon Klayko, who blogs at the Broken Sidewalk (, a great blog concerning development and traffic patterns from around Louisville and the world. Brandon used to post pictures taken along one of Louisville's streetscapes and then ask his readers to identify the location. He hasn't done that since October 5th when he posted a picture taken in the 300 block of W. Woodlawn Avenue. I always enjoyed trying to guess the location and making comments when appropriate.

Given that there hasn't been such a posting in seven weeks, I will start the same game myself. If Brandon restarts the game on his end, I'll rethink my plagiarism.

So, that's the plan. We see if my execution fares well or not. Tomorrow I will post the first of the "Hidden Location" spots for my seven faithful readers to take a stab at identifying. I do not plan to limit the pictures to Louisville and Jefferson County, although most will be from this area. Some will also be out in the state or over in southern Indiana. But tomorrow's, as an introduction, will be a Louisville location. So, stay tuned.

Unrelated, today would have been my paternal grandfather's 104th birthday. His name was U. G. Noble, and he was a native of Alabama. He died on July 5, 1987 in Shelbyville and is buried at Louisville Memorial Gardens West in Shively.

Thanks for reading. Remember to look for tomorrow's Hidden Location stumper.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

659. Get Right With God - Point/Counterpoint

My friend Tim Havrilek has been mentioned here in the blog before. He operates The Underground Rooster blog, a blog which is subtitled Politics and Life in Western Kentucky. This morning Tim's entry was called West Kentucky Results and My Take on General Election. I felt at least parts of it deserved a response. Below is Tim's entry (in italics) and following that is my response. Tim's blog, should you wish to read it for yourself, and I suggest you doing so as it, like mine, wanders from time-to-time away from politics can be accessed at But, this entry, and my response, are commentary on a subject Tim and I wholly agree upon - electing Democrats to office.

Tim Havrilek wrote:

It's early Wednesday morning and I'm still reviewing the results from across the state. First, I'm pleased that two of our clients were victorious that being Dennis Parrott in the 10th Senate District and Rep. Carl Rollins who chairs the House Education Committee. I'm sick about Will Cox Jr. losing his re-election bid for Mayor of Madisonville. The Republicans swept through Hopkins County. Sen. Jerry Rhoads retained his seat but lost his home county of Hopkins. Muhlenberg County provided Rhoads enough of a margin to win. The Republicans also picked up Eddie Ballards seat with the help of most big name Democrats in Hopkins. Republican Ben Waide won Eddie Ballard's seat with 56.59% of the vote (6,887 to Mike Duncan's 5,284. Rand Paul carried Hopkins County with 59% of the vote. Will Cox lost the mayor's race by 72 votes. It would appear that the African-American precincts in Madisonville decided to vote for Republicans this year.

Republicans did well in Trigg and Todd County. The Republicans retained the County Judge Executive position while picking up the Sheriff's office. Rand Pual carried Trigg by 19%. In Todd County Paul won also by 19% and Republicans picked up the County Judge Executive's seat.

Rex Smith waged a campaign that appeared to be very one-sided. Smith invested a lot of his own money and it seemed to have paid off. Bob Leeper's campaign was non-existent on the air waves. Smith ran very good commercials promoting his Christian and traditional West Kentucky values by using his Sunday School Class and pictures of himself with his shotgun as a backdrop. Former Governor Julian Carroll was also heavily involved in the Smith Campaign. Leeper did in fact pull the race out in the end with by a small margin from McCracken County losing Marshall and Ballard Counties.

It would appear that the Senate Democrats have lost two seats with Boswell and Reynolds losing and have picked up one Conservative Democrat by gaining Dennis Parrett . It would also appear the Republicans have gained a net 7 seats in the Kentucky House.

So what's the lesson. Well it's the same as its been for the last 26 years. Simply put there has never been nor will there ever be a future for a progressive/liberal agenda in Kentucky. Kentucky should have divorced itself years ago in a public manner from the National Democratic Party. Kentucky Democrats must embrace and promote only the issues important to the majority of Kentuckians. Jack Conway gave away a U.S Senate seat by not focusing and prioritising the federal issues important to Kentuckians that being agriculture, military,veterans, coal & fiscal conservatism. Until Democrats can prove that they are 100% committed to these issues then winning federal races will remain a futile effort in Rural Kentucky.

Democrats like Rex Smith, Will Coursey, and Martha Jane King were all smart enough to champion Christian values, guns, agriculture and veterans. In short, you don't get to hold office and talk about jobs and education until you get right with God and Rural Kentucky. Athough Smith lost his race he ran a very effective camapaine.

The lesson- There is no future in supporting or promoting the left wing platforms of the National Democratic Party. It's time for Conservative Democrats to rule the roost. The alternative-keep losing.

Below is my response:

Tim -- I tried to comment on your blog, as I have done many times in the past, but was restricted from doing so. Thus, I have copied below my comments in response to your most recent post. They take, as you might expect, an opposing view of some of what you said. Having said that, I otherwise hope all is well with you and yours.

Greetings from a tiny but bright Blue spot in a sea of Red, Louisville. I fully understand there are social issues which create a large gulf between how we vote up here and y'all vote down there. But I also believe that some of the "progressive/liberal" values we promote and support also offer and create a better way of life for many people, including your readership in rural and west Kentucky.

Serving the poor and the needy aren't geographic or ideologic issues. Providing healthcare - not the Obamacare which has many people upset, but the healthcare known as Medicare and Medicaid at the federal level, and K-chip and other programs at the state level, again, aren't geographic or ideologic issues - they are issues of importance to people in all of Kentucky's 120 counties.

I know that we on the left do an absolutely horrible job of communicating why these issues are important, irrespective of one's place on the political spectrum or the address and zip code on one's mailbox. The fact remains that these and many other tenets of the National Democratic Party serve well the hopes, dreams, and importantly, the needs of rural and west Kentuckians, as well as the rest of us.

If we as a country continue on a path of less government, continued lower and lower taxes, and widening the chasm of civility between people on the left and people on the right, and all of those in the middle, sooner or later there will be no government left to serve any one at any level for any purpose. That is the slippery slide of which we should all have a measure of concern. And, once down that slide which we've already begun, will be catastrophic for all Americans.

There is a reason that the founding fathers began the words of our Republic's guiding document, the United States Constitution, with the single word "We" - a word of simultaneous plurality and oneness. They understood that for America to succeed and thrive, which it has, there must be a social contract and construct among us. Since the election of Ronald Reagan, who successfully taught us the fallacy that the government is bad, our country has become less and less a citizenry of "We the people" and more and more a citizenry of "Everyman for himself and to hell with those who can't keep up."

I do not believe that "survival of the fittest" is in the best interests of the great many of us who, collectively [a word which I know I should not have used but there is no other which fully suggests its definition], are called Americans. And in the end, I hope that voters who feel this way will see the error of their ways and return towards Jesus' teachings in the gospels of "feed my sheep, tend to the poor, care for the elderly, the homeless, the orphaned, and the widowed." He also said to "render unto God and to render unto Caesar." Neither God (religion) nor Caesar (government) can do their respective works of grace, mercy, and justice, without sufficient support from the people.

It is wrong to believe that people who think as I do have not "gotten right with God" nor are not "championing Christian values" as you suggest. Most of us take very strongly our belief in God, our various denominational religious teachings, and fully believe we are in fact "right with God" and are working assiduously to "champion our Christian values."


Your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day 2010

I was voter #3 at in precinct N134 at the Cable Baptist Church gym early this morning. I always get a little emotional when I vote knowing that, along with millions of other Americans, some in their right minds and others in the right wing, I am doing my part. Irrespective of a person's political place on the spectrum, voting is an essential part of being an American. Failing to vote is, for me, a difficult thing to explain. Intentionally failing to vote, for me, is unpatriotic and treasonous.

I understand that not everyone is always happy with the choices they are offered on the ballot, often having to choose between the lesser of two evils in their minds. Very few of us, in any undertaking, whether at church, work, play, and/or especially in our personal lives, are always happy with the choices we have to make. But we do make them and live with the consequences.

In a previous post, I mentioned there were four election years of my thirty-two years of participating, which have stood out in my memory. But I still participated in those other twenty-eight years. I think it is important to do so. But more importantly, I believe it to be my duty as an American to do so. As I said, doing less is unpatriotic and, perhaps, treasonous.

If you do not know if you are registered, or where to vote, follow this link:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

657. What happened to October?

Before October slips through the hourglass into the history books let me write a few words. First, Happy Hallowe'en. Hallowe'en has long been my favorite holiday for a variety of reasons. Of course, one of them is its proximity to Election Day, which is also a favorite day of mine. Through the magic of calendars, Hallowe'en and Election Day fall as close together as possible this year. I have no idea if that is good or bad, I just know that it is.

With Election Day starting about 46 hours from now, at least in Kentucky, a few comments are in order, but only a few. I will no doubt have more afterwards addressing what I believe will be the manifestation of certain decisions which were made or were failed to be made resulting in certain results for this or that candidate.

I should start by saying that I am a paid adviser to two of the campaigns, those of Greg Fischer for Mayor and John Yarmuth for reelection to the Congress. I expect each of those candidates to be successful on Tuesday and that will be a good thing for the voters of Louisville and Jefferson County, which, technically speaking, can still be considered as separate entities if one is speaking geographically. Louisville, in this case, represents the former City of Louisville, now known as the Louisville Urban Services District. Jefferson County is a constitutional subdivision of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. For the record, the only thing in this town known, erroneously, as Louisville Metro is the government which, for the record, is officially called Louisville-Jefferson County Metro. Nomenclature matters. But, I digress.

In addition to the races for mayor and congress, residents of Jefferson County will also be choosing one-half of their government's legislative council. While there are several being contested and more than a few may turn out an incumbent, one being closely watched is the 25th District, in southwestern Jefferson County, where Democratic candidate David Yates is working far harder than many candidates usually do to defeat Republican Doug Hawkins. Councilman Hawkins has represented the area since the new government's inception and is well known as casting a NO vote on each of Mayor Abramson's budgets since his election. Another council race being monitored is that in the 6th District, which covers territory in Old Louisville, California, and the South End, and, for the record, has no territory in Russell or Shelby Park, which is counter to what the Courier-Journal and at least one major party candidate regularly report. The race in the 6th was created by the unfortunate death of George Unseld. Through a series of interesting machinations, which for a local political junkie was like finding the proverbial pot o' gold at the end of a rainbow, the majority-Democratic council seated a registered Independent to serve until this upcoming election is certified. The local Democratic Party then selected a candidate whose presence in the district dates back only fifteen months. There is also the specter of a write-in campaign by a very popular Democrat which many locals pols give more than a fighting chance at winning. And, in this overwhelmingly Democratic district, there is even a Republican candidate whose husband appears to be supporting the write-in Democrat. I've done my best to avoid it all as I am very aware there are people interested in having me removed from my Democratic Party post should I cross any By-Law -placed bars while doing my usual election processes. I'm well aware of who these people are and I am watching them as closely as they are watching me, which, frankly, is a lot of fun.

We've also got quite a bit of our local judiciary on the ballot and while I haven't participated in any of those races other than a few contributions here and there, I am hopeful all of them are successful. Four judges which have recently been appointed to the bench by Governor Beshear are worthy of being retained for the balance of their respective terms. They are Circuit Judges Olu Stevens and Brian Edwards, and District Judges Sadiqa Reynolds and Erica Lee Williams. I am also supporting and voting to reelect District Judges Claude Prather and Katie King. Finally, where I live in Jefferson County, we are also having a race for the local school board. In that race I am supporting the appointed incumbent, Ms. Porter.

That's all for now. We've two full more days of campaigning left. But for now, I'm off to church on this All Hallows Eve, the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost.

Happy Hallowe'en.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On the passing of Cyril Allgeier

Wednesday afternoon my plan was to go home and take a nap after work - I've been keeping early morning and late evening hours as this year's campaign season is progressing ever more closely to 6:00 pm on Tuesday evening, November 2nd, the hour the polls close and the counting commences here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606.

On my way home, I stopped at the John Yarmuth for Congress headquarters at 600 E. Main Street in downtown Louisville, about three blocks from my home. There my plans for a quiet evening were changed as I agreed to accompany Elizabeth Sawyer, the campaign's chair, to two events on the evening schedule. In between I had her join me at one which wasn't on the schedule, held for Adam Edelen, a friend of many years who next year is seeking to succeed Crit Luallen as Kentucky's Auditor of Public Accounts.

We left from there and headed out towards Buechel and the American Legion Post on Bardstown Road where Congressman Yarmuth was hosting a Question-and-Answer session for Louisville's veterans. Along the way we got into a discussion about friends old and young. I made the comment to her that as I started attending political events at a very young age - usually in the tow of my late grandmother, Tommie Hockensmith - there are a number of people I've known all my life who are no longer of this world. One of the blessings I often count is that as those older friends pass on, I have managed to befriend a number of younger ones. Many of my latest political friends were born either in the late 1970s or somewhere in the 1980s. It is a little startling to think that kids born as late as November 2, 1992 are eligible to vote in this year's elections in eleven days. Within the Yarmuth campaign community, three different staffers have had or are having birthdays during the election season, and to my knowledge only one of those will have attained the ripe old age of 30. Elizabeth herself is 28 with a birthday due shortly after the election.

Having said all this to Elizabeth as we were driving out Newburg Road, I took the time out to call Mary Allgeier, who with her husband Cyril and their family, have been a part of my life since before I was old enough to drive. Cyril had been suffering from leukemia and its complications for many months and we all knew he wasn't long for this world. Mary and I had a short conversation and she and Cyril remained on my mind throughout the evening.

Very early the next morning, I received word that Cyril had died shortly after midnight. Word of his death travelled through Camp Taylor in minutes. Anyone and everyone who lives in Camp Taylor has had their lives touched by the Allgeier family in one way or another. Indeed, the family itself is one of the largest in this south central Louisville neighborhood, nestled between the Norfolk-Southern Railroad, Illinois Avenue, Audubon Park, and the Watterson Expressway. I've known of the Allgeier family since I was a student at Prestonia Elementary in the early 1970s. I graduated from Durrett High School with Tim, who is four days older than me, as well as his cousin Michelle, at whose home I spent many afternoons playing pool in the garage. There are very few streets in Camp Taylor, if any, that aren't populated by at least one Allgeier family.

In 1975, Cyril ran for office the first time in a group of nine or ten candidates seeking election to the old City of Louisville's Fourth Ward. He ran again in 1977, the year I became more involved, an election which also involved the election of Bill Stansbury as Mayor of Louisville. Mayor Stansbury died, tragically, when I was 24 but I considered him a friend despite the well-known errors of his administration. In the 1977 Fourth Ward Aldermanic Primary, Stansbury and Allgeier had a headquarters operation in the old Beasley [I think that was the name] Hardware, on the southwest corner of Indiana and Sherman avenues. We painted it, fixed it up, and put an orange, red, and white sign on the front announcing it to the voters in Camp Taylor. I was 16 at the time.

Mayor Stansbury went on to win that race but Cyril didn't. He sat out the 1979 race and returned as a candidate in 1981. Cyril's early races were ran by Jim Reddington and Don Noble, the former being the father of my friend Greg Reddington; the latter a former Fourth Ward Alderman himself, as well as my uncle, my father's older brother. Both are now deceased. Jim involved Greg and Don involved me in great measures in that campaign. Greg and I had worked together two years earlier in the unsuccessful campaign of Thelma Stovall for governor of Kentucky. (I also met Harry Johnson in that 1979 race and we, too, remain both active in politics and personal friends). Oddly, Greg and I will this afternoon, 31 years later, be walking a precinct together with Darryl Owens and Greg Fischer.

In my career of many, many political races over time, four have stood out. This election, the 1981 Primary, which was tantamount to election, is the first of those four chronologically. We worked very hard and very creatively to come up with an electoral margin of victory which remained in doubt until the votes were counted. The night before the election, in a somewhat drunken state, I predicted we would win by 37 votes. My Uncle Don said 100, Greg had said 99, and Cyril said 101. Even after the polls had closed and the counting was underway, there was some question as to who won the race and therein is one of the great, funny (and importantly true) political stories of all time. I won't tell it here but I will say it involved me, Greg, Charlie Schnell, and Mark Vincent, the latter whose only true involvement in the campaign was in the events of this particular story. When the Allgeier campaign group victoriously arrived at Executive Inn West where the Democrats were celebrating that night, WHAS-11 was reporting that we had lost and the our opponent has won re-nomination and thus the election. They had based their prediction on reports received, second hand, from someone within our opponent's camp. That person had (thought he had) gotten them from someone with the Courier-Journal named Mark Vincent. For the record, Mark was a friend of mine as well as a C-J delivery boy. Other than that, he was not invovled. In the end when all the votes were counted, Cyril Allgeier had defeated Mary Margaret Mulvihill, the incumbent, by thirty-seven votes. It was a thrilling and stunning victory.

Cyril stood for re-election nine more times, victorious in each one. His last election was at the creation of the present Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government to the office of 10th District Councilman. He did not seek reelection in 2004. Thus Cyril served from January 2, 1982 to January 3, 2005. There isn't enough space here, nor enough memory in my head, to cover all the ups and downs of his political career. I argued with him over a few votes here and there, most especially the Fairness Ordinance, which I strongly supported and he strongly opposed. For many years he cast "no" votes on the matter but before his retirement changed his mind and ultimately voted "yes" to pass it in the new government. I also disagreed with him on the expansion at Standiford Field, an expansion which included the blighting of several Louisville and Jefferson County neighborhoods; an expansion which began in 1986 and is still growing. Cyril supported it because of its jobs component and I cannot argue with that point. I opposed it due to the forced relocation of nearly 1/8 of Jefferson County's population, some out of homes that had been in families for generations. While there is no doubt the expansion has been an economic boon for Louisville, I still have my doubts due to the cultural ramifications. But, I greatly digress.

Outside of politics, Cyril's life centered around two things - church and baseball. He was a lifelong member of Holy Family Catholic Church, a church I was a member of for many years. Cyril's life included for many years, prior to his illness, attendance at Daily Mass and service to the church in many and any imaginable ways. But he is mostly known as "Coach" of every sport played by Holy Family School. Several generations of students got their athletic coaching from Cyril Allgeier. Cyril was also active in the local and national amateur baseball community. Along with several others, including former alderman Bertrand Heuser and Jim Lenihan, he formed Derby City Baseball, Louisville's affiliation with the National Amateur Baseball Federation, an organization which, coincidentally, was formed at Shawnee Park early in the 20th century. Cyril not only ran the league but coached its star team, called, appropriately, the Stars, long sponsored by Louisville Star Drywall. His teams scored several NABF World Championships over the years and he remains one of the winningest coaches associated with the league.

Suffice it to say between church, politics, baseball, and family, Cyril lived a life well-lived. Two verses from Scripture come to mid as I reflect on this life. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew 25:23, in the Parable of the Talents are the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant." Elsewhere, in the New Testament, at II Timothy 4:6-8, Saint Paul, at the hour of his death, proclaims "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." So, too, has Cyril Allgeier.

Rest In Peace, Cyril. See you in the movies. Motion to adjourn.

From the Courier-Journal obituary:

ALLGEIER, CYRIL L. SR., 74, of Louisville, passed away Thursday, October 21, 2010 at his residence.

He was retired from General Electric, a life member of Holy Family Church, a life member of St. John Sick Benevolent Society, a member of the Louisville Board of Aldermen 1982-2002 and retired from the Louisville Metro Council in 2004. He was a board member of All Wool and A Yard Wide Democrat Club. He also coached all sports at Holy Family School and was president and founder of Derby City Baseball and was a member of the National Amateur Baseball Federation where he coached four national championship teams. He was also a veteran of the Air National Guard.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Nicholas B. and Catherine Snyder Allgeier; a brother, Anthony R. Allgeier and sisters, Imelda Garrett, Doris Dahl and Carolyn Benton.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Hulsman Allgeier; children, Cyril L. II (Marisol), David G. (Karen), Tim P. (Kelli Husband), Kenneth J. Sr. (Lana), Anna C. and Kevin J. Allgeier; brothers, Nicholas B., Louis B. and Henry F. Allgeier; sisters, Thelma Garrett, Catherine Thompson, Jo Ann Hayden and Lois Bryant; grandchildren, Cyril III, Bryan, David Jr., Aaron, Tara, Kenny Jr., Joey, Mallory, Macy, Zachary, Sharai (Jesse) and Doren; as well as his great-grandchildren, Jace and Rylan.

His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, October 25, 2010 at Holy Family Catholic Church, 3926 Poplar Level Road, with burial in St. Michael Cemetery. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Saturday and 2-8 p.m. Sunday at Ratterman & Sons Funeral Home, 3800 Bardstown Road.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Family Church or School or the charity of your choice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Clinton and Conway

I wasn't there. But I can't resist posting the photo. Election Day is three weeks hence. I back Jack.

654. Well, first, there is this election going on

Hello - HELLO - to my seven faithful readers. I offer apologies for not writing since September 24th. As Led Zeppelin would say, "It's been a long time, been a long time . . ."

The truth is I've been busy with the elections. I work a full-time day job, then in the evenings we do politics - not from Pikeville to Paducah or, as I prefer, Ashland to Arlington [google it if you don't know where it is], but here in Jefferson County, where the extremes would be from Valley Station to Prospect or Fisherville to Portland. Saturday was a prime example of a full day which mixed all my jobs.

My day-boss, Louisville Metro Councilman Brent T. Ackerson, had a morning neighborhood meeting, then the rest of the day was filled with events here and there or planting yardsigns for Congressman John Yarmuth, mayoral candidate Greg Fischer, or US Senate candidate Jack Conway. Saturday evening the Kentucky Democratic Party held its Jefferson-Jackson Dinner with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin as the keynote speaker. My friend Michael Garton joined me for that, as well as a trip to the Garvin Gate Blues Festival over in Old Louisville later that night. Somewhere in there was a brief meeting with Greg Fischer outside of Central High School after his most recent debate. It was a long day and long night. I enjoyed every minute.

But such a schedule precludes spending much time doing two things I really like doing - travelling the backroads of Kentucky then writing about those travels in the blog. This morning I received a strong reminder of my missing pastimes based on a Facebook posting by my college friend Buddy Vaughn of Lexington. Buddy has been posting birthday reminders of Kentuckians from history and today's entry was that of John Preston Martin, a Prestonsburg merchant and one-term congressman for whom Martin County was named.

I responded to Buddy's post by noting, after a discussion about the family name Preston, that I have not been to Martin County in over twenty-three years. My last visit there was during the gubernatorial summer campaign on 1987. It is one of two counties with such a distinction - the other is Elliott. As many of you may recall, I maintain a map in my office of the counties I visit in a given year as well as an EXCEL sheet which covers all the county visits since 1979.

Once this election is over, I hope to get to a few more counties before the 2010 map is retired and the EXCEL sheet is updated. One of those will have to be Martin, now that Buddy has brought the absence from there to my attention.

Election Day is three weeks from tomorrow. Polls will open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. It cannot come soon enough.

Friday, September 24, 2010

653. About those songs . . . .

(It occurs to be that trips down memory lane shouldn't be taken after three or four glasses of wine. Nostalgia can honestly be depressing.)

By the way, this is a very long entry.

A few entries back was a list of the music my friends Lisa Tanner and Lauren Ingram recorded for me to play at the Birthday Celebration last Sunday. Thirty-eight of my thirty-nine favorite songs are listed, if you take into account that the list doesn't include any patriotic or religious songs, or Broadway musical numbers, which would extend the list by several more. Such songs would include America The Beautiful (especially as sung by Ray Charles), The Prayer of Saint Francis, and I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady.

Of the 38 listed of my 39 favorites, the 39th which isn't, is Puff The Magic Dragon, easily the first song I remember from childhood. I can still see that little red 45-RPM record going round and round on my Hi-Fi Record Player. For those of you under 30, you'll have to google it to get the image.

Music is said to be a or the universal language. It certainly allows one to relive memories, re-taste certain foods, re-smell certains aromas, and frankly revisit people and relationships no longer present - some of which are gone forver.

On this first Friday of the Second Century of my life, I've been thinking long and hard about people and events which got me from 1960 to 2010. It has been, as I am sure it is for everyone, quite a journey. Below are some thoughts next to the titles recorded on the CD. Some have deep personal meaning, others are quite simple and unimportant. Nonetheless, these are the songs which have been the music to which I've lived my life thus far. So after the title will be a short note or name which comes to mind when listening to that particular song.

To wit:

You’re Sixteen, Ringo Starr - Cheryl Eadens was the younger sister of a girl in my class, Glenda. I had a huge crush on Cheryl. I wonder what became of her.

Hotel California, The Eagles - just a song from high school. It came out my senior year at Durrett.

Piano Man, Billy Joel - Murphy's on Main Street, which had a piano room to the left. I enjoyed hanging out there requesting certain songs. As a piano player, although not a very good one, I konw many of the songs on this list are piano-based.

Free For All, Ted Nugent - another song from high school. It came out during my sophomore year, the most difficult of my life. Both of my grandmothers had died while I was 15. This was also the first year of court-ordered bussing in Jefferson County. A very tumultuous time. My brother was a Ted Nugent fan as well.

Undercover Angel, Alan O’ Day - no one or no thing in particular. This song and Chevy Van, which could have made the list alongside this one, just seem like fun songs.

Garden Party, Ricky Nelson - There comes a time when you feel more like a loner than a joiner - breaking away from the norms expected of you. This is what Ricky Nelson is singing about and I can easily identify. Like Puff the Magic Dragon, I think I've known this song most of my life.

Running On Empty, Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne is my favorite singer. I've liked this song since it came out in 1977. Another piano-based recording, it was released the very day I began my freshman year at the University of Kentucky. It is part of several songs which became standards for me and Mary-John Celletti in our visits back-and-forth between Lexington, Frankfort, and Louisville in our Young Democrat days.

Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations - This song, and a few others, remind me of my friend Rob. Next July Rob will have been gone 20 years.

American Pie, Don McLean - My dad turned me on to this song while he lived in Torrance, California, which was also home to the writer and singer Mr. Mclean. I first heard this song over the telephone played by my father on a guitar. I was ten years old at the time. At over eight minutes long, it is one of the longest songs on the playlist.

I’ll Be There, Jackson Five - I wrote last summer on the passing of Michael Jackson. He sang the lead in this song early in the career of the Jackson Five. I love the words and the passion with which he sang it in those early years. As an aside, my friend Keith, who now lives in Brooklyn, is a dead ringer for Jackson from the early years.

I Just Called To Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder - just a neat, simple song, seemingly played on a Hammond Organ as opposed to a piano. It mentions a Libra Sun. I suppose such is related to an Autumnal Equinox/Harvest Moon, which regular readers know got me excited a few nights ago. Erroneously, Wonder mentions an August Harvest Moon. I don't think that is possible.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen - Who, from the my age, doesn't like Queen?

Lyin’ Eyes, The Eagles - This song, and the next two following (and a few later in the list), reminds me of Janice Platt, a young lady I adored from the first moment I saw her when I was in 9th grade and she was in 7th. It was #264 on the jukebox at the old Busch's Tavern on Poplar Level Road.

My Eyes Adored You, Frankie Valli - The second in the series. If when riding in the car with my mother this song comes on the radio, Mom knows to end whatever conversation we are in, to be quiet, and listen.

Mandy, Barry Manilow - The third of three. I like a lot of Manilow. This one begins with the mellow keys of a piano. I like how his songs typically built up to a great crescendo, then played out.

Boys Of Summer, Don Henley - Another song which appears for no reason other than I like it.

We Are The World, Michael Jackson and others - This collaboration from the 1980s is one of the greatest collections of voices anywhere to be found on vinyl. Lionel Ritchie plays the piano in my favorite version.

Killing Me Softly, Roberta Flack - While this song was first recorded in 1971 (and 1973 by Flack, a renowned pianist) and has been a favorite of mine for many years, it took on new meaning in February 2003 when I met Migael Dickerson. Migael is an excellent classical pianist and shortly after meeting him and learning of his musical ability, one snowy afternoon we visited the 851 Mansion, part of the old house within Spalding University's Administration Building. In the parlor of the house is a grand piano which Migael played for nearly two hours, completely mesmerizing me, a spell which remains to this day. If you watched the You Tube videos from the Birthday Celebration, Migael is the interviewer/videographer.

Doctor My Eyes, Jackson Browne - Another from California rocker Jackson Browne, this from his first album in 1972. And like so many songs herein, underlain by a piano - this one very, very upbeat. Like many songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, there is an interior verse or two which is strictly instrumental, something of a jam session and something which writers/singers no longer do. I miss jam sessions between the second and third verses of songs.

Take It To The Limit, The Eagles - Belinda Holloman was another girl from high school. She lived in Audubon Park and I spent many afternoons there. I haven't seen her in years but she come to mind everytime I hear this song. I know her mother Bonnie passed away recently.

1999, Prince - An anthem for my generation.

One More Try (Teacher), George Michael - This song came out in 1988. Several from George Michael sound alike but this is easily my favorite. Very mystical due to what sounds like a pipe organ, it reminds me of, really, nobody in particular, other than maybe Keith in Brooklyn.

Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody, David Lee Roth - This is just a very, very fun song, a remake of a big-band era (1929) less-than-fun song based on World War I life in Austria. David Lee Roth, the former and present lead man for Van Halen, hails from nearby Bloomington, Indiana.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Guns ’n’ Roses - Bob Dylan wrote this song in 1973 and it was later popularized by Billy Rose/GnR. It is another song bringing to mind my late friend Rob. He covered this on guitar. I like the music, Rose's rough voice (which my friend Keith mocks in a perfect impression), and the lengthy jam session, which is heavily laden with piano playing on the far right end of the 88 keys. It is a great song.

Load Out/Stay, Jackson Browne - the culminating song from the 1977 Running on Empty album, it is another of the long songs in the playlist. The falsetto from the Stay part of the song is memorable for many. And like so many of my favorites, it is played on the piano, starting from the fresh dark notes to the rollouts toward the end. It was the closing song for most of Browne's concerts.

Patience, Guns ’n’ Roses - This was the song for Rob and his girlfriend Tiffany, who lived over by Bowman Field. And, again, I'm an Axl Rose fan.

Black Water, The Doobie Brothers - I remember listening to this song over at my friend Janice's house on East Manslick Road when I was in the 9th or 10th grade. I used to ride my bike from my house to her's, a distance of exactly three miles.

Dream On, Aerosmith - Another high school fave.

Ben, Michael Jackson - What can I say? I loved the early sounds of a young Michael Jackson.

All Summer Long, Kid Rock - This is a very recent song, compared to all the others, debuting in the United States in April 2008, a crossover rock/country song. Admittedly, I'm not a Kid Rock fan but this is his greatest hit to date. I am a fan of the southern rock genre although very few songs on this list fit that category. Like Doctor My Eyes, many southern rock songs have an interior instrumental jam session. This song is an homage to Lynard Skynard and others from that era. I really like it.

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday, Boyz II Men - This a capella version of a 1975 Rhythm and Blues song was released in August 1991, a few very short weeks after the death of my friend Rob. "And I'll take with me the memories, To be my sunshine after the rain, It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday."

Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks - This is a song from my early teen years, reminding me of my friends up and down Whippoorwill Road, especially Susan LaCour and Debbie Bischoff. We spent a lot of time at Susan's, whose room - I remember to this day - was decorated in many shades of purple.

Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelburg - Janice Platt, again. Will it ever end?

I’ll Be Missing You, Sean Combs/Faith Evans - This HipHop ballad/homage to the late Notorious Big (about whom I know nothing) is a very moving song blending words from The Police's 1983 Every Breath You Take, and a line from the gospel song I'll Fly Away. It placed #1 on music charts all around the world following its release in 1997. Who among isn't missing a friend who we hope, as the lyrics say,"In the future, can't wait to see, If you open up the gates for me." Indeed.

Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd - I don't remember when, but at some point in 2004 or 2005, my aforementioned friend Migael took off to Cleveland. This song, which I've known forever, took on new meaning as I wondered if he would ever return to Louisville. He did.

For Once In My Life, Stevie Wonder - What is there not to like about Stevie Wonder? This song is a lot of fun.

Good Bye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John - No repertoire of songs for a 50 year old would be complete without an Elton John or two. Crocodile Rock was an early favorite of mine, a song my friend Glen Shumate played for hours on end at his house on South Park Road. GBYBR is my favorite Elton John recording.

Free Bird, Lynard Skynard - Hell, yeah. At 9 minutes, 6 seconds, it is the longest song on my list, or probably anyone else's. Free Bird is the quintessential southern rock anthem. It is the quintessential anthem for a generation or two of Americans, especially those in the Old South, for which Louisville (just barely) qualifies. It is a song that irrespective of the weather, if you are driving, you are prone to roll down the windows, turn up the volume, and sing along. I've been doing that since I first started driving in 1976, cruising around in my 1967 Chevy II Nova. I miss it. I miss it all.


Well, that's it. Thanks for reading. What are your favorites? Why? And, how many of these have you been humming along with?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23rd

O to be in Louisville now that I'm 50.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

651. A Harvest Moon of Grand Proportion

I often write of the change of the seasons - what the late Colonel R. K. Walker called the cardinal points of the earth's progression around the Sun. Tonight at 11:09 pm Louisville time will be this year's occurence of the Autumnal Equinox, a special day for many people marking the change from longer days and shorter nights to shorter days and longer nights. It has always been a special time for me as for much of my life, it has fallen on or close to my birthday.

Tomorrow marks, at high noon, 12:00 pm, the 50th Anniversary of My Nativity, an event which took place at the old Norton Infirmary, once located at the northeast corner of Third and Oak streets, where Treyton Oak Towers now stand.

I've also written in the past about the rising and setting of the Moon, Earth's eternal friend and satellite. Different moons are called by different names - the Beaver Moon, the Strawberry Moon, the Hunter's Moon, and the one most of us have knowledge of, the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is that full moon which rises closest to the Autumnal Equinox.

Tonight, the two occur simultaneously. For lunaphiles like me - some might call us lunatics - this double phenomenon is worthy of a celebration. Combining that with my 50th Birthday probably means that at some point tonight, shortly after the 22nd changes into the 23rd, I will go outside, sit in my chair, light up a good cigar - I got three at my birthday celebration last Sunday - and gaze at the moon, a full Harvest Moon rising with the Autumnal Equinox.

Life is grand. Thanks be to God.


Below is an article from NASA's website, written by Dr. Tony Phillips, addressing this amazing alignment of time and space.

Sept. 22, 2010: For the first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn is beginning on the night of a full Moon. The coincidence sets the stage for a "Super Harvest Moon" and a must-see sky show to mark the change of seasons.

The action begins at sunset on Sept 22nd, the last day of northern summer. As the sun sinks in the west, bringing the season to a close, the full Harvest Moon will rise in the east, heralding the start of fall. The two sources of light will mix together to create a kind of 360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions.

The Harvest Moon of Oct. 3, 2009, photographed by Catalin M. Timosca of Turda, Romania.

Keep an eye on the Moon as it creeps above the eastern skyline. The golden orb may appear strangely inflated. This is the Moon illusion at work. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging Moon appears much wider than it really is. A Harvest Moon inflated by the moon illusion is simply gorgeous.

The view improves as the night wears on.

Northern summer changes to fall on Sept. 22nd at 11:09 pm EDT. At that precise moment, called the autumnal equinox, the Harvest Moon can be found soaring high overhead with the planet Jupiter right beside it. The two brightest objects in the night sky will be in spectacular conjunction to mark the change in seasons.

The Harvest Moon gets its name from agriculture. In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset. It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market. The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became "the Harvest Moon," and it was always a welcome sight.

This one would be extra welcome because it is extra "Harvesty."

Usually, the Harvest Moon arrives a few days to weeks before or after the beginning of fall. It's close, but not a perfect match. The Harvest Moon of 2010, however, reaches maximum illumination a mere six hours after the equinox. This has led some astronomers to call it the "Harvestest Moon" or a "Super Harvest Moon." There hasn't been a comparable coincidence since Sept 23, 1991, when the difference was about 10 hours, and it won't happen again until the year 2029.

A Super Harvest Moon, a rare twilight glow, a midnight conjunction—rarely does autumn begin with such celestial fanfare.

Enjoy the show!

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

650. Thank you Mary Moss Greenebaum, or How I got to spend fifteen minutes with Richard Wolffe talking about Louisville history

I know - it is a long title.

I had a great evening, more of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of my nativity. My friend Michael Garton, a wonderful young man, joined me for the Kentucky Author Forum which tonight featured David Plouffe of the Obama for President campaign and Richard Wolffe, a journalist and author. Mr. Wolffe interviewed Mr. Plouffe for one hour on the Bomhard Theater Stage at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. It was a very interesting talk about Plouffe's book The Audacity to Win, and other events surrounding the candidacy and election and subsequent presidency of Barack Obama, the 44th and current President of the United States. Mr. Wolffe is one of the few national correspondents I can identify and I am a big fan. Of course I'm a fan of Plouffe as well as he is largely responsible for Mr. Obama's election. But meeting Mr. Wolffe was a big deal for me.

After the interview, Michael and I made our way with about 50 others across Main Street and up to the 25th floor of the Humana Building. Midway across Main, I was introduced to Mr. Plouffe by Mary Moss Greenebaum, the lady responsible for the Kentucky Author Forum, now in its sixteenth year. I thanked him for his work with the president as well as his visit to Louisville.

Upstairs in the Humana Building a dinner was to be served but there was an interval of time while drinks were offered that the crowd and the special guests mingled and chatted. Mr. Wolffe and I found ourselves out on Humana's 25th floor "porch" which overlooks the Kentucky Center, I-64, the Ohio River, and into southern Indiana. It was at this time that, after introductions and a picture (which is frankly too dark) I gave Mr. Wolffe a brief fifteen minute history of Louisville, dating back to the reason the Ohio River was formed - here at the southern edge of the Wisconsin Glacial Episode, forming the river some 30000 to 10000 years ago. I spoke of our Falls as the porting point for travelers and the reason for our modern founding by George Rogers Clark. We talked of the southern Indiana cities of New Albany, Clarksville (and especially the Colgate clock and plant), and Jeffersonville. I recounted the renaissance in downtown Louisville in the 1970s and 1980s with the construction of the Belvedere, The Kentucky Center, the building we were in - the Humana Building, and the beginnings of the Waterfront Park. We also discussed why interstates were built along the rivers in the 1960s and I gave him a quick 8664 primer, recalling how Interstate 880 - the Cypress Street Viaduct - was levelled by the 1989 "World Series" earthquake in San Francisco and how that levelling sparked an interest in doing the same thing here but without the earthquake and with completion on I-265 in northeastern Jefferson County. That led to a brief discussion of the current mayor's race and a reminder that while Kentucky was a "red state" in the 2008 presidential election, Louisville and Jefferson County went "blue" for Obama. We had just began a discussion on urban planning, a subject of interest to both of us, when the dinner bell called us off the porch and into the dining area.

With Michael and I at our dinner table were Cathy Yarmuth, Chris Nolan, Keith Runyan, Mary Ellen Weiderwohl, and Ned and Nina Bonnie, two of Kentucky's great philanthropists. One table over were the two author-guests. Also seated with them were the host Mary Moss Greenebaum, my friend Michael Nordman from the Greg Fischer for Mayor campaign, Aaron Yarmuth, and Christie and Owsley Brown, two more of Kentucky's great philanthropists. The other forty or so guests were scattered at other tables. We dined on salad, asparagus spears, bison, and a rice patty. Dessert and coffee came later.

After the mean, each of the authors addressed the gathering for about fifteen minutes. They discussed in more intimate detail their respective books - Mr. Wolffe's is entitled Renegade and also covers the Obama campaign. It was a most enjoyable evening.

For this evening I have Mary Moss Greenebaum to thank. The tickets for Michael and I were a present from her for my birthday. I had a wonderful and engaging time and I know Michael did as well. If you see Mary Moss, let her know how grateful I am. And to Michael, thank you too.


On a sad note, I've learned this evening of the passing of Father Jim Lichtefeld, a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville and a friend of many years. Father could be a little rough around the edges but was always a great man to be around. I enjoyed his stories and his dedication to most everyone he knew. One of his closest friends was Kenny Gephart, a former neighbor of mine on Ellison Avenue. Kenny died last year. The two of them, along with Kenny's wife LaVerne, managed to have a great deal of fun in everything they did, especially the road trips they took around the country. Fr. Jim will be sorely missed.

May his soul and the souls of all the departed Rest In Peace. +

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Addendum to #649. Links to Videos and a Song List for the Birthday Celebration

The last entry discussed the celebration. Unbeknownst to me, my dear friend Migael Dickerson, along with Curtis Morrison (, were busy making two videos - a walking/talking documentary of the event - which have been posted on YouTube. The links to the videos are below.

Also, I mentioned that Lisa Tanner and Lauren Ingram made some CDs for me, something I referred to the "music of my life." I had them arrange the music in a particular order and I've listed the playbill below. I absolutely enjoyed listening to what I could during the celebration but couldn't hear all of it. I've since been listening while at home. Here is the list:

1.You’re Sixteen, Ringo Starr, 3:59
2.Hotel California, The Eagles, 6:30
3.Piano Man, Billy Joel, 5:38
4.Free For All, Ted Nugent, 3:20
5.Undercover Angel, Alan O’ Day, 3:40
6.Garden Party, Ricky Nelson, 3:59
7.Running On Empty, Jackson Browne, 5:20
8.Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations, 3:00
9.American Pie, Don McLean, 8:33
10.I’ll Be There, Jackson Five, 3:57
11.I Just Called To Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder, 4:16
12.Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen, 2:45
13.Lyin’ Eyes, The Eagles, 3:58
14.My Eyes Adored You, Frankie Valli, 3:37
15.Mandy, Barry Manilow, 3:19
16.Boys Of Summer, Don Henley, 4:47
17.We Are The World, Michael Jackson and others, 7:02
18.Killing Me Softly, Roberta Flack, 4:47
19.Doctor My Eyes, Jackson Browne, 3:11
20.Take It To The Limit, The Eagles, 4:47
21.1999, Prince, 6:25
22.One More Try (Teacher), George Michael, 5:17
23.Just A Gigolo, David Lee Roth, 6:00
24.Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Guns ’n’ Roses, 5:40
25.Load Out/Stay, Jackson Browne, 9:06
26.Patience, Guns ’n’ Roses, 5:56
27.Black Water, The Doobie Brothers, 4:17
28.Dream On, Aerosmith, 4:24
29.Ben, Michael Jackson, 2:44
30.All Summer Long, Kid Rock, 4:57
31.It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday, Boyz 2 Men, 3:07
32.Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks, 3:36
33.Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelburg, 5:20
34.I’ll Be Missing You, Sean Combs/Faith Evans, 5:30
35.Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd, 4:53
36.For Once In My Life, Stevie Wonder, 2:52
37.Good Bye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John, 3:14
38.Free Bird, Lynard Skynard, 9:06

Do you like any of these songs? Let me know. A few of them remind me of specific people or specific times in my life. Others I simply like. If you were at the party, you could have heard all of them since the play time runs right at three hours.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

649. A most excellent celebration

I am a very happy man tonight. Later this week I will be 50. Today, I was joined by 165 friends and about ten members of my family - also friends, for the record - for a birthday celebration. I just can't say how pleased and happy the day has made me.

But, never being a man of few words, I'll try.

First, I need to thank the people who helped me put it together. My friend Jessie Phelps was there before it started and helped me end the day by loading the car with all the presents I specifically told people not to bring but they did anyway. She is a great friend.

I had food from Ken Herndon who makes the most excellent Chicken and Pasta Salad in Louisville. He also brought some Avacado/Corn relish and other things. Susan Clark brought a hot dish and my boss, Brent Ackerson, brought the largest birthday cake in the shape of our great Commonwealth anyone has ever seen. There was plenty for everyone. There were a few other dishes on the table - I don't know who brought them but I am very grateful.

My bartenders for the afternoon were Michael Seewer, Christa Robinson, Jacob Conway, Bryan Mathews, Rande Swann, and her husband Don Swann. Thanks to all of you for making that part of the day (beer, whiskey, wine, and soft drinks) a success.

For music, I sent a list of the three hours of songs I wanted to hear to my friends Lisa Tanner and Lauren Ingram. They made me a set of CDs to play which required me to do something I've never done before - buy a CD player. I did so yesterday while out in Shelby County on my way back from visiting Cropper Days, a rural neighborhood festival in northeastern Shelby County. Thank you Lisa and Lauren. I now not only have the music of my life, but also the means by which to play it. The frist song of the night was Ringo Starr's "You're Sixteen." The final song was Lynard Skynard's "Freebird." In between were songs from Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, George Michael, the Eagles, Elton John, Michael Jackson, several from Jackson Browne, and a few others.

The party took place in the auditorium of my church, the Episcopal Church of the Advent. We had decorations leftover from the church's Annual Fundraising Dinner which was last night. Helping me coordinate things with the church were Fr. Tim Mitchell, Sam Dorr, Bryan Hoover, and Christopher Skye. Several members of the church were in attendance. I am so grateful to be a part of their church family.

I also had friends from all corners of my life. From my teenage days were Danny and Patty Meyer - they lived on E. Brandeis Avenue when I was a teenager. (By the way, I love the pic. Who is that handsome kid with the skinny waist and a full head of hair?) Another person who arrived early was Jimmy York, a Bellarmine College friend who lived in Germantown and later Pewee Valley. From my college and Kentucky Young Democrat days was Mary John Celletti and Mark Henry and a few others. Harry Johnson and I worked our first campaign together in 1979 - Thelma Stovall's race for governor. From my personal list of friends, some old, some very new, were Kevin Hickey, Susan Clark, Mark and Linda Weisemann Mulloy (with whom I worked many years of Friday nights for Bellarmine Booster Bingo), Michael Lucchese (whose card reminded that we've been friends for 17 of his 31 years and which he then added was nearly 1/3 of my life). Chris Bizzaco, Lynn Fischer, Margaret Harris, and Michael Nordman were there from one of the two campaigns I'm presently working in. Also present were Hazel Hartley who once sold me a pickup truck on a handshake. Linda Howell and Joan Powers were friends from my days in the Jefferson County Attorney's Ofice. My two closest friends, Ken Herndon and Irvin Montero-Garcia, were both present. I have to admit I was particularly happy to see Stuart Perelmuter, Michael Garton, Aaron Jent, Michael Lucchese, and especially Migael Dickerson. Honestly, there were too many people to name and I know I'm leaving some one or two or three of the 175 or so who were there out of the list.

However, as a part of the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Party family, I am obliged to mention the electeds who were present. (It is something we all do to impress ourselves mostly since the general public really doesn't care). Present to celebrate Birthday #50 with me were Congressman John Yarmuth (who is running for re-election), State Senators Tim Shaughnessy and Perry Clark, State Representative Darryl Owens (also running this year), Louisville Metro Council members Judy Green, Tom Owen, Vicki Welch, and my boss, Brent Ackerson. Also Jefferson District Judges Katie King, Sadiqa Reynolds, and Erica Lee Williams. Judy, Vicki, and the three judicial candidates are all of the ballot in November. Also present were Jefferson Circuit Clerk David Nicholson and Jefferson PVA Tony Lindauer. Tony is on this fall's ballot as well. Candidates Ken Herndon (for 6th District Council), Marty Meyer (for the 38th Senate seat once held by his father), John Sommers (for 23rd District Council), and Bryan Mathews (running for County Judge/Executive) were also present.

Finally, my family members were, with the exception of my niece Kavesha, all present. My parents, Barbara Hockensmith and Gene Noble; my uncle and aunt Chris and Ann, my Aunt Judy,; my one and only sibling Kevin, five of his children - Lindsey, Jacob, Aubreana, Kevin, and Elijah, and my brother's girlfriend Tenesa. That was all great.

I found out a few others were celebrating birthdays this week. Brandon Coan (whose party was last night) will be 30 on the 22nd - he popped in for a minute not quite recovered from last night's festivities. Laura Cullinane, Steve Barger, Steve's wife Willa, and Marty Meyer - all present today - are all getting older one day very soon. And while they weren't there, but while we are on the subject of birthdays, my dear friend Will Carle will be 30 tomorrow; my friend since from my teenage years Tim Allgeier is 50 today, and Sharon Holbert will be 60 the day I turn 50, later this week on the 23rd.

It's going to be a great week. And the week has started with a great celebration today. Again, I'm very happy.


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.