Saturday, December 31, 2011

714. 2011, briefly

Today is the end of 2011. Thanks Be To God. I have had much better years in my life - 1977, 1978, 1985, 1991 (both very good and very bad, perhaps the worse), 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010. Toward the end, there is a trend, you might note. I'm ready to add to that trend and 2012 is promising.

A stroll back through 2011 is troubling on many fronts. Prominently, two of my friends were unemployed for large parts of the year. Thankfully, both were working as of yesterday. One of those will probably have to work today. I was unemployed for several months in 2003. It is difficult on everyone, disheartening, discouraging. I am hopeful 2012 brings, if nothing else - nothing at all, an improved economy for my friends and family and others.

Strolling through 2011 was for me meant to be something of a rebirth - the second half-century of my life. Rather than celebrate that new beginning, that renaissance, I have looked ahead to the end and for the first time in my life felt old. I hate that idea, I hate that prospect. I'm not prepared for such a station. And yet, there is little I can do about it, except, perhaps, work around it as long as possible.

Late in 2010, I was challenged by someone I no longer speak to (and I really am not happy that I have found it in me to no longer speak to someone, anyone, no matter who they might be), challenged to restart my life by doing new things, reviving old things, seeing new people, and generally getting on with my life. I've began to begin that process but such a beginning takes me back to the fact that I am not just getting old, but old.

Have I progressed? I suppose it is the eternal wish of humanity to move from one year to the next with some progress behind them as motivation to move ahead. This is how you feel in the late 20s and 30s and into your 40s. I know - I've been there and gauged that progress, or often, the lack thereof.

Yes, progress was made, but only in the smallest of gains, nearly imperceptable, and that is unacceptable. While not content with the progress, I am more content with myself than I have been in years, and that alone is worth celebrating. That isn't to say I've fully accepted that particular contentment, only to acknowledge it.

I wander out of 2011 alone at home. My personal friendships grew in small, small doses in 2011. I've ended the year on an upbeat note with one friend in particular, something for which to be thankful; and a downbeat note with another and in the latter must - must is such a strong word - yield to the idea that some gulfs are, in fact, to broad to bridge. I do not like that at all and reserve in a prominent and large corner of my soul wherein might be proven that no bridge is too far as this particular friend has been an exceptional friend on many levels for me in 2011 and I do not want to lose that relationship, not at all.

So, be gone 2011, be gone. You weren't all that bad, but certainly weren't much good. As my fourth grade teacher wrote every six weeks in the Conduct section of my report cards, "Room for improvement."

Room for improvement will be the purpose which sends me - and the world - into 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

713. The Twelve Days of Christmas - Lessons from Quotes


There is that old carol which begins "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me," which presupposes a true love, which I haven't. Still, I am offering below, one Christmas Day at a time - for the next twelve of the calendar - a short quote which has advised me, either in recent times or in the long distant past, or perhaps from the "dark vast and middle of the night."

A LESSON FOR THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, which is today, December 25th

Today's quote is from Abraham Cowley, a 17th century poet from the City of London. It applies specifically to, first, the events of a party held at my friend Aaron Jent's a few nights ago. And twice now of the same person, the first being an Election Night party in 2010, I've felt some betrayal - which is far too strong of a word yet I can think of no other - by certain actions. Here is the quote --

A mighty pain to love it is,
And 'tis a pain that pain to miss;
But of all pains, the greatest pain
It is to love, but love in vain. (1656)

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.


Today's entry comes to us from Stanley Kunitz, an American poet who died in 2006 at the age of 100. He twice served as the Poet Laureate of the United States, most recently from 2000-2001. He was a conscientious objector in the Second World War although he did serve in the military. Such status may offer insight to a line in his work called Foreign Service, which serves as today's entry.

Doomsday is the eighth day of the week. (1958)

I have not read the context in which the line is written, but it does work for me. There is no eighth day of the week. I am an optimist and have always been, although I am often a quiet optimist. For me optimism doesn't mean that things will always turn out well. It does mean that our lives have purpose and every event in them can be used for learning. Some of those events are not pleasant and others are as endearing as possible. Optimism lies in the idea that tomorrow there is more of life to be lived, and I think that a good thing.

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.

A LESSON FOR THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, which is today, December 27th
Know your station.

Sounds a little elitist, I know. It can be, but it isn't meant to be. During the 1990s and the first few years of the 21st century's single digits years, I worked in the private sector for attorneys. One of those was Norma Miller. She was a school teacher-turned-lawyer who at one time taught at my alma mater, Durrett, as Norma Osborne. She offered this advice with good intentions. Know who you are, where you stand, and what you can and cannot get away with. She didn't mean to limit yourself forever to a station in life in which you are unhappy. Just understand there are processes which can move you up and down the ladder and one part of a trip in either direction is to understand your present starting point. Having been around some of both Louisville's wealthiest and poorest of people, and counting friends in both spheres, I've appreciated this advice. Unfortunately, I haven't always followed it.

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.

A LESSON FOR THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, which is today, December 28th

For many of us, the image we have of Four-Star General George Smith Patton is that portrayed in the movie starring George C. Scott. I prefer to remember Scott in Dr. Strangelove, but that is a different story for a different day. Today's quote is from the general to his son, George Smith Patton IV, who was a cadet in the Army on June 6, 1944, a well-known day in American history. Among the advice given is the letter is the following:

"Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash."

This is another piece of advice I wished I had began following earlier in life. Calculated risks means just that - you've made a calculation as to the outcome of whatever, and assessed the risks of both success and failure and are prepared to live with either outcome. Being rash involves no calculations, nor any plans for either outcome. There is a reason Patton rose to his four-stardom. He assessed risk and executed. It is great advice.

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.


In my Facebook profile you will find a quote of mine which reads "Remember your yesterdays, Celebrate your todays, Pray for your tomorrows." That quote is in the running to end this litany of "quotes to live by" and may show up again on the 5th of January. Today's, however, is a corollary of sorts taken from the Bard - I'm surprised it took me this long to get to Shakespeare. From his play King Henry the Sixth Part II, in Act IV, we find

"I will make it felony to drink small beer."

I'll be honest - I do not know the context in which the words are spoken. However, it must have been a common expression as it appears in at least two other of Shakespeare's plays, Othello and King Henry the Fourth Part II. I take it as an encouragement to celebrate life, something many of us at times fail to do. We know that we are appointed a certain number of days to live and to each of us once to die. The problem is we don't know when any of them are. Therefore, rejoice and be glad. Celebrate and enjoy. And while one should do all things in moderation, or so the saying goes, do not have "small beers." If your way of celebrating is drinking Diet Cream Soda, do so with gusto. If, like me, you like a glass of Merlot on the days which end in "Y" make sure you smell the bouquet and drink to the end. Some of you may be partakers of Kentucky's most infamous product, hemp, in its smoking form. Far be it from me to judge you for that either. The Gospel of Matthew, in fact, at Chapter 7, tells me not to. The point is this - we are all one in the eyes of our Creator. He did not mean for us to be gloomy or sad or mean or morose. "Don't drink small beer" is what he meant, I think.

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.

INTERIM OBSERVATION - I stated yesterday that I was "surprised it took me [to the Fifth Day of Christmas] to get to Shakespeare." Well, it didn't. The closing phrase of the Preface to this entry, written back on Christmas Day, is from, perhaps, the most well-known play in the world, a work of the Bard of Stratford.


Today's "quote to live by" is from a Louisville native, Louis Dembitz Brandeis, nominated by President Woodrow Wilson as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on January 29, 1916 and confirmed by a strongly divided United States Senate on June 1st of the same year. Brandeis is one of the leading lights of American jurisprudence and liberalism. His face is familiar to eastbound Liberty Street drivers as one of the large murals adorning Louisville's buildings. And for those readers who wandered in and out of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, a small cemetery greets you at the entrance under the portico where the remains of Justice Brandeis and his wife are interred. The words and works of Justice Brandeis are many. For me, the following is an underpinning of my belief in government and liberalism.

"What are the American ideals? They are the development of the individual for his own and the common good; the development of the individual through liberty, and the attainment of the common good through democracy and social justice." (1915, True Americanism)

My seven faithful readers will recall that I have often railed against the individualism which has controlled this Republic for the last thirty years, "rugged individualism" fostered by a president who lead the country deep into debt and did very little to correct the problem he created - Ronald Reagan, one of America's worst presidents as far as the common good is concerned. And it is in this last instance where Brandeis guides us. The American ideal is both the successes of the individual and the common good. While Brandeis lists only one avenue for the success of the individual - liberty, he offers two for common good - democracy, and as a back-up, social justice. I have been in an ongoing conversation With a dear friend who has become enamored of liberty and individualism. And while I have often been frustrated by his beliefs, it isn't because liberty and individualism are bad. But they are if they stand alone. Standing alone they will lead to the fall of the Republic. We are well on the way. Restoration of the "good old days" will require restoration of both a belief in and support of the strong central government, one strong enough to provide for the common good of all 308,000,000 people who call themselves Americans, as well as one strong enough and willing to create and sustain social justice. That is my America and I believe it was the ideal America of which Justice Brandeis wrote.

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.


John Greenleaf Whittier was a 19th century American poet, politician, and newspaper writer. O that we would have such people today. (As an aside, Louisville had a newspaper writer-turned-politician in Henry Watterson. I do not know if he was into poetry). Whittier was a native of Massachusetts and failed in his only run for Congress, which we are told led to a nervous breakdown. He also founded a political party called Liberty (of all things). One must wonder what this man of peace and ardent abolitionist wished to do had he been elected to the Congress. Today's quote leaves much to the imagination.

"For all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been.'" (1856, Maud Muller)

Most questions in life, ultimately, have only one answer from a choice of two, either Yes or No. Certainly there are shades of grey here and there, but from the ridiculous to the sublime, most answers end up being some form of either Yes or No. Yet, some questions go unanswered because they go unasked. We've all heard presenters make the statement, "there are no stupid questions" to which some will add, "only those not asked." Whether the topic be politics or religion or love, things either are or aren't, answers are either yes or no. The sole exception to this is mathematics, where it is my belief there is always only one answer, the correct one. Mathematicians leave much to be desired when it comes to imagination. I prefer those who, while fearing the answer, do go ahead and ask. I have tried to follow this maxim, often knowing the answer, especially when it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear. The lesson here is fear not to ask, and fear even less the answer. For some answer is better than none at all. A corollary for New Year's Eve, as I find myself single in the largest sense of the word, is "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." This, from Tennyson.

Happy New Year's Eve, one and all.

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.


Today is New Year's Day, usually celebrated the night before with revelry and fun. I was among those reveling in fun well into the night. But we all have holidays all the time, and we are prone to celebrate them in our own private ways, based on a song or a scene, or a cold snowy day or a splash in the cooling waters of North Benson Creek on a hot summer day in our youth. I have all of these. Listening to Jackson Browne's Running on Empty immediately places me, sometime in the early 1980s, in Mary-John Celletti's old brown Mercedes she called Winston along the Old Frankfort Pike in Woodford County. Watching the Kentucky Derby on TV evokes memories of when I attended in person with regularity, along with my grandfather Dan Hockensmith, my uncle Noble Hedger, and another so-called uncle, Harmon Moore. I recall the deep snows of January 1994 and driving to work where my friend Evan and I played Jeopardy on the earliest of computer-based games. North Benson Creek, especially along the Devil's Hollow Road in far western Franklin County, has been a cooling refuge for generations of my mother's family - both sides - and I often swam there in my teenage years when I was chasing after a girl named Ann Rochelle "Shelly" Dean. Such thoughts bring me to today's quote, to wit -

"The holiest of all holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart; The secret anniversaries of the heart." (c. 1879)

These words were penned by another of America's 19th century poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a native of the "Maine district" of Massachusetts, Harvard lecturer, and historical lyricist. He was born in 1807 and died in 1882. Many of us learned to recite a part of one of his most famous poems as part of our American Revolutionary History course, the lines from Paul Revere's Ride. "Listen, my children, and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, on the Eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five, hardly a man is now alive, who remembers that famous day and year." We all have those "famous days and years" which we will always cherish in our heart, our own collection of these holiest of holidays.

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.


One of my seven faithful readers happens to be one of the biggest fans of The Beatles this side of Liverpool. Olivia Fuchs, who is otherwise an attorney, makes endless You-Tube posts, newsletters called the Bea-letter (or something), and other event-related comments about the Fab Four, especially as the Abbey Road on the River, conventiently abbreviated as AROTR in most of the posts, makes its way to Louisville late each Spring. Olivia, however, knows that while I share a great love for music in general, the Fab Four aren't among my favorites. That isn't to say I do not like their music. There are a few songs in particular I love - I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Twist And Shout come to mind immediately. Today's quote is from a different Beatles' song, one written by Paul McCartney with input from the late John Lennon. The song was written and recorded in March 1967 and released on June 1st of that year. The song is my story as it relates to the last few weeks. The quote below was the working title and it appeared on the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club album.

"I get by with a little help from my friends." (1967)

Followers of my Facebook page may recall a status update of mine posted back around Thanksgiving. It expressed my concern, for myself and others of my ilk, who find the holidays - now thankfully past - difficult at best and extraoridnarily lonely at times. Yet, we manage to make it through the seven weeks or so from Thanksgiving to yesterday, New Year's Day. And, again for folks of my ilk, we could not do so without (more than) a little help from our friends. Late in the night, actually about 3:15 am on New Year's Day, one of those friends called me. It was a call I was hoping for, worried about getting and not getting, and most pleased to have received. The caller, Michael, reminded me of our friendship, the other friends I have, and the support they have all given me, some in large and known ways, others in the quiet corners of the season. Each year I do dread the holiday season. Thankfully, I get by with a little help from my friends. Thanks to all of you. Happy New Year.

(This entry will be amended and re-posted as the first official entry for 2012)
An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.


Will Rogers, a beloved American actor, writer, and satirist, offers up today's quote - not necessarily "one to live by" on a regular basis, just one to ponder on the first day of Election 2012. There is probably a lot of truth in it. Briefly, first, about Rogers, he was born in 1879 in what was called at the time "Indian Territory." We now call it Oklahoma. He died in an airplane crash 55 years later in another soon-to-be-an-American-state, the "Alaska Territory." Of his Native American heritage, he once remarked, "My forefathers didn't come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat at the shore." Here is today's quote:

"More men have been elected between sundown and sunup than were ever elected between sunup and sundown." (1924, The Illiterate Digest)

I find the quote appropriate tonight, even for a slight smile. At 7:00 pm CST, 8:00 pm here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, and thus after sundown tonight and before sunup tomorrow, voters in the midwestern state of Iowa began their infamous quadrennial caucus where just a few minutes ago, it appeared to be a three-way tie between Congressman Paul, Governor Romney, and the latecomer, Rick Santorum. Santorum has never impressed me. Paul once held my fancy, but that was many years ago and until he disavows the racist and homophobic statements made in his name, I have no plans to ever support him again. I have spoken to one of his more ardent supporters, Preston Bates, on this matter and Preston agrees with me that Paul should say these were not his thoughts, words, or beliefs. Preston is, as we speak (and assuming he has told me the truth) working for the Paul campaign in New Hampshire, where voters will next week take to the polls in the latest installment of the long and winding road which will probably lead to the nomination of Governor Romney as the GOP standard-bearer. We'll see - the show goes on. Happy Election Year, 2012.

(This entry will be re-posted as an entry of its own).

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.


Gatewood Galbraith, who passed away today at the age of 64, was known to be something of a "happy warrior." Serious about his political platform, he was, as far as everyone seems to say, a very happy person to be amongst. Today's quote to live by, more for the Republic than any single one of us, comes from a man who was known in national politics as "The Happy Warrior," Hubert Humphrey, who is one of my personal political heroes. Humphrey lived from 1911 to 1978 and served as Vice President of the United States under LBJ, another personal political hero. Both before and after his term as Vice President, Humphrey represented Minnesota in the United States Senate. As we enter the 2012 election season, let's not forget these words, undated, offered by Humphrey -

"Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism."

All too often in the national discussion compassion is looked upon as weak and silly. It is a result of that "rugged individualism" that President Reagan, one of America's worst presidents as far as the core fibers of our democracy are concerned, taught us to be a good thing. It isn't. We are Americans first and individuals second. Our sovereignty is granted through our citizenship as Americans. Humphrey understood this. Socialism is basically a four-letter word in the lexicon of American politics. Yet, we have been practicing forms of it throughout the history of the Republic, all the way back to the Revolution when one famous American is said to have commented "we must all hang together or we may all hang separately." Socialism has moved into the way we help young people in college, help lead adults into home ownership, and provide medical needs to our elders. And while there is no doubt that corruption has bred itself into the system, and needs to be systematically removed, our way of life - our uniquely American way of life - has benefitted from the veins of socialism which course through our government. Most of the Republican candidates for president are working hard to bring to an end our American way of life. Humphrey would have fought those efforts, but also would have done so smiling all the way.

(This entry will be re-posted as an entry of its own).

An other lesson from a quote will follow tomorrow.

A LESSON FOR THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, which is today, January 5th

As many of you know, I like to drive - a lot. In these trips, labelled in 2006 by the then-Yarmuth for Congress Campaign Manager Jason Burke as "nobling" it often appears that the drives are aimless wandering. I know my "greener" friends will not appreciate the idea that I like to drive aimlessly here and there. The truth is it usually isn't aimless at all. I often have a desitnation in mind, whether it be Frankfort or Perryville or Madison (IN) or Corydon (IN) or Maysville, as was the case a few weeks ago, or even Washington DC or Brooklyn NY. The wandering part comes in the route getting from Point A, somewhere near the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, to Point B, wherever the destination might be. There is an entry on the blog called the Twelve Roads to Frankfort (or something like that). It could have just as easily been titled the Twelve Roads to Bardstown or Owensboro or wherever. Owensboro, technically, is not the easiest place to get to unless you are in Henderson or Evansville, just for the record.

In any event, I've known all along what the Lesson for the Twelfth Day of Christmas would be. It is a poem I've written about before on the blog, James Whitcomb Riley's My Philosofy. I learned it as an eight year old at the direction of my late great-uncle, Bob Lewis, Jr. I recite it all the time, to myself, and often to friends. I recently recited it at the 30th birthday party of Elizabeth Sawyer, a successor to Jason Burke as manager of the Yarmuth campaign. At the time I was with Kathy Wright, a Democratic Party activist from southeastern Jefferson County. It is my favorite poem.

Earlier today on Facebook, I rhetorically asked "who would provide the Twelfth Lesson?" I got feedback from several people including my friend Thomas A. "Tony" McAdam, who offered a 1925 quote from Lord Arthur James Balfour, "Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all." I am familiar with that quote and really like it. I reduced that to the words from Bobby McFerrin's a capella song from September 1988 - "Don't Worry, Be Happy." McFerrin borrowed the line from an Indian guru/mystic, Meher Baba, who used it as part of his teaching in the mid 20th century. Interestingly, McFerrin's song and Tony's suggestion from Lord Balfour aren't far from the snetiments expressed in the poem which I knew would be the final lesson. Of course the poem is a much longer version, but it is one I have always known and somewhat followed.

I am understood by many to have a philosophy - I'm fairly liberal, fiercely partisan, and have sometimes been called a socialist, probably deservedly. I was so earlier tonight, in fact. But I have tried with great earnest throughout my life not to hold another's religion or creed or personal mantra or family status or any other distinction from having and keeping friends who are different than me. I believe I have been successful as most of my friends do share differences of opinions, beliefs, lifestyles, social strata, and many other measures of differentiation. I've never, or cpehaps rarely minded. I am more of a process person than policy person. Sure, I support policy but I especially support policy if it is attained through the proper processes. I've been criticised for that over the years, most recently by Curt Morrison, but I haven't changed much in response to that criticism.

James Whitcomb Riley's poem has been a guiding light since the age of eight, which at 51 now was a long, long time ago. Here is the poem with its original rural gothic spelling -



I ain't, ner don't p'tend to be,
Much posted on philosofy;
But thare is times, when all alone,
I work out idees of my own.
And of these same thare is a few
I'd like to jest refer to you--
Pervidin' that you don't object
To listen clos't and rickollect.

I allus argy that a man
Who does about the best he can
Is plenty good enugh to suit
This lower mundane institute--
No matter ef his daily walk
Is subject fer his neghbor's talk,
And critic-minds of ev'ry whim
Jest all git up and go fer him!

I knowed a feller onc't that had
The yeller-janders mighty bad,--
And each and ev'ry friend he'd meet
Would stop and give him some receet
Fer cuorin' of 'em. But he'd say
He kindo' thought they'd go away
Without no medicin', and boast
That he'd git well without one doste.

He kep' a-yellerin' on--and they
Perdictin' that he'd die some day
Before he knowed it! Tuck his bed,
The feller did, and lost his head,
And wundered in his mind a spell--
Then rallied, and, at last, got well;
But ev'ry friend that said he'd die
Went back on him eternally!

Its natchurl enugh, I guess,
When some gits more and some gits less,
Fer them-uns on the slimmest side
To claim it ain't a fare divide;
And I've knowed some to lay and wait,
And git up soon, and set up late,
To ketch some feller they could hate
Fer goin' at a faster gait.

The signs is bad when folks commence
A-findin' fault with Providence,
And balkin' 'cause the earth don't shake
At ev'ry prancin' step they take.
No man is grate tel he can see
How less than little he would be
Ef stripped to self, and stark and bare
He hung his sign out anywhare.

My doctern is to lay aside
Contensions, and be satisfied:
Jest do your best, and praise er blame
That follers that, counts jest the same.
I've allus noticed grate success
Is mixed with troubles, more er less,
And it's the man who does the best
That gits more kicks than all the rest.


Merry Christmas on the Twelfth Night. Tomorrow is Epiphany. Thanks Be To God.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

712. On the passing of Mrs. Violet Doyle

In today's paper - or on the internet - you can read the obituary of one Mrs. Violet Doyle, 91, who died two days ago. The obit will tell you her occupation, that she was married to her husband for over 70 years, and that there are lots of family members left behind - besides her husband, children, and brothers and sisters, there are grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a great-great grandchild. What it doesn't tell you is that she was my grandparents's neighbor, and thus mine, my brother's, and my mother's when I was growing up out on Whippoorwill Road in southern Jefferson County off South Park Road.

When my grandparents moved out to what was then (and remained so until 1994) a gravel lane off a new section of South Park Road, so new that it was still called New South Park Road, there were a few houses already erected on what was originally called Whippoorwill Lane but has come to be known as Whippoorwill Road. (Interestingly, most Google maps and other electronic media call it Whippoorwill Drive). Most the houses were built in the 1950s, a few in the 1960s, and one was moved in "over the barricade" in the 1970s from its previous location at Blue Lick Road and Maynard Avenue, in the path of the new Jefferson Freeway, now known, appropriately, as the Gene Snyder Freeway.

One of those earliest of homes along Whippoorwill belonged to a woodcrafter, or turner, named Foster Doyle and his wife, Violet, or Vi, both of whom were in the 30s at the time, the early 1950s. Vi worked "up in Okolona" as if it were miles and miles away as opposed to about a mile and a half at the local dentist's office, Dr. William G. Penny. Foster was known for the lathe that stood on the left side of his garage, where he worked out dowels and rods and, now and then, baseball bats for some of us kids. Mrs. Doyle, whose name was always pronounced as "Miz-Dull" by everyone who didn't call her Vi, which was most of us including my mother, was known as the lady who could cook most anything and was always offering up some dish to "take to your grandmother" or "down the street to Mrs. Rogers" or wherever.

The Doyle's lived at 9011, while we lived at 9012, which wasn't directly across the street as you might think, but one door over from directly across the street. My grandfather built the home in which I was raised, 9012, in the mid 1950s and other than the few years my mother was married to my father, she has lived in that home ever since. 9009 was directly across the street, the house belonging to the Kesler family. Mr. Doyle, whose name was properly pronounced with all the vowels, D-o-y-e-l, kept a fine yard and a fine house. Their house, in which was raised three children, one of whom, Jeannie, was my first babysitter, seemed a bit smaller than some of the others but the yard was majestic. Most of the yards along Whippoorwill are about 100 feet across and 220 feet deep, approximating a half-acre kingdom for their dwellers.

The Doyle's front yard was adorned with flowers, trees, and shrubs, all meticulously kept. For several years while a teenager, I cut their grass, usually making $4.00 and something to eat. Amazingly, after I moved away, Mr. Doyle returned to that chore and continued the yard work until past the age of 90.

The back yard was, for the most part, garden - lots of garden. I do not know what all the Doyle's raised, but it was a little of everything and a great deal of it made its way across the street to the Hockensmith and Noble household of five. And, all the years the Doyle's were there, the food kept coming. I especially remember pies - persimmons, pumpkin, cushaws, and other varieties. And there was the asparagus patch that Mr. Doyle began, telling me at the time that the good asparagus was five to seven years off, frankly an eternity for a young kid.

I cannot remember ever while growing up and for many years as an adult any time that Mrs. Doyle did not have food fresh from the garden, or fresh from the freezer, or fresh from the stove. She was a provider not only to her family but to her neighbors on all sides. It was all good.

As time took its toll, both Foster and Violet fell victim to old age in their late 80s, her moreso than he, as he survives as a man in his mid 90s, but in the frailiest of health. All of their children lived away for most of these years. After they both quit driving, my mother served as their chauffeur, taking them to the grocery, the doctor, and importantly, the polls. They each voted well into these final years. Mr. Doyle always allowed me to place yardsigns in their yard, which sort of surprised me given how well kept it was.

Finally, a few years ago, not many, maybe three, the Doyle's were moved away from Whippoorwill Road and into the home of their daughter, which I understand to be in Fern Creek. My mother visited a few times before Mrs. Doyle was re-settled into a nursing home where she remained until a few weeks before her death. Their home remained empty for most of that time. It was finally sold earlier this summer.

Mr. and Mrs. Doyle will always be remembered as good neighbors; good friends. Emerson wrote "The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one." These people were examples of Emerson's words. Rest in peace, Mrs. Doyle. And thanks for the meals.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

711. Section 73; Section 228, and a visit to Choateville

Section 73 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky reads as follows:

The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor shall commence the execution of the duties of their offices on the fifth Tuesday succeeding their election, and shall continue in the execution thereof until a successor shall have qualified.

Today was the fifth Tuesday succeeding the recent election for governor and lieutenant governor wherein the slate of incumbent Governor Steve Beshear and the former mayor of both the City of Louisville and of its successor-in-law the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government Jerry E. Abramson defeated the slate of State Senate President David Williams and the now-former Commissioner of Agriculture Richie Farmer. As such, Beshear and Abramson today celebrated their inauguration by taking the celebrated Oath of Office, as prescribed in Section 228 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which reads, in part:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of [governor, lieutenant governor] according to the law, and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.

Both gentlemen having sworn or affirmed that they were in the business of upholding constitutions and not in the business of duelling with deadly weapons, even as a second, even in another state, they were dutifully sworn into office by the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Hon. James Minton.

As I have done twelve previous times, I attended these ceremonies up and down Capital Avenue in Kentucky's very beautiful capital city of Frankfort. My first inauguration was for Governor Ned Breathitt as a three-year-old with my mother, Barbara Hockensmith, and her mother's aunt, Dorothy Borden Collins Austin Hedger, who, at the time, lived on Second Street just east of the VFW Post. The house is gone and the lot now serves as a parking lot for the VFW.

I participated in the inaugurals of three successive governors, Martha Layne collins (1983), Wallace Wilkinson (1987), and Brereton Jones (1991), although the latter was purely by accident, being invited at the last minute by a high-ranking official to whom I could not say no.

I was fortunate enough to have seats in the inauguration of Steve Beshear four years ago and even better seats for today's event, which I attended with my dear friend Michael (Eli) Garton, also of Louisville.

While there are at this hour festivities continuing, we have returned home, here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. We had viewed parts of the parade, which included marching bands from 54 high schools across the Commonwealth and a total of 4150 participants. We were treated to some food and drink in several places, among which were offices of the House Leadership including Speaker Greg Stumbo (of Prestonsburg) and Speaker Pro-Tem Larry Clark (of Okolona). We also spent some time at the public reception held in the Thomas Clark Kentucky History Center on Broadway in downtown Frankfort.

Before leaving town, we dropped in on my maternal grandmother's younger sister, Frances Moore, 91, of Choateville. She was taking a break from making candies and bourbon balls for the holidays and chatted for about a half hour. We looked through a picture album from her 90th birthday event last Summer at the Choateville Christian Church where she has been a lifelong member. (Although my grandmother, Frances' sister, was not a regular at church, she was also a member of Choateville, having been baptised there in 1930). We talked about family, friends, and politics, all common themes in Frankfort talk. Politics is a mainstay in my family. Aunt Frances reported having retired from "working the polls" - something she did for 53 consecutive years in the Choateville precinct of Franklin County.

We've returned home and the Commonwealth goes to work tomorrow under the continued guidance of Governor Steve Beshear and his second lieutenant governor, Jerry E. Abramson.

Incidentally, the best line of the day came from the governor's speech when he said, "We need leaders who will build bridges instead of dams." So true on so many levels.

God Bless the Commonwealth.

Below is a picture from Kentucky's leading newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, from the parade review stand of Mrs. Abramson, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, Gov. Beshear, a Beshear grandson, and Mrs. Beshear, who was also celebrating her birthday today. An unscheduled part of the governor's speech was to invite the crowd in attendance to join him in singing Happy Birthday to Mrs. Beshear.

Photo from, the Lexington Herald-Leader

710. December 13

Today would have been the 38th birthday of my dear friend Rob Spears. May he and all the departed souls Rest In Peace.

Joseph Robert Spears
December 13, 1973 - July 24, 1991

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

709. The advent of snow and other seasonal commentary

Ok, it's December and I've been away for a while. I have had a few of my seven faithful readers ask if I have given up on the blog, a logical conclusion given I have made few visits here recently, or for that matter in a long while. The end of the blog shows the number of entries for each month and year and as we approach the fifth birthday of the blog, now less than a month away, the numbers - as they always do - speak for themselves. There has been a steady decline month-by-month, year-by-year. My hope is to reverse that trend and given that 2012 is an election year, and my highest numbers of viewers and page visits came in 2008, I am hopeful to get the blog back on track. Today's entry will be simply a few catching=up items and little more.

First, you all know I am a big admirer of the heavens when they open up with the white stuff. I cannot remember any year where we had to wait until December 7th for some of it to fall here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, but that is the case for 2011. As I am typing, off to my right is a mirror through which I can see the weather outside to the north (along with the garage door and window, and the factory mill on the other side of the floodwall). And there it is - snow, glorious snow. I'm not sure if it was in the forecast or if this is just a few flakes passing through the area. In any event, now that I've seen the snow, I am a little recharged for the season.

Speaking of seasons, I snuck one in the title of the entry - Advent. In the liturgical calendar, we are in the season of Advent, the few weeks in preparation for the birth of Jesus and the concelebrated Mass honoring His birth - Christ's Mass, or Christmas, as it has come to be called. In Advent we wait, recall, preprare, and then celebrate. It is akin to Lent in preparation for Easter. I've written about Advent before and you can use the search bar at the top of the page to look at that entry. Christmas, then, and its "Twelve Days," arrives the night of the 24th and extends to Epiphany in the New Year. So, if any of you are out singing "On the First Day of Christmas, My True Love Sent to Me," you are ahead of schedule.

The immediate future has enough on its plate as it is. Today, of course, is the National Day of Remembrance for Pearl Harbor, a day which lives in the infamy promised to it by President Franklin Roosevelt in his speech after the attack, which took place seventy years ago today at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, back when Hawaii was still a territory, or possession, of the United States. On this day I think of my grandfather, Dan Hockensmith, who wasn't there but was a Seabee in the United States Navy during the Second World War, and loved to sing the Song of the Seabees, where one of the lyrics is "And we always will remember, the Seventh of December!" So, as I always do on this day, I am thinking of him and his war buddies, many of whom I knew when I was a little kid, almost all of whom have probably passed on to their eternal glory.

Next week marks the 23rd birthday of a favorite person of mine, Preston Bates, who is often mentioned in these entries as well as those of my Facebook page. Now, understand Preston and I are miles and miles, chasms, even canyons apart in our political beliefs. He is a libertarian of sorts and at times has called himself an anarcho-capitalist (although he has backed off that for the moment). I, on the other hand, believe in a strong system of governments at all levels, from the local municipality - something we gave up in a vote back in November 2000 (I voted NO) - to the County to the State and to the Federal, along with a willingness to work with other governments worldwide in an effort at peace and stability. Suffice it to say, Preston doesn't. But in our discussions, we find room for agreement here and there. Some of it is simply the experience of politics and government. There were many things I didn't do when I was his age that I wish I had of. One was to participate in a meaningful way in a presidential campaign at the earliest of stages. The only presidential campaign I was ever a part of to any degree at an early stage was that of United States Senator Paul Simon (D-IL) in 1988. That didn't get far, but it was fun and quite an experience. I've expressed to Preston that should he ever be offered the opportunity to have such an experience to do everything he can to make it happen, even if it is a candidate and party I could never support. And, I've promised to help him however I can. Irrespective of the candidate, the party, and the outcome, being involved in a presidential campaign is a near-unique experience and I hope he gets to live it. After all, in the 235 year history of the Republic, only 43 men have been chosen as a leader of the free world and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

A different discussion Preston and I had a few weeks ago at the Granville Inn on S. Third Street in the U of L neighborhood focussed on music and math, two things we both enjoy (in different ways) and can easily agree on. In that conversation, we discussed the relationship between the two, or even the idea that they are ultimately the same. A few days later I went to see a theatrical performance at the indoor venue of the Iroquois Amphitheater. The play called Broadsword, a production of a local theater company, Theatre [502], whose artistic director and one of the founders is Gil Reyes - see their website at The play's run, locally, is over and I meant to post about it before it was over. The play is set in urban New Jersey and is centered on a reluctant reunion of a heavy metal band after the death of one its members. Pretty cool play but the thing that stood out - gave me cold chills, in fact - was one of the lines in the play wherein was discussed the relationship between math and music, mimicking the earlier discussion between me and Preston. It wasn't a theme, just a line in the play, but it underscored the proposition of that relationship that Preston and I had posited a few days earlier. As for Mr. Reyes, I've been following his work, or works in which he has been invovled, since about 2002 if memory serves me. It was through Gil I first met Stuart Perelmuter, another friend mentioned here and there in the blog. In one of Gil's productions, another friend of mine, Josh Peters (who celebrated a 32nd birthday a few days ago) played a key part. The Theatre [502] troupe produced three plays this year, two of which I had the good fortune to see.

That's all for now. I'll be back soon.

I would ask, since it has been so long since I've posted, that if you've read this far - to the end - please post a comment below - even anonymously - to let me know I still have some readership out there in the ether.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

708. Theater Review - H2GT2G

Tonight's activity was a visit to the theater, in this case The Alley Theater, which isn't a theater at all but a performing troupe which uses space in the nearby group of buildings known as "The Pointe." The Pointe is located not far from my house in Butchertown in a collection of old industrial warehouses which have been converted for a variety of uses, including at least one large hall which serves as a makeshift theater. The buildings are located on East Washington Street, just east of the R. J. Corman RR line and west of Cabel Street. "The Ponte" name probably refers to the name of an old neighborhood just north of Butchertowm, no longer extant, which was washed away by the Great Flood of 1937.

Lynn Fischer and I attended a performance of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" which originally aired on BBC Radio 4 in Great Britain the year I graduated from Durrett. The series of radios and books has something of a cult following and there was a time I was an unofficial member of that cult. There really isn't a guide, per se, but there are radio shows, books, and movies, and this play tonight, which internally refers to a book entitled The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, sometimes shortened, as I have in my title, to H2GT2G. My seven faithful readers will know that I am fond of the play-within-a-play genre and this is a perverted twist on that, being that the title is that of a fictional book within the play.

The play as performed covers the work as performed on the BBC network back in '78, telling the story of one Arthur Dent, portrayed tonight by Kent Carney, a veteran of several local productions. The narrator of the play is acted by Alan Canon, a Louisville native. He also plays several other roles, all speaking roles, as this is a play about a radio show.

Another actor playing several speaking roles is Tom Dunbar. His various voices add to the fun of the play, from that of one of the other-galactic leaders to the seemingly simple scientist/engineer who had the job of "creating the fjords of Norway" as one of his projects in the experiment known as Earth.

The "love interest" in the play is Trillian, acted by Kimberly Taylor-Peterson, a WKU grad in Theater and Music, who has been involved in various performing companies here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. Like the other actors, she covers several other roles in the play and other than Arthur Dent, Trillian, formerly Tricia McMillan, is the only other "earthling."

Another Louisvillian in the play is Scott Goodman, the love interest in the role of Zaphod Beeblebrox, to the abovementioned Trillian. His portrayal of a money-grubbing but somewhat shortsighted businessman is set-off by some extraordinary pants which no person should be caught dead in, onstage or off, something straight out of the late 1960s/early 1970s.

The title of the show refers to a book introduced to Mr. Dent by a alien who has inhabited the Earth for fifteen years in the person of Ford Prefect, named for a small car popular in Europe in the 1970s. Prefect is understatedly played, in the tradition of a good Britisher, by John Aurelius, who bears a striking resemblance to two friends of mine, Aaron Jent and Chris Payton. Aurelius (what a name!) is a recent U of L grad in music, and plays a recorder in different scenes of the play.

The play is directed by Dana Hope and the stage manager is Amelia C. Pantalos.

In the rear of the room, refreshments were available which included a nice Cabernet for me and a Chardonnay for Lynn. And popcorn.

This was a fun, lighthearted trip into the future and the past hitchhiking our way through the galaxy. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was written by Douglas Noel Adams. He died in 2001 at the age of 49.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

707. Beshear Wins! Ok, I got that one right; let's look at the rest

In the previous entry I made several predictions as they pertain to yesterday's near-sweep by the Democratic Party of Kentucky's statewide offices. Let's see how I did. I will list the predictions followed by what actually happened. A quick look-see shows that I did not do well. Here we go.

I predicted the Democrats will win all races.
The Democrats won four out of five, losing the race for Agriculture Commissioner.

I predicted statewide turnout prediction of 28.2%.
The actual turnout was 28.63% statewide.

I predicted eighteen counties would have a greater turnout percentage than the state average which was 28.63. Below is my list, followed by their turnout. My winners are in bold; my losers in italics. I didn't do so good.
Anderson, 38.32; Bath, 22.54; Boone, 21.79; Butler, 25.11; Campbell, 25.76; Daviess, 30.09; Fayette, 32.74; Floyd, 22.84; Franklin, 51.17; Henderson, 26.28; Jefferson, 32.13; Kenton, 24.01; Meade, 29.89; Nicholas, 27.34; Ohio, 26.13; Oldham, 33.94; Scott, 32.21; Woodford, 40.33.

One of the several factors I use in determing "numbers" is a precinct, or in this case a county, which outperform the overall area in turnout. There are always the usual suspects - Anderson, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Scott, Woodford, and a few others.

Here is the actual list of those counties which outperformed the statewide average of 28.63%, listed from a high in Franklin of 51.17%. I had said there would be 18; there were actually 53.

Franklin, 51.17; Elliott, 43.62; Woodford, 40.33; Cumberland, 40.09; Lyon, 39.33; Shelby, 38.57; Anderson, 38.32; Henry, 36.85; Caldwell, 36.13; Carlisle, 36.11; Monroe, 36.11; Ballard, 36.02; Marshall, 35.71; Taylor, 34.29; Powell, 34.13; Russell, 34.03; Oldham, 33.95; Hickman, 33.71; Spencer, 33.52; Graves, 33.51; Owen, 330.05; Crittenden, 32.94; Boyle, 32.74; Fayette, 32.74; Livingston, 32.55; Marion, 32.49; Scott, 32.21; Jefferson, 32.13; Harrison, 31.72; Bourbon, 31.43; McLean, 31.28; Jessamine, 31.02; Larue, 30.88; Clark, 30.71; Fleming, 30.71; Hancock, 30.41; Adair, 30.31; Nelson, 30.29; Clinton, 30.22; Daviess, 30.09; Metcalfe, 30.05; Green, 30.00; Webster, 29.94; Meade, 29.89; Washington, 29.70; Trigg, 29.62; Rowan, 29.54; McCracken, 29.52; Breckinridge, 29.45; Madison, 29.14; Hopkins, 29.09. If you ever want to know why candidates go some places and not others, the above numbers demonstate the reasons - turnout.

The bottom five in percentage of turnout were Lewis, 18.67; Bell, 18.64; McCreary, 18.45; Gallatin, 18.42, and the worst was in Christian with 17.80. In trying to find an excuse for Christian, one may argue that because it is home to one of Kentucky's two military bases, Ft. Campbell, that there may be a lot of disinterested voters on the rolls. But the other base, Ft. Knox, has residents in Hardin, Meade, and Bullitt, all of which posted turnout percentages in the high 20s.

While we are on the subject of turnout, I want to briefly relate a discussion I had very early Tuesday morning with my very dear friend Preston Bates. Preston and I are in philosophical agreement very little these days as far as partisan politics go. One of the points he made was the system is obviously broke if only 30% of the eligible voters are voting. He was calling on people to skip voting altogther to demonstrate the frailty, or failure, of the system. He made quite a few other points in the discussion but this one matters. Late in the night last night, I rehashed this idea of the 30% and the failed system with another friend, Charlotte Lundergan, and her mother, Mrs. Case. Mrs. Case, famous of late due to a political ad, is one of the two grandmothers of newly elected Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. We had some interesting comments with respect to Preston's idea. He doesn't know it yet, but I am going to ask him to pen an op-ed piece for entry here on the blog. I hope he will take me up on the offer.

But, back to my predictions, bad as they were.

I predicted the governor and his running mate, His Honor the Former Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro, would prevail by a margin of 56.5 to 30 for Williams to 12.5 for Galbraith to 1 for all others.
The actual poll was Beshear, 55.72; Williams, 35.29; Galbraith, 8.99. Since no one filed to have Write-Ins counted, there is no number listed for them on the Secretary of State's website.

I predicted my friend Todd Hollenbach would win the Treasurer's race 55-42-3. Todd struggled to get out of the high-40s. His final tally was 48.77-46.61-4.62. The 4.62 went to Libertarian candidate Ken Moellman. his 4.62 probably caused the defeat of Todd's Republican opponent K. C. Crosbie, a Lexington council member. Mr. Moellman gets the "Bobbie Holsclaw" award as her candidacy in the Republican Primary for governor is the probable reason Steve Beshear's opponent was David Williams and not Tea Party Republican Phil Moffett.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, about whom I wrote at the beginning of her candidacy, was the leading votegetter for all the Democrats receiving 494368 votes, 30000+ better than the governor. Just as I did in the Primary, I ended my Election Night at her party in Lexington, and at an after-party at her parents' home. My prediction for her race was 54-46. She won 60.63-39.37. I was wrong again.

Jack Conway said in his victory speech that "reports of my demise were awfully premature." I've supported Jack in every race he has ran and will very, very likely continue to do so. But I was, admittedly, one of those people not necessarily predicting but deeply concerned about his poltical demise yesterday. One of my last texts as I was en route to Frankfort yesterday afternoon was to fellow political consultant Jonathan Hurst, wherein I expressed my concern for both Jack's race as well as Bob Farmer's, or as the text said "Ag or AG." I was, thankfully, wrong. I predicted Jack would win 53-47. He won 55.02-44.98.

I spent most of the afternoon and evening in the "war room" of the Democratic candidate for State Auditor Adam Edelen, whom I've known for almost two decades. Adam's campaign manager, Will Carle, made the request and I was happy to volunteer my time counting Adam's votes. My prediction for Adam was 55-45. I was off 3/4 of a point either way, to Adam's favor. He won 55.76-44.24. I'll claim a win here, the only one of the night.

My final prediction was in the Agriculture Commissioner's race where I had Bob Farmer winning a tight race 52-48. The race wasn't tight at all. There wont be a second non-farming Farmer in the Farmer's office. That race was won, handily, by James "Jamie" Comer, a 39 year old Republican legislator from Tompkinsville. We will be hearing Comer's name for many years to come in all likelihood. He beat Farmer 63.70-36.21, garnering 519183 votes, more than anyone on the ballot, something I specifically said would not happen - double loss. Farmer carried eight counties in the "old 7th" and Muhlenberg in the west, losing the other 111 counties.

All in all, other than the governor's race, the only one I really got close on was Adam Edelen's. I'll take that. In Kentucky, with the every-fourth year exception, there is always another election six months down the road.

Friday, November 4, 2011

706. Beshear Wins! - and other predictions. And polling location changes in Jefferson

I am confident I am not alone in making the title prediction - Beshear Wins! There seems to be little doubt that the Bully of Burkesville will go down to defeat in next Tuesday's statewide elections to the incumbent governor, Steve Beshear - voted down by an electorate which every pollster and pundit predicts will be thin at best. There shouldn't be any long lines, or even short lines, at the polling stations, which are open Tuesday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, local time. A note on that - voters in eastern Breckinridge County, near Irvington, who unofficially follow "Louisville" time are voting on "Owensboro" time.

The Secretary of State is predicting a statewide turnout of 27%, a number which may be a little on the shy side if the weather is as nice as some are predicting - highs in the low 70s with sunshine and a slight breeze. Of course, here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, the weather is subject to change between the time you vote for Governor and the time you vote for Agriculture Commissioner.

While I am not going to give any hard numbers in this entry, I am going to give percentages and we can come back later next week to see if my crystal ball is clear or cracked. So, to the numbers - or rather the percentages. I will state up front, I am predicting a slate sweep for the Democrats, something that hasn't happened since 1999.

First, I am predicting a statewide turnout of 28.2%. The following counties will have a percentage turnout greater than the statewide pecentage: Anderson, Bath, Boone, Butler, Campbell, Daviess, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Henderson, Jefferson, Kenton, Meade, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Scott, and Woodford - a total of 18, meaning 102 counties will be at 28.2% or less, some far less.

The most recent polls have shown the governor with a high 20-something point lead. That number will narrow but remain in the 20s. My final vote percentagews for the governor's race are as follows: Steve Beshear 56.5%, David Williams 30%, Gatewood Galbraith 12.5%, others 1%.

Gatewood Galbraith will run second in at least four counties, maybe two more. Those four are Bath, Nicholas, Clark, and Robertson. Maybe Mason and Franklin, too.

Todd Hollenbach, the incumbent State Treasurer and someone I've known for about 35 years, will lead the Democrats in votes received, defeating his opponent 55%-42%, with a third party (Libertarian Ken Moellman) getting less than 3%.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State, essentially an open seat and running against a Tea Partier Republican, will win her race by a 54%-46% margin. She is, obviously, the only woman on the Democratic ticket and is also the youngest, being in her mid-30s. She is an attorney in Lexington and is married to Andrew Grimes, who might one day be Kentucky's Second First Gentleman. Dr. Bill Collins was the first.

The other three offices are harder to predict. But, I'll try.

I've been a friend of Jack Conway's for about sixteen years, having been introduced by a former co-worker, attorney Denis Fleming, shortly after Denis went to work for Governor Patton. I've supported Jack in each of his races and this one is important. The Republicans want the Attorney General's office more than any other so as to use it as a launching pad for investigations into every possible event taking place in Frankfort, at great expense to Kentucky's taxpayers. Their candidate today famously received the endorsement of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Yes, her. She is so much a supporter of Jack's opponent that in her endorsement, a voice-mail recording, she mispronouces the Republican's name. Jack, of course, lost last year's United States Senate race to one of the strangest folks ever to hold office in Kentucky. I've heard far too many voters speak of buyer's remorse when it comes to the Junior Senator from Kentucky. I think this will help Jack in the long run. I beleive this will be the second most voted race, behind the governor's with Conway winning 53-47%, thus electing Jack to his second and final term as Attorney General. At just over 40 years of age, he still has a potentially long future in Kentucky's electoral processes.

The race for Auditor of Public Accounts, presently held by longtime Kentucky government insider Crit Luallen, puts Adam Edelen in his first race, although he has been around Kentucky politics since he was in high school, which was about the time I met him. He was then working as an intern with the Kentucky Democratic Party when our local Jefferson County Democratic Party had its offices in the Mid-City Mall, in the space now occupied by the Shelby-Highlands Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. His co-intern was a young man named Aaron Horner. Both, with me, have remained good friends over the nearly two decades which has passed from then to now. But Adam has been largely in the background, a loyal stormtrooper for the Democrats and rising to the highest level a background person possibly can, as Chief-of-Staff to the Governor, a position he held until resigning to run for this current seat. Adam is originally from nearby Meade County and is a graduate of Saint Xavier here in Jefferson County. This race is tighter than it should be given the respective resumes of the candidates. Adam wins 55%-45%, or maybe 54%-46%.

Finally we have a race for Agriculture Commissioner. For the last eight years Kentucky's Ag-Commissioner, as it is commonly called, has been held by a Kentucky sports hero, Richie Farmer, Republican of Clay County, formerly wearing the #32 basketball jersey at the University of Kentucky. Richie wasn't a farmer when he got elected and being in statewide office hasn't seemed to help him this year in his bid for lieutenant governor with the Bully from Burkesville. And, the truth is, neither the Commonwealth nor the office of Agriculture Commissioner has suffered greatly under Mr. Farmer, if you don't count a missing refrigerator, from its representation by a non-farmer, even a sports hero named Farmer. In truth, the office is a marketing vehicle for Kentucky products of all kinds, with some other odd and scattered duties here and there.

Almost comically, the Democrat running to replace the Republican Farmer in the Ag Comm spot is a man named Farmer, who like Richie, is not a farmer but a marketer. Bob Farmer has long been involed in marketing various aspects of Kentucky from his professional offices in downtown Louisville. Now he is seeking to bring that expertise to a statewide level. His opponent is a little known legislator from southern Kentucky. Four years ago, the winner of this race received more votes than any other candidate on the ballot. That will not be the case in 2011. I expect Bob Farmer to be elected by a 52%-48% margin.


So, those are my numbers. I'll be in Frankfort, and later Lexington, on Election Night counting votes and celebrating an across-the-board win.


Finally, ten precincts, all generally supportive of Democrats, have had their polling location changed for Tuesday's election. They are in South Louisville, the Highlands, and Clifton. Here is the list:

G111 and G112, in the Deer Park area of the Highlands, moves from Bellarmine (Knights Hall) to Highland Middle School, less than a two blocks away at 1700 Norris Place. Each of these are heavy voting precincts.

I105 and J101, south of Churchill Downs, move from Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church at 3509 Taylor Boulevard to Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church, 3526 Taylor Boulevard, which is cater-corner from the former location. There is a stoplight to safely cross the street.

I110, in the Beechmont neighborhood, moves from the Louisville Fire House at S. 5th Street and W. Ashland Avenue, two blocks southeast to the Beechmont Baptist Church, 4574 S. 3rd Street.

I114, just south of the above precinct, is moved from the Gateway Community Church at 4623 Southern Parkway one block east to the Beechmont Baptist Church, 4574 S. 3rd Street.

L117, L118, and L119, all in the Clifton/Veterans Hospital area, move from Saint Leonard School, at the top of Zorn Avenue, to the Louisville Visual Art Building, more commonly known as the Louisville Water Tower, on River Road. This is a huge move down the hill about a mile away and will probably hurt turnout in these precincts. They should say the poll is at the Water Tower as very few people know the building by the other name. Also, while the address is 3005 River Road, the building itself sits about 1/3 mile north of River Road. This move should be rescinded if at all possible.

N130, also in the Zorn Avenue area, has its poll moved from the Lebanese American Club at 3020 River Road to the Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club, a huge non-descript building at Mellwood and Zorn avenues, south of I-71.

For any information on voting, the phone number for the Jefferson County Board of Elections is 502-574-6100. Their website is

Vote Early, Vote Often.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

705. Puzzle Solved!

When I posted entry #704 back on October 10th, I never dreamed that it would go unanswered for such a long period of time. I've been quite busy with other things and have basically ignored the blog with the puzzle unsolved. October 2011 was one of my worst months as far as visits are concerned, scoring only 651, a number which has been surpassed in all but the earliest months of the blog nearly five years ago.

But I know that several of my 651 viewers in October were some of my seven faithful readers, several of whom regularly make attempts at solving the puzzles. A number of them, including one whose surname provided us with one of the answers, let me know they had given it the old college try but eventually gave in.

A sweet irony is that five of the people with whom I have spoken to about the puzzle are directly related to the theme of the puzzle, and a sixth wants to be as he is a candidate in next year's elections.

Today all the puzzling came to an end as one of my dearest friends, identified only as Garton in his response, came in with the answer. He later expanded on the answer in a phone-text, finally identifying the theme.

Garton, whom I call Michael, and who, at least on Facebook calls himself Eli, offered most of the street-names as well as identifying the groups.

To wit, Democratic Metro Council members, Republican Metro Council members, and the mayor. Remember, the title was street names in the news. Most of you might know that I have been preoccupied for just over a year with the redistricting of the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Council based on the returns from the April 1, 2010 United States Census. The answers to the questions are streets in Louisville-Jefferson County Metro which happen to coincide with names of Metro's elected officials.

Here are the answers:

GROUP ONE - Democratic Council members.
#1 - Johnson Road in Eastwood; Johnson Street in Butchertown; Councilman Dan Johnson (D-21).

#2 - Hamilton Avenue; Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5). The mills are located on Barret Avenue in the 500 block, just north of East Broadway.

#3 - Butler Court off Klondike Lane; Butler Road in Shively; Councilwoman Marianne Butler (D-15).

#4 - James Road off Phillips Lane in the old Ashton-Adair area, once famously declared "blighted" by the Regional Airport Authority; another James Road near Lindsay Avenue in Clifton; Councilman David James (D-6).

#5 - Henderson Avenue and Lane in SW Jefferson County turns out to be something of a mistake. It is a private road off Dixie Highway which appears on very few maps; Henderson Avenue in the Prestonia neighborhood off Belmar Drive; Councilman Bob Henderson (D-14).

#6 - I made an error here as it is a street and not an avenue. Owen Street; Councilman Tom Owen (D-8).

#7 - Welch Drive, off Penile Road; Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13).

#8 - Ward Avenue in Middletown; Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh (D-9), hence only half-credit. To my knowledge, there is no right-of-way in the Metro area named Pugh.

GROUP TWO - Republican Council members
#1 - Fleming Road near Atherton High School; Fleming Avenue in Clifton, not far from James Road; Councilman Ken Fleming (R-7).

#2 - Benson Court and Benson Lane, both off Deering Road as mentioned; Councilman Stuart Benson (R-20).

GROUP THREE - Mayor of Louisville-Jefferson Coumty Metro
#1 - Fischer Avenue in Germantown; Mayor Greg Fischer (D-Louisville). Struck Avenue is now called Rufer Avenue.


Thanks for playing and thank you to Michael for getting the answers.

Monday, October 10, 2011

704. [Street] names in the news; HL 21 revealed

First, the previous Hidden Location Quiz was solved by Marty Meyer. He correctly identified the intersections of Gray and Clay streets and Payne and Pine streets. Remember, this was a phonetic contest. Gray and Clay are Jefferson County's only two intersecting streetnames which perfectly rhyme. Payne and Pine represent the same consonant sounds with two different long vowel sounds. I thought it was a cute contest.

Below is another one. I'm going to describe several street descriptions, but you have to figure out what they are. Remember, these are [street] names in the news. This puzzle will be most easily answered by residents of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro.

The descriptions are being intentionally grouped a certain way so as to serve as a hint. And while we could have included plural versions or possessive versions of these names, we chose not to. Once you start getting a few, the rest will be easy.

#1 actually has two entries, a Road and a Street. The road is in far-eastern Jefferson County in the Eastwood community. It shows up on maps as a state highway. The street is in the Butchertown neighborhood.

#2 is a short, dead-end Avenue in the Tarascon Woolen Mills subdivision. Much of the woolen mills buildings are still extant and many downtown residents pass them daily.

#3 also has two entries, a Road and a Court. The court is part of the Midlane Park subdivision. It is a dead-end with single family homes at the beginning and apartment buildings in the cul-de-sac. The road is in the Heatherfields subdivision off Crums Lane in Shively.

#4 also has two entries but one of them has been largely abandoned because of noise. Both are Roads. The first in the old Ashton-Adair neighborhood. The second is a short street in the Bell Court (also spelled Belcourt) subdivision near Indianola.

#5 has three entries of which two are connected to each other, an Avenue and a Lane. They are in far-southwestern Jefferson County and all the properties on them are owned by one of two families, Alwes and Gunter. The other, also an Avenue, is in what I call the Prestonia neighborhood but what most people call the Belmar neighborhood which was a later name for the same area.

#6 is an old Avenue is one of the oldest parts of town, Portland. It runs for about eight blocks, with a few breaks, some of which is in the Slevins Addition subdivision.

#7 is a very rural Drive in the southern part of the county settled up against the Jefferson Memorial Forest.

#8 will only get you half-credit. There is no answer to the other-half of the clue. But the first-half is an Avenue in the Middletown area, built up with a combination of houses and condos.

#1 has two entries, a Road and an Avenue. The road is in the Highlands, in different sections of the Valley Vista subdivision, including one section known as Tecumseh. The avenue in the Clifton neighborhood, specifically in what was laid out as McAllister's East subdivision.

#2 has two entries, a Court and a Lane, connected together and a part of the Golden Meadows subdivision off Deering Road near a church formerly known as Our Lady of Consolation.

GROUP THREE - can one make a group?
#1 is an Avenue in an area developed by the German Real Estate and Building Company. I do not know if that word "German" is an adjective for a native of Germany or a proper name. The former is typically pronounced with a "J" sound, the latter, a local common name, pronounced with the gutteral "G" sound. One of the streets intersected by this avenue was once known as Struck Avenue, but is no more.

Your only other clue is there are no answers for the descriptions not listed, including the other-half of Group 1, #8.

Have fun.

Unrelated, today is the birthday of a dear friend, Morgan Ransdell. Happy Birthday, Morgan.

AMENDED CLUE - "Your only other clue is there are no answers for the descriptions not listed, including the other-half of Group 1, #8."

This puzzle could have had a total of 27 answers, 28 if you count the other-half of Group 1, #8.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

703. Someone in Bingen, Washington viewed our #100,000th page.

It has been a while since I mentioned some of the cities and towns which are home to persons making a visit here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. We have viewers from all over the world, in addition to the seven faithful readers who seem to be from either Louisville, Lexington, Murray, or Frankfort in Kentucky, along with Bloomington IN, Mountain View CA (home of Google), and Washington DC. We've recently had viewers from some relatively unknown places like Grass Valley in northcentral California (pop. 13000) and home to the Holbrooke Hotel [in the aboveleft picture], Gerrardstown in West Virginia's far eastern pandle county of Berkeley (pop. 3600, and a few others. We're very thankful for all our readers, even on those days where only four people visit, which happened recently. According to the people-ticker, our current avergage daily number of visits is 27. It has been as high as 84 back in October and November of 2008. So, whoever you are and from wherever you reside, welcome.

Now and then, however, we pass a benchmark and such was the case four days ago when a reader from the very small community of Bingen, Washington became the blog's 100,000th page viewer. Woohoo. I have to admit I had never heard of Bingen, Washington, which is on the Columbia River in the southcentral part of the state on the Oregon border opposite the much larger city of Hood River.

One of the main streets in Bingen is the Lewis and Clark Highway, names all of us here in Louisville, Clarksville, and Jeffersonville recognize. The men who left from the banks of the Ohio River, the Corps of Discovery, in 1803 at some point passed the site of present day Bingen.

According to the 2010 census, Bingen has 712 residents, which is about the same size as the City of Seneca Gardens, precinct G-161, on the northside of Taylorsville Road. Unlike Seneca Gardens, Bingen has several large marinas on the river, the Gorge Heritage Museum [see picture at right], an AmTrak station - YES, AN AMTRAK STATION, and Daubenspeck Park, where a few weekends ago they celebrated the 50th Annual Huckleberry Festival. That's about all I can tell you about Bingen. I doubt I'll ever visit, but it seems like a nice place.

So, to whoever it was that turned the Page View clicker over to 100,000, thank you. And, please, come back again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hidden Location #21 - A Study in Phonetics

Below are two intersections. I chose these intersections for their phonetic peculiarities, peculiarities I believe to be unique in Jefferson County's street grid. I won't say what those peculiarities are because that would be too much of a clue in identifying them. I will say that they are about one mile from each other, although they aren't in the same neighborhood or zip code. That's the extent of your clues.

Identify the locations and you will understand the peculiarities. Identifying the peculiarities would help you cite, or site [in this instance either verb works] the locations. It is important that you name both streets in the intersection and in doing so you will understand why.

Please answer in the comments section below this entry. I will name the winner based on posts here on the blog as opposed to overthere in 1984-land on Facebook.

Also, Michael Garton is not eligible to answer as he and I made an extensive walking tour of one of these sites.

Good luck.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

702. John David Dyche, another Republican seeking to limit democracy

Last Tuesday, September 13, 2011, in a copyrighted story in the Courier-Journal, their McConnell apologist-cum-columnist John David Dyche warns of a "dreaded day" when people armed so heavily with voting rights will turn to violence in the streets, becoming clamorous, and look upon property as its "prey and plunder," once again demonstrating that when Republicans want your attention, it is mostly through the use of scare tactics and hyperbole that they will get it.

For a moment let's look beyond Mr. Dyche's idea that the property-less should also be the vote-less, meaning that those in nursing homes can't vote, those in college dorms can't vote, those older adults living with their children in "mother-in-law" apartments can't vote, those divorced or separated children who've returned home to Mom and Dad can't vote, those who live (and work) in long-haul semis and waterborne barges, moving America's products from sea to shining sea can't vote, and so many more he (and many Republicans) wish to eliminate from the voters rolls, let us look for a moment at the people he cited in his article as supporting such an idea.

As most Republicans do when wanting to harken back to the good ol' days, he first cites "The Founders." They use to call them the "Founding Fathers" but Dyche here engages in political correctness, something his ilk usually ridicules when used by others, leaving off the gender identifying noun "fathers."

Would that those in the halls of power today were as formidable a group as "The Founders," to use Mr. Dyche's PC-touched phrase. Thirty-three had served in the Revolutionary War. How many of today's politicians served in any war, or for that matter, in any branch of active service? Forty-two had attended the Continental Congress, and two had signed the Declaration of Independence; two would go on to serve as U.S. presidents, sixteen as governors, and two as chief justices of the United States. They were an unusual group of leaders who, on average, were in their early 40s. The notable exception was Ben Franklin. And, they were all male and all white. Their beliefs were governed by a world which was governed by white males. Naturally, some of their decisions were improper and we've corrected those over the years. Mr. Dyche, hoping to avoid being called racist or sexist (and he may not be), rightfully points out that limitations based on race and sex were wrong and have rightly been reformed. And at that point he begins his elimination of the franchise by saying that others - plural - other restrictions "made sense and merit reconsideration."

Since the only two restrictions he defines as being illegitimate are sex and race, one is left to believe that Mr. Dyche is approving of any and all other restrictions Americans have which would restrict their access to the ballot box.

He then goes on to outline one in particular, property ownership, which deserves reconsideration.

His first "witness" for his argument is British Commissary General Henry Ireton. Ireton married into the Cromwell family in England in the mid-17th century. One would think as Oliver Cromwell's son-in-law and heir to his political gains, that out of duty he would be supportive of Cromwell's policies. But, at discussions at the time, he supported retention of kings, nobles, and commoners - antithetical to Cromwell's plans. He called for a constitutional monarchy. (This may be why Dyche, a McConnell-ite, is drawn to him). But he was also antagonistic to the king, Charles, and eventually worked to overthrow him. Ireton was ruthless in battle, known to have executed those who stood in his way or supported the wishes of the king. He is known to have driven the Irish cities of Waterford and Limerick to famine and to have killed or killed himself several dignitaries of Limerick, including an alderman; Terence O'Brien, the Catholic Bishop of Limerick; and many others. Upon the restoration of the English monarchy, nine years after Ireton had died, his body was exhumed and summarily executed for his crimes against England. Such is the type of person Dyche would have us follow.

Mr. Dyche's next witness is a far cry from the rebellious Ireton. James Kent was and is a well respected jurist from New York who flourished in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, leaving his mark on a great deal of New York and American jurisprudence. He was the first law professor at what would become Columbia University and was a Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court. Mr. Dyche quotes Kent as saying "The tendency of universal suffrage is to jeopardize the rights of property, and the principles of liberty." Mr. Dyche and his ilk love to use the word "liberty" when and wherever they can. Justice Kent made this statement in the 1777 New York State Constitutional Convention. It seemingly advises against widespread suffrage. Another statement made by Kent is one Mr. Dyche obviously chose not to use because it served the exact opposite purpose. Just as "The Founders" had some restrictions which were "rightly reformed" by later decisions, Justice Kent had by 1821 changed his mind on suffrage. In the 1821 New York State Constitutional Convention, Kent was again a member. And this time his statement, specifically speaking against a movement to take the vote away from African-American property owners, was as follows, "we did not come to this convention to disenfranchise any portion of the community, or to take away their rights." Other than the idea that it clearly did not serve his purpose, one must wonder why Mr. Dyche chose to ignore this statement of Justice Kent.

Mr. Dyche's next witness for disenfranchisement is Daniel Webster. Little research is needed to point out the flaw with the particular statement Dyche chose as representation for Webster's views. "Those who have not property . . . cannot be favorable to laws made for the protection of property." There is no argument with such a statement and if property were the sole purpose of our separation from England, then its inclusion in Mr. Dyche's essay would be understandable. But our Constitution's protections in the Fourteenth Amendment didn't stop with the word property. That sentence, which neither Mr. Dyche nor Sen. Webster seems concerned with states " [N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . ." Is Mr. Dyche concerned about life and liberty, in addition to property?

We know that Daniel Webster was, in fact, concerned with far more than property. One type of "property" at the time was slaves. Webster is known to have bought the freedom of (at least) three slaves, a woman named Monica McCarty, a man known only as Bean, and a man who worked in the White House and was once owned by Dolly Madison named Paul Jennings. However his good work is marred somewhat by his support of the Fugitive Slave Act, a part of the Compromise of 1850, generally attributed to Kentucky's Henry Clay. While it is unknown whether Monoca McCarty or Bean ever enjoyed the freedom to vote, Paul Jennings, as a resident of Washington DC until 1874 did, thanks in part to Daniel Webster.

The inimitable John Randolph is then quoted by Mr. Dyche for a few lines aimed mostly at those receiving government benefits of some kind. Randolph, a Virginian, does come close to the current mood and movement of those for whom the government is too big. He was a classic libertarian before such a thing existed. Mr. Dyche has expanded from a few sentences Randolph spoke against falling under the control of "King Numbers" into an ecstatic manifesto against anyone and anything on the public dole. But there is, to my knowledge, no clear connection between Randolph's sincere abhorrence of "King Numbers" and any desire on Randolph's part to limit participation in voting to the propertied class. Mr. Dyche here veers off of his original premise into the larger (and popular) argument of some present day anarchists - my friend Preston Bates comes to mind - who believe that government - any government - is a problem. King Numbers is the government itself, not the poor huddling masses called to be served by it. I believe Mr. Dyche has misappopriated the words of a man who probably is close to him in political philosophy. But the misappropriation is actually a broadside against the New Deal, the Great Society, and other programs created and passed to make better the lives of as many Americans as possible. These are commitments America owes to its citizens.

Big government is the object against which Mr. Dyche is truly writing. It is no secret that he and his Party favor a smaller government, with fewer laws, fewer restrictions, and fewer taxes. But, over the years our government has expanded, by the will of the people through the votes of the Congress. Part of that will, that of providing what Republicans and Libertarians like to call "entitlements" but what others like to call "commitments made and expected to be kept," has gotten our Republic into a sea of Red Ink over the years. The ink never dries as the Congress, which has the sole power to tax the citizens to pay for the programs it has approved, has failed in its mission of keeping up with its own priorities. We allegedly "misguided liberals" aren't blind to the current fiscal crises. We, in fact, believe that it was largely created by Republicans who insisted on paying for two wars over the last eight years, who enacted a series of tax cuts to the wealthy, and who in general are themselves blind to the current fiscal problems - read commitments - and ideologically opposed to correcting it.

And while Tea Partiers and others lament America's "high taxes" they ignore the reality that taxes are lower today than they have been for many years. And the Congress, whether led by Democrats or Republicans, is unwilling to cough up - in the form of higher taxes - the obligations to which it has bound itself over the years. The piper has come to collect his pay and few are willing to admit that we actually owe the bill.

Rather than face the reality of a bankrupt system, irrespective of who or what bankrupted it, Mr. Dyche suggests for the future a limited democracy of property owners only as the panacea for America's problems, including what he sees as its moral decline. He doesn't fully explain the connection but the implication is that those who own no property are guilty of the moral decline of America. I would argue, as did the Bible, that the love of money - filthy lucre - is the root of all evil. And as America is a country based on capitalism as opposed to some other form of government, we are pre-disposed to a corrupt culture, something Ben Franklin and John Randolph warned against - the root of all evil which is the love of money.

The dread day draws nigh when only the propertied, only those with money, control who we are, where we go, what we eat, how we work, what we read, who we date, and what we believe. This is a far cry from the concepts of communal harmony set forth in our Constitution, written and approved by those "Founders" Mr. Dyche cited at the beginning of his esssay.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posteritym do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." One must be struck by all those collective, non-restictive words in this single-sentence preamble to America's bible.

How are the words "we," "Union," "common," "general," and "ourselves and our posterity" protected if only those select few property owners are allowed to govern us? To reverse the words of the jurist Kent, "would not the tendency of such an electorate jeopardize the rights of the non-propertied?" Using the logic Mr. Dyche has appplied, yes, they would. He would have all those without property governed solely by those with property. How does this promote the general Welfare of the citizens of our Republic?

Mr. Dyche didn't address that concern because for him and those of his ilk, it is not a concern at all.

And while I am not looking forward to it, I am waiting for Mr. Dyche's follow-up on the "other" restrictions he believes merit reconsideration. In the last sentence of his third paragraph is to be found the plural noun "others." Tell us, Mr. Dyche, how next you would restrict access to the ballot?

701. Variety Pack - HL#20 revealed; Fischer to Obama; A Man of No Importance; Redistricting

Hidden Location #20 was promptly located in Camp Taylor by Nancy Howard, and properly identified by Fr. John Schwartzlose, Johnny to those of us who watched him grow up, as the foot of Indiana Avenue, where Belmar Drive and Lee Avenue intersect. I lived one door off this corner for seventeen years. I used to tell people I lived at the very bottom of Camp Taylor, which was true. Johnny grew up a few blocks down Lee and up the hill on Orchard.

At one time Indiana Avenue didn't end here. It ran along what is now called the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Belmar Drive out to Poplar Level Road. As a side note, for many years Belmar Drive did not have a 1700 block at all, as it does now from Fincastle Road out to Poplar Level Road. A second side note is that the Fante's house in the beginning of the 1600 block used to have a 1/2 attached to its address - 1603 1/2. It was renumbered sometime in the 1970s.

The other part of Belmar Drive, that from Lee Avenue westward back to Preston Highway was originally called Kentucky Avenue, one of several scattered around what was then rural Jefferson County. Another Kentucky existed in Fern Creek, another in Middletown, and two others, all in addition to the Kentucky Street in Louisville. When the Camp Taylor post office was annexed into the Louisville post office, Camp Taylor's (and Prestonia's) Kentucky Avenue was renamed Belmar Drive. Loosely translated, Belmar means pretty lake. One may recall that the area where Standiford Field, Edgewood, and the north end of Okolona now exist was once basically a swamp called the Wet Woods. Perhaps calling the street Belmar was an attempt at a euphemism.

I've read some criticism and cynicism about the mayor's visit and chat with the president over the Sherman Minton Bridge, which has locally been dubbed Shermageddon, a name which at least four of my friends, and I am sure countless others, are taking credit for. I have to think about the president visiting Ohio and our neighbors in northern Kentucky, where very few people cast their ballots in the president's favor in November 2008. On the other hand, the two counties which are connected by the Sherman Minton, Jefferson in Kentucky and Floyd in Indiana, gave candidate Obama a 38713 vote margin over the very senior United States Senator from Arizona. [I have to admit the margin was all on the Kentucky side of the river. Floyd cast 3694 fewer votes for Obama than McCain]. As Greg is mayor of the largest city in this area of vote-largesse for Obama, I can't imagine anyone being in a better position to address the absence of traffic on the Sherman Minton than our mayor, who hasn't already offered up an opinion. And we know Obama likes Louisville. He was here several times as a candidate and once, on a beautiful September night in 2006, even before he was officially a candidate. And our side of the river is represented by one of his earliest supporters in the Congress, which can't be a bad thing. Our congressman alerted The White House to the situation twelve days ago and has been in constant contact with the Federal Highway Administation officials on a non-stop basis, and is bringing the top two from that department to Louisville in the very near future. The next logical person to get involved, since the two Republican United States Senators do not seem too interested, is the mayor. To the naysayers who have something nay to say on all-things-Fischer, give it a rest. Quite a few people in the community who didn't vote for him last November are having second thoughts, crossing over to his side. I will admit Greg and I do not entirely agree on the Bridges issue, although we do both support building the East End Bridge first. But our agreement ends there. He is supportive of a downtown bridge which I oppose. Where he stands on a Southwest bridge, an idea I've supported for a decade, I do not know. But, he is the mayor and I am happy to have him communicating with the president on our current lack of a second bridge across the Ohio.

Last week I attended Pandora Productions' 16th season opener, A Man of No Importance, with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and book by Terrence McNally. Set in 1964 Dublin, it is a story of a man's sexual identity, church identity, hidden loves, and ultimately long-lived friendships. That's quite a few hot buttons to hit in one play, but it was all well done, moving, and enjoyable. Pandora's Michael Drury played the lead (and title role) as Alfie Byrne and it was an excellent perfomance of a tragic character. Although I've never had a sister, the role of Alfie's sister Lily, played by Tiffany Taylor, is an excellent role model and played as such. Alfie's love interest, Robbie, was acted by Jason Brent Button, the adorable blue collar worker who isn't quite the lover Alfie wants but proves to be a very good friend. Alfie's other more prurient interest, Breton Beret, was played quite well by an alluring Michael Mayes, a student at U of L. I know a lot of people recognized the character, the ploy, and the ultimate but sad reward of giving in to one's temptation, as Oscar Wilde counsels Alfie to do. The entire play has as a backdrop Oscar Wilde, my favorite playwright, and the name is, of course, taken from one of the great writer's plays. In the production, the presence (or ghost) of Wilde is played understatedly and dramatically by Patrick Brophy.

The entire cast is an ensemble of fifteen players, playing both their roles and those of their assigned roles of the play-within-the-play, Wilde's Salome, which causes problems for the players' venue, Saint Imelda's Church. I've been a fan of the play-within-the-play genre since my own performance in high school of a production called Here and Now. But, I digress.

I have to say I very much enjoyed A Man of No Importance. The other actors, besides those mentioned above, are Laura Ellis, Rusty Henle, Obadiah Ewing-Roush, Josh Richard, Bob Zielinski, Kristy Calman, Betty Zielinski, Chris Cook, Meg Caudill, Daniel Cooper, Anthony Ransom, Amos Dreisbach, and Blair Boyd.

Back on March 17, 2011, we learned that the official 2010 population of Jefferson County was 741096 people, and it is on that number that under state law the Council is required to reapportion its people into 26 districts of legally-equal size. The ideal population for a district is 28503.69 persons and legally-equal is a measure created by previous court cases allowing a difference of 10% of that number between the most populated and least populated districts. Redistricting is a fascinating once-a-decade project which purists love, I being one of them. Unofficially, I created a map of 26 districts, with some help from Ray Manley and others, back in May, a map which met certain requirements and parameters.

Once you agree on those certain requirements and parameters - that incumbents (of both parties) will remain in their respective districts, that districts with minority representation will remain (or achieve) minority-majority status, and that you will comply with all legal requirements, and that you will split as few precincts as possible - there really aren't very many ways to divvy a county up into twenty-six districts of legally-equal size. Most districts retain 70%-80% of their original territory, one way or another. There are exceptions in far southwestern Jefferson and susburban southeast Jefferson.

Metro Council President Jim King (D-10) has, since August, done an excellent job of bringing the maps from computer-images to paper and an ordinance will soon be introduced redistricting the Council constituencies. That map will look remarkably similar to one a few of my seven faithful readers have seen. I've very happy with President King's guidance on this very delicate matter.

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.