Tuesday, July 31, 2012

746. Lunatics At Large

Some of my seven faithful readers may recall this entry's name as that of a play written by James Reach in 1936 and performed at least once here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 by the thespian troupe in the Class of 1976 at my high school alma mater, Sallie Phillips Durrett High School, in its erstwhile location on Preston Highway.  It was a grand play complete with a butler who may (or may not) have been the murderer.  But this entry isn't about that.

This entry is about the word itself, lunatics, with an etymology related to the moon, from the old Latin word luna.  It is also related to other "l" words such as lumen, lux, and light.  Those who are followers or worshippers of the moon, or specifically moonlight, have been known to be called lunatics, although not in the best of light.  Ha!  Last night as I sat with friends enjoying a sarsaparilla at one of those Baxter Avenue shebeens (although this one was licensed), we discussed the upcoming phase of the moon, the full moon.  But, first, something else.

Tomorrow, August 1, is a holiday of sorts in the pagan world, and extended into the non-pagan world, especially in the British Isles.  It is Lammas Day, a feast of the first wheat harvest.  The word itself is a contraction of sorts, on Loaf and Mass, thus the wheat harvest yielded a loaf of bread, something for which to be thankful.  Another bit of trivia related to the day is that one of the Bard's most famous characters was born on Lammas Day Eve, which is today.  Do you know who she was?

Tomorrow also marks a full moon, the "full sturgeon moon" at least in America, so named for the fish which are abundantly caught during the month, especially in the Great Lakes of the great midwest.  Having a full moon on August 1 will also afford one of those moons we've all heard of but may not really know what they are.  "Once in a blue moon!"  You've heard the expression, no doubt, meaning "not very often."  The name has come to be applied to the third of four full moons within a quarter of the lunar year.  In lay terms, that is usually interpreted as a second full moon in any given month.  August 31 will bring us a second full moon for the month of August, a blue moon according to the legend.

To begin a month and end a month with full moons is certainly something to be celebrated, notwithstanding the pagan celebration of Lammas Day, also tomorrow.

Need something more to celebrate, at least on August 1?  My maternal grandmother, Vivian "Tommie" Hockensmith, was born on this date in 1916.  She died in 1976.  Another dear friend of most of my life, Mary-John Celletti, will also be celebrating the anniversary of her nativity tomorrow.  I know the year of her birth, but, alas, I'll keep it to myself for now. 

Happy Lammas Eve!  Celebrate. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

745. Kentucky's Fourth Congressional District, St. Louis, New Hampshire, and Iowa

Clearly, there is a thread of wanderlust in my postings - wandering through county highways and rural backroads, and the occasional longer trip to Washington, DC at 606 miles in 9 hours and 23 minutes, or to Kentucky's annual summer political event, Fancy Farm, which at 237 miles sometimes seems to be even farther and takes longer.  But my seven faithful readers know that most of journeys are within the borders of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, my native state, my resides state (to use an adjective mostly found in reference to where one normally attends classes in the Jefferson County Public Schools system).

There have been a few times in my life that I've thought about leaving Kentucky but I've always found a reason (or excuse) to stay, putting off dreams, short-changing new opportunities at the expense of a comfortable surrounding not too far away from Mom's house.  That isn't, however, the advice I offer to my friends, especially my younger friends.  My advice to them has always been to go and see and do things elsewhere, outside your comfort zone, and perhaps outside the comfort zone of others.  Outside of reading about new and different places in a book as a good education, the better one is to go experience those things for yourself firsthand.

Back in the winter months, a dear friend of mine did just that, charting for himself a political path that has taken him to New England, South Carolina, and Nevada in a presidential campaign thought by some to be quixotic; and then later in Texas and, notably, Kentucky's Fourth Congressional District not working for a campaign but rather for one of those SuperPACs we've all come to know and hate.  He began this journey just shy of his 23rd birthday with my strong encouragement.  And while I have not been pleased with the political ramifications of his work - we don't agree on politics - I am impressed with his ambition and happy for his future that he has undertaken such wandering.  He has also learned that notoriety, something you gain by doing and being different and especially if your doing and being is successful as his has been, works both ways, something they don't teach you in college.  I've been on him for some time to finish college, but I am acutely aware that he is getting a great education through his current travels.

Another friend, 23 earlier this year, has for the summer only, as he will be commencing law school next month, taken a similar jaunt, this one to Saint Louis - specifically Webster Groves, 270 miles almost due west of Louisville along I-64.  He, too, is engaged in political work, in this case for the reelection of the 44th President of the United States, an effort I strongly support.  Missouri, where he is working, was hoping to have a more active role in the 2012 presidential sweepstakes, a role it has played in the past but is doing less so this time around.  Saint Louis was one of the cities in the running for this year's Democratic National Convention but lost out to Charlotte, North Carolina, a city located in one of the nine infamous swing states, where most if not all of the remaining 2012 campaign for president will decided.  Similarly, Washington University in Saint Louis, which has been a national debate site for two decades, finds itself debate-less in this cycle.  Still, the work my friend is engaged in is far bigger than the 2012 presidential election.  It will gain for him an insight into life and work and friends and opportunities in a new place, as well as memories for a lifetime.  And, there has to be some satisfaction in being able to say "I was a staffer in the president's re-election campaign."  Very few political types, at any level, will ever be able to utter those words.

Yet another friend who just turned 32, someone I've known about eight years, a native of Spencer County and graduate of the University of Kentucky, has left the warm and stormy weather here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 for the cooler and more comfortable climes of New Hampshire.  Unlike the previous two in this essay, I'm not too clear for whom or what he is working in the state and I had no role in his plan.  New Hampshire is an interesting state politically, although like Missouri, getting less so.  Geographically, the western and southwestern parts of the state lean Democratic and the northern and southeastern parts Republican.  It looks to be a Red State this November if present polling is correct.  Governor Romney's candidacy is bolstered by that of Ovide Lamontagne, the Republican candidate for governor, who is far better known to the electorate than others (in any party) seeking the governor's office.  Maybe my friend is there to address that - I really do not know.  He has worked in presidential and other federal campaigns all across the country over the years.  What I do know is that he is on his way to another adventure.

Finally, another friend, in his early 40s, is packing up an old Jeep van, one he just bought three days ago, and is preparing a drive to Ames, Iowa.  Ames, Iowa and Washington, DC are nearly the exact same distance from Louisville, but the similarity ends there.  Ames is dead center in the state, located about 30 miles north of the capital at Des Moines.  It is a college town, home to Iowa State University.  And it tends to be a swing-city politically, but unlike all the other places above, swings, if at all, just slightly to the Democrats.  Ames is also, since the 2010 Congressional redistricting, now in Iowa's 4th Congressional District.  Iowa lost a district in that process and the "new 4th" while drastically changed is still largely a safe Republican district.  Running for re-election to the Congress from that district is the current 5th District Congressman Steve King.  Chances are, if you are one of my regular readers, Congressman King has at one time or another, and in all likelihood on several different occasions, offended you.  Pick a subject, any subject, and he has made offensive remarks on the matter.  My friend is going there to work for a SuperPAC, one which seeks to end Congressman King's congressional career.  My best wishes to them and my friend on that assignment.  One person they might find as a friend in this campaign, maybe, is a name, maybe, familiar to readers of the Courtier-Journal and Louisville Times, Michael Gartner.  Mr. Gartner served as the first post-Bingham years editor of the Once Great Newspaper, but has since returned to his home state in his retirement years.  There he serves on the Iowa Board of Regents overseeing most of the state's higher educational institutions, is part-owner of a baseball team - always a good sign, and also operates an alternative weekly called Cityview, a la LEO, in Des Moines.  My guess is they don't like Steve King either.

The whole point of this post is not only to keep you informed on some of the movements of certain friends, but also to encourage my readers (and, hopefully me, too) to reach out, take chances, do and see and experience what you can while you can when you can.  For these four friends, the what, while, and when is now.

Happy Trails. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

744. Rest In Peace, Rob

Twenty-one years.

Rob Spears, 1973-1991.

May his soul and the souls of all who have passed from this life Rest In Peace.

Friday, July 13, 2012

743. A little more Louisville street trivia

This one may be too easy.  Curtis Morrison thought the last one was easy and quickly responded with an incorrect answer.

There are, to my knowledge, four answers to the following question.

Louisville is well known for streets which change names here and there.  We've previously written about such changes.  Most of the street name changes are at an intersection with some other street or, perhaps, a railroad.  Examples are Frankfort Avenue to Shelbyville Road (at Breckenridge Lane or Meridian Avenue), Breckenridge Lane to Chenoweth Lane (at Frankfort Avenue/Shelbyville Road), Baxter Avenue to Newburg Road (at Shady Lane) and Newburg Road to Buechel Bank Road (at Shepherdsville Road), Mt. Holly Road to West Manslick Road (at Fairdale Road), East Manslick Road to South Park Road (at Preston Highway), and Preston Street to Preston Highway (at Clark's Lane).  There are many others.  Some other of the name changes are the effects of road realignments.  Examples here include Saint Andrews Church Road to Greenwood Road (at Dixie Highway), 7th Street Road to Manslick Road and its companion, Berry Boulevard to 7th Street Road, Hill Street to Burnett Avenue (at Preston Street), and River Road to Bingham Way, technically an entirely new intersection that didn't exist before the realignment (and closure) of River Road from 1st Street to Preston Street.

Today's little quiz has four answers, or so I believe.  Here is the question:  Which streets change names in between intersections, that is in the course of the road after having intersected one street and before having intersected another?  the middle of a block, between two other street intersection, but not at an intersection.  One of these four sets of street names arguably doesn't fit because there should be a street where the name changes, it just doesn't exist.  Technically, the fourth one isn't really a name change.

So, what are the three (and arguably four) sets of names?  And, don't pull a Curtis and make a quick guess, unless you know you are right.  Although, to be fair, Curtis should get one of these right off the bat.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

742. A little Louisville street trivia

There is only one answer to the question "which Louisville street intersects the following numbered streets in the following order - 4th, 5th, 9th, 7th?"  What is it?

P6. The sixth in a series of Prayers of the People

(The sixth in a series.  See entry #736 for an explanation)



O Holy God, we seek your guidance for ourselves and our world, praying Lord of all people, Hear Us!

We pray for the people of the whole world, and for their leaders.  We pray for those involved with the conflicts and resolutions of northern Africa and the Middle East.  We pray for our own government leaders, for our president Barack, and for the members of our legislatures in Washington, Frankfort, and downtown at City Hall.  Guide these women and men to whom is entrusted our health, our mutual covenants, our planned and unplanned futures, praying Lord of all people, Hear Us!

We pray for the entirety of your creation, for those who believe and those who wonder.  We pray for your church and its leaders and ministers, its people and its programs.  In the Anglican Communion, we pray for The Church of Wales.  In the Diocese of Kentucky, we pray for Christ Church, Bowling Green.  In the Highland Community Ministries, we pray for Douglass Boulevard Church of Christ.  For the inter- and intra- connectiveness of these ministers and their missions, we seek the understanding and ability for their successes; praying Lord of all people, Hear Us!

We pray for the people of Advent Parish, for our rector Tim, our deacon Eva, our musicians and choir and their leader Bryan, and for all involved in the outreach and other programs of our church.  We pray for our neighbors along Baxter Avenue and Broadway, and for those we know and those who pass by, and especially for those we'll never know.  Understanding that one measure of the health and wealth of a community is the efforts, achievements, and successes of the least of its people, we ask your leading hand upon all these in our midst, praying Lord of all people, Hear Us!

We pray for all those in need: for the unemployed and underemployed, for the unrepresented, the unheard, and the unbelievers.  We also pray for those in need of healing, of comfort, of peace.  We pray especially for those who appear on our prayer-list, for [names go here].  Here we may add aloud or in silence our ouwn needs and prayers.  Praying Lord of all people, Hear Us!

Finally we pray for those who have died and those they've left behind, including [Advent deceased names go here], knowing that while their physical bodies are no longer with us, that their successes and failings and family and friends remain as part of their mark on this earth, and that together with them we will one day live in eternity, praying Lord of all people, Hear Us!

Celebrant:  O God of Grace and Mercy, you have created for us the foundation by which to make our lives good and great.  Be with this congregation as we work to fulfill your commandments to go the extra mile, offer alms to the beggar, and to be charitable in every way with all those around us, in order to be perfect as your Son was perfect.  Amen.

741. My Local Lunch Post which originally appeared at www.louisvilleky.com

My friend Cindy Lamb writes for various media around town including LouisvilleKY.com.  A few days ago she asked if I would write a column for her Friday post, called TGIF Local Lunch Post.  I did and she printed it.  I've reprinted it below.

TGIF Local Lunch Post – Dining Guest Jeff Noble Reflects and Recommends

July 6, 2012
My friend Jeff Noble steps up to the plate this week to offer some dining suggestions as well as taking us on a nostalgic tour of Louisville establishments gone by.
While still buoyant with the spirit of Independence Day, I thought it would be fitting to invite someone who is passionate about the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the city of Louisville. Jeff is known as a tireless volunteer and serves his community and local government with both traditional and progressive values.

He works as a legislative aide to Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson (D-26) and serves as a political advisor to many local Democratic campaigns, most recently Fischer for Mayor and, since 2006, Yarmuth for Congress. His blog, “Ohio River, Left Bank, MP 606″ is  subtitled  "Musings of a political, social, cultural, religious and/or historical nature…" and is worth a visit. Jeff lives in Butchertown and is known for taking a fine cigar out for a long walk.
I asked him to recall some of his culinary memories of Louisville as well as current  favorite hangs for the midday meal. Enjoy this stroll! I’m sure many readers will find they have a lot in common with our guest.

“As someone who doesn’t cook at all – except an occasional pot of chili – I do a lot of eating out.  Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I learned the pleasures of bar food from my grandfather, Dan Hockensmith.  He believed the best food in any town could be had at the local VFW or American Legion.  We often ate chili at the Okolona or Frankfort VFW halls.  Today, my favorite bowl of chili comes from The Rush Inn, a little tavern at the corner of Brownsboro Road and Mellwood Avenue.  The bar is locally owned and operated by Jeff, although I do not know his last name.  The chili is a little peppery with the distinction of being made with pasta instead of noodles.  I don’t like noodles in my chili, but I do love the peppery pasta-chili at The Rush Inn, usually with a grilled cheese sandwich and a can of sarsaparilla.

Another thing we did was visit the few ethnic restaurants that dotted the landscape.  There weren’t many that I remember.  Codispoti’s was an Italian eatery on Preston Highway, just south of Fern Valley Road, back when both roads were two lanes wide.  The Lotus, an Oriental place, was on Dixie Highway around Nobel Place north of Shively.  The building is still there, a concrete block structure on the west side of the road.  Today’s map is covered with the tastes of the world.  While I am partial to Middle Eastern and Indian foods, my newest favorite non-American cuisine is found at the Vietnam Kitchen on S. 3rd Street, in what could be described as Louisville’s Vietnamese neighborhood.  I’m partial to curries of any kind and they have one, #F9 on the menu, a chicken curry with potatoes, onions, green beans, and broccoli that is out of this world.

Typically when out with friends, my menu choices turn to seafood.  Back in the old days, good seafood was to be had at the now defunct Cape Codder on St. Rita Drive in Okolona, or maybe Kingfish, downtown on 4th or out Upper River Road in a location which I have lost in my memory.  Both locations have been gone for decades, the downtown one moving from 4th over to 6th only to be torn down again to make way for the Ali Center.  The Upper River Road location has moved across the street and closer to town next to the Water Tower.  My favorite fish sandwich until recently was at Third Avenue CafĂ©.  This neat little place, with Elvis at the door, closed last year without notice.  I’m still looking for Louisville’s best fish sandwich.

Finally, sweets.  My other grandfather, U. G. Noble, operated bakeries in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, one on Colorado Avenue and the other on Poplar Level Road.  The last Noble’s Bakery closed in 1972.  Back then there were lots of family ran bakeries with old-fashioned doughnuts.  Patterson’s in Highview, Okolona, Plehn’s in St. Matthews, Heitzman’s in Schnitzelburg, Kraus’ downtown on 4th, and others including Klein’s on Preston at Lynn Street.  Old Mrs. Klein died in 2004 and the bakery is now called Nord’s, and features all the same old-fashioned baked goods I knew growing up.  It is my favorite local bakery and with a Sunergos Coffee shop immediately next door, the duo make for a ‘fine dining’ experience.”


Thanks for joining us on this Noble  journey and kudos to you all for feeding the local economy! Visit TGIF Local Lunch Post on Facebook to share restaurant news or recipes. Take care, stay cool, and have a great weekend!

Thanks, Cindy.


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.