This Here is a Louisville Blog; Let it Be Known

June 15, 2007

louisville-skline.jpgHaving been almost fully dependent on my bike for more than a year now, I’ve more clearly noticed the surroundings and all the good things I used to ignore as I tooled around in an auto in this here hometown metropolis of mine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

At some point during the process yesterday of adding lots of new links to my “Louisville, Ky. Stuff” blogroll over there at page right, it occurred to me that this is a damn fine city.

louisville-waterfront2.jpgI didn’t always think so.

I’ve been to a few other places: Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and so on, and been impressed by what some of those cities have done. San Francisco is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen; Chicago is the most exciting (I’m probably the only person I know who still has never been to New York City, but I’m sure that would be even more exciting).

By contrast, Louisville to me seemed a backwater, a surrogate target of my own scorn, maybe even a reflection of self-loathing and an inferiority complex.

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Part of that notion might also be due to the influence of various well-meaning but misguided local businessmen and “leaders” who think we need things like professional sports teams and giant new stadiums so that we can be like Indianapolis or Atlanta. There’s a certain unseemly penis envy about this kind of manly inferiority between cities. Who the hell wants to be bigger, more congested and more polluted, anyway?

Louisville isn’t going to have a better quality of life or be better loved by locals or more admired by outsiders just because it has a pro basketball team. That’s dime-a-dozen shit, and pea-brained thinking to boot.

louisville-cherokee.jpgBy getting out and about more, I’m discovering what makes Louisville unique and different. And none if it has to do with, nor will it ever have to do with, having some tax-sucking sports franchise that costs the average family $200 a game.

But, getting out of the car and getting around on my own power has opened my eyes. I breathe the open air and feel the atmosphere around me better perhaps. I’m more curious to explore, and more fascinated by what I see.

Part of that has to do with aging, and part of that maturation has to do with seeing the positive in my own back yard.

I’ve come to realize that we’ve got it pretty damned good in good ole Louisville.

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Consequently, an almost embarrassingly maudlin sense of pride about my hometown has overtaken me of late. I might even be perfectly happy to spend the rest of my days here.

Why that is would take a lot of pages to explain, and would sound too much like I was a shill for the convention and visitor’s bureau. Anyway, this organization has named our River City/DerbyTown USA/Lou-a-vuhl one of America’s 30 Most Livable Communities.

louisvilleshakespeare.jpgAs far as culture and recreation go, we are really wanting for nothing in this town. We have nationally respected theatre (stuff has premiered here at Actors Theatre before becoming hits on Broadway), opera, ballet, a fine orchestra, dance groups, literary groups, chamber ensembles and a Bach Society, a bohemian strip along Bardstown Road where edgy indie bands play and great restaurants abound and every hot young thing wants to be seen, classy gentrified and beautifully restored and preserved 19th-century neighborhoods and downtown iron-cast storefronts, a good library and universities, a super art museum with a real Rembrandt, a recently developed recreational waterfront on the Ohio River, triple-A minor league baseball in a spiffy new riverfront park, and unique museums and other attractions all over the place, including a planetarium and an old steamboat.

louisvillepalace.jpgThe Louisville Place has to be one of the most stunning venues for live and film entertainment in the country.

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louisville-thunderover.jpgNot only do we have the Kentucky Derby, but we have a Derby kickoff event that has far surpassed it in scope and attendance, Thunder Over Louisville, the largest annual fireworks display on the continent.

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louisville-art-glass.jpgAnd there are lots of funky nooks and crannies that make a city a real city, not just a collection of big suburbs surrounded by a tiny core of pathetic buildings that lack cultural cohesion and breadth (I’m thinking, of course, of Kentucky’s second-largest “city,” Lexington).

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a hipper music store than Ear-X-Tacy anywhere else in the United States, or a better video store than the amazing Wild & Woolly Video, or a funkier bookstore than the rambling All Booked Up—all of them on Bardstown Road.

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In Louisville we can go to a jazz nightclub, or turn on our radio 24 hours a day and hear Beethoven or Mahler or Duke Ellington or Tom Waits or Stereolab. That’s because we have three topnotch public radio stations. Very few cities this size can boast that.

And if we want to get our rocks off we can go to Louisville’s vast, evil network of adult businesses, and there are lots of them all over louisville-at-night.jpgtown, from the Lion’s Den to Priscilla’s to Deja Vu to Frederick’s of Hollywood to message parlors and escort services and gay bars. You see, a lot of us ’round these parts figured out that sex is natural and necessary and a basic human need. In fact, Louisville just oozes and reeks with dirty, filthy sinful SEX. Ewwww, gross.
But if you want to go to church here, there are even far more of those around—for all denominations and faiths. And there’s country line dancing too at Coyote’s nightclub.

 

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So, we are weird, in a good way. We are diverse and eclectic and eccentric and stark raving mad in a joie de vivre sort of manner. In other words we are not bland or banal or predictable or stuck in a go-nowhere dusty vacuous stark and repressed past or satisfied with everyone’s else’s low-bar expectations.

Exhibit A: Hunter S. Thompson came from here. And if you’re really hip, you know about Slint.

louisvilleyorkstatue.jpgFor these things, of course, the rest of the state of Kentucky hates us. And that just makes me fall in line in loyalty to my city all the more. Louisville pays the bulk of taxes for this Commonwealth and gets far less back in investment in return. And the gratitude we get for this is concealed jealously and scorn and stupid laws aimed against our progressive, cosmopolitan ways by the legislators who prefer to answer to the retrograde Rev. Billy Bob Chickenplucker types from Hogshit, Ky.

Hate and ignorance aren’t good enough for Louisville.

A similar vibe struck me a few years back when some fundamentalist-type southern Kentucky relatives of my wife—nice and polite folks, I’ll grant you—visited us at our suburban Louisville home and we took them out to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom amusement part next to the fairgrounds. That’s all well and good, but that’s all they wanted to do. They didn’t want to go downtown and see other attractions with a true local flavor because they were “afraid” of crime. Never mind that Louisville’s crime rate is low—or that they’d be more likely to be struck by lightning on their rural spread than mugged on our city streets. Expanding their cultural horizons was really what they feared.

louisville-slugger-big-bat.jpgThrough political fashions, including the 30-year trend toward electing conservative Republicans in practically every office in this state, the mayoralty of Louisville has remained staunchly and solidly Democratic, as has our aldermanic board. That’s because people here like solid, competent, dependable leadership, and prefer not to trade good basic governance for irrelevant, divisive ideology. God doesn’t make government work, thinking and working people do.

Although he has enemies as all politicos do, long-time Mayor Jerry Abramson (or as one local radio DJ calls him, “mayor for life”) is probably the most liked politician in the country.

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Meanwhile, our Republican governor, Ernie Fletcher, can’t even get our downtown I-65 bridge painted properly without corruption and in a reasonable time…

louisville-waterfront3.jpgSo are we arrogant and elitist here in Louisville? Well, when you’re clearly superior, why the hell not be?

As in the past, I intend to post more stuff about Louisville in and among my other various ramblings. My intention is to keep the blog split about 50-50 between Louisville stuff and other various non-Louisville related topics.

louisville_sistercities.jpgAs I tool around on my bike with my digital camera, I’m snapping pix like a fool. What I hope to cover are people and things that the local media and others ignore or miss. Some of it will be ugly and some beautiful.

To me, even some of the ugliness is beautiful. Industrial ruins for instance; the despised and forgotten corners of Louisville’s past.

I hope to talk to poets and street people and people who ride the buses, and report what I find.

I recently interviewed Louisville’s number one atheist. I have some good snaps of this unique individual and his mission and hope to have an article on him soon.

I want to photograph the interiors of funky musty bookstores and other unique venues.

I will wax nostalgic about past people and places in this here town
louisville-belle-of.jpgI might even complain about some of the bad things that plague us here: the unpredictable weather and heinous summer humidity, smog and pollen and the shitty Keystone Kops way our police do traffic control during special events and so on.

Whatever the case, I hope you can take the journey with me.

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And in case I haven’t made it clear yet, Louisville is fuckin’ cool.

-EG

—photo credits/ All images were borrowed from publicly displayed and openly accessible websites/ if anyone has a problem with their images being displayed here, please tell me and we can either take it down or re-do the photo credit to suit your needs:

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Louisville Skyline at night found at Louisville Metro Guide.

Thunder Over Louisville by Gene Burch found at Gene Burch Photography


Anytime Annie Wants to Be Your Governor, But What Will She Do Without Bush & DeLay To Tell Her?

April 23, 2007

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has never looked better.

Why?

Not because he’s tanned, well-tailored and impressive on the stump, which he is. And certainly not because of the arrogance, hypocrisy and scandal that have marked his administration.

No, he’s looking better because Anne Northup is saying bad things about him.
annie-creepy-smile.jpgThat’s right. Anne Northup—“Anytime Annie”—that stale, has-been, lazy-jowled leftover from the Bushie-DeLay rubber-stamp, do-nothing fiasco 109th Congress. Yes, that maverick leader who voted 91 percent of the time with the Bush-DeLay agenda.

Pulling out that dusty leather discredited old Republican smear playbook that worked so well for the GOP from 1994 to 2004, Anytime Annie proves she’s still ready anytime to go negative.

Of course, vulnerable Ernie has given her the ammo, but on matters that really count—including a morally bankrupt and administratively inept right-wing political philosophy that she and Ernie share 100 percent—Anytime Annie will never really truly criticize Ernie Fletcher.

Still, she wants us to believe, as her slogan goes, that “she’s the only Republican who can win in November.”

I doubt that my Bluegrass brethren out in Hogshit, Ky., believe that one any more than I do. I know very well that lots of folks out there continue to stand behind their governor, for good or ill, just like they do their president.

Rationality ain’t got nuthin’ to do with it.

I also know that discredited Anytime Annie calling Patronage Ernie bad things looks about as credible as Mussolini calling Franco a bad guy.

But, Annie wasn’t corrupt, you say? She didn’t dole out patronage. Or did she? Check out this example of Anytime Annie’s integrity.

So, I repeat, the more bad things she says about Ernie, the better he looks. Call it the “Anytime Annie Effect,” if you will. Go negative and angry, and make your opponent look better. If I was conspiratorially inclined, I might think she was working for Ernie’s campaign.

annie-on-the-tube.jpgBut more basically, and let’s just state it outright: We just don’t want to have to look at her exasperated leather face any more.

Or hear that whiny lazy slur as her tongue stumbles around in that mannish maw.

Or contemplate once again what a boring, uninspiring mediocrity she is.

Anytime Annie finds herself prisoner in an Escher-like conundrum: She’s more boring when positive; more interesting when negative. Sort of like how Anna Nichol Smith became more interesting when she killed herself.

Lest this smack of ad hominem, consider this:

Annie wants us to forget that it was just seven short months ago that we ran her outta town on a rail—along with the rest of her Congressional “yes-man” lot–for failing to check and balance a power-mad and ever-remotely arrogant chief executive hell bent on pursuit at all costs of an obsessive, increasingly irrational war, to the neglect of every other festering problem of the nation.

But Anytime Annie is ready and rarin’ to go again because, so she thinks, we owe it to her.

That’s right. She’s ready anytime to be a politician of some sort or another for Kentucky. Anything, anytime—Annie, by rights, should be elected to something big in Kaintuck. For someone who rails against entitlements, she sure comes off as somebody entitled.

In TV ads that mirror the excitement of her half-asleep slurred speech, Anytime Annie says she’s gonna do something about health care and education and the like.

I guess the opposite of the way she did nothing about those things for 9 years in Congress.

annie-serious.jpgWell, she did do something, voting yay on the $400 billion Medicare Bill that Bushie signed into law in 2003—an occasion celebrated with champagne corks popping in boardrooms across the country as the top 1 percent laughed at the rest of us 300 million suckers who were going to pay out the ass with our own taxes for a law written by—yes, the health-care CEOs themselves.

And what thanks did Anytime Annie get for voting the way she was told, anytime she was told to? The disrespect of half the state and Congress and President Bush, none of whom—even after 9 years—seemed capable of pronouncing her name right. You’d thought she was an heiress to the Northrup aviation empire, as many times as she was called that. It’s understandable in Bush’s case, of course; he can’t pronounce anything—plus his war brain dances with visions of military contractors such as Northrup.

Rather than list them here, I’ll let The GOP Auction House give you the record and loyalties of Anytime Annie as well as the disastrous legacy of the leadership of her and her fallen Congressional compadres.

Is that the kind of governance we have to look forward to, Anytime? More years of inertia and corporate welfare?

As a governor, Annie, you’ll have to do something called consensus building. There’ll be no Big Daddy DeLay to build consensus for you like before; none of that “vote like I say, or else” kind of consensus that the lockstep zombie Republican Congress-folk got used to. Nope, it ain’t that easy anymore, Anytime.

The one thing Congresswoman Annie had going for her, along with her fellow DeLay-ites, was doling out lots of taxpayer money on wasteful pork for their districts to help keep themselves in power.

In press release after press release, Anytime Annie, like her mentor Free $peech Mitch McConnell, boasted about how she was bringing home the bacon for homefolks, as if the bacon was hers (and his) to begin with.

Time and time again, Mitch and the Bitch forgot to mention the fact that me and the 3.5 million other Kentuckians funding the pork should have been the ones mentioned above the politicos in those press releases. If it’s my own goddamned money I’m getting back, then how is somebody giving me anything? They ain’t, that’s what.

Like Poke Salad Annie, Pork-Barrel Annie rustled up the dole-outs, including lotsa collards and hamhocks of the faith-based variety to curry favor with the Republican disinclined African-American wards.

She went black, and still she never went back—‘cause she got shitkicked out.

annie-nerd.jpgAnd you have to question the efficiency of any political campaign that would put me on Anytime Annie’s email list. They couldn’t have found a less sympathetic voter to spam. Is that the kind of efficiency we can expect from her as governor?

Like the first Anytime Annie—a morally loose gold-digging chorus girl in the classic 1933 film 42nd Street—our Anytime Annie pretends that she wants you, forcing a smile like a weary street whore. But her haggard eyes tell you the real story.

Like a political crack whore, she needs to get off the stuff and get a real job. Would somebody please give her one and get her out of our sight? I’m sure she can do something productive.

annie-headlights.jpgYet, Anytime Annie still wants us to believe that she can fix all the things as governor that she ignored or worsened while in Washington and mend all that has gone wrong under her fellow Republican Ernie.

Do you really want to give her that chance?

-Evan