Fresh tomatoes in abundance adorn my daily table. This is my best crop ever. Fresh salsa and tomato-laden entrees are nightly dinner fare. After the backbreaking initial work and the tenacious nurturing the rewards of growing one’s own are many. I’ve been making sandwiches and tortilla wraps with Boca spicy organic chicken patties and combos of my own garden tomatoes, peppers and store-bought lettuce, ranch dressing and cheese. My fresh salsa recipe is simple: cut up a medium-sized tomato and supplement with a couple of grape tomatoes to add a tinge of sweetness, cut up a little onion (I only had some dried onion lately, as the pix attest, but they will do), cut up some of my home-grown jalapeno peppers, add a little black pepper and some cilantro (dried will do)—and that’s it. This is pretty basic, but the freshness can’t be beat, and the chunkiness and texture differ from the slimy store-bought stuff. Note that I had to use a champagne flute for my Sauvignon blanc because I finally broke the last of my wine glass set. Anyway here are some pix from some healthy, low-fat meals of the past few days. -EG
The Valid Response You Entered is Not Valid; or, WTF is with the Louisville Free Public Library Automated Phone?August 9, 2008
The Louisville Free Public Library has a cool service that informs you by automated phone call or email when a requested book has arrived at a branch for pickup. But when you try to end the call, you get the following weirdness:
Library robot: “Press 9 to end this call.”
Me: (Presses 9 on phone).
Library robot: “That is not a valid response.”
The thing is, I was pretty much dragged by my mother to a family reunion this past Sunday, gathering together those on her side of the family, of which she is now the patriarch, the oldest living survivor. There would be no avoiding this. Whatever else may have been on my calendar for that Sunday was worse than secondary – it was stricken from the record.
So I met with distant aunts and uncles and cousins several steps removed from my ability to remember, faces that in some cases I recognized but could not put names to, many of them layered with a new coating of shopworn leather wrinkles.
I mostly sat and watched heavyset adults and kids splash around in a nice big pool, while family cliques grouped off in comfortable familiarity to eat and yak. And NASCAR was revved up on the big screen TV in the basement, to one side of the NASCAR paraphernalia on wooden and glass shelves. If there was a book of any consequence to be found in this house, I never spotted it.
These were my kin, my blood, residing in a part of town that, however clean and groomed most of Fern Creek is, gets the bad rap in Louisville as the stomping ground of barbarian rednecks. That, of course, is not fair, but my overeducated, superior-feeling ass could only see in the lives of my relatives too much evidence to support the stereotype.
They were all courteous and harmless; conversations remained safe and dull. I was no help, but neither did I hinder things. I sat and ate the grub offered, happy that there was plenty enough to offset the lack of a vegan main course. Lots of bratwurst, hot dogs and cheeseburgers went uneaten. In my carnivorous days, I could have polished off at least a couple of those.
The highlight of the day, for me anyway, was when one of my distant aunts and uncles picked up one of the empty bottles of Shiner Bock I had consumed and placed on a table near them. The party was BYOB, and this slightly upscale hefeweizen was what I had chosen to bring along. The way everyone looked at it made me feel like Cinderella in rags at the ball. This was the land where watery, aluminum-tinged Bud Light ruled. “That ain’t one of those beers that’ll put hair on your chest, is it?” asked one uncle. “Well,” says I, “since I already have hair on my chest I don’t have to worry about it.” Another distant uncle picked it up and stared at it, quizzically, eyebrows furrowed in a sort of uncomprehending, baffled, slightly distressed attitude. He passed it to a distant aunt who did the same, holding it up and looking at it, like the early man in 2001: A Space Odyssey trying to figure out new uses for a bone.
I immediately was reminded of that scene in The Gods Must Be Crazy where the Kalahari man picks up the Coke bottle thrown from an airplance and wonders what the hell it is. I mentioned this to my sister, and she laughed.
Is it fair to say I’ve outgrown these people, or merely grown differently? But no, one would have to grow, period. I couldn’t see any evidence of it in their cases, and saying so here makes me sound like an arrogant upstart who’s gotten above his raisin’.
And that makes me feel guilty, but it also makes me confused. I want to be sociable, genial, open to the experiences and lives of others. But I can’t help but be judgmental, elitist. That’s just the way it is.
So, maybe my relatives are bigger than me because I doubt they harbored such corrosive, cynical, jaded, unhealthy thoughts.
And that might mean that maybe I can learn something from them. Maybe we look at each other like we would strange Coke bottles fallen from the sky.
Cherubic Statuary Hidden in Plain Sight Off Ormsby Station Rd Near Hurstbourne Lane (Unseen Louisville No. 5)August 2, 2008
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve biked past this oddity perched atop a small incline in the Hurstbourne Green Office Park next to Ormsby Station Road in eastern Jefferson County in Louisville, Ky. All that I can say is I somehow never saw this bit of statuary; completely invisible to me in plain sight until last week. So, we make this mystery statue the subject of the fifth installment of our Unseen Louisville series. I know I’ve written too many of these Unseen Louisville segments about stuff found in the Hurstbourne Green area, but since these things are close to my house and they keep popping up in my own backyard, I say, why not? This statue with a cherubic theme obviously is a leftover remnant of the old Ormsby Village orphanage campus that sprawled all over this part of the county from 1920 to 1967 (see my earlier posting on this from last year). Now it’s all office parks, but, thankfully when the new stuff was being built someone at least had the good sense to leave this bit of statuary around instead of demolishing it or carting it away to some anonymous fate. There is no descriptive plaque on the statue, so I can’t tell you the first thing about the artist, the foundry, the date of creation and installation, title of the work, or anything else. Perhaps someone out there can provide more information. Being somewhat ignorant of styles and motivations in art history, it’s hard for me to fathom what predilections pseudo-Renaissance stylists had that inspired them to depict what appear to be children slathering around in grape juice in some sort of orgiastic reverie. We will post that information in the comments section below or in a future posting. So, lacking anything substantial, I’ll share with you a few of the images I took of this interesting, elaborate sculpture. -EG
While riding along on my bicycle a few days ago I passed this dumpster behind a strip-mall type shopping center on Westport Road in Louisville, Ky. Flat on the ground next to it was this birth certificate from someone who, presumably, was either presently or previously employed by one of the businesses therein. I took this shot of the Kentucky Certificate of Live Birth lying there wet on the pavement, from which we learn several vital statistics on a young lady who was born in 1986. I’ve blurred out the contents of this certificate using Photoshop, lest anyone be so inclined to try to extract the data. After doing so, I trashed the original images. OK, so maybe a birth certificate is one of the lesser records in terms of truly private data, but still, doesn’t it kind of suck that personal stuff like this is disposed of so carelessly?
Just thought it was interesting…
God has blessed us with a transfusion of new blood, as it were, in the neighborhood in the Hurstbourne Lane/Old LaGrange Road/Whipps Mill Road area of Eastern Jefferson County. That’s right, new blood in the form of new neighbors—Jehovah’s Witnesses—to be exact, who’ll gather to celebrate the Kingdom of God in their under-construction Kingdom Hall in said location. It’ll really be a privilege to have folks in the neighborhood to look up to, since we (and they) all know, they are the one and only hand-picked chosen Heaven-bound ones of the Lord. Shit, it’ll be like beholding superbeings or something.
Luckily, I’ve found out about this in time so that I can prepare for the onslaught of neighborliness sure to come in the form of Watchtower-wielding, glassy-eyed folk honing in with radar intensity on my doorbell. In a way I pity them, not because of their delusional fairy-tale beliefs, but because they really, really have no idea who they will be dealing with when they come to my door.
I’m fixing up a sign for them right now: All solicitors and religious peddlers agree to the following if they chose to ring my doorbell:
1.) You have one minute, and one minute only, to make your pitch. At 60 seconds the door will be shut.
2.) All doorbell ringers agree to be photographed and consent to your image being used on my blog on which I reserve the right to make any wise-ass judgmental comment I choose.
That seems fair enough.
Is my disdain for Jehovah’s Witnesses any greater than for any other crackpot religionist, whether they be with Scientologists or Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) or Branch Davidians or Heaven’s Gaters or Baptists or Papist Catholics? No, not really.
I remain, ever thus, your equal-opportunity religion basher.
For fun, here’s a website in which a disenchanted former member of the Witnesses (no doubt a “disfellowed” outcast, as they call their excommunicados) shares his list of 101 Strange Beliefs and Practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Too bad the fellow still doesn’t seem to have been cured of Christianity as well. It’s funny when one cultist throws barbs at another.)
Below we see a delightful illustration culled from Jehovah’s Witnesses informational materials of the sheer joy implicit in observing Armageddon, knowing that you’re going to a better place and everybody else ain’t. The destruction of Earth and humanity has never been so much fun!
(Now, seriously, I ask you, do you really want to be stuck in Heaven with these fuckers?)
Sometimes… no, strike that… all the time I feel like I’m the only person who sets out to work every morning and returns home each evening and actually looks at the amazing light shows that we’ve been blessed with seemingly every day this summer. One reason I think this is that I simply never see people looking at the sky when this stuff is going on; just people scurrying about in their usual dazes. Another reason is the following: I was taking a picture of the sunrise a few days ago at the bus stop and the lady standing there next to me seemed puzzled as to what I was doing, until I pointed above her head eastward. Our habits of ignoring the gifts of nature are so ingrained that we’ve fallen into some kind of groundward-glancing sleep that keeps our eyes below the horizon. This lady was pleasantly surprised at what she saw. Sadly, looking up would never have occurred to her, so inculcated was she into this societal mindset. This is a lady who reads corporate management books in transit, so her bafflement at what is real and important in this life should not surprise me.
While most of you people were getting your fix on the latest comic book movie or first-person computer/video shooter or corporate management books or whatever petty diversions you’ve sequestered yourselves into, this is the kind of stuff I’ve been looking at. Free special effects from nature or God or from whatever origin you like. These are some sunrises and sunsets from just the past few days. The last item here was a very transitory “atomic bomb” cloud effect of the setting sun shooting rays upward through a cloud top, which happened about two minutes before disappearing on the night of July 22, 2008. (See also previous posting: That Sunset Last Night in Louisville, Ky.)