How to Spot a Lunesta-Bot

June 3, 2008

People of Earth.

We are among you.

You will know us by the smiles we wear throughout our waking and somnolent hours.

You will become one of us through the intake of commercially advertised sleeping drugs.

Your hallucinations will include nightly and waking visitations by a glowing butterfly.

We are most likely to be found teaching school. We are probably blonde and female.

We do not respond to mentions of the cruel realities of life, wars and injustices with anything but a smile and positive aphorisms such as “Oh well, look on the bright side.”

Once detected, we must be shot…

More images of our vacuous facades to help you identify us:

-EG

See the complete Lunesta Madness at:


Copyright Infringement is Your Best Entertainment Value

July 25, 2007

negativlandcopyrightinfringement.jpg(image from the website of that notorious culture-jamming band, Negativland.)

Now that I have your attention with that mildly transgressive idea, I don’t have much to tell you.

A whole lotta stuff in my life is heating up right now (plus I’m becoming a lazy blogger), so the postings during the summer are going to be few and far between.

I state this only in a desperate bid to ward off any thoughts by my regular readers and blogroll buddies (all three of them), to keep me on the radar and on their blogrolls.

Quick stuff and random thoughts:

** This is how an excellent music blog, Electric Mud handled its summer blogging status: He simply posts, “Closed for the Summer.” I won’t go that far, but it’s pretty close to what I’m doing here.

general_patton.jpg ** I remember my parents taking the family to the George S. Patton Museum in Fort Knox, Ky. back in the late ’60s. In those days the museum was in an unglamorous, almost barracks-like warehouse-type building painted a faint green. On the walls above the windows (which were open during the summer; no air-conditioned comfort back then) were painted large scenes of Huey helicopters in action, tilted downward and ready to swoop on the Red enemy (and whomever or whatever else was in the way). Accompanying these images was some kind of banner or tagline that in my fading memory read something like: “The machines that are winning the war.”

It was as ludicrous then as it is now.

scotts-classic-mower.jpg ** Just bought myself a Scotts Classic non-gasoline, non-electric, good ol’-fashioned human-powered lawn mower. They’re officially known as “reel” mowers, but most people I know refer to them as “push” mowers, which doesn’t quite work ’cause even most gas mowers need pushing. I haven’t had time to do the whole yard with it, but a test run on a patch of grass was successful, Anyway, I remember my grandparents having their own version of this, a rusty old hulk hanging in the garage, unused for years. By then they had succumbed to the temptations of the infernal gas-powered machine…

…the machines that are winning the war on weeds and grass.

It was as ludicrous then as it is now.

tomatoes-1-month_0730-11pct.jpg ** After a scary June in which my first batches of tomatoes rotted on the vine and I had to throw out at least two dozen, the veggies have since come in mostly unscathed, starting around July 4 and since then I haven’t had to buy a tomato, and probably won’t have to until September or so. I have 20+ various tomato plants this year, the most I’ve ever planted, including yellow/orange varieties and cherry tomatoes.

tomato-plate_1001-12pct.jpgI used no chemicals at all, the garden is wholly organic, except for the fluoridated & chlorinated tap water I reluctantly had to use for watering due to the sparseness of rain this summer ’round these parts.

That’s led to some good healthy snackin’–and a fresh tomato with dinner every night.

I’m also harvesting the hottest jalapeno peppers I’ve ever tasted…

white-castle-demo1005-13pct.jpg** What you’re seeing here is a very rare occurrence: the demolition of a White Castle restaurant. This is the one that until last week stood at what is now the corner of Westport Road and Hurstbourne Lane. (A new store opened a few yards away; see my previous posting about that…).

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I happened to be biking by when the demolition exposed the wall insulation. It’s amazing how many interesting things you can capture when biking around freely and armed with a digicam.

I know when I was driving a car, having the time or inclination to do something like this (when getting through the green light was the most important thing in the world) would not have been possible. The blinders are off…

I leave you with this shot taken from the parking lot of the Kroger at approximately the same location a few weeks ago (July 7, 2007):

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Enjoy the summer.

-EG


Can You Hide a House? Old 851 Mansion at Spalding University Proves You Can (Unseen Louisville No. 3)

July 9, 2007

851-entrance-13-100_0960.jpgYou know the Chinese box? The box inside the box inside the box.

Spalding University between Third and Fourth streets in Louisville has its own version of that novelty in the form of an 1800s Gilded Age mansion enclosed within its larger administration building.

Some of the tour books mention this attraction, but I know of nobody in my circle of acquaintances who is aware of it.

When I visited the mansion last week, Spalding’s administration building was quiet and almost lifeless. Summer is the slow time, as it typical at a university, and even though a few students and administrators wandered through the halls, I pretty much felt like I had the mansion all to myself. The tour is self-guided, so you can hang around the old dark house without anyone so much as noticing.

851-centerlight-100_0959.jpgThe mansion entrance is just a few feet to the right of the reception desk in the administration building. I flagged down a student to ask if she knew of anyone could turn on a few lights for better picture taking. She didn’t know but pointed to a table that was supposed to have a booklet explaining the history of the mansion. But there were no brochures available.

Obviously this is one attraction that is handled very informally by the university, which can be a good and a bad thing.

Bad because the lack of security makes me feel that some of the holdings here could be vulnerable to mischief. Good, because one can enjoy and contemplate the spaces without bother.

851-glass15-100_0933.jpgBecause the mansion mainly serves as a cut-through access point for the rest of the administration building it is probably not noticed by the university employees and student people going about their everyday business.

lioni-851-lionpot.jpgBecause of this integration, it would probably be impossible to charge a fee to see the mansion, and that’s OK because the mansion is really not a charge-worthy sight in my opinion.

But is it worth seeing? Yes, I would say so—if you’re in the area and have some time to check out a lovely curiosity that’s hidden and unknown to most folks. Finding such nooks is always cool.

Spalding’s website has some info on the 851 Mansion. The quick and dirty is that the house was designed and built in 1871 for local importer Joseph Tompkins and was later owned by some distillery tycoons. Spalding has occupied the place since 1920, but no reference is given as to when the administration building was built around it.

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People interested in home interior designs and accents will be very interested in the mansion’s features which include stained glass, Viennese glass, a gas chandelier, walnut stairway and lots of handcarved moldings and old furniture.

mainroom-851-73.jpgBecause it’s free and sort of unique, I’m going to give this attraction a respectable two-star rating. I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list, but if you want to see something different and don’t have much time and have empty pockets, this could be your destination.

The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

851 Mansion
at Spalding University, Louisville, Ky.

GRAVY BREAD LOUISVILLE RATING: horse_head_rating_2_.gif

-EG (all photos in this posting copyright 2007 Evan G)

A few more:

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Lawyer Alert: The White Castle on Westport Road in Louisville, Ky., is Begging to Be Sued (Here’s Why)

July 6, 2007

100_0853-20whitecast.jpgLife and commerce go on without cause for reflection and must not be stopped, and in all that unregulated Wild West hustle bustle of the USA, fucking retarded things like what I’m about to show you happen.

It’s the kind of “what me, worry?” attitude that led to 9/11 (no coordination, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, etc.), and so stupid things slip through the cracks that anyone in any kind of authority should have spotted right off the bat.

What we’re talking about here is the brand spanking new White Castle restaurant on Westport Road, just a few steps from its old location at Hurstbourne Lane in front of the Kroger and across from Zachary Taylor Elementary School in Eastern Jefferson County (Louisville, Ky.)

Why a replacement restaurant of apparently no greater size needed to be built just a few yards from the old one is anyone’s guess. At least with the old locale the traffic direction was fairly simple and controlled.

100_0860-13-white-castle.jpgSo what strikes you about this photo that also struck me instantly when I saw this scene? Something that should have struck the supervisor who supposedly oversaw the finishing and painting of this roadway, or that should have struck the manager of the White Castle who deemed everything hunky dory and safe and ready for business?

Or was everybody just itching so much to open for business that nothing else mattered?

So, in case you’re like those so-called supervisors, let me point out that the traffic arrows indicate that it is perfectly OK for two cars driving past a corner blind spot where neither can see each other to be directed—without any caution or stop signs—to drive into one another.

Not only that, but whoever painted the arrow near the front door the first time sort of had the right idea: keep the traffic flowing out and away from the service window. But somehow, somebody decided there needed to be two-way traffic in front of the store, so the arrow was repainted, but the old arrow is still visible so the whole thing seems to point in two directions at once!

white-castle-2.jpgAdding to this interesting mix is that fact that a whole row of parking spaces abutt this frontal roadway, so that large pickups and SUVs backing out of the spaces can run into people and cars pulling out from the drive-through pickup lane. I saw just such a thing happen here last night (large pickup truck in middle of parking lot row backs toward the outgoing drive-thru lane and nearly backs into car coming out of it)—and I was only here taking pictures for five minutes.

As the fender benders and broken-legged pedestrians pile up here, as they no doubt will, a light bulb might finally turn on in the head of the dimwits in charge.

d-isaccs.jpgSo until the Messrs. at White Castle decide to stop being dumb shits, be ready to call everybody’s favorite TV lawyer, the Louisville Heavy Hitter. I got the pictures, big guy…which can be had for a reasonable fee.

-Evan G


Say Ya Wanna Revolution? Check out This Oddball Museum (Unseen Louisville No. 2)

June 20, 2007

100_0803-15ken-revol.jpg

Why, you ask, is Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, wearing Revolutionary War garb? Well, this, of course, is not Ken. (Because, as you know, he and the Beaver were killed in Vietnam, fighting alongside the Red-bearded G.I. Joe.)

No, what we have here are some anonymous cannoneers from our great war of independence.

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Where we are is 1000 S. Fourth Street (Fourth and Kentucky streets), in Louisville, Ky., USA, and this is PART TWO of our ongoing “Unseen Louisville” series of places around town that you probably don’t know about, but maybe should.

Extrapolating from an unscientific poll of folks I queried, it’s probably safe to say that virtually nobody in Louisville knows about the existence of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, or at least that its headquarters is just a few blocks south of the Louisville Free Public Library main branch. Even worse, that means the locals are missing out on a pretty nice little museum that encompasses the first and part of the basement floors of the facility.

100_0782-10-25starflag.jpgThis is the kind of place you’d expect to find in Washington, D.C., and indeed this headquarters was in the nation’s capital until it moved to Louisville in 1978, according to Denise Hall, a representative who spoke to me as I toured the building.

Eyeing the rather undistinguished-looking concrete slab office structure from the outside doesn’t bode well—no wonder so many people pass by this building without a notice or thought.

Yet, what’s inside is a treasure trove of authentic and reproduced Revolutionary War paraphernalia—and lots of vintage colorful paintings of war scenes and heroes.

100_0796-13-bacc-crystal.jpgThe main goal of the place is to provide geneological and other resources to its membership, which includes 26,000 male descendents of the war’s veterans.

It is in fact not really considered a museum, just a headquarters. The exhibits are displayed in the main lobby, several side rooms and some stairwells—all of which adjoin various administrative offices. The mix of real-use offices and museum space gives the place a nice vibe actually. Bunches of old geezers with bright vest coats flit about back and forth amid the bric-a-brac of their long-dead ancestors. A nice sense of continuity and living history in that.

100_0772-indyhall.jpgThe small size of the display area means you can take it all in fairly quickly; it’s even a nice stop for part of your lunch hour, and is worth a drive to see.

Displays include a full-sized replica of George Washington’s office (immediately to the right of the entrance), a “Martha Washington” room that includes an actual letter from George and a remnant from a dress of the First Lady. There’s also a remnant of a flag Washington carried into battle, an actual ring worn by him, and a life mask.

100_0770-10wash-letter.jpgHighlights also include a letter from later president, James Monroe, original 13-star and 25-star flags, an enormous bronze bust of Washington and full-sized reproduction of the Liberty Bell, authentic period costumes and guns, and baccarat crystal objects containing likenesses of Revolutionary War figures. And the place is filled with beautiful oil paintings—many enormous—of period subjects.

This is one museum I plan to visit again to explore in greater detail.

And it’s free and open to the general public during business hours (despite a misleading sign on the door that says it isn’t.)

While I was touring the lobby, a super-nice lady at the entrance desk named Senoria Williams was putting together for me a packet filled with informational brochures and a mini American flag suitable for desk mounting. I did not ask for this, she just did it.

100_0768-11-wwash-g-room.jpgNor did she ask for a donation, and none is required. But I brought up the subject and a collection jar was produced, whereupon I volunteered freely a modest dollar.

Seems the organization is in the middle of a fund-raising drive to build a new, larger geneological center on an adjacent lot.

I hope, though, that the historical collection remains in its present building. It fits nicely in there and the lighting is good, using big windows and exterior sunlight well.

Plus, it’s a no-frills, old-school museum setting—and that’s what I like.

The organization really could use a better website, though, especially with a less dismal-looking photo of its building (it obviously was scanned, poorly, right off a brochure). I would suggest to them that a picture from their display area (like the one I took at the top of this posting) would look better.

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It was kind of cool that when I took this last shot against the backdrop of the headquarter’s side entrance, the wind caught the little flag on my brochure packet and it unfurled just as I snapped. Karl Rove couldn’t have orchestrated it better.

National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution headquarters
GRAVY BREAD LOUISVILLE RATING: horse_head_rating_3_.gif

-EG (all photos in this posting copyright 2007 Evan G)

FYI: below are a few other images from my visit:

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100_0786-libertybell.jpg 100_0792-12-washlifemask.jpg

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Be Very Afraid: Old Ormsby Village House—Trick of the Light, or Something More? (Unseen Louisville No. 1)

June 18, 2007

100_0736-curious-skull-2.jpgAt dusk last night I biked through the Hurstbourne Green Office Park in Eastern Jefferson County, east of Louisville. Long before this area sprouted with corporate glass boxes and manicured greenery, it once was considered the “country.” That’s why back in the 1920s a home and complex for “wayward” children was built here on the advanced idea that rehabilitating kids in the fresh rural air would do them better than punishing them and forcing them to stay in prison-like buildings in the grimy city.

From 1920 to 1967, The Louisville and Jefferson County Children’s Home operated properties in this part of the county, one for white kids called Ormsby Village and another for black kids called Ridgewood (about a mile or less to the southeast).

100_0750-ormsby-rd.jpgOrmsby Village was mostly cleared out in the ’80s and ’90s for development, yet one large and very stately home from the complex still stands almost completely hidden behind a lush grove of trees. Few people in the area seem to realize that this creepy, but beautiful old abandoned home still exists just a few yards from the corner of Ormsby Station Road and Ormbsy Station Court. It appears, at least from the exterior, to be maintained somewhat, possibly by the managers of the office park. It doesn’t appear dilapidated, but there is no sign of life inside. The windows reveal a pitch dark interior. The house stands like a ghost, out of place in its time. Very eerie and isolated despite being in the middle of heavy development.

I took pictures of all sides of the house, but a sense of foreboding kept me from venturing any closer than about 10 yards. The thick hedgerow surrounding the house presented a slight obstacle to closer view, but the sense that something might be hiding in the hedgerow—a crazy caretaker or some such—made me feel some trepidation. And those large pitch-dark windows were like big black irises. You felt a head might appear from the gloom and peer out at you at any minute.

100_0731-14faroff.jpgI didn’t see anything out of the ordinary as I snapped the pix, but when I got home I used the zoom feature on my camera to see if I could glean more exterior details of the house. I was very impressed by the sweeping iron portico around the front entrance. I had wanted to get closer shots of these, but as I said, I felt better keeping my distance.

As I started looking at zoom-ins of many of the windows, I noted lots of patterns created in the glass due to the reflection of light and tree leaf shadows and the wavy nature of the old-style panes.

In several of the panes I noticed shapes that resembled human forms: faces, a devil head, an old woman, and a skeleton like figure. I believe that these are nothing more than tricks of the light created by the conditions I previously described.

However, fans of the paranormal still might find this of interest.

Check out this scan-in view of the house-front. And pay particular attention to the dark window at the upper right.

I took several pictures of this housefront, each from only a very slightly different angle and distance. Yet, even these slight changes of perspective changed the light patterns in the windows significantly. Either that, or something inside the house changed between the times I took the shots. (Images copyright Evan G, please note)

Reflections of leaves, or something else….?

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Now, check this view of the back side of the house. Then look at the zoom-in of one of the windows of the second floor…

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A nurse caretaker, perhaps?

And below, on yet another side of the house (facing southeast), we have an oddity depicted in the widow at bottom left. Somehow a knight from Monty Python’s Flying Circus seems to have taken up residence… And to the right, notice the frolicking skeletal figure profile.

 

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And below, if you strain a bit, you can make out a demon-faced fellow peering back in this next one…

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So maybe the Ormsby Village house should be thought of in the same way as the popular haunting spot, the old Waverly Hills Sanatorium on the far southwest side of the county.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for Art Bell to call…

-EG

 


Rick Was Misinformed About the Waters of Newark

June 13, 2007

casablanca1.jpg

A bar conversation between two dapper fellows as they sipped two fine bottles of Newark’s finest Rolling Rock beer…

casablanca2.jpg.

.

.

“I wish I could say I came to Newark for the waters, but I can’t, see?”

casablanca2c.jpg


“But, my dear fellow I feel I must protest, for, in point of fact the waters of Newark are clean and clear as a bell, coming as they do from the rural, protected Newark Watershed in upstate New Jersey—not the polluted Passaic River as a number of jackanapes seem to think.”

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.

“I was misinformed.”