Culture Podcast: Ed Beats Elvis & Beatles

Posted: February 10th, 2014 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Personalities | No Comments »

historyThere has, deservedly so, been much ado about the Beatles on the 50th anniversary of their arrival in the United States. And their appearance on Ed Sullivan’s Show several days later.

It was certainly a seminal event in American pop culture. As was the first appearance of Elvis Presley on that same show in 1956.

I discuss the two events in juxtaposition in another blog, which you can read here.

Saturday morning last, after the usual give and take with James, I ventured further into the subject, discussing the role of culture maker Ed Sullivan.

Audio MP3

We’ve All Known Philip Seymour Hoffman

Posted: February 4th, 2014 | Filed under: Culture, Personalities, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

hoffmanYou’ve known Philip Seymour Hoffman for years.

You may be Philip Seymour Hoffman, but have been loathe to admit it.

He’s the hail fellow well met guy at work, always friendly, but often late with important reports, the one who lunches alone at the tavern around the corner.

He’s the old high school chum you hadn’t seen for years, when you ran into him on the street on your way to the car after office hours, the one whose first words to you were “Where’s Happy Hour?”

She’s your old sorority sister, the one who oddly put vodka in her milk in the dining room, the one who flunked out after first semester.

He’s your good friend, the member of the gang who never stopped partying, while you and the rest got married, started families and wonder how and why it is that he always slips out of parties early without saying goodbye. Read the rest of this entry »

Pete Seeger, Rest In Peace

Posted: January 28th, 2014 | Filed under: Music, Personalities | 1 Comment »

seegerHe would have sung through the night, I swear it to be true.

And, we, his adoring followers, bathing in his goodness that reigned over us, would have stayed and sung until we were voiceless.

Sometime in the mid to late 60s, Pete Seeger played Memorial Auditorium. (He may have played here at other times and other places back then, but this is the concert I’m talking about.)

It was patently apparent that Seeger was the epitome of goodness in every cell of his being. But, you know, we knew that beforehand.

He was a sun.

He played happy tunes. And political ones. And kids’ songs. And cajoled even the tone deaf among us to sing along.

He believed that a joyous, motley chorus could sing the world to serenity. As best I can tell he never varied in that quest to the end.

So Pete sang. And sang. And sang some more. Read the rest of this entry »

Vin Diesel is Still Alive & Other Internet Contemplations

Posted: May 27th, 2013 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Personalities, Ruminations | No Comments »

At lunch the other day, my pal Don was talking about a TV interview he’d seen the night before in which Vin Diesel was schilling for the latest cinematic rendition of “Fast and Furious.” Number 6, it is.

“Wait a second,” I interjected, “Vin Diesel is dead.”

He and our other lunch mate Mike looked at me incredulously.

Normally, in such situations, having read and stored such insignificant information, and being totally confidant with the extent of my wisdom, I would have self righteously pounced on what I would be sure is Don’s mistaken memory of the evening before.

This time, realizing that I’d read only one nugget about Diesel’s demise months ago, then not heard another thing, and aware that he was starring yet again in this cars uber alles franchise that just opened at a cineplex near you, I was a little less insistent of the correctitude of my thoughts.

“I swear I read somewhere on the internet awhile back that he was dead.

“Mike, get out that new iPhone of yours and look it up. Vin Diesel’s death.” Read the rest of this entry »

JazzFest ’13: Daze Between Dwindling Down

Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Music, Personalities | 1 Comment »

The festival kicks up again in the morning. (That would be tomorrow a.m., Thursday.)

If you happen to be on your way down, here’s a tip. Think inclemency.

It’s rained every day this week. Without significant periods of sunshine to dry up the Fairgrounds muck we’ve come to know and love through the decades.

Forecast: Musical. Muddy.

And, oh yeah, more rain.

* * * * *

Other than last night’s special evening, celebrating the 75th birthday of Allen Toussaint, which you can read about here, I’ve been essentially taking a respite from tuneage.

I did stop by LMF yesterday on the way back from a late lunch/ early dinner, and caught the last half of slide guitar master Spencer Bohren’s in-store.

It had been a strange day when I’d had a little misunderstanding with an old pal — now resolved I do believe — but was feeling low. Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday’s Tribute to Allen Toussaint = Boffo

Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Personalities | 2 Comments »

The realization hit, as best I recall, sometime in the 70s.

A great majority of the music that really stirred my soul, going back to the Doo Wop days, had a connection to New Orleans.

Either it was recorded here. Or written here. Or performed by someone who was born, reared or schooled (musically speaking) in the Crescent City.

Fats Domino. “Tell It Like It Is.” “Fortune Teller.” Specialty Records, meaning, of course, the Architect of R & R, Little Richard. The irrepressible Ernie K-Doe. “Working In A Coal Mine.”

Then a later wave. Little Feat. “Lady Marmalade.” Dr. John, The Night Tripper. “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley.” The incredible horn charts on The Band’s live album.

Of course, the guy whose aura and genius that permeates so very much of New Orleans music for the last half century: Allen Toussaint.

Last night, I was fortunate enough to be among those who celebrated his 75th birthday at an intimate tribute show, benefiting New Orleans Artists Against Hunger & Homelessness. Read the rest of this entry »

Sandwith Eater Chronicles: Monday’s ABCDEs + P

Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Personalities, Ruminations, Sandwich Eater Chronicle | 1 Comment »

Hello there. I know it’s been awhile. I’ve been off my feed, to use a horse racing metaphor.

But, bolstered this morning by a breakfast of Smucker’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter on Honeycrisp apples, I want to weigh in on several of the burning cultural issues du jour.

A is for Apple. The corporation, not the fruit. The company sold 48 million iPhones over the holiday period. 48 million. The company posted the biggest quarterly profit of any non-oil company. Ever. Ever, as in the history of companies seeking profit.

In 2012, Apple earned $41.7 billion in profits. That’s billion with a B. As in $41,700,000,000.

So, how did Wall Street react to this pretty stunning move?

Apples stock immediately dropped 12%.

Riddle me that.

B is for Beyoncé. The hot singer is getting hammered because she had the audacity to lip sync the national anthem during the inauguration. Read the rest of this entry »

Te’o Armstrong Syndrome: The Amends Process

Posted: January 18th, 2013 | Filed under: Culture, Personalities, Sports | 2 Comments »

Personal insecurity and a will to win in overdrive make strange bedfellows.

It is a combination of personality traits fraught with peril.

Consider Lance Armstrong. Consider Manti Te’o.

Which I shall, but first some perspective.

I was a roly-poly kid, fat, truth be told. Always a little slower on the ball field than my pals. Not as deft at picking up grounders, or putting the ball in the hoop. Relegated to the line in touch football.

Our gang dubbed ourselves the “Bonnycastle Bearcats.” Even though the only opponent we ever played was Jimmy Bevers’ Gang.

Sitting around one afternoon in the corner of the park which was our home field, I told the group my uncle was going to get us uniforms. My standing escalated immediately.

Truth. There was no uncle. There were no uniforms. Out of the blue, based on a desire to be well-liked, some need to feel worthy, I made it up. Consequences never entered my mind.

Weeks passed. The others started wondering, “Where are our uniforms?” Read the rest of this entry »

“How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away” Dan Hicks & Hot Licks: Songs I Love, Part XXXIV

Posted: September 9th, 2011 | Filed under: Music, Personalities, Ruminations | 2 Comments »

Today was the last day for James Bickers as morning show host on FPK 91.9.

I do film reviews on that show every Tuesday morning at a smidge after 8:00 am.

Frankly, the banter between my host and myself through the years had gotten, well, more than a little testy at times. We used to do a quiz in which he’d play a film clip and I had to ID the flick. He was rarely inclined to give me full credit for identifying the movies. Why? Well, you’ll have to ask Mr. Bickers . . . if you can track him down now.

I would attempt to engage the audience with cultural bon mots. Mr. Bickers lives a solitary life, so most references passed him by. Instead of displaying even the merest scintilla of interest, he would feign displeasure. It was, frankly, not a good feeling.

During our last gig together, Mr. Bickers, out of the blue, indicated the tension that many felt emanating from the studio was simply radio shtick. Imagine my surprise. He never, at any moment during our 8 year run, indicated it was all an act.

Anyway, I guess I need to let bygones be bygones, move beyond my justified resentments, understand I’m not the lowly weasel Mr. Bickers would portray me to be, and forgive. Oh yes, and forget.

Therefore, to honor Mr. Bickers, on his last day on the job. I offer this testimonial.

Sayonara, mon ami. Don’t worry, I’ll lock the door behind you.


Open Letter to Mitch McConnell: Today is your Day to Shine

Posted: July 29th, 2011 | Filed under: Culture, Personalities, Politics, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

Dear Mitch,

I know we don’t talk much anymore. Okay, we’ve never spoken before, but I did try to reach you via email the other day. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Your web site was down, I assume, from so much traffic of all those wanting your ear on the debt ceiling smackdown.

Anyway, we live in the same town, essentially the same neighborhood. I almost built a house several years back right up the hill from your condo. But still live within a jog just a couple neighborhoods over in the Highlands.

We root for the same team, Mitch. I’m talking about the U of L Cardinals we both love so much.

The Cardinal hoopsters haven’t done so well when it mattered the last couple of seasons, in the NCAA tourney. We’re both looking for big things from Rick Pitino and his charges this coming season, maybe even One Shining Moment.

That’s months away.

But your chance for a career defining One Shining Moment is right here and right now. Read the rest of this entry »

Last Contemplation of the Sypher Saga

Posted: April 6th, 2011 | Filed under: Community, Personalities, Ruminations | No Comments »

I may have once before weighed in on the Louisville obsession that has been the Rick Pitino/ Karen Sypher Affair.

It’s not like there hasn’t been plenty to read and slobber over from other sources.

Today I feel compelled to take one last look. Karen Sypher, convicted of federal criminal charges, is now in a federal penitentiary. Where  she will reside for better than the next half decade.

It is a situation that is sad as it is sordid.

I shan’t bore with you with any details, which, by now, should be permanently attached to your DNA.

I’m pissed that Rick Pitino, who is one of the leading citizens of our community. And who is getting paid millions of dollars a year — some of it my hard earned money — didn’t have enough sense and fidelity to his marital vows to get himself in this stew. I’m mad he was never called to task by the president and athletic director of his employer, the University of Louisville.

I’m also sad about Karen Sypher. Make no mistake, I don’t feel bad because she’s in the hoosegow. She deserves it for what she did, which was very wrong.

But I am sad that this reasonably attractive woman evolved into to an all too familiar prototype: she who feels her way through life is by granting sexual favors. I am sad at the extent of her delusion about what she did and what the consequences for such actions must be.

I am really pissed at her most recent doofus attorney, a feckless fellow who wasn’t even in good standing with the Bar when he took the case, because he hadn’t paid his dues. And his sidekicks, who have filled their client Karen Sypher with ridiculously misguided false hope. They’ve been tilting at windmills in a manner so ham handed as to be laughable. I can’t believe anything but they’ve fostered in their client, an absurdly optimistic sense of her future.

I can’t imagine what the conversations were like in the drive from Louisville to Florida where she surrendered for her imprisonment today? In her deluded mind, she was debased by Pitino. Then by her trial attorney, who, by all accounts, did the best he could with a nothing case. Truth: She’s also been deceived by her latest gang of “protectors.” Perhaps more than any other players in this saga.

Karen Sypher is in prison now. She soon will be little more than a fleeting anecdote in Louisville’s cultural history, a subject of the query, “Whatever happened to  . . .?”

Rick Pitino is still around, his presence a constant reminder  that being a good coach doesn’t mean you’re an admirable person.

Sypher’s Stupid Lawyer, UK Retreats & Other Friday Fragmentary Figments

Posted: October 22nd, 2010 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Personalities, Politics, Ruminations | No Comments »

Disclaimer. I was once an attorney, but no longer. When I retired, I gave up my membership in the bar. And I’ve never met or practiced law against D.C. attorney David Nolan, who now represents Karen Sypher.

That aside, let me say this.

David Nolan is an idiot. And he may be incompetent. For sure he certainly isn’t providing legitimate counsel to his client.

Why? Gee, I dunno. He’s got a client who has been found guilty in federal district court of some pretty serious crimes, for which she is to be sentenced next week. Barrister Nolan, having admitted he has not read the entire transcript of the trial, and having said “I don’t pretend to know what transpired over seven years, but I smell a rat,” stated at a called press conference that his client was the victim of a “runaway federal justice system.”

Really, counselor, and what might be your basis for that statement?

Setting aside for a moment that the attorney is blowing steam without all the facts, how about his boffo strategy? A week before his client is to be sentenced, he calls in the media for the sole purpose of lambasting the very institution before which she is to appear.

There is a word that come to mind here. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Oh yeah, here it is: malpractice.

* * * * *

It’s nice to see that the University of Kentucky has made a bold stand in favor of education and the First Amendment.

After refusing to do so at UK’s last home football game, it will now allow the school student newspaper, Kentucky Kernel, to be distributed once again outside the stadium before games.

How darned magnanimous of the school. Which might have to renegotiate some multi-million dollar contract with a marketing firm, which apparently claimed some exclusivity.

How about a big Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah for the university?

* * * * *

Rand Paul continues to hammer his senatorial opponent Jack Conway, over the latter’s ridiculous strategy of giving Paul shit about some college prank.

Meanwhile Conway actually criticized his foe about a legit issue yesterday — Paul’s support of a national sales tax. And announced that he’s bringing in the heavy artillery on election eve. That would be Bill Clinton.

Conway is never going to be confused with John Sherman Cooper, but he’s sure better than Dr. Paul. But I’d be very surprised if the GOP doesn’t hold onto Jim Bunning’s seat.

* * * * *

And did you read about the Oldham County physician, who diddled his client in the guise of a “PAP smear examination” then performed oral sex on her while treating her for an abdominal abscess?

The M.D. claims the last incident happened because he was “distracted.”


Anyway, the good doctor can still practice his profession in his own inimitable style, having been cleared by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.

So, if any of you ladies out there are looking for that extra special attention from your physician, give a call to the South Oldham Medical Clinic, and press #4 for the “Intimate Treatment Unit.”