A Curmudgeon’s Observations: Skype, MSD, Obama & FDR

Posted: September 1st, 2011 | Filed under: Culture, Politics, Ruminations | No Comments »

I hooked up with some pals yesterday afternoon at the Heine Bros. on Frankfort Ave. (Where did we meet before the rejuvenation of the coffee shop era?)

Sitting at the next table, having an animated conversation with her computer was a lovely young lady. She was talking with a friend . . . in France.

Who among us, even as recently as a score of years ago, could conceptualize the Skyped, connected world we now live in? Future generations will laugh, when viewing pictures of electronic devices connected by wires and cables.

* * * * *

The evidence is anecdotal, but I must ask?

Now that it’s under the gun, what with Crit Luallen auditing and all, is MSD actually taking its job seriously? For the last month or so, it seems I’ve seen workers fixing sewer lines on every other block. And they actually seem to be working as opposed to taking a break. Read the rest of this entry »

As Iowa goes, Does so go the Nation???

Posted: August 14th, 2011 | Filed under: Politics, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

In the initial gauge of the nation’s mindset in advance of next year’s presidential election, approximately 4760 Iowans, a plurality of those participating in a straw poll, have stated Michelle Bachmann’s their woman.

Clear thinking, intelligent citizens of every political persuasion should be concerned, should hope this is not a harbinger.

I am not among those Democratic stalwarts, who desire that Ms. Bachmann nab the GOP nomination, based on the thinking that it would insure an Obama W. I care about my country. I believe it best to have two worthy candidates facing off to see who domiciles in the Oval Office. Read the rest of this entry »

Mysterious Convoy Spotted in Fairdale

Posted: August 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Culture, Politics, Ruminations | No Comments »

I found myself in Fairdale the other day. (Okay, if you must ask a Highlands guy what he’s doing out there, know that the office of my dentist of long standing is right down the street from Fairdale HS.)

Coming off the ramp of the Gene Snyder onto National Turnpike, I saw a site I’ve never seen before in my town.

A convoy of sorts.

Three big military transport vehicles. Given their general dilapidated condition and the oil fumes they were spewing, I suspect Vietnam era issue.

They were ragged, but obviously a source of pride to those involved in . . . whatever. On one was a logo, reading “Ace of Spades.” On another, over a fire-breathing razorback, the moniker, “Wild Thing.” The third was designated, “Proud American.”

Trailing was an ancient Jeep, military issue also, designated “Wolfman.”

On the back of one of the trucks, somewhat explanatory, was a flapping sign reading, “We Support Vietnam Veterans.”

Riding in the bed of each of the trucks, like a ragtag guerilla outfit of some sort, were several guys, adults and young teens.

Mounted in each of the trucks were several machine guns.

Is Obama Trapped In A Box?

Posted: August 7th, 2011 | Filed under: Culture, Politics, Ruminations | 2 Comments »

Before getting on with these observations of President Barack Obama’s Catch-22, a caveat.

I can not think like a black man thinks. Nor see the world as a black man sees the world.

I know this to be true from experience.

A score of years ago, two well-meaning, intellectually inquisitive groups of fellows — one black, one white — decided to meet monthly. To discuss politics. Culture. Sports. Society. And the racial aspects of all those subjects. One month we’d meet at a place one group chose, the next month at a spot chosen by the other. Thus we were all taken out of our comfort zones to areas of Louisville where we might not otherwise travel.

The meetings were always cordial, never acrimonious. The purpose was to foster understanding, bridge gaps. There were certainly differences of opinion, often the perspectives were far apart. We were always respectful, striving for a common understanding.

One night the subject of a local personality came up. Several of the men of color were absolutely positive the person was a racist. They gave reasons. I know this personality, have spent time in his/ her company. I had never considered for a moment that he/ she was racist. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Guy Fawkes Lives!

Posted: July 23rd, 2011 | Filed under: Politics, Ruminations | No Comments »

It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.

It is the most famous quote attributed to America’s quicksand involvement in the Vietnam War. AP correspondent Peter Arnett never revealed the identity of the member of the military who said it, other than that he was a U.S. Major.

I am reminded of the cruel irony of that statement, during this time of partisan turmoil in Washington — a smackdown that, if not resolved in the next few days, could crush the American economy.

Frankly, I’m not particularly fond of the smell of Naplam in the morning. But that’s the odor wafting through the air when I read the news that somebody or another wasn’t happy with the debt limit negotiating process, so they got up, huffed and puffed their chest . . . and walked. Read the rest of this entry »

In Seach of Comity not Calamitous Comedy

Posted: July 17th, 2011 | Filed under: Politics | No Comments »

In my mind’s eye, I have this visual of how, in less contentious times,  deals used to get done in Congress.

At the end of a day of wrangling over the budget, or another piece of significant legislation, or trying to mesh differing bills passed in the Senate and House, the call would come.

“Everett, Lyndon here. Sam’s in my office now. I pulled out a bottle of Jack, and thought you might come on over and share a shot with us?”

Thus Everett Dirksen (Rep. Illinois) would join Lyndon Johnson (Dem. Texas) and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn (Dem. Texas) for a tipple or two after hours.

They’d schmooze. Share a few off color jokes. Tell tales about some naive freshman congressman from Florida. Consider the physical attributes of the secretary of John Sherman Cooper (Rep. Kentucky). Invite that statesman from the Bluegrass to join them if necessary for additional wise counsel. Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Union Address: Romantic Comity?

Posted: January 24th, 2011 | Filed under: Community, Politics | No Comments »

I believe President Obama will be delivering the State of the Union address tomorrow night.

To the nation on the telly, if you can find one of the channels that will be televising it. To a host of politico dignitaries in the House chambers — Supreme Court, etc, etc — along with a joint session of Congress.

For the first time in years I may tune in for a bit. (Assuming there’s not some really good double OT game on the Deuce.)

Seems there’s new seating arrangements evolving. It could be the dawn of new era.

Traditionally, the donkeys all sit on one side of the aisle, elephants on the other. And it is as if there is a buried electric fence running down the middle and any member crossing the line will be shocked into cardiac arrest. So these affairs have evolved into partisan political rallies.

The president’s party members stand and applaud every 24 seconds, whether the nation’s leader says anything worthy at all. While the not so loyal opposition adopts as bored a demeanor as they can, checking their cellphones every 24 seconds to see if there’s a text from a like-minded senator sitting in the next seat?

But things seem to be playing out a bit differently this year. In the aftermath of the Tuscon shootings, Congress may actually be giving more than lip service to civility.

Members of the House and Senate shall actually be mingling amongst themselves. Many, perhaps most, are finding a buddy from the opposition to sit with. Kind of like at the swimming pool at summer camp.

Of course, there are those who see this burgeoning sense of community as a commie ploy. One Republican house member opined that it was a leftist plot to stifle GOP dissent.

And then there’s Mitch. Kentucky’s very own ever smiling, ever engaging, always hail fellow well met, Mitch McConnell. One of the Senate Minority Leader’s staff was asked with whom Mitch would be sitting? He responded tersely, “Whoever sits down next to him.”

Anyway, maybe this is all symbolic, signifying, if not nothing, very little.

On the other hand, it can’t be anything but positive.

All social concerns — that includes politics — are amicably resolved with a process that starts with one simple dictum: Talk and listen to each other with an open mind. Talking and listening is where it starts, the open mind thing might not come for awhile.

Not to put too big a spin on this seating trend, let me just comment that it is: One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.

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.”

Musing On An Autumn Afternoon

Posted: October 20th, 2010 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Music, Politics, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

It is indeed one of life’s great pleasures. Walking my new rescue dog — saved from the killing floor — on a gorgeous fall day like today. And, hey, every once in awhile, Ms. Abbey does what I ask.

* * * * *

I’ve got to wonder who is the doofus consultant for Jack Conway, who has advised the Senate candidate to keep harping on one of his opponent’s college pranks?

Gimme a break.

Who, fortunate enough to attend university, didn’t participate in some ridiculous endeavors?

With all the truly legitimate flaws in candidate Paul’s agenda, Jack, give up this Aqua Baby or Aqua Buddha or whatever it’s called thing. It’s absurd. A non-issue signifying absolutely nothing whatsoever.

Election day can’t come soon enough.

* * * * *

So it appears that the new power broker in town is flexing its muscles.

It’s being reported that Rick Pitino isn’t going to be doing the Rick Pitino Show anymore. Because, he or his bosses in the U of L athletic department or both he and his bosses didn’t like WHAS’ coverage of this summer’s Karen Sypher trial. Though, to be fair, Pitino denies that’s the reason.


And Terry Meiners, former Big Blue Booster, who grabbed onto Rick Pitino’s lengthy U of L coattails when the latter joined the Cardinal Nation, becoming a red & black darling, is now persona non grata. Seems Meiners, who has never been reluctant to vent his spleen, upset the school’s powers that be by asking pointed questions about the university’s $$$ über alles policies. Which school policies, as Meiners pointed out, in essence totally discounted fan loyalty when parceling out basketball tickets in the new arena, in favor of corporate sponsors, those same school administrators and any other nouveau riche who could jump the line simply by writing a check.

For sure, Meiners is no angel, and, had he gotten the tickets he wanted, he might have not been so impudent. But, I’ll sure give the radio personality his props for calling out the school. U of L has turned its back on the fans who have been there for decades. It’s not a pretty sight. I’ve talked with scores of fellow fans about this money grab, many of whom say they’ll reevaluate the situation after the season. One wag’s prediction is there will be plenty of one and dones.

A common line: “Buying a new HDTV is a lot cheaper. And I won’t have to worry about parking.”

As for the Pitino Show, my suggestion is they hire The Insult Dog to replace the coach.

* * * * *

I simply don’t understand why so many are so disappointed with Barack Obama?

Sure, the Palin acolytes, the Tea Bag Bunch, the Newts, the Cheneymeisters, you know, the crowd that swears by the propaganda that is Fox News. But free thinkers, former supporters, Dems just short of yellow dog status, it doesn’t make sense.

The guy was dealt an awful hand. Mitch McConnell is the paradigm of an obstructionist anti-statesman. The blogoscenti don’t let you breathe without finding fault.

And that’s not to even enumerate all the truly heinous problems left over by the W gang, most of all of which require patience and cooperation from the loyal opposition to resolve.

Now that the Supreme Court has put its imprimatur on free campaign spending by any entity who wants to spend the dough, combined with the guys in the lobby with cash falling out their pockets, big money is going to control the destiny of government.

That doesn’t bode well for grass roots movements.

* * * * *

Just bought the Witmark Demos album by Bob Dylan. All early stuff of him and guitar or piano. It’s a grand reminder why so many of us loved him so much. And why he’s been called by some — my hand is raised — the greatest poet in the English language since Shakespeare.

* * * * *

Martha Mitchell lives.

Clarence Thomas’ obviously addled wife Ginni called Anita Hill on the phone and said it’s not too late for Hill to apologize to her hubby and her.


Wading through the Miasma of Mosque Mishmash

Posted: August 25th, 2010 | Filed under: Politics, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

For some unfathomable reason, several folks have asked that I weigh in on this whole issue of whether a mosque should be built at Ground Zero in New York. I’m not sure why anybody would really care what some pundit in Kentucky thinks about what is essentially a zoning issue in Manhattan.

But . . . here’s what I think.

I think it’s a damn shame that with all the issues of a really serious nature facing our country, our world, we have chosen this to argue about.

Last week I was able to chat with some friends who, do to business misfortune, have been forced to move, seeking work and income in other places.

“People don’t seem to really understand,” said Simone. (Not her real name.) “There just aren’t many jobs out there.”

Part of what she said is true.

There aren’t a lot of jobs in the marketplace for people who were making healthy incomes of $50,000 or more before the recession hit. And my sense is there aren’t a lot of positions going begging in lower income ranges. There are only so many needed to sell burgers under the Golden Arches.

Part of what she said is false.

A lot of people understand all too well that there aren’t a lot of jobs out there. It was most unusual to see a Help Wanted sign the other day when entering an Office Depot.

This stasis is manifesting itself in various ways, some oddly interesting.

This past year, the University of Louisville Law School had 500 more applications than the year before. Which number was 400 more than the previous highest year, which was sometime in the early 90s.

So, all of a sudden, a lot of twentysomethings want to become barristers at the bar?


It’s simply that the positions as waiters, baristas, nannies, maids aren’t cutting it for college grads. Mowing lawns is not what a Big Ten grad expected to be doing with a B.A.

So, what the hell. Let’s try law school. Maybe that will open a few doors.

What does this have to do with that Muslim community center and mosque that is causing such a ruckus among the talking heads?

Nothing. And that’s my point.

The economy is going to take a dip again very soon. People need work.

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is far from the only environmental concern we should be considering. Global warming, and eventual global environmental disaster, are very very real.

How to deal humanely with the immigration problem that exists in America is something that must be faced. I mean, really, who is going to do the roofing across the land if we imprison then deport all the aliens?

That’s just to touch the surface of legitimate concerns that should have our attention.

Instead we fall hook, line and sinker — Mr. President included — for Fox News’ bait. We are now mired in a debate with minimal relevance to real world problems.

What do I think should happen with the mosque at Ground Zero?

It matters not a whit.

Kentucky Dirt, Kagan, Cicadas & The Wire

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Filed under: Community, Music, Politics, Ruminations | 3 Comments »

Now that the trial of you know who concerning her “relationship” with you know who is yesterday’s spam, let’s consider a few other things, shall we?

* * * * *

While we weren’t paying attention, and after much ado about political posturing, Elena Kagan was confirmed as Supreme Court justice.

Just as she should have been.

Just as we always knew she would be.

Of course, since ’87, there’s the borking process that must play out.

Robert Bork was a GOP nominee for the Court. He had been the hatchet man that fired Watergate independent prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Nixon administration in what’s been dubbed the “Saturday Night Massacre.” So, if only for that, the donkeys hated Bork, a bright and qualified jurist, albeit very conservative.

Besides Bork had that scraggly beard that was off-putting and made him look like some Colonial era Puritan preacher. Then there was his imperious manner.

Anyway the Dems were able to foil his nomination. The process has been repugnantly political ever since.

You may not like the politics of Scalia or Roberts or Ginsburg or Kagan, but they’re all qualified. And the country would be a lot better off if the Senate stopped looking at nominee’s politics and just at their qualifications.

* * * * *

Is it my imagination, or are there cicadas every summer now? Not just every 17 years the way Mother Nature planned the cycle.

What happened?

Well, maybe it is nature’s way.

* * * * *

What’s up with this Kentucky dirt that’s been hauled to Indiana by the appropriately named Kentuckiana Trucking Company?

It seems there are a few petroleumish contaminants in the soil from the new arena site. And the trucking company dumped it where it wasn’t supposed to. Frankly, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you that such illegalities occur.

Wonder if they considered hauling it down to the Gulf, to maybe soak up some of that sludge? Or, Mega Caverns, where’s there is plenty of room and they invite new fill?

* * * * *

Why is Charles Moore still on the Louisville police force?

* * * * *

Speaking of governmental shenanigans and police department inefficiency, the Film Babe and I are halfway through Season #3 of our annual marathon viewing of the entirety of “The Wire.” Two and a half seasons down, two and a half to go.

Which we’ll do in, oh, the next ten days or so. Those of you familiar with the old HBO series understand why it’s so compelling. A couple episodes a night are the minimum. One night last summer, we watched five. Not that we’re obsessed or anything.

Those of you who’ve never watched it, tsk, tsk.

One guy’s opinion: It’s the best dramatic series in the history of television. Period. It is Godfather quality. Yes, yes, it is.