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Monday 28 May 2007

The Mayor's Spring Bike Ride

The Mayor's Spring Bike Ride was held today. The Mayor, "Our Jerry", has been Mayor since 1985, and is frequently referred to as "Mayor for Life" (although we do have an election from time to time). Jerry is a bicyclist who intends to put Louisville in the first tier of bicycling cities and he uses these semiannual rides to promote biking and biking awareness.

I went downtown a couple of hours early to get in some riding along the Riverfront. At this overgrown area, between downtown and the locks, I saw a pair of rabbits. They ran back into the bushes faster than I could take a picture, of course.

By the time I got back to the ride start, the crowd had begun to swell. There would eventually be over 2500 riders and walkers at the event. There were some unusual bikes, such as this very tall one, and his friend's bike directly behind his, which had tires so fat that I think he could have ridden it across water.

And here is a mid-70's era yellow Schwinn Varsity, much like the one I had when I was a sophomore in high school. I asked its rider if I could take a picture of the bike and he chuckled his assent. I looked at him and told him "You're not the original owner of this bike. You're not old enough." He pointed out the original owner, who said she got the bike when she was thirteen and laughed and laughed that I wanted to take a picture of it.

The ride was a nice flat ride to Iroquois Park, at which point it took a decided uphill flavor. It's over 250 feet to the top of Burnt Knob, the prominent feature of Iroquois Park. The road is long, though, so it's not extremely steep, but it does go on up for a long time. At the peak you get a panoramic view of the city (albeit it's a bit smoggy) .

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 27 May 2007

A Ride on a Steamboat

Today we took a ride on the Belle of Louisville, a large paddledriven steamboat that putts up and down the Ohio River for tourists and receptions and the like. This boat is ninety-two years old, but quite well maintained, and provided a leisurely ride about fifteen minutes up the river. However, due to the slow pace of the boat, it takes it an hour to cover this distance. But we did get to see several Louisville and Indiana landmarks from the river side, as well as how many wealthy people live with river views (and taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance).

Here's CVH boarding the boat.

It is a rather large boat.

Stern view, with the Louisville-Indiana bridges in the background.

At first I thought the paddles at the back of the boat were just for show, but when I walked back there they really were pushing the boat along. And when the cruise was done, if you didn't exit the way they told you to (as we did), you got to go down to the engine room where I saw that it was really a steam engine, too!

The downtown Louisville skyline, with the General George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge.

This is the Big Four bridge, a former railroad bridge that is being converted to a hike and bike bridge to connect Indiana and Kentucky. They're actively working on building a ramp to connect the ground to the bridge on the Kentucky side.

However, it looks like there's still going to be quite a drop from the bridge to the ground on the Indiana side. Stay tuned for developments.

Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 26 May 2007

The Beatles Festival!

After we left the Fleur De Lis festival, we walked past the outdoor Professional Beach Volleyball Open. We didn't go in, but we could see some pretty impressive specimens of Darwinian evolution jumping up and down in the sand.

But then it was the main event - Abbey Road on the River, the largest Beatles festival in the country. There were some great bands there! We saw Eight Days a Week, a lookalike group that did mostly the early hits,

and All You Need Is Love, a band that took some of The Beatles' best studio work, the White Album and Sgt Pepper, and turned them into a rockin' live concert. These guys were the best, and we discovered later that they were one of the two headline bands, available early in the afternoon by a quirk in the schedule. You'll note that they're pretty far away in the picture, and there's a tree branch there; that's because they were charging an extra thirty dollars a head to get in to see them. But since it was an outdoor concert, and I'm a thrifty guy, I discovered that if you climbed behind the funnel cake wagon's ice machine you could get a pretty good view and listen. The ladies in the lower left were dancing through the concert. All You Need Is Love had a brilliant guitar solo added to While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and wrapped up their set with an encore of Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey and Helter Skelter that just blew everyone away. This is a band you want to see in person. The other headliner, whom we did not see, can sing every Beatles song in the order that they were released. He does a medley of them in a two and a half hour concert. Maybe we'll see him next year.

The Rigbys were another lookalike band that had a wide repertoire of songs that included later songs from the member's solo careers. Itchycoo Park, from Glasgow, did the Revolver album in way that made the hair stand up on my neck. They play on genuine Sixties equipment; it was as if The Beatles were really there... The Fab Three did acoustic covers of Beatles songs; unfortunately for them, they were performing at the same time as the much louder (and rather better) All You Need Is Love. Bummer for them.

Of course, there were vendors selling all sorts of Beatles memorabilia. This guy - from Liverpool, no less - was selling Beatle boots (shown) as well as those crazy black suits they wore in the early sixties.

CVH entered a sweepstakes to win this car, although I don't think she'd be able to afford the insurance and speeding tickets.

A splendid time was had by all. And we only saw about five percent of the entire festival.

Categories: News from Louisville

The Fleur De Lis Festival

This morning we went downtown, as there were several events going on. The first place we stopped was at the Fleur De Lis festival. This is a gathering of garden and nursery vendors from the Kentuckiana area that is sponsored by Botanica, a Kentucky non-profit organization dedicated to promoting home gardening. CVH saw several items that she wanted (I liked the garlic chive plant), and we plan to return tomorrow to pick up some plants when we have the truck parked a little closer.

 Here is CVH next to a couple of plants that she really liked.

Categories: News from Louisville

More Waggin Trail pictures

When I got the correct type of batteries in our camera, I found that a couple of the pictures that I tried to take at the Waggin Trail were still in the camera:

Here's the place for the kids to bounce around in. Note the kiddie pools filled with water for dogs in the lower left.

 People had their hands full.

Categories: News from Louisville

Monday 21 May 2007

More Hometown Tourist Celebrating

Today, CVH and I both took a day of vacation to take advantage of the "Hometown Tourist" offers I mentioned in yesterday's entry.

We love watching "Louisville Life" and "Kentucky Life", the local PBS shows that feature things and people around our town and Commonwealth. We've now lived here long enough to begin to recognize some of the things we see on TV with things were seeing in real life. Well, last night we were watching the show and they had a feature on Yew Dell Gardens, just outside of town. Turns out Yew Dell Gardens participates in the "Hometown Tourist" discount offers and CVH wanted to see more gardens, so off we went. It's not a very large place, just thirty acres, but it is super cute and is filled with lovely plants, many non-native to our region. CVH said it reminded here of gardens that she saw on her garden tours in England, particularly those in Kent. It's a favorite spot for weddings and parties, if you have that kind of money.

I still have not bought the correct batteries for the camera, so I don't have pictures, but the people there were nice enough to give me some of theirs, which I share with you now (once again, in violation of copyright I am sure). We saw all of these during our visit, including the little "upside-down" bluebell flowers.

We also saw three majestic Cedars of Lebanon, standing like kings in the arboretum, and a "Witches Broom" sugar maple, so-called because of its shape - broader at the top than the bottom and full of branches to support this shape, making it a perfect tree for a small boy to climb up into, if small boys were still allowed to climb trees at all.

After lunch, we headed over to Churchill Downs to see the Kentucky Derby Museum. This was rather more interesting and educational than I had expected. I didn't know that all the thoroughbred racing horses were descended from just three horses in England around 1700. They had great exhibits on Secretariat (who I consider the greatest natural American athlete of the last thirty years other than Lance Armstrong, Greg LeMond, and maybe Michael Jordan), Seattle Slew, and other great horses such as War Emblem and Barbaro, although I still can't see something about Barbaro without breaking into tears, which happened at the museum.

We got to see the track, where The Queen viewed the race, the paddock, and the other basic sights of Churchill Downs. The museum had an interactive exhibit where you were to pretend you were riding a horse during a race; there was a life-size model of a horse in front of a screen and you were asked to crouch over the horse as a jockey would for the two minutes it takes to run a race. This requires a great deal of quadriceps strength, even for a regular bicycle rider as myself. I made it through the backstretch before I had to sit back down and drop out of the race. I weighed more than the 126 pound Kentucky Derby limit for jockey and saddle, anyway.

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 20 May 2007

The Hometown Tourist Celebration

The Convention and Visitor's Bureau here is sponsoring a "Hometown Tourist Celebration Month" during May. Their slogan is "Don't Just Live Here: Do Something!" If you have a local id, you can get all sorts of discounts at dozens of local tourist attractions. And if you get your special entry form signed at least three of them, you qualify for a special sweepstakes. Maybe this is just an attempt to keep us from going to Memphis?

Well, CVH never met a sweepstakes that she didn't like, so we got our entry form and headed off today. First we had to fortify ourselves for the trip, so we went to our local Steak and Shake. CVH ordered the Cheddar Scrambler, and I ordered biscuits and gravy, each well under five dollars. When the plates arrived, however, we were astounded by the amount of food placed before us. With all the talk and publicity about obesity and saturated fats in this country, I really didn't expect to get biscuits the size of my head! And the picture of the Cheddar Scrambler was a miniaturized version of what was actually served. I can't complain about the amount of calories we got for our dollar, but next time we'll definitely be splitting an dish.

Next, before we hit any official tourist destinations, I took her to the Bass Pro Shop across the river in Indiana. If you've never been to one of these, it is truly a shopping sensation and a tourist destination in its own right. The store is huge, has dozens of stuffed wild animals (i.e., taxidermy) on display (birds, raccoons, deer, antelope, beavers, wolves, etc), an aquarium, and even a small creek running down the middle of the store. There's a restaurant inside, and perhaps less surprisingly, a Starbucks. In addition to the usual hunting and fishing supplies, they have boats, camping equipment (CVH really liked all the cooking equipment there), archery (blood sport; not the target I studied in college), weather stations, a furniture section (think Barcaloungers in camo and lamps with fish), even jewelry. We were there a couple of hours and CVH enjoyed every minute. And yes, we ended up buying a bunch of stuff, too.

After that, we visited the Thomas Edison House in Louisville, so-called because Tom lived there for several months when he was a teenage telegraph operator. He was apparently a very good telegraph operator, but had greater aspirations and was doing experiments at the workplace, which ended up getting him fired and he moved to New Jersey. The house is now filled with samples of the various inventions that he developed.

We then went on the 2007 Phoenix Hill garden tour. This is a neighborhood of late nineteenth century houses that is "in transition" as they say. Several of them have been restored and have small narrow gardens in the back. Many are owned by artists and dealers in art and antiques, and their gardens were open for touring today. Lots and houses were rather narrow back when these were built, and it was a pre-automobile era, so the yards are small, but the owners manage to put their personal mark on each of the gardens that we saw.

From there it was to the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, where all the Major League Baseball wooden bats are manufactured (along with the less expensive models, too). We saw lots and lots of wooden bats (the aluminum ones are made in a factory somewhere else), and they had an exhibition of Charles Shulz's classic Peanuts comics featuring baseball themes. Seems Sparky was quite the baseball fan, and that's why baseball featured so prominently in his comic strip. Anyway, they make about a million wooden bats a year here in Louisville.

Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 19 May 2007

Bar-B-Que Pitt

For dinner tonight we went to an annual Louisville tradition, the Bar-B-Que Pitt. This is a fundraising barbecue dinner for the Pitt Academy, a school specialising in children with various disabilities. It is operated under the auspices of the Catholic Church, so that in addition to the dinner, the ferris wheel and tilt-o-whirls, etc, there were also several games of chance. Since CVH had won a CD at the Waggin Trail that morning, I told her that she could spend a dollar on such games. It disappeared very quickly. It went to a good cause.

Then we got in the line for the food. The local newspaper had given the barbecue rave reviews. Indeed, the line was so long that we stood in line forty-five minutes for our dinner. Why would people stand in line for forty-five minutes for barbecue? It would have to be fantastic barbecue, right? I can only assume that it was fantastic last year. It was definitely not worth it this year. Still, the ten dollars went for a good cause.

Categories: News from Louisville

Forest Fest

After we left the Waggin Trail, we went to the Forest Fest at the Jefferson Memorial Forest. This forest is one of the many, many beautiful city parks in Louisville, and the Forest Fest featured several bluegrass bands today, including the young Kentucky Sassafras and the classic Bluegrass 101. When they said Bluegrass 101 (four old guys and a fifteen year old kid, can you believe) was a "classic" bluegrass band, I thought, Well, we'll hear some pre-1964 music. Turns out they were more like pre-1944. Very classic, and I liked it. Getting to the festival site, however, required driving up to the top of a knob (remember that's the technical term for "hill" in these parts) along a very narrow road (think two-car driveway, and then think a little narrower) that is extremely twisty and full of blind turns. Of course, there are people living on the knob who know the road very well, but never seem to be expecting someone to be coming the other way on those blind turns, requiring you to slam on the brakes until they return to their side of the road, which annoys the people behind you who have been wondering why you're driving so slowly in the first place.

But we eventually got there, checked out the various vendor booths and settled in for some bluegrass. Kentucky Sassafras had been featured on Kentucky Life, the PBS program that we love. After a while we got up and hiked one of the easy paths through the forest. It took us to a small lake, actually no more than a pond, but it was so beautiful that it took our breath away. OK, so it wasn't Hawaii, but it still looked like something right off of a picture puzzle.

We hiked back to the fest, and visited some booths set up by various bluegrass bands and bluegrass enthusiasts. I learned that there are a lot of bluegrass enthusiasts here in Kentucky and that some of these bands are really good. I also learned that CVH gets tired of bluegrass after about ten minutes of it. How can you love opera and not love bluegrass? I just don't understand.

Categories: News from Louisville

The Humane Society's "Waggin Trail"

Thanks to all who helped raise money for the Humane Society's "Waggin Trial" annual fund raiser. CVH and Becky and I went out to the park for the celebration this morning, and what a beautiful morning it was. In all, about $80,000 was raised to care for unwanted small animals and provide subsidized spay/neuter operations.

I promised pictures to several of you who made donations, but when I got to the park, the camera wouldn't work. I later determined that I had bought the wrong kind of batteries. I must have been very soft in the mind the day I purchased them. However, I've since found some photos that were taken by a photographer of the local newspaper, the Courier-Journal, which I have downloaded and used entirely without their permission (so don't link to this web page, please). I assure you that I did see all these dogs in person.

There were over a hundred dogs at the park, and Becky was doing OK until the Chik-Fil-A guy showed up in a giant cow suit and scared her. She just lost it. I don't know what those people were thinking when they brought in such a thing to a dog event. There was even a guy dressed like a giant catfish, and one like a milk bottle. Many dogs were going crazy over this. Becky became so agitated that we had to leave. We dropped her off at the Humane Society's doggie day care, which she dearly loves to go to.

Then we returned to the park. We saw the smallest dog contest; it was won by a "dog" that looked more like a treat than an actual dog; one of the Humane Society employees told us that they saw several of the larger dogs eyeing it with interest. The largest dog contest was won by a beautiful sleek black Great Dane that somewhat staggered the imagination of how the owner even got it to the park in the first place. There were several vendor booths there as well as tents for the various rescue organizations and an agility course demonstration. It was a good day for dogs and their owners. And when we came back I noticed that the giant cow and catfish were nowhere to be seen. I hope that someone clued them into the fact that dogs don't get into preternaturally giant animals.

Categories: News from Louisville

Thursday 17 May 2007

Storage Shed Materializes in Mid-air

The strangest things happen in the Midwest. Perhaps this shed is where Schrodinger kept his cat?

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Louisvillians in the News: Becky, our Dog

Becky made the May issue of the Kentucky Humane Society newsletter. She's down at the bottom of the newsletter. Becky has also been featured on the webpage of Kentucky Life, our favorite PBS TV show.

So I'm a proud papa. What can I say?

Edited on: Monday 21 May 2007 21:28
Categories: News from Louisville

Monday 14 May 2007

Wouldn't you like to work for Google?

I use their products all the time, and think they're great. And now they say they have a real opportunity, but it does involve a bit of relocation.

I really like the bit about Pink Floyd on TV, and the "lost season of Iron Chef".

Two great retro items on the web

First, a rotary dial cellphone. Oh man! What I would have given to have one of these in my 1965 Buick!

And for those of you old enough to remember "line printers", a web page that turns photos into ascii character strings.

Sunday 13 May 2007

April Showers Bring More Than May Flowers

CVH had to work this weekend, so there's not a whole lot to relate. After she got home Saturday, we went down to our favorite local produce stand for some fresh food. But when we arrived, there was a line of cars backed out into the street. Since we had never seen more than about six cars there ever before, we wondered "What the heck is going on??" It didn't help that they had about half of the parking lot covered up with potted flowers, either.

I was lucky to be able to slip into a parking spot just as another car was pulling out, and we went inside and bought our foodstuffs. We took a moment to gaze at all the decorative plants that they had brought in (apparently just in the last week) that were responsible for the huge crowd. "Perhaps this is the traditional flower planting weekend," said CVH, and she verified that the next day when she spoke with a prominent Kentucky acquaintance of hers (by prominent, I mean there is a freeway in Kentucky bearing this person's name), and asked, in effect, What's the dang deal? CVH was told that, indeed, Mother's Day weekend is the traditional weekend for Louisvillians (at least) to plant their decorative annuals, as we are now past the danger of frost. I'm thinking that, due to global warming, they should start moving this date up earlier to avoid deleterious effects on their gardens, but I don't expect that to happen in Louisville, as the previous weekend is Derby Weekend, the weekend before that is Derby Party weekend, the one before that is Thunder weekend, and the one before that is still within the frost danger for now.

I took CVH out for dinner after we got our produce, as we both agree that going out for dinner on Mother's Day all but guarantees mediocre food and poor service. I cooked her breakfast and dinner on Mother's Day at home (my fresh herb pots are still growing, and I'm amazed at how much difference a little fresh oregano or basil or rosemary can make to a dish. And I've almost saved more than if I had bought the "fresh" herbs at Whole Foods (plus I think mine taste better)).

Sunday CVH was back to work. She had to preside over the kickoff party for National Nursing Home Week; at her home, the theme is a Caribbean Cruise. She talked so much about the wonderful job everyone did in decorating the home that I just had to come see it. Since I'd been wanting to scope out some rural roads in the area for bicycle touring, I said I'd come by.

I first drove a cycling route that I'd downloaded from the internet. Oddly, they never do charity bicycle rides here; the charity rides were how I learned the good (and bad) routes in Houston. There's a bicycle club here in town, of course, but they don't publish maps, and I'm too slow to keep up with them. So I've been hamstrung on getting started on long rides in the country. But the route I rode today was something else: twisty roads through rural areas (and areas that are rapidly becoming non-rural), beautiful hills (at least while you're going down them), small towns, roads with steep drop offs that give you stunning vistas, wonderfully wooded areas where the road becomes about the width of our driveway - I guess there are prettier places in the U.S., but this sure looked good to me. Although I'm going to have to get going and ride it; there were at least three places where an old farm had been sold and was being split into subdivisions with houses sprouting up like mushrooms. Just like Houston.

After my reconnaissance I came back to the Home. I saw the cats, Sweetness and Tiger.

They're real cats now, not the little kittens I saw last time I was there. Then I helped out with the big party. Each day this week, there'll be a Caribbean Cruise theme day (Miami, Jamaica, Pirates, etc.), and today was the Bon Voyage party, kicking off the cruise.

I've often joked with her that she has a heckava job - she gets paid to party every day - but I learned that throwing a party for dozens of seniors and their families (Mother's Day is a big day at senior care facilities) is a lot of work. Being Mother's Day, CVH and the other managers had given the day off to as many of their staff as they could afford, so the managers (and a few of us volunteers) were doing the work today. Everybody had a good time, and I'm glad I went.

Categories: News from Louisville

Wednesday 09 May 2007

Modern Fund-Raising Theory: You're Under Surveillance

Today promised to be a nice, sunny day, so I dropped the dog off at the Kentucky Humane Society's (KHS) Fern Creek Pet Resort for a day of "Romp and Roll" with her other doggie friends.

You'll recall that I have been collecting pledges for the KHS's spring fund raiser this month. I went around to the dog owners on our street, and got some cash donations. I wasn't comfortable sending the cash through the mail, and I was afraid that if I just sent the KHS one of my checks, they'd get confused and think it was coming from me instead of from my neighbors. Since I wanted to see the KHS facility anyway, I looked up the address on their web site. Lo and behold, the site also mentioned that they give tours once a month. I called the number, and told the nice lady that I'd like to attend this month's tour.

"Certainly," she said, "How did you hear about the tour? Did a friend refer you?"

"No, I was just looking for your address on the Web site so that I could drop off some pledges, and I saw that you're having a tour."

"That's fine. I'll put you down. It will only take about an hour, and we'll serve you lunch, so you don't have to worry about that."

Well, I know there's no such thing as a free lunch, so I now understood that this was going to be part of a fund-raising exercise. If I'd been paying more attention, I would have also picked that up on the "Did a friend refer you" part.

I left a little early, as the facility is not very easy to find, and I wanted to have plenty of time in case I got lost. I ended up getting there early and met the lady who I spoke with on the phone; she turned out to be their PR manager, and she was very happy to take my pledges and direct me to my lunch. Pretty soon other guests filed in, a few by themselves, but mostly in groups of three, which I thought a little curious until I figured out later that these were the groups of friends that the woman on the phone alluded to.

The PR manager then started the slideshow presentation. "I have to warn you," she said with a stern face as the first dog photo, a cute puppy, appeared on the wall, "That I'm going to be showing you a lot of gratutious puppy pictures." She gave a brief history of KHS (it dates to 1884), their mission, and their programs. She then turned the program over to the CEO of the Society, who spoke like a CEO, outlining the governance structure, their two-year plan and where they stand on the plan and its goals. Finally one of the staff gave a story about one dog who had been rescued after a hit-and-run, had its leg surgically repaired by the Society, went to a foster home for recuperation, and was placed with a new owner. Then we toured the dog and cat areas. Although it was a pretty cheery place, I was a bit surprised at how small their main facility was; it's clear now why they have so many satellite adoption sites. I had several questions for the CEO and PR manager about capital campaigns, endowments, planned giving, and other fund-raising issues (I thought I'd just cut to the chase). I noticed that several of the people who had some in the groups of threes, though, were just standing around, looking like they were waiting for a signal that it was OK to leave. No one brought up the subject of donating money, so I figured I'd get a phone call sometime next week and they'd start talking about that then. I wrapped up my visit with thank-yous, and came back to the office.

At three o'clock, it was time to go pick up the dog. I caught an unusual number of green lights and got there a few minutes early. The dogs, about a dozen, were still all out in the yard playing. When I pulled up, they all ran over to the fence to see what was going on, and when I got out, the barking started (except for Becky, of course, who started wagging her tail like crazy). I went inside to let the staff know I was there, but the usual person was not behind the desk. The lady who was there greeted me and asked "Are you here to pick up Becky?"

"Yes, I am."

"You were at our tour presentation today, weren't you?"

I sure didn't remember seeing her there, but I told her that I was, and that I enjoyed to opportunity to see the facility and speak with some of the management.

"I'm the manager of the outreach programs for KHS, and I'm filling in for the Fern Creek manager this week who is on vacation. They called me and told me that you had attended the tour. Next month the Society is having a luncheon at the Olmsted to discuss our programs in more detail, and I'm putting together a select list of some of our customers to invite to this luncheon. It's also a fund raiser, but you'd be under no obligation. Would you care to come?"

Wow, I thought, these people work fast. The Olmsted is one of the fancy venues for non-profit fund raising in the city (as well as host to innumerable rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions - book at least a year in advance); coincidentally it's owned by Masonic Homes of Kentucky (it's a small world here in Louisville), although they leave the operation to a local catering firm - the same firm that does the Information Systems Auditing lunches that I go to (a really small world). I thought about the offer for a second, then decided that I really do need to get involved in some facet of Louisville society, so I accepted the invitation.

I then went back outside to get Becky, and the handler told me that Becky is just the very best dog, one of their favorites. "Thanks," I said, but thought Let's not lay it on too thick in one day.

More on this after next month's luncheon.

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 06 May 2007

The Cave Hill Cemetery Tour

We took the official Cave Hill Cemetery Historical Tour today. It was a bit pricey; as in all Things Cave Hill, Cave Hill wants to imbue an aura of exclusivity. But we were inundated with two and a half hours of nearly non-stop historical information as we hiked the older part of the cemetery. Here is CVH in front of the monument at the grave of the man who founded Tulane University.

We got to see the graves of the Hill sisters, the ladies who wrote the Happy Birthday Song.

We saw the grave of Matt Ward, member of a prominent and wealthy Louisville family. When his younger brother was rebuked by his school headmaster, Matt visited the headmaster and demanded an apology. The headmaster declined, and Matt shot him to death. Thus ensued a "celebrity trial" in Elizabethtown. The Wards assembled a formidable legal team headed by a United States Senator. The team got him off on a technicality, but due to the massive bad publicity Matt had to leave Kentucky for Arkansas, where one day in 1862 he foolishly rode his horse across a field while wearing a blue suit. A Confederate sniper ended that ride.

At the National Cemetery, there are soldiers from every war, Revolutionary through Iraq. As the old stones wear down, the U.S. Government replaces them with new ones, so that the names are always legible. The only exception is for the Confederate soldiers, many of whom were hanged at the local prisoner-of-war camp; the government doesn't replace those.

There were many, many more graves of famous Louisvillians on the tour; our guide's breadth of knowledge and powers of recall were quite impressive. I can see why he's the president of the Louisville Historical Society. I'll write more about monumental statuary at Cave Hill in a later post.

Edited on: Sunday 06 May 2007 20:43
Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 05 May 2007

The Kentucky Derby Ran Today

And my horse came in nineteenth out of twenty horses.

Categories: News from Louisville

You may know more about the Kentucky Derby than you think you do

You probably know that the Kentucky Derby is run here in Louisville. You may know that the Derby is also known as "The Run for The Roses". You may know it's called that because they place a huge garland of fresh roses on the winning horse . What you probably don't know is that you do know the florist that builds the garland: Kroger.

So, naturally, we had to go to Kroger last night to watch them build this thing. It takes about six hours or so to complete. They sew in 554 roses, each in its own little water vase so that they stay fresh. And since only the "prime" rose of a bush is used, it takes 554 rose bushes, too. It's very pretty.

And popular, too. There was a long line, which stretched down into one of the food aisles, of people waiting to view it. But I, being tall, noticed that if you went around the other way, by the cottage cheese, they was hardly anyone, and you had just as a good sight line of the work being done. And we needed cottage cheese, anyway.

Unfortunately, we didn't get their quite early enough to see the winner's trophy on display, as it had already been whisked off to some other location, a high-society Derby Eve party, I suspect. But the building of the garland is a must-see for any Derby fan or visitor.

Edited on: Sunday 06 May 2007 20:15
Categories: News from Louisville

Thursday 03 May 2007

I'm not jumping out of an airplane

This month will see my fiftieth birthday.

I recently ordered a kite from a company in Alabama. The firm, 'Forever Flying', mailed it to me in a large box. When it arrived, I didn't have time to open it, so I just put the box in the entryway.

CVH comes home, inspects the box, and exclaims "What is this? What are you thinking of doing?"

"It's a kite. I thought I'd take it to the park. What is the problem?"

"Well, it's says 'Forever Flying', and I thought you were pulling a George Bush on me and jumping out of an airplane on your birthday."

"He was a World War II fighter pilot when he was twenty, CVH. I just flew kites in college at that age. I'm not jumping out of an airplane."

Categories: News from Louisville

What's wrong with this picture?

Look very, very closely. What's wrong with this picture?

Optical Illusion

I find this optical illusion interesting. Look at the castle for a moment, then click on it.

History buff? Like looking at old stuff?

This Library of Congress thing is pretty cool. Warning: it will suck you in.

They file this under "mathematical humor"

I would love to have the slightest idea of how this was discovered.

The world through Conrad's eyes

This may be part of the reason that I am wont to wear primary colors.

Tuesday 01 May 2007

You'll need a compass if you come to this town.

They've decided to tear down the old East Wing of the Exposition Center at the fairgrounds. The design and condition of the East Wing had been the source of many complaints from exhibitors in the past several years, so it will be replaced with a new wing. And since the old East Wing had such a horrible reputation, the new wing (which will be built in the same location as the old East Wing) is to be called the North Wing.

Categories: News from Louisville