Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daniel Boone National Forrest has a bad bear.

There is a bad bear lose in Kentucky. Evidently the latest bear census revealed that there are between 250 and 300 bears in the wilds of the state. From all information available all but one of these bears are good bears but one.
I was chomped on by a bear, and he was a bad bear, but that doesn't speak of all bears," Tim Scott 56, of Lexington said.
Sunday a family was hiking the trails near the Red River Gorge Geological Area with dad Tim Scott taking the lead. He saw a bear 25 feet ahead and watched as the bear ducked under a ledge. The bear emerged onto the path and began approaching Scott. He hollered, dropped his belt bag, grabbed a rotted branch and hit the bear, trying to move away. The bear sniffed the bag and followed. Finally the it lunged and nipped him, then let him go as he moved behind a tree for protection. The bear grabbed him and threw him into the woods. Then the it sank its teeth into his thigh and shook.
At some point during this, Mr. Scott snapped several pictures with his cell phone.

Another group of hikers approached and one hit the bear with his back pack. The bear left the area.

Mr. Scott was taken to a hospital and 50 stitches closed his wounds. He went home to recuperate.

Today is the fourth day that the area has been closed to humans. I'm not sure who is doing the hunting but a bear was sighted yesterday. Officials are not sure it's the same bear but they are confident the bad bear has not left the area.
Wildlife Division Director Karen Waldrop said the agency's policy is to kill any bear that behaves aggressively toward humans, and officials have closed the popular scenic area and set traps to try to capture the animal.
The bear is described as an Appalachian Black Bear. The Red River Gorge Geological Area is in the Daniel Boone National Forrest.

Monday, June 28, 2010

"It's bold. It's ambitious. It's striking," said Jerry Abramson, long time Mayor of Louisville and current hopeful Lt. Governor.
It is 61 story building soaring into the sky on a riverfront acre in Louisville. The building would contain 85 luxury condominiums, 150 lofts, a 300-room hotel, office space and a 1,100-car underground parking garage.

It was a $360 million project February 5, 2006 when announced and a radical skyscraper to be completed in 2010. At that time principals of The Museum Plaza building said the project would be paid for with private money and with income from the hotel, offices and the sale of condos and lofts. I recall the roll out. I was amazed and delighted that anyone would be so wealthy and believe in Louisville so much they could put that kind of money into a building like that.

Laura Lee Brown [yes the heiress to the Brown-Forman distillery conglomerate] and her husband Steve Wilson, are the dreamers. The couple is described as a "power" couple, which always makes me think their marriage and married life was negotiated on their wedding day, and renegotiated on the anniversary every year. They renovated an old building on Main Street into a boutique hotel 21C, that is evidently a destination for people visiting our city. They also tore down some porn shops and strip clubs next to the International Convention Center and built a Marriott Hotel downtown. They are supporters of every legacy charity in the city as well as the library.

Last week on Wednesday evening one local news channel had an interview with Mr. Craig Greenberg, one of Museum Plaza principal. He was telling us he had good news. Although the project had been stalled since 2008 when buildings surrounding the site were having their foundations crumble from anchoring the building and then work was not resumed because of "economic factors", that was going to change. His interview was to announce a press conference scheduled for the next morning.

The next morning our governor, mayor, Congressman and others I didn't recognize were standing on a dais at a microphone. They were discussing how fabulous it was that the project was again moving along. There was footage of the acre and all that was visible was junky land, orange barrels and broken concrete. Mr. Wilson spoke passionately about how hard his wife Laura Lee Brown had been working on this project; all the time, at all hours of the day and night, continually. "I'm proud of her for all her hard work."

Then the Governor spoke. The Commonwealth of Kentucky was applying for a $100 million loan from HUD. This loan would be used to secure further financing for the now $460 million building. The Brown-Wilson's would use $100 million of their own money as security to get the additional financing.

Thursday I was not delighted. I was disgusted. HUD is the Department of Housing and Urban Development whose mission is: 
…to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
Since The Museum Plaza is planned as a showplace for art, a home for the city's only Westin Hotel, luxury condominiums marketing to people leaving their half million dollar mini-mansions when the kids leave home, and lofts for 30-something metro sexuals, I cannot see the "affordable" aspect of this building. It is argued that over 1000 of this type of project has been HUD financed already in the country. This project though big, is only the third largest with LA and Houston having the largest.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It is Deja Vu all over again

I am sure all you are aware that today is our Father's Day. For you fathers, Happy Father's Day!

What people do that is special for their fathers is unique to every one however, a local follower of the blog pointed out this ad running in the local paper this week. The establishment mentioned has a small ad on the page of the paper containing the entries and previous day's winners of horse races at Churchill Downs. I understand that Déjà Vu is a chain of businesses so perhaps you have one locally. If you have the nerve, ask your dad to go with you! After all entry is free, though I suspect the usual buck tucking and drink buying is expected.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Leaping horses, apologies and crime.

Thursday morning this week, a two year old filly named BF Chang was standing in front of the grandstand at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY, with exercise rider Marelio Garcia on her back. They were waiting to begin a routine run around the dirt track. Suddenly she twisted and flipped over the grandstand rail, into box seats, crashing through chairs and winding up in the clubhouse near a guest parking lot. The horse, which sustained lacerations and numerous cuts, was taken by ambulance to an equine hospital. She is expected to recover without problem.

Oddly, about a half hour later another 2 year old filly, which had been waiting in a similar spot and fashion, flipped and unseated her rider. She then got up and ran into oncoming horse traffic on the backside.

There has been discussion of what caused the two horses to act this way on the same day and near the same time. No conclusions have been reported.

It's been an odd few days.

Rand Paul, the GOP candidate for the US Senate in Kentucky, sent a letter to the editor of the local paper. Paul says that although he said abhorrent things on live and recorded broadcasts, he was misunderstood. He further said that because these ideas of his were subsequently discussed by newspapers, news media and blogs, his reputation has been sullied!

Marc Murphy, June 18, 2010, Courier-Journal

A further development with Rand is that the professional certificate he has listed as being the recipient of has turned out to be similar to those online mail order divinity degrees; easily obtained and requiring no actual accreditation.

Thursday, before a Congressional hearing on the BP Gulf disaster got underway, Rep. Joe Barton from Texas apologized to the BP Corporation. His concern seemed to be that this Swiss Corporation, headquartered in England, was the victim of a shakedown for being asked to set up a $20 billion dollar fund in escrow. I'm not sure whether his concern was that they were being asked to pay for their disaster or that they were being asked to turn over the money where someone other than they was administering it.

Some time later Rep. Barton apologized for apologizing to the BP Corporation. He first said he was sorry for his statement's misconstruction. A third statement retracted his apology to BP.

Watching these guys dance around things they try to defend as righteous beliefs can sure be entertaining.

Then last week, there was the Southwest Airline cargo worker who saw three suspicious boxes at the Little Rock airport. The worker opened the boxes and found 45 human heads. The heads were addressed to a medical lab in Texas.

Shipping body parts by air is not unusual. This was an issue because the packing and labeling of the boxes was so badly done they aroused concern by the cargo worker. The local authorities and FAA were notified. The local coroner has seized the heads and is investigating. His concern is that the heads may have been illegally harvested.

I have not been able to find out the status of the naked six year old and his two nightly home escapes mentioned in a previous post.

This past week a three year old boy, living with his mother, was shot. The bullet entered his body and ricocheted in the room and entered him a second time.

Two hours later his mother called 911 and an ambulance picked the child up and took him to the hospital. He is fine and in custody of social services.

His mother and a man were with the child arguing when he was shot. It is not known who shot the gun. During the two hour delay between the incident and the emergency call the two of them cleaned up the crime scene. The man made over twenty calls on a neighbor's cellphone.

The mother is in custody under a $500,000 bond.

The man is in custody under a $100,000 bond. He is further sentenced to six months in jail for loudly cursing at the judge during his arraignment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Naked; when you have nothing to wear.

A naked six year old walked into a bar last night. Bar patrons put a t-shirt on him and went looking for his family. Not locating them, they called the police who canvassed the neighborhood finding an open door to a home down the street. Inside three juveniles were found. No parent or adult was there. A half hour later he child's mother arrived. She had left her children in the car of the oldest one, a twelve year old. Social services investigated and the children were returned to their mother.

This evening the local news led with the story: "A six year old naked child walked into a bar."

Yes, the same child again walked into the same bar.

When I first heard that line I thought, "That's a good line for a joke."

Somehow I can't think of one now.
Sometimes reading the paper captivates me. This morning I read an article beginning on the front page of the NY Times. It was about a way that regular schmo's can be sharp dressers. No longer will he depend on a wife or girlfriend to tell him what goes with what and suggest how to coordinate his colors.

After signing up to Trunk Club's site, a personal fashion assistant interviews him by Skype. During the conversation he explains likes, his activities, business dress needs and produces his measurements. She evaluates what he looks like and discusses his needs in more detail. A short time later he takes delivery of a large box of slacks, shirts, shoes, jackets selected specially for him.

Anything that he doesn't want gets shipped back. He pays nothing extra for the shipping or the personal fashion assistant.

Our featured schmo in the article was the writer. In "The Man, the Mouse and the Wardrobe" Farhad Manjoo follows the process. There are other sites doing similar services. You wear only black socks? Get new socks every other month from a subscription to You are constantly wearing out your undershorts, t-shirts and socks? Work with The subscription services for basic needs work like a book of the month club.

Until these sites became available men who had no discernable sense of style found themselves in the local department store or Men's Warehouse when needing a suit for that funeral or job interview. When he had no matching sock pairs or hole free underwear, they went to Target at midnight, stocking up on packs of Hanes. Because most guys buy clothes only when they can't find anything to wear, sharp dressing is something they seldom do.

Now a guy can shop using Skype and a short time later he has clothes that are his size and make him a well dressed man.

Mr. Manjoo also says gift certificates to these services are perfect for the recent graduate or birthday boy.

This sounds like a good idea of busy men. Most all of us use online shopping more than we ever thought we would.

I buy books, office supplies, some basic clothes, and all those must have Target sales items. The biggest draw for me is I keep myself on a strict budget. When I'm not cruising the isles of the big box store with a huge bascart, I don't buy things on impulse. The additional plus is free shipping!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The right to forward electronic mail.

I am curious about something. Should a person have the right to forward? Can forwarding be used as a form of hate? Let me back up for a moment and explain.

It is a beautiful morning in Kentucky. The birds have become fascinated with my window and literally woke me up this morning. I don't know what they were talking about but it was loud and melodious!

About this time I am in the midst of the morning routine and I open my e.mail to find five of them. I don't get many and not this early. It takes a bit for the retailers to get to reminding me they love me and "please buy this stuff we have ready to ship!"

Today the five were from my sister. She lives in Arizona and is about as opposite to me in her beliefs as a person can be. Usually her communications are directed at how I must change my evil ways and become her. This is done with forwards from every possible antithetical hate site she can find. We're on Facebook too so her joined groups read like the total definition of "what's wrong with America as it exists now." These sites describe an America back about the time we were born as perfect!

I put this compulsion she has down to her having inherited the "evangelism" gene in the family. My mother was a believer in our duty as Baptists to convert every other person that existed because they were WRONG! I was changed at an early age. This happened about the time I learned to read and discovered the local library.

This thing from my sister was 631 words; one full page of type single spaced. Two days before I had gotten three e.mails of forwarded stuff and I sent her this image:

Her e.mails this morning were in response to that. It involved a statement that her husband was part American Indian and therefore her children and grandchildren were allowed to remain in the country. Then she told me where our family came from and therefore were immigrants and was I ready to move back to Ireland or England, etc. But "we" were not illegal people. We were legal immigrants. Any anyway they wouldn't take me back!

What a lovely thing.

This was composed by her and sent at about midnight her time. So, the last thing she was thinking about before bed was how to debate me on the issue of illegal entry into America.

Don't get me wrong here. I receive e.mails from friends, acquaintances, clients, people who happened to trip across me in some other comment forum, which are just like this. They are seldom personal after the first contact. I have to give her that. She did take the time to write me a personal 621 words. My universal response to those others who do that is to send them a very polite note: "Please do not forward or send me any more of this kind of thing. Feel free to remove me from your distribution list. Thank you."

I could respond to my sister the same way though to be real I don't get inflamatory e.mail of the liberal kind.  So far I have chose not to as we were totally out of contact for over twelve years and only recently did I tippy toe into reestablishing a connection with her. She is my only relative.

Reggie gets this kind of stuff all the time from old school chums he was never friends with.  He will compose a reasonable succinct response. You probably get similar stuff.

If you received a real paper hand written letter that said what these messages do, what would you think?

That brings me back to my first line. Do we have the right to forward mail that the recipient sees as hate mail just because we have some real or tenuous connection to a person?

Perhaps a slim volume of etiquette on online or techno communication is in order.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Christian school and trees.

The Kentucky State Legislature, in a special one week session, finally passed a two year budget for the Commonwealth beginning July 1, 2010. The Governor submitted a budget that was hopefully going to be funded in part, with gambling at state horse racing tracks. The Legislature turned that down with a resounding "Hell No!"

The Governor submitted another budget that trimmed state services including cuts to public education. After seven days of back and forth between the two houses and many attempts to change the budget, it was passed. Many in the House and Senate stood up to say they didn't like the budget but would pass it.

I appreciate their doing that, since passing a budget for the state is the job of the Legislature.

Then, reading a small article in the Courier Journal I see where this austere budget includes $100,000 for the Riverside Christian School in Breathitt County. A few years ago the Legislature decided to fund the creation of a Pharmacy School at a Christian College. The Kentucky Supreme Court stopped that stating in its ruling, "public funding for religious education violates the state's constitution."

It would seem that we will be in litigation again. I figure this is an effort to give some legislator's attorney brother or brother-in-law a job.

Here's the article from the Courier-Journal:  House budget still contains money for Christian school:

If you're a tree hugger, I have some good news for you. The Olmstead Conservancy had raised the last of their $900,000 amount to match a grand from the J. Graham Brown Foundation $900,000 grant for tree planning in two city Olmstead Parks. You may recall Mr. Olmstead is responsible for the design of Central Park in New York, as well as many other beautiful parks world wide.

We have some lovely parks in Louisville. We are very proud of all our parks. Cherokee and Seneca Parks are Olmstead parks. I live near Cherokee now.

On April 3, 1974 I wasn't living near either one, but the day after the tornado that ripped out thousands of mature trees from these parks. I recall driving down an expressway near Cherokee park and the hills were denuded. Film of the park with all the trees down was heart breaking. A book with stills was published "Tornado: A Look Back at Louisville's Dark Day, April 3, 1974" by William S. Butler. When I got my copy I cried looking at those bare hills.

Fund raising paid for thousands of trees to replace those that were lost, and that effort continued in community groups for a decade. But now thirty six years later, we are getting $1.8 million worth of new trees.

I am excited.