Sunday, May 25, 2008

Expo: Memorial Day Flea Market-- Crap You Can Use

Again, it's hard to believe that I have lived here for two years and have not availed myself of the monthly flea market at the Expo Center. Usually the last weekend of the month, the Kentucky Flea Market has several big, blowout weekends: Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.

I dragged poor Mama to a Flea Market when we were vacationing in Florida this spring, and it was a massive disaster. Stall upon stall of Crap Nobody Uses, lots of socks, Avon stalls, and used books at new book prices.

The Kentucky Flea Market, on the other hand, is wall-to-wall Crap You Can Use. Mostly. At least every fifth stall was something worth looking at, mostly because of the cheap prices and "exotic" goods. (And that's a pretty good average-- 20% good stuff to 80% poo.)

The whole first two rows were bargain groceries, the kind you find at places like Big Lots. Overstocks, discontinued stuff. I'm not above buying discount groceries and toiletries from time to time, but I question the sanity of anyone who purchases discount condoms at a flea market (above). Methinks said purchasers are not all that committed to planned parenting.

I enjoyed taste-testing salsas and instant coffees. For some reason, I'm always sucked in by those booths featuring the little bags of dip mix that you add to sour cream. Why do they always taste so good? Artichoke and parmagan? Bacon and cheddar? Spinach herb? So good. What do they put in there? I only managed to keep myself from purchasing them (3 for $10) because of my upcoming need to pay better attention to what I eat. (Whatever they put in there to make them taste so good, can't possibly be good for you.)

What did suck me in, however, were the two stalls featuring vintage tv shows on DVD. Specifically, a bootlegged copy of Tales of the Gold Monkey, a favorite tv show of mine when I was a wee wee lass (it aired from 1982-1983), starring Stephen Collins as an Indiana Jones-ish pilot of a seaplane named the Goose in the 1930's South Pacific. I was more than happy to shell out $20 for the entire 22 episode run.

That show (along with Bring 'em Back Alive, which ran duing the same general time period and starred Bruce Boxleitner as Frank Buck, and was also offered at another stall) is somehow a hallmark of my childhood. So much so that when I went to the Museum of Television and Radio in NYC and was allowed to watch a tv show of my choice in their library, I opted for the pilot of Tales out of all of the shows ever featured on TV.

It's taken a lot of self-control to not skip out on this lovely, lovely day (it's 83 and sunny-- and don't worry, Lou is on her computer outside) and camp out on the couch and go all Veronica Mars on my new purchase (ie. consume it like it's a bottle of Jack Daniels and I'm... me. Kidding. Mostly.).
Other things I could have bought but restrained myself: Season One of MacGuyver for $16; Bath & Body Works products for half the retail price; a solid wood curio cabinet for $159... Other things I could have bought but was kind of grossed out by: aforementioned condoms; sugar gliders (poor things); knives up the Wazoo.

But I dropped $20 on something I couldn't get elsewhere and will get 20+ hours of solid entertainment from (and $5 on parking), and enjoyed the truly diverse crowd (more Big Hair there than I've seen in a while, though). Overall a good day.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Loueyville Anniversary

BTW, my brothers and sisters in Loueyvillagerhood, I will be under the knife on the day of our actual anniversary. Just in case I don't get the chance to post between now and then, thank you so much for reading My Loueyville this past year. 5300+ posts ain't bad with no promotion or what have you.

And, in an open thank you to Louisville in general: I came here practically sight unseen. I came here because I lost my job in New Orleans after Katrina, and I couldn't imagine staying there with no job security, with no security in general.

The folks at my school here in Louisville recruited me relentlessly; they may me feel a sports hero. I was kind of broken back then-- Katrina had hit me hard, psychologically-- and it felt so nice to feel so wanted. Roommate discovered this neighborhood by accident (but after much driving around) and told me that this was where I needed to be. I bought the second house I looked at. I moved here after being here twice, briefly each time.

I feel so lucky. I started this blog after my first school year of being here because I truly wondered at the fact that this city was so totally undiscovered. I have been thrilled that in the two years that I have been here that there have been so many Louisvillagers who have sought to spread the Good Word about this place.

New Orleans remains the city of my heart-- cut me some slack, I lived there for nine years and dreamed about living there for years beforehand. But if the winds had to blow me to some city that was not New Orleans-- and they did-- I feel blessed to the hilt that they sent me here. I live in the greatest undiscovered city in America, and in the best neighborhood in that city.

Thank you, Louisville, for bringing me home.

(I still HATE the winters... can anyone do anything about that??)


Louisville Slugfest and summer preview

It's an utter travesty that I have lived in Louisville for almost two years and have never set foot in the Louisville Slugger Museum (unless you count the gift shop). Tonight I had a work related shin-fest at the Museum and enjoyed my tour immensely. In fact, it seemed like, in my tour group, I was the only person truly transfixed by every aspect of the factory.

Sure I've been to Fenway a few times, but where else can you plant a "good luck" smooch on Manny Ramirez's actual bat???? My heart was a-flutter, lemme tell you. I did get some strange looks when we exited the tour to a room featuring a HUGE portrait of David Ortiz and I said, "Big Papi! My boyfriend!!" Lou has no boyfriend, per se, but lots o' "boyfriends," including half the Boston Red Sox (special love to Lowell, Papi, Manny, and Lester), Bono (my original boyfriend), Glen "Big Baby" Davis of the Celtics, John Edwards, and countless others...
Last weekend, I went to a function downtown and left to go to my car and saw that the BIG Louisville Slugger Bat outside the museum was lit up in pink light to honor the MLB's pink bat, breast cancer fundraiser. I had to pause a moment because I was so choked up. But I did manage to get a picture of it.
Um, yeah, y'all don't need a map to point you into the direction that Mama Lou's health crisis has taken her.
That being said, contrary to most summers of her teaching career, Lou will be right here at home for the bulk of the summer. So while there may be some dead time, (ew, blech, bad, bad, bad slip o' the tongue) I should be able to report on all the summer goings-on.
Bonnaroo may be a no-go for me. But we still have the AAA All-Star Game and the Ryders Cup and For'castle Fest to look forward to... Stay tuned Louisvillagers. Lou will be just fine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TBC: To Be Continued

Unfortunately, Lou has been diagnosed with a fairly serious health problem. It could be months before she's able to return to her regular blog.

Please send your good wishes Lou's way. Even though she is a godless heathen she still appreciates all prayers and love transmitted in her direction.

Mama loves all of you. Louisville rocks.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Eight Belles

Like the rest of America, I watched the end of the Derby horror-struck, sickened, unable to process my surging adreniline and the flood of grief. The party I was at took on a funeral air for the most part, and after several numbing mint juleps, I went home. And sobbed through six tissues.

Eight Belles was a pretty horse, a horse with tremendous heart. And though it may be somewhat crass to admit this, I don't know that collectively we would have despaired the loss of any horse in this year's Derby in quite the same way that we've felt the loss of this horse. For all the speculation and admiration that followed horses like the incredible Big Brown and the other favorites, Eight Belles was the story. The filly who skipped the Oaks to race with the boys. A filly more evenly matched with Derby colts than most people recognized. Her numbers put her flat in the middle of the pack-- even before she raced, it was clear that at least half of the field didn't measure up to her.

And, again, probably not a popular opinion, but the fact that she was a girl, I think, plays on our collective sympathies even more. Her trainer and owner and jockey fawned over her in a way that people don't fawn over colts. Called her "sweetheart" and "baby." And speaking for myself, as a woman, I loved the "girl power" aspect of the story. If I'd been able to bet on Derby day, I would have put my money on her (and, of course, my Denis of Cork-- bless his heart to come from 20th to finish 3rd-- he's still a horse to watch), especially after seeing her on TV on Derby Day. She just looked like she had a win in her.

I like to talk a good game, but in reality I know bupkus about horse racing in the grand scheme of things. And, like many people, my knee jerk reaction to the tragedy was to think, "I don't know how I can ever watch horseracing again." I felt that way when I watched a horse die in the paddock area of Keeneland last fall, a senseless and incomprehensible death where the horse reared, fell down, and broke his neck on the bricks.

And that was my gut reaction: "I don't know if I can watch horseracing again" not "should horseracing exist."

But that's been a question that's been raised in the wake of this horrible loss and in the wake of the loss of Barbaro. In some online news sources, I've seen pundits speculate about whether or not there's a difference between horseracing and dogfighting. Speculation that we condemn one and celebrate the other only based on the socioeconomic differences between the fans.

Again, I stress that I come from no place of expertise when it comes to horseracing. But I can honestly say that for the most part I have more concern for the treatment and well being of the humans who work on the backside of the track than I do for the horses on a day-to-day basis. And yes, that does concern me.

The questions that should be raised-- and are being raised by many-- are ones about reform to the sport. Should all tracks move to Polytrack? Tracks like Santa Anita have seen dramatic reductions in catastrophic injuries since moving to Polytrack. Should we be looking at reform in horse breeding? European racehorses are more hearty than their American counterparts. Should we be doing more when it comes to horse medicine? There is now sophisticated medical imaging technology that can detect even the most delicate fracture.

There are always going to be things about horseracing that upset me. But that doesn't necessarily set it apart from other sports. Athletes in general risk injury or worse for the love of the sport and for their fans. The level of excess at the Derby is generally appalling, but events like the Superbowl have it beat.

I will say this categorically: I really, truly, passionately wish they'd ban whips.

But I do think, for the most part, horses are very well cared for. I believe they have generally good lives. And I do believe that they love to run. It's hard not to believe that when you watch a horse race.

What happened to Eight Belles was a senseless, incomprehensible tragedy. And as I still try to recover from the news, I'm reminded by other news today that life is just goddamned full of senseless, incomprehensible tragedies. 10,000+ dead in Myanmar. Six sea lions shot dead while trapped in humane traps on the Columbia River. 12,000 kids in China sick with a deadly virus.

It doesn't make this any less sad. Nor is the answer to shuttle it off as just one more thing to outrage and appall us.

Online today at the NYTimes, this was posted in the comments of The Rail blog:

Michael Blowen, of Old Friends ( sent me this
e-mail on Sunday that he received from a young fan:
Hello. My name is XXXX,
and I am 11 years old, and I won money off of Eight Bells at a Derby party
yesterday. I feel so bad about what happened to her that I can not enjoy my
money that I won. So, I am going to donate my winnings to your organazation and
so is my mom. I found out about you on the internet last night. Your farm sounds
like a very nice place. I am asking everyone that I know if they also won money
off of Eight Bells, and if they would like to dotate their money as well. Some
people that I am asking are donating money just to be nice. So I just wanted to
let you know that as soon as I collect the money, my mom will send you a check.
From, XXXX
— Posted by alex

Also worth checking out: Jane Smiley's Op-Ed column.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lou Loves the Longshots for Derby

Forgive me if this blog entry is a little soggy. I'm still drying out after yesterday's Oaks.

Yesterday was a washout. Buddy and I got there just before Race 5 and around an hour before the rains started. And what rains they were. Big drops blown sideways by hard winds, thunder, lightning. At one point Churchill had to lower the score boards. Buddy and I were, of course, among the riff raff on the infield. Finally, after having spent more than an hour off and on in the shelter of an ATM tent, we grabbed a giant recycling sign, held it over our heads, and made our way to the Grandstand where we dried off a bit and watched the Oaks on the monitors.

Honestly, it wasn't much fun. I was dressed for the 78 degree morning and not the 62 degree wet afternoon. We froze our tuchases off. I did have my annual julep, and then a woman next to me bought a Filly and asked if she could pour the drink in my empty glass. I must have looked at her like she was crazy because she said, "I'm in recovery. I just wanted the glass." I didn't have the heart to tell her that she could get one at Walgreens for $2.50.

All and all it wasn't a bad day for my pocketbook. Lou has once again proven that she's decent at picking the second or third place horse (but never, ever first). Out of the five races I put money on, my horse placed in three. I had the impressive Little Belles for the Oaks and she came in 2nd. I wasn't betting super long odds-- most were 7-1 or 8-1. Belles was 5-1.

That being said, Mama loves her the underdogs, and with most handicappers drooling over Colonel John, Big Brown, and Pyro, I think the Derby field is a good place to look for the longshots to shine.

After spending about an hour with the C-J Derby Preview, here are my choices for double-digit odds that could pull off a win.

Of course, my baby, Denis of Cork. He's 20-1 morning odds. Definitely underrated and his fifth place bomb recently has caused a lot of people to put blinders on when it comes to Denis. The only things this puppy has going against him are (a) I've got my money on him and (b) he's named after a priest from Ireland. Last year's religiously named horse-- Dominican-- was also "my" pony, and he came in middle of the pack. This is science, folks!

Recapturetheglory (20-1) has great Best Beyer and BRIS numbers, but his Dosage is 5.00, the highest of the field (and no, Lou has no idea what these numbers really mean). In the Illinois Derby (during which he beat Denis), he ran the last 3/8 in 36.2 and the last 1/8 in 12.2. Killer numbers bested in last starts only by favorite Colonel John and Visionaire.

So that's why Visionaire makes the list. Visionaire (20-1) has less stunning numbers, but had an amazing finish in the Bluegrass. He came in 5th but rocketed at the end.

Eight Belles' (20-1) numbers are better than Recapturetheglory's and she's among the fastest horses out there. A filly hasn't won the Derby since 1988, so let's face it... we're way overdue. She gave up a chance to trounce the Oaks field for a shot at the Derby. You gotta love those guts. And her stablemate Proud Spell took the Oaks, making this a possible storybook weekend for Larry Jones.

Bob Black Jack (20-1) is my final longshot. Second best numbers in the field after Big Brown. Finished second after Colonel John in the Santa Anita... handicappers like him as a longshot. But he's my least favorite longshot. Will bet him only if odds stay at 20 or better.

There you have it, Colts and Fillies. Bet at your own risk; I'm not really a handicapper, I just play one on the internet. Good luck! Go Denis of Cork!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Denis of Cork wins the (kindergarten) Derby!

Lou has it on good authority that Denis of Cork won the prestigious Louisville Collegiate School Kindergarten Derby this morning!  The event has been going on for more than 45 years.  Congrats to Denis of Cork (this Denis of Cork happened to be a filly).

By the way, the Mayor's office has declared May 1 official Louisville Collegiate School Kindergarten Derby Day.

Happy Oaks Eve!