Monday, April 15, 2013

Man's humanity to man: Boston is in my blood and in my heart

As many of my loyal readers know, the Chipfolk hail from Boston. Mama Lou and her very small family (numbering two) live in SE Connecticut, but my father's extended and extensive family live in the North Shore of Boston or in the immediate Boston area itself.

I spent the first 13 years of my life in Saugus, MA, just 14 miles north of Boston.

I am the black sheep of the Chipfolk. I have a second cousin who lives somewhere in Indonesia (it was Borneo last I knew, but now I'm not so sure), but I am the only other Chip-person who has opted not to live within a T-ride of Boston proper.

My Chipfolk live in Boston or work in Boston or play in Boston.

It was hard to not live in the Boston area when my grandmother took ill and slowly passed away last summer. It was hard to not live in the Boston area when the Red Sox won the World Series (both times). Or when my favorite cousin gave birth to each of her three children.

And today it is hard to not live in the Boston area once again.

All Chipfolk are well and accounted for.

Thank goodness.

And thank goodness for social media and text messaging, which allowed me to find this out within hours, not days.

It will be a long time, I suspect, before the news out of Boston coalesces into something resembling sense. Maybe it never will. The murder of an 8-year-old child will likely never make anything like "sense."

I hope the murder of an 8-year-old child, whether on the streets of Boston or the streets of Baghdad, never makes anything like sense.

But tonight I am overwhelmed by the Pollyanna need to remind each and every one of you that goodness starts with the individual. Goodness and kindness and a better world starts in the heart of one person, multiplied out.

Gosh, this makes me sound like a crazy hippy, and anyone who knows me knows that I am not a crazy hippy (or not much of one– put down the hula hoop, people! no one wants to see that shiz at Waterfront Wednesday!). 

But more than today's bombing reminds me of the Big Picture, it reminds me of the Small Picture. The one that begins with one person choosing to say a kind thing (or nothing at all) when the crappy thing to say is easier. That begins with letting someone else's bad behavior play out in its own way, rather than pointing a neon sign to it and then reveling in that person's error or bad judgement.

That begins without judgement of everyone and anyone who has a different way of thinking or doing, letting those folks find their own way even if you're not a fan of where they're going...

We have seen so many examples of man's humanity to man today:

  • Runners, after completing a marathon, going straight on to donate blood. 
  • First responders who, after hearing the explosions, ran toward the devastation, not away. 
  • Ordinary people offering their homes and free transportation and their cell phones and internet connections and food and comfort to people who couldn't get back to their hotels or parties. 
  • A national outpouring of love and grief and support.

Lately things in my teeny-weeny little corner of Louisville have felt kind of toxic and disappointing.

And then something like this happens, and I am so grateful and so in love with the humanity of humans.

My people are safe. The heroes outnumber the villains. And in the face of tragedy and horribleness, we are all united in support and concern.

Today, I was very proud when Insider Louisville decided to hold all of its posts until tomorrow. I wrote this disclaimer and then got the thumbs up from the boss.

In this case the Big Picture's importance outweighed everything else. As it should have.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Loueyville readers and friends (who I hope are also readers) pledge their time to the LPM pledge drive

The "Loueyville Bloggers"
I'm just bubbling over with gratitude today. Last night, 8 friends and blog readers and I volunteered at the LPM pledge drive. Some were old friends and fund drive vets (Linda, Isaac, Ashlee). Some were newer friends or people I don't see all that often (Haley, Steve, Heather). And two were brand new friends I'd never met before (Emily, Sarah) but who had found out about the drive on the blog.

Thank you, good Louisvillagers.

And thank you too to all the people who volunteered but either couldn't make it or that I had to turn away. Your desire to volunteer and your support of Public Radio makes you awesome. It didn't hurt that we all had a rip-roaring good time. It was a little slow, so we filled the hours with laughter, pet pictures, and joshing around with the LPM folks. Thank you too, Louisville Grind, for feeding us in style.

(On air, they kept calling us the "Loueyville bloggers," so I don't think I'm going to be picking up any new traffic for the on-air thanks. That's fine. They've never gotten it right, actually. What do you think I should have them say? Usually I think they say "," which makes me wonder if people think it's folks from who are volunteering.  I guess it's my fault for picking a rather silly blog name and sticking with it all these years. I should talk to my marketing friends-- does the blog need to be rebranded? Sorry, just thinking "out loud" here.)

I'm tickled-- tickled, I tell you-- that LPM folks and I already decided that next pledge drive, we'll either take 2 slots or the Friday busiest slot. I don't like turning people away, and I definitely love the heck out of volunteering.

The pledge drive continues through Saturday. If you haven't renewed your membership or become a member this time around, please do so. The number is 502-815-6565. Or you can donate online at

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dishcrawl Louisville Giveaway: Win a $20 gift certificate toward the Derby Crawl

Ever since Dishcrawl made the Louisville scene, I've been wanting to check it out. And I am so excited to have been asked to participate this month in one of two NuLu-based crawls. The first event sold out (but some tickets have recently come available again) in a jiffy, so Dishcrawl added a second night. The two NuLu crawls are on April 16 and 17 and are $45 each.

If you don't know what a Dishcrawl is, it's a progressive dinner event, where you dine at a number of restaurants, usually within walking distance, eating one course at each stop. The starting place and the itinerary remain a mystery to you, so you sign up to participate in a Crawl of a particular neighborhood, pay one price and enjoy whatever the organizers throw at you. It's a great chance to try new places and to hobknob with fellow food enthusiasts (oy, I hate the term "foodie").

It's a food event, a neighborhood event and a social event all rolled into one.

And Allison from Dishcrawl has offered a giveaway to Loueyville readers. After the NuLu events, the next event is a Derby Crawl. Dishcrawl is offering a $20 gift certificate to the Derby Crawl to one of our readers. The event will take place on 4th street on May 1 at 7 p.m.

From the Dishcrawl website:
What better way to spend the least productive work week in Louisville but on a Derby Dishcrawl? Grab your gang for a tour of the 4th Street Area of Town with Derby Inspired items, and be prepared to meet some new friends along the way. You'd better act fast though! These tickets are just like the Derby, they don't hang around long!  It's a guessing game! We’re keeping the names of the restaurants we will be visiting a secret for now, but here and there we’ll give you some hints.  Follow us on Twitter @dishcrawllou and be the first to know! 
How do you win the gift certificate? Go "like" Louisville Dishcrawl on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dishcrawlLou. Then tell me you've done all that in the comments or email me at lou (at) And you're entered! If you've already "liked" and followed them, you're still eligible– just make sure you comment or email. We'll pick a winner on April 20 and notify you pronto.

Thanks so much to Dishcrawl Louisville for offering this prize to Loueyville readers. Stay tuned to the blog and my Twitter (@loueyville)  to hear more about my NuLu Crawl experience.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

UPDATED: Public radio plea: Volunteer during the pledge drive and we'll feed you well with GRIND

UPDATE: By 4 p.m. today, 10 people had signed up to volunteer. That's more than we actually need. But the more the merrier, right? Thank you so much for being so totally awesome, folks. I can't accept any more volunteers, but I encourage you to pledge online or call 502-814-6565 and pledge starting next Monday. It would be especially awesome if you called on Thursday, April 11 between 6-9 p.m. to make your pledge with one of our wonderful volunteers! Be well... Melissa

It's public radio pledge time again. And once again, I've secured a block of time for Loueyville readers and friends to answer phones and sign up new pledges with WFPL.  This is our fourth time manning the phones; every time has been more fun than the last. Again, rather than reinventing the wheel, I'm posting an old plea for contributors:

It's that time again, Louisvillagers.

Louisville Public Media is gearing up for their fund drive in a couple of weeks. During the past few fund drives, online personalities have repeatedly said, "Give what you can. Give what Louisville Public Media is worth to you."

[Several fund drives ago],  I realized I really can't afford to give what WFPL and WFPK are worth to me. They are the only radio stations I listen to. WFPL is the source of all my non-online news (and the source of much of my online news as well through their blog). I live in a very NPR world. I probably should pledge 10 times what I actually do in order to really "pay back" what WFPL and WFPK give to my life. 
But I can't. 
So last [3 fund drives ago], I volunteered. Gave a little human capital to the pledge drive. And it was a ton of fun. And it would have been more fun if I'd been with friends.
So this fund drive I'm putting a little group of Readers of Loueyville together to volunteer to answer phones at the fund drive. If you're interested in joining us, please drop me an email at Lou (at) 
If you're reading this blog, you probably listen to one of our public radio stations. So I hope you consider giving back. If you can't join us, volunteer to answer phones on your own. Email: for details. You can also pledge in advance and be eligible for a drawing for a 13" MacBook Air. Just click the link or call 502-814-6565.

We'll be manning the phones on Apr. 11 from 6 p.m until 9 p.m. The free dinner supplier that night is the Grind Burger truck. Yes, I planned our volunteering block with the food source in mind.  

Would you like to join us? Email

Loueyville: back on the blogging wagon (I hope)

My goodness.

(Did I ever tell you that my pledge name for my college fraternity was “Oh My Goodness”? I guess I said that a lot in college. My actual pledge name was “Hawaii Volcano National Park,” but that didn’t catch on as much. I think it was a reference to my enormous bosoms. I never asked.)

(And yes, I said “fraternity.” I am a proud alum of the literary fraternity Alpha Delta Phi, a fraternity that splintered in the 80’s when several colleges decided that the fraternity should accept women. My chapter at Columbia opted to go co-ed but retain the “fraternity” moniker. Others went with “society.” Women at ADP had the option of being called “brothers” or “sisters.” I went with “brother,” because, you know… tom boy. Are any of you ADP-ers? If so, Xaipe!)

But yes. My goodness.

Oh my goodness. I knew this was going to happen. I didn’t want to believe it, but deep in my heart, I knew.

When I accepted the position of Deputy Director of Content at Insider Louisville, a 30-hour a week position that basically just meant “fancy reporter,” I suspected that days filled with writing about Louisville might mean nights not filled with writing about Louisville.

But I hoped that wouldn’t be the case.

It was.

And in March-ish, I took the position of Assignments Editor at Insider Louisville (ie. “fancy reporter with organizational responsibilities”) full time, and things just got worse.

But my beloved companion reminded me recently that my blog and my blog readers were the start of it all. And that perhaps going back to blogging– however gently– might bring me some joy.

It’s the whole “dance with the one that brung you” sort of thing.

Y’all are the reason I have my current job. Y’all are the reason that I even thought that such a career might exist.

I know a lot of you continue to follow me on Twitter, and some of you may have even followed me to Insider Louisville (I hope ALL of you do BOTH, if you haven’t already). 

But I still owe you and this blog.

So I am committing myself to at least one post a week– one post that’s wholly for the blog and not a rehash of my work for IL.

Speaking of… I am pretty much madly in love with my day job. There’s been very little “looking back” for me. It’s not without its trials, but I still find myself freaking out sometimes when I get in my car in the morning, drive to our NuLu office, and know that I am going to work at an organization where I am being paid to write about this city that I love so damned much. 

I think I’ve done good work at Insider Louisville.

I’ve certainly grown a LOT as a writer. And most of the time, my bosses are very liberal with their gratitude.  And some of the time our readers are grateful too.

Online journalism can be utterly, bleakly demoralizing. I actually have a work email folder labeled “nice things” where I save lovely emails that I receive from readers. It’s a huge help when the maelstrom of crapola hits, and I’m suddenly an anonymous punching bag.

It doesn’t happen often. But it happens enough.

(A reminder to IL readers, if you like an article, comment or at least hit the Facebook “like” button. That shiz actually means something on this end. If you don’t like it, still comment if you feel the need, but remember that there’s a human soul at the other end, reading your vitriol.)

Anyway, I think I am back on the Loueyville horse.

This blog has meant so much to me over the years. I don’t want it to lay by the wayside and die. This blog represents 6 years of my life… more than 750 posts.  And the entry point to my (so far) success as an internet journalist.

So, hopefully, you will see new content here at least once a week. I’m not going to count this post as my post for the week; I have good news in the hopper that I will post very soon.

I will probably also use the blog to reflect back on stories on Insider Louisville– whether or not I have written them– that make me proud.  We’re building a stable of awesome writers, and I want to celebrate them too. But I will add wholly new content to the blog as often as I can.  

I write anywhere from 2-5 stories a day at Insider Louisville, depending on my editing load. That means anywhere from 10-20 posts a week. I promise you, even though I have been hired by a company that has its own (mostly great) agenda, I don’t write about anything I don’t believe in or endorse.

That's important to me. And I will stick to my guns about that.

You can also get these stories by signing up on the Insider Louisville website for the newsletter. All the good stuff will land in your mailbox every morning.  You can pick and choose what you read.

Thanks for your patience with me. Everyone who reads this blog played a part in landing me a job where I do this for a living.

I'm excited to reinvigorate my old audience and to build a new one.