Sunday, May 28, 2006

Random Thoughts Today

Random thoughts from Caesar's Indiana.

Why do I bother going? Why not just send them $50 bucks every six months in the mail and save the gas money.

What do they put in buffet food that makes me eat less of it then I would at a normal dinner? And why is it that I wind up loading up on the cheapest stuff available when I'm there?

Could the soap dispensers in the bathrooms BE more suggestive? Of course, I realize this observation is lost on most of the patrons of Caesars since they don't wash their hands.

A lucrative job.... the wheelchair concession at Caesars, followed by cigarettes. Nothing more inspiring then a guy in a wheelchair with a cigarette in his mouth trying to run over you to get to the buffet where he can shove 17 pounds of bacon into his face.

I may have lost $100 today, but I got them back by drinking 48 cups of free soda.

Why is it everyone looks so grim coming in? It's the most miserable looking lot of people I've ever seen coming to have fun.

Wouldn't it be cool to hotwire one of the free cars they're giving away and drive it out of the building?

Friday, May 26, 2006

May 26th in the News

Mischa Barton is going to be a new spokesmodel for the Got Milk campaign. Looking at her, I would think "Got Food" would be a more appropriate question.

Congress is upset over what they see as the unconstitutional actions of the FBI in their search methods looking into the corruption of William Jefferson. Meanwhile, over at the NSA.........

X Men 3 comes out. Sorry Rebecca Romaine Lettuce, but the only chick that looked hot in all blue was Smurfette. Okay, maybe that's just me.

Howard Stern settled with CBS over his alleged breach of contract. In the settlement, CBS' Les Moonves gets two lesbians, a lap dance from Jessica Hahn, and his car washed for a year by Beetlejuice.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Note to John Belski -- SHUT UP!

Another night of storms, another stormgasm from John Belski. Once again he's doing his "I'm in charge" act, being an ass to Kevin Harned, yelling at him for having the radar on the wrong storm and to take some of the graphics off of the screen.

WAVE needs to admonish him that there are three people on the air, not just him and his overheated delivery.

Shelby County Schools Made the Right Decision

A few years back I went to my niece's graduation at Mercer County High School. The graduation was nothing like my own, in 1989 in Oldham County. There was singing, speeches, and oddest to me... prayer. A whole bunch.

I remember one prayer at our school. A nice, non-denominational brief invocation by one of the teachers that nobody else had to even say Amen to.

Watching WAVE 3 tonight, there were several interviews with Shelby County residents who seemed to speak exactly opposite of the way they looked. The guys who looked like Good Old Boys spoke in favor of the ban, and some that looked a bit more clean cut spoke against it. One business owner, Jackie Kennedy, even gave this charming comment "Everybody's been saying, basically, what I say: 'If you don't like the way we do things in our country, go back to your own country.'" Note to Ms. Kennedy, the student in question was born in Chicago. Although, I guess in Shelby County, that's close enough to foreign soil.

Me.... I'm glad that Shelby County made the right decision.

I have nothing against prayer, I say them often myself. And I have nothing against prayer groups meeting in school, or someone saying one in school. But the graduation ceremony is not a religious one. It's a right of passage for every student who is getting a diploma. While it is true that a student doesn't HAVE to participate in the prayers, it isn't right for a student of another religion, or one who chooses none at all to have to sit through a Christian prayer or any other religious right at a public school.

Steve Doeber from Shelby County said on WAVE 3 "We do things based on majority, we elect officials based on majority. Why shouldn't majority have the primary say so in this case as well?" Perhaps Mr. Doeber needs to go back to school himself and learn about the Constitution and about some other things that resulted from the will of the majority, such as slavery and civil rights abuses.

If you disagree, please feel free to comment.

Prayer out at Shelby graduation
Principal yields to Muslim's plea

By Peter Smith
The Courier-Journal

Shelby County High School will not schedule any formal prayers at its June 2 high school graduation because a student complained that such prayers violate the constitutional ban on state-sponsored religion.

While students traditionally have given invocations and benedictions at graduation ceremonies, none will be scheduled this year, Shelby High School principal Gary Kidwell said yesterday.

He said the school had received a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky on behalf of a student demanding the school not have the prayer.

The school "will be compliant with the law and also provide a respectful and dignified program for all students," he said a day after meeting in closed session with the Board of Education and a lawyer -- while residents held a prayer vigil outside.

Kidwell added that traditional prayers at a school banquet and an awards ceremony also will not be held.

Arshiya Saiyed, who is Muslim, identified herself yesterday as the student who filed the ACLU complaint. She said other students share her view, a contention echoed by Kidwell.

Arshiya, 17, said she and those other students are "pretty happy" with the principal's decision.

But whether that decision means there will be no prayer is another question.

Last Friday at Russell County High School, after a court ordered a student who had been designated to pray not to do so, students rose on their own and recited the Lord's Prayer during the principal's remarks. And the student who'd been designated to lead the prayer included religious messages in her remarks to graduates.

Arshiya, who was born in Chicago, said she understands that student speakers at Shelby County also might include a prayer in their remarks, but she hopes they will respect her objections to the formal prayer.

"If they choose to pray … we hope it's a respectful prayer" for a religiously diverse audience, said Arshiya, who plans to study international relations and political science at Centre College and then attend law school.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that student-led prayers at high school football games and clergy-led prayers at high school graduations are unconstitutional.

The Liberty Counsel, a Florida law firm representing the student who spoke at Russell County's graduation, argues that if students elect a peer to give a message, without specifying that it be a prayer, that student has a right to pray.

Some Shelby County residents echo that contention.

"If the students voluntarily choose someone to give a message and that student chooses to pray, that is the student's right," said Jennifer Decker, whose son attends Shelby County.

Kidwell said yesterday that Shelby County students of all views have reacted maturely about the debate.

"Sometimes kids are a lot more mature and understanding than … we give them credit for," he said. "I think students are handling the whole issue really, really well."

ACLU lawyer Lili Lutgens declined to comment.

The Russell County case went to court after school officials there scheduled the prayer in spite of a similar letter.

Lutgens did say the ACLU and the Russell County student are "considering our options" after the prayer occurred in spite of the court ruling.

Reporter Peter Smith can be reached at (502) 582-4469.

Random Thoughts

Kurtwood Smith and Gen. Michael Hayden.... Separated at birth?

Hey William Jefferson. When Tom Delay comes to your defense in a corruption matter, your goose is probably cooked. (And hey, we had to cook it, it was left to thaw on the table after we retreived your $90,000 from the freezer.) I'm just glad that a Kentucky company is helping do its part to help continue corruption in Washington.

Taylor Hicks is the new American idol. While he certainly was the better of the two, it was kind of like choosing between a Rottweiler or a Pit Bull to babysit your infant. This was the first season I didn't watch religiously, and my impression of Taylor Hicks is that he's essentially what would happen if you mated Jay Leno with Michael Bolton but eliminated the ego gene. He may be a nice guy, but he does like to torture himself and songs as he sings them.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Favorite Toy!

I was reading an article on Evel Knievel and it indicated that Ideal toys was reissuing the Evel Knievel stunt set. Low and behold, here it is.

Those of us who grew up in the 70s remember the original Jackass, Evel Knievel. My brother and I shared this wonderful toy, revving up the cycle and firing the bike over the ramps, down steps, into anything under the sun. I absolutely loved this thing. And now...... I gotta have one. $40 seems a bit steep, but this is definitely on my Christmas list.

Barbaro -- Sad......

Watching Barbaro and his injured leg, I started crying. I don't think there's anyone in Kentucky who doesn't hope each year we're looking at the next Triple Crown winner. I pray he'll be okay.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ten Speed Delivery

Yesterday I was walking down main when I heard the distinct sound of a ten speed bike heading toward me. The faint sound of a small again powered vehicle. I stopped abruptly at the cross walk, sure I would get run over.

Then, I saw it. A Bee Line Courier Ford Aspire complete with yellow safety light. As I admired the sound of raw power, I thought, Thank God. Imagine If I would have been hit by a ten speed!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

May 17th in the news.

US and the World

Richard Hatch from Survivor gets sentenced to 51 months in prison. Let me get this straight.... naked gay guy has to spend 51 months locked up with a bunch of other men. Wow, throw the book at him.

Paul McCartney and his wife Eileen (or whatever her name is)have decided to call it quits. McCartney apparently was shocked, thinking that she had everything she wanted. "Doing the garden, digging the weeds," he said, "who could ask for more?" he said. Mrs. McCartney apparently became distraught upon learning that her husband had been dead since before she was born and had been replaced by a guy named William Campbell.

The Federal Government is working on building a fence across the entire southern border of the country. Plans were going well until the Senate discovered the neighborhood association doesn't allow chain link fences.

Local News

Police have released the names of people who sold their Derby Tickets to criminal mastermind Bruce Gumer. Among the people listed is track superintendent Raymond Lehr, who surely sold them at face value to Mr. Gumer and told him not to sell them for a penny higher. In the meantime, the city suffered its 17th homicide. No joke here, the facts are enough of one.

John Yarmuth won the primary election for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd district. Ann Northup wasted no time in issuing this statement: "If John Yarmuth is elected this fall, we can all look forward to gay immigrant Al Queda terrorists who believe in evolution saying the pledge of allegiance in Spanish in public housing paid for by higher taxes on all of us."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Churchill Downs -- Payin' for the Twin Spires

I love visiting Churchill Downs and betting on the ponies. And the new renovation has turned some of the track into a great place to visit. But........... a few complaints.......

1) What's up with the prices? $3.50 for a large soda? $4.50 for a smallish piece of Freschetta Pizza? Freschetta Pizza for cripes sake!!!! That's FROZEN pizza I can buy at Kroger for LESS than the cost of a slice.

2) Am I alone in feeling like the architect of Churchill Downs was MC Escher? The shortest distance to two points involves 14 flights of stairs, all of which wind up getting you 5 feet from where you are.

3) Would someone please get some better video cameras and TVs? I noticed during Derby Day at home and during our trip there today that it is near impossible to tell where your horse is during the race.

4) How about making the Twin Spires card a bit easier to use. Unlike a slot machine, the idea between the machines at Churchill is to get in and get out as quickly as you can. When you've got 4 people behind you, sometimes that card is the last thing you think about getting out. I lost about $20 worth of bets because I kept forgetting the dumb card.

5) Am I alone in missing Pat Day?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Derby Cruising -- Cop Style -- Who's in the limo?

While taking a trip to Oxmoor today, I heard a sudden burst of sirens behind me. My wife and I were on the Hurstbourne lane exit to 64 west, waiting at the light. The sounds got closer. Where the heck was he? Suddenly I saw a Jefferson County cop drive up in front of all lanes of traffic at the stop light, pull his car in the way of one of the lanes, and get out. The guy in the SUV in front of him looked scared, and I thought there would be a confrontation. Then another one blazed up and blocked the exit from 64 west to Hurstbourne. What was this? A drug bust? A fugitive roadblock? Then, a large Free Enterprise bus blew through the intersection, as did several cop cars and several huge limos. When it had all blown by, the cop got back in his car and sped off.

Who was this? Surely a celebrity wouldn't be worthy of such ridiculous police behavior. Was it someone in Government? A secret celebrity?

Later we saw a Escalade SUV Limo that was about three times the normal limo length, pull out of a Dairy Mart across southbound Hurstborne, causing me and one other guy to have to come to a dead stop. As the big limo then blew through a red light, leaving my 4 1/2 year old to say to us "How does he park that thing in his garage?"

Derby Time

There are many things in the 31 years I've lived here that I don't care for. I never got the U of L/ UK argument, especially among people who never went to either school. I don't understand why the city wants to be "World Class" but makes so many dumb decisions. I'm saddened by the lack of quality jobs in the area.

But one thing's for sure. I love Derby and I love horse racing.

My first real Derby memory is 1977, when I was 6. I remember being on the deck of our house at Crestwood. My dad was grilling out and we had a black and white TV out there watching the Derby. I remember (don't ask me why) looking at the Scene and picking out the name "Run Dusty Run". I imagine I liked the symmetry. He finished second to a nothing horse called Seattle Slew and my love for racing was born.

Some more favorite memories:

Spending several years with our friends the Littles, from PeeWee Valley.

Finding out in college at Boston University that I shared a love with my friends Jen Safrey and Rolly Hoyt (who later married and sadly, later divorced). We went each year to watch the Derby together at different simulcast tracks in Massachusetts. My favorite moment was being among the hardcore degenerate gambler at Suffolk Downs and betting on Lil E Tee because Pat Day was aboard. Because Suffolk wasn't tied into Churchill, the odds were a lot longer there. As Lil E Tee came on, and I was screaming for the horse to win, I could see the disgusted faces around me staring at me in amazement at my pick. My friend Jen and I were screaming when I won, and guys around me were asking me how I knew. "It's my home track. Pat Day was due," I said. Jen now writes romance novels, and Rolly now does media work in the horse racing game for several publications, broadcast outlets, and tracks. He's in Louisville today working hard.

Working two Derbys and two Oaks in High School and getting to see Larry Hagman and Hal Holbrook, as well as the following incident.

As I was standing guarding a stairwell, I saw Ron Clay and Troy Roebuck coming at me. Being a big fan, I was studying them closely. I looked away for a second and saw.... Terry Meiners. They both were headed on a collision course for each other, for what I imagined in my head to be their first meeting since their public divorce. They met in front of me and exchanged a few pleasantries and walked on their way. I always wondered what was said and what each thought of the other at that point.

Having $2 across the board on Charismatic, watching at Sports Spectrum with my wife and best friend Bryan from college, who was in from Fort Campbell.

And finally, spending the past few years with my daughter and wife, having our own "Derby Party", with my daughter picking numbers out of the program and riding her little rocking horse during the race.

I love Derby. Too bad it's only 2 minutes a year.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Road to Nowhere

This will be the first year that cruising is officially banned in the West End. Every year around this time we got the official excuse from those involved that the people cruising couldn't afford to go to Derby like those in the East End and this was their way to celebrate.

Maybe I just don't understand how a several hour traffic jam that wastes a tankful of precious gas, gunfire, and angers many of the locals is a good time. I've been to Derby twice in my life, both times as a worker. Every other year I've stayed at home or gone to a party at someone's house. I never suffered because I didn't have my own, media recognized event.

This year it is banned, and the threat is that it will move to another part of town. Given the tensions that seem to arise during cruising each year, I certainly hope it remains peaceful Derby Day. But given the amount of people who come in from out of town, and the impression that the event has given in previous years that basically anything goes, I'm not holding my breath.