No Fear, Fire Up The Thunder Thursday, Apr 10 2014
Business and Compassionate Louisville and Crime and Culture and Education and Events and I Was There and Kentucky Derby Festival and Louisville and LoUnique and media and music, and Politics and Rick and Thunder Over Louisville and Tom Williams and Wayne Hettinger and YNO 9:18 pm
OK. I’m a little bit worried.
I keep running into people, coming across social media posts, that indicates to me a lot of people are staying home for Thunder Saturday. The message I’d like the community to send is that we’re not giving up our riverfront, Waterfront Park or downtown to criminals.
In the last few days, it’s become known that youth gangs were responsible for the March 22 violence, and that the culture that exists within that culture isn’t extinguished by putting more cops on the street or having meetings in the West End. This memo, written by an FBI agent, claims a gang known as YNO is behind the problem. Here’s the scariest part — as part of the group’s initiation, members may be “required to assault someone” and that assault may or may not be random in nature.
I think the only citizens who don’t have a little fear are the ones who haven’t read the memo. No one wants to risk running into a young gang member on a mission to hurt somebody. People are talking about it, and the media is quick to highlight citizen fear in news stories. We’re used to fear tactics from the media related to weather, but this is something entirely different.
That all this is happening now is tragic for the city. There’s a perfect Thunder forecast for the 25th anniversary. It will/should be a perfect day to mark the opening of the Derby Festival. I’m hopeful it will be, but no one can be sure there won’t be problems.
So there’s the 25th anniversary of Thunder. I talked to Wayne Hettinger for this week’s Rusty Satellite Show, and it’s worth listening to, especially if you want to get a little fired up for the show. Wayne does not lack for enthusiasm, and I’m anxious just to hear the soundtrack of songs — one from each of the 24 previous Thunders.
My other guest is Tom Williams, who is the point man for another extremely positive movement in town — the one for compassion. So download the show and let me know what you think.
Cultural Differences, and Plentiful Options, in the ‘Ville Monday, Mar 24 2014
actors theatre and Billy Joel and Business and Comfy Cow and Culture and Dave Barry and Education and Elvis Costello and Events and Health and I Was There and Joe Sonka and JRA Architects and LEO weekly and Louisville and LoUnique and Lyle Lovett and Mark Coomes and Matt Taibbi and media and Mitch McConnell and music, and Nick Hornby and Politics and Rick and Rusty Satellite Show and Sarah Palin and Sport and Steve Wiser and The Wire and Tim Koons-McGee 7:00 pm
Among the reasons I really enjoy doing the Rusty Satellite Show is the opportunity to learn a little about a lot of things from the rich roster of guests I have been able to convince to spend 15 minutes talking about themselves. In every case, I learn something form the conversation, and I hope you do too.
It would be hard not to get something worthwhile from my talks this time with Tim Koons McGee and Steve Wiser. Koons McGee’s ambitious plans for the four-year-old Comfy Cow, which include becoming a national brand, was news to me. I just called him because I wanted to know about the new store at Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road, and maybe get a free scoop of ice cream. I also got a relevant opinion on same-sex marriage from someone actually affected by the much-debated topic.
Wiser is one of those guys with a vast amount of local knowledge, which made 12 minutes really insufficient to get all my questions answered about local architecture. But if you listen you’ll find out about the renovation of a long-anticipated restoration project and what could really be a cool change to downtown.
And I got to talk about seeing one of my cultural heroes, the hilarious Dave Barry, at the downtown library last week. It motivated me to check out his book “Lunatics” and recall how much fun I still have with my son Josh talking about the movie “Big Trouble” based on Dave’s hilarious first novel.
Which got me to thinking about the culture available around here, like seeing Barry (or Matt Taibbi, coming soon) at the library, a rich resource where I’ve built my music collection and keep finding books I want to read (Nick Hornby’s “Slam“). Maybe I’m just itching to get out, but it’s great I have options like the upcoming shows by Lyle Lovett and (just announced) Elvis Costello. Not to mention events I’ve actually bought tickets for, including Billy Joel at the Yum! Center and the Book of Mormon at the Kentucky Center. I’ve written about how great the Humana Festival is.
There is certainly a lot to choose from to keep your mind occupied. I mentioned a few media stories on the show last week — how Mitch McConnell dissed a LEO reporter, how the University of Louisville is paying hush money to former employees, how a court sided with newspapers in a battle with the state over releasing records to the public. So it was fitting that I finally got to the end of a memorable binge watch — five seasons of the HBO series “The Wire.” which concluded with a long piece about the media’s effects on life in a big city. I highly recommend it, even if it’s already dated (pagers).
Something for everyone, of course. But everyone around here is talking about a basketball game scheduled for this Friday in Indianapolis. I can handle respectful differences of opinion, even if I don’t agree with your point of view (like if you agree with Sarah Palin, who thinks the missing Malaysian jet may have been snatched up into heaven by God, according to fake news reports).
As for the game, I think we should all take a deep breath, turn off talk radio and stop reading our Facebook news feeds. Let’s use the game as an excuse to have a beer with our friends. Let’s not surround ourselves with the negative energy we’re feeling toward people who think the 20-year-olds they’re cheering for in a basketball game are superior to the 20-year-olds in different uniforms you’re cheering for. If you only read one piece on the game, read this one by former Rusty guest Mark Coomes. And if our team loses, let’s become the best fans of our home state team, even if we can’t stand the behavior of some of their fans.
Bracket Distractions — Arts and Business and Politics Sunday, Mar 16 2014
actors theatre and Bill Lamb and Business and casino gambling and Cordish Co. and Courier-Journal and Crime and Culture and Dave Barry and Education and El Toro and hemp and I Was There and Jack Conway and Joe Gerth and Les Waters and Louisville and LoUnique and Mayor Greg Fischer and media and Neil Budde and Non-Profits and Omni Hotel and Parenting and Politics and Rand Paul and Rick and Smoking Ban and Sport and Stacy Griggs and University of Louisville 3:02 pm
It’s always good to have some friends who don’t pay attention to the same things you do — it offers perspective. What’s important to you (whether U of L will be a #2 seed or #3 seed in the NCAA bracket) is like speaking a foreign language, I’m guessing, to someone like Les Waters, the artistic director at Actors’ Theatre and my guest on the Rusty Satellite Show this week.
On the other hand, I suspect that my other guest, El Toro exec Stacy Griggs, can probably tell you how many points Russ Smith got (42) against Houston in the AAC Tournament. I asked neither Les or Stacy about basketball, so I’m guessing here. We all seem to know a lot about something, which is what makes finding guests for the Rusty show kinda fun.
When I was the editor of the NCAA Basketball Championship game programs, for instance, I knew the names of the head coaches and the nicknames of every Division I team. When I was syndicating a TV show to stations across the country, I knew the call letters and network affiliation of every station in the U.S. At WKU 30 years ago, I learned a lot about constellations (those 3 stars in a row are Orion’s belt). There are a lot of experts on college basketball, or at least you would think so, if you listen to local talk radio or watch ESPN.
But being able to talk with authority about the Blue Jays (Creighton) and Shockers (Wichita State, the only unbeaten team going into the tourney) won’t help you fill out your brackets with accuracy. That’s what makes it fun. Remember that you are as likely to pick a 14 seed upsetting a 3 seed as Digger Phelps. And none of those so-called experts will pick a perfect bracket (even with a billion dollars on the line).
I know that memorizing lists of trivial knowledge is great for impressing folks at cocktail parties. That’s because I used to recite Kentucky Derby winners that I memorized by studying Derby glasses. Attorney general Jack Conway knows the same trick.
Which is all to say that even though a LOT of people are focused today on the NCAA Final Four tournament field, I know several who wouldn’t recognize Rick Pitino if they saw him in line at a drug store (which I’ve done, btw).
I am among those interested in the tournament, though, and will be running a bracket contest at work, like a lot you will be. And having watched Pitino’s team all season, I don’t see the Cards losing short of the Final Four. It may be the most fun-to-watch group ever assembled around here, or anywhere. After winning the AAC title, Pitino told a TV audience he thinks his team should be a #1 seed, and the world of basketball watchers learned a new term — Pitino and the pundits now love saying the Cards passed the “eye test” (C-J headline: “Pitino’s pupils should pass NCAA eye test”).
Next Thursday and Friday, when U of L and UK will play their first-round games, Louisville viewers will find ways to tune in and make our city #1 in the country — for TV sets tuned to hoops. Office productivity will hit a low that won’t be matched until Oaks Day, and you’ll still have hope that you can win that office bracket pool, even if you had Arizona going all the way and they lose to Siena.
I’m rambling, I know, perhaps thinking of Dave Barry’s appearance at the Library Wednesday night. But here are the top stories, outside of basketball, discussed on the Rusty show this week:
Omni Hotel Downtown — The Omni could transform downtown, and is reason for optimism — bringing a long-needed grocery downtown along with the luxury rooms and apartments. The downside — a key player is the Cordish Cos., which was central to a huge scandal over a loan from the city at Fourth Street Live! a few years back. The block – between 2nd and 3rd and Ali and Liberty — was once talked about as the ideal place for what became the Yum! Center. Let’s credit Mayor Fischer (for now) for bringing it all together.
Among other things state lawmakers won’t accomplish is a smoking ban – the list of ideas that aren’t getting done include casino gambling, local option sales tax, hemp, and marijuana legalization. The state session has produced plenty of talk about guns in bars, guns in schools, abortion restrictions and whether Kentucky students should be taught science or creationism.
Republicans Courting African-Americans – I’d compare Kentucky Republicans courting votes in the West End to sending Obama supporters to Leslie County in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. (Obama got 8.75% of the 2012 vote there). But Rand Paul’s support of voting rights for convicted felons and other key issues important to African-Americans could sway some votes there.
For next week — Former Rusty guest and C-J editor Neil Budde would be glad to know I took the paper up on a limited-time-free offer and read three stories making news this week — Joe Gerth’s column correctly points out that Jack Conway is not required by law to appeal that same-sex marriage ruling, and he blasts (without saying his name) WDRB’s Bill Lamb for “huffing” about it. U of L’s administration has taken to paying off former employees with lavish, and undeserved, payoffs simply to keep their mouths shut. And a special report reveals that Kentucky’s drug abuse problem, as it relates to babies being born addicted to drugs, is exploding. Few in our city will find sympathy for the two women profiled in Laura Ungar’s piece — both pregnant with multiple children born with their mothers’ addictions.