Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kentucky Civil War Soldier in Oz

That's Oz as in Australia, of course, not the place with the Wizard.

In my rambling rounds around the world weird web, I happened upon some archivist's collection of data regarding American Civil War soldiers buried in Australia and New Zealand. Three cheers for the ant-like stuff-organizers, researchers for research's sake, and obsessive-compulsive list-makers of the world!

I was surprised to see what a lengthy list it is, and I wondered how and why so many Civil War soldiers ended up down under. And of course, the reason I mention all this here is that there's one from Kentucky. In the New South Wales town of Eden, we find this listing for a Confederate soldier:

John Keon, Co D, 3rd Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, CSA; Co un, 7th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, CSA.

There's also a list of Civil War soldiers born in Australia and New Zealand - and again, I didn't realize such a sizable group of such existed - but Keon's not on the list.

You can read more about Australia's connection to the American Civil War here and here, and how the CSS Shenandoah (pictured above) figures into it. I still don't see how the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry Regiment or the 7th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment figures into it, though, so Keon's presence in Australia may or may not be related to those events.

News Flash: Mongiardo Cusses

A recording of Kentucky Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo has surfaced on YouTube, in which he is allegedly heard using expletives and complaining about Gov. Steve Beshear's weak support for Mongiardo's upcoming race for the U.S. Senate. And predictably, there's a throng of exaggerated outrage in the giant kindergarden sandbox that is the internet.

It was a shock to the generally naive public when Richard Nixon's "Watergate tapes" were released and it was realized that, when among friends in candid conversation, the President used curse words. Heavens to Betsy! It wasn't quite such a big deal a few years later, when Jimmy Carter was heard to say, regarding Ted Kennedy, "I don't have to kiss his ass."

Every President since has been heard to curse at some point or other. Yet some people are just having a conniption-fit now that Mongiardo was heard "dropping the F-bomb".

Get over it. This only makes me respect Mongiardo more, not less.

Others are more concerned about the more important part, which is that Mongiardo probably shouldn't be heard criticizing Beshear. Everything I know about Beshear so far tells me I don't like the man (and hey, I even voted for the guy!) and I don't doubt one bit the alleged assertion that he's screwing Mongiardo over politically. Maybe this tape will be a wakeup call to Beshear to straighten up and start showing more support for his fellow Democrats. Beshear's going to need all the help he can get to rally Democrats behind him for his own next election, and it doesn't do to be pissing off Mongiardo Democrats (He's already pissed me off long ago).

Jasmine Farrier, a Political Science professor at the University of Louisville, summed up the hypocrisy to WAVE-TV: "In the long term, voters have a very difficult task for politicians which is: we want them to be candid. We don't like phonies, but apparently we are also very suspicious when they speak their minds."

The whole question may be moot, however - the tape is apparently a fake, spliced together from multiple recordings. Mongiardo has released a statement to that effect, and Beshear himself has dismissed the tape as "political prankstership".

(photo above: Beshear and Mongiardo, looking like something out of Madame Tussaud's.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barn Quilts

The concept of the painted "Barn Quilts" - like the one in Columbia, KY pictured above - goes back to the old traditional hex signs on the barns of the Pennsylvania Dutch, but the contemporary craze was started just a few years ago by a West Virginia woman named Donna Sue Groves. Reportedly, Groves began the project by painting a barn quilt in tribute to her mother, then just kept going with it via the Ohio Arts Council, encouraging more and more people to follow suit.

The Kentucky Quilt Trail is actually a related series of routes that are good places to gawk at barn quilts, all in the general area between Mt. Sterling, West Liberty, and Greenup. Trails travel through eight Eastern Kentucky counties in all: Montgomery, Menifee, Morgan, Bath, Rowan, Carter, Elliott, and Greenup.

Below: barn quilt in Dry Ridge, KY.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Evil Dead

If you're a Sam Raimi fan - and who isn't? - you probably already know that the stage musical version of his film The Evil Dead is a-comin' to Louisville.

The first musical version of the film was staged in Canada in 2004, then the Off-Broadway production ran from 2006 to 2008. Songs include "All the Men in my Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons", "What The F%@# Was That?" and "Do the Necronomicon".

Like a Gwar show or a KISS concert, the first two rows of the theater are designated "the Splatter Zone" where no responsibility is taken if you get drenched in fake blood.

They have a website, but I found it completely unusable since it's a seemingly neverending series of lame flash animations that contain no useful information. Finally, when I managed to manuever it to a page that contained links to info about the show, I clicked the one that said "buy tickets" and nothing happened. Why on Earth do people allow their webmasters to design websites that force people to wade through cheesy flash intros to get to the part that actually sells the product? Even clicking "skip intro" didn't really get me to any hard data about the show. I guess I don't have the latest up-to-date Mark of the Beast of Shockwave or whatever other crap it needs to function properly.

However, you can read their press release, which includes a contact number: 502-489-1501.

Cambo the Clown

And then there's Cambo the Clown.

It says here, "Cambo felt the call of Hollywood, but he knew bigger things were in store for him. Things like birthday parties, hospital visits, city festivals, community celebrations, store openings, family reunions, restaurant family nights, wedding receptions, crowd entertainment for people in long lines, and the list goes on and on."

It also says here, "Cambo the Clown has received professional development funding through the Kentucky Arts Council, a state agency in the Commerce Cabinet, supported by state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Caufield's Hearse

Stuck my beak into Caufield's today and took some photos of their hearse parked out front.

Not sure what the story is behind the skeleton with the spy-cam in his behind.

Skeleton driver with skull gearshift, skull ashtray, and shrunken head hanging from rear view mirror.

The metal skulls above the windshield are connected to an actual propane gas tank in the back, and can actually act as flamethrowers. Now this is definitely a James Bond gimmick I need to use when I trick out my Pedal Surrey this winter.

For more images of the hearse, check out our Revelation Awaits An Appointed Time blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kentucky's Radio Station for the Blind

I'd never heard of the Central Kentucky Radio Eye service until I happened upon this Herald-Leader news story tonight:

Last Monday, the management at Central Kentucky Radio Eye, the Lexington-based reading service for those physically unable to access the printed word, was informed that the network which provides the satellite feed for the majority of CKRE's 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. broadcast was to cease all service Sept. 30.

Margarget Chase, executive director at CKRE, immediately sent out letters to her 80 area volunteers explaining how devastating this will be for the blind and disabled across the country who depend on the InTouch Network, a service funded by the Jewish Guild for the Blind for 32 years.

Determined not to have any dead air over CKRE's airways, Chase and her staff created a plan to continue 24-hour service to the 3,000 customers they serve in Kentucky.

"What we are going to do is step up our own programming," Chase said. In the beginning, some shows might have to be repeated, she said.

"I have lots of ideas for new programming," she said, some of which will be heard Oct. 1.

I find it fascinating that such a specialty radio station has existed all these years and I never even knew about it. CKRE broadcasts on a closed-circuit frequency, and to receive it you need their special pre-tuned radio, which they are happy to supply. (CKRE requests a one-time $25 user fee, but if you're unable to afford it, there's a good chance they'll just give you one anyway!) The CKRE broadcast can be heard in an approximate 80 mile radius outwards from Lexington, reaching as far as Owenton in the north, Berea in the south, Bardstown in the west, and Beattyville in the east.

You might ask, isn't all radio sort-of ideal for the sight-impaired? Well, what's super-special about CKRE is that they broadcast people reading local and national newspapers. Listeners can hear readings from such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Readers Digest, Christian Science Monitor, etc. Pertinent info from local papers like the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal are also read aloud for listeners.

They also provide a live internet streaming broadcast - listen to it here. Since they're looking to fill all that time with their own self-generated programming, I wonder if they'd let me bring back my old "Late, Late Show" radio program and play stuff like Henny Hendrickson's Louisville Serenaders and Cornelia Froboess records?

Friday, September 25, 2009

St. Patrick's, Taylor Mill, 1885

Found this lovely old photo, circa 1885, of St. Patrick Church located in Taylor Mill, KY (just outside of Covington). Submitted to Rootsweb via Mary Hammill.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kentucky Grilled Chicken targeted by PCRM

A health-extremist organization called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which has previously targeted McDonald's, Burger King, Chick fil-A, Chili's, Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse, and TGI Friday's over a naturally-occuring substance called PhIP, has now added KFC to its hit list.

What's the fuss about? Well, PCRM is alleging the chain has failed to warn its customers that its grilled chicken contains a carcinogen: PhIP, an amino commonly found in grilled meats of all kinds. That's also including when you grill meat yourself at home, so pretty much everyone on the planet who isn't a vegetarian has ingested plenty of this stuff, by their own hand, in their own home. So why pick on fast food restaurants?

The answer is: because PCRM has a definite anti-meat agenda and probably would like nothing better to see meat-eating abolished in America. Fast food restaurants, often scapegoated, are an easy target to start building towards this goal. Don't take my word for it, peruse PCRM's wacky website and see what you think. Also take a look at their press release about their attack on KFC, and note the overt scare-language like "dangerous carcinogen" (isn't that redundant?).

Appallingly, the press release even admits that only twelve samples of the KFC product were tested, and from only six locations. That doesn't even come close to being statistically significant, and is completely unscientific. For those who wish to obtain more detailed information, you have to do some digging around and find the PDF of their report.

According to, the PCRM is a front group for PETA, which certainly clarifies things. They also quote the American Medical Association giving the PCRM a public ass-kicking back in 2004:

"The general approach used by PCRM takes selective data and quotations, often out of context ... In response to a Resolution passed unanimously at the recent AMA House of Delegates meeting, the American Medical Association calls upon the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to immediately terminate the inappropriate and unethical tactics your organization uses to manipulate public opinion."

Of course, I can't totally support either - as with most things, the truth lies somewhere in between the two extreme viewpoints. defends some things I can't get behind at all, like High Fructose Corn Syrup (which I believe is very bad but often consume it anyway) and NutraSweet and Splenda (which I regard as poison and won't touch - EVER). But's position is that even when things are bad for you, the public should still be allowed to consume them if they really, really want to - and I tend to agree.

And according to Activist Cash:

PCRM is a fanatical animal rights group that seeks to remove eggs, milk, meat, and seafood from the American diet, and to eliminate the use of animals in scientific research. Despite its operational and financial ties to other animal activist groups and its close relationship with violent zealots, PCRM has successfully duped the media and much of the general public into believing that its pronouncements about the superiority of vegetarian-only diets represent the opinion of the medical community...

Often appearing in a lab coat, PCRM president Neal Barnard looks the part of a mainstream health expert. He also churns out a steady stream of reliably anti-meat and anti-dairy nutrition research. Although his “results” generally conclude that a vegan diet (practiced by a tiny fraction of Americans) will solve any of dozens of health problems, the mass media eats them up. And PCRM is media-savvy enough to take advantage.

But Barnard was trained as a psychiatrist, not a nutritionist. His nutritional advice boils down to one basic message: don’t eat meat, or anything that comes from animals.

I have no plans to stop eating KFC, nor do I intend to stop grilling at home.

Census Worker Lynched in Clay County

From the Courier-Journal:

A U.S. Census worker found hanging from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old, part-time Census field worker and teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky.

The Census has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County where the body was found pending the outcome of the investigation. An autopsy report is pending...

A private group called PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, tracks violence against employees who enforce environmental regulations, but the group's executive director, Jeff Ruch, said it is hard to know about all of the cases because some agencies don't share data on instances of violence against employees.

Ruch said that after the bombing in Oklahoma City, "we kept getting reports from employees that attacks and intimidation against federal employees had not diminished, and that's why we've been tracking them."

Bi-Water Farm

Photos of the Halloween decor around Bi-Water Farm, just outside of Georgetown.

There's an interesting teepee on the far edge of the property too. I'm not sure what that's about, or if it's supposed to be part of the farm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trash on Limestone

Fine artist Louis Zoellar Bickett, famous for his Cultural Mudding Rituals series of performance installations, is doing an ongoing Flickr photo-gallery of trash and debris he encounters on Limestone Street in Lexington.

Labyrinth Conference

The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is holding an event called Seeking the Symmetry of the Soul: Biennial Labyrinth Conference on October 26-30. Activities include:

  • The basics of sacred geometry and its application to labyrinths
  • Classical and medieval labyrinth design principles
  • Considerations for building permanent and temporary labyrinths
  • How to build a masking tape labyrinth in 15 minutes
  • Principles for making your own contemporary design
  • Tips on how to get a labyrinth for your... (church, school, hospital)
  • Networking time to discuss your labyrinth-making needs

    Tuition for the Labyrinth Seminar: Oct. 26-28, 2009, is $50 per person if paid by Sept. 26, and $75 per person after
    Sept. 26. $40 per person for groups of three or more from a single organization.

    Tuition for “Building a Chartres Style Labyrinth”: Oct 29-30, 2009, is $50 per person if paid by Sept. 26, and $75 per
    person after Sept. 26. $40 per person for groups of three or more from a single organization.

    Tuition for both the Seminar and "Building a Labyrinth" events together is $75 per person if paid by Sept. 26, 2009. After Sept. 26, the tuition will be $75 for each event.

    Meals are on your own. Breakfast and lunch will be available in the Louisville Seminary cafeteria for the seminar and at Sullivan University for the building event.
  • Tuesday, September 22, 2009


    So, as I type this, I'm in the "Business Center" in the clubhouse at Garden Gate Apartments where I live, which is basically a large conference room with computers. I'm the only one I know who uses it for business purposes, though - it seems universally utilized by other residents for porn, sports, myspace, facebook, mojo, celebrity gossip, video games, and other idle pursuits of the masses.

    Recently they've installed some sort of internet filter on their system which renders the internet unusable for anyone doing any type of research. I noticed a bad link to an Eckankar site on a previous UnK post and was fixing it, when I found that Google is now blocked: is tagged "Hate and Discrimination"? WTF?

    Although Google is blocked, Yahoo is permitted, which is kind of weird since Yahoo carries way more avenues to malicious spyware and havoc-wreaking code on its front page than Google's plain, no-frills site. So I go through Yahoo to get the Eckankar link I sought, and guess what? It won't let me access the Kentucky Eck site because it says they're a cult.

    Now forget for a moment that Eckankar isn't really much of a cult - they're more like a new age meditation-hum club - but even if they were a cult, why would cults be automatically blocked just on general principles? Apparently someone somewhere thinks Christianity is the only religion people should be allowed to read about. Sure enough, almost all of the religious groups I linked to in this post are blocked.

    Kookier still, the Church of Satan's website is blocked with the additional tag "militant/extremist/terrorist". That's beyond wrong, since Anton LaVey's idea of a Satanist was someone who mainly led a quiet, non-confrontational existence, and sat around alone at home listening to Rudy Vallee 78s while wearing a dime-store plastic halloween horned hat. There are plenty of dangerous and psychotic Satanist-wannabe occult groups out there, but LaVey's group is not among them. Diamanda Galas, like many other "more-demonic-than-thou" types, has dismissed it as "Las Vegas Satanism"... which actually sounds like a compliment to me.

    It didn't take me long to realize that in addition to banning specific sites that offended some unknown person's sense of decorum, an apparent secret list of keywords prevents one from accessing the websites of products like the famous Naked Juice health drink and L'eggs Nude Pantyhose.

    Most baffling of all, when I tried to search for sites for amateur telescope aficionados, that was banned as well, and the reason given being "pornography"!

    Why? I have no idea. Perhaps someone's only frame of reference for the term "amateur" was amateur porn?

    I'm not sure what bunch of genuises are responsible for this block-happy net-nanny, but the bottom of each block warning says "SECURESPOT is a registered trademark of D-Link Systems, Inc. Copyright© 2009 Bsecure Technologies, Inc."

    This isn't the first time I've encountered computer-related idiocy on this grand a scale, alas. Awhile back, one of our associates found her workplace banning access to virtually the entire internet, which begs the question: why even have the internet, then? Her boss - who knew about as much about the internet as, say, Dilbert's boss - was only following the advice of a company handling his computer services, NetGain (Or, as it was known around the office, "NetLoss"). Reportedly, he was paying an absurd sum for these services which left him with an internet that none of his workers could use - not even for the specific purposes within their job description.

    Someday the little children will ask you why civilization collapsed. Tell them it was because we were afraid of information, afraid of people we disagreed with, afraid of ourselves, afraid of everything. A nation of wusses.

    Norton Commons

    A steampunk/retro enthusiast's wet dream, Norton Commons is an amazing community that, just a couple years ago, was a desolate field. Now it's a self-contained city unto itself, composed of all manner of antique architectural styles, giving one the strange and wonderful feeling they're on an elaborate movie set, or that they're Remote Viewing another point in time.

    Their website says: "Imagine the convenience of a market, restaurants and other shops all within walking distance of your home. Retail stores in Norton Commons add the charm of village life that’s missing from suburban living. Sidewalks draw residents who appreciate the convenience and quality of these amenities. For visitors, the streets provide easy thoroughfare and ample parking. Businesses in Norton Commons become an integral part of a loyal community."

    Stores are mixed in amongst the homes just like in an older neighborhood, and apartments are often placed above retail locations, as it used to be back in the day before the deadly dull postmodern ideas of zoning. The styles of the buildings are a total mish-mash of different time periods, just as it would be on an actual century-old street: there's Colonial, Federal, Italianate, Prairie/Foursquare, Victorian, Folk Victorian, Queen Anne, Craftsman/Bungalow, and even plain ol' depression-era-industrial ugly (which I find beautiful).

    It's hard to find - I usually take Westport to Chamberlain, or you can get there via Wolf Pen Branch, or Brownsboro, or the Gene Snyder.

    Gelato Gilberto is located out here, and it's worth the drive. It's the place to go for Gelato in Jefferson County, especially now that Café Glacé on Frankfort Avenue is gone, and - what was that other place that used to be on Bardstown Road? Whatever it was, it's gone too.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    DJ Dockery's Dreadful Discs

    Our ally J.T. Dockery (artist, musician, Transylvania Gentleman), will be making a rare public appearance at a swank Fayette County drinking lounge called Lower 48.

    Lower 48 is located in the Steampunk-approved crumbling 19th century building reclaimed as snooty-hipster hangout Victorian Square, 401 W Main Street in Lexington, and Colonel Dockery will be pickin' up beers and puttin' down platters on Wednesday, September 23, "from approximately 10pm until nobody wants to hear any more Tennessee Ernie Ford songs".

    If I know Dockery, he'll also be layin' down the finest in lowest garage, exotica, rockabilly, punk, glam, doo-wop, dixieland and desperate rock and roll. Swing, twang, sturm und drang.