Saturday, December 11, 2010


It is interesting that the three shows I posted about at the beginning of the season I no longer watch. Which show is that I don't miss? NBC's Outsourced on Thursday night. Originally a 2006 movie, the show is in its first season on the small screen. At first, I didn't think the show had staying power. Since then, I've become addicted.

Occasionally, the humor is pretty bad TV humor. It is often mildly racist humor that your "Uncle Larry" would tell at Thanksgiving dinner. (To be fair, the writers do Indian jokes of Americans, too.) But there are always a couple big laughs in every episode. The name of the show gives away the premise: an American company's call center is outsourced to India and the call center manager (Todd) is transferred to Kansas City, Missouri to Mumbai to run the show. He has two love interests - the quite randy Australian and the beautiful Asha (who is in the process of selecting her husband for an arranged Indian wedding). The office contains members of different castes which adds to the shows complexity, though in a harmonious way all seem to get along (except for the assistant manager). Really, it is a lot like The Office but with curry and without those "interviews".

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I'd never read Dracula before, though if it had been assigned me in high school I wouldn't have read it anyway. I always hated having a forced reading schedule of a classic. Sometimes the books would drag, sometimes they would move fast and sometimes they were downright difficult to read.

Dracula, which was first published in 1897, is written in a very different style. Apparently the word is "epistolary" which means that it is written as a series of letters, diary entries, etc. written by the various protagonists. We all know the general plot: a man goes to visit Count Dracula at his castle in Transylvania to deliver a deed to the Count. The County then goes to his new home... in England. The protagonists - including the esteemed Professor Van Helsing of Amsterdam - go through a number of anti-vampire measures to protect the people of London (and their friends) from the unDead.

The book was quite good; I read it fairly quickly. It was a free download for my Nook and I again must say I'm reading more with my Nook than I was without.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

Chapters of this book were more titillating than a Harlequin romance novel. Especially the chapter about reading pho - the national dish of Vietnam. Myself, I eat pho (@ Lexington's Pho BC, prior post here) a couple times a month because I crave it. Bourdain admits that describing pho in a sexual way is one of the few times where such adjectives and descriptors are appropriate in the food context. I added tendon to my regular pho experience after reading chapter 8: "it should have just enough bite, just enough resistance, dissolving into fatty, marrow-like substance after just a few chews - a counterpoint to the wispy, all-too-brief pleasures of the beef." Yep... point on.  In fact, after the gluttony that was Thanksgiving a nice bowl of pho sounds pretty good!

Bourdain doesn't limit his language to the sexual - he curses like a sailor, but I knew that as an avid No Reservations fan. He eviscerates some of his fellow chefs, while lauding others - a reminder of his prior book (Kitchen Confidential).

The most important chapter - one which should be republished and sent to every parent, educator, lawmaker, and human in the country - is chapter 5: Virtue. There, Bourdain properly suggests that everyone should be able to perform the basics of the kitchen and have a few recipes so that they can properly prepare a meal. Doing so what combat both obesity and poverty. He noted that we lost so much when home-economics was removed from the classroom because it reminded the modern woman of their prior servitude. The problem wasn't home-economics being a requirement for girls, the problem was that it wasn't a required course for all students. Jamie Oliver had a similar mission in obesity-stricken Huntington, WV. Unfortunately, we aren't listening enough as a nation. To this mission, Bourdain ends with the command "Let us go forward. With vigor."

The book is great; read it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Event

Let me begin by saying that I loathed Lost. I never got into that show, which was a huge time commitment. Miss one episode and you could forget ever catching up. I wanted to give NBC’s The Event two tries before writing a review. The pilot was edgy, yet it dragged through a little too much to be, well, interesting. It had some good moments, but it was very much like Lost. By the end of the episode, I was a little lost myself.

On the plus side, however, is the setting of the show. Rather than flashbacks to reality from a deserted tropical island on which the Lost cast was marooned, the reality of whatever is going in The Event is in a very believable Miami. (Less plausible, however, was the premise that a non-human species dwells among us and which species possesses the power to cause an aircraft to vanish into a midair ‘forcefield.’ Best of all, the political and government conspiracy angle make this show infinitely more appealing than was Lost.

Accolades aside, I realize that The Event will be a time commitment a la Lost. But it may be a commitment I am willing to make.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Colossus by Michael Hiltzik

I have really enjoyed my NOOK and I truly have found more time to read since I purchased it. It is easy to carry and read. What is not as easy to carry? At 512 pages, how about Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century by Michael Hiltzik? The subject matter seemed interesting but potentially dry. With the NOOK, I was able to download the first chapter or so for free. I found Hiltzik's style to be engaging and the rest of the book was a great and surprisingly quick read.

This tome examined the social, political, geological and labor aspects of the planning and construction of the Hoover Dam. The lives of the men lost, the strikes which were crushed and a whites-only hiring policy were among the many social wrongs which occurred during the Boulder Canyon Project (despite being erected in the Black Canyon).

As a law student, my property professor spent nearly three days teaching his passion: water rights. Hiltzik covered much of the same material in an understandable and succinct few pages. The distinction between prior appropriation and riparian rights was a major issue for the seven states who take their water from the Colorado River basin; the debate itself nearly prevented the dam's construction.

Anyway, Collosus is an excellent and easy read. I'd highly recommend it!

Detroit 1-8-7

It is just another cop show, but the premiere was well-done. Set in Detroit, the locale is unique (do we need another NYC cop show??) and makes the show immediately interesting. Plus, the epicenter of today's financial mess seems to be Detroit so the location couldn't be more appropriate.

The show focuses on a homicide unit. Character development for a premiere was decent enough, especially with lead character Detective Fitch (to some extent, the writers seem to push his mysterious character a little overboard, but at least Imperioli doesn't overdo it). The show's most annoying tick (a Baby Love ringtone) ends up having a poignant finish (making it clear that the writers of this show will go too far to make a poignant finish; nothing is worth an annoying tick).

Tick aside, the show is pretty good. I don't know how long the show will last, but I hope to see some more character development in future episodes. If we do, there may be some staying power.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Outlaw should be outlawed

I tried Jimmy Smits' new show Outlaw last week. Smits plays the role of Cyrus Garza - a young, womanizer, gambler, and Supreme Court justice who leaves the Court to fight for justice and the disadvantages/unrepresented.

In other words, the plot was right up my alley. Kind of like a judicial version of The West Wing. I love The West Wing. And Jimmy Smits is a good actor.

But this show was Awful. The feel-good plot was too predictable. The fictional Justice Garza was to the right of Justices Thomas, Scalia and Alito, rendering his liberal rebirth remarkably unbelievable (particularly in our current political climate). I might give it another episode, but I probably won't. This show will be cancelled by mid-season unless it has a break-out Episode 2.

UPDATE: I decided to give Episode 2 a chance. They should have led with this one. Arizona's new immigration law and Garza represents a cop accused of enforcing that law (in so doing, the cop shot an American citizen). Politics aside, the episode was much improved over the weak premiere. The show probably still won't make it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

King Coal by Upton Sinclair

I am a huge fan of Upton Sinclair. The muckraker of the early twentieth century wrote a number of books causing great change in our country. Among these, none was greater than his unveiling the truths of Chicago's meat packing industry through The Jungle. I have since devoured other Sinclair books like Oil! (the excellent book behind the not-so-great movie There Will Be Blood).

The format of King Coal is very similar to the plot of Oil!. It's protagonist, Hal, leaves behind his wealthy family to understand the labors of working men while sympathizing greatly with the laborers who otherwise have no voice. Hal leads the effort to unionize the work force while an underground explosion results in a great mine tragedy.

As a reader, I was drawn to the plight of the workers as I recognized how they are exploited by the companies. There was no concern for the workers' safety ("Damn the man! Save the mules!"). Sinclair goes on to note that neither elected officials nor the unions provided the protections necessary for the men's safety and well-being.

Based on the Colorado mine strikes of 1914-1915, the situation for American miners had not much improved by the mid-1970s. While reading this book, I also watched the excellent documentary Harlan County USA. After all of this, my thoughts are with today's coal miners who continue to suffer tragedy.

Monday, August 23, 2010


So I bit the bullet last month and bought an eReader. I contemplated and had been tempted by the Amazon Kindle since it was first released. And finally, the price fell below $200 which I viewed as a more reasonable price than the introductory $400. Priced now at about $150, I nearly bit the bullet.

But I decided I wanted to touch the eReader before I bought it. I wanted to see if I liked it, if I could really read a book on it and whether or not it would "feel right." Basically, I needed to confirm that I could willingly sacrifice Guttenburg's invention for an electronic device designed solely to do the exact same thing as the traditional book.

It turns out, I really like the technology. But I wasn't terribly impressed with my ability to "try out" the Kindle. Here is what happened. I went to Target (they carry the Kindle). I thought great! I go to the demo model which is anything but a usable Kindle. So I prepare to purchase a Kindle just the same with only an inquiry about the return process (in case I don't care for the Kindle or how it performs in direct sun conditions - not a concern with products from Guttenburg's press!). Target's response: we cannot accept opened electronics. WTF? If I were to order from, I could try it out for a couple weeks and make my informed decision. But Target soured me, and I thought I would wait a while longer.

But I ventured to my local Barnes & Noble. Walking in the door, a nook (their eReader) expert awaited me with two full-featured nooks. The interface includes a small touchscreen panel (rather than the Kindle 2's clunky joystick). The extended warranty actually covers a number of potential real-life problems (something amazon couldn't promise). The technology is not as proprietary as amazon's. There are some other benefits, too. But the BIG thing was that I could touch and experiment with a real nook. Not giving into impulse, I waited a full 24 hours before making my purchase. I've enjoyed my nook tremendously and would (and have)  highly recommend it to others.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ghandi's Seven Social Sins

Mohandas Ghandi considered there to be seven sins detrimental to humanity:
·         Wealth without Work
·         Pleasure without Conscience
·         Science without Humanity
·         Knowledge without Character
·         Politics without Principle
·         Commerce without Morality
·         Worship without Sacrifice

If all could avoid these sins (of which we are all guilty), the world would be so much more tolerable a place.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pho BC

Each week, my friend and I have lunch at an ethnic restaurant. This week, we tried Pho BC on Regency Road, Lexington. We had been there before and, as always, it didn't disappoint! The Pho is filling and delicious with the most flavorful broth (and spicy if you dare add jalapeño and Siriachi sauce as we do). The eggrolls are really tasty too (even if they look more like taquitos).

The only thing is we try and have "Ethnic Tuesdays" and we were afraid Pho was closed; it turns out they are just closed on Tuesday. Anyway, it is really good.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Ham roast was in the crock pot on this hot day, but for side dishes I went to the grill. Farmer's market finds of cabbage and garlic greens are perfect for the grill. Topped with salt, granulated garlic (cabbage only), Aleppo pepper and olive oil. Now I'm hungry!!

Oh, and the ham roast is from Farmer's Market, too. Hillside Heritage Farm to be precise. As my sister would say, "Happy Eating!"

Friday, June 11, 2010

Map of the South

This is a fantastic map of the South. Note South Carolina's great diversity.
How I love good BBQ. My favorite is probably a hot ketchup-based, with a little twang of mustard.

Photo courtesy of The Electoral Map.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dancing the Conference Shuffle

Not surprisingly, I'm a Kentucky fan and thus am committed to the SEC. Of course, there is no talk of an SEC split. There is talk, however, of the SEC growing in number.

I'm generally opposed to this because 12 is a magic number. In the SEC, each team has five divisional opponents and three non-divisional opponents. This pits non-divisional teams against one another every other year with a home game against each non-divisional team once every four years. Ideal. Any more teams, and it could be years between non-divisional opponents.

So to answer your question, I'm opposed to the idea of a super-conference. The Big East is there (for now) and the Pac-10, er 16?, may be on its way - but I don't particularly care for it.

The foregoing was posted as a comment on

Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Exodus

ExodusLeon Uris' Exodus is an incredible novel about the founding of the modern state of Israel. Broken into five parts, the first is the source of the book's name - a ship carrying Jewish children from a British camp in Cyprus to Palestine against all odds.

The 1948 creation of Israel cannot be told without first telling of the Nazi final solution. Many of the children aboard the Exodus were Holocaust survivors, who were then again interred by the British in a colony on Cyprus as the English sought a decision as to what should be done with its Palestinian Mandate. Not all of the characters surived these camps; others were survivors of the Russian Pale of Settlement (the geographic area in Imperial Russia where Jews were allowed to locate). Two young Russian Jews walked on foot the great distance to Palestine.

The stories of the pogroms are not ignored, neither is the early battles with neighboring Arab states who sought the annihilation of the newly created Jewish state (during which fight the same children who have suffered so much are against transplanted to safety).  In all, the book is a fantastic history, an inspiration tale and incredibly enjoyable to read.

Ode of Remembrance

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

- The Ode of Remembrance from Laurence Binyon's For the Fallen (1914)

Thank you to all who have served and who serve .

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Handicapped Parking Fail

On a Kaintuckeean No Destination drive, I happened upon Yuko-En on the Elkhorn in Georgetown. It is the official Kentucky-Japan Friendship Garden. But I couldn't help but notice a parking fail:

Handicap Parking Fail

My first FAIL submission.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Tudors

The Tudors - The Complete First SeasonM. and I have just finished enjoying season one of Showtime's The Tudors. The show is loosely, but still with much historical value, on the reign of Henry VIII and his six wives. Season one recalls the rise of Anne Boleyn, but concludes before their nuptials. It also deals with the King's growing dislike for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and for the Pope (though he hasn't yet created the Church of England, he is clearly considering the divine right of Kings).

Anyway, the show is really well done (though some scenes involve cheesy digitalized waves and other scenes that were clearly computer-generated). The acting is decent to good. Of course, it's a pay channel cable show so their is a lot of sex and nipple, so I wouldn't recommend watching it with kids around.

If you haven't seen it, you should. Especially since it is free streaming on Netflix.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Netflix, Documentaries and Food, Inc.

We just upgraded the home television set and are enjoying having a large screen area. We've also added Netflix to the mix, which has been a lot of fun. I think I'd be happy eliminating cable TV from the mix; M. would not support this solution.

Food, Inc.The best part about Netflix is the abundance of streaming documentaries. Over the weekend, I watched Food, Inc. It was a very telling story - jointly created by the authors of The Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation - about major agri-business in this country. The conditions of the animals, the overabundant use of corn as feed, and the diminishing quality (and explosive quantity) of food in America.

It is a sad story and only makes me more desirous to support local farmers, farmer's market and to grow my own produce. Support the Meatless Monday movement. Really, the movie is so eye opening. And where is the first geographic location introduced? Why, it's here in Kentucky because of the major chicken farms (Tyson) in the western part of the state. 

Anyway, you should check out this film. If it doesn't change how you view your next meal, then you deserve all of the partially hydrogenated soybean oil you are about to digest!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Food Roundup or Roundup in My Food?

We know the drill. Infection. Antibiotic. Evolving infection. Modified formula for the antibiotic. Repeat over and over. Drug-resistant infections.

Ruh oh. Yeah, we know this system. We've seen it before and we'll see it again. Here's one instance that I've not thought of before, but it sure doesn't surprise me. From the NY Times comes "Invasion of the Superweeds:"

American farmers’ broad use of the weedkiller glyphosphate — particularly Roundup, which was originally made by Monsanto — has led to the rapid growth in recent years of herbicide-resistant weeds. To fight them, farmers are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.

Soaking a field with Roundup. Then harvesting our dinner. (Reminder: Wash my veggies!) Pulling weeds by hand and regular plowing are great responses, though they will raise the cost of food. Increasingly toxic herbicides isn't a good option (see the repeat part described above).

Ultimately, the solution is what so many have come to. When and if you can, grow your own food. Join a coop. Support local farms where you know the methods used by the farmer.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


At first glance, one might believe they were witnessing a Fourth of July parade. The signs of patriotism were certainly present. From the ladders of two firetrucks hung an American flag over Main Street. Adults held and gently waved American flags. But the mood was not celebratory. It was and is a day of mourning.

A Lexington Police Officer, Bryan J. Durman, was killed in the line of duty on Thursday evening by a hit-and-run driver. Durman, 27, left behind a wife and a four-year-old son. He also left behind a fraternity of blue.

Six hundred police cruisers representing agencies from throughout Kentucky, as well as agencies in Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and South Carolina drove down Lexington's Main Street today. The funeral procession left Southland Christian Church in Jessamine County at around 1:40 p.m. before it circled town on Man-O-War Blvd. before turning left onto Richmond Road for the trip downtown. I watched the procession from the intersection of Main and Mill where two University of Kentucky police officers stood at attention while blocking traffic. The scene was repeated at approximately one hundred intersections throughout Lexington.

Standing near me were attorneys, bankers, civic leaders, parol officers and others who took a time to pay their respects to the fallen officer. For about forty-five minutes, hundreds watched - in silence - as the procession rode by. For that hour, the loudest noise heard was a helicopter which followed the route. I believe that you might have heard a pin drop on Main Street on this Tuesday afternoon.

Knoxville. Evansville. Kippering. New Albany. Louisville. Covington. Ashland. Berea. Richmond. Nicholasville. Madisonville. Hopkinsville. These communities, and so many more, sent their own officers to pay respect. You could feel the fraternity among them. Before the procession, I passed a group of Louisville Metro police talking with members of the KSP. I could see the tears in their eyes.

Incredibly moving. This is how a friend, a few blocks east of I, described the procession. I can not think of two more accurate words to describe these moments.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Kentucky Derby

As a Kentuckian, no single day makes one prouder of the Commonwealth than the Running of the Roses. The first Saturday in May marks a day when the world turns their eyes upon Kentucky. And Kentucky always responds by putting its best foot forward.

I think what is most amazing is that Kentuckians - even those who aren't particularly interested in horse racing or horses - understand some racing vernacular and love the Derby. The weatherman describes the weather as 'sloppy' as the track will be quite sloppy due to all of the rain (good news for the 3 horses who have won before on a sloppy track, including the only filly in the field - Devil May Care).

Yesterday afternoon, I made it to Keeneland to place bets on a few long-shots. Today, thousands will gather at Churchill Downs to watch the featured race. Many of these people will fill the infield - even though few, if any, there will be able to see the race. So many more will gather here and around the world to sing My Old Kentucky Home and watch the most exciting two minutes in sport.

Drink a mint julep. Try some burgoo. Eat a hot brown. Watch NBC's coverage (locally, its on all day long) and see who is on Millionaire's Row. Celebrate Kentucky and its equine industry!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


ExodusI've started reading a new book recommended to me by my father-in-law. He read once in high school and again about five years ago. Exodus is a historical fiction novel involving the founding of the modern state of Israel. Written by Leon Uris, it was originally published in 1958.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Third Blog

I have discussed with you before my need to write, to blog. I have blogged for many years (since 2003) on various sites I have maintained. I won't here discuss my past blogging attempts, but want to focus on my current blogging adventures. I have decided to maintain multiple blogs with each focusing on a different matter so that readers can focus on their interests. Please follow all (if you want) and comment! [Bloggers love comments!]

My blogs:
  • The Kaintuckeean - Of my current blogs, this is the 'oldest' though it only dates to the middle of last year. On it, I discuss and share photos from my sojourns and discoveries around the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A lot of history, a little anthropology and a lot of what interests me. I think that Kentucky is a wonderful, beautiful state and I try and share that here.
  • 5:9 Focus - Named after the verse in Matthew's Gospel where Jesus observes "blessed are the peacemakers."As a Christian Ecumenical, I believe in finding harmony among all Christians and in finding common ground with other faith communities. I share insights, prayers and other 'divine' thoughts here.
  • PJWB - My initials. Not to creative, but this is more of my journal. Not a 'pick my nose' journal, but a 'this is interesting' journal. As I surf the web or read books or listen to music, I might discover something that I want to share. And a Facebook status doesn't quite cut it. Plus, I might include an link where you can buy a product and I could earn a commission. [Bloggers love making $0.02 in a day!] This also serves as my 'home page' with links to the other blogs more prominently placed.
I hope you will read, or at least explore, all of them. If not, writing helps me to think about what I enjoy. So, yes... I do all of this for myself! [Did you think this blog was about you? - Carly Simon] Let me know what you think. Subscribe to RSS feeds or email or twitter updates or however you can keep informed. I promise I'll try and make it interesting!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Watch Charlotte, NC Grow

Those who follow my blogs may be realizing that is a catch-all for what I find on the web. It will contain a variety of interesting things that I want to remember and want to share.

Take for example the documentary Metropolis by Rob Carter []. It is a really cool mashup of the development of the Catawba Trading Path from about 1755 through present-day Charlotte, N.C. It is also very thought-provoking as we consider urban development, suburban/exurban sprawl, historic preservation and other issues of interest to me.

A clip of the video is below (the last 10 years), but if you have 10 minutes click on the link above and watch the whole video - its really good!

Metropolis by Rob Carter - Last 3 minutes from Rob Carter on Vimeo.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's in Your Wallet?

I was until very recently a customer of National City Bank. That is, until they were bought out by PNC Bank. The switch just completed and I have a new debit card and new numbers to memorize. At National City, I enjoyed going to a very small branch "where everybody knows your name." It was a big bank with a small bank feel.

The same tellers are at the new bank, though my little old location is now closed. Things are different. To be sure, I've thought about Moving my Money - but I'm not sure I'm willing to endure the hastle of having everything changed once again. As long as I continue to see a familiar face, I'm not inclined to change. Still, if you don't have banking with a personal touch I would really suggest you look at this:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fruits, Veggies & Kids

Last night, after watching my 18 month old devour several asparagus spears and repeatedly asking for bites of lettuce, I happened upon a clip advertising a new television show set to premier on ABC this fall. Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is set in Huntington, W. Va. (the CDC ranked the community in 2008 America's least healthy city) and the premier shows the lack of knowledge six-year-olds have about common fruits and veggies.

Based on my little guy's eating habits, I'm glad that I don't think I have to worry. Still, we all should be concerned... maybe more kids should have their parents read Foodie Babies Wear Bibs (An Urban Babies Wear Black Book).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics - Vancouver, BC

The Opening Ceremonies - despite a last-minute glitch - were a terrific spectacle of Canadian pride and international commitment to sport. The parade of nations, the native American tribal introductions, the music, constellations all made the show an authentic experience quite different from the pomp and excess associated with the opening ceremony in Beijing, China for the 2008 summer games.

As we enter the competition, I hope for good sport. I cheer for the USA, but also for my ancestral homes of Norway and Sweden!! Too, we all must cheer for the host nation of Canada and that they might (in their third Olympiad hosting) might win a gold on home soil. Track the medals here: