Archive for September, 2008

Michael Moore in Ann Arbor

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Michael Moore spoke Thursday at the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor. Originally part of the Art and Design (A & D) Distinguish Speaker series sponsored by Penny Stamps, it also became the world premiere of his new movie, “Slacker Uprising”.

To see the schedule for this year’s lecture series go here:

At times, Moore was funny, other times he was angry, and at other times he cracked himself up (and a good number of us missed the joke – either sports related or policically related). His message is definitely to oust Bush from office and to keep McCain from occupying the oval office. He had a lot of negative things to say about Bush/McCain, the US past, and, at least in the first 50 minutes, nothing to say about Obama. I had a commitment that evening and couldn’t stay until the end. Maybe he was getting to that … although, it was unclear what his point was, other than political. He didn’t talk about art, his movies, or even the movie that was to show at 8 PM after his talk.

The crowd is often heavy on the U of M student side at the A&D lectures. I think some of them are required to be there for class credit and others come as part of some sort of art passport project. I was surprised Moore didn’t gear his talk directly to the 20 something crowd – it seems like his movie is geared towards that. Or, again, maybe he did after I left. It seemed like a good number of the students I could see from my vantage point were more interested in the incoming/outgoing text messages on their phones than what was happening right in front of them.

From what little I know about his movie, I think he’s spoken to the college age demographic group before. “Slacker Uprising” looks like (from the trailer) a series of his talks on college campuses or to groups of 20-somethings. You can get a free download of the entire movie at this coming week. He’s giving it away free. At least check out the trailer and see what you think.

Shaker Village

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Just outside of Harrodsburg, KY is a past settlement of a group of Shakers. We got there about lunch time so we had lunch in the restaurant and poked around in the gift shops. The Village is open to visitors for a fee – we skipped wandering around from building to building. It was stifling hot and it didn’t seem very inviting.

The Village is run by a non-profit, since there aren’t any Shakers around. From reading a little bit on wikipedia, the Shakers came from England, a spin-off religious group from the Quakers. The Shakers didn’t believe in sex so they recruited additional members and adopted children if they wanted to have family. Not surprisingly, their numbers dwindled.

The did make great furniture, though. One of the buildings had some pieces of furniture, made in the Shaker style, for sale and they were quite nice. Simple, clean lines, functional.

Wild Turkey Distillery Tour

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

The Bourbon Trail runs (generally) between Lexington and Louisville with many of the distilleries in the same town or quite near each other. We visited the Wild Turkey distillery, which makes bourbon. Bourbon is federally regulated having some specific requirements – must be made with at least 51% corn, stored in new barrels, and can’t have any additives. Bourbon is a type of whiskey. Whiskey is NOT federally regulated.

They don’t make bourbon in the summer. The tour guide gave us a verbal explanation of how bourbon is made and took us inside one of the several warehouses where thousands of barrels of bourbon are aged. Each barrel holds 53 gallons of bourbon. Some barrels are aged 6 years, 8 years, 10 years, and others 12 years. The bourbon is transported in tanker trucks to the bottling facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The gift shop is full of Wild Turkey swag, bourbon, and there was even a turkey caller. They don’t have a tasting area so there we didn’t get any samples. They did have chocolates – bourbon balls – so we had a taste of that. And, we had bourbon when we got back to the condo. 🙂

Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Abraham Lincoln seems to be everywhere down here. His birth place and boyhood home are not far from Lexington. Mary Lincoln Todd’s birthplace and home are within a block or so of our condo. Mom and I went to the Lexington Public Library this afternoon and in their Gallery, there was a display of Lincoln’s presidential history. He is highly thought of as a president for the abolition of slavery. It seems, though, he struggled in his personal life. Mom was telling me that he and Mary were an odd match and that he might have been happier being a country lawyer. It also is clear he wasn’t necessarily happy being married to her. He was quoted today on one of the carved pieces of art in Berea as saying, “Marriage isn’t heaven or hell. It’s purgatory.”

Berea, KY

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

We spent most of the day today (Tuesday) in Berea, KY. Berea is about 35 miles south of Lexington and is an arts and crafts town. It’s full of artisans who are happy to talk about their work and happy to give a demonstration of how they make their craft.

At the visitor’s center we ran into one of the attorney’s who works in Barb’s office. Small World!

Berea College was originally set up for blacks in the south in the 1800’s to help them learn a trade. Today, the college is a liberal arts college where every students receive a full ride, providing they work 10-15 hours in addition to their full time class work. It’s a small town, has an easy feel to it and seemed easy to get around.

Red Mile Race Track, Lexington

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Monday night, Labor Day, we went to the race track. The Red Mile track is a one mile track and on Mondays and Thursdays there’s harness racing there. We got there right at post time for the first race, hearing the sound of the horn announcing the race was soon to begin.

The stadium is fairly large. I don’t know how many people it can seat, but the night we were there, we had our pick of seats. We sat in the front row – practically on the track. It was a great vantage point to observe the horses and the riders (all ages, all sizes, mostly men).

There were 12 or 13 races. Each race takes about two minutes. There are 13 or 14 minutes between races so you can size up the horses, or use whatever method you have to choose which horse to bet on. Our methods ranged from gender of the rider, color of the horse, number of the horse, the odds, the trackman’s picks and, my favorite, length of the horses legs (which was just a rough visual estimate).

I bet on race two and three without success. Race four I bet on PartyLikeARockStar and won! My two dollar bet got me $20.20. At the end of the night, I was $10 ahead. Dad bet once, putting $10 on horse number one (The Ice Queen) and won $30.

We didn’t stay until the end. We’d had enough about halfway through. It was a fun evening.