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In a not-so-quiet corner of Graves County...

Now in its 134th year, the Fancy Farm Picnic is the biggest event in Kentucky's political calendar. Held on the first Saturday of August, the gathering includes bingo, raffles and tons and tons of barbeque. And then, of course, there are the political speeches. This year, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell squared off against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. PBS has video of the stump speeches and, given that the candidates have yet to agree upon any debate locations or times, this may be their only meeting in a public forum before the November election. The Washington Post provides a explainer of the event.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 4, 2014 - 19 comments

The Sun Shines Bright On My Old Kentucky Home!

Gays have right to marry in Kentucky, judge rules [more inside]
posted by magstheaxe on Jul 1, 2014 - 40 comments

Still, highly illegal

Every wondered where your favorite brown liquid came from? Find its starting position on the Bourbon Family Tree. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 14, 2013 - 67 comments

Standardized testing through the ages

1912 Eighth Grade Examination for Bullitt County Schools.
posted by latkes on Aug 21, 2013 - 81 comments

Johnny Cummings is destroying America

In which Stephen Colbert exposes how Johnny Cummings is destroying the moral fabric of small-town America.
posted by saladin on Aug 16, 2013 - 46 comments

postmodern attack ads don't always shoot where you point 'em

What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Jul 24, 2013 - 106 comments

When does six equal nine?

Magic Hat Brewery is facing a ban in several Lexington, Kentucky establishments after a recent lawsuit against local business West Sixth Brewery. Many are dubious about the claims being made regarding copyright infringement. The Consumerist offers a visual guide to some of the potential similarities between the designs. West Sixth claims that they are experiencing corporate bullying and have asked the community to sign a petition and stop drinking Magic Hat, while Magic Hat argues that West Sixth has been less than straightforward with the public. West Sixth responds with further claims of corporate chicanery.
posted by a fiendish thingy on May 23, 2013 - 165 comments

Kevin Krigger and the Sport of Kings

"Black jockeys once dominated the Kentucky Derby, winning 15 of the first 28 titles between 1875 and 1902. They were former slaves and their sons – a vestige of colonial times, when planters owned both horses and riders. Post–Civil War, they were the country's best riders, but the narrow window opened by Reconstruction was slammed shut by Jim Crow. Even in Northern cities, white jockeys and officials ran black riders off the track, whitewashing their legacy. Churchill Downs was completely segregated throughout the 1950s. On May 4, 29-year-old jockey Kevin Krigger looks to reverse that history at Churchill Downs, riding Goldencents, an early top-10 favorite trained by Doug O'Neill (who trained last year's winner). Krigger is just the second black jockey to compete in the Derby since 1921, and the first from the U.S. Virgin Islands." Via Men's Journal
[more inside]
posted by girlmightlive on Apr 17, 2013 - 5 comments

Canoeing down the Mississippi

Between July 28 and November 10, 2003, Ron Haines canoed down the entire length of the Mississippi. Eight years later, he wrote it up as a series of blog posts with lots of interesting photos and observations: Lake Itasca to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Minneapolis-St. Paul to St. Louis. St. Louis to New Orleans. He also wrote up his logistics and some of the press coverage he got along the way. [more inside]
posted by jiawen on Mar 16, 2013 - 13 comments

Our Day (Marion County 1938)

Our Day (Marion County 1938) is a 1938 silent film by Wallace Kelly of Lebanon, Kentucky, with a soundtrack by Rachel Grimes (previously of Rachel's)
posted by dng on Feb 22, 2013 - 4 comments

Maker's Mark bourbon whisky

If you're ever in Loretto, Kentucky, you're welcome to pay a visit to the Maker's Mark bourbon distillery, a National Historic Landmark. Until then, why not pour yourself a taste and watch this video? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 13, 2012 - 19 comments

Kentucky v. King revisited

Remember Kentucky v. King from last year? The mis-reported conclusion was that police could enter a home without a warrant to prevent destruction of evidence based on hearing movement after knocking. A week ago the supreme court of Kentucky published (pdf) its revisiting of the case given instructions from the US supreme court, and found in favor of King (via): [more inside]
posted by a robot made out of meat on May 3, 2012 - 13 comments

"It All Turns On Affection"

Last night, author and farmer Wendell Berry delivered a powerful lecture [video; full text here includes portions not delivered verbally] to a full house on the occasion of his accepting the National Endowment of the Humanities' Jefferson Award. The famous PC holdout has appeared previously in the blue, but this lecture is not to be missed. Here is soul nourishment for the long-time Berry follower, and for the newcomer a superb introduction to one of our time's greatest intellects. [more inside]
posted by maniabug on Apr 25, 2012 - 27 comments

Sippin' History

Quest for the Perfect Bourbon: Voices of Buffalo Trace Distillery is a documentary from the Buffalo Trace Oral History Project, part of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 2, 2012 - 37 comments

I'm on my way to the Reprobate Empire, via Whiskey Island and the Temptation Straits

Mapping out whiskey. Start here, swimming in Drunkards Channel: Map On Temperance, 1846. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Jan 21, 2012 - 17 comments

Win, place, and show

Daily Racing Form: from nags to doping! Horse racing is one of the oldest pastimes, with wagering on the nags following closely after. Betting intelligently requires either a good eye or an available record of past performance. Originally a Chicago newspaper, this periodical gives the tout the inside scoop on past performances. The monumental digitization of this paper brings a new light on racing sport. And they're off and running...
posted by mfoight on Oct 24, 2011 - 19 comments

What happens when you flip the light switch?

“If you try to do what they do in West Virginia in the Berkshires, the Catskills or the Sierra Nevadas, or in Utah or Colorado, people would just put you in jail. Over the past 10 years, they’ve blown up and leveled an area of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia that is larger than the size of Delaware. They’ve blown up the 500 biggest mountains in West Virginia. They explode everyday 2,500 tons of dynamite, or ammonia nitrate explosives. It’s the equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb once a week.” In the valleys of Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a mountain. It is a battle with severe consequences that affect every American, regardless of their social status, economic background or where they live. It is a battle that has taken many lives and continues to do so the longer it is waged. This is the story of The Last Mountain.
posted by tallthinone on Jun 3, 2011 - 49 comments

Creation Museum adds ark park

The Creation Museum is seeking tax breaks to expand by building an ark-themed amusement park.
“We’re going to get this Ark Encounter,” Link said. “With every ark there is a rainbow and at the end of this rainbow is a pot of gold.”

posted by halseyaa on Dec 1, 2010 - 101 comments

Pack Horse Librarians

The Pack Horse Librarian (Photo Gallery) was a welcomed and much anticipated sight in the isolated and hard-to-reach mountains and hollers of Eastern Kentucky between 1935 and 1943. They brought books and magazines, retrieved already-read materials for delivery at another stop on the route, read to residents, took requests, and generally served homes, schools, villages, mining camps, and anywhere there were people who wanted to read. [more inside]
posted by julen on Oct 31, 2010 - 17 comments

Senatorial campaign representative assaults private citizen

Kentucky officials have identified the assailant in the face-stomping of a private citizen shortly before a debate between candidates for the office of Senator in the state of Kentucky. Contrary to initial reports which quickly dismissed the assault as the isolated acts of assorted private citizens, it has now been revealed that the gentleman curb-stomping the head of a MoveOn.org activist prior to the debate between candidates last night was none other than a county-level representative of the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, Mr. Rand Paul.
posted by joe lisboa on Oct 26, 2010 - 351 comments

"They told me their God was 'Aqua Buddha'"

Jack Conway, a candidate for United States Senate, is catching flak from Democrats and Tea-Partiers alike, for airing an attack ad against his opponent, Rand Paul that brings up some bizarre dirt published in GQ a few months back. At a debate between the two candidates Sunday, Paul refused to shake Conway's hand at the end. Today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a response to the Aqua Buddha ad. [more inside]
posted by krysalist on Oct 20, 2010 - 68 comments

Zomg ponies!!!

Commonwealth, schmommonwealth. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are on. Horse lovers the world over are enthralled by the high drama and hijinks in Lexington, Kentucky this week. Already there's been a controversial withdrawal following a travel-related mishap (on the very same flight hilariously previewed here.) In all the excitement, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, a "cowboy dressage" rider in the opening ceremony, seems to have burst a spleen. As expected, the Dutch took the gold medal in Dressage despite one of their team being disqualified with a horse bleeding from the mouth. Some point to training methods like rollkur, or hyperflexion, saying they are cruel and abusive. The FEI has banned rollkur; former advocates say that what they do is not rollkur, but "LDR" (long, deep and round.) Look at the lawsuits fly! In happier news, the gloriously named Nobby took the gold medal in the Endurance event. "He could go another 100 miles today if you wanted him to," rider Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton said of the 15-year-old bay Arab gelding. Still to come, the equestrian triathlon: Eventing! [more inside]
posted by rdc on Sep 29, 2010 - 16 comments

Bourbon does for me what the piece of cake did for Proust.

The joy of Bourbon drinking is not the pharmacological effect of C(2)H(5)OH on the cortex but rather the instant of the whiskey being knocked back and the little explosion of Kentucky U.S.A. sunshine in the cavity of the nasopharynx and the hot bosky bite of Tennessee summertime--aesthetic considerations to which the effect of the alcohol is, if not dispensable, at least secondary.
Bourbon, an essay by Walker Percy. A warning: "Not only should connoisseurs of Bourbon not read this article, neither should persons preoccupied with the perils of alcoholism, cirrhosis, esophageal hemorrhage, cancer of the palate, and so forth..." [more inside]
posted by a.steele on May 19, 2010 - 77 comments

Portraits from the hollers

Shelby Lee Adams has spent decades photographing the holler families of rural Kentucky and the mountain folk of Appalachia. More B&W images from the Edelman gallery. Interview With An Artist: Shelby Lee Adams (alternate B&W PDF version); Essays by Adams: All of Us and The Napier's Living Room, 1989; Interview with 92-year old Scotty Stidham.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 18, 2010 - 15 comments

U.S. Census Worker Hanged Himself in Kentucky with the Word "Fed" Scrawled Across His Chest

Cancer survivor, teacher, single father, and part-time U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead September 12, hanging from a tree with the word "FED" written on his chest. It was actually a suicide. (Previously)
posted by Slap Factory on Nov 24, 2009 - 125 comments

One powerful man's nothing is a hundred men's lives.

Lexington’s Mayor, Jim Newberry, bristled at critical questions about The Dame block, “Nothing of consequence ever happened on that block.” Richie Wireman begs to differ. [more inside]
posted by T.D. Strange on Nov 20, 2009 - 8 comments

U.S. Census worker found hanged in Kentucky with "FED" scrawled on his chest.

Cancer survivor, teacher, single father, and part-time U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead September 12, hanging from a tree with the word "FED" written on his chest.
posted by zoomorphic on Sep 23, 2009 - 314 comments

Black Lung Rising.

Black Lung Rising. "When coal miners suffering from black lung reach the point where they can no longer dig coal and they meet guidelines such as working the required number of years exposed to coal dust, they become eligible to file a black lung claim to obtain monthly benefits to live on ... When the decision is made to award a miner monthly benefits, the coal company has the right to appeal that decision, and often does." [more inside]
posted by grabbingsand on Jul 16, 2009 - 16 comments

He works odd jobs just to make ends meet

"The 2000 census found that nearly 23 percent of families living in Letcher County, KY, fell below the poverty line. The median household income in most counties is at or below $25,000, with individuals making on average $12,000 a year." The White Family by Carl Kiilsgaard [more inside]
posted by saturnine on Jun 23, 2009 - 45 comments

Election Fraud in Kentucky

Election Fraud in Kentucky. "I think this is the first documented case of election fraud in the U.S. using electronic voting machines (there have been lots of documented cases of errors and voting problems, but this one involves actual maliciousness)."
posted by chunking express on Mar 24, 2009 - 36 comments

Walk on Water

Walk on Water: OH Napier is a living piece of Americana and performing a conceptual piece with guitar, river, .25-.38 cal pistol and disquieted camera woman. You may get as many as three songs for your 2:31 of youtubery, I can't say for certain if they are individual pieces or just movements in a larger piece. Also, spirit liquor may have played a part in the creative act.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Dec 4, 2008 - 29 comments

Screaming Eagle

When I heard NPR's remembrance of Tom Gish yesterday, I figured someone would beat me to posting about him here on the Blue for sure, but apparently not. Gish, who died last week at 82, was the editor and publisher of The Mountain Eagle, a rural Kentucky newspaper. While still covering typical small-town happenings over the last 50+ years, he and his wife Pat (and eventually their kids) brought to light myriad injustices, from political corruption to poverty, safety violations in local mines to illiteracy. I found this appreciation, with bottom line proof of the Gish's popularity and influence, despite the death threats, firebombing, boycotts, and other hardships they endured:

"The population of Letcher is less than half what it was when they moved up here," said Ben Gish, editor of The Mountain Eagle and the couple's son. "But circulation has more than tripled."
posted by yiftach on Nov 25, 2008 - 6 comments

The Little Colonel

Annie Fellows Johnston wrote The Little Colonel books. Kate Seston Matthews, her friend and neighbour, took photographs depicting characters from the series.
posted by tellurian on Aug 5, 2008 - 1 comment

A barber came to Bristol...

Eighty one years ago to the day, barber, banjoist and balladeer B.F. Shelton travelled from his home in Kentucky to take part in a recording session in Bristol Tennessee. Now referred to as the "Bristol Sessions", these recordings are widely viewed as some of the most important and influential in American music history. The four songs Shelton recorded that day, stark, simple and immensely powerful in their unadorned honesty, can all be heard here. After Bristol, Shelton never recorded again. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 29, 2008 - 16 comments

That's that-there yell.

The Turtle Man [more inside]
posted by PhatLobley on Apr 9, 2008 - 33 comments

To the library!

Something about the library inspires one to jump.
posted by phrontist on Apr 1, 2008 - 33 comments

No more Anonymous AskMe questions?

Kentucky Lawmaker Wants to Ban Anonymous Internet Posting. This bill is pretty much a nonstarter, but should online defamation be criminalized? [pdf]
posted by desjardins on Mar 10, 2008 - 20 comments

Down with the old folks at... MySpace.

Each of the following MySpace Music pages features bios and/or photos and/or videos and/or miscellaneous related materials and/or up to four songs by each of the following Old Time, Traditional, Appalachian folk (and related) artists: Lowe Stokes, Clarence Ashley, Charlie Poole, Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, Roanoke Jug Band, Roscoe Holcomb, Hobart Smith, The Weems String Band, Burnet & Rutherford, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, John Masters, Dock Boggs, Tampa Joe & Macon Ed, William Stepp, Buddy Thomas, Buell Kazee, Isidore Soucy, John Salyer, Cousin Emmy, Luther Strong, Elizabeth Cotten, Fred Cockerham, G.B. Grayson, Melvin Wine, Lewis Brothers, Uncle Dave Macon, George Lee Hawkins and Wilmer Watts. And here's some general Old Time (etc.) pages, featuring various artists: Dust To Digital, Traditional Music of Beech Mountain and North Carolina Folklife Institute. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 24, 2007 - 17 comments

Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot

Knob Creek Gun Range, a former military-munitions test range situated near Fort Knox is home to the "World's Largest Machine Gun Shoot and Military Gun Show". Run by private citizens excercising their second amendment rights (Kentucky has no state-level gun laws) the focus is on Class III firearms - things like assault weapons and anti-tank rifles, but also the occasional high-caliber sniper rifle and cannon. Hold my bourbon and watch this! (more)
posted by phrontist on Jul 26, 2007 - 78 comments

Scenes from That High Lonesome Sound

FolkStreams:" Remembering The High Lonesome " - Dillard Chandler
Roscoe Holcomb - Little Birdie
Roscoe Holcomb - Graveyard Blues
And from Roscoe Holcomb comes the song which is the soundtrack of the eponymously entitled Moonshiner. Dylan described a certain untamed sense of control in his singing and Ralph Stanley once said 'you could feel the smell of wood smoke in his voice'.
Yes, I watched High Lonesome Sound again, last night...
posted by y2karl on Jul 26, 2007 - 12 comments

Venus, get your gun.

I support gun control, but for 82-year-old Miss America Venus Ramey, I make an exception. The first redhead and the only native Kentuckian ever to be Miss America, she's pretty fearsome with a snub-nosed .38.
posted by tizzie on Apr 20, 2007 - 116 comments

The Blue People of Troublesome Creek

Martin and Elizabeth set up housekeeping on the banks of Troublesome and began a family. Of their seven children, four were reported to be blue.

For those unfamiliar with the story of Martin Fugate & his descendents, the 1982 article from Science magazine entitled "The Blue People of Troublesome Creek" is a fascinating read; a recessive gene & decades of inbreeding lead to a clan of Kentucky hill folk with deep blue skin from head to toe.
posted by jonson on Jul 10, 2006 - 57 comments

The Song

The Song In the world of sports, there is not a more moving moment than the one when the horses step onto the track for the Kentucky Derby post parade and the band strikes up "My Old Kentucky Home". Link has history, lyrics. My Old Kentucky Home [realplayer]
posted by Postroad on May 5, 2006 - 14 comments

Cops on Myspace

Cops on Myspace
posted by Lusy P Hur on Mar 30, 2006 - 40 comments

Country Boys

Country Boys is Donald Sutherland's latest film documentary being hosted by PBS. Like his previous film on PBS, this one too is a tough but real story of American life. It focuses on the coming of age of two boys in rural Kentucky. You can watch the full program online (the third part will be released tomorrow).
posted by allkindsoftime on Jan 11, 2006 - 53 comments

"No, he thinks he's Arnold Palmer"

Named after the hill on which Jesus was crucified, Golgotha Fun Park, once the country's #1 shaded biblical mini-golf destination, is now but a memory. Fortunately, there are still other options.
posted by Armitage Shanks on Oct 27, 2005 - 14 comments

"It's a sad day for Kentucky."

Governor Pardons All But Himself In Personnel Investigation In case y'all thought Kentucky's only problem was obesity. The local paper's article has a sidebar of related stories, including a link to a "full coverage" series on this Merit System Investigation. As he told the Grand Jury, "I would like this to be a new day."
posted by davy on Aug 30, 2005 - 59 comments

"We are killing ourselves off."

"Kentucky is one of the sickest states in America."
posted by davy on Jul 17, 2005 - 107 comments

The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved

Total chaos, no way to see the race, not even the track...nobody cares. Big lines at the outdoor betting windows, then stand back to watch winning numbers flash on the big board, like a giant bingo game.

Old blacks arguing about bets; "Hold on there, I'll handle this" (waving pint of whiskey, fistful of dollar bills); girl riding piggyback, T-shirt says, "Stolen from Fort Lauderdale Jail." Thousands of teen-agers, group singing "Let the Sun Shine In," ten soldiers guarding the American flag and a huge fat drunk wearing a blue football jersey (No. 80) reeling around with quart of beer in hand.

No booze sold out here, too dangerous...no bathrooms either. Muscle Beach...Woodstock...many cops with riot sticks, but no sign of a riot. Far across the track the clubhouse looks like a postcard from the Kentucky Derby.

posted by airguitar on May 6, 2005 - 25 comments

Christians make AIDS fight a high priority

The Church Awakens "The AIDS pandemic is the greatest humanitarian crisis," Casey said. "It just begs a reaction from the church." The church is now in full reaction mode. More than 2,000 Christian medical professionals, church leaders, and students gathered for the ninth annual Global Missions Health Conference, November 11-13, at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. They spoke not only of statistics that confirmed the extent of the pandemic (43 million people living with HIV/AIDS; 8,000 deaths each day; 14 million orphans), but of working together.
posted by halekon on Dec 21, 2004 - 62 comments

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