I’m puppy-sitting out in the suburbs, so today’s been a little more hectic than usual, even before 8. Guess who figured out object permanence? Enjoy!
If you, like me, are weird about Thomas Jefferson, here is a podcast where someone does their impression of him for an hour each week. They talk about contemporary political issues and are presumably wearing powdered wigs.
Have you ever wished Steve Martin would teach you your state capitals? Wish no more.
Usually, I try to do a minibio of someone interesting on Tuesday afternoons, but you know what? I’m just going to make an incomplete list of several Kentuckians who are or were awesome and conclude said list with a brief statement, inspired by yet another Will Russell brainchild. Please watch this brief video before continuing.
So, the good folks who wanted to make this a reality (now on hold) asked people to pick their favorite Kentuckians to be memorialized in stone, like the other, less fun Mount Rushmore. With respect to the ones chosen (Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, Colonel Sanders, and Secretariat), here’s an alternate list that is probably equally deserving.
1. Loretta Lynn. I am going to do a little feature on Miss Lady later this week, but a word on the woman: she’s had dozens of amazing records, was a live-out-loud feminist, and somehow still manages to maintain this wonderful place, where a lady (me) may get as many biscuits with gravy as her heart desires.
2. Duncan Hines. Duncan Hines was kind of the original (and not terrible) Guy Fieri. He wrote these little guide books that had out-of-the-way places to get tasty food. One of the places he put on the map was Sanders’ Court and Cafe– the original KFC in Corbin, Kentucky. This was all before he founded the company that brought us funfetti.
3. Robert Penn Warren. RPW was only person to win a Pulitzer for poetry and fiction, but you don’t care about that. Okay, his racial politics were not really to any modern person’s liking, but his work with the Agrarians? Fascinating. All the Kings Men? A feat of intellect and one of the top ten best novels I’ve ever read. His Understanding Poetry textbook? Probably the best poetry text I have read. This guy was a giant of American letters.
4. Hunter S. Thompson. What can I even say? He is from Louisville and attended my rival high school. He was wild. He did drugs I cannot pronounce and he did them with great regularity. He was played by yet another excellent Kentuckian in his own bizarre biopic. I have a series of portraits of him framed in my living room. My roller derby name is Huntress Thompson. Read this.Watch this. Be convinced of his inimitable, unspeakable genius.
Runners Up: Edgar Cayce (Kentuckian Most Committed to Being a True Freak), George Clooney (Kentuckian Most Pleased About Being Himself), Daniel Boone (Kentuckian with A Great Hat), Ephraim McDowell (Kentuckian Least Concerned About Anesthesia), Thomas Merton (Most Saintly Kentuckian), Bobbie Ann Mason (Kentuckian I Want to Hang With), Diane Sawyer (Kentuckian Most Maligned by Bill O’Reilly, Who Is A Gigantic Ass), Wendell Berry (Kentucky Author Who Most Liked the Pie I Once Served Him), John Scopes (Kentuckian Most Dedicated to Teaching Evolution), Mary Todd Lincoln (runner up, Kentuckian Most Committed to Being a True Freak category), Louis Brandeis (Most Handsome Jewish Kentuckian Supreme Court Judge), Billy Ray Cyrus (Best Kentucky Mullet), Jennifer Lawrence (Kentuckian I See Most Often at Zanzabar), D.W. Griffith (Kentuckian Most Influential in Modern Cinema), Henry Clay (Kentuckian for Whom The Most Things Are Named)
A Kentuckian made this. I live in a county named for his ancestors, and that, my friends, is a fact. Also, he apparently used to date a dark haired woman with my same last name, so when people ask me if he dated my sister I don’t say no.
Yes, I’m going to do this until the Derby. I’m not sorry.
So, once upon a time, I lived in Mississippi, and the thing is, living in a town with 8,000 souls makes you trusting. I was walking up to the square for the weekly taping of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting arts variety show, Thacker Mountain Radio and a man about my mom’s age pulled up next to me in a sedan with out-of-state plates. “Excuse me,” he said. “Could you tell me how to get to The Lyric? I’m supposed to be reading tonight on the radio, but I’m really lost.” Ordinarily, I do not get near idling cars with strange men from far away contained within, but he seemed nice (read: I’m a sucker AND I’m an idiot). Anyway, long story short, he realizes I’m freaked out, produces his driver’s license, and I end up driving him to the theatre just in the nick of time.
That man was Andre Dubus, III. He gave me a copy of his book, and we kept in touch. Don’t worry, Mom. That was the first and last time I’ve ever done that.
Townie, which he read from that night, is a memoir of his childhood and young adult years, growing up poor, tough, and without much of a dad in post-industrial Massachusetts. The book is about a lot of things, but more than anything, it’s a long meditation on violence and how that shaped his life. It was strange to square that with the gentle, professional man I met in Oxford that cloudy afternoon. I knew from our chat that he was married and had a couple kids, that they lived in Newbury, and that he was a professor at UMass-Lowell. I had heard that his dad was a famous novelist, too. He was driving a nice rental car and had on a dress shirt. If I had known what I know now of his young adulthood, I wonder if I would have gotten into the car. Continue reading “Book Club: Townie”
If you know me IRL, you know that I love, nay, am obsessed with, Dita Von Teese. I ran across this interview with her this morning, and of course, I wanted to share. My favorite thing about her is that she’s pretty honest that her look requires a lot of upkeep and that she practices her ish ALL THE TIME. None of this “I eat a cheeseburger and play with my dog and that’s how I look like this!” noise for her. Nuh-huh. If you’re new to the Dita, maybe don’t click the video while at work.
And that, my friends, is a truth. Richard Simmons is a force of nature, and I barely survived to tell you this: that class is hard. Really. Hard. Also, Richard Simmons is in on the joke about the spandex. Also, Richard Simmons has held my ponytail, and no, that is not a euphemism.
My friend Lauren and I went sort of as a joke, and it definitely started that way. Brother just walked in and kissed everyone and sparkled and was generally buff in our direction. Then the music started.
AND OH GOOD GOD DO I WANT RICHARD’S APPROVAL. He is NOT handing it out, either. He ran us around that exquisite hardwood floor for 90 minutes, telling people to move their asses. FASTER. HIGHER. HARDER. On a water break, Lauren and I decided all we had to do was not be the absolute worst, which we achieved. I think.
Anyway, at the end, we were all tasked to “gather some steam and chase our dreams” which sounds corny but I was so into it. Then Richard informed us that the only acceptable place for a Kit-Kat was up our asses and let us go home.