Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Polls Are Closed – Let’s Drink!

Elections used to be funny in the alcohol business.
Funny as in “ha-ha?”
Funny as in “odd?”
Yes…both.

Until about seven or eight years ago, liquor stores in Kentucky could not open on Election Day until the polls closed at 6pm. That prohibition led to intriguing moments on the Monday nights preceding Election Days and odder moments commencing at 6pm after a precious few of us had voted.

One Monday night, I was the 22-year-old, long-haired-hippie assistant manager of a Shoppers Village Liquors on the north side of Lexington. A cowboy came in. Well, he wasn’t really a cowboy, though he had a hat and boots. His boots were better than mine, but my Triple-X Beaver Stetson with an RCA crease and a front-exploding feather band put his chapeau to abject shame.
No, he wasn’t a for real cowboy. He was some kind of a law-enforcement entity (sheriff, constable, double-ought agent, witch-finder…whatever) up for re-election in his home county of Estiharlamorgistan. He needed half-pints for the campaign. He asked for six cases of half-pints of Old Forester and started peeling bills. Now six cases of half-pints is almost 300 bottles. At that stage of my inchoate career in alcohol, I had not even seen 300 half-pints of one brand, much less have it on hand for purchase. I explained that to the ersatz town marshal, sold him the seven half-pints I had on hand, gave him directions to my nearest competitor, wished him good luck on his campaign, and meditated on the validity of my faith in democracy and the value of my puny personal vote.

The usual routine for opening the store on Election Night was often eerie.
I would hover near the front door with my key, and watch the clock and the parking lot. If the weather was good, the folks who had been waiting would congregate outside the door and there would be banter and jocularity. Banter and jocularity…on Election Night…sigh…I miss it so.
If it was a cold night however, people would cower in their dark cars until they saw me actually unlock the doors. Their dark cars would look like tombstones in the dusk. The customers would emerge as a group and shuffle in. If the first arrival had ever growled; “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” I would not have been at all surprised. I would not have corrected them as to my name or gender. I would simply and quickly started hammering boards over the windows.

Most of the time though, it was a real good time.

The best time was when my friend, radio personality Dave Krusenklaus, decided it would be fun to make an evening of celebration out of Election Night. Celebration…on Election Night…sigh…I miss it so.
He rented a limo and a tux and planned to meander through a selection of candidate campaign celebrations. Well, a procession like that could only start at the Liquor Barn at 6pm!
Kruser’s limo pulled up. He was broadcasting live and he led a large and raucous crowd in a countdown to the polls closing and the store opening. My employees loved it.

The worst Election Night was my own damn fault.

I had been working in my office all day. From my desk, I had a straight on view of the front door and had watched as hundreds of customers had walked up to the front door, read the CLOSED TILL 6PM sign, and left. No retailer could remain unaffected by such a travesty. My frustration roiled until I left my office to wander into other parts of the store and recover from the total unfairness of life.
When I reached our receiving area, I noticed that a tiny delivery of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons was being processed.
Sensing an opportunity to reclaim some of the day’s lost sales, I raced back to my office and triumphantly tweeted the delivery.
By 5:30, the line stretched around the building. The store manager, realizing who was responsible for drawing this horde which exceeded his supply of Pappy by a factor of 20, ungraciously turned over the crowd control responsibilities to me. I spent the rest of the evening explaining and apologizing to little good effect.

THAT was not a real good time.

Those prohibitions are now gone and that’s probably for the best. But…it was a quaint reminder that Election Days are special days…not just another day.

Special day…Election Day…sigh…I miss it so.

Election Night, 2016

I remember Election Night 2016…searingly.

It was to be a coronation of Hillary Clinton, and a continuation of progress made over the previous eight years.

Ms. Clinton, perhaps, had not run the most inspiring campaign. She kept it civil. She didn’t lie every day. She kept it smart. She didn’t rely on help from a foreign country – a 70-year sworn enemy of the US.

Could she have done more? I guess you can always find more to do, but at the time, it seemed enough.

President Obama had not delivered on 100% of all we hoped. He had only provided health care for millions, prevented a banking meltdown, reversed the worst recession of my lifetime, hunted down the mind behind 9/11, sparked hope in my LBGTQ neighbors, and gave us eight years of no war and no scandal.

Could he have done more? I guess you can always find more to do, but at the time, it seemed enough.

Besides, look at the opposing candidate. The US would never elect someone who;

– Lied every day – about things large and small.
– Mocked the afflicted.
– Hid his tax returns after promising to release them.
– Lied every day – about things large and small.
– Selected a Vice –Presidential running mate that did not believe in evolution.
– Paid women to hide extra-marital affairs. The plural used to be superfluous but the bar has been seriously lowered.
– Lied every day – about things large and small.
– Referred to refugees from Mexico as rapists.
– Spoke of his primary opponent (from the same party, mind you) as having an ugly wife and a father who conspired to assassinate Kennedy.
– Lied every day – about things large and small.

And the US didn’t elect such a person.

But…
Part of the US did…the part that voted.

I watched that evening in November, 2016 with slack-jawed disbelief as John King on CNN puzzled over inexplicable returns from the Panhandle of Florida.

As Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin returns came in, it became clear what the eventual electoral outcome would be and the dread set in. Within six hours we had moved from being on the verge of a golden age of progress towards a world of our parents’ (The Greatest Generation) dreams to a possible end of the greatest experiment of democracy the world has known and a naked plundering of the nation’s treasure and ideals.

Much of my adult life has been spent being a manager of people, locations, money, time, and products. When crises emerge, they are challenges to be met and fixed. Thus, my first thought was; “How do we fix this?”

The next morning, as Janie learned of the results, the look on her face flickered from disbelief to fear to “Whose ass do I need to kick about this?”

That day and the next, I talked young people off the ledge. I had met them during rehearsals for RAGTIME with UK Opera Theater a couple of months before. They were excited about casting their first presidential votes. Now they were crushed.

It was a tough holiday season.

A friend who voted for Clinton openly wept at our dinner table.
Another friend, a teacher, a lifelong Republican, for the first time in his life declined to vote at all rather than vote for this choice of candidates. He was dismal and lousy company – pondering retirement and slouching towards hermitude (I don’t think that’s really a word, but it’s accurate).
One acquaintance had voted Green. A guiltier aspect I have never seen on a human being, though I do remember a similar look on Lilly, my former dog, when confronted with a seriously compromised Birkenstock sandal.

Since his inauguration, Mr. Trump has done little to ameliorate the fear and much to exacerbate it…and doesn’t seem to care.

All along the way, Mr. Barr has abetted Mr. Trump, with his votes and with his silence.

How do we begin to fix this?

In Kentucky, in 2018, we can deprive Mr. Trump of Mr. Barr’s vote and his permissive silence.

Plus, we can replace him with a bright, energetic Kentucky voice, who seems less interested in party affiliation and personal power than doing what’s right for the country.

Yes, I’ll be voting on Tuesday.
Yes, I’ll be voting for Lt. Col. (Ret.) Amy McGrath.
And yes, I’ll be voting for her replacement in 2020 if she can’t meet expectations.

That’s how we begin to fix things.

I’m old. I fear we will not be able to repair the damage done in the last 21 months to the environment, to our world leadership, to our security, and to our civility in my lifetime, and yes, I’m bitter about that.

But the old hippie in me growls we must begin.

We begin on Tuesday.

Jake

Jake is probably the finest dog I’ve never met.

And there are so many amazing dogs I’ve never met;

I have great admiration for the feats of Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Sergeant Preston’s King, Flash the parachuting dog in THE FLAMING SIGNAL (1933), and Smokey & Shadow the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet Alsatians in SIGN OF THE WOLF (1941).

I empathize with Nick & Nora’s Asta, and Red’s Rover…they have to endure much and they endure it with good humor.

I root for Lady’s Tramp (successfully) and Ol’ Yeller (not so successfully).

I laugh out loud at Goofy, Pluto, and Odie.

Benji, the Shaggy Dog, and all 101 of those Dalmatians…well, maybe not so much…but they’re cute, I guess.

But they’re not real dogs. I mean some of them are real dogs, but none of them are REAL DOGS.

<< side note >>

Didja know that the Shaggy Dog was played (uncredited) by a dog named “Chiffon”? Chiffon needed a better agent.

<< end of side note >>

I think Jake is a real dog

Jake belongs to a friend of mine who doesn’t live in Lexington. She has posted pictures and escapades and gripes about Jake for several years. Through her postings I feel like I know the critter and he’s fine one.

I know of his dietary lack of discrimination. “If I can chew it and pass it, it’s food.”

I know of his utter and violent defiance of screen doors. This stems from his belief that if aliens (or Russians) wanted to infiltrate our country, they would come disguised as screen doors.

I recognize (from afar…far far afar) his olfactory ability to locate patches of otherwise unidentifiable dead things (Charnel No. 5), and roll with vigor, applying them liberally until said olfactory abilities have been obliterated.

Now that is a REAL DOG.
That is a dog’s dog.
I’m a fan.

I understand Jake is going through a tough time right now. That means my friend and her family are going through a tough time.
If you would, send some good thoughts their way.

Zeke’s a fine dog. There’s not much better to be.
And I’ve never even met the guy.
Sigh…