Issue December 15, 2009

Loserville 2009

A eulogy for a year that had so much potential

People screw up. That’s as much a part of the human genome as autosomal chromosome pairs. So for the second year, we’re offering our list of the 50 grandest, most brain-bending and spirit-crushing gaffes, foibles and malicious undertakings of 2009, a year that a lot of people would agree to forget. These folks and organizations qualify for our infamous awards because, generally speaking, they’ve betrayed the public trust. Our message is simple: Do better.

Swine Flu

The Piggy Pandemic, Hamthrax, Porky’s Revenge: This new strain of flu — call it what you will — sparked a media frenzy and incited hysteria among the masses. Then it actually struck, plaguing more than 22 million Americans thus far with fevers, chills, coughing, sore throats, body aches, fatigue and unfortunate stomach ailments — on top of death. And if that’s not bad enough, this new flu gave the most adorable of livestock (and the tastiest of meat products) a bad name.

Penance: Containment to a Petri dish

Karen Sypher

Where do we begin? This tawdry vixen — self-proclaimed “Fertile Mertle” — banged U of L hoops czar Rick Pitino inside Porcini, waited six years, then allegedly attempted to extort scads of cash from the coach, whom she says impregnated her during the one-nighter. She said Pitino raped her, paid for her to have an abortion, and threatened to bury her family in concrete. Seriously.

Penance: The jail time should do fine

Rick Pitino

You banged Karen Sypher and made it a little less comfortable to sit down for a lovely evening of Italian dining at Porcini. Remember: Discretion is the better part of valor. And check Expedia for a cheap hotel room next time.

Penance: The keys to Olive Garden

Jim King

Where does it end? The behind-the-scenes bullying and political intimidation were bad enough. Then you took your mob-boss image to a new level: trying to push a council candidate out of a race, unlawfully bankrolling your daughter’s judicial campaign, possibly abusing your former spouse, and using St. X High School letterhead without permission to make alumni think the school was endorsing you. Sounds like you’d make a good mayor — in Chicago.

Penance: Box set of “Southern Belles” on Blu-ray

David Tandy

There’s a new Metro Council president in town: The Cordish Cos. You may remember the former president, David Tandy, who mysteriously disappeared after a trip to Baltimore to meet with the Fourth Street Live developer about accounting for the $950,000 in taxpayer money it spent to refurbish the Sports & Social Club. Somewhere amid the sporting and socializing, Tandy’s balls — as well as those of some other city officials — wound up in a Mason jar stored in an undisclosed location. Not to mention the officious move to keep Swift in Butchertown with an ill-advised ordinance of support.

Penance: Read aloud from “The Little Engine That Could” on the bowling lanes at the Sports & Social Club

Tea Baggers

An embodiment of all that is loud, frightened and stupid in this country, the anti-government tea-bagger movement has provided conservative middle America a perfect medium through which their fear of an illegally elected black president and his socialist utopia of spending, taxing and drinking the blood of innocent children can be mitigated, live, on Fox News. Greatest hits include: racist signage, co-opting the mechanisms of legitimate protest for corporate gain, substituting decibels for facts, and generally sustaining the political abomination that is Sarah Palin well beyond her expiration date.

Penance: Go ahead and keep voting against your own self-interest

Steve Kragthorpe

It used to be happening here: The former U of L football coach kept a team noted for its momentum heading into the 2006 season at sub-500 levels. And good god, ease up on the clichés. A masters degree in coach-speak does not a good team make. Kragthorpe was fired after the (mercifully) final poor performance of this year’s season. He’s a good guy, just not the right fit. Yeah, we agree, Mr. Jurich.

Penance: $4.5 million buyout and a home in Tulsa. Oh wait

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky.

When important, nation-altering bills are up for discussion on Capitol Hill, you can rest assured that Sen. Jim Bunning will most likely nap right through them. Few United States senators can make xenophobic remarks about an opponent’s family, proudly declare he doesn’t read newspapers, take money from his own charity, misquote Abraham Lincoln, suggest he is being followed by aliens, predict the deaths of Supreme Court justices, and abuse members of the media without seeming like a run-of-the-mill douchebag; Bunning, however, is merely insane. Although the drowsy junior senator from Northern Kentucky will not be seeking re-election in 2010, he leaves behind a storied, curmudgeonly legacy of opening his mouth and closing his mind.

Penance: Getting perpetually lost at the mall

Mother Nature

In the course of a calendar year, Louisville has been flattened by three massive storms of wind, ice and rain, costing us over $1 billion in statewide damages and claiming 36 innocent lives. Mother Nature has leveled our trees, turned our roads into debris-laden post-apocalyptic landscapes, flooded our poorest neighborhoods, and generally destroyed whatever faith we might’ve had in the stability and efficiency of modern civilization or a loving deity — all without any acknowledgment of our orange Operation Brightside bins, which are supposed to prevent things like this from happening in the first place. Incessant disaster has sharpened our survivalist instinct somewhat, however, making us better equipped to deal with the coming years’ zombie plagues, locust swarms and mayoral election.

Penance: Watching baby seagulls asphyxiate on plastic six-pack rings

University of Louisville

Unlike most higher-learning institutions, whom pride themselves on being bastions of free, critical thought and reasoned inquiry, the University of Louisville doesn’t really need any of that. Case-in-point: nursing student Nina Yoder, whose MySpace ramblings on ugly babies and questionable understanding of alcoholism prompted the university to kick her out. This kind of “disciplinary measure” violated a little known American bylaw, dubbed “The First Fucking Amendment,” which then allowed Yoder to successfully sue an already embattled public university, which by that point had wasted thousands of dollars in legal fees for little apparent reason.

Penance: Re-hiring former Education Dean Robert Felner

Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky.

Despite the “D” attached to his name, Rep. Ben Chandler is one of those curious political breeds wherein party affiliation means dick, and in a non-savvy/“Maverick-y” way. Simply put, Chandler epitomizes the schizophrenia of the Blue Dog Democrat better than almost anyone else: He voted for the anti-choice Stupak Amendment while voting against the larger health reform bill itself (then lied about it), while just a year earlier, he endorsed the reform-friendly Barack Obama early in the primary. His “Third Way” politics have him sharing almost as many votes with Republicans as members of his own party — which might work if you’re not busy moving to uphold the Patriot Act at the same time you’re trying to prohibit warrant-less wiretapping — so at his best he winds up voting against himself, effectively neutered by his own hand. Fortunately for us, Chandler has only shown up for 25 percent of House votes since 2004, so things could be much, much worse.

Penance: Start adopting unwanted babies

Dr. Gilles Meloche

The outgoing director of Louisville Metro Animal Services has a long list of alleged sins, which includes, but is not limited to: sexually harassing and intimidating employees, torturing kittens, dumping animal carcasses into the local landfill, destroying evidence of misdeeds, and generally letting the agency deteriorate into a steaming pile of dog shit.

Penance: Having your eyes clawed out by 10,000 rabid kittens

Metro Councilwoman Judy Green, D-1st

Among the myriad problems facing west Louisville, the saggy pants of some young people doesn’t make the top 100, but Councilwoman Green waged a crusade against the hip-hop fashion style anyway. In January, she drafted a resolution encouraging the city’s youth to stop sagging. It gained support from a handful of squares and curmudgeons who don’t have anything better to do. The worthless piece of legislation passed unanimously. No word on whether we’re going to start judging the questionable fashion choices of council members.

Penance: Host every hip-hop concert in Louisville for a year

Chase Cain

The WHAS-11 television reporter and aspiring actor made a name in this media market less for the stories he broke than his exaggerated facial expressions, theatrical gesturing and ridiculous props. Cain’s circus barker antics overshadowed his generally solid reporting, but were a source of comic relief for fellow reporters and great for sweeps week. He recently left WHAS-11 for personal reasons, so we wish him well, but seriously dude: Ease up a little. Future employers beware: Behind those blue eyes, blond hair and boyish good looks lies a weapon of mass hilarity.

Penance: The lead role in “High School Musical 4: The Reunion”

Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins, R-25th

The south Louisville Republican had been on his best behavior for most of the year. We thought he had learned to tone down the hyperbole. That was until Dougie took full advantage of the faux outrage conjured up over a series of “Possibility City” ads, which advertised excitement about the city with satirical allusions to erectile dysfunction commercials. The humorless councilman called the ads “poor taste” in a cynical play to the prudes in his district, which was laughable compared with his previous fear-mongering tantrums about bomb storage facilities and Mexican gangs. Hawkins is running out of material.

Penance: A serious challenger in 2010. Introducing Democrat David Yates

Club owner David Norton

Only a few months after apologizing publicly for lobbing racial slurs at a group of black LGBT customers from the University of Louisville last year, David Norton, owner of the former Woody’s Tavern (recently rechristened a Latin-themed bar) reaffirmed his status Louisville’s most outspoken bigot. In October, he allegedly chased a group of African-American customers out of the bar before saying, “Look at their skin color; you know what’s on the tip of my tongue.” The Fairness Campaign has since called for a boycott of any businesses owned by Norton. Maybe he’s got anger management issues; then again, maybe he’s just a plain old racist scumbag doing what he does best.

Penance: Host a monthly black LGBT film festival at his house beginning with the documentary, “Paris is Burning”

Family Foundation of Kentucky

It takes a state of moralists to hold us back. From gay bashing to opposing gambling with vague allusions to a dated and irrelevant “morality,” we can’t really think of what this organization does other than make our toothless, overweight and uneducated commonwealth look worse than it is. But as one Kentucky evangelist recently “reported,” 2.6 million Kentuckians are going to hell anyway.

Penance: Turning the nonprofit into an adoption agency and marriage-counseling center

Metro Council Democratic Caucus

The Gang of 16 still has a lot of growing up to do, but at least the group hasn’t rubber-stamped anymore sweetheart development deals. Instead, the majority caucus stymies ethics reform and tightly guards discretionary money (read: campaign slush funds). Let’s not forget the yearlong saga trying to dump Caucus Director Kenya McGruder, whom the caucus unceremoniously voted to get rid for no clear reason. She learned about her termination from news reports before being told she could hit the unemployment line.

Penance: Term limits

St. James Court Art Show

The city’s premier art show is run like a bourgeoisie, snooty mafia. Besides pulling in $450 per booth from artists around the country, St. James organizers have tried mightily to push out side vendors and local artists who set up shop nearby. We don’t begrudge St. James for wanting to protect their brand name, but leave a little room for struggling artists in your own backyard. This year the un-welcomed artists were tag-teamed by St. James and the city, thanks to an amended city ordinance. City officials told the artists who set up at the annual Unfair, just outside the St. James boundaries, that if they continued selling their artwork, it would be confiscated.

Penance: An annual heavy storm cloud over St. James Court

The Rev. Gerome Sutton & The African-American Think Tank

There’s a litany of crooked acts by the west Louisville activist, who has hustled the communities’ plight long enough: 1) Cashing a $10,000 check in state funding at a liquor store; 2) Charging the state $12,000 for breakfast and lunch at a health summit where only a handful of people showed up; 3) Filling the organization’s board of directors with a band of thugs, including a treasurer arrested for theft and burglary; a secretary charged with sexual abuse, armed robbery and assault; and a director who has been arrested for drug violations, carrying a concealed weapon and child abuse; 4) Allegedly yanking $3 an hour from workers who were employed by the Think Tank as sub-contractors with the Valhalla Country Club during the Ryder Cup, calling it a donation to the organization; 5) Allowing your girlfriend to drive a $25,000 BMW for personal use even though it’s registered to the organization, which claims to be nonprofit and tax exempt. We could go on, but you get the picture.

Penance: None needed. Someone should be calling the attorney general’s office as you read this

Bad Drivers

It’s an age-old battle that rolls on: Can’t we all just get along? If everyone stopped texting while they apply their lipstick as they maneuver into third gear, the roads would be a much safer place for everyone. Just think: If we all drove smarter and shared the road, we could have picnics in the streets … dance parties … bake sales … or at the very least, less carnage.

Penance: No airbags for a year

Gannett Company, Inc.

How many layoffs, unpaid furloughs and drops in page count does it take to get to the center of a newsroom? Gannett is trying to find out. The newspaper heavyweight and owner of USA Today is cutting so deeply into The Courier-Journal, we wonder how soon it is before they start printing the thing on napkins with a reporting staff the size of ours. Which, to be clear, would be the worst thing to happen to this city since Barry Bingham Jr. died.

Penance: Quarterly profit reports are getting the job done for now

Bad Cyclists

Sure, cars are bigger, faster and heavier, but you have to mind your Ps and Qs as well, Mr. Two-Wheel Jockey. We thank you for your efforts to make the world greener, but that doesn’t exempt you from traffic laws like stopping at red lights and what not.

Penance: Learn how to parallel park
an SUV

‘Free Bird’ hecklers

Lynyrd Skynyrd, who forever stamped Southern rock with “Free Bird,” are from Jacksonville, Fla., not Kentucky. But you’d never know that from the cavalcade of drunken requests for the 1973 anthem. Shouted — sometimes in mock-redneck fashion, sometimes not — at any concert reverberating with a slight twang, the song does jam (see volume 1 of The BBC’s classic series, “The Old Grey Whistle Test”). Requesting it ad infinitum not only demonstrates bad judgment, it clips the wings off a 34-year legacy. Most audiences have resisted the urge, but we invariably come across some jackass ballsy enough for this shout-out. Next time you hear a slide guitar, pedal steel or countrified surge, think before you belt, or take three steps toward the door.

Penance: These birds you cannot change

Pollen

This pesky allergen left Louisville ranked the worst city for allergies. Some blame the Ohio Valley, others blame Rubbertown and bacon-makin’ plants for emitting harmful chemicals, and three people blame Kanye West. Just remember, when you point a finger at someone, you’ve got three pointing back at you (and that errant thumb). Wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow and don’t swap spit with more than four people a night.

Penance: Move to Fargo, N.D.

Fire

Yes, this element is essential for cooking S’mores and baking crispy pizzas, but dammit, it also flame-broiled Old Hickory, Café Mimosa and Steinert’s this year. Lucky for us, two of the three have rebuilt in new locations and are bigger, badder versions of their former glory holes. Although we’ve heard rumors, only time will tell if there’ll be an Old Hick resurrection.

Penance: Fire, meet water

Outlook Inn’s new jukebox

We bit our nails as new management began making renovations. Please don’t change the jukebox, please don’t change the jukebox … we chanted in our sleep. Alas, we wandered in one evening to find our favorite old-school jukebox replaced by a hack, touch-screen wannabe. New is not always better, no matter how many bells, whistles and flashing Beyoncés it touts. Makes sense that “Outlook Inn” has been absent from our monthly credit statements — not willfully, of course.

Penance: Bring back the old jukebox. Please

Office of the Mayor

First, the administration allowed a situation in the Housing Department in which its director was able to not only hand out sweetheart deals with taxpayer money, but to preside over the total unraveling of the department. Next, spokesman Chad Carlton first refused to turn over public records to LEO for a story, then lambasted the editor for our coverage — which would’ve benefited greatly from said documents. Carlton turned over the docs after LEO filed a complaint with the state Attorney General’s Office.

Penance: Commute to Frankfort for your new job

Mike Norman

The city’s internal auditor provided invaluable information on the record for a story about ethics rules in city government, then recanted everything he’d said once the story came out, assumedly under pressure from someone above. As well, Norman scolded a LEO reporter over a question about whether it was standard procedure to Mad-Lib city audits with form letters, a reference to the city’s supposed audit of a taxpayer-funded deal with a prominent downtown developer.

Penance: We’ll send you a form letter apology. Just sign it

Barret Bar closing

The horror! We spent many a night playing naked Photo Hunt and listening to bartender Mike chuckle about life’s absurdities. The smoker’s patio was a sweet recent addition, and the Barret was the perfect place to stumble after the Monkey Wrench chased us out at 2 a.m.

Penance: Reopen already

Gov. Steve Beshear

The Democratic governor and coal enthusiast fired mining official Ron Mills in November without giving a reason. Mills, former head of the state’s mine permit division, had been trying to scuttle permits for mining jobs by Alliance Resource Partners, the Tulsa, Okla.-based company whose political connections run deep in Kentucky. Mills told The Lexington Herald-Leader the permits ran askew of federal and state law. The newspaper also reported that former colleagues told Mills the company had lobbied the governor’s office for his ouster. While Beshear’s office wouldn’t take credit for the firing, he did announce the hiring of 19 additional permit officials to expedite what he considers a lagging approval process. In other words, it’s another coal-industry hand-job.

Penance: A scenic coal-ash pond to be installed at the Governor’s Mansion

Colgate sign taken down in Southern Indiana

Something’s missing on the northern banks of the Ohio, and it’s not class (good first guess, though). In an effort to be fair-minded for that comment, now Kentuckians won’t be reminded to brush their teeth. Thanks for leaving the clock.

Penance: Slugger Museum turns bat into toothbrush 

New tax on beer/package liquor

April 1 was no joke at the liquor store — that’s the day when Kentucky raised its alcohol tax by 6 percent. This tax rim-job resulted in fewer sales of Kentucky spirits — either people are heading to Indiana to stock up, or they’re just settling for cheap swill. Our state makes more than 95 percent of the world’s bourbon, yet it ranks highest in excise alcohol taxes compared with neighboring states, and is 60 percent higher than the national average. Go figure.

Penance: Mad Dog 20/20 for Kentucky legislators

Metro Planning & Design

Behind the curtain, just like the Wizard of Oz, the city’s zoning board knowingly conducted an illegal secret meeting earlier this year at the behest of departing Director Charles Cash. The covert meeting was called to discuss Javanon Soccer Club, a 23,000-square-foot metal building constructed in a residential neighborhood without the necessary approval. The controversial case was a black eye for the city agency, which further tarnished its reputation by sneakily (and, it turns out, unsuccessfully) trying to clean up the mess.

Penance: A year of interminable public hearings

Steve Nunn

This once-revered state lawmaker became one of the most-hated men in the commonwealth on Sept. 11, 2009, after allegedly shooting ex-fiancée Amanda Ross outside her downtown Lexington townhouse. Prior to Ross, 29, accusing Nunn of domestic violence just months before her death, the politico’s own father — a former governor — claimed his son physically and verbally abused several family members.

Penance: Life without parole (if convicted, of course)

Astrida Lemkins

Giving defense lawyers an even worse name, this outspoken attorney briefly represented accused murderer Steve Nunn. During that time she blamed Amanda Ross for her own fate, saying her decision to take out a protective order “caused all the problems,” adding: “If there does turn out to be a relationship between the death of Amanda Ross and Steve Nunn, it is not because the (domestic violence order) failed, but rather because the DVO was issued.”

Penance: An unfulfilling career of ambulance chasing

State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

The leader of the commonwealth’s education system succumbed to the hysterics of irrational parents who did not want their children listening to President Obama’s televised speech on education. The Obama administration urged all schools to tune in to the daytime address, prompting Kentuckians who disagree with the commander-in-chief’s politics to throw a fit if schools did not provide an alternative. Terry Holliday gave in and urged school officials to accommodate those students, who were spared the president’s radical, left-wing message about the importance of a good education.

Penance: Listening to George W. Bush speeches on constant rotation 

University of the Cumberlands

This Southern Baptist university in Williamsburg, Ky., uninvited a Texas youth choir from participating in a mission program at the institution of higher learning because the church they are affiliated with is too gay friendly. The Southern Baptist Convention had previously kicked the Texas congregation out of its conservative, hetero, teetotaling clique because of its “lenient stance” on homosexuality. As a result, the choir of 25 teenagers instead performed mission work in the apparently more progressive Tennessee.

Penance: Attend a Cher concert

Accused dog thrower Damon Bledsoe

Few offenses can spark outrage quite like animal abuse. So when someone tossed a female pit bull off the Clark Memorial Bridge, police and the public were determined to catch the bastard. Eventually Damon Bledsoe, 39, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. According to the arrest warrant, Bledsoe allegedly told a female acquaintance he had also planned to throw her kittens in the sewer because they were in pain. Because animal cruelty is a misdemeanor, this Kevorkian of pets faces a maximum of one year behind bars. The pit bull, by the way, survived her fall and was adopted.

Penance: Serving jail time in a kennel

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

This was a big year for McConnell, who wrapped 2008 winning re-election to the Senate after a difficult race. Other than typical McConnell-isms — hijacking Senate procedure to block bills with which he disagrees, as he’s promised to do with health care reform; or hyperventilating over bringing Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. to face criminal trials, arguing they should be deprived of the basic rights of every other criminal in this country, given their especially heinous nature — the senator continues trying to scare the living shit out of you while voting to spend your money on rich people who commit daily malfeasance (he called the financial bailout vote “the Senate at its finest”).

Penance: Forced to take the public option when health care reform passes

Sucker punches

Louisville music suffered a one-two punch this year: Former Jimmy Buffett sideman Tim Krekel, who nourished a faithful fan base and carved out distinctive roots rock solo albums, died in June following surgery during his battle with cancer. In October, Steve Ferguson, who penned the classic “Jack Salmon & Derby Sauce,” succumbed to his protracted bout with the disease as well. Musicians here are a resilient bunch, but these two passings underscore what they ponder when the stage lights dim and amps unplug. May their work endure.

Penance: Find a cure already!

‘The Thinker’

It’s the color of a putrid swamp. Due to chemical changes and corrosion from decades outside without adequate maintenance, the University of Louisville’s iconic “The Thinker” is a funky green. A 2007 report estimated the repairs would cost about $100,000. The university’s administration seems to be a willing partner in the restoration, but where’s the promised financial plan? Maybe they’re still thinking on it.

Penance: U of L President James Ramsey, meet wire brush

J.D. Sparks

You remember the video: LEO Weekly reporter Jonathan Meador is filming the Jefferson County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner and a meathead approaches him, challenging his right to be there with camera. As Meador tries to explain that he is a credentialed member of the media, low-level Republican activist J.D. Sparks manhandles him, shoving him to the ground and eventually pushing him out the door — all on camera. The attack left Meador with marks on his arms. Sparks, of course, held no position within the GOP and had no right to enforce any restrictions on media (the GOP kept its distance ex post facto). Both the newsweekly and Meador filed charges against Sparks, who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Last we knew, Sparks had reneged and was attempting some legal maneuvering to withdraw his plea, likely because it’ll stay on his record for five years, thus abating his lust for elective office.

Penance: Justice on the march

River Fields

The once-proud conservation agency was the subject of LEO Weekly’s Nov. 11 cover story, which examined the extant relationship between River Fields and the general public — strained, to say the least. River Fields has played chief obstructionist in major Metro initiatives, including the widening of the Harrods Creek Bridge and the construction of an East End Bridge, part of the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project. The nonprofit has its eye off the ball, to be sure, using its substantial economic and legal resources to uphold its myopic points of view about how this city should progress.

Penance: Build the East End Bridge

JBS Swift

On the bad days, the smell in Butchertown can singe your nose hairs. Thank JBS Swift, the meatpacking plant with surprising political pull that sits right-smack in the middle of the rebounding nabe. This year, Swift began an expansion project without getting the proper city permits, then backpedaled after a citizen group called them (and the city) out on the dustup. Naturally, the Metro zoning board decided not to punish Swift after the company and an affiliated workers’ union began a scare campaign about the plant’s 1,300 jobs disappearing if the city enforces its laws and penalties. Then, in a real mother of a flip-flop, Councilman David Tandy, who represents the area, filed a resolution encouraging Swift to continue to develop and prosper in the neighborhood, despite several years’ worth of negotiations between the company and the Mayor’s Office to try and move the plant out of the gentrifying ’hood — and retain the jobs.

Penance: People finally stop eating cheap, crappy meat

State Sen. David Williams

Among his many ideological transgressions, Kentucky Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, has been the primary legislative opponent of expanding gaming in the commonwealth, deploying some of the softest logic we’ve ever heard — gambling is inherently immoral and will lead to the degradation of the family — and his characteristic good-ol’-boy strong-arming to scare people into agreeing with him. This, despite allegations that Williams himself often treats himself to a few rounds at the tables, a charge — which came from a Lebanon attorney — that sent the hyperbolic Williams into paroxysms of loathing and threats of legal action. The unraveling of a clod is just so fun to watch.

Penance: A cold streak  

I-65 Construction

No more quick trips to the Zappos outlet for a while: President Obama’s verifiably socialist stimulus plan — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — is wreaking havoc on our roadways. Sure, they needed a little attention (we’re looking at you, I-65 potholes), but this is just crazy. Don’t expect to get anywhere anytime soon on local, state or federal roads and highways in the area, because they’re all bottlenecked with “progress.”

Penance: Free shipping on all shoe purchases from our favorite outlet store 

Haus broken

Recessions wreck artists and clubs alike. Yes, it’s true you didn’t have to go to The Pour Haus, but you can’t say the clubhouse at 1481 S. Shelby St. didn’t have its moments. Such as: the debut performance of King’s Daughters & Sons, The Danny Glover Cover Band’s version of “Nuthin But a G Thang” (among others) on New Year’s Eve, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’s 2006 spellbinder. One of its bartenders was a magician, and when the smoking ban took effect citywide, The Pour Haus ran afoul of the law in charming, albeit illegal, fashion. In recent years, Germantown has become something of a cultural hotbed, but we’re at a loss now that Robin Moody, Clint Allen, Billy Bartley and others aren’t enriching our weekends.

Penance: Thanks for the good times. Reopen soon?

Spatial relationships

Parking at Headliners Music Hall is a bit unnerving since a dispute forced Distillery Commons to close off most of the club’s spacious lots. The new environs across the street are unlit, and lot capacity influences whether Headliners can open its comfy upstairs bar. Minor inconvenience if elder musos want to watch their show from up top. On the bright side, shows sound better from the floor.

Penance: Once we get that light rail system, the problem should take care of itself

You

That’s right — you, buster. You’re a vain, self-centered creature who rarely does anything to help others in your community. You don’t know who your local or state elected representatives are — most likely because you smugly refuse to vote in the first place — nor do you care to, because you don’t want to seem “elitist.” You drive around the city with abandon and leave the lights on in rooms no one is occupying, thereby contributing to the nation’s third-largest carbon footprint. You don’t read enough books, you watch too much TV, and your biggest concerns are 1) how fat you look; 2) how fat others look to you; and 3) whether you should order takeout or not. You know more about Lady GaGa than domestic policy, and that suits you just fine. You ignore homeless people asking for change, exert your enlightened green sensibilities by buying overpriced organic nonsense, and would stab your grandmother if there was a buck in it because the only things that matter to you are money, being socially accepted by the herd and sexual intercourse. In sum, your petty, meaningless hopes and fears will slowly consume you as you toil at a menial job that demoralizes you. Never realizing your full potential, you die bitter, alone and with nothing to show for it. But yeah, you pay your taxes. Maybe.

Penance: Sterilization