Inbox — July 7, 2010

Stand-Up Temples
I’ve done crowd work ever since I learned to control my farts at age 6. But actually “getting up” on stage, in a real club, and emulating the comedic heroes and spiritual advisors of my youth (Carlin, Carson, Pryor, Nixon, etc.) didn’t get bucket-listed until a couple of years ago. Prostate cancer in 2007 made me realize if I’m going to be “getting up” in any fashion, I better do it soon. Additionally, having been saved from the retched excesses of a successful real estate career by the Family Court of Jefferson County, the stars were aligned for me to try my hand at stand-up. It’s funny to suffer. It’s funnier to die, and all you need to do that is a venue. So, how lucky could a 50-year-old baby boomer with a smart-ass mouth be to find himself living in one of the most vibrant comedy communities in America?

So, I dipped my toe in. Got a couple of spots at the Louisville Comedy Underground and got a couple of laughs. But the laughs were not the only surprise. As it turns out, Comedy Caravan and The Improv are more than just venues for people to tell jokes. They are communities. And, in my view, the best communities Louisville has to offer. I found that in these places, people of all races, religions, creeds (not the guy on “The Office”), political passions, specific dietary practices, sexual persuasions, those not very sexually persuasive, weights and income levels are always present. And while there, the light of examination is on all. We make fun of everything, both amplify and minimize our differences, inflate and deflate their importance, and ultimately gain deeper understanding and appreciation for more than ourselves. All while laughing our asses off! Society improves when it looks at itself naked. I would like to see more Louisvillians replace the elevator ride to the top balcony of an East End mega church with the 10 or so steps down into Comedy Caravan or across the skywalk into The Improv. Spend your tithe this week on a ticket, a couple of drinks and a good time at one of our comedy clubs. These are the most helpful Temples.

Thanks LEO and Brent Owen for spotlighting this incredible asset we have in this great city (June 30 issue). Superb job! We need to put you on the outreach committee. We meet Wednesday nights, pot luck in Fellowship Hall. Luckier than Lady Gaga in a balloon factory. Hmmm. Still working on that one.
Kirk Miller, Highlands

Marketing Local Farmers
Attn: Summer Auerbach,

I have been searching for easy to understand words and phrases to sum up the very topic of your Locavore Lore article for the general public (LEO Weekly, June 30). Your opening statement sums it up. With only one small critique — to replace the word “could” with “will” in the last sentence. Not sure the value of farmers markets can be summarized more simply and to the point than you have done in this article.
Jayson Lewellyn, chef/owner of 732 Social

Peace Be With You
Thank you so much for such good coverage of Allan Weiss’ “Postcards for Peace” project (June 23 issue). Both LEO and the Ali Center are to be commended for bringing attention to this meaningful project. It certainly affirms that one person can make a difference. Having seen a sampling of the postcards Weiss has received, I can say they give one pause for the thought that has been put into each one. As Weiss indicated in the article, peace is many different things for different people. This will be an exhibit that will be well worth viewing for both students and adults when it opens at the Ali Center on Sept. 21. This is the kind of article that makes LEO a quality periodical.
Susan Foley, Louisville

A Diverse Rainbow
“The Prodigal,” a play about one African-American family’s acceptance of a transgender daughter, written about by both LEO (June 23) and the C-J, closely associated transgender with homosexuality. Gender identity is not synonymous with sexual orientation. Both transgender persons and those in the gay community have been and still are negatively affected by societal disapproval. While having this in common, the commonality ends there. Transgenderness is about gender identity, not sexual orientation. Gender identity develops at a much earlier age than sexual identity — as early as 3 or 4 years of age. There are transgender persons who identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and celibate, just as there are differences in sexual orientation in the non-transgender community. Being transgender does not make one part of the gay community. My hope is that one day, society will accept the beautiful rainbow of all human diversity. Nature loves diversity, not our self-imposed orderliness.
G. Miller, Old Louisville

Bear Etiquette
I think it’s a very sad thing that the bear that attacked Tim Scott at Red River Gorge has a search warrant out for it, and inevitably a death sentence. I also find it to be a bit of a stretch that Scott had any right to strike the bear with a stick when it sniffed his bag. I always thought it was part of the job as an adult to play the role of the visitor, the guest, when we are in another animal’s habitat; whether it be our neighbor’s house for a dinner date or, in this case, a black bear’s home.

I feel being the visitors we are in a forest such as the Gorge, we should find ourselves not just thankful toward the inhabitants of said Gorge, but also at their mercy, because that’s what we expect from visitors in our own homes, don’t we? In fact, sometimes we ask that they bring a dish along with them, a little gift for providing a place for the bountiful meal they are having. Why do we expect so much from a guest of the same species, but won’t return the same manners to an animal in his home? Don’t you think it scared the bear to find an unknown animal in his area of town? When we shoot an intruder who threatens us in our own home, it’s called self-defense. So why aren’t the bear’s actions the same thing?
Shelby Moneymaker, Highlands

Do You Need That?
Funny how you pick up a publication and randomly pick a spot to start reading … and find another individual who is not only of like mind, but thinking the same thoughts at virtually the same time. Thanks to LEO and Andrea Reed for identifying those most culpable in the recent tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico (in the June 9 issue) and the ongoing destruction of our planet … me … us — not them, they or the other guys.

As Reed so wisely suggests, maybe the best place to start is with the issue of our mindless consumption, or more directly, examining our wants versus our real needs. It would be the height of arrogance to identify for others what might be an essential need, as opposed to a whimsical want. But it might be worthwhile if we all were to stop — just stop — once or twice a day and ask ourselves … “Do I really need that?” Lately, I have found that merely asking the question has kept me from a foolish, wasteful purchase that would do nothing to make me happier, nothing to improve my relationships with others, and nothing to leave the planet in a better condition than when I arrived.

Thank you for asking us to reflect on our own behavior and, ultimately, our own culpability as we watch the tragedy in the gulf continue to unfold.
David Thurmond, Holiday Manor

Break Things, Kill People
OK, this letter may offend a few readers, so I’ll be specific. I’m aware some readers may feel the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the Armed Forces is discriminatory, but that policy was implemented for good reason. During my Air Force basic training in 1970, the first thing our training instructor told us was “you are a fighting unit,” and our primary objective is to protect base resources, ourselves and our other Air Force members. And for six weeks, we trained on how to accomplish that. Then in tech school, our instructor startled us by asking us if we knew what our mission was as Air Force members. We said, “to defend the nation.” He said wrong … your job is to “break things and kill people,” and that’s how you defend the nation. Now I ask the readers who support repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: How does that accomplish the mission of “breaking things and killing people”? We have Middle East allies, many of whom are of the Islamic religion who put people to death for being homosexual, and if these Muslim nations’ military members began serving as allies, side by side with openly gay U.S. military members, it just may create an awkward situation that does no one any good. What the U.S. military needs, fighting two wars, are fighting units willing to break things and kill people. Individual identity is good, but not when fighting war.
Keith E. Lewis, Downtown