Monday, September 20, 2010

Louisville Churchill Downs

Once a year and they run for the roses. I wanted to put this small pictorial together last week when we toured the museum and did a tour of the grounds. Imagine 165,000 people here on race day. Great party excuse and a chance to say "I was at the derby."

Son Ryan...

Derby Museum...

Anyway, naturally the place is impressive and large! A few incidentals before more pictures of the grounds. Here's a saddle from the 40's. Not sure what size they are today, but it's more of a weight thing when it comes to racing. I sure could not fit on this thing!

A visitor posing for a photo with the 2010 winner...

You be the jockey. It's a simulated game anyone can play...

Call the race!

The grandstand....

On the rail...
 View from another angle...

Yea, I was at the Derby (grounds)

Friday, September 17, 2010

School In St. Louis

That's the reason for the visit. Very good experience for anyone desiring a career in the business. My purpose was to get some good images for the website that keeps me alive. Turned out okay for some pics, but I'm really looking for actual on site pics. That's a tough one to crack nowadays living in the sticks for two reasons. Getting into the good 'ole boys club in a rural area is hard if I needed work, and two, mention the internet and I get consistent blank looks. Few if any, see value I can provide.

I still got it many times at this school. Flooring people don't do the web. Good thing for me because it reduces the competition. Had I been in something like insurance, computers or other geeky stuff I wouldn't have a chance. Nowadays I just say I'm a gardener if they don't understand my business.

Son Ryan (blue shirt below) got lucky as some 40 students were broken up into four groups with instructors. His instructor was the infamous Daniel Boone (right) who claims to be a direct decedent of the Kentucky pioneer.  I had doubts as I couldn't see the math in what he called an 18th generation, unless them Kentuckians had kids at real young ages...good possibility!

This Boone is synonymous with hardwood flooring instruction and and recognized by all that know the industry top to bottom. Starting as a helper for his father at a whee little age of six or seven, his knowledge and talents have taken him around the world as a respected go to guy whenever problems occur or opinion is needed.

Anyway, lot's to mention, but little time. Some misc pics.


Cards Vs Cubs. Busch Stadium St.Louis

Yep, why not check out a Cardinal game this time. Having been in this city for a third time in my life I always wanted to see one. One can sense the longtime rivalry with the visiting Cubbies as traveling fans had reason to cheer while downing the slumping Cards 7-3 behind problem child Carlos Zambrano. It seems the Cubs are working on a new milestone as one fan laughed while waiting in line for a hot dog.

"We're now working on two centuries..." (without a Wold Series win) That's right fans, the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. For trivia buffs, this marks a time before the radio was invented!

Easy access to this ballpark. It was really spur of the moment when I saw Zambrano was pitching. Staying at the Hampton Inn in Chesterfield, I mentioned to Ryan at about 6PM let's go check it out. I-64 East and about 25 miles later we're there without any traffic problems, parking about two blocks from the park. Tickets? Whoaa, they're all too damned expensive in my opinion. I can't see how people can pay these prices. These days I sure don't see many Afro Americans in the stands.

Anyway we got lucky as one gal was trying to dump two $85 dollar third base line tickets for $40 each outside the ball park. All I had was sixty in cash so she agreed to the deal. Good thing they take debit cards everywhere, otherwise it would have been a ballgame without dinner. That made up for the ticket deal.

Nice back drop of the the arch from this seat. Having been to Citizens Bank (Philly) and this park being newer I thought they would have a collaboration of ideas for food and other stuff. Not impressed but they had a similar outfield mall area where people can mingle, but lousy views of the ball game.

Smoking sections? Good thing I don't need one every other inning as it's on the street outside the park with street entertainers here and there. Quick Cardinal trivia question. Who has the retired number 85 for St.Louis? A few fans I asked couldn't answer it either. Answer below.

Answer- The Cardinals retired the number 85 in Augie Busch Jr's honor in conjunction with his 85th birthday in 1984.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

American Pickers Spotted In Louisville

Saturday morning while grabbing a hot breakfast at the downtown Hampton Inn of Louisville I noticed a few familiar faces. Okay I thought, those are the pickers! Gotta have some fun. I snuck up on Frankie Fritz and mumbled "hey you been pickin' in my territory." The response was quick just like his fast wit on the program.

"Where?" I hadn't  thought past the initial question and should have said something like Bobby Joe Hatfield up in Possum Holler. Anyway, if you've followed the History Channel's American Pickers show you may wonder just as much as I. How can these guys make much of a business with a small van 400 miles from home? Ten picks and sometimes the van is full with items that may only gross a $500 profit. I thought perhaps they ship stuff back to home in LeClaire, Iowa via common freight lines.

"The van is a magical stretches when we want it to," quipped Frankie with Mike Wolfe as the two began dreaming up answers to my question. They aren't any different than what's seen on the program, always clowning around. Seriously though, Mike reported they have a large box truck follow from them until it's full.

I didn't realize how popular the show was until I did some research. The average episode is viewed by 3.8 million people, making them modern folk heroes of sorts and a TV idea that experts said nobody would watch. So what kind of team makes up the pickers? Seven folks are involved in the program on the road that includes the box truck (not seen) a small RV, the Antique Archaeology van, and a lead vehicle with camera guys and equipment.

Spending a few minutes having a smoke in front of the hotel while the team was getting ready for the day I asked John the cameraman if they stage the greetings you see when the guys knock on somebody's door.

"We go ahead and set things up, so people know the guys are coming but everything else just happens(without any scripting or rehearsal)." I also inquired where the helicopter was. Most people probably don't notice the great camera work I do. A lease for hire chopper is brought in from time to time where John handles the aerial shots as well.

As natural as you see them on TV, joking around constantly, one of the team members looks at me and says "see what we have to put up with?" after Mike nudges the van forward almost pinning in John as if to say...

"Man we're ready, lets' go dude." Pictures are worth thousands with these two, but I'm not the type to push it into people's faces. Wide eyed with big smiles, these guys look like ten year olds ready to hit the playground.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Road Trip - Shake Off The Late Summer Blues

Considering how my gardens are nearly dying of thirst, especially the ones up the driveway where only carried water works, I'm outta there. Oh, and by the way the spring seems like it's nearing critical levels too. I'm hearing spurts of air gushing through the lines when the toilets are flushed (3x each day now). The creek has been the garden water source via pump the last two weeks and it's the laundry in town until some significant rain falls in the area.

So it's Knoxville, Louisville, and finally St.Louis for a NWFA (wood flooring) installation school. Son Ryan didn't appreciate the great drive yesterday through the Daniel Boone National Forest going up I-75. I actually wanted to take the slow way, though deeper mountain country and off the beaten path. Mountains aren't his gig.."boring, lonely" is his take. Yea, at 24 I may have thought similar, but he grew up in an urban area so this new experience doesn't work for him.

Thinking to the fall, I was blown away at this sack of daffodil bulbs I saw in a Knoxville Home Depot the other day. I may have to pick one or two up on the return. Pretty darned big bulbs as well. The driveway could use a good showing of daffs next spring which I can't wait for. This past summer has been a real and dry. Atlanta had something like 70 days over 90 degrees where the average is about 40.

Louisville has some stuff to offer. Churchill Downs which we plan to see Sunday. Muhammed Ali has a museum in town along with the head quarters of the Louisville Slugger Bat Company and the worlds largest bat. Not my pic, just something I found with Google images.

Sure wouldn't mind seeing some botanical gardens, but it may be getting late in the year? Probably see the Cardinals vs Cubs next week in Saint Louiey. Staying at the Hampton in downtown Louisville until Monday AM. Indoor pool, yohoo...but CLOSED by order of the city. Something to do with a chemical imbalance. Geez folks got nutting else to do? How freaking bad can it be? Many people probably drink worse. This society is so damned scared of getting sued. Rules, rules and more rules. What happened to simple times?