It'll Cost Ya
Alex De Grand reported the banks' side fairly enough ["Bank Robbery," May 18]. Not his fault that charging fees to make money on top of money sounds like BS. And, as he noted, not all banks are so greedy, and there are other financial institutions. At some banks, a small savings account is good for free check-cashing, Some CMAs charge a flat annual fee for checks and credit cards, but pay more in dividends. So, all is not lost, yet.
At the rate Lexington is going, in the next five years everything will be paved over to make room for those "Applebees on every corner" you're so afraid of ["Then and Now," May 11, 2000].
What little character we have left won't even be a memory by then.
We all have to take some responsibility for preservation. Everyone who suggested the Wrocklage and the Bistro and places like that as Things We Miss should remember to put their money where their mouth is.
Vote with your dollars and vote downtown.
In Texas a girl of 14 can legally have intercourse with a man of any age. The only stipulation is that the young woman cannot be a virgin at the time of the initial sex act with her lover. A virgin can only give sexual consent when she reaches 17 years of age. This fact raises some important questions.
First, and foremost, George W. Bush obviously does not disapprove. He has been governor of the state of Texas more than long enough to seek to change the law if he objected to it. Why is it sensible to differentiate between virgins and non virgins in setting the age of sexual consent? What does this say about Mr. Bush's behavior twenty of twenty five years ago? Maybe nothing, but he has left himself open to suspicion, given his support of Texas law.
In some states the sexual age of consent is 13 or 14. A Texas teen might travel to an agreed upon rendezvous with an older Rock Musician, or College Student, or Businessman, become an ex-virgin, then return to Texas to practice consensual sex entirely legally. Apparantly, George W. Bush has no objection.
The question is this, how does a possible presidential candidate, George W. Bush, explain his stand in favor of Texas sexual consent law? And how does he try to explain himself before Evangelical Christians, people who are on record as strongly opposed to the effects which Texas law, in fact, brings about?
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Mail: 263 N. Limestone, Lexington, Ky 40507
Marxists on Main
If you're thinking to yourself "one of these things is not like the other ones...." obviously, YOU weren't at Farmers' Market this past weekend.
The comparison is not meant to imply that Alex De Grand and I have experienced sudden religious conversions - merely that we inadvertently joined the ranks of Public Nuisance Number 1, as we hit the bricks at Farmers' Market early last Saturday in our innocent attempt to foist our new "Grow Locally, Shop Locally" totes onto an unwitting public.
The message didn't seem especially controversial, and they were free, after all.
Maybe that was the problem. Free. Nothing in life is free. This cynical, jaded, world-weary crowd refused to have any part of it. They were onto us.
Or maybe they've just been screwed by the hegemony once too often; something had to account for their skepticism.
I thought maybe Alex's backward-turned baseball cap had people confusing us with drug dealers ("Yo, yo, yo - first one's free, second one'll cost you" was one of his trial sales tactics), but I frankly suspect we'd have had an easier time unloading black tar horse that'd been smuggled across a border wedged hygienically up the crack of some pockmarked addict's ass.
Judging by the level of leeriness and apprehension that we encountered, they were assigning far too much credit to our nefarious motives. As your average communist plot goes, this one admittedly lacked a certain sophistication.
The totes weren't implanted with computer chips, designed to track your every move, and report back to the Mother Ship. They aren't embedded with receivers which send you subliminal messages about what to buy, or where to go (those microchips are expensive, and we save 'em for the ACE List). They weren't pox-infected for Chrissake (that kinda thing is best left to the military).
It would not, however, be an exaggeration to say we were greeted with the approximate level of enthusiasm that one might normally reserve for, say, Mormon Amway salesmen.
Most people were simply rude and dismissive as we pathetically proffered our meager wares.
Others were downright squirrely.
Since we'd agreed that we could leave as soon as the last tote was distributed, we were fairly motivated to unload the merchandise.
I was hampered by my usual painful shyness and reticence for initiating congress with strangers, which left Alex with the burden of accosting shoppers and persuading them to "Take it! Just take it!!"
"Take. the. bag. and. nobody. gets. hurt."
But the most disconcerting episode of the morning occurred when I returned from the asparagus truck, only to see our star reporter being forcefully rebuffed by an elderly bluehair who was clearly having none of his little Marxist plot.
"Would you like a free tote?" he inquired politely, sweetening the pot by reiterating, "they're freeeeeee."
Her eyes darted around, mapping a panicky escape route, "Oh, I don't cook," she stuttered, trying to sidestep him.
He and I exchanged a glance, digesting this non-sequitur (a glance that spoke volumes, volumes that read, "what the fuck does that have to do with anything? who the hell would cook a tote?")
Sensing that we were onto her lame protestation, she anxiously eyed the telltale booty of produce weighing down her arms, and blurted out, "These aren't for me!" before frantically skittering away.
Later, he hit on a strategy that worked, whereupon he actually bagged the shoppers' produce for them, all-the-while subtly selling them on the miracles of the wonder tote.
Dejected and disheartened, I could only observe from afar, as I almost rued the day I dragged him here from North Carolina - luring him with the prospect of Woodward and Bernstein-style adventures - only to force him to star in the "paper or plastic?" nightmare suffered by parents everywhere who've shelled out a gazillion dollars in higher education for their offspring.
Ultimately, by the time we got down to the last few bags, my do-good community zeal was waxing mighty thin - my fervor admittedly dimmed by the distraction of my dogged, single-minded progression toward my usual Saturday goal (mmmm, paaaaaancaaaaaakes) - whereupon we dumped the stragglers onto the growers we knew and encouraged them to share the wealth.
What did we learn? Well, we wouldn't go so far as to say, the best things in life are free. We might say: don't be so quick to look a gift horse in the mouth.
But in retrospect, I think it's pretty clear where the blame belongs. Oh Lord, what evil legacy of mistrust, suspicion, and paranoia hath the Kroger Plus Card wrought?