copyright Bill Widener 2000

On the Farm

Dear Ace:

Thank you for your article of 6/29/00, Fractious Farms. As a vegetarian for almost 10 years I have been voting with my fork to reduce the demand for meat and dairy products by consuming a diet centered on fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. A diet rich in plant foods and low in animal foods has been shown to lower your risk of: heart disease, cancer (colon, breast, prostate), diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. The best way to clean up our environment outside is to clean up our environment inside.

Best regards,

Leslie Dodd

via email

Can He Go Home Again?

Chris Offutt, you're living my dream. A muscle car. A pretty girl. Ale-8. Dilly bars. Man, why did you ever leave?

Ray Chenault

via email

Chris Offutt responds: Like many people from the hills I had to leave to support my family. Aside from the land, I miss Ale-8 the most.

I picked up this week's issue and wanted to write and tell you that Chris Offutt's Southern Voices is the best thing I've ever read in ACE [July 6, The Hot Rod]. But I'm confused. I thought he left town? Is he back? And when's his next book?

Lynn D. Ferguson

Chris Offutt responds: I did leave town and wish I hadn't. I am not back and wish I was. As Happy Chandler said: "All Kentuckians are either going home or thinking about it." The next book is nonfiction about returning to and leaving Kentucky, and is due out in summer 2001. After that is a book of short stories about women from Kentucky, due out in 2002.

(Offutt is still teaching at the University of Iowa, and has been asked to stay on for another year. He's written the screenplay for a movie, called Jack King, currently filming in Iowa. He's also starring in it. The essay he wrote for ACE might end up, in in some form, in the new book.)

Moveable Feasts

I'm always pleased to see African-Americans on the front page of any newspaper in such a positive light, as this week's issue of Ace [July 6, Blackberries, Blackberries]. In reading your story about Ms. Wilkinson, I am just saddened by the fact that she had to go all the way to England to find someone to publish her book. Was there no one in Kentucky who was willing to take a chance on her obvious talents?

Maybe UK isn't the only one suffering from the "if it's from Kentucky it can't be good," syndrome Alex De Grand writes about [Citybeat, Penny Wise, Pound Foolish, July 6].

Ernest Douglas

Back on the Block

Ms. Lissa Sims, I am Chip Crawford, son of and work with Mac Crawford, a well respected builders/remodelor in Fayette & surrounding counties. I would like to take amoment to comment on your article "Fayette Park Restored & Restyled" in the June 29th edition of the ACE Weekly [On the Block]. I have issues with some of the points you made in the article. The main points that I got from the article was the questions of (1) Why in our community does there seem to be more new development and not as much redevelopment and restoration? (2) Why does the quality of the new development seem to be so low?

First, simply put, it costs more to restore and redevelop. The majority of us do not have the additional resources in either time, money, or energy it takes to embark on such a project. Especially when you can go out and build a new home or office with more square footage and more adminities for the same cost or even less...

You are talking about a very small percentage of people and an even smaller percentage of businesses that are in a position that economics is not their first issue, and those people are renovating.

Your second issue of the quality of new development has some merit, but I believe it is directed at the wrong people. Most builders and developers try very hard to build a quality product. It goes back to economics. Most homeowners (average household with less than $100,000 annual income) live in a house for no more than 5 years. Barely enough time to build any equity in their house and really not enough time to make it a home. They are less concerned about energy conservation, structural integrity, and the other things that separate a $125.00/Sq.Ft. house from a $70.00/St.Ft. house. They want what will give them the most bang for the buck and retain as much value as possible for a short period of time. All you have to do is ride around town to see this everywhere. That is what sells. I believe much of this is our community's and its leaders fault. We will sit back and put loads of restrictions on our older historic buildings, making it expensive and difficult to make any improvements on those buildings, but we won't put any architectural requirements on our new development. And I believe our other even greater other problem is the fact that our community refuses to acknowledge the fact we are growing and are going to continue to grow, and we should plan for that growth.

We should have and need a long-term development plan in place that address all of these issues. That find ways to promote redevelopment and restoration. That addresses issues of traffic, education, & utilities. And maintains the heritage of our community and until this is done we will continue to battles over this issue and developments like Hamburg Pavilion will end up dotted across the area.

The biggest problem I had with your and other similar articles, was the fact that you stated issues without any solutions or suggestions. I am tired of these bumper stickers that read, "Growth Destroy Bluegrass Forever." What?? What kind of solution to your issues is that?? Now I may not agree with it, but at least the bumper sticker, "Grow Up, Not Out" has a suggestion to it. That is my main problem with this whole argument...I want a community that I can continue to have a constructive livelihood and feel proud to raise my kids in...


Chip Crawford

via email

Edited for space.


I hope this gets printed. I like some of the horses set up around town. Some of the stand-outs in my opinion were from: Robert Morgan, Mary Ashley Miller, Earl G. Snellenberger, Damon Farmer, Georgia Henkel and John Mahorney. Now for my ranting part. No Unicorn!?! Cincinnati had flying pigs, nobody could do a Unicorn? Most of the horses were advertisements you can see in the local media. Truly a media brain-washed town. No true vision. Mayor Pam Millers' vision of the future has a stigmatism. She better help push to be part of the 2012 Olympics. And the KY Speedway opening weekend, where is the oversight committee?

Am I the only one seeing this. A good idea for creating parking downtown would be to gut the Festival Market building and make it a parking garage. Leave the exterior the same if possible. But what are people thinking of for downtown? "Bring back the Trolly." This place is like a dysfunctional family, expecting different results from the same behavior. Psychological evaluations for everyone!

Curtis Apollos

via email

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Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507


He Said, S/he Said

Here comes Dick, he's wearing a skirt/Here comes Jane, y'know she's sporting a chain/ Same hair, revolution/Same build, evolution....

-Paul Westerberg

This issue's cover story deals with issues of gender and identity politics, and it's written by a Vietnam veteran.

Welcome to the briarpatch.

It was around this time last year that a soldier, Barry Winchell, was killed at Fort Campbell - beaten to death with a baseball bat. It was later suggested that his rumored homosexuality, and relationship with a man (who performed as a woman in a gay bar in Nashville), might have played a role in the beating death.

His mother is now suing the army for nearly $2 million, suggesting that "Don't ask, don't tell," fosters a homophobic environment that invites harassment and hostility.

Military leadership maintains that they cannot possibly allow openly gay troops to serve, because it will ruin the spirit of trust and acceptance that's required to allow men to share the same foxhole. The same argument was made prior to integration of minorities into the military.

Race, gender, sexual orientation... all continue to push our buttons.

This week's cover story prompted a great deal of water cooler conversation. (We don't actually have a water cooler, but we have a mini-fridge with a six-pack of Ale-8 in it.)

The general consensus seemed to be that identity politics screw us all.

Comedian Bill Hicks suggested, "anyone dumb enough to serve in the military should be allowed in. That should be the only requirement. I don't care how many pushups you can do. Put on this helmet, go wait in that foxhole. We'll tell you when we need you to kill somebody."

He finds it disingenuous, at best, that the military has drawn this moralistic line in the sand over homosexuality, asking "aren't you hired killers? You're thugs. And when we need you to blow the fuck out of a nation of little brown people, we'll let you know." He argues that having gays and lesbians around while you're napalming children really should not be an impediment to the esprit de corps.

The military is, and always has been, far more about class, caste, and economics than it is anything else (like so much in life). Follow the money.

If we get in another war, we'll just do what we've always done. Empty out the inner cities, the barrios, the reservations, and the mountains to find cannon fodder. War's an equalizer. Gay or straight. No one's going to advocate using up the West Pointers, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, George Bush shows up at the NAACP convention, tours the inner cities, and spouts Spanish until the mariachi band strikes up and plays him off the stage. This guy wants to be Commander in Chief of the armed forces, and frankly, "bend over" sounds pretty much the same in any language He's still his daddy's boy.