Current Event Friday #32

Buy low and sell high, it’s the axiom of business; but some are worried about what will happen to local businesses up for sale.

Sell! Sell! Sell! That’s been the word of the day for two local attractions this side of the Ohio River. Now fans and locals aren’t sure where to go if these beloved attractions close. Visitors to Kye’s of Jeffersonville and Joe Huber’s Family Restaurant of Starlight are going to have new owners soon.

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I had already decided to write about Joe Huber’s restaurant earlier after news of the sale broke last week but wanted to talk about Kye’s since the sale of that venue is of similar concern to locals. Worth noting, I’ve never been to Kye’s for events, but I recognize the name as a premiere event space for folks in the Louisville Metro area. Also, worth mentioning is that Kye’s has already been sold to a property management company near the event space and could still be operated as an event space or retail center depending on the new owner’s whims.

Joe Huber’s Family Restaurant is expected to be auctioned off near the year’s end. When news of the auction broke, a near panic happened and local media descended upon the Huber campus to report about the sale and a possible deal for another family member to buy the property before the auction.

If all this seems a little crazy, it really is. I’ve been nearly a half dozen times to Joe Huber’s restaurant in my entire 33 years. I went 2 or 3 times in childhood and it was a neat experience, but it wasn’t an annual event for the family. I’ve now been about the same number of times in the last year and half to Joe Huber’s restaurant. The restaurant is known for its simple country fare with big portions.

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Most Saturdays during the harvest season the restaurant serves a full dinner family style for the whole table including fried biscuits with apple butter, Waldorf salad, slaw, green beans, mashed potatoes and white gravy, dumplin’s, fried chicken, and sliced ham. You can also add dessert for an extra few dollars. Besides eating at the restaurant, the farmland it’s situated on offers a farm market with homemade jams, sauces, produce, candy, and crafts. Children take delight along with couples during the fall season to pick pumpkins in the pumpkin patch.

Lest you think that I’m just spouting this off from dodgy memory and others posting on social media, I’ll admit that last weekend I met much of my dad’s family over at Joe Huber’s restaurant, because it might close. The restaurant was ¾ full on a cold and drizzly Saturday. If the weather had been nicer I’m sure it would have been much fuller. I actually was glad when it was decided last week that the family wanted to meet over there, because my new locale is only 10 minutes from Starlight and meant less out of the way driving for me. I had already realized when I was appointed to the Borden area, that a happy consequence was my proximity to Joe Huber’s Family Restaurant and their cousin space — Huber Winery. Actually, if I’m being honest, I was more excited to be near the winery than Joe Huber’s, but they both have their advantages.

For what it’s worth, the Huber Winery is run by a different branch of the Huber family tree, but yet many panicked thinking that the winery would be sold and shuttered as well. Given this confusion Huber Winery had to release a statement affirming the sale of Joe Huber’s restaurant was a different branch of the family and a separate enterprise and they planned to be operating their 176th year in 2019.

Back to the confusion and the packed restaurant, that annually does millions of dollars’ worth of business, it will be fine. All that’s happening is that the namesake family that owns the restaurant and farm will allow someone not part of the family to own and oversee the business. That’s it, full stop. As I discussed with various members of my family, that’s not much different than current operation. Most of the Joe Huber family has already allowed non-family to run the day to day operations and other facets of the business. The only involvement most of the Joe Huber family has is collecting the profits gained from the business and being the name on the tax forms. So, yes, the restaurant will be sold to someone not named Huber, more than likely. It may very well be sold to the other Huber family that runs the winery nearby since they are related distantly. Much of this hullaballoo is going to be similar to Papa John’s being run by anybody but John Schnatter, Wendy’s being run by anyone other than Dave Thomas, or KFC being run by someone other than Col. Harlan Sanders. Sure, the founders’ names and likenesses are present in the restaurants, but they gave up running the businesses decades before.

What do you think? Does the founder or namesake of a restaurant need to be intimately involved in the business once it becomes majorly successful or can someone else run the business and use the founder’s name and likeness to keep up the success?

Poetry Wednesday #21

In the midst of the two-week celebration of all things German, today’s Poetry Wednesday is titled, “Musings on the Festival of Munich — Oktoberfest”

Behold the bride, ready for this season

Therese, this bride waits patiently, there in the field, it is her own wiesen

Stands at the altar, Kronprinz Ludwig her groom

An inner dialogue within her soul, “Will he or won’t he be my doom?”

The calm autumn sky delights the guests as the pews they squeeze in.

A hush falls, a breeze wafts thru the upland clover still in bloom

This day it seems has kept her waiting until the First of Octember

Yet, all this shall be passé by December

All those gathered here know the good news this brings for the kingdom of the Bayrisch.

Messengers, the poets of the dawn tell out the wedding in each and every parish.

Listen! for the folk shout with the sound “Segen!” all through München.

After the ceremony, canvas and poles are readied in tented form for the luncheon.

“Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the happy couple, give them ev’ry good wish.

As the happy couple enters, the bartender opens the puncheon.

Hark! the maidens are singing

As if this festival has no ending.

“O’zapft is!” the keg is now tapped, pour the beer.

The celebration of this wedding will happen each and every year.

Whether it is amber, dark, or pale; all the brew must be Marzen

If it’s to be served in the Biergarten

The city stirs a little, until everyone has gathered from far and near.

Foamy draughts of old nut-brown, flow well after the sky has begun to darken

I am telling you now, I shall visit each and every tent.

This fortnight fest is a worldwide event.

While all the olden and golden moments pass, the food is the wurst.

Go forth, the fare served at the essen halls and stalls is also the best.

If I hadn’t enjoyed so much, I wouldn’t feel as if I was bout to burst.

You’re all invited! Claim your faux or full-fledged German roots, join me at Oktoberfest.

©Ryan Stroud 2018

Thanks for The Meme-ories

A fun poll of some of my favorite memes

Just for a little fun today, I’ve chosen some of my favorite memes on my phone that I have ready to post as replies on social media or as responses to text messages. I’m posting them for you to pick your favorite meme, leave your answer in the comments:

 

A)

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Waldo’s No Prob Bob

 

B)

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Dwight: False. ____ are best

C)

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Mama Boucher: _____ is one of the many tools of the devil.

D)

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Gov. LePetomaine: Work, work, work.

E)

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Buh-Wheat & Otay symbol

F)

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Kermit’s Yaaaay reaction

History Monday #28

Just over a century ago, the President admitted he liked big buttes and he couldn’t lie. 😉

The devil’s in the details, although several Native American tribes believe that a giant bear may be in the details. I know that sounds strange, but it’s thanks to mistranslation by a government excursion en route to Yellowstone. Hopefully this #HistoryMonday will clear all this up.

It was on this date, just barely over a century ago that the first implementation of the Antiquities Act acknowledged the first National Monument — Devils Tower. The party responsible for designating Devils Tower as a National Monument was Pres. Teddy Roosevelt. Congress had previously designated Devils Tower as a U.S. Forest Reserve in 1892, and Pres. Teddy Roosevelt added even more protection and significance to Devils Tower on this date in 1906.

National Monuments are created by presidential proclamation as spelled out in the Antiquities Act and usually are smaller areas than National Parks.

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According to the National Park Service, the distinction is explained as:

“National parks are areas set apart by Congress for the use of the people of the United States generally, because of some outstanding scenic feature or natural phenomena. National monuments, on the other hand, are areas reserved by the National Government because they contain objects of historic, prehistoric, or scientific interest.”

www.nps.gov

Devils Tower is an example of a geological feature known as a butte located in northeastern Wyoming. Devils Tower is a butte comprised of igneous rock. Geologists debate whether the formation is the result of surface level sedimentary rock injected with igneous rock that creates a separate igneous rock formation. Other geologists have hypothesized it is the neck of an extinct volcano. The visibility of this rock formation continues to be appreciated as weathering reveals more of the base of the rock formation. Large columns of Porphyry of Phonolite on the outside are visible thanks to the nature of the cooling of molten rock.

Native American tribes including Kiowa and Lakota explain the origin of the formation as the result of several girls escaping a giant bear by climbing on a shorter rock and as they prayed to the Creator, the rock rose dramatically into the sky and the bear left claw marks around the formation unable to reach the girls. The Sioux legend tells a similar story, replacing the girls with two brothers in the story. The Sioux version of the story is depicted in artistic form at the visitor center to the National Monument.  Both legends use the bear’s claw marks as explanations for the columns and banding around the exterior of the butte.

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After the creation of the first National Monument with Devils Tower, the National Park Service and other agencies now administer 129 areas recognized as National Monuments. The most recently created National Monuments were created in the last week of Pres. Obama’s presidential term and celebrated the significance of African American Civil rights. Rather than proclaiming one national monument, Pres. Obama created the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Freedom Riders National Monument, and Reconstruction Era National Monument on Jan. 12, 2017. The 2 former monuments are both located in Alabama, and the latter is located in South Carolina. Pres. Obama also holds the distinction of creating or expanding 34 National Monuments during his term. Arizona narrowly edges California for the most National Monuments with 18, while the Golden State has a close 17.

Besides the modern significance of National Monuments in the political arena and National Park Administration, there is also significance with Native American tribes. Many of the tribal foci stem from their historical interaction with Devils Tower and many of the other National Monuments in the Western United States. Apparently the word for bear was incorrectly translated during the Yellowstone Expedition as ‘bad gods’ or ‘devils’ and the name stuck. It’s thanks to this incorrect translation, that has led to scrutiny even in the last decade by Native American advocates to rename the monument according to historic Native American traditions. Most of these names are related to the Native American legend of the butte’s origin. The most recent suggestion offered in 2015, suggested renaming Devils Tower to Bear’s Lodge Butte. Earlier proposals to the name change were rebuffed by officials who argued changing the name could hurt the tourism industry who had already capitalized on the Devils Tower name. (For my thoughts on symbolic name changes, see Current Event Friday #19.)

According to the Devils Tower information page, the park is visited by a half million people each year, most coming between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  That’s a large number of visitors, but other National Monuments have anywhere from three-quarters of a million to a few million. Many of those National Monuments are also part of a nearby National Park that works jointly with the monument and so there’s easily overlap. Devils Tower also benefits from being near the edge of the Black Hills National Forest and Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. If you’re out west, and within a few hours driving distance be sure to visit Devils Tower.

Current Event Friday #31

A schoolhouse divided against itself will not stand.

When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his school is great
I tell him right away
Now what’s the matter buddy
Ain’t you heard of my school
It’s number one in the state
So be true to your school now
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Be true to your school now
And let your colors fly
Be true to your school

Yes, the Beach Boys recommend school spirit, but one local school corporation is facing an identity struggle, and that struggle is the topic of today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

WCC Schools

This struggle has been happening for almost a year already with no progress likely. The West Clark Corporation is determining the best course of action for the 3 smaller school district members of the corporation and are awaiting state recommendations. The corporation is comprised of three separate districts: Borden, Silver Creek, and Henryville. The school district gathering the most attention and at the heart of the disagreement is Silver Creek. The school district is seeking to improve its facilities and overhead costs but the funding through local property taxes failed last year and the corporation is unsure what to do. A proposal has been advanced that Silver Creek could become its own independent corporation and leave the other two districts to remain as constituent members of the West Clark School Corporation.

Admittedly, I barely noticed the kerfuffle last year since I was living two counties away. Now that I’m in Witness Protection in the area, I’m a little more interested. Actually, I’m not in Witness Protection, just the United Methodist system of itinerancy. (Although I’m happy to be further away from my ex and avoid the Sam Hunt “Breakup in a Small Town” problems.)

Plus, many of my parishioners and their neighbors are keenly aware of what’s been happening with West Clark Schools (WCC) and as a matter of consequence I’ve tried to pay attention more. The WCC plan that would separate Silver Creek school district would likely create new boundary lines that could include families that currently live in the Borden District as part of Carr & Wood townships in Clark County. Obviously with more eligible students, the proposed Silver Creek School district would be able to receive more funding. Although having worked elections as a poll clerk it’s obvious there will be some question about whether families are within the lines. I’ve seen where voters in the particular precinct float between town proper and township lines based on the boundaries drawn. Sometimes those boundaries cause confusion because the mailbox is in the town proper section while the house itself is in the township limit. The decision whether the voters at the address receive township or town ballots is subjective and is open to interpretation by the precinct officials who must come to some agreement on which ballot shall be given.

Anyways back to WCC Schools, the struggle is somewhat foreign to me. I’m familiar with a one town and one school corporation model. I grew up in the Paoli school district all of my school career. The only difference that ever changed was that we moved from being in the township to being in the town proper during my 7th grade year. So, the idea of several towns forming a larger corporation at the county level is not in my wheelhouse. I’ve learned since living in Corydon about larger corporations that encompass several towns and sometimes include smaller elementary schools that eventually feed into the Jr./Sr. High Schools. So, honestly with my frame of reference I don’t see a problem with Silver Creek’s plan, at least at first blush. But I also know that it could cause the Borden School district to shrink even smaller and become only an elementary school and everyone eventually goes to Silver Creek in high school. That’s not always a fun prospect for students. I’m also willing to empathize with the WCC families because the corporation of 3 smaller districts is supposed to help with some burden sharing that the three districts might not handle on their own. I’ve been keeping my eye on what is happening in my hometown and their school corporation, and I’m expecting that in the next decade or two, that Paoli, Springs Valley, and Orleans schools will all become part of the Orange County School Corporation and allow each individual corporation to become a district within the larger corporation.

Look, I also get that as a millennial my generation isn’t necessarily preoccupied with roots and connection as much as previous generations. Much like the first generation with the car, the world got suddenly bigger. Now with technology and interconnectivity becoming the buzzword of the day, loyalty to town isn’t what it once was. I still have some school pride, but there’s not as much rivalry as there once was. There may not have been a real rivalry, since I know that earlier generations saw alumni from rival schools live, work, and marry into rival school districts without much problem.

All of this to say, I’ll be true to the school district I’m serving in for as long as I serve there, and I’ll be true to the school district of the next place I serve. So, I’ll go to basketball, football, and baseball games in the community I’m serving in, and occasionally I may try to go to sporting events in my hometown when I’m visiting. I’m true to the school of individualism, but I’ll wear whatever colors fit the setting I’m called to unless they’re playing my hometown. I’ll just stay home that night and not speak of the game. 😉

 

Do you think the school division is warranted or the incorporation of independent schools is a better idea?

Poetry Wednesday #20

For Poetry Wednesday I wrote about today’s obscure holiday with “Great Scott, It’s Puddin’ Day!”

“Great Scott, It’s Puddin’ Day!”

Mix together cornstarch, salt, and brown sugar so sweet.

I wanted something after my dinner.

Butterscotch pudding sounded like a treat

The milk is ready to go on the stove, add the sugary paste

I’ll get it thickened with some egg yolks.

The sugar mixture and the hot milk boil and bubble.

Here comes the dairy mixture tempering the eggs with quick whisk strokes.

Now I need some butter and vanilla.

 

We should serve it up in parfait glasses.

Sure, plastic cups could work,

But, plastic isn’t good for sea grasses

The dessert cup will work better.

I will enjoy this dessert.

Mind how you scoop the pudding for service,

You don’t want to be burnt by the hot liquid and get hurt.

Be sure you strain the pudding through that fine sieve.

 

Let’s make this taste kike butter & scotch, let’s add a jigger of Jim Beam,

Don’t worry it’s not nearly enough whiskey for each serving.

The bourbon and the sweet pudding is sure to lead me to a good dream,

I bet it’ll be sleepy images of sweet cream and molasses.

We’ll enjoy this thanks to the Victorian queen.

Crush some of those golden candies on top.

Oh goodie, look at the pudding with its amber sheen.

I wonder if this would be enjoyed by Robert Rockwell, I’m sure Mr. Brach will.

 

C’mon let’s eat!

If we have any extra, it’ll be a good filling for pie.

Everybody knows vanilla and chocolate for their pudding.

But butterscotch pudding can’t be beat.

 

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© Ryan Stroud 2018

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Cheeseburgers Are Paradise

Let them eat burgers, cheeseburgers that is.

Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger. This phrase was made popular as a skit on Saturday Night Live in the first generation of the sketch comedy show. The skit featured John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Dan Aykroyd as burger-slingers from a greasy spoon in Chicago. The characters were based on real-life burger joint, the Billy Goat Tavern. The Billy Goat Tavern earlier gained fame for it’s early proprietor, Billy Sianis who imposed a curse on the Chicago Cubs who refused to allow him to watch the World Series with his beloved goat, Murphy.

Anyways, all this to say that today is a special day. That’s right today is National Cheeseburger Day. Notice, it’s cheeseburger and not hamburger. While I will eat hamburgers sans dairy product, I’d much rather eat cheeseburgers than their naked counterparts. (Watch my ex get offended at reading about hamburgers and cheese.) I prefer my cheeseburgers more minimally dressed, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. That’s not to say that I’m not open to other garnishes. I enjoyed a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Friday night with Bacon, BBQ Sauce, Onion Ring, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, Onion, and Mayonnaise. The burger was slippery and messy though, so I don’t make a habit out of ordering burgers that loaded with toppings.

I think Jimmy Buffett’s approach is worth considering too — Lettuce, Tomato, Heinz 57®, a Big Pickle, Onion, and Mustard with a side of fries. Jimmy also parlayed the success of this song into a chain of restaurants bearing the name of the song. The restaurant included Velveeta® cheese as the cheese of choice which isn’t a bad way to go.

I am somewhat of a cheese snob for burgers. American is of course the go-to option for most burger cooks and plays the part well for a simple cheeseburger. I would encourage you to also consider sharp Cheddar to add a more savory flavor. Swiss works well for mushroom and Swiss burgers. Mozzarella can be used for Pizza Burgers. I do reject Bleu or Blue Cheese for cheeseburgers though. I’ve never really cared for the funky flavor of blue cheese. Although I did have some in a Roquefort butter topping on a prime steak from Harry & Izzy’s this summer.

Worth noting is the history of the hamburger/cheeseburger. Four separate people lay claim to inventing the hamburger. Ground Beef as a dish has been around since the days of the Hun empire and still exists as beef tartare today. German cooks added heat to the ground meat and created Hamburg steak sometime around the 18th century. The hamburger as a sandwich is generally believed to be created sometime around the turn of the 19th century heading into the 20th century. The oldest claim belongs to Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut in 1895. The small lunch restaurant offers hamburgers available with limited topping choices including onion, mustard, and cheese. Their burgers are served on sandwich bread instead of buns. The bun was invented by a fast food cook in 1916 who would found White Castle® restaurants five years later. The cheeseburger itself was either invented in 1926 at The Rite Spot Restaurant in Pasadena, at Kaelin’s of Louisville, KY in 1934, or Humpty Dumpty Drive-in of Denver. The Humpty Dumpty proprietor did receive a trademark for the word cheeseburger in 1935.

Also, of importance in the cheeseburger discussion are the specialized variations on the original. Patty Melts which use two slices of grilled bread as the carb option while also adding grilled onions to the patty and cheese. Minnesotans offer a cheeseburger with the cheese stuffed inside the patty rather than topping the patty, calling the creation a Juicy/Jucy Lucy. Not to be outdone, Triple X Drive-In of Lafayette, Indiana offers a cheeseburger with traditional vegetable toppings but substitutes peanut butter in place of the mayonnaise or mustard toppings. Odd as it may seem, the peanut butter does offer the creaminess that mayonnaise usually offers while also adding a sweet and salty quality to the sandwich that works well with the bitterness of the onion and sourness of the pickle. By using peanut butter with the other toppings, the burger is able to activate all four of the recognized taste bud receptors as well as the savory or umami flavor provided by the beef patty.

Now if you’re hungry, there are a few deals available on National Cheeseburger Day. You can find a list here if you’d like to take advantage of the opportunity:

National Cheeseburger Deals

Full Disclosure, I’m probably going to the local Ice Cream stand to get Mini Burgers or Five Guys® to celebrate National Burger Day as intended. For those reading West of the Mississippi, be sure to stop at In-N-Out or Whataburger for me since I don’t live anywhere close enough to enjoy them. For those South of the Mason-Dixon line, be sure to hit up Cookout or Krystal.

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