danniewriter

Adventures of Chip de ‘Ville (Seneca Park)

chippose

Hi all. Chip here.

This past Saturday was a sight to behold. Sunshine and mid-70s with a light breeze. Prue* plopped me in the basket for a trip to the park when the strangest thing happened: the roof of the car disappeared. It was a bright, warm trip to Seneca Park and then the roof came back.

I’m telling the truth, I promise. It’s not like the elk.

Prue told me that the car roof is supposed to do that, and in fact the disappearing roof was one of the reasons she bought the car. It still sounds fishy to me, but I digress.

Even though I’m only about three years old, the Magic Eye (see above) has given me perception beyond my years. On display at Seneca Park Saturday were many things I find most endearing about the promise of Spring in Kentucky.

It is vitally important to me that I dwell upon such endearments today. It’s 37 degrees out there. (I know Prue’s going to stuff me back into that sweater.)

At the first hint of Spring, the parks are filled with bipeds wearing the most alarming assortment of clothing. The smartest wear layers and peel as the day progresses. Those in sweaters shove up the sleeves and then turn on the AC when they get back in the car.

Then there are those who jump the gun. They dress as though it’s mid-July. Shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, and heaven help us if the guys decide to take off the tees. The sun bouncing off that much fish-belly white skin could bring down an Airbus A380.

I love the optimism demonstrated by the jump-the-gunners, and the bravery of those who are convinced the next snowfall could be only 24 hours away. (And, by the way, the latter group often is correct.) As temperatures climb back into the high 50s and low 60s the next few days, I expect to catch the scent of burning charcoal and hear the buzz of weed eaters and lawn mowers.

According to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy here in the ‘Ville, Seneca Park was sort of the final jewel in a crown of parks conceived by Fredrick Law Olmsted. Considered the father of landscape architecture, Olmsted was invited to Louisville in 1891 to help develop the park system. (FYI, his resume includes modest concerns such as New York’s Central Park and the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.) Eventually the Olmsted firm would design 18 parks and six connecting parkways across the city.

Seneca has more than 530 acres and includes an 18-hole golf course. There is an enormous green (well, it’s pretty brown right now) surrounded by a 1.2-mile walking path located between Pee Wee Reese Road and Rock Creek Drive. There are tennis courts and a great playground. Prue and I saw multiple sports on display in addition to these intrepid would-be kite pilots.

kites

The Kentucky Mountain Bike Association stewards a 10.3-mile trail between Seneca and Cherokee parks, too.

This is a very busy park with lots of vehicle traffic so visitors, especially those with kids, need to be vigilant.

I can’t wait to visit again, but Prue’s going to have to get me some sunglasses, especially for those jump-the-gunners.

(*Person Responsible for Ultimately Everything)

 

Chip de ‘Ville’s ‘Pooch Ponderings’

chipantler

Hi all. Chip here.

Various issues and topics on my mind these days. Just when I think I’ve got something figured out, another subject crowds in. Kinda like another dog I know.

Let’s start with one of my favorite subjects, food. Prue* took the photo above of me enjoying the remnants of an elk I felled earlier this week.

Hang on.

She’s telling me I can’t lie on her blog. When did we decide this?

(Whatever.)

To say that I enjoy my food is an understatement. I can clean a supper dish like nobody’s business. Usually, I’m done before Prue reseals the bag or returns the can to the ‘fridge. The aroma of browning hamburger drives me nuts, and I can hear the sound of a Ziploc bag opening behind closed doors and when I’m asleep and buried under a couple of pounds of doggie blanket. Yep, I’m that good.

I’m a machine when it comes to food.

I really didn’t think it was a big deal when I upchucked an entire serving of soft food five seconds after I consumed it. We dogs are pretty practical about such things and I was getting ready to take another run at it when Prue started making gagging noises and looked at me like I had two heads or something.

A “friend” (yeah, right) suggested incorporating an obstacle in my supper dish (below).

chipfood

Some friend. (That’s a can of mushrooms, by the way.) In no time, I shall have a tongue as agile as a giraffe’s. Prue says she expects me eventually to be able to tie her shoelaces for her.

With the obstacle in place, it now takes minutes, not seconds, to consume my kibble. Wet food I get every now and again, in small bites and mostly from Prue’s hand. Silly, but I suppose this arrangement is better than involuntary regurgitation. Maybe you, dear readers, have come up with bright ideas to deprive, I mean, limit, food intake for your pets. Feel free to share them on our blog and/or Facebook page.

Another subject I’ve been pondering is the recent discovery here in the ‘Ville of four puppies left to freeze beside a dumpster near an industrial park. Two of the shepherd-mix babies already were dead when a kind fellow on his sanitation route discovered them. He took the surviving pair to the Kentucky Humane Society.

The circle of hell to which the perpetrator should be consigned is a question for another day.

Compassionate bipeds everywhere were outraged. The fuzzballs, named Samson and Gregory, were instant media darlings. KHS was inundated with calls from people wanting to adopt one or both.

There was so much interest in the pair, KHS decided the only fair way to place the dogs was a lottery among qualified applicants. (Story from WHAS-11, Louisville’s ABC affiliate.)

As a fellow canine, I am relieved and excited that these little guys who had such a lousy start to life are going to find great homes. I sure do wish there had been four puppies in the lottery instead of just two.

But I have to wonder if those dozens of people who contacted KHS, and possibly completed an adoption application, will consider bringing home an adult dog or cat.

Does compassion rely solely on the cute factor? I hope not.

I understand the appeal of a puppy, believe me. (I was freaking adorable, after all.) But I hope, very much, that when Samson and Gregory are no longer headlines, some of those people moved to tears by their plight will follow through on pet adoption, no matter the age or breed of the animal. There’s a great deal of love to be had from dogs and cats grateful for a warm, clean home, food in the supper dish, a lap in which to snuggle, and the occasional belly rub.

For details on adoption and on current animals who need homes, contact the Kentucky Humane Society.

Later, Chip

*Person Responsible for Ultimately Everything

 

 

Adventures of Chip de ‘Ville (Half Price Books)

halfpricechip

Hi all. Chip here.

As predicted, the fake spring kicked us in the pants here in Kentucky. Actually, I don’t have pants. In fact, I only have two-thirds of a sweater! What’s up with that?

Sorry, short attention span. I’m a dog; sue me.

Anyway, Prue* has been looking for pet-friendly merchants in the ‘Ville upon whom to share my awesomeness lest Cabin Fever get the best of me.

She says there’s a chain of amusement parks around the world that touts itself as “the happiest place on earth.” Prue, however, saves that moniker for Half Price Books. (She says the fact that we don’t have enough money to go to Disney is mere coincidence.)

We visited the Westport Road location, which popped up on a search of pet-friendly businesses in Louisville. The store is super spacious and overflowing with treasurers in hardcover, softcover, paperback, vinyl, CD, DVD and more. About the only thing that isn’t used is the stationery, but no doubt some of it is made from recycled paper.

It’s a cool store. Several overstuffed chairs, a section for kids, and even though there’s no overpriced coffee in the back, there may be some unpretentious Joe in the decanters by the door.

Prue has sold books at Half Price before. She says no one will get rich doing it, but if you are more interested in reading books than collecting them, this is the place to go. Gather up the volumes that no longer pique your interest and rotate that stock for some new-to-you treasures. It’s a great way to cut down on clutter in the home.

The carts are a perfect size for me. I met a cute little red-haired girl (Charlie Brown would be jealous) who really wanted to take me for a walk. I like kids. They’re the only people I meet who I can remotely look in the eye without getting a nasty crick in my neck or first being picked up.

As a bonus, there’s a Petsmart a few doors down! I scored some Greenies before we went home.

Later, Chip

*Person Responsible for Ultimately Everything

 

 

Carts and horses

ponycart

A friend of mine who is an online community manager recommended a great article recently. Like so many helpful observations, it seems obvious, but it wouldn’t be Tweeted, re-Tweeted, posted, blogged, etc., unless there were a slew of people out there falling into this particular hole.

Why You Need a Business Strategy, Not a Social Strategy was written by Jon Gatrell of Pragmatic Marketing. The piece is all about how easy it is to get carts in front of horses. Social media is free, and accounts can be set up, literally, in seconds. It’s no wonder businesses and organizations are stumbling over their wagons and horses.

In one of my first blog posts, I wrote: If your business, ministry or charity is plugging along on word of mouth and existing customers/supporters, it’s obvious you are doing something right! Congrats.

Growth is not always synonymous with success, especially if it comes at the high price of time away from family, health problems, etc. For the small percentage of business owners who are “doing very well, thank you,” the only “must” in online marketing would be a simple landing page on the internet with background, directions and contact info.

For the vast number of us in the “other” category, branching out in several marketing directions: print, direct mail, website, blog, social media, etc., is needed, but map out your business/organizational goals first.

Gatrell points out the folly of attempting to use every social media platform available. Not only can it become a huge time suck, depending on what you are selling/promoting, it could work against you. The wrong “fit” tells the world that you don’t really understand the different audiences of each platform, and it is also an indication that you might not know your own audience very well either.

“There’s a reason no one posts about holiday crafts on LinkedIn and why there aren’t many whitepapers showing up on Pinterest,” Gatrell writes.

Don’t let the tail wag the dog. Check out the post and use the suggested diagram to start mapping your business/organizational strategy; the marketing strategy will follow.

Need help? Call me!

 

They make us seem small

pinnacle2

Earlier today, I shared a link to a story from Bloomberg Business about Bit Source, a startup in Pikeville, Ky., that is giving some out-of-work coal miners training and employment as computer coders.

For me, the timing of this positive, hopeful story couldn’t be better, because there is another “startup” that really has me down. It’s the TV show “Outsiders” that recently premiered on a station I don’t want to promote by identifying.

I did enough research, and watched enough of the first episode, to equip myself to condemn it.

The show’s creators are quick to say that the “Farrell” family (named without irony, despite the spelling) and its heritage are fictitious, however, they took the trouble to identify the setting as the eastern Kentucky portion of Appalachia. The cherry on top is that the clan makes its way in the world, in part, by producing and selling moonshine.

They are dirty, illiterate, superstitious, ignorant, in-bred outlaws who periodically emerge from the hills to drive their ATVs through the stores of the local town, stealing whatever they need or want.

Just writing about it makes me feel dumber.

To me, the final indignity is that the show is filmed in Pennsylvania. Eastern Kentuckians get hammered by loathsome stereotypes without the slightest financial benefit even to one local economy.

It’s true, the mountains make us seem small, but trash like “Outsiders” makes us seem smaller in a different, and degrading, way.

Consider, instead, Jim Ratliff, one of the former miners mentioned in the Bloomberg story. To be trained by Bit Source, Ratliff had to pass a series of tests and assessments. He didn’t just pass; he aced them. Ratliff  “credits in part to his years of calculating particle velocities and explosion densities at his old gig.”

(I wonder how many people associated with that TV show could calculate a particle velocity even if it came up and bit them on the nose.)

One more thing.

I am not a supporter of big government; I’m a supporter of smart government. The Bit Source story is an example of what can happen when the public and private sectors work together. The U.S. Labor Department provided a grant so future coders could have an income while they trained.

Additionally, none of this would be possible without Internet connectivity, a scarce commodity in the region. Kentucky Wired is a private-public partnership to expand Internet availability in the commonwealth, beginning with Appalachia. The initiative has run into funding problems, so I encourage Kentuckians to stay up to date on Kentucky Wired, and to be ready to contact your legislator to support this vital effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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