Mona Tailor: Seeing The Dalai Lama

Sunday, May 19, 2013.

Never mind that I had to get up early on a weekend morning.

Never mind that I had to park a few blocks away to get to the venue so I would not have to search for a parking spot.

Never mind the fact that I waited in a line stretching to another state on a bridge for 2 hours to get through security.

Never mind that I did not have time to eat a breakfast or for that matter lunch today.

Never mind that it was so hot I was a sweaty mess by the time the event actually started.

Never mind any of those things from today.

They do not matter, for I had the great fortune of being in attendance today as the Dalai Lama spoke to an audience of thousands in Louisville.

Once I was able to see him and hear his message, any of the above frustrations was gone from my memory. His Holiness had a simple message; we are all capable of compassion. It is our “default setting” as one of the speakers, Dr. Doty stated in his remarks. Sometimes it is our circumstance, our ego, our bias or our environment that clouds this default nature within us.

mona1Regardless, we are all capable of compassion by seeing ourselves in others. Even for wrongdoers, we can show them compassion by separating the wrongdoer from their action. It is a world of compassion, of tolerance, of humanity that we are looking to create “as man has matured” and we have expanded our scope with small acts of kindness. Though compassion makes for a good slogan, this goes beyond words; this compassion in us begins by taking action.

This compassion and kindness towards others is what I experienced in line waiting for this event. In my 28 years in Kentucky, I had never seen a more diverse group of people gathering for an event. There were people of many different nations, languages, religions, dress all gathered for one single purpose. The air amongst the crowd was of understanding, of tolerance, of compassion.

In particular, the individuals around me were amazing. There was the young mother from my hometown of Bowling Green, KY who had offered to both her sons the opportunity to see the Dalai Lama speak, and her 8 year old choosing to come with her.

Then there was the mother and son duo who had flown from Texas to Louisville for the sole purpose of seeing the Dalai Lama speak.

For me, it was an honor to hear the Dalai Lama speak. He exuded a sense of calmness, peace, and serenity. I enjoyed listening to every word he spoke and watching every action he made in greeting every person he came across. You could tell the audience felt the same way. As he spoke the entire audience hung on his every word. He captured and sustained their attention the way he captured mine.

As we all left at the end of the event, the serenity and peace of his presence stayed with us. His compassion inspired you, regardless of faith, to be a better human being, full of compassion, caring and tolerance. “Compassion begins here [points to his heart]”. I truly believe this was a great start to experience this compassion.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Heaven

jyb_musingsI hope when I die that if I make it to Heaven, there isn’t a password required to get in that I have to remember.

And if there is, I hope God has a “Forgot Password” link on the entrance.

Otherwise, I am in real trouble

Artur Davis: Obama’s Weak “I’m No Nixon” Defense

To no one’s surprise, a few feverish days of the unprecedented—establishment media organizations beating up on Barack Obama’s leadership—are already giving way to a series of smart, nicely reasoned analyses of why the IRS/DOJ/Benghazi revelations are not genuinely scandal-worthy. (See Ezra Klein and Noam Scheiber for some of the best representative samples, and Charles Blow for one of the more in-the-tank ones). And the early revisionists are right, as I acknowledged in my previous posting, that these fiascoes have little in common with the substance of Watergate, and its nest of garden variety obstructions of justice, as well as the obviously critical distinction that Richard Nixon was caught directing those obstructions from his presidential desk, while Obama is by every account a sidelines bystander.

But it’s worth making several rejoinders to the budding “much ado about nothing” narrative. The first is that if the standard for comparison is not the most discredited president in my lifetime, but a random Fortune 500 company, that Obama’s administration struggles mightily with the threshold concept of accountability.

davis_artur-11Three examples: (1) how does a Department of Justice with any measure of historical memory sign off on such a sweeping dragnet of reporter phone records, especially with nothing more at stake than ferreting out how the AP learned an obscure detail that compromised no ongoing investigations? Even allowing for the obvious, that Attorney Generals have no business discussing with presidents the content of secret subpoenas, the presidentially selected leadership at DOJ seemed weirdly clueless about the depth of the breach into reportorial work product. In fact, so clueless that it reflected an indifference to the axiom of any investigation that what is on paper will inevitably surface and have to be defended in a public or judicial context.

(2) When the hierarchy of the IRS learned that lower level bureaucrats were mixing political criteria with scrutiny of tax returns, what is it about the culture of this executive branch that kept that information from filtering up to Congress or to more senior officials at the Treasury Department or the White House? Why didn’t evidence of political censorship by tax officials stand out as the kind of thing Obama, or at least his senior staff or his Attorney General, might want to know?

Read the rest of…
Artur Davis: Obama’s Weak “I’m No Nixon” Defense

Josh Bowen: What is your Fitness Personality? 3 Questions You Must Ask Before Starting a Program

There are many; articles, blogs, and research in general about exercise/fitness written and seen everyday. Today’s media is obsessed with showing us the latest fitness fads to boost ratings and make mucho dinero. We are all inundated with countless “lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks” tag lines everyday of our lives. From P90X to Insanity to diet pills and the latest fad diet, this country is on fitness overload. But there remains one problem…we are STILL the fattest country on planet earth. Why? Why do millions of Americans sign up for a gym membership and stop using it after three months? Why are diet books sales at an all time high but yet obesity rates continue to climb? I have found a glaring hole in this fitness lexicon; personality.

Personality? I thought everyone was suppose to do three sets of 15 on the bench press, eat the same food over and over and hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes? Where the hell does my personality come into play?

joshHaving been a trainer 10 years, I will say the most important lesson I have learned is; the client’s personality, goals and abilities dictate how I train them not what I want. Personality traits have been used for years in other industries to pick workers in the right career position or match single up for date. Why do we not include this when participating in fitness?

Today we start. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

1. For your workouts to be a success, do you find you need to be continually challenged or have more structure?
This is a great question that will forecast where your fitness journey will take you (at least at first). If challenge is what you need, we first must define what challenges you. Running, lifting, obstacle courses, cross training can be challenging on different levels, if your personality drifts that what, keep it fresh to keep from getting bored. If structure is what you need, switching things up to quickly may overload you. CrossFit or P90X may not be something for you if structure is your goal. Keeping your exercise somewhat predictable may allow for more adherence and consistency. What if you don’t know or you have never exercised? Think about what you prefer in everyday life and apply it to your exercise program.

Read the rest of…
Josh Bowen: What is your Fitness Personality? 3 Questions You Must Ask Before Starting a Program

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Life Advice

Life advice.

Never do anything that you can’t successfully apologize your way out of

If you aren’t a good apologizer, don’t even think about it.

If you are a good apologizer, make sure you are assessing yourself accurately.

Ask a friend beforehand if they think you are a good enough apologizer to apologize your way out of doing something bold (or daring….or reckless, depending on hindsight).

jyb_musingsIf your friend tells you “No. You aren’t a good enough apologizer.” ask two more friends. If those two friends agree with the first, ask four more friends.

And so on.

Eventually, if it is truly a bad idea, you will spend so much time trying to get a majority of your friends to support you that you will forget what it was you were thinking of doing in the first place.

And do something else foolish instead.

Liz Roach: The Bourbon Classic — Louisville with a Twist

When asked about the art of pairing bourbon with food, the James Beard finalist for best chef: Southeast, Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia, offers valuable advice.  “If you don’t eat with bourbon, you’re gonna get real drunk.”

This tongue-in-cheek maxim aside, Lee articulates an oft-overlooked truth about the meaning of Southernness, something many bourbon drinkers appreciate.  “Being Southern is not geographical; it’s an emotional connection.”

The same could be said about bourbon.  Contrary to popular belief, not all bourbon is made in Kentucky.  The Bluegrass State, however, is the predominant source, creating 95% of the beverage. And many would say it’s done best here.

There’s no doubt that no one throws a bourbon party like Kentuckians.  Case in point: The Bourbon Classic, a two-day event celebrating all aspects of the libation.  Organized by The Bourbon Review and FSA Management Group, the revelry took place from March 22-23, 2013, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville near the famed Whiskey Row.  In its inaugural year, The Bourbon Classic provided a chance for attendees to sample bourbon in many forms: served neat at tastings, mixed into cocktails, or cooked into savory hors d’oeuvres.  

Guests had a chance to sample multiple innovative dishes from some of Kentucky’s finest chefs on the Bourbon Classic’s opening night.  Pairing up with master bartenders, chefs participated in a “Cocktail Challenge,” which required each team to provide a coordinating beverage and small plate featuring bourbon.  Along with Chef Lee, judges included Joy Perrine, author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, and Noah Rothbaum, editor-in-chief of A buzzy crowd of serious connoisseurs and curious imbibers mingled over glasses of Seviche chef Anthony Lamas’ Tuna Old-Fashioned and Jonathan’s Chef Jonathan Lundy’s bourbon banana pudding.

Other highlights of the Bourbon Classic included a master distillers roundtable featuring the patriarchs of bourbon, who shared lore and described the craftsmanship of their storied products.  Breakout sessions provided a range of ways to experience the brown nectar, from pairing chocolates with bourbon (courtesy of Holly Hill Inn chef Ouita Michel) to concocting a cocktail called the Boulevardier to listening to tales of historical bourbon barons.

After two days of tastings, after-parties, and after-after-parties set at local hotspots, participants walked away well-fortified with mash and a collection of new friends.

If you’re already salivating for next year’s event, we have something to tide you over. Bourbon Classic 2013 Grand Champion Jared Schubert of the Monkey Wrench in Louisville kindly provided his recipe for the “Dust Bowl Smash,” which snagged the award for best Contemporary Cocktail.  Schubert’s tipple provides a taste of bourbon in the new era, while maintaining that quintessential Kentucky flavor.

Dust Bowl Smash 
2 ounces Four Roses Single Barrel
½ ounce Honey Syrup*
1 dash Bitterman’s Hellfire Shrub
2 dashes Peychauds Bitters
6 large mint leaves

Combine ingredients in a shaker. Shake vigorously, and double strain into a double old-fashioned glass with ice.  Garnish with a leaf of mint.

* To make honey syrup, combine two parts honey with one part water. Stir until thoroughly combined.

(Cross-posted from The Local Palate, Photography by Weasie Gaines Photography)

Lauren Mayer: Vive La France – Marriage Equality Edition

Americans have always had a love-hate relationship with France.  On the one hand, we use “french” as a positive adjective, applied to everything from kissing to toast, and we admire French cuisine and fashion.  (I’ve always had this image of impeccably chic French women with a spartan wardrobe of 3 perfectly fitted sweaters, a pair of slacks, a pencil skirt, and 2 Hermes scarves, out of which they create 300 different, equally stunning outfits.  As well as never getting fat despite enjoying daily champagne and truffles.)  But we also use being French as a symbol of snobbery and effete-ness (remember how John Kerry was attacked during the 2004 election for speaking fluent French?, which was supposed to reflect everything that was wrong with his privileged background).  And there was that unfortunate episode in 2003 when France’s refusal to participate in the Iraq war resulted in Congress renaming a familiar side dish – anyone remember “freedom fries”?

So France’s latest news will probably cause some mixed reactions, but I for one am thrilled that the country we associate with ooh la la and romance has now opened up official recognition of romance (i.e. marriage) to same sex couples.  Sure, France is a largely Catholic country, but it’s also a place we associate with l’amour, toujours l’amour.  (Madame Popejoy, my high school french teacher, would be proud of me, I didn’t even have to look up the spelling!)

Quick disclosure – I was actually born in France.  (I have no french roots, but my dad was in the airforce about to be stationed in Labrador; he & mom had a whirlwind courtship and he swore the last thing he would do before he shipped out was to get her pregnant.  And it was.  So she went to France, where her parents were on sabbatical and which was at least a little closer to Labrador.  So while I have no recollection of my 3 formative months in France, I have a soft spot for the country.)  (And my parents checked, as a US citizen born in an Air Force Hospital, I could run for President.  Of course, at the time they checked, Donald Trump wasn’t around. . . . )

Anyway, here’s this week’s song in celebration of France joining the increasingly large list of countries that have legalized same sex marriage:

Christie Mitchell: Spilled Milk and Crying In Business, From A Woman’s Point of View

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s better to win the war, not the battle”.  But what defines a battle, and what defines a war?  When are you seen as wise, and when are you seen as a chicken?  Better yet, as a female – which of your actions revere you respected, and regretfully, what of your behavior leaves the all too familiarized impression of being “hormonal”?

When I am mad, REALLY mad, I cry.  I cry because I spend 50 percent of my day internalizing the raw emotion felt by others.  That “responsibility” as I’d like to call it, leads me to subsequently ration it into specific places as to find a way to improve the entirety of the situation.  I do not spend enough time thinking of myself…not even a small piece from the left over pie.  Instead, I work diligently, compartmentalizing and structuring a plan that will result in enjoyable, elated coworkers leading to extremely profound results.  So, when 50 percent of my time – time dedicated to a quiet, diligent effort to sustain a respectable, productive existence for those around me crumbles, well, I cry.

Christie MitchellCrying is most always seen, regardless of sex, as weak (unless you are Jennifer Lawrence who literally burbs rainbows, Mathew McConaughey or in recent years, Justin Bieber).  Crying is never depicted as a strong attribute.  You can be winning battles and wars, slaying dragons, closing deals, negotiating people right out of their skin…but the only carnage you create that truly gets noticed is if you cry.

Yet, and I have no source to site or reference to footnote, I truly believe it is the strongest form of passion and compassion for one’s job that can truly be witnessed.  Hand me a reason to care about my job, my co-workers, my bosses, the betterment of all and the betterment of those we serve – and guess what?  From time to time, you will see me cry.

Give me a situation where I don’t care?  Well, chances are, if I haven’t cried at least once – and publicly – I won’t be there long.  If I find my tear ducts dry for too long, that is my signal: CODE BLUE! We have a problem. ABORT MISSION.  This isn’t worth crying over.

Why?  Because there really is no use crying over spilled milk.  And as a woman, I think I should know what’s worth a tear or two.  If this makes me weak in the eyes of the many?  Eh, so be it.  I’m going to remain steadfast on this principal and work hard to command attention and gain respect one battle dissolved, one war won, one tear shed at a time.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: My Second Phone

Me and all the things I can do with my second phone

I have a second phone. I use it as my back-up phone. For situations like when I lose my primary phone. I have my back-up, or secondary phone, to call my first phone and help me find it by hearing the ring.

Sometimes my main phone has fallen under my car seat. Sometimes I’ve slipped it into my laptop bag and forgotten where I put it. Other tim…es, I’ve placed it in my pocket or in the holster for my back-up phone. But the great thing about my back-up phone is that I don’t lose my main phone for long.

It helps me save time that way.

This past Sunday I lost my phone that morning. And found it quickly, of course. Just how I always do.

But later in the day, after a few phone calls, I noticed an unusual number that I had tried to call me earlier in the day. Not once, but twice!

Technology is great. I didn’t have to wonder “Who called me?” I could simply Google the number. After Google turned up no results, I went to a service called Spokeo. Spokeo helps you identify people based on a strange phone number. They don’t always get it right but they do have a pretty impressive record of past owners of that phone number.

jyb_musingsI plugged in the strange number than had called me and up came a name I wasn’t familiar with —but it was a name. I had what appeared to be the current (or previous but recent) owner of the number.

After Googling the name and coming up empty handed, I went to Facebook and typed in the name. Bingo! There he was. Looking right at me. And we had 4 mutual friends. I looked at his business but didn’t recognize it. Then on the mutual friends to try to solve the purpose of this mystery caller. I sort of knew them but not well. I knew a little about one of their businesses but couldn’t figure out why they would be calling me.

I then looked at some of the mutual friends of the mutual friends for more clues, but nothing was jumping out at me. I looked through some pictures of their Facebook pages and finally realized I was going to have to cave in to my curiosity—and just call back the unrecognized number. I decided I would call and whoever answered, I would explain that I saw they had tried to call me earlier in the day and I am sorry I missed their call –and was calling now to see how I could help them. And ask, “And whom do I have the pleasure of talking to?”

I dialed the number, fearlessly, and waited for the ring.

It rang. Loudly.

I had dialed my back-up phone.

My mystery was solved.

Video from Last Night’s “Kentucky Tonight”

Last night, on Kentucky Educational Television’s “Kentucky Tonight,” Hall of Fame journalist Bill Goodman and his guests discuss the 2014 election. His guests included: Steve Robertson, chair of the Republican Party of Kentucky; Jonathan Miller, former chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party; Ellen Williams, former chair of the Republican Party of Kentucky; and Louisville Metro Councilman David Tandy, former treasurer for the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Watch it here:

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The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show