As I've been bitching about the heat and life in Glendale California, I've been bombarded with news from my old Kentucky home.
Newshounds now think that the very first blood spilled by civilians arguing about the war in Iraq actually happened in Kentucky
. While attending a flea market in Prestonburg the other day, two men (described as friends) pulled guns on each other at the snack bar and one of them shot and killed the other. The man killed was first to draw, but was against the war. His name was Harold Smith.
Hmm... name sounds familiar.
That this argument happened in Kentucky, to me, was shocking. One of the most conservative southern states, Kentucky has a high number of military families, and to speak out against the war would likely be seen as unpatriotic. To know there was dissention (the gunplay part is not surprising) would imply there is more argument about Iraq around the country than I ever knew.
While the rest of us so-called "liberals" have gone numb and indifferent to this issue, is the rest of the country waking up? If so, can we at least get the satisfaction of an "I-told-you-so?"
Meanwhile, on a much lighter
note, Kentucky now holds the rep for being the most unhealthy state in the country
. More cancer. More obesity and heart disease than ever before. (WE'RE NUMBER ONE!! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!!)
Not a surprise given that my hometown, Owensboro, was often given the title of "fastfood capital of the country." I never saw the actual data, but it was often recited that we had more fastfood per capita than any other town in the US. Fastfood service was a huge sector of employment and my mother used to remark that the citizens of Owensboro made a living flipping each others burgers.
In Owensboro, any restaurant that wasn't a buffet was doomed to failure. Even the "Chinese" restaurant was all-you-can-eat. (I can still remember eating there with my mom and stepdad as Relax
by Frankie Goes to Hollywood blared
on the loudspeakers. That is still, to this day, the most awkward dinner I've had my entire life.)
It's a shame to see KY slide down the list like this. When I was growing up, ranking was all about education. Coming in at number 48 in high school test scores, our only satisfaction was to laugh and point at Alabama and Mississippi who were stupider than we were.
But help is on the way for my old state. Cameron Crowe's new movie, Elizabethtown
, set in Kentucky, is getting promoted all over the place and might help clean up the state's image just a bit. It looks to be a nice movie that will depict Kentuckians as friendly people with good values, which they generally are. The kind of place that really could, amoungst the litters of obese, below-average scoring kids, actually could spit out an Orlando Bloom now and then.
I may not live Kentucky anymore, but I haven't disowned it yet...