Black Friday sucks.

I still have nightmares about being forced by my wife to participate in the maddening annual ritual.  Several years ago I promised my wonderful bride, after having my toes stomped and my coffee spilled by a raging stranger with red eyes, bad breath, and unkempt hair, that I would never again go to a store for the purpose of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.

Ever.

As my father so eloquently states, “I’d rather have a sister in the whorehouse.”

I, a man who is not defined by his possessions, see it a senseless orgy of consumption that ranks high in the reasons other people in far away lands hate us, but that is another list for another time.

Last year, in lieu of a shopping report, I put together a registry of “gifts” for our fair city that turned out to be more of a wish list than anything else.

This year I’ve decided to do a list of people for whom (and things for which) we should be thankful in Louisville. So get set to give thanks, rejoice, beat your breasts, spend some money or whatever it is you do when you are full of gratitude and you know it. Some people or things on this list are well known and some are Louisville’s best kept secrets. We should be thankful for them all.

Let’s get it on.

Brian Tucker’s 2011 Insider List of Things to be Thankful for in Louisville

  1. Insider Louisville is still going strong and Steve Coomes is still hanging around writing great things about food in Louisville. Terry Boyd is also working feverishly behind the scenes for you people, getting up early, staying up late, juggling his family and putting up with me on the phone and in person, all while writing great news stories. Thanks, boys. Keep up the good work.
  2. Curtis Morrison for Louisville Metro Council is an idea whose time has come. Louisville’s 8th District has had the same representative since merger. And the current officeholder was on the old Board of Aldermen. Time’s up! Thanks to Curtis for stepping up for his city. It takes guts to run for office against a long-time incumbent. Especially one that has made a career of simply “being there” instead of leading. A great historian, Tom’s gifts are wasted on the council. Louisville loves Tom Owen, too, but it’s sort of like that weird, know-it-all uncle of yours…glad he’s around, but glad he leaves, too.
  3. Laura Wallace is the owner of City Concierge. Laura provides information and concierge services to hotel guests and visitors (that includes you, the stay-cationer) regarding local events, shopping, arts and all that Louisville has to offer. Which, as it turns out, is quite a lot of cool stuff.  If it is a unique experience in your own city that you seek, look her up. You can have a pretty good time in Louisville if you give it a shot. Start with City Concierge. Thanks, Laura, for making our city look great.
  4. Changing Spaces is a small business in Louisville specializing in professional organizing, design and staging services. But it’s really more than that. When you feel good about the space you live in, you feel better about who you are as a person. It is that gift that my friend and former high school classmate Rick Wurzel can bring to you when you call.  Sick Rick on the hoarder in your family for the holidays, and do more than clear clutter. Improve a life. His work is amazing. Thanks, Rick, for sprucing up the living environments of your clients, and for doing it with zeal and inspiration.
  5. Mayor Greg Fischer hasn’t screwed up very badly, has he? That’s a nice thought. Contrary to what some people believed, Louisville hasn’t completely fallen off the map under his watch. Although things aren’t where most citizens want them just yet, Greg is trying. So thanks, Mayor Fischer, for what you’ve accomplished in your first year in office.  And while we still hear too much of the “corporate-speak” that drives us nuts and even though you still haven’t called me back about Bus Rapid Transit, I’m still glad you’re giving 100 percent to “driving results that add value and reflect best practices while empowering integrated mindshare.”
  6. We still have two Ohio River bridges we can use to get out of here from time to time. And for now, there are no tolls on them.
  7. Two words: Lebowski Fest.
  8. Ron Whitehead is one crazy bastard and I love his guts. The “electric hillbilly heretic poet” Whitehead makes me wonder how a city like Louisville can continue to produce and support such eclectic wonders. Thanks, Ron for being yourself. Buy the ticket, take the ride.
  9. There is actually a place in this city where you can go and force them to cook the culinary masterpiece that is the “turducken.” Heart doctors operating in the city limits thank you, the folks at Varanese, for this artery-destroying, chicken and turkey-with-a-duck-bill disaster.
  10. Organized Labor in Louisville has taken just about all the crap it is going to off of people in government and in business that seek to destroy a worker’s right to organize and speak openly about their working conditions. Thanks to my union, I can say what I want about my job without fear of reprisal. Plus, it pays pretty well and I have good, inexpensive health insurance benefits for my family. So, a big “thank you” to the labor movement for giving me the 40-hour week, the weekend, paid personal days and a host of other things most people take for granted. It is no coincidence that most of the businesses doing the hiring in Louisville have workforces that are represented by unions.

Happy thanksgiving, and thanks for reading.

Keep Louisville weird.

    Brian Tucker is a lifelong Louisvillian. He is the founder of The Valley Report, and has been writing on Southwest Louisville's political environment for several years.


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