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Derby Day!

Today (May 6) is the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.  The Run for the Roses.

Go Always Dreaming!

Always Dreaming, go just for me,

Stardom and world fame are waiting for thee,

Sounds from the rude stands can’t spoil thy day,

Lulled by thy starlight all will pass thy way,

Always Dreaming, king of mine bet,

Run while I cheer thee with shouts of praise,

Gone are the cares of those behind thee,

Always Dreaming, win one for me!

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  1. Why they call Louisville Derby City: Visit the Kentucky Derby! Some people never watch the 2-minute race: celebrities, wild & friendly crowds, women in fancy Derby Hats, music, burgoo (fiery, three-meat stew), & mint juleps. Did I mnetion horses?
  2. Boats are sorta places: The Belle of Louisville celebrates its 100th birthday this year! The paddlewheel steamboat is the oldest in the country. Scenic and nostalgic. Did I mention romantic?
  3. Big, big water: The Ohio River is a mile wide, so my stories never ventured across to Hoosierville (aka Indiana). Stand on the banks & watch anything from sailboats to towboats seemingly a mile long.
  4. How about a sample? A few miles southwest is Fort Knox, where the U.S. stores gold. You can tour the Army base, but not the Gold Depository. I’m sorry, but they don’t give out samples.
  5. Just a horse race? The Kentucky Derby Festival runs two full weeks of celebrating. And balloons, steamboats, rodents (you read correctly), human runners, & other things race for 2 weeks before the race. Did I forget non-stop partying?
  6. Just some old rocks: The Falls of the Ohio River have been dammed off at the Falls of the Ohio State Park to expose one of the largest Devonian fossil beds in the world. Lots of blue herons and other waterfowl can also be viewed. Did I forget to mention it’s perfect for dam puns?
  7. Take me out to the ball game: Don’t be shocked, but Louisville Slugger is made in Louisville. At the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum, you can get your Major League bat made & engraved with your name. My stories have violence, but no bats as weapons, or do they?
  8. Do you dare? Reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the country, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a TB hospital that closed in 1962, after thousands of people died. It’s been featured on several TV programs. Do you have the courage to tour? I don’t. Did I forget to tell you I’m chicken?
  9. Under twenty-one? Skip to number Ten: The Kentucky Bourbon Trail covers much of Kentucky, but distilleries near Louisville or a few miles south in Bardstown hold tours and have gift shops. I included an abandoned distillery in Lies & Deceptions. Do I dare mention samples?
  10. The Pitter-patter of really heavy feet: You can’t ride racehorses, but you can ride carriages downtown. Drive a few miles east to Oldham County and Shelby County and visit their American Saddlebred, Thoroughbred, and Arabian horse farms. Not only can you tour, you can take riding lessons. Then maybe I’ll see you riding in the Kentucky Derby. Did I forget to mention Churchill Downs? That’s where the Derby is.American Queen

 

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Note: Greg Anderson, the main character from my Musa Publishing thriller, Neanderthal Protocol, decided to rant. His troubles begin when a DNA test classifies him as a Neanderthal and a court ruling strips him of civil rights. You can see why his view of Louisville veers from mine.

 

Greg: Like Chuck said, after what happened to me, I have a different take on Louisville: Tom Sawyer State Park occupies the farm of the old Lakeland Lunatic Asylum. The huge park has ponds, creeks, a nature area, playing fields, activities buildings, pools, and facilities such as a BMX track, a dog park, and an airport for remote-controlled planes. Neanderthals live in the wooded areas. It also has a cave/morgue and an old mill from the mental institution, but Neanderthals can’t be choosey. (It also has herds of wild turkeys and deer, but Neanderthals aren’t allowed to hunt, so we won’t discuss that)

 

Back in the day, before my life changed, I liked to bring my family to a nearby restaurant, Goose Creek Diner, a little place serving comfort food and Louisville dishes.

Burgoo is a fiery stew made with three different meats. Old-timers liked game meat, such as rabbit or squirrel, and they added a dash of bourbon, but Goose Creek Diner avoids them. Hot Browns are open-face toasted sandwiches, made with turkey, bacon, tomatoes, cheese and Mornay sauce. Fried green tomatoes are southern, and Louisville is certainly southern.

 

The Louisville Riverfront features parks, restaurants, hiking trails and attractions stretching for miles along the shore of the Ohio River, including the Indiana side. The Belle of Louisville is a century-old, operating steamboat based at the Louisville wharf. Carriage rides, docks, a foot bridge spanning the river, and music amphitheaters attract visitors year round.

My favorite section of the waterfront is the Louisville Water Tower Park. Built in the 1850’s, the Water Tower hosts the WaterWorks Museum and countless music festivals.

 

Even Neanderthals like the Kentucky Derby, which is held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. In a crowd of 150,000, a few Neanderthals can sneak in with no one the wiser. The race is only 2 minutes, but they have more races, bands, Derby food (burgoo & barbecue), and mint juleps. And the Derby has happy crowds—celebrities, buskers, bettors, partying college kids, and ladies with Derby hats (extravagantly decorated hats).

 

After I became a Neanderthal, I divorced. My girlfriend, Rachel, loves Bardstown, a small town a few miles to the south. Museums, shops, colonial houses, and restaurants make it a tourist destination. My Old Kentucky Home as in the song is in My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown. Although we Neanderthals legally can’t buy alcohol, its distilleries make it the Bourbon capital of the world.

Bernheim Forest is a private recreation area that is open to the public. Mid way between Bardstown and Louisville, it has over 14,000 acres of landscaped parks, forest, visitor’s centers, observation towers, hiking trails, and lakes. It’s perfect for families and for Neanderthals who need a place to hide.

neanderthalprotocol-200

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My thrillers, Neanderthal Protocol, and Lies & Deceptions, take place in and near Louisville, so I’d like to show you why I had to choose it for my novels’ location.

  1. Why they call Louisville Derby City: Once in your life, visit the Kentucky Derby. Some people never watch the two-minute race: celebrities, wild & friendly crowds, women in elaborate Derby Hats, music, burgoo (fiery, three-meat stew), and mint juleps. Did I forget horses?
  2. Boats are sorta places: The Belle of Louisville celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The paddlewheel steamboat is the oldest in the country. Scenic and nostalgic. Did I forget romantic?
  3. Big, big water: The Ohio River is a mile wide, so my stories never ventured across to Hoosierville (aka Indiana). Stand on the banks and watch anything from sailboats to towboats perhaps a mile long.
  4. How about a sample? A few miles southwest is Fort Knox, where the U.S. stores gold. You can tour the Army base, but not the Gold Depository. I’m so sorry, but they don’t give out samples.
  5. Just a horse race? The Kentucky Derby Festival runs two full weeks of celebrating. And balloons, steamboats, rodents (you read correctly), human runners, and other things race for two weeks before the race. Did I forget the non-stop partying?
  6. Just some old rocks: The Falls of the Ohio River have been dammedoff at the Falls of the Ohio State Park to expose one of the largest Devonian fossil beds in the world. Lots of live blue herons and other waterfowl can also be viewed. Did I forget to mention it’s the perfect place for dam puns?
  7. Take me out to the ball game: Don’t be shocked, but Louisville Slugger is made in Louisville. At the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum, you can get your Major League bat made & engraved with your name. My stories have violence, but no bats as weapons—too obvious for me.
  8. Do you dare? Reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the country, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a TB hospital that closed in 1962, after thousands of people died. It has been featured on several TV programs. Do you have the courage to tour it? I don’t. Did I forget to tell you that I’m chicken?
  9. Under twenty-one? Skip to number Ten: The Kentucky Bourbon Trail covers much ofKentucky, but distilleries near Louisville or a few miles south in Bardstown hold tours and have gift shops. I included an abandoned distillery in Lies & Deceptions. Do I dare mention samples?
  10. The Pitter-patter of really heavy feet: You can’t ride racehorses, but you can ride carriages downtown. Drive a few miles east to Oldham County and Shelby County and visit their American Saddlebred, Thoroughbred, and Arabian horse farms. Not only can you tour, you can take riding lessons. Then maybe I’ll see you riding in the Kentucky Derby. Did I forget Churchill Downs? That’s where the Derby is.

American Queen

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Charles Suddeth

 

Holidays can and should be fun. Mama always warned me: Choose your friends and holidays carefully. I never listened.

 

  1. Only the Horses are Sane Day: In Louisville, the Kentucky Derby is THE major holiday. The partying over a two-minute race goes on for days. I love the Derby, but by the first Saturday in May, I am more tired than the horses. And I always bet on nags that can’t find the finish line.
  2. Too Much Candy Day: Okay, I really don’t hate Halloween, but I never get trick-or-treaters. I end up eating all the candy myself. I considered buying candy I didn’t like, but the little ones wouldn’t like the candy either. And honestly? What candy don’t I like?
  3. Cute Little Critter Day: As a writer,I want something more abrasive than Ground Hog Day. How about Skunk Day or Porcupine Day? And in the south, ground hogs used to be dinner. My grandparents often dined on them, so those ground hogs never saw their shadows.
  4. Boss’s Day: Really? Really? Aren’t the other 364 days Boss’s Days, too? It’s listed as October 16 or the nearest workday. How about Employee’s Day instead? We deserve one day a year.
  5. You Gotta be Kidding Day: The third Saturday in October is listed in some states as Sweetest Day. We need more candy a few days before Halloween? Frankly, the day was invented by several candy manufacturers years ago. Wonder why?
  6. Stay Home and Hide Day: Sometimes known as Black Friday. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the day everyone but me shops. Except for bookstores, shopping is less fun than root canals.
  7. What Happened to Secretary’s Day: On Wednesday of the last week in April is Administrative Professionals Day. I have nothing against secretaries, but this name implies something is wrong with secretaries. Am I a Word Professional?
  8. The Fourth of July: Hey, I love Independence Day. I love the parades and fireworks. Patriotic songs make me cry. But they voted for the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd, they wrote it up on July 3rd, and signed it on July 4th. My birthday is July 3rd, so as a compromise, it should be The Third of July. Who said writers aren’t egotistical?
  9. Winter Solstice: The Shortest Day of the Year, a few days before Christmas.AKAthe Longest Night of the Year. It’s too dark and cold to do anything on this day.I always write late and sleep in, so I see almost no daylight. Maybe it will inspire me to write a vampire novel.

Tax Day: Need I state the obvious? Every April 15th Uncle Sam demands his share of the booty. I don’t mind paying, but questions haunt my mind: Did I forget anything? (Of course I did) Did I include everything? (Even the IRS doesn’t know) What if they didn’t receive my tax forms? I’ll end up in a prison cell with a guy named Killer.

Don’t be surprised if you read my novels and some these of holidays show up. I always wanted to do a horror story. How about, Zombies on Black Friday. Or Killer Ground Hogs. Or The Derby Horses Get Even With the Jockeys.

KentuckyHalloween

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