Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Urban Bourbon Trail: Because it's not day-drinking if you are working towards a goal.

Louisville, Kentucky has a lot going for it. If you are fan of baseball bats, boxing or Bourbon, you're in luck. I hear there is also some minor event for horse racing fans but why ruin perfectly good alliteration. Of the available options, the one that really catches my fancy is boxing. It was the only sport my father was into so, growing up, fight nights were a big deal at my house. That is why on my first visit to Louisville (pronounced as if you are in the act of hurling...Lou-uh-vul), I spent the entire day at the Mohammed Ali Center, completely enthralled. The museum is fantastic! It does a spectacular job capturing his life, not only as an athlete but also as someone willing to risk it all for his beliefs. On my most recent visit, I had hoped to go back but was thwarted by one small problem. It was Monday and the museum was closed.

That left me with the other three to choose from. Horse racing- or more realistically- going to Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is run to see a museum on horse racing sounds like the opposite of fun to me. Ditto on going to the Louisville Slugger plant to watch bats being made (although it does sound slightly more interesting than watching an actual baseball game). So this left bourbon. I don't really drink it but there were two tour options that sounded intriguing enough. The first is a bus tour that takes you to a number of distilleries where I imagine you spend a lot of time sampling whiskey and hearing about wood barrels and rye. The other is a more of a do it yourself approach.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Robots and Poppies, Oh My...

Have you been to the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo? If the answer is no, you probably should stop reading this right now. This show, like most things in life, is best experienced with minimal expectations. Seeing photos or reading my feeble attempts to explain what I witnessed would adversely affect your ability to be a blank slate and I don't want that. You don't want that. Trust me. Go away. Shoo!!!

Still here? Ok, then you must have been to the show. It was pretty nuts, right? I mean, going in...a restaurant featuring robots...I was already expecting something kind of kitschy or techy or who really knows what I was expecting, but wowza, it was beyond all of that. All I knew was that it was best to book beforehand, both because the show sells out and because you can get tickets cheaper online . Also, I'd read that restaurant part of The Robot Restaurant is kind of a farce and it is best to book just the show without the bento box but that was the extent of my research.

I am convinced that this naïveté was one of the reasons I enjoyed the show as much as I did.  So, if you are only pretending that you have been to the show, this is your last chance to turn away. If you click "read more", there will be pictures. And video.  The web is a giant place. You could simply go elsewhere. Did you know that goat yoga is a thing? Have you ever seen hamsters eating teeny tiny burritos? Vaya con robots and come back once you have seen the show.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Day 3 in Seoul: Gangnam Meerkats!!!

Remember the song "Gangnam Style"? It was that impossibly catchy tune that came with its own little horsey dance; the one whose video still holds the title for most watched on YouTube. That song, penned by S Korean rapper Psy, is about Seoul's ritziest neighborhood and the trendy folks who hang there. That alone is not enough for me to want to visit Gangnam. Streets lined with all the high end stores-the ones I can not afford but would not shop at even if I could- don't really call my attention either. But you know what does peak my interest? A giant Gangnam Style monument, that's what. 

Built at a cost of $366,000, the 27x17 foot bronze monument is supposed to have a motion detector that flashes lights and plays the song whenever anyone approaches. Its location, in front of the heavily trafficked COEX convention center, where parts of the video were filmed, means that this thing must be going off constantly. Alas, during my visit, the crossed fists were the very picture of silence. I imagine this came about as a result of (a) tearful pleas from local residents (b) a mild-mannered man pushed beyond his limits, wielding a hammer while yelling "Oppan Gangnam this, motherfuckers!" or (c) it was unplugged for the prior day's Cultural Festival. Based on the number of workers removing tents and banners,  I'm leaning towards C.