In Lumpy’s Defense
Pipsqueak Rebels and Equine Shoe Fetishes
John A. Guerin
The trio wasn’t amplified, so people could talk, read, or do whatever they liked without being bludgeoned with the din of amped music. I certainly don’t mind occasional events on the square employing amped music, but there should be a variety of musical styles that doesn’t interfere with people’s other activities on the square.
The music was a pleasant background, and the players were professional and enjoyable to listen to. With most amped music, the performers assume they are the center of the universe, and the music is so loud that it tends to overwhelm other activities. You can’t sit outside and talk with friends, or read a book or work on your laptop at a table on the square. Amped music shifts the entire focus of what’s happening on the square to the musicians, like it or not. This impoverishes the ability of the square to offer other activities, because they become either less enjoyable, or simply impossible.
Market Square is increasingly a center for multiple daily activities, from residential to business to shopping. It’s important not to force everyone to listen to something they may not enjoy. It drives folks off. If you don’t particularly care for a classical music trio, though, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t intrusive. It also raises the cultural level of the square above that of simply an amped, beer-fueled rock and country music venue, and broadens its appeal to everyone, to the benefit of retail on the square and downtown in general.
Shoppers, diners, and anyone else were able to go about whatever business they had without somebody trying to boil the atmosphere from around them. If you liked the classical trio, you could sit and listen. With amped music you don’t have that choice. If it isn’t your kind of music, tough. You either listen to it or leave. The trio was an enjoyable addition to the life of the square, and I’d like to commend Scott Schimmel of Bliss Home, and the Market Square Merchant’s Association, for adding non-amplified music for everyone’s enjoyment. I hope there’s more to come.
2. To state the obvious about the story on J. Wade Gilley disgraced former president of UT, also in the Nov. 16th issue [“Knoxville’s Most Wanted”]: Mr. Gilley, it would be a lot less stressful and difficult to be president of a university if one conducted university business differently than the way you did.
The amount of red tape and ill-will the Gilley and Shumaker scandals has created for UT staff and faculty is enormous. UT recently launched a campaign to try to replace the word scandal as the first thing people think of when they think of UT with words like “fUTure” and “repUTation.”
Mr. Gilley expressed no remorse for the damage done to UT. Apparently not a few other universities have had very similar experiences with upper-echelon administrators like Gilley and Shumaker—a look through issues of The Chronicle of Higher Education sadly confirms it.
In Lumpy’s Defense
Pipsqueak Rebels and Equine Shoe Fetishes
Peter was indeed “charismatic,” at least to my high-school sweetheart that summer. I weighed about as little as he did and I had heard that he had some Brazilian fighting moves so I uh… sort of sucker-punched him. I think we both weighed about 120, a scuffle of fleas. The last thing he said to me was, “You’re gonna pay for these glasses.” I didn’t. It is even more significant that Peter may have become a Master’s swimmer, because I am pretty sure that neither of us had any previous athletic experience that I ever detected. How odd that my punching Peter was probably the most athletic thing I had done to that point, and soon afterward I was fired from the Yardarm and set out on my protracted if undistinguished athletic odyssey.
A last memory. I was sitting in The Rafters after the Knoxville 22 “riot,” and I heard a young kid David Traver (deceased, a glue and other drug casualty, I think) of Sequoyah Hills bragging that he and a friend had just caused the fray by lobbing some bottles from behind the crowd over at the police. He was delighting in the power and mischief that such a simple act had unleashed. Perhaps these little punks actually were the catalyst that transformed Kami’s rather innocent street theater into a court proceeding and the beginning of his eventual exile. I cannot vouch for the veracity of Traver’s claim but I can testify as to his character. He was the kind of kid who would throw a bottle into a crowd.
But I really wanted to join the pile on Leslie Wylie for her horse article [Nov. 9 cover, “Sore Winners”]. I just got around to reading it that day, and I must say that if the horses are being hurt and are complaining, then it should stop. Oddly, later Wednesday evening after the incident where I was beaten by the nurse, (I should add that the beating was entirely voluntary), I spoke with an unusually reserved Ms. Wylie about her Tennessee Walking Horse exposé. I was shocked when she completely ignored my suggestion that the horses might be complicit with the practice of “soring” and that perhaps some of the threats and complaints she received after her article had actually been from the animals.
It is widely known that many individuals find libidinal satisfaction and even excitement from the use of chains, heels, specialized footwear, and even piquant unguents. Did Ms. Wylie ever consider that perhaps neither the horses nor their partners wish she or the Federal Government to intrude on what transpires in the privacy of their stalls? Maybe what is really important is the lovely way their legs look and the wonderful way the devices and procedures make them walk.
Sore feet are a common occurrence in many cultures due to the special devices and accoutrements employed for their ability to excite and please us. I suggest that if Ms. Wylie does not like the painful ankles and cramped toes that come from contemporary footwear, both equine and hominid, she should do as I believe Twain suggested and reserve their wearing for non weight-bearing activities. I think the quote was something like, “High heels should only be worn in bed.” Maybe it was not Mark Twain. Maybe it was my wonderful podiatrist Dr. Margret Lubert. Perhaps it was neither, but I’ll bet both would agree.
However, I do not think your numbers/statistics are correct and lean more toward saying the celebration of 2006 is much worse than that of 2005 with regard to sore or non-compliant animals. Please allow me to speak to this as I feel it is not correct.
I would appreciate if you would inform your readers the specific reason non-compliance went up during the 2006 Celebration. The USDA admitted they willfully changed and created their own interpretation of the Op Plan as it relates to scars or callouses . The USDA/NHSC agreed operating plan that is used as a guideline for this industry to follow was abandoned by the USDA VMOs who worked the 2006 celebration. I m not sure of the exact percentage, however would dare say a 75 percent increase for scar or callous infractions from 2005 would not be an exaggeration on my part. There were also violations for equipment such as band height, heel/toe ratios and unruly animals that are thrown in that should not be considered in the same conversation as sore animals.
What the USDA did at this year’s Celebration was at a minimum unfair behavior with regard to what is supposed to be a working partnership between the Industry HIOs and the USDA. I have often wondered if the actions of the USDA VMOs during the 2006 celebration were completely legal. The USDA’s role is to support the HPA and help ensure sore horses are not exhibited. Does a callous mean the animal has been subjected to this practice; that is very subjective and a stretch. I would compare it to a policeman pulling someone over and giving them a ticket and telling them, “You were not speeding today, however I am sure you have in the past.” Or the IRS sending you a bill for a past unpaid tax and saying, “We did not find any infraction; however, we are sure you fudged somewhere before.”
Do not get me wrong. The Horse Protection Act and the USDA was indeed a needed ingredient for change. It forced this industry to put countermeasures in place that move toward eliminating and correcting issues of noncompliance. However, the tactics now being used by the USDA are not fair to the industry and its hard-working people. The Walking Horse Industry deserves much more credit than portrayed in the media, and I really hate to see articles that leave nothing but a negative image. I know it sells papers and magazines, however, in this case [it is] not a fair appraisal of the efforts of the Walking Horse Industry.
I would ask that you make your readers aware of the many improvements made by this industry that allow only HPA compliant animals to exhibit. The industry has made long strides since the 1970s, but unfortunately very little of the positive is relayed. The past is not a hitching post to anchor to; it is a guidepost to direct improvement. The Walking Horse Industry is moving in that direction and should be so noted for what it has done.
Guidelines for Incoming Mail