Thursday, April 27, 2006


Shell-less-looking land-mollusk, slugs seem to like to dine on dew รก la plastic. Perhaps a droplet of juice had dribbled down the side of the bottle when the human who discarded it in the park was drinking.

I saved the slugs by shaking them off into the grass before dumping out the bottle and chucking it in with things that are not going to be recycled. Those Hefty stretch sacks are fairly remarkable. They don't handle scrap metal well, but overall, my experience with them is positive.

Slug is a spent bullet, a fake coin, a thudding punch, a rhymer, and above all, (as you all should know if you know me), a way of life.

It's not quite Zen and the Art of Slugging, just a de facto nom de rien.

[Interupted like Coleridge. . . ]


Monday, April 24, 2006

Heads up

These are some of the more rewarding things a trash-picker will find during "The Great American Clean Up" in wooded areas like Cliff Drive/Kessler Park where people do such things as poach deer (left) and dispose of goats (right).

It sure makes all the construction debris, vacuum cleaners, televisions, microwaves, automobile seats, filth and 700,000,000 tires that the kids pull out from the illegal dump sites "worth it."

At least, the ones I talked to Saturday had a good attitude about it all. "We get to serve," I heard one kid say, without a drop of irony. He was a teenager, even.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A last cup

Earth Day tomorrow closes a place where I've spent a good deal of time and money for some reason, even though all these years I've garnered a lot of contempt for The Cup & Saucer.

Dang, we'll miss'er, though we've kinda bin missin'er for a while now. The expansion never lived up to the ideal that the original bar side created. Sure had a lot of great features and a few memories that make me feel old.

(Dialect courtesy of my having just finished "The Grapes of Wrath." Holy hell, who saw that ending coming?)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I was rambling, apparently, the computer pretend-powers thought, the sky perhaps looked down on my screen and said, "oh, please," and so that which I had been writing was destroyed by the predictable (but always forgotten) you-kicked-off-server-now event that happens every day on the network at 5 p.m.

All I was doing was making fun of how the City Council wants to rename 13th Street between Walnut and Main "H&R Block Way." Way.

How it's a cheap bottom(line)-kissing move, though it has been held on the agenda for a number of weeks (insert jokes about tax-service's many lawsuits and the Social Security number mailing label blunder).

And how downtown drivers don't need any more "help" not knowing where the heck they are without the signs being all overdone. Block et al are responsible for the fact you can't drive any damn where downtown without cursing as it is.

On "Carl J. DiCapo Way," the sign for Main Street is still up, so, you know, clutter, tourist confusion extraordinaire by Union Station. More people seem to have issues driving by the H&R Block Fountain on Pershing without slowing down. It is a pretty thing. And let's face it, the lights at that intersection are waaaaay overtimed.

I frequently bitch to thin air about how Kansas City's long green lights are shining out upon empty thoroughfares. My most-hated is the left-turn signal for Main north going Pershing west. Well, one of my most-hated. There are the "should be just stop signs" all along 18th and 19th Streets, of course, particularly noticable at Troost.

Now, I hear they are going to "realign" that pesky Gillham/McGee/20th Street area. Kansas City has been slowly but surely slicing out its "uniqueness" and "charm" by making its intersections 90-degree dullnesses. Hardesty and Independence avenues is one example. Dull and still not functional. Van Brunt and Independence boulevards is another (in planning stages). St. John/Benton/Gladstone is another. . .

While I'm rambling, I will also say that the new traffic light at 39th and Pennsylvania is also unnecessary. I have been paying very much attention to the flow of the left-turns going on here (there are many), and I never, ever, ever have had to wait more than a minute or two for clearance. Whenever they decide to turn on the light, then I'll be waiting around for nothing. I hate traffic lights that are spewing laws and control for nothing.

Anarchy in the Wednesday.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

27th & Troost

Weed: The More You Smoke, The Less You Care

"That's right," says the target audience drifting by.

"Who wants to acknowledge blight?"

. . . shut down liquor store, shut down Chinese restaurant, shut down (long shut down) corner grocery store. . . .open townhomes, open pink-painted church, busy bus stop. . . .

"Isn't 'not caring' the point?"

"Kinda like Zoloft? To get your cares and worries down to a place where they don't eat you up inside, to be that happier little bubble-guy on the commercial who can stop freaking out - being 'anxious' - long enough to 'function'?"

"And, isn't that an exaggeration, to claim that the effects of one drug are a cumulative negative spiral, while others are only going to give you 'dry mouth, insomnia, sexual side effects, diarrhea, nausea and sleepiness'?"

At any rate, my offering is that the message here is designed to fail. It doesn't make sense: it's not presenting a horrifying consequence; there's nothing all that terrible to be avoided. It even stumbles near promoting what it's trying to put down.

Lately, random construction-laden trailers have been parked here in this lot. The billboard is on the side of a long-vacant-looking building next door that is across from the Longfellow Heights neighborhood redevelopment area.

The billboard used to promote one of those companies that buys shabby homes, and earlier, it used to remind people who happen to be felons not to use firearms.

Someone was shot and killed there during the latter's display, when the liquor store was still open.

If the threat of a five-year prison mandate is not enough to change someone's behavior, how is "you're not gonna care!" supposed to have any influence?

They're not gonna care!

Believe me, I hardly do.

For Real

(Still looking for who is "For Real" campaign. . . .not completely certain shot person in parking lot died; had clipping from news of "ironic" 2003 or 2004 photo showing cops investigating scene under billboard, but it has been recycled during an office Feng Shui spree.)

Friday, April 14, 2006


This week can do nothing but force the contemplation of religion.

Between Buddha's birthday (April 8),
Mohammed's birthday (April 11),
Passover (Angel of Death swooping about the neighborhood of old, killing off first-born sons, followed by a long, long desert journey to Promised Land),
and of course, today's death-date at 3 p.m. for Jesus, who has a "re-birthday" then on Easter Sunday (this year April 16 and, as always, full of promises of Eternal Life), there is no escaping the strange feeling that:

a: these elements are in competition with one another;

b: I am confused.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I don't know what that means, and, being a post-Catholic, we never used that term anyhow to describe a simple "Holy Thursday."

"Maundy" sounds like some kind of bad-accent version of "Monday" to me and conjures up the drippiness of the word "maudlin," which conjures up purple, which is a Lent color.

Today is a day to humble yourself and wash someone's feet. They'll be doing it at a number of Protestant and Catholic places this evening. It's a fairly scary concept; I know a lot of people who are plum-frightened by others' feet, even their own. There was a girl in my class at some point in my life who absolutely could not stand to see any naked feet. She would freak out as if they were snakes or something, jump around and squeal until the offending appendanges were re-cloaked. The time the weird boy who once had encountered some farm machinery in his usually-urban life wanted to show off his severed-ness to the teacher and class really sent her flying.

Sometimes I wash my husband's feet. I wash my own more often. Got a whole little dishtub for the purpose. Lots of fizzy, minty, buffy things, too.

Shoes, I've found, while keeping off the Biblical-nomadic dirt of sheep dung and Palestine sand, do tend to ruin any natural circulation of the feet in question. Feet end up grossest when they've been inside a shoe all day. John Steinbeck's Joad guy tends to agree with me on that point, I'm noticing.

No, I do not go all Magdalene and use my hair to dry them. What kind of person do you think I am? It's not about a sinner's repentance anymore, it's about cherishing and being serve-because-love. . .

and about having a really sensitive nose and personally disappointingly sweaty feet.

They're making a lot of women's hybrid athletic/life shoes these days that are designed to be worn without socks. While this may sound like a good idea, along with clever things in the description like "anti-microbial layer," believe me, it is not really that long before natural forces take over.

One pair of Merrels that everyone-female usually comments on being "so cute" can be a demonstration: they seem to have some kind of canine anti-bacterial technology, I've concluded, for while, no, they don't really reek like the usual leather shoe gone-past-its-prime, they smell exactly like a dog to me. You know, dogs' mouths are so "clean" and all. They may be battling disease, sure, but they still smell.

And it invades my feet to the point that the odor is nothing I've ever experienced with other shoes, pervades the skin and takes several Dial-soapings to remove. In other words, dang.

Don't doubt that I've disassembled the shoes and scrubbed out the footbeddy part and let it dry in the solar breeze. No avail.

Oh, the perils of Merrels, "modern existence," etc.

In others' blogs I've been commenting about the immigration thing, in case you were wondering about my brain.

It is Spring Break, after all. Not that I'm a teacher or someone who works for a Jewish or Catholic organization and has time off.

Full moon enough of an excuse? How about 90-degree temperatures and a baffled confrontation of "what shoes should I wear?"

Monday, April 10, 2006

Friday, April 07, 2006

PoMo Jesuit

No left turn

I feel like channelling Sartre to see if he has one more play in him to express the post-post-modernness I feel every time I try to get somewhere in Kansas City "on time."

Streets that are closed from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. for "signal upgrades" are far too annoying, especially when they're already my favorite secret detour and when the alternatives are blocked off elsewhere due to "economic development" and decades of oddball city planning.

It probably would not have been so disturbing to me if I had a car that could go more than 10mph on an incline or if I had not already been on three interstates by mistake that day.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


with the clouds.

Subconscious ambition

So, what does it mean if you have a vivid dream about being included in on a routine staff meeting with Bob Bernstein?

A couple of my friends are sitting there, as well as some trendy advertising types, and for some reason, everyone is barefoot, but we all slip on some random socks after Bob arrives, "to get this thing going."

I think the socks he pulls on from the pile also do not match, as do (not) mine. Socks' matching is not the point in an advertising meeting apparently. They are clean.

Bob enters a little bit late because he can be, because the rest of us are there earlier out of respect, and there he is in all his corporate, self-made, grey-haired wonder, spinning away on things that are as facscinating to me as any "routine" unknown arena in which I regularly find myself immersed and about which feigning interest. We're sitting in a circle and eventually, since there I am with my ubiqitous tool-camera, Bob, being an inclusive and go-getter kind of man, leans over and gives me a chance and says, "Well, now, Tracy, tell me about this thing."

The camera.

I point out its compactness, its convenient features and the fact that "you can get it at one of your clients', as we did" (Wal-Mart).

Yes, dear readers, my undrugged sleeping brain is promoting freaking Wal-Mart, but, you know, you have to play the game if you want to get to "Go."

So, I did, and it was fun and crisp and so different than the usual slogging about in which I find myself, the sidewalks of muck, the urban schools of ambiguous achievement, the prostitutes peppering the sidewalks, the drivers who think it's acceptable to stop in the left-lane of traffic with the turn signal on so they can hold everyone up and cut across the other same-bound lane and turn right.

Later, Bob, who perhaps was feigning interest, but who was going to take advantage of this "charming" young woman whose friends said she could come and sit in on a staff meeting for the sake of some story, asked me to improvise an oral report on something or other.

You know, because that's what I "do," I make up stories.

And I think I did all-right.

And my friends went back to their glossier desks and I must have left, because dreams never have appropriate narrative conclusions.

(You know I had a job interview there at one time.)

Surely this can not have anything to do with the fact that yesterday evening, the 50-something man with whom I kind-of work was bending my ear as he so commonly does, about "this is the kind of camera we should have here, the D50 is what I could use to shoot such-and-such event even better, and it fits my lenses," this man whom my production designer has suggested be "unencouraged" against submitting further photographs, especially since they are still in dino-film-form or coming from an ancient 2.5-megapixel Nikon, the only camera left behind before the big $200x3 Wal-Mart purchase we had to make after some kids working for us had stolen the other ones right out of our office.

Surely it can't be that he, once again, made false perception about my age, saying in jest, "wow, you've been here so long, it's like you were a teenager when you came, and you've grown up."

No, when I started my job I had just turned 26 and had worked several jobs, even overseas.

It's been six years, and yes, that freaks me out, and apparently it terrifies my subconscious, which is taking me on freaking job interviews during the night.

Because, the unsaid thing, which is hidden behind that smile, behind that "yes, I'll go do an anniversary story about your church," that "sure, I'll read through this seven pages of photocopied medical records and Housing Authority eviction notices, which are covered over in a scrawling hand of indecipherable purpose - all the white space filled - and try to give you the time of day and a sense of humanity and justice," or "why not, let's play, I would love to pretend once again I can get a straight answer out of this elected official," is the sad scary fear of "oh my God, I'm over 30 and this is where I am."

If it was for lack of ambition, well, who has been paying attention. . .

Maybe Bob?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Axle issues

Does this Ram driver on Independence Avenue need a V-8 of another kind, or is this just a work in progress?
Dude, your WyCo truck is slanted.
And, you use turn signals poorly.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


It's what flows down from the fountains of "should," much like the mystery puddle on top of my refrigerator that I discovered today. (Side note, back track to whenever we had storms here a few days ago; the miniblinds were wet, drops on every fin, mixed with the fuzzy coating of dust, similar to the fuzzy coating of dust on the top of the refrigerator, and the window was only a few inches up, the flowerpots on the sill dry, no leaks from the ceiling, nothing. Only that window.

I hate to be this way, but the only explanation I can fathom would require research from Miller's Paranormal. . .)

Should: be outside enjoying the spring, but work's played a mean practical joke this fool's day and planted another should on my shoulders, "go take photos of such and such church," where such and suchers from suburban sects have come to the unholy inner city to perform community service. I dunno, that's not news to me. Churches are supposed to support each other, I thought.

Now, if they were extending their circle of care and cleaning beyond the churchyard, then we'd have a bit of something.

Not much, but something. And the pile of laundry, sure, that can wait until after sunset, since I'm enjoying an empty house this weekend (but for ghosts and the birds), but yup, I feel guilty that I don't have the appropriate clean clothes required in my interpretation of society in order for me to appear in public.

Especially when part of that public is an unspecified man who coaches a Mexican kids' football (soccer) league in the news 'hood. What is it about me that I'm just not genki about chasing something like that down, when the only thing I have to go on is a vague rendition of the man's name from a co-worker who is sweet but too polite to ask someone how to spell what he didn't understand their saying, and another "should?"

Maybe it's the only thing about me, that I abhor, echew, wish to firebomb and turn hot-flame blue anything remotely resembling an obligation.

I was good, I called my friend today on her birthday and to welcome her new daughter and see how all that was coming along with a husband who so obviously is not on board with his obligations.

I was good, I have been spending time with my other friend who is in town recouperating from a husband's declaration of divorce (for no GOOD reason).

I was good, I called back my dad, whose pet-peeve in life is to be ignored and whose phone conversations require a huge amount of effort on my part.

I was good, I apologized to my husband for all kinds of things, before he left town.

I was good, I came here and told you I should be working, since, surprise, nothing was finished on time at le bureau d'informacion.

Tomorrow, then, there shall be the same work, there shall be friend one, friend two, friend husband, knitting to do, a book to read, and a whole other panopoly of undiscovered shoulds.

The only thing that even remotely strikes me as plausible is to go to the zoo and see the two new tigers and cry with my PMS about how they are locked up in a space not big enough for a stork, much less a glorious single carnivore.

Thus, both "news" and outdoorness will be double birds offed with a single stone.

I still don't have any clean underwear, though, and it's a bit early in the season to be going French.