Friday, June 30, 2006


Troost and Truman: some tagger is using Miss Doxie's name far outside her physical realm, or she's got more mileage on those dogs than we knew and artistic ambitions beyond the cartoons on dog-washing.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Step cat

Feral friend shows off brilliant white new paint job on apartment stairs.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fighter fish

When I see them at the pet stores, I always think that these fish are lonely in their very small fishbowls of isolation.

Vietnamese God sheds some light on the species and its use by humans in this entry.

Apparently, in Nghi Tam village, some sellers go through hundreds of these fishes a day, because it's summer and fighting the fish is a popular "sport."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It takes a long time for legislation to change culture, so I am dubious at how revamping the federal nutrition guidelines (which are slightly younger than I am) will make people stop eating fatty and sugary foods.

Some bipartisan group wants this done.

What they should concentrate on is how quickly the bad American diet has interfered with the health of people in countries where KFC, McDonald's and other calorie-laden, hydrogenated, meat-ful and fried food companies are relatively new imports.

Or how government promotion of pork, cheese and beef, coupled with corporate promotion of chips, soda/pop and all things high-fructose corn syrup has led to really horrible fodder for "the children are our future."

With the onset of summer, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a "report card" on school lunch.

Missouri (and Kansas) are among the 23 states that failed miserably. All you have to do is look at us to know this is true.

Solutions include (gasp in amazement, everyone) designing human living zones to be walkable/non-car dependent.

Not having a car this past month has even shown me that a tiny amount of walking, which is easier to do if you are actually going somewhere and not just circling about, actually makes a difference.

Of course, I'm down with having the car back. Even if it is as slow as the bus and leaking precious resources all the time.

PS: I'm mad because the car-repair people I was all ready to ban from my life and money only ended up charging me $10 to plug up a nail hole in one of my tires.

They came out yesterday and today to start and retrieve my car that's been parked in the same spot for a fortnight. Turns out the only issue with starting (and I hope they're right) is that some wire from the engine to the distributor had gotten loose. Since they put that part in a while back, the work fell under some kind of warranty, more or less.

PPS: These nails are all from the parking lot over the last year or so. When it rains, nails of all sorts emerge from the remains of nearby "remodeling" projects. And/or we are under sabotage.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dinner plate

We almost ran over this guy last night. He's resting here on the sidewalk, after having flippered north across St. John Avenue at breakneck-turtle speed, around Kensington.

For a water turtle, this creature was at least a mile away from anything I would call habitable for a foot-long softshell.

So, in case he was someone's meal ticket or perhaps a displaced "pond ornament," we took him to the closest nature-place to be found after 8 p.m. in Northeast.

He swam away when we set him closer to the water. He has a bum toe. He might get caught from Cliff Drive Lake, but I hope not.

I'm pretty sure he was better off there than in the middle of a concrete jungle. There would have been at least five more streets to cross, and even in the light, he looked really "easy" to run over.

Of course, I acknowledge that I might have ruined his reproduction or other reptilian plans. I do not claim to know anything about what animals are really up to and how much they "need" human intervention.

Or, he may be traveling in disguise.

But he did not object to being placed in a box and he did not grant us any wishes like those magic talking Chinese carp in fairytales.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Street art in Columbus Park

While it seems to be targeted against annoying people, pubic parasites or those of us born under the sign of Cancer, this sidewalk splash of opinion only took out a couple of earthworms.
Today is things that make me smile.

Forgive me

If this is your fancy Corvette, I apologize for being so much like the Big Sister Parking Camera, but I just couldn't help but chuckle at the parking violation-combo you pulled off Friday evening in the downtown art district.

(I don't know if parking in front of a mail box is any big deal, but the ass-out-in-lane glossy black vehicle seems kind-of close to the fireplug to me. Also, it's hardly visible in this photo, but notice the pole and it's red "no parking" sign prohibiting anyone from parking there anyway. This is right next to a pay-parking garage . . . I guess that's how rich people stay rich?)

I like the red spray-paint arrow pointing, too. Courtesy of whoknowswhom.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Math wrath

Perhaps it's not been here, but some of you may have heard my rants lately at the education system's broad strokes in mathematics and geometry and algebra and trigonometry, while basic useful things such as compound interest, gas milegage calculation, checkbook-balancing, the perils of credit cards and solid measuring skills are not emphasized enough, leaving "graduates" with a vague sense of how to function in this paperwork-and-pecuniary planet.

It's what makes payday loan stores so successful, after all.

But, today, while my husband was playing with some online IQ test, I was magically able to recall the formula for calculating the hypotenuse of a right triangle, given the length of the other two sides.


Still, I don't think I've ever measured anything in real life that way. Who needs to know the height of trees based on their shadows?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tone deaf?

Yesterday on KMBZ, Jerry Agar was trying to complain about kids' using cell phones in class and how it represents bad parenting and that families should rely on school administration to pass emergency and important messages back and forth "like in the old days," and the item of the "silent ring tone" came up.

This is the one that only young people are supposed to be able to hear.

It's dumb anyway, because it's not like teachers or whoever can't see kids mini-typing the messages back. Clicking away like insects. . .

Birdchick did an experiment that proved hearing it was not all that age-related, either.

The sound reminds me of an ear infection or of what I hear for hours after a live music show. I read once that you should turn your car radio down to just audible before going to a concert, then see if you can hear it afterwards. If not, damage has ensued, which is pretty much always.

My friend who teaches English as a Second / to Speakers of Other / Language(s) at UMKC has to deal with students who presumably are paying to be taught but who insist on "forgetting" the classroom rules of silencing the electronic crap while in class. Will she be hearing the screech of the silent ring tone next?

There are so many ringing annoyances out there already. . . the computer screen, the refrigerator, the air conditioner, the traffic. . .that it's kind of surprising to me that I can hear this tone at all. But I can.


Not to be confused with disingenuousness, the technical savvy of the public works worker or electrician who had to resort to the "it can fix anything" qualities of duct tape to maintain this signal pole at 11th and Grand is laudable in these trying times of city cutbacks on necessary things.

Don't worry, though, the city is on it. Or full of it, the pride, yes, in "40 traffic signalization projects completed."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Better locks

My recent relationship with the police department has been friendly. It has taught me new acronyms such as CPTED and SNU, and that cops aren't scary when they aren't arresting you.

I've learned a number of home-barricading techniques, too, that might come in handy should the police want to search the place.

Those extra few seconds it takes them to bust through all the crime-fighting locks might come in handy; news from the courts suggests they're going to be breaking down the door anyway, instead of waiting for you to open it like a civilized person.

Our Supreme Court, sans O'Connor-the-Fleeing, ruled today that it's ok for the police to enter your home with their court warrant, even if they don't knock first.

While I'm in favor of protecting evidence that otherwise might be discounted in court due to faulty police procedure, faulty police procedure in the case of Booker Hudson of Detroit would have freed up another jail spot for someone violent.

Hudson, whose home was searched in 1998 without the proper knocking notice, was convicted of mere drug possession.

From now on, of course, it won't matter. Remember, no need for warrant to tap your phone, and with warrant, cops don't have to knock to come in.

How much difference does it make to have the cops wait a few more seconds after they bang on your door "like the g-damn police," when as the COPS show and my friend's experience with being raided demonstrate it's always going to happen when you're naked anyway?

That Constitution is mighty thin clothing these days.

!Viva la seguridad de la tierra!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hot stilts

These tall women had my attention.

What person wearing red body paint and towering over everything wouldn't?

They are part of Carpetbag Brigade, and while I didn't get to see them perform, only talk to these fans at the Smoky Hill River Festival, they are coming to Kansas City this Friday. I like how the woman in the powerchair matched their outfits. She got their autographs, I noticed.

"The Vanishing Point" (Part One) is scheduled for June 16 at 8 p.m. at The Pistol Social Club in the West Bottoms.

(Check the Carpetbag site for details under "calendar.")

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More than pennies

I was never the kind of kid who "took things apart." When stuff broke, I would always try to reassemble whatever pieces fell out, but after spending hours with inadequate tools, I generally would give up. Some of my strongest claims to Depression-style DYI-savings include repairing a set of sandals with simple white string, using a safety pin as an awl and to sew the leather back into itself (while tramping around Europe at 20, when I still understood the perils of credit cards' meeting shoes), and various other little incidents of thriftiness.

Once I walked up and down the block barefoot in the snow, just to see what it might feel like to be desperate.

I think I busted up a reproduction wind-up alarm clock once, but such a thing is non-electronic, there are no wires at work.

This curling mass of unoxidized copper fell out of a security light that was crushed in the parking lot. I didn't know such treasures lurked inside such things.

I saw the shiny threads densely and precisely wound around their transformer-whatever-battery base. They trickled apart when I picked it up, and this is what's left of the item.

Lately, lots of people have been stealing copper from others. The houses on Tracy Avenue, at least one of them, suffered its new wiring pulled out mid-renovation. A community center and an apartment complex are two recent victims I know in the Northeast area that have had their air conditioners hacked apart for copper wire.

Back in February, people were so desperate to cash in on the relatively high price of this and other metals, that they were breaking into
161,000-volt substations
and stealing the copper wire grounding the place.

Now that's smart.

However, in January and December, the area's two major power brokers reported having this happen to at least 20 of their properties. Looks like the thieves were on to a method that allowed them to remain untoasted after all.

Three years ago, a pound of copper was about 75 cents. Now, it's over $2, and substations can yield 100 to 600 pounds.

All I know is that it's a really bad time to try to renovate a raw space that needs electrical and plumbing put in from scratch.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bus Day 4

There is a part in the recording of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" when someone shouts in the background, "I've got blisters on my fingers!" It sounds like John; did he play guitar? Anyway, if my feet could shout, they would announce their collection of various raw spots, after my spending three days making bad transfer decisions and having to walk eight to 16 blocks to make up for my inability to communicate with the Metro.

It's getting better, though.

Today, on the official "go on, take transit, gas is expensive" rally day, I only had to walk three blocks to get to my actual appropriate get-to-downtown stop.

I'm finding that the bus drivers, even the one who passed me up back in May, are friendly enough and answer questions. I can't make much sense out of route maps or what direction to face downtown with everything all blocked up, so the only recourse is talking.

I did not notice anyone riding the bus today who would not otherwise, though.

The 18-year-old mid-level security officer at Worlds of Fun taking the Troost line with me last night was only doing so because someone crashed into his car.

The 40-something Kansas City Museum staff person taking the 30 to Northeast this morning was only doing so because he currently has no car.

And I, the 30-something you-know-what who has experimented with a number of lines and a number of pedestrian "connections" (various shoes, as one must rotate blister-points and no shoes are really freaking made for walking except athletic ones, which I might be saving for pretend-its-casual-Friday), am only doing so because my car's starter is fried out.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Name that feeling you get when you run across a toy or dress or car you used to have but now is represented in a museum or exhibit or "antique show."

Nostalgia-shock? Garage-sale regret? The quote of recognition is about the same for everyone: "I used to have one of those!" Mass-produced items produce a strange solidarity.

There's the whole flood of sensory memories that come along, too. Like with this Fisher Price camper set, under glass and taunting me with Little People whom I miss as finger-smooth plastic faux inhabitants of the brick patio, the shady clover-speckled back yard, the summertime cool basement.

Of course, the kids of today only have fat, chunky Little People to play with, because somewhere sometime someone was stupid enough to try to swallow their plastic friends.

Evil hunger

Today, in addition to being all about three sixes, is National Hunger Awareness Day, and as a person who is without a car, sense of planning or cash-money-on-hand, I kind-of feel the pangs.

IE: I have not eaten today. Sometimes, it doesn't matter; today, I'm actually hungry, distracted because of it and feeling weary.

I am lucky to say that unlike a friend of mine who once reported that he used to sneak into the fridge and eat butter when there was nothing else, I never, ever was hungry as a child. It must be a harrowing thing. We "most Americans" tend to think of hunger as something that annoys us when we're on a diet. Or something we try to feel sympathy for when confronted with images of famine-stricken refugees in Africa. Or of stadium-bound Katrina evacuees sitting in the dark.

How do you tell if a kid is hungry? Our local mega-pantry distribution network, Harvesters, has a few programs specifically targetted towards children, things like a "backsnack" program, pretty much a back pack of snacky foods low-income kids can take home to tide them over between school lunch and whatever dinner is coming their way.

In the part of the city where I work, so many of the kids' families are poor that everyone gets free lunch from the government. I think the school has to have 90% or so of its students living at or below some poverty index and then they don't mess with paperwork, just let everyone eat for free.

Of course, we've all seen what kind of food that can be, pretty much everything that I avoid due to its meat-like-ness and preservative-laden status: industrial pizza, breaded reconstituted chicken, hot dogs, "fruit cups" and, well, milk.

I'm having a hard time not just staring unproductively at this Drum Room menu that came as part of some PR for the restored downtown (Hilton) President Hotel. . . .chorizo and manchego stuffed fried mushrooms, tempura fried vegetables, crispy flashed spinach and corn fried snapper salad, miso calypso bean soup, crab and serrano ham tater tots with garlic tomato sauce, salads of diced veggies, mixed greens and tomato basil dressing, of cashew and ginger chicken with artichoke pasta and miso vinaigrette. . . .

Friday, June 02, 2006


If you live in the Cincinnati metro, go see this show.

If you want to get a copy of the DF crew's book or a really dope limited edition print not featured on the gallery's page, contact this guy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Today my brother completes his 29th year of life. That's my unconventional way of aging us all prematurely. Instead of saying "I'm 29," he should acknowlege he's entering the 30th year of non-fetalhood.

Happy Birthday.

Mushiness time is going to be pre-empted by my quick list of "how to have a bad Thursday:"

1. stay up too late, after being at work until 8 p.m. with "issues"

2. wake up too early, 5 a.m., after only sleeping four hours

3. have lines from "Charlotte's Web" running commentary: When you're stomach's empty and your mind is full, it's very hard to sleep.

4. be nervous about pondering property ownership potential and problems, get sick

5. not use extra time to leave early for work due to husband's leaving town later

6. leave for work on time but find that car does not start (again)

7. go back upstairs to ask husband to move items needed for trip from working car to non-working car for temporary storage and later packing so can use working car to get to work

8. arrive at work late

9. discover that office door closed last night does not have working lock and spend 30 minutes jacking at handle assembly with butter knife, screwdrivers, etc., until production staff arrives and demonstrates correct knife-placement gleaned from having seen previous operation on door by boss, and then allow stronger sales staff to apply necessary combination of force and finesse to spring it

10. welcome new intern whose office door is now open and now henceforth will have no door handle, as people here can't be trusted to label broken doors of doom with "do not lock" signs