Entries from blogs tagged with “Citizen Journalism Academy”

Sedum and Ice

Of course my wife is nothing like I portrayed her in my last post, and she got me a macro lens for Christmas so I can take even more pictures of critters only a biologist could love. After Church today I taken with this sedum in my garden peeking through the snow. sedumandiceBy the way, I am addicted to flickr and clicking on the image will take you into my public photo stream.


The Abominable Snowman in Lawrence?

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2007/Dec/30/rabbit1.jpgThursday morning I received a call from my wife asking me if I had seen the footprints in the yard. She had noticed them when she was leaving for her job in Topeka."Definitely human footprints only the person was barefoot and my boss said that there could be a homeless person living in the woods.""Kay, that sounds really unlikely to me but this is Lawrence, and we've had other strange things happen such as the escaped cows in our backyard..so I will go look."So out I went and I did find some prints, but they were not very deep..."Hey Kay nope not human, I think rabbit""But they look like bare feet you can see the toes and everything.""Nope rabbit""Well how do you know? Were you there? After all you can't test anything that happened in the past""Kay, I have seen rabbit footprints before and these are rabbit.""Just because you are trained as a biologist doesn't mean I am wrong...you are just plain dogmatic. They looked human to me. You are being dogmatic.""This is just based on experience...Kay look at this picture. I wasn't about to freeze my toes off here but notice how much deeper my shoe print is than the the ones like you found."http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2007/Dec/30/rabbit2.jpg"I still think they are human. Why do you always have to explain everything away as something ordinary? Just a rabbit...huh maybe they are that hobbit man or a gnome. A baby Sasquatch. There all kinds of strange sightings even in Kansas.""Kay I am a scientist and we look for the simplest explanations first.""That is silly, all you scientists think alike. It is some sort of liberal group think. You need to think outside the box. Maybe you should go work for the government.""What does that have to do with anything?""Well everyone knows those government scientists fake data..if you are told to think rabbit then you're going to think rabbit.""Besides that rabbit idea is just a theory and scientists deal with empirical facts-not interpretations."Sigh...fortunately at that point my cell phone died.Note: Any relationship to current public discussions about evolution or global warming is purely coincidental.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2007/Dec/30/rabbit4.jpg


Add Him to the List

I've only gone to KU basketball games for the last few years. Hearing Hank's announcing at the games seemed so natural that I thought nothing of it. I assumed he'd been doing it for years.The first time I remember hearing Hank Booth as announcer was at the Jaycee's fireworks display, back when it was held in Memorial Stadium.Recently I've written about some of the things that I remember about Lawrence and many have added their recollections. By training and by inclination I'm an engineer. I prefer facts to opinion...even when the opinion is my own.Hank Booth is every bit as much a part of Lawrence as is Dragstrip Road, the Sunset Drive-in, or Woolworth's. That's an opinion.College football and basketball are all about the money. That's an opinion, too.KU basketball games won't be the same without Hank Booth as announcer.That's a fact.Add him to the list of things we remember about Lawrence.


Uncle Tubby and the turkey leg

During the dark days of WWII it was a family ritual to have "Christmas Cheer" (a glass of clear liquid obtained from a quart jar purchased from a local vendor) prior to travelling through the ice and snow to Grandma's house for Christmas dinner. Grandmother's only son always provided the "bird" for the dinner and the daughters pitched in to provide the ambrosia, potatoes, vegetables, etc. Picture it, Oxford, Georgia, 1945. The table is set with the "good" silver and there is a fire in the dining room fireplace. The old German grandmother is seated in the power seat at the head of the table and being the only son, Uncle Tubby is at the other end. Grace is said and as everyone looked up, Uncle Tubby ripped a leg from the turkey, hurled it over the laden table, yelling "Anyone for dark meat?"! Time stood still as the missle slowly arched over the table and struck grandma in the chest! She screamed "Merciful fathers!" and fainted dead away. Uncle Tubby then went across the road to an old maid school teacher's front yard, removed all of his clothing (it was snowing at that particular time) and sitting on an old hay rack, pretended to be whipping alcohol inspired horses. Wasn't long until the local law enforcement arrived and escorted Uncle Tubby to the hoosgow. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


A desire for amputation?

While traveling to Disney World the other week, I picked up a copy of Scientific American Mind to keep myself from being too bored on the flight. One by Sabine Miller called "Amputee Envy" concerns what she terms "Body Identity Disorder" (BID). People with this extremely rare disorder desire to have one or more of their appendages removed, and some actually have such discomfort that they request that the appendage be removed. A summary of the article is here.I had heard about this sort of thing and chalked it up to being a sexual fetish. The reality appears to be much more complex. Some appear to be seeking attention rather than any sort of sexual gratification. But most interesting to me is that at about two thirds of the disorder report that amputation will enable them to express their "true" identity. Thus, there may be a parallel between this disorder and Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which is of personal interest to me. Indeed there are some interesting parallels-both disorders arise early in life, and sometimes the discomfort (which can be extreme) is only resolved through surgery.One might think that these sorts of identity statements are merely part of our modern cultures preoccupation with identity or authenticity, but some cases of BID appear to arise from irregularities in how the body is mapped out in the cerebral cortex. Indeed, sometimes temporary cases of body image problems result from brain tumor, injury or disease. When the disease or injury is fixed, the body image problem goes away.The article also address the issue of surgery for BID cases. Some ethicists argue that, as in the case of certain types of GID, if the person is fully informed of the risks and is not psychotic then surgery ethical. Other ethicists consider this wrong headed and that the Doctor must protect the patient from his or her "irrational desires."Again this sort of debate parallels that about Gender Identity Disorder. Since Gender Identity Disorder is much more common, there is actually standard of care called the Benjamin Standard of Care to provide a way to select those most likely to benefit from sexual reassignment surgery. So lots of interesting things in this article to chew on. What makes our identity? Is it merely socially constructed as some would have us believe? How much is changeable about our identity? What are the boundaries of ethically acceptable medical intervention?There are lots of other interesting articles in this magazine...so you might look for it at your newsstand or for purchase online at www.SciAmMind.com.Citation: Sabine Miller(Dec 2007/Jan 2008) Amputee Envy Scientific American Mind 18(6) pp 60-65Other links:BIID-Info.orgWorld Professional Association for Transgender Health


WIC participation helps prevent obesity.

An Associated Press article from Thursday December 27 brought attention to the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program. The news was that 3 stores that specialized in serving WIC participants were going out of business. More than 30 people commented on the article in the Lawrence Journal World. It is clear from the comments that the program and its benefits are not well understood including the fact that there are many other stories that supply WIC products. Let's change the headline Children who participate in the WIC program at age 4 are at significantly lower risk of being overweight. This is according to a RAND Corporation study of 2004 (Rand Working Paper 172). This wasn't reported yesterday so it is not "real" news. Previous research has found that WIC reduces the risk of infant mortality, low birth weight and reduces the cost of maternal and neonatal care. While not news, many people do not know of these substantial benefits. WIC basics WIC is a program that was originally intended to prevent hunger by providing food assistance to pregnant, postpartum and lactating women. This is an overly simple description of the program. Complex rules and regulations make a concise description of who is eligible and what they receive impossible. To check out the details go to http://www.kdheks.gov/nws-wic/wic_nutrition_prog.htm. The Department of Health and Environment administers the program in Kansas under regulations from the United States Department of Agriculture that Congress charged with developing the program.The rules are not complex because KDHE or USDOA are large government bureaucracies. They certainly are. The rules are complex because we don't trust poor people to make good decisions. We don't want people that are not really poor to benefit and we don't want people buying caviar when they are suppose to buy milk. Of course some people make bad decisions but our paranoia probably adds more cost to program administration than fraud would. The Rand studyThe findings of the Rand study that children who participate in the WIC program are at reduced risk of being overweight are quite impressive. Childhood obesity is a problem with major future health care consequences. A program that reduces the likelihood of obesity may significantly reduce future health care costs. We already know that WIC participation reduces maternal and neonatal care costs. Are WICs benefits due to the food that the family receives or the nutrition education they receive? The study couldn't determine that. It is likely that it is some of each. Were the children in the study different in some way that would explain the results? The study found that the WIC children were less well off than others. In other words those most in need were participating in the program.This study demonstrates that WIC is a program that reaches children and families who need it and produces substantial benefits. We should all be supporters.Reaching out to poor women and childrenA disturbing finding in the RAND study is that only 38% of eligible children between ages one and four use WIC. More than twice as many poor children could be receiving these benefits and are not. Data for Kansas or Douglas county are not available but it is likely that there are local women and children who could benefit from the program but are not participating.If you know a struggling mother with young children, ask if they know about WIC. Volunteer to help determine if they are eligible. The KDHE website is useful for that and it identifies Gayle Sherman of the Lawrence Douglas County Health Department as the local contact.


Has the Assassination Changed Your Opinion of the Candidates?

Experience was the buzz word on the campaign trail today as Benazir Bhutto was assassinated after a political rally. It has all the stuff screenwriters dream of. A courageous woman with a tragic past: allegations of political corruption: a return to politics to restore order to a troubled land: and finally, a tragic ending. But what will the coda for this film be? Will Al Qaeda gain control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, or will some other leader emerge out of Bhutto's shadow?With all these questions in the air, America felt the all too familiar twinges of concern over national security today. And who better to assuage these fears than the '08 presidential candidates. The future leader of our nation is out there- he or she will put us at ease:. right? Well, maybe. Let's see how they fared.McCain and Clinton seemed to take center stage as they were seen as the most "experienced." I bought McCain's grandfatherly assurance that he knew all the players in this game and could take on this challenge if given the reins. Clinton, I found to be smooth and confident, but does the word "experienced" fit her? I'm not so sure. As first lady, she did meet with foreign leaders, including Bhutto, but does this really translate to foreign policy experience? I say this in light of the recent information that has come out on her lack of involvement in the White House affairs during Bill's presidency (and I don't just mean Monica). Perhaps, we are supposed to accept Bill's experience as her experience, but this seems a bit condescending for our first female candidate. I liked the way Edwards stepped up and called Musharraf on the phone. Okay, maybe not much came from it, but I give the guy points for taking some action, not just putting out a press release.Giuliani made an attempt to connect the events in Pakistan to 9-11 in order to prove he had experience (there's that buzz word again). But, as McCain pointed out, Giuliani was involved in post-crisis problem solving, not necessarily anti-terrorist dealings.At the bottom end of the scale, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama seemed kind of awkward with their responses to the tragedy. At least Hillary seemed comfortable with her statement on the assassination. My guy, Obama, was a bit disappointing. He has strong opinions on Pakistan and Musharraf, so why did he seem so unprepared? You think someone on his campaign staff would have helped him get his act together before he picked up that microphone. If you are pitching yourself as an agent of change, use that to your advantage and turn the experience question on its head (i.e. the way we have been doing things has not been working, so let's try something new).Well, yesterday, it was immigration; today it is national security. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. But in politics, you should always be prepared.


Benazir Bhutto

The stark news ricocheted around the world today - Benazir Bhutto assassinated. Newspaper headlines will try to summarize the tragedy in tomorrow's editions and many columns will be written about her life and the impact of her death on the world's political scene. How can we ever hope to capture the life and courage of the first woman to become head of Government in an Islamic State? In the US, and even Ireland and the United Kingdom, we take it for granted that woman have the right to hold the highest offices in the land. Such rights are not automatic for women in Islamic countries. The achievements of Benezir Bhutto took the kind of courage that goes beyond words, and only those closest to her will know what it cost.She knew the risks she was taking as she tried to return to Goverment. She was willing to pay the price that sadly ended in her death today. Her husband has lost his wife, her children a mother - and women all over the world have lost a living symbol of the strength and courage of the feminine spirit.


Freedom Machine

Married less than two months, it was the summer of 1966 when we drove to a nearby state lake for our first overnight campout. We had an old army tent and plenty of food and beer. We slept on the ground. To those humble, early marriage beginnings, we added two children and various types of outdoor sleeping accommodations. Our family enjoyed freedom of open spaces, solitude, beautiful scenery and relaxing around a fire. Several years ago, our children long gone and retirement at hand, we began thinking about a recreational vehicle. In the past, we traveled to one place. We now plan longer road trips. We did not want to give up our independence in overnight accommodations, but needed something suitable for our age.We were not alone in our wish to own a RV. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) states more baby boomers own RVs than any other age group. Although the purchase of new vehicles will slip somewhat in 2008 because of higher gas prices, projections indicate sales will still be the fifth highest in 30 years.Our search for an RV fitting our lifestyle started at the yearly early January Kansas City Sports Show in Bartle Hall. Even though a new RV would not fit our budget, we walked through the units on display to determine our preferences. We wanted something small enough to park anywhere and self-contained so we could stop for the night without a reservation. Finally deciding on a small van conversion with gas mileage comparable to popular SUVs, we began looking for a used unit.Newspaper want ads and online sales sites were excellent sources, but good deals moved fast. I did not hesitate to call or email questions. Without fail, owners were anxious to share information. Six months later, we purchased a five-year-old 17-foot conversion van found on an Internet-listing site. It had 17,000 miles on the speedometer and cost less than half of a new model. We picked it up in Minneapolis, Minnesota.It is everything we hoped. You might see us tailgating at football games or parked on Mass street in Lawrence. We have been to Maine, states in the Midwest and especially enjoy two-day trips right here in Kansas. We are planning an Alaska trip a year from this summer. We feel as secure parking in a large chain store parking lot (boon docking) as a remote hilltop. We use it year round. We call it our Freedom Machine.


Marital Advice

I saw a story on the news today about a couple who have been married for 50 years and have never gone to bed mad at one another. My ex-husband and I thought that seemed like a good motto to adopt in our marriage. However, after 12 years of no sleep, we finally called it quits.


About this global warming stuff…

My wife and I returned from Florida last Friday just in time for last week's snow. And as I write, it is snowing again. But the discussion section in the Lawrence Journal World is hot today because of a column by Cal Thomas in which he accuses Al Gore and other believers in global warming as being fundamentalists. He cites a global warming skeptic "Paleoclimate scientist" Bob Carter as writing""In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $50 billion (U.S.) on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one..."This is an interesting comment which flies in the face of the general scientific consensus. So who is the average person to believe? This is important because if Gore and the vast bulk of climate scientists are right then we have an environmental problem that can't wait another 50 years to fix. We are going to have to make both personal and policy decisions either directly or indirectly about this issue.The first thing we need to do is cut partisanship out of the loop. Second of all we need to look at the information that is out there and try to evaluate it as best we can. Fortunately there are several good sources of information. The U.S. government's EPA site (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/) is much improved in terms of its coverage and I strongly recommend exploring its links. Another site is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Global Warming FAQ which gives a quick synopsis the current consensus on global warming. There is plenty of room to discuss what sorts of solutions - free market, government incentives and mandates, individual action but denying what we are doing to the environment is not productive.As for non governmental sources, Science Daily keeps tabs on climate change at http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/earth_climate/global_warming/ and this is perhaps the site for the latest developments in our understanding of climate change.If you are a regular blog reader, a good unbiased site is Real Climate (http://www.realclimate.org/). This blog's contributors are climate scientists-not geologists and not ideologues. Of course look at some of the advocacy sites on the left and the right-what ever your ideological fancy, but do yourself and civilization a favor and check the claims that are made on those sites against each other and come to an honest judgment for yourself about where the truth most likely is. Don't just believe some numskull on the left or the right because you agree with their ideology, unless the numskull happens to be me of course.In the interest of full disclosure I am pretty much in agreement with the scientific consensus but some of my conclusions about where we stand probably go beyond the scientific consensus:1. Global warming is real and not just an artifact of changes in data collection.2. Much but probably not all of recent global warming is due to human activity including burning of fossil fuels but also deforestation and increased agricultural production.3. Global warming may be to the point that we can do little to affect it quickly.4. Climate change happening more rapidly than we thought possible even five years ago and may be happening more rapidly than many populations can adapt to.5. There is no magic bullet to solving global warming and we probably will need to make some uncomfortable choices concerning energy sources and (dare I say it?) some sacrifice of living standards.6. Poorer countries will be more severely affected than developed countries.7. We have exceeded the ability of the planet to sustain our current population, and global warming is interacting with other human disturbances to bring about an irreversible biodiversity crisis.8. There is still hope for our species but our environment is going to become biologically impoverished in ways we might not like.Of course all comments are welcome; just play nicely.


Merry Christmas From Your Candidates

'Tis the season for eating too much cookies, maxing out your credit cards and, wait a minute: groan inducing political ads?Now that the Iowa Caucuses have been moved up to January 3rd, campaigning has spilled onto the holiday and left us with these sometimes humorous, occasionally embarrassing media clips. And, yes, Virginia, there actually is one that touches on the true meaning of Christmas. It all started with a seemingly innocent bookcase. Mike Huckabee's ad caused quite a stir when a cross shaped bookcase was seen behind his head while he spoke about Christmas. People wondered whether this was an overt evangelical message or merely a coincidence. I think it's a bit of a stretch to call this Christian propaganda, but the filmmaker side of me does find it hard to believe that no one called this "coincidence" to the candidate's attention during the filming. With directors, production designers and cinematographers involved in even the most basic productions, there are usually a lot of eyes on the video tap to pick up on visual symbols, intentional or not. Moving on to the more innocuous, meet-the-family ads: Barack Obama and Ron Paul both had some serviceable spots with the obligatory cute family members getting in the holiday spirit. These festive ads are meant to show us that they are not just politicians but, in fact, "real guys." I think it would have been more real to see them loafing on the coach after turkey dinner or getting into arguments with family members, but that's just me.John Edwards took the gig more seriously and drove home the issue of those without homes. This somewhat dour message stood in contrast to his soft lighting and cheerful sweater. I think if you are going to take a gritty approach to the holiday you should get out of the studio and hit the streets. Use the visual medium of television to get your hands dirty. Unless you are afraid of messing up that $3,000 haircut. Moving on, the next two political ads are quite simply in bad taste. With a forced attempt at humor, Hillary Clinton finds a gift under her tree for universal pre-K. It just feels condescending. A gift from her? Aren't we the taxpayers? But even this wasn't as bad as Giuliani's Jerry Lewis impression as he tries to ham it up with Santa over fruit cakes. Come on guys, leave the acting to Fred Thompson.Last but not least is John McCain's Christmas ad. I was a little skeptical at the opening- a slow motion image of McCain's POW days. It set the stage for something a bit heavy handed. But then, he tells a heartfelt story about how his guard wrote a cross in the dirt on Christmas day. He touched on the universality of Christmas and left us with the feeling that he is just the guy to bridge cultural gaps. There was nothing subliminal, false or cornball here. I couldn't help but remember that episode of "30 Rock" where Tina Fey says there's an 80% chance she'll tell her friends she voted for Barack Obama when she actually voted for John McCain. So, take them or leave them, love them or hate them, it just goes to show you politics don't take a holiday. Personally, I was hoping that Mitt Romney would have had an ad where he said he "saw" his father ride with Santa Claus, but you can't get everything on your list.


How I found my feminism.

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2007/Dec/22/well-bahaved.jpgphoto from factoryjoe at flickr.com I found my feminism in two difference places; in my family and in books. I am grateful to have been raised without gender-segregated treatment. If I wanted toy cars, fine. If I wanted an American Girl doll, fine. I got an Equal Rights Amendment bracelet for my 18th birthday from my mom, which was given to her on her 18th birthday by my grandmother.While I am infinitely thankful to have such a wonderful family, I would not be the feminist I am today without the summer of 2005. I had just moved out of the dorms at the University of Kansas and into my first real apartment. Faced with endless amounts of free time and no TV, I turned to the Lawrence Public Library for entertainment. But after I had watched all the James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock movies I could stand, I needed something else.Seeking an alternative, I decided to learn more about feminism. I had always known that I valued and respected women, but I did not know the theories, the movement, or the struggles behind that belief. It all started with bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody and Madam President: Women Blazing the Leadership Trail by Eleanor Clift and Tom Brazaitis.I spent that whole summer working my way through all the feminist books I could find at the library. And from then on, I have been educating myself (formally and informally) about every form of feminism imaginable. The more I read, the more I felt like someone finally understood how the world really worked and could articulate that understanding. There is gender influence in every single action we take in every day. It is often small and hard to find, but it is there.How did you find your feminism?


Just about …. and more

A few years ago, I took my husband to the Tate Art Gallery in St. Ives, Cornwall. The building is pretty impressive. It overlooks the sea, and catches the light of the sun as it travels around the Bay.We arrived early and found various piles of dust and dirt as we moved up the stairs."Wouldn't you think they would have cleared that up before the place opened," I remarked.We arrived on the first floor and along the side of the wall in one of the galleries was another enormous pile of dust and dirt."What's all that dirt doing lying around here?" I asked the attendant."That's not dirt," she said with a sniff. "That's part of the exhibition."She directed me to the details of the artist near the pile of .... art.It didn't quite end there. In another room our eyes were assaulted by piles of rotten carrots placed strategically on the black tiles of what looked like a large checkers' board; the white tiles were untarnished by the putrid vegetables. The "work" was titled something like "Desperation."I haven't quite looked at carrots in the same way again.The "mother" Gallery, the Tate (Modern) in London, has now found a creative way to get rid of the dirt piles and carrots. A large crack, with a title, has appeared in one of the gallery floors. You would be forgiven for thinking it might be called "Cracked," or "Art is not all it's cracked up to be," but it isn't. It's titled "Shibboleth," and it's supposed to symbolize racial and class divisions. Apparently it's getting great reviews. I know I'm probably missing the point somewhere along the line, so maybe I need to be enligtened. When do cracks and piles of dirt turn into pieces of art? I've noticed several cracks in my garage floor today as well as piles of dirty salty grime (leftovers from last week's ice,) and I'm now looking for a suitable title for a possible masterpiece. I know I might have to do some rearranging to get the full artistic effect but I'll give it a try. How will I know if it's art? I wonder if I need to get a licence from the City in order to charge a fee? Any ideas about what I should call it, and what it might represent?


Lawrence, The Way We Remember It

Here are the answers, based upon what I know and what was said in the comments, please let me know of any errors. 1. Where and what was Griff's? A burger place on 23rd, located approximately across from where Mongolian BBQ is now, It was in an unusual A-frame building 2. What major retail chain had a store where the Antique Mall is now located. (Hint, it has moved again since then). For extra credit, where did it move to before moving to its present location? J.C. Penney's, It moved to occupy the Montgomery Ward's location near 23rd and Iowa before moving to its present location. 3. Name a store that is now located where Woolworth's used to be located. Kinko's, Saffee's, Chipotle 4. Bucky's originally had another name, what was it? Sandy's. An article this week reported Bucky's closing. 5. Where did George's Hobby Shop used to be located? The Malls, 23rd and Iowa. It moved to Paper Warehouse, before moving to a building behind. Someone also reported it being at 19th and Mass, if so, that was before my time. 6. What was the name of the drive-in theater that was located on 6th Street near where Sonic is now located? Sunset Drive-in 7. There was yet another drive-in theater in town, where was it? For extra credit what was its name. Please tell me, I don't know. This was before my time, I'm told it was the Chateau on 23rd street, near where Laird Noller is now. Or was it the Lawrence Drive-in? 8. Where was the Vista drive-in located? On 6th street. The "Olympic" pool was down the streeon on the other side. 9. What is the name of the restaurant that occupied the building where Bambino's is now? Cornucopia, the only place I've ever eaten quiche. 10. Where was the "Campus Hideaway" located? Just north of South Park.There were a number of us who remember going to the Sunset, climbing on the train, and seeing Leo Beuerman. Other recollections (a partial list)The church at the corner of 6th and Maine, followed by Alfie's?, now Taco John'sQuantrill's Flea Market.
Drake's Bakery
Lion/ Red Lion (are these the same?)
Bob's Big Boy
Sub & Stuff (I remember the Spicy Italian)
Shakey's Pizza (later Valentino's)
Putt-Putt at 31st and Iowa
Rusty's IGAs
Don's Steakhouse south of town on Iowa, before my time.
Liberty Hall and its long history.
Raney Drug
Tin Pan Alley
LeMans Arcade
Dairy King
Mr. Steak (free birthday dinners)
Drag Strip Road
...Didn't see Jenning's Daylight Donuts mentioned. Did anyone ever go to the the Aqua Forum to get tropical fish? I remember it on the east edge of town on 23rd Street before it moved to the Mall, behind where Wendy's is now... until is closed There was also Jayhawk Tropical Fish.Thank you, everyone, for a nice (I might even say wonderful) trip down memory lane.


How do you Deal

Cue cheesy music and twinkly lights. Audience applauds as polyester-suit-clad Bob Talksalot prances onto the stage.BOB: Hello Ladies and Gents, welcome to "How do you Deal," the game show where parent contestants get to try out responses to the news that their child has just read the results of the school play auditions and found that their name was not included on the cast list. I am your host, Bob Talksalot. Let's play!Cue music and applause.BOB: Contestant Number One Little Jaynie has just come home in tears because she didn't make the play:What do you do?DAD ONE: Well, I'd call that director right away and tell him that he's obviously blind if he can't see how much talent my Jaynie has. Why everyone else has always said that she has got dramatic talent, the way she can cry on cue and all. I would demand an immediate explanation, and I would tell that director to look for another job if he can't cast the really talented kids. And I'd make sure the other parents know how unfair that director is.BOB: Thank you, contestant Number One. Contestant Number Two, same question.MOM TWO: I would keep her away from those drama types, and never let her audition again. She's too good for them anyway. And then I would write an anonymous letter to the director, and send a copy to the principal of the school, letting them know how displeased all we parents are that only 30 kids seem to get all the good roles. And who cares about things like occupancy limits, and fire codes, and personal safety, and budget limits and presenting a quality performance surely supervising 70 teenagers in the dark can't be THAT difficult for two adults.BOB: Thank you! Now on to Contestant Number Three. What do you do in this situation?DAD THREE: First, I'd ask Jaynie if she had filled out all her audition forms completely. Then I'd ask if she showed up on time for her audition and was courteous, polite, and confident. Then I'd ask her to tell me about her audition what she thought she did well, what she thought she could improve on for next time. I'd ask her if anyone else she auditioned with got cast, and what strong qualities she saw in them that she could model next time. I'd let her cry, we'd talk about disappointments and how they present some great learning opportunities in life this won't be the last disappointment she knows. And a few days later, I'd encourage her to ask the director when she could find some time to talk about what skills she could improve for her next audition, and to inquire how to be a member of the technical crew.BOB: Judges?Cue sound of dinger and wild applause from the crowd.BOB: Congratulations, Contestant Number Three! You know How to Deal, and so will your daughter! In fact, she's more likely to see her name on the cast list at the next audition, AND she'll get to participate in this current production by being on the crew. After all, I wouldn't look or sound this good without all the technical assistants! (laughs) Thanks for playing. See you all next time on "How do you Deal."Cue cheesy theme music, and fade out.


A Mother’s Prayer

It's 7:45 in the evening, and I sit in the dark rocking and nursing my one-year-old to sleep. When I can stop my mind from racing about the events of today and tomorrow, I turn my full attention to the warm, vulnerable little boy in my arms. I'm moved to say a prayer, though I don't really know where I stand with God. I say a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving for Max and an equally heartfelt prayer that God will help us keep him healthy and safe. I'm still overcome by love and awe for Max, and my prayer becomes "Let us be worthy." Right away, I realize my husband and I can never be worthy. How can anyone be worthy of the extraordinary privilege and oh-so-difficult job of raising a child? So I whisper, "Let us be enough."


Crush on Obama

I wanted to like Hillary, really I did. I was rooting for her in much the same way as I root for womenfilmmakers. I go out of my way to see even the most mediocre sounding premises and manage to overlook theoccasional bad dialogue and unimaginative camera workin the interest of women directorship. But unless I am in a really "you go-girl" kindof mood, even I must admit it is just not justifiableto like most of these movies. Or, in this case, this candidate.Hillary is in a difficult position, I'll give herthat. A woman president would be hard to take for somepeople. Heck, my old school cinematography professordidn't know what to think of me as a female Directorof Photography. But a chick Commander in Chief? I canonly imagine the fun he'd have with that one.So, understandably, Clinton is trying very hard not toappear soft or give any indication that her womanhoodwould affect her leadership. But as a result ofdistancing herself from her estrogen, Hilary ismissing one of the things that our sex is know for passion! And this is one thing Senator Barack Obama has goingfor him. I was cruising around in a rental car that had XMradio during the time of the Jefferson Jackson dinnersand got to hear all the candidates back to back. (Sidenote- XM station POTUS 08 is one of the coolestthings ever- I lived in LA for eight years and alwayshated the traffic, but that week with POTUS, I didn'tmind it a bit.) I was still in that "maybe Hillary"mode when Obama put in his two cents and that's when I wouldn't be voting for a woman this time. I was actually moved by a political speech and I didn't see it on the History Channel.I know that voting decisions are supposed to be blindto issues like gender and color, but the idea of ayoung girl seeing a female president get inauguratedprobably biased my first look at these democraticcandidates.But in the end, you have to go with your heart. And ifObama is elected, he will also be an inspiration to manychildren for years to come. There's a handful of promising women directorsemerging lately (like Kimberly Pierce and PattiJenkins, to name a few), so it's only a matter of timebefore we get our first female president. Hopefully,she's one worth caring about.


See the Space Station

It should appear as a fast moving bright star rising in the NW. It should climb to as high as 45 degrees above the horizon before setting in the east.There should be another opportunity just before 6PM on Saturday evening.Here is a NASA site where you can look to see when the Station will be passing overhead at a time when it is visible (dawn or dusk). Click the "Input" tab and enter your zip code, then click "Next Sighting". This applet requires Java be installed, so if you see nothing, that is probably why.It is easy to see. With binoculars, you might be able to see it as more than a bright white dot.


So Much to See

Next: So Much to See #2

I propose that if we took the time to look more closely at all the things around us each day, we would be the richer for it. So here is what I propose to do:I cropped a picture I took to show a small and hopefully not easily recognizable portion.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out what or where it is. At regular intervals, probably once a day, I'll expand what the image shows or provide a hint, until someone correctly identifies it. If it is a foolish idea, I'll be flamed in comments--if indeed there are any at all. It is just a silly little idea, anyway. I hope you'll spend a little more time each day paying attention to the many interesting things around you.


If you spend much time driving (or taking the T) around Lawrence you will surely be able to see this. Here is the next image:

One more, if you still aren't sure:

Not much of a surprise, but here is the complete image:
And here is a short history of the Castle Tea Room.