The Lope: November 2005

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wanted: Turkey for short term relationship

This is how to assure a good Thanksgiving. First, make friends with a turkey.

Then, educate the turkey as to the food chain.

Honor the turkey with a meal; wear his clothes in tribute.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Clarence the Christmas Dinosaur

Tis the season to drive down the street at three miles per hour with a dinosaur on the roof and hand out candy canes to complete strangers.

Ace and his friend, Clarence the dinosaur, volunteered to appear in the Hutchinson, KS Christmas parade last Saturday to promote the the Reno County Mental Health Association's Christmas homes tour fundraiser.

Clarence's previous appearance was at a night-time parade last year in Joplin, MO. The lights had to be removed for this day-time parade.

He also had a year of grunge which had to be washed off before this year's parade. Where does one wash a dinosaur? Why, a car wash, of course.

Of course, a dinosaur being hosed down in a car wash is bound to attract some attention. Jan Lawson and her son, Logan helped out a bit.

Before the parade, Ace met a couple of Santae.

"Oh, say, can you see..."

During the parade, Ace's crew handed out 8,000 candy canes with flyers.

The crowd was quite dense, but we made sure that almost everyone got a candy cane. When I ran out of candy and had to run to the van for more, the discontented children reminded me of feeding bread to ducks in a park: when you run out, you'd better get away fast.

Santa's miniature horse-drawn sleigh and beautiful entourage pass Reger Rental, a business that uses a restored classic neon sign.

An ogre, a grinch and a fair yuletide maiden.

There was some nice amimal-watching, too...

...and Shriners in little cars...

...and red hat ladies.

After the parade, most of the crew assembled for a pic.

Ace made a new friend in the form of Molly Bribiesca, who helped pass out candy canes.

What fun is a dinosaur on your roof if you can't drive around with it and elicit a few looks? We did just that, and finished the morning with lunch at Roy's B-B-Q.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Earth and Sky

This is an installment in the trip we took back in August from Joplin, MO to LA, CA. It was August 3rd and we had just left Seligman, AZ; it was a beautiful day for cloudscapes.

We took Interstate 40 rather than Rt66 as we had a a lot of ground to cover and I had taken 66 to the California border on a previous trip.

Kingman is where Rt66 rejoins Interstate 40 after a long arc to the North. We didn't exit at Kingman as I'd explored it before. (see here and here)

Geology is pretty much the star of the show on this stretch.

I shot the sign because I couldn't resist the name.

The structure known as the Golf Ball House was built near Yucca, AZ, as a restaurant/lounge for a housing developement that never got off the ground.

It is currently a residence and is for sale.

You can read more about it, and even see a video of the inside at the Home and Garden Television website.

I don't know what the story is concerning these out-structures. Have you ever noticed that the desert breeds a beautiful form of eccentricity?

Next time we resume Route 66:
"This here's the bones of a Country"; Crossing the Colorado River..

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Seligman, AZ

This continues a trip we took from Joplin, MO to Los Angeles this past August. It was August 3rd; we had departed Williams, AZ with the goal of going as far west as we could that day. The first town at which we stopped was Seligman, Arizona, a pretty little place, where route 66 splits off from Hwy 40.

We took 66 through town, as I had only seen Seligman at night on previous trips. Mannequins, as a form of artistic expression, seem to be the popular along 66, as this strip mall exemplifies.

The owner apparently collects Edsels.

At the east end of town is Delgadillo's Snowcap, a drive-in with a sense of humor.

We had hoped to eat here, but were too early.

Sadly, Juan Delgadillo died last year.

His son carries on the business, though, and the offbeat decor remains.

I wonder if Disney's attorneys know about this.

The Copper Cart is a restaurant with a cool sign. It wasn't open yet either.

The Roadkill was open, but we didn't choose it; I loved the name, but last time I was through Seligman I witnessed the manager arguing with his employees outside and it didn't leave me with a good impression of the service.

We finally ate at Westside Lilos.

The exterior of the place was nothing unusual but the interior was decorated with quite a few Rt66 photos and memorabilia, including a really useful set of maps of Grand Canyon Caverns, a destination for a future trip.

The classic TV buff in me was drawn to the autographed 1970 photo of Ken Curtis as Festus from Gunsmoke. 1970.

My breakfast wasn't bad at all.

There are some nice motel signs in Seligman.

Nice googie touches here. You know why you should always take notes on a trip? Because I don't know which motel this is.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Chess for Peace

Chess Grandmasters Anatoly Karpov and Susan Polgar, and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev greet an assembled crowd (and the Kansas wind) October 29 in Lindsborg, KS.

The occasion was the kickoff of the Chess for Peace initiative, a project of The Karpov School of Chess in Lindsborg which seeks to "establish long-term relationships between the young people around the globe by using chess as the vehicle by which to promote mutual understanding of shared problems."

It being Lindsborg, the first family as elected at the recent Svensk Hyllninfest, posed with the dignitaries at the parade review stand. I also shot pics of the parade, but, having just run three posts on Lindsborg, I figured I'd better stick to the chess occasion this time.

Karpov looks bemused...I wonder why? I also wonder if Gorby is phoning his security to ask what the deal is with the guy and the jackalope?

One of the most interesting aspects of the occasion was the sport of watching Russian and American security and law enforcement officials, such as this Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent. If I were casting actors to play agents in a movie, this guy is exactly the look I'd go for.

A KBI agent observes me from a roof top.

There is no more beguiling a creature on Earth than an intelligent woman with a mission. So, we were immediately attracted to Susan Polgar, winner of four Women’s World Chess Championships and ten Olympic Medals (five gold, four silver and one bronze). She is currently ranked #1 in the United States and #2 in the world. The website of her Susan Polgar Foundation states that "It's mission is to promote chess, with all its educational, social and competitive benefits throughout the United States, for young people of all ages, especially girls."

You may well be asking: How does an international peace initiative come to be launched from Lindsborg, population 3,200? The genesis of this lies in Dr. Mikhail Korenman, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Bethany College in Lindsborg. Korenman is a friend of Karpov, and convinced him to start the chess school in Lindsborg. The Chess for Peace initiative was, in turn, born of Karpov's chess school.

Here, Gorbachev emerges from a visit to the school amid a throng of press, security and onlookers.

Ace hangs out on some giant chess pieces.

Chess pieces or nesting dolls?

Saturday also saw a scholastic tournament at Lindsborg's Bethany Collage.

*click* *tap* *clack*...the sounds made by the movement of hundreds of chess pieces is a refreshing change from the dribble of a basketball. I really hope this increases in scope and popularity.

"She's planning for the kill move" one of the spectators was heard to say of this little girl.

Saturday afternoon saw the second "Clash of the Titans" - a rematch between Karpov and Polgar held in Bethany Collage's Presser Auditorium. Here, Gorbachev observes the first game after having made the opening move for Karpov.

An electronic board and projection system enabled the crowd to follow the game. It had a few glitches, but managed to do the job.
It also furnished me with a fun effect to use as Polgar and Karpov walk to their seats after a break.

The match ended in a 3-3 tie.

After each game, the players change sides. Pretty darn convenient for photographers, eh?

We'd heard of Sweedish pancakes, but never experienced them, so we headed to The Cookery to remedy that. They reminded me of crepes with lingonberry jelly...very tart and tasty.

Back at Presser Auditorium, the evening's main event was an interview of Gorbachev by Wall Street Journal reporter Alan Murray. This was much more security than I'm sure Lindsborg had experienced before, and all bags had to be searched before entering. This is just the head end of the line; it stretched about a block and a half long but moved fairly quickly.

Murray posed questions and Gorbachev replied through an interpreter. It was quite interesting to hear his views. "You know people speak about national interests or corporate interests...we have to give priority to global interests, because today you cannot solve your own security concerns. It is world security."

Gorbachev said that, initially, late President Ronald Reagan impressed him as "a real dinosaur" and that Reagan told his staff that Gorbachev was "a diehard Boleshevik." He said he eventually found Reagan to be a compassionate man who shared his desire to reduce nuclear arms.

On the subject of a current conflict, he remarked that "the credibility of the United States has suffered as a result of the war in Iraq."

World peace is still a concern of Gorbachev. "I believe for those who live in the wealthiest countries, that if we don't pay attention to those living in poverty, then we are creating a tiny bomb that could explode."

Karpov and Polgar emerged at the end of the interview. Judging from the comments of Karpov, the chess game was less than stellar, but it was intended only as an entertaining framework for the interview.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Perspectives on loss

I let go of an old, beloved thing the other day. I had owned this Chevy Blazer from 1985 till this past week, though it actually gave up the ghost a couple years back. I had held onto it, wanting in my heart to get it fixed, but knowing the repair was unreasonable for such an old car. Finally, circumstance (city codes) forced me to get rid of it.
I missed that vehicle...beloved friends and I had taken many a road trip in it. Two of my love lives blossomed in it; I was sad to see it towed down the alley and out of my life.

Perspective arrived on my mother's doorstep today. She was in the hospital for a minor operation and it went bad stories here, but while she was gone overnight and my brother and I were at her house, I saw the morning paper setting out - long after she'd have picked it up - and the difference between the loss of a car and the absence of a person hit home, rolled up in a tight bundle and wrapped in a rubber band.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Happy Day of the Dead!

Today is one of the traditional Mexican Days of the Dead - Dias De Los Muertos. November 1 and 2 are both celebrated, especially in rural areas of Mexico, as days of remembrance for dead children (Nov 1) and dead adults (Nov2).

The holiday is Aztec in origin and originally fell at the end of July and beginning of August. In a classic move by the Catholic church, Spanish priests moved the holiday to its present dates in an attempt to morph the occasion into their own All Hallows Eve. As with most attempts at festival conversion, this had mixed results - it took on the trappings of Catholicism; but retained a pagan flavor.

Generally, the holiday consists of a symbolic welcoming of the dead back into the lives of the living. This may be done via the sprucing up of graves, the leaving of gifts (food, beer, candy, etc.) at gravesites and/or the construction of alters to the dead in the homes of the living.

Of course, festivities abound and the creation of candies shaped like skulls and small decorative items showing the dead in their living roles, abound.

I've heard of the backward-extension of the holiday to Oct 31, a combining of Days of the Dead with Halloween, but I've seen few references to this. My friend Jesse (below) says he wouldn't be surprised and that hispanics tend to find ways to prolong festivals.

Although traditions should be valued, I like the idea of extending any holiday. But then, I think Christmas lasts till the last clearance item is gone, about mid-January.

In general, Southern Mexico, which is more rural and religious, holds Day of the Dead to be more important than in the more urban North, where a very U.S.-styled Halloween is gaining popularity. I hope the holiday lasts a few more generations and isn't subverted by plastic pumpkins.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The veil begins to thicken

We hope you had a happy Halloween, with at least a moment or two of chills. Is was said that Halloween marked the time when the veil between life and death was thinnest. For me, Halloween is a fine occasion for the usage of fog machines and tiki masks.

I'm pretty sure Spiderman did NOT get his powers from inhaling smoke.

Some will be continuing their adventures today, fueled by a sugar high.

And others will dissolve like the exhilation of a demon.

For awhile, at least.