The Lope: December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

They'll Have to Choke Their Chickens Somewhere Else

Long-time Kansas City, MO eatery and landmark institution, Stroud's South, will close its doors for good this coming New Years Eve. The buckled building, which dates back at least as far as 1933, was taken by Kansas City for the widening of 85th Street.
Customers routinely park blocks away and walk along busy 85th street for the opportunity to wait for a table. When we were there Dec 22, the wait was 2 hours and 15 minutes.

"We choke our own chickens" has been the motto of Strouds for years. I wonder if any school systems have banned the shirt?

The menu includes several items, but the general favorite is the pan-fried chicken dinner. According to the book "Road Food" by Jane and Michael Stern, "Stroud's makes the most delicious fried chicken in America and accompanies it with potatoes, pepper gravy, and cinnamon rolls to match."

Stroud's has received national restaurant awards such as the James Beard Award for Excellence and the Zagat Award for Best Restaurant. It has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Gourmet Magazine, New York Times, People Magazine, Esquire, Martha Stewart Living, Bon Appetit, Conda Nast, and Playboy.

The floors of the building are old, wooden and off-level. Although Strouds has two other locations and will open another restaurant soon in an old firehouse, the character of this one will be missed.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas from Ace Jackalope

Ace Jackalope and his entourage wish you a merry Christmas, filled with whatever brings you peace, stability and joy.

The automated nativity above is part of a display at Mike Babick's house in Prairie Village, Kansas, near Kansas City.

Cut-out figures inhabit the roof.

Babick collects and restores old Christmas automations.

A view into the garage reveals Santa's workshop.

Almost all of these figures are automated.

A canine ice cream vendor watches another dog dance.

Babick tells me how he'd like to decapitate Ace and motorize him. Ace had no comment.

A few days ago, we paid a visit to Lemon Park in Pratt, Kansas.

Fake hoofprints complement lighted moose and deer.

In some small way, be you adult or child, may you experience wonder today.

Christmas Mass

"Far away, across the fields,
the tolling of the iron bell,
calls the faithful to their knees,
to hear the softly spoken magic spells."
- Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon

One does not have to believe to find the rituals of belief to be interesting.

A stained glass Window in Joplin Missouri's St Peter's church.

Dining Out in the Atomic Age

We revisited Donald's Servateria in Pratt, KS on Dec 21st.

I finally got a chance to shoot a pic of the cool atomic age sign at night. "Donalds" is not illuminated because the new owners changed the name to "The Famous Restaurant." I'm still hoping they don't alter it.

The food had improved and the place is now open at night.

The Pratt municipal swimming pool is frozen over. I thought it was general practice to drain pools.

Someone at least had the sense of humor to put duck decoys on the pool.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Winter Solstice!

Fog turned to ice coats branches and catches the light of the Christmas lights in the wee hours of this midwinters day.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Merry Christmas, Movie House!

Ace is a bit particular about where he eats, where he sleeps and where he is entertained. So, he is delighted to be a regular attendee of functions at the Fox Theater in Hutchinson Kansas. Even this past weekend's snow storm could not deter him.

The Fox boasts one of the few surviving, original marqees in the country. The building is a 1931 art deco "movie palace" built for theatre and vaudeville.

In the last few years, it has been completely restored and is owned by a non-profit corporation which uses it for movies, plays, concerts and special events.

While waiting for the movie, Treasure of Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart, we savored the ornate interior.

The next day I came back and shot the stage, set up for a play.

The original light fixtures in the theater are particularly impressive.

After drinking a pop and not wanting to miss any of the movie, it was nice to go to a "Gentleman's Lounge" instead of just a restroom.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

'Tis the Season

Its the time of year when friends gather at Christmas parties to eat and make merry; Ace Jackalope is a party animal and enjoys watching the humans, as well as checking out yuletide decor.

Pretty girls and Santae abound at human parties.

I think this Santa looks a bit like Dumbledore.

This particular woman, often spotted checking into motels with Ace, takes a few moments to say hi to Ace's pal, Clarence.

Being scratched behind the ears by Father Frost was a real treat.

Sweets are a staple of such gatherings.

At a Christmas dinner, Ace rejoices at the sight of a spinach salad.

Ace loves to meet his readers, especially if they are women. Here are Debbie, Ace and Julie.

A Christmas tree should be a thing of majesty and wonder that towers above, so that one must look up at it.

"And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose"
- from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (1822, also
called A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Last Leaves of Autumn

I actually shot this a few weeks ago, and didn't use it in a previous post. I thought I'd throw it in now for three reasons:

One: Some of the fall storms we've been getting here in the midwest, like the wind and hail below, are knocking the crap out of the trees, making pretty leaves less topical by the day.

Two: Several of you have said you really liked the fall pictures.

Three: I'm running out of webspace at my server to store new pictures and I already had the leaves uploaded. I've got quite a bit of stuff edited and ready to go, but am utterly inexperienced at buying storage space..anyone got any recommendations?

Oh, here's one more: