The Lope: November 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Gift

Want a turkey?

Just drive your car up Kansas highway 61, just north of 30th street in Hutchinson, Kansas. There's a been a group of turkeys hanging around that area for over a year. A group of turkeys is called a rafter, by the way, though if I had my way, it would be called a "succulent" of turkeys.

I stopped a watched this drama for awhile, both fascinated and aghast at the critters' tendency to wander in front of traffic.

Finally, the turkeys seemed spooked enough times to go a short distance from the road:

Moving on down the road to Polk's Farmers Market to buy a few pumpkins for a friend's Third Thursday decorations, proprietor Earl Polk (2007 photo) told me he had one of the K-61 turkeys in his freezer for Thanksgiving this year. He'd nailed one, then driven the three or so miles to his store.

Earl credits the gift of his Thanksgiving feast to his deceased sister. As he disengaged the turkey from the front grill of his truck, he says he heard his sister say "Happy Thanksgiving, Brother."

Thanksgiving 2009

Yep, It's Thanksgiving and time for re-run specials on TV. Ace has his own little tryptophan day classic. Here's Wanted: Turkey for short-term Relationship.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hutchinson Holiday Parade Saturday

Big Giant Santa head prepares for Christmas. He was last seen at Halloween.

Saturday at 10AM the Hutchinson, Kansas, Holiday Parade will run from Avenue B north to about 11th.

Though it perhaps be a fool's errand, some friends and I are making (yes, present tense at 11:15PM) a float which includes the muffler man head dressed as Santa.

Do we know what we're doing? Do we know how to run a 40+ year old fiberglass relic down a bumpy street without damage? Will Big Giant Santa Head's eyebrows, hat or beard come off in the wind?

Watch the parade tomorrow and find out.

Oh, we're giving out candy canes...good quality ones, too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Snow of Autumn 2009 in Hutchinson, KS

It snowed in Reno county, Kansas today. The heaviest stuff came down from about 2:30 to 5PM. Here's the view from a porch in South Hutchinson looking north across Blanchard Street:

And here's the view in Hutchinson looking west down 1st Avenue from the Post Office toward the Fox Theatre. Note that Hutchinson already has its Christmas decorations up:

Another one - for some reason the lens would not zoom back from telephoto when I wanted to pan toward the train tracks, but here's a clip that includes a snowy view of a short train (with a caboose, no less) on the BNSF track:

I have more videos queued to upload on YouTube right now and may embed another one later. And speaking of embedding, that's what I'm going to do right now. G'night!

(Added later) Couldn't's a clip that starts out looking at the soldiers and sailors monument:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

A huge flag of lights decorates the west side of Kansas highway 61 at Inman.

According to a representative of the city of Inman, a private individual, Otis Friesen, erects the flag.

This year we are proud to salute Bill and Opal Webster who both served in WWII. As a matter of fact, they owe their 64-year marriage to the Navy. Bill, who served on several ships, met Navy clerk Opal Olebeare and apparently they hit it off rather well. This is a 2007 photo, but we hear they still get along quite nicely.

See also Veterans Day (2008)

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Wall

The Berlin wall began to fall 20 years ago today, when, on November 9, 1989, the East German government announced that all of its citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin.

The physical manifestation of the previous isolation of East and West Germany - the wall itself - began to be chipped away immediately. German unification came less than a year later, in October of 1990.

Pieces of the Berlin Wall survive in many places; the most colorful one I've seen (above) is in the National Museum of the US Air Force. There's also a nice one at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev is admired in the West for allowing the wall to fall and not taking the advice of hardliners who wanted him to crush the unrest leading to the event. The Soviet Union itself soon dominoed out of existence.

What may be surprising to those of us in the West is that a poll last year showed 60% of Russians still viewed the fall of the Soviet Union as tragic.

In a recent Reuters story, Gorbachev is quoted as saying that crushing the unrest in East Germany would have sparked a catastrophic set of events or even a third world war.

Gorbachev touched on some of this history during a visit to Kansas in 2005, when the above photo was taken.

40 Years of Muppets

Today is the 40th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of Sesame Street. The program came along a bit too late for my early childhood, but the muppets would later catch my fancy with their own show and features like "Pigs in Space."

It's nice to know that puppets have the right to be recognized for their contributions.

The Kermit statue above decorates the Jim Henson Company at 1416 N La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, seen here on August 10, 2005. The studio is located on the old Charlie Chaplin Studios lot, where Chaplin filmed "Gold Rush" and "The Great Dictator."

Friday, November 06, 2009

Halloween 2009

It's been a very busy few days since Halloween, but I had time to work with some pictures.

Thank you to all the parents and kiddies that came by our display at Patsy's house this past Halloween Saturday night. About 300 of you moved through over the course of the evening. As you can see by the costumes, we felt well protected by the superhero community.

Halloween afternoon, the corpses patiently waited for you from windows and cages in the yard.

Four corpses hung out in these trellis cages. They were placed so that folks had to walk between at least three of them to approach the porch. That actually spooked some people. Good. Without at least one genuine chill, it wouldn't be Halloween.

The cages were a last minute addition, loaned to us by assistant corpse wrangler, Sharon the pirate. There she is on the left with Ann, the dead bride.

My largest new addition is what being called the "Big Giant Head", for lack of a better name. "Pirate Paul" has also been suggested due to his probable origin as the head of a 1960s Paul Bunyan statue and his recent appearance as a pirate on this website.

What he is, actually, is the head of what Roadside America has popularized as a "muffler man" - the roadside advertising attention-getters made by International Fiberglass from the early 1960s to about 1974. If Paul still had a body (he was separated from it well before I got him) he'd be about 20 feet tall and way too unwieldy to casually cart around for Halloween.

Mark lends a sense of scale.

Another addition was this collapsible 5' scarecrow that I bought two years ago on clearance and forgot about 'til this year.

But what's this? There are two floating orbs to the right. Did I inadvertently capture ghosts with the camera?

Is this cat being pestered by disembodied spirits of mice and birds? (like a cat wouldn't kill them all over again just for kicks)

Nope, the cat tracked down the bubble fogger I placed to the side of the porch.

It was actually the bubble fogger that interested kids the most.

Supergirl fends off a bubble as a Clone Trooper looks on.

A green fairy caught fog bubbles in her sack until it was filled with smoke.

I think the boy in front is supposed to be the Creature from the Black Lagoon. This gladdened me as the creature is my favorite 1950s movie monster. I don't think of kids as even knowing about him.

We hope you had a happy and safe Halloween.

And we plan to see you next year, of corpse.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November Moon

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Day of the Dead 2009

I keep on the lookout for Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead - stuff all year long. To be accurate, there are two days of the dead, connected with the Catholic All Saints' Day on November 1st and All Souls' Day on November 2nd and to an old Aztec holiday. In some areas November 1 is dedicated to departed children and November 2, to adults.

On a trip to Van Buren, Arkansas, this past Spring I happened into A Little Bit of Mexico, an import shop, where the proprietor showed me quite a bit of Day of the Dead stuff. See the lovely skulls in the cross?

I do so love both the decor of this holiday and the idea behind it, which is to honor and celebrate the dead. Traditionally a household altar might be made and the graves of ancestors cleaned off and decorated.

Lovely things, these are; but I presume that most such decorative items end up in the hands of tourists like me instead of traditionalists.

Arr...someone combined pirates and Day of the Dead.

I finally saw something I wanted and could buy - a skeleton playing miniature golf. It might be regular golf but the green is linear so I prefer to believe it's miniature golf.

See also 2005's Happy Day of the Dead!, 2007's Dias De Los Muertos and 2008's Day of the Dead.