The Lope: February 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yes, and Yes again this Summer

I saw my upteenth Yes concert Tuesday night in Dallas at the House of Blues. The band served up tasty helpings of prog rock goodness, despite some audience members who bellied up at the table more for the beer.

Band members told me that plans are being made for a Yes U.S. Summer tour in June.

(updated March 4: Peter Frampton is scheduled as the opening act for the tour, the first dates of which are now posted on the Yes website.)

I'm crossing my fingers for some Midwest dates, including, I would hope, the untapped-for-years markets of Wichita, Tulsa, Little Rock and Omaha as well as tried-and-true Kansas City and St Louis. C'mon guys, give my friends and I another excuse for a road trip.

L-R in photo above are: Steve Howe, Benoit David, Alan White, Oliver Wakeman and Chris Squire.

Oh, see that backdrop above them? It's by artist Roger Dean, which means you shouldn't be surprised to see a similar design show up uncredited in the next Avatar movie.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"You all have greatness in you"

Actor and author Henry Winkler spoke Monday in Hutchinson, Kansas, as part of the Dillon Lecture Series. More to come...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Happy Mardi Gras! See also..



...and 2008

Monday, February 15, 2010


I really like Abraham Lincoln. I'm not sure why; I just do. Maybe it's that decisively positive figure in American history thing he has going.

But to be honest, in my case it's probably as much that he fits so well into roadside vernacular, as is the case with this giant Lincoln on a Wagon in, of course, Lincoln, Illinois.

Not to be out-done, here's young wood-cutting giant Lincoln just inside the front gates of the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois.

Of course, Springfield has Abe, himself. See Lincoln's tomb and a bit of the tourism industry that has sprung up around it in He Belongs to the Ages (but you can still buy a souvenir)

Last November I visited the cemetery again and found the tomb in which Lincoln was first laid to rest. His residency there was short - from May 4, 1865 to December 21 of that year.

That oblilesque on the hill belongs to Lincoln's current tomb.

I also visited the Lincoln Gift Shop again. It's one of your cooler tourist traps, and I use that term affectionately.

Ever wanted a high-ranking politician - say, a president - to scratch your back?

Or perhaps your other action figures need someone to unite them.

Yeah, I bought a Lincoln's beard. It will probably show up in a picture sooner or later.

Since my previous visit in 2006, the store had added a half pheasant / half jackalope - an abomination of nature, really...not at all like the the perfectly naturally occurring jackalope.

I generally shelter Ace from stuffed jackalopes as I figured he'd find them offensive and disturbing. I forgot about them being here, though, before he ran across this pair, who seemed to have been caught in amour. It's hard to read his expression.

Lincoln is so omnipresent in Springfield that he's even guarding you as you try on clothes in the Meijer discount store. This Styrofoam Lincoln was originally made for a float in the 2003 Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade and won Governor's Sweepstakes Award. See Lincoln sit in Washington DC, Springfield, Denver and in your pants at the same time in Seated in Your Pocket

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was written to dedicate Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863. Illinois' Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery was dedicated in 1999. See more of it in A Sacred Grove on Route 66.

Any town named for Lincoln catches my attention. Here's Lincolnville, Kansas.

Check out an independent eatery options in A Taste of Lincoln, Missouri.

Lastly, in my own town, The Kansas Underground Salt Museum displays a New York Post published on April 16, 1865 - the day after Lincoln's death. See more in Dark Day Preserved.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Entering Love County

Welcome to Love County. Sheriff Ace would like to greet you at the border with roses this Valentines Day. (photo shot in Love County, TX)

Year of the Tiger

Today begins the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

I haven't been to any attractions evocative of Chinese culture in the last year or so...

But if you like Chinatowns, have two - London and Portland - in Red, Gold and Almost Gone.

And please enjoy this trip through Portland Classical Chinese Garden from 2006.

Oh, that's an Amur tiger (also called Siberian), at top, at the Columbus Zoo. As of the I shot that photo in July of 2007, the zoo said there were only 400 left. I hope they, and you, have a good year.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Art Deco Theatre Endangered on Route 66

Along Route 66 through Rolla, Missouri, The Uptown theatre building is a reminder of of the days before the multiplex - but maybe not for very much longer.

The deal is, the Uptown and a late Victorian building next door have been bought by the University of Missouri Science and Technology Alumni Association, which plans to demolish both and build a new alumni center.

A petition drive has sprung up against this threat. I found out about it when a reader commented on this post about Rolla that I published in 2007; the photos here date from that time. Here's the petition.

According to Cinema Treasures, The Uptown opened in 1941. It ceased as a theater in 1998 and at the time of my 2007 visit was a night club that has since closed. The building is at 1100 North Pine Street in Rolla, on an old alignment of Route 66 that passed through downtown.

Also endangered by this plan is a late Victorian house next door at 1102 North Pine, The house is currently used by Smith & Turley Law Offices.

I wasn't intending to photograph the old house, but some of it can be seen at the left side of this picture. Just look at that attic window.

By the time you've decided to raze an old theatre and a Victorian house, I suppose you've already gotten past the hurdle of "it's an old cool building and had a part in the history of this town", so here are some economics to think about.

Fortunately, a recent seminar at Memorial Hall in Hutchinson, Kansas, furnished some data for me to offer here. A speech was given by Donovan D. Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C. - based firm which consults on matters of economic development, downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization and the reuse of historic structures.

In terms of the "green" benefits, Rypkema said that adaptive reuse of a building consumes fewer materials that building new and furnishes economic benefit to an area in the form of hired labor. "Labor is a renewable resource consuming little in fossil fuel. Materials are often from non-renewable resources, and are nearly always significantly fossil fuel consumptive."

The disposal of all that debris from the demolition also makes an impact.

Rypkema cited the example of a typical North American commercial building, 25 feet wide and 120 feet deep. That seems a little smaller than the Uptown, which makes the following figures a minimum. Said Rypkema, "Let’s say that today we tear down one small building like this...we have now wiped out the entire environmental benefit from the last 1,344,000 aluminum cans that were recycled. We’ve not only wasted an historic building, we’ve wasted those diligent recycling efforts..."

"Razing historic buildings results in a triple hit on scarce resources. First, we throwing away thousands of dollars of embodied energy. Second, we are replacing it with materials vastly more consumptive of energy. What are most historic structures...built from? Brick, plaster, concrete and timber, among the least energy consumptive of materials. What are major components of new buildings? Plastic, steel, vinyl and aluminum, among the most energy consumptive of materials. Third, recurring embodied energy savings increase dramatically as a building life stretches over fifty years. You’re a fool or a fraud if you claim to be an environmentally conscious builder and yet are throwing away historic buildings, and their components."

Apparently I can't resist mentioning the cultural benefit. Rypkema cited sociologist Robert Bellah, who wrote "Communities...have a history – in an important sense they are constituted by their past – and for this reason we can speak of a real community as a 'community of memory', one that does not forget its past."

"Historic buildings are the physical manifestation of memory." Rypkema added.

I can't think of a better thought on which to conclude.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Winter Color

The first full moon of 2010 lost some of its cooler veils in Earth's atmosphere and had only orange to wear for its entrance Saturday night.

On Terra firma, a pile of plowed snow in Hutchinson, Kansas, reflected the blue-green of a stoplight.

There's still an overwhelming blanket of white on the landscape and a gray sky above. I'll take my color where I can get it

Six More Weeks

In Gobbler's Knob, PA, this morning, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. If you believe a rodent can predict the weather, we're in for six more weeks of Winter.

Three years ago the Hutchinson (Kansas) Zoo kindly brought Wilma the groundhog out so I could see her.

Read about the history of Groundhog Day, see what my friends above are up to and learn why I'd prefer a more local rodent do the weather duties, in Groundhog Day or Prairie Dog Day.