Quick Thoughts on the Environment

Ever since I left Colorado behind and hit Kansas and the Midwest, I’ve noticed an abundance of styrofoam cups in place of paper. Now, I’ll admit that I don’t keep up on the news enough to know the most up-to-date facts, but last time I checked, styrofoam hangs around for about 500 years! A friend told me that there’s the possibility styrofoam is being made differently and, thusly, less damaging (and let’s face it, paper cups and the numbers with which we toss them out aren’t much better). Just a curiosity of mine, which may seem slightly hypocritical seeing as I’m driving 4500 miles in a fossil fuel burning vehicle for my trip, but I sure hope they’ve created a less damaging ‘foam. Anybody have some insight here?

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Kansas City: Baseball & Bar-B-Que

The only bummer in Kansas City was the fact that the Negro League Museum didn’t allow patrons to take pictures inside the museum. Actually, two bummers. The American Jazz Museum was a total bust…I could recite more information about Jazz and Jazz musicians than was contained in that tiny little museum. The Negro League Museum was freakin awesome; a short historical film narrated by James Earle Jones got us started. The exhibits were set up to mimic a stadium, the walk around the field, the locker room with all the Negro League Hall of Famers and a field populated by bronzed statues of the Negro League Dream Team. Of course, Satchel Paige was on the mound. In another exhibit dedicated to Paige, they had a framed placard of his Rules For Staying Young, which my buddy Jake had passed while chasing after his youngest, Aya. So I brought it to his attention and as I walked off, he was approached by a guy about our age who asked him if he like Paige. The guy proceeded to open up his wallet, pull out his ID and tell Jake that Satchel was his grandfather! We met Paige’s grandson! Well, okay, I didn’t as much as Jake did, but that was pretty fuckin cool. One other really cool thing was that people of all walks of life and colors interacted freely and openly and genuinely. Now, this shouldn’t be some kind of revelation, but it isn’t that common, at least not in Seattle, the hotbed of politically correct, upper class (or at least acting) white folks who rarely acknowledge each other, let alone black folks. It was just a heartwarming thing for me to experience, because it is how I think it should be, but isn’t always. I don’t pretend to be naive enough to think there aren’t any racial tensions between white and black in Kansas City, but at least they fuckin talk to each other in public!
Not sure what the rest of life in Kansas City is like, but I wouldn’t rule it out as a place to consider living. Oh and, by the way, the bar-b-que is delicious…we went to Arthur Bryant’s and were pleasantly filled with pulled pork sandwiches and fries (great sauce!).

My Favorite Kind Of Day

Although I’m in Des Moines, Iowa, apparently that’s still close enough to Kansas City to catch a Royals game on the local Fox affiliate. Normally, that’s a plus just because it’s baseball to watch in the afternoon, but it’s a double plus, because they’re in Boston finishing up getting their asses handed to them by my beloved Sox (of course, as I type that, Miguel Olivo crushes a 3-run HR into the last row of the Monster seats…shit! oh well, Sox are still up). Today’s co-players of the day are JD Drew and Mike Lowell, who both hit Grand Slams.
So, this is a perfect day for me: slothing around my hotel room, watching baseball, researching baseball statistics and checking fantasy teams, and planning out attending a few Iowa Cubs games here in Des Moines. Surely, there are a few of you out there wondering why the hell I post a pic of the game on the tube when I’m reporting on my road trip, well…baseball rules, that’s why!
Yesterday, I left Lawrence after a lazy morning with my boy Jake-O and his youngest daughter Aya. We got coffee, checked the local record store for some fine, tasty vinyl and sounds, then met Jenny (Jake’s partner and crime and also good friend of mine, for those who slept!!) back at the Wilson ranch for some lunch. Just as I bounced out of town, a thunderstorm was rolling in, destroying what was a nice little string of gorgeous Lawrence weather. My first destination of the afternoon was Kearney, MO (pronounced “carney” by the locals), where the James Family Farm and Museum is located. That’s James as in Jesse Woodson James, American Folklore hero and outlaw, whose story is fascinating to me regardless of he and his family’s Southern sympathies in post-Civil War America. It’s pretty exhilarating to walk inside the farmhouse and see the bed where Jesse was born and walk on original floorboards where Frank and Jesse walked. Of course, my newfound interest in the James folklore stems from the recent film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and subsequently the book of the same title, the basis for the film. Reality, however, did not disappoint. I felt an eeriness all around me as though the family and their time were existing parallel to myself and the others on the tour. As I left, I felt transported out of time, even though I was driving, particularly due to the beautiful country road surroundings that almost disguise modernity from the eye and thought.
Then I scooted through a sun-drenched, yet comfortable two-plus hour drive to Des Moines. It’s 4 in the afternoon Central Time, which is still wiggin me out despite having been in the Central Zone for over 6 days, and I just ordered the first room service meal of my adult life. Shit is cheap here! Well, compared to the uber-spendy yuppified Seattle that is my home (though, I’m not a yuppie…fuckin hate those douchebags!!!!).
Yesterday’s music: Body Riddle by Clark, Stars On My Ceiling & Remembering Today by Caural, Celestial by ISIS and Light Turned On by City Rain. Hmmm, a day full of C’s, odd.
Later on, I’ll have to post about the previous day’s (Tuesday) trip to the Negro League Museum in Kansas City.

Learning to walk slowly in Lawrence

I have arrived in Lawrence, Kansas! Got in yesterday afternoon and immediately loved the vibe of this little college town, known as the “Austin of Kansas.” Coming from Seattle, a ‘city’ run by technology, isolation, disconnection and speed, I really needed the breath of fresh air that is Lawrence’s slower pace. In fact, if didn’t get uncomfortably hot and muggy here in the summer, I could potentially see living here. It has the requisite fine record store and is close to a Major League team, the Kansas City Royals. Also, it has progressive/liberal leanings and a so far seemingly open sense of tolerance and hospitality.
Above is me and my boy Jake Osmar Wilson, the one and only Jake-O-Nasty, rockin his “molestache.” Yet again, he lives in a spot where stoop beers are not only possible, but encouraged.
Album of the day: OK Computer by Radiohead.
More to come later…

You know you’re in Kansas when…

…Poltics, business and religion are caught up in a three-way orgy in the form of a company-approved sticker on the back of a commercial semi. So, I listened to some music with “subversive” politics to offset the truck and the numerous roadside signs proclaiming the right to life. If I don’t make it back home to Seattle, look for me in the dark basement of a conservative church in rural Kansas. Oh yeah, that’s another thing. A couple counties back, a billboard claimed the area’s fame as being the home of Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Dole. YIKES! How can such spooky conservatives come from a place that looks so beautiful and serene?
Drove through some of the hardest, driving rain I’ve ever seen, underneath some of the biggest motha fuckin clouds I done ever seen. Makes for a little bit of white knuckle driving, but all was okay after a few. Tomorrow, Lawrence and to hang with my boy Jake-O!!
Music of the day: Outer Perimeter by Presage and the Soundtrack to The Asassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis.
Player of the day: Scott Kazmir of the Tampa Bay Rays, who pitched well enough to put the Yankees in the AL East basement.

I can’t say much about Wyoming, I must be on roaming!!

This is about how I feel/felt about Wyoming, with one glaring exception: they have Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, which, as I said yesterday, are freakin awesome!! However, the rest of the state leaves me a little underwhelmed. Long, straight, uneventful highways with little or nothing to look at (once you see the same, unwavering landscape for 300 miles, it becomes ho-hum). I blasted all the way to Colorado Springs, CO today, which means I did this. The one valuable lesson I learned today is that, while I may have gotten bored with Wyoming, at least all that wasn’t as ball-busting, nerve-wracking as navigating an unfamiliar city (Denver) during rush hour traffic and through about 16 different road construction zones. The lesson learned? I am a way better driver than I originally gave myself credit for and I still don’t like big bunches of people (that I don’t already know and except for baseball games, er….that sucks too). That’s why I put on Celestial by ISIS to purge the hate and nerves after Denver. More later, but now I gotta go eat at either a Hooters or TGIFriday’s…hmmm, I’ll need a drink! Oh yeah, my man Andrew (who I just met 35 minutes ago, here at Microtel Suites) hooked me up with a fat discount on my room!!! Guess I do have a charming personality afterall!
Oh, and ONE more thing: Jay Payton can kiss my ass for his Grand Salami to kill the Sox today, little fucker!

Road weary, bleary and void of fury


That Buffalo was about 3 feet from my car window!! I could even hear him huffing and grunting as he chawed on grasses, right after he crossed the highway in Yellowstone in front of my car. Pretty freakin cool to see that, in fact, I spent my whole day up close and personal with big animals. This morning I got up in West Yellowstone and went down to their Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. From there, I got cruisin into the park where I saw deer, caribou, elk, moose and some grizzly in the open. This was quite comical, because I stopped to check out the bear, which I am completely terrified of, and when I got back in the car, it wouldn’t start. I thought, “Fuck, am I spending the night with the bears?!” I got a jump, which proved unnecessary, because it only wouldn’t start, because I left it in reverse, which renders it unstartable. My own stupidity (probably brought on by my facing my fear of bears) gave me a little scare. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then, well, you have a sad fuckin life. After that, I saw the Grand Tetons, which just absolutely rule…totally gorgeous and hard to describe without just being there. So, now I’m getting ready to crash in the Sundowner Hotel in Riverton, WY, a true bastion of culture and progressive thought (this comment will surely render me totally unwelcome here ever again!).
Unfortunately for me, the Sox lost again tonight. But, tonight’s player of the day is Asdrubel Cabrera, who turned an unassisted triple play last night (holy shit!) and made an insane catch in shallow center tonight, keeping in mind that he plays 2nd Base, this play was incredible.
As for today’s music, I couldn’t pick a clear winner on the road, so we have a medley of tunes. Both Unomia and Eingya by Helios were perfect accompaniment for the drive through Yellowstone with their understated melancholy and mellow spaciness. Then some Kyuss for the drive down into Riverton, some straight highways with red clay plateaued hills to either side.
It was a beautiful day and a great drive!!!