May 3 2014

Bar Sign in Jamesport, Missouri

IMG_4453Normally I would say something funny, but when it comes to the sign on a bar in an Amish town that shows what appear to be a Sasquatch and an alien with an 8-ball bracelet drinking beer–I got nothin’.


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Mar 16 2013

Kansas City Snow Update

For years I have publicly criticized Kansas City and Jackson County for doing a poor/inadequate/shoddy job of clearing snow from their streets and roads, especially when smaller and poorer Lafayette County could seem to get theirs cleared. I make no apologies for that.

However, when I went to work last Wednesday it was Lafayette whose roads were abominably snow-plowed and Jackson whose roads were cleared. Once I reached Independence, the roads were so clear that I-70 looked like it had recently gotten a bit of rain, and not several inches of snow. Awesome job guys.

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Dec 1 2012

Goodbye 2nd Street Books

I have written before about 2nd Street Books in Osceola, Missouri—pretty much my favorite bookstore ever. Sunday morning after Thanksgiving this was all that was left of it:

The entire building, as well as a couple of others, caught fire Saturday night.

I bought a lot of my favorite books, and favorite editions of books, in that store. I had visited it pretty regularly since my in-laws moved to Osceola in the late 90’s.

Anyway…anyone out there have a favorite used bookstore?

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Nov 16 2012

Dairy Queen, Windsor, Missouri

Some people put plastic flamingos on their front lawns. In Windsor, Missouri, this person put a tiny Dairy Queen on his. I’m not knocking it; we would have gone except we were still full of amazing campfire-cooked bacon, eggs, and sausage.

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Nov 10 2012

Review: China Dragon

While on vacation we tried out a Chinese restaurant my brother recommended, China Dragon in Concordia, Missouri. It’s a little place on the main drag—restaurant only, no buffet.

The Food
The food was very good, and the portions are large. I don’t know about you, but I’m picky about my favorite dish, pork lo-mein. Some places have those thin, round, ramen-style noodles, and other places have those nasty, wide, flat noodles. This place has neither–they have what they call ‘soft noodles’ which are very nice (aren’t all noodles soft once you cook them?). Anyway, they are round and fat, like Americans. The General Tso’s chicken was very good–lots of chicken, not a lot of coating (there are some restaurants that have lots of coating and not a lot of chicken). The crab rangoon is literally packed as full as it can be, the egg rolls are great, and the egg drop soup is wonderful. I just really can’t say enough good things about China Dragon’s food. In my opinion the lo-mein could be greasier, but that’s a personal preference*.

The Service
The entire restaurant is served by the owner / waitress, Tina (her husband is the cook). Tina is friendly, bubbly, and just so darn nice she makes it very difficult not to eat there every night.

The Prices
It’s pretty inexpensive to eat there, and we have always had food to bring home.

Just go, man. Don’t believe me? Try these other reviews; my favorite is the one that says ‘GET OFF THE INTERSTATE NOW.’ Tell Tina her brother and sister from Higginsville sent ya.

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* I have a wonderful memory of leaving an entertainment venue late at night one November long ago and then eating leftover greasy lo-mein sans utensils. Mmmmm.


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Oct 9 2012

Write in candidate

This entire non-window surface of this eastbound and down van is covered in spray paint. The occupants (or, vandals) are endorsing Leonard Steinman for governor of Missouri.

The side of the van says, ‘Missouri news media are prositutes.’

It could be that they don’t know how to spell, or I suppose they could just be huge Uncle Remus fans, and are spelling the word the way they normally pronounce it.

Steinman ran as a Libertarian candidate in early 2012, but withdrew before the primary. However, you can still write him in.


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Jan 22 2012

Quotable: Sam Duncan

“From the day that you’re born
to the day you ride in the hearse
things are never so bad
that they couldn’t get worse.”

Sam Duncan was an African American educator in Higginsville, Missouri from the 1950s-1970s where he taught a number of classes and coached several sports. The high school’s football field is named in his honor.

Despite his wise and cynical advice and his years of teaching service, my own personal experience with Mr. Duncan was far less impressive. We were in American History–the first class that was really a challenge for me–and Mr. Duncan was subbing in for Mr. Pace. One of the preps that usually caused problems was whistling–just barely audibly, and just enough to be annoying. My friend Wilxn was sitting in front of him, and Mr. Duncan accused Wilxn of being the whistler. Wilxn--your semi-standard nerd who was almost always good in class–thought the situation was so absurd as to be humorous.

“It’s not me,” Wilxn said, smiling.

“Don’t get smart with me,” Mr. Duncan snapped at Wilxn. “I’ll take those glasses off of you and show you somethin’!”

Sadly, this only provided confirmation bias to what I felt about authority figures in general.

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Jan 4 2011

Review: Bates City Café

Heather and I stopped in at the Bates City Café last week.

Having lived in Bates City for one miserable year, I try to avoid the town. However, since the gas station became a Valero franchise it’s really the quickest way to stop and get gas between Kansas City and Concordia. When Heather and I stopped in for gas last week, we noticed that the café, which wasn’t much to look at, was absolutely packed. On the way home from Christmas shopping, we really wanted some pie and coffee, but we had already left the city. We knew there was no place to get what we wanted back home after about 7pm, so we decided to give Bates City a try.

First, the service: fast. The place was packed again, and our waitress didn’t stop moving for a second. She took our order quickly and got our pie and coffee quickly as well.

Atmosphere: the Bates City Café is a former service station that has been converted to a ’50s-style diner. The bay doors have been walled up, the concrete floor painted in large black and white checkerboard. The place is close, but not cramped. Elvis, Marilyn, and James Dean cover the walls.

Food: I ordered the peach pie and Heather ordered what she orders everywhere she can–bread pudding. Both desserts were homemade. The peach pie was good, though I think it could have used more peaches and less filling. The crust was soft and flaky. Heather didn’t love the bread pudding, the texture being quite a bit softer than she liked. Our coffee was freshly brewed, but a little on the weak side.

Price: the prices at BCC aren’t bad, but they are a little steep on some menu items.

Overall I was actually impressed. The service was excellent, the staff was friendly, the food was homemade and decent, and the place offered free wifi. A lot of people say they want to support mom-and-pop shops, but when you are traveling, it can be risky trying new places. Heather and I are glad we gave the them a try.

You can find them on Facebook.

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Sep 23 2010

Review: Mel’s Diner in Tipton, Missouri

I stopped at Mel’s Diner on 50 Highway on my way back from Rolla last week. Mel’s is a little steel building with a ketchup and mustard interior. Service was decent, despite the large party they had in the back.

I ordered the Kosher Corn Beef sandwich. The sandwich was fine , but when you pay $6 for a sandwich you kind of expect something pretty good sized–not something the size of two White Castle sliders.

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Apr 15 2010

Overheard: 8 yr old male

“I told my mom that I wanted to learn kite-fighting, but she was in the shower, and through the door she thought I said cockfighting, and she said, ‘Cockfighting is illegal in Missouri!'”

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