• Old Ads: Automotive

    I’ve been clipping copying these ads from the old Life magazines for a long time and, chances are, you might have seen some of them on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. The ads are just as neat and interesting as the actual content of the old magazines; nowadays some of them would be considered racist, sexist or both, but it doesn’t make them any less of a historic record of their epoch; they were perfectly acceptable at the time and they make the progress much more obvious. Makes, models, shapes, prices long forgotten; “amazing auto-pilots” and cars “for women drivers” – you won’t see ads like these in the magazines of today. I thought I’d share a few ads on this blog in a somewhat organized manner. The first installment will be about cars, but I am planning to follow up with food and other things. These ads are in no particular order since I was too lazy to make a not of the year and issue.

    I’ll start with this awesomely sexist ad:

    ©Time/Life

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  • Checked Off My Bucket List: Paris

    Preface:

    I was going to Paris fully expecting to hate it. According to the minimal online research I did before the trip, Paris was flooded with pickpockets, scammers …  rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists. OK, maybe not Methodists. French people were supposed to be at the least unfriendly, arrogant and condescending.  And it was dirty, trash-covered and filled with people desperate to get to the nearest disgusting public bathroom but forced to tap-dance in hour-long lines in front of it. None of this turned out to be close to the truth.

    Face:

    Looking back on our trip I think a little more planning would’ve been nice; I did some research but apparently not enough to get us to the right places at the right times. We played it by the ear and I think we ended up fitting as much into the three days we’ve spent in Paris as was possible without it starting to feel like work. We also realized how much we rely on our phones to find our way around, discover places to eat, buy tickets, look at train schedules and subway maps. Since a certain phone company’s charges for the international data plan are incompatible with my sanity, our phones were set to WIFI only, and free WIFI in Paris is not as abundant as I thought. Talk about socialism fail. Having some roaming internet access would’ve been helpful.

    People in Paris turned out to be fine. Some of them spoke better English than others, but between their English and the only French phrase I know “I don’t eat six days” (Je ne mange pas six jours) we did fine. There were some things I thought I could’ve resolved better if I knew more French, like I am pretty sure we were screwed by a cab driver but he didn’t respond to my plea about the six days of hunger. Or I wouldn’t have to stare at the chalkboard menus and then just order something so I don’t hold up the line. But mostly we found our way around and with the help of the internet access at the hotel were able to plan our sightseeing and subway trips.

    In the end we both loved Paris, its sights, its food, its atmosphere. Three days is not nearly enough to see even a fraction Paris has to offer but it’s enough to make you want to come back.

    I am sure every traveler to Paris take a silent oath not to bring back as many photos of the Eiffel Tower as those other losers.  Resistance is futile. From the first glimpse of the Tower on our first day we couldn’t stop photographing it until we left town. There will be about 50 photos of it in this post.

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  • E-flipped

    My all-time favorite racket that is the Kansas City, MO earnings tax is in the news again and since I enjoy a good debate as much as the next guy I might as well put in my own 2 cents. I don’t consider it any more then an exercise in debate because I don’t expect the tax to be repealed any time soon. People of Kansas City may not be able to elect competent officials who can run an efficient city, but they know what’s good for them when it comes to $200 million of other people’s money.

    As always the Kansas City Post wrote a thoughtful and not just an emotional post so I felt like participating in the discussion. Obviously there are a lot of misinformed people who think that the e-tax is somehow makes out-of-towners like me share the burden of using the infrastructure and amenities that Kansas City has to offer.

    As one of the commenters pointed out:

    You and Brent both neglect the costs inherent in coming to KCMO to earn a living and then heading home to the burbs. Examples:

    1) Do you use the toilet at any time you are in KCMO?

    2) do you use water to wash your hands or make coffee?

    3) Do you drive on our streets and rely on drainage systems to keep them from flooding?

    4) Do you ever drive in over here after the sun has gone down and use the streetlights? W

    5) What about the police, firemen and EMTs you would rely on if there were an emergency at your office?

    Consider your e-tax your little share of the burden.

    This is misguided but common sentiment. The building where I work pays utilities and property taxes, which my company passes on to its customers. This covers all my coffee, toilet flushes, hand washing and use of the street lights. If I am using a business like a bar or a gas station these expenses are built in the prices of goods and services. There are no free toilet flushes in this country and someone other than a taxpayer always pays for them in one form or another. Property and sales taxes also cover police and firemen, and EMT will promptly bill my medical insurance. Even if it wasn’t true, when any KCMO resident leaves the city limits he or she is using the same and probably better services without being charged, so at the least we are even.

    In these kinds of arguments people always mention the sport teams or other entertainment venues such as Sprint Center and Power & Light, theater district, the Zoo and other points of interest located in Kansas City. All these places are not free and if the cost of tickets and parking does not reflect the true operating costs they should just raise the prices and let people decide if they can or cannot afford the ticket. The same goes for the KCI airport which charges its own taxes as a part of the airline ticket; Downtown Airport expenses are included in the price of the UPS or FEDEX delivery services; pretty much anything you can name should not be subsidized by the city. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone asked Kansas City to subsidize these businesses and attractions, they chose to do this in order to generate sales taxes, create or keep local jobs and don’t need to act like they are doing just because they are so nice and neighborly.

    Then there is always someone who would accuse me of being against all taxes, but that’s not true: I pay income taxes in Missouri but don’t complain about it too much because it works both ways, Missourians who work in Kansas pay taxes there; unpleasant but fair.

    All the childish arguments aside, the only real reason for the e-tax is that it helps the residents to live in the city without paying the true costs needed to sustain the necessary services and infrastructure. If the tax is repealed, the general fund will be shortchanged by some $200 million with all the catastrophic consequences this may cause. The only problem is that while people like me are being robbed in order to maintain the general fund, many Kansas City residents don’t even have to pay property taxes.
    This is the building I see every day across the street from my work. Like a big middle finger from the city of Kansas City,MO it reminds me every day that the politicians who run it find it easier to take money from the people who have no vote in the matter, than resisting the developers, or sport franchise owners or corporations who instead of contributing to the general fund, prefer to contribute directly to the politicians in charge.

    The 25 year tax abatement is featured prominently on every side, high and low.




    The residents of this building are not poor, some condos are on the market for $300K and up with the penthouse possibly valued at $2 million. These are the proverbial “rich, the “top 1 percent”, the ones with deep pockets who should be contributing their “fair share” and yet they get to see me out of their panoramic windows, paying for their toilet flushes, stoplights and sports teams.

    I am not completely heartless (depending on who you ask) and I am willing to be forced to help my Kansas City neighbors who frequently entertain themselves by making snide remarks about the suburbs, while firmly keeping their hands in the pockets of people who live there. I always maintained that there are ways to make me feel better while being screwed, it could be free parking at the P&L or a discounted ticket to an event. I am not asking for much. For example many attractions in St.Louis are free, although not just to taxpayers – to everyone, but it’s still someting.
    In the meantime you don’t have to buy the stories about the impending doom and gloom if the e-tax gets repealed, the city has plenty of money to pay for the party room with a panoramic view, two pools, a tennis court and a 24-hr security/doorman. Maybe in the same pile they can find a couple of dollars to plow your street.

    And see if they owe you a refund.

  • Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow

    If you are not just headed to the Kansas City Public Library to look at porn or have sex, you may want to visit their excellent free exhibit Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: Living With the Atomic Bomb, 1945-65. Whether you are a history buff or just want to know why your crazy grandpa is storing canned water in the basement, you will find this collection of books, posters, games, educational materials, art and toys curious, exciting and somewhat morbid.

    It’s hard to comprehend that generations of Americans grew up with the thought of a nuclear blast being a sure thing always in the back of their mind. And although Geiger counters and Atomic trains seem like cool toys today, at the time they served to get the children used to the idea that someday they will be using the real thing. From the neighborhood and personal fallout shelters to the best-selling atomic handbooks the subject of an inevitable nuclear attack  determined the foreign and domestic policy for 20 years after United States bombed Japan and throughout the Cold War era.

    As always I took a lot of pictures, but I suggest you check it out for yourself. The exhibit is fairly small and will take you about 30 minutes to get through.

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  • Living The Dream: Indios Carbonsitos Food Truck

    Some of you might have noticed that I mostly retired from writing about restaurants, not that it was a large part of this blog anyway. There are many food blogs out there, ranging from awesome to annoying (no links here), and even more reviews posted on a variety of special sites, so I have no interest in being just another one. However, sometimes I find something new, exciting and not beaten to death by everyone with a smartphone and a greasy finger, something that I feel needs to be shared. A while ago I wrote about my favorite hot dog dealer vendor Clay’s Curbside Grill and today’s post is about the Indios Carbonsitos – a Mexican food truck roaming the neighborhoods in Kansas City, KS and the only one I know of (could be wrong) to be registered on the Kansas side.

    I first learned about Indios from a comment on one of the Fat City posts and tracked down their twitter and facebook pages. From there on, it was a just a matter of time before I got my hands on and in one of their tortas ahogadas.

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