• Them Apples

    @kcmeesha is there anything you haven’t blogged about?


    As my friend The DLC pointed out, I have now blogged just about everything and now pathetically spend my time posting links to my own blog, where I previously opined on whatever subject is being discussed. I constantly catch myself thinking about writing something just to discover that I wrote about it at length last year or the year before. That’s why when we came back from the apple orchard on Sunday all I had to do is search and find my last year’s post about apples and another one about the apple recipes. Even my photos looked the same – the same place, the same apples. Luckily we made a little detour or I would’ve had nothing at all.
    The Main Street in the city of Ottawa, KS hasn’t changed much since the old days. As a matter of fact it looks very similar to the old photos of Neosho, MO I recently posted, they must have used some standard project for the smaller rural towns.
    This is what the Main St. in Ottawa, KS looked like in 1942:

    This is what it looks like now:

    We got off the highway in Ottawa to wait for the apple orchard to open and promptly found ourselves in the middle of the antique car show known as  Ol’Marais River Run. I don’t consider myself a giant car fan and all the talk about cubic inches, shaved hoods and custom paint jobs does nothing for me, but it’s hard not to stand in awe admiring the time when a car was a work of art. These cars may not have been the safest or the most technologically advanced but they represent the era when the car was still a wonder, an object of pride, an engineering dream trimmed with chrome.

    Due to some peculiar historic and political circumstances the cars of my childhood looked almost identical to these, so strangely these shows are just as nostalgic for me as they are for someone who grew up here.

    The car show had a feel of a State Fair complete with signage:

    …Elvis and Marylin:

    …delicious food:

    …Republican Party:

    …and boyscouts:

    In the olden days, before the Ad Wizards took over our lives, the states had simple nicknames. Nebraska was known as a “Beef State”:

    Iowa had to settle for the “Pork State”, Alabama went with the “Heart of Dixie”

    Arizona called itself “The Grand Canyon State”

    and Missouri was known as it is known now as “The State That Thinks It’s Better Than Other States But Is Sadly Mistaken” but is was hard to fit on the license plate.
    After the show we finally made it to the orchard:

    This year seems to be one of the best years for apples, trees were heavy with fruit.

    I spent a few minutes on the pond:

    enjoying the wildlife:

    Here is what the pond sounds like:

    We picked 25 lbs of apples:

    …paid a visit to the country store:

    Took another look at the giant apple in the sky where all the worms go after they die:

    …and were home in no time.
    I did take an excessive amount of photos, here are the rest of them

  • Behind The Iron Curtain: Satire

    SARAH PALIN: He was satirical in that…

    All this Sarah Palin satire business reminded me of a special place satire held in the USSR. Even during the times when straight talk would get a person arrested, the same idea framed in satirical terms was perfectly acceptable, up to a point of course. When I was growing up® there were at least two state-published satirical magazines –  Krokodil in Russian and Perets’ in Ukrainian where in between the caricatures bashing Americans Imperialists and Israeli Zionists, there was plenty of space devoted to satirizing the bureaucrats, alcoholics and other violators of work discipline. From the state-sponsored satire all the way down to colorful walls of shame at the workplace, various humorists were allowed to speak their mind as long as they didn’t direct their criticisms at the wrong people and didn’t say the wrong things. The most popular comedians mastered the special language understood only by the Soviet citizens who were trained to “read between the lines”. Fairly innocent comic routines had people rolling on the floor without having to say anything deemed offensive by the government; an uninitiated person would be dumbfounded but everyone in the country knew exactly what was being implied.

    Often satirical materials were displayed in the streets for everyone to see and condemn whoever was being condemned at the time. Few photos as a continuation of my recent Window Shopping post.

    ©Time Carl Mydans

    From top to bottom (minus the rhyming):
    Volodya was kissing Nastya, talking about happiness, but all she wanted to know was how much money he was making” – criticizes gold-diggers;

    “Flying for an hour, landing is fast but it takes all day to get home from the airport”  – criticizes slow airport transportation.

    Fedot is always sending people to his boss to get the answers, but if the boss has all the answers, why do we need Fedot” – criticizes indecisive management.

    “When the fight was going on there was a crowd watching, but when it came to filling out a report, there were no witnesses” – no snitching?

    ©Time Carl Mydans

    Top: Children under 16 shouldn’t be watching adult movie!… (equivalent of R-rated movie)
    Bottom: …but they are allowed to listen to adults fighting!

    ©Time Carl Mydans

    From top to bottom:

    “There is a line waiting outside some bureaucrat’s door, while he went home to eat his lunch” – criticizes bad customer server and lack of work discipline.

    “Plan of stocking the warehouse was well-prepared and discussed, instead someone should’ve discussed the shoddy condition of the warehouse itself” – criticizes wrong priorities and failing to see the “big picture”.

    “Lazy useless employee didn’t do much all year and got so tired of doing nothing that he went on a resort vacation” – no explanation is needed.

    “Lecturer talked about culture with self-importance and at length, but his unshaven unkempt looks were in contrast to the subject” – hippie looks were not encouraged.

    Lastly, an international one. There were no limits on international satire as long as it wasn’t about the friendly socialist countries.

    ©Time Carl Mydans

    Top left pokes some wordplay fun at the UN (ООН); top right bashes the Spanish dictator Franco for boycotting soccer quarter-finals in Moscow obviously ordered by his superiors in the USA; the bottom one is about the U-2 incident.

    As you can see, Sarah Palin is right: if you say something unfavorable you should resign, be fired, hauled away, sent to be “rehabilitated” at the labor camps, your family should be harassed and your name dragged through the mud; but satire is a different story because it’s so satirical, right?
    You betcha.

  • Flip

    Just as I wrote about my omnipresent awesome tipsters they came through for me again. Today on my way from work they were flagging me down from the opposite lane of the highway with lights and neon-striped suits. I couldn’t pass it up and had to get off the road to join other onlookers so I can photograph the upside-down car which backed up the traffic from the Johnson Drive all the way to the 87th street.

  • Musical Interlude

    I think I know a thing or two about the circus. When I was growing up© my parents took me to the circus 4-5 times a year and it wasn’t a traveling circus or a tent. My city had a permanent circus building and every few months a new program would come to town to perform for sell-out crowds.

    I was there during the golden age of the Soviet circus – world famous magicians, clowns, exotic animals, ground-breaking acts, daring performances.

    No wonder that many performers in the Cirque Du Soleil shows are from the Russian/Soviet school of circus. I attended three Cirque Du Soleil shows so far and they turned out to be some of the best shows of any kind I’ve seen in my life. Everything from costumes and specially composed music to the highest quality acts is perfectly matched to create a magical show. This song from the show Alegria is probably my favorite. Something about the dramatic music and raspy tragic voice of the singer; sometimes I keep playing it over and over….

  • Panaderia San Luis

    Few days ago I was getting a haircut and noticed that some culinary business next door had been replaced by a Mexican Bakery.

    I asked the lady who was cutting my hair if she tried it yet, but she sounded hesitant to try something different. I, on the other hand, can’t pass a bakery of any kind without checking it out. I’ve been to a Mexican Bakery (Panaderia) before and our local grocery stores frequently sell Mexican traditional baked goods, reflecting Olathe’s rapidly growing Hispanic population.
    Panaderia San Luis opened at this location little over 3 months ago and seems to be staying busy. It offers a variety of pastries like familiar fruit-filled turnovers, as well as a huge selection of Mexican baked goods.

    There are fresh rolls…

    …a cold case with several varieties of Tres Leches cakes

    …and tortillas and tamales to go.

    Most of the items are made in the store (I noticed a different address on the package of tortillas) and are priced 60 cents and up.

    Pastries that are not so obvious or priced differently are marked in English and Spanish.

    My usual pet peeve with ethnic businesses is their neglect of potential mainstream customers. Many times a curious shopper shows up but feels intimidated or overwhelmed by the amount of unknown items and no one around to explain what they are. Panaderia San Luis got this right – not only everything is clearly marked, the owner is there to explain and answer questions in English to your satisfaction. The experience is very different from my first visit to a Mexican Bakery in Kansas City, KS where no one seemed to speak English and I had to watch the other customers to figure out what to do. Instead of a basket you get a tray and a pair of kitchen tongs, then bring your loaded tray to the checkout.

    Panaderia San Luis located at 2077 E.Santa Fe in Olathe is a nice addition to a growing list of authentic eateries in my neighborhood and a definite step up from your grocery bakery department both in quality and freshness.

    I hope they stick around.

    *this post is not sponsored or compensated in any way.