• Pothole to the Center of The Earth

    I wonder if there is a rating scale for potholes similar to the F-Scale for tornadoes or the Richter Scale for earthquakes. If there isn’t one, I’d like to propose a Kansas City Pothole Scale to commemorate this City’s contribution to the subject of road damage. I’ll leave it to the scientists to decide if potholes should be rated based on their size or on a potential vehicle damage from a minor bump (K-1) to a complete disappearance of the vehicle as described in the Bible “and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up” (definitely a K-10).

    Every day I have to maneuver around this crater of a pothole on my way to work, wondering if one wrong turn will send me on my way to the center of the Earth, or at least a little closer to it.

    As you can see, there are visible remains of the previous handiwork done by the highly trained professionals working for the City.

    It’s hard to tell but the tape measure in the photo is extended to almost three feet to give you some dimension perspective.

    It’s not just a hole in the ground. There seems to be a cave underneath it. Maybe it’s an old mine, or an unknown entrance to the abandoned underground tunnel, or an end of the secret escape route leading to the Mayor’s office.

    I didn’t feel like spelunking my way down there on a gray Saturday morning.

    Few days ago someone placed an orange warning sign around this pothole but it swallowed the City property overnight. You can see the remains of the sign deep down in the abyss.

    During my annual griping about the KCMO Earnings Tax, someone never fails to point out that it’s only fair that I pay my fair share for the roads and wonderful amenities I am using while I am in Kansas City. Stupidity of this argument aside, I think I paid enough during my 10 years of employment to fill this hole with cash.

    This article explains that you may have a small chance of the City compensating you for the damage to your vehicle caused by a pothole; coverage may be provided by the Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund. Obviously I am not qualified to provide any advice, do your own research.

    In the meantime, please exercise caution on this intersection of the 6th and Cherry, you’ll find the giant pothole next to the property tax-free building.

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    One wrong move and you may accidentally discover the next steamboat Arabia.

    Mr.Gorbachev Mayor Funkhouser! Tear down this wall! Fill up this hole!

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  • Behind The Iron Curtain: May Day

    ⋆FRATERNAL GREETING TO THE PEOPLES OF SOCIALIST NATIONS! Let develop and stregthen the peaceful system of socialism–deciding force of the anti-imperialist struggle, the bulwark of peace, democracy, and social progress!⋆

    After somewhat of a run-up to this day it’s finally here:

    **this is more of a Red Square compilation from many festivities; I am pretty sure there was no military parade on that day.

    ⋆Under the banner of Marxism-Leninism, under the leadership of the Communist Party–forward to new victories in the construction of communism!⋆

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  • 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.

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  • Old Photos: Santa Claus School In Technicolor

    Previously: Old Photos:Santa Claus School


    ©Time Ralph Morse

    ©Time Ralph Morse

    ©Time Ralph Morse

    ©Time Ralph Morse

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  • Checked Off My Bucket List: La Recoleta Cemetery


    I’ll start by busting another myth: the streets of Buenos Aires are crowded with hot Latin-American women with model looks and explosive tempers, who would make a certain lonely foreigner lose his mind, ship his child back to the USA and make his home in Argentina, earning a meager living by playing guitar on a busy intersection and singing off-key. Let’s just say that I am writing this from home and the country of Argentina will never hear me sing. While it’s true that most Argentinians are in good physical shape, the looks of men and women you see on the street are pretty average, far from what my wild imagination led me to believe.

    La Recoleta Cemetery is a world-famous Buenos Aires landmark and we visited it on our very first day in town. While being buried in a crypt (or mausoleum) is not a preferred way of getting rid of my body, the cemetery is fascinating to see for many reasons like architecture, sculpture, artwork, sheer amount of marble and granite, amount of religious imagery per square foot, record number of tourists looking for the Evita’s grave and a visual history of the Argentinian facial hair fashions. Over the period of almost 200 years the Argentinian upper crust invested untold amounts of money into placing their likenesses in a variety of Biblical, Roman, Egyptian and whatever else-inspired imagery. There is a mind-boggling number of mourning virgins, sad Jesus’s, Roman Emperors and weeping angels, portrayed in sculpture, portraits, engravings and stained glass. We took our time taking these pictures, but I will try to limit the number to a few that I like.

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