• South Beach, Florida

    People don’t come to this here blog for good photos, so I have a reputation to uphold. This post contains plenty of mediocre photos of South Beach, photos just like you would take on your own trip with your hundred dollar camera. And that’s my goal: feel free to show these photos to your friends and relatives as your own, and if you are really fancy you can insert yourself in any of those for a complete effect.

    South Beach has the air of authenticity that is hard to find anywhere in the United States. Thanks to the genius idea to preserve the Art Deco district, one could easily imagine how this place looked 40-50 years ago. If you are in town for a day or two, this is the place to be. Stay in an old hotel and spend your time sightseeing; sitting on a beach is overrated.

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  • Ukrainian Gourmet: Smoked Salo

    WARNING: This post is not kosher on any day of the year.

    My imaginary friend Moxie Mama wants to celebrate her 1/4 Ukrainian heritage by eating what real Ukrainians eat. Well, that’s real simple and no cooking required to boot. Ukrainian National Food is salo which is non-rendered pork fat. There is nothing like a thick slice of salo with a piece of rye bread rubbed with garlic. The only thing better than regular salt-cured salo is smoked salo and just for saying that I expect a mob of angry quarter-Ukrainians attack me with pitch-forks (which is Ukrainian national weapon). Salo is usually salt-cured and can be kept outside of the fridge for a long time. Smoked salo doesn’t have the same shelf-life but it has tender buttery texture with a more delicate,slightly smokey taste and chewy skin if you are lucky to get it. (Sorry I had to run to the fridge and take a bite).

    salo

    In Kansas City you can satisfy all of your salo-eating needs at the Russian Store, which coincidentally carries real-tasting rye bread. For an alternative for ethnically-challenged, head on over to Fritz’s Smoked Meats around 106th and State Line in Leawood, where I procured some smoked salo (ask for smoked bacon, they are Germans) just yesterday. The difference between this bacon and some crap in a vacuum packaging at the grocery store is that it doesn’t contain any unknown liquid (WTF is that anyway- formaldehyde or something?). Your friendly employee will slice it from a giant slab right in front of you. (Sorry I am off for another bite). DO NOT order it sliced thin, go with the medium or thick. I have a feeling that some synagogue is obtaining a restraining order against me as I type this. Well, if God didn’t want us to eat salo…, you know the rest.

    salo

    Your next step is to obtain rye bread. American people between the coasts have been deprived of real bread and forced to eat who knows what, albeit sliced. We have to hunt the bread down. Baking it is not so hard, but generally you can’t go wrong with Farm-to-Market bread CO (Hen House on 135th and Metcalf bakes it fresh) or pick up a loaf at the Russian Store. There are few places like this one and others where you can obtain normal crusty bread.

    You are all set. Get your favorite bottle of vodka from the fridge, peel yourself some garlic (rub it on the bread crust,see that’s why you needed the crust), pour yourself a shot and take a bite of your sandwich. Your Ukrainian Grandma would be proud.

    salo

    After a shot or three, listen to this song. You’ll notice you can now understand the words.
    Na Zdorov’e!

    More Photos

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  • Schmotography

    I have a camera too, you know.
    This composition is called “Another Forecast Screw-up”. In it we see a local weatherman staring at the snow he didn’t predict. He is bent under the heavy guilt and curses of the TV viewers. The sculptor expressed heavy burden of being a failed meteorologist through the tense back muscles and a somber pose. Viewer could almost feel the weatherman thinking: “I should have listened to my parents and went to a law school”.
    Stone, snow, shuttlecocks. Author unknown.

    The next composition is called “Flower Power Melts The Snow”.
    Rusted Car, Snow, Trees. Donated by D&C Scrapyards.

    This photo is called “See a Man About A Horse”. In it we observe three major components: a group of submerged lights which signify the word “see”, a man and a horse. The lights are submerged in the vessels with water. The artist wanted to show how electric hazard affects the other components of the composition. Does it scare a man? A horse? We don’t know.The calmness reflects the thought that the man and the horse in the photo don’t know anything about electric safety. Maybe the horse actually knows something because it’s looking away. The man is clueless though.

    Man, Horse, Electric Hazard. Donated by the Fire Department.

    Lastly, I took this photo of a journal where visitors are encouraged to leave their thoughts.
    No Comment.

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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.

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  • Checked Off My Bucket List: Visit A Korean Festival

    You mean to say that going to a Korean Festival is not on your bucket list? Then my bucket list (if I had one) definitely kicks your bucket list’s ass.
    The best thing about going to a Korean Festival is a lot of Koreans, they are nice and friendly people who don’t mind a freeloader who showed up as a friend of a friend of a guest.


    Any self-respecting Korean Festival starts off by singing Korean National Anthem followed the US National Anthem.

    Korean War Veterans get a lot of respect at the event.


    You’d think that reading Korean is hard…

    …but you’d be wrong, I immediately knew what the 3rd prize was.

    Another great thing about Korean Festivals is a combination of soccer, tennis and volleyball they play there.

    For the entertainment Koreans enjoy making fun of the non-Koreans pretending to do martial arts.

    I thought something was strange when whatever the martial arts people were screaming sounded a lot like “Jesus First” but then they proceeded to create cross formation and re-enact the Passion of the Christ.

    This is the part after they crucified their instructor a.k.a. Jesus…

    …so he can return from the dead.

    Of course no one leaves hungry.


    To recap: nice people, a show about Jesus and martial arts, good food and lots and lots of soap.

    Now on to the next item on my list….

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