• Billboards: Two States – Two Realities.

    When I was growing up©, we had those “us and them” propaganda posters like this:

    Two Worlds - Two Plans

    At the top, a Soviet  manager points to a map of windbreaks and hands his worker a sack of acorns to plant under the heading “We are planting life!“. At the bottom, a capitalist directs a general to a map of the military bases under the heading “They are planting death!“.

    Recently I noticed several billboards on the opposite sides of the State Line with the similar “compare and contrast” message.

    On the Kansas side we should be thanking the legislators for our “safer roads & 1000s of new jobs for Kansans”:

    Kansas legislators make construction workers happy; the guy in the middle and his shovel are ready to build even more roads for the grateful Kansans.

    But on the Missouri side the same guy is not smiling, he can’t even lift the shovel because of those fund-delaying evil legislators the gullible Missourians voted into the office. He even tucked his shirt in, that’s how sad he is.

    That’s why there is nothing but the pothole-ridden rough road ahead for the Missourians and the unsuspecting visitors to the state.

    Obviously, it’s not fun to be a construction worker in Missouri, no reason to smile for sure. Maybe just for the photos for billboards on the Kansas side.

    *photographing billboards is not easy and it was raining today, hence the quality.

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  • Old Photos: Just Some Old Photos

    I’ve been meaning to use the word maven  on this blog for a long time, so here goes:

    Local antiquing maven and dealer Susan let me scan some of these random old photos before she puts them up for sale. Susan’s antiques can be found on Etsy, her Twitter, Facebook and blog, as well as at the River Market Antique Mall booth 622, but she highly recommends visiting the other 621 booths as well.

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  • Marxism-Bremzenism

    We had no housing to speak of, we had no cars to speak of, we all wore the same clothes
    Anya Von Bremzen

    It rained communism and income redistribution.

    In dim light reluctantly released by the Government so the citizens wouldn’t bump into each other I was schlepping to kindergarten. It was 5 in the morning. I turned 5 just few months before and my sleeping in days were long gone. The System wouldn’t let me stay in bed past 7 for the next sixty years, when it will spit out my chewed up and worn out shell of a body patched up like Frankenstein monster by the torture they called free medicine.

    I looked around. Zombie-like builders of communism were slowly moving past me. Same clothes, same faces, empty eyes. Years of being fed just bread and fat-free ideology drained the will to live out of people. At night, when the curtains were closed and my parents covered up the listening devices, they whispered about something they called meat.  Once a year they tried to recreate meat out of contraband mayo and turnips. It was horrible but we stunned our taste buds with vodka to make it palatable.

    It was early spring but one couldn’t tell just by looking at the Communist-controlled weather. Behind the barbwire fences, system’s functionaries, the apparatchiks,  were frolicking in the sun and warmth. We got what was left.  Used air contained hardly any oxygen. I stopped to take a deep breath.

    The International Women’s Day – a holiday celebrating heavy women in cotton-stuffed waist jackets, head scarves and year-round galoshes was approaching. Communist cell in the kindergarten was preparing a concert where like trained monkeys we would attempt to entertain these never-smiling representatives of the weaker gender. Weaker? I evil-laughed on the inside, grinding my teeth. My face remained stoic and expressionless.

    I was assigned to perform a Russian folk dance. The System knew I was Jewish and it was their way of putting and extra-painful twist on the torture that was dancing. My head yearned to be covered. My feet were itching to break out in Freilach. I craved gefilte fish even though I didn’t know what gefilte was. Or fish. Instead I found myself standing next to a girl, dressed in a Russian shirt and shorts. It was so cold inside that even ever-present Lenin’s portrait on the wall was covered with frost. My legs were slowly turning blue to match the shorts.


    When the music started the headmistress’s eyes told me I had to smile and dance or I will be forced to read Das Kapital while marching around the room for the fifth time in a month. My smile felt like a grimace and my dance moves were awkward, but I couldn’t bring myself to read about the plight of the proletariat one more time.

    Scary women in the audience did not smile anyway. They just didn’t know how. After the performance the teachers force-fed us disgusting chocolates filled with Marxism and Leninism. I willed myself not to gag. This came useful later when I lived on the streets of New York doing anything for a buck. Just like Marx predicted.

    Standing there ashamed and smeared with chocolate, in a room where one could cut ideology with a knife, I had a dream that I, I someday will tearfully tell about my hardships to the American press and be quoted in every article about Russia.

    Fucking Anya Von Bremzen.

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  • Driving Central Missouri: Jefferson City

    Continuing further East past California,MO U.S.Route 50 enters Missouri State Capital – Jefferson City. Only a lazy Missourian hasn’t visited Jefferson City or at least looked at its photos so I am not going to wear you out with my own.

    Missouri State Capitol is similar to its sisters in Topeka,KS and Springfield,IL, but, unlike more hospitable Kansas, one cannot get to the top of the dome without a State Representative.

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  • Kansas City Photos Of The Week

    I don’t pretend to be a photographer, but I do have a camera.

    Mural on Independence Avenue.

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