Thursday, December 31, 2009

where is lazie lynch

This is for the HATERS out there who are starting up some fire with the fans about me hitting or robbing an old lady get a fuckin life you worthless shits, i got respects and havent touched or robbed no old lady. now move on and find a life ya shits

--Facebook profile of Craig 'Lazie' Lynch, the Internet police taunter who's garnered more than 30,000 fans since posting updates of his on-the-lam whereabouts.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

tsa announces new travel restrictions

In the wake of the thwarted Christmas Day terrorist plot on Northwest Airlines flight 253, TSA has announced new restrictions for air travel. While somewhat vague as to the specificity of the restrictions, passengers will no longer be allowed to carry explosive devices on board international flights arriving in the US.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

grizzly bear eye candy

An colorful antidote to "The Road".

Friday, December 11, 2009

tiger woods 11th 12th mistress revealed

Warrior Ant Press has learned that, in addition to the other women in his life, Tiger Woods was also known to occasionally sleep with himself. In what may be the most unusual twist in this long-term relationship, Le Tigre, who seemed to exclusively date white woman, crossed not only racial, but gender barriers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

lance armstrong can't touch this

You've never seen anything like this—parkur meets skateboarding meets bmx tricks. Danny MacCaskill does things on a bike that no else has even contemplated.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

fall reading list

Books fall from trees and Warrior Ant Press rakes them up and bags them for your fall enjoyment.

Let the Great World Spin. Colum McCann.2009, Random House. A book that stretches a long thin wire between Philippe Petit's wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center and 9/11 and dares to take the reader along the route. With a cast of New Yorkers that makes you long for a big city escape. No doubt, the best book you'll likely read this year.

Bowl of Cherries. Millard Kauffman. 2007, McSweeney's Rectangulars. The Iraq conflict filtered through the eyes of the co-creator of Mr. Magoo and the screenwriter of Bad Day at Black Rock. One part comix, one part satire, one part Hollywood blockbuster. Settle down with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the ride.

Lowboy. John Wray. 2009, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. A lowboy, as presented here, is someone who hangs out and lives in the subway tunnels. This lowboy, manic with the implications of global warming, is on the verge of a weirdly comic and inventive nervous breakdown. Jump the turnstile and join him.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. Matthew B. Crawford. 2009, The Penguin Press. I found the first 100 pages of this book annoying as an admonishing parent. Work is useful for the soul. You knew that and if you didn't, well, you're lazy or ill. There's value in fixing things rather than outsourcing them. It wasn't until Crawford got over his embarrassment of having a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Univ. of Chicago that the book finally released itself from pedestrian interests and moved into something more substantive-like the quality of nuts and bolts.

The Impossible Dream: The Story of Scott Walker and the Walker Brothers.
Anthony Reynolds. 2009, Genuine Jawbone Books. So you want to be a rock 'n roll star? Borrow 10 grand from your father, move to England, and act like one...for a few months. Make a hit record then drink heavily for 40 years. Then sober up a little and try to convince the world that you were once bigger than the Beatles and the Stones. OK. So? Could be true? One of the funniest books I've read in some time. At some point I actually had to google the band to find out if they ever existed. They did.

The American Painter Emma Dial.Samantha Peale. 2009, W.W. Nortong. A perfect little book about big paintings dripping with sexy characters amidst the back-stabbing art world.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.
David Grann. 2009, Doubleday. One of my colleagues has a collection of books about the world's most challenging adventures: sailing solo around the world, hiking in Anartica, getting lost. Most of these end in tragedy or dismal failure. The Lost City of Z is more than that, sorta of the equivalent of repeatably sending in someone to save a drowning man only to watch the rescuer drown. And then sending one person after another. Eventually someone makes it safely back and writes a story about it. This book will make you stop complaining about the occassional mosquito bite.

Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives. Peter Orner (Ed.)2008, McSweeney's Books. Stop complaining about your job and reconnect with the American Dream. It's not all pudding and raisins.

Stiches: a memoir. David Small, 2009, W.W.Norton. Small pulls us through a childhood filled with mentally ill family members and into a life of redemption and art. Soft strokes and hard words rendered into reality.

Prayer Requested, Christian Northeast. 2009, Drawn and Quarterly. It's easy, upon first reading, to dismiss these prayers as the quirky, ramblings of desparate internet trolls. Give this book a second read and you'll discover these prayers aren't that much different from your own. Don't you want to be God's FB friend?

A Gate at the Stairs. Lorrie Moore. 2009, Alfred A. Knopf. This book got a lot of attention when it appeared the summer. Seemingly, Lorrie Moore was every where talking about the time and energy spent writing this book; the premise sounded intriguing. I really wanted to like this book. I really did.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

no turn on red

Friday, as has become my routine, I get up late. Somehow, I'm able to squeeze a small cup of coffee out of the end of the bag, scarf down a bowl of cereal and head to work with the intention that OK, for once this week, I'll be on time. Maybe. First though, I need to stop and resupply my coffee beans and jazz my day with a double espresso. It's risky, but doable, because it only involves a quick detour on my morning commute.

I turn onto the narrow street that leads to the coffee shop. Halfway there I encounter a stopped school bus. Parking is allowed on both sides of the street so passage is difficult. The bus lights aren't flashing but the stop sign is out. I stop.

I can see no signs of children but there's an obligation, a social contract everyone has signed, including myself, that says, when the bus stops and the sign goes out, we stop. We all stop. We agree on this because it'll only take a minute and it's for the kids. Our precious children. Then we wait and watch. And the children, because all of this is done for the children, the children, all merry and eager to be with their pals, scamper from their homes to the school bus. And before they enter the bus, they reluctantly turn and wave to their parents and off they go to fill their minds with knowledge and eventually take their place as productive members of society. We watch this parade, humbled with fond memories and girdled with the hope that someday, yes, those poor, unknowing, bastards will take our place on the morning commute.

It's all about the children.

A minute passes. No kids. A car pulls up from the opposite direction and stops. We wait some more. A minute at least. Now two. No kids. Nice bus driver waiting like that for the kids. I look to the houses on each side of the street decked out with their pumpkins and their spooky spectacular fake cobwebs and think, OK, any second the door will open and a frantic parent will motion to the bus driver that it'll be just one second, hold the bus, Johnny forget his mask, and today's the big Halloween parade at school, and just be patient...but there is no parent. No Johnny. Just the yellow bus. The stop sign. The dashboard clock. My low fuel light.

Perhaps they don't know the bus has arrived. I'm surprised the bus isn't honking. Let's go Johnny. Hurry up now, tomorrow you can sleep late.

Jeez, where are those kids? Well if the bus driver is afraid to honk then I'll help. I tap my horn. We wait some more. Honk. No kids. The car opposite me turns around in the middle of the street and heads back from where it came. Damn. I can't really do that because it would mean a 3 or 4 block detour and besides, I can see the damn coffee shop from wear I'm sitting.

I tap my horn again. Gently, so as to be polite, but to facilitate the situation. Nothing. I read the back of the bus. FEDERAL LAW MANDATES THAT YOU MUST STOP WHEN THE BUS IS LOADING AND UNLOADING. Damn. Screwed. How long can this possibly take?

I look at the stop sign. I look at the houses with the doors closed and I look again at the sign...while loading and unloading...but they aren't loading and unloading...slowly....slowly, I pull out and begin to inch down the street. There's almost no room to pass so I have to go really slow. Then bus driver opens the door into traffic forcing me to stop. She motions me to get back.

Have I missed some small child tying his shoe in the front of the bus? I cautiously look. Nothing. I inch forward again. Now the bus driver opens the door farther and leans out and begins to yell at me to get back. I ask her where are the kids? She yells, get back! get back! But there aren't any kids, I protest. Get back! I'm calling the police. Fuck you! I clear the bus and head to the coffee shop.

Jeez, thank God that's over. Maybe I can get my coffee now and get on with my day before the police arrive. Yes, a lucky break, the first, the spot right in front of coffee shop is open. I pull over and look back. The bus is still stopped in the middle of the street. What the hell can they be doing?

I run inside, grab a pound of coffee and the roaster happens to be standing there and says, hey we got some fresher roast if you prefer. Yeah! Score again. The barrista pulls my double shot. Now. That's better. The day begins to open.

I walk outside. Yikes the school bus has pulled up next to my car. Oh shit. What's going to happen now? Will she block me in till the cops come? But then I think, what about those kids? don't they need to get to school?

Down come the bus windows. Up come the special needs children all dressed in their Halloween costumes. Yeah! There's the skeleton. And a princess. How sweet. Barack Obama? Sure. Obligatory Power Ranger. Kids in costumes, ready for the parade. Some have suckers in their mouths. A little early for treats, but hey, it's Halloween. Brings a smile to my face.

Then, as if on cue. They begin pelting my car with half eaten candy bars, lifesavers, and sweet tarts pulled from their tiny mouths. Yuk. Within seconds my car is covered in a sticky, gooey mess most likely harboring vast quantities of swine flu virus.

Hey, I yell. Stop that. You can't do that. You monsters! I start toward them. Then the bus door opens and the driver emerges. Oh shit. She steps out of the bus, walks over to my car and promptly dumps a pint of chocolate milk on my windshield. Fucking asshole she mouths so the kids don't hear.

She turns to kids. What do we say kids? TRICK OR TREAT they yell in unison. I shake my head and pray the siren I'm hearing in the distance isn't for me.

I clean the windshield and start the car. The bus driver boards the bus, pulls the stop sign in and drives away and the kids gather at the back of the bus and give me the finger.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

spiritual center

A friend gave me this video of Bob Dylan's unplugged concert three or four years ago. The video promptly got buried in one of my piles and was only recently uncovered. Perhaps there was a reason I never heard such a sad and beautiful song until today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

name change

Can we now just call him "attic boy" or "box boy"?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

bring on the savants

There are few things in contemporary art that don't feel scripted or at the mercy of the latest collaborative trends. The notion that, "My friends are all artists therefore if we all get together and make a really enormous piece, then it will be grand."

Or maybe it won't. There's a tendency to apply too many layers when one would serve the project.

The reverse graffiti project works in opposition to that approach. Born of a grimy speck on the wall this work hits the mark and does what fine art should do, reveal surfaces hidden from the eye.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

copperhead road

I'm pretty sure that it's only dudes, who upon encountering a venomous snake, insist that it pose like a pit viper. This viper, Agkistrodon contortrix aka the copperhead, was very slow to comply, likely due to the cool fall temperatures which made it a big sluggish. Or perhaps it knew, via its sophisicated heat sensors, that niether the stick nor the dumb scientists trying to get it to flick its forked tongue and coil for a strike, posed it no harm.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

he's a jackass

The President on Congressman Joe Wilson Kanye West.

No doubt the so-called Don't Tread on Me crowd will use the President's remark as just an another excuse to spread lies. Since journalists rarely call out even the most blatant slanders, reporting on them as though they are news, it becomes easy for the oppostiion to sell untruth as a policy alternative.

In a weird turn around though, it's the right wingers who are suggesting now that the government has overstepped its boundaries and is treading on individual rights and liberties. When the Bushites were in office, it was the left. Seems as though we're doomed to ping pong between levels of extremism in the country. Jackasses!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the race is on for the tour of missouri

The recently ended Tour of Missouri brings to light just how far the reach of politics. Because of that it's sometimes difficult to get an accurate picture of race. The Tour of Missouri, let's call it TOM, is a good race. In it's first 3 years, it has consistently fielded some great teams and some top-notch riders. TOM benefits from being one of only 2 pro stage races left in the United States - next year they may be as many as four if Colorado and Georgia return. TOM also benefits from being near the end of the pro racing season but is hurt somewhat by occurring at the same time as the Vuelta E'spana, the last of the 3 Grand European stage races of the season. However, because few riders have the strentgh and stamina to compete in the Giro D'Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta in the same year, some teams are looking for other venues. For pro teams with largely American sponsors like Garmin Slipstream and Columbia HTC the TOM provides them the perfect opportunity to showcase their talent on American soil. And because the TOM is a 7 day race rather than a 3 week race, it makes even more manageable from a financial standpoint.

One thing that TOM lacks, which it will never have, and will always prevent it from becoming a truly great race is mountains. We have hills in Missouri not mountains. Hills, especially the rollers that dominant our state, as any weekend cyclist knows, can be tough. In Missouri they can seem to go on and on forever. As tough as they may be to negotiate for amateurs, they aren't long enough to bring the kind of separation needed in a pro race to really matter. This is why the breaks during the long road races are always brought back and eventually won by the sprinters. Teams with strong sprinters like Columbia HTC love this because it means that they have a chance to win stages and gain media attention.

Columbia HTC sprinter, Mark Cavendish, was able to win the first 2 stages of the TOM, wear the yellow jersey for a few days and grab lots of media attention. Other sprinters, Thor Hushvold of Cervelo Test and J.J. Haedo of Saxo Bank were also in the mix most every day there was a field sprint. In fact they all won a stage and given how the bonus points were awarded they traded wearing the yellow jersey at some point during the race. However, all but Hushvold eventually abandoned the race. Sprinters may win the majority of the stages but in a race like TOM, without mountain stages, the eventual winner will be the person who claims victory in the time trial.

This year it was Dave Zabriski of Garmin Slipstream. Zabriski, the US national time trail champion 4 years running, is no slouch. He holds the record for the fastest time trial in Tour de France history. The TOM victory was Zabriski's first General Classification win of his career and was due to his ability as a time trialist.

Now that the race has ended another race has begun. How to keep the race funded for 2010. Lt. Governor Peter Kinder who single-handily has been responsible for keeping the race going over the last 3 years faces a lot of opposition from the Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. It's a bit odd that cycling, which largely draws a Democratic crowd, isn't in the favor of the Governor but that where the politics comes into play. Kinder and Nixon never talk to one another; Nixon doesn't even return his calls. Kinder has used the race to essentially campaign, without seeming to do so, for a week a year on taxpayer money. At every venue, Lt. Gov. Kinder is one of the first to speak at the start of each race and the last to leave the podium. Local politicians at every town sing his praises because the race brings a large contingent of tourists as they pass through. They spend money which is why it makes sense for tourism dollars to be spent on the race and why it's a little ridiculous for Gov. Nixon to pooh pah the spending of tax money on the race. Considering how much the state pays to support professional baseball, football, and soccer the 1.5 million seems paltry. The real question is does the investment pay for itself and all indications are that it does so quite well.

Although Missouri companies such as Edward Jones, Drury Inn, and the Farm Bureau also provide sponsorship no one seems to be willing to put up the bucks to have the race named after them. Anheiser-Busch would rather throw $10 million toward NASCAR which might be smart considering that most cyclists pride themselves on drinking better beer.

Most everyone has some connection to cycling and walking around St. Louis and Kansas City it was easy to see just how diverse the interest in cycling remains. Older club and weekend riders, many of who have been riding for years, were out in force, many wearing their charity t-shirts and jerseys of events they have conquered. Then there were the young single-track riders in their retro woolens and sneakers. There were also the serious amateurs in their kits and the families in the matching mountain bikes and Livestrong equipment.

Pro cycling also attracts interest because it's accessible in ways that other professional sporting events are not. Sure the cyclists may whiz by you on the race at speeds approaching 40 mph at times but they are just feet away. Position yourself at the top of a climb and it's easy to see the anguish on their faces. For most other sports you only get those sorts of closeups on television.

Before the races it's also easy for fans to mingle backstage and see the preparations that go into keeping the race moving. Because the races are constantly moving from town to town, the staging areas are portable and run out the backs of tour buses and vans. Mechanics set up popup tents and each day prep the bikes in full view of spectators. This has the added benefit of selling the sponsors and many cyclists are gear heads who are frequently searching for the latest technology. Pro bikes are the place to see the latest in streamlined technology before it hits the stores.

It will be a tough road for the TOM next year because Nixon is vindictive. Maybe come Christmas, Nixon will find a shiny new bike underneath his Christmas tree and have a change of heart.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

lock, load, and repeat

Although this photo is from the stage 1 finish of the Tour of Missouri it could have just as easily have been from today's 2nd stage that finished in very similar fashion in the southeast Missouri burg of Cape Girardeau. A mass field sprint, set up in the last few kilometers by some disorganized attempts to control the front by various factions from Kelly United, Cevello Test Team, and even a brief attempt by OUCH - all of which fell apart more than 300 meters from the line, ended with the usual suspects fighting for the same 3 spots on the podium. Although the 2nd and 3rd place riders switched positions from the day before, Cavendish laid down the same marker. Thor Hushold looked to have the stage in his pocket until Mark Cavendish jumped off his wheel and rode past with ease to take his second consecutive stage and stay in yellow for another day.

The Tour moves into the Ozarks for a couple of days that will allow some riders besides the sprinters to flex a little muscle. Although these hills can definitely put the hurt on the peleton, the Ozark stages offer the chance that a long break could stay away until the end. Such a well-placed break could give Columbia HTC the chance to move someone like George Hincapie into the race lead.

Monday, September 7, 2009

tour of missouri missle launch

Crowds in St. Louis may not have been as large for the opening stage as they were for last year's closing stage but they had lots to do in the Market Street area where the race began and ended. Live music. The City Garden art park. Plus racing from the 2nd turn and on to the end.

There was an early break, no surprise there, just as there was no surprise that the peleton left the 3 riders off the front (Chris Anker Soerensen, Saxo Bank; Tomas Vaitkus, Astana; and Moises Aldape Chavez, Team Type 1) have a show of it until the last 3 km. Then, as scripted, the well-organized Columbia High Road team locked, loaded, and fired the Manx Missle, Mark Cavendish, over the line just ahead of frequent runnerups J.J. Haedo (Saxo Bank) and Thor Hushvold (Cervelo Test Team). When asked when he realized he had the race won, Cavendish replied in typical fastest-man-in-the-world style, "as soon as I awoke this morning."

landis among Tour of Missouri peleton

Floyd Landis, the American cyclist that many want to forget, was part of the talented field that just kicked it into high gear for stage 1. The field also includes crowd favs George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish, and Levi Leipheimer along with defending champ Christian Van de Velde. The 2009 Le Tour Green jersey holder, Thor Hushvold and stage winner Franco Pelizotti. Expect todays stage to end in a bunch sprint with odds to Cavendish.

keep on truckin'

St. Louis remains one of the very few US cities with the gumption to hold a Labor Day Parade. It's a rather modest event, excepting for the thousands of Unionists and their families who participate and who line the streets to watch a steady stream of 18-wheelers, panel trucks, and delivery vans decked out in bunting and pride. When these trucks toot their horn, it sounds a lot like America the Beautiful.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jelly belly takes the beans

We're priming ourselves with Schafly Pale Ale and our complimentary pack of Sport Beans in ready for the 3rd annual Tour of Missouri kicking off, Labor Day, in Missouri's river town, St. Louis. Jelly Belly, which may not be the strongest team in the field, does hold court as the longest sponsor of professional cycling in America - 10 years running.

this little piggy

You don't have to take your chances with the flu vaccine which has yet to arrive in many parts of the country. No, you can just touch the wrong doorknob and Voilà! a brief respite from the world awaits you. But, if you're like most of us, you'll end up with a mild case. By mild it generally means that fluids won't be leaking from your ears but you'll still be spending 4 days prone contemplating, among other things, your own mortality.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

victim of consequence

Without pollen there would be no Flower Project but some kinds of pollen are a little much. The Giant (Ambrosia trifida) and the Common or Annual (Ambrosia Artemisiifolia) Ragweed, both native to this area, are blooming profusely at the moment. No matter if your principal operational mode is Darwinian or faith based, allergies are a cruel joke that make little sense from either perspective.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This is more like my kind of organic debris.


Dead rat in the middle of the wier.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

record low marks return of dinosaurs

Fall fairs begin early. No need to relocate during August as dog days have given over to dino haze.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

teddy! we hardly knew you

My favorite bit of Ted Kennedyísm is where he confronts then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and asks for his resignation. Few would have the gumption to do that. One forgets the influence of the Senator until reminded during the numerous tributes that have run this week. Some of them have been quite moving such as his helping of the littlest refusnik and her family or his work with a family to provide better armor for vehicles in Iraq, work that has saved hundreds of lives and thousands of wounded. Kennedy was a powerful man and he used that power, at times to help people in ways that few others could.

We do wonder though if any of those who talk about the Kennedy penchant for helping those less fortunate ever ponder the fact that no one can attain great wealth without taking advantage of others in some way(s). And even if your wealth, as in the case of Ted Kennedy, has largely been handed to you, the maintenance of such wealth has consequences for others, some of whom are less fortunate. I raise this only as an ethical question that we must all address, where should our wealth end and that of others begin?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tim whitmer trio: visual reviews of aural entertainment

Tim Whitmer Trio, the Cafe @ Briarcliff, KCMO, attendance ~15

cats in trees

m.o.i has always had a fondness for quirky folk who live at the edges of society. This may be due, in part, to fortunate circumstances that allow us to live somewhere in the middle realm, but one has to admit that often the self-trained artist is more interesting than the one more finely trained.

We say this in defense of Bob, whose performance piece Cats in Trees had a brief run as part of an ongoing street theatre project that Bob maintains. The premise of Cats in Trees is quite simple. First Bob, having created a Device for Placing Cats in Trees, must befriend feral cats that roam the neighborhood (no easy task in itself). Once Bob earns the trust of the cat to where he can pick them up and hold them without fear of cat-scratch fever or blindness, he gently places the cat in the Device for Placing Cats in Trees, lifts the device into the upper branches of a nearby tree, and gently shakes the basket until the cat removes itself from the basket and into the tree. Bob finds the phrase, "Ima a shaking it boss" if repeated long enough will usually drive the cat into the tree although I've also seen Bob resort to barking, growling, and reading the poems of Mary Oliver--all of which seemed to work.

Now, I'm certain that some of my animial rights loving friends might find this practice to verge on animal endangerment or even a violation of cat's rights, but hear this first about Bob before you render final judgement.

Bob's day job is to field test shopping carts by pushing them around on city streets until they surrender to the rigors of urban life. Poorly designed shopping carts can fail and endanger shoppers, their children, and are costly to replace. Bob suggests that one day on the street with him and the cart has undergone the equivalent of one year in a parking lot. As with Cats-in-Trees, the field testing of shopping carts is a public service the Bob provides with no expectation of financial reward.

Avian lovers might also object to Cats-in-Trees but to them Bob has a ready response.

"These aren't domestic cats I'm placing in trees. These are feral cats. A tree to a wild cat is a natural place. Now I can see that you might be opposed to cats eating birds but that's a natural thing for a cat. And besides, cats don't catch birds while in trees, it's too dangerous for the cat. Watch them hunt. They mostly catch birds on the ground or in low-lying shrubs. Only cats without claws are afraid of trees. My project just helps the cats realize the heights of their potential."

So there you have it. From Bob. Cats in Trees. Not the best art you've seen this week, not the worst. But maybe, just maybe, the most different. Purr on it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

test drive: the kruger sea wind

What happened to the dog days of yore? It was August and I was wearing long-sleeves, not to keep from a massive sunburn, but to stay warm; the sandals on my feet, normally a summer knock around imperative, had my toes curling to maintain proper blood flow to the extremities. It certainly made for a wonderful day with autumnal hints but it was strange not having sweat oozing from every pore of your body in the middle of August.

We took the opportunity of this most welcome respite from a more typical Missouri August day to test drive a Kruger canoe, considered by many to be the best canoe ever made. After meeting the legendary Norm Miller, who paddled some 3,600 miles upstream the entire length of the Missouri River and then on to the ocean, I've been coveting one of these boats. Designed by Verlon Kruger, who went through 40 iterations to find this design, these are expedition craft. After Verlon finished his design he paddled more than 25,000 miles in the boat to prove it's worthiness.

And it's true, these are beautifully designed boats. Looking at one closely and seeing the inside of one you can feel the hand-crafted nature of these boats. To say they are roomy is an understatement. You can sleep in one of these boats and many do. No more of the kayaker's tendency to have to store things in every little nook and cranny, in a Kruger, there's room to hand things close at hand. And the boat's stability eliminates any of worries about capsizing and losing everything.

After paddling a sleeker kayak for several years now the Kruger fell a little sluggish going upriver. The thing is incredibly stable though, tough as nails, and turns on a dime. It's durability (10 layers of carbon fiber) make for a heavy boat (62 lbs) and it's rounded hull design makes lifting it a little awkward until you realize the easy way is to get completely underneath the boat. The seat reverses into an ingenious shoulder yoke that makes portaging a snap. Except for the 600 lbs of gear you can stow inside one of them; that you'll have to carry separately. However, the crazy thing about this boat is that you could, if you had sufficient Popeye arms, just drag the thing, gear and all, and not seriously damage the boat.

If an expedition or hunting trip is in your future the Kruger might just be the boat for you. Although a number of folks use these on ultra marathon races, personally I would opt for a sleeker craft, unless the river was near flood stage and then you'd be safe, high, and dry.

I have often felt that Krugers were over-priced by about a thousand dollars. One of Vern's protege's, Scott B. Smith, has starting building his own expedition craft, the Superior Expedition. It's almost the exact boat as a Kruger with a slightly modified bow design and this boat is forcing me to reassess my opinion of Krugers. It could be that they're over-priced by two grand, instead of one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

prawns ate my hard drive

Apparently some of the black blood must have contaminated my Junior Mints because within an hour of visiting District 9 my hard drive was consumed by aliens.

Warrior Ant Press will remain on backup power for the next few days while we await the relocation of the offending party.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

aliens invade warrior ant press

Warrior Ant Press is experiencing technical difficulties. It could be fallout from the recent alien invasion, proof of which is offered by the ring of mushrooms recently photographed at the Unity Headquarters (who knew aliens preferred a lite-brand of Jesus?).

WAP is working on a fix. It may require throttling a Russian, flame-throwing an alien, or hiring a geek, but we'll figure it out.

Or, we won't.

Monday, August 24, 2009

michael jackson was murdered!

Priorities please. The US needs to enact real health care reform and the public plan is the least expensive option. We already have the private option; that's the problem.

Friday, August 21, 2009

simple is as simple does: figs with key lime sugar

I like to cook. Most who know moi, know that. But what they may not know, is that although some of my cooking might appear complex or involved, my favorite form of cooking involves simplicity. Find fresh ingredients, pair them with simple, but unique flavors, and make something interesting and worthy of sharing. Desserts are meant to be shared, this is why we like them so much, they typically involve sharing with others.

Back to simplicity. Thomas Keller can cook and his food is interesting. It has a certain simplicity if you focus on the individual steps instead of the outcome. That's one of the keys of french cuisine in which Keller if profoundly steeped. Cusine français can appear to be, and is some cases be, quite complex, but primarily the complexity arises from the subtle layers and interplay of simple ingredients.

One of my favorite chef has always been Jacques Pépin, who some may know as mentor to Julia Child, has always been one of my favorite chefs primarily because he's very grounded in the reality that cooking food is foremost sustenance, but it must also taste good and look good. Pepin was a 3-star Michelin chef in France before he become one of the first tv chefs. There was Child, Pepin, and that goofy, galloping, Scot gourmet, Graham Kerr. Since then, there seem to have been thousands of tv and celebrity chefs most of whom know a lot more about makeup than they do about plate presentation.

My friends also know they can hardly talk me into making dessert anymore and when I do I usually resort to tricky. Here's a good one that's marvelous slight-of-hand. It owes it existence to my 3-year quest to make the world's greatest limeade (still perfecting this one) and it's very simple (almost).


For this you will need.
Fresh, ripe mission figs. A ripe fig lasts about as long a ripe peach and is almost as tasty. You'll need 3-4 per serving.

Some cream from a real honest-to-goodness dairy. There's lots of them. I prefer Shatto Farms because the cream comes in little glass bottles that make, among other things, a perfect flower vase.

Key Lime sugar. This is the hard part. But it keeps well. And since it's a bit tricky, make a larger batch. You'll find many uses for key lime sugar (some I'll share later). Zest (you'll need a special zester for the key limes because the peel of a key lime is very thin) and zesting 4 dozen key limes is no picnic. As the zest collects in a bowl cover it with finely granulated organic cane sugar. Once you're finished, you'll have a coarse meal that about the consistency of shredded coconut. Four dozen key limes can season a pound of sugar. Immediately place the sugar in a glass jar and seal for several weeks. The lime zest will candy and the sugar will obtain a wonderful aroma that rivals that of Madagascar vanilla bean sugar. You have to stir the sugar occassionally to keep if form solidifying into a mass. If done right, you should be able to spoon it easily when finished. If you really wanted to gild the Lily you could add a hit of vanilla bean to the batch. Resist that urge!

Quarter the figs. Place in a dish. Freeze a stainless steel whipping bowl along with the whisk. Whisk the cream until it begins to thicken and then add a couple of tablespoons of the key lime sugar. Whisk until soft peaks form. Let stand refrigerated for an hour or so to allow the lime zest to better flavor the cream. Rewhisk as needed and then add to the quartered figs.

Options. None recommended but you could garnish with candied ginger in very small amounts. Biscuits, i.e. shortbread would work well. Raspberries. Chocolate, milk or dark.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

best leftovers i had today

As much as I like to cook, repurposing leftovers into something tasty is almost as much fun. The keys to a good repurpose are ingredients and planning. The use of top quality ingredients is really the key to all cooking but can certainly take what might be bland leftovers and move them into a higher realm. Planning for leftovers typically means making sure the original foods aren't overcooked.

Poached salmon salad.

6 oz. leftover coho salmon, stored refrigerated in the poaching liquid.
fresh spinach, washed and torn
fresh romaine, washed and torn
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
4 fresh figs
toasted sesame seeds
few slices of parmaggino

Place the ingredients, excepting the salmon, in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper. Add a dash of toasted sesame oil and fresh lemon juice. Plate. Break up the salmon onto the top. Arrange the figs around the edge of the plate. Enjoy with a hearty chunk of real bread. There you go. A fine, healthy dinner in about 15 minutes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

best meal i had today

This meal has lots of red food in it. Tomatoes. Cherries. Grapes. And wild Alaskan Coho salmon. Red food is supposed to be good for you. Antioxidant proprieties or some such thing. Blue food, i.e. blueberries, is also supposed to be good for you. But think about it, green food, as in green leafy vegetables woiuld definitely be good for you. Yellow food, such as squash and corn, would also be good for you. Colorful food looks good on the plate, but really, as long as the food is fresh and prepared well, it's probably good for you.

Here's the best meal I had today; ok well, true, it might have been yesterday. Simple and easy. Red and green.

Salmon poached with garlic and spinach.

Nice slab, 3/4 lbs or so, of fresh salmon.
3 cloves of German stiff-necked garlic, diced.
1/2 pound of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped.
3/4 cup of half and half.
salt and pepper.

Pour the half and half in a small shallow saucepan and add the garlic and spinach. Place the salmon on top, skin side down. Salt and pepper the top side. Then simmer covered for about 10 minutes. The salmon may need to cook for a few minutes longer. If that is the case, then remove the spinach and garlic with a slotted spoon. Poach the salmon until just firm - about 140° F. Serve on a bed of the spinach.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

armstrong crushes leadville 100

Lance Armstrong soloed off the front of the pack on one of the high climbs and cruised to victory in the Leadville 100. Lance's victory spurned so much interest in the high-altitude endurance event that event servers crashed for several hours into the race; this sent millions of frustrated cyclists onto streets everywhere as they attempted to get a decent workout after sitting in front of their computers for the last hour looking a live-blog feeds. Six-peat champion Dave Wiens took second. Over 1600 participated and at this hour (5pm) MST over 1000 were still on the course.

1st. Lance Amstrong, Aspen, CO, 6:28:50.9 (new course record)
2nd. Dave Wiens, Gunnison, CO, 6:57:02.0
3rd Matt Schriver 7:09:48.5
4th Alex Grant 7:10:54.1
5th Len Zanni 7:11:21.0
6th Max Tamm 7:16:56
7th Travis Brown 7:22:05.5
8th Manual Prado 7:35:27.2
9th Mike Hogan 7:353:35.0
10th Jason Tullous 7:35 47.1

1st Rebecca Rusch 8:14:53 (30th overall)
2nd Amanda Carey 8:40:03.0 (66th overall)

Friday, August 14, 2009

wiens takes sight on leadville trail 100: armstrong on his wheel

Is Dave Wiens the mountain bike equivalent of Alberto Contador for Lance Armstrong? Weins, 6 time winner of the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, defeated Armstrong last year by a couple of minutes in the grueling climbs above 10,000 feet. It was one of Armstrong's first tests in his comeback so the 2nd place finish was somewhat measured. Since then, Armstrong has ridden in the Tours of California, Italy, and France. He's yet to win and is looking for some redemption in Leadville. Weins has no interest in submitting and Lance's plan of having Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer pace him to a new course record fell flat when Leipheimer crashed, breaking his wrist during stage 12 of this year's Le Tour.

For the first time in history you can watch live-streaming video of the Leadville Trail 100 for about the price of six-pack of beer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 mr340: in pictures

View a collection of photos about the recent mr340 at
mr340 photo collection.

Photo: The Rivermiles Gang of Four: Karin Thomas, Travis Worley, Scott Mansker, and Russ Payzant. They are backed by several hundred volunteers. It's not true that they don't like people, far from it, they just like to push them--to their limit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 mr340: m.o.i.'s experience

The short and sweet of it. From m.o.i.'s initial perspective this year's mr340 felt like an ass-whupping on the river. I say that and then remember that after being ready to throw in the towel midway through the race I did manage to stop sucking my thumb and begin enjoying myself a little and FINISH. ALIVE. This matters. Thirty second place in my division - ahead of some 62 other men's soloists - 103rd overall. A victory of perseverance which, lacking charm, good looks, and wealth, happens to be one of my best qualities.

Yes, the time was a little slower than last years but our hip rotation must have been much better this year because it's my back that's a little tight, not my shoulders. Joint pain? excepting a few knuckles on my hands, I have none. My biggest problem are my swollen and numb feet, an indication that I was driving my legs throughout the race; I'm hoping it disappears soon.

Outside of the hotshots who compete in this race, for the rest of us this race is more about chasing away the mind demons. The ones that say to you, "you can't do that", "forget doing that", or "you're really not cut out for that". The process to make the demons disappear is fairly simple. Stay in the boat and paddle.

The race is also about asking for and receiving the help of others. My field crew essentially consisted of 5 people-the logistics of kayaking to St. Louis and getting yourself and the boat back in one piece isn't that easy. My daughter Sarah delivered me to the start line and told me to shut up and relax when the thunderstorms delayed the start. She also picked me up from the Amtrak station upon my return and cleaned my car in the intervening days of the race. Anyone who knows my Homer tendencies knows that this isn't a small task. My unflappable friend WendE delivered supplies at several checkpoints along the way, handed me a raspberry Slurpee at the finish line, and solicited the help of fellow conservationist Steve Van Rhein who was able to witness first hand the carnage, joy, and sense of accomplishment this race brings to folks. Next year his lame excuses run out and he climbs in a boat and comes along or he'll find himself blowing on my tender feet again. Being younger, stronger, and more fit Steve might even beat me downriver but my veteran status suggests that I might just kick his ass (undaunted braggadocio is one side effect of finishing this race). Another pal, former Conservationist Ruth Wallace (does one detect a trend in my choice of crew?) had my halfway point resupply cache waiting in the sand at Jefferson City. I was also assisted on numerous occasions by John Dunn who kept throwing bananas and the advice to "get some sleep" my way.

Time for a new adventure. It may be as simple as trimming the hedge or organizing the house. It may be as complex as facing down the MAN at the day job, tackling the Yukon Quest, or romancing the stone. Whatever it may be, it'll likely be shorter than 340 miles on the Muddy MO in August.

Race directors Karin Thomas, Russ Payzant, and Scott Mansker see which favors they can call in to get the rain to stop.

Favorite moments from this years mr340:

Reconnecting with the Ninja Raccoons, meeting their prospecting field chief, and being able to share a little of our city with them before the race.

A 1 hour nap, a banana, and a bottle of Ensure courtesy of Bill Lanning's daughter.

Sleeping on the Katfish Katy ramp with no one around and being refreshed for once upon arriving at Cooper's Landing.

Flipping my kayak while trying to land it on the Noren beach and not caring one iota especially after being handed a piping hot cup of french press from my friend Vicki.

Watching the locals shoot 8-ball on the regulation sized pool tables at the River Bend Bar in Portland and then imitating Carter Johnson by stuffing a double cheeseburger from same bar in my pocket and paddling off into the setting sun.

Sharing a hotdog and a cup of The World's Greatest Limeade ver.3.0 with Wende and Steve at the Herman Checkpoint.

Throwing the ashes (stuffed inside a toy dinosaur) of former racer, Trex the Rare West Tibetan Mountain dog, deep into the river from the barge dock below the finish line and watching booger catch a ride on the thalweg.

Seeing friendly faces at every stop and people who gave me cold water, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, words of encouragement, and even a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Joanie's post-race slideshow of Machu Picchu.\

Being a tourist in St.Louis after the race, riding the light rail downtown, checking out CityPark Sculpture Garden, and having the Amtrak run on time.

Finding out that Darling Daughter Dora had detailed six months of Kansas River silt and sand from my car.

Least favorite moments:
Being scared of capsizing in the windy wake of 270 boats for the first 30 minutes of the race, the energy-sucking crossing through the gale blowing across the Missouri City bend, and the toxicity of too much adrenalin.

Not sufficiently testing my new watering/electrolyte system and having to drink only electrolytes for the first 50 miles.

Bonking hard on the run into Booneville.

Trying to put contacts in my eyes and losing several on the sandy ramp at Klondike (The fun part though was ignoring John Dunn's advice, "you're not going to put that sandy lens in your eye, please tell me you're not going to do that!" Yes John I am. But first the hydrologist must triple rinse!.

Missing 90 percent of the awards ceremony due to poor service at the Mill Creek Brew House.

Losing two $25 hats-both favorites. The new rivermiles hat flew off in the wind during the first 10 miles of the race and my USGS shade hat eventually shredded from UV damage.

Images by Sarah Star via flickr. see more images at dokidokididikoko's photostream

Monday, August 10, 2009

2009 mr340: passing the torch

During the awards ceremony of the 2009 MR340 last year's past champions, The Ninja Racoons,Mike Massey and Jana Shannon, passed the torch to this year's mixed tandem winners, Katie Pfefferkorn and West Hansen.

When asked later if their first place mixed tandem finish (4th place overall) met their expectations Hansen depanned, "I didn't have any." That seems odd coming from somone who seems to have a ceremonial kilt for every category of this race except women's solo.

Massey and Shannon, whose 2009 finish time was nearly equivalent to the 65 hour time posted during last year's race, saw their record time bested by more than 20 hours. Shannon, recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and no stranger to the Scotland move, was nonplussed by all the hoopla over men-in-kilts, "next time we train."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

2009 mr340: the missouri river run

Amtrak engineers on the 313 seem to blow their horns almost nonstop to prevent knuckleheads from crossing in front of fast-moving trains. So far this trip has included (in order of appearance) travel on hiway, river, gravel road, sidewalk, plank road, and rail line (electric and standard gage track).

2009 mr340: contact dermatitis

The mr340 comes with its own set of aches and pains if one expects to get full value from the race. Tendinitis, sunburn, chafing, heat exhaustion, loss of sensation in extremities, and weird skin rashes seem to pop up with the regularity of Corps wing dikes. We must remain vigilant to prevent toxic waste from entering our streams; toxic waste comes in many forms-some obvious and some not. As Paracelsus said, it's the dose that makes the poison so just because something is released in very small quantities into the environment doesn't mean it doesn't harm the biota. Ask the next 3-legged Simpson frog you see how they feel about trace amounts of atrazine in runoff.

Although the US certainly has some of the cleanest waters in the world, we have also polluted many stretches our rivers. Few rivers can be considered pristine. Even mountain headwaiter streams frequently have detectable quantities of human personal care products.

Despite the efforts of anyone, including the racers, involved with the mr340, the Missouri River is considered by many other citizens to be little more than a freeway, the ultimate sewage treatment plant discharge point for about one-third of our nation, or a willing participant as a recipient of nutrient laden sediment. These attitudes need to change; not just about the MO river but also with regards to the tributary streams.

The 2 barrels in the above photo were seen in St. Charles' Frontier Park (adjacent to the finish). The distance to the MO River from this trib is less than 500 ft. The next big storm will likely carry the barrels and any remaining chemical inside them into the Mighty MO. Once in the MO the barrels can and from their its onto

2009 mr340: recovery tips, pt. 3

Appetizer-double expresso.
Entree-bowl-sized cup of Ethopian Yagiracheffe.
Dessert-the Gateway Arch.
Cheese course-Citygarden,StL's new outdoor sculpture park.

2009 mr340: everyone came by boat

In our celebrity culture that seems to only want to recognize the comings, goings, and shenanigans of the beautiful, gifted, and wealthy it's easy to forget that most all of our ancestors arrived in the Midwest by water. Some came up the Mississippi and then the Missouri in all sorts of water craft but many crossed the ocean of prairie grass in boats of a different sort. Back then, these travels, many of which lasted for weeks or months, were more often called the way to go rather than a crazy adventure.

2009 mr340 recovery tips, pt. 2

Field chief has rasberry slushee 4 U @ finish line. Free vitamin h2o,
whole grain bagels, & massage courtesy of chron's/colitis fun run in
frontier park. Live music & schafly American pale ale.

2009 mr340: onward rare west Tibetan mountain dog

The ashes of Trex, reknowned river dog, adventurist, mr340 racer, and Rare West Tibetan Mountain dog nonpareil, entombed in a glow-in-the-dark dinosaur were a stowaway in the 4th edition of the mr340. At sunrise Sunday they were released back into the river for a seaward journey of reincarnation.

2009 mr340: the next adventure awaits

Coffeedog's recycled boat sits behind the Lewis & Clark boathouse in St. Charles awaiting to be reclaimed by a new suite of downriver adventurists.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

2000 mr340: quick recovery pt. 1

M.O.I. offers some quick recovery tips from the rigors of the longest
nonstop canoe/kayak race in the world.
Cucumber water.
Fresh peach and homegrown tomato salad.
Epsom salts.

2000 mr340: storms early, then sun

Pfefferkorn power. Jodi (left) and her sister Katie documented the rapidly changing conditions. Jodi with her camera and Little Miss Sunshine with her power stroke.

2009 mr340: field crew

My field crew did pretty much everything asked of them without
sneering, although steve, practicing 4 next year's event, was the only
one tough enuf 2 blow on my wounded feet .

2000 mr340: tourist feet

Now that my swollen feet are swaddled in Katy trail souvenir socks I
can be a tourist. Farmers market 4 canteloupe & maters is next stop.

2009 mr340: 1st place

Dave Anderson (father in back) relaxes in the boathouse before the start of the mr340. Once the storms blew past, the 1000 hrs of training that Dave and his twin brother put in for the race helped best the field but they fell a bit shy of the record time set in 2008