Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Knitting My Way Out of The Stash

I've got 'way too much yarn, skeins and skeins of it. And I've finally come to the conclusion that I really don't want to knit anything complicated, anything I will have to think about, anything that will take my mind off thinking about what I want to write.

Found a pattern for a short row hat in the garter stitch. (For the uninitiated, the garter stitch is simply knitting every stitch instead of purling, every row, every side.)

My Chameleon scarf is all knit stitches, but knit in a way that leaves one color dominant on one side, the other color dominant on the other side, with the fringe at each end one of the two colors. Knit these things sideways on circular needles. I'm sure someone before me has discovered the chameleon pattern, but I never met them before, so the chameleon pattern is all my own invention.

Back to the short row hat -- all garter stitch, short rows that help shape the crown. Neat, no-nonsense hat.

Problem is, the two sides have to be put together with the dreaded Kitchener stitch.

Can I learn how to knit the Kitchener stitch?

Anyone think the name 'Kitchener' is amusing?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Have a Joke

I'm not known for my sense of humor.

Probably, it's true that I have no sense of humor.

Occasionally, however, I can come up with a joke.

Here goes: Donald Trump, Conrad Black and Boris Johnson walk into a bar . . .

That's the joke. That's all there is.

You don't think that's funny?

Then, I guess you have no sense of humor.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Things are seldom . . . .

...what they seem . . .

Those lines from Gilbert and Sullivan, oh, how true, how true.

Yesterday I ordered a book from Amazon. Today I got a message that your payment has been declined, I needed to go back and make some changes.

Vexed, I wondered what had gone wrong. Normally I can order very effortlessly from Amazon, with only "one-click". Then I remembered that I had received a replacement for the credit card I mostly use for online orders. Maybe the replacement had a different expiration date.

Following the clues, I re-entered the credit card information.

Success! The next message from Amazon is that the book will be sent to me because "You’ve successfully updated the billing address for your order!"


I changed the credit card information. I did nothing about the billing address.

Life is a new maze every day. Maybe several new mazes. Gilbert and Sullivan would love it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

THE Introduction

It was my pleasure to introduce Bob Sands, one of the five authors of From Worst to First: A History of Major League Baseball in Kansas City, 1955-1985. The president introduced me by explaining that the speaker had brought his own "introducer", implying that Bob Sands might have told me what to say. Truth was, as I remarked when I began, Bob had no idea what I was going to say.

As follows:

In the interest of TRUTH in journalism, you're going to hear the truth about this book. Today. From me.

The truth is, the credit for this book belongs to Laura Hockaday and me.

There is a weekly lunch meeting of former Star employees -- and although my tenure was brief, I do qualify as a former Star employee .

Laura and I arrive prepared to discuss the important journalistic issues of the day, such as how is the Washington DC Press Corps going to report Donald Trump's newest comb-over hair style? Or, what color coat is Kate Middleton going to wear for the queens' 90th birthday party?

Bob Sands, usually the first to open his mouth, will reply with something like "Do you remember that scorching day in July, 1971 -- "

And as soon as Bob stops to catch a breath, Sid Bordman will jump right in with, "when Len Boehmer hit that line drive off Monty Montgomery -- "

Del Black can hardly wait his turn, and adds "Rich Severson caught that ball and tagged Felipe Alou for a double play."

Joe Henderson, always the most deliberative of the bunch, in his courtroom voice, will remind everyone, "But that was before Richie Scheinblum signed with the Hiroshima Carps."

Meanwhile, never one to remain unnoticed, Jim Murray will be waving his sketch book in the air and yelling "Take a look at Charley Finley being pulled around on his rear end by a Missouri Mule."

One day, Laura and I had tolerated enough. We looked at each other and Laura issued an ultimatum: "Why don't you guys shut up and write the damned book?"

So, I claim that this book would never have come into existence without the push from Laura and I.

Now, in the interest of FAIRNESS in journalism, I'm going to turn the podium over to Bob Sands, to give him an opportunity to defend himself. If. He. Can.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Those three house that WERE at l43rd and Locust? Guess what's there now?

Five house!

Yep, you're reading that right -- FIVE HOUSES.

Lovely new homes about the same size as the houses that were taken down.

I'm no hydraulics engineer, but it's hard for me to see what's different about that piece of ground from what it was before. Still approximately the same distance above sea level as before.

That's what scares me so much about the city's notice that my house -- and all five of us here in a row -- are on a potential buy-out list. Behind us is the north part of what was formerly Delco Bettery property (read General Motors).

When the plant was closed and demolished, there remained the problem of toxic pollution. The northern part of the property, which for the most part had remained wooded, was declared pollution-free long before the southern part. I envisioned a huge apartment project arising from that ground. Did the city want to make my backyard a huge drainage ditch?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

At Last -- A Reprieve

I feel like I've been living under a dagger since March of last year.

Since the day I received in the mail the notice that my house was on a potential buy-out list by the City of Olathe.

For a stormwater improvement project.

I had watched, with great concern, a stormwater control project at 143rd Street and Locust on the east side of town. Three lovely homes, all much newer than mine, stood on the west bank of a small watercourse. I'd never heard of serious flooding at that location, can't even name the waterway -- if it even has a name at that point.

Those three houses are now past tense. They exist no more. In a very short period of time the structures were bull-dozed into eternity.

So all through the rest of 2014 and into 2015 I wondered if that was the fate that awaited my house. Not that I was idle. I've lived in this same house (it was the city that ordered a change in the address number) for a really long time. My basement had become the warehouse for an extended family, some members of which are no longer alive. I started trying to down-size, finding things in my basement I had never seen before. Could I possibly get ready for a 30-day eviction notice?

The city held a meeting a couple of weeks ago. My house, and four neighbors, are described as being in Phase II, for which the city does not expect to have the money for until 2019 or 2020.

Huge sigh of relief.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Life takes many turns

Most of them unexpected. Wish I had time to write my autobiography as a novel. Might call it The Long Shadows of the Afternoon.

Spent some time in mid-January contemplating a period of my life I thought I had buried in the past.

Would never have chosen to do so, had not outside circumstances unexpectedly appeared in my pathway.