Thursday, April 24, 2008

Okay, not really, but... sort of feels that way. I've spent the past week being sicker than I can remember in a long, long time. At first I thought it was a variation of S/O's "disease", but now I believe mine was some genetic mutation from the great beyond, or a really bad voodoo curse. I'm still not 100%, but I gettin' there...

I'm still on the hunt for the Plant Murderer, even though it was actually only attempted murder, as the plant is still somewhat alive. It still looks pretty bad though; all the leaves on top have fallen off---the poor thing looks like it had a bad comb-over.

Seriously, I did have a couple of really scary days while sick; one ENTIRE day of continuous coughing, so much so that I blacked out at one point. Yes folks, it's true; Robutussin does not cure everything. After another day of minimal breathing, I did get into the doctor, and was able to get sufficiently drugged up to carry on.

I am now ready for a week-end of what I hope to be peaceful healing. More bitchin' next week.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not My Best Day

Yesterday, S/O got really, really sick (and she's never sick, so I knew it was bad). I fussed over her as much as I could; made about a week's worth of Jewish Penicillin (chicken soup), whipped up numerous cocktails of grape juice, 7UP and crushed ice, etc. But due to my numerous handicaps, I felt I was unable to care for her the way I should. However, I told myself , the crip situation may end soon, as I was scheduled to have outpatient surgery on Wednesday.
So what should I get when leaving Job #1 ? A message from the surgery center stating they were cancelling my surgery, as I am more messed up than they realized, and my procedure would need to be done in a hospital.
I get to Job#2, and there is my beautiful, big philodendron, my plant baby, it's formerly big, beautiful green leaves turned a sickly yellow, and its' vines withered and drooping. Upon closer examination, it seems someone dumped what looks to be a nasty substance in its' pot. So now I have to track down a plant murderer!
Finally, I find out my 2 best work friends have given their notices, and will be leaving next week!
I just hope that that old saying about bad things happening in 3s is (for this day anyway) true.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Standin' on the corner; The 1968 Kansas City Riots, Part II

If you're ever "goin' to Kansas City", don't bother looking for the corner of 12th St. and Vine. This is all that is left of the famous area that was home to such clubs as "The Orchid Room" and "The Boulevard Club," where such entertainers as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker performed.
During the riots of 1968, much of this historic area was burned. No efforts were made by the community at large to restore it; some say that was to punish those residents of the East Side that those in power blamed for the riots. In the early 1970's, the remaining neighborhood was torn down. There is now a park and a lonely street sign where jazz greats once sang and played.
In the 1990's , Kansas City's first African-American Mayor, Emmanual Cleaver Jr. spearheaded redevelopment of the old Jazz District, this time centered around what was left of the district at 18th and Vine. Where there once were dozens of jazz clubs, the now is only one--The BlueRoom. The Jazz District is a tourist draw, but it's struggling. Municipal Stadium, where the Monarchs once reigned triumphant, was also torn down in the early 70's, replacing it with Royals Stadium (later Kaufmann) out in the safe suburbs. Think of all that history, created by racism, then lost to it.
For more information on the '68 Riots, go here:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Forty Years Ago

I was 13, and just beginning to be interested in politics, society, and the world outside my own. I was on the road with my family for a long week-end in Joplin, Mo., when I heard the news on the radio. My father pulled over at a truck stop, and he and my mother discussed whether we should continue. After a long conversation, it was decided we should go on---going home wouldn't change anything, and might even frighten the little ones.

We were accompanying my Dad on a business trip, and the whole point of the trip was a stay in a swanky hotel. But when we got there, the hotel was deserted; most of the guests staying there had left. There was also a rumour about, that claimed Dr. King's killer was headed to the Joplin area. (Joplin, the southeastern area of Kansas, and northwestern Oklahoma was an area that is infamous for harboring criminals---it was said to be a favorite of Bonnie and Clyde's.) It was a strange weekend, sometimes scary, and very sad, as we watched the faces of Dr. King's wife and children.

We were back in town by Monday. Dr. King's funeral was scheduled for Tuesday. The school district of Kansas City Kansas had called off classes for the day, so that students and staff could watch the services on televison. But the Kansas City Missouri school district decided to hold classes after all.

Emotions were running high. Students from Lincoln, Central and Manual High Schools (mostly black schools) staged a walk-out, and headed downtown to the Mayor's office and school district headquarters. Police in riot gear confronted the students at the intersection of Truman and Paseo, and after heated words were exchanged, a gas cannister was dropped, and the violence began.

More students marched from other schools, some threatening to attack the mostly white schools in other parts of the district (white enrollment in the Kansas City Mo. School District has dropped steadily every year since.) Police confronted those marchers as well, beating and arresting the young students.

By then the riot was full scale; a major part of the east side was burning, police and public were exchanging gunfire, people were dying. The National Guard was finally called in. I remember feeling the fear emanating from my mother as she drove all five of her children to pick up my dad at the bus station from yet another business trip, as National Guardsmen held their weapons at the ready, as they patrolled the city streets.

City leaders finally came together, and the rioting eventually ceased. The neighborhood I now live in looks much the same as it did 40 years ago , post riot. Most of the white population of the city has left for the suburbs. The only difference is a large mural of scenes of Dr. King's life looms over Troost Avenue, surrounded by empty buildings, vacant lots, and small businesses, struggling to survive.

For a really excellent snapshot of this time in history, read this piece posted on Maggie's Meta Watershed by my friend Maggie Jochild:

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

......Or does it explode?.