Category Archives: Random Stuff

Re-Dedication of WWI Memorial

A beautiful morning for a 5k and then a re-dedication ceremony for a lost-then-found World War I Memorial. Missouri’s best state Sen. Mike Kehoe addressed the crowd first and was followed by American hero Lloyd Cain, who recounted the letter his mother sent him just before he was deployed in World War II.




Honoring Coach Victor Thomas of Lincoln University

Victor Thomas Receives Resolution Honoring His Accomplishments as the Track Coach at Lincoln University

The Missouri House of Representatives honored Coach Victor Thomas this week.

Coach Thomas is the track and field coach at Lincoln University. Just a few weeks ago he was inducted into the prestigious Drake Relays Coaches Hall of Fame. While we’ve had several champions in the House chamber this session, none have a record that compares to Coach Thomas’. In 11 years of competing in the indoor and outdoor seasons, Coach Thomas has led the Lincoln University women’s track program to ten national titles. He’s the John Wooden of Division II women’s track.


Random Photos from My Time in the Missouri House

Speaker Steve Tilley Giving Me a Hard Time About My Nervousness in Taking the Dais

Speaker-elect Tim Jones Appears to Be Directing Traffic

Rep. David Day Tells a Good Joke

Rep. Nick Marshall Appears Proud That He's Out-Conservatived Eric Burlison and Myself

Rep. Rory Ellinger Tells Me How It Is (though he looks angry this was actually a pleasant conversation)

Chairing the Mamtek Hearings

On the House Floor with Sheriff Greg White


Priddy on the Role of Journalism

Does Bob Priddy ever write a bad blog post? I think not. His latest is on the role of journalists in society – a boring topic to be sure for all but the best of writers. Priddy makes it a good read – and as a guy who was a reporter ever-so-briefly, he happens to be right.

I might need to institute a Priddy-link cap on this blog. 

Priddy and the Emotions of the End of Session

Bob Priddy sketches out the dynamics of the last days of session – particularly in a campaign year, the highlights:

This is the time of year when the clock seems to grow in size and it becomes a countdown to THE END. Every two years it is more than the end of a legislative session. It is for many members of the House and the Senate the end of a legislative career. For some, it becomes a last chance to make a mark, to create a legacy, or to achieve something an obituary writer might want to mention, one hopes, many years from now. For some with dreams of greater glory, it is a time to add a credential, knowing that opponents are watching in these last crucial days for any mote or any misstep that becomes campaign ammunition…..

Fatigue. Pressure. Unresolved major issues. Unresolved personal agendas. The looming end of a unique life experience for many. They’re all factors in these lasts days. If you like to watch people, the capitol in these last two weeks is crawling with case studies.

Observers of the human condition (it’s terminal) have every emotion available for observation somewhere in the capitol at any given point of the day in these last few weeks. There’s hope, frustration, exasperation, anger, confusion, disappointment, sorrow, and, every once in while, joy at having moved something through the labyrinth that is the legislative process. 


The Scariest Looking Speaker in Missouri History


The frame says Nathaniel Watkins was Speaker of the House for the 16th General Assembly. His eyes make him look like a good candidate for cult leader.

Val Kilmer Stars as Mark Twain in Fulton



Jane and I saw Val Kilmer star last night as Mark Twain at William Woods in Fulton. It was a great show – Kilmer brings Twain to life in all his diversity.A few of my favorite Twain quotes:

  • The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
  • Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
  • All generalizations are false, including this one.
  • Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
  • Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.


KWOS Open Air – State Employee Pay Raises, Mamtek, Modular Nukes, and Leonard Steinman

Spent a good hour with John Marsh and Warren Krech this morning at KWOS. We touched on a whole lot of different subjects. I was pleased Jefferson City’s own gubernatorial candidate Leonard Steinman joined the conversation near the very end of the hour. Here’s a link to the audio.

A Recap and Taxonomy of Spring Clean-Up Day in Jefferson City

There’s nothing quite like Spring Clean-Up Day in Jefferson City, that once a year occasion where folks look through cluttered attics, basements, and other assorted rooms to throw out the random junk that’s been accumulating in their lives. Last week, the east side had their chance. This week, the west side.  

This year started without too much of a plan by the Barnes family. We had two huge TVs we were unloading. (And by huge, I mean they had big screens and they’re old school non-flat screens. They still work and were good enough for 7 years or so each. But now we’ve upgraded, and we’re only a two TV house – one in the family room and one by the treadmill – so these had to go. No more taking up space in our ‘dungeon.’)

We also planned to throw out some scrap wood and metal that, by virtue of my own stupidity, sat at the very back of our storage space. I put it there because I knew we’d never use the stuff and I didn’t want to have to deal with it when moving stuff around that we actually do use. That’s right. I kept stuff I knew we’d never use. Old dumb doors that had been taken off by the previous owners of our house. Three rolls of aluminum flashing. Dozens of strips of metal. Half-a-dozen or so randomly shaped pieces of plywood. We would have thrown the stuff out last year except (1) I put it in the very back of the room; and (2) I tried to pretend I might use the stuff for something someday to hide the fact that it was at the back of the room and who really wants to move all that junk we actually use out of the way to get to the junk we don’t use.  

The only solace I have in my stupidity in putting our junk in the hard to reach spot is that all you have to do to know you’re not alone is to drive around town on Spring Clean-Up Day – everyone’s got this junk. Now, are they dumb enough to put it in the hardest spot to reach? Who knows.  

What I know now is that having it in the hardest spot to reach made our day. We had to take so many things out of storage to get to the things we wanted to throw away that we decided to take EVERYTHING out and actually give the place the most thorough cleaning its probably had in years. I’m talking three full sweeps and pinpoint vacuums through every space in our basement. Saturday, our basement was dusty and old. By Sunday night, it was clean enough you could eat off the floor.  

In any case, enough about the basement. The point of this essay is to categorize the people involved in Spring Clean-Up Day. There’s two general groups: the donors (those who are putting things on the curb) and the seekers (those picking them up). 


Traders – Traders spend a little bit of time getting rid of old junk in their house. And then they go out and seek out new junk to put back in their house. I used to be a trader. In fact, we have a table in our basement that’s as sturdy as can be that I found in my ‘trader’ days. Jane thought I was crazy at the time. Now she appreciates the table.

Serious Cleaners – Yesterday, I was a cleaner. I spent six hours in the dust-and-debris of our basement after getting the junk out. 

Planners – The folks who keep certain stuff for six to nine to twelve months just to throw it away on Spring Clean-Up Day. These people hardly ever fall in the cleaner category because they plan ahead – and keep their stuff tidy all year. For them, spring clean-up is a great time to watch the rest of us clean. 

Hand-Wringers / Keepers – These people find it very difficult to pull the trigger on dumping an old item. I’ve been a hand-wringer before and I witnessed one yesterday. One neighbor put something out on the curb only to have his wife head back out eight hours later and bring the item back in – after hundreds of seekers had passed on the material. The husband wanted to be a serious cleaner. The wife was in keeper stage. 


Looters – These folks are scary. Their trucks never have mufflers. Their trailers or truck-beds are filled beyond capacity. Sometimes there’s a driver and six people hanging on the back because the cab has been filled with junk. I have no idea how these folks get back home on a highway. Do they get dropped off on a street corner so that the driver can go unload with another group? Or do they hang on for dear life until they get all the way to their ultimate location? These people will take anything with a hint of metal. They’re the ones who rip the cords out of TVs for the 25 cent string of copper inside. If the Apocolypse happens anything like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the Looters will be the folks we’re all hiding from.

Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurs seek metal and appliances – but they won’t stoop to the level of ripping cords out of televisions. They’re discriminating and patient. If The Road hits, we’ll be seeking out the Spring Clean-Up Entrepreneurs for shelter. If you need it, they’ll have it. An entrepreneur stopped by our street today. He was there at 9:30 picking up my first roll of aluminum flashing – and he had the sense to ask, “Hey, do you have any more metal that you’ll be throwing away?” I said I didn’t think so, just some scrap wood and TVs we were taking to Goodwill. Turns out I was wrong. There were several other sheets of metal hidden behind the scrap wood. A little over an hour later he was back and asking again. Sure enough, I did have more metal. This guy knew from looking at me that I didn’t have a clue what was behind the scrap wood. So he waited me out. Came back an hour later and was rewarded for his patience. That’s how it’s done. This guy from the NewsTribune story sounds like a Spring Clean-Up Day entrepreneur. 

Home Upgrades – These are people seeking stuff to actually use in their house. I’ve been in this category before. You gotta get up real early and be ready to search.

Fun-Seekers – Fun-seekers look for odd stuff. I saw a great fun-seeker this weekend. Our neighbor put out a toilet Saturday afternoon. Early Saturday night, I saw two women in either their late teens or early twenties loading it into their trunk, each cracking up and taking pictures of it with their phone. I have no idea where that toilet was going to end up, but it was going to be funny. 


KC Rockin the Parkway Half-Marathon – Beat By a Girl, Who Happens to Be Pregnant


Jane and I at the finish area of the Rockin’ the Parkway Half-Marathon. I finished in 2:04, a full 6 minutes behind Jane.

And yeah, that’s a fanny pack. I aged 20 years this morning.