Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Little Hits

Lawrence area musician Jon Harrison blogs a new Little Hit everyday.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Steve Mingle - Photographer

Former KJHK staffer Steve Mingle has posted part of his vast collection of photos he took in the 80's. After you see this gallery of musicians, personalities, and people, I think you'll agree that he is one talented artist.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Shawnee Mission North Faculty - 1975

The S.M. North class of '75 is having their 30th reunion later this year and they have a nice web site that includes a where are they now listing for the faculty.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Tonight in Lawrence

Former KJHK staffer Lawrence Peters returns for one night only at the Replay as part of Plastic Crimewave Sound.

Lions and Dogs meet the 'Mats

From former Lawrence area drummer Jade Gurss.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Brava, Brenda Fowler

I enjoy archaeology and it was no surprise to myself but it may come as a surprise to you that I checked out Iceman by Brenda Fowler, published in 2000 by Random House.

Synopsis: In 1991, a five thousand year-old corpse thawed out of a glacier in the Italian alps and became a hot commodity in the European scientific community and captured the attention of people around the globe. A lot of people wanted a piece of the iceman. Fowler's book is a chronicle of the discovery and the fight over the iceman's remains, between countries, scientists, as well as a detective story of the story of the iceman's true past.

SPOILER ALERT - If you know nothing of the iceman and want to read the book, stop reading this entry here. I checked it out knowing how the story stands today and so I was surprised when her writing stopped short of the most show-stopping detail of the iceman's post mortem story: the discovery of the arrowhead in his back. Less than a year after Fowler and Random House published Iceman, a scientist looked at x-rays and saw the arrowhead that solved the mystery of his death. What an uber bummer for the author to spend several years piecing together a patch work of personalities and forensic detective elements, only to have the climactic scene elude her. (Fowler foreshadowed a possible telling discovery in her final chapter, and followed up her book with an in-depth article about the arrowhead episode for the New York Times in 2001.)

Brenda Fowler, is without a doubt, the de facto American journalist expert on the iceman story. The book jacket featured a brief bio about her: born in Iowa, attended university at Madison, WI, but it skipped what I consider the most interesting aspect of her personal life. In the acknowledgment section that followed the last chapter she said:

"As a fifth grader at Brookridge Elementary school in Overland Park, Kansas, I had the tremendous fortune of landing in the class of Ms. M. Kay Willy..."

Fifth grade, at least back in the 1970s, was the year the Shawnee Mission schools showed elementary school kids the National Geographic film about the Leakey's discovery of the jawbone in the dirt at Olduvai Gorge. It was a watershed moment for Fowler, and it was satisfying to discover another Shawnee Mission school kid who did good, and who remembered to thank a teacher. Well done.

Friday, May 06, 2005

A Tough Break

I returned to Shawnee Mission North district stadium and Merlin Gish Track Friday night for the final North relays held in the original stadium, built on an angle to run parallel with the Strang line many decades ago. I'm not happy about the progress. The track named for North legend Gish will be no more and Larry Taylor field is going away too. But perhaps when the construction is done and the new facility is opened, Gish and Taylor will regain their small measure of immortality. That will be decided later, but for now, the track was full of hopeful athletes from no less than 30 area schools.

The weather was perfect for a track meet: sunny and warm with no wind. There is the home side with the tiny press box and concrete stands and facade and the visitors side with the aluminum benches and the football locker room underneath. The place was full and my kids loved the commotion and the non-stop action of racing and associated field events. We sat in front of the pole vaulting. The class of '83 was represented not only by myself, but by Lance Balderston, on duty as an Overland Park policeman.

The complex will be torn down on Monday and a new modern district stadium will take its place, but it will be years before the ambiance approaches anything like what they have. I don't feel nostalgic about the bleachers. They aren't pretty. What made this stadium unique was its proximity to a grove of mature pin oak trees directly behind the home stands. No less than six of these beautiful ancient trees will be removed to allow for new construction. Seeing the trees with the orange X's was something I wasn't prepared for and I can't say I was happy about it.

In another shocking event, a young runner from Blue Valley West failed to clear her first high hurdle not 25 feet from where we sat and crumpled to the track in obvious pain. She began to bleat like a baby seal and I saw that her ankle was broken. This was not a green stick break. This was Joe Theisman rag doll style. We left as a throng of adults surrounded her until the ambulance arrived.

Only in Lawrence

The William Burroughs garage sale is happening tomorrow (5/7) in Lawrence. Read Dave Ranney's story from ljword.com.