Tag Archives: Kansas

Lackman Library Mail Art Project – Received Aug. 25th- 27th

The time’s running out to get entries in for Jeanne’s library mail art project.

Library Mail Art 2014

Three new ones in three days, and I know of two more still to come!
We received two from Jeff Newhook of Newfoundland. This first one includes the Chinese character for “Read.”


The second one was made to promote Johnson County Library’s Maker Space! Thank you, Jeff!

This next one is from Michelle Sherry, in Olathe, Kansas! It’s exciting to see work from Johnson County residents. Thank you, Michelle!

We started to work on the layout for the display pieces last night. They’re moving some of the  desks in our main  circulation area, so we plan to put the display out when they’ve finished playing musical chairs, hopefully Thursday evening.  Here’s a sneak peek at Sarah, my partner, putting some of the pieces on the framework:

I’ll plan on showing you the other items that arrive (in individual photos) as well as the entire exhibit when I post next Saturday!
Thanks again…

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Library Mail Art Received August 18th- 22nd

Jeanne’s Library Mail Art Project entries from this week. They just keep coming. From all over the world. I’m sure as hell impressed! Jack

Library Mail Art 2014

We had a great mail week here at Lackman Library! Our first card came from Connie Jean in Cocoa Beach, Florida. It features Frances, from Russell Hoban’s books for children, who is one of my favorite characters!

We also got three cards in an envelope from Meral Agar in Istanbul, Turkey. Each card is from a different artist so I will show you front and back from each card. Check out their blog:  http://artsin2010.blogspot.com/ It has some really great pieces you don’t want to miss plus a photo of their own mail art display.
First, from Turkan Elci:
Next, from Oznur Kepce:
And the third, from Meral Agar:
Our next 5 pieces came from Moan Lisa , a prolific artist and member of IUOMA, the International Union of Mail Artists, where most of these contributors show and trade their work. Moan Lisa is from Iowa City, Iowa.
IMG_4576Moan Lisa, thank you for…

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Jeanne’s Library Mail Art Project – Received August 10th- August 16th

They just keep rolling in for Jeanne’s Library Mail Art Project.

Library Mail Art 2014

We got two this week! Our first one is a photo from Shannon Lee Mannion of a “maverick” Little Free Library in Ottawa, Canada. (If you’re not familiar with Little Free Libraries, take a look at this link.  They’re getting to be quite popular!


IMG_4555 Awareness of Little Free Libraries has skyrocketed in the Johnson County, KS area recently due to the publicity about a  library built by a youngster in Leawood. City ordinances prohibit structures in front yards, but he’s received a temporary moratorium. http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article687562.html. I know I’ve gotten off-topic, but I like seeing pictures of these very much!

Our next card is from Linda Williams in Callao, Virginia:

IMG_4556Linda regularly makes art pieces using card catalog cards for a project called “Hide Some Art in a Book.” I’ve hidden several of her works in books at my own library, and it’s a fun way to share your…

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Deaf school begins fall term

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Across the road I’m looking at a playing field filled with banners celebrating the return of the deaf athletes who’ll be attending the Kansas School for the Deaf.  The buildings sit beyond the playing fields and cover roughly a city block.

Interestingly the players get their plays called by drumbeat codes.  Reason, of course, being that shouted calls won’t be heard.  However, one game they always win, Olathans assure one another, is the big one of the season against the Kansas School for the Blind.  That one’s always a sellout, standing-room-only game.  A heartening event to watch.

I’m not a big lover of football but I’ll be watching the practice occasionally from the front porch.  If I knew a bookie I think I’d place a bet on that big game with the School for the Blind.  I’m always on the side of the underdog.  And I’m a firm believer in the old saying about finding acorns.  This might be the Year of the Acorn for blind football players.

Old Jules

Received August 3rd- Aug. 9th

Jeanne’s Library Mail project keeps growing, it seems. There’s talk in the Johnson County Library System of taking it on the road to exhibit in the other branches of the system after it finishes in the branch where she works nights. Cool idea she had with this. Jack

Library Mail Art 2014

Four cards came in the mail this week! This colorful card is from Sheila Wright, in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.


IMG_4546Thank you, Sheila!

The next three cards came from Sara Grob in Flauwil, Switzerland. Sara is one of my pen friends, and I have always admired her creativity.
Here’s her second:
IMG_4549IMG_4550And the third:
IMG_4551IMG_4552Many thanks, Sara!

We still have until August 29th to accept your submissions for the exhibit, so if you have something you’d like to contribute, send it along! (Check the About page for guidelines.) Also, if you’ve mailed something and not seen it on this page, leave me a comment and I’ll double check to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

Thanks again, and I hope you have a creative week!

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Wasting your life on something important instead of trivialities

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Once it became obvious the Olathe Medical Center Cardiac Physical Therapy folks weren’t opening the doors on Independence Day, I knew I was in trouble.  Felt the pressure building, depression setting in.  Scurried around searching under things for anti-depressant drugs, then remembered I’ve never had any of those.

Hell, here the colonies declare themselves free to select their own masters instead of the British ones who’d been turning up their noses for so long, and the hired help start wanting holidays to celebrate having a different set of masters. 

And here my old ticker I’m trying to persuade to kick up the ejection to, say, 20% instead of 10%-and-some-change is whining and complaining that I’m not lifting a finger to help it along.   Heart muscle giving winks and nods to the defibrillator, whispering to the lungs and arteries that I’m a lazy, no-good-for-nuthun slacker wastrel.

Obviously I couldn’t sit still for that.  If I’m ever going to climb any more mountains, if I’m going to find the Lost Adams Diggings, damn me, I’m going to have to do physical therapy whether the hospital is shut down, or whether the whole bunch is out there eating hot dogs and popping fireworks.

So I joined the Olathe Community Center gym for a month.  Went down there early this morning, walked around acting like real people, mounted a walking machine and walked the hell out of things.  Wandered over to the weight machines and humped my upper body a while whoopteedoo.  Walked around the track looking down on pee-filled hot tubs and swimming pools, looking out windows into the parking lot, at pictures hung on the walls. 

Sagged to my knees and breathed a while, telling the bastards who were asking if I was okay to mind their own damned business.  Piss me off.

Feeling pretty groovy, all things considered.

Old Jules

Community ‘Personalities’

Hi readers.  This town where Jeanne lives and I currently reside on her couch gave me a strange arrangement of ponderings yesterday.  I knew my physical therapy at the hospital will be fading in July.  By coincidence the Olathe Community Center is opening, and I’d heard it would include exercise machines, etc.

By golly I don’t ignore coincidence.  Figured I could buzz over there three times a week as long as I’m here, work out, maybe connect with local seniors to play some chess, chew the fat, exchange low sodium recipes.  Old guys did those things on the Courthouse lawn when I was a kid, playing dominoes and spitting tobacco.  A piece of getting old.

To my surprise, that new Olathe Community Center is a bastion of healthiness, classes on Zombi or somesuch dancing, Yoga, big TV screens people can watch while stationary biking.  A room full of water capable of being peed into from everywhere within 100 yards any direction.  Maybe a hundred walking machines, weight machines, and combinations of all three.

And for kids?  Wow.  Two story water slide indoors with signs saying they don’t want heart patients [me] using it.  Piss on them.  I’ll use that thing if I want to.

Because in that entire enormous structure there is not one, not one single item specifically intended to be used by the elderly.  Not one ping-pong table, for that matter, to allow fast action small area activities, either.

I’d been casually searching for some while for a Senior Citizen Center in Olathe.  There ain’t one, even though the senior population here’s quite large.  Closed down a couple of years ago when the city sold the building, never reopened somewhere else.

Fairly strange.  A rich, rich, how you say, affluent community here with a large area of old, low-income houses in the older part of town inhabited by lower middle class non-upwardly mobile working-class scum and senior citizens.  And that new community center forgot they exist.

Hell, every tiny community everywhere has a Senior Citizen Center, or failing that, a pantheon of senior activities incorporated into the local community center.  Andrews, Texas, out on the high plains desert has a big one.  Half deserted towns all over Texas and New Mexico dying of thirst and hunger have one thing left functioning:  Senior Citizen Centers.

And this beautiful old farming community that’s become the home of thousands of high-income soccer and tennis playing SUV driving tofu eating Kansas Citians during the past 20 to 30 years has the singular distinction of having nothing of the sort.

Jeanne’s jobs are over in the neighborhood of Lenexa. Another grown-over KC bedroom community.  And when she got tired of my berating Olathe regarding the new Community Center and the implied attitude toward senior citizens she took me over there.  They’ve got a center about the size of one in Zuni, New Mexico, or Andrews, Texas.  About the size of each of the three in Kerrville, Texas.

Fine people over there in Lenexa.  We got there around noon, just looking around.  Maybe fifty people hanging around in there chewing the fat.  A lady running the place came up, introduced herself, showed us around.  Full of enthusiasm, got more programs going on than you could shake a stick at.  Even computers, computer instruction.

I asked about chess.  “We don’t have a chess program, but we can!  You can be the first one to get it started!”  Turns out they have a couple of exercise machines, too.  ping-pong table’s next door at the ‘regular people [read upwardly mobile SUV driving, tofu eating] living in Lenexa. 

Well, they ain’t new, and they ain’t as close as the brand spanking new shiny Olathe Community Center full of water sports and rosy-cheeked mamas with healthy white kids screaming their heads off.  But if I’m around here a while and decide to do anything senior citizen-wise, I have a feeling I’ll either try out Lenexa or go another few miles out and do it in a place where they still have real people driving 15-year-old pickups.

If such places still exist. 

Might even swing over into Missouri, where they remember what Jayhawk meant back when it actually meant something.  Lots of little towns over that way still no further than this from the VA Medical Center.  I’m betting they have senior citizen centers, too.

Not to say it’s a big item for me.  I honestly don’t like senior citizens all that much.  Too opinionated, though not as bad as younger people.  But old folks tend to be fairly obnoxious, on the whole.  I don’t blame Olathe Parks and Recreation Department for trying to forget they exist.  Old bastards need to check in at the Emergency Room down at the City Morgue.

 Old Jules

I’ll call your walking machine and raise you a bicycle

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’m sure those nurses down at physical therapy intend the best.  I’ve no doubt when they hector me about the settings on those machines they only have my best interest at heart.  But I still try to cheat and occasionally succeed, steal a few MPH, or a couple of minutes than they said was okay.  But my time’s running out with them anyway.

I’ve got to find some other exercize, might buy a membership at the new community center here, though it’s a tight squeeze in the dollars department.  And yesterday Jeanne’s son, Mike, was over, said he had a Raleigh mountain bike sitting over there not being used. 

So I briefly borrowed the one he was riding, took it up the block to the blind school, or deaf school, whatever, and back.  Just a block, and I was breathing hard, but not too hard when I returned.  Defibrillator didn’t kick me in the chest.  And I didn’t fall off the damned thing.

So I’m going to borrow that bike from him if he’ll loan it to me.  Begin riding it around Olathe, Georgia, Kansas, whereever this place is, dodging automobiles, shaking my fist at drivers who want to share a piece of the road.  Shouting threats and curses.

There are plenty of places I might be able to go to in this town that I was reluctant to try to walk because I run out of steam after a block or two.  But a bicycle!  A hotdiggedydamn Raleigh bicycle with about 90 gears on it, that’s a different herd of sheep entirely.

Gonna be a man about town.  A man to be reckoned with. 

Old Jules

Desoto Surprise

Afterthought:  I just found a website telling a lot more about Dean Weller, the man doing all this, and providing far better photos:


Jeanne's son, Michael and I stopped here for a closer look at the car in the window.

Jeanne’s son, Michael and I stopped here for a closer look at the car in the window.


A gas pedal, stick for directional control, another for braking, another for gearshift.  Slow and less slow.

A gas pedal, stick for directional control, another for braking, another for gearshift. Slow and less slow.

Hi Readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I had no idea what was in there when I suggested Michael pull over for a look at that car.  But as we got out and peered through shadowing hands to overcome the reflections an old guy sitting in a truck out front spoke to us:

You can come in for a closer look if you want to.”  He got out and unlocked the door to the building.  The place is jam-packed with cars he’s build or restored.  He’s 88 years old been doing this since he retired in the late 1960s.

see through model a1

Built of iron bar shaped to resemble a Model A body, runs good though breezy.


They don't make them like this anymore.  Never did, in fact.

They don’t make them like this anymore. Never did, in fact.

Two stories packed with old cars and trucks.  Woodies, racecars, whatever.

Impossible to examine any one car because they're squeezed in tight to make more room.

Impossible to examine any one car because they’re squeezed in tight to make more room.

No fewer than a couple of dozen.  More than enough to serve an 88 year old man for basic transportation.

He says he's run out of room on both floors so he won't be starting any new projects.

He says he’s run out of room on both floors so he won’t be starting any new projects.

Sometimes if you bet a few minutes of life and say some magic words the Universe will cooperate and shoot a surprise out of nowhere.

Old Jules

Typical Kansans outside the KC metro area

Hi readers.  A lot of you have been asking me to describe my impression of Kansans from a newcomer, outsider-looking-in perspective.

My general impression is that outside the KC metro area they’re not much different from typical, or average Texans.  Stereotype from the movie Trains, Planes and Automobiles seems to cover it as accurately as you’re likely to find anywhere.

Old Jules