Friday, February 24, 2012

Precious Moments of Poetic Justice

Thought for the day:  Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. [Mark Twain]

Most people know that Missouri is known as the Show Me State. That's right; no gullible fools there. So why has a Missouri town celebrated an annual sucker day every year since 1957?

Simple. Because it's not about P.T. Barnum's kind of sucker; this celebration's in honor of a bottom-feeding fish called a sucker. These fish aren't exactly universally appreciated, but they're certainly appreciated in Nixa, Missouri. Once a year, schools and businesses shut down for the day, and the town holds a big ol' sucker fish fry. Sounds good to me, no matter what kind of fish it is. Because, what can I say? When it comes to seafood, I'm (ahem) a real sucker.

Okay, just a couple tidbits before we look at some pictures. At the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups, he got a waffle vendor to help out by rolling up some waffles to hold the ice cream. Thus, (ta-DA!) the birth of the ice cream cone. And the city of St. Joseph has a couple unique claims to fame: that's the town where the Pony Express started ... and Jesse James ended.

The Mark Twain Museum, located in Hannibal, is comprised of multiple buildings, including Twain's boyhood home, the Becky Thatcher House, Huck Finn House, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, Grant's Drug Store, and a museum gallery. The white picket fence you see in the picture is (you guessed it) the Tom Sawyer fence.

The most recognizable landmark in the state is probably the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. At a height of 630 feet, it's the tallest man-made monument in the country, and was built to honor the pioneers who passed through Missouri on their way out west. In east St. Louis is a more recent landmark: the Gateway Geyser fountain, which mirrors the arch by blasting water 630 feet in the air. (four times a day)

But Kansas City is the city for fountains. Second only to Rome in number, this city boasts two hundred of them. Pictured is the picturesque J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in Mill Creek Park.

How about this? Would you believe a Precious Moments Park? Here, you'll see a studio, chapel, and lots of figurines. Betcha you can even find some for sale.

The Butterfly House is located in Chesterfield, where the conservatory houses nearly 2000 butterflies. The  sculpture in the picture is entitled Mysterious Monarch. [Artist Bob Cassill]

And then there's Branson, with all its tourist attractions and celebrity-owned theaters. Sounds like a cross between Grand Ol' Opry type music and Vegas style shows. The performers shown in the picture are the Duttons. I must say, I'm not familiar with them, but they definitely aren't the Rolling Stones.

Sedalia is considered the cradle of classical ragtime music, and that's because Scott Joplin, the father of ragtime,  lived and taught here. At left is the Scott Joplin House.

Okay, time for a musical interlude. The Joplin tune you are probably most familiar with is The Entertainer, but here's a clip of another of his compositions, and that's actually him you hear playing the piano:

Winston Churchill monument and library

On May 5, 1945, Winston Churchill delivered his famous Iron Curtain speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. On May 6, 1992, Mikhail Gorbachev came to the same campus to give a speech, which he delivered beside the school's Winston Churchill monument. It was there that Gorbachev announced the end of the cold war.

When the Berlin Wall fell, Churchill's granddaughter acquired a piece of it for the school, and had a sculpture made to honor the Iron Curtain speech.

The sculpture is entitled Break Through.

One last thing, before we go on to check out the silly laws still on the books. Would you like to hear a tidbit of that famous Iron Curtain speech?

                                     Okeydoke, then. Let's have some fun with those laws, shall we?

  • Single men between the age of 21 and 50 must pay an annual tax of one dollar. 
  • It is NOT illegal to speed. (I wouldn't recommend pushing the limit on this one.)
  • Anyone under 21 who carries out household trash with even a single empty alcohol beverage container can be charged with illegal possession of alcohol. (Betcha chore-averse kids like this one.)
  • In Columbia, it's illegal to have an exposed outdoor antenna, but you can have a twenty-five foot satellite dish. (As amateur radio operators can tell you, unfortunately, this law isn't all that uncommon.)
  • Following the same sort of logic, it is also illegal to have clotheslines, but it's perfectly fine to dry clothes by draping them over your fence. (Oh yes, that looks so much better ...)
  • In Kansas City, it's against the law for minors to purchase a cap gun, but they're clear to buy shotguns. (Can't go hunting with a cap gun ...)
  • Also in K.C., it's illegal to install bathtubs with legs that resemble animal paws. (Ewwww! Can you imagine a tub with big ol' human feet with gnarly toes?)
  • In Marceline, minors may purchase rolling papers and tobacco, but they may NOT buy lighters. (Matches it is, then.)
  • It's illegal to frighten a baby in Mole. (So stop making those funny faces!)
  • According to Natchez law, it's illegal to provide beer or other intoxicants to elephants. (It's very difficult to pick poop-faced pachyderms off the parquet.)
  • Dancing is strictly prohibited in Purdy. 
  • In St. Louis, it's against the law to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket. (Better stick with bottles.)
  • And finally, in University City, you aren't allowed to honk someone else's horn. (But you can probably toot his trumpet.)

And now, my little chickadees, it's times, once again,  for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  Heck, I dunno. Maybe the guy has a keen imagination and thought he was wielding a light saber. And maybe he thought his jeans and tee shirt were actually Darth Vader garb. Whatever he was thinking, authorities have been unable to shed any light on the identity of the would-be robber who stormed into a San Diego gas station this week with a florescent light bulb in hand. He smashed it on the counter (maybe he couldn't get the darned thing to work) and demanded loot, but the clerk didn't buy into the fantasy. Not only did he not give the guy any money, but he hooted him out of the place and back into the dark, light bulb-less night.

***  This may look like one of the fake billboards I post from time to time, but nope. Not this time. This is an actual billboard currently strutting its stuff over the Bruckner Expressway in New York. And local residents aren't at all happy about it. You see, the Bronx area of Hunts Point, where the billboard is located,  has been trying to clean up its image as a hotbed of prostitution, and this billboard ain't exactly helping. This isn't the first time the vodka company stirred up controversy with their billboard, either; last November, that sign read, Christmas Quality; Hanukkah Pricing. Can't help but wonder what the non-PC company is gonna come up with next. May I suggest 1% Quality; 99% Pricing?

***  An impatient Porsche driver in San Francisco wasn't happy about being stuck in traffic, so he set out to do something about it. You've seen this sort of driver before; we all have. They're usually behind the wheel of a high-dollar car, and I suppose they figure they're above the mundane laws of the road governing the rest of us peons. Anyway, they generally have no problem making their own lanes. Like the privileged characters they are, they'll whip down the shoulder or emergency lane to get past the traffic jam, and then count on the kindness of strangers to let them back on the road. That's exactly what the Porsche driver tried to do, only the empty lane he claimed was empty for a very good reason. A nice, wet, freshly-poured concrete reason. The guy went from being merely stuck in traffic to really stuck. Workers had to dig the car out, and though the incident may have ruined that Porsche dude's day, I have a feeling the other snickering drivers and pointing passersby considered it a delightful case of poetic justice.

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. a fitting and satisfying ending :)

  2. We all love it when there is some justice on the road. Because, I have sort of slowed down to the actual speed limit in recent years due to a very bad accident I was in, I sometimes have impatient drivers pass me in a no pass lane. As they speed by me, they often like to greet me with a hand signal and a smirk. I get such a good feeling though when we come to a stop sign or light and I am right there behind them. We got to the same place at the same time, me doing the speed limit and he (always a he) breaking the laws of the road. It is even better though when I see them being pulled over by a cop. I then like to pass them with a smile on my face and in my head, a virtual greeting of my own.

  3. Next to Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain has the best quotes!

    Ahhh, the Porsche in the wet cement made my day. I hope he was charged with the cost of replacing the concrete and the labor, but alas, the tax payers probably had to foot the bill for his selfishness.

  4. Dear old Churchill. How nice to hear his voice coming to us through the mists of time.
    Scuse me, there's an inebriated elephant in my backyard and I don't want to be blamed for its condition.

  5. Hi Susan .. as Delores says - good to hear Churchill again .. but I love the rag music - I was thinking .. sure a lot of his work (or similar I guess) must have been used with silent movies .. Charlie Chaplin - th slapstick comedy sort ..

    Porsche in wet cement - oh good story! cheers Hilary

  6. Oh, I LOVE that Porsche story! (Yeah, I'm mean. *grin*)

    Also, you left out a very important Missouri fact: my dad was born there! :)

  7. I've actually been to this July. It was the most miserable heat I've ever been in. The heat and humidity are the reason you gotta drink beer from a bucket on the curb. It's all about hydration.

  8. Love the porsche story.

    And I really want to visit St. Louis now.

  9. With as much of this country as I've seen, I'm learning how much I've missed in your Friday posts! Love the Churchill clip. And who can top Scott Joplin?

  10. Fascinating and fun stuff, Susan!

    I'm going to up my praise:

    You put the "Golly-Gee!" in geography!


    Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. And now that I've learned so much about Missouri, my head is much bigger.



  12. Marcy- Not to be unkind, but it IS nice to see somebody like that get his "just rewards," isn't it?

    Arleen- Oh yeah, it's great to see a rude speeder on the side of the road in front of a "blue light special." But ya know, those hand signals those drivers have been flashing at you? Maybe they're just trying to tell you you're "number one".

    Dianne- The thought of that Porsche stuck in the wet cement seems to have resonated with a lot of people. (I guess we all have our "dark sides.") Yeah, Mark Twain has some real doozy quotes, but to tell the truth, I'm surprised you didn't comment about the whole Churchill and Gorbachev in Missouri stuff. That must mean you already knew about it. Darn. I didn't, so I really got psyched about that story.

    Delores- Oh, cool. I'm glad you watched the Churchill clip. As for that elephant, if he can't behave himself, tell him to pack his trunk and get out!

    Hilary- Oh, and you watched the clip, too! Glad to hear it. It's amazing how many super videos we can find on good ol' Youtube. You're probably right about some of the rag music being used for the silent movies. I'd never thought about it before, but it makes sense.

    Linda- No, you're not mean ... NONE of us are really "mean", but it does get old seeing those jerks in their luxury cars act like they own the roads and make their own rules. Good to see at least one of them got his comeuppance. Oh, and forgive me for leaving out that very important fact. Next time I write about Missouri, I'll be sure to include it.

    L.G.- Sorry you experienced such miserable heat in Missouri. Um, you might not ever want to visit Georgia in the summertime ... (Just sayin'.)

    Connie- It's looking unanimous. None of us like Porsches. (Or at least, some of the jerks who drive them.) St. Louis is looking pretty cool to me, too. Matter of fact, the more research I do about the different states, the more I wanta visit them ALL!

    Laura- Woo, hoo! You looked at the clips, too! Glad to know you're learning some new stuff in these lengthy Friday posts. I sure am. (Like my posts are too darned LONG!)

    Chris- HA! Thank you, dear sir. You have a wonderful weekend, too.

    Pearl- I wouldn't mind if my head got a little bigger. It'd make my stomach look smaller by comparison.

    Y'all take care.

  13. Man, I wish we had a sucker day! haha. We have a balloon stampede, but a sucker day sounds like so much fun!

  14. No honking other people's horns? Funny!

    The butterfly house looks amazing. I'd like to see it in person.

  15. What on earth would make Winston Churchill and Mikhail Gorbachev go to Missouri in the first place? I guess it's the Harry Truman effect or something like that. Can't say that going there is on my bucket list.
    The PR firm doing the marketing for that Vodka certainly know what they're doing.

  16. Wow, now I want to visit Missouri! (So I can speed--just kidding)LOL

  17. Judy- Yeah, I know what you mean. "Sucker Day" has such a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Then again, your Balloon Stampede Day sounds pretty darned intriguing, too! (And befuddling.)

    Emily- I'd like to see that many butterflies in one place, too. Must be incredibly beautiful.

    Mr.C- I KNOW! I was totally surprised by the whole Churchill-Gorbachev-Missouri link, too. It certainly doesn't seem the most likely place for something that monumental to happen. Maybe the school ... Westminster ... has some sort of British connection that drew Churchill. You're right about that vodka company. Their sales have probably gone up because of that who-gives-a-diddle-about-PC-crap sign.

    Jennifer- HA! Although it WOULD be kinda fun to floor the accelerator just ONE time, wouldn't it? (As long as it's a clear, sunny day, and there isn't a single other car on the road.)

  18. I love reading those silly laws towns and villages still carry on their books. You have to wonder how some of them came about.

  19. Since I live in the Show Me State, just a couple things: Churchill's Iron Curtain speech in Fulton is a HUGE deal out here. Harry S. Truman (from Missouri) was traveling with Churchill by train, and the college had asked them to make an appearance.

    Also, in 1992, Gorbachev came to Westminister College in little town Fulton, MO again to give a speech about the end of The Cold War.

    I was a Freshman in college, and I had to be there. It was history in the making!

  20. First, I loved your comment on my blog, I burst out laughing!!!

    Love seeing Mark Twain's home, especially since I'm reading it with some of my students after school! I'll have to show it to them, they'll love it!

    Great post!

  21. I've been to Missouri so many times I call it Misery. It's cuz we had to drive across Misery to get to Kansas. There used to be a McDonald's on the Mississippi River in St. Louis. Eating there actually made me seasick. I'm so pathetic.


  22. I do wonder who actually polices laws like that! Or when someone last made a complaint invoking, say, the law against dancing.

    And that was poetic justice indeed. Jerks like that really tick me off. So your time is more precious than anyone elses in this line up?

  23. OMgosh what a mega post! Lots of wonderful photos too :O)

  24. It's funny to imagine the incidents that first got those laws on the books - especially the drunk elephants!

  25. I you can't drink beer from a bucket, I wonder if you can drink it from a gallon jar? Just wondering whether or not to bring my milk jugs with me when I traveled.

  26. What a fun, entertaining, and informative post! Love it! I especially enjoyed the information on Missouri. I'll definitely have to plan a trip! I really want to see the Butterfly House.

    And that last story about the Porsche driver? Oh how I wish I'd been there for that! Poetic justice, indeed. Thanks, Susan!

  27. Susan- I get a kick out of those old laws, too, and it's funny how many states have similar ones about wild animals.

    Jay- Ah, SO! So that explains it. Absolutely fascinating. How cool that you were there to see a bit of history in the making. (I hope you took pictures! )I've been present for a couple of momentous events in history, but rarely remembered to carry a camera.

    Ocean Breezes- Glad to make you laugh. How cool that you're reading Twain with some of your students, but after school? You must be a special kind of dedicated teacher. Thanks for that!

    Janie- HA! I can relate, in a way. When we drive to MD, the ride through North Carolina seems interminable. I like the state, and know there's lots of beautiful things there to see and do, but it seems like we will. Never. Get. Through. That. State!

    Botanist- I doubt if anyone bothers to enforce most of these laws anymore, so it's a mystery as to why legislators don't clear them off the books. (Oh, wait! I know why .. they're too busy making NEW stupid laws!)

    Madeleine- Yeah, these Friday posts have gotten pretty doggone "mega." Once I finish with the states, things'll shrink back to normal.

    Kara- I know what you mean. But I can imagine just ONE little ol' incident dealing with a drunken circus elephant run amok might be enough to prompt passage of a law.

    Barb- Sure, carry your milk jugs. Works for me.

    Intricate Knot- Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it, dear lady.

    Y'all take care. And thank you so much for stopping by.

  28. Wonderful post--I loved the photo tour! I have been to the top of the arch. We visited St Louis for a wedding at the Queenie Dog Museum. I thought the city was beautiful. Other than that, have not been fortunate enough to have explored the state. Someday...but in the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed this :-)

  29. I definitely have a new appreciation for Missouri. Now I want to visit Kansas City, with all those fountains!

  30. Teresa- How neat to have actually been to the top of the arch! (I had no idea it was so large until I started researching for this post.) Thank you so much for stopping by and for signing on as a new follower. I really appreciate it. Welcome aboard, dear lady.

    Margo- I know what you mean. I've gained a great appreciation for every state I've covered so far.