Monday, June 30

i'm excited the 2008 poynter summer fellows are finally posting stories online. the fellowship was an amazingly intense time for me last year. i was beginning to get impatient. how can i live vicariously through the new fellows without a web update!

looks like this year there's more video and broader beats. the learning curve to develop new skills and explore a new community is steep, but keep checking back. every week is better than the last.

for those headed to st. pete for this year's geekfest, the poynter fellows archive is a great place to get a feel for the different neighborhoods. reading the st. pete times and searching their free archive is also inspirational. so much good journalism goes on in that *other* bay area.

Wednesday, June 25

the missouri redneck games weren't quite up to the standard of the original, but we had a fun staff outing.

entertainment included toilet seat horseshoes...

a john deere obstacle course...

bobbing for pig's feet...

and a mud pit for belly flops and other madness.

yee-haw. you can see our staff audioslideshow here.

senior show-me state games. billiards.

photographed a memorial service for two lawmen killed 75 years ago. the local sheriff Roger Wilson, and missouri state-trooper Ben Booth, the first to die in the line of duty, were shot by suspected bank robbers at a roadblock in 1933. the story of that day was recited by a highway patrol historian. i was moved by the inclusion of the story of the survivors, the wives and children left behind to endure the Depression. there were no death benefits for troopers at the time.

Rae Jesse, a niece of the state trooper, placed roses on the grave of Alice Booth who raised two children on her own after her husband's murder. “She was a trooper, too,” Jesse said.

Tuesday, June 24

while i get some photos together for an update, i'll afflict you with the latest marketing effort by the Get About Columbia Coalition. it's the catchiest jingle i've heard in a long time and it actually makes me smile when i hear it and then it makes me want to bike or walk instead of drive. argh, effective.

the little 5-note whistle has become a verb in the tribune photo department.. as in "Did you woo-woo-woo-woo-woo to pizza lunch today?"

ps, and if anyone has an idea what words best describe a whistle other than "woo", let me know.

Saturday, June 14

the a/c in my house has been on again off again (mostly off again) the past two weeks. until the landlord replaces the condenser, i'm doomed to fitful sleep on sweaty sheets. sounds restful, don't it? this has only increased my fantasizing about moving to another house in the neighborhood.

in the current fantasy i have a broad wooden front porch lined with honeysuckle that sits up a small rise from the street. i'm swinging in a hammock in the night breeze, the sky doing that after-dusk-indigo-fade-to-black thing. i can hear crickets and frogs. a neighbor passes by on an old creaky bicycle. fireflies swim lazy figure-eights below.

i've run the neighborhood a lot this month looking for new "for rent" signs. nothing yet. maybe the porch will have to stay a fantasy for another year.

without changing anything, though, my neighborhood is pretty sweet. i'm about a mile from a great swimming lake, a mile from my office, biking distance from good coffee, good indyfilms, and good friends. last night i walked over for a hitchcock movie in the park (very reminiscent of austin, without the parking nightmare).

i'm trying hard to recognize the salad days and enjoy them in the moment. nothing against shakespeare, but every time i use that phrase i thank the coen brothers for raising arizona. brilliant in so many ways. i tried to find the one specific clip from the movie, but if you care to watch, it's 3/4 of the way through this one.

seize your salad days.

Monday, June 9


the barrage of today's updates has pushed me over 100 blog posts. thanks for keeping up with me, all 10 of you.

yesterday there was a soapbox derby down broadway.

T’Shere Peal, right, plays catch-up with Christopher Willard in their first-round race down Broadway in yesterday’s annual Soapbox Derby Race, sponsored by the Downtown Optimist Club.

Haley McKernan, 8, of Columbia lays a hand on her soapbox racing car, “Haley’s Comet,” before the start of her first ever competition.

the latest our town:

Hallie Wilt, 8, zips over concrete waves in the early-morning heat. Yesterday, rain delayed her older sister’s softball games. The wet ground has delayed them again this morning, but the sun has dried the concrete of Columbia Skate Park inside Cosmo Park.

Hallie and her younger sister Carlee, 7, are off and running, scooters coasting in lazy figure eights, their father, James, watching from a seat in the shade.

Sisters have to stick together in times of boredom. After hours of braiding hair and playing computer games under a tent, the girls are happy to be out in the sunshine.

Hallie walks to the top of a short ramp and grips her handlebars tight. There’s no pushing off, just a slow acceleration as she catches speed on the downhill. Halfway up the opposite ramp, her momentum gives out. She hops off and walks the rest of the way.

“The first time we came to ride, we were scared,” Hallie says. “The ramps make you go pretty fast.”

“And I fell on the water and skinned my knee,” Carlee adds, pointing down to the scratched skin and mud on her left leg.

“But we’re better today,” Hallie clarifies.

After an hour, the heat has flushed their cheeks and dried the softball fields. Their father calls them in.

They call to each other from opposite sides of the park and come together for one last run down the small ramp, their matching French-braid pigtails trailing behind.

from a story on a skate ministry run out of a backyard ramp.

memorial day.

this photo was discussed on our online forums.:

The photo on the front-page of the Tribune for Tuesday, May 27, 2008 shows several Cub Scouts playing "swords" with the American flag.
Shouldn't they be taught, as Cub Scouts, the American Flag is to be respected. It is not to be used to play "swords" with. Some Den Mothers and Cubmasters fell down on their responsiblities as leaders on this one - and it shouldn't have been photographed and put on the front page of the paper.
the discussion sort of transitions into atheism, standing during the national anthem, and other random things. of course i disagree with the statement that it "shouldn't have been photographed". this blends into other thoughts i have about people's perceptions about what it is that journalists and photojournalists do. there's another long post about that. somewhere in the future.

even the shriner's have upgraded to newer technology.

from last week's twilight festival. a group was giving a demo on the latest hip-hop dance aerobics. i couldn't resist the girls' expressions.

Anna Laura Nixon, 5, second from right, watches as Wilson's aerobics instructor Catina Topash, left, performs a routine on Broadway during the Twilight Festival.

continuing with my reportage from jefferson city last month, i covered the end of the legislative session. there's a child-like giddiness on the last day with goofy presents exchanged, hugs given, and smoldering arguments fleshed out one last time. if i cover this again next year i think i'd focus my coverage on those goings-on. i hear there was even an an impromptu ice cream sundae buffet at one legislator's office. mmm-mmm.

after the laundry list of mugshots, i wandered around waiting for the annual paper-toss that signifies the official end of the session.

i sort of hope these glasses were a joke, and then i hope that they weren't.

there were many families at the capitol for the last day, standing in the wings.

during the last hour, debate was still going on on the house floor, but most legislators were busy saying goodbye to each other and running off to get stacks of bills to throw in the air. the aisles were mostly empty except for the family members now milling about on the floor. preston stevenson, son of missouri rep. bryan stevenson, r-jasper, listened to debate on the house floor from his father's seat.

i ran into erik lunsford of the post-dispatch earlier in the day. besides being a inspiration in the studio, erik is also an incredibly nice guy. it was a relief to see a friendly face in the chaos. you can see his slideshow of the end o' the session here.

when the moment finally came i think i picked the wrong group of people to photograph. they didn't seem to throw much. there's another view of this paper-toss scene that i missed and erik didn't transmit on deadline. you can read about his second thoughts and see his photo here on the Post-Dispatch blog PICTURES. i love the lonely walk out better than anything i shot that day. maybe next year.

the session can't end of course without the final parade of press conferences. governor matt blunt walks out of his office to meet with reporters.

the cords of the media masses. need. more. power.

one last chance for spin before we rinse and repeat.

the heat is finally on in bocomo. i've been working on my farmer's tan on the job lately. SPF 50 is my best friend during the summer months, but there's no stopping the spread of freckles.

class 1 and 2 state track finals in jefferson city.