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Saturday, December 31, 2011

My ship came in, but it was smaller, significantly smaller, than even a toy kayak

I’m prone to believe notes left on my desk. Especially ones that say, “Your ship has come in!”That my wife would’ve written such a note on the back of a business envelope (the size for a check) and used an exclamation point only inflated my expectations. She’s not the kind to use exclamation points frivolously or type OMG! after every Facebook post she reads. Since I’ve never bought a lottery ticket or believed in ghosts, even a flicker of belief on my part was extraordinary. But if the fairy godmother wants to knock on your door, who says, “Don’t come in”? I’m within crawling distance of retirement — crawling is all I can manage at this point — so any accelerant to hurry it along is welcome. As they say, if you’ve got a ship coming in, I’ve got the port.The timing and wording of the note were all the more reason to believe. I’d been pelting the family with my latest wild-eyed dream: buying a kayak so I can explore the lakes and streams of Ray County. Let’s just say my family’s not supportive of my Lewis and Clark urges; or maybe it’s the vision of my un-limber self trying to squeeze into a kayak and then needing 911.In my metaphorical mind, you can see how simple it would be to transition from the note to a vision of a windfall, say a few hundred dollars, for a kayak. The note also coincided with news — reported on the front page of this newspaper — that a Missouri woman recently had received an unclaimed property payment from the state for $6 million. I could presumably also be taken by surprise, correct? And I wouldn’t need anywhere near $6 million to go OMG!Two seconds after seeing the note, I looked inside the envelope. The word play and metaphorical fun would come later.The check, drawn on JPMorgan Chase Bank, was from the administrator of the Brice Yingling d/b/a Alamo Auto Sports and Andy Scott vs. eBay Inc. settlement fund. I didn’t know Brice or Andy from Adam, but I’d traded on eBay, so they obviously had the right person. And in my mind, the name J.P. Morgan was synonymous with old money, and plenty of it.When people refer to significant amounts of money, they tend to use the term “figures” — as in “a salary in the high six figures.” I’ve never indulged in that kind of braggadocio, mainly because no one crows about his salary “being in the low five figures.”And the check from Mr. Morgan was in the “three figures,” indeed the very low three figures. The person who signed the check must’ve thought, “three cents, this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”! Nor was it worth the cost of a stamp. But three cents, the potential for laughter … priceless.The check meant my ship wouldn’t be big enough to float in the sink, let alone a lake or stream. So I’m still waiting for mine to come in. Until then, I won’t believe anything my wife says. David Knopf is a Northlander who earns his “low five figures” with honest labor at the Richmond News, where he is news editor. He also publishes the blog themagiccommute.blogspot.com and can be notified of ship sightings at dknopf@kc.rr.com.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/12/27/3340159/david-knopf-if-i-had-a-nickel.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy
I’m prone to believe notes left on my desk. Especially ones that say, “Your ship has come in!”That my wife would’ve written such a note on the back of a business envelope (the size for a check) and used an exclamation point only inflated my expectations. She’s not the kind to use exclamation points frivolously or type OMG! after every Facebook post she reads. Since I’ve never bought a lottery ticket or believed in ghosts, even a flicker of belief on my part was extraordinary. But if the fairy godmother wants to knock on your door, who says, “Don’t come in”? I’m within crawling distance of retirement — crawling is all I can manage at this point — so any accelerant to hurry it along is welcome. As they say, if you’ve got a ship coming in, I’ve got the port.The timing and wording of the note were all the more reason to believe. I’d been pelting the family with my latest wild-eyed dream: buying a kayak so I can explore the lakes and streams of Ray County. Let’s just say my family’s not supportive of my Lewis and Clark urges; or maybe it’s the vision of my un-limber self trying to squeeze into a kayak and then needing 911.In my metaphorical mind, you can see how simple it would be to transition from the note to a vision of a windfall, say a few hundred dollars, for a kayak. The note also coincided with news — reported on the front page of this newspaper — that a Missouri woman recently had received an unclaimed property payment from the state for $6 million. I could presumably also be taken by surprise, correct? And I wouldn’t need anywhere near $6 million to go OMG!Two seconds after seeing the note, I looked inside the envelope. The word play and metaphorical fun would come later.The check, drawn on JPMorgan Chase Bank, was from the administrator of the Brice Yingling d/b/a Alamo Auto Sports and Andy Scott vs. eBay Inc. settlement fund. I didn’t know Brice or Andy from Adam, but I’d traded on eBay, so they obviously had the right person. And in my mind, the name J.P. Morgan was synonymous with old money, and plenty of it.When people refer to significant amounts of money, they tend to use the term “figures” — as in “a salary in the high six figures.” I’ve never indulged in that kind of braggadocio, mainly because no one crows about his salary “being in the low five figures.”And the check from Mr. Morgan was in the “three figures,” indeed the very low three figures. The person who signed the check must’ve thought, “three cents, this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”! Nor was it worth the cost of a stamp. But three cents, the potential for laughter … priceless.The check meant my ship wouldn’t be big enough to float in the sink, let alone a lake or stream. So I’m still waiting for mine to come in. Until then, I won’t believe anything my wife says. David Knopf is a Northlander who earns his “low five figures” with honest labor at the Richmond News, where he is news editor. He also publishes the blog themagiccommute.blogspot.com and can be notified of ship sightings at dknopf@kc.rr.com.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/12/27/3340159/david-knopf-if-i-had-a-nickel.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy
I’m prone to believe notes left on my desk. Especially ones that say, “Your ship has come in!”That my wife would’ve written such a note on the back of a business envelope (the size for a check) and used an exclamation point only inflated my expectations. She’s not the kind to use exclamation points frivolously or type OMG! after every Facebook post she reads. Since I’ve never bought a lottery ticket or believed in ghosts, even a flicker of belief on my part was extraordinary. But if the fairy godmother wants to knock on your door, who says, “Don’t come in”? I’m within crawling distance of retirement — crawling is all I can manage at this point — so any accelerant to hurry it along is welcome. As they say, if you’ve got a ship coming in, I’ve got the port.The timing and wording of the note were all the more reason to believe. I’d been pelting the family with my latest wild-eyed dream: buying a kayak so I can explore the lakes and streams of Ray County. Let’s just say my family’s not supportive of my Lewis and Clark urges; or maybe it’s the vision of my un-limber self trying to squeeze into a kayak and then needing 911.In my metaphorical mind, you can see how simple it would be to transition from the note to a vision of a windfall, say a few hundred dollars, for a kayak. The note also coincided with news — reported on the front page of this newspaper — that a Missouri woman recently had received an unclaimed property payment from the state for $6 million. I could presumably also be taken by surprise, correct? And I wouldn’t need anywhere near $6 million to go OMG!Two seconds after seeing the note, I looked inside the envelope. The word play and metaphorical fun would come later.The check, drawn on JPMorgan Chase Bank, was from the administrator of the Brice Yingling d/b/a Alamo Auto Sports and Andy Scott vs. eBay Inc. settlement fund. I didn’t know Brice or Andy from Adam, but I’d traded on eBay, so they obviously had the right person. And in my mind, the name J.P. Morgan was synonymous with old money, and plenty of it.When people refer to significant amounts of money, they tend to use the term “figures” — as in “a salary in the high six figures.” I’ve never indulged in that kind of braggadocio, mainly because no one crows about his salary “being in the low five figures.”And the check from Mr. Morgan was in the “three figures,” indeed the very low three figures. The person who signed the check must’ve thought, “three cents, this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”! Nor was it worth the cost of a stamp. But three cents, the potential for laughter … priceless.The check meant my ship wouldn’t be big enough to float in the sink, let alone a lake or stream. So I’m still waiting for mine to come in. Until then, I won’t believe anything my wife says. David Knopf is a Northlander who earns his “low five figures” with honest labor at the Richmond News, where he is news editor. He also publishes the blog themagiccommute.blogspot.com and can be notified of ship sightings at dknopf@kc.rr.com.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/12/27/3340159/david-knopf-if-i-had-a-nickel.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy
I’m prone to believe notes left on my desk. Especially ones that say, “Your ship has come in!”That my wife would’ve written such a note on the back of a business envelope (the size for a check) and used an exclamation point only inflated my expectations. She’s not the kind to use exclamation points frivolously or type OMG! after every Facebook post she reads. Since I’ve never bought a lottery ticket or believed in ghosts, even a flicker of belief on my part was extraordinary. But if the fairy godmother wants to knock on your door, who says, “Don’t come in”? I’m within crawling distance of retirement — crawling is all I can manage at this point — so any accelerant to hurry it along is welcome. As they say, if you’ve got a ship coming in, I’ve got the port.The timing and wording of the note were all the more reason to believe. I’d been pelting the family with my latest wild-eyed dream: buying a kayak so I can explore the lakes and streams of Ray County. Let’s just say my family’s not supportive of my Lewis and Clark urges; or maybe it’s the vision of my un-limber self trying to squeeze into a kayak and then needing 911.In my metaphorical mind, you can see how simple it would be to transition from the note to a vision of a windfall, say a few hundred dollars, for a kayak. The note also coincided with news — reported on the front page of this newspaper — that a Missouri woman recently had received an unclaimed property payment from the state for $6 million. I could presumably also be taken by surprise, correct? And I wouldn’t need anywhere near $6 million to go OMG!Two seconds after seeing the note, I looked inside the envelope. The word play and metaphorical fun would come later.The check, drawn on JPMorgan Chase Bank, was from the administrator of the Brice Yingling d/b/a Alamo Auto Sports and Andy Scott vs. eBay Inc. settlement fund. I didn’t know Brice or Andy from Adam, but I’d traded on eBay, so they obviously had the right person. And in my mind, the name J.P. Morgan was synonymous with old money, and plenty of it.When people refer to significant amounts of money, they tend to use the term “figures” — as in “a salary in the high six figures.” I’ve never indulged in that kind of braggadocio, mainly because no one crows about his salary “being in the low five figures.”And the check from Mr. Morgan was in the “three figures,” indeed the very low three figures. The person who signed the check must’ve thought, “three cents, this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”! Nor was it worth the cost of a stamp. But three cents, the potential for laughter … priceless.The check meant my ship wouldn’t be big enough to float in the sink, let alone a lake or stream. So I’m still waiting for mine to come in. Until then, I won’t believe anything my wife says. David Knopf is a Northlander who earns his “low five figures” with honest labor at the Richmond News, where he is news editor. He also publishes the blog themagiccommute.blogspot.com and can be notified of ship sightings at dknopf@kc.rr.com.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/12/27/3340159/david-knopf-if-i-had-a-nickel.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy
I’m prone to believe notes left on my desk. Especially ones that say, “Your ship has come in!”That my wife would’ve written such a note on the back of a business envelope (the size for a check) and used an exclamation point only inflated my expectations. She’s not the kind to use exclamation points frivolously or type OMG! after every Facebook post she reads. Since I’ve never bought a lottery ticket or believed in ghosts, even a flicker of belief on my part was extraordinary. But if the fairy godmother wants to knock on your door, who says, “Don’t come in”? I’m within crawling distance of retirement — crawling is all I can manage at this point — so any accelerant to hurry it along is welcome. As they say, if you’ve got a ship coming in, I’ve got the port.The timing and wording of the note were all the more reason to believe. I’d been pelting the family with my latest wild-eyed dream: buying a kayak so I can explore the lakes and streams of Ray County. Let’s just say my family’s not supportive of my Lewis and Clark urges; or maybe it’s the vision of my un-limber self trying to squeeze into a kayak and then needing 911.In my metaphorical mind, you can see how simple it would be to transition from the note to a vision of a windfall, say a few hundred dollars, for a kayak. The note also coincided with news — reported on the front page of this newspaper — that a Missouri woman recently had received an unclaimed property payment from the state for $6 million. I could presumably also be taken by surprise, correct? And I wouldn’t need anywhere near $6 million to go OMG!Two seconds after seeing the note, I looked inside the envelope. The word play and metaphorical fun would come later.The check, drawn on JPMorgan Chase Bank, was from the administrator of the Brice Yingling d/b/a Alamo Auto Sports and Andy Scott vs. eBay Inc. settlement fund. I didn’t know Brice or Andy from Adam, but I’d traded on eBay, so they obviously had the right person. And in my mind, the name J.P. Morgan was synonymous with old money, and plenty of it.When people refer to significant amounts of money, they tend to use the term “figures” — as in “a salary in the high six figures.” I’ve never indulged in that kind of braggadocio, mainly because no one crows about his salary “being in the low five figures.”And the check from Mr. Morgan was in the “three figures,” indeed the very low three figures. The person who signed the check must’ve thought, “three cents, this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”! Nor was it worth the cost of a stamp. But three cents, the potential for laughter … priceless.The check meant my ship wouldn’t be big enough to float in the sink, let alone a lake or stream. So I’m still waiting for mine to come in. Until then, I won’t believe anything my wife says. David Knopf is a Northlander who earns his “low five figures” with honest labor at the Richmond News, where he is news editor. He also publishes the blog themagiccommute.blogspot.com and can be notified of ship sightings at dknopf@kc.rr.com.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/12/27/3340159/david-knopf-if-i-had-a-nickel.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy
   This column, published Dec. 28 in The Kansas City Star Northland News,is reproduced here with permission of the newspaper. It's linked below.

I imagined far less than a ship filled with riches.
  I’m prone to believe notes left on my desk. Especially ones that say, “Your ship has come in!”
     That my wife would’ve written such a note on the back of a business envelope (the size for a check) and used an exclamation point only inflated my expectations. She’s not the kind to use exclamation points frivolously or type OMG! after every Facebook post she reads.
     Since I’ve never bought a lottery ticket or believed in ghosts, even a flicker of belief on my part was extraordinary. But if the fairy godmother wants to knock on your door, who says, “Don’t come in”?
I’m within crawling distance of retirement – crawling is all I can manage at this point – so any accelerant to hurry it along is welcome. As they say, if you’ve got a ship coming in, I’ve got the port.
     The timing and wording of the note were all the more reason to believe. I’d been pelting the family with my latest wild-eyed dream: buying a kayak so I can explore the lakes and streams of Ray County. Let’s just say my family’s not supportive of my Lewis and Clark urges; or maybe it’s the vision of my un-limber self trying to squeeze into a kayak and then needing 911.
     In my metaphorical mind, you can see how simple it would be to transition from the note to a vision of a windfall, say a few hundred dollars, for a kayak.
     The note also coincided with news – reported on the front page of this newspaper – that a Missouri woman recently had received an unclaimed property refund from the state for $6 million. I could presumably also be taken by surprise, correct? And I wouldn’t need anywhere near $6 million to go, OMG!
An Arkansas woman also found the check blogworthy.
     Two seconds after seeing the note I looked inside the envelope. The word play and metaphorical fun would come later.
     The check, drawn on JP Morgan Chase Bank, was from the administrator of the Brice Yingling d/b/a Alamo Auto Sports and Andy Scott vs. eBay, Inc. settlement fund. I didn’t know Brice or Andy from Adam, but I’d traded on eBay, so they obviously had the right person. And in my mind, the name J.P. Morgan was synonymous with old money, and plenty of it.
     When people refer to significant amounts of money, they tend to use the term “figures” – as in “a salary in the high six figures”. I’ve never indulged in that kind of braggadocio, mainly because no one crows about his salary “being in the low five figures”.
The check was even too small for a toy kayak
 And the check from Mr. Morgan was in the “three figures,” indeed the very low three figures.
     The person who signed the check must’ve thought, “three cents, this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”! Nor was it worth the cost of a stamp. But three cents, the potential for laughter … priceless.
     The check meant my ship wouldn’t be big enough to float in the sink, let alone a lake or stream. So I’m still waiting for mine to come in. Until then, I won’t believe anything my wife says.

David Knopf is a Northlander who earns his “low five figures” with honest labor at the Richmond News, where he is news editor. He also publishes the blog www.themagiccommute.blogspot.com and can be notified of ship sightings at dknopf@kc.rr.com.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Have CDs, will travel; you'll find Muddy Waters under 'M'.

In addition to working at the Richmond News, I write a twice-a-month column for The Kansas City Star's Northland Neighborhood News section. I don't always write the columns at night -- in fact, rarely if ever -- so technically it isn't moonlighting. Both publications know what I'm doing, so there's no sneakin' around, and The Star has permitted me to post the columns here once they're printed in the paper. So for those of you who don't see The Star, here's a column on my most recent attempt to get organized, or at least give that appearance.


(Dec. 14, The Kansas City Star) You can learn all you need about me by looking at my CDs. Not that I’d recommend that to anyone with a hint of sanity.
I recently sorted them, creating categories and discarding duplicates. I actually had four copies of one, a Byrds compilation. Why, I don’t know, but I kept two of the four just to be safe.
I’ve always wanted to be more organized, but I’m my own worst enemy. I’m constantly moving forward, discovering new things and changing direction, musically and otherwise, and as new ground’s broken I refuse to discard the old. As one of my forebears might say, I schlep it all with me.
The result is that I collect music, first cassettes, then CDs, the way honey collects lint.
Until last week, the CDs had been in cardboard boxes, a backpack and two CD books in the basement, collecting dust and cat hair. I brought them upstairs, and while the rest of the family was out being human I was sitting on the living room floor intensely cutting out cardboard dividers and marking them “Alt Country,” “Blues Anthologies,”  “Lesser-Known Locals” etc.
It's not the Library of Congress, but it's a start. 
I put my own songs in a special, unlabeled category I could’ve named “Completely Unknown Local”.
My wife’s a librarian, and before she left I asked her if there was an organizational method she’d recommend. “Anything that works for you,” she said.
I’m not a Dewey Decimal guy, so I asked myself, “How would you try to find, say, Muddy Waters?” A conventional approach would be to use the first letter of his last name, an old standby, where Muddy becomes “Waters, Muddy”.
I just couldn’t do that, one, because I always refer to him as Muddy and, two, it seemed wrong to take a gritty blues singer and lay a Library of Congress defunking on him.
So Muddy went to the M’s, just as Howlin’ Wolf went to the H’s. Blues icons slightly less known, say Willie Dixon, I put in the D’s.
Consistency has never been my strength, and two days from now I might’ve gone with last-name-first across the board. But it wouldn’t matter because when I take a CD out in the car (the categorized cardboard boxes are in the trunk), there’s no telling where I’ll put it when I’m done.
My son recently bought a 23rd-generation iPod, which, in addition to storing the entire Recorded Works of Humankind, takes high-definition movies and photos, connects to the Internet, walks the dog and negotiates peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
If I had the patience for electronic gadgets, an iPod could solve some challenges. I’d be done with those plastic CD cases that break, the visor organizers that get full and stretch out, and those CD storage books that are dangerous to use while driving.
But I’d still have me to deal with – the coffee I’d spill, the probability that I’d lose or drop the iPod, and, most glaringly, my oily skin. After a week or two, with all that sliding-your-finger-around-to-change-functions-thing, my iPod would look like the Prince William Sea once the Exxon Valdez finished with it.
So I’m pretty much stuck with a cardboard box. And having chosen a system I’m comfortable with, I know I can find Muddy in the M’s. That is, until I file him in the W’s.
If you'd like to comment, you can do it here or send an e-mail to me at dknopf@kc.rr.com.


Monday, December 12, 2011

In Richmond, Mo., pigeons still rule the roost


Found this in a 1970 bound volume of the Richmond News. Pigeon shoots had been a tradition in Richmond until New Year's Day 1971, when the city began to enforce a law already on the books making it illegal to discharge firearms in the city limits. Police had been turning the other cheek as men and boys took New Year's Day pot shots at pigeons, who were considered a nuisance around the courthouse. Pigeons are still there, possibly still a nuisance for some. My take is that the pudgy little birds are survivors who prevailed, despite quite a quirky local tradition. Now if they'd just stand still so I can get some decent photos of them.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I don't know everything there is to know about sleeping. Thinking on my feet, sometimes I'm able. Sleeping on my feet? Another story completely.

I'm a good sleeper and proficient napper, but I have nothing on these boys cuttin' some ZZZs along Business 10 near Richmond. I can sleep in my car at lunch, nap three times a day on the weekend and fall asleep at night after sucking down more caffeine in a day than Dave Dudley*. But sleep on my feet? It might be something I could set as a long-term goal, just not in this lifetime. For one thing, if I fell asleep I'd probably have a sleep twitch, lose my balance and fall flat on my ashtabulah.  Now leaning against a wall, that's something I might consider. (Dave Dudley had a big hit with the truck-driving song "Six Days on the Road".)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Highway H, where the food chain meets the pavement


Been enjoying Highway H, aka Mo H, the last couple of days. Came across this crow snacking on some discarded Sonic yesterday and considered what the winged, blue-collar rank and file has to go through for a bite to eat.  H isn't a busy road, but the hairpin turns mean drivers and scavengers alike have to be on their toes. From a crow's perspective, if Mo H were Less H -- as in less hoppin' and hopin' -- dinner time might be a little more relaxed.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why mules suit me, a Missourian who likes his riding stock to be as down to earth as possible

I'd be willing to bet there's a psychological syndrome that describes that little fantasy world I indulge in in regard to these four cuter-than-all-get-out mules. I think of them as "my mules". In reality, they don't know me from Adam, but I often drive H Highway between Liberty and Excelsior Springs just to see what they're up to. They live in a large field, some pretty cozy digs at that, with a lake, a barn and plenty of room to roam. Today when I drove by, they were close enough to the road so I could get some good shots and they could wonder, "What in tarnation is that damn fool pointin' that thing at us for?" Actually, they seemed as interested in me as I was in them, and I imagine if I walked toward them in a non-threatening manner one of three things might happen: They'd bolt, they'd come closer to see if I had apples in my pockets or their owner would call the sheriff for assistance in removing a trespasser who somehow believed his mules were joint property, at least in a non-material sense. Folks,I know where fantasy ends and jail time begins. But before I go, I want to make the point that mules suit me because a) they're adorable and b) they're low to the ground. Horses are tall and majestic, but the truth is they scare the heck out of me. If I sit on an animal, I want the distance I might fall to be more mule-like than horse-like. I don't know a whole lot about mule temperament, but I do know they're Missouri's official state animal. We Missourians are down to earth and apparently we like our riding stock to be the same way.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fly-away hawk prompts brilliant (if pretty obvious) insight


Lil' Treybooshkas,

I think I've realized I'm not going to sneak up on any hawks anytime soon. No matter how quietly I think I'm approaching (in a car, radio off, windows down), they sense it and take off. This frustrated me for quite a while until yesterday, when I took these photos. Why try to take a static shot of a hawk perched in a tree when I can get shots of them flying. That's what they do best, anyway, with the exception of hunting for dinner.

I've long been attracted to hawks, although I can't say why. I certainly envy their concentration and graceful flying, and on cold days when I'm inside the car with the heat and gloves on, they're out in the elements, perched on a road sign or branch, always waiting, watching and, in my case, listening.

When I retire, one thing I'd like to do is more on-foot photography. There's not much time now, but I'd like to explore and see what wildlife and other beauty I can find. I have a name for the places I like: the sub-boonies or, if you prefer, the sub-sticks. The farther from civilization the better (of course, I make exceptions for convenience and thrift stores).

If you see a hawk, tip your hat for me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So much everything ... so little time

So many windmills, so little time. I stop and take photos of them whenever I can. These are practice shots taken from the road at Aldrich Quarter Horses on Highway 10. Janet Aldrich gave me permission a while back to shoot from their property, which I might take her up on at some point. The sun sets behind the windmill, which makes for an ideal late-afternoon early-evening shot. I've seen more brilliant skies there at dusk, but I wanted to stop and get a feel for positioning. What really interests me now that I've looked at these shots is the old spindly tree to the right of the windmill. Kind of creepy, no? It's especially cartoonesque (can't you see the limbs motioning in a threatening way to Walt Disney characters) in the black-and-white version below. So many trees, so little time!