Running Behind….

The bad news… I haven’t made a new post to this blog in a while.

The good news… I’ve at least found something to do (and get paid for it). It’s a contract job involving a computer and printer deployment for various offices in Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri.

Those trips have also netted me some road trip opportunities.

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April 2012
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May 1-23
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May 4
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May 24-31

Christmas Eve Adventure…

So, I’m coming into town to do my last minute shopping. I also brought my camera, just in case I saw a train on the Union Pacific line just north of Lawrence. I did see a train, and I stopped at Laptad’s corner to catch it. That’s when I did something stupid…. I locked the car… with the keys in it… and left my cell phone at home.

I waited a little while and caught another train, then I walked to a nearby house. No one answered the door. I did catch another train, as well as a car pulling into a nearby buisness. That buisness just happened to be Bulldog Tow.

So I walked in and explained that I left my keys in the car just up the road. The person at the front desk had a driver take me back to the car, contacted AAA on my behalf, and opened her up. As he was working on the van, another train arrived. I took a picture of that train, while the Bulldog rep took care of the paperwork and went on his way back to HQ. I procceded to town, bought the presents, and went over to Grandma’s to wrap them.

I guarantee that I’ll be seeing more trains on Christmas Day. I agreed to open the Santa Fe Station for the Eastbound Amtrak train.

Signs of Change

The new signs for US 24 and US 40 are now beginning to make their
appearance on I-70. I manged to get a few shots of the old signs in place
alongside their new counterpoints, PLUS the new END! of US 73 at the
Bonner Springs.

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Also:some shots of the new Lone Elm Road bridges, as well as new railroad
bridges and Clearview in Olathe

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And, on a personal note, my cousins Carl, Sam, Bethany, and Cyrus:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/richiekennedy56/archives/date-taken/2009/01/18/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/richiekennedy56/archives/date-taken/2009/01/28/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/richiekennedy56/archives/date-taken/2009/01/31/

Politics and spirit… a reminder of events 10 years ago

A recent set of comments on a spirit squad related email list reminded me of events that happened 10 years ago this month that brought controversy to the KU spirit squad.

In December of 1998, the KU Athletics department decreed that the spirit squads would not be allowed to participate in Nationals. However, the Dance team captain had already made the necessary arrangements to participate at the the ’99 UDA nationals, which by then were about a month away. The elected to ignore the embargo and proceeded as planned, which was publicly posted in the local newspaper. Reaction from the squad was extremely negative. Many of the cheerleaders quit in protest, reducing that squad to 12 by the end of February.

The mother of one of the squad members was nice enough to contact me that Saturday night to let me know how they did. I was also able to greet them when they returned to KCI.

The dance team was also moved from the floor into a reserved section in the south bleachers. Some of the squad believed it was because they were concealing advertising banners for the local phone company. Toward the end of the season, rumors also persisted that the the south bleachers were going to be turned from student seating to reserved seating.

In the end, the coaching staff was dismissed, and the 99-00 dance squad was reduced from two squads of 12 to one squad of 10, with an alternate. The athletic department also sponsored an student support organization called the HAWK club, of which I was a participant. The south bleachers remained student seating, and in fact, the HAWK club was encouraging its members to sit in those south seats. The dance squad was returned to its two squad lineup for the 02-03 season, however, the original name “Crimson Girls” was retired. The new name, “Rock Chalk Dancers,” was introduced in 2004. The squad still anchors the south bleachers while the game is underway, and I doubt they will be moved back to the floor anytime soon.

I didn’t mind the name change, partially because the athletics had been promoting the use of blue over crimson, and because I knew there were male dancers out there. In fact, I have a couple of them in my family. I’m also fine with the south end bleachers; that move may have actually saved them from being turned into reserved seating.

I haven’t been in contact with the squad personally since the fall of ’03, but thanks to Facebook, I have re-established contact with many of the members of the past squads, including the 98-99 squad. Among that squad, a couple of them are still dancing. I’ve also got a nurse and a dentist. Some are married, a few have kids of their own.

The following is a letter I wrote 10 years ago, which was published in the Lawrence Journal-World on February 2, 1999. The letter also notes that Kansas high school cheerleaders and dance teams cannot participate in nationals. As of 2009, this is still the case. However, they can participate in contests where the site is no more than 500 road-miles from the border (this limit in 1999 was 150)

To the Editor,

Among the worlds of business, academia, and sports, there is one common goal: the pursuit of excellence.

Recently, the KU Athletic Department decided that the cheerleaders and Crimson Girls should not be allowed to compete in nationals. Since the spirit squads were willing to raise their own funds, money is not the problem. Therefore, the only plausible reason I could think of is the Athletic Department simply does not want them to go.

When it comes to similar spirit groups on the high school level, the Kansas State High School Activities Association is among the most restrictive associations in the country. The Lawrence High and Free State High pom squads and cheerleaders have been invited to national competitions similar to the ones KU have been attending several times. Because of the rules of the KSHSAA, they have not been allowed to go. In addition, the KSHSAA does not allow groups attending summer camps under their name to be ranked, whereas other camps rank their participants on a regular basis. This leads me to believe that the KSHSAA believes that spirit groups should not be competing, a mentality which I suspect has spread to the KU athletic department.

Why should the Crimson Girls and the pom squads and cheerleaders of Lawrence be allowed to compete? By competing, they have a brass ring to reach for. If a team succeeds and reaches that ring, they become the mark of excellence. If they try and dont quite make it, they would have my utmost respect for reaching for the top. Not reaching for the top, not really competing, means they have no real passion for what they do and would settle for mediocrity.

The Athletic Department and the KSHSAA, whether intentionally or not, are promoting mediocrity by disallowing the spirit squads under their control the opportunity to compete against their peers with little or no reason. Their actions are not good for the students that these organizations are representing because it takes away from their spirit and passion for cheering. Without that passion, their support for the teams they cheer on would be weaker, and that would take away the atmosphere the spirit squads bring to the game they attend.

Richie Kennedy

Road Songs….

On the return portion of my recent roadtrip, I cranked up my iPod. Here’s what was playing.

Song Artist Album Genre Timestamp
The Girl’s Gone Wild Travis Tritt My Honky Tonk History Country 11/23/08 03:23 PM
When Somebody Loves You Alan Jackson When Somebody Loves You Country 11/23/08 03:27 PM
Waitin’ On A Woman Brad Paisley & Andy Griffith Play [Brad Paisley] Country 11/23/08 03:32 PM
That Was Yesterday Foreigner Agent Provocateur Rock 11/23/08 03:36 PM
Hong Kong Blues Junior Brown Semi Crazy Country 11/23/08 03:40 PM
It’s Only A Paper Moon James Darren This One’s From The Heart Easy Listening 11/23/08 03:42 PM
I’ve Been Better Brad Paisley Who Needs Pictures Country 11/23/08 03:46 PM
East Bound And Down Jerry Reed Trucker’s Jukebox [Compilation Album] Country 11/23/08 03:49 PM
Waiting for a Girl Like You Foreigner 4 Rock 11/23/08 03:54 PM
Something Happened on the Way to Heaven Phil Collins …But Seriously Rock 11/23/08 03:59 PM
Walk Like an Egyptian The Bangles Different Light Rock 11/23/08 04:02 PM
Big Ball’s in Cowtown George Strait/Ray Benson A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys
[Dance Version Remix] [Asleep at the Wheel]
Country 11/23/08 04:07 PM
Mainstreet Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Night Moves Rock 11/23/08 04:11 PM
Phantom 309 Boxcar Willie Trucker’s Jukebox [Compilation Album] Country 11/23/08 04:15 PM
The Best Thing That I Had Goin’ Brad Paisley Mud On The Tires Country 11/23/08 04:19 PM
I Know a Wall When I See One Toby Keith How Do You Like Me Now?! Country 11/23/08 04:22 PM
Morning Train Sheena Easton Totally 80’s (Disc 2) [Compilation Album] Rock 11/23/08 04:25 PM
Leave Him Out of This Steve Wariner I Am Ready Country 11/23/08 04:29 PM
If You Ain’t Lovin’ (You Ain’t Livin’) George Strait If You Ain’t Lovin’ (You Ain’t Livin’) Country 11/23/08 04:32 PM
Old Blue Chair Kenny Chesney When the Sun Goes Down Country 11/23/08 04:35 PM
Somebody Bryan Adams Reckless Rock 11/23/08 04:40 PM
Right Here Right Now Jesus Jones Doubt Rock 11/23/08 04:43 PM
The Harry Shuffle [Instrumental] Steve Wariner Two Teardrops Country 11/23/08 04:45 PM
El Tejano Cowboy Troy Loco Motive Country 11/23/08 04:48 PM
Won’t Let You Down Keith Urban Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing Country 11/23/08 04:52 PM
Do You Believe in Love Huey Lewis & the News Picture This Rock 11/23/08 04:55 PM
American Daughters Sarah Buxton Almost My Record Country 11/23/08 04:59 PM
I’ll Be Coming Back For More T.G. Sheppard 3/4 Lonely Country 11/23/08 05:02 PM
There Ya Go Alan Jackson What I Do Country 11/23/08 05:05 PM
Relax Frankie Goes to Hollywood Welcome to the Pleasuredome Rock 11/23/08 05:09 PM
I Go to Extremes Billy Joel Storm Front Rock 11/23/08 05:13 PM
The Search Is Over Survivor Vital Signs Rock 11/23/08 05:17 PM
Dream Walkin’ Toby Keith Dream Walkin’ Country 11/23/08 05:22 PM
The Letter The Box Tops The Letter/Neon Rainbow Rock 11/23/08 05:24 PM
Into the Groove Madonna Like a Virgin Rock 11/23/08 05:28 PM
That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard it Should Be Carly Simon Carly Simon Rock 11/23/08 05:32 PM

Colorado Roadtrip, Days 1 and 2

Reporting tonight from the Comfort Inn in Westminster:

Day 1: Set up jump

No pictures, just a tired roadgeek setting up the second day. My little cousin Bethany had a birthday party Sunday afternoon, so I knew I was going to have a late start in. I decided upon Salina as my intermediate stop. From the party in Perry, it was Bridge Rd. (old 24) to US 24, then 24 west to the Oakland Expressway (K-4), then the Oakland to I-70.

Day 2: Salina – Denver

* I started with a bowl of Cherrios and several glasses of Juice, then I fueled up at Bosselman’s (where the gas prices on the LED sign were, in a word, ackward) then headed south on Ninth to Wal-Mart, to pick up some
drinks, a cooler, Ice, and a few more odds and ends.

* From Wally World, I headed north on I-135. When I got to I-70, I elected to continue north on US 81, picking up the names of the exits from K-143 to K-106 at Minneapolis. I continued on the four-lane expressway to US 24

* I took 24 west to K-181, passing through Simpson, Asherville, and Cawker City before turning North.

* I took 181 North to catch its north end at US 36

* I took 36 west to Phillipsburg, where I caught US 183 and took it south to K-9. From there, I followed K-9 west, stopping at Speed and observing the junction with US 283 before catching the end of K-9 at K-123.

* K-123’s southern end isn’t that far away from K-9. The junction with K-23 is a T, in which K-23 traffic heading north has to turn left to proceed north on K-23, or turn right and go north on K-123. There are also “TO K-9” markers as appropriate for the intersection.

*I continued on K-23 to the US 83/K-383 Junction, where we have a “double end”

* I took 83 south and west to US 24, where I passed through Colby before heading to Goodland. After lunch and a time change (set my clocks for the mountain time zone), I took I-70 west to Kananado, where I swung off and took K-267 over to the State line, where I had notice a big “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign. I forgot my tripod, so I posed my vehicle against the sign (yes, it was that big, as you can see in the pictures)

* I followed the frontage road/old US 24 to Burlington, where I hooked back up with I-70, and from there, it was I-70 all the way to Denver, then up I-270 and US 36 to Sheridan, where you’ll find the aforementioned Comfort Inn.

NEW COUNTIES: Mitchell, Osborne, Smith, Phillips, Norton, Decatur (just barely), and Sheridan.

What I did today

So far:

* Got a new pair of size 42 Birkenstocks as a birthday present. Maybe I found the question of Life, the Universe, and everything.

* Got pictures of 5 different trains.

* Forced three of those trains to slow down at the Ohio Terrace crossing when I noticed that the crossing wasn’t working right (one of the gates stayed down and the red lights continued to stay on after the second train had passed. I called the crossing in to BNSF)

* Went to my cousin Cyrus’s birthday party

Still to come: Baseball 🙂

What to say

* First off, the place that I have called home for the past 17 years is Up for sale. Most of my free time has been spent keeping the place clean in making improvements here and there. There was a Open House on Saturday, which meant we had to evacuate for the afternoon. Inquiries about the house should go to Lawrence Reality.

* I just put new tires on the van, after noticing that my rear tires were almost to the end of their life. However, I still feel a throbbing sound when I hit the brakes, therefore, that’s the next thing that’s going to be checked.

* I had a little run in with a pole in the parking garage a while back. The “little ding” it caused was worth $1,500-2,000 in repairs. I’ve got the insurance check, I just need to give it to the body shop for about a week.

* The current game plan remains that we will be on vacation in Colorado during the 2nd week in July. If the house hasn’t sold yet, I’m sure that the Realtor will take the opportunity to show the house a couple times, and maybe have another open house. The plan is to go in my van, which is why the tires and brakes need to be in tip-top condition.

The old Cuckoo

My dad bought a cuckoo clock for his parents in 1970 while stationed in Japan. It hung at my grandparent’s home in Old West Lawrence until my grandma moved in ’87 (my Grandfather passed away in 1973 — I was eventually given his name).

When my grandma passed away a month ago, the first thing I asked for was the cuckoo clock, which remained in storage and in need of repair.

I took it in to Marks Jewelers to clean and repair the clock, in particular the cuckoo mechanism. I just got it back, hung it on the wall, and started the pendulum.

Obit…

Last sunday, my grandmother, Beverly Kennedy, passed away Sunday to pancreatic cancer

The obit from the Journal-World can be found here