As we all get older, we lose friends. That is what has happened last week with my friend Laurie Mitchell. As with my friend Tim Pouncey, Laurie was 61 years old. Laurie had cancer, so I suppose the loss was more expected than Tim’s.
I don’t think any loss is completely expected. We never know how long a person really has.
I’ve known Laurie and her husband Steve Jackman since before Cam Gentry and I were married, in1984. Laurie and Steve got married just about 2 years later. They always seemed to be a happy couple. They used to love to travel and they had plenty of good stories to tell us about their various adventures. One of their favourite destinations seemed to be the British Ise. As with us, they also visted Mark Davis, our friend in Spain. They visited many countries including some real backward third world countries were poverty was overwhelming. No one can say they were wimpy about their travels. They were willling to check out those les than comfortable countries, in some very dark places.
One of their trips took them to China. They had plenty of interesting tales of that trip. I was especially interested in that trip since I am a Maoist.
Laurie and her husband Steve use to go to most of our parties. In our younger days we had lots of them. Laurie was never a drinker. She avoided alcohol and any other kind of intoxicating substance other than caffeine. She loved coffee drinks.
Her politics were liberal, much like Pouncey’s or my wife Cam. I’ve always been the token Marxist amongst our friends. After all, if I only hung out with other Marxists, I wouldn’t have any friends here in Wichita.
Laurie and Steve believed in their Church, WoodlandUnitedMethodistChurch and their religion. They were Christians. Cam and I are not. We (Cam and I) do not believe in the afterlife. As for Laurie and Steve their religion gave them great comfort. It worked for them and at this point in time that is all that really matters.
I first met Gypsy Claar (Tracy Elizabeth 'Gypsy' Claar/ her official name) some time after I began publishing my so call ‘counter culture newspaper’ called the Public Voice. I had modelled that paper off of a counter-culture newspaper called the Public Notice, in Lawrence, KS.
This was more than just a Marxist-Leninist newspaper. A lot of young Marxist-Leninist or socialist political activists don’t understand how it was to be a member of the 1960s-1970s counter-culture. For a while it was just a given that anyone who grew his hair long, wore “hippie clothes” or what we might call today “freak clothes” belong to a kind of counter-culture. It was mostly a cultural thing based on trendy ‘60s or ‘70s stuff.
Not everyone who belonged to that counter culture movement was a leftists. In fact as time when on, for me, it was a shock to see how many right-wing “hippies” and “Freaks” there were around me.
But Gypsy worked with me and Tim Pouncey, who was as much a left-wing hippie as I am today. They (Tim and Gypsy) both worked on my newspaper, the Public Voice, with lots of articles and satire that was needed to defend the working class of Wichita and offend the right-wing ass holes we all fight against today.
I don’t know how many of my readers knew 'Gypsy' Claar. She was a political activist for the homeless. She was not as much a political person as she supported people’s human rights. And she was an old hippy, as some of us actually knew her and some of us actually are today. She died a little over a month ago. She was about 73. I knew her well and at one time she did some work for the old Public Voice Community News paper, of which I was the owner and Editor of.
I knew Gypsy from way back in the 1980s. I went to one of her parties in one of her ranch homes north of Wichita in the rural parts of SedgwickCounty. It was one of the best parties I ever went to and I went there with my old friend Tim Pouncey. I also met up with her and her sister years ago when we lived in Hutchinson,KS.
I remember when she was taking journalist classes at WichitaStateUniversity. She did a lot of photography. Gypsy was a good friend. She got along with just about everyone she knew. She dated a few friends of mine. She will be missed by this community.
Not long ago I bought some new fish. I haven't
had any since my Cichlid died. He hated other fish and killed every fish I put
in with him. Now that he is dead, I got some friendlier fish. I got three zebra
fish (a type of minnow) and a Blue Gourami. I bought another Blue Gourami three
days ago. I now have fish that don't want to kill each other. I think I'll name
the Gouramis Blue and Blue #2. I haven't come up with a name for the zebras
yet. That is OK because fish don't use their names very much.
My mother, Joan
Otto, died in December of 2012. I usually write obituaries on friends and family
members when they die. Maybe I forgot or I just can’t find it. But I’ve decided
to write about her now.
I was always
very close to my mother. There are few people I was closer to than her. Before
she died I had a hard time imagining a world without her. But people get old and
parents die. A year before she died, she deteriorated, both physically and
mentally. When she finally died, I could hardly recognize her. She died of old
age, pure and simple.
I had a lot in
common with my mom. She was somewhat liberal. Not so much about free sexuality
or using drugs, but she was against prejudism and racism. She taught me and my brothers to
treat black folks with respect and equality. She was against any kind of intolerance or
racism. In later years my mom said “I may have over done it with teaching you tolerance.”
That is because I occasionally made friends with some hard core street people
or lumpen proletariats. One thing I learned from my mom was that standing up
for what a person believes is right is a real important personal value.
My mom was a
life long Democrat. She was a left of center liberal. She was not as far to the
left as I was. While she believed in equality for all people, she did not share
my beliefs on sex. She said that my dad and she were virgins when they got
married. I had no reason to doubt that. She and my dad never smoked marijuana,
as I used to years ago. My mom often
listened to the latest rock music, at least some of it. She wasn’t close
minded. She didn’t like the Beatles at first. But over time she changed here
mind and like some of their music. She was like that with a lot of new music
She was also a
devout Catholic. She told me she regretted that none of her sons followed in
their parents footsteps when it came to religion. I could understand how she
felt, but we all had to decide what we believed in and for most of us, it just
wasn’t the Catholic religion. My dad died a few years ago and now Catholicism
has simply died out in our family. Some of us chose no religion, others found
different religions. One branch of our family is Baptist. They are definitely Christians
and not Catholic. I consider myself an Epicurean. I got tired of telling people
I was an agnostic or atheist. People kept saying “so you don’t believe in
ANYTHING.” I believe in a lot of things. God and the afterlife just aren’t
among those things.
My mom tried
her hand at several types of artistic pass times. She spent a year as a writer,
about a year as a painter (she painted a portrait of my dad and a painting of
all of us when we went fishing one year.) She spent a year as an actor. She
worked for several years as a sales lady at Sears. If there is one thing she
was really good at it was being a mom. She raised six boys and did a great job
at it. When her and my dad got married, that was a time in the 1950s when a
wife was expected to stay home and keep the house clean and raise the kids. She
was a bit neurotic
over her house-work. People did not understand how serious she was over her
house-work. But my dad and us kids had to live with that.
But my mom was a person I often came to when I had a problem or needed
advice. She always seemed to have an insight into things. She was a very
spiritual person and I often enjoyed discussing things with her.
I miss my mom.
Every person’s parents are different. Some guys are more close to their dads or
their moms. I was very close to my mom and I miss her a lot. But life moves on,
parents die and the rest of us live on until it is our turn to die. I have a
son and I hope I can be as much of an inspiration to him as my mother was to
Lately I’ve taken up
drinking wine. My favorite is red wine, specifically cabernet sauvignon. There
are dozens of brands to chose from, but lately I’ve come up with a system to
buying wine that I can be assured is pretty good. The average cabernet runs
from $9 to $15. The price can be lower, or it can go up to $hundreds.
I’ve found that a lot of
good cabernets cost as little as $9 or $10. But the real trick is the vintage
year. A lot of cabernets are vintage 2017 to 2018. I’ve found that four years
is a good way to choose a good wine. That is a vintage year of 2014 to 2015. A cabernet
that is about four years old is as good as most wines get. There are often a
lot of cabernets in the $10 range and if they have the vintage year 2014 to
2015, they are usually real good. I’ve read that a good cabernet can be
anywhere from 10 years to 30 years old. But that requires storing them for up
to 20 years, or paying $200 or more to buy them already aged.
So for me, four years is
just right. The other day I found a seven year old wine. It was good, but I
couldn’t really tell it from the four year old wines. I do notice that the two
year old wines just don’t cut it.
I do like some non-red
Sake, mead, etc. But when it comes to
red wine a four year old cabernet is my favorite.
Every drop of booze The Last Drop
Distillers sells is
a limited edition—literally. The London
company is known for buying and bottling parcels of rare spirits, often
traveling the world to procure them from distilleries that have closed and even
rejecting spirits that just aren’t exquisite enough.
“Our business model is unique,” says joint managing director
Beanie Espey. “We only sell fine, rare, very old spirits. We don’t sell
anything at a budget—everything we do is limited and exclusive.” She admits
this is “both a privilege and a pressure,” since the pipeline for sourcing rare
spirits can be uncertain. If a release is unsuccessful, there’s nothing to prop
it up with,” she says.
It’s Super Bowl (LIII, 2019) Sunday. This day is like an
unofficial holiday. People get together and throw Super Bowl Parties. This is a
lot like Black Friday. It is a chance for companies to sell a lot of food and
liquor. It is also a prim time to advertize. The advertizing is so pervasive
that many news outlets post their favorite Super Bowl commercials, either
before the event airs or after.
Sure, you might end up rolling into work on Monday feeling
like an under-inflated Patriots' pigskin, but life is too short to not go hard
on Super Bowl Sunday!
Here are a few Queen City hotspots that will not only help you get the most
bang for your game-day buck, but will also treat you to that big-screen,
crowd-goes-wild experience we're all looking for.
NOTE: There are obviously LOTS of great bars in and around the city. This
list is merely focused on the spots that are going out of their way (drink
prices and all) to bring you that perfect game-day experience. As if not having
to clean up after your messy friends isn't enough.
7 Bar Specials To Kick Off Your Super
Knockback Nat's (Downtown)
These guys have the best wings in the world, hands down. And anyone who
suggests otherwise is either lying or works for another place that sells them.
( Just one writer's humble opinion.) Do yourself a solid and make these the
centerpiece of your game-day spread. Nat's will also offer $3 High Life on tap,
$6 25-oz. tall boys (with a free Knockback Nat's koozie), $1 Jell-O shots, and
$5 Bloody Marys & mimosas.
OTR's original sports bar has you covered with a range of specials: $3 Pyramid
Snow Cap, $3 Sam Adams Cold Snap, and two special Super Bowl shots offered
specifically for the Patriots vs. Seahawks matchup. Oh, they're also offering
deliveries arriving at kickoff and halftime. Whether you're rooting
for either team or neither, try a $3 Marshawn Lynch Skittles shot or Tom Brady
Musk shot to get your game face on. Ingredients TBD.
Planning to party in Kentucky?
Both Longnecks locations are worth a look. Super Bowl drink specials include 16
oz. Bud Light Buckets of 5 for $10. They'll also be offering giveaways that
could net you a leather Bud Light cooler chair and a bunch of other great prizes.
To find out what else you can win, we guess you'll have to show up!
Though this will be Lachey's first Super Bowl celebration, you can bet the new
guys on the block are ready to get their host on. With 24 TVs (including a
90-inch screen) positioned throughout the bar, everyone in your group will be
able to keep their eyes on the game and their cocktails at the same time.
Super Bowl is today, so there's not much time. If you need to find the perfect
food to bring to the party, or to serve up at your own party, you're in luck.
Some of the tastiest Super Bowl dishes you can make below from Chowhound are
below, and we're happy to share them with you.
Jalapeno Poppers, Smoky-Sweet BBQ, Beef Short Ribs, Easy Spicy Turkey Chili,
Devils on Horseback, Pepperoni Pizza Dip and Bacon Candy.
It's finally Super Bowl Sunday, and for fans across the
world, that means tuning in to CBS or our free live Super Bowl stream to
watch the Patriots and Rams go head to head to see who will be crowned
champions. But while they go toe to toe, some people will be waiting in
anticipation for the halftime show. And still others will be watching Super
Bowl LIII for the commercials.
There is also the controversy over the half time show. Many
entertainers have planned on boycotting
the Super Bowl over the treatment of Colin Kaepernick over his apparent ban
from the league for being the initial leader of the kneeling movement.
Kaepernick’s apparent ban from the league was for being the initial leader of
the kneeling movement.
and his group the Maroon 5 have decided to ignore the boycott and cross over to
sell themselves out for the money and glory of the Super Bow. –The traitorous
What would a Super Bowl half time be without a game between
On January 15, of 2019, I reach the age of 64. If I live one
more year, I can collect Medicare.
I may retire this year. I had a simple birthday. I met with Roger, Mary and my
wife Cam at the Texas
Roadhouse. We all agreed we would like that restaurant.
There is nothing particularly great about this year. We are
one year away from the next decade. Next year we will be in the 2020s. Maybe
some great mysticism will come across us next year.