The Lope

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Supermoon" rising, Monumant Rocks, Kansas, September 27, 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jacks North Hi Carryout, Wichita, Kansas

Jacks North Hi Carryout in Wichita, Kansas, built in 1951, has a classic Googie sign. This was March 7, 2006. The business, at 603 West 13th St. N., has closed and re-opened under new ownership quite a few ties in recent years and had a fire in 2007. It is open as of July, 2015.

The outside sign, as well as all the interior signs I saw in 2006 indicated it was "Jacks" with no possessive apostrophe, but in the media I see it referred to as "Jack's." "Carryout" is also seen as "Carry Out."

Cherokee Lanes, mid-century bowling alley, Eureka, KS, 2006

Photograph everything. It's a lesson reinforced again and again when something I shot goes away. Such is the case with the mid-century bowling alley and restaurant, Cherokee Lanes in Eureka, Kansas, which I shot on February 1, 2006. Although the structure remains, the bowling alley was damaged by fire in 2010 and was not replaced.

As far as I know, these mid-century interior doors survive as do the exterior door handles.

Does this not look like the helm of a sci-fi space ship? Unfortunately, this did not survive.

The chevrons of the ball return looked like a sideways Starfleet insignia. Management told me all the equipment dated from 1959.

Now, the first appearance of the Star Trek insignia was in late 1964 when "the Cage" was filmed, so could Gene Roddenberry or costume designer William Ware Theiss have been influenced by bowling alley equipment?
(graphic from Wikipedia)

The Brunswick hand dryer

Even the locker doors looked like they belonged on a space station. I've seen similar lockers at Starlite Lanes in Lebanon, MO.

The specialized shoe-changing bench was of the same fiberglass as much of the rest of the décor.

In 2006, part of the structure was used as a restaurant. The 2010 fire caused extensive damage to the interior and the present manager tells me the cost to repair it as a bowling alley was too much so the structure now houses only a restaurant.

And here's the building on April 25, 2015.

All photos on this page except the last one were shot with my 6 megapixel Olympus C-60 Zoom point-and-shoot camera in 2006.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Because I Couldn't Keep This Gem of Dialog to Myself

I've been enjoyably re-connecting with the Godzilla movies I enjoyed so much as a child since I attended Dallas Fan Expo in May and met three of the Toho Godzilla suit actors. With an adult's 2015 perspective, the cheesy sci-fi plots have a very retro appeal. This bit of cheese is from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974).

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon, July, 2015

If ever I wanted a train, it was at 5:59 this morning as the Blue Moon set over the Ohio River at Metropolis, IL. Alas, I shall have to be content with this. By the way, according to, the moon actually became full at 5:43 a.m. Central Time. Personally I don't get the special thrill of a second full moon within the artificial construct of a month, but that's because every moon in every phase is a delight.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Reno County, KS, (North of Hutchinson) Tornado, July 13, 2015

It looked so innocent this afternoon between Wichita and Hutchinson.

When I saw this, I thought, "Hey, one could jump to the conclusion that that's a funnel cloud."

Another glance and there it was.

Just because there's a tornado doesn't mean you should stop shooting people pics.

It becomes a rope tornado, as seen at top.

Just before it broke up.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Aurora Borealis over Nebraska, June 23, 2015

Honest, I only planned to go to Salina, KS, to map cicada species ranges - just an ordinary night.

Then, two different friends let me know there were stories online the aurora might be visible. I'd fallen for this before - driven north like a bat out of hell only to see another city's light pollution. I checked a reliable source,, and the Kp rating (a measure of geomagnetic activity) was 8. That was high enough to send me zooming out from under Kansas' cloud cover and into Nebraska, where I eventually stopped a bit north of I-80 just before astronomical twilight at 4:05 a.m.

It's important to note that I couldn't see this very well. The cone cells in our eyes are not so whippy at picking up color in low light. But the sensor picked it up. I think I exclaimed something when I looked at the back of the camera. The foregrounds aren't so much aesthetic choices as they are better evils since I didn't have much time. The bush in one photo hides what would have been an unfortunate light source. The horizontal striations are clouds, I think.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Postcard from Kansas

I was going for a linen postcard look when the text occurred to me. This is west of Derby, KS, last night.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


The beads of ice on the flakes above and below are called rime. This happens when snowflakes collide with tiny water droplets as they fall.

This is a clump of snow.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Big Mac Bridge

October, 2014 - While at a conference in Cincinnati, I had a chance to improve on my previous picture of the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge, nicknamed the "Big Mac Bridge." The bridge enables I-471 to cross the Ohio River and connects Ohio and Kentucky. This was shot from the Kentucky side.

I discovered the Hilton Cincinnati in Netherland Plaza has an observation deck on the 49-story Carew Tower. I seem to remember it costing a couple or so dollars and you'll be asked to leave all bags in the little office where you pay, but the 360° view was worth it. For pictures of other Cincinnati bridges see Bridging the Ohio in Style from 2006.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Raven in the Painted Desert

Today is the 170th anniversary of the publication of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845. I just worked on these August, 2005, JPGs to see how I could improve them by using Photoshop Elements 12 and opening them in RAW even though they are not RAW files. The "clarity" slider did wonders as far as improving shadow detail.

The bird (raven, I think, judging from the size of the beak) didn't budge from the Agate Bridge sign even though I got within 20 feet of it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Norm's restaurant, La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles

See update at bottom (January 15, 2015)

(2005 photos)

Another vintage Googie architecture gem is at risk. The new owner of Norm's restaurant on La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles, opened in 1957 and designed by coffee shop architecture pioneers Armet and Davis, applied for and was granted a demolition permit earlier this month.

The Los Angeles Conservancy had already filed paperwork with the L.A. Cultural Heritage Commission  to nominate the Norm's building for historic status, which if successful would offer the building some protection. The commission will hear that case today, January 15, 2015. I'll update this post with the result.

The original neon sign for Norm's is still in place. When I was there in 2005, each letter lit individually and the trapezoid-shaped sections lit in a wave pattern with individual vertical neon tubes.

"Googie" architecture refers to a style that evolved primarily in California in the 1950s and 60s because of car culture. It was influenced by that era's preoccupation with the Space Race and the Atomic Age. The name "Googie" comes from a now-defunct coffee shop in L.A. The more common current term for the style is "Mid-Century Modern."

An example of Googie influence in Kansas would be Donald's Servateria in Pratt.

UPDATE (January 15, 2015): According to The L.A. Conservancy, The L.A. Cultural Heritage Commission agreed today to consider landmark status for Norm's on La Cienega Blvd. (link)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Comet Lovejoy

This is Comet Lovejoy as seen from Reno County, Kansas, USA, on January 11, 2015, at 36 minutes after midnight. (Canon 70D, 55-250 mm STM lens at 250mm, ISO 6400, f:5.6, 4 seconds, noise cleaned up in Photoshop Elements 12, black levels lowered to compensate for light pollution)

Friday, January 02, 2015

Christmas Lights of Webb City, Missouri

Here are some of the Christmas lights of Webb City; most pictures were shot in 2014. The displays shown here are fairly perennial so they'll probably be up in 2015 as well.

Webb City's 144 acre King Jack Park becomes a huge drive-through attraction in the Christmas season with many animated light displays.

The metal walking bridge in the park is decked out in lights, as are surrounding trees. From the Webb City website: "At one time the Georgia City Bridge was the oldest extant all-metal vehicular bridge in the state of Missouri. Built in 1871, it is a one span, bowstring arch truss bridge."

There is no music synced to this, but the deeply saturated colors against all that space just don't need it.

This residence is at the NW corner of the park.

The Webb City high school mascot is a cardinal, as seen in this flock of samethat has been in place downtown for at least the last five Christmas seasons. Webb City uses wreaths with electric candles downtown on its lamp posts and alternates the colors of red and green.

While not strictly speaking a Christmas attraction, the Route 66 Movie Theatre is often decked out for the holiday and shows Christmas movies.

The Burpo chiropractic office at 26 South Main tends to feature skeletons in the window display dressed for various holidays. Christmas is no exception.

Mrs. Claus is not left out.

Barely in Webb City and just across from the SW corner of the Joplin airport are two homes with novel decorations. This one at 25 Colonial Drive outlines its architecture, uses dripping lights in vertical windows and a Gemmy Industries life-size Santa.

Just north of the above home on S Colonial Drive, their neighbors place shooting stars in the trees which are visible from a distance to the west on hwy 171.

The most elaborately decorated Webb City homes I found in 2014 is this one at 329 S. Oronogo on the NE corner of W. 4th and S. Oronogo. They've used this style for several years and sometimes their immediate neighbors decorate as well.

In recent years Webb City has run a restored street car on track within King Jack Park as their "Polar Bear Express." In 2014 a restored trolley (on tires) seemed to serve this function. See more of the #60 street car here.