Thursday, January 24, 2008

"4Give Yo-self"

"4Give Yo-self"

"4Give Yo-self"

That was the message scrawled across two separate buildings at Tucker and Chouteau this morning. Somebody else (more important than me, perhaps) must have noticed it, because about 8 am today there was a NestlePurina PetCare security truck parked alongside Tucker with its lights flashing.

The security officer was standing on the sidewalk photographing the graffiti, scrawled easily 10' tall (maybe taller) along one blank brick face of a Purina office building, and the rest of the graffiti on a rusty corrugated metal building behind the security officer.

I wonder what the message is here? It could be directed at anybody and everybody, from Mayor Slay to Purina itself (given its minimal role in the tainted pet food scandal last year), to all the capitalists on their way to work.


Thursday, January 03, 2008



On Monday, January 24, 2000, I was in Burlington, Iowa for the caucuses. At that time, I was a lowly student intern working for free for Joyce Aboussie and her crew at the Gephardt-in-Congress committee office in Kenrick Plaza (a shopping center that has certainly taken a downward slide in eight short years).

I started that day early, probably about 5 AM, holding an "Al Gore" sign while standing in frigid cold weather on a traffic island outside the Case Corporation factory gates along the Mississippi on the northern edge of town. Later, I did my first ever bit of driving -- about twenty feet, attempting to move one of the rented vans along the curb line. (It could have been worse!) I screeched the brakes, and nobody asked me to do that again! ;-)

Throughout that Monday evening, we rode around town, the mostly volunteer St. Louis canvassing crew (I do believe Chuck Banks was my driver that night), visting and observing various caucus locations. Of course, this being the 2000 election, Al had a pretty decent lock on the Democratic side over Bill Bradley, but the Republican caucuses were where a lot more horse-trading appeared to be happening.

The Gephardt/Aboussie crew had also taken me up to Ft. Madison and Keokuk, Iowa in December 1999, to do some canvassing and generally provide support to the Gore campaign in its earliest days. I remember there was a woman named Summer who was the on-the-ground Gore staffer there... ironic, given the weather was far from summery. We also ran across at least one die-hard Steve Forbes flat-tax backer on those snowy streets, which was kind of curious given that Southeast Iowa has a pretty strongly manufacturing-based labor-union-oriented economy.

Anyway, I predict that tonight, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama will come out on top of their respective caucuses in Iowa tonight.

I'm sure Hillary C. will place a close 2nd on the Democratic side, and it's even possible they will be nearly tied.

But on the Republican side, I think there will be a pretty wide gap between Huckabee and, I mean, Mitt Romney.

I do think it is worth noting Huckabee and Obama are the only two presidential candidates with sponsored links on Google (click below for larger version).

Lookin' at '07

Lookin' at '07

OK, so I have been AWOL for the past month or so. What can I say... the holidays are a busy time.

And for that matter, 2007 was a busy year.

On February 1st, I started a new job.

In March, my alderman Craig Schmid was re-elected... but my even longer-time associate, Jim Shrewsbury, was defeated during the Democratic primary on 3/6.

Later that month, my mother-in-law was injured, which ultimately led her to retire from SLPS.

Then, in April, our latest stray from the neighborhood who suckered me into taking her in, had three beautiful bouncing baby boys.

In May, Marti Frumhoff passed away suddenly.

And by July 4th, I had a full-fledged driver's license for the first time.

Most bizarrely and tragically, a different Joe Frank, about my age, was killed in a car accident not far from my neighborhood in September.

And a few weeks after that, because my wife got a new car that's considerably more efficient, attractive and actually has four doors unlike our '96 cargo van, I started driving to work regularly... just in time for the traffic to get worse!

Over the holidays, we had a number of major events, including the famous Antique Row Cookie Spree, visits to St. Charles, South County, and North County, and of course shopping trips.

So, yes, it has been quite a year.

But 2008 should be just as great!