david schrott is everywhere

Superweeds, Central Missouri

Posted in Farm Life by thebreakfastdictator on 10/24/2014
Soybeans overrun by Superweeds; Central Missouri

Soybeans overrun by Superweeds; Central Missouri

A few months ago, I heard about superweeds; these herbicide resistant weeds that were no longer able to contained by Monsanto’s Roundup product. They were supposedly taking over GMO soybean and cornfields in the Midwest. Since reports of these weeds kept appearing in less than always-trustworthy activist posts in my Facebook feed, I was a bit skeptical. Then I saw a piece in the Des Moines Register on them. Fascinating. These beasts were real. So when me and my wife took a road-trip honeymoon that included many Midwestern states, superweeds became my three week long obsession. This is from a soybean field in central Missouri, about two and half hours west of St. Louis (home of our favorite poison manufacturer, Monsanto!). These weeds are obscenely ugly and overtook a large swath (about 20 foot wide section, hundreds of feet long) of the edge of the field. Many of the weeds were taller than I was and were so dense they couldn’t be walked through. As a local farmer-friend said to me “This is nature’s way of telling us the Monsanto way doesn’t work.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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round and round fluorescent lights

Posted in family by thebreakfastdictator on 10/18/2014

Floating above the dining room table, the icon of Jesus and the broken cuckoo clock spins green light out of a fluorescent tube. It flickers from time to time. It has been a long four hours on the turnpike and exhausted children zoom up and bang on the creaky old screen door. She always opens the door the same way — peeking around the curtains through the window just to the right of the door. Warm yellow light floods onto the splintered green porch. It probably hasn’t been painted since the seventies. Those antsy kiddos pour through the door, to the playroom, and dump railroad tracks and Lincoln Logs all over the floor. This is what they’ve been waiting for for months.

tubes. fluorescent tubes.

tubes. fluorescent tubes.

Now there’s a new tube. It’s on the second floor, just like the first. It’s the dining room too and there are icons of Christ. The cuckoo clock is missing. Don’t worry. We’ll find one. Do you remember playing baseball in the crabgrass-backyard or watching Pirates game on channel 8? There were only twelve channels but they were so exotic. There were those vines up the hill in the neighbor’s yard. We swung and swung and swung on those. Those colored bottles on top of the blue-brick wall disappeared around the same time.

Years back, there were 11,000 in Cambria City; now, they’d be lucky to clear 1,000. The mini rivers powered the steel mills. Plumes of smoke and steel city iron motored this little city in the valley. Just before 1890, the flood pummeled everything alive. And look at it now: the pride of Cambria County. Will these fat days ever end?

A small brown Dodge pickup winds east. Five days later, it heads west. And on and on; and on and on. Soon, the repetition stops. One hundred eighty two miles separate the two dots. Relocation is permanent. We’ll visit lots, though. The glowing tube, seen through old windows, will be our first greeter.

Kansas City, Your Food is Huge

Posted in daily life by thebreakfastdictator on 10/06/2014

It is one of those autumnal mornings. You know, those morningsThe ones where the clouds roll in, drizzle fades on and off. It’s too warm for a jacket but also, not. The AC is still on most places. The windows fog. Steam swirls from the fresh-poured coffee mug. Caffeine excites the nerves. Never let this morning end. Drink more coffee. It’ll prolong the glory of the morning hours.

City Diner; KCMO

City Diner; KCMO

“We should eat. Find a place, please. I won’t be particular.”

“I found a place. It looks glorious.”

“Perfect. Directions, please?”

The sign on the door reads: We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone. Perfect. This is exactly the place.

The barstools are black and the countertop checkered. A man in a fedora and jacket sits by the window fiddling on his phone and drinking coffee. The waitress says he’s been there all morning. A regular? No. Waiting for the Megabus. I wonder where he’s headed and where he came from. He’s got a big smile and a happy countenance; the antithesis of the Northeast.

People here are lovely.

Scrawled all over the white-board walls are names. Hundreds of them, for sure. They’re all names of people who’ve devoured two pancakes. Two, you say? Yeah, just two. But good luck. These babies are 14″ across and an inch deep. Fit that in your belly. One lady ate six. That’s right. Six.

Can you eat six of these? Some lady did, once.

Can you eat six of these? Some lady did, once.

We got chocolate chips in ours. The two of us couldn’t eat one if we tried.

The bacon is thick. Like a piece of ham, almost. The rye bread tastes like rye bread and the omelets leak gooey American cheese. An abundance of Cholula hot-sauce sits on the side. There is never enough hot-sauce. Never.

Two midwestern sweethearts serve us. They can tell we’re from out of town and they shoot the breeze with us. It’s been an hour, at least, since we got here and they’re in no rush for us to leave. We shyly ask if we can take a photo of them, and two rolls of film and an hour later, we think we’re content. We tip almost 100%. Waitresses who are good sports deserve a raise.

Closing time is at two p.m. The servers clean up the table tops and we our camera gear. We are full, but not bloated. Satisfied.

We heard a lot of good things about Kansas City. There’s a giant shuttlecock on a lawn somewhere? A coffeeshop that’s more elitist than anywhere back home? Let us galavant. The grey autumn skies wouldn’t want anything less.

 

Kansas City: too much city for one state.

Posted in daily life by thebreakfastdictator on 10/05/2014

He wears boots and you can see the blue jeans sneak just below the bottom of the cassock. He chants Saturday evening’s Great Vespers gorgeously. Afterwards, there is a short meet and greet and his red flannel shirt peeks out under his sleeve. An usher named Theodore roams about in striped overalls. He is a convert and has had his hand in many of the parish’s projects. Especially noticeable are the magnificent quilts he made that are hung about the narthex. Our encounter lasts no longer than forty-five minutes but we feel at home already.

St. Basil the Great; KC, KS

St. Basil the Great; KC, KS

Have you ever had coffee that is more than coffee? It is an experience. Down on Main at Fortieth, there’s a place we go on cloudy days, but only cloudy days. It’s better if it drizzles a bit. The waft of coffee grounds rise through your nostrils and a tingle of warmth and comfort envelop your insides. You were made for this; this was made for you. The coffee here is roasted with love and each cup is made by hand. It feels a little 2002 as “Is This It” circles out of the speakers. $3.25 is a lot of a cup of coffee. $3.25 is a deal when it comes in a Pyrex beaker and served on a wooden plate. The donuts are heavenly: deep fried, chocolate & peanut butter; smothered in tiny peanuts. Please don’t let this end.

Someone famous once said “shake it like a Polaroid”. Someone famous didn’t know that that doesn’t process the film any faster and it often leaves a chemical stain at the base of the image. There’s a box full of new Polaroids being made with each stop on the interstate. First in Frackville, then Pittsburgh, then Ohio, and Indiana (complete with a super-weed!), the Land of Lincoln, the Mighty Mississippi, Des Moines and all stops in-between. There is something magical about prints and Polaroids in particular. The medium is the message.

“Look at those clouds. Do you want to stop and take some photos?”

“That sure would be nice.”

Ghost towns are numerous in these parts but they’re sure hard to find. Most of them are covered up with autumnal grass and leaves and maybe even some hayseeds. The late hay is being cut and rolled right about now. Just like a fine cigarette. The massive rolls dot the rolling hills and the gray light and intermittent drizzle rolls off them gentlly. 3200 speed film is grainy; just like the day. Stand in front of that hay roll. We’ll take some pictures while we can.

Oddly Correct; KCMO

Oddly Correct; KCMO

“Did you hear about that guy who found a Ghost Town in the Smoky Mountains?!”

It’s kind-of on the way home. It’d be a great stop. Ironic how we were looking for just that sorta thing and a news story drops like that. There must be something in the October air.

The sun sets a little quicker these days. I love the chill in the air. The smell, too. Last night I went out to the car to grab my hoodie and it smelled like a wood-fire was burning. Football is in full swing and the Royals are in the playoffs for the first time since eighty-five. That’s twenty-nine years. We shoulda stayed up for the Wild Card game at the High Life Lounge. It woulda been a memory.

Don’t get stuck on missed-memories. We’ve made a bunch and there’s lots more good ones to go around. Just don’t forget your coffee or beer.