A CoMo Plan for Visitors

The holidays are upon us again and I am amping up for my family’s decision upon CoMo. Since my inlaws trip didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked last year (in case you are wondering EVERY restaurant in The District is closed on Christmas Eve), I am doing a little more planning this year. I put together a little primer for them since parents have made frequent visits to our city but my sister and her husband haven’t visited before. I think they are picturing a quaint little town. Which it might be to them since even though Columbia is the 5th largest city in Missouri, they’re coming from Dallas which as a metroplex is edging towards the 5th largest in the US.

But we’re small but mighty.

After all we’ve got art museums, movie houses, theatres, scenic views and hiking spots that are perfect for any climate, even our winters.

It’s hard to mention Columbia without including the Ragtag cinema. A great place to watch the most promising independent films, with the option to eat and drink at the same time. The Ragtag cinema is also home to the True/False film festival that showcases cinematic documentaries every year. For history and art lovers, the Missouri University houses the Museum of Art and Archaeology, which displays 14,000 works of art and archaeological objects whilst the entry for the public is free.

We’re not all about the arts. Any outdoorsman would feel right at home as Rockbridge Memorial State Park, offering hiking and biking amongst other pursuits such as park tours that are available for first timers. And of course the Katy Trail is perfect for cold walks. We’re close enough to hit an entry and make a short trek to downtown to sample Missouri beers at Sycamore, Broadway Brewery, or my new favorite drinking spot… Trey. We might even hit Shakespeare’s for pizza and some Rockbridge pints, brewed right here in CoMO.

Though my family isn’t into college sports, we are hoping to entice them back for the Show-Me state games. It has been mentioned in ESPN’s list of 101 things all sports fans must experience before they die. We plan to show them some of the parks where the games take place as well as a drive by The Zou.

We’d also like to take them to some of the more quirky spots. My dad is a huge poker player and though he could play on Partypoker.com from the comfort of our couch the way he does at home, I found out The Thirsty Turtle hosts games. We also plan to take them out to Midway to hit the antiques and show off the newest attraction. And of course the Magic Tree, or maybe Will Treelighter’s other tree at Unity.

What would be on your list for visitors?

CoMo Commentary: My Love-Hate Relationship With The ARC

Top Ten Things I Love About The ARC

1)  The facility – not only is it designed beautifully, but it is exceptionally well maintained.  Big windows, open spaces, a logical layout all set the stage for a good experience.  And I love the “diving man.”  I am sur00e there was a controversy about this piece of art at some point in time (isn’t there always?)  I find him beautiful, and inspirational, and everything public art should be.

2)  The parking lot – sounds silly, but do you frequent any place where the parking spaces are just a little too small or not angled correctly?  I do.  And let’s be honest, those are the kind of things that often add unnecessary stress to your day.  At the ARC I can park my husband’s ridiculously large, gas-guzzling truck without getting in anyone else’s way.

3)  The ambient temperature – another one that sounds a little stupid, but have you ever belonged to a gym that is so hot you start sweating when you walk in the door?  What about a place so cold that your muscles never actually warm up?  Not fun.

4)  The equipment – they have a huge variety of cardio and weight equipment.  And 99% of the time, 99% of it is working.  The last gym I belonged to looked awesome when you toured it.  But once you joined and actually tried to work out, you quickly realized half of the state-of-the-art machines were out-of-order.

5)  The diverse clientele – true diversity across the board including age, color, race, religion, national origin and I ASSUME sexual orientation.  The entire rainbow of CoMo’s citizenry is represented at the ARC every single day.

6)  The price – monthly memberships for a single person or a family are all relatively inexpensive.  Specialty programs, classes and events are usually also priced in a cost effective manner.

7)  The pool – bottom line – it is a beautiful facility.  My kids are not old enough to enjoy the big slide yet, but we enjoy the kiddie area and the Lazy River.  And it is only $1 per person during “Little Swimmers,” an amazing deal.

8)  Little Gymmers – on Monday and Friday mornings half the large gym is open for toddler age children to enjoy with a parent or guardian.  Again the price is $1.  After living in Columbia, Missouri for half a year and basically NOT getting to know any other parents despite going to the park EVERY DAY, I discovered Little Gymmers.  Soon after, I formed an amazing playgroup with families I met in the ARC’s gym.

9) Special Programs – from Bring Your Own Bike, when young children are allowed to ride their bikes on the track, to the 90-Day-Challenge – a fitness evaluation and competition, to West African Dance Class, which features live music, if you can’t find something to motivate or entertain yourself, you aren’t trying.

10) The Vibe – um?  what does that mean?  Well, much like public art, the vibe is in the eyes of the beholder – or the soul or the participant – or something like that.   Obviously to some coming to the ARC is a social experience.  Without a doubt it is a place to be seen – but it seems like that applies to the folks older then 65 and younger then 15.  In between are serious athletes, weekend warriors, over-weight housewives (Hi!!  that’s me) people with special physical needs, families working out together, new mothers pushing strollers.  Some people are adorned in the latest in footwear, others are wearing 20-yr-old t-shirts (Hi! that’s me, again) still others are wearing bluejeans.  The ARC feels like a community where people are both friendly and minding their own business – what could be better than that?

Top Three Things I Hate About The ARC

1)  The reception desk – there is no excuse for the unprofessional, unorganized nature of the front desk.  Staff members are eating their lunches, texting on their phones and playing cards on the computer while they are being paid with MY TAX DOLLARS.  This lack of professionalism overflows into all aspects of what they are trying to accomplish – do parents have to pay for Little Gymmers or just the kids? – you will never get the same answer twice in a row.  Is the Zumbathon $5 for members or $8 – the computer is telling them one thing, the printed materials tell them something different.  Even when they are trying to get it right, it seems the organization is not supporting them.  And their computers are sooooooo slllllloooooowwwww.  If two people show up at the same time there will inevitably be a line.

2)  The website – pathetic.  I believe it is because it is tied into the city’s Parks and Rec site and is not a stand-alone site.  But really – pathetic.  If you want to know if Little Gymmers is cancelled – show up at the gym and look for a sign written on a whiteboard.  Want to hear about a special event? – it may show up on the site – Zumbathon – it may not – Western African Dance Class.  My friends and I take cell-phone photos of the  flyers that are put up on the counter in the lobby so we can inform each other about cool things coming up that we might want to attend.  Pathetic.  And really – a huge financial opportunity is being missed.

3)  The lack of diversity at Little Gymmers, specifically.  As a mother of a brown child, it is disappointing to show up week-after-week and see only pink kids enjoying this cool opportunity to blow off steam in a climate controlled environment.  As we enter the building each week, I see families in every shade and I hope that their kids will be joining mine on the trikes.  Week-after-week, I am disappointed.

FRESH COMO MEAT: Porn & Groceries

Not to be confused with dead basil.Commodities are one of those things that most people just use in a cliched phrase. A “hot commodity” is usually attributed to the latest in an endless series useless bullshit that is about to sell out at your local widget seller or retailer. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one to also get in on the latest/greatest techy things but, generally speaking, I prefer the used variety of “things”. Under capitalism, everything is commodified to sell on the open market. Everything is judged on its monetary value. If you’re one of those 99 percenters (which, judging by the “readership” here, I’m going to venture to say that you are!) then you’re probably selling your labor to someone in exchange for some kind of compensation that you use to sustain yourself. Usually that’s money. You are worth X amount to your employer. Its kind of disturbing to consider. From the most essential things needed to survive (Food, Clothing, Shelter) to the banal (how many toasters do we need?) to the most private (Sex, Sexuality). Speaking of porn, this city has an disproportionately high amount of porn shops. Sure, its close to many colleges but I’ve lived in college towns before and there is a ton here. Does anyone else find that weird? I mean, I’m not morally opposed to porn shops-the industry, commodification, and exploitation of sex workers, I am.

Back to the matter at hand: Everything can be used to make profit (see: stealing). Some see a beauty in being able to buy anything but I think its a product a really crummy world. Color me Danny Downer all you want, I embrace it with open arms or in the words of the famous dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson (no relation) “I AMMA MERCILESS REALIST AND ITS NOT DEFEATIST”. Maybe its just me, but destroying food so that food commodity prices stay profitable to agri-corporations while close to a billion go hungry is one of the greatest crimes in history.

While we all are being forced to buy commodities, and you can’t buy used food, I thought I’d put together a little list of place I like to get our supplies from here in COMO. There are your usual sort of big box chains that are convenient (Hy-Vee, Gerbes) and there are smaller chains (Schnucks, Patricia’s), I like to get the most bang for the buck, reasonably speaking of course. I’ve been hitting up Moser’s for things like staple items and it’s been pretty great and cheap. You’re not under the watchful eye of some security guard or have to rent a cart like Aldi’s. Moser’s has sweet all-plastic carts too that don’t feel like I’m pushing a sled when packed with The Dude and week’s worth of food. The produce is just as fresh as the others and I found that it’s about 20-30% cheaper than the bigger chains too. If you got some extra cheddar to throw down on some all-natural organic foods, there’s also some great things you can get from places like Clover’s, The amazing Peace Nook, and The Root Cellar. There’s also couple specialty stores like World MarketChong’s Oriental Market and the new Campus Eastern Foods at 4th and Broadway (which has fresh organic lamb!). THE TEAM likes to mix it up between these depending on what’s on our weekly menu or if we’re hosting a bonanza at the CoMo Bungalow.

Of course when the season hits, you simply must get as much as you can from the Columbia Farmer’s Market. Now, with the wonders of indoor buildings and greenhouses, you can go every Saturday 9am to Noon at the Parkade Center, 601 W. Business Loop for the INDOOR Winter Farmers Market!

SALE SALE SALE! BUY BUY BUY!

The Comoian: An Ode to Reuben

It’s Monday, but I don’t feel like complaining. We’ve got time before the whole world comes to an end later this year. So, I’ll complain about something next time.

For now, it’s time to talk about my only reason for living: Reuben Mondays at Sub Shop.

My first love was a red-headed boy with eleven toes and eighteen teeth named Reuben. Reuben was tall, like seven-foot tall and had the boniest elbows that would just make me purr with delight – like an alley cat in heat. With such large hands and feet, one would think that his head would also be large, but instead it was maybe the size of a softball. Still, I longed for the moments when Reuben would wrap his entire frame around my 4’10”, 90-lbs. body and scream sweet nothings into my ear with his raspy voice, unable to control his volume due to a neurological disorder caused by the power lines over his childhood home, hence my poor hearing.

I loved that boy. However, it was never meant to last as he died from a horrible accident, trying to surf down I-70 on top of his brother’s 1973 Dodge Dart. See, Reuben didn’t fit inside the car, so he rode on top (much like our [redacted] sessions). Damn that overpass!

After Reuben’s beheading, I was beside myself, not knowing how to honor his memory. Luckily, I discovered Sub Shop’s Reuben sandwhich. And even luckier – I am Vietnamese after all – I discovered that one can buy a half-Reuben (which is how I remember him), chips, and a soda for a measly $6.99!

That makes me want to [redacted] all over myself.

And I will be faxing my order today, along with a sixer of some Boulevard Wheat (slumming it at work today). You’ve got to have that Reuben on rye. It’s how our Lithuanian brethren from Omaha would have wanted it. Just don’t get the kraut and sausage sandwich, unless you like the feeling of a hundred-million dumpster fires leaking out your [redacted].

So, there’s my review. Thinking of sending it to Columbia Monthly Wedding Advertainment Magazine or maybe The Heartbeat so that I can get paid. What do you think? Do you have a favorite sandwich in town? Do you like the Reuben? Should I have gone with the vegetarian instead? Does Sub Shop really have the hottest buns? If so, why haven’t they asked me to be a spokesmodel? Do you like the  feeling of a hundred-million dumpster fires leaking out your [redacted]? Will you go to Sub Shop based on my recommendation?

Feel free to print out my copy of the menu above. I’ve added some notes to help you with your order. Cheers!

Embedded at Home

There’s a great piece in the January 9 issue of the New Yorker by Columbia native Peter Hessler, who last September was awarded a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship (the award which grants its recipients a no-strings-attached $500,000 and a lifetime of “genius” jokes at their expense). The story, “All Due Respect” (not available full-text online) profiles another COMO native, Jake Adelstein. After a year at Mizzou, Adelstein went to Japan to study abroad, never to return; he stayed on to work as a police reporter for the Yomiuri, a prestigious Tokyo newspaper, and eventually became, Hessler writes, “one of the foremost experts on Japanese organized crime.” He now lives under police protection in central Tokyo.

Adelstein is a colorful character—he wears a porkpie hat, chain-smokes Indonesian clove cigarettes, and sometimes sleeps with his sources—and the Yakuza, with its mobsters who cut off their own pinkies, brag about their liver failure, and are experts at making murder look like suicide, make for a great story. But readers of the COMO Collective may be just as fascinated by the mid-Missourian details Hessler includes by way of background on Adelstein: the elevator shaft he fell down when he worked as a teenager at a Columbia bookstore, or the six-sided Japanese-style pagoda on Adelstein’s father’s farm in southern Boone county, built for his daughter-in-law after she left Japan with their children to escape death threats from the Yakuza. It’s clear that Hessler, who is best-known for his immersive reporting from China, finds a kindred spirit in Adelstein: they’re both writers who, after leaving Columbia, moved to Asia to compose dispatches of a depth and complexity that a casual, visiting reporter could never hope to achieve.

As a recent transplant to Columbia (five months and counting), I feel a little self-conscious about my excitement at seeing the phrase “mid-Missouri” in the pages of the New Yorker. Why should I care? Perhaps since I’m not a sports fan, home-town writers are my substitute. I can’t say I’ve found a reason to care about MU’s transfer to the Southeastern Conference, but when I found out that Hessler grew up in Columbia and had won a genius grant, I lay down the newspaper with care and alerted my wife, who generously pretended she was as interested as I was. Even though I’m hardly a local, I feel the need to think of Columbia as my home town now, and so I’m collecting local heroes. (It’s time to re-read John Williams’s Stoner.)

Late in his profile, after relating the story of Adelstein’s father, who helped expose a (still-unresolved) cover-up involving more than forty deaths at Columbia’s V.A. hospital, Hessler makes a connection between Adelstein’s upbringing and his current life in Japan:

Beneath all the exoticism, it was actually the normalcy of crime that was most disturbing. Whether you’re in Missouri or Tokyo, things aren’t always what they seem—the nurse might be a murderer, and the gangster might run a hedge fund.

I’d argue that this sentiment extends beyond crime and violence: Hessler’s profile is a reminder that when approached with the honesty, attention, and care of a writer who’s embedded and immersed themselves in a place, any city or village becomes worthy of investigation and attention, and any community will eventually open itself up to welcome you as an insider. Please be my friend!!!

The Comoian: A Response to the Best of Columbia

Booches

Columbia's best parking space for 2012!

Inside Columbia‘s annual list of crap people like in this town is nearly ready for press. The voting closes tomorrow at noon, but it may be too late to fix all the problems within the results. Some are due to Inside Columbia‘s vanilla brand of community coverage and some is due to CoMo’s abundance of vanilla people. Whatever the case, the best of Columbia is wrought with problems. Here are ten:

1. All the favorite news personalities are hot women.
To call them “journalists” would be a disservice to the J-School. It seems that the majority of Best of… voters are horny men as the women in each category are dominating the voting. For favorite newscaster, the boys (not a euphemism for boobs) only account for 13.5% of the vote with the smokin’ Sarah Hill in the lead. (I generally identify as heterosexual, but I can’t deny the gravitational pull of Sarah Hill’s smile! Those teeth!) The weathermen only fair slightly better, still trailing the fairer weatherladies. Plus, that hot piece of [redacted] Christina Gervino is running away with the sportscaster prize. It’s a good thing there is only one woman writing for all the newspapers in Columbia, or they would be dominating all the news categories. (You know, it’s sexist how news delivered visually favors attractive women as opposed to news delivered in newspapers favors hard newsmen. No euphemism intended.)

2. The competition for best band seems to be rewarding bands with [redacted] websites.
I don’t know what these bands sound like, but their websites look like [redacted]. Seriously. Don’t they know that image is everything in music? No one actually listens to your music anymore. They want to see that you have a cool website that projects an image of mystery, sexual ambiguity, and the ability to hire a great web design firm. We don’t want MySpace, Comic Sans, or “you must have been on crack when you approved this color palette“. The only band with a tolerable (read: boring) website is the one in fourth place. I suggest banning all four bands from next year’s list until they get someone else (read: anyone else) to redesign their sites.

3. Why the [redacted] are there categories for favorite barber, hairstylist, chiropractor, plumber, garbage man, and general contractor?
Really? Are these folks lining someone’s pockets with their tip money? I didn’t see “Super Cuts” as one of the choices for best hairstylist or “vibrating chairs at the mall” or “Foxy Sauna” for best chiropractor. These choices only privilege a select few of Columbia’s elite. So, I reject them on principle! (Notice that I would have voted for Foxy Sauna under “best chiropractor” and not “best massage”. Trust me. If you ever go, you’ll understand.)

4. What is really meant by Columbia’s “best restroom”?
This award should be renamed “Larry Craig‘s favorite restroom in Columbia”. That’s the only reason I can come up with such a ridiculous category. Dudes need a code for where to get some hot action and it seems like the mall is the spot where one should keep their feet firmly in his own stall unless…

5. The Best Public Artwork prize will go to the worst public art in all of Columbia.
Just look at the choices: the keyhole in front of city hall, painted utility boxes downtown, and those gnarly, twisted horses of the Apocalypse out by Landmark Bank. There has to be better public art in this town than that. I’m sure there’s better art in Eastside Tavern’s men’s room than those monstrosities. What about that thing I wrote about your mom on that overpass? That was art, my friends. Of course, we all know what was the real winner this year for public art. Mizzou fans just aren’t able to admit it.

6. Thank god Mike Odette is winning best chef or we’d have to give it to a teacher at the career center.
That’s right, running right behind a James Beard Award semifinalist, we have a guy in Brook Harlan who was a former Food Network Star contestant and doesn’t currently cook for anyone outside of Inside Columbia or his students as the second-best chef in all of Columbia. How can this be? Don’t get me wrong. I want to [redacted] the super-sexy Mr. Harlan in the [redacted] just as much as any warm-blooded American woman and his students make a good omelet, but shouldn’t the best chef in Columbia actually be someone making food for Columbia restaurant patrons? All Brook’s candidacy does is push IC‘s own profile.

7. I am so tired of seeing decidedly non-CoMo businesses getting attention from a list that should be CoMo-only.
Why are McDonald’s, Hy-Vee, Five Guys, Cold Stone Creamery, El Maguey, Pickleman’s, Jimmy John’s, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Panera, and several others I’m forgetting even on a list for best in Columbia, Missouri? Might as well include Mother Theresa for best do-gooder, Starbucks for best coffee (which I would have totally chosen), and Wal-Mart for best plastic crap made in China. These categories should feature nothing but the best Columbia has to offer, not corporate, homogenized, mass-marketed junk you can get anywhere!

8. Sorry, but Flat Branch does not have the best beer list.
I’ll give you that their beer might be your favorite, Columbia. However, this grandma likes to get her drink on now and again. When I drink beer, I want variety, not ten of your English-style ales and a tap reserved for Bud Lite because people actually order Bud Lite at a brewery and this should tell you all you need to know about the beer at Flat Branch. Flat Branch’s beer is fine, but they don’t own the best beer list. For that, one would have to peruse the list at Sycamore, but obviously the folks at Inside Columbia or their readers  don’t know what a good beer list looks like. Any of the other choices would have been preferable to Flat Branch, again, a bar that serves pretty much its own beer with one tap reserved for the lamest of lame frat beers. (I have the same problem with the best wine list. Les Bourgeois? Really?)

9. Do we really need categories for best place for eye wear, dry-cleaning, or botox?
Yes, this is basically a repeat of #3, but it needs to be stressed that we don’t give a [redacted] about such trivialities. These categories are asinine and a bit patronizing. We are a highly-educated community. Quit wasting our time with such nonsense, which brings me to my final item…

10. Best in Columbia missed out on some really important categories this year.
Here are the categories that should have made the final cut for IC. Please leave suggestions for who should win each category in the comments once you’re done complaining about my foul mouth and anonymity.

  • Best Place to Get a [redacted]
  • Best Adult Superstore
  • Best Place to Get Food Poisoning
  • Best GILF (Me! Me!)
  • Best DIY-Vegan-Post-Punk-Dubstep-Honkytonk Trio
  • Best Sausage Gravy and Biscuit (and none of that vegetarian [redacted] – I want some meat!)
  • Best Walmart to Photograph for the People of Walmart
  • Best Public Restroom that’s not actually intended to be a public restroom
  • Best Columnist for You to Punch in the Face
  • Best Pickled Eggs
  • Best Barnes and Noble
  • Best Cure for VD (Seriously, I want to know.)
  • Best Gynecologist
  • Best Frozen Pizza Not Made by Shakespeare’s
  • Best Parking Space (We have tons of them.)
  • Best Place to Get One of those Tattoos on My Index Finger that Looks Like a Mustache
  • Best Local Website that Still Uses Geocities
  • Best Bar to Get Wasted At
  • Best Gay Bar (There are only two…that you know of.)
  • Best Art History Professor
  • Best Tie
  • Best Plain-Clothed Police Officer
  • Best Tazing
  • Best Millionaire, Thousandaire, and Hundredaire
  • Best Hipster
  • Best Lame Local Magazine That’s Really Just a Glorified Ad-Sheet
  • Best Columbia Craig’s List Ad
  • Best Naked Picture of John Hamm
  • Best Blog Post in Response to the Best of Columbia List
  • Best Ham
  • Best Shortwave Radio Program

The Comoian: The Jewel of Downtown

What we all really miss about Osco: cheap beer. (This image has nothing to do with the commentary below.)

Nope. This post is not about all those [redacted] parking garages. The jewel to which I’m referring is the long-abandoned Osco building just west of downtown. Not only is this [redacted] piece of [redacted] a [redacted] eyesore, but it also happens to be owned by the richest man in town, Stan [redacted] Kroenke.

Recently*, Kroenke narrowly avoided a $25k fine for parking some toys on the old Osco lot. Yes, that rich piece of [redacted] was somehow allowed to illegally park a bunch of bulldozers and cranes on the lot, but I can’t get out of a $15 parking ticket for leaving my Ford Escort on Ninth Street for ten minutes past the meter’s expiration while I wait for an Elvis Parsley at Main Squeeze. That [redacted] can also leave that eyesore to end all eyesores untouched with nary a fine or reprimand. I guess those are the perks for the world’s 440th richest [redacted]. He is the 1%, mother [redacted]s.  (To be fair and slightly more accurate, Kroenke was renting the lot to the university for work being done on campus, [redacted] both Peter and Paul simultaneously.)

To further complicate this issue, one has to look at the history of the property. What was there before Osco? The historic irony is that site was “purged” during the early part of the urban renewal period of “shacks” (i.e., poor black people living where visitors could see them) so that the gateway to downtown and to the university would be more appealing. So, now instead of poor black people impolitely showing their poverty to the rest of the world, we have one of the world’s richest men letting a dilapidated retail store (that he helped run out of business) disintegrate to the ground. So, the take away to me from that is: it’s alright to look at white, rich people’s [redacted], but not poor black people’s [redacted].

Anyway, my real point was to complain about the current Osco fiasco, not filthy rich jerks with a borderline porn star mustache**. The store that apparently specialized in vitamins and furniture kits(?) closed just over seven years ago. Still, nothing is currently happening at the old Osco building. The good people of Columbia have their ideas for the potential meth lab, but Kroenke sits on the property and the city just lets him.

The state of that building clearly is in violation of city/county health code and clearly no one at the city or county intends to enforce said code. Yet, a college kid puts a couch on his porch or parks on perma-mud to expand a gravel driveway a space and it can cost them hundreds of dollars in tickets and fines.

There are rumblings concerning the use of imminent domain and the rekindling of an urban renewal board to be used to declare part of downtown blighted where current owners don’t want to sell, but big developers want to develop. As the god-I-don’t-believe-in as my witness and over my rotting my corpse will single-family residential downtown be declared ‘blighted’ while that [redacted] Osco monstrosity sits there rotting in slow-motion. For this, the Comoian may have to come out of hiding.

People, pay close attention, the entire western corner of the intersection of Broadway/Providence (up to the cemetery on the south and the bank building on the north) are slowly being emptied and those parcels are being aggregated. You all need to understand that a BIG, [REDACTED] retail/commercial development is going to happen on both sides of Broadway sometime in the next 20-30 years. The Osco lot is already part of the Community Improvement District (CID). I’m not sure about the north-side lots, but we need to pay attention for those that are not already C-2 (central business district) asking for that zoning designation. The public will have virtually no input into how that develops thanks to everyone sitting around with their thumbs up their [redacted] while the Special Business District*** cronies got the CID**** pushed through. CoMo will pay for that HUGE.

Ever been to Lincoln, NE’s dead downtown? I fear that is our fate. We don’t want to be Lincoln [redacted], Nebraska, do we?

So, the next time you drive by that pile of [redacted] once known as “Osco”, be sure to think of Kroenke and his cronies in city hall trying to turn us into Lincoln or simply a town of [redacted] empty strip malls. Imagine all the good things that could be done with that plot of land that would be preferable to an empty lot, waiting to provide trust funds for spoiled brats or even to line the pockets of select members of city council in the form of campaign contributions. Let that lot be a reminder of what’s really going on in CoMo as we all bask in the dawning of a new year and want to preserve what’s good and right with this place. Just don’t ignore it, CoMo. We can’t let these [redacted] win.

*Well, two weeks ago, actually. I get my news from leftover newspapers in people’s yards. I’m too cheap to subscribe to newspapers and am functionally illiterate anyway. So, what would I do with a newspaper once I got my hands on one?

**Interesting tidbit: Although Kroenke’s flavor saver is porn-worthy, he isn’t married to a porn star like fellow 1%-er and CoMo-fine-avoider, trailer trash developer, and space house aficionado George Gradow.

***The Special Business District, which was a 501C3 that was essentially a department of City government funded through local tax dollars and governed by a city council appointed board. The SBD is in the process of being dissolved and replaced by the CID.

****The CID’s a [redacted] travesty, nightmare for downtown. Downtown property owners can now pretty much do whatever the [redacted] they want with little public oversight or input. What was once a little jewel in the middle of nowhere will be turned into milquetoast, boring as all [redacted], suburbanesque piece of Disney bull [redacted] for “the ladies that lunch” in no time. It’s disgusting.

Kate and Zac asked me to include this disclaimer so that they don’t get blamed for my opinions. That’s fine. Unfortunately, I have a terrible memory and keep forgetting to post it. In case you’ve forgotten, the above are my opinions, not theirs. I can own up to that while maintaining anonymity. So, you should know that The Comoian is part of the Collective meant to provide another perspective on Columbia not currently present in our pages. This perspective – like all the opinions on this website – are not representative of The CoMo Collective, its editors, nor its writers as a whole. Take it for what it is. Leave angry comments in the space below.

Also, the Comoian would like to send a warm thank-you to the Ever-Crabby, Doubter of Professed Communtarian Intentions of the Hyper-Wealthy. Without her knowledge and eloquence, this post/rant would never have been possible.

12 days to Como Christmas

Ok, so maybe it’s eleven. But, saying “eleven days to Como Christmas” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  Besides, this was the date that the powers that be gave me for my post. I’d like to blame it on the Comoian but it is probably because I haven’t posted anything since late September.  Anyways, I thought, in the spirit of giving, it would be appropriate to suggest some gifts to a few Columbians….

Gary Pinkel, yes this one will be easy. With his recent DWI or DUI (what’s the difference I don’t know, nor do I care. All I know is that you shouldn’t drink and drive), this one is easy. He obviously needs to get a breathalyzer. I think it has been a rather interesting debate surrounding his actions. Most people are in agreement that what he did was a poor example to his players and whether or not the one game suspension and huge fine was waranted. However, what is often not discussed is just how frequently this goes on. We live in a town with many bars and with many social scenes that seem to revolve around drinking. Just how frequently are people really driving safely?  What precautions are people really doing to help stop driving while intoxicated?   With such a transient community, I’m sure many have forgotten, or didn’t know about a past public figure who did the same thing. When Chuck Graham was arrested, we quickly moved on and forgot about it. Sure, he lost the next election, but the issue of gatherings always requiring alcohol around still remains.

Police Chief Ken Burton. I’d like to suggest to him the book Police Ethics. However, I think someone must have already given him that book last year, after the whole SWAT dog shooting fiasco. It seems he’s gotten a chance to read it. Perhaps he needs to pass it along to some of his officers , especially those that conducted the internal investigation. Or, perhaps it is also time that Chief Burton reviews the policy that allows the investigation to rule that shoving an inmate with such force that causes a broken vertebra to be deemed necessary. But hey, I’m not the only one that thinks so, as a recent editorial and petition have stated.

The Comoian should start reading more on local Columbia topics and challenge herself with more than just saying she dislikes Shakespeare's Pizza.

It is interesting that our very own masked vietnamese grandmother The Comoian hasn’t chimed in in this topic. After all, she prides herself on anonymity. Yet, she really hasn’t taken on too many real issues. Sure, her redacted comment on the gerrymandering of Columbia Wards was actually pretty good, even if it was anonymous. But, since then she’s become the woman who yells at kids to stay off of her lawn. I guess that was to be expected. Except, most old ladies I know will actually come outside to tell me to get off their lawn, rather than just yelling with her blinds drawn. Perhaps The Comoian needs a subscription to The Tribune (I’d link there, but you know what I’m talking about). Or, she could dodge the “paywall” (hey look, I used a term I hear all the twitter journalism professors use) and learn the joys of private browsing mode (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Explorer). Don’t worry, once you approach your 10 articles you can just close the window and start the month new! Maybe then The Comoian will go back and comment on real issues in Columbia or real things that might be nagging her. (BTW in case you missed it, KBIA’s Darren Hellwege did a great job on that, non-anonymously with The Antlers.)

I’m not anti The Comoian, I’m more disappointed she doesn’t go for real topics. Oh, that and that she continues to try to be anonymous, but that’s a different issue.

Wow, I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox. I blame reading the latest Comian post before typing this for going a bit off-tangent. But hey, at least you know who is posting this and don’t have to just assume who it is.

The Comoian: Don’t [Redacted] with CoMo

Blue Note

Not "the District" Via Chris Yunker's Photostream on Flickr

One of the more endearing/annoying aspects of Columbians is that they are eternally loyal to their hometown, no matter the situation or topic. According to the average Columbian, there is no better place to live or raise a family. The streets are safe (except for where they aren’t); the university is top-notch (in drunken debauchery); and the parks are beautiful (aside from being littered with dog excrement). In these people’s eyes, Columbia’s [redacted] doesn’t stink.

Then, someone like me comes along with some criticisms. They can’t stand it. It’s hard for them to believe that some [redacted] with a WordPress account would have the gall to insult their hometown. I guess this is an admirable trait the people of CoMo possess. They love this place for some reason and won’t hear it when someone disparages their home.

I’ve always known this about Columbia, even before I started writing for this blog. And the blog itself reflects this uncritical perspective. Post after post tells us how great the restaurants, bands, libraries, etc. are when few of these amenities would make the cut in almost any other major city.

When, as demonstrated in comments following my posts, one critiques the town, folks get stupid [redacted]. That’s a huge reason I go anonymous. This town is too small and people are too wrapped up in their town’s image for me to put my name out there. I mean, I’m only an 80-year-old Vietnamese grandmother. How can I physically hold off an attack because I don’t like a Booches [redacted] burger?

Besides, if they don’t like it, don’t read it. Funny how those who have an issue with my critiques are the ones who comment the most. For people who like to avoid negativity, they sure give me a lot of attention and throw a ton of negativity back at me. Whatever. [Redacted] it!

Here’s a news flash, Columbia, your [redacted] stinks. All of our [redacted] stinks.

The weather sucks. The food is generally substandard and wouldn’t last two days in a city with choices. The sports ball teams are a drain on public funds and attract too much attention while our students “learn” in trailers. The suburban sprawl is out of control and irresponsible. The city is segregated. You’re ruining the downtown (I refuse to call it “the District.”) with all these parking garages. And no one knows how to use the roundabouts.

Of course, I’m not all-negative. It’s the holiday season and I’m filled with the spirit of little baby Jesus and holiday charity. There’s good here as well.

A few restaurants do things right by featuring local products. I’d make love to that Patric Chocolate guy if I could get my [redacted- There was too much vulgarity going on here that I had to redact it all.-Ed.] him. I saw Arcade Fire at Mojo’s here, once. There is finally a decent Vietnamese joint that actually doesn’t feature a Chinese menu. The beer is cheap and the men are cheaper. The Katy Trail is nice when the leaves change, except when vagrants start bugging me for change. There are a couple of mega-churches where I can get my groove on while I worship.

See? It’s not all bad, Columbia. You’ve actually got a lot going for you.

So, when I see a few whiny babies getting all worked up over the fact that one 80-year-old Vietnamese grandmother doesn’t like their favorite pizza joint, I wonder what’s wrong with their self-esteem. There’s good and bad in Columbia, Missouri. You can’t have one without the other. I mean, [redacted] stinks no matter who drops the deuce. Think of this as a motto to live by, fellow Comoians.

That’s all for now. I’ll post something Christmas-y the week after next and wait patiently for your Christmas cards to arrive. Toodles!

Wordless Wednesday : CoMo’s first snow of the season!

The following people, places and things were photographed yesterday around The District and The Village of Cherry Hill during Columbia’s first snowfall of the winter season.