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The calendar flipped! Let’s party!

If you know me, you know my headline is completely sarcastic. I hate New Year’s Eve more than any other celebration, and I believe it is so puerile to celebrate just because a calendar flipped and you’re putting a new year on checks.

If flipping a calendar was so huge, let’s do it after EVERY month!

I pray Bill DeBlasio will shut down Times Square in seven months and tell everyone to watch the ball drop from the comfort and safety of their residences while Ryan Seacrest provides play-by-play. Of course, there would be tens of thousands of morons who would flaunt that if DeBlasio issued that order, just like idiots did last weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks.

May wasn’t as bad as I feared. The week in St. Louis, plus two Zoom conferences with Crista and one with Peggy, helped the month go by quicker than I thought it might exactly one month ago.

However, the month ended horribly with what went on in Minneapolis last Monday and the subsequent protests and riots. Kansas City and St. Louis are among the places which have been victimized by looting. I’m leaving it at that.

There was a time where I would get on a soapbox and rant about anything political. Not now. If you’re looking for a hot take, I suggest you find another blog. You aren’t getting it from FOOTS PRINTS.

I have an appointment in Hutchinson tomorrow morning. I thought about going down there tonight to stay, but when I saw the volume of food I still had to clear from my refrigerator and freezer, I decided to save the money I would have spent on the hotel and rough it. That means departing before sunrise tomorrow to make it for 10:15, barring an unforeseen illness.

Why am I going two hours to Hutchinson instead of just going to Hays, or even Salina? It’s personal for me. Sorry.

I ate McDonald’s twice last week, both in Hays. It was the first hamburgers I ate from a restaurant, other than White Castle in St. Louis, since I met Peggy at McDonald’s in Russell in February. McDonald’s is much better able to handle mobile orders than most fast food restaurants, so I patronize them over other locations which can’t get their mobile/online ordering straight, or those which don’t have it at all.

Chick-Fil-A was the first fast food restaurant to roll out mobile/online ordering in 2015. I seemed to be the only person using it at the Kansas City location at I-29 and Barry Road, at least until 2017. The Chick-Fil-A in Salina lost my order more than once in those early years, and it angered me. But I have not had a single problem with Chick-Fil-A in three years.

The McDonald’s in Russell has some very old employees who probably don’t know how to turn on a computer. I have to go into the store to pick up an online order, something which wasn’t possible for over two months.

White Castle’s online ordering system is great, at least through the main website. The app is spotty, and often I cannot pay through Apple Pay because it gives me an error message stating “fraud”. Thank God my tablet can handle desktop websites.

I’m going to end my review of fast food ordering here, at least for this post. There is one restaurant which is so far behind the technology curve it’s downright asinine. I’ll reveal it later this week.

When I went to Dillon’s in Hays last week to pick up what few things I needed, I noticed all the maskless faces, a sharp contrast from St. Louis, where most people were compliant (or ALL were complaint in the case of Whole Foods). One man without a mask had two young daughters in tow, both without masks as well. I cringed.

I doubt the surgical masks I’m wearing could prevent the coronavirus strain which causes COVID-19 from getting into my airways. However, by wearing a mask, my sneezes and coughs go into the mask, not the air where they might infect others. It’s an inconvenience, but it’s one that is necessary. I don’t want to fathom the alternative, a strict lockdown under martial law.

It’s getting hot out there. June in Kansas. Yeesh. I knew it was coming. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Not-so-new news

In my previous post very late last night, I recalled the 1981 walkway collapse at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Kansas City, fitting since I am in KC right now.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of another tragedy, one which I vividly remember, even though I was still three months away from my eighth birthday. It was probably the first tragic event I can recall watching on the news when it happened.

July 18, 1984 marks one of the most tragic days in the history of San Diego, and the most tragic for McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is supposed to be a happy place. Kids look forward to a visit to the Golden Arches, not only for a Happy Meal, but for the opportunity to play outside, even though in 1984, the play areas at McDonald’s were nowhere near as elaborate as they are today. In 1984, I recall the McDonald’s closest to my home had a giant Ronald McDonald standing in front, a Mayor McCheese toy, and a couple of other rides resembling other characters.

However, the McDonald’s on San Ysidrio Boulevard became the ending point for 21 lives that Wednesday afternoon.

That day, a mentally unstable 41-year man named James Oliver Huberty walked into that particular McDonald’s and began shooting. And shooting. And shooting.

When the gruesome 78-minute real-life horror movie was over, 21 people, most of them children, one of those an eight-month old infant, were dead. Thankfully, a San Diego Police SWAT team member took out Huberty with a single shot to the heart, or more carnage would have ensued.

Ironically, Huberty ate at another McDonald’s before going on his rampage. He blamed the monosodium glutamate (MSG) in McDonald’s food for making him mentally unstable. BULL. I’ve eaten too much McDonald’s in my lifetime to know MSG does not make one homicidal.

The shooting began at 3:56 p.m. Pacific Time, or four minutes before ABC, CBS and NBC went off the air in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. The regular anchors, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw were all in San Francisco for the Democratic National Convention, and that was the day Geraldine Ferraro was revealed as Walter Mondale’s running mate. Most of that night was dedicated to the DNC and Ferraro’s background.

Unfortunately, in 1984, there wasn’t the 24-hour news cycle as we have now. CNN came on the air in 1984, but my parents hardly ever watched. Fox News and MSNBC weren’t even pipe dreams.

Cable in 1984 was a far cry from what it is today. I recall we had HBO, Showtime, ESPN, USA,, CNN, The Weather Channel, TBS, WGN and WOR out of New York. Heaven for a kid not yet eight.

The 6 p.m. local newscasts in New Orleans were mostly dedicated that night to the continuing financial problems of the 1984 World’s Fair, officially the Louisiana World Exposition, which opened two months earlier along the Mississippi River, at the opposite end of Poydras Street from the Louisiana Superdome. The sports broadcast focused on the Saints beginning training camp in Vero Beach,, Florida. The weather forecast: hot and humid, but the tropics were dead calm.

I wasn’t old enough to stay up and watch the 10 p.m. news, so I had to wait until the morning news the next day to find out what happened. It was so tragic it bumped the end of the DNC as the lead story on the CBS Evening News.

Had the McDonald’s massacre occurred in 2004 instead of 1984, we would have found out in minutes, due to the presence of Fox News and MSNBC in addition to CNN, plus the Internet and all its outlets. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had there been serious lag time between the 9/11 attacks and the first broadcast reports. Then again, (a) those happened in the morning, and (b) they came in New York City, where all the networks have their news headquarters. I’m sure there might have been a little lag had those occurred in the 1980s, but not much.