Saturday
Sep052009

The Branson Christian News On All Sides

I rarely pick up the local "throw away papers' at the grocery store, but this week I picked up the current edition of the Branson Christian News.  The name was declarative  and I presumed that it would be full of anti-ObamaCare pieces.  I am always curious to read a new twist on why our impoverished community which relies principally on Medicaid/Medicare Health Services is, in spite thereof, fighting mad about "the government" daring to "force socialized medicine on us".  Actually there was very little coverage.  Indeed the owner/editor, or "steward" as he prefers, half apologized for offering that he didn't think the government was very accomplished at running businesses.

What I did find perplexing was that there were several news/editorial pieces about the relationship of the Christian Church to Government.  The expressed persuasions were all over the board.  Some were adamant that only a Christ Based Government could solve our cultures woes, while others were resolute in maintaining a rigid "separation of church and state".  Quite frankly, I hadn't thought much about the far right's "consistence problem" in, on one hand, being committed to evangelizing every little corner of the culture, including government, and, on the other hand, insisting that "the government" stay out of all private affairs.  I guess their strategy is to have half their ranks vehemently support one position and the other half vehemently support the opposite.  Now, if the far right will but divide themselves on the no less problematic Health Care dilemma, most likely the O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh instigators will move on and we can get to reforming our screwed up Health Care system, and MOVE ON!  

Sunday
Aug302009

The Cliff House

For weeks expensive flyers have been showing up around Branson beckoning the public to show up at a "no reserve auction" at which a multi-million dollar trophy house will be sold in early September.  Today was an "open house" at which those of us planning on attending the auction might get a careful look at the muti-level posh digs of someone who indeed had built an extraordinary residence out off of Fall Creek Road on a bluff overlooking the upper end of Taneycomo.  Personally, I would have liked to report that I built the house.  I did not.  It was one of those precipice dwellings where expensive windows are can til eve red  from walls rising hundreds of feet above sheer cliffs and the interior is all about spacious marble trimmed in teak.  I would not like to report that I had commissioned such a residence to be constructed, even at what would have been a lesser cost during the 70's or 80's when, I guess, the project took place.  It was just so poorly scaled for any lifestyle that might actually reside at the house.  Coughing up the presumed $1,000,000 plus price will be nothing in comparison to the  new owners anguish in keeping this place in reasonable condition.  He/She will have to hire a full time person to hire and fire a procession of "opportunistic residential services professionals" necessary for the place to just stay habitable; not to mention that it will then still be on a marginal subdivision street lined with modest ranch houses, many of which are vacant, in of course, Branson.

 I can imagine two story lines  behind The Cliff House.  The first is that I hope that it was not the life long dream of someone who loved what they had imagined and made a reality, only to be forced to leave it behind when they could no longer sustain the economic "tug-of-war" necessary to "finish at home".  Second, I hope that it was but a thing conceived by a distant architect in response to some rich dude's whim commission, and that indeed, it was never really anyones home.  Either way,  The Cliff House was a rather sad expression on a beautiful early fall day.        

 

Sunday
Aug232009

Toilets & Timeshares

Just Sunday clicking through Twitter posts under "Branson" and noted a fun sequence of stories.  The first was a link from a Michigan lady who for reasons unknown wanted the world to know that the Shoji Theater has won the Bathroom of the Year Award.  Shoji's bathrooms are apparently over-the-top lavish, and were so recognized by a Bathroom Supply Company who gives an annual award.  The next "Branson Post", one minute later was some poor "timeshare owner" pleading for help selling a Branson Timeshare.  The Timeshare "key word" had plastered the ladies post page with a dozen Marketing Links, all presenting evidence that the lady was a scam victim and should bale at any cost.  One link even relinked to a u-tube video where a prominent financial advisor described timeshares  as the worst investment in America.  The fun is the thought that as Branson, the 20th century resort boom town sinks under the weight of "timeshare disaster", the ominousness of "going down the toilet" will be cushioned by knowing that right over there off Gretna Road, Branson, has the world's best toilets!

Sunday
May102009

Calling CarFAX

Ozark First's Rewards Page confirmed that the Branson Auto Museum will be opening "on the strip" this May.  I was teased with the prospect that in only 25 days, 7 hours and 14 minutes, I would be able to buy, through Ozark's First, an admission ticket for one, at $25 off the published $50 admission price.  Where is "CarFax" when the "keep 'em honest" used car reporting service is so badly needed.  Let me get this straight... there is a business enterprise that plans to market 148 used cars at their showroom in Branson, Missouri and for the "privilege" of viewing these cars, the dealer/broker would like for me to pay him $50.  During this worst of all years for the car industry, when Gm/Ford/Chrysler/Japan/Germany are all willing to give me $100 just to look at their cars hoping that I will allow them to kinda sell me one for almost free, there is someone out there expecting that I will buy into a "Car Museum Ploy'.  With this kind of entrepreneurial optimism sprouting this spring, maybe the supply side pundits are right in speculating that the "good old days are here again".   

Saturday
May022009

A Pretty Taxed Army

Those of us that routinely bypass downtown Branson, by cutting off of East 76 at Wendys,  know that The Church Army (CA) has a marginal thrift shop a block or two along the route leading to the Bridge.  Not being a long term resident, I didn't know the scope of The Church Army.  I now know that it is much more than a mere thrift shop. Apparently last evening this Branson based Non-Profit Organization had a gathering at the Hilton attended by a reported crowd of 500+, a mixture of staff, clients and benefactors, I was told.  Further, to my surprise, I was told that CA's client/residents in Branson number somewhere over 200.  A quick check at their website clarified that the client/residents are those disenfranchised by drugs, alcohol, incarceration, etc. Where do all of these "clients" live, I wondered.  Today, I still don't know the full answer but I did learn from a young man working in the Old Branson neighborhood that he lived at a small, poorly maintained, old bungalow just down the street from the CA thrift shop, along with 9 other CA clients.  I verified it to be accurate that each of the 10 clients pays CA seventy five dollars weekly for this shared residence reported to offer 2 baths one refrigerator and wall to wall beds.   It is Saturday and hardly a day to quiz the CA staff, but it seems like a "rack rate" slightly above the Hilton.  I need to have this explained more fully!