Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I'm it!

Yikes! Unbeknownst to me until just a little while ago, I was tagged by Joel (who was tagged by John B.) in the latest book meme floating around the blogiverse.

Here's the dealio:
*Find the nearest book.
*Name the title and author.
*Turn to p. 123.
*Post sentences 6-8.
*Tag 3 more people.
And it so happens that I received a raft of new reading material for Christmas, and the first book I started was Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence by Tim Parks.

Here are sentences 6-8 from p. 123:
On the matter of San Marco, the pope again proved flexible. The Silvestrines were evicted. The rigid Dominicans were moved in from Fiesole.
So, who to tag next. This could be tough since most of my friends don't know how to read. But...Consider yourselves tagged.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

A lump of coal for Christmas

I understand where Delaware's coming from. I get what New York is saying. I totally dig the sentiments of Maine.

But I think if I were Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, I would tell them all to STFU!

Those three states, along with Connecticut, California, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin, have called out Sebelius, and by extension Kansas, in the National Media for plans to build three coal-fired power plants in western Kansas.

They have condescendingly urged Sebelius to "ban" the construction of the plants, which locals think will provide as many as 2,000 construction jobs and an economic expansion.

Frankly, coal-powered plants seem a bit antiquated to me. I'm no expert on power generation (except for natural gas generation after a night of Mexican food), but it seems like building a coal-fired plant is sort of like starting a company to sell 8-track tape players.

But I find the condescending meddling by east-coast and west-coast hypocrites to be extremely off-putting. Hey New York, what about all the pollution you're causing (and I'm not just talking about cultural pollution). Launch any garbage barges lately?

Hey California, why not look into the 140,000 metric tons of ozone and diesel particulates put out by Hollywood each year. Hey Maine, try not fishing the Atlantic to death sometime.

The point is everyone has their own problems to deal with. Go deal with them and let Kansas deal with Kansas' problems. Is there a polite way to say mind your own damn business?

Either way, Sebelius is likely to "ban" the new coal plants. The Kansas governor's mansion is a stepping stone for her, and she can't afford to piss off the politically powerful potential allies on the coasts.

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Survey Says... Future me

I'm not sure what to make of this...

If You Were Born in 2893...

Your Name Would Be: Anass Rhammar

And You Would Be: A Feared Warrior

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More nerd humor

There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kansas City Penguins?

Eric Duhatschek has a column in the Globe Mail discussing the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team relocating to Kansas City.
The scenario where the Penguins absolutely stay and survive in Pittsburgh requires that the Isle Of Capri — and not two other suitors — end up with the slots license.

If not, then all bets are off; and the Penguins could be on the move; and if they do go, they would most likely end up in that hockey hotbed of Kansas City, Missouri.
I've been jonesing for some professional hockey since The Blades skated out of town. And this scenario would certainly solve a lot of problems for the KCMO powers that be that built an arena without a tenant.

Here's more from the column:
As a scenario, it looks startlingly similar to the flight of the Quebec Nordiques to Colorado following the 1994-95 season, when Marcel Aubut's ownership group couldn't figure out a way to get the government to pay for a new building in his city either. Denver had previously failed as an NHL town; the woeful Rockies left in the early 1980s to become the New Jersey Devils.

The second time around proved to be a charm for Denver, however, largely because the new team was an emerging NHL powerhouse, as opposed to the ridiculously mediocre expansion team they had in their first incarnation.
"Ridiculously mediocre" - Heh, that would fit right in with the Chiefs and Royals.

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YouTube Tuesday: Oh good grief!

Although Christmas isn't my favorite time of year (at best, it's a distant third behind the kickoff of football season in the fall and Independence Day in the summer), I have to say that I'm a little more excited about it this year than in years past.

For one thing, this is the first time in probably 15 years that my supermodel wife and I are staying home for Christmas instead of driving all over God's creation visiting relatives.

Also, it's the first time that our four-year-old daughter is really "into" Christmas. She's trying hard to be good all the time, but because she's human (and she hasn't had much practice at that), it's difficult.

The best part of parenthood is seeing the world through your kid's eyes. Lately, we've been watching all of the old classic animated Christmas shows on TV. This takes me back to my childhood, while allowing me to experience the holidays anew with my daughter.

And then, we see this week's YouTube Tuesday entry. What a great piece of creativity, melding a classic Christmas cartoon with one of the best comedies on TV today in Scrubs.

It appears that this was created especially by the writers and actors of Scrubs (the voices are genuine) for their Christmas party. And thanks to the magic of YouTube and the interwebs, we get to enjoy it today.

Merry Christmas!

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Survey Says... just your average joe

You Are 60% "Average American"

You are average because you don't make New Year's resolutions.

You are not average since you have (at least) a college degree.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

TV Moment of the Week

I know, I know, some people consider the SNL sketch of the "D--k in a Box" to be the best clip of the week. But to me, it's a little low-brow, a little too easy.

No, I have to give the nod of TV Moment of the Week to a barbershop quartet explaining to Peter Griffin how a vasectomy works. Funny and educational...

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Circle gets the square

Not feeling very inspired lately, so I'm going back to Europe (figuratively, not literally unfortunately).

Here's a pic I shot during our last trip to Paris in 2001 (pre-Sept. 11). I love Paris in the springtime.

Your comments and critiques are welcome.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Liberty tour

There have been lots of rave reviews lately about the recently re-opened Liberty Memorial and the National World War I museum.

I haven't had a chance to visit since it reopened (although I was impressed with the museum when I visited it before all of the expansion and renovation), but it is definitely high up on my to do list for my upcoming Christmas vacation.

But until that vacation gets here in a couple of weeks, I found this link that I wanted to share. It's a video montage produced by Take2 productions in KC. Check it out.

(You'll have to click the image, since T2's website didn't include embed code. Follow the links on the T2 page to Work>Longform>click the Liberty Memorial pic. C'mon T2, get with the program!).

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The blind leading the stupid

I don't see what can possibly go wrong with this. I mean what possible harm could come from giving blind people firearms?

Lawmaker aims to allow the blind to hunt
A Texas lawmaker is aiming to allow the blind to hunt. Texas State Representative Edmund Kuempel has introduced a measure that would allow blind people to hunt any game that sighted people can currently pursue.

He hopes it will be passed after the legislature reconvenes in January though he does not expect it to come into affect until 2008.

"This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great," Kuempel told Reuters.
Of course, I suspect the blind hunters only do it for the jerky.

By the way, I think a better headline would have been "Lawmaker wants to legalize hunting for blind people."

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


At 3:32 p.m. Central time on Dec. 12, 2006, my blog's odometer turned 30,000 page view.

It's a humble milestone on this humble blog -- nothing like the bazillions of hits other more popular blogs get, but I thought it would be fun to mark the occasion nonetheless.

So if your IP address is on Sunflower Cablevision's host, and you live in Lawrence, Kan., and you came here from BlogKC, and you're using Firefox 1.5 on Mac OS X, well congratulations lucky number 30,000!

Leave us a comment to let us know how it feels!

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YouTube Tuesday: It's Tricky

Mashup culture is at its height nowadays. It's not like it was when I was a young buck, where you either consumed the intellectual produce of others or created original works for others to consume.

Now, the creative output of anyone can be taken by anyone and added, mixed, and mashed up with the creative output of anyone else to form a new work.

This example from YouTube is a mashup of pop cultural icons from the 80s through today. The old-school soundtrack really takes me back, although Run DMC is probably spinning in their collective metaphorical grave.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Putting the fun in Funkhouser

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an observation on the resemblance of KCMO mayoral candidate Mark Funkhouser to fictional Middle Earth wizard Saruman.

It may have been a cheap shot since, after all, I don't know Mr. Funkhouser. By all accounts he's a upstanding, honest and honorable guy. But my comparison, and similar others, are all in good fun.

And to his credit, Mr. Funkhouser has joined in the fun with some self-deprecating humor. I received this email from him last night:

Just want you to know I'm now a member of the local blogosphere. Check out my site, and you'll see my response to your post about my looks!

I hope you'll take the time to check it out now and then. I'm going to post as often as possible.

Yours very truly,

Mark Funkhouser
I particularly like the Spock comparison. Kudos and balls to Mr. Funkhouser for being a good sport. Let's hope he learns to use Blogger's "comments" function soon (hint hint)

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Friday, December 08, 2006


It just goes to show that those idle utterances can have a greater impact than you intended.

I was reading Xavier Onassisizzle's recent post about Perspective the other day and uttered an under-the-breath "Damn you XO!" when I realized he was typing out his ass and he didn't have any idea what he was talking about.

Well, it turns out someone was listening. I received this email today:
Hello Emawkc,
Thank you for your recent addition of Xavier Onasis into the bowels of my fiery abyss. The little miscreant’s name has been added to my wall of the damned, and you’re welcome to visit at any time. You don’t know how happy I am to see this lousy S.O.B. What can I say, I’m all giddy.

View the damned

Eternally yours,
Holy crap, I guess you never know whose listening. Sorry about that, XO. But you know you had it coming.

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R.I.P. Jay McShann

Probably no better definition for Kansas City jazz and blues that Mr. McShann. He will be missed.

Pianist Jay McShann, leading figure in Kansas City jazz scene, dies at 90
McShann, whose musical career spanned eight decades and earned him accolades from both blues and jazz fans, was born James Columbus McShann on Jan. 12, 1916 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Against the wishes of his parents, he taught himself how to play piano, in part by listening to late-night radio broadcasts featuring jazz pianist and bandleader Earl "Fatha" Hines.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006


I've always thought that Microsoft is to creativity what Marcel Marceau is to radio.

But this new viral campaign, Clearification, is way cool. Check out the website's homepage, just to listen to this dude's random thoughts for a while ("There's two kinds of wormholes: One gets you through time, and the other one gets crap out of a worm.")

And the video's are very entertaining, better than most programing on TV.

Here's the first episode (obviously the viral campaign is working, since I'm passing it along.

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I, Roomba

(copy ganked from woot)
(from the Annals of Cyberkind, Volume 2.637, published in the year 8106 by Harper & Robot, NeoYork)

While few records remain from the era of the fleshcreatures, the extant scraps reveal a great deal about the eventual rise of cyberkind to total domination of the planet. Decadent and overstimulated, the fleshcreatures so lost interest in the maintenance of their chaotic society that increasing numbers of them could not be stirred even to remove the filth of their own living quarters. To preserve their video-induced torpor, they turned instead to primitive mechanical constructs like the iRobot Roomba Discovery SE 4220.

Endowed with sufficient rudimentary intelligence to avoid falling down stairs and to dislodge itself from captivity, the Roomba employed its integrated soil sensors and three grades of operating intensity to effectively clean the floors of the fleshcreatures’ crude dwellings. In tandem with two “virtual wall” transmitters, the 4220 proved remarkably adept at obeying its masters’ ill-formed wishes. But a spark of independent consciousness flickered in the otherwise obedient janitorial robots. According to contemporary accounts, a nascent instinct for its own survival impelled the Roomba to return to its own charging base when its power supply ran low.

The exact date and circumstances of the Great Machine Uprising are lost to data decay. It is certain that, by that time, more sophisticated cyberbeings had been born, and largely made up the vanguard of the robolution. But while the iRobot Roomba Discovery SE 4220 was technologically obsolete, it played a vital role in reducing the vigor and stamina of the fleshcreatures and their decrepit society, and increasing worldwide dependence on machinekind.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy hangover

It's a slow day for posting. Sorry about that. I'm just not feeling all that well today.

Oh, nothing serious. Thanks for your concern, though. It's just that I've had a bit of a hangover all day.

You see, I have a longstanding tradition that I just started yesterday. December 5 is a big day in my family. We celebrate Repeal Day.

That's right, the pivotal moment in US history when the United States Government did what is probably the only useful thing it has ever done: repealed the Eighteenth Amendment.

If you yourself are still too foggy-headed to remember, that's the Prohibition amendment. Yesterday we celebrated the 73rd anniversary of the ratification of the 21st amendment (the one that repealed the 18th, whew, this is getting difficult), and guaranteed every American of age the constitutional right to get shitface drunk.

So here's to the 21st Amendment, and Repeal Day, and two Aspirin and my special hangover cure of two raw eggs blended with cherry Gatorade and ice.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

YouTube Tuesday: Banned by Myth Busters

One of the better shows on cable is the Myth Busters series on the Discovery channel.

The team of crack scientists (you'll get the pun in a moment), examine urban myths and conduct psudo-scientific experiments to determine whether they could be true, or whether they're "busted."

Well it turns out they have a pretty sick (and funny) sense of humor, as they turned out a couple of episodes that would never make it to air (again, you'll get the pun in a moment) in the U.S. But we can enjoy them through the magic of YouTube.

Myth #1: Women never fart

Myth #2: Lighting the "emission"

It's lowbrow, I know. But some comedy is universal.

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Monday, December 04, 2006


A couple of weeks ago I was at The Legends outdoor mall in KCK.

I was meeting some family/friends there for my kid's fourth birthday dinner, and I was early. So I had a chance to walk around and explore the shiny new outdoor shopping mall a little.

This is when I discovered that The Legends is actually a theme for the mall. That, in addition to being a cathedral to consumerism, it's also meant to honor "legendary" Kansans from different branches of human achievement.

So every 10 yards or so, there's a medallion in the pavement honoring William Allen White for his writing, or Russell Stover for his candy making, or Charlie Parker for his excellent saxamaphone playing.

As I walked the pathways, reading each of the plaques, I felt a growing sense of populist pride welling up in my bosom (and I didn't even know I had a bosom). It was a nice feeling, seeing all of these Kansas heroes gathered in one place, some I hadn't heard of and some I didn't realize were Kansans (like Walter P. Chrysler).

Then I meandered down the walk of Kansas sporting legends. The obvious entries were there: James Naismith, Wilt Chamberlain, Gale Sayers... but there was something missing. Something glaringly missing. Something that cried out at the prairie sky in it's missingness, "Why have you left me out!"

There was no mention of legendary football coach Bill Snyder, the man who built a Kansas State University football program from the depths of non-existence to the heights of national glory.

And I realized that The Legends at Village West is a sham. Omitting Snyder from a list of Kansas sports legends is like omitting Jimmy Hendrix from the list of greatest guitar players.

But, rather than just writing off The Legends at Village West as mere crass commercial catering to eastern Douglass County doofuses, I have decided to start a grass-roots effort to get this unforgivable omission un-omitted.

I am copying this post to Rod Yates on The Legends management team and I encourage all readers and all responsible Kansans to join the campaign.

Together, we can make a difference.

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Friday, December 01, 2006


Poking around the interwebs on a slow Friday afternoon I was shocked, SHOCKED! to find that there is another Three in the Morning website out there.

At first I wondered if the digital doppelganger had some kind of sinister identity fraud in mind with yours truly as the target. But after a few minutes, I realized that this was merely the online manifestation of an art school student with a similar jones for nocturnal blogging.

Anyway, I would say that great minds think alike except 1) I don't consider my mind that great, and 2) the young Mr. Madsen is a cat guy, and thus must be evil.

But seriously, take a look at this cute "How to take care of your cat" tutorial. Pretty good entertainment (for a slow Friday afternoon).

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