Friday, June 30, 2006

Not news to me

Sometimes I wonder how Larry Moore sleeps at night.

Here's this supposedly mature, ostensibly credible so-called journalist who, by the looks of his gray hair and wrinkled skin (man, high definition really brings out the detail) has been in the TV news business for a while, and I have absolutely no respect for him.

It's not just the lame, banal unwisecracks he makes during the segment segues. And it's not just the sensationalist teasers that have become so commonplace that they don't even work any more.

It's the actual content of what he chooses (or, more probably, his bosses choose) to present.

I mean, how in the hell does Britney Spears posing nude and pregnant on a magazine cover rate a story on the local news coverage. Hell, Tony didn't even stoop that low.

And, to be fair, it's not just Larry Moore. He's just the most goobery of all the local news stations who pretty much give the same report every night.

So here's a hint for the so-called local, so-called news organization: If you're presenting something as news it should be NEW!. Reporting Friday on a building collapse that happened Monday isn't news. If anything, it's olds.

Reporting that Britney Spears is white trash attention whore isn't news. Everybody already knows that. And besides, Larry Moore, why do you think anyone cares.

If you want to maintain any kind of relevancy, quit broadcasting trash. Stop serving mental junk food and give us something with some intellectual protein.

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Quick reminder

Hey bloggers...

Don't forget that Monday's Kansas Guild of Bloggers Carnival will be hosted by Joel Matthis at Cup O' Joel.

Make sure to submit your favorite blog post by Sunday afternoon. (Actually, as uptight as Joel is, I'm sure he would appreciate the submission even sooner... like, NOW!). Use the submit link, or email Joel or myself a link if you want to be included.

Also, help get the word out by including the submit link on your blog and letting your friends (or, in my case, friend) know about this thing of ours.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Noble Rot

Kansas leads the nation on many issues. Paved roads per capita and anti-gay bigot funeral picketing, for example.

Kansas is also the leader in per-capita beef production (as well as per capita bull manure production, as this blog attests).

But Kansas still lags behind most of the rest for the free world in enacting reasonable liquor legislation. Recent steps taken by the state legislature have helped move us in the right direction, but still (<-- that's a pun, get it?). It's like Kansas didn't get the memo when prohibition was repealed. Too busy totaling their tees I guess. That's a shame.

For one thing, those of you who don't live near the state line and can't have your wine shipments sent to a friend in KCMO, you're missing out on some great wine bargains. For another thing, there are some great businesses suffering because of the old-maid attitude toward drinking.

Throughout my high-school years, I worked at the Kingfisher's Inn in Marion. It was a great job (my best friend who was the son of the owner helped me get it). I started out washing dishes but worked my way up to a senior cook position. I learned a lot about the value of hard work and the value of having a good time from Bob and Kathy, the owners.

Well, over the past 10 years as surrounding counties began to liberate their liquor laws, Marion County fell behind. The fine people of Marion refused to allow restaurants to serve alcoholic beverages with a meal. Can you imagine having a medium rare filet without a glass of Cabernet? Me neither.

And neither could many of the regular customers who would come from as far away as Wichita and Junction City. When other counties started allowing wine with dinner, Bob and Kathy couldn't compete. Finally, a couple of years ago, they had to close the restaurant.

They couldn't find a buyer of course, because any competent restaurateur would check out the local liquor laws. As far as I know, the place is still vacant. Bob and Kathy were forced to find work elsewhere.

The tragedy is that the rural community lost a valuable business and priceless community members. All because they didn't want to allow wine with dinner, something I believe Jesus was in favor of.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Or not TV

A few weeks ago my supermodel wife and I said goodbye to a long family friend. Craig had been a member of our household for as long as we’ve had a household.

Through five major relocations, major life decisions, career changes, new family members (and lost family members) and all of the major national events over the past 13 years, Craig was with us.

Craig is the off-brand name of the generic 19-inch television set I bought for $180 bucks through the Alco employee discount layaway program when I was in college.

We knew Craig’s time must be coming. I mean, I didn’t expect the off-brand import to last more than 5 years. Balls to Korean electrical engineers, I guess.

But alas, a couple of weeks ago a click from the ‘on’ button of the remote was met with a snap, crackle, pop and no picture.

It was a sad moment, but life goes on. It gave us the opportunity to do something we rarely do: drop a ton of money on an impulse buy.

After a quick consultation where we decided that if our TV is going to last for 15 years, let’s get some really kick-ass technology, we hit a sale at Nebraska Furniture Mart. We dropped $1400 on a 42-inch widescreen Samsung rear-projection LCD DLP high-definition television.

It took a couple of days to get the upgraded HD cable box from Time Warner. But when we did, holy crap the picture is good. I was never a huge hockey fan, but I watching hockey in HD is an incredible experience. You can literally see the details as if you’re there, but with a great zoom lens and amazing camera angles.

Baseball is the same (except when the Royals are playing). It’s a whole new level of engagement.

Movies look amazing. I can see why theaters like AMC are losing money. Batman Begins was airing on HBOHD (the HD is for High Definition—duh!) and the picture is incredible.

In fact, pretty much everything looks better and more dynamic, the news, talk shows like Letterman, movies and especially sports. Everything that is, except World Cup Soccer.

That’s still incredibly boring.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Not my cup of tea


I saw this report on ABC last night, so I automatically question it's veracity.

But since it contained information that was favorable to me, I give it the benefit of the doubt.

The report basically helps enable my drug habit by touting the potential benefits of the chemical compounds found in coffee (both decaff and the regular kind).

From the story:
"Mounting evidence suggests all those lattes and cappuccinos might not only improve your mood, they might also improve your health. Daily cups of coffee have been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, liver cancer, gallstones, and type 2 diabetes."
Furthermore, the same studies show that the more coffee you drink, the more health benefits you get.

With that in mind, I've decided to take on a mid-year's resolution to quadruple my coffee intake. So for my daily lunch break, I'm now going to have four double espressos from Starbucks instead of just the one.

The beauty of this is that because I'm doing this for my health, I can use my healthcare reimbursement account to pay for the daily doses.

Just d-d-d-don't be surp-p-prised is I st-t-tart acting a lit-t-t-tle jit-t-t-tery.

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YouTube Tuesday: The More You Know

In today's edition of YouTube Tuesday, we present a public service message.

The City of Omaha is only a few hours north of us, but what do we really know about it? They've got a nice zoo. You can buy a prepackaged steak.

Well, in the interest of getting to know our neighbors to the north, we humbly present this geography report courtesy of Steven Colbert (when he was still on The Daily Show).

Enjoy.




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Monday, June 26, 2006

Damn insufferable pricks!

I often link to blogger extraordinaire Dan at Gone Mild because often makes me think. We disagree on many topics and issues, but he's a helluva good guy and a great blogger, too.

And, he would probably be surprised to see me agree with him on a recent post.

Last week Dan railed against Congressmen giving themselves a raise (or, more accurately, not foregoing their yearly automatic pay raise), while failing to issue an increase in the national minimum wage.
Congress denied a raise to the poorest workers in our country only a week after handing themselves a nice $3,300 raise.
While I don't quite agree that the government should be in the business of giving raises to workers in the private sector, I sure as hell don't agree that Congress should be giving itself anything more than a kick in the pants.

Dan seems to think this wouldn't have happened with a Liberal majority in power. Frankly, I'm surprised there are still so many people who think there is much of a difference between the two parties. Believe me the Republicrats are just two sides of the same animal.

Which is why I opted to become an early, charter member of the Insufferable Pricks Party. Essentially, we're pissed about having a government that serves the interest of government and not the governed.

Now, we can all disagree on what the "interest of the governed" is, but it's difficult to deny the culture of entitlement that has taken root in the beltway. And again, they're all in on it. From gerrymandering to fund raising to pork barreling, there's not one congress person who is above the fray.

You could argue that the Rebublicans have been better at it over the past 8 years. But that's just admitting that the whole game sucks.

So join us in our unofficial third party. Elect an Insufferable Prick in '08.
Here's a brief outline of the platform so far (h/t to Six Meat Buffet)
Platform Positions

(Feel free to help us develop our platform)
  • Gay Rights
    What makes you think we care where you stuff your man-yams? With the $700 million we won’t earmark to move railroad tracks, you will be able to buy a locking door. Go nuts.

  • Climate Change
    There is nothing more sanctimonious or arrogant than a polar ice cap. We say bring back aerosol spray cans and freon so we can show the planet who’s boss.

  • Education Reform
    Teachers must be capable of passing the same exams as the students.
    We'll leave behind "No Child Left Behind".
    Vouchers aplenty… and they can be used to escape inner-city hellholes.

  • Gitmo
    A length of rope with every Koran and prayer rug.

  • Gun Control
    Don’t make me shoot you.

  • Death Penalty
    Chair, needle or noose - pick one. (Firing squads are very appealing, and cheap.)

  • Energy Policy
    Enough windmills in Kennebunkport to make the Dutch blush.
    Enough oil wells in ANWR to make the caribou mush.
    More people died at Chappaquidick than Three Mile Island

  • War in Iraq
    The Insufferable Pricks vow to end this PC war. Our goal is to fight a real war. Get the troops out of Iraq and Afganistan. Invade Iran.

  • First Amendment Rights
    This right must never be impinged upon, even in cases of flag desecration or "protesting" military funerals. In fact, we will extend the First Amendment to include administering a "beat down" on funeral protesters as a legitimate expression of free speech as well.

  • Chickweed
    Definitely against.
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    KGB Carnival for June 12

    The bloggers are restless... Here's the KGB blog round up for the past week:
    And the honorary Kansas Guild of Bloggers entry for this week is:
    • Next week's host of the KGB Carnival, Joel Matthis at Cup O' Joel, who is taking a YouTube sabbatical after overdosing on Hasselhoff (I told you to be careful with that stuff, Joel).
    As usual, a great group of posts from a great group of people. I think it really showcases the diversity of our little blogmunity (okay, I'm just trying that word on for size. Maybe it doesn't quite fit). Thanks to everyone who participated.

    As I mentioned, Joel Matthis at Cup O' Joel is hosting next week's KGB Carnival, so make sure to submit your favorite blog post early and often. You can use the submit link, or email Joel or myself.

    The due date is Sunday at 3 p.m., but extra credit will be given to those who submit before Thursday.

    Spread the word

    Again, if you haven't done so yet, add your pin to the KGB Frappr map. Oh, and you can also add the KGB Blogroll to you blog by copying the code (posted here) and pasting it to your template. Help get the word out!

    Thanks for reading. Have a great week!.

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    Friday, June 23, 2006

    This just in...

    Okay, I've got some breaking news about the Kansas Guild of Bloggers, but first, a quick reminder.

    Don't forget to submit your favorite post(s) from this week for Monday's weekly KGB Carnival. Check back here on Monday to see with the KGB operatives are saying. The best part is that you don't need a Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring, just a good Internet browser.

    Remember, try to get your submission in by 3 p.m. on Sunday.

    Okay, now the big announcements.

    1) Joel from Cup O' Joel has graciously volunteered (heh, sucker!) to host the KGB Carnival on July 3. Yeah! Let's hear it for Joel. I know everyone will be eager to submit posts and help Joel have a great carnival. I'll have more details Monday.

    B) Lyn Perry, the original director of the KGB, has graciously made the java script available for the KGB Blogroll. Just copy this code:
    &lt;script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"
    src="http://rpc.blogrolling.com/display.php?r=f3e19607a77e31c568a00937de564448" > &lt;/script >
    and paste it into your blog template. We'll all start linking to each other and increasing our blog rankings. It'll be like a big creepy cult.

    Give me a holler or post a comment if you have any questions. Get your KGB submissions in, and check back Monday for the roundup.

    Until then, ciao!

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    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Sole survivor

    My feet are freakin' killing me.

    A few months ago (has it already been 10 months?) I bought a nice pair of black Kenneth Coles to wear at work. I needed them to replace my black Sketchers, which I really liked.

    Anyway, when I tried on the KCs at the shoe store, they felt pretty good. So I took them with me on a business trip to San Francisco. After wearing them around the city for a day, I ended up with two huge blisters on my heels, but I just chalked it up to the shoes being new and needing time to "break them in."

    So I kept the Sketchers in the rotation, easing into the KCs eventually. Now they're my only black work shoes. But the thing is, even though they're broken in, they are still killing my heels. And it's not that I'm getting blisters. The actual bone and tendons of my heels are aching every day.

    So I have to ask myself, why do I continue to wear cruel shoes (as Steve Martin would call them). Probably because I'm too cheap to go buy new shoes before my current ones are worn out.

    But it does prove an age-old point: Time wounds all heels.

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    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Mission Destruction

    I snapped this photo the other day at the corner of Nall Ave and Johnson Drive while picking up my dry cleaning.

    According to my highly reliable inside source, Dave the Barber, the work is part of the Rock Creek Floodplain Improvement Project. Dave says all the buildings along the south side of Johnson Drive for several blocks will be removed (you might have noticed a lot of empty buildings if you drive by there).

    The long-term plan is to replace the "creek" with culverts, a new bridge on Nall, Rock Creek channel improvements (including a linear park) an outdoor amphitheatre and new retail buildings.

    It should be a great improvement to complement work being done as part of the East Gateway project, not to mention the environmental and quality of life benefits of having more green space

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    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Fair game

    Blogger extraordinaire Dan at Gone Mild published a biting criticism of efforts to do away with the death tax.

    In it, he gave an explanation about the inevitability of taxation. I'm here to agree with him, but I'll put a little more bluntly.

    Taxes suck.

    Yes, we all (well, okay, not all, actually an increasingly small number of us) have to pony up for the privilege of living in the best country on the planet.

    It falls upon us to finance smooth roads (in Kansas that is, not Missouri), sewer systems and drinking water as well as the bloated, inefficient government and cable TV and telephones for the poor.

    I get it. Taxes are a fact of life. And, as I said, I agree with Dan. They suck.

    Where I disagree with Dan is this notion that our current system of taxation is fair. I've thought about it, and I can't really think of a way to make a fair tax system unless we institute some kind of voluntary mass user fee system.

    But as Dan would say, even thinking about something so radical is for the simple minded. And, in fact, I've come to grips with taxation not being fair. After all, life isn't fair. Never has been never will be, so you'd better just get used to it.

    Regarding the death tax specifically, Dan says
    "I don't think that the joy of inheritance suffers unduly when the amount over $4,000,000 is subjected to a tax burden. My heart does not bleed for the rich kids who get only $4,000,000."
    Very nice to be so cavalier with other peoples' money. We might not like was "rich" people do with their money, but it's still their money. Whatever happened to property rights?

    I guess what vexes me most about the whole discussion is the self deception and sense of entitlement. We all know that it's not fair for the government to take from someone the result of their life's work and give it to someone else. We all know that it's not fair for me to get paid for 56 hours of work even though I worked 80 hours.

    Why not a little honesty? Why not just say "Yeah, we know it's not fair, but you have money and other people need it, so we're going to take it from you and spend it on something else. Sorry mate."

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    YouTube Tuesday: Mr. & Mrs. Brady

    I've been getting a lot of hits from Belgium on the Robot Chicken video of Palpatine learning about the destruction of Death Star (my link to the clip got posted on a Belgian message board).

    So, in an effort to further pander to the Belgians, I'm adding this clip, again from the comic geniuses at Robot Chicken. This time, they're brutally satirizing the entertainment industry (ironic, no?) by mashing up the Brady Bunch with the BrAngelina non-hit Mr. and Mrs Smith.

    The results? Better than both originals.



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    Monday, June 19, 2006

    All in all, not a bad day

    I'm still relatively new at the whole Father's Day thing, this being my third. But I'm starting to get the hang of it.

    Slept late. Opened a hand-made gift from my daughter and a store-bought gift from my Super Model Wife.

    Casual lunch at a casual dining restaurant, then gelato in the River Market. A nice stroll through the market and an easy ride home.

    It's not really what you do, but with whom you spend the quality time. And this time, it was high quality.

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    KGB Carnival for June 19

    As always, Kansas bloggers had a prolific week. Some great posts on a range of topics. Let's kick it...
    And the honorary Kansas Guild of Bloggers entry for this week is:Wow! Some damn good posts if I do say so my damn self! Great job guys. Keep up the good work and don't wait to submit your posts for next week's roundup. Also, if you're interested in hosting the KGB Carnival in an upcoming week, drop me a line to let me know.

    Finally, if you haven't done so yet, add your pin to the KGB Frappr map. We know how to find you anyway, so you might as well...

    Cheers!

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    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Kansas, get your blog on


    Thanks again to everyone who submitted posts last week for the Kansas Guild of Bloggers carnival, even though I forgot to post a reminder.

    Well, this week I reminded myself to remind you so here it is: Please submit your posts for Monday's KGB Carnival. We've already got some great submissions, but go ahead and get yours in early.

    Also, send emails and posts (hell, email this post) to all your friends and enemies to submit a post for the roundup. And don't forget to mention this call for entries on your blog and include the submit link. I'll post it on Monday, so try to get the submissions in by Sunday afternoon.

    Also, if you interested in hosting the KGB Carnival, let me know and we'll set that up too. Like most things, this is a lot more fun when more people participate.

    Thanks. Check back Monday for the roundup.

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    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Horizontal

    Here's something fun to do some weekend.

    Get up at about 5 a.m. Hop in your car and head southwest out of Kansas City on I-35. Keep going for about about 3 hours and you'll arrive in Wichita. Now exit onto US Highway 54 and keep going west. Keep going. Keep going... more... more.

    After about four more hours, you'll arrive in Liberal, Kan. Wasn't that fun?

    Along the way, you will have noticed the landscape taking on a decidedly horizontal nature. John B. at Blog Meridian noted this phenomenon during a recent trip to Dodge City.
    Most people I know--even, in one case, a student I'm teaching this summer who is FROM there--would wonder, What would bring otherwise-sane people out there? To live, no less?
    I lived/worked in Liberal for about two and a half years, and it's true. At first blush, it appears that there is nothing but grass, sky and roadsigns in southwest Kansas.

    But believe me, if you look more closely there is much more there. The tastes, textures and colors are there, but in much finer gradations than in urban areas. It's like comparing a subtle French-style wine to a bold-tasting Californian, or exploring the abstract and complex hues of a Mark Rothko.

    You have to work a little harder, spend a little time and dig under the surface, but in the end its worth it.

    Here are a few my personal observations from living there.
    • The people are very nice, congenial even, but only from a distance at first. There is a feeling that they know you are "just passing through" and that you have no real interest in getting to know the lay of the land. But they're okay with it. Life there isn't for everyone.
    • For me, living in an area so dominated by vast expanses of earth and sky provided a great deal of perspective. Standing on the "hill" on the Liberal golf course, you can see forever on a clear day. You can watch towering thunderstorm clouds barreling down the prairie from miles away. It was a clear message that I, a mere human, am insignificant in comparison to the vastness of nature/creation.
    • Ancient resources like the Ogallala Aquifer (a giant underground sponge full of water) and the Hugoton Gas Field - the largest natural gas deposit in the North America (aside from Al Franken)- contributed to my sense of perspective in time. There I was, living a few feet above water that dates back to the last ice age.
    I guess the point is that all places are interesting and have their own kind of beauty. Sometimes its more overt and in-you-face. Sometimes you have to get under the surface to find it.

    But if you're only looking at roadsigns, that's all you'll see.

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    Carlin v. Coulter

    I made a special point to switch from Letterman over to Leno last night to watch Carlin v. Coulter.

    I'm a huge George Carlin fan. Always have been. He's got such a great way with words and he's never been afraid to say anything. Ann Coulter was also a guest.

    Obviously, like the rest of the shallow minded, I was hoping to see a train-wreck of a clash between Carlin and Coulter, two people of opposite and outspoken political views.

    Fortunately (or unfortunately for those of us hoping to see fireworks) the segment was very civil. Carlin cracked wise a couple of times ("I never thought I would move to the right of Ann Coulter" he said, as he made room on the guest couch), but he pretty much let her have her moment.

    And Coulter did an adequate job presenting herself. She didn't crash and burn, but she didn't knock anyone's socks off.

    Of course much hay was made of the recent quasi-controversial remark she made in her book re: 9/11 wives. I really don't see what's so controversial, given the context of the comment.

    My biggest problem with Coulter (and others like her on all sides of the political spectrum) is the pervasive "we verses they" world view. Liberals verses Conservatives (neocons). It's not very conducive to debate and progress.

    But then, progress isn't really the objective. As I pointed out on STP's Coulter post and Dan pointed out today, people like Coulter (and Michael Moore, Arianna Huffington , et. alii.) are really in the business of generating buzz to gather readers and sell books, syndicate columns, etc. And in this regard you, me and all the rest who talk, write and comment about them are complicit.

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    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    You know it was a great party when...

    These three words appear together: hippie airbrushed boobies.

    Thanks for the pics NCTRNL.

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    Tropical depressing


    I feel really bad for AlGore today.

    Lately AlGore has been at the height of his propaganda power, eclipsing even the great Michael Moore with his magnum opus An Inconvenient Truth, a so-called documentary about how evil Republicans are causing global warming in an attempt increase unemployment for brown people and make loads of money off of a hurricane-induced shrimp shortage.

    Yes, AlGore has been flying high on the winds of a predicted record number of named Atlantic and Gulf Coast hurricanes headed our way this season while residents of New Orleans continue the struggle to recover after last year's Hurricane Katrina.

    But this past weekend took a little bit of wind out of his sails.

    As Tropical Storm Alberto rumbled toward the Florida coast, one could almost see AlGore and the Goreites salivating at the prospect of another chance to score political points from another vicious storm. And even though weather scientists remained calm, some chicken littles got their hopes up that we would see yet another hurricane as the storm intensified over a three-hour period.

    But alas, Alberto just didn't have the right stuff. He sauntered onshore with lots of rain, but from an AlGore perspective, was pretty anticlimactic (anticlimatic?).

    So let's hope, for AlGore's sake, that the next weather system to come across the Atlantic is a little more menacing. By the end of Hurricane Season 2006, if all goes well and millions end up dead or homeless, AlGore may still have something to smile about going into election season.

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    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Monkey News: Chimp rights

    Taking a cue from comic genius Karl Pilkington, I bring you the latest edition of Monkey News:

    Prof Steve Jones considers the consequences of human rights for chimps
    David Hammerstein is a Spanish Green who supports a Bill to accord rights to chimpanzees on the grounds that "their social and emotional needs are at the same level as handicapped people, small children, or the elderly and mentally impaired".

    That strikes me as a dangerous argument if applied in reverse and, although some of my best friends are primates, it is also entirely arbitrary. If chimps have rights, why not gorillas; if gorillas, why not monkeys; and if monkeys, why not mice or mynah birds? Certainly, all those creatures deserve respect - but where do we draw the line?
    Jones goes on to note the main argument of the other side is that 98 percent of the DNA of chimps and humans is identical.

    Of course where DNA is concerned, 2 percent can make a huge difference.
    ...the DNA responsible for powerful muscle proteins is also out of action in humans compared with chimps (to wrestle with our closest relative, whatever its rights, is always a mistake). A tea party organised by those African primates might also prove a risky experience, for they have a whole series of enzymes that detoxify poisons and allow them to eat plants that would be fatal to humans.

    In addition we are, compared with them, creatures of regrettably poor taste, for a whole series of DNA segments involved in gustatory experience have rusted away in Homo sapiens but survive in chimps. We smell, by the way, even worse.
    Personally, I've always thought that chimps aren't very much like people. But there are some people who are very much like chimps.

    It's like that old Bing Crosby chestnut says: All the monkeys aren't in a zoo. Everyday you meet quite a few.

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    YouTube Tuesday: So What

    I came home yesterday after a particularly stressful Monday. There always seems to be piles of work stacked up after a long business trip.

    So I get home, plug in my iPod and cue up my "decompression" playlist. I pour myself a Glenlivit on ice and take a seat on the screened-in sunporch while Miles and Coltrane chill it out with So What.

    Ahhh. Scotch and jazz. Just the thing to take the edge off.

    I know jazz doesn't do it for some people. But if you can't dig this riff, then I can only conclude that you have no soul.



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    Monday, June 12, 2006

    BBC: It's okay to say 'gay'

    Finally, we can start using the word gay pejoratively without the risk of being called a homophobe.

    No less of an authority than the BBC (THE BB FREAKIN' C!!!) has now determined that the term gay no longer refers to homosexuals.

    All the gay, er, homosexual people should be relieved. Think of all of Fred Phelps's useless signs.

    According to the BBC, the word now means "dull and boring." So this might be considered gay, under the new meaning of the term (Just kiddin' Tony. Just bustin' your balls).

    Here's the history of the word, ganked from the BBC:
    HOW BRIGHT BECAME DULL
    • Believed to derive from Old French "gai", the Latin "gaius" or a Germanic source. Originally meant "carefree", "happy" or "bright and showy"
    • From late 17th century acquired sexual connotation of "uninhibited by moral constraints"
    • Gertrude Stein’s Miss Furr & Miss Skeene (1922) cited as first published reference to ambiguous sexuality
    • Noel Coward pens tribute to dandies of the “gay Nineties” wearing green carnations in 1929 musical Bitter Sweet
    • Used to describe foppish dress code, unattached men or bachelors until adopted by homosexuals themselves in 1960s
    • Originally used as an adjective ("he is gay"), the word is adopted as singular noun ("I am the only gay in the village")
    • Children and students use gay as shorthand for "rubbish" during 1990s
    • Bloggers substitute "gay" for "boring" or "dull", reversing original meaning
    Now, I don't mean to be gay about this whole thing. Don't want to belabor the point. But I can't wait to start calling all kinds of stuff gay.

    Like, I think world cup soccer is incredibly gay (buncha muscular men chasing a ball all day). And don't get me started on how gay NASCAR races are. Hell, you can't get much gayer than a bunch of guys driving up each other's rear bumpers. Puuhleeze!

    But there could be some political fall-out from this. I mean, just think how many gay marriages there are now (not mine, of course).

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    And it stoned me to my soul


    It was eerie standing on my front stoop. The torrential rain had abated so I was no longer worried about getting soaked.

    I watched the ghostly white meteorites plant themselves in my front yard and ricochet off of my house and cars. The otherwise quiet neighborhood echoed with the crash and smash of the hailstones. The bang of the stones off of shingle roofs and cedar siding sounded like a war zone.

    I just hoped for minimal damage.

    When it was over, I collected a few of the golf ball-sized specimens to show my daughter in the morning.

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    KGB Carnival for June 12

    I'm back after a couple of days hiatus. Everyone should take a blogging break every once in a while, just to keep the addiction in check.

    But I can't think of a better first hit than the weekly round up of Kansas blogs. So here we go, just remember that it's customary to pass the dutchie on the left hand side...
    And this week's Honorary Kansas Blogger:

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    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    What a long, strange trip it's been

    Finally back in good ol' KC. It' great to be home and see the family again. I just have a few random thoughts to close out this trip:

    • Travel (especially business travel) while stressful is a great opportunity for people watching. And I saw some very interesting people during my trip from, celebutantes to redneck race fans. Lindsay Lohan's bodyguard was a really nice guy. Very genial to the wait staff and gawking fans. Even pretty decent to the paparazzi. Of course, it didn't hurt that one of the photographers slipped him a $20 to find out where Lohan and Co. were going next.

    • But the best people-watching experience was seeing Spiderman walk through the lobby of the hotel last week. Seriously, your friendly neighborhood Spiderman. The hell of it was that nobody really acted that surprised. Just another day in Manhattan.

    • Air travel really sucks. I took the Amtrack from Manhattan to Wilmington, DE, then again from DC to Manhattan. Great experience. No waiting, comfortable cabins, lots of room. Why anyone would want to take a plane when a train is available is beyond me.

    • Speaking of Delaware, I was surprised how undeveloped it is. Very rural. Even the beach town we overnighted in seemed to be a decade or two behind the times. I think there's a lot of potential there, especially since there's no sales tax in Delaware. Of course, I was only there for two days, so what do I know.

    • To the two gentlemen dining beside me at Sardi's, sorry again for spilling my water on your shoes. How embarrassing is that.

    • T-Mobile hotspots really suck in Manhattan. I pretty much wasted $20 or $30 on shitty wifi connections.

    • The West Village redeemed the Big Apple in my mind. Previously, my experience had always been in the Times Square area and the blocks around there. Yeah it's urban and all, but too "touristy." I'll definitely have to make a point to visit Greenwich Village again when I go back.

    • How busy does it have to be for a city the size of Manhattan to have no hotel rooms available. When I arrived at the Grand Hyatt on Park Avenue and gave me their reservation number, they said my room wasn't available and the hotel was full. But if I could wait a few hours the could put me in the VIP suite on the 34 floor (rooms 44 and 45). Well, if that's the best they can do I suppose it will have to suffice. (score!)

    Sometimes the lights are shining on me. Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been.
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    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    I'm not much of a celebrity watcher, but...

    We stop for drinks at an al fresco sidewalk table at Da Silvano's in the West Village after dinner last night, me and four business colleagues.

    Sean nudges me and says "Check out Nicky Hilton's hair extensions." Sure enough, sitting at the table four feet away is Miss Hilton with a girlfriend and a couple of emo boys.

    I excuse myself from the table and walk a few yards away to make a quick phone call to check in on the wife and kid. Priorities of a business traveler.

    Sean has placed my order for a Glenlivit, neat, and it's at the table when I return. What's more, Linsdsay Lohan has joined the Hilton party. Evidently, according to Sean, she has bad hair extensions, too. Plus, Sean says, she's unhealthily thin and must be "purging" after her meals. This theory is reinforced by her extended trip to the lady's room after she eats.

    The brush with celebrity makes for interesting conversation at our table. Sean remarks how ugly the celebutantes' friends are. I suggest that celebs like to hang out with ugly people because it makes the celebs look better by comparison.

    It's all a little dull for me. I don't really keep track with the gossip mags and the Hollywood so-called elite. Frankly, I don't get the whole celebrity worship thing. I mean, what has Lohan or Hilton ever contributed to the world that they should be the object of paparazzi attention.

    But, the second glass of Glenlivit helps mellow my harsh. That, and the appearance presently of Kevin Connolly who plays Eric on the hit HBO series Entourage, which coincidentally kicks off its third season on Sunday.

    Now I'm interested. I'm a big fan of Entourage. I think it's the best show on TV since The Sopranos.

    Sure, this story sounds a bit far fetched. But here's the photographic proof (courtesy of the horrible resolution of my camera phone).

    Here's Kevin Connolly having a smoke. You can see Nicky Hilton's back (she's got a thing going with Connolly, her hands were all over him) and the head of an anonymous emo boy.

    The backs of Lindsay and Nicky.

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    YouTube Tuesday: Momma, I'm goin' fast!

    In honor of my recent trip to Dover and my first experience with NASCAR race, this week's YouTube Tuesday is dedicated to Talladega Nights - The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

    This latest Will Farrell joint has all the makings of a summer comic blockbuster. I tell ya, Ferrell is on a roll. He's dynamite, baby. DYNAMITE!




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    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Dela-where?

    I was able to update my "States I've Visited" map when I drove through Delaware the other day. Actually, it didn't even take a day.

    Delaware is one of those states that people forget about. It's understandable. The state is only about 40 miles across at it's widest point. That four-zero miles, folks. The KC metro area is wider than that.

    It's about 90 miles long, so driving from one end to the other along the single major highway is like driving from KC to Topeka. Still, it's a quaint a pretty state. And, as the residents I talked to were quick to remind me, it was the first state to ratify the Constitution.

    My business travels took me to Dover International Speedway, home of the Monster Mile and NASCAR's Neighborhood of Excellence 400. This gave me a chance to see about 100,000 white people with red necks sit in the sun watching custom-made mega-gas-guzzling cars drive around in circles for four hours.

    During a sun-stroke induced trance, I looked for some meaning to the pattern of numbers. The race was 400 miles long, roughly 4 times the length of the state. And there were about 100,000 people watching the race, about one eighth the population.

    It seemed a bit too neat and coincidental to me. I thought there must be a Dan Brown novel in there somewhere.

    As for the NASCAR race itself, it was a first for me. As you can imagine, the rednek factor was pretty high. But I did get a tour of the infield/pit area including some up-close and personal time with the cars. Amazing machines, though I suspect they don't do much for the price of gasoline.

    Anyway, it's back to NY tomorrow for a couple of days.

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    KGB Carnival for June 5

    Here we are at another Monday, that means another round-up of Kansas Blogs. We've got a few new members, so things are getting good. Here are the featured Kansas blogs post from this week:
    And, this week's weekly Honorary KGB Blogger of the week (yes, that is a triple redundancy, we're very careful here at the KGB) goes to:tagged: , , , , , , , ,

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    Virgil's

    "That's the best barbecue in the city," the cabbie claims as we roll past Virgil's through the slow midtown traffic on the way to my hotel.

    It's a bold claim, and I wonder to myself how good can the best barbecue in New York City be?

    It rains again that evening, and since I don't want to walk very far in the rain, I decide to put the cabbie's claim to the test. I cross 44th Street and enter Virgil's domain.
    It's like stepping 1,200 miles back to Westport in Kansas city. The rustic decor definitely elicits the barbecue mood. I request a table for one. The place is packed, as I imagine most restaurants in Manhattan would be on a Friday night, raining or not.

    I'm seated and order a Brooklyn Ale and the beef short rib. While I'm waiting for the food to arrive, I browse the placemats that tell a short story about Virgil's quest for great barbecue. It shows a map of the eastern half of the United States (they don't eat barbecue out west), along with markers for the best BBQ by region.

    Happily, I see the KC metro with the highest concentration of notes:
    • Kansas City, Mo.: Haywards Pit Bar-B-Que, made "burnt ends" into an art form.
    • Kansas City Masterpiece, great example of KC style brisket.
    • Arthur Bryants, a Kansas City tradition.
    • Lenexa, Kansas, home of Paul Kirk, the "Baron of BBQ" world class cookoff champion and our Mentor and Hero
    Presently my dinner arrives. The short rib is served in a bed of sauce and grits. It was good, though probably not worth the $25 price tag. Then again, diner was on the company tonight.

    As for whether Virgil's is the best barbecue in the city, I really couldn't say since I didn't sample any other barbecue.

    All I know is that it's no Oklahoma Joe's.

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    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    Dinner for one

    "Will you be dining alone this evening," said the well-tailored maitre d'.

    I'm sipping my second glass of Healdsburg Carbernet Sauvingnon, and it's the fifth time since I sat down that I've heard the Latin host ask the same question. Each time the answer has been "yes," and we have all been seated in the same section.

    The plate glass window in the dining room of the Restaurant Charolette frames a rainy street scene outside. People huddle under the neon-lit Broadway canopies of Virgil's Barbecue, Jimmy's Corner and other bars and restaurants as a thunderstorm pours down.

    It strikes me that it rained the last time I was in New York.

    My companions are dining with their Blackberries, checking email, responding to voice mails, tending to the never-ending minutiae that business travelers tend to in order to occupy themselves when business traveling alone.

    I watch the huddled masses yearning to stay dry through restaurant picture window. I know I'm not the first to consider the irony of being alone in a city of 8 million people. It's strange and awkward to dine alone in a city. Even for an INTP like me.

    I glance around at my fellow lone diners. They are now watching the picture window too. I wonder if they're thinking the same thing I am.

    I wonder if they'll blog about it.

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