Monday, December 31, 2007

The resolution will be televised

To bring in the new year and to honor Samuel L. Jackson, here are my resolutions for 2008.

Now, I know you might find it shocking that someone as cool and together as myself has New Year's resolutions, but believe it or not, there are things that even EmawKC can improve upon. Forthwith - if I could have a little music, please...

At the top of my list: "Continue to kick ass"

And then I hope to "Be as bad as I know I can be."

Also, to "Really put it out there, and by it I mean EmawKC's mojo."

In addition, I plan to "Give it as good as I get it," "Be all that and more" and "Lose my shyness, vis a vis the rocket in my pocket."

Plus, I plan to "Work my voodoo on the lady fans," "Take a thorn out of some cat's paw" and "Build a shrine to my own bad ass."

Then it's time to "Give the demons what for," "Spare the rod and spoil the face" and "Continue to kick ass."

After which, I'll "Show the bad men what it's all about," "Release a dove from a ghetto rooftop" and "Cradle a newborn baby in the ruins of a church."

Finally, this year, I will "Stick it to all the suckas" and I'm gonna "Show the man that I mean business"

..and I'm gonna "Take a computer class."

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Random Photo VIII: San Francisco, 2005

Here's a shot I took of the breadbasket at Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafe, one of San Francisco's best tourist traps lunch spots.

I have to admit that Pier 39 isn't my favorite area of SF, but it makes for some good pics, no?tagged: , , , , ,

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Blogthing: A Long December

I know it's a little late, hell it won't even be this year before most of you see this one, but I caught this "December" music quiz on mental_floss and made a decent 80%.


Singin' 'bout December


Score: 80% (8 out of 10)


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Festivus

We're getting ready to make like a baby and head out. Going to western Kansas to visit the fams.

I'll see all you chumps next year. In the meantime...


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Friday, December 21, 2007

More holiday fun: Handbell Hero

Excellent KC-based interactive marketing agency VML produced this cool flash game Handbell Hero.

It's kind of like Guitar Hero, but without the poseurism and price tag. Try it out. I totally shredded Jingle Bells.

PS- The bell choir stars local blog queen Pensive Girl from They Pay To Kiss Your Feet. Well done, PG!



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Friday Blogthing: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time

I know pretty much everyone had already done this one, but it is surprising how accurate it is. Suntory isn't my brand, but maybe I should give it a try...


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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I need help

They say the first step to getting better is to admit you need help.

Well here I am, admitting it. There are several problems I've been wrestling with lately, and I'm finally going to admit that I'm stuck.

So I'm reaching out to you, my (two) readers, to see if you can look into your hearts this holiday season and see your way to giving me some much needed assistance on these three problems that have been vexing me lo these many months.
  • First, I gotta find a pillow that is comfortable. My supermodel wife recently threw out the pillow I've been using for the last few years. Part of me knows it was time to toss it, what with the smell of sweaty corn chips and all. But the pillows that have replaced it have either been too flat or too fluffy.

    You see, I'm a back sleeper. So I need to find something that isn't so thick that it pushes my head up so I'm looking at my feet, but it can't be so flat that it might as well not be there. Does anyone have a good pillow suggestion? I'm dyin' for a decent night's sleep.


  • A couple of weeks ago I spent wasted 45 minutes trying to solve the puzzles on Guest House. If you're not familiar with this style of online game, it essentially a simple Flash program.

    Your character is placed in a room and your assignment is to get out of the room. The problem is there are no instructions. You have to not only find the clues, you have to decipher what the clues mean and what to do with the objects you find.

    Well, I figured out all of the clues. I solved the combination, turned on the respirator, got the soda can from the vending machine, put the fuse in the fuse box and even poured the soda down the mouth of the sleeping chick. And I still couldn't get the freaking door open. I must be missing something but I can't figure out what it is.

    If any of you computer game savants figure this out, do me a solid and drop me a hint in the comments section, because it's driving me crazy.

  • Finally, I got this email earlier from Jon Swift, a very powerful and influential blogger who also happens to be one of the best and funniest writers out there. He's asking me, ME!, to send him what I think is the best blog post I've written this year for a year-end review.

    Problem is, it's hard for me to choose the best since I think they all kick ass. I'm leaning toward sending this recent post breaking down some new TV shows, only because it contains the phrase "pseudo-lesbian wire-fighting battles."

    But before I make my final decision, I want your input. So go back and read every single post I've written for 2007 and let me know which one kicks the most ass. (or you could just start with these, but it's not an exhaustive list.
That's it. I'd like to have these things buttoned up by COB on Friday (that's "close of business" for you non-corporate types), so get right on it, mmmmkay?

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3A.M. Poll: Gift emergency

Okay I know this is a little last-minute, but I'm completely stumped and I need a little input here.

You see, I've got just about all my Christmas shopping done. My supermodel wife, my kid, my parents and my brother... even got a present for the White Elephant gift exchange at work today.

But for the life of me I haven't been able to figure out what to get you. I've been everywhere, shopped for hours online, but nothing seems right. So throw an desperate shopper a bone here, will ya?

What's at the top of your gift list this year?



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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Goin' downtown

Me and 17,000 of my best friends went to the K-State v. FAMU basketball exhibition at the Sprint Center last night.

You can read the Star's coverage of the event here.

It was a beautiful night to be downtown. We started our evening with a couple rounds at The Cigar Box just down Grand from the arena. It was a few blocks walk from where I parked in the Town Pavilion lot ($10, no waiting -- so much for the downtown parking doom sayers).

The place was packed when I got there to rendezvous with the rest of the group. Making my way through the bar, chest to back with all of the other patrons, remided me of my college days squeezing through a packed Rusty's Last Chance in Aggieville. But I digress.

The game was a predictable blowout, so that was fun. One of my favorite moments was the K-State fan flashing a poster on the scoreboard jumbotron which read "Bill Walker Pisses Excellence" -- a reference to the call of nature a few weeks ago.

After the game we capped the night at McFadden's across the street -- another packed house which led us to stand outside on the back terrace drinking our beers, reminiscing and making plans for next time.

It was a good night out.

Here are a few more pics.

I really like the way this shot of the exterior of the Sprint Center bowl turned out. It was taken with my kick-ass cell phone camera (2 megapixels, baby!).

Here's a shot of the inside of the glass skin, looking down from the top level concourse.
Here's a (fuzzy) view of the concourse from the escalator going to the top level. The guy we put in charge of buying tickets managed to score us seats FOUR ROWS FROM ETHE ABSOLUTE TOP!!! It was great once my nose stopped bleeding and I became accustomed to the thin air. Still the view was pretty damn good.



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Monday, December 17, 2007

Homecoming

As I sat on the pull-out bleachers in a general purpose building on a remote corner of Fort Riley, I wasn’t quite prepared for the emotion that was about to strike.

Certainly I was expecting some emotion. It was an emotional event. My brother-in-law Nick was returning with his command unit from a 15-month deployment in Iraq.

About 80 soldiers stood at attention while the ranking officer gave a short speech welcoming them home and thanking them for their service.

To his credit he only spoke for about a minute. And then, after 15 months in the desert and 30 hours on military and civilian airplanes, the soldiers embraced their families and friends.

It was very moving. I have to admit that even a crusty old cynic like me had moist eyes.

The joy was palpable. It a very genuine, understated flavor of joy mixed with a dash of relief that the soldiers were finally home.

But though it was understated, it was no less intense. Grown men had tears in their eyes and they hugged their comrades in arms goodbye and their families hello.

Buying Nick and a couple of his comrades lunch and throwing them a reception the next day was nice. But I'm sure it was nothing to them compared to just being home.



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Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Feast

Hey, how about I do the Friday Feast this week?

Appetizer
Make up a word and give us its definition.
Multiple Sarkasm: A term I use for the media gush-fest that happened when the French elected Nicolas Sarkozy.


Soup
What is currently your favorite song?
Was, is and always will be Jimmy Buffett's Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw.

Salad
What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.

Main Course
Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.
My grandmother always kept whole cloves in her purse and she would give them to us as mints. My guess it it's something she picked up as a young girl during The Depression when only the rich and powerful had access to TicTacs. Still, I can't smell cloves without thinking of my grandmother.

Dessert
Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why?
Omigod! The possibilities are endless! How about everyone on teevee between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Or how about a "contestent" on every Deal or No Dancing with America's Top Survivor Idol. But in keeping with theme, I'll just go with Larry Moore, for obvious reasons.



Here are alternative Friday Feast menus you might enjoy:tagged: , , , , ,

Friday Blogthing: Christmas noeledge

I know more about Christmas than you'll ever forget!

You Know a Lot About Christmas

You got 8/10 correct

You know tons about the history and traditions surrounding Christmas.
When you celebrate the holidays, you never forget their true meaning - or all the little fun details.

Random Christmas fact: Theodore Roosevelt banned Christmas trees in the White House.


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's a Mangino-ful life

The geniuses at JibJab have created one of the coolest web widgets ...EVAR!

To prove this, check out the video I made using their Sendables widget. You might recognize a few local celebrities, such as KU Coach Mark Mangino in the lead role, KMBC news zombie Larry Moore, King Leonidas from 300 fame and Your's Truly (sans cigarette).

Enjoy. If you make your own version, be sure to leave a comment to let me know so I can check it out.

Don't send a lame Starring You!
eCard
. Try JibJab Sendables!


PS- I think this is so cool that I didn't strip out the advertising code. Diggity!

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Best NY Post headline ever

Saw this on Best Week Ever.



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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Probably because of their small sausages

According to a poll of 10,000 women travelers, German men make the worst lovers.

The survey results showed that women thought the Germans were too selfish in bed. But I have a different theory.


At any rate, good old red-blodded Amurcans came in as the fourth-worst lovers, so take that you damn dirty Dutch!

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Eat the rich

The other day, Dan linked to a relatively non-incoherent rambling on The Daily Koz website.

You can (try to) read it if you want, but to save you some misery I'll just say that the author sprawls on for about 400 column-inches with the same old claptrap about how Republicans suck and liberals rule, yada yada blah blah blah.

Dan keys in on this interesting tidbit:
"Note that we should not pretend that "a program will take your money." Or "the government will take your money." This is a democracy, and we are the government. I will take your money. I will. Some of that money you worked hard for and want to keep."
At first I just dismissed this as more deranged gibberish from someone suffering from liberal delusions.

But the rant stuck in my mind all week. And this morning while on my daily constitutional of kicking babies after taking my gold-crapping pills, I had an epiphany. Perhaps, like a blind squirrel, this mental defective had indeed stumbled onto a nut of truth.

And the more I considered it, the more I came to think he's right.

I mean, who the hell do these rich people think they are earning money and spending it for stuff they want?

What right do the rich have to keep the money they've earned? Hell, if it weren't for the government giving rich people all of their money, they wouldn't be rich in the first place.

When you think about it, the rich people's money is really the government's money, so hell yeah the government should take it back!

What country do these rich people think they're living in? If we, the people, don't take their money and give it to poor people, how do they expect poor people to survive?

While these living heart donors are busy callously running their businesses, earning their MBAs and paying attention to the education of their children, the poor are stuck in an endless cycle of not running businesses, not earning MBAs and not paying attention the educations of their kids.

Think about it rich people! We're talking about the poor here. If we don't use your money to take care of them, how are they going to reap the benefits of cable television and pay-in-advance cell phones?

Are you so dense and out of touch to think that they can take care of themselves? These are the poor we're talking about here. Oh sure, it would be nice if everyone had a high school diploma, but since when did we become a nation that discriminates based on education?

What we need is to end poverty in our country, and the cold truth is it's going to take your money to do it. And don't give me these out-dated chestnuts about giving a man a fish verses teaching a man to fish. Just pay for the kids' breakfast and let the educational system (which is working just fine, thank you very much) take care of teaching.

So come on rich people. Pull your heads out of your gold glitter-lined asses and vote for democrats!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Restaurant Review: LongHorn Steakhouse

We probably wouldn't ever have gone to LongHorn Steakhouse if we hadn't had our siding replaced last spring.

You see, we had a local home improvement company install the siding back in April/May. The project had a few significant bumps in it, the worst of which was a torrential rainstorm which struck before the contractors had re-installed gutters -- thus leading to a flooded basement and a pissed off me.

Though I was pissed, I couldn't really fault the contractors for the rain. But I could fault them for no gutters. And when, after the project was "finished" pieces of siding began to fall off our house, it was cause for me calling our rep and stating very firmly how unsatisfied I was and informing him that we hadn't yet paid the remainder of the $15,000 they were charging us.

Well after a few follow-up visits and a couple more phone calls, they got everything fixed up. To his credit, our rep made sure we were satisfied before requesting final payment. Part of that make-good, was a $50 gift cart at LongHorn Steakhouse.

So Sunday evening my supermodel wife and I finally were able to arrange for a baby sitter and scheduled a quick dinner date with each other.

My expectation of the chain restaurant wasn't high. I was basically expecting a western version of Applebee's, and that's about what we got.

My wife ordered the 7 oz filet, and I had the 7 oz filet with lobster tail. The filet didn't disappoint. It was maybe even worth the $18 price on the menu. Of course this is a steak house (granted, a chain steak house) so you would expect the steaks to be good.

Unfortunately, I couldn't say the same for the lobster. It was just okay, edible. I expected better, even 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean. Then again, my frame of reference is filet mignon and lobster at The Palms in New York. But still, it should have been better.

Luckily, the service was friendly and prompt. We had no trouble getting a table for two, although it was a Sunday night so that's no surprise.

In the final analysis, you could do worse than LongHorn Steakhouse. But you could probably do better.

Especially for $15,000.

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YouTube Tuesday: Presidential debates

The so-called "YouTube debates" sponsored by CNN lately have been even more useless and immature than a conventional debate.

But come on, did anyone expect people dressed as snow men and Uncle Sam cartoons to actually advance the national discussion? If the mass of debaters had any balls they'd all walk out on this kind of "debate" in the future.

In fact, the most useful online debate format I've found so far is the one below. In this clip, candidates make the most important statements to date.

Check it out...




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Monday, December 10, 2007

In your Facebook!

NOTE: This morning out of the goodness of my heart, I'm publishing a guest post from Awesome® blogger The D. This is just something I choose to do because I'm a helluva guy and I sometimes like to help the mortals by giving them a forum to discuss whatever is on their mind. This guest post has nothing whatsoever to do with an ill-considered wager a few months ago.

In our first installment of the ongoing battle between Facebook and Mspace.com, for the title of “Best social network”, Facebook won hands down. But in the rematch Myspace.com comes out swinging and it looks bad for the heavily favored Facebook.

For the past month I have been following the news stories and press releases about Facebook. Apparently, Facebook has a software program called Beacon that gathers your purchases from about 44 different web sites. Then it puts that information on your home page so that your friends can see your purchases.

HELLO! Can we all say privacy issues!

This article has a good example of what Beacon does:
"Let's say you buy a book from a particular book shop online, who happens to be an advertiser teamed up with Facebook. Facebook watches your action and puts it up in your news feed section announcing to your friends that you have bought “x” book from “abc” bookshop owner."
Or, let’s drop the whole book idea and let’s say you buy a "marital aid". Do you want that information published to all of your friends on Facebook? I think not!

One thing that article does not point out is that you don't have to be logged into Facebook for this action to happen. You don't even have to be a member of the network according to this article.

Here are a few articles that should shed even more light on the subject.
  • This one talks about the HORRIBLE PR that Facebook has been using too extinguish the issue.

  • This one talks about opting out of the program. The issue with the whole opting out thing is that you're just opting out of having your purchases put up in your news feed section on Facebook, your friends won't see your purchases, but your information is still collected by the program, and then given to the business partners of Facebook.

  • MoveOn.org had a HUGE problem with this aspect of the whole controversy.

  • If you want to sign the petition to stop Facebook from collecting your data go here

  • If you don't want Beacon to even collect your data go here or here and follow those instructions. (I'm not condoning these instructions and I don't know if they will work or not. Furthermore, I can't guarantee that they won’t bust your machine.)
The winner for this round? Clearly it has to be Myspace by a landslide.

So after two rounds of Facebook vs. My Space we are currently all tied up at one apiece. Stay tuned for the third and final round.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

The slow death of beer

According to my many inside sources at The Nielsen Company, the "Millennial" generation (those currently between 21-30 years old), are drinking 12 percent less beer than the more manly and mature Generation X (31-44-years-olds).

It appears the Millennials are opting more often for more girlie drinks like Pinot Grigio, Cosmopolitans and Appletinis.

This sounds like bad news for the beer industry, but there is a silver lining. According to the comprehensive study (which was conducted in the basement of frat house in Columbia), there is still a slight preference for beer among this generation.
  • On a dollar basis, beer represents the majority (47%) of Millennial consumers’ spending, compared with spirits (27%) and wine (26%).
  • On a volume basis, beer accounts for 83% of Millennials’ purchases, compared with 11% for wine and 6% for spirits.
  • Among Millennials who drink different types of alcoholic beverages, beer is most often cited at their “favorite.”
So its clear that we still have a chance to save beer as the national beverage. But it's going to take us all working together.

We need to do a better job of communicating the benefits of beer consumption. These go far beyond making ugly women look sexy. Did you know that, according to a highly respected scientist, drinking homebrew is good for you, and what is commonly called a "beer belly" is, in reality, the body's storage system for wisdom and B vitamins.

The most important thing we can do is begin introducing beer consumption at an earlier age to America's youth. If you have kids of your own, or if your neighbors have elementary-age children, feel free to offer them a beer a couple of times a week.

Also, make sure to keep a couple of 12-packs or an open 40 in your call at all times, you never know when you'll be stuck in a traffic jam and this is the perfect opportunity for a communal beer bust while you wait for the authorities to cleanup that 15-car pileup.

Anyway, these are just a couple of suggestions. Like I said, it will take all of us to make a difference. Let me know what ideas you have.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

3A.M. Poll: M-words

You know how some words just sound bad? They have this dissonance that grates on your aural nerves? It seems that a lot of them begin with M.

Or is it just me?



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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Misty morning

News came out yesterday that no charges will be filed in the death of Misty Horner or her child.

The deaths, you may recall, occurred after the difficult stillborn delivery of the baby Sydney Horner in the family's home after they opted not to go to a hospital for the delivery. According to Misty's husband, who happens to also be a Lee's Summit police officer, the family refused medical help based upon their religious beliefs.

Misty's family said this refusal of medical help is what led to her death a month later from septic shock.

The KC Star reported that
Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said there were insufficient grounds for criminal charges in the deaths of Misty Horner and her baby, Sydney.

Kanatzar said the decision was made in part on the findings of a medical examiner who ruled the deaths were the result of natural causes, he said. But his decision also was based on standards behind Missouri’s involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment laws, he said.
Some people will be tempted to rant against this miscarriage of justice. Certainly it's easy to get emotional about this kind of story. If not for the backwards beliefs of a few misguided individuals, a mother and daughter might be alive and well today.

But few will take the macro view of this episode. Few will see that these events, while tragic, might well be for the better good of the human race.

Try to look at this from an evolutionary standpoint. The belief that prayer in the absence of science is the best hope for survival has proven in this case to be false. The baby ended up dead, and the ability of the mother to procreate was removed.

As for the father, something tells me his ability to find a suitable mate has been seriously diminished. He has essentially removed himself from the gene pool.

I know it makes me sound like an asshole. And don't get me wrong, I can imagine how upset Misty's family must be.

But let's be brutally honest. The fewer of Caleb Horner's ilk we have around, the better for human evolution.

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YouTube Tuesday: Shocking

With the cold winter weather upon us, everyone in our family has donned the heavy wool winter coats.

This is good in that it keeps us warm. But it's bad in that it tends to lead to a huge buildup of static electricity.

My five-year-old came home from school yesterday in her wool coat, ran across the carpet and jumped up to give me a big hug. She also gave me a static shock that straightened my remaining hair.

It looked something like this:



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Monday, December 03, 2007

Feetcicles

My freakin' feet are freezing!

They've been cold since I got out of the shower and I haven't been able to get them warmed up all day.

It's weird because I've been pretty comfortable from the ankles up. I've even had my shirtsleeves rolled up all afternoon.

But my toes are like icicles. Something tells me they're going to be cold until I crawl into bed tonight and put them between my supermodel wife's knees.

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Another milestone

It was one of the proudest moments of fatherhood so far - right up there with our daughter's first words, first steps, first use of toilet without my help.

We were sitting on the living room floor playing the Scrabble Junior game she received on her fifth birthday a few weeks ago. She had just finished a play and had drawn two new letter tiles from the pool.

"I got a 'P,'" she exclaimed as she chose the second tile.

"Well," I said. "The bathroom is right over there. I'll wait for you."

A few seconds when by while her five-year-old brain processed my seemingly inappropriate response.

Then the amazing thing happened. Here face changed from a look of confusion, to sudden recognition as she "got" the word play, then a huge sincere smile.

That was followed by several minutes of uncontrollable laughter at my lame joke.

I couldn't help but laugh myself. Not at the joke, but at the fact that she got the punchline. Sure, she's laughed at jokes before but only because she knows she's supposed to, not because she really thinks it's funny.

When the giggling finally stopped, she said "Tell that joke again!"

But it was time to move on. I mean, I also have to teach showmanship. Always leave them wanting more.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Blogthing: I'm not as think as you drunk I am...

It's a vacation day for me, and after an afternoon of Christmas shopping, I plan on crawling into a nice clear glass of Glenlivet*.

91%DRUNKARD


*3 O'Clock AM encourages you to drink responsibly, and plentifully.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The KU formula

Well it's been a few days, and by now most of the initial in-your-faceness of Mizzou fans toward KU fans has subsided.

I first want to congratulate you Mizzou fans out there on a game well cheered. You supported your team to a victory and you deserve your moment in the spotlight. And a tip of the hat to the KU fans as well, who stood up to the post-game smack with aplomb. Bloodied but unbowed, they showed themselves to be good sports in a tough loss.

So while the Tiger nation is gearing up for the Big XII title bout this weekend, and the Jayhawks are cooling their heels waiting to see what upper-tier bowl they will go to, it is a good time to make sure we don't overlook the gargantuan contribution of KU head coach Mark Mangino.

You may not have noticed this man, as he tends to keep a low profile on the sideline during games. But what he has accomplished this season should not go unnoticed. In guiding his team to a successful 11-1 season, he has proven the validity of two key coaching strategies.

First is the importance of early season, on-field, non-conference preparation.

By scheduling his team for a veritable gridiron grind house in its first four games verses the likes of Central Michigan, Southeastern Louisiana, Toledo and Florida International, Mangino made sure his troops were tough and battle ready for the brutal Big XII schedule ahead.

Secondly, and most importantly, Mangino understands the need to help his players off the field as well as coach them on the field. When new recruits need academic help, for example, Mangino knows it's the coach's duty to make sure they get that help.

Sure some may call it academic fraud, but the loss of scholarships is a small price to pay for a student athlete's academic progress and the promise of fat bowl payouts.

So we salute you Coach Mangino. You may have more chins than a Chinese phone book, but you have shown us how strong priorities can lead to success on the football field.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Race to win

Last night we were watching the season finale of Dancing with the has-beens Stars.

Yes. That's a good question? Why indeed was I watching this show?

I think it was a confluence of several factors, 1) our Time Warner DVR had shot craps the day before and left us with none of the recorded decent programming to fall back on, 2) it was less obnoxious than any other ChickTV programming which, to my primitive male brain, seems to consist of a single show aired seven nights a week under the title Brothers and Grey's Private October Murder Club in Trees, and 3) my head is so congested with my twice-yearly cold that I didn't really give two shits about what was on the teevee.

Anycrap, if your not familiar with the show, they take a professional dancer (WTF?) and pair them with a so-called celebrity and have a dance-off. It's kind of like Michael Jackson's Beat It video, but with lots more latent homosexuality (not that there's anything wrong with that).

So last night, they were down to the final two teams. In one corner, a Russian professional dancer I've never heard of and Melanie Brown, a.k.a. Mel B, a.k.a. Scary Spice.

In the other corner was Indy Car racing champ Helio Castroneves and All-American California girl Julianne Hough.

So with a Russian, a Brazilian and black Brit and a blond-haired, blue-eyed American on the stage, who do you thing the viewing public would vote for.

That's right, the pretty little white girl. Good job USA! Way to vote for the white girl just because she's white! Everybody knows that black people are far superior to white people in dancing. It was clear throughout the night with all of the highlight clips Scary Spice shakin' her money maker.

So here's the American viewing public, keeping it racist since 1789.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My latest Michael Scott moment

So my Supermodel Wife and I were meeting with a lawyer recently, getting "our affairs" in order (revocable trust, living wills, custody plans for our kid, you know all that rot that adults are supposed to do).

Well, it so happened that the lawyer was a woman, not that there's anything wrong with that. She was looking over some of our paperwork, explaining certain legal terms and concepts and she mentioned that we have a "sizable estate."

Well, of course I couldn't let that go by without remarking "That's what she said."

I received both a look of embarrassment from my Supermodel Wife (not a new thing) and a look of abject derision (also not a new thing) from the lady lawyer.

But it was totally worth it.

PS - Before you go kissing my ass to get me to buy drinks and pay for your dinner, you should know that our "sizable estate" is predicated upon both my Supermodel Wife and I being dead. Otherwise, all we have is big mortgage, a car payment and several credit card bills.

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YouTube Tuesday: Pranksgiving

One of my favorite traditions at Thanksgiving was the playing of pranks on the new guy.

It could be a friend from college, a new boyfriend (of my sister, sister-in-law, niece, whoever), but we always tried to haze the new guy a little just to make him feel part of the family.

My brother and I used to pull this one regularly. Yes it's an oldie, but still a goodie.



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Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Blogthing: Travelin man, love when I can

Today's Friday Blogthing comes from R. Sherman at Musings From The Hinterland who discovered this neato geography quiz.

My first-time results are:
Final Score: 281,988
Final Level: 8 (I started missing terribly on the small African cities)
Traveler IQ: 102
But I think I can do better with a little practice and a few thousand frequent flyer miles.

PS- I just notices the embedded version of this looks like complete shite, so click this link if you want to take the quiz and match geographical wits with me.



This Traveler IQ
challenge is brought to you by the Web's Original Travel Blog


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The real winner

So by now everyone has been severely exposed to all the hype surrounding this weekend's game between the universities of Missouri and Kansas.

There's a lot of made up media buzz around how this is a continuation of a "border war" that has been going on since before the American Civil War, and how for the first time in history the game has "significance" on the national college football scene (the significance of which is highly questionable in and of itself).

But for those of you looking for a clue as to who is going to win this weekend, let me give you a hint: The winner has already been decided.

Oh sure, the score on the field is still to-be-determined. But in the real contest, the contest that matters, the winner was decided months ago when the two schools agreed to play the game in Kansas City, rather than Lawrence where it was originally scheduled.

You can't really blame KU. At the time I'm sure school officials figured the Jayhawks would lived down to everyone's expectations and the best hope for a bigger payday would be to sell out and move the game to Arrowhead Stadium.

This of course leaves the businesses of Lawrence out in the cold. Unfortunately for them, the huge potential payday that has resulted from the Jayhawks amazing failure to live down to expectations will go to Jackson County, Mo., rather than Douglas County, Kan.

Kansas City is raking in millions in taxes from ticket sales from the 78,000-plus sellout of the game at Arrowhead. And area businesses and hotels are taking in even more in revenue and sales tax.

The businesses of Lawrence can look forward to a huge drop in sales revenues as crowds of KU faithful head to KC for the game. Can you imagine the financial devastation that will hit Lawrence when hundreds of KU alumni take all the cash they've been hoarding from their McDonald's jobs and spend in KC?

On the biggest shopping weekend of the year no less?

So here's to Kansas City, Mo. No matter the final score of Saturday's game, KC is the real winner.*

*Of course, all of the additional tax revenue will go into the pockets of real estate developers, but that's another story.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

YouTube Tuesday: Know your place

As I arrived at my palatial upper-west side cube this morning, the two businesswomen who occupy neighboring cubes were discussing the upcoming MU-KU football tilt this weekend*.

It wasn't enough that I had to suffer through the over-coverage of this event on all the local so-called news channels, now I have to deal with this inanity at work, from the ladies no less.

So, in another public service announcement, this one goes out to the women out there who would be better off discussing fuzzy kittens...



*Yes, as a K-State fan I do have sour grapes about how this football season has turned out and all the hype around this game in particular makes me feel like the only kid NOT invited to the party. It's petty and immature I know, but then so is college football in general.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Nutritional secrets of New York City cabbies

So I'm riding shotgun in a Jeep Liberty cab inbound to Manhattan from La Guardia.

Three of my colleagues are crowded into the backseat, discussing the latest work gossip. I'm hanging on for dear life while the Philippine cabby nonchalantly executes acts of automotive daring that would make Jack Bauer carsick.

We end up stuck in slow traffic near the Midtown Tunnel. The driver, seemingly oblivious to the relieved silence that had befallen the passenger compartment while we were catching our collective breaths, went rummaging through the depths of a large lunch sack sitting between us on the console.

He pulls out an avocado and holds it up like a magician producing a rabbit from a top hat.

"You know what this is?" he asks in his best broken English.

"Yeah. I like avocados," I answer.

"You eat one of these every day for 45 days," he said. "It will make you head come up."

"Whatsthatyousay?" was my reply. "I think my head is up as far as I want it."

"No. It will make your head come up," he repeated, pantomiming a pinching movement with his fingers, as if he were pulling strings out of the top of his head.

Through a combination guesswork and charades (which had the added affect allowing the cabby to demonstrate his skill at driving without the use of his hands), my colleagues and I learned that the he was telling me to eat avocados to make my hair grow.

"Makes small hair grow big and strong," he said. "If have no hair, not work. But like you, weak hair will be strong.

"One each day for 45 days."

Now granted, I'm aware (to paraphrase Dennis Miller) that as I've pushed on into my mid- to late-30s, much of the population of the once bustling downtown of my scalp has fled to the more desirable neighborhoods of my nose, ears and back.

And granted, the cabby seemed very sincere. He was grappling with a "molting" problem of his own and was eager to share with me what he thought was the solution. His theory, as I was able to decipher, was that the oil in the avocado would work as a sort of follicle fertilizer, strengthening the puny hairs so that they become big, strong hairs. Kind of like an organic Rogaine.

Frankly, looking at the cabby's locks, I wasn't convinced.

But you tell me. Is this worth trying? Has anyone else ever heard of this? Is it healthy to eat an avocado a day for a month and a half?

And more importantly, has anyone ever gotten any bad advice from a cabby?

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hotel Review: The W Times Square

Just got back from a whirlwind two-day trip to NYC where I became very familiar with the inside of a 12x25 conference room and the other occupants therein.

But I did have a chance to stay at the famous W Hotel on Times Square, so I figured I'd relay my thoughts to my loyal reader.

Like the majority of my colleagues, I voted for W as the place to stay. And like many of my colleagues, I regret choosing W.

In our defense, there aren't many good choices for hotels when you're choosing at the last minute. Ideally, we would have known in advance where we'd be going and could have used that knowledge to choose a better hotel candidate.

Several of my colleagues had chosen W only four weeks ago, and were willing to give W a second chance. So since it was a last-minute trip, we made the best decision from the options available. To be fair, W talked a good game.

On the surface W looks like a good hotel. You're greeted in the foyer by water flowing in the glass riverbed above your head. The welcome desk on the seventh floor features minimalist post-modern decor with thumping nouveau electronica club music piped in to compliment the constantly moving groovy lighting.

So the initial impression is the W is pretty cool, and you'll be happy choosing W as your hotel. But it doesn't take long to figure out that all the loud music, groovy d├ęcor and weirdo lighting is as much a distraction as anything.

My room was on the 43rd floor. Stepping out of the elevator, the lighting was very dim, the walls painted black and the floors covered with a dark gray Berber. As I neared my room, there was a distinct aroma of old, rotten water damage.

Inside my room, it was the same story. Everything seemed pretty good on the surface, but when you looked at the details you saw the lack of quality. There was mold on the bottom of the shower curtain. The handles on the plumbing fixtures were loose and seemed to do their own thing sometimes without my authorization.

W also insisted on ignoring my wishes with regards to the thermostat. It insisted on heating things up, even though I specifically wanted my room cooled off. I suspect there was some kind of hidden agenda behind W's actions, probably related to money and cooling costs.

In the end, W is responsible for the poor quality of the accommodations, though I suspect they got some bad advice from people claiming to be hotel experts. The advisers are probably the one's who suggested the night club The Whiskey in the basement of the building (The last thing W needs is whiskey).

So in conclusion, I'm not really happy with my decision to go with W, and I hope there will be a better hotel candidate available for future trips. I just hope the high-cost of the stay ($600 per night) hasn't done irreparable harm to my company.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

YouTube Tuesday: Is he havin' a laugh?!!

Yes, it is too early to be talking about Christmas. But in the case of the funniest guy to come out of the UK since Monty Python, I'm willing to make an exception.

I can't wait for this to air.



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Monday, November 12, 2007

The wrath of grapes

The first time I met Kathleen Sebelius I was a cub reporter at a major metropolitan newspaper.

She was making the newspaper circuit in her quest to be elected the Kansas insurance commissioner.

Almost right away, I could tell she was a straight shooter, a breath of fresh, honest air when politicians had become increasingly two-faced and dishonest.

One of the first questions I asked was, why run for insurance commissioner? Is this a stepping stone to higher office?

She answered an honest and emphatic "No!"

You see, she knew there was trouble with insurance in Kansas, what with the skyrocketing premiums on hurricane and earthquake coverage.

Fast forward to the present day, and it is commendable to see Sebelius sticking to her straight-talking nature.

Though she has been pushed unwillingly by her party into the limelight of the Kansas governor's mansion, and forced by her position to attend fundraising events for the campaigns of Democrats in Washington and California, she still manages to keep it real.

The incident reported by the Lawrence Journal World is a great example.

While at a fundraiser for Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, Sebelius pulled no punches when she proclaimed that Kansas wine makers are crap.

The direct quote, according to the Journal World is
"You should be thankful we don’t make wine in Kansas. If you ever see Kansas wine, don’t drink it."
Of course, when you speak the truth, you're bound to upset a few grape carts.
“What it says to grape growers and winemakers in this state is she doesn’t recognize the quality of what’s here,” said Michelle Meyer, co-owner of Holy-Field Vineyard and Winery in Basehor and president of the Kansas Viticulture and Farm Winery Association.
This, of course, is just sour grapes. Sebelius is doing Kansas grape growers a favor by not sugar coating the bad news.

Hey, Kansas is a great state for growing corn, wheat and mullets. But let's face it, we need to leave the fine wine to the likes of California, Washington and Oregon.

I mean, what kind of leader would Sebelius be if she encouraged residents of her state to excel at a pursuit that they obviously have no chance at mastering?

Kathleen, I raise a toast to you.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Blogthing: Edumacation

Today's blogthing comes from my favorite Aussie, Blandwagon, who tipped me to this cute little web widget which purports to show the education level of your blog.

cash advance

While I'm happy to see that this blog is published at a college level (which is why I have to use words like 'purports' and also why I totally pwnd Joel Mathis in Scrabulous), this reminds me that I might be speaking waaaaay over the the heads of you products of the Missouri school system.

So, for those of you on the east side of the state line, I'll try to start using smaller words.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Review: Saddle Ranch Chop House

You can really tell a restaurant is going to be successful by how it treats its customers.

And after spending so many enjoyable hours at the Saddle Ranch Chop House last weekend, I can tell you they have a unique approach in generating demand.

The Saddle Ranch, one of the new The Legends theme restaurants, features old-timey saloon decor with a genuine mechanical bull, big-screen TVs, an 8 brazillion decibel sound system and a horses ass sticking out of the wall.

One would think all this manufactured ambiance would be enough to maintain huge nightly crowds of loyal customers. One would be wrong.

Saddle Ranch takes it to the next level. There are several techniques they use to make sure everyone at the Saddle Ranch really really wants to be at the Saddle Ranch.

It starts as soon as you walk in the door and put your name on the list for a table. You see, despite the fact there there are three or four tables sitting empty, they still ask you to put your name on the waiting list and wait (and wait, and wait).

When they finally seat you at the table that's been vacant for the past 40 minutes, they know you're not the type to get all pissy and frustrated and walk out over a little thing like standing around not doing anything.

And this is good, because they want to you stay for a while and have a good time. There's never any rush to, say, get you your drinks, or menus. Once you've ordered, you're encouraged to sit back and keep your kids under control for the next 40 minutes while the servers ignore you and wait for your dinner to arrive.

You can take this time to admire the aforementioned decorations which include servers dressed in supertight t-shirts with even tighter Daisy Dukes. Our server's shorts were so tight you could read the label on her underwear. It read "Thursday" which was strange because we were there on a Saturday.

And kudos to the Saddle Ranch management for making sure you don't have to engage in banal conversation with the other people in your party. Thanks to a sound system blaring the latest hits from the early '90s, you're not bothered with conversational pleasantries with friends that you haven't seen in months.

Finally, when your food arrives, the wait staff makes sure you're really paying attention by selecting a couple of people at your table to receive the wrong order. Of course when you discover this fun little trick, everyone has a nice laugh and your actual order come out only 15 minutes later.

Yes, the staff and management of Saddle Rance Chop House really go out of their way to ensure that you want to be there.

It's reflected in their motto: "If you don't have a good time, it's your own damn fault."

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Random Photo VII: Paris, 2001

Here's another one of my favorite shots from Paris when we traveled there a few years ago. I really found nothing not to like about Paris.


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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Emotional Exploitation Edition

I've always felt uneasy about not liking Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

It goes beyond my distaste for network TV in general and the so-called "reality" TV in particular. I mean, it's easy to hate fake reality shows with amateur actors/attention whores as "contestants" who take direction from lame-ass producers trying to convince us that what we're seeing is totally spontaneous.

The problem with Extreme Makeover is that the actual work they do is good. They identify people who have had a rough go of it and, essentially, build a luxury house for them free of charge.

Good works, right? What could be a better motivation than to help those who are down on their luck?

Except that’s not the motivation.

The motivation is to use a sad story to manipulate the viewing public into watching an hour’s worth of advertising couched in melodrama.

But, you say, that’s what every television program does. And for the most part you’re right. Nearly every program, even sports, attempts to manipulate the emotions of the viewers to get them to keep viewing in order to see the messages of the advertisers.

Then again, most programs (sucky as they are) pay actors and writers to come up with increasingly implausible situations to tug our increasingly jaded heartstrings. In some ways, that seems more honest than the “reality” type shows because everybody – producers, writers, actors and audience – are aware of just what’s going on.

Extreme Makeover, on the other hand, is a bit more insidious. They find a real world tearjerker story and use poignant pauses and emotional music to amplify the emotion.

What could be more gripping than a Marine veteran returning home missing a leg to a house with a leaking roof and drafty windows and, oh by the away, his wife left him and his four kids.

This is a real world tragedy. It requires no emotional amplification and frankly I’m a little offended at ABC for exploiting our neighbors like this. The one saving grace, as I stated before, is that our neighbors are getting some help they haven’t received from our community.

So I guess it comes down to whether ABC’s exploitative motivation cancels out the good that is done to the families in need.

The answer is no.

But I still won’t watch Extreme Makeover or the other “reality” shows because I have a huge pet peeve against people trying to manipulate me.


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