Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday Blogthing: Mummy's the word

I don't think I can agree with this. I tend not to get too wrapped up in Halloween costumes.




You Should Be a Mummy



You are seen as exotic and mysterious. You keep people guessing.

You see Halloween as a time that you can defy expectations and show a different part of yourself.

You love to try to frighten people. You enjoy being a little creepy, especially on Halloween.

You enjoy breaking taboos and challenging what people are comfortable with. If that's scary, so be it!



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The Undeciders

There's been a lot of invective thrown around the blogiverse about undecided voters.

Incredulous statements have come from both fake sides of the fake political coin. People just don't get how someone can be undecided in a campaign that has lasted two years and wasted billions of dollars.

People like Opinionatrix are fed up with undecided voters' reluctance to buy the steaming pile of monkey crap being flung by the McCain and Obama campaigns:
"In an adult undecided voter it’s a downright stupid and attention getting ploy... Unfortunately for you guys, the rest of us have already mastered the skill of decision making and are thus a bit ahead in the game of life."
Then there's the oft-quoted David Sedaris, who I'll quote here because everyone else has:
I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?
I think Mr. Sedaris is the one who is confused. His metaphor would be more accurate if the flight attendant were offering a choice between a shit platter on the one hand and a bowl of warmed up shit soup with a side of crap crackers on the other.

This is the dilemma we have. Both candidates are horrible. Neither one has more executive experience than my left nut. Each says he's different from the other guy, but they aren't really.

They both think that only the government can save Americans from certain doom. They both want to take more of your money to do it. Remind me again which one of these guys voted AGAINST giving a babbillion dollars to the people most responsible for the current economic melt down.

If either one, when elected, takes any steps to restore constitutional rights abused by the current administration (with full complicity of the Democratic majority in Congress) I'll eat my hat.

So given this Sophie's Choice of an election, my biggest question is how can anyone be so gung-ho about their candidate as to mock the people who are trying to decide whether they want to take a kick in the crotch or punch in the pubes.

The answer of course is that most people who have already decided, decided before they knew anything about either candidate. They're voting for their candidate for the same reason that drunk rowdy football fans cheer for their teams.

Sounds very intellectual and sophisticated, doesn't it?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

As bad as a monkey shit fight at the zoo

Meesha's post pointing out the hypocrisy of both side of the current farce of an election was linked today by Midtown Miscreant, who added as commentary
"Soon they will resort to throwing shit at one another like ill mannered monkeys.."
In yet another election-related public service, I just wanted to point out that the shit-throwing scenario has already happened.
A man was ticketed for unlawful dumping after admitting to putting dog feces in his neighbor's truck for political reasons. Police Sgt. Jerry Edblad said a 19-year-old St. Cloud man told police he has found small baggies of dog feces in the back of his pickup truck for the past few weeks.

Donald Esmay told KNSI-AM the feces started appearing in his truck right after he put a 2-foot-by-4-foot McCain sign there.

He and his family watched the truck trying to catch the culprit, but didn't have any luck until Wednesday when his mother and brother saw someone from the neighborhood.

They confronted the 45-year-old man, who admitted to it and said it was childish.

When police later spoke with the neighbor, Edblad said he told officers he did it because he "hates McCain."

The unlawful dumping ticket comes with a $183 fine.

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YouTube Tuesday: Off Target

Did ya ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go your way?



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Monday, October 27, 2008

Elitistical

I was having a beer the other day with my friend Bob Sacamanto.

Bob's a great guy. Hard working, pretty smart, great sense of humor, heck of a dancer. But he doesn't follow politics very closely. Obviously he has better things to do.

This sometimes makes him susceptible to the more subtle claptrap that the political partisans slop into the feeding trough of American pop culture on a 24-hour cycle.

As we nursed our Boulevards, Bob pointed out that he heard someone criticizing someone else for using the term "elitists" in a pejorative sense.

"It's like the guy said. What's wrong with being an elitist? Aren't elitists the best people in society? Isn't it the elitists who make the big discoveries? Don't we send the elitist troops in for the special, dangerous missions?" Bob said.

"Don't we actually want the elitists to run our government?"

My friend Bob Sacamanto actually fell for the exact rhetorical trap that some of the partisans wanted him to. Not his fault. Like I say, when you don't automatically assume that every politician is full of crap, it's easy to get sucked in by these things.

I'm a patient guy, so I just clarified it for him.

"Well, you see Bob, what you're missing (and what the partisans want you to miss) is that being an elitist isn't the same thing as being elite.

"Sure, the elite fighter pilots are the best. The elite football players make the most money. The elite chess players... well they get beat up a lot.

"But in general, the elite are considered the top of their various fields of endeavor.

"However, an elitist isn't necessarily elite. An elitist is someone of normal to below normal intelligence who thinks they are elite.

"Sometimes they don't realize they are elitist. They actually believe they are better than everyone else.

"But often (especially in the political world), they know they are not elite, which ironically makes them even more elitist.

"So when one partisan uses the word "elitist" as an epithet, she is referring to people who claim to have some kind of special insight or right to rule over others, tell them what's good for them, spend their money and make bad decisions on their behalf."

Bob Sacamanto paused for a moment and took another pull from his beer as he considered the revelation. He actually looked kind of frustrated to have fallen for this subtle trick. So I thought I'd try to cheer him up a little with one more thought.

"Of course, it's completely hypocritical for someone proposing expanded government programs and massive taxing/spending to "help the people" to call someone else an elitist."

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Friday, October 24, 2008

10 Things That Are More Important Than The Election

For months now -- actually years -- we've been hearing from all of the partisan Kool-Aid drinkers that the election in a couple of weeks is the most important thing EVAR in the HISTORY of the UNIVERSE!!!!!

And despite my repeated attempt to get through to the blinder wearers, it still seems like way too many people are deluding themselves into thinking that things will suddenly change when a new president is sworn in next year.

But, giving you the benefit of the doubt, I thought that maybe you just think this election is the most important thing in your life because you can't think of any other important things in your life. (No not you. I know you're smart enough to get it. I'm talking the other people).

So here's a list of 10 things (in no particular order) that are more important that who gets elected president of the United Sheep of America.

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Friday Blogthing: artful dodger

This quiz that I ganked from this guy made me think of my favorite quote about art: "I don't know art, but I know what I hate. And I don't hate this."

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

7 Impressionist, -4 Islamic, -4 Ukiyo-e, -2 Cubist, -10 Abstract and -11 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not always be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others.

They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions.

The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of gray and muted colors. They like things to be aesthetically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impressionist personality views the world from many different aspects.

They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy



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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Journey man

Against my better judgment, I watched the KMBC so-called local so-called news tonight. It's just been so long since I've had a good dose of homeless pet coverage, and I wanted to subject myself to the sickening stream of political ads.

I'm crazy like that.

So any way, anchorgeezer Larry Moore led off the news with the story of Keith Slater, the 22 year-old KC resident who found a racial slur printed on his receipt after returning a pair of shoes at the Journeys store in Overland Park's Oak Park Mall.

This isn't going to be a commentary on KMBC's coverage, although you can bet your Kenneth Cole's that since the story went national they'll be blanketing their coverage with senseless follow-up stories for the rest of the week.

Rather I just wanted to ask, nay implore, Slater's parents to take a higher road on this issue. Sure, they have every right to be pissed off. Who doesn't get angry when called a name -- even more so for a racially charged one.

But KMBC aired footage of a room full of local media hacks invited into Slater's home where his father threw out not-so-veiled threats of a lawsuit against a store that was clearly screwed by an employee (an employee who has been summarily and rightfully fired).

This goes dangerously close to perpetuating a stereotype.

So please, Slater family, don't play the role of the victim on this. Please don't wax melodramatic about your pain and suffering and the pain and suffering of your children.

Instead, be magnanimous and accept the store's apology. Lament the fact that this kind of thing can still happen in our day and age and try to make something positive out of it.

Teach your son that there are assholes in the world, but he doesn't have to be one. Teach him that he isn't defined by someone's ignorant opinion of him, but rather by the way he treats others.

Teach him, when being hated, not to give way to hating. Teach him to battle a stereotype by showing that the stereotype isn't true.

But don't be swayed by a pack of slimy lawyers trying to cash in on an insulting incident. Doing so may give you an extra 15 minutes of fame. But is that really what you want to be famous for?

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YouTube Tuesday: The Great Pumpkinhead

Self deception is one thing, but self deception by way of pumpkin is a whole new level of stoopid.



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Monday, October 20, 2008

As seen in Kansas: The answer, my friend...

It was an impressive site, even from 10 miles away.

The crystal clear sky and the straight and horizontal nature of I-70 west of Salina made the turbines of the Smokey Hills Wind Project visible long before we were actually along side it.

I'd been hearing about the wind farm project for months, and we had been as far west a Salina a couple of times but never drove the extra 20 miles to see it for ourselves.

So we took advantage of some free time while visiting the in-laws this past weekend to do just that.

The approach to the giant, electricity producing windmills is impressive. Whizzing past at 75 miles per hour on I-70, it's impossible for the first-time spectator not to be impressed. The turbines are truly on a monumental scale.

It's difficult to appreciate the size of these wind turbines.
For a sense of scale, note the conventional Kansas windmill
next to the trees in the foreground.


The farm, developed by TradeWind Energy of Lenexa, began producing 100.8 megawatts of electricity early this year when construction on the 56 turbines in Phase 1 was completed.

By the end of 2008, project planners say Phase II will be online, bringing the total to 155 wind turbines generating 250 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power a city of 45,000.

According to TradeWind Energy, the project will offset 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

One of the most dramatic (of many) views of the turbines was as we were traveling back east toward Salina. To get an idea of the monumental size of these power producers, the turbines above are about a mile north of the highway (and the SUV pictured in the lower left).

It's good to see Kansas playing in the home-grown energy game, beyond creating coal-fired nuclear power plants.

As a life-long Kansas, I can attest to the constant availability of wind power. Harnessing it seems like a no-brainer. It seems clear that wind power should be a part of the domestic energy mix that the US desperately needs to develop.



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Friday, October 17, 2008

Woe, dispair and agony on me

Kansas City's Best Blogger Meesha V. has challenged readers to a Hardship-Off at his blog.

I was in the process of responding, letting everyone know how difficult it was to be me growing up, when my comment just became too long. So I decided to post it here for the sake of not uglifying his comments section too much.

Read it if you want, but be warned. It's a sad, sad story and those with fragile mental states should probably steer clear.

But if you do proceed, you should know that Meesha and his commenters were lamenting the primitive plumbing they had do deal with growing up.

Well, that's nothing. When I was growing up I had to share the top floor of our house with my brother. HE got the bigger room, and we had to share the bathroom. Get this, the bathroom didn't even have a bathtub. Just a shower. And the shower didn't even have a variable massage shower head.

And, I didn't even have a TV in my bedroom. We all had to share the 40-inch television in the family room in the west wing of our house. I remember one summer the remote control broke and my dad didn't want to buy a new one, so whenever we wanted to watch a different program, we had to get up and WALK to the TV to change the channel.

I know. But it gets worse. When I was in junior high our Olympic-size heated swimming pool developed a crack and half of the water drained out. It was a mess, and we ended up having to drain the whole thing to have it patched. We essentially lost the use of the pool for half the summer. The horror.

Then there was the time when I was in high school and I had to drive a hand-me-down two-year-old BMW while all my friends were driving Lexuses and Mercedeses. I was humiliated every time I parked in the covered parking garage at my high school.

Well, there's more, but I can sense how depressed you are all getting. I doubt any of you can come up with sadder stories, but if you dare, leave it in the comments at Meesha's place.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Buy you a drink?

If you ask me, there's not much better than knocking off work early on a sunny, fall Friday afternoon and tossing back a drink or two with Jack and Larry down at the Regal Beagle.

One of the things that could be better than that, is if the drink or two (or four) is free premium Scotch whisky.

I got the tip from my local wine and spirits store that their sister location is having a free Scotch tasting from 4 to 7 p.m. this Friday (Oct. 17).

The tasting is at The Beer Cave Wine and Spirits. It's at about 87th and Farley in Overland Park, near the Johnson County Library.

From what I heard the other day, Scotches on the tasting table will include Dewar's White Label, Dewar's 12, Jim Beam, Glenmorangie and more.

And, as if free samples aren't good enough, the bottles featured in the tasting will be available at a 10% discount.

So I'll be there around 4:30 or 5, let me know if you want to meet me there. I'll buy the first round.

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Overheard in the OP

This morning I was reminded that when you hear only a portion of a conversation, the phrase "tire tubes" can sound comically similar to "tie her tubes" (no homophone).

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bug Out

It was a dirty, sweaty job, but it needed doing and the weather last Saturday was perfect for doing it.

Like many across the metro this year, three of the trees in my backyard have been afflicted with webworms.

In case you aren't familiar with these insidious little beasties, they build a webby nest in your tree and eat all the leaves. The more leaves they eat, the bigger the web gets. As the web gets bigger, it engulfs more leaves for the little bastards to eat.

It seriously uglifies your trees and can kill saplings. And the only way to really get the out of your tree is to amputate the infected limb and destroy it.

So anyway, I had already pruned the affected branches from two of the three infested trees.

The worms on the third tree were about 20 feet up. I put up a ladder and grabbed my telescoping loppers and climbed as high as I could through the lower branches.

By this point I was used to tree bark, leaves and sawdust falling off the trees onto my head and into my eyes and ears (eye protection is for the weak). So after I lopped of the offending branch near the trunk, I stepped down off the ladder and brushed myself off.

I could feel that a piece of leaf had fallen into my ear. I casually tried to brush it out with my pinkie finger as I picked up the recently severed branch to add it to the debris pile.

Except the leaf wouldn't come out of my ear. In fact, my brushing attempt seemed to have pushed it further into my ear.

It was at this point that I noticed dozens of tiny winged insect crawling all over my shirt. This was accompanied by the realization that there wasn't a leaf in my ear, it was a bug. And it was crawling deeper into my ear canal.

Cursing, I made my way inside, headed to our downstairs bathroom and grabbed the nearest cotton swab. I rubbed it around my ear until I was sure that no creepy crawlie could be left.

Feeling better (but still a little creeped out), I headed back to the backyard to finish my work. I'd just taken a step off the back patio when I felt the sickening tickling in my external auditory meatus - and no, that's not a good thing.

Panic set in as I raced up to our master bath. We have multiple mirrors that can be articulated to allow me to look into my ear.

It was clear that this nefarious creature was intent upon burrowing into my noggin and laying eggs in by brain. Believe me folks, I can not afford to lose any brain cells.

Visions of Chekov's madness in Wrath of Khan raced through my mind.

I aligned the mirrors to peer into my ear and there it was. Laughing maniacally at me and brandishing its pincher-like beak about to delve into my dome.

A few quick flicks of my finger and I had him out.

I made my way back outside, relieved to be rid of this certain terror. When I got into the sun, I peered at the horrible little invader for a moment or two before crushing him like the bug he was.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Most like an arch

It's no secret that in the United States today, roughly 98 percent of marriages end in divorce within five years. That's only one of the reasons I'm so lucky to be married to someone like my Supermodel Wife.

She has a great sense of humor and a lot of patience which, fortunately for me, has allowed her to put up with my shenanigans for thirteen years now.

I consider these past few years to be the best of my life so far. We've done amazing things together. We've seen priceless works of art, viewed the wonders of nature, visited ancient ruins, dipped our toes in four oceans... we've been in one of the tallest buildings in the world, and traveled deep underground. We've raised one of the smartest and most beautiful daughters in the history of smart, beautiful daughters.

We've had arguments, fights even. But I wouldn't trade even the worst day for all of the Brunello in Tuscany. I value our time together that much. We have built our life together through hard work, blood, sweat and tears, but more importantly love, devotion.

It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it. And I can't wait to see what the future brings.

I saw this poem a few weeks ago, and I think it's particularly apropos. We are stronger together than we could be apart.
Most Like an Arch This Marriage
by John Ciardi

Most like an arch—an entrance which upholds
and shores the stone-crush up the air like lace.
Mass made idea, and idea held in place.
A lock in time. Inside half-heaven unfolds.

Most like an arch—two weaknesses that lean
into a strength. Two fallings become firm.
Two joined abeyances become a term
naming the fact that teaches fact to mean.

Not quite that? Not much less. World as it is,
what’s strong and separate falters. All I do
at piling stone on stone apart from you
is roofless around nothing. Till we kiss

I am no more than upright and unset.
It is by falling in and in we make
the all-bearing point, for one another’s sake,
in faultless failing, raised by our own weight.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Irony

One of the pleasant surprises about our vacation to Branson a few weeks ago was Silver Dollar City.

I was expecting a sort of redneck version of the already-kind-of-rednecky Worlds of Fun. But instead, it was more like a fun version of the Renaissance Festival. There were enough kid rides to keep our fiver-year-old entertained, but also enough artisanal displays to keep the adults occupied.

We watched a glass blowing demonstration right after shooting bad guys in the Flooded Mine. A big hit for my dad was the blacksmith's shop. A craftsman was at work turning iron into useful tools and works of art.

Pops struck up a conversation with the gentleman and learned that, by working at Silver Dollar City for 12 weeks, he makes enough contacts that he gets jobs lined up for the entire year. Not a bad way to make a living doing something you think is fun.

The blacksmith's shop is where my dad got me this kickass birthday present:

I know you guys know what it is, so I won't waste time explaining its use. But I do want to point out a few details.

First, here's the business end of this useful little gadget...

But the coolest part is this...
That's right, rather than just the typical loop, dad had the blacksmith put in a monogram 'A' for me. This thing is a family heirloom now.

Sweet.
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Random Photo XV: Autumn Birch

If I asked you what your favorite season was, you would probably say spring or summer.

But you would be wrong. It's actually autumn.

Like Michael Scott, I find autumn to be the most contemplative of the seasons. The angle of the sun, the colors of the foliage, the sweet and sour smell of decomposing leaves and the mild temperatures all combine for an atmosphere of introspection and appreciation.

I took this picture yesterday of one of the river birches in our back yard.



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Friday Blogthing: Monster

This doesn't sound like me at all...



You Are a Werewolf



You're unpredictable, moody, and downright freaky.

You seem sweet and harmless, until you snap. Then you're a total monster.

Very few people can predict if you're going to be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

But for you, all your transformations seem perfectly natural.

Your greatest power: Your ability to tap into nature

Your greatest weakness: Lack of self control

You play well with: Vampires



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Thursday, October 09, 2008

We're all hosed

I ganked this from El Borak...

I (stupidly) checked by 401k balance yesterday. The verdict: Down 24% since the beginning of the year.

If things keep going the way the are (and they will, regardless of what you Obamunists think) I'm going to have to take drastic measures, like selling my priceless collection of erotic Hummel figurines.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Clearing

Here's a conundrum for you: Say you're an Overland Park city planner and you're faced with a decision on what to do with a vacant parcel of land near 107th and Roe Avenue. What do you do?

The situation is getting dire. The land has become overgrown with unsightly woods. Woodland wildlife is making it a haven in the middle of your beautiful pavetropolis.

The deciduous trees shed their leaves in the autumn, but only after assaulting passersby with a horrible display of gaudy reds, yellows and oranges -- colors that patently conflict with the suburb-approved grays, dark grays and light grays of surrounding developments.

You thought about putting in a soccer field. Everybody likes soccer, right? But alas, a new soccer field is already being installed a few miles south, so that's a no go.

But you have to make you're decision. So quick, what do you do?

Well, you do what any progress-minded suburban planner would do. Cut out all the trees, grind them up, and put in a strip mall.

I took these pictures a few days ago.

By now, the vegetation on the plot of land is about two thirds shredded. Should be all gone by the end of the day tomorrow.

Here's what the area looked like less than two weeks ago (not the streets, you numskulls, the woods just beyond the street).

Actually, it's probably unfair of me to characterize this as just another strip mall project. There isn't any signage nearby explaining what's going on. I called the OP city desk and got three call transfers, two voicemails and a "I honestly don't know what they're doing" before giving up.

A quick Google search didn't net much info either. I suppose it's possible that the clear cutting is part of the Indian creek flood control project, but it seems to be a little too far south of Indian Creek for that.

A clerk at the nearby QuikTrip mentioned that they're finishing off 107th Street. But do they really need to shred all the trees within a 500 yard radius?

I dunno. Like I say, I'm just a cave man. Your retail shopping and street paving frightens and confuses me.

If you guys have any idea what this project is about, drop me a line of explanation in the comments. Mmmkay?

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Ignorance is bliss

It's nice to not be informed. It lets you go about your day happily unaware of what the hell is going on in the world.

It allows you to crack uninformed quips about how dumb Sarah Palin is. It makes it easy for you to say "Vote for Obama, he's totally different from every other politician."

Of course, while this obliviousness pretty much means you'll be completely wrong on all of your blustering ramblings, at least it means you'll be happy.

And I'm all for happiness, which is why I encourage you NOT to listen to the most recent episode of This American Life.

It's a follow up to an episode I mentioned a couple of months ago, in which Ira Glass, Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson explained how this global meltdown got started.

In this episode, they continue to discuss just what the hell is happening and how absolutely screwed we all are (hint: a $850 billion bailout is a squirt of piss compared to the estimated $60 TRILLION in outstanding credit default swaps).

So whatever you do, DON'T listen to this top notch reporting. Go back to your blog and write something snarky about how the Republicans screwed the country and if we only vote Democrats (more of the same) everything will be sugarplum fields and candy cane forests.

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Socky

One of the good things about our recent trip to Branson was the shopping.

Not that I'm an authority on shopping. I hate shopping. Frankly, I'd rather watch Larry Moore do a naked burlesque show than spend even five minutes in a mall.

But I had a nice score in a Branson outlet mall that almost makes the entire trip worthwhile.

First, a little background: About five years ago, I went through a simplification regimen. This consisted of getting rid of some of the extraneous "stuff" in my life. Focus on the important things, streamline the processes, etc. As part of this exercise, I got rid of all the fancy socks I used to wear to work and replaced them with plain black socks.

These are special (to me) socks, a lycra/cotton blend from Jockey that was comfortable and tended not to fade as much as other socks. At the time, I could only find them at one store, so I stocked up with a couple dozen pairs.

The beauty of the system is that they are all identical and they pretty much go with anything I might wear to work, so I never had to worry about finding a pair of matching socks. They all matched each other, see?

Over the years, a sock would wear out and I could just throw a new one into the rotation. This worked great until the store I shopped at quick carrying them. I searched online and couldn't find them anywhere.

As I started to wear holes into the heels of more socks, I resigned myself to the fact that my great sock experiment was coming to a close. I even went so far as to wear a couple of pairs of non-standard socks that I had received as a Christmas present (yes, I received socks as a Christmas present. Sad isn't it).

Then, while on a stroll around a Branson outlet mall while my Supermodel Wife was buying factory outlet-priced Supermodel clothes, I saw a Jockey outlet store. I felt a slight tinge of hope. I stepped in and saw a display of the very socks I needed -- and at factory outlet prices no less.

So, I restocked on socks. I've got a nice big stack of two dozen socks just waiting to move into the rotation as their older brethren wear out.

Life will continue to be simple for me -- at least in the sock department.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

The Obvious Psychic

Most people don't know this, but I have psychic powers.

My powers used to be more acute. Back in high school, for example, I successfully predicted the rise and fall of Yahoo Serious. Then during college I got kind of messed up in drugs, and even though I'm clean now, I only have flash forwards every now and then.

But I still have a talent for making obvious psychic predictions with stunning accuracy, so I've put together a few for this weekend. You can keep score at home. It's fun, see?
  • Saturday Night Live will lead off with a skit featuring Liz Lemmon impersonating Tina Fey impersonating Sarah Palin in the VP debate. That show's predictability is matched only by its unfunniness. Who'd a thought we'd look back with longing on the Kevin Nealon days.

  • TKC will have no less than a dozen posts about the KCMO co-mayors. His predictability is matched only by the pictures of scantily clad women he posts. Still, he's an order of magnitude more original and funny than SNL.
  • The K-State Wildcats undefense will get shredded by Texas Tech to the tune of about a brazillion yards.

  • Congress will drive the final nail into the coffin of the country formerly known as America by passing the $850 billion Buy Our Way Into Social Totalitarianism Bill.

  • There will be at least three people killed in East Kansas City over the weekend, which, with the direction this country is heading socially and politically, makes them the lucky ones.

  • And finally,

  • Larry Moore will continue to be a complete goober by gushing all over MU while reading non-news stories about homeless cats or fake local celebrities.
There's more, but the premonitions are getting really weird and disturbing (I don't know why The D and XO would be sharing a pair of rubber pants (shiver)) so I'd better stop for now.

You kids have great weekend.

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Vacation Plan B

We were excited about our planned Hawaiian vacation this year, looking forward to beaches, waves, exotic food and luaus and getting leied.

Yep, it was going to be the summer of fun.

Then gas started getting super expensive. Airfares followed. Airlines started sticking it to customers, then started going out of business. So, we opted to go with Vacation Plan B - Branson, Mo.

I couldn't help but be a underwhelmed. I mean, I'd never been to Branson, so I didn't want to completely write it off. But the shift in expectations was a little disappointing.

But when you only get one real vacation a year, you gotta make it count. So I determined to go "Las Vegas, if it were fun by Ned Flanders” with a positive attitude.

So how'd it go? Oh, thanks for asking. Here are a few thoughts...

Overall, it's a pretty good family destination. There's plenty to do. My daughter especially liked the dinosaur-themed minigolf course where we saw actual, live dinosaurs (well, okay, they were tiny little collared lizards, but a reptile is a reptile, right?).


Another big hit was the bumper boats. It's fun for parents and kids alike. We went back a couple of times to ride the boats and soak each other with the water cannons. I can't believe KC doesn't have something like this downtown or maybe out at the Speedway. Note to self, this is a possible franchise opportunity.

So there was plenty to do. Unfortunately much of it was pretty expensive. Any show you go to is going to set you back $50 bucks a head or more. Same with any of the boat tours, and Silver Dollar City (although, in the case of Silver Dollar City, I'd say it's worth the price of admission).

But it was kind of sad to see the random development that has taken place in the hills around Branson. At one time, this area had a lot of natural beauty (it still does in some areas).

But it was clear driving around the area that the developers and entertainment syndicates have run roughshod over whatever development and zoning regulations may have been in place. The area gets more than six million tourists a year, and it’s clear that the 6,000 residents of Branson had no chance against that much money.

Sadly, Missouri's love of tacky billboards spewed a full-on ad-gasm all over the Ozarks.

That said, there are still areas where you can still see the appeal of living in the more pristine areas of the Ozark hills. We spent one evening on a dinner cruise on Lake Taneycomo, floating by houses up on the bluffs overlooking the White River and imagining what the view must be like from up there.

So, in the final analysis, I'd say that although I probably wouldn't make Branson a future vacation destination, it wasn't horrible. It wasn't Hawaii, but it was better than I expected.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

That sucks

But I totally understand where JD is coming from. It's really hard to give a shit about things these days.

JD, thanks for contributing what you did.

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What the bailout means to you

It's a gross oversimplification, but then so is everything else in this ridiculous farce of an election year.

song chart memes

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