Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas hangover

  • One SUV crammed with two-months salary worth of gifts for inlaws
  • One three-year-old
  • 400 miles worth of open highway to drive
  • Inlaws (any amount will do)
  • Four heavy Christmas dinners with all the "fixin's"

Directions: Combine ingredients and set tension level to medium for two days. On the third day, raise tension level to high and allow to boil over. Serve and enjoy.

Damn it's good to be home. 4 Christmases in 5 days is way too much holly freakin' jolly for me. I just settled in with a nice glass of eggnog that I make out of bourbon and nothing else.

Anyway, I have a lot of Christmas horror stories, some of which I might share. Actually, though, it wasn't all bad. I did get a few things from my wishlist. Plus I'm still on vacation for a few more days, so I've got that going for me.

Well, here's to wishing you all a happy post-Christmas recovery.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hello? It's your big brother calling

Here’s one that will send shivers down the spines of the paranoids.

A New York judge has granted the government its request to be able to track the position of cell phone without first getting a warrant.

I can see Dan going into convulsions already.

In related news, the government has also declared 2 plus 2 to be 5, War is now Peace, Ignorance is Strength, and Freedom is Slavery.
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Even in New Jersey

I saw the governor of New Jersey wasn't happy with the state's new slogan, "New Jersey, we'll win you over," for which they paid a consultant a cool quarter of a million tomatoes.

Meh, it could be worse. But in an effort to get more entries, N.J Governor Richard Codey announced a contest open to NJ residents to come up with a new state slogan. Unfortunately, he didn't count on the sarcasm of his constituents.

The slogan committee has already had to weed out suggestions like "Come to New Jersey: It's not as bad as it smells."

Luckily, being from Kansas I have some recent experience with this sort of thing, so I’ve taken it upon myself to add a few of my own suggestions. Just PayPal me the $260,000, Gov. Codey.
  • New Jersey: Keeping it in the Family
  • New Jersey: Everyone’s a Soprano
  • New Jersey: Neither New, nor a Jersey
  • New Jersey: More than just a turnpike
  • New Jersey: The State Shaped Like an Appendix

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Give my regrets to Broadway

All right. Enough is enough. You're having a little trouble with your commute. We get it.

But it's not a national news story.

I think I can speak for the vast majority of North America when I tell the spoiled public transportation brats of New York that I'm tired of hearing about their problems all the time.

For the last few days in the news it's all "Transit strike snarls NYC for 2nd day"-this and Judge fines NYC transit workers $1 million a day"-that.

Well, here's a news flash for New Yorkers.

"Most of country has own problems to deal with."

Here in KC we've got a skyrocketing East-side murder epidemic, they've got wings falling off of airplanes in Miami, and let's not forget about the dire plight of European Union relations.

So sorry, NY, if I'm not that sympathetic with the fact that you'll have to walk a few blocks to get to that fancy Italian bistro. You're just going to have to deal with it. I mean, fer cryin' out loud, this isn't France.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Black talk

Sunday night I watched an interview of actor Morgan Freeman on 60 Minutes. Not my usual Sunday night viewing fare, but I was too busy clipping my toenails to change the channel.

Anyway, Freeman made a comment that was spot on something that's been going through my mind a lot lately. Interviewer Mike Wallace asked the tough question about what Americans should do to end racism.

Freeman's answer? "Stop talking about it."
"I'm going to stop calling you a white man. And I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You wouldn't say, "‘Well, I know this white guy named Mike Wallace."’ You know what I'm sayin'."”
I do know what he's sayin'. It pretty much goes against the politically correct left, that segment of society that says in order to respect other races we must make sure to recognize (label) them.

This is something that was on the forefront of my mind a few weeks ago when my alma mater announced a new head football coach. University bigwigs and media mouthpieces alike proclaimed that KSU's hiring of former University of Virginia assistant Ron Prince was a seminal moment in college sports.

Newspaper articles proclaimed "KSU hires black head coach" and "KSU makes Prince 4th black head coach." Columnists wrote about the great opportunity and pressure on this black head coach.

Unfortunately, the theme couldn't be around "KSU new young head coach" or "KSU's promising new head coach."

Maybe someday we'll get to a point where race truly doesn't matter, when there won't be any black Americans, Asian Americans, Latino or Hispanic Americans. Maybe someday, we'll all just be Americans.

But I think in order for that to happen, we'll have to take Freeman's advice and stop talking about it.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Glass half full (update)

Here's an update on the Nelson expansion I blogged about earlier.

Anonymous, you asked for more pics, so here are some shots courtesy of Matt the Architect. By the way, I love all of those quotes you're famous for.

Anyway, check these out...

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

A little good news

It looks like the election in Iraq has been pretty successful.

"The heavy participation in the parliamentary voting by the Sunnis, who had shunned balloting last January, bolstered U.S. hopes of calming the insurgency enough to begin withdrawing its troops next year..."
"...But violence was light overall and did not appear to discourage Iraqis, some of whom turned out wrapped in their flag on a bright, sunny day, and afterward displayed a purple ink-stained index finger — a mark to guard against multiple voting. One jubilant Shiite voter in Baghdad proudly displayed all 10 of his fingers stained with ink."
It's nice to see some encouraging news from the middle east. I know a lot of people will say that this is meaningless and Iraq is a lost cause and the US has no business being there.

Maybe that's true, but we are there, and signs like this are at least hopeful.

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We interupt this blog...

Today marked the ninth day in a row when my morning bathroom "ritual" was interrupted by my supermodel wife and/or our 3-year-old daughter.

I guess when you're the only dude in the family (aside from our neutered dog, Dexter), you really don't have much privacy. Not that I need the privacy. But it would be nice to be able to look at my Playboys without being interrupted.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Glass ceiling

So my friend Matt is one of the project architects for the new expansion of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Because I have such a powerful and influential friend, I scored a private tour of the not-yet-completed expansion.

The new building, designed by well-known architect Steven Holl, has been the source of a fair amount of controversy in Kansas City. Some people object to his design, which uses hundreds of slabs of specially designed glass, saying it looks too much like a prefab metal shed and it's offensive to the grand old Nelson Atkins.

Others, like Tony from TKC, object on general principal to the idea of spending dollars on "cultural" projects, saying there's no benefit to the proletariat (his opinion).

My personal view is that this is going to be a kick ass building. It's a mistake to judge this book by its exterior cover. I was able to snap a few pics of the interior before my digital camera battery died, and let me just say it's pretty damn impressive.

The spaces and lighting will be amazing for the gallery and public areas below the "lenses." And the integration with the exterior landscape will only enhance the "sculpture garden" feel of the east side of the Nelson.

My prediction is that this building will become on of Kansas City's best landmarks.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ain't no Tin Woodman in Kansas

Dan at Gone Mild asked:
What in the hell is the tin man? I mean, lions and scarecrows are part of the world, but I'm unaware of mechanized woodmen roaming Kansas or anywhere else ...
Well, Dan, here's one person's answer.

It helps to keep in mind that the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was highly satirical criticism of the socio-political climate of America circa 1900. So, many of the characters were metaphorical representations of the groups and social classes of which L. Frank Baum was critical.

The following deconstruction is from Henry M. Littlefield.
In the book, the Wicked Witch of the East had kept the little Munchkin people "in bondage for many years, making them slave for her night and day." (pp. 22-23). Just what this slavery entailed is not immediately clear, but Baum later gives us a specific example. The Tin Woodman, whom Dorothy meets on her way to the Emerald City, had been put under a spell by the Witch of the East. Once an independent and hard working human being, the Woodman found that each time he swung his axe it chopped off a different part of his body. Knowing no other trade he "worked harder than ever," for luckily in Oz tinsmiths can repair such things. Soon the Woodman was all tin (p. 59). In this way Eastern witchcraft dehumanized a simple laborer so that the faster and better he worked the more quickly he became a kind of machine. Here is a Populist view of evil Eastern influences on honest labor which could hardly be more pointed.
So there you have it. The Tin Woodman was a metaphorical amalgamation of the working class who had been conditioned to work for "the man" (which in Oz was the Wicked Witch of the East) until he became more machine than man.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Mr. Picassohead

selfportraitI wanted to put up a quick post while I try to dig out from under 12 feet of snow and a mountain of email.

I found another online self portrait site at .

As the name implies, you use their flash program to "paint" you're self portrait (or anybody elses, for that matter).

So, here's my Picasso-esque self portrait. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Five favs

Dan at has posted his list of the most important songs on his iPod. It's a great list and I wholeheartedly agree with everything he says.

It's one of the only things that we agree upon.

Dan and I are miles apart in terms of our political views, mostly since I prefer a reasoned, moderate and respectful dialog and discussion of day-to-day events rather than Dan's extreme reactionary rants.

Be that as it may, we have very similar taste in music. Leave it to music to bring people together.

So, I've put together my top five of the moment, noting that these change as often as the weather in Kansas (can you believe we had tornadoes in November?)
  • Into the Mystic (Van Morrison): As far as I'm concerned, this is one of Van Morrison's best works as it fuses soul and blues with the Celtic-folk of his roots. This one is always at the top of my iPod's most-played list.
  • I Shall Be Released (Nina Simone): Pretty much any of Nina Simone's songs could go in my five favs list. I've chosen this one because of the strength of the lyrics (They say everything cannot be replaced. They say every distance is not near. So I remember every face of every man who put me here.) It's also a great vehicle for Simone's haunting vocals. I can feel the palpable pain in her voice, and I can't listen to this song without getting misty-eyed.
  • Rapper's Delight (Sugarhill Gang): Rap hit the mainstream when I was in junior high, and while Rapper's Delight wasn't the first rap song I heard, it was the most memorable. This song always takes me back to the after school on the playground rap sessions where me and my best friends were transformed into our new hip-hop heroes. It really exposed those small-town white boys to a new culture.
  • Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles): The list wouldn't be complete without an item from the Beatles and I think this one is my fav. I just really like the positive vibe and "springtime" imagery that Lennon used, proving himself (as if he needed to) a master lyricist.
  • Walk On (U2): This is a relatively new addition (that is, relative to the other items on the list) but when the World Trade Center was attached on Sept. 11, 2001, this was the album I was listening to at the time. Everyone was really depressed for a few weeks (months?) afterward, but the words in this song have uncanny relevance (And if your glass heart should crack, And for a second you turn back, Oh no, be strong). I've been a huge U2 fan for years and obviously still am.
So there's my five favs. I noticed with a bit of a different take. Tony being different? Imagine that.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Desperate intervention

Honey, darling, light of my life, please don’t take this the wrong way. We’re here because we love you very much, and we only want to see you get better.

You see. We think you have a problem.

You are a great mother and supermodel wife. Any husband and daughter would be lucky to be part of your family. But your one little vice is starting to get out of hand.

For a while, it was easy to ignore. You kept it under control for nearly two seasons. But as with most addictions, sooner or later the vice begins to take control and we lose more and more of the beautiful person that we know and love.

Over the last couple of weeks, it’s become more and more apparent when you need your “fix”. When Sunday afternoon rolls around, you start to become irritable, even grouchy when your loved ones ask for your attention. As the evening wears on, the irritability turns to abject apathy. You lose focus on those around you as your mind fixes solely on the anticipation of next dose at 8 p.m.

And then, when it starts, and you begin to consume the televised narcotic that is , it’s as if your family doesn’t exist anymore.

So please, we’ve planned this intervention in an effort to encourage you to get some help. We want you the way you were. We know we can be happy on Sunday evenings again. I'm willing to do whatever it takes and be with you every step of the way.

Wait a minute... the game is back on.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Amelie Friday

It's time once again for Amelies Friday, so let's play The Amelie Game.
Here they are, three likes and three dislikes for the week:
Things I like
  • free Senseo promotions
  • having my Christmas shopping done (thank you Amazon)
  • (you can buy it online, too)

Things I dislike
  • when dentists don't keep their appointments
  • Delta Dental doesn't cover my fillings
  • ("hatred of science, literature and minorities by the current populace" ... whatever, dude).
How has your week been?

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cyber Swag!

Or, "Holy crap! It actually worked!!"

About a month ago I heard an Internet rumor that Senseo, a single serve coffee joint venture of Sara Lee and Phillips electronics, was giving away free coffee makers as part of a promotion.

Knowing from previous experience the value of Internet rumors (man, that was one crazy Yom Kippur!), I was very skeptical. But I went to the Drop the Drip website to learn more.

So the deal was, you send in a picture of your old coffee maker (plus $15 shipping and handling, of course) and Senseo sends you a "free" Senseo Single Serve coffee maker -- a $60 value.

The website seemed legit, so I snapped a pic of my with my trusty and clicked upload. All that was left was the small matter of handing my VISA card number over to an internet form and waiting.

Well, to my surprise, my shiny new red arrived today. Can't wait to fire it up and drink myself into a caffeine-induced epileptic fit.

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