Monday, April 30, 2007

Right on target

The hot topic of conversation in the KC blogiverse today is yesterday's 3-death massacre at Ward Parkway Mall.

My good friend Xavier Onassis is taking a particularly rough comments beating for his point of view:
I think we should limit gun ownership to one narrowly defined hunting rifle per adult and round up and confiscate everything else.
He's suffering the usual slings and arrows of the slack-jawed knuckle-draggers who think the constitutionally guaranteed right to own firearms guarantees them the right to own firearms.

Well I'd just like to come to XO's defense on this one.

He's right. Just because the constitution says we should have something, doesn't mean that we really should. After all, what do we know. We elect people to congress and White Houses to tell us what we need so that we don't have to think about it.

XO make a valid point that, since we've given up so many of our other constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, we should give up this one as well. Who needs rights anyway? Isn't our society advancing to a point where we can rely on the Morlocks to provide for us at the relatively low expense of sending them one or two of our Eloi now and then?

No, I'm with Xavier on this one. In fact, I think his ideas don't go far enough.

Sure, restricting the types of guns people can own is good. Absolutely we need to have government troops round up and confiscate all non-approved firearms. But that's only the beginning.

As a next step, we need to create a government registry of all people who want to own a firearm, or have views sympathetic to firearm owners. As XO points out, these kinds of people are obviously mentally defective. So they do need to be tracked and controlled.

We should probably designate certain areas within each city for these people to live and, for the safety of the public at large, restrict their movements from these areas.

To be doubly safe, we should make sure all of us right-thinking, non-insane non-gun-owners know when we're dealing with a "gun nut" by requiring them to wear some kind of insignia that identifies them as the sub-humans they really are. I'm thinking a red and white target, or perhaps a six-pointed star or something.

Anyway, I'm sure there a more ideas out there to help us come to a final solution on the gun owners problem. Maybe since gun owners like to hunt in the woods, we can send them all camping. Of course we would have to fence in the camps to make sure innocent people don't stray into these concentrations of gun owners. But it could work.

It's clear that after the last few weeks, we have to do something.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

And now for something completely different...

The Onion News Network takes a look at the cultural impact of the Segway on this, the six-year anniversary of it's arrival:

In The Know: Life Before The Segway

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

How cool is this

I've previously posted how much I love writing/sketching in my Moleskine. It's old-school bohemian groovyness is just good for the soul.

Now thanks to this guy I can transfer that goodness to my computers with a hard disk enclosure.

Check out the slide show here.

via engadget

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FWD: You do the math

A buddy of mine sent me this in a forwarded email.

I'm not sure who the original author is, but it's hard to argue with this analysis. If you know who wrote this originally, let me know.
I was riding to work yesterday when I observed a female driver, who cut right in front of a pickup truck, causing the driver to drive onto the shoulder to avoid hitting her.

This evidently angered the driver enough that he hung his arm out is window
and gave the woman the finger.

"Man, that guy is stupid," I thought to myself. I ALWAYS smile nicely and
wave in a sheepish manner whenever a female does anything to me in traffic,
and here's why:

I drive 48 miles each way every day to work.

That's 96 miles each day.

Of these, 16 miles each way is bumper-to-bumper.

Most of the bumper-to-bumper is on an 8 lane highway.

There are 7 cars every 40 feet for 32 miles.

That works out to 982 cars every mile, or 31,424 cars.

Even though the rest of the 32 miles is not bumper-to-bumper, I figure I pass at least another 4000 cars.

That brings the number to something like 36,000 cars that I pass every day.

Statistically, females drive half of these.

That's 18,000 women drivers!

In any given group of females, 1 in 28 has PMS.

That's 642.

According to Cosmopolitan, 70% describe their love life as dissatisfying or unrewarding.

That's 449.

According to the National Institute of Health, 22% of all females have seriously considered suicide or homicide.

That's 98.

And 34% describe men as their biggest problem.

That's 33.

According to the National Rifle Association, 5% of all females carry weapons and this number is increasing.

That means that EVERY SINGLE DAY, I drive past at least one female that has
a lousy love life, thinks men are her biggest problem, has seriously considered suicide or homicide, has PMS, and is armed.

Give her the finger? I don't think so

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I ask myself the same question

It's ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand (or at least it was when it was today there).

This day obviously has more meaning for the Aussies and Kiwis than to a Yank like myself, but it always makes me think of the famous and excellent song And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle.

In my opinion this is one of the best war songs written. Definitely not a jingoistic, rah-rah patriot song, but not quite a preachy protest song either.

Just a song that makes us to ask serious and important questions of ourselves.

This version is performed by the Clancy Brothers.

My brother in-law Nick will be home this weekend from Iraq for some much deserved shore leave. It will be great to see him again.

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Get rich or die tryin'

So I caught this article about a UK guy who bet some bookies 10 years ago that he could live to be 100 years old. He won $50 grand yesterday when he celebrated his 100th birthday.

I can see some pros and cons to this.

The pros of course are that the dude is still alive and $50k richer. The con is, how much fun can a 100-year-old have with $50,000. I mean c'mon, he's 100 freakin' years old.

So for this to work for me, I would have to bet on someone else living to be 100. After all, I want my $50 large now, not 70 years from now. And the only guy I know who's even close to 100 years old is Xavier Onassis. He might have a shot at making it, too. Hell, he already quit smoking.

The other option is my favorite geezer Larry Moore. I'm not sure how old he is, but by the looks of him he can't be too far from the century mark. And I hear that there are a lot of preservatives in all of that makeup and hair "product". Plus, everyone knows that the annoying people are always the ones who tend to stick around the longest.

Anyway, I'm calling the bookies tonight to find out what kind of odds I can get. Want in on the action?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

YouTube Tuesday: I was so much older then

Lately, seeing the kids dressed up on the Plaza in their fine formal clothes, impressing each other for their respective proms, has reminded me of my high-school and college years.

Staying out late, crashing my dad's car, getting away with things (and getting caught, oops), hangin' out with friends -- the future was too far away to worry about at the time.

Unfortunately, a lot of people (myself included) don't appreciate those times when they are happening. It takes 20 years, several jobs, the stress of a mortgage, family responsibility and a "spare tire" to show how good we had it back then.

That's how it is for a lot of people. But not for budding video editor Tom Keliinoi, whose YouTube submission shows that he and his friends are seizing the day.

The people in this video are complete strangers to me, yet I see myself and my friends 20 years ago in every face. Where has the time gone?

Nice job Tom.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Movie Mini Review: Run Lola Run

Title: Run Lola Run (Lola rennt)

Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri

Plot summary:

Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks and get it to her boyfriend, Manni, who lost a bag full of cash during a botched diamond smuggling operation. If she's not there on time, Manni will be sleeping with the fishes courtesy of the German Tony Soprano.

My thoughts:

This is another film that has been on the DVR for a few months now, so when my Supermodel Wife and I had some unexpected free time last week, we cued it up.

I had a vague idea of what the movie was about. I remember it receiving some good press when it was released in 1998, even winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival. But despite the title, I wasn't quite prepared for the pace set by director Tom Tykwer. There is literally only a few minutes before the action starts for the characters.

I thought the acting was strong for the main characters. Even though my knowledge of the German language is limited to schadenfreude and fahrvergnügen, the sexy Franka Potente did an excellent job of conveying her character's fear, anger and frustration -- sometime all at once.

The acting, combined with the video editing and a driving techno soundtrack did a great job of conveying the feeling of urgency and intensity that I think Tykwer was going for.

And the plot line was a nice change of pace. Like a couple of my other favorite movies, Pulp Fiction and Memento, Lola employs a non-linear storytelling device. The first twenty minutes advance through a story and then repeat back to the beginning. The story then unfolds again, but this time with slight changes in seemingly insignificant details that lead to major changes in the outcome.

The advantage of this is that it gives the two principal actors that much sought-after death scene (sorry for the spoiler if you haven't seen this one yet, but c'mon, it's been out for nine years), while at the same time keeping them around for the ending.

The one thing that still bothers me is that Tykwer gave no reason within the world of the story for the characters to repeat the last 20 minutes. Perhaps it makes sense in the original German, but it didn't translate for me and I felt a little shortchanged because of it.

But I was happy with the examination of this sort of quantum principal that other worlds exist depending on what choice we make, what we observe and do at any given moment. It would be nice to have the kind of "do overs" in real life that Lola and Manni had in this film.

My final rating: Definitely see it again.

Favorite quote:
"The ball is round, a game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory. Off we go!"

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Fellowship of the Ring in 15 seconds

This totally cracks me up (click to embiggen).

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virtually complete

Pictures of the Sprint Center under construction in downtown KCMO have been making the rounds on the interwebs lately.

The most recent pics showed up first on KCRag forum, and then Tony linked in with some comments.

Problem is, the thing isn't done yet. That may be good enough for some people, but not for me. I insist upon instant gratification.

Even if it's just virtual.

So, I logged back in to Second Life for the first time in months (which is years in online time).

There, you can get a virtual feel for what the arena is going to be like. Here are some pics for the SL-challenged:

Here's a wide shot of the exterior of the arena.

This is the "interior" of the Sprint Center, the main arena.
This is the main lobby. You can get a free virtual T-shirt at the kiosk on the right to give Sprint some free virtual advertising.

This is the virtual sales chick. Kind of a two dimensional personality.
This is a secondary lobby between the main lobby and the arena. I guess you can watch free Spanish rock videos on that TV in the corner.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You can't prevent crazy

On the way into the office today I heard a caller to a radio show say, in reference to the Virginia Tech incident, "You can't prevent crazy."

How true.

When things like this happen, be it in New York, Colorado, Oklahoma or Virginia, it seems that the typical knee-jerk reaction is "How could this have happened? Why didn't somebody stop it? There ought to be a law. We need new procedures to prevent this from happening again."

And after all of the discussions, hearings, interviews, analysis and reviews of procedures, such things end up (inevitably?) happening again.

Predictably, the discussion over the last day or so in the wall-to-wall media coverage has circled around questions like why the campus wasn't locked down earlier. Why did nobody see Cho's previous calls for help? How did he get the guns and ammo?

We need tighter gun control. We need more concealed carry. We need stricter campus security. Who is to blame?

All of this brushes aside the fact that the guy was crazy. We know he was crazy (aside from the obvious insanity of the act) because we are all crazy. Nobody is 100% sane (if there is such a thing).

Thankfully the vast majority of our individual neuroses don't manifest themselves in a shooting rampage. But we all have hang-ups about something. We learn to live with them, and we trust that everyone else will learn to live with their issues as well.

That some people don't, that they go off the rails as Ozzy says, is a calculated risk.

In our society, we've determined that we're willing to risk the occasional mass-murder so that we won't have to live under an oppressive totalitarian regime. We don't want our schools to resemble prisons. We don't want our interstate highways to look like Checkpoint Charlie. We don't want Big Brother looking over our shoulders every minute of every day. We don't want to give up our individual liberties.

Tragic as they are, incidents like the one that happened at Virginia Tech are the price we pay for living in an open society.

So what do we do?

We go home, embrace our loved ones, and thank whatever gods may be that we are alive and able to enjoy another day.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I was the ugly fat guy with the yellow shirt

It was great to meet you all in person.

What a strange feeling to meet people in the corporeal world that you previously knew only in the virtual one. How awkward to introduce yourself by name, then by blog?

Apologies to XO for having to ask twice for your name. I was honored to be in the presence of so much talent -- Greg, Michelle, Spyder, HIB, mToast, Cara and Eric.

I'm just sorry I had to leave early, but as I said family obligations demanded I head home early. I'll have to wait to see if that coward Tony showed up.

Anyway, it was great to meet you all, even the guys from The Pitch.

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YouTube Tuesday: Vader + MST3K = Crazy hilarious

I've commented about RiffTrax, the video companions produced by the writers from MST3k. And I've mentioned Chad Vader in previous YouTube Tuesday features.

Now, the two great tastes taste great together.

Here's the background:

And here's a teaser of the result:

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Book Report: The Road

All I can say is "wow" ... just... "wow"...

I bought Cormac McCarthy's latest opus The Road not because Oprah recently added it to the Oprah Book Cult, but because one of the smartest bloggers I know suggested it.

All of the comments I've heard about the story are true. It is dismal, and tragic and bleak. In fact, saying this story is bleak is like saying the Pope is a little bit Catholic. It's like calling Larry Moore "mature" (had to get a Larry Moore dig in there).

This is a raw cheerless book. And yet somehow, after consuming it in about a day and a half (I do have a job unfortunately) I wasn't depressed at all. In fact, quite the opposite.

In case you haven't heard about it yet, the story follows the struggles of an unnamed man and his young son as they trudge through a post-apocalyptic America on their way to the coast and what they hope will be a better life. Along the way, they face threats from starvation, freezing, sickness and (gulp) cannibals.

It seemed to me McCarthy was attempting to strip away everything but the essence of existence. He peeled off the unnecessary layers of luxury, money, success, power, religion (though not necessarily spirituality) and cheap sentimentality in an attempt to discuss the core issues of why we are here.

Reflective of this philosophy, the writing is sparse, like the landscape it is describing. Anything unessential has been left out -- even to the point of eliminating some punctuation and parts of sentences.

This is all to illustrate that there is one thing important in this story: The relationship between the man and his son. In the world that McCarthy has conjured, there is no reason to go on living other than their love for each other. They are "each other's world entire" as McCarthy writes.

And this is the hope and beauty of the story set in an altogether ugly world. That at the heart of everything, taking away all of that which we think is important, in the end love is what will sustain us.

There was much symbolism around the nature of God, good and evil, and all manner of ethical questions that smarter people than I will get into.

But for me, the book wasn't depressing. In fact, when I finished the final pages my only thought was that I wanted to pick up my 4-year-old daughter and give her a long hug.

And that's what I did.

Rating: Highly recommended

PS - I was remiss in omitting these excellent and insightful posts about The Road by other of the smartest bloggers I know:tagged: , , , ,

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It sounded much funnier at midnight

The following IM conversation took place between 11:30 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Saturday between myself and Xavier Onassis from HSWG.

And yes, on second thought, it is quite lame.
XO: Are you coming to the blog meet on Tuesday?

EmawKC: Still unsure. I may have family coming into town.
EmawKC: Of course they are in-laws, so it might be good to "get out of the house for a while"

XO: LOL! We used to call that "Going to Casey's". Could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. No questions asked.

EmawKC: :clap:
EmawKC: What time you gonna get there?

XO: Well, I'll keep an eye out for a chain smoking chimp.
XO: I work down town so I will probably be the first one there. 5ish.

EmawKC: I just want to make sure you have a chance to buy me that scotch

XO: Hey, bub! I think you're having a dyslexic moment!

EmawKC: Yeah, I guess I owe you a bourbon too.

XO: Actually, I'd be honored to buy you a drink. You were one of my very first commentors. Ever. And you can get off easy and buy me a coke. I don't drink and drive.

EmawKC: Me neither. I plan on taking Clay Chastain's new gondola home that night.

XO: ROFLMAO!!! Nothing like a drunkin gondola ride to cap off a blog meet!

EmawKC: What I don't get is how their going to dig a Venice-style canal from Union Station to Overland Park.

XO: LOL! What I don't get is where the demand originates for a light rail connection from the zoo to the airport! WTF???

EmawKC: Zebra's gotta fly, man. Zebra's gotta fly.

XO: Hello. My name is Klaus. I just flew in from Berlin. This is my first time in the United States. What is the quickest way to get to the Swope Park Zoo?
XO: Do you have any, how you say, gondolas?

EmawKC: "I got your gondolas right here!"


EmawKC: Overheard in Westport: "Dude, check out that chick's huge gondolas"


EmawKC: Now that I think about it, "gondola's" is a pretty funny word.

XO: Yeah, it is. Has a lot of possibilities. Sounds like post fodder.


XO: You got it dude!

Here's the time and place for the blogger meetup. Be there or be somewhere else entirely:
Tuesday, April 17th
Happy Hour until ????

Harry’s Country Club

(Harry’s in the River Market, NOT Harry’s in Westport)
12 Missouri Ave
Kansas City, MO 64106
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Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Blogthing: Sex and the City and Me

This seems to make a lot of sense. I think this actress who played this character turned out to be gay. So maybe I really am a lesbian trapped in a man's body.

You Are Most Like Miranda!

While you've had your fair share of romance, men don't come first
Guys are a distant third to your friends and career.
And this independence *is* attractive to some men, in measured doses.
Remember that if you imagine the best outcome, it might just happen.

Romantic prediction: Someone from your past is waiting to reconnect...

But you'll have to think of him differently, if you want things to work.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


Well thank god science that's over.

CBS has made the right decision in listening to the clamoring mob and firing washed-up radio talk show host Don Imus for saying what nearly every hip-hop artist spews at 50 words per minute.

And I for one couldn't be happier. It's not that I really care what happens to Imus, or freedom of speech, or racial equality or the hypocrisy of cultural leaders or that the traumatized members of the Rutgers women's basketball team can now begin the process of healing and trying to avoid the fate of becoming crack whores because of the debilitating abuse of an old white geezer.

What I'm most grateful for is that now that our long national nightmare is over -- a nightmare that the mediots dutifully pasted wall-to-wall across the 24-hour news cycle -- we can begin to focus once again on the other important stories of the day.

Stories like:As you can see, we've got a lot to worry about. But at least Don Imus won't be darkening the 9-11 terrestrial AM radio frequencies of irrelevance anymore.

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More Bloch Building pics

In the interest of keeping everyone informed, I wanted to post a link to British design blog dezeen and it's photo feaure on the Steven Holl's Bloch Building.

They don't post any commentary, instead opting to go out on a limb with the press release issued by the Neslon-Atkins Museum of Art, but the images the feature are pretty amazing.

And there's not one mention the words "Butler Building."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The new N-word

I'm not sure whether it's good or bad that I'm just now learning about this Don Imus fiasco.

I have F-Bombs and Dan to thank for cluing me in (interesting how I'm learning about the "news" from bloggers now).

If you're clueless like me, here's the 411: Don Imus is in Dutch with the Blacks because he referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos". Offended Blacks and the PC Police want him fired for using the racial slur "nappy".

The aforementioned F-Bombs points out that even black people are racists when they use the term "nappy".

Dan throws in with Jason (half)Whitlock who notes that this is much ado about not very much and that "the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show."

That's a good point, and one that I've tried to make before.

Personally, I wonder why there is so much fury over Imus' use of the term "nappy," but nobody really cares that he called the women "hoes"?

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Book report: The Judgment of Paris

I don't really have room to complain. I've got a good job, wonderful family, nice house, tons of hipness.

But being this awesome does have its drawbacks.

For one thing, I don't have as much time for free reading as I used to have. That's why it has taken me two months to read the 375 pages of Ross King's The Judgment of Paris, which has been on my reading list since at least last August.

I was interested in this book for the subject matter (French art and the introduction of what became known as Impressionism), but also for the author. I had previously devoured King's Brunelleschi's Dome and was impressed with his ability to bring out the juice of history.

I wasn't disappointed in that regard with The Judgment of Paris. King has an ability to take the potentially dry dates and places of history and weave in the perspective and personality of the historical characters to make the events interesting and meaningful. In this way, for example, he connected the historical dots between the Battle of Puebla in Mexico (which gave us the Cinco de Mayo celebration) with the plight of starving French artists in 1860s Paris.
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe - Édouard Manet
The book chronicles and juxtaposes the lives of two Parsian artists through 1860s and 1870s France -- legend-in-his-own time Ernest Meissonier and legend-in-our-time Édouard Manet -- along with the social, political and cultural events of the time that produced artistic geniuses such as Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Renoir, Pissaro and others.

The account stresses the interrelatedness of events, attitudes and people and the affects of all of these on the course of artistic endeavor. It's not what I would call your typical Sunday afternoon page turner. The stories take an effort by the reader to keep track of names and time lines.

But the effort is paid off in an added interest and understanding of how and why the painters listed above became known as Impressionists (a pejorative term when first coined by Parisian art critics). It also gives a view, through the lens of history, of the fleeting nature of fame and the fickle nature of cultural fashion.

It also speaks to to the universal tendency of one generation to deride the artistic heights of the previous. Just like there was a disco record burning in Caminsky Park, there were calls by some French art critics burn all of Meissonier's work. It's interesting how history repeats itself.

King expounds further in this clip from a book signing courtesy of ForaTV:

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

YouTube Tuesday: I feel like singing a Beatnik poem

As Dan recently noted at Gone Mild, April is National Poetry Month.

We've featured poetry on YouTube Tuesday before, so this isn't unprecedented. Unfortunately, the poetry pickings on YouTube are kind of slim. There are a couple of good Khalil Gibran joints, lots of poetry of the Def variety, but a lot of it is tough to get through.

But just because poetry is bad, doesn't mean it can't be entertaining. Take this YouTube Tuesday submission for example. This clip, from the 1958 teen B movie High School Confidential, features Phillipa Fallon as a beat poetess. And yes, you're right. That is Jackie Coogan on piano behind her (you may remember him as Uncle Fester).

"Turn your eyes inside and dig the vacuum. Tomorrow... drag."

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Mad world

This is the last time I'm going to post on this issue.

hat tip to Making It Rain

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Somebody needs a Hugg

I thought sleeping on it might give me a different perspective.

I was wrong.

(WARNING: What follows is utter self-indulgent crap, written therapeutically to help me advance through the 5 stages to Acceptance. I apologize in advance.)

There really aren't any words to describe my thoughts toward Bob Huggins. Phrases come to mind. "Punched in the gut," "Kicked in the balls," "Stabbed in the back."

But really, it takes a picture to describe my current attitude:

I know what you're thinking, because I'm thinking the same thing. "It's just a game. Not important in the grand scheme of things."

That's part of what makes this so hard. It isn't important, I mean really important. Isn't it strange how we humans attach so much emotional value to the most trivial and superficial things? The ladies at the office are the same with Grey's Anatomy (shudder).

But, here were are. The day after Bob Huggins nuked the renascent basketball program at K-State I can't help how hellapissed I am.

Sure, I'm pissed at Huggins for being a dirty, rotten, lying, stinking, back-stabbing, deceptive, deceitful, cowardly, conniving, no-integrity, double-crossing, double-dealing treacherous whore.

Absolutely I'm angry for the way he took advantage of the best things about Kansas and K-State supporters and left like a thief in the night.

But the worst part, what I'm most bitter about, is that I took a chance on him in the beginning.

I freakin' defended that guy. When people (mostly on Internet message boards) said he was a lowlife and K-State would live to regret it if they hired him, my response was that everyone deserves a second chance. You just don't know him. Give the guy a break. He's a good guy, just misunderstood. Let him show that he really is a stand up fella.

And up until two day's ago I would have said the same thing. Innocent until proven guilty and all that rot. K-State just a had a great basketball season and they were primed for an even better season next year.

Gawd, I was like Mark Ratner defending Mike Damone. What a chump I was.

Anyway, this whole thing has reminded me of these lyrics from Pink Floyd's Animals:
You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need
You've got to sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street
You've got to be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight
You've got to strike when the moment is right without thinking.
And after a while, you can work on points for style
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake
A certain look in the eye, and an easy smile
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in.
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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It takes a Village

While KCMo deals with witches in city hall and murderous east-side gangs, the inner suburbs of Johnson County are now engaged in a destructive turf war.

According to The Star, the Prairie Village city council told Leawood to foxtrot oscar with its preposterous plan to lease a traffic island for the next 99 years.
Two years ago, the Leawood Arts Council had designed a sculpture, called "Porch Lights," specifically for that island, without realizing the land belonged to Prairie Village. When the error was discovered, Leawood requested to lease the island for 99 years. In addition to paying for the sculpture, Leawood would have maintained the property and done additional landscaping. Under the lease, if Prairie Village decided to terminate the lease early, it would have to reimburse Leawood for all costs. If Leawood broke the contract, it would have to restore the island to its original condition.
Can you imagine! The unmitigated gall of some people! The sheer temerity. Just who the hell do these Leawood Arts people think they are? Thank goodness for council members like David Belz, who wasn't willing to kowtow to Prairie Village's southern neighbors.
"I don't like how this has come down," said council member David Belz. "They (Leawood City Council) want 99 or nothing. They didn't do their homework, and now we have to decide whether or not we want a structure there or not."
I say definitely NOT! I'm with Belz. Who needs a stinkin' art project when you've already got a perfectly good weed-infested, crumbling curb patch of dirt.

It's high time some cities learn who really runs things here in Johnson County!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Volunteer opportunity

Tony at TKC tipped me (no homo) to this news item:

In the interest of community service, I would like to hereby humbly volunteer to donate my valuable time to this very worthwhile cause. I know that it will be a sacrifice to spend hours pouring over "adult literature" and documenting abuses at the area porn shops and strip clubs.

It will mean many nights spent away from my family and in the company of drunks and topless dancers, but if it means a better tomorrow for our fair city, I'm willing to accept this burden.

So I'll meet the rest of you at Diamond Joe's Friday night?

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YouTube Tuesday: I can't believe the news today

A few weeks ago I linked to a movie/pop song mashup that I called Once Upon a Time in a Cage.

I posed the question about how much mashups (taking two or more works of art and melding them together in a new product) could actually be called art. Thanks to John B at Blog Meridian, the post and the video received some significant discussion at Clusterflock.

Fast forward two weeks to when I stumbled upon today's YouTube Tuesday submission. Judging from the number of views on YouTube, this one has been around for a while and probably you already have seen it, but this is a great example of taking existing video, chopping it up and re-editing it to form a completely new original piece.


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Monday, April 02, 2007

Prairie Earth*

I took the family on a weekend trip to central Kansas (Salina, if you must know) to hang out with the in-laws for a couple of days.

Driving west on I-70 we were treated to some amazing skyscapes as waves of billowing clouds, the remnants of violent Kansas thunderstorms, passed overhead.

The alternating moments of shadow and sunshine cast on the rolling grasslands made for dramatic and breathtaking views of the prairie springing to life.

It's easy for even life-long Kansans like myself to miss these vistas as we keep our eyes on the highway zooming past us at 80 miles per hour. I personally tend to be more attentive for the flashing lights of a Kansas state trooper than to hillsides painted in tall grass green and redbud red.

But for whatever reason, I noticed it last weekend. And I saw today that National Geographic has also noticed it.

Writer Verlyn Klinkenborg and photographer Jim Richardson (a Kansas native) documented the nation's last stand of tall grass prairie and the cycle of renewal that preserves it in Splendor of the Grass. They were good enough to put the entire article and image gallery online, so be sure to check it out.

And try not to miss it the next time you're heading west.

*Apologies to William Least Heat Moon, a Kansas City native, who also documented this ancient patch of ground in his book PrairyErth.

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Around the Bloch

With the grand opening of the new Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art just two months away, the organization is moving into a promotional phase.

I received an email from my inside source, Matt the Architect, with a link to an "e-preview" of the building's interior. It's not as much a video as a slide show in video form, but still a good preview of what the experience will be like.

I've been kind of a booster for this project for the last few years. I think it's a really cool juxtaposition to have this modern glass "building on its side" next to the neoclassical structure of the museum proper.

That said, I have a couple of lingering questions about the Bloch building. With only 60 days to opening, it's looking kind of plain. I thought they might hang some paintings or quilts or something. I bet you could do a nice farmers’ market in there, but that’s just one of many possibilities. Also, I think they need to paint the damn thing already, maybe add a nice shag carpet and some drapes.

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