Tuesday, July 31, 2007

YouTube Tuesday: Teacher preacher

My mom's a retired teacher. My dad is a former teacher. One of my sisters is a teacher. Three of my aunts and two of my uncles are teachers (or retired teachers).

I've got a lot of respect for what teachers try to do. Pounding knowledge into the thick skulls of the bratty offspring of the over-privileged, or trying to get through to future gang bangers without getting shanked or shot in the process. All the while dealing with snotty overbearing parents or, worse, apathetic absentee parents.

I can't think of a more underpaid profession. What does a teacher make? Ask Taylor Mali...

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Monday, July 30, 2007

KGB Carnival for July 30: Time to get back in the game, Butchie

It's been a long time since I've hosted the weekly Kansas Guild of Bloggers Carnival.

John B. at Blog Meridian has been doing an outstanding job of keeping the fun train on track. But with John on hiatus for a couple of weeks, I thought I'd step back in and round up last week in Kansas blogging.

To paraphrase John from Cincinnati, "It's time to get back in the game, emaw."

So here it is, the KGB Carnival for July 20, 2007:
Well, that's all I had time for. I suspect I've missed a few that should have been included. Feel free to send me a link at the above-right email address and I'll include it in the list (or simply leave a comment with the link, whatevs).

Be sure to keep an eye out for interesting posts from, at or about Kansas for next week's carnival. Submit them to this link and tune in next week.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Bloggin' in the real world

By all accounts, last night's blogger meetup at Governor Stumpy's was a smashing success.

It's so cool to see people that you know through the blogworld in person in the real world. I was amazed and humbled at the combined talent that was gathered around the five or six tables that we commandeered.

I regret that I couldn't stay longer and talk to more people. I particularly missed having longer conversations with Heather, The D, Faith, Eolai and lots of others.

But I did have a good time getting to know KC Sponge and meeting Dan in the flesh. Also had a great discussion with Lee Ingalls, proprietor of the fabulous The New Low Down and the funny/quirky Oddment of Sandwiches. Seriously, if you haven't checked out his stuff, do. You won't be disappointed.

And I can't forget to mention Xavier Onassis. I made good on my promise to deliver a fabulous prize to him for finding an error in this post. Although, technically it was a grammar error, not a spelling one (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). Anyway, the photo is of the crazy awesome shirt I gave him as a prize.

Really looking forward to next time. I hope to see some of the newer bloggers there. I'm looking at you Chimpo and muzak.

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Friday Blogthing: I am not an animal

Laney`s Original Inkblot Test

Outcome A - The Human.

Based on the descriptions you chose, you are practical, reliable, friendly, and fit in with people quite nicely. You probably have a regular family and do well in acedemia.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

Quizzes and Personality Tests

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Movie Mini Review: Beyond the Sea

Title: Beyond the Sea

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman

Plot summary:
Late-1950s pop sensation Bobby Darin reviews his life and times from childhood to his death in this musical bio-drama.

My thoughts:
I was pleasantly surprised to see the my Supermodel Wife had DVRd this flick. I remember being interested in it when I saw Kevin Spacey making the late night talk show rounds last year.

Back then, Spacey described Beyond the Sea as an homage to Bobby Darin and his music. And I guess that's one way to describe it.

But the way I would describe it is an homage to Kevin Spacey.

Spacey, who gives himself credit as writer, director and star is never off screen for more than a minute or two. The scenes seem designed not so much to advance the plot, but to showcase Spacey's acting, singing and dancing skills.

It's too bad. I've really enjoyed some of the work Spacey has done. I think his roles in The Usual Suspects, L.A. Confidential and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil were top notch.

But Beyond the Sea had the look and feel of a Spacey vanity project.

I understand Spacey has been spending a lot of time on stage productions for the last few years as artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London. Some of the stage and musical influence made its way into Beyond the Sea. But in my opinion it didn't translate well.

Many of the scenes were contrived especially to lead to a song and dance number. For example the scene that introduces the title track is only tenuously related to the content of the song.

Hearing some of Darin's best songs took a bit of the edge off of all of the Spaceyness. And even though I was looking at the clock on the DVR to see how soon the movie would be over, I still enjoyed Spacey's rendition of Mack the Knife.

My final rating: meh.

Favorite quote:

"Listen you prick, there are four guys around here who can't be fired. And you're not one of them. "

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cleaning house

Well that was fun.

I just spent a few hours doing some house cleaning around here. Like most good ideas, it came at the suggestion of my Supermodel Wife who, after reading this digital fish wrap for a few minutes, said "Dude, you really need to figure out how to use the spellcheck function."

Now, I've never claimed to be a great speller. The fact that I'm also a poor typist and tend to bang out posts rather hastily exacerbates the problem. But in the back of my mind I've always sort of subscribed to Andrew Jackson's philosophy on spelling:
"It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word!"
Good point Andy. But, when the wife says correct your spelling, you damn well better correct your spelling.

So over the last few days, I've gone back over all of my posts and ran a quick spell check. That's about 565 posts on this blog (plus a few drafts that haven't been published for various reasons). Through this exercise, I came to realize a few things:
  1. I totally missed this blog's blogiversary earlier this month. July 14 marked the end of the second year of my posting. I can forgive you for not noticing, what with all of the Bastille Day celebrations going on.
  2. There were an average of about 1.5 spelling errors per post. Some had more, some less. There were even a few posts that didn't have any (woohoo!).
  3. Given point 2 above and the current page load number from StatCounter, I guess I owe about 50,000 apologies to everyone who was subjected to my spelling ability (or should I say disability). So please consider this my official mea culpa
But as I say, I've gone through all my previous posts and swept them clean of spelling errors. I make no promises about capitalization and grammar (who really follows the "rules" of those anyway). But I'm confident that there are no more misspellings on this blog.

In fact, I challenge anyone to find a single misspelled word on any previous post. Anyone who does find an example will be rewarded with recognition and a link as well as cash and prizes*.

In closing, thanks to everyone who drops by here on occasion. I hope I haven't offended you to(o) badly, and I promise to try to do better in the future.

*Cash and prizes not included.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday Blogcast I

No real theme here. Just a bunch of my fav songs as I play around with seeqpod.

Perhaps I'll make this a regular feature.

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

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Friday, July 20, 2007

You want a border war? YOU GOT IT!!!!

I'm liking the tough words coming from some Kansas legislators regarding the backstabbing Missourians who aren't satisfied with the amount of money Kansans voluntarily bring into their state.

According to The Star, those sneaky bastards in the Missouri statehouse are trying to pick the pockets of innocent, well-meaning, upstanding Kansans who are forced by outrageous fortune to set foot across the state line for their jobs.
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed a bill this month providing an income tax break for Missourians who receive Social Security. It contained a little-discussed provision eliminating a deduction for real estate taxes paid outside Missouri.

That’s a $190 ding for the typical Johnson County resident who works in Missouri.

"It's downright unneighborly," said Kansas Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, an Independence Republican. "A little cross-border dialogue would be in order."
That's gratitude for you. We already have to pay that retardiculous 1-percent earnings tax in Kansas City, Mo., but the Show-Me State scumbags weren't satisfied with us Kansans saving their precious Union Station with the bi-tax revenue we provide.

It's not enough that we provide the lion-share of revenue to their mediocre (at best) sports teams. Now they have to try to pick our pockets by eliminating a property tax deduction?

Well, no more Mr. Nice Kansan. I say power to the good and right honorable men and women in the Kansas Legislator who are considering a like response to this effrontery.
One option is to enact a provision similar to Missouri’s, which would increase the tax on Missouri residents working in Kansas, said Joan Wagnon, Kansas secretary of revenue.

Based on commuting patterns, Johnson County’s Economic Research Institute estimates that more than 71,000 residents from eight nearby Missouri counties work in Johnson County. And at least 53,000 Johnson Countians work in those Missouri counties.

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Friday Blogthing: Bumper crop

I think bumper stickers are about the dumbest think since the live recording.

I mean, what's the point? To advertise how you feel on certain issues? As if I care.

If you want me to ignore you, start writing a blog that I can NOT read. But don't ruin the perfectly good paint job on you 1977 Oldsmobuik with a trite bumper stick slogan.

Unless its something like this:

Your Bumper Sticker Should Be
Give me ambiguity - or give me something else

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eat your heart out Napster

I just discovered SeeQPod the other day. In my considered opinion, this is the coolest thing to happen with music on the Internet since Napster (the original Napster, that is).

The clever minds at SeeQPod have developed technology that scours the interweb for audio files and allows you to search, find and play them in your browser. There's also a "discover" function that (presumably) finds music similar to your tastes based on the search term.

But one of the coolest things is that they've made the songs and playlists embedable, like a YouTube video (also linkable and emailable).

So I've done a quick playlist of some of my favorite songs for your listening pleasure and my playing around with the app.

Check it out and tell me if you think it's as cool as I do.

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

Of course, since the music industry is trying to kill audio on the web (and commit industrial hara-kiri in the process), this service will probably be shut down by a-hole lawyers in a few months. So enjoy it while you can.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Something is fishy

ganked from El Borak:

AlGore's hypocrisy is showing again, and earning him the ire of the Humane Society International.
ONLY one week after Live Earth, Al Gore's green credentials slipped while hosting his daughter's wedding in Beverly Hills.

Gore and his guests at the weekend ceremony dined on Chilean sea bass - arguably one of the world's most threatened fish species.

Also known as Patagonian toothfish, the species is under pressure from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities in the Southern Ocean, jeopardising the sustainability of remaining stocks.
Just another in a line of embarrassments ignored by Gore apologists.

I want to be clear, I don't necessarily disagree with Gore's message. Just the hypocrisy of the messenger.

How dare he dine on a threatened fish species. And I thought I was bad for insisting that we serve Spotted Owl at our wedding banquet.

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Mass debate

I saw a group of about 15 protesters at College and Quivira last night carrying signs blasting President Bush and the war in Iraq.

The signs had slogans like "Honk if you hate Bush" and "End the War Now" and "Impeach!"

They were vexed when I didn't honk for them. Evidently, my refusal to misuse the safety features of my vehicle means I'm in favor of war. Who knew?

It's not that I'm for war. I've got close friends and family members with their lives literally at risk.

What I'm disappointed at is that this is what passes for national debate on the subject. Slogans on posters and bumper stickers.

No doubt most people have already made up their mind about getting out of Iraq, so the posters and bumper stickers are merely a way of talking to yourself, yelling at the mirror trying to convince the reflection of your passionately held views.

Are people really swayed by a clever slogan on a bumper sticker? Am I going to see "Quagmire Accomplished" on the bumper of a BMW SUV at Oakpark Mall and suddenly think to myself, "You know they're right? I'm never voting for Bush again."

Where is the real debate?

Ira Glass addressed this a few weeks ago on This American Life.
"It seems we've skipped the part where everybody looks seriously at whether withdrawal is a good idea in the first place or what would happen in Iraq if we were to withdraw.

We got into the war in Iraq in the first place without having much of a national debate about realistically, what's this war going to mean. What's it going to mean to be in Iraq. And now people are talking about withdrawing without much discussion at all about what, realistically, it will mean to leave or why we are leaving.
Some poor, misguided bloggers are shouting hallelujah that their saviors in the Democratic congress are finally now really going to bring the boys back home and abandon the people of Iraq to the religious despots they deserve.

But in actuality, the congressional Democrats want pretty much the same thing the president wants.

Time Magazine reported last week
So what's with all the end-the-war talk? The impression being created by the debate in Washington is more about politics than anything else. For starters, Democrats are playing to their base: Though most Senate Democrats support a redeployment along the lines that Bush is describing, they are keen to give voters the impression that they are all for getting the U.S. out of Iraq. And they are, but not yet. They, too, recognize a need for a strong, interim force in country to offset the threat of mass killing, secure the borders, chase al-Qaeda and deter Iranian meddling in the country.
For the record, the Republicans are being just a political as the Dems (as I've said before, they're all politicians). They must portray the Democrats as defeatist for their own political gain.

But congratulations to all of you political tools who think the clambering of politicians and slogans painted on posters is equal to serious policy debate. Do you still wonder how we arrived at where we are?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

If I were a Simpson

Okay, here's the big reveal. No more anonymity. This is what I look like (in the world of The Simpsons).

Jeeze, I didn't realize I was so creepy looking. And why didn't someone tell me my butt was so big. Time to hop on the exercise bike I guess. But first, just one more pink sprinkled donut.

Mmmmm, doonuutz.

Go create the Simpsons You on the Simpsons movie site and let me know what you look like.

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YouTube Tuesday: Medellin

In case you haven't heard, the trailer for director Billy Walsh's Medellin has been leaked to YouTube.

I'll just cut to the chase: The movie looks awesome. I'm planning on taking my entire entourage to see it. However, I won't be making the trip to New York, where the film will have it's premier at a theater on Queens Boulevard. There should be plenty of drama at the local premier.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Online Rorschach Test

I'm a little behind on posting, but I wanted to get this out there.

Just relax. This isn't going to hurt and there is no wrong answer.

I just need you to take a look at this picture and tell me what you see.

If you answered that you see a large SUV parked near a traffic barrier, then congratulations. That is the correct answer (I lied when I said there is no wrong answer).

If, on the other hand, you said you see a large SUV parked behind a big, concrete, anatomically out-of-proportion penis, then I have some bad news for you.

You belong in Oregon with the rest of the repressed freaks with phallic fixations.

According to news reports, the residents of Keizer, Oregon, just can't get passed how a series of new traffic posts look very vaguely like penises.

It has caused so much offense that town officials are considering removing the barriers at a cost of thousands of dollars to taxpayers.

But before they remove the concrete structures altogether, they will first dress them up in chains and metal collars (the sick bastards) to see if that reminds them more of penises.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Great news for the ladies

St. Louis-based battery company Energizer plans to buy Playtex for $1.9 billion.

So all the ladies can look forward to feminine hygiene products that keep going and going...

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Friday Blogthing: I is smrat

Quick, someone tell my Supermodel Wife how smart I am.

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and your opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I really meme it

This one is inherited from a super-talented California Girl in Kansas.

Fun Facts About This Guy:
Four jobs I've had:
1. sous chef (okay, line cook)
2. janitor
3. retail sales associate (sporting goods at Alco)
4. newspaper editor

Four places I have lived:
1. Manhattan, KS
2. Liberal, KS
3. Olathe, KS
4. Roeland Park, KS

Four Places I've been on vacation:
1. Paris, France
2. Florence, Italy
3. Teluride, Colorado
4. Napa Valley, California

Four of my favorite foods:
1. sushi
2. edamame
3. smoked Boston butt
4. crème brûlée

Four places I would rather be:
1. Hangin' out with my wife and kid
2. Spending my $100 million in lottery winnings
3. Buying XO a small batch bourbon at the KC area blogger meetup
4. At a Kansas City Predators hockey game

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YouTube Tuesday: Until next time...

This is one Aussie who packs a powerful (and funny) rant. And I admit it, I'm too stupid to be an atheist.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Headlines: We're on a mission from God

I'm not the superstitious type. When I see something coincidental, it usually attribute it to coincidence.

For example, when you put on your jacket during the first crisp fall morning and find a $20 bill that you'd left in it last spring, that's just a happy coincidence. Not a sign from the universe that you should go buy $20 in lottery tickets.

But there are some coincidences that seem to defy rationalization. Take for example this story about a religion student who was selling religious material in South Florida.

This cat was going door-to-door selling books, pamphlets, stone tablets, "I Luv Pope Ben" T-Shirts, you know, the typical proselytizing fare. Well according to my inside sources, he tripped on an exposed tree-root in someone's yard and exclaimed "God DAMMIT!!" without thinking.

Big mistake my friend.
Hailu Kidane Marian was working with members of his religious group, selling religious materials door-to-door in a Northwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, when the bolt from the blue struck him down.

"I heard a boom, and I looked and the guy jumped back, and he just laid there, stiff," said witness Maria Martinez.

Paramedics say Marian was not breathing and his heart was not beating when they arrived, but they were able to revive him and rushed him to Jackson Memorial hospital, where he was in critical condition Sunday night.
It seems that The Almighty has taken a special interest in Florida. I suspect it's because there are so many people there who are so close to shuffling off their mortal coil extremely mature. Anyway, I think The Lord Our God is giving them a bit of a helping hand since
This is the second incident in as many months of someone being struck down by lightning from a clear sky in South Florida.

Last month David Canales, a gardener who worked in the Pinecrest area, was killed when lightning apparently struck him from a rainless sky.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Book Report: The Subterraneans

I've been meaning to get this one out for a several weeks now.

Title: The Subterraneans

Author: Jack Kerouac

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy screws it up due to his self-destructive tendencies. Set against a backdrop of a 1950s bohemian beat San Francisco artistic underground.

My thoughts:
Can you believe that I've been reading for 30 years and I've never read a novel by Kerouac? Well, up until about a month ago, that was the case.

It was a dirty little secret that I'd kept hidden away from my hipster friends. But now I can come clean.

I picked up The Subterraneans because I didn't know exactly what I'd be getting into with a Kerouac novel. I mean, I had some ideas. He is kind of legendary after all. But I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew, so I picked this novel because it's only 111 pages.

The plot is pretty simple. Leo Percepied falls in love with the beautiful Mardou Fox. He woo's her, wins her and then proceeds to undermine their budding relationship with a string of self-destructive abuses. He realizes his love for her too late, after he has already driven her away and into the arms of another member of the San Francisco underground.

Of course in a Kerouac novel like this, the plot isn't the main thing. Kerouac is known for his revolutionary style of writing and this book has it in spades.

Coming to Kerouac from McCarthy's The Road was a bit shocking. The Road is written in short declarative sentences. Anything extraneous is left out.

The Subterraneans on the other hand showcases Kerouac's jazzy, improvisational slang-laden stream-of-consciousness prose. It took a few pages to adjust my internal dialog to the 1950s sub-cultural vernacular and adapt to the pacing and rhythm of Kerouac's writing.

But once made, that adjustment allowed me to appreciate Kerouac's knack for writing. He definitely has a well-deserved reputation of having a way with words.

...the little white woolly particles from the pillow stuffing in her black almost wiry hair, and her puffed cheeks and little puffed lips, the gloom and dank of Heavenly Lane, and once more "I gotta go home, straighten out"- as tho never I was straight with her but crooked..."
The story is told in the tone of a literary genius who knows he's a literary genius but also knows that being a literary genius still doesn't make him any less of a sonuvabitch.

The interesting rhythm and word choices, the pacing and imagery all made this a quick and enjoyable read. I feel better now about taking a bigger bite of Kerouac and plan to in the near future.

Favorite quote:

"... the great tumescent turbulent turmoil alliterative as a hammer on the brain bone bag and balls, bang I'm sorry I was ever born..."
Rating: Recommended.

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Friday Blogthing: My doom

This is your first and final warning. Don't mess with me.

Take the Hecatomb™ TCG What Is Your Doom? quiz.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

We'll always have Paris

Liberal bloggers are all a twitter with affected outrage over the commutation of Scooter Libby's two-year prison sentence for working for a-holes.
But all the rants against Bush and Cheney and Republicans and Christians and drunkards and Paris Hiltonses ignore the true victim in this whole sordid affair: L. Scooter Libby himself.

Put yourself in Scooter's shoes for a moment. He has been robbed of his street cred. He was all set to get that teardrop tattoo near his eye to prove to his peeps that he did hard time. Now Bush selfishly commutes his sentence, stealing away Libby glory.

I mean, how would you like to go through the rest of your life knowing that you're not even as tough as Paris Hilton?

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YouTube Tuesday: You're doing very poorly in this war, I might say

A couple hundred years ago, a group of farmers got sick of the King of England bullying them around.

Living on your own on the edge of civilization tends to make you self-reliant, and the American colonists began to realize they didn't really need His Majesty's services anymore thank you very much.

Of course King George had a different perspective, and he sent his red-coated ambassadors to convince the backwards colonists that they were wrong.

Ever since then, Americans (at least the U.S. variety) have tended to root for the underdog. Give us impossible odds, fourth and long, Rocky vs. Apollo Creed, a small group of ill-equipped farm boys fighting the strongest military power of the day.

Hat tip to El Borak

Have a safe and happy Independence Day.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

YouTube Special: iPhool and her money

Here's the scenario: You pay some skinny twerp $800 for his spot at the front of the iPhone line. You go in to buy all of the iPhones in the store with the plan of selling them for profit on eBay.


Capitalism can be a bitch.

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