Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Inapropriate Secret

So I'm at Victoria's Secret buying underwear the other day... oh, wait, let me explain...

My Supermodel Wife and I are enjoying a week of reliving our DINK-hood while the kid's visiting grandparents for the week. Our Tuesday evening activity was a sushi dinner at the Sushi House in Leawood. After dinner the SMW wants to do a little shopping, and because I'm a helluva I guy, I agree to accompany her without complaining and stuff.

So she decides to go to the VS store to use up a gift card that some awesome guy gave her as part of a Christmas gift. Which brings us to the underwear shopping.

Now ladies, guys don't like shopping in general and they like underwear shopping even less, which shows you how swell of a husband I am that I was there with a good attitude and everything.

But let's face it, being a guy in a Victoria's Secret is a bit awkward. On the one hand, you don't want to look like you're stuck up and nervous because, hey, I'm a modern guy and I can go shopping in a lingerie store without questioning my masculinity.

On the other hand, you don't want to look like your having too good of a time, leering at the scantily dressed but well-proportioned mannequins and Lord help you if you accidentally look at one of the other lady shoppers the wrong way.

Anyway, I started playing this game in my mind. I was trying to ease the tension by thinking of the most inappropriate things a guy could say in a Victoria's Secret store.

Here are a few that I came up with:
  • Isn't that bra way too big for her?
  • Aren't those underwear a little too small?
  • I'm just going to go hang out in the dressing room for a while.
  • Check out that mannequin, it must be cold in here.
  • Hey, all these underwear smell the same.
That's the best I could come up with. I'm sure some of you sickos can do better.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Flu Fighters

Yep, I've got it too.

I could see it coming a mile away. Three of the four cubes neighboring mind were all sick in the previous weeks. But like a damsel tied to the tracks in a Western melodrama, there was nothing I could do to avoid it.

Actually, I think I may have contracted it from The D. He comments here pretty frequently and I don't think he washes his hands before he uses his keyboard. Of course, he seems to be having a harder time with it. My symptoms aren't as severe.

I can only assume that's due to my superior genes with their Master Race antiviral abilities handed down by my German ancestors.

Anyway, I raise a glass of Nyquil and toast your health. Here's hoping you don't get sick.

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YouTube Tuesday: Paraphrase Theater presents

It's been a big week for the so-called entertainment so-called industry. The Oscars was earlier this week, and one of my all time favorite comedies, No Country for Old Men, took home some major awards.

So today's edition of YouTube Tuesday honors the lowest-rated Oscars in history with a reenactment of a classic scene from Star Wars as interpreted by Paraphrase Theater.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Headline of the Day!!!

Worker Finds Bones In KCK Manhole

Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that Tony had something to do with this headline?

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Snow Giant

This gigantic snow man guarding Mission Road in Prairie Village is somewhat baffling and raises several questions:
Was the dust of snow we received Saturday night enough to build such a monstrosity? If not, how were the creators able to keep it from melting even a little in the week since we had snow? And how were they able to lift a three-foot diameter snow head to the nine-foot summit of the snow titan in the either case?

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Book Report: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

The story follows the lives of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, who become caught up in the repression and misogyny of conservative Islamic culture.

Events span the decades from the rule of Afghan kings, the Soviet invasion, the civil war of the Mujahideen warlords, the takeover of the Taliban and the eventual liberation by Allied forces.

It gives compelling details about the tragic struggles and sacrifices of the two principal characters as they try to survive through anarchy and extremism in what would become a brutalizing culture.

My thoughts:
The first to-do item on my literary list this year was to work my way through the entire Khaled Hosseini library. Luckily for me, that is comprised of only two books at this point. The Kite Runner, which was released earlier this year as a motion picture, and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

I'll try steer away from comparing the two books here. They're both very good reads and worth your time. But I will say that I consider Suns to be the better of the two.

The author's narrative style is stronger and less predictable and he stretches himself, very effectively, to look at the events of the last 35 years in Afghanistan from a woman's point of view.

Hosseini does an excellent job of referencing the global and regional political issues in the story without making them a main plot point. The large events are a backdrop, a scene setting device that serves as a canvass for the personal tribulations the main characters endure.

In doing this, the he avoids being overtly preachy and opinionated. The result is a narrative that keeps it's focus on the subjects of the story, while exposing the reader to the cultural and moral pitfalls of Afghanistan during this time frame and, more generally, of any authoritarian society.

The story itself gives me new respect for the struggle of the Afghan people, particularly the women, and what they have endured over the past four decades. One point the story makes is that nobody in Afghanistan has escaped loss -- loss of family members, loss of friends, loss of limbs, loss of dignity and loss of life.

After the first few chapters I was already wondering if life would ever get better for the women involved. And it didn't. It gets worse and worse for most of the book. This is another reason I respect Hosseini as a writer. He doesn't sugarcoat anything.

The lives of the main characters get progressively worse throughout the book and this is can be emotionally trying for the reader. But as with The Kite Runner, while you can't say that there is a happy ending, there is at least a hopeful ending.

Rating: Highly recommended

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Friday Blogthing: Money, it's a gas

This is fortunate for me, since I don't have any.

12%How Addicted to Money Are You?

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is that a rocket in your pocket?

I thought this video would be more exciting...


It's a bit underwhelming, but at least there's this pic of local boy Andrew Jackson pulling the trigger...

And this wicked-cool image of the "bullet"...

In case you're wondering, the "bullet" was a Raytheon RIM-161 Standard SM-3. I think the specs on that page include do-it-yourself instructions on how to build one of these bad boys in you basement.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dark side of the moon

So I'm taking the trash out to the curb at about 9:15 and I look up at what should have been a full moon. Instead I see that a cosmic demon is eating the moon god, a sure portent of evil days ahead.

Anyway, since I was bundled up against the 20-degree temperature, I got out the digital camera and tripod and snapped a few shots of this sure sign of the impending apocalypse.

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Anatomy of willful ignorance

There's a whole helluva lot of righteous outrage out in the KC blogosphere lately. And there's plenty reason for some good ol' fashioned righteous indignation.

Let's see... the economy is going down like a desperate Westport skank. Drugs and murder are rampant on the city's east side. Oil is now over $100 a barrel which means gasoline prices are sure to follow. Sick cattle are being tortured and fed to our children in schools. And to top it all off we seem to be in the midst of a new Ice Age as global warming threatens to destroy the planet!

Yes, plenty to be righteously indignant about. But the cause du jour for some in the local blogosphere is the Bodies Revealed exhibit coming to Union Station.

Bea, Logtar, Jaybird, Tony and Alonzo have condemned the exhibit, some even calling for a "boycott" of the exhibit on moral grounds.

The objections seem to boil down to (paraphrasing): It's a moral outrage to publicly display the dead bodies of human beings.

Here's a sampling of quotes that I think are representative of these bloggers' views:
"Keep it in a learning environment, not it the public." -- Jay Bird's Kansas City
"I do not believe that science needs to be displayed in a freak show manner" -- Logtar
"...displaying bodies like art was somewhat obscene for me" -- Logtar
"I do not see any scientific or artistic merit on this morbid display." -- Logtar
"The exhibit is just uncanny & sinful" -- Alonzo Washington
It's a shame to see such closed minds from bloggers that I actually really respect (well, except for Tony).

"Keep it in the learning environment?" Shouldn't the entire world be a learning environment? I mean, I realize that as a general rule the people of KCMO don't really value learning and education, but are they trying to take us all back to the Dark Ages?

"Displaying bodies like art is obscene?" I'm glad Leonardo Da Vinci didn't think that way. The anatomy of the human body has been the subject of both art and science since the middle ages and is largely responsible for helping to kick-start the Renaissance.

The best argument against this is the potential that original occupants of the bodies on display might not have given full consent.

But for me, that's not enough to outweigh the potential educational experience. Why would I want to remain willfully ignorant when given this opportunity?

The exhibit opens in Union Station on February 29 and will run through Sept 1. I definitely plan on attending and I encourage you take this opportunity to expand your knowledge.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

YouTube Tuesday: The Saga of Michael Beasley and the iPod

You college basketball fans are probably already well aware of K-State's Michael Beasley, the superfrosh who scored 40 points last weekend vs. Missouri (sorry, Randall) -- his second such performance this year.

His exploits on the court are well documented. But just as entertaining as a 40-point, 20-rebound game are the prepress conferences, where Mr. Beasley seems to have developed a curious fixation with a reporter's iPods.

Hat Tip to TB at Bring On The Cats

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Messiah and Silent Bob

I wanted to give a quick "attaboy" to the righteous dudes in The Vatican for NOT freaking out about the new film "The Messiah" from Iranian director Nader Talebzadeh.

The media have dubbed the move, now showing in Tehran, as an Islamic response to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

As you can imagine, releasing a film of this subject matter in the Middle East presents ample opportunity for gasket blowing, ape going, cool losing and generally wigging out. I mean, we all remember the little embassy burning episode that happened with some newspapers printed likenesses of Mohamad, right?

Luckily, the "religion of peace" doesn't consider Jesus Christ an important enough prophet to go ballistic (literally) over. And also luckily, the religion of "fish on Friday, beer on Saturday and confession of Sunday" doesn't consider it a ruler-on-the-knuckles offense for a movie maker to say that Jesus is NOT the son of God.

In fact, rather than condemn Nader Talebzadeh for saying that Muslims don't consider J.C. to be the messiah, the funny hat dudes in Rome actually gave the film an award for "promoting interfaith understanding."

Imagine that -- trying to understand and get along with the infidels. It gives me hope that maybe Kansans and Missourians can learn to live together.

But most importantly, I think it's great that Jay and Silent Bob are able to continue their movie careers after the Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse films.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Unfinished blogness: The Twilight Zone Meme

Last year, I was tagged by one of Kansas City's most no-no-notorious bloggers in the Twilight Zone Moment meme. The instructions:
Recall and relate a time when you experienced a "paranormal event"
Explain it rationally if you can
Inflict this meme on 5 other people
It took me a while to come up with the right Twilight Zone Moment. There have been so many in my life.

I could write the story about the time I was locked in a bank vault while the rest of the world underwent a nuclear holocaust. Or there was the time I went half-crazy in a military experiment because I thought I was the only person on Earth. Or there was the time when I, as an elderly man, learned the secret of how to become young again by playing kick-the-can and left my old, wrinkled friends to rot in an nursing home.

But then, over the holidays, I had the following experience that I think qualifies.

EDIT: Oh crap! I forgot the most important thing -- the spreading of the virus. So, John B., R. Sherman, Cara (Just Cara), Shane and KC Sponge consider yourselves infected.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, and we were visiting my parents' house for a few days (this all happened before the Christmas Eve Massacre of 2007, but in retrospect I wonder if the two events aren't related by some mysterious cosmic force).

My Supermodel Wife and I were assigned one of the nicer guest rooms in my parents' large country estate home. It's a nice big room with great view of the river that runs at the base of a limestone cliff in the back yard. I always liked that river because it provides a soothing "gurgling brook" sound, a sort of a natural white noise to help you sleep.

The only problem is the bed. It's an old four-poster bed made out of walnut. Legend has it that it's been in the family for over a century. And that might have had something to do with why I was wide awake at 1:45 in the morning.

To say that it is uncomfortable is to undersell the definition of the word "uncomfortable." Medieval torture devices are uncomfortable. Water boarding is uncomfortable. This bed seemed to have an unholy grudge against my lower back.

It started out as a dull ache as I tossed and turned on the bouncy boxspring, trying not to wake up the sleeping beauty beside me. I tried sleeping on my back, on my side, on my other side, but that dull ache grew into an excruciating malevolent presence slithering from my lower back to the base of my skull and back again, each time making me crazier with the pain.

Soon I was delirious. I wasn't in control of my own mind. I began to hear a voice, a whisper at first that grew in to a howling shriek: "KILL THEM... KILL THEM ALL."

I crawled out of the bed in a pathological sweat, my mind on the sharpened ax near the woodpile at the back door. It was clear that there was only one way, one bloody, murderous way to relieve the pain.

But as I made my way to the foot of the stairs, my mind began to clear. Already I was feeling better, the devilish pain in my back now subsided once again to a dull ache. So giving up the quest for the ax (what did I need that for again? I couldn't remember), I made my way to the kitchen for a glass of ice water.

The light from the kitchen cabinets illuminated a stack of old family photos and books on the counter top. Some of the family had been reviewing these old photos and diaries from the family archive that my mother maintains in the old part of the house (originally built of native limestone in 1873 by my great, great grandfather).

I casually browsed through some of the pictures as I sipped the water. The suddenly I did a double take at one that was near the top of the stack. I bent down for a closer look and sure enough, there it was.

A group of settlers posing in their fine cloths, the men with long beards, the women in frumpy dresses, the children in decidedly stiff looking collared shirts and jackets. They were all posed around a bed. A four-poster bed that appeared to be made of walnut.

It was the very bed I had climbed out of only a few minutes before.

I picked up the picture to examine it. On the back was written, in very fine handwriting, the names of my ancestors in the picture along with the notation that they were "seated around Mama and Papa's bed made from walnut taken from the Stump Patch."

The Stump Patch! Of course, everything started to come together in my mind. The Stump Patch is well known in my family as the small section of field about a quarter mile west of the house, up stream along the creek that flows through the back yard.

The original settlers of the property, those who built the house in 1873, had given it the name Stump Patch after harvesting a grove of walnut trees one year, leaving a field of stumps that would later have to be uprooted and removed.

It was only as they removed the stumps the next year that my ancestors discover that it was not a naturally occurring walnut grove, but rather a grove planted intentionally by a large settlement of Arapaho Indians to enshrine the final resting place of many of their tribe who had died in a small pox epidemic in the early 1800s.

I finally began to understand. The murderous rage I had felt as a result of sleeping in the bed, the very bed made from the very walnut trees my ancestors had taken from a hallowed burial ground in an unwitting act of desecration was the Indian spirits' way of righting an ancient injustice.

Just then, my Supermodel Wife walked into the kitchen with a deranged look on her face and a cheese slicer...

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Friday Blogthing: Feeling presidential

I'm pretty sure this grammatically challenged inkernet quiz conclusively proves that I'm just as good a candidate for president as any of the four remaining front runners.

Yes 65%
No 30%

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Turn of phrase

Let's face it, there's a lot of good blogging going on out there. Humbles me to read it.

Some of you people have a way with words that goes beyond poetry.

As a token of my admiration for your mad bloggin' skeelz, I've decided to start keeping a list of phrases gleaned from blogs that I plan on using in casual conversation sometime before I die.

Here's the first installment, complete with links to the original context of the phrase. I dare you to try not clicking on these links.

Also, let me know in the comments if you have any nominations for the list.

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Happy VD 2008!!

I know I don't say it enough, and I know it may sound corny and "ghey" (as some bloggers put it).

But I just wanted to take a moment on this day of all days to just try to express how much each and every one of you mean to me.

I love you guys. SRSLY. Even you, XO, you old coot!

I don't think I could say it any better than the Happy Tree Friends:

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Veni, Vidi Tony

When I first started blogging a few years ago, I enjoyed checking out Tony's Kansas City for an edgy and entertaining perspective on what's happening in KC.

At the time, blogging was still a relatively new medium. The "mainstream media" hadn't really caught on, and there was a feeling that we were all doing something under the radar.

As time passed, Tony became more popular and he honed his skill at combining the fine art of the female figure with razor sharp commentary on local cultural and political issues. But as he became more and more popular, so the mainstream media began to take notice.

To his credit, Tony was able to leverage the attention of the mainstream media into his own paying gig. It started with a regular spot on a local radio program and reached its highest point last weekend with his first (though certainly not last) appearance on a local television news station.

I'm happy to see this local blogger make the jump to mainstream media. Certainly all the work he puts into writing and editing his online journal will begin to pay off in the form a large advertising contracts.

And, I'm glad to see the local news stations finally coming around to reporting the real news in this town (i.e., what the highly influential blogging community is saying as opposed to the state of the local economy/schools/Westport skanks, etc.).

But most of all, I was glad when I watched the report on the local TV station's website, to see that Tony took the opportunity to dispel the negative Latino stereotypes that so often and unfairly get propagated on the inkernets.
Nicely done Tony. Keep up the good work.

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YouTube Tuesday: Slice of life

It's Morbid Curiosity Day at 3AM, and what better way to celebrate than to review the devastating injury to to Florida Panthers' Richard Zednik.

Zednick was injured on Sunday when a teammate's iceskate sliced through his carotid artery. The money shot happens at about the 26-second mark where you see skate meet jugular in super slow motion.

Amazingly, doctors were able to repair the artery after only an hour or surgery, but this is yet another example of why I like golf.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Working with pigs

I can only conclude that the men who work on my floor are pigs.

Or at least one of them is. He's probably from some hicktight suburb on the Missouri side. You know, one of those guys who has those cartoons on his pickem' up truck of Calvin pissing on a Chevy logo, or a Ford logo, or Hillary Clinton or whatever.

You know, the kind of guy who, at 35 years old still thinks its cool to stick a pinch of chaw between your cheek and gum.

It just floors me that here I am working in a professional environment with ostensibly educated people but there are still some of those evolutionarily challenged proto-apes who have managed to squeal, wiggle and squeeze their way up through the cracks in the HR screening processes.

What led me to this realization? Well as with most great epiphanies, it happened in the bathroom. I stepped up to the stall to "pay the water bill," and as I looked down to "point Percy at the porcelain" I saw that someone had tried to spit a huge loogie into the urinal.

Unfortunately he missed, and the sick stack of sputum stuck to the top of the urinal. Cringing, I immediately looked up to assume the eyes forward position so I wouldn't have to see the funky wad of phlegm.

That's when I saw, staring back at me, several petrified snot rockets that some uncouth cretin decided the rest of us evolved human beings just had to see. Evidently this guy had nothing better to do than "mine for gold" and "pick a winner" while he was "shaking hands with the vicar." Makes me retch.

I think the I-70 rest stop outside of Topeka is a more pleasant experience.

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Friday Blogthing: Dominating the dojo

I'd be like Kramer at his karate class (what? Did I just throw in a pop culture reference from 1997? Hells yeah I did!).

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lost Tales of 3AM, Part I: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

I've never been one to give too much credence to dreams.

I never really thought there was any kind of deep message in them, never assumed that there was some kind of meaning that we were supposed to find to improve our lives. Whenever I see attempts at "interpreting" dreams, I usually just roll my eyes at the pseudo-psycho mumbo jumbo.

To me, dreams are just your brain's way of dealing with a daily buildup of semi-toxic chemicals and flushing out unused and unneeded stimulus while you were asleep -- sort of a biological Norton's Disk Tools for your noggin.

Then I had the strangest experience a few nights ago.

I had a dream where I was on a business trip with a colleague (can't remember who, but if you're reading this, it wasn't you). We were in some small town in the South. It seems like it was in Virginia or North Carolina or something (probably Greenville or Charlottsville or some other 'ville).

Anyway, so we were at the airport of this small town and we saw on our flight itinerary that we were to change flights in Chicago on our way back to KC. The first leg of the journey from Nowheresville to Chicago went off with no problems. Then when we went to board the flight from Chicago to KC, I realized that somewhere in the air I had lost my wallet.

I had no money, no credit cards and worst of all, no picture ID. Even though I had a ticket, the airline wouldn't let me board the flight home without a picture ID. I was stranded in a Chicago airport with no money and no way to prove who I was.

Then a lot of other strange shit happened that didn't make any sense at all (what's the deal with all those naked women throwing pickles at me? Hmmm.)

But the weird part was when I woke up the next morning, I got ready for work and realized that I didn't have my ID badge/key card for my job. As I searched frantically I realized that I had left it on my desk the previous day.

So I guess it's possible that my subconscious was trying to tell me that I had left my key card at work. If that's the case then thanks for nothing, Subconscious. What the hell am I supposed to do about it in the middle of the night?

Note to Subconscious: Next time remind me about my key card BEFORE I leave the office.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Congratulations to all of you who attended state caucuses (cauci?) or primaries thinking your participation made a difference.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Opportunity knocks

People sometimes forget that adversity is often accompanied by opportunity. You know, every cloud has a silver lining and all that rot?

I was driving around OP last week when I saw this sign.

It made me wonder what "Plan B" is? I know Tony has his ideas.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

In case you haven't heard

Just trying to squeeze the last little bit of enjoyment out of this before today's match up against Mizzou.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Blogthing: Does this make me a hobbit?

Aside from the general premise, I know absolutely nothing about Lost.

Never seen and episode, don't know any of the characters, couldn't recite any of the catchphrases.

But a lot of people are doing this quiz, so here's my result. Can someone explain it to me?

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