Tuesday, November 06, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: I Vetoed

I just hope you knuckleheads made the right decision.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Halloween

Stay safe out there this week people. If your toilet starts belching fire and the walls begin to bleed and your TV turns all static and tells you to get out of the house... then by all means, stop drinking.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Schadenfrozen

German can be a tough language to learn, that's why it's nice to have YouTube in order to help illustrate, via a kind of video definition, words such as schadenfreude. tagged: , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: It all began with a god named Thor

Today's edition of YouTube Tuesday celebrates the good news that will send hipsters hopping all to way to Merriam in a couple of years.

Sure, every major city in the world already has an IKEA store, but how many metros are there that have an IKEA AND a Nebraska Furniture Mart? It's all part of my plan to make KC the furniture capital of the world!

The lyrics are even better...

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Monday, September 17, 2012


I don't know about you guys (and if you're one of those snobby foodie-types, I don't really care), but I really like Blue Koi.

We always get good service there. The owner and/or manager always greets us warmly. I like the noodles. I like the rice. I like the Awesome Sauce, and I really like the roast duck.

But this post isn't about food.

Like many food spots, Blue Koi displays work from a rotating roster of local artists. I like this idea in general, kind of an appetizer for your soul while you wait for your table. And I've never had a spiritual dish at Blue Koi that I didn't enjoy.

And a few months ago, there was a very tasty treat indeed.

On display in the entry way were canvases of crude cartoony characters doing various activities which didn't seem to make sense upon a brief initial glance. Because they were cartoons, and because we were with another couple with whom we were in conversation, I didn't pay them much attention. But when we were seated at out table (me, directly facing the painting) and awaiting our dinners after ordering, I had a little more time to study the images.

"Heard it through the grape vine"
I was looking at a group of what looked like The California Raisins. They were in a cave, with fire all around and a river of red liquid. They were holding devil's pitch forks. And in a moment it clicked. It's a visual representation of the idiomatic expression "Raisin Hell." Brilliant!

One by one I studied the dozen or so paintings on the wall with new interest. They're the work of Overland Park artist Joe Self, and before our table is served with entree's we're all studying the paintings with surprise and delight.

I honestly don't know how I'd never seen these before. The friendly manager at Blue Koi notes our interest, and brings us a couple of complimentary wall calendars featuring many of the visual puzzles. This is totally the kind of thing my dad would get into.

Self has made his paintings available for purchase at his website. At a minimum, you should buy a coupe of the wall calendars to pass around and keep in your cube. That's what I did.

See if you can solve this one!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fear and Loathing in The OP

We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear—fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.” — Extreme Behavior in Aspen, February 3, 2003

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ode No.2 To A Honeycrisp Apple

Another short poem to my favorite breakfast food, as inspired* by Robert Frost.

The way a bro
Brought in for me
A Honeycrisp
From yon Hy-Vee

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I'd rued.

*And by "inspired" I mean "plagiarized"

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Decade dense

When I was in high school, still breaking in my new driver’s license, some buddies and I took a half-hour road trip into The ‘Ta to hang out for the day, maybe see a movie.

Long story short, our 1978 Dodge Omni (dubbed “The Omni-vore”) shot craps on the Canal Route, forcing us to ditch the Interstate at the 21st Street exit. I’ve not been to Wichita in, what?, 15 years?, and this story takes place at least 10 years before that. Which is all to say that I’m not sure what the neighborhood is like today. But back then the prospect of finding yourself, at the age of 16 with a busted car in a dodgy part of town with no cell phone (nobody had even heard of the Motorola DynaTac yet) was extremely dicey.

Everything turned out okay in the end. Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime because it’s kind of a funny story.

But… fast forward a year or two when I’m on a student tour of Europe. It was the most fun of my short life up to then. While in Paris, a friend and I became separated from the tour group in the subways. Here we are, a couple of Midwestern kids from nowhere Kansas where the words “public” and “transportation” don’t have any real meaning when you put them together, lost on one of the more renowned subway systems in the world.

It was both terrifying and exhilarating. It was exhilafying.

Again, everything worked out okay in the end. I mean, I’m here writing this, right?

Fast forward again to adult life when my Supermodel Wife and I and some close friends returned to Europe on our own terms. The experiences above, and many more like them, had cultivated a sense of adventure and appreciation for discovering the unknown and unexpected. I had come to realize that, with a certain frame of mind, there’s no such thing as “being lost.”

Just have an idea of where you want to end up, and enjoy the process of getting there. All you really need is a map and a brain. And really, the map is optional. Cell phones and GPS units? They just get in the way of enjoying where you are. They’re a kind of safety net that dilutes your experience.

Needless to say, that trip abroad was filled with unexpected discoveries that we might not have had in the safety of a tour group. And it was the most fun I’d had in my life up to that point.

Then a few months later, somebody flew a couple of airplanes into the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan.

We all know what happened, so I don’t want to belabor the point. But a comment from a blog friend got me thinking about how there are now adults who were third-graders on the day of the 9/11 attacks. My oldest daughter, now in elementary school, has never known a “pre-9/11” world.

And that’s a shame.

Because after the attacks, we as a society pretty much went into lock down.
We have come to accept, with very little grumbling, being treated like cattle (or sheep) in the name of public safety. We put up with being herded, groped, scanned, and tagged. We have gladly handed over our privacy to a government that has pledged to protect us. We cheer our leaders when they kill the right people, because they are doing so that we will never again face certain death at the hands of those who wish us harm.

That the “kids these days” have never known it otherwise is a concern. Aren’t we deifying invulnerability way too much? Are we sacrificing liberty and risk and reward, at the altar of safety and security? Are we raising a generation that will be unprepared when the illusion of safety is exposed?

It’s tough. Because I want my kids to be safe. But I also want them to experience the kinds of things I experienced — learning that it’s okay to be frightened, just keep your head. Don’t be afraid of new and strange places and people.

I guess I just think that living in fear within a cultural corral is a sad way to go through life, and you’ll miss out on a lot of the best things life has to offer.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Rite of Autumn

It's almost time again for my favorite time of year, autumn.

Time of relief from the oppressive summer heat, and a spiritual harvest from sports drought of the preceding months. Football season, son.

I've never been one to do any kind of season preview. I'm a sports appreciator, not a pundit. But I do read a lot of previews, and none have been better than the Big XII preview written by one of my favorite authors, Cormac McCarthy…
3) Kansas State: The old man is bent forward studying the ground. A secret to be gleaned from the turf. His time with the wildcats has not been easy. Struggle. Work. Victory. Struggle. A betrayal he once believed would be impossible. An exile while a clownish prince claims his throne. Years spent in the wilderness of the plains scrabbling for scraps and water while his republic fell into disrepair with no one to save it or pull the charter from the ashes while the prince fiddled and his palace burned to the ground. A coup. Reascension.

He knows his time is not long now. He uses time wisely, efficiently. His troops are ragged, pulled from wild and unknown places with uniforms of unnamed rank and single color. Junior colleges. The old man looks up. Squints against the gloom that grows darker with each moment.. Pulls his tattered windbreaker closer about his shoulders. Run the qb counter, he says into his headset.

You can read his thoughts about the rest of the Big XII football teams (and also KU) here.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Song of Sap and Flyers

We were screaming at each other when we pulled into the docking bay* of the mother ship around dusk after a quick away mission to St. Joe.

But we weren't screaming at each other because we were angry (at least, not this time), it was because that's the only way we could communicate over the incessant high-decibel droning of the summer cicadas.

We, the adults, were used to it. My Supermodel Wife and I are both native Kansans and grew up with this particular genre of music as the soundtrack of late summer doldrums. But a precocious three-year old toddler has no such tolerance, and demanded an explanation in the form of a pitched "What's that NOISE!"

So while the light held out, we braved the still-triple-digit heat to check out the oak trees in our front yard. We found the empty larval shells by the hundreds. When I gently plucked one from the bark, attached it to my finger and advanced it toward my daughter to give her a closer look, she repelled in disgust at the alien-looking thing.

We talked about how these critters live most of their life underground, sucking sap from the tree roots. Then in the summer, they dig their way out, clamber up the nearest tree and literally crawl out of their own skins. I told her how they transform, how they grow wings and fly up into the leaves. How the boys start to sing to try to find a girlfriend and that is what that crazy 108 decibel noise is that we're hearing.

"And what happens when they find their girlfriend?"

"Well, they start a family."


"Well… er… Check it out, you can take a stick and poke the shells off of the tree..."

So we spent the next few minutes playing mini-wiffle ball with a stick and cicada shells until we came across a cicada shell that was … still moving. The little guy was crawling slowly up the tree trunk, still alien-looking and creepy, but tantalizingly close to the business end of the mini-wiffle stick.

"Can I hit it off?" she asked.

"No. Let's leave him alone so he can grow up and find a girlfriend."

It was a pretty easy sell since the thing really did look gross. I mean, not that I'd look much better after spending my childhood years two feet underground.

Fast forward to the next morning when I wake her up to get ready for the day. The first thing she asks is if we can go check on the cicada crawling up the tree to make sure he made it. Okay, I'm up for a follow up.

Luckily it's cooler out this morning, the sun is just starting to shine through over the rooftops of the subdivision. Our friend from the previous evening must have climbed even higher, but he's got dozens of friends who changed clothes overnight and left their dirties on the tree trunks. In fact, as we look at the four trees directly in front of our house, we see multiple (I called it "a moltitude" but the pun was lost on a 3-year-old) cicadas in various states of emergence.

Since most of us don't get up early enough to really examine the critters that are making that insane racket in the evenings, my daughter and I decided to take a few pictures and share the educational field trip we took to our front yard.

This guy is still in the process of "inflating" his wings.

* I know most people call it their "garage" — but that's for you hoity-toity French speakers. Nope, ours is either the docking bay or the car hole (depending on context).

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hey! You! Get off-a my… whatever this is…

It's been so long since we've seen anything like this that I almost didn't recognize it. Nice to get a rain drop or two in the O.P., but I'm afraid it's too late for the majority of my so-called lawn.

PS — I used @rm's suggestion to use my sunglasses as a "nofilter" filter for my mobile phone camera. It worked pretty well, though I still think Instagram is dumb and it ranks only behind that contrived 45-degree angle as most annoying photographer clichés.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Messianic joe

For what it's worth, I predicted ages ago (and soon to be proved accurately) that Obama would be elected to a second term.

But as far as who will actually win the ? I'm with Jesus.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Death be not paneled

Did you see this? You might have heard about this. There was a news blurb and a couple of people were mentioning it on Facebook and other social sites…

So the Supreme Court Justice League got together the other day and got some constitutional interpreting done before their vacations to the Poconos's, and it turns out that according to (at least 5 of) them, it’s cool for men to date.

Wait, let me reread that… oh, okay. It's not man date. It's mandate. The mandate is okay. That makes sense. Although as far as I’m concerned, men dating men is okay, too. But I guess that’s a different Supreme Court case.

Anyhoo, the mandate that we all have to buy something that we may or may not want or else we have to go to jail is just fine with The Constitution — according to the people who decide these things (I think their official title is Supreme Deciders of the United States).
A lot of people are super stoked about this, as they see it as the next step to mandating daily consumption of 64 oz Mountain Dew Red and Jelly Donuts for everyone (Hah! In your FACE, Mayor Bloomberg!).

Of course there are a lot of people on the other side who think a government that pays $25,000 for a toilet seat has no business telling anyone to buy anything, let alone something that they may not need or use.

But I think both sides are really kind of missing the point. The recent SCOTUS decision and the ACA bill it upholds represent a golden opportunity for the enrichment of the American culture. Of course I’m referring to the great inspiration it provides for a renaissance in heavy metal band names.

It’s been a good 20 years since the zenith of Heavy Metal in pop culture. Sure it’s been around, as kind of a sub-cultural underground phenomenon. But I think with the heightened awareness fostered by such high profile events such as the recent SCOTUS decision and the impending “reasoned political discourse” that we're sure to see in the upcoming election season, concepts like Taxing Powers, Punitive Mandates, and Death Panels could easily percolate into the artistic forefront of this genre.

And to help kick start the artistic revolution, I’d like to take this time to announce that the experimental neurofunk-jazz-illbient-technofolk fusion band that Manningtheship and I have been working on for the past two years (you might have seen us performing during lunch time at The Record Bar) will be pivoting into the death metal genre with a new name:

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Wrecking Crew

It's not that I have anything against dance as an art form. It's just that it's not my thing, you know.

But I'm willing to stipulate that just because I don't like it, doesn't mean there's not some good dance out there. Of course, I'll also point out that, as with any other form of expression, there's a lot of … oh, what's the technical term?… ah yes, CRAP out there as well, 90 percent of which can be found in American pop culture centers such as HipHopTV and any reality television programming.

Still, every once in a while I'll see a ballet, or a stage show, or my 3-year-old daughter and see a pure form of art. And I think this amazing production from Japanese street dance crew (huh?) WRECKING CREW ORCHESTRA.

The combination of choreography, movement and technical lighting is really amazing.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Interplanet

Check out this video created by stitching together NASA archival images.

According to the artist:
The footage in this video is derived from image sequences from NASA's Cassini and Voyager missions. I downloaded a large amount of raw images to create the video.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Having a ball

I'm not gonna lie. I've been busy.

Busier than a one-eyed cat watching nine rat holes. Busier than an Italian cruise ship captain with no life boats. Busier than a college athletic director with too many wire transfer receipts. Busier than a one-armed Miami tailor making Kevlar hoodies.

I've been a little snowed under, is what I'm sayin'. There are times in life when you're just trying to juggle all your projects. Toss most of them up in the air while you give attention to the most pressing ones, and hope you don't drop any balls.

In face, that's one reason (of several) I find this week's edition of YouTube Tuesday so engaging. You've got to be impressed with her ability to give concrete expression to such an abstract metaphor.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: The cure for what ales you…

Today's the big day, guys. The big, chocolatey, hopsy, sudsy day that Kansas City has been abuzz about for weeks.

It's like Christmas in January. For, today is the day Boulevard Brewery's Chocolate Ale hits the shelves.

I know I don't have to go into a big long description of Chocolate Ale. I'm sure that by you have all heard ad intoxicum about the wildly popular collaboration of Kansas City's own Boulevard Brewery and Kansas City's own artisanal chocolatier Christopher Elbow.

Anyway, I've never tried it but apparently it's all the rage. In fact, I saw beer aficionado Chimpotle stocking up on the stuff as soon as stores opened this morning. I thought you guys might like to see the video of him bringing it home to his house.

I'm just glad he wasn't driving… his car.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: No Joy

I didn't realize until today that Joyland had closed.

Not that I'm surprised. I just haven't thought about Joyland Amusement Park one way or another in ages. As a kid, my parents took us there two or three times, making the hour's trip from out hamlet to the city of Wichita for a diversion of bumper cars, Ferris wheels and carnival games (as I recall, I wasn't old enough to go on the roller coaster).

Anyway, as this video shows, the amusement park has undergone significant decay since it closed nearly 10 years ago.

Much like our culture in general.

No Joy from Mike Petty on Vimeo.

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

PvC art

I like it when artists have fun.

Oh sure, that seems obvious to you and me. We're just a couple of working stiffs, marking our time in the trenches, bringing home the Benjamins so we can put food on the table and shoes on the kids' feets. So to us, it seems crazy that someone who spends their day doing stuff we used to do in kindergarten should have anything but a fun life.

But then you hear stories about how all the artists are so tortured and how they suffer so much for their art that nobody will ever understand, because how could they, they're just a bunch of proletarian cretins who wouldn't know a Pollock from a used drop cloth.

But when I serendipitously run across the work of someone like Belgian visual artist Ben Heine, it pleases me to know that the art world isn't entirely populated by brooding alcoholics and stuffy joy-sucking academics. And maybe it paints me as uneducated in the art world, but I subscribe to the Montgomery Burns school of art criticism:
"I don't know art, but I know what I hate. And I don't hate this."

In his series Pencil vs Camera, Heine takes a whimsical stab at mixing the real world of photography with the fun and fantastical world of his mind as sketched on paper.

I like the fresh take and I'm I big fan of Heine's sense of humor.

There are a ton of images in the Pencil Vs Camera series, all of which can be seen at Heine's kickass website along with much of his other work.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Well, if that's the way the blog wind blows…

So, don't like the the old tried and true New Year's Resolutions, eh?

Gotta be all "progressive" and try to "start something new" eh?

"Tell you what, we’ll just create one, call it the Flashback meme: post your last sentence from the last post for each month of 2011."

Well, if that's the way the blog winds blow, then never let it be said that I don't blow.

Jan: What did I miss? How do you think we'll get our comeuppance?

Feb: The post-modern alt-pop-blues-folk singer-songwriter, not the Fox News crybaby.

I know we use some pretty big words, but try to follow along.

You may have heard of it. It was in the news and everything.

May: I did record video of the meeting, and it's pretty damn entertaining if I do say so my damn self.

Jun: I've got some ideas, just not the concurrent time and motivation.

Jul: Given the local temperatures around here lately caused by an infernal Heat Dome, I thought this brief synopsis of Dante's Inferno seemed apropos.

As a parent, I'm just flipping the script on them. Using the same kind of marketing tactics to trick my kids into eating something less unhealthy.

Word up Mr. P!

But I think the biggest affect this unusually vivid dream on me has been that I no longer have much of an appetite for sushi.

(Sorry, I wasn't feeling particularly bloggy this month. But I guess even choosing not to say anything is saying something, right?)

-- Patricia Highsmith (New Year’s Eve Toast, 1947)

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The resolution will be bloggerized

Hey guys, check this out!

This dude I know did this thing this year where he chose a list of personal goals for the year and "resolved" to accomplish them.

He called them "New Year's Resolutions."

What an awesome idea! I mean, you're using this kind of natural "beginning" to the year to sort of take stock in yourself and setting up some targets for personal improvement. I think everyone should do this. In fact, I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner.

So yeah, I sat down and tried to come up with a list of things that I can do to improve myself. Because the first step in making the world a better place is to make myself a better person. Right?

So here goes…

1) I resolve to start flossing my teeth more than three times a week. My dental hygienist says I should do it twice a day. So that's going to me my goal.

2) I resolve to try some Vietnamese food. I've heard good things. There are lots of Vietnamese restaurants around, so let me know if you have a recommendation. As far as I can tell, the toughest part is going to be paying for that flight to Vietnam.

 3) I resolve to read a book this year. Seems like people are always writing books, so I want to see what the big deal is about. Since I have an e-reader now, I might even e-read and e-book.

4) I resolve to get my car serviced. For the last few months, I've used what the Kansas City, Mo., street department calls "deferred maintenance" on my car. It's a middle-aged vehicle and needs new tires, probably new brakes and who knows what else. So, yeah, it's going to be expensive. But it's something that I just need to do.

5) I resolve to get some new shoes. I like my current work shoes so much that I've worn a hole in the heel. What is is that letter carries always say? Time wounds all heels? Anyway, it's time for me to say goodbye to these old souls and get some new kicks.

Well, that's a pretty good start. Five goals for personal improvement to start the new year.

Let me know what YOU plan to do, you damn slacker!*

* No, not you. I was talking to that other guy.

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