Sunday, December 28, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
The Chiefs have finally parted ways with Carl Peterson. It's time. I think the nature of the game has changed enough, that it's time for some new and younger blood. The era of overpaid athletes and publicly funded stadiums has changed the NFL forever. For the record, Peterson probably should have gone when Vermeil left. Start fresh w/ a new GM and new coach. It's very possible that Peterson's departure also spells the end of Herm Edwards run as head coach. Herm's a good guy, and from what I have seen, a decent man. His future may be as a personnel guy, and maybe not a coach.
Here's what really bugs me about the whole thing... Listening to a bunch of local media blowhards play Kool and The Gang and make buffoons out of themselves because of Peterson's impending departure. What an embarrassment. These guys are professionals? Listening to a couple of jock sniffers like Kevin Kietzman and Jack Harry high five each other and giggling like 12 year olds with a Playboy is about as low as it gets.
Harry has been in KC for as long as I can remember, and his beef with Peterson goes back just as far. Any jackass can go on TV and hoot and holler and spew the same "Get Carl out of here!" rant for the last 5 years. Do you know what his solution was??? Terry Bradway, the guy that got booted from the Jets while helping Herm build his last stinker! What a douche. The only reason he's still on TV, is that someone thinks his hate of all things Carl and KU, is a draw. He provides zero insight and is there to keep the non sports fan from flipping the channel after the weather segment is over. The guy is an antique and should watch a few minutes of Lew Dawson or Frank Boal every once in a while.
As for Kietzman... if it weren't for commercials, he'd have nothing to say. His four hour stint proves that if you do nothing more than pander to an angry mob, you will be successful. He brings nothing new to the table, and his insight is weak and unoriginal.
I'm confident that the lame asses on The Border Patrol will be no different in the morning. Kansas City deserves better than fart jokes and thinly veiled homophobia.
So, there you have it. The pathetic underbelly of popular Kansas City sports media... What are these ass clowns going to do in a few weeks when they don't have Carl Peterson around to fill the hours?
Help me Soren Petro, you're my only hope...
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
A friend of mine sent me an article from Rolling Stone, about Kenny Rogers selling his new CD exclusively at Cracker Barrel. Nothing new here... plenty of musicians do the same thing with Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Best Buy etc. I guess Cracker Barrel makes perfect sense for a country musician because of it's Southern'y home style appeal. But here's what burns my ass. The new "album" is a greatest hits collection w/ 3 new songs tacked on to it!
This is one of the reasons I absolutely hate country music (have I mentioned that Lee Greenwood is a war profiteer?). If you are a fan, and want the 3 new songs, you have to buy the other 9 that you already own. Is there a more disrespectful way to treat your loyal fans? Most of these clowns don't even write their own songs anymore (much less play an instrument)... so you are telling me that Kenny can't scratch up 10 more songs and crank out an entire album? It's nothing but a shameless cash grab. To be clear, I'm not picking on just Kenny Rogers. The Better Half is a big fan of George Strait and I think he's done this before, but with boxed sets and not just a single album.
Mainstream country music has been neutered. Seems that toeing the party line and singing songs about lazy Sundays or high school sweethearts will pretty much guarantee you a top selling tune. But if you drop the saccharine sunglasses and create something genuine, introspective or at the very least think for yourself.... you are dead. If you want proof, just look at what happened to the Dixie Chicks when they spoke out about W. Maybe they were on to something long before his own party started to distance itself from him.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The Better Half and I were fortunate enough to be offered tix to the first of the two Smashing Pumpkins shows at the Midland Theater in downtown Kansas City. Neither of us are what you would call huge fans, but we had a long weekend and a free night on the town was just the ticket.
This was my first trip to the newly renovated Midland Theater, and it was amazing. It was also a great place for the Smashing Pumpkins. I saw them once before, on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour. Don't remember much about their set (although the Beastie Boys kicked some serious ass and George Clinton and P-Funk, were terrible), but have to think that it was just too big for their sound. The Midland was THE perfect venue.
I knew going in that this was not going to be a Greatest Hits tour. Monday's show (there is a second show on Tuesday the 25th) consisted of 4.5 Pumkins songs that I recognized.... Today, Tonight/Tonight, The End Is the Beginning Is the End and Bullet with Butterfly Wings. The rest of the set list (I think) was new stuff. Loud, bombastic and somewhat self indulgent. Just about every song had a solo in the middle comprised of feedback, reverb or what ever. Not that it was bad, it just got a little redundant. The energy for the first half of the set was pretty amazing, despite the lack of familiar songs. There was a acoustic/stripped down set of 3-4 songs, that was nice, but drained the building. When they did play Today, Billy Corgan made sure everyone knew that the old stuff didn't do it for him anymore, and they were playing it to appease "the bloggers". Needless to say, they were well received. The final song of the set, was a trippy jam that went on a little too long for my taste. There was a theremin sighting as well. Sorry to say, but there were definitely some moments when the show seemed lethargic and excessive.
So, if you a Pumpkin Head, be prepared. You probably aren't going to hear much from the back catalog... but you are going to get a pretty ferocious set, with a great light show, in a venue that will literally be shaking by the third song. Side note... the drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin, was AWESOME!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I remember eagerly waiting for the work schedule to come out, to see who got stuck working a Chiefs Sunday. Rest assured, from noon to about 3:30, you could sleep on the front counter and no one would be the wiser. (also a fantastic way to burn off a hangover) Fast forward to November of 2008. Despite the wretched season, I've watched or at least listened to every single game. Today was different. Friday and Saturday were both long days for me and The Better Half. As a result, we ended up sleeping in until almost 11. I had to make a quick run to Costco and figured I could be home in time to catch most of the 1st quarter. WRONG!!! Costco was a zoo. Jam packed. I was shocked. There were even folks there in Chiefs gear! Now, one trip to Costco does not a trend make.... but a few years ago, it wouldn't have been like that. When I got home, it looked like more people were at the Linwood Costco, than were at Arrowhead.
Despite recently parting ways with season tickets, this was my first real clue that apathy has turned into indifference. Sure, attendance might be down, but people are watching, aren't they??
It's sad to see... gone are the days of the excitement of a big game weekend. I still see people wear Chiefs gear at work on Fridays... but it's no longer out of pride. It's just an excuse to dodge the dress code for the day.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Mercifully, the camp of the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan installments are well past us. I always thought the appeal of Connery was that he could kick anyone's ass, he just chose not to.
My hope is that now that the revenge story has played to an end and a global villain is in place, that Bond goes back to being a spy, and is no longer a blunt instrument.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I finally caught Juno the other night. I thought it was entertaining. Personally, I thought Juno was more of a condescending shit, then a hip and witty teen. Anyway, it only took me almost a year to see it, and that got me thinking about a rather embarrassing list I've had in my head all these years. Great/Successful/Acclaimed movies, that I've never seen. Did I mention I worked in a video store for almost 10 years? In no particular order, and with some commentary, here are a few...
- Dances With Wolves (until they take back the OSCAR and give it to Goodfellas, I'll never watch this movie)
- The Matrix (fell asleep)
- Touch of Evil (Charlton Heston as a Mexican??)
- Ghost (Swayze!)
- Pretty Woman (kind of creepy if you think about it)
- Raging Bull
- Any and all movies with Humphrey Bogart (never got the appeal of Mr. Bogart)
- It's a Wonderful Life
- Lawrence of Arabia
- Annie Hall
- Donnie Darko
- Anything by Fellini or Almodóvar
- Gone With The Wind (I don't give a damn either)
- The Lion King
Sunday, November 2, 2008
My best friend Patrick has had season tickets to the Kansas City Chiefs since 1989. Section 328, row 8, seats 12 and 13. With the exception of 1991, I think we went to just about every game together. Other years, were split up or sold off as circumstances dictated. But the one constant was that we always went to at least one game a year together. Today, the Chiefs hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was our last game in the seats we have shared for 19 years.
If I remember correctly, the first year season was 10 games @ $25 each. Parking was $5. We were both in high school and so Patrick's dad paid for the tix. Almost positive it took me the whole year to pay him back.
As with any long time friends... we tell the same jokes each week, reminded each other about how Marcus Allen was so good at keeping his legs moving (Pump those knees!), made up words to the Tomahawk Chop and marveled at how much Christian Okoye loved the pot pies from the good folks at Swanson's. As with most guys, we even have a running, dirty joke that can't really be mentioned here.
If the Chiefs were a publicly traded stock, there would have been a sell off about 10 years ago. But the unique thing about pro sports, is that an organization can convince their loyal fans that they are just "one player away" from greatness. This was true in 1993 w/ the combination of Joe Montana and Marcus Allen. Since then, the team has been chasing their tail with mixed success. Trent Green, Priest Holmes and Will Roaf: good. Brett Perriman, Elvis Grbac, Shawn Barber, Ty Law: not so good.
The organization as a whole, is in disarray. Bad coach, bad management and an owner that appears to only be interested in the status quo and fleecing the good folks of Jackson County Missouri for stadium renovations. Neither of us have much of an interest in rewarding the organization for what has been a disaster since the day Dick Vermeil was hired. Sure they were fun to watch, but we all knew there were problems. Kind of like dating a stripper... fun while the going is good, but destined to fail.
I got the feeling a few years ago, that unless something dramatic happened, time was running out on our seats. Patrick toughed it out for the first two years of Herm's regime, and then that was it. No more. I know it wasn't an easy decision, but at the end of the day, why pay top dollar for a mediocre product? Why make the emotional investment when Carl Peterson and Herm Edwards look down on the fans with contempt?
We got to Arrowhead around 11:00 today. Had a few beers on the way in to Arrowhead, and took our seats for the last time. There were a lot of empty seats. There will be two more next year.
Friday, October 31, 2008
4 trick or treaters. Yep. 4. I think we spent more on three pumpkins and 3 bags of candy then those 4 kids did on their costumes. For the record, we bought Smarties, Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The sinister plan was to pass out all the Smarties first, and then bitch for a week about how we were stuck w/ 2 bags of our favorite candy. I'm guessing the left over Smarties will get dumped in a bowl at work, and I'll wake up tomorrow feeling like shit from all the Reese's I'm about to eat tonight.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
As a big, fat, beer drinking golfer that's never shied away from a plate of wings, I'll miss him.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So, the first official single is out from the new Guns N Roses album. 15 years in the making... Slash and Izzy are gone, but as long as Axl Rose is around, there will always be a Guns N Roses. To me, it sounds a little more industrial and metal than the old stuff. Click here, and judge for yourself.
Appetite For Destruction came out during my Freshman year in high school. I was never a metal fan (hair, glam, speed, death or heavy), but Appetite wasn't really any of that. Sure, they looked a little "glammy" but they had a more intense sound. More grit, grime, booze, dope and sex... and parents were terrified of them.
I remember standing in line at the Street Side Records in Lawrence at midnight, waiting for Use Your Illusion I and II (if memory serves, I blew 2 weeks worth of beer money on those albums). They were good (at times), but nothing compares to Appetite For Destruction. Not saying that they are a one hit wonder, as much as that was the definitive rock album of it's time. So does the new Guns N Roses, tarnish the name of the original, Worlds Most Dangerous Band?
Monday, October 6, 2008
As expected, the PAW show kicked ass. Not sure how else to describe it. They seemed to be in great form. Grant Fitch still plays a blazing guitar (and wears ugly shirts). I was also glad to hear Mark and his trademark growl. Always surprised that a guy that small, has such a fierce voice. Don't recall their names, but the bass player and drummer seemed a perfect fit, and banged out some serious noise all night long. The crowd was an interesting mix of old farts like me, trying to recapture a little of The Glory Days... and some younger folks who had never seen them live before. I keep coming back to the word "fierce" when trying to describe them. The songs tend to be a little dark, but the music that goes with them is an amazing mash up of metal and grunge. Just when you think you have it figured out, you get a lap steel or something w/ more of a country or southern rock kick.
It's kind of funny the way they got their name out there... they had a few songs included in the soundtrack for an old racing game, called Road Rash (don't remember which version). Here's the video for one of my favorites, Jessie. (strangely enough, the video has a police dog attacking a perp, when the song is about a kid running away from home that's afraid his dog will follow him).
No idea how many The Bottleneck holds, but it wasn't sold out. My guess is that there were a lot of friends from back in the day there (IE: free tickets). So, I'm not sure how that would translate into a possible KC show. I guess that's the curse of being lumped in with Grunge and starting out in a college town. The genre dies off and all the kids go back home.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The PAW show at The Bottleneck is this Saturday, the 4th. Which just happens to be the day after my birthday. My wife, knowing how much I have been waiting for this show, has even offered to drive me and some friends up to Lawrence. Can a guy ask for a better birthday gift? I don't think so. Lucky for her, she's off the hook and my brother has volunteered to assume the role of designated driver. If I do this right, should be over my hangover by Sunday night, and my hearing will be back to 100% by Tuesday. These guys rock. I wore out 2 tapes of Dragline and the CD is beat to hell. But Dragline and Death To Traitors were a constant on my tape deck/CD player for the better part of 4 years. When I got my first car w/ a cd player in it, Dragline was the first cd I played. It never got old. I was bummed each time they broke up, and then kicked myself for not going to the "reunion" show a few years back, when they all came out dressed as characters from The Wizard of Oz. I expect there to be a slight chill down my spine as they kick in to just about every song.
The first time I saw them live, was with the same brother that is driving us all up there. I'm pretty sure my first copy of Dragline was "borrowed" from a big milk crate full of tapes he kept in his apartment. It's kind of funny... we talk on a regular basis. But now that we are both married and have more responsibility than we ever did 15 years ago, we just don't do that much together, outside of the obligatory family gatherings. I'm really looking forward to this Saturday.
Monday, September 29, 2008
This is the second version of this post. On the first attempt, I threw out some movies I liked and talked about the very distinguished career of and actor and philanthropist. But when I finished, it just didn't work.
Has there ever been an American icon that essentially flew under the radar for a majority of their career? Here's a good looking, humble guy that managed to be successful in an industry that thrives on selfishness, over indulgence and infidelity.
I remember the first time I saw Newman's Own salad dressing in the grocery store. I thought it was funny the way they took his likeness (and that of his wife, Joanne Woodward) and dressed it up to fit the theme for the product. Later, after learning more about him... I realized he never took his celebrity too seriously, and wasn't afraid to poke fun at himself, if he thought it would help others. Turns out, he was right. To date, the Newman's Own brand has generated $250,000,000 for assorted charities.
The company motto says just about all you need to know about him...
"Shameless exploitation in pursuit of the Common Good."
For all the people that are famous for nothing (insert name of celebutante of the week), maybe they need a lesson in humility and compassion for the folks that don't lead the same privileged life....
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I've come to the realization that most people caught on the wrong side of the law, are simply desperate, indifferent to the law or just dumb. Do you honestly think Officer Poncherello isn't going to find the gun, dime bag or human foot that was cleverly stashed underneath a map in the glove box? I guess as society as a whole is being dumbed down, so are those on the fringe.
Make no mistake, there are plenty of societal ills that force force people to abandon common sense, self respect and human decency. To make things worse, the fictional people that I mentioned above, have contributed to the misguided notion that walking in to a bank with a mask and shotgun, is somehow cool. When family, society or government have failed you, why work 60 hours a week at some shitty job for scraps, when you can cook up a tub full of meth or steal a car?
Does art imitate life? Or does life imitate art? I'm not smart enough to answer that... but I think it's a safe bet that when mindless violence is masked as entertainment and glorified as an acceptable means to an end, society as a whole suffers.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I rented a verticutter over the weekend to tackle a few problem spots in our yard. It's easy to see how this thing could end up in Cohen brothers movie at some point... After verticutting, I raked up all the thatch that came up, seeded and then fertilized. Now I just have to water the crap out of it. Fun stuff.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I've started my mini-campaign to see about getting speed bumps on our street. I'm on a residential street, that has assumed the role of minor thoroughfare in and out of north PV. As a result, there are a lot of speeders going up and down at all hours of the day (but at the same time, it's gets plowed about every 15 minutes when it snows...). The stop sign at Belinder is nice, but I think it's time for something a little more subtle. Plus, traffic is only going to increase when the proposed work on the 75th Street corridor begins (whenever that is).
I'm not usually the type to get involved in things like this... But, I like my little piece of the world. Having grown up in Brookside, I have become rather fond of nice, quiet neighborhoods. Plus, it's a pain in the ass to back out of my driveway in the morning, when some clown is flying down the street at 45 mph, hell bent on making the stop light at State Line...
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Student A: "I'm sorry, what?"
Teacher: "What does your father do?"
Student A, after a few moments: "He's in a Federal Penitentiary"
Teacher, immediately sorry for asking and stammering somewhat: "I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to embarrass you. I thought I recognized his name as a school principal in Blue Springs."
Student A: "Pretty sure no one in my family has never worked at a school."
Student B: "My mom is in Federal prison too!"
Student C: "What did your dad do to end up in prison?"
Student D: "My cousin is in Leavenworth, that don't fuck around up there!"
Student B: "She was in a prison in Illinois, but then was moved to Iowa."
Student E: "I know some people that have been in prison. They said they mess with your shit, big time!"
Student A: "He was a felon that was caught with a gun."
Tom Brady was knocked out for the season last Sunday, and the sun still came up Monday morning. Don't get me wrong, I don't like seeing anyone get seriously injured (unless it's AJ Pierzynski), especially when I have them on one of my fantasy football teams. I just thought the media attention on this was a little over the top. Do we really need 14 hours of Sports Center to explain what an ACL is? Chris Berman is a prima donna blowhard, that's been sniffing his own farts for way too long, but do we really need his in depth analysis?
Brady isn't just the starting QB for the Patriots, but he's one of the biggest stars in the NFL. This injury is going to cost the Pats a few wins (and possibly a playoff spot). It's an even bigger hit to The League and TV networks. Adios prime time ratings for match ups between him and Peyton Manning and Bret Favre (twice, now that he's a Jet!).
The League has made every attempt possible at parity. The idea is that every team (except the Chiefs...) has a chance to make the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl. The fact that the Patriots have been so successful in recent years is impressive. It's as close to a dynasty as we will likely see in any sport for quite some time. It's just on hold this season.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Happened to stumble across Die Hard this afternoon, and of course I had to stop and watch for a few. Despite being 20 years old, it holds up fantastically well. Not a huge fan of Mr. Willis, but, he's in the right movie at the right time. Alan Rickman is wonderful as faux terrorist Hans Gruber. The way that Beethoven's Ode to Joy is intertwined in the score... brilliant (especially the scene when the vault is finally opened towards the end). All in all, an excellent movie.
My wife isn't as familiar w/ Die Hard as I am, and I proceeded to drop some Movie Nerd on her about the cast, crew and random trivia. When I stopped at director John McTiernan, I struggled to come up w/ anything he had done recently. Here's a guy w/ a quality resume of some great (and occasionally overlooked) action flicks. Three of his first major films, were classics. The under appreciated Predator (1987), Die Hard (1988) and The Hunt For Red October (1990). It's impossible the channel flip and not stop when you come across one of these (admittedly) Guy Movies.
After Red October comes Medicine Man and The Last Action Hero. Medicine Man features a Razzie nominated performance by Lorraine Bracco. Last Action Hero was a bomb and pretty much signalled the end of the late 1980's One Man Wrecking Crew action flicks. Truth be told, I don't think the flick is as bad as some people contend. For fans of action movies, there are a lot of inside jokes that make fun of the genre.
Die Hard: With A Vengeance (Die Hard 3) was next. Personally, it's my second favorite of the four installments of the series.
From there, it's a string of ho-hum followed by a mixture of mediocre and crap.
He's recently made headlines for being involved in the Anthony Pellicano scandal and last I saw, was working on a plea deal to avoid time on a conviction of lying to the FBI.
I guess he was collateral damage when the action genre finally imploded....
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I worked in a video store on and off for about 10 years. I loved just about every minute of, but will admit that after a while, I turned in to somewhat of a movie snob. I can assure you, that after you walked out of the store with a copy of Speed 2, we all laughed at you. Having said that, here's a great quote from Don, courtesy CNN.com.
"My philosophy is that you have to really believe what you're reading, even if you think the film's a piece of junk," he told Swindle magazine. "Even the worst picture is someone's favorite film, and that someone is the fan I am always talking to."
Pretty impressive for a guy that could make the worst turd in the world, sound like an award winner.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
In December 2007, the Dolphins brought in Bill Parcells as vice president of football operations, and appears that he has done more with his team in 8 months, than Carl Peterson has in 20 years with the Chiefs.
It was stunning just how bad the Chiefs looked Saturday night. The TV guys kept bringing up the point that the Chiefs "didn't really game plan" for this game. Excuse me? I see, they just rolled in to Miami and let the starters play for almost 3 quarters, and didn't really put much thought in to it? Most coaches won't take a dump w/o a game plan, so how in the world could they not have one for a game?
The Chiefs better be careful... the fans have been more than patient as this organization has bled them dry for years and filled our heads with promises of being one player away. Now that they are forced to rebuild, due to inept spending and coaching (a-hem, Dick Vermeil, Shawn Barber, Kendrell Bell etc...), they better damn well be prepared each week.
What would happen if in a few years when they unveiled the New Arrowhead, and no one showed up?
My how quickly a bad round of golf will change your plans! The course itself was pretty nice. The lake comes in to play a few times, and it's a nice change from the courses in our area. But it totally kicked my ass. Nothing went right. Driver was a mess and long irons didn't seem like they wanted to help me out either. Short irons were OK and putting had it's moments. But all in all, a true Alabama Ass Whuppin'. As a result, neither of us could get motivated to play another 18 holes.
Despite being aerated a few days ago, the greens rolled pretty true when putting. Approach shots didn't hold up as well. More than once, Grant or I would have a nice approach, and the second bounce would get all squirrelly on us. Certainly not an excuse for bad play. As a matter of fact, Grant locked in on the back 9 and carded a +6 (a huge jump vs. his front 9). I on the other hand, picked up two strokes from the front, but it didn't make any difference.
All in all, a fun round. A shitty round of golf w/ good weather, sure beats the best day a guy can ever have at work. It's too bad I played so crappy, because I didn't get a chance to truly appreciate the course. I'm sure we will head back up there to play the Outlaw at some point.
Saw Tropic Thunder last night. Lots of fun. The first 40 minutes are about as funny as it gets, and then the movie goes on cruise control. Pretty crude and enough usage of "fuck" (my favorite swear word...) to make a Teamster blush.
There's been some stink about a running joke about people w/ mental disabilities. The liberal use of the word "retard" has the folks at the Special Olympics upset. I have to admit, that at one point it pretty much crosses the line when it comes to bad taste. Having said that, the movie itself is a fantastic display of the absurd. Just about everything is over the top.
I've always been a casual fan of Robert Downey Jr. After seeing Iron Man, I had a new appreciation for him and his ability not to take himself too seriously. After seeing Tropic Thunder, I can't think of another actor that could have pulled off the role of a white Australian actor, playing a black guy. In lesser hands (I don't know... Jim Carrey?), this could have ruined the careers of everyone involved.
Make sure you get there on time, because part of the set up for each of the characters is a preview for a movie that they have each been in. Pretty funny stuff.
On a side note, when did movie tickets go up to $10 each for a Friday 5:45 showing?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
From what I have heard, there are a few roles that volunteers work. Most people think of sorting canned and box foods. Believe me, there's a lot to be sorted. Other tasks include washing eggs (donated by local grocers) and sorting other fresh, perishable items.
Bulk, perishable donations are double edged sword. While we were there, we were part of a group that sorted donated potatoes. More specifically, 3 pallets full of 50 pound bags of potatoes. Since they are perishable, our task was to sort thru all of them, and then put them in smaller bags of about 5-10 pounds each0. The smaller bags then went in to a giant bog, that was carted off to the warehouse (I think we filled 4 of those boxes). The potatoes were pretty small (most likely too small to be sold at a market or grocery store) and some were well past fresh. If I had to guess, I'd say about 10% of what was in the bag, was bad and had to be pitched. What's amazing, is that Harvesters can get perishable items into the hands of people that need them, while they are still good.
When our 3 hours were over, we were pretty tired. Frankly, we smelled pretty bad too. Rotten potatoes and sweat are a subtle aroma that I can live with out for a while.
I could go on forever about the place, but will leave you with this... I heard someone say "I'm glad we are fortunate enough that we don't have to rely on organizations like Harvesters to keep our family fed." That's certainly true, but I would like to think of it a little differently... I think we are fortunate to have an organization like Harvesters, to help out families in need.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wow! I heard that the show earlier this year at Wakarusa was a little sloppy and a lot of loud. What do you expect from these guys? I was lucky enough to catch them about a dozen times before the finally, officially and once and for all called it quits. Dive bars, outdoor shows or the majestic Liberty Hall, they always kicked some serious ass.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sweet Christ! Have Americans become so spoon fed, that they can't handle pouring milk out of a square jug? Even worse, have we been reduced to actually needing instructions on how to pour milk from the damn things? I know this story has been out for a month or so, but after a rough day at work, I thought to myself "These rubes are probably the ones bitching about the new milk jugs!".
Here's the story from the NY Times. The KC Star picked up the story, and then ran a follow up of reader responses/posts. (kudos to the "stupid helmets" comment!). If you don't want to read the article, the Cliff Notes version is that warehouse retailers Costco and Sam's Club are going w/ the square jugs. They allow for more efficient packaging and transportation, as well as create a "more recyclable" container. Not to mention, they fit perfectly in the doors of newer refrigerators.
Sure, it's human nature to resist change... especially for something so routine, that we can practically do it in our sleep. But I would guess this is a sign of things to come. Steps to reduce costs (costs that are inevitably passed on to consumers), will one day be the standard, and not a novelty. Apparently, that frustrates suburban housewives and the folks that tend to bitch when the wind changes directions.
It's a drop in the bucket, but here's an opportunity to reduce consumer cost, and folks are complaining! Amazing. Did I mention that as of Saturday August 2nd, a gallon of 2% milk at Costco cost $2.99 and it was over $4 at a local PV grocery store? Additionally, because processing time has been reduced, the milk is good for almost 2 weeks, and not 6 days like the current "pour friendly" milk jugs. To me, the savings and increased shelf life, should trump any perceived learning curve.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Anyone that caught Hard Knocks on HBO last year, might remember these words from quarterback Casey Printers as he was being informed that he had been cut... "hell I had to make chicken salad out of chicken shit". At first it was kind of funny, but as the dreadful 2007 season unfolded, those words seemed prophetic.
Hard Knocks exposed some real cracks in the foundation that the optimistic fan chose to ignore... the offense was one dimensional, special teams as a whole were terrible, Carl Peterson was more worried about butts in the seats, than developing what little youth there was and worst of all, the carousel of scrap heap and re-tread veterans didn't respect Herm Edwards (anyone remember Jason Dunn bitching about not getting a room on the first floor?).
So here we are, Training Camp 2008. And we are paying the price of the "One Player Away" mentality that plagued the Chiefs in the Vermeil era. In all fairness, this can be somewhat excused, because team owner Lamar Hunt was in poor health, and I think there was a sense of urgency to try and win the trophy named after him (the AFC Championship trophy), before he died. Sending a first round pick to the Rams to get Trent Green (at the behest of the head coach), set the tone for the remaining Vermeil Era drafts. Veterans, veterans and more veterans. Youth, be damned! You can count on one hand, the number of early picks that are still in the league. LJ doesn't count, as Carl Peterson is quick to remind us, that was his pick...
OK, I've strayed a little bit... back to 2008. I'm actually quite excited to see what this team looks like this year. Make no mistake about it, they won't be very good. Croyle is being handed the starting QB spot, after 6 underwhelming starts last year. The O-line is a melting pot of draft picks and free agents. The star RB has "malcontent" and not "team leader" written all over him and the stud middle line backer is running out of daylight to prove he really is a stud. Did I forget anything? Oh... I think there are plenty of questions about the coaching staff, particularly Herm Edwards.
Herm seems to have a good handle on evaluating talent and coaching up young players. A poor man's Bill Cowher, if you will. The one difference, was Cowher's (or the Steelers organization) knack for identifying the truly important pieces (usually o-linemen and a few skill players), locking them up and then letting everyone else walk during free agency. When that happened, there was always a young pup in the wings, chomping at the bit to get on the field (how many stud linebackers have come out of that organization?). I think that's where the Chiefs are hoping to land in a few years. The question is, will Herm be around long enough to see the fruits of his labor?
My guess is that the offense should have more direction, consistency and creativity with Chan Gailey running the show. We all know that Gunther is bat shit crazy, and with the trade of Jared Allen, he's got one less bullet in the Gun... his challenge will be to come up with a way to maximize Glen Dorsey and Tamba Hali, so they don't have to bring a LB or DB in to create pressure on the opposing QB. As for special teams... Colquitt is a stud. But the kicking, return and coverage is a huge question mark. Taking and subsequently releasing Justin Medlock, when Mason Crosby was in your backyard could haunt this team for the next 10 years.
I think the logic applied to the Royals this year, will probably also apply to the Chiefs. They might be a better team at times, but it won't be reflected in the stat books or overall record. They are most likely head for another top 10 pick in 2009, and it could be 2010, before the youth investment begins to pay dividends.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
When we lived in Waldo, Time Warner actually went from door to door, offering "special" low rates for current subscribers. Strangely enough, it was the day after Everest announced their arrival Waldo, by putting a hang tag on our door. We decided to make the switch for an assortment of reasons. Mostly, it was out of spite because Time Warner was charging us a fortune, and only budged on prices when there was competition.
For the record, the switch to Everest was somewhat painful. Cable and internet were the easy part, but getting the phone hooked up took 2 days and 3 technicians. But, once up and running, everything was fine. Within a few months, Aquila was looking to move Everest, and as a result, customer service was incredibly hit or miss. I don't recall the exact issue, but I called them one day and spoke to a guy that sounded like he knew it was his last day at work. He apologized for whatever the issue was and "opened up the pipe" on our service, w/o additional charge. I wasn't sure exactly what that meant until a few days later, I stumbled across a channel that featured a rather uninhibited young woman pleasuring two gentlemen. Sweet!!!! Free porn!
Anyway, back to Prairie Village... I don't know that I am looking to switch, but I expect Time Warner is working on a plan as we speak, to encourage existing subscribers to stay put. Of course, price is #1 with a bullet. Here are a few other things that would work for me:
- More HD content, Food Channel and HGTV don't count, because I didn't drop a boat load of cash on an HD TV to see Paula Dean.
- Update the shitty HD/DVR cable boxes. They crash all the time, and the KU/UNC game I DVR'ed in March, looks and sounds like crap.
- Begin a plan to convert to fiber optic or something else that will increase bandwidth
- Get rid of all the home shopping channels.
Let the games begin!
Monday, July 21, 2008
I'm a pretty bad golfer... but I love to play. Haven't played as much this summer as I had hoped, and as a result, my game has suffered. I'm not the type to go to the range 4 times a week to work on the little things that make a bad golfer, a mediocre golfer. On a good day, I'm in the high 90's. On a bad day, I fall in the 105 range.
Seems like there has been just enough going on over the last few weeks, that just didn't have time to squeeze in a round. However, last weekend was wide open, so my buddy Grant and I headed out for an early Saturday round at Minor Park. For those folks that don't know, Minor isn't exactly the toughest course in town. It's relatively short and for the most part, wide open... but it's well taken care of and for the most part, the folks in the pro shop are pretty nice. I've been having trouble with my driver all summer, so decided to keep it in the bag for as long as possible. The longest par 4 on the course (from the blues) is #18 at 355 yards. So I decided to just hit 4 irons off the tee on everything but the 2 longest par 5's.
The first hole was a little rocky, but it always is when it's been a while since you've swung a club. The next 3 holes are par 3, par 4 and par 3 again (this is where the bottleneck always seems to occur). Strangely enough, the 4 iron off the tee was working. If I had to guess, I'd say I was getting about 210-215 yards off the tee and either in the fairway or only a few yards off in the rough. That's a good thing, because even though Minor is pretty wide open, there are plenty of trees that come in to play if you get too deep in the rough. I was able to card 2 pars on the front at 6 and 7. For a front 9 score of 47. That's plenty good for a hack like me that hasn't played in a while.
Grant grabbed a six pack at the turn, and we were headed to the back 9. Dancing w/ the one that brung me, I stuck with the trusty 4 iron and we were off.
Put up pars on 10 and 11 and then a bogey on the par 3, 12th. Then came 13. It's a short par 4 (266 yards), but is a swift dogleg to the left. Most bad (right handed) golfers slice... meaning when they hit the ball it goes from left to right, and does so in a hurry. So, this hole is a deceptive challenge for the slicers in the group. Me included. Stepped up to the tee, plannnig to just drop it down the middle of the fairway, just far enough to get around the corner and see the flag. Talk about luck... Hammered the ball down the left hand side w/ enough right to left that it apparently caught the cart path and rolled up to the edge of the green. Not sure what was luckier, my tee shot or the 12 foot pitch that rolled in for an EAGLE!!!!! First eagle of my distinguished golfing career (saved the ball, in my display case).
The eagle went to my head, and I got a little sloppy on the next 3 holes, before a birdie on 17. Standing on the par 4, 18th tee w/ a 36 on the back/83 on the card. My best is a 91 at Painted Hills, so I can taste my best round ever... I'd avoided the 60 yard wedge shot that only goes 15 yards all day until now. It was an adventure getting on the green, and when I did get on, it was to the single furthest point on the green from the hole. Had about a 60 foot putt for bogey, and for once, rolled it past the hole by about a foot (instead of leaving it 6 feet short). Grant, knowing that I was having a good round was feeling generous and gave me the putt. I politely declined, saying something dumb about wanting to putt out on my best round.... I missed the putt. Carded a 7 and walked off in disgrace with a 90. Shit.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I guess so far, I am pretty indifferent. Prairie Village is land locked, so there's no room to expand. The only way to increase revenue, is to re-zone existing areas or develop the remaining 3% of undeveloped land. Not sure what they have in mind for residential space, but I get the feeling from reading comments of the last Public Workshop, that they want to ax some of the apartment buildings that dot 75th street, and replace with something a little pricier. I'm not expecting any major retail, since you can't swing a dead cat in this town with out hitting a Barnes and Noble, Old Navy or family friendly casual dining experience... but they are certainly looking for something that would actually give folks a reason to stop, as they are driving up and down 75th street. Of course, if they really wanted to make 75th street pedestrian friendly and generate some revenue at the same time, they could just enforce the speed limit...
I've noticed one house on the north side of 75th has a sign in the yard against The Vision. To date, I can't find that they have have a web presence or attended the first Workshop. But I would like to hear their beef. Legit argument? Or just one of the folks that hate change? Either way, I'd like to hear what they have to say.
I think the Better Half and I are going to try and attend one of the Public Workshops so we can see what's on the table, and throw out a few irrational rants (Gondolas!!!!).
With smoking bans taking effect across the metro, it's time for my fellow non-smokers to step up to the plate. Although the vote in KCMO was close, the non-smokers got what they wanted, and now they need to get out and support all the bars that have been forced to go smoke free. Go out, and support the mom and pop, neighborhood joints that are going to be dealing with the double whammy of a sluggish economy and the ban. Sure, McFadden's sucks, but this guy will keep Power and Light up and running (at least until he can't afford gas for his H2...). It's the little guys that need to be supported.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
A few lessons learned...
- Clean the copper where you are going to solder.
- Make sure everything is dry. Damn near impossible to solder wet copper (although I've hear the MAPP torches will work).
- Before connecting to supply lines, dry fit and then put as much of the joint together as possible. Making a dozen some odd solders while standing on a ladder between floor joists, isn't much fun. The less soldering on a ladder, the better.
- Once you have soldered pieces together, the copper will be very hot and take 10-15 minutes to cool to the touch. Keep this in mind, when you tell your wife the whole thing will take "About an hour."
Monday, June 30, 2008
OK, more like sweat some pipe. I stumbled across a leak on our basement floor, that was coming from the hot water line that runs to our kitchen. Once again, the half assed work of the merry handy men that flipped our house, throws me a new project. I don't think either of those joints are supposed to be the same color as the Statue of Liberty, so time to cut 'em out and replace, before a tiny drip, floods my basement and burns out my 20 year old hot water heater... Sweating pipe isn't a huge deal. Just make sure surfaces are clean and smooth, dry fit the whole thing first, and then it's off to the races. Oh, and don't burn down your house at the same time. My best friend owns a plumbing supply shop in Mission (free plug: The Plumber's Friend) and he recommends some gizmo called the Shark Bite. I am usually the first to jump on the band wagon when it comes to new gizmos, but they can't be nearly as fun as standing on a step ladder, with a propane torch wondering why in the Hell the solder isn't taking. If the sweating is a bust, I'll break down and try the Shark Bite. Anyway, above is the before pic, and the after pic should be up in a day or two.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I've had a rant about this building up inside of me for a while...
Since I first saw an ad for the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep "Refuel America" program, I thought it was a strange idea. Then it clicked! Someone in the Chrysler family did the math and figured it would be cheaper to just cover part of consumers fuel cost, than it would be to come up with a more fuel efficient car that people would want to buy. Not one of the eligible vehicles gets better than 24 MPG (according to the program calculations). Plus, these numbers have to be somewhat suspect, because the only way a Jeep Commander gets 15 MPG, is if you drive it on the moon. According to my quick math, the Chrysler family of vehicles averages just over 18.5 mpg. In fairness, I don't have a way to compare to other manufacturers... but I'm pretty sure that most of the other big boys have at least one, non-hybrid that can sniff 30+ mpg.
Of course, there's a catch... By participating in the Refuel The Middle East program, you lose out on some rather hefty incentives. Like up to 7,900 smackers on a Dodge Ram pick up truck. So, assuming you are saving $500 a year on the fuel program for 3 years, you are actually leaving $6,400 on the table. Congratulations to Chrysler for coming up with a sham promotion that actually ends up screwing it customers.
I think it's odd that in a time of heightened sensitivity to the increased cost of living, as a result of a spike in fuel prices... that an American car manufacturer would go against the grain and encourage their customers to go ahead and buy a new car or truck. Even worse; buy a new car or truck that gets lousy mileage and will lose it's resale value faster than you can say "Kelley Blue Book".
Full disclosure - My Nissan Pathfinder gets rotten mileage, but the wife's Toyota sips gas. Not exactly an even trade off, but better than the alternative of having a Durango and a Chrysler 300...
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Looks like Prairie Village has finally given in, and come up with a smoking ban that kicks in August 1st. I'm ok with this. It's nice to come home from a night out with friends, and not stink like a North Carolina outhouse.
Instead, it's looking like a good album, w/ a few great tracks and some clunkers. It's safe to say that MMJ is exploring new territory on Evil Urges, and maybe trying to shed the alt-country/70's rock/jam band label... but it's just not working for me. The venture into Buddy Holly-esque pop and 70's soul just isn't clicking. Don't get me wrong, these guys are incredibly talented (the first 2-3 songs on Okonokos will set you straight), and I am looking forward to seeing them in KC this summer. But I get the feeling it's going to take me a while to warm up to Evil Urges.
Monday, June 9, 2008
- We decided to drive, so the 9 hours down and 9 hours back kind of cut in to our free time. I was surprised to see the difference in gas prices between Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Anywhere from $3.60 per gallon to $3.98. Maybe our 2006 Pathfinder wasn't the best car for a round trip of almost 1,100 miles... but still ended up being cheaper than flying (by about $9...).
- The Pathfinder holds up quite nicely with the cruise control set at 85 MPH.
- You think Kansas City is a fine example of urban sprawl? Check out Dallas. Even the side streets are 3 lanes wide. From the folks we talked to, a 1 hour drive to and from work is the norm. Makes the drive from the surrounding suburbs in KC seem like a leisurely stroll.
- Seemed like about every 8 blocks, there was a stretch of strip malls and shopping districts. Think of Leawood Town Center, and then repeat every 2 miles.
- Seeing what some of the folks in Dallas have to navigate just to get to the grocery store, makes me appreciate the Village even more. Sure, we are landlocked and don't have room to expand... but I can also get to the grocery store, gas station and liquor store in 4 minutes, 6 if there is traffic.
- Only recall seeing one person in a cowboy hat... and that was in Oklahoma.
- Garmin GPS systems are pretty cool. Ours got us to and from as well as around Dallas w/o issue. Also on the way home, it lead us directly to a small, rural Missouri town where my dad's parents used to live. It even found the street named after my grandfather. Of course, it was a dead end that lead to a nursing home...
Monday, May 26, 2008
Truer words were never spoken...
Anyone else underwhelmed by the new Indiana Jones flick? I'm still a little cloudy as to why exactly the felt obligated to crank out another one. Understandably, Harrison Ford isn't getting any younger, and maybe they wanted to test the water for some type of spin off (Mutt, anyone?), but it just felt thrown together. Seemed like just about every scribe in the business had at one time or another worked on the script, yet this was the best they could come up with? No beef with the move from supernatural to extraterrestrial, but the whole thing felt rushed. The momentum from the opening 40 minutes is completely lost the moment they leave the cemetery.
After watching them last week, neither Temple of Doom or Last Crusade are that much better than the recent addition.
I remember seeing the original at the old Bannister Mall theater when I was 9 (anyone else remember the corny paintings of Burt Reynolds, Dolly Parton and John Wayne in the lobby?). As with most 9 year old boys, I was left breathless and begging for more (as was my aunt, but for different reasons...). There definitely hadn't been anything like it in my short movie watching life. Intentional or not, the bar had been set for the genre forever known as the summer action blockbuster (OK, there was Jaws and the Star Wars movies), and action movies would struggle too keep up with Dr. Jones for years to come. Genres came and went... The One Man Wrecking Crew (Stallone and Schwarzenegger mowing thru hundreds of faceless bad guys), The Buddy Flick (Lethal Weapon and Tango and Cash), High End suspense action (Die Hard, although I think it was released around Christmas '88), The Genius Serial Killer (Silence of the Lambs) and then finally the Sharon Stone "erotic thriller" of the week. None of these could kill of the passion for Indiana Jones, the way grunge killed glam rock. As CGI reared it's ugly head, scripts took a back seat to "blowin' up a bunch of shit". So... maybe Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the end result of exploding national landmarks, giant asteroids, dinosaurs and Agent Smith? A soulless mishmash of a dozen different stories by 2 dozen writers.
Much to my delight, Mr. Ford seems to have held up quite well since he last cracked the whip, but it's the genre that has aged the most.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
- Finn's Waldo Bar was closed for remodeling. Not sure if that was legit, or mandated by KC Liquor Control...
- The Tap Room needs to put a sign on their front door when they are having a private party. We walked in the front door, and were greeted by about 50 people, munching away on dinner salads. 2nd time this has happened.
- Bad food and plastic cups do not a good bar make (ahem, Tanners...)
- I wish The Gaf had kept the old bar from Romanelli's. It was a huge horse shoe shaped bar in the middle of the room. The lay out of The Gaf's bar area is fine, but looks just like every other restaurant bar in town.
- For better or worse, 75th Street Brewery appears to no longer carry bottled beer. It's either one of their fine brews, or Bud on tap. I guess it's a matter of personal taste, but if you are participating in an event that centers around drinking all day, some folks tend to pick a horse and ride it the whole day. Throwing a MUDDY MO' STOUT into the mix can be a serious curve ball.
- Judging from the crowds at The Brooksider and Charlie Hooper's, Power and Light might be taking a bite out of the summer crowds at these bars. The patio on the Brooksider was pretty sparse and Hooper's wasn't exactly crowded.
Monday, May 5, 2008
When: Saturday May 24th NOON
Where: start at Walsh's Corner Cocktails at 85th and Wornall
- Walsh's Corner Cocktails
- The Village Lounge
- The Piano Bar
- Tommy Farha's
- 75th Street Brewery
- Kennedy's (v1.5)
- Fin's Waldo Bar
- Bobby Baker's
- The Tap Room (possibly)
- The Gaf
- The Brooksider
- Charlie Hooper's.
As always, you're encouraged to invite anyone you like (feel free to forward this site as you see fit), join at any point along the way, and buy me a cold beverage at any of said stops. Or you can follow our simple rule of thumb: keepin' the juke boxes running while keepin' your belly full of food and water along the way goes a long way to making it an actual long day...and not a longer Sunday.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang). To my surprise, Gwyneth Paltrow is also quite good. Lucky for us, she dropped the pretentious faux British accent. Although we have seen the montage where the super hero tries out his newly discovered powers a million times before, it still holds up well in Iron Man. Make sure to stay thru the end credits!!
Being an avid, bad golfer, I frequently use the services of Last Minute Golfer. For those not familiar with LMG, it's a website that lets you book tee times online, sometimes at a discount (hence the name...). Another feature, is the ability to leave feedback on the participating courses. Obvious things like... course condition, pace of play, service in the pro shop etc... As long as it's not obscene or offensive, anything golf related is acceptable. I managed to sneak in a round at a public course in south Kansas City on an unseasonably warm February weekend. I don't recall all the specifics, but I do know that my review was critical of the price of the round of golf, compared to the condition of the course and the time of year.
Fast forward to last week... I'm cruising LMG looking at course reviews and notice that my review is no longer online. Under the course in question where my review once lived, it had been deleted "by a course representative" for (I'm paraphrasing here) "inaccurate or unrelated criticism".
Of course, I disagreed. So, I emailed LMG questioning the integrity of the review process, if a course is able to remove comments that are less than flattering. That would be like eBay allowing sellers to remove negative feedback, from a buyer they just screwed over. About 5 minutes after I emailed them, I went ahead and took my cries to the street (also know as the LMG discussion board). I presented my experience and again raised the question of the value of the reviews, when the course can remove said post as they see fit. The next morning I awoke to see that my post on the discussion board had been removed!!!!
So, I posted again.
A few fellow golfers have chimed in to agree. One even brought up the 1st Amendment. I wouldn't go as far as to say this is a free speech issue. To me, it's about the integrity of the service LMG offers. After all, it's the golfers who are paying to use LMG (with a nominal "service fee" that started showing up this year), so their feedback is what counts.
That's the cruel irony of being a bad golfer and living in Prairie Village... There are 3 golf courses w/in a 4 iron of my house. All three... private.
I've got a few thousand reward points built up on LMG and will be cashing in shortly and giving them the boot. It's too bad it's come to this... as a bad golfer that doesn't have the means to pay $75 a round at some of the snootier courses, this was a nice way to save a few bucks.....
Oh... as of this rant, Last Minute Golfer has not responded to my email.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I've been asked about a few specific locations along The Crawl... Jalepeno's, Carmen's and Sharp's (all in Brookside). We normally pass on these places, because by the time we make it to Brookside, it's usually dinner time. As a result, these places are packed w/ the dinner crowd, and there just isn't room for us... but feel free to patronize these fine folks as you see fit.