Monday, May 26, 2008

It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage...

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

10th Annual Waldo Brookside Pub Crawl - Post Mortem

Another year, another crawl. All went well and turn out was excellent. A few observations...
  • 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

10th Annual Waldo Brookside Pub Crawl Update!

What: 10th Annual Waldo Brookside Pub Crawl
When: Saturday May 24th NOON
Where: start at Walsh's Corner Cocktails at 85th and Wornall
The Stops:
  1. Walsh's Corner Cocktails
  2. The Village Lounge
  3. The Piano Bar
  4. Murphy's
  5. Patrick's
  6. Tommy Farha's
  7. Lew's
  8. 75th Street Brewery
  9. Kennedy's (v1.5)
  10. Fin's Waldo Bar
  11. Bobby Baker's
  12. Tanner's
  13. The Tap Room (possibly)
  14. The Gaf
  15. The Brooksider
  16. Charlie Hooper's.
For those of you not familiar with the days/evenings/nights turn of events, anyone and everyone that elects to start from the beginning and go to the end, a job well done in advance. For most everyone else, you're - as always - welcome and encouraged to join at any or all stops along the way. For some, it may represent the first time you step foot - but certainly won't be the last - into one or more of these fine establishments, as you're sure to enjoy the many creature comforts and cold libations that only the Waldo and Brookside areas can offer. No real limits or rules or amounts that one must adhere to, other than enjoy yourself and meet many a new folk.

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

Hello summer!

Just got back from Iron Man. Loads of fun. Can't think of a better way to kick off the summer popcorn movie season. I don't know much about the comic book, so I'll stick to the movie itself.... Robert Downey Jr. is a hoot. He's one of the few actors talented enough to not take himself too seriously, and not be a distraction at the same time (for further evidence see
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!!

Goodbye Sprint

Our Sprint cell contract expired last Wednesday. 36 hours later, we were Verizon customers. We live in one of the pockets of Prairie Village that has shitty cell coverage. My guess is that being in the back yard of southern Mission Hills, there isn't anywhere to put a tower. Not a huge deal since we still have a land line. Anyway, after about 10 years of Sprint, it was time for a change. Sprint's customer service is notoriously bad, and we really only had one or two run ins with them. Of course, they were both as bad as can be (I'm talking in your direction, punk ass mf'er with the Russian accent at the store in Town Center). Because of our location, I don't expect Verizon's coverage to be much better. But the one time I have to talk to some one face to face, I don't expect I'll get some wise ass kid asking if it's life or death, moving my contacts from one phone to the other. (I swear to God, her asked me "Are you a doctor?") So... Verizon, the clock is ticking. You have 30 days (trial period) presumably followed by 2 years, to not piss me off.

FORE!!!!!!!! Censored by Last Minute Golfer

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.