Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'll take the chicken salad, please.

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

Let the battle for my hard earned dollars... begin!

SureWest, formerly Everest, is moving in to Prairie Village. According to their website, they will be offering their full suite of cable television, internet and telephone services. This is good news, since Time Warner has been our only (non-satellite) choice for as long as I have lived here. I expect the novelty of something new, will be enough to entice some folks to switch. Plus, I'm sure there are plenty of folks that have a beef w/ Time Warner, so they will be chomping at the bit. For me, it's simply a matter of price. I guess it's possible that SureWest will try and severely undercut Time Warner's prices to pick up fence sitting subscribers.

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Begin a plan to convert to fiber optic or something else that will increase bandwidth
  4. Get rid of all the home shopping channels.

Let the games begin!

Shit or get off the pot

I'm officially sick of The Brett Favre Saga. It appears that the Packers are going to trade him and move on. If I were Favre, I'd be careful about badmouthing the team or making too big of a stink... piss off the Pack and you might end up with a shit team like the Raiders, Dolphins, Rams or god forbid, the Chiefs. None of these appear to be likely destinations, but the idea that a team could pull a stunt like that and trade a high profile player to a crap team out of spite, is fascinating. Would that be a "Grudge trade"?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bushwood blues

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

Believe the hype

Definitely not for kids.
It's as good as everyone is saying.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

75th Street Corridor Plan

Is anyone following the progress of Prairie Village's plans to spruce up 75th street? I finally got around to reading (well, skimming) the proposal. The basic gist it to take 75th street from State Line to Walmer, and make it more pedestrian friendly, and less of a thoroughfare for folks from Brookside/Waldo to get to OP. If someone were to redevelop some areas w/ retail and high end residential, all the better for the city.

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!!!!).

Open Letter To Non-Smokers

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

The homeowners revenge!

Got the old joint out, built the new one and put it in. 16 joints to solder. Most of them last night, and the rest after work today. Not exactly pretty, but so far, it's dry. Of course, the valve on the hot water heater was bad, and wouldn't shut. Instead of forcing it, I just emptied the tank and shut off the cold water supply. That's an easy fix, but will have to wait for another day.

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."