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

Bucked by Fuffalo

My mom always used to joke that the best time to go to the mall was on a Sunday during a Chiefs game. Despite hating the Chiefs (she still claims that the playoff game with the Dolphins on Christmas day in 1971, ruined Christmas dinner that year), she was right. In the 1990's and early 2000's, that was never more true. If people weren't at the game, they were watching it somewhere... and the malls were dead. The Chiefs owned Kansas City.

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

Nothing bad ever came out of Germany...

Am I the only one that has flashbacks from The Boys From Brazil every time these commercials are on TV?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of rage

Just saw the new James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. The movie itself is OK. Plenty of chases and shootouts. However, where Casino Royale was welcomed with open arms and hailed as the gritty return of James Bond... QoS will be regarded as nothing more than a revenge story that kind of plays out like a video game. Gone is the dry whit and style of our father's Bond. QoS turns Bond into an icy killbot, that just jumps from one action scene to another. The body count is higher in this movie, than it probably was in all of the Sean Connery and Roger Moore films combined. Once again, Daniel Craig is fine as 007, but I left feeling that I saw more of his stunt double, than him. There's also a lot of the notorious "shaky cam" and it gets old fast. Not sure when the law was passed that all action movies have to be filmed like this (ahem... Bourne Ultimatum), but it's pretty much run it's course. One of the fights early on, was so bad (personally) that the only way to tell who is fighting who, is to look for the stuntman with the blond wig.

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

My dark cloud of Movie Geek shame

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
  • Network
Feel free to share you Greatest Misses!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thanks for the memories, section 328 row 8

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.