Happy In Bag

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rocket Man

As I watched this man suit up to deliver the game ball via jetpack at last night's Wizard's game, I sensed that there was something hinky about him and his operation. I don't walk around imagining doomsday scenarios, but it crossed my mind that if he was actually a terrorist in disguise, he and his "fuel tanks" could do a great deal of damage to the large crowd at Arrowhead Stadium. Thankfully, my intuition was wrong. The daredevil floated from the upper deck to the field just as advertised.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hand It Over

Amidst the cigarette butts, broken glass and fast food wrappers that are scattered across most parking lots, a sharp eye can occasionally spot a coin, a functional electronic device or a nice pen. The price to be paid for such habitual scavenging is encountering disturbing detritus such as a severed hand .

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Some Pig

While it's not an anthropomorphic experience, I have my own version of Charlotte's Web outside my home. Quarter-sized spiders emerge every September to design spectacular webs. I often study their work just in case there's a message. I half expect them to write "Big Nerd," "Clueless Geek" or "Get a Haircut."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Arts Incubator

I spend more time studying artists than art at the annual Plaza Art Fair. Some take a prominent seat next to their goods and cheerfully address passerby. Other slump on stools several yards away, sighing and scowling as each potential customer declines to purchase their masterpieces. The most compelling moments- and there are plenty of them- come when shoppers loudly share their thoughts on each vendor's offerings.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How Do You Say "Shade" In Spanish?

It felt like July last weekend, didn't it? The sun was merciless. It must have been the unseasonal heat that kept people away from Fiesta Hispana KC on Saturday afternoon. Barney Allis Plaza offers little in the way of shade. I hope these seats were put to use after the sun dipped behind the convention center.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Go Team

They're classified as high school football games; I'll always look at them as terrifying hormone festivals. Few things are more awkward- as a youthful participant and as an experienced adult- than watching teenagers interact in these socially charged settings. With that in mind, the boy I most admire in this image isn't playing football.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

(I Hope) This Tastes Like Dogfood

Most everyone has encountered an impoverished person filling their shopping cart with dog food because it's the least expensive item in the market. Those days are gone. I stumbled into this refrigerated case of gourmet dogfood at Hy-Vee yesterday. The manufacturer's promotional video claims that "it's like serving your dog a fresh home-cooked meal every day." Are you kidding me? (Hypocrisy alert: I bought at twenty-pound bag of birdseed for five dollars. Yes, I feed wild animals.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Taqueria Arandas

Taqueria Arandas is just one of dozens of solid Mexican restaurants operating in relative anonymity in the Kansas City area. The immaculate dining room is situated in an odd-shaped building (it might be a former IHOP) on the north side of 79th and State Avenue in Kansas City, KS. The professional and efficient staff serve up very good- if not particularly unique- burritos, tamales, tacos and other standard fare. Lunch costs maybe a dollar more than at the Hardee's down the block.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Message

I don't know if the butterflies fluttering around my home yesterday were Monarchs or Viceroys. What I do know is that someone or something is constantly sending us signs.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The New Segway

I continue to hold a torch for Segway. Whenever I spot a security officer rolling down the steet on the often ridiculed device I get a tiny thrill. But this guy's rig is even cooler. It's a motorized skateboard with a hand-controlled fuel pump. And the four wheels appear pretty sturdy. I might even last a couple days before requiring hospitalization.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fan Assistance

A courtesy cart has picked me up at my car and delivered me to the gate of my choosing during my last two visits to Kauffman Stadium. Yet I wonder- is this terrific customer service a function of low attendance at Royals games, or do I look like I need help walking across a parking lot? I'd like to think that I'm not that fat.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Call Me

It was fun while it lasted. After almost two years of freeloading on the dime of a former employer, my trusty cell phone has finally been terminated. In a Happy In Bag first, I'm reaching out to nerds my savvy readers to solicit suggestions for a replacement. I don't care about the cool factor (obviously), MP3 or camera functions. I do want internet access and full texting capacity. I leave the Kansas City area regularly, so I don't want to fool around with regional issues. I'd characterize my usage as light to moderate. And as with everyone else, money is an issue. Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Greg Beck

It's all Greg Beck's fault. When I first considered creating my own blog, it was his Death's Door that convinced me to enter the fray. While Happy In Bag is the polar opposite of Greg's work, the fact that such a funny, smart and worldly guy maintained a blog made the process seem acceptable. And as I asserted both on his site and mine, Death's Door is the best blog in town. His entries on "Monkey Island" and the marriage of his best friend are particularly notable. So it always pleased me when Greg added his knowledge and opinions to a discussion. For example, he shares his encyclopedic knowledge of Kansas City bar history here. It was back when Greg worked in those establishments that I first met him. Greg died earlier this week.

Monday, September 10, 2007

We Must Be Over the Rainbow

The big sky and infinite horizon of western Kansas make a windmill farm seem like one of the seven wonders of the world. It's a majestic sight. As there's nothing but barbed wire to block the wind from Midland, Texas, to Minot, North Dakota, a significant amount of energy is collected in this field.


Four months after a devastating tornado leveled much of the small Kansas town, Greensburg remains a frightful sight. I gassed up at a brand new convenience store in Greensburg over the weekend. Although I'd seen extensive media coverage chronicling the disaster, witnessing the aftermath in person is an eerie experience. Entire blocks remain flattened. Metal light poles are bent at odd angles. Dejected tree trunks are shorn of all branches. Yet there are plentiful signs of progress. Most of the debris has been pushed into piles. New street signs have been installed. The southeast edge of town is filled with trailers and RVs that house displaced residents. And cheerful banter resounded inside the bustling shop.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Only an unimaginative churl would write about his distaste of SUVs, even if he's becoming increasingly maddened by drivers who loiter in parking lots with running engines and tightly sealed windows. His sniveling commentary might continue with an obligatory joke about the names of the sun-blocking behemoths- something about Redwoods, Yukons, Sequoias and Montanas. But such a self-righteous screed might unfairly offend the handful of people he knows who drive the vehicles for valid reasons, including parents of large broods, owners of lawn services and extreme agoraphobics. Thank goodness I'm not a jerk.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Not Everywhere a Sign

I don't have anything new to add to the increasingly heated debate about billboards in the Kansas City area. Yet this sign near downtown struck me for two reasons. By commercial advertising standards, it's very attractive. Secondly, it promotes a new museum at Johnson County Community College, which is located in an area in which this billboard would not be allowed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I received a gift of homegrown tomatoes last week. Like many of the best gifts, it was unexpected. And edible. They improve everything.