Happy In Bag

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gone Again

I'm out. The online silliness will resume in August.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I've added a new location to my informal "favorite places in Kansas City" list. The Discovery Center, just east of the Plaza on Troost, is billed as an "urban conversation campus." I just consider it a really pretty park next to a building filled with classrooms. People who don't share my love of birds and bugs, however, are advised to steer clear until winter.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Artie and Happy

It seems like it happened to a different person in another lifetime. Yet it was me who would load a U-Haul truck with bluegrass and folk albums and drive to Winfield, Kansas, as the representative of the on-site music vendor at the annual Walnut Valley Festival. In that pre-internet era, it represented a rare chance for fans to purchase specialty music. I recall this now because Artie Traum died Sunday. He and his brother Happy sold guitars a few feet from my booth. Rubbing elbows with the noted folk musicians was the first time I felt like I'd finally arrived.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CiCi's Sleepy

Delighted to load up on the salad bar and unlimited pizza, I ate heartily, chatted up the staff and watched ESPN during my first visit to a CiCi's Pizza Buffet last week. At five dollars, it's quite a deal. But there was a catch to my gluttony; I could hardly keep my eyes open the next several hours. I had a nearly overwhelming urge to dream of Dorothy and her crew slumbering in the field of deadly poppies.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Suspicious Behavior

I suppose it's no surprise that I was briefly detained at KCI a couple weeks ago. I'm a little hinky-looking under the best of circumstances. With time to kill in a dull airport, it's almost inevitable that I find trouble. It was the act of taking this very shot that aroused suspicion. Security was not amused by the sloppily dressed guy with crazy hair taking random photographs from unlikely vantage points near the Southwest Airlines counter. I don't blame them. (I've distorted the image to lessen the odds of authorities knocking on my door.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Meeting Is Adjourned

My fascination with presidential politics began in 1976 when my folks dropped me off at Crown Center. I spent the day in the hotel lobby monitoring the comings and goings of politicians and celebrities at the Republican convention.

Four years ago, the most moving political appearance I witnessed was John Edwards' populist plea at the Uptown Theater. Thursday's "town hall meeting" by John McCain at Union Station was even more impressive.

I sat atop a rickety bleacher as the Republican nominee fielded several loopy questions from an audience of about 1,000. It's probably no accident that a security agent selected a seat within arm's length of me.

At the risk of alienating his audience, McCain stuck to his centrist positions. Knowing his moderate stance was unpopular, he responded to a query about illegal immigration by joking that "this meeting is adjourned."

Rich Hippies

I first heard the word "trustafarian" when I visited Boulder in the '80s. The concept has since become common currency- the bohemian wastrel backed by unlimited funding. I'd be lying if I claimed that my return to the Colorado college town last weekend didn't leave me feeling jealous. I was so charmed by the area's luxurious decadence that I looked into real estate. This home, located directly across the street from a Mercedes dealership in a Boulder suburb, lists for over half a million dollars. I guess I'll stay in Kansas.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Grungy Green

Here's a dirty little secret- businesses can increase their customer base while cutting costs by declaring themselves "green." While in Colorado, I stayed in a "green hotel." Bugs in the room? We don't use insecticide. Slimy pool? We don't use chlorine. Soiled sheets? We're saving the planet. It's pure genius.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chapel Open

I just drove from Boulder to Kansas City in nine hours. Take that, truckers! So-called environmental footprint aside, the only bummer on my roadtrip, of course, was the price of gas. So I really appreciated that this central Kansas gas station (not a truck stop) provided a place for prayer and reflection. I needed it after filling up at $4.10 per gallon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Wingmen

While they're hardly the prettiest or most exotic birds, common robins almost seem like my friends. Unafraid of humans, they know to follow my lawnmower for easy access to panicked insects. Something went horribly wrong last week. I spotted deeply disturbing carnage as I worked. A fledgling robin had apparently been struck by the mower blade. It was barely alive, and maggot-laying flies had begun their dastardly business. I'm so sorry. (Yes, I know that's not a robin, but it'll be a while before I can look one in the eye again.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Real Estate

A marketing company would tell its clients that a consumer with my demographic tilt is supposed to covet a downtown condo. That's never appealed to me, at least not one in Kansas City. Instead, I pine for this spread. Although train tracks and farms are its only neighbors, my dream home is situated twenty minutes from downtown. And it's on the market. I just need a jumbo mortgage and a rider mower.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Holy Holy Holy

Here's how much I love Holy Land Cafe- even after my visit during the holiday weekend necessitated several subsequent urgent trips to the bathroom, I can't wait to return to the western Johnson County restaurant. It's that good. Besides, none of my dining companions suffered any ill effects. As KC Lunch Spots noted, Holy Land's unusual service is overshadowed by its incredible food.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

UR So Gay: Warped Tour 2008

I decided to do a little freestyling at the Warped Tour yesterday. How do I look? I document my actual experience here. I realize I'm a geek, but did Katy Perry really have to look at me as she sang "UR So Gay"?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Subtle Whore

Pack a cooler, skip the pre-show lecture pictured above and bum rush the gate if you must. You just have to catch one of the last five showings of The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival's production of Othello: The Moor of Venice. As has been noted elsewhere, it's entirely contemporary and easy to follow.