Happy In Bag

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Icicle of Damocles

I've received no foreshadowing about how I'll die. Odds are that I'll perish in my sixties or seventies from a slow, debilitating disease. A dramatic death sounds more attractive. I pray that Iranian nukes won't be involved, but I wouldn't complain if twenty-five years from now I fell off the ledge of the Grand Canyon or was eaten by a pack of coyotes. Then again, a falling icicle might do me in tomorrow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cold Excuses

In addition to its inherent beauty, snow has another invaluable quality. I've discovered that it serves as an ideal excuse. That stuffy cocktail party? Can't make it. Church? The roads aren't plowed yet. Tedious errand? Too dangerous. C'mon snow- I'm looking for a reason to stay home on New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


In the spectrum of seasonal curmudgeons, I rank somewhere between Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch. One of the countless things that irritates me this time of year is the sight of an SUV dressed up in Christmas bunting. Whether it's artificial greenery or ridiculous reindeer ears on the roof of a vehicle, such displays strike me as contrived and silly. Perhaps because I've never seen another like it, this effort gets a pass.

Friday, December 18, 2009

You're Buggin' Me

I'm a prissy fastidious cook. I like a kitchen to be neat and sanitary as I prepare food. Imagine my horror when I recently opened a Ziplocked bag of flour and discovered a colony of moths befouling the food. I yelped like the sensitive man I am and tossed the spoiled bag into the frigid winter night. The unstoppable pests were still alive the next day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Take Umbridge

Lord Voldemort isn't the scariest villain in the Harry Potter saga. An insidiously malicious administrator, Dolores Umbridge is particularly abhorrent. Her absurd proclamations oppress students and their teachers. The hopelessly inscrutable bureaucracy that supports her is even more culpable. I thought of Umbridge as I attended this frustrating public function yesterday. Election day can't come soon enough.

Monday, December 14, 2009

There's a Great Future In Plastics

I felt compelled to invite critics of my jazz blog to "punch me in the face" at tonight's performance by Diverse. As a friend once suggested about the jazz community, feelings run high because the stakes are so low. I'm cross-posting a note I left at Plastic Sax this morning:

You're too kind, Cb.

Anyone can do what I do. Seemingly one out of every ten fans of indie rock maintains a music blog. It astounds me that more passionate jazz fans don't do the same thing. That's why I celebrated the arrival of KCJazzLark this year. It doubled the number of Kansas City's jazz blogs.

I founded Plastic Sax in 2007 because a complete listing of Kansas City jazz musicians didn't exist. So I made one. I then realized that I wasn't satisfied with just one weekly column from the incredible Joe Klopus. And while I have deep affection for the bimonthly JAM, its valuable role as a mouthpiece for various institutions differs greatly from the content at Plastic Sax.

The fact that only a handful of musicians have acknowledged Plastic Sax's existence bothers me far less than the regular ribbing I take from family and friends about the endeavor. The people close to me know that I invest a lot of energy in Plastic Sax without any financial reward.

You don't see any advertising here. I don't apply for grant money. Plastic Sax is an unadulterated labor of love. Accordingly, I'm a volunteer staff of one.

So, Happy In Bag readers, feel free to join in tonight's beat down at the Record Bar. I'll be the guy with the bad hair and the big nose.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Red Light

Because I'm a subversively cautious driver, I've never worried about receiving a ticket from the unpopular red light cameras in Kansas City, Missouri. I must have missed the news of the recent installation of similar cameras in my neighborhood. While I don't drive recklessly, I'm still creeped out. Call me a crank, but this Orwellian lunacy is anything but "better than before."

Monday, December 07, 2009

It's the Journey

I'm dragged kicking and screaming to a "Journey To Bethlehem" production every December. And each year I'm reminded of the cliche about journeys and destinations. It's tiresome but true. The unexpected moments - the smile of a stranger's baby, the look of wonder in a child's face and the graceful way a family of amateur actors tirelessly reenact a scene- fill me with joy.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dam It All

Who doesn't want to build a dam? I resent not being consulted on the recent diversion of a stream a couple miles from my home. I would have loved to have helped manipulate Mother Nature for the probable purpose of creating a lovely vista for a future retail development.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New Frontier

I recently found myself way out west with time to kill. I pulled into a typical strip mall and decided to have lunch at an upscale Italian restaurant. I couldn't get seated even though the place had a dozen unoccupied tables. It's adjacent to a Chinese takeout joint, but the line of disgruntled customers there wound well past the door. I settled on Fronteras. The food at the standard-issue Mexican restaurant was more than acceptable but the service was sparkling. Why is that so rare?