Happy In Bag

Friday, October 29, 2010

Prioritizing Puppies

I feed birds, cheer for my neighborhood fox and smile when I spot cats on the prowl in my backyard. That behavior, I'd like to think, is relatively normal. What strikes me as strange, however, is the intense devotion people have to the area's many animal advocate groups. A disproportionate number of benefit events, including this "doggy trick-or-treat" fundraiser, raise money for animal shelters. A tremendous amount of energy has been invested in the anti-"puppy mill" initiative on the ballot in Missouri. I'm reluctant to pick on nice people attempting to do nice things, but I'm still compelled to question our society's priorities.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Got No Manners

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blaming Biden

I blame Biden. My cursing has to be directed at someone while I'm hopelessly mired in traffic. The Vice President is my target of choice. I recall Biden's boasts of economic progress in June of 2009 when he announced that so-called stimulus funds were earmarked for highway construction along 435 between Metcalf and I-35. Maybe one day I'll praise the results of the work, but it was difficult to be anything but frustrated as it took thirty minutes to drive three miles as the sun set last Saturday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Leaning on Lenin

My favorite public sculpture is Cloud Gate in Chicago's Millennium Park. I love the way people freely interact with the enormous reflective object. The new outdoor installation at The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art possesses a bit of Cloud Gate's communal potential. The intriguing Gao Brothers piece exudes a similar sort of silvery gleam. Yet the manicured lawn that buffers it from the sidewalk strongly implies that the sculpture is to be admired only from a distance. Hands off, comrade.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

B Double E Double R U N

I broke one of my fundamental rules Saturday. Under no circumstances am I to ever drink beer under a hot sun. Beerfest made me pay for my misconduct. Oh, it was fun enough. The long line to enter the sold-out event in Kansas City, Kansas, aside, there was plenty of beer to go around. I sampled over a dozen brews "two ounces at a time" while talking trash with a couple friends. My ambitious plans for the rest of the day evaporated when I was subsequently compelled to sleep for several hours.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Could Chuck Wood

Was I hallucinating? My first visit to Woodyard Bar-B-Que was so disorienting that I'm still not sure my eyes and taste buds could be trusted. The establishment is impossibly strange. Loaded with random knickknacks, the ramshackle joint resembles an abandoned movie set. Children bounced on a trampoline across Merriam Lane. A cat patrolled the combination parking lot/junkyard to the south. A freaky musician who may or may not have been Sterling Witt warbled on a makeshift patio. Its remarkable smoked meats aside, Woodyard's offerings were not much better than the food I prepare in my own kitchen. The unique experience Woodyard offers, however, makes me feel as if I just found a new home.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Streets of Gold

You'd think my little municipality had won the lottery. Streets are repaved every 24 months. Arts and music festivals abound. And a formerly utilitarian park near my home is getting a dramatic makeover. A concrete drainage ditch has been replaced with costly flagstone. Sidewalks have been widened to eight feet. Permanent restrooms and handsome barbecue pits are being installed. There's not much room left for baseball, football and soccer practices, but the transformation will undoubtedly look good on the landscape designer's resume.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My natural inclination is to mock this misspelled sign on display at a Quivira Road strip mall. I'll celebrate the increasingly international sensibility of the Kansas City area instead. In the '80s, Bangkok Pavilion was the region's sole Thai restaurant. Mee grob is seemingly available on every tenth block today. Amusing misspellings are a small price to pay for progress.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Aside from its deplorable violent crime rate and public school woes, the two worst things about the Kansas City area are the lack of a beach and the absence of an NBA team. One of those concerns was addressed- at least for one night- on Friday. The preseason game between Miami and Oklahoma City wasn't very compelling, but the chance to see a handful of the world's best athletes was a rare treat. Kevin Durant (still so skinny!), LeBron James (Narcissus anyone?), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (that goon can shoot!), Udonis Haslem (why didn't he start?) and Chris Bosh (the best player on the court) exude star power not seen in the NFL or MLB. Hey David Stern- I'd like the Kings back, please.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Fox On the Run

What happened to my neighborhood fox? The animal seemed fat and happy when I surprised it several months ago. Its orange fur had a healthy glow and it did a defiant jig before hurtling itself down a storm drain. I was horrified when I spotted the fox during my evening constitutional yesterday. Ratty and frail, it couldn't even muster the energy to hide. Here's hoping the fox finds the fresh squirrel meat its biggest fan intends to leave it tonight.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Smokestack Lightning

Most reviews of LC's Bar-B-Q follow the same pattern. The insanely delicious food, critics suggest, is worth the associated hassle. Well, it's all true. LC's pit is the epitome of the Kansas City style. It's unfortunate, however, that the staff insists on making customers wait so long to receive their orders.

Friday, October 01, 2010


So angry! I'm astounded by the fury displayed by one in every five drivers. These lunatics appear to be competing in a deranged race with no rules and an undetermined finish line. It's no secret that I don't care for canines, but I'd almost rather see this animal behind the wheel than yet another livid human.