Happy In Bag

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just Hanging Around

Maybe slackers have the right idea. I had been crisscrossing the city for hours- scrambling to make appointments, fulfilling various obligations and preparing for a job later that night. I was about to snap, so I canceled my remaining meetings and stopped at the Chipotle off the Plaza. Staring blankly at Main Street for an hour was pure bliss.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I'd like to apologize to all of my former girlfriends, roommates and coworkers. I was a smoker; I quit cold turkey over twenty years ago. Now that local smoking bans are in place (excepting Wyandotte County and casinos) I finally understand the utter vileness of cigarette smoking. What was I thinking?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gone To Seed

Many of the most explosive battles in my family when I was a boy were related to our yard. I hated mowing the lawn. Mocking old men who putter around their immaculate lawns has long been one of my most satisfying pastimes. Lately, however, I've become less agitated by yard work. While my modest property has yet to reflect it, I've rather enjoyed pulling weeds and pushing my Craftsman lawnmower around this summer. If this unlikely trend continues, I'll be gunning for the yard-of-the-month award in twenty years.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A big wedding reception at Municipal Auditorium, concerts at the Folly and Midland theaters and and a busy night at the Power & Light district failed to energize the streets of downtown Kansas City last Saturday night. Aside from the blocks of Grand, Walnut, 13th and 14th that surround the core of the the new Power & Light entertainment area, there was shockingly little foot traffic. An associate and I spent much of the night just wandering around completely alone. The police managed to stay busy. I ascertained that this suspect was attempting to break into cars. Stray homeless guys were also rousted by authorities.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nothing Happens At the Plaza Art Fair

I spotted several pieces of art that suited my sensibility Friday evening at the Plaza Art Fair. With all due respect to the vendors, however, appreciation of art isn't the primary point of the annual event. As the accompanying static video reflects, it's all about people watching. The metropolis is small enough that this long-time resident is able to at least vaguely recognize every tenth person at large public events. It's an intriguing- if somewhat mildly unsettling- proposition.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Does the Indie Rock?

I have a tip for concertgoers planning to catch Jerry Seinfield, Anita Baker or Vince Gill at the Midland by AMC this weekend. Try The Indie on Main. The handsome pub provides direct access to the newly renovated theater. Furthermore, ticketholders getting their hands stamped at the bar's north door can exit the premises at the south door if they have the sudden need to step outside. (Caveat: This was my experience last week; it's possible this reentry tactic will be forbidden in the future.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Patty Patsy

I have a new favorite restaurant. So why am I so unhappy about it? I just feel like a jerk for paying eight to twelve dollars for an a la carte hamburger. But what hamburgers Blanc Burgers + Bottles serves! They're easily the best I've ever had. And after downing a salad, sweet potato fries and a burger at the flashy Westport establishment last week, I was so full that I didn't eat again for almost 24 hours.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


In spite of a warning that Clay features "loud music, adult language and strong content," traditional theatergoers surrounded me when I caught the "hip hop musical" last weekend at Kansas City's Copaken Stage in the H&R Block building downtown. It's awkward hearing the f-word and an account of a shocking sexual encounter while sitting amid elderly matrons. That objection aside, I loved Clay. Here's the Star's review. I consider the production's musical content at There Stands the Glass.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad Times

Why wasn't anyone dancing at Fiesta Hispana Sunday afternoon? One of Kansas City's best party bands was on stage but the audience was clearly in a gloomy mood. Maybe they wanted to hear tejano music instead of salsa and cumbia. Perhaps the Chiefs' awful performance cast a pall on the entire day. The gray sky and chilly breeze didn't help. Or could it be that everyone but me foresaw Monday's stock market implosion?

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm Not That Guy

Don't get excited- the man in repose is not me. I just wish it was. I've never been capable of whipping off my shirt while mowing the lawn, sitting in bleachers or attending heavy metal concerts. Plenty of guys even pudgier, hairier and less attractive than I don't share my sense of modesty. They're my heroes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bending It

Although I'm indifferent to professional soccer, I won't be among the cynics characterizing people who buy tickets to Saturday's Wizards match as provincial celebrity gawkers. David Beckham, now with the Los Angeles Galaxy, is scheduled to appear at Arrowhead Stadium. While in London earlier this year I was inundated with celebrity paraphernalia and advertising campaigns featuring Beckham. That's his naked torso on the side of a bus. He seems no less popular than the late Princess Diana. In a blog entry today, Beckham writes "Hopefully we can get that first win in Kansas." Maybe a fan will toss him a map.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I often say that I listen to radio the way most people watch TV.

Yesterday I was reminded that KPRS considers songs from 2005 to be throwback jams, heard Glenn Beck obsess over Hillary Clinton, marveled at Steve Harvey's attack on Sarah Palin, laughed when "The Rock" played Jackyl and wondered why NPR ran a feature about fish photography.

That's entertainment.

When I was an impressionable kid in the pre-internet, pre-cable era, KCMO served as one of my most important teachers. A goofball named Mike Murphy introduced me to Kansas City's most notable personalities. His program was followed by local call-in psychologist Marshall Saper. It was through him that I learned that people have a knack for making their lives very complicated.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Abba For Breakfast

"Dancing Queen" is annoying at 7 a.m. I had to yell over the Abba hit when a waitress took my order during a recent visit to a Perkins in Kansas City, Kansas. Yet I wasn't nearly as inconvenienced by the loud music as the group of elderly people at a nearby table. After struggling to communicate over the crooning of Neil Diamond and Kenny Loggins, the old friends soon gave up. They spent the remainder of breakfast with their heads bowed in frustration.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Grand New Prince

Except for my lack of body art, I easily blended in during my first visit to Czar Bar last night. Most of the new tavern's patrons were in their thirties and forties. They happily sipped expensive beer. Willie's, the sports bar up the block, plays classic rock, serves basic bar food and displays ESPN. Czar Bar blares indie rock, features an ambitious menu with a $22 steak and is mercifully free of television monitors.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bless These Balls

Much to the consternation of many of my colleagues and associates, I'm just not that into the NFL. Some call me a sissy. Others think my refusal to field a fantasy football team is weird. Tonight's season opener between the Giants and the Redskins doesn't hold much interest for me. My emotional investment in sports is dedicated to baseball and basketball. I'll admit that it's not always easy to maintain an even keel through utter devastation and disappointing player behavior.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Solid Gold

The dramatically cooler temperature in the Kansas City area today comes as a tremendous relief. The break in the heat isn't the first sign that summer is losing its grip. The sky turned bright yellow a few evenings ago. Rather than preparing for a potential tornado, I reveled under the eerie amarillo sky. (The snapshot is unmodified.)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Socket Head

I don't understand enough about the commercial real estate business to know if the many vacant storefronts in my relatively prosperous part of town are the result of an ailing economy or the fault of greedy landlords. The official grand opening of a hardware store at the site of a long-shuttered Price Chopper was held last weekend. It was so crowded that I had to escape without using my 25%-off coupon.