Happy In Bag

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dodging Yellow Jackets

I played musical chairs at the Sprint Center last night. Just because I paid $12 for a nosebleed seat doesn't mean I actually have sit there. Right? Besides, there were less than 3,000 people in the arena at the tip-off of the first game between Florida and Washington. (Do most Kansas fans even like college basketball?) My challenge was that most of the Sprint Center's yellow-clad ushers were vigilant. I bounced around near the court until I gave up during the first half of the KU-Syracuse game. High and dry isn't so bad.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sell Out!

"Sell out!!" I laughed when I saw the angry graffiti scrawled on MURS' tour bus in the Record Bar's parking lot Saturday night. I recalled the first time I felt betrayed by a musician. The Clash shocked me by concluding London Calling with a pop song. The very concept of "selling out" now seems quaint. Why wouldn't a rapper allow Microsoft to provide a handsome tour bus? The anonymous fan's rage depicted here is actually kind of sweet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Make 'Em Say Uhh!

I'd like to be able to say that I bum rushed the show, but I squeezed into the Kauffman Foundation's Hip Hop & Entrepreneurship forum at Penn Valley Community College without any drama Wednesday night.

The experience wasn't as fun or electric as Chuck D's lecture nine months ago, but it had some great moments.

An interview with Percy Miller was the highlight. The former Master P was chatty and funny as he displayed his off-the-chart intellect.

Here are a few choice quotes:

"It's time to pass that generational wealth down." -Percy Miller on his aspiration to become a successful television executive.

"Everyone in this room can say, 'I can do this now.'" - Percy Miller on Barack Obama's election.

"You need to be bilingual." -Percy Miller on the value of possessing both street and corporate dialects.

"That was my past. That was my childhood." -Percy Miller on his often vulgar and thuggish work as rapper Master P.

"I introduced the bling to hip hop." -Percy Miller on his musical contribution.

"Nobody want to buy something they have already." -Percy Miller on the necessity of being original.

"They got a bunch of dream killers out there." -Percy Miller on haters.

"The fastest thing to go away is entertainment." -Percy Miller on the fleeting nature of fame.

Chuck D, one of my heroes, is never at a loss for words:

"Hip hop got me through college and college helped me through hip hop." -Chuck D on the value of education.

"It's a fight against national corporations who define what hip hop music is... If these things don't get rewired then all this is in vain." -Chuck D on his conspiracy theory about a bias against regional hip hop artists.

"You can't get to a million unless you can count one... Start cherishing the numbers that you count by one."- Chuck D on making one sale at a time.

"You in the audio-video age... Don't separate yourself from what you see on TV... Make a video per song" -Chuck D on the necessity of music videos. (I'd like to think that he's a Plastic Sax reader.)

The night's major revelation was "celebrity sports agent" Glenn Toby. He was truly inspiring.

"Create your own opportunities. Make your own job." -Glenn Toby on professional advancement.

"We have to be what God made us." -Glenn Toby on staying true to yourself.

"Now that we have a new President, there's absolutely no ceiling." -Glenn Toby on limitless possibilities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Numbers Game

I don't crosspost often but I didn't want one of my favorite photographs to get lost in the wilderness of my jazz blog. I played a geeky numbers game at Plastic Sax today. Before you take a look, try to guess the identity of Kansas City's most popular musician. You might be surprised. And for the record, I get the reaction depicted in this image all the time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

There's Nothing Funny About It

Happy In Bag readers occasionally compliment the documentation of my ongoing battle with squirrels. "It's so funny when you write about how you hate squirrels," I'm told. But I'm not laughing. The demons gnawed through my roof last week. Oh, how I loathe them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Breakfast All Day

I attempt to avoid obvious bromides such as the phrase "comfort food" in this forum, yet sometimes it's simply inescapable. Whether it's homemade blueberry pancakes, instant grits or pork chops with eggs over-easy at Big Biscuit in Blue Springs, a plate of these basic foods calms me like nothing else in these trying times. In fact, given a choice between a Pale Ale or several slices of premium bacon, I'll opt for the latter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Panic In P.V.

Disaster struck yesterday in Prairie Village. The suburb's token McDonald's outlet caught on fire leaving dollar menunaires in the lurch. Neither Pumpernick's nor Planet Sub offer double cheeseburgers for a dollar.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Low expectations sometimes lead to delightful revelations. In a nondescript building in the parking lot of the Whole Foods grocery just off 91st and Metcalf, I ate the best lamb I've ever tasted. New Indian restaurant Masala recently opened in the space formerly occupied by a Hawaiian barbecue joint. It's a little pricey, but the redesigned room is attractive and the service is excellent. (A plate of tandoori chicken is pictured here- I extend an insincere apology to vegan readers.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Big Reveal

I'm led to believe we're entering a new era. In keeping with that spirit, I've decided to end some of the artificial anonymity of Happy In Bag. Not only did I create a Facebook account last week, it and a few other clues to my identity are permanently linked to the right. If my grizzled visage doesn't put you off, you can even be my "friend." Regular readers (a group that deeply perplexes me) need not be alarmed- my focus here will remain squarely on squirrels, taverns and pancake syrup.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I like driving on Kansas City's recently constructed stretch of U.S. 71. It's a time-saver and the elevated road offers nice vistas of downtown. Of course, it's easy for me to feel that way. My neighborhood wasn't arbitrarily divided in two by the highway. I didn't lose my home through eminent domain. I don't have to breathe 71's exhaust fumes or listen to its traffic from my yard. Please vote wisely.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


My first trick-or-treater dissed me Friday night. "Hey mister," sneered a little Spongebob. "Don't you know you're supposed to spray shellac on your pumpkins?" The carved pumpkins on my front step had been decimated by squirrels. The sad truth is that I've given up the war against my mortal enemies. They've won. (The good news, however, is that my chipmunk problem is a thing of the past.)