Happy In Bag

Sunday, January 31, 2010

One Hundred Percent Grind

Nothing much happened at the KC Music Forum at a community center in Swope Park on January 23. That's the good news.

There's little love lost between the rival factions of Kansas City's hip hop community. Guys from the '50s, for instance, detest the Wyandotte crowd. Backpackers don't get along with Landmark Records artists. There's one thing, however, these disparate groups can all agree on- KPRS isn't doing them any favors.

That's why about 150 people met to mull over their options with representatives of the radio station. The conclusions they came to were asinine- act like a professional, respectfully service DJs and maintain a "one hundred percent grind."

It's probably a good thing no one asked me to contribute. I was itching to question the business acumen of an artist who arrived at the conference in a customized wrapped van when he hadn't even bothered to create an internet presence.

(Cross-posted from There Stands the Glass)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bacon In My Greens

I'm a simple man. Last week I was reminded that something as prosaic as bacon in my greens can fill me with joy. That's how it's done at Niecie's Restaurant. The handy new location, moderately priced menu and friendly service combine to make Niece's my latest favorite place in Kansas City.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Used Carrot

My friend would have thrived on this blustery winter day. Alas, he perished during the recent warm spell. Although I spent only ten minutes crafting him, I developed an unhealthy relationship with my pal during his brief existence. He served as a stoic sentinel outside my home. I was grateful for his service and fretted for him when the sun reappeared. I can't bring myself to dispose of his arms and nose.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Angela Davis at UMKC

Angela Davis' lectern was unstable. It wobbled throughout her presentation at Friday's Second Annual Martin Luther King Keynote Address in UMKC's Swinney Recreation Center.

Davis was also somewhat shaky. Compared to last year's riveting address by Cornel West, Davis was completely out of sorts.

Her presentation was less a proper speech than a laundry list of grievances and general suggestions for societal improvement. Her constant digressions, while usually interesting, were rarely relevant. In fact, she felt obliged to say "and my point is..." at least half a dozen times.

Davis often seemed as if she was offering a parody of political correctness. For instance, she suggested that among the oppressed constituencies currently without "civil rights" are prisoners, "immigrants," "the LGBTI community," the environment and animals. Her repeated detailed listings of the various types of trans-gendered persons was also rather odd.

It wasn't all worthless socialist boilerplate. I applaud Davis' plea for increased citizen "engagement." "It's not his responsibility," Davis noted of Obama's progress as President. "It's our responsibility."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mall Walking

I hereby fulfill every blogger's secret fantasy of thoroughly humiliating oneself in public. With the streets and sidewalks still slushy and my daily treadmill routine becoming increasingly unpalatable, I did the unthinkable yesterday. I became a mall walker. What's more- I liked it. Doing laps around the largely vacant Metcalf South mall was a disorienting, almost psychedelic experience. Aside from the remaining anchors of Macy's and Sears, only two charities and a handful of knickknack shops were open. This recent video captures some of the site's haunting sadness.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


There are two televisions in my home. One was practically state-of-art when it was purchased in 1989. Its 26" screen still works fine after it warms up. The other, slightly larger, appliance was acquired in the late '90s. Only when I watch sports in a tavern do I give any thought to upgrading at home. These newfangled high-definition flat screens are spectacular. Even so, I'm not prepared to allocate funds for a new TV just so I can see every bead of sweat on a basketball player's face.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

General(ization) Motors

Stubborn banks of snow have forced pedestrians like me into the streets. The increased interaction with vehicles has confirmed my longstanding prejudices. The driver of a rusty Taurus is invariably courteous. The person behind the wheel of a Lexus, however, will often act as if they don't even see me. Owners of Smart cars are generally nice. Oversize pickup trucks and SUVs usually mean trouble. And when I spot a shiny Mercedes coming at me I know to immediately dive for cover.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Although I fully understand that few things are less welcome than the gloating of a recovered addict, I felt particularly smug last night at the Record Bar. I watched a constant stream of pathetic losers smokers trudge outside to indulge their filthy habit. Not only were they forced to shiver in the bitter cold, they risked missing another stupendous solo from the town's second-best saxophonist. The indoor smoking ban has improved the quality of my life immeasurably.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I read Charles Gusewelle's lovely essay about the joys of feeding birds in winter with great interest. As a fellow geezer, I share this pastime with Gusewelle. I'm unable, however, to view all birds in the same light. I admire "my" woodpeckers and male cardinals. But I want to eradicate the foul species that attempt to push these desirable birds aside. If I could ensure that the police wouldn't be summoned and that no neighbors would be harmed, I'd commence firing at grackles and starlings immediately.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Perpetual Motion

Physics is not my strongest subject. I know that there's supposedly no such thing as a true perpetual motion machine. Then how does this child's toy never stop moving? And why can't giant versions of this simple toy be employed to harness energy? I'm all for wind and solar power, but this device doesn't require any natural forces other than gravity.