Friday, February 29, 2008

The Screwing Of Missouri Continues Too...

Many people buy both used and new every year completely unaware of concealed damage caused by floods, crashes or factory defects. Many motorists are not aware of the Carfax service that can at least tell you if the car was salvaged, had an insurance claim, etc. But using that service is not fool proof.

So the recourse for the screwed buyer is to sue the dealership or seller for failing to disclose the damage. As it stands now, they can also can go after the auto auction, "chop shop" or whoever sells the lemon to the car dealership as well.

But the wonderful "slap the people in the face" Republos in Missouri, led by the lame Boy Gov, his multi-millionaire pal and benefactor Mike Kehoe, and other car dealers who have wormed their way in to the Missouri legislature want to protect the chop shops from consumers.

Isn't that backwards?

Not to Repubs since Kehoe is a big contributor to the Boy Gov and Republican hack Brian Nieves, the Majority whip who is also a car dealer. They are protecting us, the self centered Nieves said: "holding wholesalers accountable would add thousands of dollars to the price of a used car". He warned that a vote against the bill is "a vote against the consumer."

Why? Why are these people in power? Because we as electorates don't think. Idiots are elected because they are "pro-life" or "pro-gun" or whatever, not because they have their constituents in mind. These are, remember, the same people who slap us down for voting to ban conceal/carry and support stem cell research by later overturning our votes with their own legislation.

Sometimes I wonder how long the US will last before it sinks into banality and mayhem.

Or is it too late?

Don't bother writing your legislator. This bill sailed through the Repub controlled House, only Democrats voted against it. The same will happen in the Senate. It is not about representing us, it is all about toeing the line for the Boy Gov.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bushwhacking of America Continues Again and Again


"The economy skidded to a near halt in the final quarter of last year, clobbered by dual slumps in housing and credit that caused people and businesses to spend and invest more sparingly."


"President Bush said Thursday that the country is not headed into a recession and, despite expressing concern about slowing economic growth, rejected for now any additional stimulus efforts. "We've acted robustly," he said."


"[Bush] continued a near-daily effort to prod lawmakers into passing his version of a law to make it easier for the government to conduct domestic eavesdropping on suspected terrorists' phone calls and e-mails. He says the country is in more danger now that a temporary surveillance law has expired."

Good Lord, get this asshole OUT OF HERE!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Night of Song

For my birthday on Monday, my neighbors Scott, Will and Marcia took me out to dinner and to the "Open Mic-Opera-Cabaret" event "Night of Song" sponsored by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. This was my first "Night of Song" and will certainly not be my last.

Created by Nathan Granner, Elaine Fox and Silvia Stoner, Night of Song is advertised as an "an impromptu ballyhoo of music". Usually comprising opera, some standards and show tunes, the show is both sophisticated and highly entertaining.

Monday's show was held at Bar Natasha, an upscale nightclub-restaurant in the popular Crossroads district. Gay owned and operated, it is not a traditional "gay bar" but more of a cabaret drawing an upscale, sophisticated audience.

The food was excellent but the menu is limited. "NO bar food here", the person on the phone told Marcia when she made our reservation. But from my limited glance at the menu, there was not much else of substance besides the 2 nightly specials that qualified for a full dinner. For some reason, our cheery and pleasant waitress just could not count that we were four and only gave us one menu. We asked for more and received one more. Ok... to move things along we all ordered the pork tenderloin special with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I got the duck soup as a starter, a slightly bland stock was full of nice duck pieces and some vegetables served "en croute". Scott got the shrimp cocktail, 4 large shrimp in a spicy creamy sauce. They looked good and should be for $14.00. We also finally convinced the lady to get drinks for all of us. They had my Finlandia Mango vodka that I love, but 303 does a better job of serving it icy cold.

But the night was about the music. The three talented singers Daniel Erbe, tenor, Stephanie Laws, Soprano and a third one whose name I did not catch but will find out were joined by the pianist(also unknown to me, hey! I had a couple of martinis by then so when I sober up, I'll get the 411, OK?)who seemingly could play anything they but in front of him. The repertoire was mostly opera favorites, Carmen (Habanera), Handel (Let the Bright Seraphim from Sampson), Manon, Susannah, Butterfly, the ones audiences love. It was fun watching the singers leaf through books titled "101 Great Arias", "The Best Italian Arias for Soprano", "Puccini Favorites", et al., deciding what to sing next. Fully impromptu, elegant and sophisticated karaoke, performed by professionals.

Definitely worth a repeat trip. They sang "Happy Birthday" to me and a couple others. I have never heard my name sound so wonderful!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pato: One Year Older

At about 1AM, 51 years ago, Pato came quacking in to the world in lovely (?) Decatur, Il. I know several people born on this day, one a lady I had worked with for years. We called each other and sang Happy Birthday to each other every year. We were twins in someways, we both liked the same things and had similar cynical outlook on life.

I do not share my birthday with a lot of interesting people, but some are fellow Feb 25th-ians. George Harrison (Beatle), Jim Backus (Mr Magoo, Thurston Howell, III), Enrico Caruso (tenor), Pierre Renoir (Painter) and Sally Jesse Raphael (annoying TV lady). History has been less kind, Elizabeth I was excommunicated, Communists took over Czechoslovakia, and Violeta Chamorro became President of Nicaragua. Feb 25th is the National Holiday in Kuwait, being the day the Iraqis were driven out back in 1990.

I do not feel 51.. most of the time. So far my main activity has been to go to my optometrist to get my eyes examined (they are still a mess) and get new frames (a needed improvement). I do have more aches and pains than I used to have, and a nice quiet evening at home is more desirable than a rowdy night of bar hopping anymore.

Anyway, here's to February 25, a fun day in my little pond, no matter what else transpired.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Joel Osteen Comes to Town

I am not a strongly religious person, even though I attend church pretty regularly. Like many, my skeptical brain can not accept all the contradiction, hocus pocus and the chasm-size leaps of faith inherent in Christian faith. I do, however, believe that someone named Jesus Christ lived, was the most radical revolutionary in all of recorded history, taught a primitive, animal like society how to live in peace and ignited human capacity to love. Thus I go to church to hear this philosophy and try to adapt it to my life. The hocus pocus and literal interpretation, that is for the Baptists.

Thus sets the scene for a somewhat surreal evening I spent with 18,000 others in the vast Kemper Arena listening to "A Night of Hope" a program by the current reigning monarch of TV preachers Joel Osteen. My friend Greg was going and asked if I wanted to join him. Curiosity is a powerful motivator so off I went. The promised treat of Rosedale BBQ before the show (or whatever it is) was the clincher for me.

Osteen is interesting, a bit of different animal than many of the evangelical nuts polluting the airwaves and pulpits of the world. Because of his difference, Osteen has been criticized for preaching too frequently on positive thinking and "the prosperity gospel" which focuses on good health and financial abundance for the believer. His lack of hitting one over the head with out of context Bible verses and hellfire and brimstone is refreshing in the current crop of TV preachers. Now, I am all for being positive; my training in clinical psychology demonstrated to me that our thoughts and beliefs can be powerful motivators and inhibitors. But, it is not the simple catch-all cure-all that Osteen preaches.

Human behavior, both group and individual is much too complex for the simple answers Osteen preaches. As much as I tried to believe and ask to be a millionaire and an end to my diabetes, tinnitus and aching back, I don't think it is happening. That is a bit simplistic in itself, and Osteen and his family say to be cured one has to take your medicine. You see, Osteen even admits he is not so much a preacher but a life coach, using Christian principles for his background. Osteen in fact does not have a degree in theology but rather a degree in Television production, which is telling in and of itself.

Anyway, it is still preaching, it is still Christian Pentecostalism, if it looks and sounds like it, then it must be. Rock concert slick, Jesus would be out in the halls overturning the high priced merchandise tables, chock full of books, t-shirts and CDs. I just couldn't take much of it. Slick (a word I keep coming back to), scripted (I am sorry but I doubted Osteen's crying jag a the mention of his late dad) and with make-up worthy of the Hollywood Westmores (Mrs Osteen has to have had work done), the whole thing just collapsed for me under the weight of the production.

I thought maybe this guy was different. Greg enjoys him and Greg is not a fool by any means. But alas, the simple message, the trappings of wealth and power, the whole prosperity gospel message (God wants you to be RICH!)just grated on me. But by the time we left (early) I could only see the private jets, limousines, fabulous houses, etc. The images on the screen showed largely white, happy, warm climate suburban, hetero families surely not representative of the world I see out my urban window.

Accumulation of wealth and material goods has been and continues to be the major hallmark of this movement, thus counter to much of what I see in Christian teaching. Where is the helping of the poor, quietly and without material reward? Where is the preaching that the accumulation of wealth for one rests on the back of someone else? Humility, service, turning the other cheek? It was all too Amway for me.

At least Osteen is not kicking people in the teeth (at least publicly) like many preachers. But he is really not all that much different and I predict he'll end up irrelevant in Branson someday along with all the others.

(Note the tongue-somewhat-in-cheek tag of "Theatre Reviews I attached to this entry!)

Friday, February 22, 2008

I am in a Foul Mood

So I am going to rant:

1) If I read the paper correctly today, the Kansas City Public Schools were given a snow day today. However, it is not snowing. It was because the roads were slick from the snow Wednesday night to Thursday AM. The roads were slick because they were not plowed. They were not plowed as the city is crying they are poor. They are poor because no one wants to live in this screwed up berg. Why? Because the school system sucks. The school system sucks because no one wants to live here. Thus the tax base dwindles, those with money live in Johnson County (where the streets are clear) and the cycle goes on.

2) I broke my damn glasses and I guess have lost or trashed any spare I might have. It is a pain going around blind. I have my glasses, but to use them I have to put a big ass rubber band around them. Look the geek from hell. My optometrist is sick and can't get to me to Monday. So here I fumble around, banging into things, getting into people's faces so I can see who they are and generally being disoriented. I can see the big things, the devil, as usual, is in the details.

3) So John Mc Cain having an affair with a lobbyist is not a big deal, but Bill Clinton got impeached over it. What hypocrisy.

4) The US shot down a wayward satellite this week. The man at the controls of the intercept missile was from Raytown, MO. Raytown gets a bad rap from everyone (think "Mama's Family" the old TV show, it was set in Raytown) due to its lower middle class status. Somehow it is fitting that a Raytowner would be a good shot, probably not much else one can be good at from Raytown. Or Kansas City for that matter.

5) I am going to see and hear Joel Osteen this evening with my friend Greg. I am not really that thrilled about it. Greg had an extra ticket and thus I am riding along. More for curiosity than anything else. I guess a lot of people are paying big bucks to hear him preach his gospel of feel good and prosperity. Wonder when he'll crash and head to Branson like Jim Bakker and the rest of them.

I promise I'll be in a better mood when I can see again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vote for Christine

Pato received this message today from Christine Brewer via our friend Pat. So do your duty for a St Louis/Illinois lady and cast your vote today!

"I just received news from my manager that I've been nominated for the BBC Radio 3 Listeners' Award (London) for 2008. The Award honors performers who have made significant contributions to Radio 3 during the past year. The nominees short list was selected by Radio 3 editors, Proms concert producers and Radio 3 producers.

Public voting for the Award runs until March 13 at the online site for the BBC Radio 3, and I've enclosed the link below. Only one vote per person and I would appreciate your vote if you are so inclined! And I don't mind if you want to pass this along to others. Thanks a lot!"

Vote For Christine!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is it Good for the Children?

It seems a recent study shows that parental worries about Internet sex predators are overblown. This is not according to some paid for research by a partisan committee but done by the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Of course since it is in New Hampshire, it will be immediately labeled as "liberal trash" by Huckabee types.

This whole issue of internet sex crimes, and sex crimes in general has consistently been overblown in the media and by the public. Think about it, sex crimes is the perfect confluence of sex, fear the law enforcement establishment's desire to look good (and get funding) without actually having to do the dangerous work of addressing violent crime.

Police Departments, hoping to show their citizens they are "protecting" the children, give perverted, dirty-talking, desk-bound deputies a teenage fantasy life. They are the true internet trawlers, fishing to entrap people even though a crime was not committed. One intelligent judge threw out a conviction of a man convicted of soliciting a 50 year old deputy posing as a kid. He unfortunately got shot down.

So law enforcement goes on creating criminals to feed the hungry prison system by propagating the fantasy that innocent little teens (does such a beast exist?) are dying to have sex with some sleezeball who is old enough to be their daddy.

The reality, according to the study, most abuse is perpetrated by people the kid knows. Most victims meet online offenders face-to-face and go to those meetings expecting to engage in sex. Nearly three-quarters have sex with partners they met on the Internet more than once.

Child sexual abuse is wrong, do not mistake what I or the study is saying. What is more important is to teach your child about being safe, monitoring them, giving them information on sex and sexuality and in general acting like a parent. What is counterproductive are efforts to censor the internet and making criminals out of everyone.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hey Zaine, Guess What??

In the last several weeks, you have eaten turkey pepperoni on a pizza twice!

I know this to be true.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kansas City Symphony, "Women With Issues"

I almost went to another function with a friend last night instead of attending the Kansas City Symphony subscription concert. The coin flipped "heads" and thus I braved the pouring rain and threat of sleet and heard what I feel is the best concert the Kansas City Symphony has performed this season.

Music Director Michael Stern quipped towards the end that since this was St Valentine's week the concert theme was "strong women, all, with the exception of Kanako Ito (the KCS Concertmistress and tonight's solo), with issues". Fitting as the works included Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, Samuel Barber's Suite from Medea, and Richard Strauss' "Dance of the Seven Veils" from Salome.

Ito certainly did not have any issues with the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. Flawless technique, tone and power approaching that of some more well known violinists, and a superb understanding of the work, her electric performance thrilled the capacity audience. The orchestra gave its all for their leader and provided dramatic and even tender support to the solo. Especially delectable were the darkly Russian figures for the clarinet in the slow movement and the spot on tuttis of the first movement and finale. The finale was taken at a brisk, yet not rushed, tempo forcing the orchestra to scramble a bit to keep up.

Having recently heard young sensation Stephan Jackiw and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg a few years ago doing the Tchaikovsky in concert plus adoring the classic Isaac Stern/Ormandy recording, I would be quite comfortable in saying Ito's galvanizing yet musical performance could compare quite nicely.

I am now afraid that our secret is out and that big bad orchestras with need of a good Concertmistress or Associate will snap her up.

Opening the concert was a sensuous and well executed Prelude and Liebestod. Missing only for me the soprano, the orchestra only version just can't match the visceral thrill of the voice arching over the huge sound of the orchestra. The melody gets buried too often, as was the case last night; the fault of the arrangement, not the orchestra in this case. Still an incredible thrill and a fine performance.

It took me a while to warm up to Barber's music. Samuel Barber occupied the middle road in American music, less spacious and folksy sound than Copland or Diamond, and less arcane and serial than Sessions or Carter, thus never pleasing the advocates on both sides. It was a performance of Vanessa that did it for me. Next up was the classic Thomas Schippers' Columbia recording of Barber works including the Medea Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, beginning my long admiration of Barber's works. The Medea suite is not often performed or recorded (outside of the mentioned Dance of Vengeance) but should be. Barber's characteristic subtle blend of tonal lyricism and complex harmonies and an always imaginative orchestration makes for a satisfying musical outing. Stern led the orchestra with conviction and care.

Our final woman with issues, the sultry and evil Salome was represented by a seductive and luminous Dance of the Seven Veils, highlighted by some wonderful wind work, and (finally) well tuned and balanced brass.

Bravo to all, and to Miss Ito especially. (Don't you go leaving us now....hear?)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Kansas City Chamber Orchestra: Baroque By Candlelight

I am not a regular patron of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra (KCCO), and thus have only heard them 2-3 times in the last few years. A pair of tickets, given to me by a neighbor who was out of town for the week, allowed my friend Barb and I to attend "Baroque By candlelight" on Valentine's night at the lovely Visitation Catholic church. As usual, founder and music director Bruce Sorrell conducted.

The woefully inadequate KCCO website never lists the full program. Thus until I was at the venue did I know what was on for the evening besides the advertised "featured" Bach Brandenburg # 5 that sufficed for the last half of the evening. I was pleased to see the first half had some interesting and less well known works, a Telemann Suite in G major "Don Quixote" and the Purcell Suite from "Dido and Aeneas". Sandwiched in was the obligatory Vivaldi, the Concerto For Violin, Cello and Strings in Bb.

The Telemann is a charming work; descriptive. melodic and engaging. This performance, unfortunately, suffered from a lack of variety between the respective movements; "Quixote Awakes" was not much different than "Quixote Asleep". The small orchestra sounded good, especially the violin and cello, but the lack of tempi contrast diminished the dance elements inherent in the work.

The Vivaldi was better played, but the lovely slow central movement was marred by some iffy violin solo intonation. Otherwise a bouncy, serviceable performance; likely the best of the evening.

Purcell's music may have subscribed formally to the Italian and French models that dominated Baroque music but his music also reflects the stately elegance of the English Court plus the folk rhythms and forms of England. Dido is one of the high points of English music, with the famous Dido's Lament "When I am Laid" one of its crown jewels.

The suite of dances, preludes and orchestrated arias includes the famous lament in a version with strings, continuo and winds (flute and oboe). Again, slow tempi made the music dour rather than dramatic and grave. The dances gave some respite and the lament was properly plaintive. I expected a bit more polish and atmosphere.

The "featured" Brandenburg # 5 needs no introduction. Starting off nicely with a well judged, sprightly tempo the first movement promised a more lively second half. Sadly that was not to be the case.

As I was early to the performance, I had the chance to hear a bit of the opening concert lecture. The presenter took great pains as did the program notes, to point out the one-of-a-kind in America, rare and exquisite, super-duper, world class harpsichord owned by the KCCO's harpsichordist. The instrument may be fabulous, well built and authentic, but for the evening's purpose it was tinny, light sounding and distant. I realize a continuo is not in the forefront of the ensemble, but I could rarely hear it (the other instruments were crystal clear); thus it failed in its mission of providing support and filling in the harmonies of the orchestra.

This presented a huge problem in the Bach as the first movement features a long and virtuosic harpsichord cadenza rarely equaled in music. Rebecca Bell labored mightily but the sound was muffled and tinny. It sounded as if it was played in the other room, truly a manifestation of Sir Thomas Beecham's famous quip "The sound of a harpsichord - two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm". After concert conversation indicated I was not alone in my disappointment of the harpsichord sound.

The second movement of the Bach was a study in motionlessness. The conductor stepped away, allowing the flute, violin and continuo to take it on their own. As if a clock winding down, the movement finally collapsed due to lack of inertia.

The final movement got a back on tempo but the piece was on the whole an amateur performance from a professional crew.

Sadly too, the venue could have had more atmosphere. A constellation of candles was placed behind the performers providing a splendid backdrop. However, the house lights were turned up too high, negating the effect completely. Visitations sanctuary, redone in 2004, is a bit too stark and open, certainly not in a baroque tradition.

A nice concept, a well thought out program, poorly executed. Not one of my concert highlights of the season.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Check in NIU Friends

Pato has several readers and friends at Northern Illinois University where the insane gun laws in this country have allowed more to die. Please check in NIU readers. Please, anyone with a mind and heart, vote in leaders who will lead the USA in the direction of the vast majority of the world and ban guns NOW. This stuff just doesn't happen elsewhere.

Congressional Charade

As I was tootling down the road yesterday, I caught a couple of minutes of the hearings in Washington regarding steroid use in baseball. Apparently for about 3-4 hours, the big tough-guy, holier-than-thou congress members tortured baseball legend Roger Clemens. Their goal: to make a point that they are powerful. To get him to admit he lied about steroid use.


Everyone looked bad. Clemens was babbling, his accusers full of shit, doing this for a few minutes of fame and power. The spectacle of former friends publically betraying each other was pathetic. The congress members, as puffed up and pretentiously serious as they were during the Clinton impeachment charade, acted like this was a monumental problem, needing their full attention. I for one, do not believe this is anything congress needs to be involved in. Isn't there just something very wrong with all of that?

Meanwhile, oil prices are causing inflation, job loss, economic stagnation and poverty. Education is a joke, the stupid war in Iraq goes on and on and on and on and on and on. Recession, global warming, lack of healthcare, poor public policy... not important. Making sure "the national pastime" is pure, that is meaningful.

Why is the Senate afraid of grilling Cheney, Bush, Ashcroft and all those liars and pushing charges against them? Why was Clemens, et. al. in front of congress at all?

Simple, self important congress people who masterminded this charade are using this non-issue to divert attention away from the simple fact they are powerless to do anything about anything important and would likely make things worse if they tried. They simply can't do what they were sent to Washington to do in the first place.

What a joke.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Coupl'a Things III

1) Except for an illegal but likely delicious King Cake served at a downtown Kansas City office this AM, Mardi Gras is all put away. The beads, hat and mask went to the storage unit today, all nice and stored away until next year. It was odd that my fuddy-duddy church did not have a Mardi Gras dinner and party this year. However, I had a successful one myself with jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, salad, bread and wine and champagne. Fun was had by all who came. Rex Celestis himself came out in his finery to serve the King Cake. Now we have Lent, and all the chocolate makers are suffering for the next few weeks.

2) Thirty-two years ago, 1976 to be exact, I heard the London Philharmonic conducted by the great Bernard Haitink in concert at the University of Illinois' Krannert Center. I remember vividly one work, the "Philharmonic Concerto" by Malcolm Arnold. Written for the Orchestra specifically for the US tour, it was a three movement, colorful piece of music. One section stood out that I have remembered for all those years, a brilliant dialog between a harp and a snare drum. As a 19 year old obsessed with classical music, I was fascinated by the sound.

Finally, after 32 years I heard the piece again as a LSO Live Disc 0013 (there is that damn number again) arrived from the UK via MDT Records in Derby, UK. Sometimes your mind embellishes things, thus past events were not as exciting, elaborate or even as accurate as you have remembered. Thankfully, the wonderful snare and harp passage is really there, I did not imagine it, and it is as fresh and interesting to this almost 51 year old as it was to a 19 year old.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Human Resources, a career 1983-2008

I hereby declare the profession of Human Resources dead.

Fully realizing I am no authority on professions, careers and such, it seems pretty evident studying our local paper that HR is not in demand. Two jobs were listed. A search of the major online services like and Career Builder resulted in jobs open for sure, but mostly staffing recruiter and payroll positions, the employee relations, HR manager/director positions were sadly lacking. Good evidence too that the way to find a job is through online listings and not the old fashioned Sunday paper.

When I was searching for an HR job or contemplating leaving the one I had, I used to find 5-6 good ones in the paper and even more online. I don't think I would apply for a single one this time around.

HR was not what I always said I wanted to do when I grew up. I really wanted to be a Clinical Psychologist, even a Lawyer or the Conductor of the Boston Symphony. But like most careers we take on, I just kind of schlepped into it. I liked people, I wanted to be where the action was. I wanted to know the gossip, who was screwing who, who was getting fired. HR was a busy-body's wet dream of a job.

HR has always been the Rodney Dangerfield of business careers. "We are professionals!!! We are relevant!!!, Really!" That should be the slogan of the HR world. To be sure everyone knew HR was relevant, someone created a professional association and then devised a scheme to make money through certifying "HR Professionals". Most certified HR types I knew were not all that bright, but were good at memorizing factoids and regulations. Give them a real life scenario that involved real people, real world and politics and they would wither into the irrelevance they feared.

"What do you do? Hire and fire?", was the most asked question when I revealed my profession. That and deal with a multitude of legal and government regulations designed to confuzzle the most astute minds on the planet. HR was a perfect job for those wanting responsibility without authority; it was always our fault, even though we could do nothing about it.

Current trends, as I read the tea leaves, show HR is heading back into the glorified clerical position from whence it originated. Keeping files, doing the payroll, processing paperwork, tracking vacations and sick leave is the norm of the jobs I see open. Who is doing the rest, I do not know. Probably falling on the shoulders of the already over burdened manager, frightened that this Friday will be his last on the job.

No wonder corporate America is a mess.

As for me, my non HR job here at the Palace is hardly glamorous. A trained monkey could do it for the most part. But it is safer than most jobs I know, offers the opportunity for me to take a nap in the afternoon and puts a roof over my head. I for one would not trade that for any FMLA, HIPAA or any other alphabet soup issue that HR types face.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Guns Guns Guns and More Guns

Well, the gun lovers are happy again. A crazy gunman went off in suburban St Louis, shooting everyone he disagreed with. Just so easy in this fucked up country to go and buy a gun and take things into your own hands. Oh of course, if everyone had a gun none of this would happen. Or else we'd have a good old fashioned shoot out on Main Street. John Wayne, here we come!

Here in KC, the front page was covered with: "Man Shot to Death in Grandview", "Two Shot in Separate Incidents"... it goes on.

Then the alleged gunman in St Louis' brother said it was justified because he was black and didn't get a fair shake in from the city and the courts.

Now it is fashionable to blame everyone else.

USA, you are sinking fast.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ted Haggard Redux

Buried among the Obama/Clinton battle and the slow disintegration of the US economy was a short news item announcing that fired evangelical preacher Ted Haggard has prematurely ended a "spiritual restoration" process begun when he was fired for sexual misconduct.

In layman's terms he just couldn't be cured of his homosexuality, despite an announcement last year from his "spiritual team" (torturers and inquisitors more like it) that he was "100% heterosexual.

Ted, give it up. Come out. You are gay, you were made that way, you know it, and so does most of the civilized world not affected by religious bigotry. Yeah, a lot will change. You'll lose friends, your wife, unless they are truly what they say they are and accepting of you no matter what. It is obvious they are not, unfortunately. Dump them if that is the case, they are ready to dump you. trust me on that one.

The gay community may not welcome you with open arms you know. I know that is scary for you too. You did a lot of damage to us, used your pulpit and influence to keep a whole group of society down. Like war collaborators, you will likely be viewed with suspicion. But, I have an idea that you will likely be more welcome here that at the White House, your former church and the 700 Club.

That is if you let yourself really be yourself and finally come out, realize that you are gay and get on with life. Don't fight it, accept it and you'll be surprised how easy it really is.

You'll probably find a boyfriend faster than I ever will.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mardi Gras





Monday, February 04, 2008

Sorry, No Alexandre Pato News Here

I was thrilled at the sudden increase in readership of my little blog. Average had risen to over 20 a day. I know in most "professional" blogs and the highly popular ones with photos and lots of nonsense, 20 an hour is more like it, but I was satisfied.

The "site meter" service I use tracks each individual visit as to where they are from, their internet service and length of visit, and from where they accessed the blog, ie if they searched for it, got a link in an email or found it searching on a topic. I had noticed a lot of visits from Europe, especially Italy finding my little world by searching for "Pato News". Could it be my fame was spreading throughout the old world? Had they seen my modest work as something of value? Frankly, I was a little concerned, I did not want any fame or notoriety.

I can rest. Seems that there is a new Pato in the pond. I have, through some diligent research, found that the users are looking for news about Alexandre Rodrigues da Silva, a Brazilian soccer player now playing for Milan Italy. Born in the Brazilian city of Pato Branco, Brazil in 1989, he is better known as "Alexandre Pato". He is one of the youngest soccer stars to hit that world since his countryman Pele in the late 50's. He was 17 when he played in the last World Cup and became the youngest man to score a goal in the World Cup.

So instead of wanting to hear about life at the palace, Republican nonsense, concerts and my rants, they want to see what their latest soccer star is up to.

I am somewhat relieved; I seek not fame at all. I guess there is room for more than one Pato in the pond.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Sports

As is usual, I am not watching the Super Bowl and my TV is not on. I am not at a party nor am I following it online. I simply do not care. Everyone else does; the minister at church mentioned it, even Maestro asked I was going to watch it. I told him I was going to listen to some Havergal Brian and eat a mango I bought at the store. The check out lady at the grocery asked me if I had my grandstand seat picked out. It took me a while to realize what she was talking about. I disappointed her by saying I did not and was not looking for one. Everyone else seemed to be however, there was not a potato chip bag left in the snack isle. Plenty of mangoes however.

Sports obsession is just rampant in the US and everyone assumes you are as well. Here in KC, one is expected to wear red when the pitiful Chiefs play. When I accidentally wear red on a "Chief's Weekend" I change as soon as I can. If the locals would put as much energy over the metro's problems as they do the Mizzou- KU rivalry, we'd be fine.

I did hear one of the teams today has not lost a game this year. I hope they lose, as it would serve them right, no one is perfect and I love an underdog.

Maybe I'll go see how it ends.....


Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Emperor Was Here

FINALLY! GW Bush has found an audience to whom he can relate:

He roared down Main Street in sight of the Palace Friday AM. The street was blocked off for a while, then the parade of Army vehicles, Suburbans, vans, police, limos, an ambulance plus the obligatory helicopters made sure all knew the Emperor was present.

Good bye, please do not comeback.