Friday, July 31, 2009

win one, lose one

Now that the Mayor has won his volunteer lawsuit against the City one has to wonder if he has the sense to leave his wife at home. A legal victory is quite different from a political one.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

duff lite solutions

I think it's great that the President sat down and had a beer with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley. Really. Nothing but good should come from this. Maybe they'll even learn a little something about beer in the process. The President will be drinking a Bud Lite - which either makes him a pantywaist watching his carbs, an uniformed beer drinker, or a member of the wine and cheese set. Dude! I'm a member of, among other drinking clubs, the wine and cheese set, but I know enough to not drink skunky, watered-down beer. Drink a real beer, not some beer that takes 15 minutes to make.

Wouldn't Amber Wavers American Ale from Washington's own Capitol City Brewing be more appropriate for the White House than one brewed by a Belgian Company? The Belgians make some of the best beers in the world but Anheiser-Busch products aren't one of them. Or better yet, how about one of the Wild Dogs from the largest brewery in Maryland, Flying Dog.

Biggie O may be well read but he probably hasn't read this post about lite beer. Beer, good hand-crafted beer, is good for you, especially if taken in moderation. Lite beer, if taken in moderation or even in excess, is never a good idea.

are you sure you want a lite?

ten places to watch the mr340

Here are 10 places to watch the first day action of the MR340-the longest nonstop canoe/kayak race in the world. This year, approximately 300 boats and 500 racers will depart Kaw Point, the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, to begin a journey to St. Charles. Racers have 88 hours to make the 340 miles. (Links are highlighted below as are etimated arrival times of the first racers).

1. Panaramic view of Missouri and Kansas Rivers, Kaw Point, KC, KS.

1. Kaw Point, Kansas City, KS. (8:00 am) If you want to feel the adrenalin of the start this is the place to be. But plan on arriving early because this place will be a zoo. Ample parking outside of the floodwall. This is a great spot to watch the prep, see the boats, and the racers. The downside of Kaw Point, besides the traffic this year, is that once the gun goes off (8 am sharp) you'll soon be seeing the backsides of the racers.

Case Park/Clark's Point, Quality Hill, Kansas City, MO(8:01 am) If you work downtown and can't afford to be too late for work then this park offers several vantage points to see the first mile of fleeting action. Bring a pair of binoculars are use the one on the tripod by the Lewis and Clark statue.

3. View upstream and down from Town of Kansas Pedestrian Bridge, foot of Main St., Kansas City, MO

3. Town of Kansas Pedestrian Bridge. (8:10 am) Probably one of the best spots to view the action as the racers will come into view after they round the first bend. By this time, the leaders will have begun to separate a little but the rest of the pack should still be embroiled in bedlam. Bring a cup of coffee and come early for a spot with a good view. Afterwards have breakfast at Succotash in the RiverMarket.

4. Kites, Richard L. Berkeley Park, 4th of July, 2009.

4. Richard L. Berkeley Riverfront Park.(8:15 am) The poor design of this park is offset by the fact that this year, Friends of the River, are hosting a viewing party. With only 338 miles remaining, the cat and mouse game will have begun in earnest.

5. Riverfront Park.(8:30 am) This was KC's riverfront park before toxic waste and Berkeley decided to upstage them. Located off Riverfront Road in the East Bottoms Industrial area.

6. La Benite Park, Sugar Creek, MO. (10:30 am) Huge sycamores line the banks of the river here; one could pack a picnic and bring the family. A few racers will be pulling off here to tweak their boats or resupply but most will be cruising past this point.

7. Fort Osage. (11 am) Take in the recently opened exhibits at this National Historic Landmark. Abundant shade. Expect the first casualities of the race to start bailing here.

8. Lexington, MO(1 pm). The first checkpoint. Here you can see what paddling 50 miles in August in Missouri does to a person. More casualties and mayhem as people scramble to get in and out their boats in a hurry. Fresh Missouri peaches in town!

9. Waverly, MO(3 pm). A couple of hours before sundown would be a good time grab a grilled burger or hot dog from the locals and see who's cracking and who's still got it.

10. Stump Island Park, Glasgow, MO (Wednesday morning). Here's your chance to take a ferry ride across the Mighty MO and have breakfast at the Riverside Cafe. Ferry service begins at 6 am.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

moi v. brown and williamson

Many of us like to stand in judgement of our hometown sports teams-especially when they suck as badly as the KC Royals. Some lament the poor pitching, others the lack of power, and still others the blundering mishaps. Although these traits are definitely problematic for a professional club to own, potentially they are solvable. However, until the current owner, David Glass, stops treating the team as just another mediocre Walmart franchise, the team will remain trashed. Apparently manager Trey Hillman shaved his 'stache after the latest 10 game losing streak which has momentarily stopped the bleeding and given some fans reason again to hope the team can at least play .500 ball.

Speaking of mediocre franchises moi learned something last week. One benefit of losing your mother to lung cancer and a heart attack, to detesting second-hand smoke, and a major-league dislike of greedy corporations is that it makes it fairly easy to get recused from serving on a month long jury trial involving the malfeasance of Big Tobacco. My disdain for the stupidity of white trash rednecks who smoke Kools for 50 years because they think they are a healthy alternative to unfiltered Camels and my love for film, including The Insider, also may have worked in my favor.

After being dismissed from this jury (if I didn't have a day job it might have been interesting to listen to two sides of America laying a shit trail for 4 weeks), I discovered that this case has already been tried once. And found in favor of the people who apparently have yet to discover that the basis of advertising is a LIE. The retrial courtesy of a technicality expounded by an appellate court. At this point many would give up but whenever there's lots of money involved people tend to keep grubbing for worms until the dirty end.

Yes. I know nicotine is the most addictive substance on the planet. OK. I know it's hard to stop smoking. And cancer deaths from smoking are horrible and sad. I know the tobacco companies lied and cheated and did (and do) most anything to keep people addicted to the product-the drug delivery system. But the link between the habit and the death it causes is apparently clear to everyone except those who still believe that the Royals have a chance this year to make the playoffs.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

butterflies are free: damien hurst and lance armstrong

Lance Armstrong, who has a finally figured out a way to make even the French like him, will be riding a custom Trek Madone decorated by the artist Damien Hurst when he rides laps around the Champs Elysees today on his way to a 3rd place finish in the General Classification of the 2009 edition of Le Tour. Decorating a bike with Hurst butterfly decals is a bit like putting playing cards used by Scotty Nguyen in the spokes except that the Armstrong/Hurst bike is expected to fetch ridiculous sums at auction, the proceeds to benefit the Livestrong Foundation.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

the funk recieves a standing eight count

Mark Funkhouser suffered another defeat at the hands of the City Council on Thursday. Everyone deserves their day in court but Funk was handed a political decision in closed council chambers. The council voted 7-3 (Funkhouser abstained) to settle the discrimination lawsuit with former aid, Ruth Bates, for $550,000--up from the original $30,000 settlement negotiated between attorneys in the case. That settlement was blown up when Funkhouser, who somehow managed to lose most of the political insight that got him elected in the first place, decided to release a press release publicly slamming the plaintiff within hours of the first settlement.

Do the math. $550,000 minus $30,000 equals $520,000. That's the amount that the council was willing to pay to sink any chance the Mayor might have had at a second term. For a guy touted to be 'smart with the money' the Mayor has squandered KC's on more than one occasion. Remember the La Raza incident? That one cost the city several million dollars in lost tourism dollars. Being stubborn can turn a person into an intractable idiot.

Will Funkhouser ever realize that being Mayor should be less about him (or her!) and more about The City? In the operatic theater of KC politics "it ain't over till the fat lady sings" (how very true in this case) but the brightest future for the Mayor will likely be the candlelit confines of his rustic Ozark cabin. Maybe there will enough chinks between the logs to let some illuminating shafts of light leak into his life.

Friday, July 24, 2009

call me joe

Cambridge Police Officer James Crowley, along with innumerable right-wing bloggers, are wrong when they insinuate that the arrest of anyone, black, white, red, or brown, who are attempting to enter their own home, "is a local issue". For those with shorter memories, institutional racism and Jim Crow laws were often justified based upon the idea that locals had the right to choose to associate with whomever they wished. That they do. They did not have the right to discriminate against or exclude them based on race - which was the common practice, and although less common today, is still a practice.

If Officer Crowley, who may not be a racist, had the sense to admit that he made a mistake (and this seems to be difficult for any police officer to do) then this issue would have gone away quickly. That he has publicly stated that he'll never apologize only ensures that the country again will be forced to continue to face it's racist attitudes. That a good thing.

Anyone who believes that the election of Barack Obama as the President sent us into a postracial period neglects to understand the effects of the continued use of the term "the first black President" on the American psyche. As long we are calling him that, a man who is as easily as white as he is black, then we've still got a way to go with equality in this country. Let's just call him the President of the United States.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

team radio shack

Rumors flying around the cycling world that Team Radio Shack will be Lance's new team for next year, proof that being a domestique didn't suit the yellow braceleted dude. It's funny to hear Lance shrug and make insinuations about the performance and motives of his better teammate Alberto Contador when in reality, Lance's role on the team should be to ensure that Contador wears the maillot juane come Sunday and that means Lance should be sacrificing all for the team leader. All that talk about Lance being the team-leader-in-waiting was true, but for different reasons.

One also has to question the loyalty and tactics of Team Astana Director Sportif, Johann Bruyneel, who will join Lance in the new team, during this year's tour. Certainly Bruyneel will earn his 9th Tour Victory as Director Sportif (7 with Armstrong, and then 2 with Contador) but for him to go backwards with the old order, instead of forward with the new, doesn't make much sense - except that Bruyneel understands that Lance is a media machine like no other. The official announcement of the new team is expected today after the finish of today's time trial. If we've learned anything about Lance's comeback it's that, regardless of his love-hate relationship with the media, he still has the biggest ego in the peleton.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mark Teahen goes village people

Well if you can't win games you might as well go disco karaoke with it.

Saying the following, "Trey! Time to shave the mustache" within earshot of the beleaguered manager is apparently just cause for getting thrown out of the stadium.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

rainout at the little k

Even though my swanky tickets to the Royals were stepped on by Mother Nature last night, I did get to see Hall of Famer George Brett again this morning as for some reason the guy, along with TV anchorwoman Elizabeth Alex, narrate the video that Jackson County uses to instruct jurors on American judicial process. I guess since the pine-tar incident George has always had an interest in fair and impartial.

Even if you don't have a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who's willing to comp the most expensive tickets in the house your way the Royals have created quite the deal - the Diamond Club. It's first come, first served seating in club boxes that are right behind home plate. No minimum charge either. Buy the cheap seats and upgrade, although I hear there can be quite a rush to get these seats.

royal and ancient

One has to guess that the slow-to-change Scots won't be renaming the "The Duel in the Sun", as the 18th hole at Turnberry is currently named, to "The Yips." Although perhaps they should. Tom Watson and Sam Snead would both understand if they did.

Monday, July 20, 2009


She asked, "what's it like to be a twin?" and I said, "like landing on the moon and then looking back and being seeing the earth for the first time--
distant and familiar".

Friday, July 17, 2009

walmart awash in green poo?

Walmart is set to unveil a major environmental project. When I first heard this news I thought, great, more corporate green-washing bullshit. Wallmart, destroyer of small town economies, Walmart, importer of cheap Chinese goods and advertiser of American made? That Walmart?

And then I read the questions that Walmart intends to ask it's suppliers. Questions intended to form the basis of a Sustainability Product Index that eventually will be placed on each item. Consumers can then make choices about which items to purchase and believe me, a certain percent of their shoppers will base their buying decisions on this Index. Not the solution to the world's problems, and certainly Walmart will expect people to spend money on products they may or may not need, but in the long term this is a good thing. Why? Walmart is a huge corporation and what they do has an impact on the many other aspects of the economy. When Momma and Poppa and Bubba are talking Sustainability Index in the aisles of Walmart, then there's hope that Momma and Poppa and Bubba politicians might be talking about sustainablity in the aisles of Congress.

None of this will get me to shop to at Walmart, but it's still encouraging.

Here are the questions that suppliers are expected to report to Walmart. A number of issues remain, for instance, exactly how the index will be calculated and will it be free of bias and interferences from companies who only care about placing products with the giant retailer.

Sustainability Product Index: 15 Questions for Suppliers
Energy and Climate: Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
1.Have you measured your corporate greenhouse gas emissions?
2.Have you opted to report your greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)?
3.What is your total annual greenhouse gas emissions reported in the most recent year measured?
4.Have you set publicly available greenhouse gas reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets?

Material Efficiency: Reducing Waste and Enhancing Quality

1.If measured, please report the total amount of solid waste generated from the facilities that produce your product(s) for Walmart for the most recent year measured.
2.Have you set publicly available solid waste reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets?
3.If measured, please report total water use from facilities that produce your product(s) for Walmart for the most recent year measured.
4.Have you set publicly available water use reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets?

Natural Resources: Producing High Quality, Responsibly Sourced Raw Materials

1.Have you established publicly available sustainability purchasing guidelines for your direct suppliers that address issues such as environmental compliance, employment practices and product/ingredient safety?
2.Have you obtained 3rd party certifications for any of the products that you sell to Walmart?

People and Community: Ensuring Responsible and Ethical Production
1.Do you know the location of 100 percent of the facilities that produce your product(s)?
2.Before beginning a business relationship with a manufacturing facility, do you evaluate the quality of, and capacity for, production?
3.Do you have a process for managing social compliance at the manufacturing level?
4.Do you work with your supply base to resolve issues found during social compliance evaluations and also document specific corrections and improvements?
5.Do you invest in community development activities in the markets you source from and/or operate within?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

swallow you whole

"I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb." Capt. Quint. Jaws, 1975.

At least we can be thankful that MDNR's decision to not release public health information about Lake of the Ozark water quality just prior to Memorial Day didn't involve sharks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

cautionary tale

Discovery of Gloria Squitiro's diary and it's likely eventual entrance
into the public record have prompted some to call for a lifting of the
Mayor's ban on steel plates or at least mark said locations (Gloria's
forehead) with appropriate signage.

bison with salted tomatoes and basmati rice

I don't know how to describe this dish except that it's wonderfully simple, with subtle undertones, and a mix of influences that one wouldn't necessarily think to mix: Italian, Indian, and New American. A melting pot dish if ever there were one. I'll say this about it. I was surprised to find out that a 4.5 pound bag of organic San Marzano tomatoes cost me as much at the farmer's market as two organically raised buffalo strip steaks. The strip steaks were on sale and the tomatoes were overpriced and some of the first of the season. Because of this, the tomatoes had yet to develop the intense flavor that we expect by late July. That's one reason I decided to salt them which is really the first step before drying if using m.o.i.'s patented drying formula.

Bison Steak with Salted Tomatoes and Basmati Rice

One or two grass-fed bison strip steaks (one for every 2 servings).
One or two pounds of Roma type tomatoes (1/2 per serving).
1/2 large vidalia onion, coarsely chopped.
Basamati rice (1-2 cups cooked per serving).
2-3 cloves of German stiff-necked garlic.
1/4 cup Sapa (see link below for recipe).
Several sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced.
Oil olive. Salt. Pepper.

The night before. Trim any fat from the steaks, mince the garlic, and toss in a non-reactive bowl with the Sapa and enough oil olive so that all the pieces are coated and the garlic sticks to meat. Add pepper, dash of salt. Cover and refrigerate.

To salt the tomatoes. Slice a small X in the bottom and core the tops then drop for one minute in boiling water. Remove the tomatoes when the skins spit and quickly drop into ice water. When cool, the skins will slip right off. Remove the skins and place the tomatoes in non-reactive colander. Salt liberally with sea salt. The salt will pull water from the tomatoes and as the water drains through the colander, the excess salt with go with it. Let these drain for an hour or so. This is not a salty dish. The salt is used to cook the tomatoes and intensify the flavors. If the tomatoes taste overly salty then let them drain longer.

Once drained. Toss with olive oil, a tablespoon of sabba, the onions, and minced fresh rosemary.

Cook the rice with a small amount of saffron and cumin. Fluff.

Sear the steak over very high heat until the outside caramelizes; mid-rare is best. You can skewer them and grill them outside if you wish. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. The saba adds a wonderful sweet nutty tones to garlicky earthy flavor of the bison.

Assemble the ingredients on a bed of rice. Serve with sangria, a gin and tonic (or iced green tea), or a nice pilsner depending upon which influence you prefer to highlight.

Sapa recipe

Monday, July 13, 2009

dem bones

I'm imagining that the Dems aren't going 2 be able 2 resist the temptation 2 go after CHeney's pacemakr. I say let him go 2 hell n peace. Health care reform n an energy policy 4 the future are the prize. Eyes on it!

sent via mobile device

Friday, July 10, 2009

governor jay nixon: time to remove your training wheels!

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is in danger of pissing off a whole bunch of cycling fans and costing the state much needed revenue. Nixon has placed a hold on 1.5 million dollars of tourism funds needed to operate the Tour of Missouri - a seven day stage race across the state in September. The world's best cycling teams have already committed to this year's TOM, as fans call it. Pulling the race sponsor (The Department of Tourism) seems shortsighted especially in light of the media-saturation that surrounds the Lance Comeback Tour; more so given that Team Astana, the Kazakhstan squad that includes Armstrong will be riding again this year. Astana also includes the American Levi Leipheimer, but more importantly Alberto Contador, the best stage rider in the world.

Team Astana is poised to crush the field in this year's Tour de France and Lance will likely end up on the podium in Paris - a step or two below his teammates. There's a chance that Astana could do the unheard of, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, a feat that would do as much for Lance's comeback as a win. The press that Armstrong brings to the sport is beyond measure - especially in America. Most of the other big names in cycling, Garmin-Slipstream, Columbia High Road, Ceverlo Test Team, and Liquidgas will also be in the 2009 Tour of Missouri. Although 1.5 million may sound like a lot of money, the race is by far the most watched sporting event in the state and generates an estimated $30 million in revenues over a 2-week period. It highlights the state just before the fall foliage season. Not to mention football. I bet half the fans of the both the Chiefs and Rams come from out-of-state. Same for the baseball teams. It would seem like a no-brainer for the State's chief executive officer but Nixon's beef may have more to do with politics than money.

Unless Nixon decides to remove the training wheels from his tricycle, he may be surprised to learn that many cyclists are politically active, most are probably Democrats (as is Nixon), and this is the wrong year to cancel a major cycling event. With the Lance comeback; public appetite for professional cycling is at an all time high. I'll say that again for the governor. ALL TIME HIGH! And this without performance enhancing drugs.

Lt.Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, and without whom the TOM would never have happened has used the race over the last few years as a low key campaign event - but every politician uses every public event that's successful as a low key political event. Kinder takes the stage at the start and end of most races and proceeds to let everyone know who he is since for the most part, Lt. Governors are rarely seen and heard. Unless the Governor resigns under a cloud of controversy (Rod Blagovitch replaced by Pat Quinn) or appointed to the Cabinet (Nancy Sebelius replaced by Mark Parkinson) nobody has a clue who holds the office of Lt. Governor.

If you want to tell Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to take the training wells of his tricycle contact him at: 573-751-3222 or email the governor and his staff

Images: Top. Mark "the fastest man in the peleton" Cavendish speaks after his win in stage 1 of the 2008 Tour of Missouri.

Bottom. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder softens the crowd before the real action begins.

turning this blog into a cult classic

Hang out in the video store long enough and you'll be seduced by the sales term "cult classic". Cult classic is a term so over-used and misunderstood that it invites you to make mistakes about how you might like to spend an hour and 45 minutes of your time.

Even films like Night of the Living Dead, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, are frequently cited as falling into the genre but nothing could be farther from the truth. Considering that there are five films in the Night of the Living Dead sequence calling it a cult classic is only slightly less insulting that calling the 13 Halloween movies, cult classics. The Rocky Horror Picture Show spawned a generation of suburban cross-dressers and eventually found its way to the Broadway stage so it's more like a stop at Quick Trip rather than joining a cult. Although, Quick Trip does seem to instill a certain cultist loyalty in its regular customers. There's something a little creepy about standing in line at the QT only hear the counter person say to the person in front of you- the one holding a 32 oz. soft drink refill and a microwaved burrito - "usual for you today Joe?"

Recently, after mining the new releases at the vidiot store and looking for something, how does the network put it? 'worth watching' I stumbled upon, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a movie described, right on the cover, as a cult classic. Richard Corliss is quoted on the jacket as calling this "one of the 10 best films of the 1970s" which sounds exciting until you realize that some of the other films from that era were The Poseidon Adventure. Roger Ebert, yes that one, wrote the screenplay for the movie and its as campy and dated as an episode of Dragnet.

For Richard Corliss to place Beyond the Valley of the Dolls in the same category as films such as Annie Hall, Chinatown, Taxidriver, Badlands, Mean Streets, Midnight Cowboy, and Rosemary's Baby to name but a few is more than a little disconcerting. One thing that seems to draw people into describing a film as a cult classic seems to be that the plots and/or characters should be incredibly confused.

Remember, Billy Jack, who simultaneously managed to champion Native American spiritualism, the Green Berets, hippies, martial arts, and vigilante gunslinging? If one forgets the film grossed $40 million (about $200 million in 2009 dollars) you might call it a cult film, but you'd be better calling it a violent, mediocre rant that went on to inform even more violent, mediocre rants. Sly Stallone would later copy much of this muddled world view to great effect in the Rambo movies.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

long distance dedication

I don't see or talk to my friend nearly enough but whenever I do she makes me smile and laugh and remember that I can't moonwalk worth a shit although I still believe it's possible that someday I might learn how and that she might learn to love me the way that I have learned to love her. Casey, I know that relationships are complicated - this one certainly has had it's share of weirdness - but I keep thinking that someday she'll hear my song and want to sing along. Please play Smile, that great Charlie Chaplin tune for my dear friend who's listening out there in her own special way; I know it's hard for her because, as my latest FB status update indicates, it's complicated. Well. tell me a relationship that isn't? In a world that sometimes seems too big, music and movies and magic sure makes it seem small. We'll miss you.

Cover art for the album "U2" by Negativland via Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

now you're talking summer food

Nothing like the food of summer.
Peaches and cream corn-on-the-cob.
Steamed snap peas.
Grilled lamb chop and Georgia peaches.
Mango, roasted red pepper, and vidalia onion chutney.

I think you can figure out the rest. Here's the chutney.

Mango, roasted red pepper, and vidalia onion chutney.

2 medium bell peppers, roasted, skins removed.
1/2 vidalia onion, finely diced.
1/2 fresh mango, diced.
1/4 cup Sapa (see note below).
1 tablespoon high quality balsamic vinegar.
Fresh rosemary, black pepper, and salt to taste.

Place the diced onions in a non-reactive bowl. Add the sabba. Let stand for 2 hours. Add the balsamic, then the rosemary; let stand 15 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Serve room temp or prepare the night before and refrigerate. Four servings.

Sapa is like balsamic vinegar without the acid. Also called sappa or sabba; it's cooked must (unfermented grape juice originally made with wine mash). Sweet, nutty, and mysterious. To make. Place 4 pounds of washed and stemmed red grapes in a large heavy pot. Add heat and cover until the skins pop. Then simmer very, very slowly for 1.5 to 2 days. That's right, a day and a half. Last step. Strain through chinois, then reduce to thick syrup without carmelizing the natural sugars. Pour in sterilized bottle. Makes approximately 8 ounces. Use in place of balsamic vinegar. You may be able to find this in a few gourmet stores. It, like high quality balsamic vinegar is expensive. Expect to pay about $25 for a small bottle.

Monday, July 6, 2009

lance armstrong continues his not a comeback tour

If your nickname is m.o.i. then July means fireworks, farm fresh fruits and vegetables, and Le Tour. All together that spells fun.

The 2009 edition of Le Tour, which, unless you live in a sandbox, you'll know marks the return of the dude with the yellow bracelet who's trying to stay young and win another maillot jaune is starting to heat up and this just the 3rd day of racing.

An eighth Armstrong victory would be in the pantheon of sports most unreachable achievements - along side of DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and Cy Young's 511 career victories. Hell, Armstrong's 7 straight wins will likely never be repeated. For him to add an eighth win after a 3-year hiatus would be remarkable. It's possible but improbable.

The biggest obstacle will come from his own teammate Alberto Contador. However, Armstrong's attacking maneuvers on day 3 indicate that the man means business and that Director Sportif, Johann Bruyneel, may not be able to control Team Astana from the backseat of the race car. Armstrong was able to go on a small breakaway that split the field and and left Contador stranded in the peleton fighting a headwind. The move catapulted Armstrong into 3rd place in the GC and will likely garner lots of media attention. That's the primary reason for making such a move. There's still plenty of sun left to shine on this one; don't get too bothered yet. The team time trail (Wednesday) and the big mountains will help to see whether or not Astana can work as a team.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

strength in action: the 2009 gritty 50

The 3rd Annual Gritty 50 turned out to be a bit of a holiday from the sun, sand, and sorrow that usually greet those who paddle the Kansas (or Kaw) River. Several rounds of thunderstorms that swept through the region the previous day and evening may have kept many from getting a full nights sleep but it didn't seem to slow most of the 50 or so racers who left the 8th Street ramp in Lawrence under cloudy skies, calm winds, and intermittent drizzle. The favorites flew off the front and by the first turn all but the serious contenders had been lost in the muddy waters. The cloud cover remained intact for most of the day and the winds, which had been expected to pick up, never ceased being much more than a breeze at your back. This didn't mean that suffering wasn't to be found; favorable conditions meant that folks were able to push themselves to the limit and not bonk on a sand bar.

Womens Solo (left to right): JoJo Newbold, 2nd; Di McHenry (1st); Lisa Grosmann (3rd).

Brian Hopkins, Columbia, MO successfully defended his men's solo title ahead of the entire field riding a flaming Surf Ski to a new course record. Hopkins was able to push the course record into previously uncharted territory (a little more than 6 hours) which may set himself up for some serious challenges come 2010. For those of you who like to do the math, Hopkins was able to motor over the entire 50-mile course very close to 8 mph; take away the portage and round up and you'll see this was some impressive work.

After last years humbling experience we piloted the lantern rouge boat for this years race which turned out to be only a small test of our patience. We were off the river by 1500 hours. OK. We only had to go to Edwardsville (34 miles) but this meant the slowest boats averaged about 5 mph over the race course. An impressive showing from the group as whole and indicates how the level of competitive flat-water paddling has increased in Mid-America over just a few short years. Kudos to the Rivermiles staff who proved once again they know how convince folks to suffer gladly.

final 2009 gritty 50 results
gritty 50 summer fashion show

Friday, July 3, 2009

sarah palin resigns to attend michael jackson memorial concert

It has nothing to do with jokes by David Letterman. She did sound a little nutty (no, COMPLETELY INSANE!) during her press conference. Maybe she, like the Governor of South Carolina, has met her soul mate.

Image: Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm, Whitehouse, OH

sarah palin summer concert tour

senator kit bond talks Echinacea pallidia

Senator Kit Bond waxes poetic about the Pale Purple Coneflower and wetlands ecosystem restoration. Sen. Bond spoke at a ribbon cutting at the foot of Main St. for a USACE constructed wetland. Unfortunately it's a wetland project that prefers to pump groundwater when ample surface water is available but still it's another cog in the agonizingly slow riverfront development and meaningful access to KC riverfront heritage. Once the pedestrian/bike bridge is constructed (within the next year) the River Market, the Town of Kansas Pedestrian Bridge, and Berkeley Riverfront Park will be effectively linked by a trail.

warrior ant press: river otter day