Monday, October 27, 2008

It aint easy being a Chief's fan

After 12 straight losses, our beloved KC Chiefs FINALLY won a game! The hated Donkeys fron Denver were vanquished in front of 70,00 screaming Arrowhead fanatics.

Then the very next week, they put up just over 120 total yards of offense and ZERO points against Carolina. That's the first shutout in over five years.

The next week against the undefeated Titans, Chiefs fans were treated to a brand new and even more painful kick in the gut. Our starting QB Brodie Croyle, who suffered a shoulder injury in the first game of the season, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter of his first game since the shoulder boo boo.

When it rains it pours.

And yet we are still Chiefs fans. Aint no fair weather bandwagon fans in this family. We were born Chiefs fans, and we may be Chiefs fans who die without seeing the Chiefs in the Super Bowl again, but we will at least be loyal.

Dad took us boys to Chiefs games in the 70's when we really sucked and had no chance to get better. I remember one Raiders game in particular. It was sooooo cold that we took our sleeping bags, drank hot cocoa, and still froze to death. We lost, but after the game we got autographs from the winning team, the Raiders. We got Madden, Stabler, and some of the other stars. I wish I still had those!

Hope springs eternal in a Chiefs family.

Even with the losses, this team has some promising parts. We had a great draft, and with our record, we look to be a high pick this year again. Another lineman or two and a solid, sturdy quarterback, not made of tinfoil (Croyle), we just make a push for the playoffs next year.

So, like Chiefs fans everywhere, I say, "there is always next year!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fools in the Rain - Ben Folds Concert

It has been quite some time since either of us waited in line for a general admission show. The last one I remember was Jimmy Page's solo tour at Memorial Hall (another blog for another time). We waited in the rain for over 45 minutes to get into KC's historic Uptown Theater to see Ben Folds. Not bad for a couple of fortysomethings with a two-year-old baby (baby did not attend).

The opening band, AKA "music to dry out by", featured Aussie Missy Higgins. Backed by a solid band, Missy rocked out like Fiona Apple with a guitar and an accent.

Missy's band was a good warm-up and dry-out act ... but this crowd was ready for Ben.

Ben Folds is a quirky Billy Joel for the geeky nerds of this generation. Ben can rock a piano like Jerry Lee Lewis, write melodies like Lennon/McCartney, and kick out smart-ass lyrics like Cake and Weezer.

Click here for a You Tube video of "Song for the Dumped."

The crowd was ready to rock after standing in the deluge, and Ben Folds and his band did not disappoint. Ben's playing style is more like attacking the piano than playing it. He stood up for most songs in an almost fencing stance, rocking back and forth, pounding the keys, all the while singing and playing to the crowd.

The show opened with songs from the new album "Way to Normal." Sometimes you go to a concert, and you just can't wait for the band to get though the "new stuff." Not the case here. The man just cannot write a bad song. And as if to prove it, he and the band wrote fake songs based on each of the titles of the new album and released them on the Internet as a joke. But the problem was, they were really good songs, and fans and the band liked some of them as much as the real ones--so they added several to the set list.

Ben told stories about some of the lyrics, joked with the crowd, and generally fed off the good vibe in the room.

The show featured two encores with lots of hits and the whole show lasted over 2-1/2 hours. This was one of the best shows we've been to in quite a while, and will definely catch Ben the next time he is in KC.

Set list compliments of Back to Rockville Blog - KC Star

Way to Normal
This Song Has No Title
You Don’t Know Me (with Missy Higgins)
Dr. Yang (fake)
Dr. Yang
Anne Waits
Frown Song
The Bitch Went Nuts
Kylie from Connecticut
Free Coffee
Free Coffee Town
Zak and Sarah
The Bitch Went Nuts (fake )

Still Fighting It
My Philosophy
Rocking the Suburbs
Frown Song (fake)
Not the Same

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oil Tycoon Turns Green Crusader

"This is one emergency we can't drill our way out of."

So says legendary oil man T. Boone Pickens, about the current energy costs that are well on their way to turn into this generation's energy crisis.

With the emerging economies in China and India, oil is just going to keep getting more expensive and more scarce. Drilling is not the answer. It is time to start in earnest the shift to alternative energy sources.

We import 70 percent of our oil at the cost of over 700 billion a year. In 1970 the number was only 20 percent. This percentage is increasing every year. As Pickens says, "Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion — it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind."

There is no silver bullet to fix our energy woes, but Picken's Plan is a nice piece of hardware to start building an arsenal to do it. His plan is to build windmills to generate electricity, and to shift the natural gas they replace to power cars.

Natural gas is our second most plentiful homegrown energy resource. Wind is the most plentiful alternative energy source in Picken's home state of Texas. Experts say that the US could generate as much as 20 percent of our electricity with wind power in less than 10 years. Plus, as the manufacture of hybrid and electric cars starts to ramp up, that wind power means cleaner energy and less foreign oil on the highways of America.

Pickens then proposes to start converting cars to natural gas power. Every car that is converted to homegrown natural gas means a drop in the amount oil we need to import. Natural gas is much cheaper and cleaner than gasoline, and the conversion costs much less than a hybrid or electric conversion.

T. Boone Pickens has heard the call, and has put his money where his mouth is. TV ads are not cheap. Sure, he stands to make a lot of money with the windmills he is financing, but that is not the point. It is time for private industry and the government to get together and solve this crisis and break our addiction to foreign oil.

Look folks, this is one of those clarion calls that we all must answer. As if gas prices, global climate change, and war in the Middle East is not enough, how about the future viability of the American way of life.

Take a look at Picken's Plan:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Strange Bedfellows: Carville and Matalin

My alma mater, MWSU, hosted its 15th annual Convocation on Critical Issues yesterday featuring the political odd couple James Carville and Mary Matalin.

My dad and I attended the presentation. We have gone to several of these events together. Past speakers have included: Gen. Colin Powell, journalists Bob Woodward and Sam Donaldson, historians David McCullough and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., politicians Bill Bradley, Patricia Schroeder, and J.C. Watts and political commentator David Gergen.

I'm not really sure when we discovered the mutual interest in politics, but it is a subject we both enjoy cussing and discussing. We are both Sunday morning political talk show junkies, much to our wives dismay. I think it's the soap opera aspect of it all; politics is often more theater than substance. I suppose it helps that we both share the same party affiliation, even though that does not stop my wife and I from discussing current events regularly. We have diffent views on some issues, but we usually meet in the middle on many issues.

Carville and Matalin met during the Bill Clinton/George H W Bush election; Carville worked for Clinton--Matalin worked for Bush. They married after the election. Talk about politics making strange bedfellows!

If these two polar opposites can make a marriage work, then it is possible for Democrats and Republicans to come together to solve issues that need to be addressed.

The main theme they talked about was that people need to get involved.

Just sitting on the sidelines is not enough this year. They both urged people, especially young people, to vote. But that is not enough; everyone needs to learn about the issues, to contact they representatives at the state and national level, and to make their voice heard on the direction they want us to go as a people.

I hope that everyone out there is engaged in this year's election. It really matters. We all have different views, and we need to discuss them. You may not change someone's mind, but you might just get them to see your side of an issue. You might be liberal or conservative by choice or by birth, but neither party has all the answers and no one can agree on everything. The important thing is to come together to find real solutions that work for us all.

This cycle in politics has been historic in so many ways. I think even folks who had no interest are paying attention this time around. There are big issues and big consequences for our country and our world in this election. I just hope the interest level carries on after Nov. 4th and people stay involved and hold our politicians accountable.