Showing posts from June, 2016

#12 and #5: The KC Experience and Another State Down

So, we're back from vacation and I can finally do this: Despite having been to Kansas City at least twice before this trip, I don't think I've ever managed to sneak across the border that's like, right there and check out the other side. We made it official this trip since we had to return our too short barstools to IKEA, where, as usual, we brought too much candy and spent money. (We also snagged some Ligonberry Jam so we could make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our lunches instead of just PB sandwhiches, but tragically, it didn't make it out of Lincoln, NE.) So, I've been to Kansas, which brings my total up to 36 states! Only 14 left to go! But we also got a better sense of Kansas City as a place... we sort of had to tailor our schedule to take Little Dude into account (who is one sweaty baby and dislikes heat intensely) and with intense heat blanketing the area on our arrival, we sort of chilled out a little bit and took some time to enjoy o

This Week In Vexillology #171

We're back to our regularly scheduled programming this week and back in the islands, this time, with the flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Adopted on October 21st, 1985, the flag consists of three vertical bands of blue, yellow and green with three diamonds in the center representing the Grenadine Islands which are part of the country. They also recall the nickname for Saint Vincent as 'the gems of the Antilles.' The blue in the flag represents the tropical sky and the crystal waters, the yellow stands for the golden sands of the Grenadines and green is for the lush vegetation of the islands. The diamonds are set lower in the flag recalling their geographic location in the Antilles chain. From 1979 to 1985, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines used variants of this flag- which, instead of the diamonds, have a realistic breadfruit leaf and the arms of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the center of the flag. The arms of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are ki

Ashes of Brexit

Well, shit. Some genius cut a line somewhere on our development last Friday, so I was forced to dash in and out of the internet to check the progress of the Great Brexit Vote last night and collapsed in a heap assuming, as many people did, that it would be a narrow, razor thin margin of victory for the Remain Camp. Instead, I woke up to find that, no, in fact, people had apparently done the opposite and voted to Leave- admittedly, by a razor thin margin of victory. Well, shit. Look, I'm sitting on my perch across an ocean and let's be honest here- there are family ties to the mother country but nostalgia is really what drives my connection at this point. And an expired passport that I'm going to have to renew at some point, but won't, in fact guarantee my wife or children freedom of movement around Europe as it had me- that's assuming there's much of a UK left to move back to in order to secure them dual citizenship, which the Missus and I have long talked o

My Vote Project: Free Your Mind

Chapter One of long, protracted national nightmare reached it's formal conclusion last week with the DC Primary. It's over. At last and we find ourselves left with two of the least appetizing candidates imaginable: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. There are still some things left to discuss...  what does Bernie extract in terms of support/platform planks to official endorse Hillary? Who are the Vice Presidential picks going to be? Will the country disintegrate in disgust between now and November? Will be finally have an answer to that fateful question: 'What if they held an election and nobody came?' I don't know, but as I noted, these choices are less than thrilling. My socks are remaining firmly in the 'up' position and have yet to show any indication they're going to be rolling up and down any time soon. So, here's where this nightmare of a primary season has left me: 1. Donald Trump: Nope. Nope. Nope. Big bag of nope. Hell nope. Let me tel

This Week In Vexillology: Flag Day Weekend Trifecta

It was Flag Day this week and although I'm technically on vacation at various points to the south and west I figured what better way to celebrate Flag Day than to take a look at the flags of the various states that we're visiting while we're out and about for the long weekend.  First up, Kansas: Yikes. The unfortunate trend of 'seal on a bedsheet' which is all too common for state flags is alive and well in Kansas- and, just in case you were wondering what state you were in, should you happen to see a Kansas flag flying, it helpfully informs you: KANSAS as in, THIS IS THE FLAG OF KANSAS. Which is a pity, because the seal is actually pretty decent as these things go. First up, we've got a sunflower (Kansas is 'The Sunflower State') over a bar of gold and light blue. Then we get into the seal, which has a lot going on. There's a landscape with a rising sun. A river and a steamboat (for commerce) a settler's cabin and a dude plowing a field

Boozehound Unfiltered: Michter's Bourbon

This month's edition of Boozehound Unfiltered capped of a very enjoyable evening with friends and family. We grilled out, we ate, we got the baby to sleep and the kids safely enraptured by the wonders of watching Frozen for the umpteenth time. (Shout-out to one of the nieces, who fell asleep and ended up half falling off the couch and had her head on the floor- which would have woken pretty much anyone else up, but she slept through it like a champ.) Then, we busted out the beers and the booze and had some adult fun.* As a company, the Michter's brand can trace it's history all the way back to the American Revolution and 1753 Pennsylvania- George Washington himself visited the distillery and purchased whiskey to keep his soldiers warm during the long winter at Valley Forge. It's changed names a couple of times over the centuries, but survived prohibition and all the way up to 1989 before a downturn in the industry forced bankruptcy. Happily, the brand was revived by

Arguing About Semantics

I succumbed to a mild bout of irritation this afternoon as our alleged leaders of both parties continued to bicker over words, rhetoric and other pointless things. So, first of all: Watch this. I'm not a huge Samantha Bee fan as she tends to be a little too progressive-preachy for my liking sometimes- but then again I haven't seen that much of her show either. After seeing this, I might start. If you weren't expecting someone on television to channel to sheer unadulterated fury and impotent rage a large chunk of the country must be feeling in the wake of our latest tragedy, guess again. Go, watch. Read this. This flashed across my Twitter feed this morning, courtesy of a RT from the always excellent Caitlin Moran. I clicked the link, read it, thought 'well this makes a lot of sense and seems pretty damn true to me' so I gave it a RT myself. Then I saw President Obama unleash on Donald Trump about his refusal to use the term 'radical Islam'- h e calle

This Week In Vexillology #170

This Week In Vexillology, we're still kicking around the Caribbean Sea moving north from Trinidad and Tobago to take a look at the flag of Saint Lucia. (Which, yeah, bears a passing resemblance to the Delta-Symbol from Star Trek- at least a little bit, anyway.) Settled in 1635 by the French, Saint Lucia got passed back and forth between the British and the French multiple times over the centuries until the Treaty of Paris in 1815, which saw Britain take final, permanent control of the island- it became a crown colony of the United Kingdom that year. It joined the West Indies Federation from 1958-1962* and when that didn't work out, it became an associated state of the United Kingdom and adopted it's currently flag which it retained after independence in 1979. What does it all mean? Well, the blue in the flag is for the sky and the sea (specifically the Atlantic and Caribbean). The black and the white are for the harmonious relationship between the black and white races

The Queasiness of History

I want to be happy about this. I feel like I should be happy about this, but as I sat in Dispatch on my second break on Wednesday, I found myself anything but happy about it and I wasn't quite sure why. I've thought the inability of the United States to elect a woman to it's highest office has long been a ridiculous pet peeve of mine and now, finally, a qualified woman had, for the first time in history won the Presidential nomination of a major political party and I honestly wasn't sure I could bring myself to vote for her. Politics in this country needs to change and I mean absolutely and Hillary Clinton, whether you love her, hate her or just get utterly queasy at the thought of voting for her, is a card-carrying, dyed in the wool member of the political establishment.* She reeks of it. She oozes it. She is just another politician and that might work for some people- hell, it might work for a lot of people- enough to make her President, even, but I'm not sure

'Deadpool' --A Review

While the Missus was using up her Pottery Barn giftcards, Little Man and I took a gander around the Jordan Creek Mall and, on a whim, I snagged Deadpool on blu-ray. Then, when we got home and got the kids to bed, the Missus and I sat down and watched it. Let's be one hundred percent clear: This is the best X-Universe movie so far. Don't get me wrong: Days of Future Past was excellent... I enjoyed the Wolverine movie (not X-Men Origins: Wolverine , the other one) and X2: X-Men United ranks right up there with Spiderman 2 as one of the best entries in the increasingly sprawling genre that is the superhero movie. Deadpool , however, took things to an entirely different level. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) runs around a Canadian city that, while never named, looks a hell of a lot like Vancouver, handling contract killings and roughing up creepers for a little bit of money here and there. His days in the special forces are behind him and he seems perfectly content to just

Couldn't Happen To Nicer People

Full disclosure: I wander through Gawker and it's affiliated sites on a fairly regular basis- though the actual mothership probably isn't my most-visited site, I give it a go from time to time, but really, Deadspin and io9 are where I'm usually to be found. I could really give half a shit about the whole Hulk Hogan sex tape thing, but the reaction to the news that Billionaire Peter Thiel was the guy funding Hogan's lawsuit the whole time is sort of amusing to say the least. Billionaire do this. I detest the whole 'money is speech' notion, because it reduces our basic rights to commodities and that's just bullshit. The Constitution doesn't say that you can have as many rights as you can buy- it says everyone has the same rights under the law. More money shouldn't buy you more rights. But, as I said, billionaires do this. The difference is that when billionaires like Tom Steyer or George Soros fund lawsuits that liberals and progressives like, t

This Week In Vexillology #169

This Week in Vexillology, we're swapping one set of island nations for another and heading back across the Pacific, through Central America and out into the Caribbean Sea to take a look at the flag of Trinidad and Tobago: Adopted following independence from the United Kingdom on August 31st, 1962, this striking flag is known as The Sun-Sea-Sand Banner (which seems appropriate, as I'm thinking that a Caribbean nation probably has a surplus of all three of those things.) Red represents fire and the sun (also courage), black is for earth (also dedication) and white is for water (also purity and equality). Just a casual glance through Trinidad and Tobago's WikiPage makes for fascinating reading. Settled originally by indigenous tribes in the area, Spain soon moved in and ran the joint for three centuries or so- which would have been fine and dandy and probably lead to an inevitable changing of hands at some point, but it looks like they landed a governor, Don Jose Maria

Squawk Box: Coming This Fall

Well, early last month the networks did their usual shenanigans cancelling a ton of shows (goodbye to Nashville and Castle ) and dropping the usual hefty amounts of previews for new shows that have been picked up for the fall season. Some notable trends are immediately obvious- with CBS rolling out Limitless last year, that meant every one had to take a turn at adapting a movie to television and boy oh boy are there plenty to choose from: Rush Hour: For the love of God, why? Training Day: Oh, so they flipped the races and the African-American young Detective type is going to teach Bill Paxton important lessons about sensitivity, justice and race in modern America? Sounds amazing! The Exorcist: Meh. Not really my type of show Lethal Weapon: Strangely, I might give this a go. I think a lot is riding on the chemistry between Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans, Sr. but it's got some potential Frequency: Hmmm... well, I've never actually seen the movie, so why not give it

Bye, Quad

Little Dude was having a rough day last week, which the Missus and I thought meant that teeth were imminent, but no, he just really needed to poop and like us was probably tired of living in a sweatbox for a couple of nights. Needless to say, I planned some car trips to see if he would drop off to sleep- and both times he did, but on Trip #2 in the late afternoon, I swung through McDonald's to get a Happy Meal for Little Man (who had been a really good sport for the majority of the day) and then I realized that since Little Dude was still sleeping, I might as well swing up and take one last look at Quad. I have no idea why I like Quad quite so much. I didn't even live there: I lived in Hillcrest. But in the year I spent working for the Security Division, I spent inordinate amounts of time walking the dorms and got to know them all very well- and Quad quickly became my favorite and everyone I tell this too thinks I'm either a. crazy b. stupid or c. just a little bi