Wild Life Of A Little Monster

Others are scared of me because of all the fun I have. Considered a vigilante by my Eponine.

Northland Notoriety

My neck of the woods, my 'hood, really is a safe area of town. Neighborly, nice pockets of communities, rich homes and poor homes, good schools, diverse population, and lower crime rates. A place anyone would enjoy calling home.

Discovered Saturday night that we had a notable neighbor. A woman named Shauntay Henderson. Not known for being friendly. As a matter of fact, she was wanted for murder. Nice, huh?

Glad to post that she was caught. She was nabbed just as the America's Most Wanted television show was announcing that she had been added to the FBI Top-10 list.

I'm feeling pretty good about losing this neighbor.

Speaking Of Voting

There's a 20-something dude that works in my office building. The other day he mentioned that he has never voted.

His parents, Vietnamese immigrants, provided him a very disciplined and organized life. They made sure he was protected and sheltered, not overly paticipatory (they likely thought it all a distraction) in activities, and smart. He tells me he studied, studied, studied. When he was done with homework, he says they would tell him to do it all again. He had part-time work, and was required to hand over his paychecks to his parents. He tells me the parents told him and his siblings that they were not smart enough to handle their money.

Evidently, they also didn't think he was smart enough to vote. Or something. It was not something they encouraged. It also is not something for which he has developed an appreciation. He finds my fascination with voting as entertainment. I'm preaching. I hope to eventually be able to report his conversion.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voter turnout among U.S. young people was 47 percent in the 2004 presidential election. That is 11 percent higher from the 2000 presidential election. Minnesota young'uns lead the nation, with 68.7 percent voting in 2004. Next were Wisconsin, 63 percent, and Iowa, 62.2 percent.

Hawaii's participation of younger voters was 29.7 percent, last in the nation. Arkansas was next, 36 percent, followed by Tennessee, 38.2 percent, and Texas, 38.5 percent.

Each Vote Counts

Last Tuesday, took part in Kansas City's election for a new mayor and city council. Voting is so exciting to me. I make it a point to go in the morning, before going to work. I want to wear the "I Voted Today" sticker through the entire day. I know, I know. I'm just providing you more proof of my nerd quotient.

Mark Funkhouser won by 1,010 votes over Alvin Brooks. Mr. Funkhouser dominated the part of the city north of the Missouri River - in Clay and Platte counties. However, the bulk of the city is in Jackson County, south of the river. Mr. Brooks easily carried that area and came close to winning. Also interesting to note, it was reported that voters pretty much voted along racial lines.

City elections are not partisan. There's a clear majority in the new city council, though. Women. My gut feeling is that the council likely will be effective at getting much done. Kansas City, like many other cities, is in the midst of downtown development and other key initiatives taking place. Effective leadership without a doubt is a requirement if it will all happen.

The Last Ones

Officially, the NCAA calls the last four teams playing "The Final Four." Somehow, though, when your team is not one playing and your bracket in the pool is long done, it seems like it's just the last ones still playing. Ho hum.

Just three short years ago, my Cowboys were playing in The Final Four. I could barely contain myself leading up to the Saturday games. I wore orange every day that week. We were favored over Georgia Tech and many experts out there were giving us a good chance to win it all. Geez. That was an exciting time. Losing in the last few seconds, it was a very memorable game.

I taped the game. About three months later watched it again. Even prayed that there might be a different outcome. There wasn't.

I can just imagine the excitement for all those loyal and true to the Georgetown Hoyas, UCLA Bruins, Florida Gators or Ohio State Buckeyes.

Locals Make Good

My little hometown in Oklahoma had a weekly newspaper. It's still published, once a week, last I heard. All the townsfolk would be giddy each time a home-town kid won an award or done good. Not just a kid, adults too. It always was front-page news and often included pictures and more coverage inside the issue.

MMB recently was a guest panelist at a BlogHer convention. It took place in New York City. I'm sure her reviews were fantastic. She reports it was a great gathering.

Just discovered that Phil and Melinda are from Oklahoma. They are finalists on the current American Idol. Phil is from Shawnee, Oklahoma (home of the country's very first Sonic, if my trivia suits me well), while Melinda is from the Tulsa area. She graduated from Union High School. She is a Belmont University grad and now claims Tennessee as home.

I'm so proud of my homies.

Scary Moments

Trusting everyone knows/has heard about the pet-food scare. I hope, at least. The news stories really have bummed me. I purposely have not posted anything as a form of avoidance. I am slowly making the rounds through all the blogs I know. My hope is that there's only good news and that this scare will soon be behind us.

Was backing out the driveway today and noticed a little canine walking down the street. I stopped, walked up the sidewalk a ways, then sat on my knees and whistled. She reservedly came to me. Sonya was the name on the tag. After some cordial salutations, I lifted her and took off walking.

A dude several houses up apparently saw me walking up the street with her in tow and came outside. I asked for her name before the surrender. He got it right, promised that she's a family member and pointed out that someone left the garage door open. She had one white sock. It kind of looked like a 2-inch cast on about a 5-inch leg.

About put LMc's daughter in permanent time out today. She's testing my last nerve. This four-year-old has no hesitation scowling and letting me know she is not happy with me or is angry at me for having to scold her. Who cares that she just hit her sister or is rude to me. Child logic.

GW In The House!

The U.S. President was in the 'hood Tuesday. He stopped by to say hello. His priorities have been all over the place lately, but he's been making it a point to stop by to visit more often. He knows it makes me feel good.

On this visit, W took a look at a GM plant close to downtown, actually in Kansas City, Kansas. Then he hopped over to the Ford plant in Claycomo, Missouri. That's north of the river and east a little. The two auto plants work on gas/electric hybrid engines and vehicles.

The Commander in Chief talked about his energy agenda. He promoted cars that use less or no gasoline as a way to reduce oil consumption. He's hyping his 20-10 plan, which is to reduce gasoline use by 20 percent over the next 10 years, mainly through the use of hybrids and alternative fuels like ethanol, ethanol/gasoline blends and biodiesel.

I'll challenge myself to work at doing my part. Thanks for the visit, W.

Also visiting, last week the Extreme Makeover folks were back in town. The big reveal was Sunday. They took this 1,000-square-foot home, tore it down and created this multi-level, thousands-of-square-feet home for a wife, husband and seven kids.


There's a new monster in the blogosphere. His name is Parker. He's perfect. Be sure to check out his site, appropriately titled "Perfectly Parker." His human lady spends time at Wayside Waifs. Although my path has crossed with hers, we don't officially know each other. But, like it is with many of you, I feel like I do.

It's Not Easy Being Green

St. Pat's breakfast - green eggs, grapes, honeydewO & M greeted me St. Patrick's Day morning by crawling onto bed and shouting "Wake up Uncle Cowboy! Where's your green?" Luckily, I slept with a green t-shirt and Lucky Brand boxers covered with clovers.

After about 30 minutes of cartoon watching (The Littles to be precise), we went to the kitchen to start our breakfast cooking. We made sure everything was appropriate for a March 17 breakfast. We even had a bouquet of green flowers.

Although the meal was perfect, the girls likely did go a little overboard with the green food coloring in our scrambled eggs. It was funny that I had to assure them that the eggs would taste the same, even if they are green. The menu also included grapes and honeydew. Only the bacon escaped the green coloring!
Our St. Paddy's napkins
The Wife brought along some fun napkins. Pictured are the cat napkins. Because the cats are so cute, per O, she said she couldn't wipe her hands on them. She used the other side.

The Wife also brought a set that had a St. Patrick dude driving a car that was full of snakes. The snakes are making those classic traveling comments like "I need to pee," "I'm hungry," "Are we there yet," and "He's touching me." The bottom of the napkin said "Saint Patrick regrets his decision to drive the snakes out of Ireland." It was a fun breakfast and did not once include a "finish your food" directive.

I once worked with a visiting employee from the UK. She was amazed with our parade, green-wearing folks and festivities. She was even more fascinated that Hallmark had rows and rows of St. Pat's cards. "Americans are silly," she told me.

Yes, we are. Hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day.

It's A Sweet Ride

The Artist, The Wife, O & M arrived Friday night. I was excited about their visit. They can't come by to see me enough. The girls hit the road Saturday morning, while The Artist and I were left to our manly ways to explore Kansas City.

The day included hooking up with LLYNNT. The plan was to see a movie, but we ended up enjoying a late lunch in Parkville, going into the city to check out a home she is considering, running by to see BET and her mister and other galavanting.

While heading north to take LLYNNT back to her car, she queried when was the last time I had the front end of the car checked. I'll admit, I was driving along hoping no one else was having the driving experience I was having. My ears were popping and the car felt like it was pounding. I noticed it some while driving to and from Oklahoma City but just haven't had time. Long story short, one tire was shot and the others were in fairly poor shape.

Splurge purchase on Sunday -- four new tires. I'm back to smooth sailing! It's a HUGE difference. It's by far a sweet ride.

Tires Plus on Vivion was my store of choice. They were very helpful. It's easy to feel uncomfortable in these situations, but these folks kept me cool and calm. I did not feel like I was being taken advantage of. I felt confident in their expertise and recommendations, and I felt like I was getting high-quality tires that were affordable. And they were prompt and appeared efficient. The tech even made himself available for questions. I am certain I will return.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Wuz Photogenic

Time for Kansas City's Fuzzy Foto contest. It features Kansas Citians with their little monsters. You and I take a look at the photos online and then vote for our favorites. Each vote is $5. Proceeds benefit the No More Homeless Pets KC project and the Kansas City Free Health Clinic.

Voting ends April 2. Winners are announced at a Yappy Hour on April 5. Even if you don't vote, take a glance at the pics. The three with felines are awesome. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image and to learn details about the creature featured.

The dog with Kurt Oetting belongs to a man I know. He's a lawyer. As a matter of fact, he and I are separated by one digit -- his cell phone number has a 2 where I have a 3. The other six numbers are a match. I discovered this fact when a repair dude called me to let me know he was on the way to work on the garage door. It wasn't mine, though. There's also a female performer in a pic with a dog. Years ago I saw her (not the dog) perform at a charity event.

Besides that, I know none of the humans. There is a news anchor that I bet I would recognize if he was walking his dogs down the street.

Basketball Madness, It's Crazy

The OSU Cowboys lost in the first round of the NIT to Marist. Can you frickin' believe it? It stinks. But hey, good for Marist. That school is celebrating its first ever win in the NIT or NCAA tournament.

In honor of The Meezers, in the basketball pool at work, I picked the Pittsburgh Panthers to go all the way and win the NCAA Championship. They won Thursday night. Just five more games to go.

I was the only one in our pool to pick Pittsburgh. That means if they come through, I could be the big winner! However, the sports dudes are saying that Virginia Commonwealth University, coming off their win over Duke, likely will give Pitt a big-time run for their money. Too much of a run and my bracket entry is done.

Slow Dancing

The BAckMan's not happy, but will surviveMy Cowboys lost to Texas Saturday in the semis of the Big 12 Tournament. It was another exciting and close game. It even felt like the team just might make it happen. But within the last minute or so the hope waned and myself and others dressed in the brighter shade of orange hooped and hollered less. The final score was 69-64.

Texas played Kansas in the finals. Attended that game too. I wore brown. It was an effort to look neutral but probably blended in with some burnt orange. The game was a thriller. Texas dominated early, ahead by 22. It all shortly fell apart and by the end of regulation, the Big 12 final required OT for the first time ever. Basketball can switch so quickly. That's part of the excitement.

KU prevailed and is a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Texas also is in one of those brackets. My Cowboys didn't make it. We're playing in the NIT. I hope we do well. Our season sure has been a mixed bag. However, there's no doubt I'd hop on a plane for NYC if we are able to win a few.

Made the drive back home safely last night, despite thinking it was 8 when it actually was 9 p.m.

Gave the Ack's son some OSU shoes. He wore them recently for a "spirit day" at the daycare. He doesn't look particularly happy in this pic that the daycare folks snapped. I think the pic was taken just after an OSU loss.

If you're following a team, I hope it does well!

Recharged And Running

A huge bracket on the arena's side. Thrilling to see my team advance!
The car was towed from the downtown Oklahoma City parking lot and within only a few hours, the shop dude was calling with mostly good news. Said the car was fixable. That it wasn't out cold and likely still had many more miles in its future. This Cowboy escaped with just a new battery. The tow bill is supposed to be reimbursed by the insurance company. It should get me home safely on Sunday.

After falling apart late in the season, the OSU Cowboys are acting like someone got them a new battery. It's amazing! The team squeaked out a last-second win Friday night over the tournament's No. 2 seed (and ranked in the top 10 in the country) Texas A&M. The final score was 57-56.

With the tournament, for the first time ever, hosted by Oklahoma City, the folks wearing orange far out numbered most other fans. However, in Friday's early game, I was really surprised by the big showing by Kansas Jayhawks fans. There were gobs of them. I guess they have been playing fantastic ball lately, are the tournament's No. 1 seed, may get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and have fans that are fanatical about 'Hawk basketball.

The Ford Center in Oklahoma City is a great venue and, so far, an awesome spot for Cowboys. However, the super close victory and gut-wrenching last three shots taken and missed by A&M during the final 10 seconds of the game almost provided me a heart attack. But folks clad in orange were hollering and going hog wild as the clock showed 00:00. I still can't believe it!

Next up is the Texas Longhorns, the tournament's No. 3 seed and a team ranked in the country's top 25. Hope the new-found resurgence by the Cowboys still has some juice in it!

Congrats also to the Pittsburgh Panthers for their win Friday night. A special shout out to the Meezers and their mom.

Real Fan Test

A "real fan" packs four or more orange shirts (or the appropriate school color for you) for a four-day conference tournament. You have to believe your team will keep winning and playing into the championship game. Even if your team has lost more games in its last 10 or more outings than it has won. Never quit believing!

The Cowboys won Thursday night. The team is next tangling with the Aggies of Texas A&M. That game is Friday at 6 p.m.

(Side note: After a five-hour drive to Oklahoma City, returned to the car after the evening's tournament games and the car wouldn't start. Staying calm and wearing orange.)

Speaking Of 40 Year Olds

Schramwich Wife and sis celebrate 40 at Hard Rock Hollywood, CASchramwich Wife sent an e-mail Tuesday with a report that Anna Groovy Girl got to make a visit to school today with Liv. That was a nice little message to receive during the middle of the work day. It's cool that a Christmas gift still has some "popularity" in March.

Yesterday sent Schramwich Wife a birthday card. She celebrates Friday, marking her 40th. Yesterday she was 23 and meeting MSchramwich for the first time. That was yesterday, wasn't it? The card had a cat on it with a little boxing glove-type necklace. The inside said, "You're still a knock out."

Tuesday is SAS's birthday. I don't think she's 40. Yet. SAS sent a great update e-mail over the weekend. She was attending a trade show in Florida and ran into an old boss of ours. He asked her about me. She and I had a fun exchange of e-mails and remembrance of times together. She is quite proud of her new, insurance-paid for, roof on her home. Nice.

The nephew in North Carolina and a friend in town, the one that hosted the Halloween party, celebrate over the weekend. RMc parties on the 14th and JLB on the 17th. Lots of family and friends celebrating their days. You know, nine or about 10 months prior to early March would be right after Mother's Day, just around Father's Day. Think there's a relation?

Just thinking about their potential birthday cakes inspired me to treat myself to 6 Oreos. They were low-fat ones.

A Good Egg

My 40-something sister called Sunday night. Hold on. Maybe she's just now 40 and turns 41 this summer. I can't remember. In any case, she's pregnant. She told me not to tell anyone, so I figure there's no harm mentioning it here. No one will know.

I'm a little jealous, but very happy for her and her sweet, young thing partner. Actually, he's not that young. Probably 30ish. Not sweet either. OK. I'll admit that he's an alright guy. And Sis is a good egg. They'll be fantastic, very California, Bay Area-stereotypical parents. The baby should make itself known around mid-August. I really am excited for them.

Sis tells me her two current kids (as opposed to her former :) or future kids), my niece and nephew, handled the news fine. The oldest is a student at Berkeley while the youngest is just learning to drive.

Funny how the apple often doesn't fall far from the tree. Sis and I were late-in-life babies for our folks. I have siblings from seven to 20 years older than me.

I'll be sure to post a pic when junior/junioretta arrives. Maybe I'll even zoom to the West Coast to check out the little bundle of joy.

What A Difference A Week Makes

Here's a recap of a Saturday, a week later:
6:15 - turn off alarm and decide to sleep in a little.
8:30 - get out of bed, search through cabinets for coffee.
9:15 - cupboards were bare; run to buy cup of coffee.
9:40 - do laundry, sort through stuff at home, work a little.
10:15 - make three biscuits (the ones that come like a dozen in a bag).
10:35 - eat biscuits with orange marmalade.
11 - read last Sunday's paper.
12:30 - watch OSU Cowboys lose again.
2:45 - greet Daphne for an overnight stay while her folks go to Columbia.
3 - watch more college basketball on television.
4 - grab Daphne and decide to take a nap.
6:15 - wake up from nap, hang out in backyard with Daph for a minute.
6:30 - chill, watch more tv.
7:15 - warm up a can of soup, give Daphne more treats, watch tv.
9:30 - watch early news.
10 - watch more news.
10:30 - watch beginning of a repeat of Saturday Night Live.
11 - go to sleep cuddling Daphne.

There probably was more stuff than just this, but it is all I can remember. The point - it was a wonderfully relaxing, incredibly lazy, boring day. Just what the doctor likely would have ordered.

When You Care Enough

Heard a great story Monday morning on NPR regarding two former Dallas Cowboys football players. According to NPR's "Morning Edition," these guys are "the first U.S. pro sports teammates to share an organ." That is, Everson Walls donated a kidney to Ron Spring.

Here's a link to the radio broadcast on the NPR site. It's only a few minutes long. There's something about their interviews that I found inspiring, motivating, entertaining and incredibly sincere. Listen in.

Get With The Funk

Voting is very exciting. I think. I it is our right and something we should never let pass us by. I voted last week in Kansas City's primary elections for mayor and city council. I even tried to research the candidates as much as I could. Proudly donned my "I Voted Today" sticker all the day long. While I was there, I was the only person voting at my polling location.

Erred in a previous post. We had 12 mayoral candidates, when I had said we had 14. The top two vote getters each received about 25 percent of the vote. Everyone else was in the single digits. I wondered if those statistics hold true for the American Idol contestants as well. If just a few are dominating and the rest bring up the pack? Of course, there's about 100 times more people voting for American Idol than there are voting for Kansas City's mayor. Stuff to ponder.

Someday, I think I might run for our city's council. I've been saying that for years, though. Just like I keep saying I'm going to excercise, lose weight, get picked by a new beast, adopt, save money, finish painting the dining room .... :)

Mark Funkhouser was one of the top vote getters in the mayor's race and moves on to the final election. A little dog named Maria provided him her endorsement. Check out her video on Mr. Funkhouser's website. I predict we'll see more and more candidates in ads that feature their little monsters. Bet on it!