Epic Fail at Kansas City International Airport….Again!

You think I would learn.  This Airport consistently ranks 3rd world in my book.  I feel bad for saying that as I don’t like insulting any place, especially a 3rd world country by comparing them to here.  My thoughts and complaints:

  1.  A strong sewer odor
  2.  Over crowded and lack of seating
  3. Carpets, walls, bathrooms and chairs are Filthy.
  4. Trash cans are overflowing
  5. If you need to eat, forget it
  6. A complete organizational nightmare
  7. Wow! Fly from ANYWHERE else!!

On a positive note, the staff is excellent.  They apologize….a lot

 

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Chris Kattan; SNL’s Gollum Comes to Springfield, Missouri

Chris Kattan is coming to Springfield?  Now that’s worth a trip!

Chris Kattan, an incredible acting talent, famous for his time with Saturday Night Live and movies like Night at the Roxbury and Undercover Brother, came to the Springfield Blue Room Comedy Club on Tuesday night.  I’ve included an SNL video clip at the bottom that is hilarious.

He has performed or at least hobnobbed with some of Hollywood’s most elite actors including Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallen, just to name a few.   This is a big deal

I just can’t seem to let go of the ‘Why” though… Springfield is a great place but not exactly a prime hotspot for his level of talent.  So as usual, I’m counting heads and doing the math and the only conclusion that I can come to is that he must have pissed off his manager and now it’s payback time.

As I was pondering that question, a guy seated at a table to my left apparently ran out of mustard.  He soon spotted a bottle on the table to my right and staggered over only to find that they weren’t willing to part with it..  So, he opens the bottle, fills his bare palm full with mustard and puts the bottle back down on the table.  Problem solved.  His table companions appeared quite pleased with his resourcefulness and each scooped off their share.  I hid our salt and pepper and became familiar with the locations of the exit doors.

The MC had to come up twice to explain the 20 minute delay in the start of the show.  I began to form this silly mental picture of Chris Kattan having to be dragged kicking and screaming back through the bathroom window by the staff, as he was attempting to flee the building, while cursing his manager for booking him here.

After a short parade of warm-up comedians (yawn), Chris appeared and quickly reminded us of why we were there; he is a great Comedian and fun to watch.

The Comedy show was good and afterwards, Chris gracefully posed for pictures but looked less than thrilled when two drunk women wouldn’t let go, demanding more selfies and holding up the line.  His expression of “please, just shoot me now” to the staff saved him and the line continued to flow.   I wished him the best and thanked him for coming here.   To me, his SNL Gollum is my favorite.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Did You Know That Kix Brooks, of The Legendary Country Music Duo Brooks and Dunn, has a Winery?

I love Wineries and am always anxious to try the latest offerings from newer vineyards.  This means Roadtrip!

Arrington Vineyards, which is about 25 minutes south of downtown Nashville, is located  on 75 acres of beautiful Tennessee countryside.  The Vineyard is owned by country music star, Kix Brooks, John Russell and winemaker Kip Summers.

The first vines were planted in 2004 with construction of the winery following in 2006.  The Grand Opening occurred July 1st, 2007.  Today, there are currently 18 different varieties of ultra-premium award winning wines available.  Wine tastings are available inside the beautiful rustic tasting lodge.   My favorite was the Petite Noir 2015 and the Raspberry 2016.

From it’s hilltop setting, the winery includes a gorgeous panoramic view of the Tennessee countryside.  Numerous picnic tables dot the landscape where families and friends are seen enjoying old-fashion picnic lunches and wines from the vineyard.  Live music is featured often and includes Jazz and Bluegrass.

It was a great day at the winery and I can’t wait to return.  Below, is a picture of me next to a gloriously large wine barrel and then a picture of me trying to figure out 1.  How to fit it in my SUV and 2.  How to do this without anyone noticing.  Neither of which were ultimately possible.

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The visit to Arrington Vineyards was definitely worth the trip.  For more information and travel directions go to http://www.arringtonvineyards.com.

 

 

What Matters To You?

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What “Matters” to each of us is subjective, be it racism, child abuse or whatever.  Dr King’s thoughts on what “matters” hopefully provoke a reflective pause within each of us, where we think not only of racism but also of those who are suffering in silence by the actions or inactions of others.  This list, unfortunately, can be tragically long.  I’ll make entry #1 as it’s happening today and it pisses me off.  Please feel free to add your own #’s 2,3,4 etc…

  1.  Yulin, China.  Dog meat eating festival.  The dogs are tortured (skinned alive) and killed. 10-15k a festival.  I’m not a dog lover but this is crap.  I’ve learned what I can.  My part: make you aware and piss you off, check.  Your part: read, learn and get angry also, then tell others.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/world/asia/dog-eaters-in-yulin-china-unbowed-by-global-derision.html?mwrsm=Email&referer=

 

How To Start Traveling using Points and Miles, a Primer.

Let me “dumb this down”.  If you want to save money and improve your Travel Experience, this is a must-read.  If not, exit out and go back to looking for cute cat pictures…ugh!

I know that sounds “snotty” but today is about tough love ❤️.  I have racked up millions of various Hotel/Credit Card/Airline etc… points/miles.  We have the ability to travel in amazing ways and people always seem shocked.  It’s not hard but does require discipline.  So let’s get started….(follow the link below)

‪The Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles: Essential Travel Tips https://thepointsguy.com/guide/beginners/ via @thepointsguy ‬

Branson, Missouri, Lake Life, Adventure and Family Memories

A trip to Branson Missouri means a trip to Table Rock Lake.  While in the City of Branson you can see an excellent Country Music show (yawn) performed by the very best in the business.  Or you get wet!  Brandon Butler provides and excellent lake introduction.

TABLE ROCK LAKE IS THE IDEAL PLACE TO UNWIND
By Brandon Butler

The Missouri Ozarks offer an abundance of spectacular outdoor destinations worthy of visiting. Few, however, compare to Table Rock Lake. With 45,000 acres of surface water and 800 miles of natural shoreline, Table Rock has both the size and scenery to make it one of the premier destinations in America to kick back, relax and unwind in the great outdoors.  The shoreline surrounding Table Rock Lake is protected from expansive development, so no matter where you are on the lake, you’re surrounded by natural scenery. The countless coves and deep pockets make for quiet hideaways, so it’s easy to find your own secluded place to anchor and swim. Pull over on the shore for a picnic in a relaxing spot under a shady tree, or stretch a hammock for a nap. At any time, a white-tailed deer, wild turkey or bald eagle may make an appearance, as wildlife is very abundant. This is just one example of how you can relax on the lake. Here are just a few more of the endless opportunities available to escape the hectic pace at Table Rock Lake.

I didn’t care for all of his examples and included the following as my own.

 

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Yep, Ride The Ducks is an amphibian – this thing really does go from land right into the river. Our Ducks resemble the WWII DUKW in appearance only. The Ride The Ducks vehicle is built, exclusively for us, from the ground-up using the latest in marine safety.  http://www.branson.ridetheducks.com

How About Parasailing?

 

Or an exciting visit to Silver Dollar City?

Silver Dollar City is a special place in the heartland of America where your family can gather together in fun, where traditions are created, memories are shared and where time stops for you to celebrate each other. Our 1880s theme park will turn an ordinary day into a best-ever day with fun that awaits you from a spring-time getaway to a Christmas celebration. What are you waiting for? Come explore new adventures. Experience record-breaking thrills. Discover a world of surprises. And create memories you will remember forever.  Silver Dollar City is located about 5 miles from the Branson Strip at 399 Silver Dollar City Parkway. For additional information visit http://www.silverdollarcity.com

Did I Mention the Famed Showboat, Branson Belle?

 

And for those of you who have completely lost your mind…

Personally, I’m quite happy renting a Pontoon Boat from the State Park Marina and cruising around with my family.  Find a cove, go swimming and eat lunch, simple.

So whatever you choose to do in the Branson area you will certainly have a great time.

 

 

 

Bricktown, Downtown OKC. Definitely worth a visit!

The area now known as Bricktown, just east of the downtown business district, was Oklahoma City’s first warehouse and distribution district. Founded just days after the Land Run of 1889, Bricktown was a central hub for the state and country, connecting via railroad, and later, major interstate highways. It was an area full of diverse activity, housing furniture and hardware stores, a biscuit company, a dairy, cotton producers, wholesale grocers and even a school.

Bricktown began to decline in the 1960s and 70s as Urban Renewal took hold and industry and residents began to move further out of the central city. The area became nearly vacant as buildings became dilapidated or were torn down.

After decades of decline, investors and other forward-thinkers started to show renewed interest in Bricktown. They purchased buildings, began renovations, recruited retail, restaurants, and attractions, and started to advocate publicly for the district.

With the passing of the Metropolitan Area Projects Initiative (MAPS) public facility enhancement project in 1993, Bricktown gained a baseball stadium, a canal with Water Taxi boats, river improvements as well as a nearby concert and sports arena.
Now a thriving urban entertainment district, Bricktown is home to more than 30 restaurants, many bars, clubs, and retail shops, along with family-friendly attractions, museums and galleries. Bricktown generates more sales tax revenue than any other single district in Oklahoma City, and is the gateway to our city for tourists, convention attendees, and day trippers from around the region.  (The prior text was reprinted from welcometobricktown.com  The pictures were taken by me with the assistance of two excellent Moscow Mules.  It’s a miracle I didn’t stumble into the canals)

A List of Norman’s? Seriously?

It appears that once again our Norman’s are out of order.  There is actually a list of famous Norman’s and it’s ranked 1 to 100. http://m.ranker.com/list/famous-people-named-norman/reference  The criteria for the ranking of the list absolutely escapes me especially when, in my opinion, the most important Norman is #28.  Let’s meet Norman #28, but first, let’s get some perspective on this…”List”.

#4  Norman Swartzkoph, U.S. Army General;  Commander in chief, US Central Command, Persian Gulf War.   A worthy top 5 choice.

#32 Norman Rockwell, Saturday Evening Post illustrator.  Greatest Illustrator on Earth…#32.  Really?

#2  Norman Reedus, Actor who plays “Daryl” on AMC’s The Walking Dead.  #2? WTF? He’s a great guy, but #2?

#..  Norman Bates, Hotelier, Bates Motel and complete psychopath.  He didn’t make the list but I just couldn’t resist.  At least Mother would be pleased.

Seriously the list is a mess.  But let’s talk about my favorite Norman #28.  Norman Ernest Borlaug was born in Iowa in 1914.  He went to school and ultimately earned his PHD in Plant Pathology.  He quickly realized that the world had a problem with wheat called “Lodging”.  Wheat, which would grow to about 4 ft tall, would blow over in wind and spoil on the ground, lowering yields to tragic levels.  People were starving.

In the early 1960’s he developed what is best described as a “Semi-Dwarf High-Yield Disease Resistant Wheat Variety” or “Dwarf Wheat”.  It grew to about 2 ft tall, had a thicker stalk and a much larger seed head.  By 1963, Mexico went from struggling to exporting excess wheat from his efforts.  Between 1965-1970, India and Pakistan adopted the Dwarf Wheat and more than doubled their wheat production.  Later in life, he focused on Asia and Africa and the results were equally as wonderful.

Pretty boring stuff right?  In 1970 he was awarded the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE for his efforts, in 1972 he was awarded the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM and in 2006, the CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL amongst many other honors for his efforts in bringing world peace through increasing the world’s food supply.  He is also known as the Father of the Green Revolution.  Norman Borlaug died at 95 in Dallas, Texas in 2009.

This “nobody you’ve never heard of” is credited with saving over a Billion lives from starvation.  I challenge you to top that!  #28! Really?!  He is my Norman of choice and he should be nowhere near #28.  Food for Thought…

Red Earth Festival 2017, Oklahoma City

This year we travelled to OKC to attend the Red Earth Festival at the Cox Business Convention Center.  The Red Earth Festival is a Native American Indian Art Show and PowWow.   The Native American Artists’ presentations were absolutely amazing and I wish I could have included more pictures, but there were just too many talented artists present.  After walking the many rows, I narrowed it to three, whose ability and skills have left me literally in a state of awe.

  1.  Fortune Huntinghorse Jewelry & Art.  www.fortunehuntinghorse.com.  This Artist, from the Wichita Tribe of Oklahoma, uses Sterling Silver and 14k Gold/Sterling Silver to create these incredible pieces by hand.  Some pieces also contain natural Coral, precious stones and natural Turquoise.  It was easy to spot her booth by the constant line of people gathering to admire her work and her attention to detail.

     

  2.  Wildlife in Wood, Debbe Edwards http://www.debbeedwards.com.  These pieces are all made of wood, individually hand carved and the colors you see, are from the wood and a wood burning technique that totally escapes me.  The pictures don’t even begin to do these works of art the justice they deserve.  The attention to detail is incredible and worth a visit to her website.

     

    3.  Silver Smithing Sculpture, Pottery & Painting    Gray Studio.    918-853-8238.  What made this unique?  It’s solid Bronze!  He is truly a Master of his craft.

    Here is a wonderful example of Native American Children keeping their vibrant Native American Indian Cultural dances alive.

     

    …and this is me blending in, feeling festive.  It’s a miracle anyone talked to me… 😉..  IMG_8477

Racism in 2017? We Still Have a Long Way To Go.

NOTE:  I wrote this article about a month ago.  Before I “publish” anything that may be too sensitive, I usually run it by my wife or one of my children.  I’m blessed with a brilliant and diverse thinking family and the article’s topic dictates which one I will go to.  This one landed squarely on the shoulders of my oldest daughter.  Lucky her.

Her advice; watch the attached Saturday Night Live video and then wait a couple of days before I hit the publish button.  Her advice was excellent.   I did both and shelved the article feeling like the guy in the video.  Nobody wants to look like a fool.  Well, a month has now passed and wrong is still wrong.  Fool or not, let’s print it.

A few important facts;  I have no idea what it is like to be anything other than a white American male.  I have never personally experienced discrimination in any form that I could label as “discrimination”, been disenfranchised or targeted because of the color of my skin.  I realize that I may not even have “standing” to give an opinion regarding this matter (subjective).  Having said that, the event still pisses me off and here is the SNL video and the article.


All great ideas start with a desire and I was desiring a great Milkshake.  We were on a roadtrip from Missouri to Alabama, two cars and eight people.  In the leading car is me, my youngest daughter and all of the overflow luggage.

We left Missouri heading south and after crossing the state line, we apparently entered the 1950’s.   That last part will make sense in a minute.  I spotted a fast-food chain well known for their ice cream excellence and with that the caravan made a detour.  I dropped my daughter off in front to use the restroom and to explain the “milkshake situation” to the others while I bee-lined it for the drive thru.

I ordered; medium please and no crap on top, just a pure chocolate milkshake.  Then, all of  a sudden, the power went out in the building.  Ahead of me in the line is a raised 4X4 truck and it’s driver is very unhappy.  He apparently isn’t getting his milkshake today and is expressing himself loudly to the lady in the drive-thru window.  And then it happened…

A white 50-ish lady leans out of the drive-thru and loudly says to the driver “As my daddy would say, When you have four ni@@*rs in a car, this is what happens!”.  They both broke out laughing.  Apparently someone she knew had just crashed into a pole nearby and knocked out the power.  I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.  What year is this?  Are you kidding me!  A stream of muffled comments followed between them, more laughter and then he drives away.  My daughter, who had just returned, got in and we drove up to the window.  “Power’s out” she declared with a smile.  I just stared, dumbfounded, and we pulled out of the drive-thru.

As we drove away talking about how “backward” this place seemed, we passed by a house which was covered in confederate flags, most of which appeared to be for sale.  Seriously?  Did time stop at the border?  I started thinking about “that word” and it began to bother me on a whole new level.

Oddly, the other day, I was looking for a song, “Empire State of Mind” and noticed that a few entries defaulted to Jay-Z.  I was surprised that many of his songs were listed as “explicit” and that the N-word was used repeatedly.  I felt angry and wondered if you had to be black to use that word, apparently he felt it was fine.  He should meet Lady Drive Thru.

This morning, I was reading an article about a retired National Football League (Titans) football player named Myron Rolle.  Just thirty years old, a Rhodes Scholar, who recently finished Medical School and will now become a Neurosurgeon.  The article mentions his family and the incredible encouragement that he received from them.  This amazing man has accomplished more than I could have ever hoped to achieve in a lifetime and he is only thirty.  Does it matter that he is black?  Does he use that word?  I hope not.  I wonder if Lady Drive Thru has an opinion or if Jay-Z would use his name and the N-word in the same sentence.

Why does it matter?  Because that Word is still casually used by people daily.  If this word were a vessel, it would contain the hatred and fear of one color of people for another, the explosive rage, the tragic grief and the complete failure of humanity to protect itself from itself.  It should be the Lord Voldemort of words, never, ever allowed to return as it represents to all that hear it’s utterance, the attempted destruction of a people, simply because of their race and the color of their skin.  This Word has to go, not because it’s politically correct, which is crap, but because we should each be better than that.  I can think of no other single word in the English language that contains so loud a message of hate and destruction yet is used so casually in conversation.

I mentioned to my daughter that I was going to write about this, about Lady Drive Thru, Jay Z, Myron Rolle and why I was so bothered.  She said “aren’t you kind of a racist too?”.  I winced and said, “I guess we all are to some extent”, realizing quickly what an awful answer that was to such a painful statement.  I’ve never thought of myself as a racist but I have been known to be terribly insensitive to people as a whole.  Is that racism or me just being an ass?  Time for a look in the mirror.   I have seen racism all over the world and it is unfortunately alive and pathetically well.  Change will happen, painfully slow and one person at a time, but it must come, kicking and screaming if necessary.  It starts by recognizing “that” Six Letter Word as the Monster that it truly is.