Philosopher Kings

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Sunday, June 29, 2008



I'm learning the ropes of radio and blogging about the show KC MEDIA WATCHDOGS on 90.1 FM KKFI every Monday at 9:30 am

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Girls (and Grandmas) Gone Wild

In January 2008, I began work on a trial column for social and nightlife interests in Kansas City. I was in pursuit of a coveted position at a local rag and was honored with a brief (Freelance-style) trial run. In the end it didn't work out. Bad timing, perhaps. (I'm still a student). If I had a "day-job," I wouldn't be quitting it. Still, I had a blast and will always consider it a stone worth stepping. An editor and I played around with a couple of thematic ideas. Initially, I was going to write under a "character" pseudonym called The Pseudonymph and exaggerate my "sexual-side" with humor. However, we later transitioned to the idea of Half-Pint. I'll be posting some of my work on this blog. Without further ado, please enjoy my first article, Girls (and Grandmas) Gone Wild.

Girls (and Grandmas) Gone Wild

Every morning my inbox explodes with misspelled spam for herbal Viagra and male enhancement products.. My nooner consists of a few facebook pokes. And by the end of the day, I am the benevolent recipient of a whole lotta E-movement love courtesy of groups like and Amnesty International.

I automatically feel compassionate just receiving a “Save Darfur” email. Whether I am actually able to read it is another story; I’m too busy saving myself from a messaging monsoon. After all, in between weeding through this jungle of cyber junk, I need to focus on what I’m really supposed to be doing with company time – checking my MySpace.

It is all so overwhelming… irresponsible, even. But no matter what management method I have tried, this monster just won’t stop. My inbox breeds faster than Britney and Jamie Lynn combined. At this very moment, I have 696 unread messages out of the archived 1,647.
This clearly shows that I am guilty of accepting way too many terms and conditions without reading the entire 20 or so preceding paragraphs. It’s just that the optimist in me feels exploited - I have such an uncontrollable urge to click “OK.”

Recently, I caught myself doing this at I was looking for one group in particular when the overachiever in me took hold. I ended up joining 14. As if I’d have time for such fraternization with all my inbox deleting duties.

Not surprisingly, this socialization process starts with - you guessed it - more emails. Initially these joined the unopened pleas from Darfur.

Then the snow came.

As I fought off my cabin fever on-line, I started to realize that these groups were onto something. They were taking the online clubbing into the clubs.

The first event that caught my eye as well as my tongue was an Enomatic Wine Tasting hosted by Doc VinoDinero’s Best of Wine and Travel Club.

Wine? Travel? I liked the sound of this. Where would we go? Would I need a passport? It was all so mysterious and romantic.

So I slipped on my big girl pearls and started my journey from midtown to The Wine Bar at Lukas Liquors for my Eno-vino invitation. After the 30 minute trek, the “travel” portion of my evening was complete and I sat in my car taken aback at the sight of a cold, grey big-box store exterior.

To my delight, The Wine Bar was a separate venue attached to the side of the store that absolutely glowed with warmth. With a roaring stone fire place, rustic wooden wine barrels, and the remnants of the ice storm still lurking outside, it was easy to feel like I had just slid off the slopes and into a cozy Colorado lodge.

Immediately, I recognized the organizer from his picture on the site. Part Nick Nolte, part Matt Damon, I was certain the Doc could cure my cabin fever. He gave me a cordial welcome and I joined an equally spirited group at one of the tables.

Jimmy, our wine guide, enlightened me on the Enomatic wine system which lets the taster take charge and allows the wine to be precisely poured and well preserved. You purchase a prepaid card, insert it in the Enoline and voila!

“With just the press of a button,” Jimmy said, “you can select the wine of your choice.”

I flashed back to my online weakness with the accept button and vowed not to get carried away.
Alas, my heart was conquered by the vibrancy of a Spanish Tempranillo – a libation that has been compared to the soul of Spain. With the perfect ice-breaker in hand, I set off to share my deep-bodied discovery. I mixed, mingled and made some converts along the way.

I sat next to a couple who was sticking with the whites and sticking together; they explained they had first met each other at a Meetup and rarely missed a visit with the good Doc, who had some 150 followers.

After a while, we went around in a circle and introduced ourselves. But before I could break into the Amy Winehouse song that was coming to mind, it was time to go-go-go.

The following night, as my cabin fever spiked again, I realized that my Meetup experiment was lacking a control for comparison. Being the dedicated social scientist I am, I decided to give one more outing a shot. My last-minute options were limited to a Cross-stitch Group, Homebirth Meetup, or a Pole Fitness Party. I can't even sew a button and the last home delivery I had was from Pottery Barn.

With not much of a choice and little time to loose, my inner feminist and visceral vixen would have to duke it out later. I grabbed my short shorts, glossed my lips and rushed off to FimbYoga in Lee's Summit. On my way, I shuffled my iPod from Ani DiFranco to the Pussy Cat Dolls, feeling an exciting sense of curiosity.

A bit early, I walked through an entrance of flowing white curtains, which provided an exotic privacy for the Striptease class that was just cooling down. Aside from the stainless steel poles jutting across the room's hardwood floors, the studio was a mellow whisper of tranquility. Warm orange walls and white Oriental floor lamps made for an atmosphere that was far more Bombay Company than Bazooka’s.

“You are going to be become addicted to the pole,” the instructor warned me while I stripped off my boots and down to my bare feet.

I wasn’t convinced that the evening would lead me down a path of pole dancing dependency. If a shaft is going to rock this girl‘s world, it has to meet mighty high expectations – or at least take me to dinner first.

Before getting intimate with my metal, I was required to sign a waiver. I didn’t take this as the best of signs, as we huddled around our leader for a briefing on pole dancing etiquette. “We” were young singles, a grandma of four, and everything in between.

“Do we need names?” piped an energetic blonde.

“Don’t you already have one?” the instructor asked.

“Well, you know, like a stripper name,” the girl responded – whispering the word stripper.

“Stripper is not a four-letter word, honey,” she explained. “You may call yourself - or even your pole - whatever you like.”

I couldn’t resist baptizing myself Pseudonymph and before you could say Astroglide, I was ready to mount the Silver Snake.

My hidden hussy hadn’t seen the light of day since October 31st, but it was like I had never hung up my naughty nurse costume. With each sway and gyration, my connection to the pole intensified. Conquering each new move resulted in a climax of confidence.

On my first attempt at the “The Fireman” trick, I whizzed around the pole like a pro.

“We’ve got a natural!” the instructor exclaimed.

Thanks, but I’ll be keeping my day job.

At $15.00 a class, I’d have to. While it was a bit ironic that we were paying to "shake our money-makers", when all was said and done, I realized the value of stepping beyond your comfort zone and exploring new levels of your character. Empowerment, even from the most surprising places, can be priceless.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You Must Be This Tall To Ride: Carla Bruni and Nicholas Sarkozy's happily ever after

At 5 ft 9inches, Carla Bruni has made it from the runway to the recording studio and now into le coeur of Nicholas Sarkozy. Recently, the 5ft 5in tall President of France was spotted frolicking through EuroDisney with this grand verre d'eau.

Just last week, Sarkozy was sighted making nice with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The pair negotiated lucrative defence contracts, causing a lashing of controversy and accusations of human rights betrayal.

By donning his heart on his sleeve, critics believe that the fairytale-like public appearance is Sarkozy's attempt to reclaim his reputation.

The WALC (the anti WASP: wacky-American-liberal-cynic) in me suspects that Sarko is no Dumbo.

Actions do speak louder than words. So what else was he saying?

For starters, Bruni is a charmingly complex hybrid of the French psyche -of which Sarkozy has been accused of being out of touch. Just dating her, alone, does wonders for his image.

Sarko the Americano's French-ness is enhanced quite a bit, (no?).

She represents much of what lies in the hearts of the French: alluring-beauty, French tradition and high-fashion. This symbolically finds an opposite connotation in all that is disliked about EuroDisney. We have two very different sides of a coin and it's sitting in Sarkozy's pocket.

This was a message to all those who criticize his new approaches.
He is saying, "You can make poo-poo my new agenda, all you want, but I am with zee Carla Bruni... in Disneyland!"

Do not underestimate a Frenchman's innate capacity to yield a metaphor.

The outing is more than just spin that will put Tony and Eva on the back page this week. It is highly symbolic and a message to the French people, in general.

As Sarkozy embraces two opposites, he calls on the French to be able to embrace his new sense of direction and ethics - while still caressing all the character of the country they adore.

Merci for the savior faire, Monsieur. While seducing Bruni in EuroDisney, Sarkozy delivers subliminal media magic.

He may be chastised for being no intellectual, but he is still French - and nothing shy of savvy.

OLD SCHOOL: A post from my glory days

Shhh...don't tell this blog, but once upon a long-long time ago, I had a brief blog at CAMPUS PROGRESS.

It was just a fling, baby, so I'd rather keep on the DL. You know how those jealous types get and, uh-hem, I have not decided if I'm a one-blog kind of gal.

However, for collectivity and organization's sake, this here blogger will be alpha.

This was my post from a section called GRADE THIS:

Virginia is for Lovers – but not for underwear. My fellow D.A.R.E. graduates will surely stand with me and applaud anyone who can say no to crack. However, this cheer stops short of Virginia’s lawmakers and their fashion crusade against visible boxers, briefs, thongs, and low riding pants. Recently, the House passed a bill written by Algie T. Howell (D) that will impose a fine of 50 dollars on anyone who wears pants that expose underwear in an offensive manner. Kudos to Lionell Spruill (D) for reminding the House to think about the fashion crimes of lore- "shell suits, Afros, and platform shoes." The plumbers of Virginia need not worry, yet – the bill must still pass the state senate.

Virginia’s law: F. Their tourism Motto: A +. Howell: F. Spruill: C – only because some of us still dig the ‘fros.
Elizabeth Sexton, Northwestern Missouri State University

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Monday, December 17, 2007

The Bryant Park Project-Lite

Is anyone down for a movement to bring Luke Burbank back?
I'm serious.
Today was just wrong.

After Burbank left, I'm afraid the sizzle within the show has gone luke-warm.

It's like some sneaky sneakster just replaced your Paul Newman Organic Special Roast with... errr...Folgers!

I consider myself "easy to please" and will never forget those rough Aldi-days, but there are three things in my life that can not and never should be an "off-brand" :

1. coffee
2. toilet paper


3. the host of my favorite radio program

So please, MoveOn, Urgent Ron Paulians, and all you grassrooters, consider it; we can finally unite.

"Hey hey.. Ho Ho... bring back my favorite host of the show..."

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Iowa Caucus Curiosity: A Momentous Fraction or a Magesterial Faction?

"Knitting is hard, but caucusing is easy."

Regardless of what state you call home, as long as you haven't gone into winter hibernation, you've probably heard this sound clip more than once.

To be honest, I neither knit, nor do I caucus. So unconvinced, this comparison leaves me feeling blank with caucus curiosity.

Aside from being one of those words that are just fun to say (i.e. Zamboni), what exactly is a caucus and why is it so important?

As the first major electoral event in the process of nominating a presidential candidate, this demonstration in democracy began to steer the political landscape in the 70's. The beginnings of the Iowa Caucuses are truly aboriginal; the inception of the word came from the Algonquins and means "a gathering of the ruling tribal chiefs."

The Hawkeyes early start of casting "ayes" in January was put into motion in 1972 by the state co-chair of the McGovern campaign. Twenty-six years later, on January 3, Iowans will once again be providing the nation's indecisive with a possible answer to that burning question: "Whom shall we nominate?"

However, a nation-wide caucus catechism has risen from the powerful impact of a system that is loosely defined as a "gathering of neighbors."

On caucus night, Iowans flock to designated locations like churches, schools, and homes to take the first step on the path to the national convention. The selected candidates then go to a later caucus on the county level. This leads to more caucuses at the district and state level, which eventually culminates at the national convention.

From the media's perspective the winner, determined at the first caucus, is the candidate with the most number of delegate seats. This is allocated by the proportion of caucus goers votes and is not binding. Delegates can always change their vote with further developments in the race.

The voting system in place is considered unique and controversial. Other states use a primary process that can be summarized with two words: poll and ballot. Caucuses involve political calisthenics and lengthy persuasion. Participants form standing preference groups for each candidate. Representatives from each group may be sent around the room to persuade others, while non-decided voters may go from group to group to ask members about their candidate.

Is it really easy?

As much as I love to trust old ladies - especially the kind that knit - the Iowa Caucuses are a far cry from child's play. Granted, in my imagination, I visualize a grown-up version of musical chairs. The idea of it - the dialogue, the hands-on-public participation factor, the-in-your-face-ness of it, even sounds like it could be fun. It's "The Survivor" of political terrain with a much larger prize: the fiscal pot.

The estimated impact of the 2004 Democratic Caucus was $50 to $60 million, yet only 124,331 Iowans - or 6% of eligible votes - actually participated in the process.

Why aren't more Iowans reciprocating such a hefty investment?

Beneath the surface of it's grassroots appeal, is a far deeper democratic concern than the impact the caucus has on the presidential nomination. The Century Foundation points to an exclusionary nature that violates fundamental values of voting rights; broad participation is discouraged by time-consuming procedures and complex rules. Participants must devote a minimum of two hours to caucus night, which may not be an easy task for the average American. As TCF notes, this creates difficulty for parents who will need babysitters, blue collar workers, or those with nocturnal commitments - like night jobs or evening classes. Ultimately the caucuses uphold party elitism, as those involved tend to be older and more political engaged. In fact, 64% of 2004 caucus goers were over the age of 50.

The harm of the caucus system does not cease with the ills of voter disenfranchisement; the entire health of the party is in question. Supporters of the Iowa caucus system claim that it serves as a prediction of national voting behaviors. If the caucus goers are in-fact a small homogeneous group, does the opinion rendered actually represent nation-wide interests?

Could the dominance of the Iowa Caucus be resulting in premature group thinking?

With a growing number of undecided voters in America, it is time for public responsibility to lead the Democrats. We must cast old behaviors aside and take up a different kind of needle to measure what is truly effective.

Let the knit-picking begin!


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