The West Wing come to life

The last season of "The West Wing" was all about the presidential election, where a darkhorse candidate prevailed in a extremely close primary against the party insiders and then in the general election against a moderate Republican. Sounds pretty familiar, huh? It did to me. I had remarked on this to some people, but the connection hadn't made the press. Until now. This video really highlights and explains the similarities between the TV show and the current campaign. It's worth noting, however, that originally, Jimmy Smits' character was supposed to lose the general election. It was only after John Spencer's (he played Leo) death that the producers decided that it would be too depressing to have Santos lose his running mate and the election in two weeks. Hopefully that's one thing real life can skip over.

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Pragmatism At Last

There's an article in the New Republic yesterday that I thought was among the most informative and hopeful reads I've had in a while. It describes the policy-making wing of Obama's campaign. People who aren't ideologues or partisans, who are more interested in purity of thought or (worse), winning in a struggle against the other party; but people who are complete pragmatists. Thinkers who are most interested in what solutions work, what steps that would make the most benefit for the most people. It's not the most exciting thing a candidate ever had, but it so perfectly meshes with Obama's soaring rhetoric. He talks in speeches about bringing people together, well, I think that most people don't care about who's winning, they care about making their lives easier, and pragmatism is the ultimate way to go about that. I'm an Obama person, but I can see how some people would have trouble with him. They think there might be no there there. This article, however, gives me a lot of, yes, Hope (TM) for what a President Obama would be able to propose and get accomplished.


Wii Much?

I can't believe I haven't blogged about the Wii yet! It's probably among the best electronic inventions of the 21st Century. Take that, iPhone! And it'll probably be the best invention until jetpacks are perfected. It's a little silly to love playing it so much, but the idea that you don't have to push a bunch of buttons, but can wave a remote and the figure moves... it's just amazing to me everytime I turn it on and it responds to where I'm waving the remote.

Really, though, the big key to this thing is going to be later this year when LucasArts come out with the Star Wars game. A lightsaber handle is included with the game. It's ridiculous, but every 30-something gamer is going to buy it and instantly become the Star Wars Kid... and love every minute of it.

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It turns out that Andrew McCarthy is NOT dead...

He's in a show on NBC with Brooke Shields, Lipstick Jungle. Now I'm not going to be watching this show (it's a semi-knockoff of Sex and the City), but he was just mentioned to me this week as a former leading man who. He's now second fiddle to Brooke Shields and two other, random women, while his co-star James Spader has awards and a starring role on that Boston Legal show. Poor Andrew... at least his career isn't Molly Ringwald-ized yet. Anyway, he's posting a blog at Slate.com about getting the show off the ground and it's a pretty interesting backstage look at how a TV show is produced and the intricacies in putting a new show on TV. Check it out!

Also, today's voting day, so if you're in a state that's holding a primary today, get out and vote!


Strike over?


I see that some media outlets (TV Week, Deadline Hollywood Daily) are reporting that the Writer's Strike is over. I hope it's true, the idea of a season of retreads of fantastic movies like "The Eye" and "Fool's Gold" is truly horrifying. And that's just the movies, TV has it much worse. Since pilot season is over, there won't be any new shows unless the strike is settled. I dearly hope that this strike has broken the pattern of upfronts (where the networks present their new fall seasons to advertisers and reporters in May). The upfronts were hugely expensive and wasteful and in the internet age, you don't need to gather people in a big hall to make a presentation, it can all be done online. With more money available, there'll be more money for better writers and thus, better shows. Ideally. I'm sure that we'll still get a full crop of schlock reality shows and hidden camera exposes. Ugh. Give me a good scripted drama every time.

Anyway, if it's true and it's not certain, but if it is, it's time for some restrained rejoicing. I'm not talking V-E Day or anything, but maybe something on the order of your niece's high school graduation: a long, boring experience followed by a pretty good party, but don't get too crazy, there's kids here.


"Hitler wears old Cowboys jerseys..."

I know I'm not the first person to post this, but I saw this and it made me laugh. I always knew there was something strange about that Hitler fellow.


Since TV sucks now, here's something to fill your empty days

I saw this referenced in a TV column I read. This woman is among the more funny people I've ever seen. I first saw her on a direct-to-video DVD called The Comedians of Comedy. She holds her own with some truly funny people. She's not so much a comedian as she is an actor. She creates these characters right on stage and puts them in hilarious situations.

Well since the writer's strike has been going on, the comedy websites like funnyordie.com and superdeluxe have gotten smart and have put together packages of these five minute shorts as series. They've gotten very smart indeed if they've given Maria Bamford a platform like this to perform on. The series starts with an introduction of this character: "Maria Bamford" who had a breakdown on stage and moved back into her parents' attic. The show is her telling stories about her life in Duluth and doing impressions of the people she interacts with. My favorite is her mom. Favorite mom quote (after seeing Maria come out of the shower): "Oh, I didn't realize you were... oh honey, if you want to get breast implants we'll support you. Not financially, but, you know, emotionally."

This show is great, click the link and try it out. She's well worth a try.


Goodbye to All That

Goodbye to All That

This is an article by Andrew Sullivan, a well-respected conservative pundit and blogger. He describes not just the benefits, but the necessity of an Obama presidency for the United States to move beyond the Baby Boomer politics that have so polarized the country and made the Bush presidency possible and the Clinton presidency a disappointment. If you read one article on politics this year, make it this one. When I read this I was still leaning towards John Edwards, but now I'm starting to see that Obama is the only one who can re-estabilish the bonds of the US polity. Any other candidate, Republican or Democrat risks tearing the country even farther apart.


Dogster - Get your own Dogster badge

Dogster, for when you're not proud enough of your dog. Still, Chewy is awesome.


I now blame my parents' VW bus for my criminal ways

Idea Lab - Clean Air Act - Environment - Pollution - Lead - Gasoline - Crime Rate - New York Times

Now that I've found out that the lead in the gas my parents used to fill up their cars is the cause of both my criminal ways and occasional insanity, I feel so much better. Like any human, all I want is something to blame that isn't me.


Wilco at the Crossroads

Wilco at the Crossroads was a great show! I didn't get down there until the opener was almost done, the Mizzou game was running so long. Boo Sooners!

Wilco played a fantastic show, though I thought it was odd that they opened with such a mellow start to the set. "Via Chicago" from Summerteeth was the first tune and it's a very slow song. It didn't start the night off with a bang, that's for sure.

The crows was huge though, and the energy was fantastic. Many thanks to Doug for getting me a beer when I realized I was out of cash. I wish they had Boulevard down there, but the only choices were Coors, Dos Equis and Heineken. That's so strange that there wouldn't be a local brew in the Crossroads, where hipsters and us older folk meet to groove out. Hey Stretch, get Boulevard in there!

Wilco played for more than two hours. At times Tweedy gave a shout out to the Elton John concert at the Sprint Center, though he called his audience a bunch of jerks. Then he said "I totally hope he hears that". The crowd loved it and loved him. One thing I thought Tweedy did that was kind of odd was when he said that the audience was the best audience of the tour. I don't know what bands hope to get out of it, but it works every time, the crowd went nuts. Who knows, it was a good crowd. Maybe the rest of the tour has sucked, but I know they played Columbia and they have a good history there, so the crowds couldn't have been too awful.

The Pitch has a good review of the show on their Plog. They also link to this video of some kids playing some old song.

Oh, as an aside they use a really good ticketing system at the Crossroads called Front Gate. There's about 66% fewer fees than those jackholes at Ticketmaster.

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Futurama - Benders Big Score - DVD-Trailer

This is coming soon! I can't wait for it to be broadcast on Cartoon Network since those bumbling morons on FOX can't tell a good show from crap like "Back To You". Buy It Buy It Buy It


Bad Dates Ultimately Delivers

Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck
Kansas City Repertory Theater
Copaken Stage

I saw Bad Dates on opening night last night. The wife and I trundled downtown to the almost-finished Power & Light District for a night of theater. The district itself is taking shape quite nicely and I expect it to a great, glittering destination when it’s finished later this year. If you’re a Missouri Tiger fan, come on down for the big pep rally before the MU-KU game at Arrowhead.

Anyway, Bad Dates is a one-person show. It’s about a single mom’s dating life in New York City. With that one sentence synopsis I was thinking that this would be an onstage "Sex and the City". Then we walked into the theatre and took a look at the stage. The set was an apartment’s bedroom: bed, closet, dresser, vanity, lounge chair. Above the bed were five pictures declaring the inhabitant of this room to be a Cool Mom. The most noticeable thing about this set was the shoes. Shoes were strewn everywhere; on every flat surface, over the closet door and exploding all over and out of the closet. It’s an interesting look to see a set that was mostly bought, as opposed to built. I had a small tremor though, that this might be even more of a confection of a show than I had previously thought. Forget SATC, think "Caroline in the City".

The show is carried on the shoulders of the only actor, Rebecca Dines. Ms. Dines is an Australian actor with a substantial list of credits. When she appeared onstage, however I had a bad feeling. Her American accent seemed muddled and imprecise. It was only later that I realized the degree of difficulty of the accent she did, both American and Texan. With that taken into account the occasional peeks of her Antipodean origins are understandable. When the show goes on for a bit, her language settles down more. Honestly, I wondered why she just didn’t make the character Australian and speak in her normal voice.

Ms. Dines has an appealing energy onstage, but in the entire first half of the production that energy seems uncontrolled, wild, as if her arms and legs are separate actors in the show. She flies around the stage and tries on many different outfits and shoes and directing her monologue at and interacting with the audience. As the show continues though, her true abilities as a performer are revealed. When the director allows her to, she can deliver a strong performance as this harried, charming, insecure woman. The entire first half of the show, unfortunately, she is less the character and more the dervish. I suspect that this was a direction choice and the show is poorer for it. When Ms. Dines, in the second half, is allowed to stand still and show the character and not the movement Bad Dates is an enjoyable piece of theatre.

Another issue with the directing is that whenever Ms. Dines would come to a point in the show where she would get to speak a truth about her character, she would come downstage and the lights would dim behind her. It’s such an obvious choice to highlight her with technical elements, rather than let the actor’s performance speak for itself. Why not give her a chance to connect with the audience on her own without hitting us over the head that now an Important Speech is coming?

The script by Theresa Rebeck has some unusual twists that can be incongruous, but I think the show hangs together well, albeit in two distinct pieces. Ms. Rebeck is a former writer for "Law & Order", and it shows in a lot of the characters that are introduced in the script. There are many small touches that become significant later in the show, which I thought was a nice touch.
Even though Bad Dates starts out as a light, airy piece of theatre, the second half of the show is real and left me with an overall positive feeling about it.

Bad Dates runs until October 21st at the Copaken Stage at the H&R Block Center, 13th and Walnut, Kansas City, MO. Tickets can be purchased at 816-235-2700 or online at http://www.kcrep.org/.


Kitchen Nightmares on Fox

Fox’s remake of Chef Gordon Ramsay British program “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” is remade for US broadcast. “Kitchen Nightmares” (Wed. 8 PM on FOX) fits with the traditional reality makeover scenario: struggling *blank* meets successful *blank* and with some tough love, tears and a makeover, the struggling *blank* can meet his/her/its potential. It’s the same whether its “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” or “Nanny 911”. The formula is comforting and successful and “Kitchen Nightmares” is a fine example of the genre.

Programs of this nature start with the star/host. In this case it’s Chef Gordon Ramsay, a Scot with a three-star restaurant and a profanity-laden vocabulary, fresh from his stint this summer in the second season of FOX’s “Hell’s Kitchen”. In the first episode, Gordon visits a small, family-run Italian restaurant in Babylon, NY called Peter’s. The family who runs Peter’s is in danger of losing the restaurant and their livelihoods. Gordon comes in to try to help them.

The first thing he does is sample the food. His meal is execrable and he shares the cold crab cakes and uncooked pasta with the camera with disgust. You can see just how unappetizing the meal is. The camera catches Gordon’s anger at this substandard meal both visually and in his comments like “the crab cake is *bleep*ing frozen in the center”.

Next, he goes into the kitchen and discovers a kitchen stuck in time. The walk-in freezer leaks like a sieve, food in them is rotting where it sits and the ovens are broken and being used to store dirty aprons. Gordon tells the manager, Peter, a hulking, balding, self-important gladhandler that his restaurant will be famous very soon; for poisoning half of Babylon.

Gordon soon discovers that the whole problem is Peter. He’s spent the family’s money on a flash car, expensive watch and new suits for himself. It’s become such a problem that the restaurant has bill collectors coming to squeeze money out of Peter even while the cameras are rolling. One collector takes Peter out back and while the camera catches every word, threatens his business.

Peter won’t refit the kitchen so the chefs are doing the best they can with broken equipment. Gordon sees that the only way to fix the problem is to force Peter to work in the kitchen for a night. Peter is quickly revealed to be the weak link. He can’t cook on the equipment and is constantly coming up front to ask for cappuccino or whine about how things don’t work back there. The kitchen staff and Gordon all gleefully commenting in confessional-style shots about what how awful Peter is when forced to actually work. It’s compelling TV to see such a character hoisted on his own petard, which, of course, is the producers’ plan all along.

After showing Peter the error of his ways and forcing him to change at a blistering staff meeting after Peter’s disastrous night in the kitchen, the next morning finds Peter hard at work trying to repair the neglect that his mismanagement has caused. He apologizes to the wait staff he’s terrorized and cajoles a repairman to fix the walk-in box that same day.

With Peter’s new attitude now comes the makeover. Chef Ramsay sweareth at you, and then he gives you a whole new kitchen. This is the payoff for all the travails that Gordon puts his subjects through. The kitchen is completely redone with gleaming new state-of-the-art stoves and ovens. The prep area is revamped to make the food flow much faster from cooking to prep to tables. Gordon gives them new flatware and plates and, most importantly, a new menu. He takes Peter’s to a family-style menu with the emphasis on traditional Southern Italian dishes like lasagna and fettuccini alfredo. Of course, the staff is thrilled with the makeover, but Peter is not sure that it will work. Gordon opens the restaurant’s doors wide and, when the menu is a huge success, takes his accolades from the staff and family. The final scene is Gordon cautioning them that only by pulling together and everyone pulling their weight can their restaurant achieve its potential, but if they do, that potential is virtually limitless.

On the whole, this was a satisfying show. It has all the familiar elements, protagonist, antagonist, conflict and resolution. The show rests firmly on Gordon Ramsay and he shines in the spotlight, narrating what the audience is feeling, albeit with more profanity. His dialogue is bleeped at least once every time he opens his mouth, but he carries such authority in the kitchen that rather than blanching at his cursing, you agree with what he’s saying. I’ll certainly be set the DVR for this one.


***** - Worth a viewing party with your friends, bring popcorn, blog about it the next day
**** - Record it for later, but don't miss it
*** - Fine if it's on after a show you really like
** - A perfectly fine show, TiVO it, but if it's deleted, no biggie
* - Ugh, why is this on the air?
No Stars - Write the network and scream at them for wasting the public's airwaves


I haven't been updating much (or at all), so a friend of mine suggested that I blog about media I consume. Since the fall TV season starts this week, I'm kicking off my new show reviews. I'll only review shows that I watch, but I'm giving a try to a lot of shows this year. I'll also try to review Kansas City theatre. I go to a lot of shows, both professional and community, so if you do theatre and I review your show, feel free to comment back. Also, if there's a show you think I should see, let me know. I'll give it a try and review it here.

Here's a listing of the new TV shows I'm watching this year:
Aliens in America - CW (great, though slightly cliched, idea. Execution looks good)
Chuck - NBC (appealing cast and fun premise, widely praised by critics)
Journeyman - NBC (lead actor is talented, execution may not be great)
Cane - CBS (Jimmy Smits and a fine cast make this look good)
Reaper - CW (looks hilarious, despite some vocal opposition people I know)
Kitchen Nightmares - Fox (see review)
Pushing Daisies - ABC (fun conceit and production design make me look forward to this show)
Bionic Woman - NBC (reimagining of 70's show from producer of Heroes)
Life - NBC (features Damien Lewis, who was great in Band of Brothers)
Viva Laughlin! - CBS (this show is a musical produced by Hugh Jackman, star of film and Broadway. He also has a small role. If it gets three episodes I think that will be longer than anyone expected it to run)

Also coming up this week: Bad Dates at the KC Rep. Seeing it Wednesday, so look out for the review later this week!


Game Downloads - download info

Game Downloads - download info: "http://free-game-downloads.mosw.com"


Da Visual Artz

I may not know much about art, but I know one thing: if there's such a thing as high art, this is it.
Of course, it'll never be as good as this:


Art with Candy - Marshmallow Peeps!

If you like the marshmallow peeps, check out the link in the title. The Washington Post has some good items. My favorite? Say Anything or Luncheon of the Peeping Party.

A Harris Pizza

This may be the lamest commerical I've ever seen, but the pizza rocks!


The Bear Cub and other Cuteness

You might have heard of this guy. Knut, the polar bear cub who lost his mother and lives at the Berlin Zoo. Here's the latest picture of him. He's sitting next to some jerk:

He's cute, there's no doubt of that, but that's him when he's little. He's going to get bigger and then he'll be a killing machine. Let's turn to Stephen Colbert. Since he's put bears on notice, he won't be seduced by the insane cuteness of the bear cub:

Damn! Even he can't stand the insane cuteness that is this bear cub! Well, I can counteract that with the cutest dog that ever lived. How will the bear cub deal with this:

Now that's my cute dog sitting in the sun. Since it's so cold here in April (!) he's looking for the most heat. I should get him a black pillow to absorb all the heat. Of course, since global warming is going to make it unbearably (heh) hot soon, let's enjoy the cold while we can.
Speaking of global warming, the latest Time has an article that discusses 51 things you can do to combat global warming, with an index on each one that tells its immediacy, impact and feel-good factor. #1? "Turn Food into Fuel" Ethanol made from things like food waste, corn husks, wood pulp and municipal waste. Strange, but I thought that this was happening already. I know that biomass was supposed to be one of the ways we could make energy back when I was in junior high. I remember reading about it in the Weekly Reader. I miss that publication, although I did suffer one of my greatest humiliations of junior high at its hands. Or rather, pages. I couldn't pronounce "Ueberroth". Awful, I can still hear the boys in the class shouting it at me. Of course, now I know he was a jerk and a failed politician, so I don't feel so bad. Also it's been twenty years. You'd think that'd be enough.


Groping for words (or the expanding universe and metaphorical problems)

What's funny is that this is just a short post about how I'm having trouble these days coming up with good metaphors. I was trying to describe expansion (in relation to my waistline, unfortunatley) and spent five minutes trying to come up with something better than 'like a balloon' or 'like the universe'. The first one is overused and the second is pretty obscure. I would bet that no more than 1 out of 10 random people you asked would know the universe is expanding, not unlike my belly, though I'd say that my belly is markedly less studied. Hopefully.

By the way, the picture is of the galaxy M100. The Spitzer telescope (currently orbiting about 520 miles above the Earth) took this picture. It shows how the universe is expanding by observing distant lights in other galaxies and monitoring how fast they move away from other objects. By measuring the distance they travel scientists can find out how fast the universe and everything in it is spreading. Freaky!


Like a Fortune Cookie, just add 'Embed'

This is my first attempt at posting an embedded video from YouTube. I've seen it done, but I'm anxious to try it myself. This is an old ad for Carlton Draught Beer (it's from Australia) and it's just very amusing. Let's see if it works!

Dog or Cat? or Taking a break from parking

Perhaps you're familiar with our dog, Chewy?

This is him sitting in the sun at our house. I think that he may be a cat in a dog suit. He likes to sit in the sun and just chill...

But I think that this is the thing that clinches the "Cat in Dog Suit" theory. He REALLY loves climbing up my arm and laying on my shoulders. I've never seen a dog do anything quite like this. What a crazy dog!



For your comments on that last, looong post. It was a bit of a struggle to write and I realized that I was giving a lot away on what is essentially a public forum, but it seemed important at the time. I'll just have to post a lot more often to put that very, ahem, revealing post into the archive.

So, here's an update: when I got home the day I was going to deliver the letter I had a small confrontation. She was going West and I was going East on the same street. We faced off at the stop sign, since I was turning and she had no turn signal I waited for her to go. She just sat there and we waited for a while. Finally I just turned left with the intention of backing into the space that we argued over. Well, I had to wait as cars were going down the street and I couldn't get through the intersection backwards. She, on the other hand, went the wrong way down a one-way, turned around and parked in the spot. She, of course, didn't leave enough room for two cars, so I had to park in a less desireable spot. Oh well, it's 15 extra steps to the front door.

By the time I had parked and was out of my car she was already inside her house. I put the letter in her mailbox and walked to my house. Then the weekend happened and I put it out of my mind. Of course, I did see her scraping her walk (with a car scraper) on Sunday. She did the section between her front steps and where she wants to park. And not well, it's still ice-covered. Nothing else, even though she's got about 50 additional feet to scrape. She gave me a dirty look as I was bringing in the groceries. I guess my efforts have failed.

Of course this week I've been able to park in the spot at will. I think she's out of town so there's no struggle. We'll see what happens when she gets back and will try to park there. I've done my bit for peace. If she wants to struggle and be a pain the ass, let her. We'll play it like the Law of the Jungle, and I've got lion blood in me!

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Good Parking Makes Good Neighbors

Well, we had our first visit from one of our neighbors in Hyde Park last night. My wife and myself were hanging out after dinner and the dishes, just relaxing from the stresses of the day when the doorbell rings. We both go to see who's at the door. It's our neighbor to the West at 701, a nice lady named... something. When she intoduced herself from 20 feet away it sounded like either "Leticia" or "Latifah". Could have been either.

Well L (as we're going to call her) had a problem because the first words out of her mouth to me were: "Don't park in my spot!". I responded with my usual aplomb: "With the what now?"

I was taken aback, you see because I wasn't aware that I had parked in anyone's spot, I had parked on the street. Here's a diagram to help you visualize what's happening here:

As you can see, my car was parked at the corner of a public street, but she's under the impression that it's "her" parking space.

When I indicated that this was not the case, the a public street isn't anyone's space she proceeded to inform me that since we were new we wouldn't know this, but she's been parking there for five years and that I would have to find another place to park. L told me that it was an "unspoken arrangement". Of course it is. So unspoken that when I ask people about it they have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.

So, L tells me again not to park in her space. I just don't respond well to this kind of browbeating. Now, maybe she's just had a bad day and didn't want to walk the extra 10 steps that she had to take from where she parked behind me (see "Her Car" in my awesome diagram) to her house, but I think that it's pretty ballsy to knock on someone's door and demand they not park on a street. My response was pretty much the same the whole time: "Well, it's a public street", meaning "I'll park wherever the hell I please. I got there first and I'm parking there and if you don't like it you can sit and spin. Now that you bring it up and come to my door at night you just make me want to park there more, maybe get my friends to come over and park in all the spots around our houses so that you'll have nowhere to park". But that wouldn't be politic of me, so I just reiterate that it's a street and anyone can park there. You know, I may have considered not parking there if she had just been polite about it, but that demand out of the blue was just so off-putting that I couldn't agree.

I wish that I was more articulate in these situations because that's not the strangest part of this. L has a garage on the side of her house that faces Holmes! She never uses it, so maybe it's chock full of dead bodies or plague-infected or it's where she spins house records, but it's a garage. We don't have any usable off-street parking so this is doubly weird that she wants me to park farther away from our house than she parks from hers. Odd people. Anyway, I forgot to tell her that when she was right in front of me, but Tricia mentioned it to me after L had left.

Well, this morning I go to make sure that she doesn't have the right to park there. I mean, maybe I'm missing something here. Maybe she's got a dispensation from the city and it's unmarked because some angry dogs tore down the signs. So, I call the Department of Parking Control and speak to a very nice woman named Yolanda (as an aside I can't hear that name without thinking of "Pulp Fiction". Amanda Plummer's character was named Yolanda, but you might remember her as Honey Bunny. She was robbing the coffee shop with Tim Roth). Anyway, Yolanda just about died laughing when I asked her if people could claim a piece of on-street parking for themselves. So the answer was a qualified no. She can't do that unless she was handicapped. Then the city comes out and puts down some signs specifying that only handicapped people can park there, but even still, that's not for your exclusive use. If you had that space designated handicapped if I had the little wheelchair tag or plate I could use your space if I wanted to. It's not exclusive to you, it just makes it a lot more likely that you'll get a spot to park in if you're disabled.

So, L is not allowed to claim that spot for her own. But to be sure (and to start some documentation if this thing escalates) I email the neighborhood police officer to ask him the same question. He says the same as Yolanda and offers to come down and talk to L about public thoroughfares. I decline for now, but tell him I may need his help if things go pear-shaped.

With the surety that I'm in the right here, today I wrote L a letter offering a compromise. Not much of one, I'll admit, but one that's legal, sane and, best of all, equitable. I'll post the text here with some portions like addresses and names X'd out. Post your comments about it, maybe I'm being condescending to her, but isn't ok when you're in the right?

January 11, 2007

To: L
From: Josh
Re: On-Street Parking

Dear L:

[Apologies if I spelled your name incorrectly. I’ve never seen it spelled out and really only heard it once, when we first moved in]

Thanks for visiting yesterday. It seems like people in Hyde Park don’t talk to each other very much. I meet very few people in the neighborhood, so I’m glad to have received the chance to speak with you.

I’m sorry that we’re having this dispute about parking. I have to tell you that I was shocked that you were upset that I parked at the corner of Holmes and 41st Street. I know I’ve parked there before and it didn’t elicit comment from you previously. I wish you had said something then, so that this wouldn’t be an issue now.

The reason I parked there is because when I leave for work in the morning I go West down 41st Street. Since there are few spots on 41st typically, I usually look for a spot on Holmes near to my house. That spot on the SE corner of Holmes and 41st is ideal for me. It is 50 steps from my front door and I don’t have to cross any streets. I’ve parked on Holmes North of 41st, but that is much less convenient, as I’d have to either go around the block back to 41st or back up onto 41st, which can be quite difficult at time.

I know you feel that that is ‘your’ space, but I did some checking with Kansas City’s Dept. of Parking Control. I spoke with Yolanda Perry and it seems that the only way they reserve spaces on public streets is if a person is handicapped. There’s an example of this on Charlotte Street, right around the corner from where we live. Those spaces are clearly marked and regardless, they are not reserved for any single individual. If I had a handicapped tag or plate I could park in such a spot!

I noticed this morning that you parked your car immediately behind mine on Holmes (just North of your driveway). It seems that since there’s room for two cars there wouldn’t be a need for any dispute. If we both want to park on that part of Holmes we can, one car in front of the other. So, I propose this solution that I think is quite fair: we agree that we may both park on that section of the street, that it’s not anyone’s property or exclusive right. Whoever gets there first will be able to park in the Northerly-most part of the curb and the second person will get the Southern part, or vice versa, as long as the person who parks there first leaves enough room for two cars to be parked there.

Being good neighbors means being willing to work with those around you, making reasonable requests. I feel that this is a reasonable solution to any dispute that has arisen between us. No one has exclusive rights to any part of a public street. My solution is fair and equitable and enables both of us to park in close proximity to our homes.

What do you think? Think this will get out of hand?