Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Best Picture Prediction

A year ago, I predicted Best Picture. Afterwards I revealed my strategy based upon the Inverse Awesome Theory. The theory goes the more awesome a film is the less likely it is to win Best Picture.

The one thing I know is that Arrival will not win Best Picture. It's a very good film but more than that, it has some awesome moments and an awesome premise. Zero chance it wins. 

So that leaves three candidates: Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight and La La Land. 

A case could be made for all of them to not be awesome, but first I will rule out Moonlight. Just based on the description, it seems like there might be a little bit of awesome in there. 

So now it's down to La La Land or Manchester by the Sea. The first one is a jazz musical with white people. The second includes a house fire. 

And the winner of the 2017 Best Picture is La La Land!

Post-Oscars Edit: So that theory looked good for a second there, eh?

So I got this one wrong. In pre-Oscars predictions I am now 1/2 for with this theory.

But, I think the theory actually holds up super great. The problem is that within the Best Picture category there are enough movies without awesome stuff (car chases, guns, aliens) that the theory is not going to be flawless in picking the winner. It is flawless in picking the non-winners. Hacksaw Ridge and Arrival had no chance in my theory--that was borne out.

But this is the biggest thing...the thing that has been nagging at me. If I had really listened to my theory, I wouldn't have picked La La Land.

Because...I have a crush on Ryan Gosling. Specifically, Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love. I know, I know. But when I saw the first trailer that said it was from the same director as Whiplash and had Ryan Gosling, it sounded kind of appealing. Not full on awesome like Mad Max but it seemed like kind of a fun time. And the truth is I picked it because it was such an overwhelming favorite. I went with the chalk because I thought the chalk would be right. But I should have at least listened to my gut and not picked La La Land.

Truthfully, I thought Manchester by the Sea was the least awesome based on the plots and that was my gut guess. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Fantasy Football Hall of Fame

This post commemorates the champions of our fantasy football leagues throughout the years, and will be updated, and reposted for every update:

BS Super Bowl VIII: Dave (defeated Mac)
Playoffs: Dave

BS Super Bowl VII: Stevo (defeated Niraj)
Playoffs: Mark

BS Super Bowl VI: Mac* (defeated Dave)
Playoffs: Mark

BS Super Bowl V: Bobby* (defeated Mac)
Playoffs: Mark

BS Super Bowl IV: Mark* (defeated Spencer)
Playoffs: Dave

BS Super Bowl III: Mark* (defeated Mac)
Playoffs: Stevo

BS Super Bowl II: Harlan* (defeated Mark)
Playoffs: Burnsy

BS Super Bowl I: Mark* (defeated Stevo)
Playoffs: Stevo


Construda Super Bowl II: Dynomite Kings (defeated Matt)
Home Team: Dave
Playoffs: Matt

Construda Super Bowl I: Mark (defeated Dave)
Home Team: Dave*
Playoffs: Dave

Home Team: Mark*
Playoffs: Mark

Home Team: Mark
Playoffs: Matt

Home Team: Mark
Playoffs: Dave

Home Team: Dave
Playoffs: Mark

*= trophy awarded (I should have been awarded a trophy for 2008 home team, but interest fizzled. The thought crossed my mind to buy it for my collection anyways, but then what about Mark's two wins that came in the pre-trophy era. Let bygones be bygones. In 2015, Bobby went off the grid and never bought the trophy, so we abandoned it.)

Saturday, February 04, 2017

2017 Master Kansas City Barbecue List

I like the idea of a master BBQ list that I can continually update, but I also like the ability to look back at previous lists. So I'll leave the 2016 post as is, and this will be a flexible document throughout 2017.

Previous Years:


Places I've Been

1. Q39

Visited their original location (on 39th street) on 7/15/16. Brisket and ribs were both killer. They're opening a second location that just happens to be minutes from my apartment. Weird.

Went back for the first time as a resident on 2/4/17. Ordered the appetizer labeled: best wings on the planet. Also, got the brisket/burnt end plate, fries and beans. First time having their burnt ends. Wings were good but nothing that special.

The burnt ends are really great, brisket is good. Beans weren't my favorite. I feel good about having Q39 in the top spot now, but there are a couple of cons. There's always a wait, it's pricey. Parking is tight. Only one sauce on the table and isn't as good as Char Bar's.

Just ordered a half rack of ribs for the first time, (3/23/17 carryout):

SO GOOD. SO MANY! I couldn't even at them all. Saved a big one for later. Fries were good, beans still not that good. I guess I should stop ordering the beans. But damn. 1/2 Rack is a great freaking order.

Took my Mom here on 4/22. I had a 1/2 rack of ribs w/fries at the restaurant and then I ordered a Mr. Burns sandwich to go. It was the first time having the sandwich and it was brilliant.

2. Char Bar

Just tried this place for the first time on 12/6/16. Mercy. The burnt end and ribs were stellar. Brisket and beans, also good. But I'm going back for the burnt ends and ribs. And the atmosphere/drinks is the best I've been to.

Went here on 1/13/17 and had the Burnt Heaven sandwich and fries. Quality was still very good, but it was hard to taste the meat because there was so much going in that sandwich. Fries were awesome and this place has a killer spicy sauce (I had to buy a bottle to take home). Even though the sandwiches are good value and the descriptions are awesome, I think it's better to just get the meat on a plate. 

3. Jack Stack

Bridget came to town and we got carryout for everyone (2/19/17). I had the KC Combo with burnt ends and pork ribs, fries, coleslaw and bread. We also had beans and potato salad so I got to try a ton of food.

Ribs were great. The beans were truly incredible, the best beans can be. Some burnt ends were good, some were a little tough and stringy. If it wasn't for that, I'd be considering #1 or #2 spot.

4. Burnt End BBQ

Tried this place on a whim on 7/16/16, burnt ends and brisket, beans and fries. Burnt ends were the star of the show, hence the name.

Turns out my apartment is just a few minutes away from this place as well. Weird. Dropped in for the jumbo burnt end sandwich and fries today 12/11/16. Since I knew what I liked, I didn't feel pressured to get the 3-meat combo with 2 sides like I usually do when I'm trying a place. Great burnt ends and plenty of meat on the sandwich. I like their sauce assortment and nice atmosphere. Very chill.

Took the boys here on 1/7/17. Burnt ends were much drier than pictured above. Seemed to just get an off portion. I'll still go back, but it seemed to solidify that this place isn't going to be breaking into the top 2 spots any time soon.

Got carry out on 1/28/17. Real good. Ribs and burnt ends are good, as they are at Char Bar and Q39. Guess I just like ribs and burnt ends a lot, eh?!

5. Arthur Bryant's

Went with co-workers on my first day at work, 11/30/16. Didn't take a picture but had the burnt end sandwich and fries. Funny thing was I ordered the lunch special: brisket sandwich. But they gave me a burnt end sandwich. It was awesome, so I should be thanking them. Their sauce is distinctive, and I like it, but it's not my absolute favorite. Still, this is a classic.

(gaping chasm)

6. Joe's

If you ask around, this is many people's favorite place. For me it's always been solid, but never amazing. Had the brisket, ribs and beans on 7/14/16. I don't think I've had their burnt ends because they only serve them on certain days. I'll certainly go there but I doubt this will ever be my favorite place.

Finally tried their burnt ends on 12/14/16. I've given this place so many chances over the years, and it never quite matches up with the competition. It's never bad. Just a 4-star place in a 5-star city. You can see it the picture. Compare Joe's burnt ends with Burnt End BBQ. See how uniform and cube-like they are at Joe's. They're dry. See how unique and juicy the ones at Burnt End are. I'm not eager to go back here. If I do go back, I think you have to stick with the Z-man sandwich. It's tasty, but I still think it's the barbecue sandwich for people who don't really love barbecue. 

7. Gates

My only review for this place that counts (2016-present) is a bad one. I went on the way to the airport, so I went to the State Ave location on 12/2/16. Ordering was a mess. I got a beef on bun with fries and the beef was dry, and a weak portion. Unsatisfied. And then I remembered my other trip to this location was bad as well. So I'm optimistic that this is just a poor spot and I'll try elsewhere.

This one hurts. Just two years ago, I was convinced Gates and Arthur Bryant's were the two best barbecue places on the planet. And I thought if I could only go to one, I'd pick Gates. I had the burnt ends at my usual Overland Park location on 12/15/16. Disappointed. Just not in the same ballpark as Char Bar, Q39, Burnt End BBQ or Arthur Bryant's. Next time I go, I think I should stick with the Double Decker, but man...I'm wondering what happened. Was it just that nostalgia and vacation excitement blinded me in the past, or did it really go downhill? Either way, I'm not dying to go back. 


Places I Want To Try

Danny Edward's
Jon Russel's
Blind Box

Official BBQ Map


I've gotten pretty good and being able to look at yelp pictures and tell if the burnt ends look good or not. This post was created 12/11/16, but I expect to edit and repost occasionally. And the good news is that even not-the-best barbecue is still pretty good. 

Friday, February 03, 2017


So when you're writing a piece of fiction you usually want it to be believable. So if you are describing a situation, you want the internal logic to check out. But with a few things in our society, I feel like it doesn't.

You would think that the people against guns and the people against abortion would be the same people. (To be clear, I'm not trying to make the point that one side is bad/good or right/wrong. Just that it would seem to be more believable that there's one side who prioritizes the sanctity of life and another side who prioritizes civil liberties.)

You would think the people most concerned about terrorism (enough to ban refugees) would be the people in big cities who have experienced terrorism or likely to be a target of terrorism.

You would think the people most concerned about terrorism (enough to ban refugees) would be the same people who don't want guns.

You would think that celebrities who have lots of money and fame would be more likely to favor the politicians that give bigger tax cuts to the wealthy and less likely to be social activists.

I'm just saying. Whoever wrote the script for humanity, sometimes it's not very believable.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

I got tired of seeing that headline at the top of the page so here's something better to look at.