Friday, September 28, 2007

Smallville: Season 7 Premiere

Signed up for Season 7, Smallville's off to a great start -- no healing this one, Chloe.

In honor of such a great premiere, I'm starting some new segments on this blog -- the "unanswered questions" segment and the "... what weren't they thinking ..." segment. See the examples I've provided from tonight's Smallville episode and comment with a catchy title for each!

Unanswered questions ...
Clark's evil doppelganger rips out Lex's lawyer's heart -- one might wonder under which custodial duty cleaning up THAT mess falls! Wonder if there'll be an extended scene on the TVD.

... what weren't they thinking ...

If Lana Lang-Luthor wanted to disappear after her faked death, why would this brunette go blonde in China?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dirty Sexy Money: Series Premiere

"NO!! I'm not going to go into a hotel and give a tranny-hooker a check!"

ABC is beginning to follow a tired-trend ... in all of its Television series: framed narration. Tonight's Series Premiere of Dirty Sexy Money was no exception. The framework for this episode was circular, beginning at the end and circling back -- which was little more than confusing.

With former 6 Feet Under star, Peter Krause, the show stepped onto a slightly better-than-average foot. It was smart, pop-culture friendly, and age-adaptive, but the pilot was neither extraordinarily dirty or sexy.

Peter's performance hasn't strayed far from the grave; in fact, it's hard to distinguish between his performance on 6 Feet Under as Nate, and the character in Dirty Sexy Money, Nick.

But even with the debut's drowsy-development, Dirty Sexy Money has a lot of potential. A transgendered individual was introduced (a first since Nip/Tuck(?); that's her in the photo above), Glenn Fitzgerald and Natalie Zea (as the Reverend Brian and his sister Karen Darling respectively) gave four-star performances, and there were a few really great laughs. But will that be enough, especially with a similar ABC series premiering on the next day (Hot Shots)?

Dirty Sexy Money plays Wednesdays 9 p.m. Central on ABC (Sunflower Broadband ch. 9).

Bionic Woman: Series Premiere & Video Clip

"Everyone has to sing for their supper around here, don't you know that?..."

When one sits down to a program titled Bionic Woman, one expects to slough a hefty chunk of cheese on the cracker. Thankfully with this Series Premiere, that cheese was exceptionally-delicious! (Check out some of my vlog highlights from tonight's debut!)

There were, of course, the conventional complications. NBC newbie Michelle Ryan (only two years my senior!) gave a demure delivery as the show's lead, Jamie Sommers, some of the graphics/special effects were overdone, leading to unnecessary vertigo, and the super-hero witty-epithets left a lot to be desired.

But, excitement for THIS show is on speed-dial. The scenes for Bionic Woman were -- one might say -- "well-constructed," the transitions were effective, and the camera work had the beautiful-feel of a high-budget film that doesn't take itself too seriously. I hope I'm not to reading too much into the pilot, but as Ryan grows into her character, and as Sommers grows into her new body, we're sure to be thrilled week after week with this great new NBC Hit (as long as we remember we're consuming cheese, for cheese's-sake).

Bionic Woman airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Central on NBC (Sunflower Broadband, ch 8).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cane: Series Premiere & Video Clip

CANE, a newbie in the CBS fall lineup is off to a good, if slow, start. The series debut tonight wasn't above expectation, but CANE promises to add some much needed color to the Fall Season.

The acting in tonight's episode wasn't terrifically riveting and some of the lines were underdeveloped -- but the Spanglish-style-soap served up a refreshing "ethnicity" to the dominating "white" population of shows this Fall -- and it did so with a lot of twists and turns.

Following the premiere, we previewed a disturbing quantity of clips from future-episodes, but like with any freshman series, garnering new viewers is the flesh and bones of Television. Watch it here:

Cane plays Tuesdays 9 p.m. Central on CBS (Sunflower Broadband channel 13).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Taylors TV-Ticket (Fall '07)


> Desperate Housewives -- After the savory yet soapy suicide of Edie Britt, how can Season 4 not be on my TV To-Do's?

Brothers & Sisters -- Good news of this show abounds, and after the sensational Sally Field won the Emmy (even after another Sally-speech debacle) previewing the Family Album recap of Season 1 hooked my interest.


> Heroes -- I didn't jump on board until after Season 1 which left me like a damsel in distress. This show is my ticket to salvation, and like with Kathy Griffin, that ain't through Jesus. With Heroes, TGIM!

I Love New York -- As promised, I'll add shows if you provide a convincing argument! We'll chalk this one up to guilty pleasure (I hope there's more pleasure than guilt!)


Biggest Loser -- No Fall schedule would be complete without a hefty-dose of Reality-TV and intending no pun, this one is my pick (at least until the premiere of Project Runway!)

> Cane -- Really looks too good not to watch. Hope it lives up to its promised sweetness!


> Bionic Woman -- Enough said, right?

Private Practice -- Spin-offs are tough, and while I don't think this is a guaranteed sell, I'm going to give it at least 2 episodes of a chance.

Dirty Sexy Money -- It's great to see Peter Krause and Rachel Griffiths climbing up those 6 feet -- and in two of the most talked about shows of the new season: Dirty Sexy Money and Brothers & Sisters.


30 Rock -- "...but most of all, we'd like to thank our dozens and dozens of viewers..." The hook. Line. And Sinker for this show.

> Smallville -- The CW show is underrated and the adult charm and maturity of the sixth season should have it flying in the big league; so what happened?

Survivor: China -- Haven't done a good Survivor since Australia, and if Biggest Loser doesn't weigh in, at least I have my fallback.

Ugly Betty/The Office -- My guess is -- they're overrated, but I'll give them a shot.

Grey's Anatomy -- Outside Lost, this was the most raped and pillaged show at the Emmy's.


Best Week Ever/The Soup -- Pop-culture up-keep.

> Moonlight -- The paranormal pair with Bionic Woman -- this one with vampires. Maybe an overdone concept -- but while we're doing it anyway, why don't we get our hands bloody.

* am I missing something??....

I want to hear it! In a comment telling me your favorite show, and at what time, and I'll add it to my list.

Heroes Premiere: Four Months Later

"Are you a robot or an alien?"

The most anticipated premiere of the Fall '07 season was slightly less heroic than expected, but not totally deflated.

We return, as the title suggests, four months after Peter Petrelli went Atom-Bomb to find: The Bennets living a "normal" life, Mohinder finding a new job (giving Mutant Trap, Co. a taste of its own medicine), Hiro stuck in the 1600s having just met the legend-turned-Gringo Takezo Sensei (a new character a la David Anders), and Matt Parkman with his newly (adopted?) daughter Molly who is frighteningly articulate and quite the standout in this episode. What we don't find, unfortunatley, are the likes Niki and Sylar, and they were missed.

We've also added four new characters: Nicholas D'agosto, a flying-friend of Claire's, who we thank for this blog's quote, Mutant Maya and her brother Alejandro trying to cross over into the United States, and a man of the Midas Touch who goes uncredited as Monhinder's new boss.

The scenes drudged on -- especially between Hiro and Takezo, and the ambiguous storyline was more frustrating than envigorating. But chasing the alien that was Season 1 of this show (FANTASTIC television) has to be more than overwhelming. Hope there's enough heroism in the story-storming room to save this season, for the first episode was curiously robotic.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top 10 GLBT TV Icons

..::As published in The Vanguard 10.18.2005::..

Top 10 GLBT

TV Icons
(this list is by no means exhaustive, and is completely personal opinion)

10.) David Fisher (Six Feet Under)—Giving beauty tips is a skill that many gay men (certainly not all) pride themselves in, but when one famous gay makes you over, it's for good! David Fisher (Michael C. Hall) is a co-owner of Fisher & Diaz Family Funeral Home and hits the charts at 10 for having a starring gay role in this ground-breaking show not centered around an LGBT theme -- and he makes no bones about it! Ashes, maybe.

9.) Bev Harris (Roseanne)—Many of TV’s gay icons are young, and fit and popular. None of these describe the nasally, lesbian mother of Roseanne Conner in the first "reality" self-titled TV show. Bev (Estelle Parsons), who comes out while in her 60s with fellow "unorthodox" gay characters (Leon and his partner Scott and the cooky-mystic Nancy) all play an important part of a show about Midwestern America in all its ugly guts and glory -- and that makes it really beautiful. Sara Gilbert, Roseanne’s Darlene, who will be starting her own TV show in the fall, Twins, is also a lesbian mother with life partner Allison Adler, who have been together since 2002.

8.) Andrew Van De Camp (Desperate Housewives)—Written and produced by a gay man himself (Marc Cherry), Desperate Housewives has certainly wed its way into the hearts of the GLBT community with very homophilic-comedic situations. Sitting at my pick for number 8, Andrew Van de Kamp (Shawn Pyfrom), son of Desperate-Bree, spiced up the show a bit with an unexpected pool scene and the revelation of his bisexuality. Andrew makes the list because, in the polarized black-and-white TV industry, the gray area of bisexuality is infrequently explored.

7.) Carson Kressley (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Fashion)—“ I'm not gay. I'm questioning!” The quick-witted self-proclaimed Ellen Degeneres look-a-like has had a powerful impact on the way homosexuality is viewed in the mass media with his special gay-on-straight reality programming. Kressley, who ushered in the “it’s-in-to-be-out” era, is not afraid to talk about his sex-life or his life as a gay man with participants of the Queer Eye. The show has received criticism for “reverse-discrimination” -- making it seem as though all gay men have a “gene” giving them the know-how to cook, clean, dress, do hair, and be more culturally-correct; however, the show plays an important role in helping society in general realize that gay men are people too. And fabulous ones at that. “Shake-down-flip-it-and-reverse-it!”

6.) Karen Walker (Will & Grace)—An incredible dresser, buckets of money, a hoot and a half, a killer rack, and bixsexual: this is how Karen Walker describes herself on one of the top gay shows of all time, Will & Grace. The word from producers is that the show gets a lot of grief because neither of the gay characters seems to maintain a boyfriend longer than a gay line at a football game, and critics say that some of the characters fall prey to stereotypes. But creators said Will & Grace wasn’t meant to teach a lesson or even to serve as a “...powerful force in the gay agenda” but to entertain. Undoubtedly, the most entertaining of the GLBT characters makes no apologies for herself (or to her maid). Megan Mullally, an open bisexual who came out in a 1999 issue of The Advocate, portrays something of a rarity in TV today. “Hello, starshine!”

5.) Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)—This "runic red-head" flew onto the small screen at a time when many characters in serious teen-oriented TV were straight (or ambiguous) and entered into a semi-physical, often-awkward relationship with a fellow witch Tarah. The normal couple was treated as just that. Even while ultimately Tarah ended up with a fatal bullet wound in her chest Willow’s character as a strong, powerful witch, who just happened to be a lesbian, remained steadfast in the now cult-classic.

4.) Justin Taylor/Randy Harrison (Queer as Folk)—Coming out is a hard thing to do, and for those of us who didn’t have the balls to do it in high school, watching someone who did is the next best thing. Justin Taylor, blonde-boy almost-martyr of one of Showtime’s most famous hits, did come out, and to take our boyish fantasies further, he took his dream-guy to prom. Of course, life isn’t easy for Justin who was disowned by his father, nearly beaten to death by the high school football star (and former sexual partner), and madly in love with a man who could never really live up to his expectations ... outside the bedroom. Randy Harrison, one of the few actors on the show who is gay, was my pick because he never hid who he was, never let others take advantage of him, and always let his sun-shine brightly.

3.) Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched)—One of the great classics that covertly attacks discrimination, Bewitched seemed to advocate the issue of sexuality most. The star, Samantha, a powerful witch, lives a life of a mortal and hides her identity from a society who wouldn’t understand (she was in her broom-closet, so to speak). Agnes Moorehead, who plays Endora, Samantha’s interfering dogmatic mother-in-law (who is curiously single and hates Samantha’s father), believes Sam shouldn’t disguise herself just because she might be rejected by society. Deep, huh? There is a reason the show was a pride-parade of GLBT actors, namely Agnes Moorehead (a Fundamentalist Christian, whose homosexuality was an open secret), Dick Sergeant (Darrin #2), and Paul Lynde (Goofy Uncle Arthur).The show’s main actress, Elizabeth Montgomery was also an avid activist for gay rights, often appearing in protests with fellow cast-mates during the production of Bewitched. Tinka-tinka-tu!

2.) Xena (Xena:Warrior Princess)—Although the star, Lucy Lawless, will tell you that Xena IS gay, many people still choose to believe that this icon is as straight as her sword. Perhaps this denial stems from the emotionally-heavy relationship between a certain "warrior princess" and her "battling bard" that leaves the super-hero ambiguoity in the physical department. The beauty of Xena is that it quietly displays a relationship between two members of the same sex that is about more than sex— homosexuality isn’t just a physical thing, it’s as highly developed and involved as any relationship. In Xena we find someone only as straight as her chakram (her "round-killing-thing.")

1.) Ellen Degeneres (The Ellen Show, Ellen)—Topping the charts as THE most influential Gay Icon in the media today of course, is Ellen Degeneres. Even though Ellen, claims she never wanted to be the spokesperson for the gay community, beginning with her double-decker coming-out in 1997, it was almost impossible for her not to be. With a new hit-talk-show, several guest appearances, a very successful Disney movie, and hosting the Emmy’s after two national disasters, Ellen has really joked herself into the limelight, and is my pick for the Top GLBT TV Icon! Afterall, us gays gotta laugh!

GLAAD estimates that this Fall’s season will have about 16 regular GLBT characters, of about 710, appearing in 14 of 110 shows—a regression from previous years’ numbers.

Photo: Carnie

Carnies are a hoot...

...and this one was no exception. I shot this image at the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year for Student Union Activities.

This subject must have fumed three cigarettes top to bottom in the expanse of time it took me to get the lighting just right on this photo.

To get this photo, I set the camera to M (which stands for Manual mode). then adjusted the shutter speed to bulb. giving me complete control over the length of time the shutter is held open by pressing and holding the shutter release button.

Bulb exposures are usually blurry. To avoid this, find stationary subjects (this guy trying to light his cigarette) and try to juxtapose them against moving ones (the Ferris Wheel).

To reduce the movement YOU make while holding the camera, stand or squat with planted feet, and the elbows inward pressing against the rib-cage. This will steady your hold and reduce the amount of shakiness. If you can set the camera on a flat surface, then use the Timed Shutter Release (or the countdown button) on your camera to avoid even more camera movement.

Digital SLRs usually have exposures anywhere from 100-1600. Using a higher number expsoure usually allows for a more well-lit photo in darker settings (e.g. dinner party, indoor stadium) while the smaller numbers are used in more well-lit environments (e.g. outdoors, high-flourescent studio).

Because I knew a lot of light would be entering the camera, I set the exposure to 200. (You may have noticed Film Exposure Speeds or Disposable Cameras marked with 200- or 400- or 800-speed. These exposures should be used for outdoor activities, well-lit indoor activities, and low-light activities respectively.

I have to admit, the ride itself was lackluster, but watching the Carnie light and smoke a cigarette in under thirty seconds was quite priceless. So, the next time your thrill-ride doesn't go as planned, just stop by your carbon emitting amusement on the way out and bum straight on 'till morning.

America, F*ck Yeah!

..::As published in the University Daily Kansan 6.27.07::..

In the ongoing profanity battle... between the FCC and Corporate-TV-USA, FOX recently scored ground: Fleeting expletives are F***ing-OK. With the ruling came a sigh of relief from the once vulgar Cher, Nicole Richie, and yes, Dick Cheney. But the decision is already in the process of an appeal.

I grew up with essentially profanity-free programming, jaded only by the words behind the bleeps of the Jerry Springer Show, but I wasn’t a better person because of my ignorance. I still embarrassed my parents, got spanked, and hated my sisters.

A commentator once noted that, “[a person]…with four lifetimes and a burning desire to find out whether he may scream ‘Fuck!’ in a crowded theater will come away in confusion if he looks for his answers in the opinions of the Supreme Court.”

Although the freedom of expression is explicitly protected in the Constitution – the government has consistently approved its limitations. The lynch pin in this idle prattle is deciding when profanity becomes obscene.

Linguists have consistently supported the categorical conception of “fuck,” dividing its connotations into two camps: “Fuck” as a verb literally meaning to conjugate and “fuck” as a substitutive word in phrases designed to have “offensive force.” Because of its connotative versatility, its meaning can vary depending on the person, situation or physical context of its utterance. The fact that “fuck” can be substituted for God or hell, shows that the evolution of this word has lost all intrinsic denotative and connotative value.

In the 1950s, the FCC declared that in order for profanities to be considered obscene, they must allude to “excretory organs and prurient interests.” This standard held precedent for many years, even as far as 2004 when Bono stood before the Golden Globes and received the statuette for best original song by exclaiming “...this is really, really fucking brilliant!...”

After this incident, the FCC rewrote regulations on “fuck,” that, in their new definition intrinsically connotes sexual imagery effectively using soap to wash out the mouth of television.
However, in an earlier case, Miller v. California, courts ruled that profanities must meet 3 standards to be considered obscene: 1) A reasonable person using community standards would consider the utterance to have prurient interests. 2) It must depict or describe sexual conduct. 3) And it, as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. What Bono meant when he said, holding up that award, “...this is really, really fucking brilliant!...” would change dramatically if it HAD met these standards, and frankly I’d be concerned for the statuette if it did.

In Cohen v. California, a man bearing a “Fuck the Draft” jacket was arrested for walking through a court-house. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction and said if people didn’t agree with the message, they could avert their eyes. They also said that profanities, many times, have emotive value -- important in generating audience response.

I say, shielding viewers from such programming is unnecessary. Simply because a show is profane doesn’t mean it has persuasive powers on the feeble minded. I got a good kick out of Maury Povich, but I never wanted to fight a dwarf or marry a goat. And at the end of the day, Cain killed Abel LONG before there was television.

Concerned parents are trying to protect their children as long as possible from those who take up precious air to execrate all over the free-world. While this is an understandable request, I think the reins of THIS horse should be put in the palms of the parents to decide what their children can and cannot watch. It is NOT the responsibility of Congress to make sure that all humans are afforded “Life, Liberty, and the Freedom from Swear Words.”

Photo: Silent Prayer

...::As published in Sept. 2006 Issue of Popular Photography Magazine::..

Desperate Housewives: Season One

..::Originally blogged October 18, 2005::..

Desperate Housewives

Season One:
As the camera edges past the darkened table, Bree Van De Camp presses out the last few wrinkles in her table cloth, desperate to finish her chores. Just as she catches sight of the empty chair of her newly deceased husband and a house completely cleaned, she grabs the corners of the table and finally sheds the veil of perfection, in her most extreme moment of desperation. The image of what it means to be desperate, is finally certain (This Episode: One Wonderful Day--Episode 23).

Scenes like these are why we lived and breathed the first season of such a magnificient show--the one of the only shows, in fact, to win SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) awards before its first season completed. This particular scene, a personal favorite, is also one of creator Marc Cherry's "Top Three" in the entire first season collection.

This complex collection of episodes unveils the mystery over the suicide of a local housewife, Mary Alice Young, and it does so completely. Creator Marc Cherry commented that he didn't want "to be like Twin Peaks" and keep the audience in suspense for several seasons, but to close it up decidedly.

The show is performed beautifully--the acting is amazing, with such subtleties and chemistries found between characters that just don't exist on TV today--two great examples exist between Lynette Scavo and her husband Tom (the stand-out actors), and also the highly combative relationship between the clutzy Susan Mayer and neighborhood-Mary Magdalene, Edie Britt.

The best actor in Season One is Marcia Cross--who has a lot of weight on her shoulders, because she's actually portraying a real person, (Marc Cherry's homophobic mother!). Cross is followed closely by the more realistic Felicity Huffman, who displays a wide range of emotions, but finds her acting strength in her delivered sublte looks, and slight tilts of the head.
Harriet Sansom Harris (WHO?!), Felicia Tilman, Martha Huber's sister comes in at third. Regardless of the smallness of her part, her character is the strongest metaphor for the show--darkly comic. Tied for fourth are Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria--it's really difficult to feel much sympathy for either of these two, obviously Eva is that extra-sexy-ethnic vixen, and her foil Susan is the sorta-sexy kinda-old neurotic mess.

The worst actors on the show are few, but annoying. Andrea Bowen, who plays Julie Mayer, may not a horrible actress, but if she isn't, she got the screw.

Best Episodes:

Trying to narrow down a selection of best episode for a fantastic show is hard. Obviously I wanted to choose those with the least amount of Julie, and the most amount of Bree and Lynette. The best episodes of this season are, then, as follows:

It's funny that Christine Estabrook (Mrs. Huber) seems to die in most of the shows she's in--or at least two that I can count (DH and Six Feet Under). This episode kills her off, Bree and Rex cover up Andrew's roadkill-mo-bile, and Lynette reaches the breaking point in her addiction (another one of my personal favorite scenes).

Goodbye for Now:
The famous bed-making scene, ahh yes, Bree made her bed in lieu of taking her dying husband to the hospital, something creator Marc Cherry's mother actually did! This episode has lots of Felicia Tilman (Harriet Sansom Harris) action.

One Wonderful Day (Season Finale):
If there is a better teaser for any television show in history than on this episode, I'd love to watch it--because this is singlehandeldy the best teaser/conclusion framing ever. Rex and Diedra die, Paul and Mike and Susan and Pongo and John and Zach COULD die, and Bree wants to die.


"You see, human beings are designed for many things, but lonliness isn't one of them." --Mary Alice Young

"I can't believe you tried to kill me!" --Rex [onions in his salad].
"Yes, well, I feel badly about that."--Bree

"I know someone who knows someone who knows an elf, and if any of you acts up, so help me I will call Santa and tell him you want socks for Christmas. Are you willing to risk that?"--Lynette Scavo

"Rex cries after he ejaculates."--Bree

"Everytime we went out for pizza, you could have said, 'Hey, I once killed a man.'"--Susan Mayer

"Why are all rich men such jerks?"--Gabrielle Solis
"The same reason all beautiful women are such bitches."--Carlos Solis

Photo: La Catedral de Santiago

..::As published in August 2006 issue of Popular Photography Magazine::..

Anthony's Beehive

..::As published on the William Allen White Website 7.27.06::..

Thousands of bees hummed quietly on the cool humid morning outside of Anthony Schwager's family residence, while he sat at the dining room table with his siblings stuffing clear packages with honey sticks and applying "Anthony's Beehive" labels to honey lip balm.

Thursday morning meant a little more work for the recent Lawrence High School graduate, who had to make deliveries of his home-grown honey to several retailers later that day, but that was just fine with him.

"Anthony started out doing bees as a hobby because he saw a video at school. Tony Schwager, Anthony's father, said. "We put him off for a while, but he was really insistent so we got him a couple beehives."

"He's 19 now and he has some [developmental] disabilities that prevent him from having a lot of different career choices. He's kind of latched onto this and he's doing real well," he added.

Tony said Anthonys products are now being sold in over 60 stores including Walgreens, Checkers, Miller-Mart and Zarco, and 40 other stores have signed-on including the University Book Shop, KU Bookstores and Hyvee.

With all that business, Tony says, they can hardly keep up.

"The amount of hives we have hovers around 60," he said. "Sometimes you find a hive that died. Or you might combine two hives, or split two hives, or you might catch a swarm. The goal is to get a lot more. To keep expanding what we're doing."

Still, while Anthony's products are buzzing in some of Lawrence's largest retail stores, he prefers the local Farmers Market.

"His favorite thing seems to be dealing with the customers at market," Tony said. "He really likes to go to market, dealing with the other vendors, and dealing with the customers. He's really important to the market."

"He's about famous in Lawrence, we go to a restaurant and people go, Oh hey you're the honey guy! or Hey, you're Anthony!" added Anthony's father, smiling at him.

While they say the business is still new, the Schwager family, which includes Anthony, his parents Tony and Teri, brothers Adam and Brandon and sister Mariah, produces approximately 3,000 pounds of honey a year. With 60 hives, each containing approximately 50,000 Euro-Italian bees, Anthony can expect to harvest 100 pounds from each of hive in a good year.

Honey is harvested once a year, Tony says, usually starting after the fourth of July and finishing up before Labor Day.

"The bears I make now are really light in color," Tony said. "Honey tends to get a little darker when it sits, especially when it sits in plastic. We like to have nice, light, fresh honey."

"Anthony's disability is just not going to allow him to do some stuff, so he's got a deal here all set up where he can do something he really enjoys, make a good living, have some dignity and be important," said Tony.

"Also," his father added, "he always has the best honey at the fair."

Last year, Anthony was one of the National Foundation of Teachings Entrepreneurs of the Year, which won both him and his parents a trip to New York.


Caution: Gardeners at Work

..::As published on the William Allen White Website 7.20.07::..

The black leather seat of the forklift stuck to her pants as she stood up to help a customer in the worst of the three digit weather.

Scurrying across the garden center lot, she wiped off a fresh patch of sweat from her face with her forearm and sighed before she entered the greenhouse smiling where the heat intensified and the breeze dissolved.

To most, it was one of the hottest days of the year, but for Becky Kearns, the seasonal manager of Hyvee on Clinton Parkway, it was just another ordinary summer day. And that's how she likes it.

"I never get tired of it," Kearns said. "I come out early in the morning so it gradually gets hotter. I know its hot, but I spend time in the shade, then get out and work, and...hose my feet off."

Geraniums and hydrangeas sit on barrels and colorful pots, dried in the sun, even after being watered for the third time. And Kearns, clad in her bright orange shirt reading, "Caution: Gardeners at work" quickly carries bags of mulch to load off the forklift.

The garden center, which is much smaller in July because of the heat, includes one functioning greenhouse and two shaded sections for some of the late-blooming plants.

Kearns said throughout the year, the heat affects not only the people who come to the garden center, but also the kinds of products they buy.

"Early in the spring they're planting all their pots and all the annuals. Then once that's done they start buying the perennials, shrubs, trees -- and they buy mulch now that it's hot, hoses, that kind of stuff," Kearns said. "And then we do a fall shrub program, then pansies and mums to work our way through fall."

And Kearns says Hyvee isn't exhaustive about the heat.

"They always tell us, if you're too hot come in. They would never never say that we have to stay out here," she said.

"The employees, they're here because they want to be. They're happy about it. You don't have somebody that's grumpy because they have to be out here loading dirt," she added. "They're loading dirt because they want to be loading dirt. And I think that makes a huge difference. It wouldn't be a fun job if you didn't like what you were doing."

Still, being in the sun all day at work doesn't discourage Kearns from keeping a big garden at home, too.

"I've got a grandma garden," she said. "I'm a big hosta person, I have a lot of shade, so a lot of hostas, a lot of ferns ... everything really."

Kearns added her advice for staying cool this summer: "Drink lots of water and Gatorade.....and hose off your feet," she said laughing.


Purple Paradise

..::As published on the William Allen White Website 6.19.06::..

Someone once said that for every neighborhood, there's a purple house. Whether she had heard that or not, Brindy Supernaw, a massage therapist from California, agreed.

Inspired by the brightly colored houses of old San Francisco, Supernaw moved into a small three-bedroom house on Lyon Street in North Lawrence in April 2005 and immediately painted it.

White exterior siding, she painted deep purple, her living room a bright shade of teal, the kitchen and bathroom floor checkered in both. For her daughter Ninas room, she chose a mixture of oranges and pinks, the computer room a cobalt blue, and for her and fiancé Jesse Fitzpatricks bedroom, neon pink.

"The houses they build today are all white, off white, cream, beige..taupe. They're boring," Supernaw said. "I like old houses with character, and certainly something that doesn't look like everything else on the block."

Because her fiancé is too tall for the house, Supernaw, however, is moving. But her house, listed for $124,900, is not selling.

Although she doesnt regret painting it, Supernaw is finding it difficult to sell her home, along with many others in Lawrence. In her neighborhood alone, 10 houses are listed. But does the color of a house really affect its attractiveness in the market? Absolutely, says local realtor Larry Northrop.

"Most of your builders and remodelers are going to stay in the safe zone which are the earth tones and not venture out into the purples and greens and blues," Northrop said. "Those are what I like to refer to as love/hate colors. You either love them or you hate them, and if you hate them, you're not going to buy the house."

It may even affect the sell-ability of other houses in the neighborhood, he said. Neighbors many times like uniformity in the color of every house on their block.

Helen Smith, a neighbor to the home since 1943, doesn't care for purple houses.
"I was disappointed when I saw it," Smith said. "Somebody said it would grow on me, but it really hasnt. I dont like bright colors on a house."

But not all people feel that way. Supernaw said one neighbor commented how she loved the color of the house, because every morning when she woke up and looked out her window, it made her smile.

Supernaw also said that when she was painting the house many people dropped by with positive comments on the color.

"We are having trouble selling the house," Supernaw said. "I'm not sure it has so much to do with the color, but more with the way the market is right now."

According to the results from the Census Bureau, between July 2004 and July 2005 Lawrence lost approximately 26 residents, the first time in 30 years it has recorded an annual population decline. Shattering the traditional 2 opulation increase recorded every other year.

Northrop said that he usually suggests to sellers of brightly colored houses that before listing them they should paint their homes a more neutral color.

"Especially if they want to maximize the amount they can make out of their house," he added.
"If you keep the house a bright color, you're restricted to a smaller buying pool," he said. "You might have 10 buyers look at it and nine of them not like the color, but maybe one loves the purple, he said. In the end, it affects the price of the property."

But Supernaw is hopeful.

"I dont think I should have to paint it," she said. "I thought I would live here forever I want someone who wants a purple house."

In addition to her deep purple home, other non-neutral colored houses in her neighborhood include a baby yellow house, several shades of blue, two painted saffron orange, and one light avocado green.


..::As published on the William Allen White Website 7.12.06::..

When Kerri Davidson, a senior from Overland Park, hung up the phone Thursday, she had officially raised over $17,000 from alumni working for the University of Kansas Endowment Association this year.

Speaking with a graduate from the School of Journalism, Davidson ushered in the final night of the association's fiscal year with a single gift of $300 given for the scholarship fund for the school.

"She was so willing to give," Davidson said. "She was so excited, and it's always exciting when you talk to alumni who are happy to give back!"

Davidson and the Jaytalkers, or the student endowment employees, this year spent 4,800 hours on the phone, speaking with 37,800 alumni who pledged a total of $1,601,350 for the University's various colleges, departments and scholarship funds -- a 33.82% increase from last year.

"Kerri is a delight to work with, she truly does care about KU and strives to do her best in raising money for the University," Lindsey Byers, assistant director of annual giving for KU Endowment, said. "We had great leadership from our veteran callers and managers."

KU Endowment, which was founded in 1891, collects private donations for scholarships and to suppress tuition costs and is one of the only endowment associations in the country not operated or funded by the its university.

"Because of this, we have the unique ability to direct 100% of a donor's gift to the area(s) to which he or she designates," Byers said.

In Davidson's case, 100% of the donation was designated to scholarships for journalism students -- the school of alumni she was calling Thursday night.

In addition to her pledge, Davidson called more than 60 other alumni receiving several other smaller pledges, normal for her daily routine, she said.

"It's different every night," Davidson said. "I come in and get on the computer and call people. Generally the call goes great: you just update their information in the system for KU and then talk with them for a while about their experiences at KU and then eventually get down to seeing if they would support KU financially for the year."

Davidson, who has worked with the Jaytalkers since September, currently holds the position as the best-caller of the summer.

"Kerri is one of our most improved callers this summer," Byers said. "Her great attitude and enthusiasm are obvious in person and on the phone."