"Mr. Brownback argued the importance to the culture of appointing more conservative judges, asserting that courts have conducted 'a 40-year assault on the Constitution.' Courts, he argued, had wrongly overstretched 'separation of church and state' to mean 'removal of church from state.' -- From a September 1 New York Times report on the private, invitation-only "Family, Faith and Freedom Rally" organized by the Bush-Cheney campaign and attended by several hundred Christian conservatives in conjunction with the Republican National Convention but held off-camera at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.
Off the rack and on the town.
Quinton's in Lawrence, 11 p.m. Thursday
The bartender blows a mouthful of 151 across his lighter, spraying flames and eliciting cheers from gorgeous women. But things here are Stepford creepy: The Pitch's fashion expert, Bud, counts 11 textbook hotties all wearing the same shirt, a halter with a flare around the midsection -- the maternity top.
Popularized by Jessica Simpson, the garment began appearing on college campuses last spring. It amounts to deceptive advertising. "It accents boobs and hides bar tummy," Bud says. And it gives men a huge pickup complex: It's a meat-market uniform that conjures visions of pregnancy.
Bud approaches two like-dressed ladies seated at a table. Ashley Clover, a brunette in a yellow, terry-cloth version, and Annika Turnquist, a blonde in a rose-embroidered piece. They like the shirts because a lot of people are wearing them. "If one person has it, then everyone has it," Clover says.
"I like it because you can go out and you can be fat and it won't show," Turnquist says. The girls carry on the conversation themselves.
"The top is flattering."
"A lot of girls like it because it's not really tight."
"It shows off your neckline."
"It doesn't show off your hips as much."
Bud interrupts them: "So it's a way to avoid exercise?"
"It's trendy," Clover says emphatically, putting an end to this line of questioning. She explains the top's evolution: It started as an almost dress-sized number that could be worn without jeans, then morphed into the butt-ridding version. Now it even doubles as poolside sunwear.
The girls know the tops don't really attract guys. "Her boyfriend said it looked like a bath towel," Turnquist says.
When a guy in a softball shirt and cargo shorts shuffles by, they ask his opinion. "I personally love them," the guy says with theatrical exuberance. "I think it's the sexiest thing that I've ever seen."
Seeking an impartial opinion, Bud pulls aside a guy in a vintage Bo Sox hat and a "Nug Life" T-shirt, whom he'd spotted earlier slapping a random girl's ass.
"I think it looks like maternity wear and jeans," says T.J. Kaberline, unprompted by any suggestion of pregnancy couture. "I think it looks cheap," adds Kaberline's friend, Josh Baruth, who wears a green T-shirt and blue mesh hat. The maternity top is a turnoff, Baruth says, because it reminds him of girls trying to be like their hippie-garbed moms from the '60s.
"Terry cloth?" Kaberline adds incredulously, motioning to another girl in a green plush top. "I've got a Kangol hat like that."
Notes from KC's blogosphere.
I'm not entirely sure what fascinates me so much about American Chopper. I think what does it for me is the relationship between the senior and junior Teutels. Father and son working in the shop reminds me of all the hours I spent in the machine shed with my dad. When it comes to mechanical aptitude, though, I was more like Mikey than Paulie. I never really liked working in the shop with dad; I couldn't really keep up. Dad was a remarkable farm mechanic, a master welder, and able to think three steps ahead of what his hands were doing. I could never hand him the right tool at the right time, which absolutely drove my dad crazy. The only thing that spared me from a painful, horrible death at his hands was the fact that my talents lay elsewhere. From Irreconcilable Musings, the online diary of Wally Waltner