Is Topeka creeping up on Kansas City?
Don’t look now but Topeka is creeping up on Kansas City…
I lived there the summer before last – don’t ask me why, I’m sure my excuses would not hold up – so I know all too well how lame the town is.
And that doesn’t even include the fact that Sam Brownback and Fred Phelps make T-Town their home.
Nope, the problem with Topeka is, it’s too small to have the amenities of a big city like Kansas City and too big to have the charm of a small town like, well, Platte City.
How’s that for kissing up to Ivan?
But now, according to Brownback and the Topeka Chamber of Commerce mouthpieces, the town is stepping into the big leagues by getting United Airlines to scramble two flights a day to and from Chicago out of Forbes Field aka the Topeka Regional Airport.
For the past seven years, the airport has mostly been a haven for private aircraft and charter flights by University of Kansas athletic teams and its opponents.
Yet despite a recent $30,000-plus makeover, the airport still doesn’t have a respectable sign even, any cool restaurants or shops, and its parking lots are in sorry shape, overgrown with grass and dead trees. They did slap some paint and carpet on it and replaced some of the windows - and you can park there until the cows come home for five bucks all in, versus $7 a day at Kansas City’s “International Airport.”
Therein lies the problem…
That being KCI or MCI, however you want to cut the cake.
Will United’s new nonstop service to Chicago fly when it takes off in January?
“Well, it’s got an insurance policy built in, guaranteeing the airline a profit,” says KCC travel dude Jack Poessiger of a government subsidized deal with United. “So the airline has nothing to lose; they’re guaranteed to make a profit. Can it stand on its own? That’s another question.
“If it doesn’t work out in two years when the subsidies run out and there’s no more funding and not enough patronage, United’s going to pull that deal, which only makes business sense.”
Here’s how it shakes out…
Topeka has a population of 127,000 and change, 2,700 or so of whom allegedly make their way to the airport in Kansas City each day to fly somewhere. And the twice daily puddle jumpers heading to and from Chicago from Topeka only hold 50 people, so all they need to fill the planes are 100 people a day each way.
“I wouldn’t call them puddle jumpers,” Poessiger says. “They’re small jets, but if you’re six feet or taller, you’ll be doing a little bending.”
Can Topeka sustain its air service sans subsidies?
“That’s just not realistic, that’s why it’s subsidized,” Poessiger says. “Right now there are three airlines out of Kansas City that fly nonstops to Chicago. I’m going to guess that United and American each have five flights or more per day. Then Southwest flies only into Midway and they’ve got probably 9 or 10 flights a day. So between those three airlines and those two airports (Kansas City and Topeka), you’ve got maybe 20 flights departing to Chicago almost every day.
“That’s a pretty good lift out of Kansas City to Chicago, but it’s less than it used to be. The airlines have all cut back because they couldn’t sell enough seats, so now they’re stuffing more people into fewer planes to save money.”
Which says what about the prospects for the Topeka to Chicago flights succeeding?
“I just don’t think it would have happened without the subsidies,” Poessiger says of the $2 million - plus backing the deal. “I doubt any airline would give Topeka a second thought without the subsidy. Ironically, Allegiant Air pulled out of Topeka several years ago (2007) because it was too close to Kansas City.
“They specialize in small markets like Topeka with maybe twice a week service to vacation spots like Las Vegas. But they can’t be too close to a major airport because the business model doesn’t work. In this area they fly out of Springfield, Grand Island and Rapid City and they have very good business.”
And when the subsidies run out in two years?
“Well, when the airline has to stand on its own two feet, they’d better be in the black or they’ll be out of there,” Poessiger says. “Southwest, which owns Air Tran, is pulling out of Branson and Key West in June. I think the Topeka to Chicago service is a noble experiment and it could work because they are small jets that don’t eat as much fuel, but I don’t know if their breakeven is 80 percent of the plane or what.”
As for the crude, rundown state of the facilities in Topeka, “Welcome to the wild, wild west,” Poessiger quips. “It may not be pretty, but it could be a step in the right direction. Will it last? Only the good people of Topeka and the surrounding area will be able to provide that answer, depending on whether they make use of that service or not. Of course I’m skeptical, because government money or money pledged by chambers only lasts so long.
“You know what would be an interesting things to do. Once this thing gets going, would be to pull up a phony booking and seat map and see how many seats are full. See if the planes are half full, three quarters full or whatever. It’s an interesting thing about Topeka.
“I’d have never thought they’d have started air service up again, especially with a major carrier. So power to the people.”
KCC’s Brandon Leftridge Maps Out New Year’s Eve
It’s not a holiday in the truest sense of the word…
It doesn’t involve the birth of a savior, the independence of a country or a gigantic rabbit rising from the dead in order to gallivant about town laying giant, chocolate eggs. It’s little more than a turn of the calendar, the ever-evolving passage of our existence. There’s nothing we can do to stop it, so I’m not entirely sure why people get such a collective boner about it.
One minute, we’re in one year, and the next, we’re not.
It’s arbitrary and ridiculous, but people really seem (or pretend) to enjoy it.
For some, it’s symbolic of a new beginning: a resolution to drop a vice, drop some weight or stop being such an insufferable asshole. For others, it’s simply an excuse to drink a little too much champagne, get unnaturally aggressive and possibly kiss someone they normally wouldn’t.
The great majority, however, just want something to do. It’s an excuse to abandon the children at grandma’s house, put on something almost-fancy and let loose.
Jack Poessiger Reveals His Nights Of Flickering In Darkness
Everybody does those silly year-end Best Of lists...
I guess that's because there's not much else going on this late in the year. I wasn't planning on doing one---but I got shamed into it.
Let me explain.
I don't do BESTS or WORSTS because I'm not smart enough for that. I'll leave that to those so-called schooled critics.
However, I know what I enjoyed during the past year---and what I suffered through--- in many a dark auditorium.
So here then the films of 2013 that made going to the movies the most enjoyable for me.
# 1---"THE WOLF OF WALL STREET"---Martin Scorsese's decadent true story of the American dream and corporate greed---not to mention sex, power and cocaine. It's Leonardo DiCaprio's best performance of his career while Jonah Hill proves that his great performance in "MONEYBALL" wasn't a fluke.
# 2---"THE WAY, WAY BACK"---a poignant, funny coming of age story with great performances by Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell and Liam James.
# 3---"AMERICAN HUSTLE"---What an ensemble! Director David O. Russell here spoofs the Abscam scandal with Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner and scene stealing Jennifer Lawrence.
# 4---"AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY"---If there's ever been any doubt in your mind that Meryl Streep wasn't America's finest actress, then here is even more proof!
Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis and Chris Cooper are also terrific in this dark, touching Tony and Pulitzer prize winning stage to screen transformation.
(The movie 'platforms' into KC area theaters on January 10.)
# 5---"GRAVITY"---An extraordinary one woman show that Sandra Bullock pulls off against all odds
# 6---"NEBRASKA"---Director Alexander Payne's touching and inspiring dramedy of cantankerous Bruce Dern's road trip from Billings to Lincoln to claim his non-existent sweepstakes fortune. Also delivering award worthy performances in crisp black and white are Will Forte and June Squibb
# 7---"12 YEARS A SLAVE"---Often hard to watch as director Steve McQueen puts us through the wringer with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Brad Pitt---who also co-produced this incredible true story motion picture.
# 8---"CAPTAIN PHILLIPS"---This year's poster child of how an exciting and tense action-adventure SHOULD be presented on the big screen.
# 9---"SAVING MR. BANKS"---Movie industry based stories don't often work. And filling Walt Disney's shoes would add even more pressure to the film. But between Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman and Disney's OWN studio backing the project, director John Lee Hancock pulled it off!
# 10---"42"---You don't have to be a baseball fan to like this movie---for example, I'm not one.....This is just a terrific story about achievements both on the field and off that works on all fronts.
Honorable mentions for memorable nights at the movies in 2013 also include:
* "OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL"
* "BLUE JASMINE"
* "WE'RE THE MILLERS"
* "OUT OF THE FURNACE"
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Cinematic turkey salads during the past year included sitting through the likes of:
* "GRUDGE MATCH"
* "THE INTERNSHIP"
* "DELIVERY MAN"
* "HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS"
* "SPRING BREAKERS"
* "BAGGAGE CLAIM"
However there were two titles that almost made me lose faith in Hollywood's often-dubious judgments.
The runner up---you guessed it---another sorry Adam Sandler offering, the unfunny and just plain dumb "GROWN UPS 2."
And the VERY worst movie of 2013 was sprung upon unsuspecting moviegoers in April and was called "THE BIG WEDDING."
It was described as "an uproarious comedy about a charmingly modern family trying to survive a weekend wedding celebration."
What we got instead was a star-studded embarrassment of tragic proportions. Shame on Robert DeNiro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams, Topher Grace, Amanda Seyfried and EVERYONE who claim ANY involvement with this bombastic misfire.
What were they thinking?
All right I finally got it all off my chest.
Here's to a bright and prosperous New Year!
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Danger: Tacky Christmas display ahead
Get out the black armbands, unfold the crying towels, make an appointment with your sports shrink, the party’s over…
The Kansas City Chiefs probably won’t win another game this year, won’t being going to any Super Bowl’s in the next five years and their fans have nothing but mediocrity to look forward to in the foreseeable future.
That according to Stanford & Sons main man Craig Glazer, who doubles as a college and pro football handicapper and prognosticator.
“It’s like with the Royals, if you’re happy being an also ran and a borderline contender, then be happy,” Glazer says of the Chiefs. “I’m not.”
Glazer points a finger of blame at owner Clark Hunt.
“Look, Clark took over a bad situation,” Glazer says. “Carl Peterson ran the team into the ground and Scott Pioli took it further. But Clark waited too long to pull the trigger and try and fix things. I think next year with a tougher schedule, we’ll be talking about a .500 season again. There’s nothing to get excited about, because all of the good things in the first five or six games this year went away and all that’s left is the bad stuff.”
Sunday’s loss at home to Indianapolis was devastating, Glazer says.
“The Chiefs got their pants pulled down and were exposed,” he says. “”Every time they’ve faced a good team this year they’ve lost. They’ve only beaten bad teams. I don’t think they’re going to win another game this season, this is it. They’ll probably lose to San Diego next week and then Indy again in the playoffs.
“If people are happy with what they’ve done this year, then enjoy it - they’ve had their season - their season’s done. And this isn’t flip-flopping, this is analyzing the NFL week-to-week. That’s what you have to do.
“Fans can pretend that they have all these stars like Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers, and they do have some very good players, but they’re not great players. Jamaal Charles is the only Chiefs player that’s great.”
Is there a fix?
“There’s no easy solution,” Glazer says. “This team is very light in talent. Chiefs fans are kidding themselves.”
Danger: Tacky Christmas Display Ahead
KC Confidential movie and travel guy Jack Poessiger issue a holiday heads up and warning for visitors to Overland Park:
Ever driven down Metcalf near 103rd after dark during the holidays?
If so, you’ve undoubtedly seen what could pass for the tackiest holiday display since Griswold Christmas.
That’s where clinical research outfit Vince & Associates decks out its digs every year with what could pass for the most obnoxious holiday display in the metro - an almost entire block-long display of blinking, flashing, zinging – and most of all, distracting - electronic kitsch.
Yes, I’m a Christian, and no, I’m not against tasteful holiday displays. But in driving past this light arcade on Metcalf several nights a week I’ve seen two near miss accidents in the past few evenings alone.
Seems some cars going either direction like to pull off on the shoulder with no warning to further observe the tacky goings on and synch the matching holiday music to their car radios.
Then, as if hypnotized, they mindlessly pull back into the flow of traffic.
I’m told that smarter drivers pull into the church parking lot across the street to get their psychedelic thrills, but for others, that’s just too much of a hassle,
I’ll be honest driving past Vince’s display at night is distracting as hell even for me.
Frankly I’m surprised that Overland Park’s Zoning or Codes divisions hasn’t stepped in and told Vince & Associates to put it back in their pants.
After all, isn’t this the same city government that years ago were offended by a red roof atop a Red Roof Inn? And remember the controversy over the color of White Castle being TOO white!
Watching a TV news piece the other day about Vince’s bombastic lighting display I came to understand that it would continue to grow in size and scope in the coming years.
God help us all…….
So the next time you drive by this nighttime Holiday Hell, watch out for the brain paralyzed drivers pulling in and out of traffic at a whim and sudden slowdowns by light intoxicated motorists.
And a very Merry Christmas to all!
Money for Nothing & Checks for Free
Lumber baron Dwight Sutherland Jr. calls KC Star fat cats and columnist Barb Shelly for hypocrisy:
With apologies to British rockers Dire Straits, the creators of the 1985 hit with the lyrics ever so slightly modified, the above-referenced line could be the slogan of the Kansas City Star’s own Barbara Shelly as she pushes for Medicaid expansion as a necessary part of Obamacare.
I was intrigued earlier this year when I saw on The Star’s “Faith Calendar” for Sunday, March 10th, that Barb Shelly (no introduction necessary!) would be speaking that day at the Unitarian Universalist “Church” (sic). It turns out that Barb’s remarks were the worship service and the subject of her remarks was “Struggling for The Affordable Care Act.” (Don’t you just hate how the Religious Right mixes politics and religion?)
Who was struggling only became clear when I got there.
As our gal Barb put it, she was the one struggling to get Obamacare implemented, as was her paper, by writing and publishing “countless unsigned editorials” on the need to expand Medicaid in Kansas and Missouri as part of Obamacare.
Many smarter and better-informed people than I am could make compelling arguments pro and con on the issue. I also realize that the situation is different in the two states, although many of the same questions exist in both. In other words, I think I can say this is a complex mix of policy, tax, and medical considerations with no easy answers.
But not for Barb Shelly.
Why wouldn’t Kansas and Missouri embrace the expansion of Medicaid? After all, the hundreds of billions of dollars promised the states by the federal government ($750 million for Kansas) is “FREE MONEY.”
Those were her words.
Never mind the promise to pay the states’ share of the costs of expanding the program is only that, a promise. Never mind that the Feds’ commitment to cover the state’s share of increased Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers runs out after three years. Never mind that the states have been handed a fiscal time bomb of unknown dimensions. Somehow money from the federal government is like manna from Heaven; it comes at no cost, with no strings attached according to our moral and intellectual betters down on Grand.
Shelly also seems unbothered by the fact that the other two-thirds of the federal safety net (Medicare and Social Security) are already actuarially insolvent. Why not go for broke? Literally. Go big or go home! No one questions the need to strengthen the safety net in hard times but do we really want to permanently increase the share of the general population totally dependent on Medicaid from 23% to 30%?
At one time families with incomes of up to $56,000 per annum qualified for Medicaid assistance in Missouri. Since the median family income is now $52,000 nationally this would mean that something like 60% of the population would qualify for assistance in Missouri if that cut-off still applied.
Governor Matt Blunt tightened eligibility and thus prevented the rest of the state budget from being swallowed by Medical spending only to be rewarded by thousands of cute bumper stickers reading, “No More Blunt Trauma!” He was out after one term.
All this is “irrelevant, immaterial, scurrilous, and redundant” (as we say in the law), according to Barb and the Star Editorial Board. Remember, she said, the alternative is “health insurance company executives with seven-figure salaries making decisions on your health care.”
This was too good to be true, so during the Q & A I asked her how many of the McClatchy Company’s executives made seven-figure salaries. Barb feigned amnesia on this particular point so I gave her the following fun facts on her publishers’ compensation:
Five of The McClatchy Company execs made compensation worth over a million dollars a year, one over four million.
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION: THE McCLATCHY COMPANY
Gary Pruitt (Chairman) $4,491,610
Patrick Talamantes (CEO) $1,655,804
Elaine Lintecum (VP/CFO) $800,000
Mark Zieman (VP) $1,473,218
Robert J. Weil (VP) $1,402,327
Karole Morgan (Secy.) $1,231,234
So apparently what is an “obscene” salary for an insurance company exec is only a living wage when you work at a newspaper publishing company. I’m glad the Star has taken such a principled stand against income inequality when I see these figures.
My only regret is that such opportunities don’t present themselves every day. To paraphrase one of my favorite presidents, “Soon you won’t have the Kansas City Star to kick around anymore!” I for one will be deeply sorry if that ever happens. Without their ignorance, mendacity, and arrogance what would I write about?
David Cook Returns to Knuckleheads
Let’s see if I can be nice to David Cook in honor of his 31st birthday this past week…
For starters, turns out Cook’s move to Nashville should not be seen as a sign that he’s trying to follow in the footsteps of fellow Missourian Sheryl Crow by going country.
In fact, Cook’s been touring clubs while debuting a slate new rock songs that he hopes to string together for an album next year.
And to pretty positive acclaim.
Take Cook’s November 22 show at the Old Rock House in St. Louis.
“From the opening chords of ‘Paper Heart’ it was evident Cook was there to rock and to do what he does best; entertain,” reads an Examiner.com review. “Strapped with a Gibson Les Paul and backed with a tight-knit band Cook beat through a 19 song set list in just under two hours in very engaging fashion.”
Instead of trotting out a sampling of country tunes, Cook took on a Bruce Springsteen cover and then unleashed Lynryd Skynyrd‘s “Sweet Home Alabama.”
“With his mother in attendance and playing before a largely female audience which was jam packed in the venue, Cook was taken aback by the extreme volume of the screams,” the review continues. “Cook even commented at one point to some screams, ‘I don’t even know what frequency that was in.’…Cook interacted extremely well with the fans – a bonus for seeing an artist in the intimate confines of the Old Rock House – and bantered back and forth like he was giving each private performance in their living room."
I’m going to go out on a limb and make a couple observations about the season seven American Idol winner.
By insisting he plans to stay true to his American Idol roots, and judging from the screaming, female crowds that he continues to draw – albeit far smaller in number – it’s likely that Cook’s sold out January 4 return to Knuckleheads (he played there in October) will be both entertaining and intimate. And it’s a safe bet Knuckleheads will set an all-time record for most women in attendance under the age of 40.
So there’s that.
Where Cook goes from here remains to be seen.
He hopes to record a new album, but appears to lack a record deal. Poor sales of Cook’s last album This Loud Morning resulted in him getting dropped by the label.
For now Cook can eke out a decent living playing tiny venues, but for how long?
“I’m a road dog, I love being on the road,” Cook said in a radio interview last month in LA. “So I mean, as long as they’ll keep coming to shows, I’ll keep heading out.”
That said, Cook needs to catch a break if he intends to dodge the “day job” bullet for much longer.
Will 2014 be the year of Cook’s comeback? Let’s hope.
In the meantime, there’s always Knuckleheads …
Take responsibility for your free speech; and calling out the weather alarmists
How many more times must we re-plow the same furrow before we get it right?
According to internet blogosaurs like Tony of Tony’s Kansas City – you know, the dude who prides himself on the over use of catchy terms like “awesome TKC tipsters” and “dead tree media” – there are no limits on what should be allowed in the comments sections of online blogs and news and entertainment websites. Sky’s the limit, or better said, the bottom of the barrel.
Having little understanding of journalism, legalities and what passes for good taste – or even the mere recognition that any boundaries whatsoever exist – these untrained, unrestrained bloggers open their arms to embrace the most crass, depraved remarks by anonymous posters with undeclared agendas…regardless how abhorrent.
Common sense, civility and the slightest nod to good taste are out the window in the interest of “free speech.” That said, remember free speech does not include shouting fire in crowded venues, nor does it absolve one of criminal and/or civil liability.
Take three or so years ago when Mr. T “accused local union boss Louie Wright of receiving kickbacks from the contributions that firefighters make to the United Way,” the Pitch reported, noting “Botello attributed the “TKC EXCLUSIVE” to his “TIPSTERS.”
Wright cried foul and took Tony to court, claiming that that and another story and video Botello had posted “exposed (him) to hatred and contempt and deprived (him) of public confidence”
Botello’s response to the Pitch:
“I am both ill-equipped and completely unprepared to face a lawsuit of any kind…This probably means the end of the blog. As for the people whom I owe money, he’s gonna have to stand in line.”
One year later, Botello was ready to grovel.
Effectively placing the blame on his awesome tipsters, “Botello apologized for the posts, issued a retraction and scrubbed them from his archive to settle the suit,” the Pitch said of an apology/retraction that hovered humbly atop Botello’s blog for 30 days and 30 nights.
Back to those awesome commenters, most of whom air their grievances, innuendo, racist, sexist and homophobic rants and miscellaneous acts of character assassination unedited and unfettered.
Think free speech at its finest.
Without a doubt there are those who inhabit these shadowy comments confines who staunchly support the credo of anything goes. And why not? Freed from the disclosure of their identities they’re empowered to unleash the most vile epithets imaginable and say things that would probably astonish and shock their friends, coworkers and relatives were their names attached.
The latest: a federal judge in Kentucky ruled that an Arizona-based gossip website can be sued for defamation.
“The case centers on the Federal Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996 to help foster growth and free speech on the Internet by providing immunity from liability to websites for content posted by their users,” the Associated Press reports. “The law also was designed to encourage websites to self-police offensive material.”
Remember that last part, “self-police offensive material.”
By the way, that law was passed two years before the first iMac came out in August 1998 at a time few people knew anything much about getting on the internet, let alone leaving defamatory anonymous comments.
“The problem is that the technology has gotten ahead of the law,” says attorney Dwight Sutherland Jr., a KCC contributor. “It’s one thing with something like the letters to the editor section at the Star. Because that gives you time to edit and fact check the letters, but when you can just reply online instantly, how can the publisher or sponsors control that?”
Some sites chose to filter comments for specific words or phrases. Others require that comments be approved before publication.
In regard to some comments that appear on a TKC item about Jackson County Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz:
“I think somebody just absolutely must hate her,” says Westport businessman Bill Nigro, who’s suffered his share mudslinging in online comments. “But she’s a nice person – very up front- and very honest. I disagreed with her about the smoking ban, but she’s done a good job and I support her. I think there’s a lot of mean people who will just make up things – it’s happened to me – and that’s one thing I don’t like about the internet.”
Obviously KC Confidential has faced and continues to face similar problems – and yes, it is a problem.
Not long ago a comments section habitue who went by smartman trolled Kansas City’s online realms. And to his credit, unlike many (if not most) of his comments section bretheren, smartman was gifted with a keen wit that matched his appetite for extremely poor taste.
At one point in time when I was attempting to restore a semblance of civility to KCC’s comments section (which smartman all but ruled), I wrote a column announcing that I’d be policing the comments more closely and watching out (filtering) for certain four-letter words.
Not that I ruled out the use of those words – the F, S and C words to name three – I just felt that the quality of KCC’s written content was being diminished by their unbridled use. That and the N word. To this day, most comments that get caught in those filters are approved without change, but it did calm things down.
After I instituted the bad words filter smartman stormed off in protest and was not heard from for weeks. But let the record show that on sites such as Greg Hall‘s and Jim Fitzpatrick‘s smartman was far better behaved. He finally caved and returned to KCC.
Try spelling that backwards to more fully appreciate smartman’s cutting edge wit.
These days things are far more calm in KCC’s comments section. We get fewer of them, but we also don’t suffer through as many multi-weekly mudfights between Craig Glazer, Super Dave and others, questioning each other’s manhood. At one point, I even put the word “gay” on must-be approved list to keep it out of Craig’s retorts to his critics.
Jack Harry and his “Gayhawks” have nothing on The Glaze when it comes to homophobic put downs.
We’re fast approaching a point where, unbridled freedom of comments section speech by “awesome,” anonymous sickos may start costing somebody. Because knowingly not taking responsibility for what you allow nameless readers to assert, is a practice unworthy of defending under the banner of free speech.
Local lawyer Harris Wilder says that while he’s been treated fairly in Botello’s ditties, being in his comments section “was like swimming in a cesspool.”
One possible solution:
“I think it’s fair for commenters to comment so long as it’s for attribution,” Wilder says. “That people use their real names and therefore they take responsibility for their free speech. Free speech without responsibility has costs.”
Nigro has another take:
“Tony is out there talking about making Kansas City better,” he says. “How about he starts by cleaning up his own little mess there?”
Rather than unleash this story on unnamed, comments section character assassins, I’m dedicating it to the smartman and closing it to comments…for now Maybe it’s time we do a bit of reflecting before the knee jerking begins.
Fat chance, huh?
Craig Glazer calls out TV weather wonks for blown casts & no accountability
It’s that time of year…
Where all of our television and radio stations are chomping at the bit to boost their ratings by feeding us gloom and doom forecasts for Kansas City. It’s no secret that good news is generally brief and boring. Ah, but bad news – crises and disasters – that’s something you can talk about all day long. That’s how you get your ratings up so you can charge advertisers more.
Friday was a shining example of how powerful – and irresponsible – our weather people can be.
They told viewers and listeners all day and all night about a snow and/or ice storm and dangerous weather on its way to Kansas City.
But they were wrong. Dead wrong.
For those of us who closely follow weather reports at this time of year, we were well aware of the weekend report a few days earlier. It went like this, Friday possible light rain with a high of 40 degrees. Saturday would be a bit cooler with little or no precipitation. As it turned out, this was the correct forecast.
We’re all well aware that the last 30 days or so have been unseasonably bitter and cold at times. That in and of itself had already taken a bite out of evening activities like shopping and dining and entertainment venues had slowed accordingly.
And a big winter storm, the second in the last two weeks, was making it’s trip around the metro. It appeared the forecast of light rain and fairly mild temperatures was the correct forecast.
Ah, but then the ratings bug bit.
There was a chance of the temperatures dropping as the rain fell and it could turn to ice. There was even the slight possibility of light snow later in the evening, possibly an inch or two.
I was up early Friday to do radio and television, my usual routine on Friday mornings. I do five radio shows and one television show between 7 am and 11 am. I drive a small sports car that doesn’t do well in the snow.
I was also concerned that we had a big star at our comedy club – Louie Anderson – and that bad weather could damage attendance and seriously impact our weekend business.
Not just our business but hundreds of other restaurants, theaters and shopping centers would be affected.
Then the unthinkable happened.
The local media put on a full court press talking about ice storms and snow storms that were seemingly happening at that very moment. I was out driving and thought maybe I missed something. Looking out my window, it seemed to be about 40 degrees with little to no precipitation and certainly no snow or ice.
I complained at every station but the weather men told me they were closing highways like I-35 and I-70 because there were an increasing number of accidents and it would only get worse as the day progressed.
And since there was no really bad weather in the metro, the news was showing pictures of accidents in surrounding cities and towns, not ours.
My favorite was one DJ saying that going out that night would be like taking your life into your hands and wherever you were between 8 and 9 PM was where you were spending the night because you wouldn’t be able to travel in the impending ice blizzard.
Bottom line, nothing happened.
I was out all morning. You could have driven 150 miles an hour on any major street and slammed on the brakes and you would have been just fine. The temperature hovered around 40 degrees most of the day, there was no snow and the streets were excellent.
All while I watched people cancel Christmas banquets, businesses shut down early, and business for Stanford’s and other nightclubs was anemic.
The responsibility of our news and weather departments is acute.
They do this all the time. I believe they knew at some point early on that the weather they feared was not going to materialize and yet pushed forward with their doom and gloom forecasts costing the city millions of dollars.
This is the Midwest and there are going to be be snow days.
But really, not more than a few that should keep us homebound. Except for the cold temps, this winter has been very mild so far. For our news and weather people to shut down the city with overblown claims of bad weather was irresponsible.
Thousands of people count on that business to pay bills and even buy Christmas gifts. These men and women who reported those false weather issues truly are the Grinches Who Stole Christmas.
Shame on you guys, you knew better.
Dinner at a movie? No way!
When’s the last time you took the wife or girlfriend out for dinner and a movie at the movie theater?
You know, at one of those upscale, dine-in movie theaters that have been popping up in and around Kansas City the past six or so ears.
Hey, no less than six - count ‘em - theaters have tried it, with disappointing at best results.
Two in Zona Rosa promptly went toes up. Cinemark on the Plaza has been in the game for like 10 years, but its single, small auditorium is so tiny it feels like you’re in a rich guy in Hallbrook’s basement. Besides, who even remembers it exists?
AMC lost its butt at the Mainstreet downtown before passing the baton to the Alamo Drafthouse last year. But sources say that neither did enough biz to wad a popgun, and as a frequent flyer at both theaters, I can tell you the food was and remains, mediocre at best. Ditto for AMC’s Fork & Screen and Cinema Screens at its 30-plex in Olathe.
Standees in Prairie Village – the most recent entrant – started with a bang before falling on its face after losing a pair of key food staffers early on. Whereupon it reportedly went into something approaching a tailspin. Since Standees cut loose some its high priced staff and has redone its menu to include kiddie offerings. Still the jury’s out on the results. In other words, it’s far from the grand slam it’s owners hoped it would be.
As KCC’s Jack Poessiger has reported, Beaverton, Oregon-based Cinetopia is preparing to open next year at 135th and Nall with what appears to be by far, the grandest movieplex to grace this market to date.
Cinetopia’s motto: “Official Home Of Dinner And A Movie!”
By the way, that exclamation point belongs to Cinetopia, not me.
Cinetopia’s Vinotopia Family Restaurant & Bar describes itself as an “Upscale American Grill” – we’ll see.
It’s dinner menu includes Salmon Du Jour, Grilled Tilapia, Duck, Bistro medallions and MaplePecan Pork Shanks.
Nobody else in the movie food game here even comes close.
I’s got a kid menu, too, complete with cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza, kids mac & cheese, chocolate layer cake and a double chocolate brownie.
And since Cinetopia isn’t a start up like Standees, chances are they’ll get their act right, regardless of who local celebrity chef Debbie Gold spirits away.
The $64 million question: Will KC finally support in-movie dining?
Our track record here makes that suspect.
Then again, for what would appear to be the first time ever, a credible movie exhibitor is about to swing for the fences without cutting all the corners the other guys appear to have cut.
You know, so stay tuned…
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Jack Harry called out for lying
It wasn’t easy, but the friends and family of former KC boxer Tommy Morrison did indeed prevail and he was quietly laid to rest in an Sulphur Springs, Arkansas cemetery alongside members of his family.
“He has a headstone and everything and his mother was allowed to bury his ashes and so forth,” says former Morrison backer Susan Martin. “I think his wife Trisha figured out that nobody was going to buy his ashes and nobody was going to go to her tour stops where she was going to talk about the past two years of Tommy’s life and she was supposedly going to sell whatever she had to sell.”
A brief refresher:
“Today Tommy will be cremated as per HIS wishes,” Trisha texted Morrison’s friends and family in September, shortly after her the wild and crazy former boxer’s death. “Each special person that meant a lot to him in his life will receive a keepsake memory necklace with boxing gloves filled with his ashes. Those that receive them will have a piece of him for the rest of their lives. Whether they are in church praying or at a fight ringside or LEGALLY smoking pot in Colorado (!) Tommy will be there with them in every state and every part of the world and will be remembered.”
Most importantly, Trisha emphasized, “He did NOT want a funeral service or burial. There will be CELEBRATIONS OF TOMMY’S LIFE in old fight territories: Vegas~Tulsa~Atlantic City~Kansas City and as far as the UK and Australia and with hopes of also at Canastota BHOF.”
While Morrison’s boxing glove encased ashes gimmick sounded almost normal to some familiar with Tommy’s wild, weird ways, “None of his friends wanted his ashes,” Martin says. “I mean, nobody’s going to wear Tommy’s ashes in boxing gloves around their neck or on a keychain either. Because no matter what people thought of Tommy, they had more respect for him than that.
“And how would you know if it wasn’t kitty litter in there or something? I mean, his ashes would only go so far. How many gloves could she have even made?”
As for Morrison’s October funeral, “There was a service, but it was private,” Martin says. “And ever since the funeral I have not heard a word.”
As for Trisha, she apparently passed on Tommy’s sendoff after throwing in the towel on the farewell tour, etc.
Not happily however, note the sarcastic use of quote marks in her final missive:
“I have stopped all cremation arrangements and Tommys wishes. This is due to pressure from ‘loving family’ and from ‘tony holden’
I will be signing cancellation notice today and Tony can coordinate with his ‘loving family’ on all their wishes.
“I’m sorry Tommy ~ but I dont want to be a part of this. I didn’t give up on you. I just couldnt stand the evilness of it all.
Trisha for Tommy.”
There is however a chance that Trisha may be able to deliver on one of her pre-throwing in the towel vows:
“I will be bringing a ‘message from the Duke’ that we were unable to get out before his passing. ”
That is, if she follows through with a book and or movie as is suspected.
Craig Glazer Weighs in on MU-OK State Bowl Brawl
Think of it as a Big 12 / SEC bragging rights showdown…
Missouri vs. Oklahoma State on January 3rd in the Cotton Bowl. The near Big 12 champ going up against the near SEC champ.
A chance to show the world that the conference MU jilted, it never should have left. To demonstrate that 10-2 in the Big 12 trumps 10-2 in the SEC.
That Missouri’s successes this year were based on luck, being in the right place at the right time against teams like Texas A&M that were down on their luck. That Missouri lost to the only two good teams it played that were healthy.
That’s what makes January’s matchup so appealing.
Because if Oklahoma State runs over Missouri like Auburn did scoring 59 points – and five times this year OK State won with scores of between 42 and 59 points – and it’s defense holds, it could turn Missouri’s Cinderella season in the SEC into, you know, a pumpkin.
“Yeah, it could, but I think Missouri will be a slight favorite,” Craig Glazer says. “The teams are pretty even – they’re both pretty good teams – but they’re not great teams. They’re a step behind Alabama and Auburn.”
As for Mizzou getting stuck playing OK State in the Cotton Bowl, “Remember, I said the worst thing that could happen to Missouri was going to the SEC championship game and losing,” Glazer says.
“I think if Oklahoma State ran over Missouri, yes, that would make a statement, but they don’t have to run over them, they just have to beat them,” Glazer says. “But if they ran over them, then they’ve got something to jump up and down about, because this was an off year for the Big 12.”
And if OK State clobbers MU and the Tigers have a mediocre season next year, watch out.
“I think it would make Missouri coach Gary Pinkel look bad and the program look questionable,” Glazer says. “It would take away the momentum of this 11-2 season. But I don’t think OK State will run over Missouri, I predict Missouri will win.”
KSHB’s Jack Harry Fails to Cop to Slur
KCC sports scribe Brandon Leftridge calls out KSHB sports dude Jack Harry for lying:
Jumping beans. Jakarta. Java. Javelin…
These are all words that start with the letter “J.”
Grandpa. Gross. Golf. Groundhog.
These are all words that start with the letter “G.”
Sometimes, you can get a “g” word that starts with a soft “g” like gel, or geriatric, but most “g” words start with a hard “g.” You know, like “Gross grandpa guy gets gays’ goats.”
I explain these grade-school linguistic variations not because I don’t think you don’t know them already—again, they’re things most of us learned in Kindergarten (hard “g,” by the way)—but because KSHB 41’s Jack Harry thinks we’re all idiots, apparently.
In case you missed it, Harry was hosting his Sunday night sports wrap a couple of days ago, and, when discussing the Jayhawks with fellow broadcaster Frank Boal, he went off script and blurted out “Gayhawks” in reference to KU’s basketball team. You know, “Gayhawks!” Something that a second grader might scream at another child on the playground in the midst of a heated exchange.
Boal pressed on without acknowledging the juvenile comment, and that was that.
Enter: the internet.
I first saw it on Twitter, replete with said clip, and then it was all over 610AM, and people were sharing it to Facebook and I’m fairly certain Barrack Obama may have mentioned it in his eulogy to Nelson Mandela.
That’s kind of how things work in this day in age. One minute, you’re posting a video clip of your dog farting because it sounds like he’s saying “Hello” to YouTube, and the next, you’re being interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel because dog farts are hilarious.
Jack Harry should know this.
But he doesn’t, because he’s decrepit and stupid, a 115-year old man in a cheap suit and an empty skull to match.
After the story started making the rounds, he was forced by KSHB to make a video apology. He said—with as much sincerity as he could muster—that he didn’t say what we all heard him say. That it was “misheard.” He explained that he would NEVER say something so insensitive in nature and blah, blah, blah, I guess we’re all idiots, guys!
See, it’s ridiculous that he said what he said—what we all know he said. You can’t say this kind of thing in this day and age, even if you don’t intend on it being offensive. I get it. Harry wasn’t ACTUALLY suggesting that the whole men’s basketball team prefers the company of other men. He wasn’t saying that at all. Something slipped out past his baked, lizard lips that he didn’t mean to let slip. It happens. That doesn’t make it okay, but it’s fine. We’ve all said crap that we’d never want repeated in public. We’re human.
Where Harry REALLY messed up, however, was by failing to admit his error.
Instead of issuing a REAL apology—one where he explained that he said something stupid in the heat of the moment, and he regrets it deeply—he said that we all misheard him.
Because we are all also 115 years old and we all need our hearing checked. Because, with these newfangled TV machines, sometimes the audio comes and goes, right? Because he would NEVER say something like that.
It’s really the fact that he’s so out of touch with reality that really needs to be addressed. If he can’t stop himself from blurting ridiculous, offensive crap on live television, perhaps he has no business being a part of said medium.
And if he insists on continuing to broadcast, and he can’t keep his slurs to himself, he needs to at least learn to man up and admit his mistakes. Trying to convince me that I didn’t hear what I know I heard is embarrassing not only him, but the viewing public as well.
Hang it up, Jack. Your best days (assuming you ever had any) are long gone.
JoCo Movie Scene Heats Up
KCC’s Jack Poessiger pulls back the curtain on the area’s latest, greatest, coming soon top movie plex and the movie war soon to unfold:
Southern Johnson County's movie landscape is about to change---and in a BIG WAY!
Cinetopia, a small regional Northwest based theater company, is currently contructing an ultra luxurious movie complex in the new Prariefire center at 135th street and Nall boulevard in Overland Park.
With a motto of 'Cinema-Food-Wine' Cinetopia's OVERLAND PARK 17 should rank as one of the plushest and upscale motion picture entertainment complexes in all of Kansas City.
According to the company's website and facebook page OVERLAND PARK 17 will feature three luxurious and premium ways to see a movie.
First in their 'Cinetopia GLX Auditoriums' with giant 70-80 ft. screens, 4K projection, Dolby Atmos surround sound, extra wide seating with up to a foot of legroom and go-to restaurant food.
Then there are the 'Cinetopia Movie Parlors' featuring suite level amenities including 'white glove' food and beverage service to your seat and unique luxury seating options in a 4K projection setting with Dolby surround sound.
And Cinetopia's 'Living Room Theaters' with Vinotopia Restaurant, wine, beer and food service to the seats. Large screens powered by 4K projection with Dolby surround sound.
When will Cinetopia's OVERLAND PARK 17 officially arrive on the scene?
We were unable to confirm an actual date but industry insiders point to early May since that is the kick-off to the all important summer movie season---as in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 on May 2.
How will competitors like AMC TOWN CENTER react?
With just a little more than a two mile separation between theaters AMC apparently is not taking Cinetopia's invasion into their backyard lying down.
AMC can't currently comment on plans for TOWN CENTER since the company is involved with its upcoming stock offering and must practice a 'silent period.'
But it's no secret that AMC will allegedly be converting its TOWN CENTER complex to the popular power recliner with footrest seating design that has so totally reversed the fortunes of its WARD PARKWAY THEATRES.
McGuffin bar service is also expected to become part of TOWN CENTER's renovation plans.
Auditorium conversions should occur one at a time through the holidays. After that an entire theater wing is expected to receive the treatment.
Will TOWN CENTER lose seating with its transformation?
Definitely. But moviegoers have endorsed the changes at Ward Parkway and at other nationwide AMC locations with such overwhelming response that it DOES make tremendous business sense.
AMC addressed theater conversions like the one speculated for TOWN CENTER in their recent IPO filing.
"For an industry historically focused on quantity, this reduction in seating capacity could be viewed as counter intuitive and harmful to revenues. Recliners seats typically reduce capacity by 66%. However the quality improvement in the customer experience is driving, on average, a 91% increase in attendance at upgraded theaters."
It is thought that only TOWN CENTER's IMAX auditorium will not see a conversion to power recliner with footrest seating.
The entire project is believed to be targeted for completion in early spring---probably ahead of Cinetopia's grand opening in the market.
There's just one more possible thorn in the roses here......
With just a little more than the two mile separation between Cinetopia's new OVERLAND PARK 17 location and AMC's mighty TOWN CENTER complex---WILL THESE TWO THEATERS PLAY DAY AND DATE?
In other words will AMC play the same films booked into the new O.P. 17?
And for that matter will Dickinson's PALAZZO play day and date with its new neighbor just 10 minutes to the east on 135th street?
It should all make for great drama BEHIND the screens.
And for you? Even more choices of top quality motion picture complexes to choose from.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
The death of the Fast and Furious star
Let’s leave the tears and hollow eulogies for family members…
Because when it comes right down to it, the blame for the death of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker lies directly at the feet of the slain movie star. Walker was a willing passenger in a ridiculously fast and ridiculously driven 2005 Porsche Carerra GT last Saturday. The car burst into flames with Walker and his race car driver pal on board after striking a streetlamp just north of Los Angeles while on a high speed joyride in a 45 MPH zone.
After which friends and associates of Walker, 40, and his pal, 38, played dumb for CNN and other news networks when asked if they thought speed was a contributing factor in the crash and Walker’s death.
“Don’t give me that shit, he was going too fast” says local race car driver Brian Haupt of Carriage & Motor Works on Southwest Boulevard. “They’re denying the obvious, because he was going really fast. You don’t wad a car up like that and kill yourself without going just incredibly fast.”
As for suggestions by some of Walker’s friends who blame a possible leak in the power steering fluid for causing the crash, “Well, you could try and make that case and it could have been a contributing factor,” Haupt says. “But the only contributing factor I can see that would have been reasonable was if the throttle was stuck wide open, but I doubt that. The reason the throttle was probably wide open was someone’s foot was on it.
“He was driving too fast in an inappropriate venue. If you’re going to drive over 100 miles-per-hour, you need to do it out in Nevada or on a race track. I don’t care if you’re out on the highway, there are still other people there and they’re going about their business and they’re not expecting a car that’s traveling that fast.”
Translation: it was little more than a thoughtless, high risk, illegal prank gone terribly wrong.
How fast might Walker’s car have been traveling?
“He was doing over 100 and maybe well over 100,” Haupt says. “To wad a car up that way you have to be going really fast.”
What’s more Walker’s glorification of ridiculous, in-town drag events for teenagers and young men in the Fast & Furious movies was bogus, Haupt says.
“He’s glorifying risk taking without safeguards,” Haupt says. “When I go on the racetrack, yes, I’m taking risks, but they’re calculated risks. And I have safety protection in a controlled situation. But you go out on the street and people aren’t doing the same thing – they aren’t even going in the same direction you are – and that’s just stupid.”
The silver lining in Walker’s dark demise: after years of setting bad examples for impressionable, young drivers, in death, he finally set a good one.
“Yeah, I suppose you could say that,” Haupt muses. “It’s kind of a pretty dark way of looking at it. It’s unfortunate that this happened, but another dark way of looking at it is, he’s taken his DNA out of the gene pool. There’s a book about taking DNA out of the gene pool; it’s called The Dawin Awards.”
Haupt’s take on the moviemaker’s celebration of high speed, illegal street racing:
“They’re (effing) stupid – I don’t know any other way to categorize it – it’s just (effing) stupid. I realize that when we were 20 years-old we thought we were indestructible and all that kind of stuff. And I’ve driven cars pretty fast on highways, but not in town (like Walker). The race car guy who was driving was just showing off for his buddy and look what it got him.”
Movies like Fast & Furious set the worst kind of example, Haupt says.
“Absolutely, no question about it,” he says. “I think there is a very real connection to the violence we see on the big screen and the little screen and what people act out. I mean, people are going into schools and shooting up kids. These people are seriously sick, but where did they get the idea? I’m not into censorship but I think the people who make movies and television shows have a very serious responsibility to the public. And I understand that they make big money on these movies, but what price is a life worth?”
DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS!
Dwight Sutherland, Jr.
One of the most discouraging things you can do if you’re interested in public affairs is to go to town hall meetings with your local member of Congress or one of your state’s U.S. Senators. I went to such a forum with Kansas Rep. Vince Snowbarger during his one and only term in the House and it was a revelation.
A member of Dr. Bob Meneilly’s high tech hate-group, the former Mainstream Coalition, berated the Congressman for his supposed support of school vouchers.
The questioner insisted that this was the opening wedge of theocracy since vouchers could be used at schools with a religious affiliation. When Snowbarger reiterated his OPPOSITION to school vouchers, pointing out how he’d always voted against such proposals while in the Kansas legislature, the questioner was non-plussed.
Vince explained his position that government funding meant government control and that private and parochial schools had to maintain their independence, even if that meant foregoing financial support from the government. All the questioner could say in response was, “I don’t care what you say, I know how you really feel about supporting religious institutions with tax payer money!”
I thought of that vivid example of opinionated ignorance recently when reading two pieces in The Kansas City Star.
The first one appeared on October 15th written by the inimitable Mary Sanchez. The article, “Education Policy Has Hurt Several Generations,” argues that declining test scores by American students relative to students in other countries are the result of a conscious decision by “an elite.”
Nowhere is the elite identified or defined by Sanchez. Are we talking a political elite? A financial elite? A legal elite? A cultural or intellectual elite? Could you please give some examples?
However I think I know who Sanchez means, i.e., whoever disagrees with the K.C. Star Editorial Board, that is, people like me! What have we elitists done to warrant this attack? We’ve set out to remake our country “into a plutocracy.” How? Again, I can only guess but I’d say we favor a top marginal income tax bracket of 35%, versus the 39.6% rate favored by the Party of Workers, Peasants, and Intellectuals.
I never understood how if the problem was that a larger and larger share of the national income, pre-tax, was going to those at the very top of the income scale, this would be altered by a modest increase in the top income tax rates. If a no talent twerp like Justin Bieber makes $55 million a year, will he get paid any smaller share of the national income just because his taxes go up? Will he earn less money (deserved or not) just because the taxes on what he earns go up slightly?
I know why so many are outraged that the CEO of McDonald’s made $13.5 million last year while workers at the restaurant chain make $7 or $8 an hour. But why aren’t people equally outraged that our boy Justin B. took home a cool 55 big ones and Dr. Dre of headphone fame made $110,000,000 last year? Why is anger at the plutocracy so selective in its application? (I won’t even mention the Kardashians!)
Sanchez goes onto conclude that part of the plutocratic project has been the degradation of our public education systems, specifically any policy that aims to produce equality of outcomes. She claims that other countries do a better job of ensuring “equitable educational outcomes.” Nowhere is there any attempt to specifically identify how “this elite,” wages war against policies that foster “equal” or “equitable” (assumed to be one and the same) outcomes.
I guess it has to do with favoring “Adjectives Over Arguments,” the heading of Sanchez’s article, but I’m not sure what that phrase means either. (Don’t you use adjectives to make arguments? How are the two word antonyms?)
I believe the logic of Ms. Sanchez’s article could be summed up as: “Rich People are Bad Because They Want to Keep Their Money and Not Give It To The Democratic Party to Buy Votes.” Ninety percent of the editorial positions of the Star could be explicated in that pithy apothegm.
As a guide to public policy it’s a little vague, even though it has a satisfying emotional clarity to it. For a fuller explication, you had to wait until November 12th, when the Star ran a second opinion piece by a N.Y. Times writer, Eduardo Porter. This time, the message came with admirable directness:
“Public Schools Still Favor The Rich”
Mr. Porter tells us that; “public resources devoted to education lean so decisively in favor of the better off.” He reiterates the point that; “(A)s income and wealth continue to flow to the richest families in the richest neighborhoods, public education appears to be more of a force contributing to the inequality of income and opportunity, rather than helping to relieve it.”
Porter concludes that gaps in educational achievement and in the resulting economic inequality between the rich and poor will only get worse until the “lopsided funding of education changes.”
Although both Porter and Sanchez purport to address the situation in Kansas and Missouri; these descriptions have no relation to the reality here. In fact, for years the whole thrust of state politics in these two states (and in virtually every other state I’m familiar with) has been to alleviate the disparity between levels of educational funding in school districts serving the rich and the poor.
This trend started in Kansas more than forty years ago with the filing of Caldwell v. State, a Johnson County District Court case. As a result of the decision in the trial court, the Kansas legislature passed the School District Equalization Act, which tried to rectify funding differences between districts based on their wealth. Over the next four decades there have been a series of court decisions (e.g. Montoy v. State, I, II, III & IV) usually issued out of Shawnee County District Court usually involving Judge Terry Bullock of that Court.
The net effect of all these cases has been to have the Kansas judiciary order the Kansas legislature to increase taxes for and spending on education. For example education spending has increased by 2.5 billion dollars from 1998 to 2011 (from 3.1 billion to 5.6 billion) as a result of these court ordered mandates.
Taxes have increased dramatically in Johnson County to pay to bring the rest of the state up to the standard of a “suitable” and “appropriate” education. Sales taxes are now near New York City levels in several municipalities. Real property taxes in Johnson County have gone up twelve fold, and now are significantly higher than expensive areas like the Hamptons of Long Island. The Kansas State income tax rates are high compared to surrounding states in our region, and for years were even higher than a blue state like Illinois.
All this has been done with the goal of equalizing education spending throughout the state between poor districts (e.g. Kansas City, Kansas) and rich ones (e.g. Blue Valley).
At the same time all this was going on in the Sunflower State, the Show-Me State was going through its own process of educational leveling. The Kansas City school desegregation case started in federal court (the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri) in 1977. Judge Russell Clark, like his Jayhawk counter-part Terry Bullock, has repeatedly issued rulings requiring increases in taxes and spending state wide to dramatically increase funding for Kansas City, Missouri public schools. Since the same process was underway in St. Louis, the end result was that 44% of the educational spending in Missouri was going to two school districts that enrolled only 10% of the students.
Leaving aside the question of what the citizens of Kansas and Missouri got for their 10 billion dollars of court ordered spending, how can anyone claim that all this expenditure of time and resources was a cruel hoax by “the rich” or “the elite” to cheat poor children?
The constant use of the term “the narrative” (a prime example of literary jargon) by liberal commentators is actually very useful in explaining this seeming disconnect. The term is simply a pretentious academic way of saying “my story” or “my version of what happened.” What the factual record actually shows is less important than their version of what happened.
Like the cretinous supporter of Dr. Bob M. (the left-of-center answer to Jerry Falwell), don’t confuse them with the facts! It’s “the narrative” that matters, the politically correct depiction of history rather than the actual record. Only publications like the K.C. Star and N.Y. Times could get away with such mendacity unchallenged
Paul Wilson Asks; Will Sprint Sprint for the Left Coast?
It’s all the buzz in the news this week… n
No, not cops shooting firemen; and no, not killings in the Chiefs parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium. The town is abuzz about hometown phone company Sprint moving its headquarters moving to California.
Imagine that, Softbank execs not wanting to have to fly over Silicon Valley and its growing 1,000 person R&D facility to have meetings in here Kansas City?
In flight, Son can look out the window of his G5 as he crosses the coastline at 40,000 feet and see his 9-acre, $117.5 palatial estate below. Why would he want to do that? I doubt he does. But will Sprint move?
All the armchair quarter backs and talk show hosts are playing Madam Cleo; prognosticating possible future outcomes, weighing in and opining away. One of the worst examples I heard is the line, “They moved the headquarters once before when they merged with Nextel, they could do it again!”
Well, no they really didn’t.
Former Sprint head honcho Gary Forsee had a condo in Reston and he spent time there, but a better description of those days would be that some operations were “shifted” out East in the 2005 merger.
Nothing really “moved.”
Overland Park remained the designated operations headquarters and, let’s not forget, that whole boondoggle led to the most ineffective, poorly planned merger in telecom history.
They’ve learned a lesson in that, I assure you.
Sprint’s Dan Hesse brought all the operations back to the campus here in early 2008 as one of his first acts. His reasoning at the time was the obvious disconnect of having senior management in Reston and key operational teams in Overland Park.
Hesse knows his stuff and that move was the single most valid thing Sprint has ever done; things simply don’t work when the tower of pure thought is that disjointed.
You can discount Hesse all you like, but he’s orchestrated this Softbank move and I think it will prove to be brilliant five years down the road.
The main difference between this move and the Nextel merger?
Softbank wrote a big, fat check this time around.
It’s not a “merger” we are talking about here, Softbank runs the show now and has a lot more involvement than most expected. SoftBank is now the source of subject matter experts and Sprint is turning to them for the technologies SoftBank uses in Japan currently.
Hey, in exchange for writing $20 billion checks, you get some clout. Which can also include choosing the city you operate from.
OP execs have already been holding regular meetings in California and Son is on record stating, “I’d like to bring Silicon Valley into the mix. We’re bringing SoftBank capital, our know-how and myself to this.”
Softbank’s Son, who is preferential to the Coast, has claimed all along that what they build in Silicon Valley won’t replace Sprint’s current headquarters in Overland Park but rather will be focused on “innovation and procurement.”
However when you decode all the double speak, what does it really mean to the 14,500 people who reside on the Sprint campus today?
My contacts at Sprint who have spoken to me this week offered the following quotes;
“Son’s home is California; he went to Berkley, he has real estate there. Why would he want to be in Kansas City?”
“I heard we are moving to Seattle because Son and Gates are such good friends!” (That’s Bill, not Ollie)
“Sprint may have a decreased presence in the area, but the campus is still a nice real estate play with more and more of it occupied with other corporate customers, not Sprint.”
“The Silicon Valley operation will grow; attrition will lessen the campus presence, but it won’t go away.”
What your well-coiffed scribe predicts?
The last quote holds the answer, I believe. Kansas City will see a decreasing presence, but Sprint won’t move the company in total. Eventually, you’ll see Sprint housed in maybe four buildings on campus, the rest will be leased to other Kansas City firms.
I think they simply couldn’t abandon that behemoth of a campus, but do the math; it’s a tiny percentage of a percent of the purchase price – in other words, meaningless in the scheme of things.
Which brings us to the question of, do Sprint, Garmin and Cerner owe anything to this city?
Do they have to stay where they started or get a black star in their corporate permanent records? We’d all like to think so, but in the end, what they owe is shareholder return, first and foremost.
If you’re not from Wichita, you may not recall the day the fat cats who started Pizza Hut were sitting around the board room table when one of them whispered, “You guys KNOW we live in Wichita, don’t you?”
Next thing the Chamber of Commerce knew, Pizza Hut was headed out of town. So it can happen.
Five years from now, the 14,500 people on campus will look more like 9,000, it’ll happen slow and become less and less a topic of conversation. Things change, people change, and like I said, in the end, Hesse is going to be seen for what he is; brilliant.
For more KC Confidential and Hearne check out kcconfidential.com
Sensitive guy bats leadoff for Thanksgiving
In honor of all things holy…
I’m going to let KC Confidential “sensitive guy” writer Paul Wilson bat leadoff this Thanksgiving week:
This week, millions will gather with family and friends for the annual feast of Thanksgiving…
They’ll join hands around the table and give thanks for the abundance we all have been blessed with. Almost without exception, those of us with the least even have so much more than our brothers and sisters around the world who have, comparatively speaking, almost nothing.
At the same time, many of us will miss the underlying philosophy behind the day, having been lulled into thinking it’s little more than the Macy’s parade and our once a year excuse for a tryptophan over dose and endless football games.
While Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day come but once a year, we need to learn to properly celebrate, give thanks and tell those we love that we love them – and not just on those holidays, but each and every day. It’s a matter of learning to live in a spirit of love with an attitude of gratitude.
The biggest enemy to us not doing that on a daily basis?
Noise; plain and simple.
Father Richard Rohr said it best; “Probably more than ever, because of iPads, cell phones, billboards, TVs and iPods, we are a toxically overstimulated people.”
We no longer know what to do with the silence we desperately need. We need to reconnect with ourselves, our family and the core of who we are. That’s hard to do amidst the noise and restlessness of daily life; and almost impossible if you live, as he described; “toxically overstimulated.”
Mother Teresa said, “God is the friend of silence. See how nature, trees, flowers, grass grow in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
Today, silence is nothing more than something that occupies the space between everything else we do; a rare commodity.
Take this holiday season to reflect in that silence, the gifts we are given and most of all, our families. As I approach this holiday, it’s with the knowledge that it was going to be spent with my extended family at my mom’s home in Springfield. That’s our family’s tradition; it’s what we do every year. That is, until we unexpectedly lost her 4 weeks ago.
I took that tradition for granted and now it’s gone.
The world of silence isn’t an easy place for many of us to be; it’s not normal, it’s not where we feel we belong. We struggle to fill every available moment of our lives with noise; activities we often don’t need to participate in, places we don’t need to go, meetings we don’t really need to attend.
It only takes one look at my planner to see how badly I avoid the silence; jam packed days, one after another. I’m a writer, an artist, I have a day job, I’m a husband, a dad, a step dad and a friend. When I finally do go to bed at night, I set my sleep timer for 45 minutes so the news plays as I go to sleep. Before my feet hit the floor each morning, my smartphone goes off at 5:30 am, streaming my favorite talk show. It follows me to the shower and plays while I’m getting ready; all in an effort to avoid the silence.
Silence isn’t easy to trust; silence is where we are alone with our thoughts.
Father Rohr goes on to say, “The ego gets what it wants with words. The soul finds what it needs in silence. The ego prefers light—immediate answers, full clarity, absolute certitude, moral perfection, and undeniable conclusion—whereas the soul prefers the subtle world of darkness and light. And by that, of course, I mean a real interior silence, not just the absence of noise.”
Silence is a luxury item we need to seek out in life, not something we fear. And we need to find peace in that silence. As we enter this holiday season, promise yourself to turn down the noise and tune in to those around you; the things and people that really matter.
Learn to live at least part of each day outside of the noise and in the silence. It’s a far happier place to be than you might suspect and you just may find a better version of yourself.
Life changes in the blink of an eye; take the time this Thanksgiving with family and friends and truly give thanks. And in doing so, find some silence.
Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Dance
Not to interfere with Mr. Wilson’s advice above but if the heathen in you is acting up, I’ve got just the cure…
The world famous, historic Kansas City Turkey Day ritual known as the Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Dance.
For more than 30 years this BYOB holiday schmooze has gone down at the Kansas City, Kansas National Guard Armory just north of I 70 at 18th & Ridge.
“It’s the largest running music tradition in Kansas City to my knowledge. I’ve been going to breakfast dances for 31 years now,” say KC Blues Society founder Roger Naber.
What to expect – besides turkey and all the trimmings and set ups for sale and a blues show and scene like none other (Trust me on this)?
"Well, everybody that’s there is always dressed-to-impress," Naber says. "It’s very colorful."
"Oh, they’re not wild at all," Naber says. "It’s just a big celebration of Kansas City blues history."
Seriously people, this thing kicks off at 10 a.m. and is over in time to make it back home and hang with the fam. And it’s an experience you will n-e-v-e-r forget.
Just be there, OK?
Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the music starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m.
Scribe Says Chiefs a Bust; Wait til Next Year
Let’s get ready to tumble!
Let’s be clear; Craig Glazer is not exactly a humble scribe, although he’s described himself as such, leading to his tag here on KC Confidential.
But when it comes to this year’s Kansas City Chiefs, why should he be?
Outside of the first blush at the opening of the NFL season, Glazer has gone from worrying aloud to borderline branding the team as posers. Little by little, week by weak, he’s ratcheted up his angst, going so far this past week as to call out print and talk radio media suck ups for clinging to undeserved optimism long after it became obvious that the team was leading a charmed – as in dumb lucky – life and was headed for a fall.
A fall that came at home against San Diego and will continue, he says, on through Denver and however many other losses lie ahead in the final weeks to come. All of which will culminate in an old-fashioned, Wild Card playoff spanking and a return to mediocrity next season.
Who among us wants to choke down those words?
Well, get ready to choke down some more, because the Scribe’s on the warpath about how mediocre this year’s team is shaping up to be.
And frankly, who can argue the point?
How bad is it?
“Well, before I can tear ‘em up, I want to give a little credit to quarterback Alex Smith who proved today he’s a damn good quarterback,” Glazer says. “And Jamaal Charles and Donnie Avery had big games. And that’s where it ends.
“The defense didn’t do anything today and they’ve gotten worse each week. It finally caught up to them today and they got their pants pulled down. The national sports media was saying almost to a man that the Chiefs 9-0 record was phony. That they’d played no competition and they were barely even winning games. And today we found out they were right. That the Chiefs really are what we thought they were at the beginning of the season; an average team.
“The fans were blinded because they’re fans. And the haters will say, Oh, Glazer’s wrong.’ That I don’t know what I’m talking about, we have a ton of new players on the team. Really? Well, tell me what they’ve done. The draft choices to this point have been horrendously awful – another wasted draft. So folks, what did we really get? Nothing.”
The unfortunate bottom line on this year’s Chiefs?
“We have the exact same team we had last year for the most part with a weaker schedule,” Glazer says. “The coaching has helped a lot, but…
“In defense of the Chiefs, the entire AFC is questionable after Denver. Denver is good and they deserve to go to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs arguably are one of the top four or five teams, because the league isn’t very good, but they’re a .500 team.”
What lies ahead?
“What are we in for?” Glazer asks. “Chiefs fans, it’s horrible, a rough ride. I think it’s very possible Kansas City may only win one or two more games. I believe the Chiefs are a No. 5 playoff team. Would it shock me if they went 0-5 from here? Not really.
“They don’t have weapons. They don’t have players that can take over a game on either side of the ball. You know, it’s how you finish a season, not how you start. I was excited too at the beginning of the season, but this ain’t the Chiefs Super Bowl year.”
Hey, but we all knew that all along…uh, didn’t we?
Oliver Stone Plugs Larry Sells New JFK Book
Guess who wasn’t in Kansas City last Friday?
Uptown Theater top dog Larry Sells, that’s who. Sells was holed up in the unofficial conspiracy world headquarters of Dallas, Texas for the 50th anniversary of the killing of President John F. Kennedy.
I called Sells Thursday morning to wish him Happy JFK Day, he shot back, “It’s Happy Slaughter Kennedy in Dallas & Pretend You Didn’t Do It Day. And that’s what they’re doing here and I’m heading to Dealey Plaza this morning.”
Sells was especially pleased by director Oliver Stone‘s plug for his new book JFK: Absolute Proof by noted Kennedy Assassination expert and author Robert Groden.
“That’s a big deal,” Sells says. “I’m down here in Dallas now putting together seminars for the next year and we’ll be publishing more books. We’ve got three in the works now, including one fiction.”
You know the drill…stay tuned!
And for more Hearne and KC Confidential check out KC Confidential.com
Glazer: Bowe is a 'moron'
About Chiefs star Dwayne Bowe's pot bust Sunday in Riverside...
On one hand, it's no big deal, on the other, it's ridiculously stupid, the truth lying somewhere in between. So says comedy club impresario and sports scribe Craig Glazer.
"What a moron," Glazer says. "The bottom line is Bowe was selfish. He knew he had a big game coming up and he could have stayed home and smoked pot. You know, if you're going to be an idiot and you want to party, get on a plane - he's a rich guy, he can afford it - and go somewhere you can do all that and nobody cares. But here he is driving along late at night in a flashy car with three big guys in it . He was asking for it."
The flip side of Bowe's pot bust:
"Well, it is just marijuana, which is a ridiculous law and part of the nation has legalized it," Glazer says. "In and of itself, marijuana should be legal everywhere. However, it isn't and Dwayne Bowe is one of the two most important weapons in this Chiefs team along with Jamaal Charles. And even though he's not having a good year, him being out there means the other teams have to be careful because he's a potentially dangerous receiver. But with him gone, the Chiefs already have an incredibly poor offense, so any hope of the team going very far in the playoffs would be unlikely, because he's still helping the offense and doing things you can't always see."
And it's not like other Chiefs players past and present haven't or don't smoke, Glazer says.
"I really think that's one of the reasons Marty Scottenheimer's teams didn't do very well in the playoffs," Glazer adds. "Because the players partied way too much. And having been around the nightlife scene, I can tell you that on a regular, consistent basis, the majority of the Chiefs either smoke pot or do other illegal substances.
"It wasn't a secret that Derrick Thomas had a drug problem. Conversely, Neil Smith didn't do any drugs, to his credit. But he was the exception to the rule."
The flip side of a small town Riverside cop armed with a drug dog in his car busting Bowe:
"It wasn't really that big a deal, the police officers had the option of taking the drugs and letting him go," Glazer says. "I know they've done it before, but obviously they weren't big Chiefs fans. And it makes for great water cooler talk back at the station."
Platte County Landmark publisher Ivan Foley tweeted a quite different take:
"On Bowe's arrest: 'Everybody gets treated the same. That's the way we do business.'--Major Chris Skinrood, Riverside Police."
So Many Chippendales, So Little Time
Seeing was believing...
And unless you'd witnessed the estrogen fueled wilding by the women of Kansas City who stormed Stanford's comedy club at The Legends Thursday night, you might not have believed it.
Short of a full scale riot and multiple arrests, it was aboutas over-the-top as it gets. Never mind the bullhorn toting Nazis downtown, there ladies weren't fooling around.
"It was insane," says Stanford's main man Craig Glazer. "Way beyond what I ever imagined. We sold out and we turned away women. At first it was just a mob scene outside the club, and I'm not used to that. Usually it's just dates and married couples, but Thursday it was all women."
From start to finish the "50 Shades of Men" show was a well-oiled machine.
"They have it down to a science," Glazer says. "They come out before the show and sell autographed T-shirts and calendars, then they go in and we seated the room. And the girls were bouncing around like they were at a rock concert and they hadn't even seen anything yet. We could barely seat the room because they weren't paying attention, they were just screaming."
So what was the crowd like?
"Well, half of the women were just normal housewives, just average people," Glazer says. "Then about 50 were decent-looking and about 50 were pretty cute. And then there were about 25 who were really hot. I mean, some of the girls drove in from other towns like Topeka.
"Then when the guys started dancing it was crazy. It was like they were sex-starved. And one of the Chippendales said, 'How many of you are married?' and about half of them raised their hands. And they were all pushing each other, trying to get closer to the stage. My brother and I had to hold them back."
Would they have, um, submitted to the Chippendales charms had they the chance?
"Maybe not all of them, but some of them," Glazer says. "I don't think these were the kind of women that would go out and cheat on their husbands, but with all the other women cheering them on they were like kids in a candy store. They acted like they'd never seen a guy before."
They were rowdier than the rowdiest strip club Glazer's ever been in.
"It's not like when men go into a strip club," Glazer explains. "Most men are fairly respectful. They're seated and they don't rush the stage and grab the girl's butts and try to tackle them."
The grab-ass factor Thursday night?
"When the Chippendales go into the crowd the women grab their butts mostly and they try to touch them wherever they can," Glazer says. "But the dancers are big, buff, athletic guys and they don't want to get hurt if you know what I mean. So they move the women's hands from the front to other body parts. And then the women try and grab their heads and push them into their breasts or their lower parts."
Even the Glazers were treated like - dare I say - pieces of meat.
"Yeah, when we walked through the crowd they'd grab my butt and my hair - anything they could get their hands on," Glazer says. "It was just so overwhelming. I was just surprised how aggressive and excited the women were."
Did the Glaze stumble on to any romance at the affair?
"Did I?" he asks. "I'm not going to say."
How about would the club do it again?
"Oh yeah," Glazer says. "It was very successful. And they're talking about coming back in March or April, so we'll probably do it at the Uptown."
Another departure from normal comedy club type crowds: They trashed the place.
"You know, stuff got thrown around," Glazer says. "It wasn't like a comedy show where people behave themselves. It wasn't horrible, but like 10 girls lost their wallets and they dropped their car keys and scarves and stuff. We found all kinds of things afterwards."
"No, they're all females and they know we can't grab 'em or do anything," Glazer says. "If they were guys though..."
The wildest thing that went down?
"Oh, man. I was back in my office trying to stay out of the frenzy and there were a couple girls who came back and wanted to have sex. But how could I? We're not set up for that."
You trying to tell me you've never had sex in your office at Stanford's?
"Yeah, but that was with women I knew - it was controlled," Glazer says. "I didn't know who these women were or who they were with. I mean, one blonde was amazing and she was so drunk. I kind of made out with her but her girlfriends were kicking the door in.
"It was amazing in a positive way just seeing what you would call the girls next door and how they are when all the taboos of society are taken away and they can get away with something."
The Point 99.7 FM’s Kelly Urich tangles with the news and issues of the day, as only a Volvo-driving deejay from Poplar Bluff, Missouri could possibly do so:
Riverside police cited Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for speeding and possession of a controlled substance. Ironically, he was cited for the two things he has trouble doing on the football field.
Bowe says he is taking this Mile HIGH thing seriously!
The Chiefs have yet to comment, but they're pretty sure Donnie Avery could do the same thing without getting caught.
The FAA will soon allow military drones to fly over U.S. airspace. FINALLY! Some government surveillance in our lives.
The Missouri minimum wage will jump to $7.50 in 2014. It's about time those of us who write for KC Confidential catch a break.
Continuous Christmas Music is now playing on Kansas City's Internet Station. Listen now listen at: http://kcradio.com
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Glazer: MU will play themselves out of the Top 25
It’s not polite to say, “I told you so,” but…
“Unfortunately, it looks like my original prediction about Missouri is more accurate,” says Stanford’s main man / football scribe Craig Glazer. “I think Missouri’s got a win or two left in them, but they got undressed Saturday. They had a cavalcade of embarrassing plays. Just everything was bad – poor coaching, playing not to lose, the Missouri quarterback in the fourth quarter stopped throwing the football. But once you start playing not to lose, you lose. And they lost to a good, not great South Carolina football team at home.”
Now the really bad news:
“The real Missouri showed up,” Glazer says. “I know KU fans love this but Missouri will drop like a bomb in the ratings because there’s no respect for them now…And they’ll play themselves out of the Top 25 before it’s all over.
“Sadly, what we deep down all knew that would happen did happen. What we saw with Missouri sadly is eventually the fate of the Kansas City Chiefs. Because in the end, the talent just isn’t there.”
As for new Kansas City Star sports columnist Vahe Gregorian‘s echoing of MU coach Gary Pinkel’s claim that Saturday’s loss to South Carolina did not define Mizzou’s season…
“I totally disagree,” Grazer says. “That game did define them. He’s wrong, it defined them as who they are – a team that has not, cannot and will not ever win the big one.”
“Because of the way they lost,” Glazer says. “If that had been a gut it out battle between two good teams, I could see it. But Pinkel gave the game away. They had a problem with the placekicker before and they knew it, but instead of looking around the school and the team for somebody else who could kick, they stuck with him and he did a Lin Elliott.
“I mean, Pinkel knew the guy wasn’t any good. I can understand missing a plus 40-yard field goal, but this was a junior high field goal. And he shanked another field goal earlier that would have won Missouri the game.”
As for suicidal MU fans and deliriously joyous KU fans, “Missouri fans were two things,” Glazer says. “Devastated and embarrassed. They wanted to put sacks over their heads. I mean, if they went up against Johnny Football and lost, it’d be one thing. But they let an average quarterback make their defense look like monkeys.”
Speaking of KU football fans…
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” Glazer says. “They don’t have any room to talk. They have an ugly, embarrassing football program. So they may be loving Missouri’s loss, but they’re big losers, too…in an even bigger way.”
Zelig Visits Possum Trot
Lumber baron Dwight Sutherland tips his hat to a Frenchman from Kansas City’s past:
Even if the founders of Kansas City had stuck to their initial plan to name the town after our favorite native creature, one suspects André Maurois, roving intellectual, French patriot, and all-round good guy would have still been as fulsome in his praise. All my life I’ve seen the following quote of his flaunted by local boosters like the Chamber of Commerce and the J.C. Nichols Company:
“Who in Europe, or America, for that matter, knows that Kansas City is one of the loveliest cities on earth? And, yet it is true.”
It was easy to get him confused with other French writers like Francois Mauriac and André Malraux, who had similar names and were active in the same era. However, it’s definitely worth the trouble to figure out who exactly he was, how he got here, and what the quote revealed about an incurable optimist who very easily could have yielded to despair given the series of hard knocks he sustained yet persevered and triumphed.
Born Emile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog in 1885 in Normandy, France, he was the scion of a wealthy family of Jewish textile manufacturers. He wrote under the pen name, ‘André Maurois.’
He served with distinction in the First World War as a liaison officer with the British for the French Army. He used that experience to good effect by writing a best seller in English on his wartime experience, “The Silences of Colonel Bramble.”
Before the war, he had married a beautiful Polish-Russian aristocrat but she died of complications from pregnancy in 1924. His second wife was Simone de Caivallet, the grand-daughter of the novelist Anatole France, who proved to be a capable help-mate and partner for the rest of his life.
I think British critic Sarah Bakewell was right when she likened Maurois to the Woody Allen character ‘Zelig’, who turns up at every historic occasion, maybe always on the fringes but always present, unobtrusive but observant.
The inner circles of the British ruling class in 1917 London described by Cynthia Asquith in her Diaries? Maurois was there. The world of international diplomacy at its peak in Paris, 1919 during the negotiation of the Versaille Treaty? Maurois was there. Princeton University during the era of Albert Einstein in the years leading up to World War II? Maurois was there.
Throughout the entire period between the wars Maurois kept up a prodigious output. He churned out first-rate biographies of historic figures, novels, essays,science fiction, memoirs-you name it. A member of the Académie Francaise, he served with the Free French Forces in the Second World War after a period of exile in Kansas City. He taught French literature at the University of Kansas City (present day UMKC) after he and his wife were brought here by the generosity of the Kemper banking family. He continued writing until his death in 1967.
This was a person who lost everything in 1940-home, business, possessions-at age 55.
Nonetheless, he came here and made a new life for himself. He honored our city by his presence and we should return the favor by honoring his memory.
Oscars Off to the Races!
Game on, says KC Confidential movie man, Jack Poessiger:
If I were a betting person then I'd be choosing between three movies when it comes to Hollywood's top prizes in the annual Oscar derby.
Here is what it will (probably) come down to on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
* 12 YEARS A SLAVE, the brutal, unrelenting and devastating true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom.
Abducted as a free black man from upstate New York he was sold into slavery where he faced incredible cruelty---as well as unexpected kindness.
The Steve McQueen directed film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Brad Pitt. (Pitt also co-produced the drama.)
Look for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director nominations here.
12 YEARS A SLAVE opens as a limited three theater engagement this Friday, November 1st in Kansas City.
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* SAVING MR. BANKS---Walt Disney's struggle some 50 years ago to bring uncompromising writer P.L. Travers' popular book 'Mary Poppins' to the big screen.
Tom Hanks as Walt apparently nails it and Emma Thompson playing P.L. Travers is a sure bet for a Best Actress nomination according to those who have already seen the movie.
SAVING MR. BANKS is shooting for the Christmas box office with a Friday, December 20 planned opening for Kansas City.
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* AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY---The dark, touching story of the strong willed matriarch of the Weston family whose lives have diverged. That is until a family crisis brings them all back to Osage County, Oklahoma and the woman who raised them.
It's another incredible performance by Meryl Streep supported here by the likes of Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard and Chris Cooper.
Based on the Pulitzer and Tony winning Broadway play, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is currently set to open in a handful of major cities on Christmas Day in order to qualify for this year's Oscars, then 'platform out' to the rest of the country after the nominations are announced. I've seen the film and am expecting Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actor and a couple of Best Supporting Actress nominations here!
I would think that the film will be in Kansas City theaters by mid-January.
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Speaking of awards, here is the upcoming GOLDEN GLOBES and ACADEMY AWARDS calendar:
* The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will announce its nominations on Thursday, December 12.
Actual GOLDEN GLOBES night on NBC is Sunday, January 12, 2014. Your hosts again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
* Nominations for the OSCARS will be announced on Thursday, January 16 followed by the 86th annual ACADEMY AWARDS from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
The OSCARS will be hosted on ABC by Ellen Degeneres.
And the movie to win it all?
That could depend on which studio has the deepest promotional and marketing pockets.
....Oh no, say it ain't so. But guess what, it often is.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Even a sacred scribe gets axed by KC Star
The $64 million question: Why would the Kansas City Star ax an award winning journalist?
That’s certainly a puzzle that’s stll on more than a few minds in the wake of the newspaper dropping the hammer yesterday on several employees, including investigative reporter Karen Dillon.
As in, the Karen Dillon.
The Karen Dillon who famously brought down the career of peep show perve Pee Wee Herman in 1991.
The Karen Dillon who drove the Kansas City Police Department crazy with expose after expose in the mid 1990s, ranging from officers cheating on expense accounts to an $18 million scanner scandal and reporting that led to an investigation by Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan into the operations of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.
Yeah, that Karen Dillon.
She’s also the Karen Dillon who teamed with me on a steamy front page story in 1993 about millionaire David W. Langhorn bumping off millionaire Roger A. Behrenhausen in a parking garage at KCI over a love tryst with then sexy socialite Daneen “Dani” Householter.
“On Oct. 25, Householter watched in horror in a parking garage at Kansas City International Airport as Behrenhausen was killed by three blasts from a shotgun. Police say that her former lover, Langhorn, hired the triggerman,” we reported at the time.
“The man charged with being the hit man, Grady Lee Motes, 26, a salesman for Langhorn’s company in Gainesville, Ga., is being held in the Platte County Jail. Days after Motes was arrested in Georgia, Langhorn fled and committed suicide in a central Kansas game preserve."
That, ladies and gentlemen, was a wild one.
Householter was a Vassar grad and Jewel Ball deb from a wealthy Kansas City family who dated everyone from the head of the Paul Hamilton real estate company to the son of tax magnate Henry Bloch.
And it was the very same Karen Dillon who cobbled together a minimalist Wikipedia page outlining her awards as “an American investigative journalist,” it reads. ”She won a 2001 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. She won a 1998 George Polk Award. She was named the 2010 “Journalist of the Year,” by the Kansas City Press Club.”
Almost as if Dillon sensed that after giving journalism giant Jim Romanesko an embarrassing quote last year confirming KC Confidential‘s Hunger Games scoop that her days at 18th and Grand were numbered.
Hunger Games, you ask?
In the last round of newsroom layoffs last December, the newspaper left it to Dillon and fellow reporter Dawn Bormann to decide which one would take a journalistic dirt nap. Since Dillon had seniority, Bormann was forced to walk the plank.
But not before major media ranging from from Romanesko and Gawker to USA Today, Reuters, The New York Times, Washington Post and Indianapolis Star weighed in to criticize Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish for the way the layoff was handled.
Tough racket, big city print journalism these days.
Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman
Lumber baron Dwight Sutherland weighs in with a controversial book review of controversial local author Jack Cashill’s latest offering:
“IF I HAD A SON,” BY Jack Cashill
Local author Jack Cashill has done a yeoman service in setting the record straight on what actually happened in the Trayvon Martin case tried in Florida earlier this year.
The acquittal of the defendant George Zimmerman would have been a foregone conclusion but for the power of what Cashill has called the Black Grievance Industry. By this he means the unholy alliance between black and white “civil rights” activists, unscrupulous lawyers, and demagogic politicians to create racial hate crimes out of nothing.
The best examples in real life are the 1987 Tawana Brawley incident and the 2006 Duke Lacrosse team controversy. The best fictional example is Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities,” which of course set the template twenty-six plus years ago for all that was to follow.
The elements of a B.G.I. production are as follows:
1) The death or injury of an African-American under unclear circumstances;
2) The suppression or distortion of evidence that would help the defendants by a politically-motivated prosecution;
3) The white-washing of the African-American “victims” character and prior record and the concomitant blackening of the reputation of the white “perpetrator;” a.k.a. The Great White Defendant, and
4) The surrounding media frenzy, orchestrated by those in the B.G.I. hoping for financial and political gain, which makes fair trial problematic.
Author Cashill, who actually attended the trial in May, does an excellent job in setting out the striking parallels between the different examples of the work of the Black Grievance Industry.
What is encouraging about the book is its description of the emergence of the conservative blogosphere, especially in this case of a blogging collective known as the Conservative Treehouse. These serve as clearing houses for the exchange of ideas and information that the Mainstream Media not only has no interest in but would actively like to see suppressed. (Our own beloved Star is a prime culprit).
A few years ago twin African-American teenagers—the Carr brothers—committed multiple murders and rapes in a single night in Wichita, but there was next to no mention in the Star of the crime, despite its shocking nature. Of course for years the Star downplayed crime in and around the Country Club Plaza but that was to placate the owner of the Plaza, the JC Nichols Co., a major advertiser. Neither greed nor ideology justify not reporting on events because of a hidden agenda by a news organization.
What’s discouraging about the book is that the perpetrators of these B.G.I. miscarriages of justice seldom pay a price. Both the legal profession and the press need to do a lot more to self-regulate and police themselves. The politicians also need to develop some backbone before surrendering to a lynch mob mentality the next time some “activist” (another word for “community organizer?”) tries to take advantage of a tragedy for personal gain. (That most definitely includes Republican politicians, if this book is any indication.)
By setting out so coherently and fluently the latest retelling of an unfortunately oft-told tale, Cashill has performed a public service. Maybe, just maybe, this will have a salutary effect by diagnosing the malady so that we will recognize it in the future and stop it from happening again. No one’s life should be destroyed by being unjustly accused and prosecuted to give the Left “usable political meaning.”
Paul Wilson says, Sometimes the Past really is all it’s cracked up to be
Last weekend I made the annual trip to my home town of Carthage, Mo. The Maple Leaf Festival is the 3rd weekend of October and it’s the primary event that brings old class mates back to town. There’s a 2 hour parade down stately Grand Boulevard, home of the original city father’s mansions; the barons of banking, lumber, mining and bed springs from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Typically you wander from home to home to past yard parties starting early and running late until the parade is over; Bloody Mary’s flowing, catered food, home cooked breakfasts, it runs the gamut.
I left Carthage in 1978 and came to Kansas City but grew up in the childhood home of Lowell Davis, an internationally famous artist known as the “Norman Rockwell of Rural America.” Lowell has made millions over his career as an artist and later as an ad exec in Dallas before returning home to Carthage in the 80’s.
I was an infant when my father bought our home in the late 50’s and one of the first things he did was clean the attic. He shoveled hundreds of hand painted wooden figures and animals through the attic window to a waiting truck bed below. At the time it was just scraps of wood Lowell’s dad brought home from his job as a carpenter for his young, budding artist son to carve and paint.
Today, it would represent his earliest works, long since composted in the city dump.
When his parents sold the home to my mom and dad, they moved to Red Oak, Mo, 18 miles outside of Carthage. I finished my teen years in that home and moved to KC. We hardly ever make a trip back without going to visit Lowell and Rose.
Lowell’s career has been amazing. He will tell you he’s been rich beyond measure and lost everything three times. He returned for a visit in the 1970’s to find his home of Red Oak all but a ghost town, people leaving to move to the “city.”
That was the beginning of a dream and he knew where his money was going to go.
Like many, he went through an ugly divorce and found himself contemplating life in the depression that accompanies so many. Precious Moments artist and longtime friend, Sam Butcher, gave Davis a gift of a trip to the Philippines and encouraged him to get away and relax. On that trip Lowell met and fell in love with Rose, the manager of a Chinese restaurant he and Butcher visited.
Lowell had already bought the farm and had begun to buy the abandoned buildings from his home town, dismantle them piece by piece and move them to his farm, Red Oak II. He married Rose and brought her back to the beginnings of his dream and massive project. She’s been as involved as him ever since.
Lowell lives in the home of Belle Star, the famous female outlaw from Carthage. Star was murdered in Oklahoma by two shotgun blasts to the back. Discovering an old slave quarters log cabin in the Ozarks, he connected it to one end of Star’s house where it serves as his personal residence and studio today.
He found and restored the Marshal’s office of my distant Uncle, Ralph Hooker, the author of “Born out of Season.” Hooker is the only man to have walked the 780 mile Santa Fe Trail alone and ride the entire 1,040 mile Chisholm Trail on horseback.
Next, the General Store which was originally run by Lowell's father and was where Lowell learned to sculpt and paint. Then the Salem Church, a roadside Phillips 66 station, half dozen houses, and a blacksmith shop that was in his family along with many other buildings.
Red Oak II is a major attraction with Route 66 historians and travelers from all over the world. On our last visit they were hosting 40 motorcycle riders from Australia, traveling the full length of the historic highway.
Sitting with Lowell and Rose is a treat; a visit with a good friend who could care less about success, still celebrates his creativity, and loves his wife and his God. I’ve known him since childhood so you lose track of the fact of who he’s been, who he is now.
He still writes and paints but most of his time is spent with Rose planning what building is coming next, receiving the endless stream of visitors and posing for pictures with his signature corn cob pipe. He has one of mine I passed on as a gift several years ago.
Lowell’s love of Red Oak II and old Route 66 is apparent. “People’s lives are so busy these days that I think they’d like to be reminded of a simpler time,” he says. There is nowhere in the world I would rather live than right here. I want to sit on my porch, talk to the folks that come by, paint, and live my good life.”
"I don't believe that an artist should be restricted to use only paint or clay. It can be anything including junk, wood, even an old building. To me, Red Oak II is a combination of a painting and a sculpture, and it is just made from things that someone else threw away."
If you’re making a pass down 71 South, now Interstate 49, don’t miss this place.
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The KC Star believes taxes and spending can never be too high
Why do promoters lie about attendance figures?
The answer’s somewhat obvious; because size matters and smaller crowds can lend the perception that an event like last weekend’s New Age gang bang WaterFire on the Plaza is less important or significant than its organizers want it to be thought of.
Here’s another take courtesy of Popular Mechanics story ”The Curious Science of Counting a Crowd” put it:
“Crowd-size estimation is tough for people who want to do it right. But when turnout implies clout, then politicians and event organizers have plenty of motivation to exaggerate the head count. Through careful research, though, it is possible to make better crowd-size estimates that aren’t the result of political bias.”
Enter local businessman Gary Evert, the dude who played out a hunch 10 years ago that the Plaza Lighting Ceremony attendance figures of 300,000 people by sponsor KCPL were bogus.
Evert teamed with UMKC mathematics and statistics professor Yong Zeng and used Jacob’s Method of crowd counting to debunk KCPL’s phoneyed up digits.
After being confronted by Evert’s count of 31,603 attendees, the Plaza came clean that it never had actually counted the crowd and mum’s been the official word since.
That is until civic leader Karen Holland brought WaterFire to KC seven years ago.
Determined to put WaterFire on the map, Holland exaggerated its attendance from the start.
In am October 2007 letter to the editor at the Kansas City Star Holland characterized WaterFire’s inaugural event as having drawn “tens of thousands.” And for several years since, she’s conned the newspaper of record into “reporting” attendance figures in the range of 30,000 to 35,000 people.
In other words, right up there with the vaunted Plaza Lights.
“I don’t know, there are a lot of people here, but it’s nothing like the Plaza lights,” Evert said on arriving at the event Saturday evening.
Following the basic tenets of Jacobs Method - dividing the area occupied by the crowd into sections, determining a reasonable average number of people for each section, then adding them up – Evert had surveyed the grounds ahead of time and determined a reasonable density.
“Think of a crowd entering a Chiefs game and that density is one person per five square feet shoulder to shoulder,” Evert said prior to the event. “Given those totally unrealistic assumptions, the maximum number of people in attendance at WaterFire would be 20,425.
“Now assume that the obstructions take up 20% of the overall available space, the shoulder to shoulder crowd – again, totally unrealistically – would be 16,340. Based on a YouTube video of a past WaterFire, the number of people in the 10,000 square feet in the most Northwest section was fewer that 100. So my initial assumption is that there are no more than 12,000 people in attendance and I expect that number to be 50% overstated.”
After the event tipped off after 7 p.m. Saturday and Kansas City mayor Sly James addressed the crowd, Evert shook his head and said, “I’m flabbergasted. There aren’t 3,000 people down here.”
So while exaggerating WaterFire’s crowd size may make Holland feel important (and make it easier to attract sponsors and donations), to Evert the event really doesn’t need the phony crowd hype and it could even backfire on Holland.
“I mean, it’s lovely. It’s great. I can see why people like it, but I’m sorry,” Evert says.
The final WaterFire count: “There’s maybe 5,500 people here tops.”
The bottom line:
“It wouldn’t be physically possible for more than 10,000 people to witness that event at the same time,” he says. “The 30,000 to 35,000 number was just somebody’s naive estimate in my opinion, because obviously, they didn’t make any effort to substantiate that. I would say that from the reporting, without a doubt, this is the first time there was an effort to analyze the crowds at WaterFire. But it’s a great event, go check it out.”
Paul Wilson’s Alphabet Soup
I awoke this morning to a lovely pair of texts…
The first informed me that an esteemed, high school classmate had died. RIP, Dick, you were a good man. The second was from a Kansas City artist asking if I would address the new Kansas City logo hubbub on KCC, referencing disagreements he had with other stories on the subject.
Truth be told, I had no interest in writing about this because to me, the new logo was boring and totally uncreative. Besides, logo and brand change controversies have been around forever. However there was an interesting side to this story, enter your well-coiffed Scribe.
But first, whats going on with the new, improved KC logo? We’re told it will usher in a new age, the lion will sleep with the lamb, oceans will calm, businesses will come to town, rainbows and unicorns will magically appear, even when it’s not Gay Pride week…all because we have a new logo.
Local artist-turned sandwich seller and concert honcho Stretch likened it to “a monogram like on a shirt.
“It doesn’t do Kansas City justice,” he groused, joining a growing plurality of people who dislike the new logo. Or think it looks like a brand.
KCMO council person Ed Ford, with hurt feelings for being left out of the decision making by the KCMO Communications Department said sternly, “Who died and made them king?”
And Kansas City Mayor Sly - a fan of the logo – stated the obvious saying, “I know it’s a KC.” Besides, nobody outside of Kansas City had any idea what the fountain symbol meant, he added. “At the end of the day, you want something that when people look at it, they say Kansas City, boom, it jumps right out at them.”
Mr. Mayor, I think you struck marketing gold by telling us “KC” makes people think of, well, KC.
A number of locals noted its similarity to the old Kansas City Monarchs logo.
I really can’t argue that.
Because if you’ve looked at the new KC logo, it looks like they took the “C” and tucked it in up here, tucked it in down there and voila new logo!
The term “derivative” seems to have been used a time or two describing the new logo. As in imitative, unoriginal, uninventive, unimaginative, uninspired, copied, plagiarized, secondhand; trite, hackneyed, clichéd, stale, stock, banal; informal, copycat, cribbed, old hat.
Yeah, I’d say that pretty much covers it.
On the other hand, how much can you do besides change typefaces once you decide to abbreviate (dumb down?) the city’s actual name into its widely well-known initials?
To my thinking the city should have commissioned my main man Emerson Rapp - the creative genius behind the hit video Tour of Kansas City. Remember him? At least Rapp would have come up with something cool and original like:
KANSAS CITY; We don’t need no stinkin ARCH!
Kansas City; Hey, at Least we’re not Omaha or Des Moines!
Now there’s the type of attitude I could get behind.
Of course, that’s not what we did. We picked Single Wing Creative designer Emily Elmore‘s vision. She did it for free and we got what we paid for.
“I wanted to create a ‘linked’ logo that can show a connection between a young and innovative new city with the roots of a city that has always had an edge,” Elmore explained.
Now I get it. We got an edgy, linked logo, said no one ever.
Again, Kansas City’s new “KC” isn’t the first logo controversy.
Did you know that the brand ADIDAS has a hidden sexual message in its name? It was rumored it stands for “All Day I Dream About Sex.”
However in reality, it was made up from the nickname and letters from the last name of founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler. Dassler’s brother, the one with the smaller libido, founded Puma, no controversies there.
Did you know the drink Snapple has always used most of its profits to fund the KKK? As evidenced by the fact it has a “K” embossed on its glass container. Fact is, the company was founded by three Jewish partners and the “K” indicates it was manufactured to Kosher standards.
And since I’m talking about Jews, here’s one for the Jew hating, Gentile skater crowd.
The rubber soles of Van’s shoes are made up of a Star of David pattern so we can mash it into the ground with each step we take. It took the Anti Defamation League to squelch that one.
The Kansas City firm Procter & Gamble‘s old logo paid homage to the company’s allegiance to The Church of Satan. Its 13 stars referencing a verse in Revelation talking about the Mark of the Beast and 666 was hidden in the old man’s beard. In truth however, the 13 stars were there to honor the original 13 colonies.
And Coca Cola‘s logo? If read in reverse it says in Arabic, “No Mecca No Mohammed.” Coke says that really wasn’t what they had in mind when the logo was created back in the 1880s.
And did you know Mountain Dew lowers your sperm count because of the Yellow 5 coloring they use? Totally false, but you can still get caffeine jacked on it and go all spider monkey on somebody.
And the town Usa, Japan changed its name to hijack the logo “MADE IN THE USA.” Interesting story, but Usa was named in the 8th century, long before the founding fathers stole this land from the Indians and started making up crap like the Washington Redskins name.
The bottom line: Kansas City’s new logo won’t change a thing.
Regardless of the big unveiling party full of people breaking their arms patting them selves on their collective backs for ushering in a new era for the city under these two, magnificent new letters.
So what if our infrastructure still sucks, the murder rate east of Troost remains the same, cronyism continues and nobody can solve the real problems our city faces – like education – new logo or not.
And so as we take down 20 year-old images of fountains and begin putting up our brand new image of a “K” and a “C,” derivative seems about right.
Just like “city of fountains” and “Paris of the Plains, there’s really not a whole lot original going on here. And who really cares anyway?
What actually can change this town is new people, with new visions and new ideas. People who have more vision than they do political motivation. That’s where real change comes from.
We have it in us; let’s make it happen!
Dumb, Dumber & Dumbest
Lumber baron Dwight Sutherland Jr. weighs in on Johnson County intelligence…or lack thereof:
Rarely does the staff of the Star show why they qualify as the “short-bus” riders of political intelligence so succinctly.
In an article by Yael Abouhalkah (“Abacadabra”), he decribes how there is “trouble in Johnson County’s paradise.” He does this by way of back-drop for the race next year for the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners between the incumbent Mr. Ed (The Talking Horse’s Ass) Eilert of Overland Park, and Mr. Laura Scott, a.k.a. Ed Peterson, a fellow Commission member from Fairway.
Yael notes parenthetically that the population of Johnson County is aging and that the county is no longer The Golden Ghetto of yore in terms of income growth and general affluence. Combine that with slowing population growth and an aging infrastructure and the lavish spending increases by local governments are a thing of the past. Yael, of course, has an easy solution to this problem—raise taxes throughout the county.
The collective wisdom of The Kansas City Star Editorial Board is that taxes and spending can never be too high. After all, its members reason, money spent on education, for example, means a better educated, more productive work force, which means more personal income, which means higher tax revenues—so education spending always will pay for itself! Like in Kansas City, Missouri. Look at the buoyant prosperity on the east side of Kansas City or along Noland Road in Independence.
Mr. Abracadabra implies for this reason that Peterson (married to former Star virago Laura Scott) is the better choice for Commission Chair, i.e. he knows the surest path to prosperity is massive tax hikes. Eilert will only say he won’t raise taxes as a first resort. Come on Mr. Ed, get with the program!
Eilert had so much promise and such a long history of sketchy dealings.
Just recently, for instance, Ed (“Lurch,” to his friends, after the character on The Addams Family), has championed the Museum of Suburbia, to be built in the former King Louis bowling alley at 87th and Metcalf. The county paid four million dollars to buy the derelict structure to erect a monument to suburban sprawl. (One wonders why you need a monument to a phenomenon which is so vital and alive throughout the county. As architect Christopher Wren’s epitaph said; “Si monumentum requiris, circumspice,” i.e., if you seek a monument, look around you.)
Abacadabra is equally adamant that part of the problem is that Johnson County has grown more conservative both in terms of its elected representatives and its increasing unwillingness to fund the Old Guard Machine beloved by the Star Editorial Board. He cites U.S. Congressman Kevin Yoder as an ultra-conservative, ignoring the fact that Yoder was the candidate of the moderate wing of the Johnson County Republican Party. Maybe his conservative voting record and the conservative takeover of the State Senate is simply a recognition by the electorate that the old free-spending ways are not working. (I think Mr. A would agree with me it’s not because the voters of JoCo necessarily embrace the Brownback/Tea Party agenda!)
So there’s the state of political wisdom about the future course of Johnson County—the Dumb (Ed Eilert), the Dumber (Ed Peterson), and the Dumbest (Mr. Abacadabra and the rest of the Star Editorial Board!)
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
American Idol winner David Cook and his 15 minutes of fame
How quickly they fall
Next Stop for KC ‘Idol’ David Cook: would you believe Knuckleheads?
Five years ago the pride of Blue Springs, singer David Cook, walked away with a million bucks, a record deal and a shoe endorsement after winning season seven of American Idol.
Would Cook follow in the footsteps of successful past Idol winners like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, or had his 15 minutes of fame come with an expiration date?
Unfortunately the latter appears to be the case.
In March I reported that Cook’s record and shoe deals had vanished and the reviews of his second album were stultifyingly horrid. His celebrity girlfriend – the one he’d contemplated buying a $50,000 rock for - had cheated on him in public, the tabloids reported, and Cook bailed out of his $1.3 million Hollywood hills “manse” and fled to Nashville for what looked to be a country music makeover.
And just when it was looking like maybe he’d hit rock bottom, comes the word that Cook’s KC gig next month won’t be going down at the 16,000 seat Sprint Center or even at the 2,700 seat Midland.
Nope, this time around Cook will be kicking out the jams at Knuckleheads Saloon in the East Bottoms.
That’s right, at Knuckleheads on November 18th.
That is if Cook lives to tell the story after rappelling down the side of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego in a promotional stunt for the charity Over the Edge for Brain Cancer.
Is that even legal?
As for Cook’s transition into becoming maybe a country music star, after a year in Nashville, there’s little evidence of that. He played a club gig two weeks ago in Tulsa that was reviewed as a rock show and his tepid recent single “Laying Me Low” is clearly a pop tune…a highly forgettable pop tune.
KCC music man Paul Wilson’s take on Cook’s Knuckleheads gig:
“It tells me he’s not hit bottom yet, but he can see it.”
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Nebraska Furniture Mart has cornered the KC market
Raise your glasses, Nebraska Furniture Mart is celebrating its 10th…
That’s right, it’s time to celebrate. A decade has passed since the Omaha-based retailer took Kansas City by storm, laying waste – some would suggest – to any number of local furniture and electronics retailers in its quest to own the market.
“How many mom and pop stores have they eliminated from the area?” wonders A-V Design Studio‘s Jan Young. “Furniture stores in particular. One of my favorite stores was Contemporary Concepts on 119th Street. You know, they closed their doors several years ago. And how many audio-video stores disappeared in that first two or three-year period. There was Audio Mart, that closed. Continental Video closed. Brandsmart closed.
“I don’t know this for a fact, that they did come into the market with every intention of being the most competitive in price and once they’d eliminated their competition, to slowly raise their prices. But I think it worked; I think they were successful in that strategy.”
Kief’s Audio Video installation manager Mike Wagner concurs:
“They came right in our front door and tried to recruit me and made the statement that, ‘We’re going to shut everybody else down,’ which I thought was a bold move,” Wagner says. “I’ve been recruited before by like Best Buy and that kind of thing, but they didn’t come right into the store. And they didn’t tell me they were going to shut us down.
“I mean, they definitely did shut a lot of places down. I just thought it was a crass thing to do. Pretty ballsy.”
Return with me now to that first birthday following Nebraska’s entry arrival.
“Another furniture store biting the dust,” reads one 2004 headline referencing NFM atop my column in the Kansas City Star. “Competition pulls plug on Brandsmart,” reads another. And in a 2005 story about Accent Sound I noted that audio and video dealers in KC had been “dropping like flies.”
At which point a funny thing happened.
The top brass from Nebraska – a huge advertiser at the Star – showed up at the newspaper for an up close and personal with editor Mark Zieman. My editor in the FYI, section head Mary Lou Nolan was called into the meeting and afterwards I was told there would be no more unflattering stories about Nebraska in my column.
Funny how that worked.
Anyway, on behalf of both the survivors and the fallen, I’d like to wish Nebraska Furniture Mart a very happy 10th birthday.
Chiefs Blow Away Hollywood
The Kansas City Chiefs had a really great weekend…
They weren’t too shabby on the field either. The national media is obsessed with box office sales for the latest movie openings. Yet most of those grosses are dwarfed by entertainment sales for things like, oh, THE CHIEFS!
This past Sunday for example, the reported attendance was 76,416. You do the math.
Ticket prices ranged from $76 to $91. So let’s say the average price was $83. At that rate Chiefs ticket sales may have amounted to as much as $6,342,500.
Now let’s look at the parking.
If Arrowhead’s 19,000-plus parking spaces filled up at $27 a pop, that could make for another income stream of around half a million bucks.
And then, what about those ridiculously inflated food and drink prices?
At an average per person sale of $7 - and I suspect that’s way low – that’s at least another half a million dollars.
So let’s see, that comes to about $7,342,500.
Then of course there’s the hefty network TV money flowing into those Dallas based coffers of the Hunt Family.
To my thinking, the Chiefs probably grossed as much—OR MORE—than the DON JON movie did for its entire three-day national opening weekend on 2,422 North American screens.
Namely $9 million.
Of course those are estimated grosses and both entities have huge expenses against them.
All I can say is Hail to the Hunt$ — and their Chief$.
Wendy’s Gets Extreme Makeover But Not Much else Changes
All that glitters is not gold…
Which isn’t to say good looks don’t matter. One glimpse at the fancy-schmancy new Wendy’s fast food acropolis at 91st and Metcalf Saturday – on the hallowed former home of Bud Brown Chrysler – and I had to eat there.
It’s not quite chili season and I’d kind forgotten how Wendy’s “hot and juicy” burgers tasted, so it was the perfect excuse. Anything as badass looking as this week-old Taj ‘Ma-Wendy’s had to be exceptional, right? So in I tromped for a single hamburger with ketchup only and a Coke Zero.
Unfortunately my burger still tasted like glorified dog food. I mean, it was okay. You know, like most fast food burgers are okay. So while watching college football on a giant LCD screen above a six or eight-foot wide fireplace and free wifi are kinda cool for a fast food eatery – I won’t be planning any more pilgrimages anytime soon.
I did have a major flashback on Wendy’s still making a big deal at the eatery out of company founder Dave Thomas.
Think Colonel Sanders Syndrome.
I met and spent some time with Thomas seven years before he checked out and I can tell you, he was no Colonel Sanders.
Too well groomed, too normal (whatever that means) and too boring; Thomas was neither an alpha dog nor a southern gentleman.
I hung with Thomas, his wife and a very uncomfortable PR lady in May of 1995 at a hotel just north of the Plaza. For him it was a standard issue PR moment with wife Lorraine doing all of the talking.
What was it like being married to a hamburger icon, I asked?
“I’ll have to think about that one,” Lorraine answered. “I just think of him as an ordinary man We had nothing when we got married and it came gradually, which makes a difference. You learn how to deal with it as it goes.”
The Thomases were in town – bodyguard in tow believe it or not – to shill for the 28 area Wendy’s. The bodyguard was there to preserve what was left of Dave’s private life since becoming a spokesmodel for Wendy’s after a company falling out with “Where’s the beef” septuagenarian / spokesmodel Clara Peller .
“Some people leave him alone; some don’t,” Lorraine said.
Bland as Thomas was, he still had his groupies, his wife said.
“During Dave‘s book tour women kept asking if he’s married,” Lorraine said. “Women like him, the female of the species. What can I say? He gets a lot of proposals.”
Musta been that “hot and juicy” tag line.
Notice how Thomas wife did all of the talking?
Was Thomas a henpecked fast food icon or just too boring to speak up much?
By that time by the way Thomas didn’t dare eat any of his “hot and juicy” burgers – let alone the fries.
Something about Wendy’s being hard on his heart and bad for his health.
Turns out steering clear of Wendy’s had been good for Thomas.
“He’s lost 45 pounds in the last nine to 10 months,” Lorraine told me. “And he wants to lose another 15 to 20 pounds at least.”
I left the part about Wendy’s fast food being bad for Thomas out of my story at the time as a small favor to the PR chick, who had promised to send me an autographed copy of his book. Probably so I’d behave after asking all of my oddball questions above.
Guess what? I didn’t, and predictably the promised book never arrived.
A fast food icon with who wouldn’t and couldn’t even eat his own food because it was bad for him. Whose wife did all the talking and boasted of beating him all the time at golf. I could almost hear Colonel Sanders (who died in 1980) rolling over in his grave.
So why’s Wendy’s still hawking Thomas, 11 years after the fact?
Perhaps Wikipedia can explain:
“He is also known for appearing in more than 800 commercial advertisements for the chain from 1989 to 2002, more than any other company founder in television history.”
Thomas life story is kinda interesting.
He was born in 1932 in Atlantic City to “a young, unmarried woman he never knew.” His adopted mother died when he was 5 and Thomas never made it out of high school. There’s even a Col. Sanders connection, which may explain Thomas penchant for appearing in Wendy’s ads.
Thomas met Sanders in the mid 1950s when the Colonel convinced him to open a KFC franchise. And after working together for years, Thomas was the one who allegedly talked Sanders into appearing in all those TV spots. You buy that? I’m not so sure.
Early on Thomas was criticized for being stiff and boring in his spots for Wendy’s, which he founded in 1969. Which again may explain why Lorraine did all of the talking during his PR stint with me in KC.
I dunno though, does anyone under 30 today even know or care who Dave Thomas was?
Wendy’s must think so.
But even KFC has begun to no longer use the image of Col. Sanders, so my guess is Thomas days are numbered.
Hey, but what do I know?
The Frightening Fall of the 4-0 Missouri Tigers
We all make mistakes, right?
I’ve got a couple of doozies under my belt, perhaps you’ve noticed. Not everyone though is wildly anxious to own up to the error of his or her ways.
Take the University of Missouri athletics department.
When MU bailed on the Big 12 a couple years back, it appeared to be an all but a necessary evil. And Missouri didn’t exactly write letters of apology to the schools it left behind, you know, no Dear KU missives.
Actually, the opposite was true.
Everybody from MU football coach Gary Pinkel to the school’s chancellor to its fans were swept up in a wondrous frenzy of SEC worship and delight.
That was then…
And after a disappointing season last year, this year’s Missouri Tigers football team is poised to start the season 4-0.
“They’ll be undefeated but they haven’t played anybody,” says football scribe Craig Glazer. “And if I had to put money down, I’d say they’ll end up 6-6, but I think Pinkel’s going to be on the warm seat next year if that happens. For him to truly have a successful season he needs to win seven games and that’s gonna be hard.”
A bowl bound 6-6 Missouri squad would be a joke, Glazer says.
“I don’t like the way that works, that winning six games gets you to a bowl game,” Glazer says. “You know, they win six games and they’re in the Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers. That’s kind of silly to reward a team that only won a couple of somewhat meaningful games and a bunch of games against some cupcakes. That’s just not very impressive. I mean, how many people want to watch a 6-6 team play another 6-6 or 7-5 team; it’s just not very exciting.
“My question is, what happened to Gary Pinkel? Why has he lost his ability to bring in players? He went to the SEC in order to bring in better players, but the opposite has happened. I mean, MU has gone backwards.”
Should Missouri have stayed put?
“Yes, they should have stayed in the Big 12,” Glazer says. “Missouri was not ready for this. At this point in time they cannot compete against any of the good teams in the SEC, let alone the great teams. Missouri is now like a low level team. In the Big 12 they were a somewhat prominent team. They’d be the fourth or fifth best team if they were still in the Big 12.
“Now they’ve moved into a conference where they’re arguably one of the worst teams – they’re at the bottom. And at this time, they’re not showing that they have the ability to get any better. Then you have the Missouri basketball team that was decent. And I think it does hurt em that they don’t get to play KU. Now they’re just kind of a no-show. It’s been a downhill blast since they left the Big 12.
“And in the immediate future, what’s going to make things better? They’re probably going to have to get rid of Pinkel.”
Ah, what might have been, Glazer waxes…
“You know, in the Big 12 this year Missouri would have probably won 8 or 9 games and maybe be nationally ranked. Now they’re just kind of in a state of mediocrity in both football and basketball, so I don’t know what they can do.”
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Exposing the Fat Cats in the not-for-profits
Ever feel sorry for some of the fat cats in corporate America working at not-for-profit businesses while taking down a half million bucks a year?
Me neither, just thought I’d mention it.
Admiring Dwight Sutherland’s piece taking former Greater Kansas City Chamber head dude Pete Levi to task for referring recently to the red ink stained glory days of using sales taxes to rescue Union Station got me to thinking about the time I outed Levi in 2008 for taking down $588,955 a year while the head of KC’s nonprofit chamber. Plenty of eyeballs rolled on that one, and when Levi left a year later the poor guy was down to a paltry $439,092. In other words, a 25 percent plus earnings hit.
Another local lawyer, Jim Heeter of Mission Hills took Levi’s place at the far more modest salary of $314,829. And while that ain’t chump change, it was $274,126 less than Levi was banking before I blew the whistle on him.
But don’t feel too sorry for Heeter because time heals all wounds.
And once the coast was clear, Heeter’s paycheck soared to $511,377 a year later.
Which of course is really good work if you can get it. Especially given that as a nonprofit the chamber doesn’t pay taxes like private enterprise does, even though its mission is to shill for private enterprise.
Ever wonder how some of these one-percent cats get away with this kind of stuff?
My pal Kevin Collison at the KC Star wrote a really silly column last week trying to rationalize downtown’s goofy streetcar line from Crown Center to the River Market by comparing it to the 3.9 mile streetcar line going into Tucson (where I lived for four years and went to college).
I busted Kevin for making a dumb comparison because almost nobody wants to ride from Crown Center to the River Market, whereas the Tucson line runs from the heart of the 40,000 student strong University of Arizona thru not one but three shopping and entertainment zones. Plus it’s basically an upgrade on an older streetcar system that was already in place.
Hey, KC and Tucson were similarly sized, Kevin pointed out.
So I thought, let’s do another comparison and see how the fat cats are doing out there in the desert compared to our Lords of the Chamber.
In the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce most recent tax filing, former president John Camper took down a $192,149 all in.
Chicken feed compared to the masters of our universe.
Put another way, that’s $319,228 or 62 percent less a year than Heeter made.
As for me, I’m counting on Ivan reading this column item and maybe working up some kind of tax dodge so we Landmarkers can inch our way into the Green Zone.
Hey, just a thought.
Hail to the Chiefs!
KCC sports scribe Brandon Leftridge throws caution to the wind and he gallops aboard the Kansas City Chiefs bandwagon with unbridled enthusiasm. Check it:
Chiefs fans, rejoice.
Only three games into the 2013 season, and they’ve already exceeded last year’s win total. And while that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot—two victories is an embarrassingly low mountain to overcome—let us not dwell on the futility of yesteryear.
For a fan base (and a city, really) that has seen more lows than highs over the past decade, a 3-0 start is a powerful aphrodisiac.
Since 1990, 75% of teams starting 3-0 have made the playoffs. As a professional gambler might say, “those are good odds.”
That said, the Chiefs are still a few miles away from postseason dreams.
First overall draft pick Eric Fisher looked wildly overmatched for most of the night.
With the exception of Donnie Avery, the receivers were flat, ineffective, and ridiculously containable.
Alex Smith is eventually going to get killed. (Mostly due to the facts outlined in the previous sentence.)
So, the offense really has some catching up to do.
And that’s fine. As my grandfather used to say, “horse(crap) don’t turn into diamonds overnight, Ed.” (We never found out who “Ed” was, exactly. RIP, Grand-Pepper.)
But this defense—oh, my GOD, this GLORIOUS defense. We knew it was there, but it’s finally morphing into something special. It’s shaking off the slime of a difficult birth and becoming a gigantic, disgusting monster of impenetrable conviction. Provided that all pieces can remain healthy and intact for the duration, this is absolutely a championship caliber defense.
Eric Berry is routinely proving his worth (instead of the occasional flashes he used to show). Dontari Poe is quickly becoming the Disruption Godzilla they claimed he was after taking him with their first pick in last year’s draft. Sean Smith is shaping up to be a great free agent signing. Tamba Hali remains Tamba Hali.
And Houston. Justin FREAKING Houston.
In what was probably one of the most dominant defensive performances KC has seen in a decade, all Houston did is sack Michael Vick 3.5 times, force one fumble and recover two, make seven tackles, and knock down three passes.
There’s no doubt that he’ll be AFC Defensive Player of the Week, and probably the month. He’ll be a Pro Bowler this year (his second selection), and is on pace to obliterate the team’s single season sack record, currently held by the late Derrick Thomas.
Not bad for a guy who fell to the third round because of some weed.
(Dare I say, “thank you, Scott Pioli”? I feel so DIRTY right now.)
And though this defense isn’t without fault—they still allowed over 400 yards of offense and missed oodles of tackles—they weebled and wobbled, but ultimately remained in an upright position.
If these guys are legit (and I think they are), this is going to be one tremendously exciting season.
The Jackson County Medical Research Tax Blues
Lumber baron-turned-KC Confidential truth seeker Dwight Sutherland administers a bit of corporal punishment to the town bigwigs whose aim it is to reach into taxpayer pocketbooks:
Huck and his runaway slave companion, Jim, are drifting on a raft down the Mississippi when they fall in with two con-men, “the King” and “the Duke.” These two know only too well how to fleece the hapless denizens of the little towns they are going past. To lure the gullible into the “peep-show” the scam-artists are promoting all that is necessary is to put up a poster advertising the show (“The Royal Nonesuch”), with a legend at the bottom reading; “Ladies and Children Not Admitted!” As “the Duke” says, admiring his handiwork; “If that line don’t fetch them, I don’t know Arkansaw!”
Well, we’re about to be scammed right here in River City, just like those fictitious burgs in Arkansas.
The latter day “Duke” and “Prince” are the usual suspects, Steve Rose, late of the JoCo Sun, now of the KC Star; and Peter Levi, late of the KC Chamber of Commerce, now of Polsinelli, Shughart.
Rose wrote an opinion piece in the Star last week arguing that the proposed Jackson County Medical Research Tax should be passed because it was very similar to the Kansas measure passed in 2008, the Johnson County Education Research Triangle Act. Rose insists that whether or not the Jackson County Tax was modeled after the Kansas measure “it should be.” After all, he reasons; “The tax in Johnson County has proved to be a powerhouse of research, education, and economic development. It is everything promised to tax payers and more.”
Rose cites among the projects that make the Triangle such an outstanding success, the Kansas State University “Innovation Campus” in Olathe, which is described as providing education, training, and research for animal health and food safety. (He also mentioned the KU clinical Research Center in Fairway which focuses on Cancer research, and the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, which includes a new facility to house programs in business, engineering, science, and technology.)
All these no doubt reflect the expenditure of large sums of tax dollars, but what exactly has been accomplished? How do we know that the research done there is not duplicative of research performed elsewhere? What new discoveries have been made? What patents have been issued? What FDA approved drugs have been put into use? What significant studies have been completed and published? In short, how do we know, as Rose claims, that the JoCo Education Research Triangle is “everything promised to tax payers and more.” The Olathe Innovation Campus was created in part by a state-funded entity called the Kansas Bioscience Authority. The Authority was created by the Kansas State Legislature in 2004 and was intended to “stimulate life science research” and “nurture companies promising good jobs and raPid growth in a high tech field.”
The first Chairman of the Bioscience Authority was Clay Blair, III, a local real estate developer, next to former RNC Committeeman Steve Cloud the foremost money man for the moderate wing of the Johnson County Republican Party.
Blair was forced to resign as Authority chair is 2010 after it was discovered that he had directed $46,000 in payments to his business, Clay Blair Services Co., from the Authority. In addition, it was reported in the press that another $104,000 in Authority money was paid to Blair’s family members and business associates.
In 2012, the president of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, Thomas Thornton, was also found to have misspent agency funds in an in-depth audit by the BKD, LLP accounting firm. In an audit report made public in a Wichita Eagle Beacon story from January 2012, the Authority was found to have spent $571,828 in payments in contravention of Authority policy. Thornton was also found to have destroyed documents on his computer which had been subpoenaed by the Johnson County District Attorney’s office when it began a criminal investigation of the Authority in 2011. The audit also concluded that KBA board member Angela Krebs may have improperly participated in deliberations and voted on a $100,000 payment by the Authority to a private bioscience authority she headed. The audit itself ended up costing the state $1,000,000.
None of these people were ever criminally prosecuted for the millions of dollars their actions cost the taxpayers. These are the people who created and administered at least one of the programs praised so fulsomely by Steve Rose in his editorial. Is this really who we want to trust taxpayer money to just because they are his political cronies?
Pete Levi, the ex-KC Chamber president and Polsinelli lawyer, went Rose one better in his piece that ran September 18th in the Star. Levi points with pride to the other corporate welfare boon-doggle favored by the local oligarchy, d.b.a. The Civic Council (sometimes known as the “Royal and Benevolent Order of CEO’s”). This, of course, is Science City, created by the Bi-State Cultural Authority, whose initial mouthpiece was none other than Steve Rose. Although the museum has fared a little better in recent years, it still represents a case study in how not to do a project, with tens of millions in cost overruns and actual revenues a fraction of those projected by its promoters.
Why Levi would hold this up as a shining example worthy of emulation is unclear. What is clear is that the only ones sure to benefit from such projects are those who own real estate in the areas being redeveloped. With the local sales taxes already among the highest in the country (Prairie Village’s rivals New York’s, largely thanks to a “Mayberry RFD” based redevelopment of the PV shopping center, a cutting-edge theme based on a TV show that first aired in 1960), it is an outrage that fat cats like the Civic Council would push such regressive measures. This is particularly true when 17% of the population of Jackson County lives at or below the poverty line.
If Mark Twain is to be believed, to get otherwise tight-fisted Missourians a century and a half ago to let loose of their money, all that was necessary was to say “Ladies and Children Not Admitted!” Nowadays the magic words are “Research in the Life Sciences” or “Economic Development” and their descendants will do the same.
Proceed with caution when Steve Rose backs a scheme.
Hold on to your wallet or you’ll end up paying for his next meal at the River Club, courtesy of his corporate Big Daddies (and for a lot more than that before its all over!)
Jack Shares His Shopping Flashback
It’s not every day that KCC movie man Jack Poessiger bumps his noggin and wakes up in 1978, but that’s what kinda sorta happened this week when cleaning out his attic he stumbled on an old Dolgins catalogue.
Remember Dolgins? I think Ivan’s grandparents used to shop there. Anyway, here’s Jack’s story – bear with him:
Here’s a deal!
The latest SONY Betamex Home Recording System with up to 4.5 hour recording capabilities, fast play, freeze frame and Beta Scan listed at $1,250.50—Now special value priced at just $879.97.
The unit weighs in at 38 pounds.
Better yet PANASONIC’s 40 pound VHS Home Recording Model offering 2-4-6 hour recording, a digital tape counter, clock and time limiter—reduced from $895.00 to just $679.97. What a deal!
But it’s VHS which really doesn’t have much of a chance against Sony’s killer Betamex system, does it?
In a Time Warp?
Well sorta. I actually ran across a DOLGIN’s 1981 Spring/Summer Showroom catalog the other day that offered a fascinating insight into how far we’ve come during the past, oh, 32 years.
If you’ve forgotten about DOLGIN’S – or perhaps never heard of it – they were a big discount outlet in north and east K.C., Overland Park, KCK, St. Joseph and other regional markets.
Here are a few other gems that intrigued us at the turn of that bygone decade.
* A Huffy Saratoga 3-speed touring bike specially priced at $89.97.
* An “Easy to Assemble” Radio Flyer 18 wagon for just $29.97.
* A two-pound G.E. Chronotel digital alarm clock that went for $9.97.
* And one of my personal favorites, the Record-a-Call telephone answerer. This baby had it all.
A one-control twin cassette system and 20 or 40 second message time selector. Dolgin’s reduced it from $149.95 to $127.87. What a deal!
* A new Polaroid TimeZero Pronto Auto Focus camera was yours for just $79.66.
* And a Bell and Howell Duel 8 silent movie projector with zoom lens would set you back $89.97.
* And oh yeah, a hot Panasonic FM/AM/FM Stereo Radio-Stereo Cassette Recorder / Player complete with LED meter, 2-bias tape selector, twin five inch speakers operating on both AC and DC power – yours for just $179.97—a $20.00 savings for this fabulous 14 pounder.
I could go on…but I won’t.
The distant memories and ridiculous prices are just too much to bear.
Come to think of it, I wonder what my classic IBM Selectric typewriter is worth these days? If only I could find a new type ball for it.
On being an employee of the state of Kansas at the DMV
A funny thing happened to KCC humorist Paul Wilson on the way to the rent a car office:
Having spent most of my career in project management and development or business process improvement, things jump out at me that many people may overlook in day-to-day circumstances…
A couple weeks back, when renting a vehicle, it was pointed out to me that my driver’s license had expired. For Kansas residents that happens on your birthday and mine was in July, meaning it had gotten over looked more than a few times by however many different agencies and by the holder of said license.
Which necessitated the feared and dreaded trip to the Kansas Driver’s License renewal facility. My last fond memory of that process was changing my license from Missouri to Kansas.
I had arrived early that morning, standing in a 30-foot line outside the door and dressed in a suit for a meeting later that day. Naturally I found myself in line with a bevy of 15 year olds, parents in tow, there for the “drive” test, dressed in various logo t shirts and casual attire.
So I stood out worse than usual.
The door opened as the first in line, I witnessed from behind the counter, a two minute debate between employees deciding who would take the first smoke break while we applicants, residents and payers of their salaries waited dutifully in line. I commented to the ringleader that I’d like this smoke break mediation to move along as quick as possible as I had a full day.
As luck would have it, it was he that administered my written test.
I missed one question and was allowed to review the proper answer. In doing so, I made an off handed remark as to why I answered in the manner I had and that it seemed to me my answer was the one most closely aligned with the Kansas Drivers Handbook.
It was at that moment the test administer dude lowered his reading glasses to the tip of his nose, looked up over them at me and whispered with great, faux concern; “Here’s what I’d suggest, sir; why don’t you go back to your office, have your secretary write a letter to the Governor, and I bet he’ll change that for you…..”
I wished him a happy KAPERS kind of life and moved on with my day, a proud, legal Kansas licensed driver.
So it’s with that fond memory lodged in my mind that I approached my renewal.
I arrived at the Kansas License Bureau at 7:30, thinking I’d be early. Oh, how wrong I was because they open at 7:00 and the place was packed. I walked up to the front desk to check in and the conversation went like this:
Me: This looks like fun!
KS: It’s NEVER fun.
(I check in, have all my appropriate paper work and get my number. I would from that point further be known as B2071.)
Me: About how long’s the wait?
KS: The system says 32 minutes, but it lies. Topeka figures 2 min per customer but it really takes 5-10 minutes so I’d count on a couple hours or so.
Me: If they system computes 2 minutes per customer but it really takes 10, and you guys know that, why would Topeka insist you use 2 minutes as the guideline?
KS: I think they (Topeka) believe the customer will feel better if they think it takes them less time to get through the process.
Me: Can’t most of your customers tell time and realize, at some point, they are here a factor of two or three times longer than the estimated time they were told?
KS: Why do you think people hate us?
Me: It could be just your association with Topeka, everything sucks in Topeka. Do I still have to take a written exam?
KS: You can if you like.
Me: It’s optional?
KS: Yes Sir. You’re only required to take the vision test.
Me: Oh, I get that, makes perfect sense; it’s so you know I can see well while disobeying the rules of the road I no longer remember?
Me: I appreciate the work you do and as a citizen of Kansas I’d like to thank you. People dislike you for reasons totally out of your control; I usually instigate those feelings on my own, but I feel your pain. You’re an innocent bystander unable to control the outcome.
KS: Any chance you could hang around today and keep us laughing?
Me: No, ma’am, I have to renew my license, rent a car and leave for Uvalde, Texas at zero dark 30 in the morning to move my wife’s mother up here. I’m sure you’ve heard the old Henny Youngman joke, though, so I won’t bore you with it.
KS: Where’s Uvalde, Texas!?
Me: Ever been to Topeka?
Me: Take Topeka and turn the “SUCK: knob all the way to the right and you’re there! You go South on I-35 till you smell it and West on 90 at San Antonio till you step in it.
KS: Are you sure you can’t stay?
Me: I probably should now because I’m going to put this whole experience on Facebook which is going to make my wife really mad, making the drive 10 times longer than its already going to be.
KS: if that happens you can always come back here!
Me: Why do I feel like this is Hotel California?
KS: It kind of is.
The Point 99.7 FM personality Kelly Urich weighs in on the rumor that of the terrorists who stormed the shopping mall in Kenya was from Kansas City with…
The Top 5 Signs You’re a Terrorist from Kansas City:
#5. You torture prisoners by making them watch Chiefs games from the 2012 season.
#4. You ride your camel slowly in the passing lane.
#3. You refer to your recently severed digits as “burnt ends.”
#2. They call it the Grand Mosque, but you will always call it Sandstone.
#1. Instead of Jihad, everything is a “border war!”
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Jason Whitlock gets his wrist slapped by ESPN
You know him as a movie hit man and travel advisor…
However you probably didn’t know that KCC’s Jack Poessiger – go ahead, call him Juergen – is a dyed-in-the-wool, bier drinking German.
That’s right, bier.
Now gather round and listen to his sad tale:
I’m really not a beer snob…
Not much of one, anyway. However for some pretty obvious reasons I’ve always preferred the European imports. They just seem to have more body by comparison to the often watered down domestic brands.
For starters a Beck’s, Heineken or St. Pauli Girl generally taste better when consumed in Germany or, for that matter, Mexico, Canada or even on a cruise ship.
Because U.S. import laws dictate that brewers must include preservatives when exporting their brands into the United States. Hence a Beck’s tastes better in its home country and/or aforementioned locations.
But hold it right there.
Has Germany’s top selling export beer taken a taste hit of late? Some seem to think it has and point fingers on Facebook to the acquisition of the German brand by the mega conglomerate InBev.
So where do YOU think the sudsy pride of Beck & Co is brewed today?
Bremen, Germany? Sure. But no longer for consumption in the U.S.
Try St. Louis, Missouri on for size.
That’s right InBev has consolidated the brewing operations of the legendary German brand into its Anheuser-Busch operation which it aquired a few years back.
And about that German purity law as it pertains to beers?
The bottles state “Beck’s quality brewed under the German purity law of 1516.”
And the label which used to prominently feature Bremen, Germany now states “Brauerei Beck & Co originated in Bremen, Germany.”
Now the dead give away.
The silver lining around the label on the bottles states “Product of USA. Brauerei Beck & Co, St. Louis, Mo.”
But you have to look close since that last statement is printed in white lettering on the silver backround. In other words, it’s very hard to read.
Guess you can’t blame InBev for the transatlantic move of Germany’s top selling export.
It’s got to be cheaper than transporting the product here. Hardly any spoilage to speak of either and there’s got to be some sort of a tax advantage or incentive somewhere.
Furthermore the nagging Euro to weak Dollar conversion is now out of the equation.
But have we seen a price reduction since InBev has moved the operation stateside?
What do YOU think?
So is Beck’s still a true German import bier today? I’ll leave the answer to your imagination—and taste buds.
Just like Australian Foster’s is now made in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Even domestic beers these days fudge when it comes to branding. Like batches of Boston Lager coming to us from Pennsylvania and Cincinnati. Even Coors Light which for years has hung its hat on the Rocky Mountains has added brewing facilities in Ohio and Virginia.
It’s just like everything else in our integrated society today. Like your Alabama built Honda. Kentucky constructed Toyota. Or South Carolina created BMW.
Still want a good ACTUALLY imported European beer?
St. Pauli Girl remains pure.
So does BitBurger, which I highly recommend. But all around you can’t beat Heineken which to this day comes to us from the land of the dykes.
ESPN Wristslaps Jason Whitlock
There’s nothing quite like starting off your new job with a bang…
Such was the case last week when former Star sports scribe Jason Whitlock accused a Sports Illustrated write of being a hack and churning out a bogus hit piece on the Oklahoma State football team “that can’t be taken seriously.”
“Sports Illustrated’s reporting on the scandal at Oklahoma State has been questioned by many – including former players interviewed by the reporters — but the loudest voice challenging the veracity of the magazine’s expose has been told to dial down the rhetoric,” says the New York Daily News. “Jason Whitlock – who was hired by ESPN last month but hasn’t had a byline on the site yet — came out swinging with an over-the-top attack on SI reporter Thayer Evans on Tuesday, which led his employer to call the columnists remarks ‘not acceptable.’ “
“We have discussed Jason’s comments with him. They were personal in nature, they do not represent ESPN and they are not acceptable based on the standards we have set,” ESPN told The Sherman Report on Sports Media.
The ringer Whitlock got his teet stuck in this time was on an Oklahoma City radio station that had him on in the interest of discounting the Sports Illustrated report.
Turns out ESPN has a policy prohibiting its staffers from bashing competitors. Which as sports-minded Kansas Citians know is the opposite of Whitlock’s style.
Hey, it’s a lame policy, as many respected media organizations (including the Kansas City Star) have engaged in – and had full time employees – who’s job it was to do that very thing.
”Comments must not be personal, vicious, dismissive…No cheap shots,” reads one portion of ESPN’s policy. “(And) no personal attacks or innuendo toward people, media companies, networks or publications.”
Geez, those ESPN people must be a bunch of wussies.
In any case, Whitlock blew past those caution flags, telling the station and listeners that “Having worked with Thayer Evans at Fox Sports, having followed his work for some time, I am completely and utterly flabbergasted that a legitimate news outlet would allow Thayer Evans to be involved in some type of investigative piece on college football that tears down a program, and particularly one that tears down Oklahoma State when it is no secret what a huge, enormous, gigantic Oklahoma homer Thayer Evans is…Let me end by saying this and I honestly mean this without malice. It wouldn’t shock me if Thayer Evans couldn’t spell cat and I say that in all seriousness.”
Hyperbole aside – since Evans undoubtedly can spell cat – the shot Whitlock also took at investigative sports reporting probably didn’t go over well with ESPN’s investigative reporters.
“I don’t respect the entire brand of investigative journalism that is being done here,” Whitlock said.
The latter seemed to flush out some of Whitlock’s former ESPN enemies.
“Obviously, Whitlock veered from ESPN’s media policy on many different levels,” the Sherman Report writes. “The network responded to quell any internal fires as much as anything else. Several of his new teammates talked about a double standard. They speculated what would happen to them if they went on the same rant. “I’d be fired,” (one ESPN) staffer said.”
But are there two standards at ESPN on bashing the competition?
“ESPN, on the other hand, did not reprimand Keith Olbermann for his attack on the Daily News’ Manish Mehta for a column — his opinion - saying that Rex Ryan’s decision to play Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game, wherein Sanchez was injured, could cost him his job when the season ended. Olbermann never referred to Mehta by name, but featured his headshot during the program and read excerpts from his column in a mocking, condescending tone.”
Whitlock BTW was Olbermann’s guest on that very show.
Incidentally, Bottom Line Communications dug itself back up to weigh in on Whitlock’s toe stubbing and used the incident to bash Jason in every way imaginable, including by adding that he’d been fired by sports radio WHB.
Whitlock was lured away from WHB – not fired – by former Entercom honcho Bob Zuroweste for its then new sports station 610 Sports.
And as awfulannouncing.com‘s Matt Yoder writes, this isn’t the first time Thayer has been criticized and Whitlock made some valid points, however…
“One area ESPN does not wish to ‘Embrace Debate’ is with criticism of fellow media companies,” Yoder writes. “It does ESPN no good to have writers involved in fights with other outlets because it brings them down from their pedestal at the top of the sports world.”
Not to mention garnering headlines like this one on Deadspin that reads, “ESPN’s Jason Whitlock Craps on Author of SI’s Oklahoma State Story.”
The $64 million question: “Whether or not Whitlock’s outspokenness causes the relationship between columnist and company to come to a bitter end like it did the first time around,” Yoder wonders.
Don’t we all?
For more Hearne and kcconfidential check out kcconfidential.com
Sad ending to Hereford House saga
Let me begin by telling you that covering Hereford House owner Rod Anderson’s sentencing Monday was a very humbling experience…
Anyone who’s ever faced hard times – like Anderson’s Hereford House did – can maybe relate to the feeling of despair this otherwise model Kansas City citizen was experiencing and the temptation to opt for a seemingly easy out in the form of an insurance fire.
Of course, there’s zero doubt arson that was the wrong way to go.
And yet despite continuing to proclaim his innocence, as Anderson does, it was clear at his sentencing that both he and lawyer J.R. Hobbs were quite shamed and apologetic for what Anderson had done.
Yet five years after the fact, there we all were, in a courtroom packed with friends, family and former associates and civic leader Rod Anderson braced for the worst. A 15 year sentence was awarded to him by the judge with restitution to be determined.
And there sat Anderson, the always impeccably dressed, well coiffed businessman / restaurateur, beat down, forlorn and disheveled looking in a faded orange jumpsuit with the word “Inmate” stenciled across the back. Adorned in chains that ran from his ankles to his wrists and then around his waist.
There would be no courtroom antics, outbursts or rough housing on this sad day, Anderson was in full lockdown.
It was a very sad day for a very sad man.
And there they all were, Anderson’s sorrowful friends, family and business associates, a sorrowful judge and sorrowful, apologetic defense attorney. The only one in the courtroom who was still up for hammering Anderson was the prosecutor, U.S. attorney Jess Michaelson.
Michaelson had a job to do and that was to sternly remind a courtroom full of Anderson sympathizers that but for the kindness of fate, any number of people might have been badly injured or lost their lives as a result of Anderson’s $2.4 million insurance fire in 2008.
Harry Murphy the owner of Harry’s Country Club in the River market and a former Hereford House Leawood bartender was on hand for the glum affair.
It’s difficult to describe Anderson’s look in the courtroom.
But it was somewhere between a man wildly fallen and humbled with equal parts despair and resignation. It was as if the worst bad dream imaginable for Rod Anderson had come unbelievably, horribly and cruely true.
He had the look of a man who knew better – and he should have known better – but it was far too late for him to do anything about it.
Except maybe lie about it.
There’s little doubt that Anderson’s gone over this entire misadventure in his head a thousand or more times. Yet now, at age 60, he’s going to jail broke, stranding his family with expensive private school tuition and college fees that need to be paid and a very uncertain future. And when Anderson finally does get out of jail, he’ll be at an age and in an even worse financial condition that won’t make it easy to break back into the local business scene, pay his restitution and maybe get his mitts on a final few golden years before he meets his maker.
Yeah, Rod Anderson’s a model citizen all right, but the type that we should all model our futures in such as way so as to not to follow his footsteps to a life of ruin.
It’s almost impossible to imagine a worse fate befalling such an esteemed member of the community.
It was a far cry from the dapper, glib, outgoing Rod Anderson I once knew.
The affable accountant who breezed into town a few decades back and took over a losing proposition called the Hereford House at 20th and Main. It was old school to a fault and was losing money and ground to a new breed of steakhouse chains that ranged from Outback on the lower end to Capitol Grill on the higher.
Anderson made the most of it by keeping his comfort food style menu prices low and using restaurant trade to barter for advertising to promote the joint. Hey, with a vaunted name like the Hereford House Anderson had a Kansas City institution to sell and sell it he did.
Somehow it all worked, but then he tried to go King Midas opening additional eateries helter skelter all over the area. Including a financially ruinous one in Lawrence, another that tanked in Westport and lots of fumbling about in Union Station.
But back to the sentencing…
Anderson’s lawyer did his best to try and shame the judge into going light on his client based upon the nobility of Anderson’s many past good deeds and civic contributions.
“He’s now 60 years-old and he has no criminal history,” Hobbs pleaded. “And he has demonstrated throughout his life that he can be a productive member of this community.”
We learned that Anderson had worked with the Boy Scouts, his son was an Eagle Scout, that he’d provided food for the homeless, student loans for needy college kids – good deeds galore all across the region. Tossing Treads & Threads into the mix seemed a bit of a stretch, but the bottom line was – and everyone but the prosecutor seemed to agree – that Anderson was a jolly good fellow.
His lawyer boasted to the court that the letters of support he’d filed on Anderson’s behalf were the best he’d ever seen and the judge later agreed.
And while you’d never know it by the end result or looking at Anderson, his sentencing was about as close to a love fest as you’ll ever see in a court of law…for the guilty party, no less.
Know what though? It worked.
The judge all but apologized to Anderson for having to sentence him and then let him off the hook by following the minimum sentencing guidelines instead of sticking it to him as the prosecutor asked.
Anderson tripped on his chains as he rose to address the judge and the court.
“I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak today,” he began. “I’ve always taken pride…”
Then Anderson began to cry before quickly composing himself and adding that he was glad there were no injuries to the firefighters. He thanked his family and friends and then – without so much as looking up or in the direction of his family and friends – he returned to his seat, head bowed in shame, wearing the look of a man walking to his own execution.
By this time of course, prosecutor Michaelson had had more than enough.
Michaelson was pissed and chastised Anderson for not taking one of the plea deals and saving taxpayers the time and expense of trying him. He then hammered Anderson for not accepting his guilt and continuing to profess innocence.
“He used dangerous men to destroy the restaurant and endanger the lives of others,” Michaelson told the judge. “He was fully aware of the consequences of his actions…He says he’s glad no one was injured, but I say he was lucky…He was lucky one of his hired thugs didn’t kill one of themselves, otherwise he’d be facing life in prison…He wanted that old dog destroyed.”
For Anderson it was a massive and very unpleasant voyage up Crap Creek.
And screw all of Anderson’s good deeds, Michaelson argued forcefully.
They were “just in the past.”
Five years later and “He’s still denying his involvement in the arson,” Michaelson ripped. “These are not the actions of someone who deserves leniency, your honor.”
Which brings us to U.S. District Judge David Gregory Kays.
Kays started his portion of the proceedings by thanking all of Anderson’s supporters for being there “to support Mr. Anderson.” As if Anderson was being honored rather than disgraced.
Like Hobbs, Kays said he’d reviewed the many testimonial letters and couldn’t remember anyone getting a better batch.
“My job today is to fashion an appropriate punishment,” Kays continued.
And while Kays was more than willing to kill Anderson with kindness, he also added – ominously I might add – “I feel the evidence is very strong” against Anderson.
Not a good sign where a possible appeal is concerned.
“Then we look at your history,” Kays continued. “And frankly, Mr. Anderson you make this difficult. People like you who have a lot to give the community make it very difficult for a judge.”
Having familiarized himself with Anderson via the many letters of support, Kays characterized him as “the type of person anybody would like to have as a friend.”
“Here we have this really good guy, a part of the Kansas City community who did something very wrong,” Kays said. “And it’s very important that people know that no matter who you are, you’re not above the law. I’d be surprised if you don’t get out of prison and do good things. I hope you do.”
Anderson has 14 days to appeal.
Following the sentencing Anderson rose and turned to his wife in the front row, reaching out for a farewell embrace. However it was not to be as the guard pulled him away and ushered him to the exit and on to a life of uncertainty, frustration, fear and loneliness. Like I said, it was as sad a sight as could be imagined.
I’ve never known a man to fall that hard and that far – that ruinously, that pathetically – and that needlessly.
Let Rod Anderson be a model for us all in the hope that when our time comes and everything’s on the line…we somehow know better.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Homeschooling is all grown up now
KCC scribe Paul Wilson weighs in on the home schooling phenomena:
Say the word “homeschool” and it conjures images of right wing fundamentalists clinging to their guns and Bibles while teaching their kids in a bunker, surrounded by end-times rations of dried foods and ammunition….
I’ve accidentally gotten close to this topic as my wife Chelle decided to homeschool after her youngest daughter continued to express an interest in doing so for over two years. She’d previously homeschooled her oldest daughter through 3rd grade then transitioned her to public school. And as soon as the decision was announced to the kids, her two sons decided they wanted to homeschool as well.
Me? I was immediately opposed to the idea.
My thinking being that this is going to take way too much time from a full time artist’s schedule, turning my wife into a full time teacher and part time artist. And I was concerned about the kids as well. Bear in mind these are 4.0 students, advanced well beyond their ages in music, drama, sciences and math.
In a casual bromance conversation with my editor about the topic he suggested it would make a great story, kind of a homeschooling then and now since the new school year is upon us. Not being a subject matter expert myself, I began to dig into the history of our school system. Not only is it interesting, but the genesis of public school and home school are the polar opposites of what I originally thought.
I may not be alone in that misconception, so here’s a brief primer.
Public school was started in the 1800’s by religious groups as a loosely knit, semi-organized process and remained so well into the 19th century. Groups that were primarily Puritans, Calvinists and Reformers who wanted their kids taught math and reading, mostly so they could read the Bible. Vocational training was on the fringes, but mainly relating to housework or following Dad’s footsteps into a trade.
That’s roughly how public school started.
Homeschooling started to gain traction in the early 1970’s led by secular education reformers John Holt and Raymond Moore, not religious nut jobs. They decided public schools were not conducive to their children’s learning any longer and wanted to take control of it, thinking public schools were damaging their kids.
This decline, in the mind of the secularists, goes all the way back to the inclusion of kindergarten, age segregation in the classroom and compulsory attendance.
It wasn’t until the late 1970’s and 80’s that evangelical Christians became discontent with what they saw as the over secularization of the public school system and started to infiltrate the previously secular home school movement.
Homeschooling wasn’t even legal in all 50 states until the 90’s, if it was taught by a parent with no teaching certificate.
So, religious groups started public schooling as we know it. It became too confining for the secularists, who bailed and started homeschooling. And the non-secular religious groups who started public school found it getting too secular and abandoned it like rats from a ship in the 80’s and invaded the secular home school world for the same reason the secularists left public schools; perceived damage to their kids.
Confused yet? I was.
Today, roughly 85% of home school kids come from evangelical Christian families but that number is starting to decline as more secular parents think, once again, it’s a better choice for their kids as well. However this time around, they are leaving public school systems for reasons of quality and wanting to more finely tailor the curriculum.
There are traditional, religious home school curriculums still available from hundreds of sources, on the Internet or locally at stores like Mardells, a division of Hobby Lobby. You can buy curriculum new or used on eBay as well and local support groups are plentiful.
Big on the secular home school scene is GVS, Global Village School, stating they understand that families are interested in teaching their children lessons about ethics and responsibility without basing it all on religious doctrine.
Their mission statement declares an interest in peace, compassion, justice, sustainability, community, integrity, and appreciation of diversity, caring for the Earth and our fellow beings, creativity, living an authentic and meaningful life and offering religious studies in a non-dogmatic way.
Sounds like a decent set of values to me, with or without the religious component.
Maybe these secularists guys are secretly Methodists?
Which brings me to today; homeschooling is all grown up.
My wife’s kids are actually enrolled in the Lawrence Public School system, but living in Olathe. It’s a form of charter school, but they take all their classes online, using laptops provided by the school district. They have two teachers available for each subject, by chat or phone. My wife’s role is that of “learning coach,” more or less to simply monitor what they do and keep them on track. She’s not the teacher anymore like she had been before.
The laptop, desktop and classes are first rate.
They have scheduled class times, live running conversation online and automated ways to “raise your hand” and ask a question, wearing headsets and boom mics, or in the chat panel to the side of the screen. If you don’t want to ask something open in the class, you can call your teacher aside and chat in private.
Can’t make class time? No problem, it’s all recorded; you can pick it up later.
And it’s all way high tech and way cool.
Socialization issues? Coming alongside from the community are a myriad of programs designed for the home school student. Top of the line, professional drama and music programs are provided by places ranging from The Culture House, Greenleaf to Church of the Resurrection’s Music Academy. Sports teams are also out there for the same purpose, to provide additional community for the students. Home school interest groups cover every possible topic you could imagine and have regular meet up dates in the community.
The Washington Times looked at five areas of academic pursuit. “In reading, the average home-schooler scored at the 89th percentile; language, 84th percentile; math, 84th percentile; science, 86th percentile; and social studies, 84th percentile. In the core studies (reading, language and math), the average home-schooler scored at the 88th percentile.
“The average public school student taking these standardized tests scored at the 50th percentile in each subject area.”
Typical homeschoolers remain 15-35 percentage points ahead of the public school student across the board.
It’s not a “soldier of fortune,” end of days, home school world anymore.
I can’t remember when I was so off base on a single topic just going from what culture and word of mouth has said a situation was rather than what the facts dictated.
It’s not the total religious nut jobs, hedonistic secularists, Bible thumpers or atheists.
Check it out; it may surprise you as much as it did me.
Missouri Never should have left Big 12
Are you ready for some football?
Got the girlfriends and wives set up with those clear, plastic baggies so they can transport their feminine hygiene products, iPads and flasks into the stadium?
Good for you.
Now all you have to worry about – if you’re a Missouri Tiger or K-State Wildcat - is how bad your football teams will be this year.
Sports scribe Craig Glazer says it won’t be pretty.
The biggest loser-to-be among the two area teams?
K-State, Glazer says.
“Missouri’s a better team, but neither one of them is going to have a good year” he says. “Missouri’s probably looking at winning five or six games.”
Well, they just got their bell rung,” Glazer says. “They’re a mediocre team at best and probably below that. They’re just not any good.
“They were an average team last year – a nice little team that played way over their heads – way over. And that was proven in their loss to Oregon 35-17 in the bowl game. Oregon crushed them.
“When crunch time came last year they were ranked No. 1 in the nation, but it didn’t last five seconds. K-State was a good team last year, but not a great team.”
The $64 million question: Can MU finally win respect in the SEC?
“Boy, that’s a good question, but it’s questionable” Glazer says. “I don’t think that spread offense works in the SEC. The SEC defenses crushed Missouri last year.”
And this year: ”I see them at 5-7.”
Should the Tigers have stayed in the Big 12?
“Yeah, they should have as far as winning goes. Because they’re becoming pretty irrelevant in the SEC and they were relevant in the Big 12. You know, maybe some day they’ll be good again, but I think they’re going to have to fire head coach Gary Pinkel.”
So sayeth, the Oracle.
Deceased Boxer Tommy Morrison HIV Positive in 1989, Source says
Now it can be told…
There’s a ton of Tommy Morrison stories to recount in the wake of his sad passing at age 44. For me, they started in my early days of my running the Pitch more than 20 years ago. That’s when Morrison became a friend of the magazine at the ripe young age of 20.
“To the Pitch Staff, Best Wishes, Tommy ‘The Duke’ Morrison,” reads the autographed, black and white photo of a pre-mullet, almost cherubic looking Morrison.
I stumbled onto a Rocky marathon a few days back and was able to DVR Rocky V.
Remember that stinker?
Sylvester Stallone was so bad in that movie, he made Tommy look good – which isn’t saying much. It was interesting though to think back to the story about Dawn 2 picking Morrison up from prison wearing nothing but a raincoat and pumps and telling ESPN they were anticipating a call from Stallone for a post-HIV diagnosis followup flick.
Fat chance that was gonna happen.
But the most haunting bit of information to come my way in the wake of Morrison’s passing was word from his former backer Susan Martin that according to her son Stephen Bayer – a close pal of Tommy’s over the years – “Tommy found out he was HIV positive back in 1989.”
That’s seven years prior to Morrison’s earth shattering 1996 diagnosis in Nevada.
“Yeah, that’s what he told me,” Bayer says. “He told me that after everything went down in 1996. He told me he had come down with it, but everything was basically just taken care of.”
As a longtime friend of Morrison’s Bayer wants the truth about his pal to come out.
“I want to get everything right,” Stephen says. “Because Tommy deserves that.”
Chiefs Preseason Comes to Merciful End
KCC Sports scribe Brandon Leftridge’s take on this year’s Chiefs team…thus far:
Even though it’s a thousand degrees and may not officially feel like it, football season is here.
The Kansas City Chiefs trounced the Green Bay Packers last night (putting up 30 points, even—their most in a preseason contest since 2003), thereby completing the most uninteresting time of the year: The Time When Games Don’t Count.
It doesn’t really matter that they end August with a record of 2-2, or that Tyler Bray threw three touchdown passes, or that Chase Daniel looked horrid against mostly backup defenders. No one should care that the starters didn’t play a lick, or that the Packers finished the preseason 1-3, or that Cyrus Gray had a standout effort in the victory. (Well, except for Gray; he’s battling for a roster spot on a squad fairly heavy in the RB department.)
All that REALLY matters is that the Chiefs remained relatively healthy (save Tony Moeaki, who I’m now convinced would be able to injure himself reading a periodical, or, I don’t know… standing completely still) and primed for the season opener September 8th against the miserable Jacksonville Jaguars.
You know, When Games Start Counting.
To be honest, I’ve spent more time aimlessly staring at my socks over the past month than I have watching any of the preseason games. I know that I SHOULD care about what on-the-bubble third string wide receiver shows promise, but come on. The Royals have been playing (mostly) winning baseball, and that’s a whole heck of a lot more intriguing than whether some scrappy young kid from the mean streets of Duluth can lock down a spot as backup, backup left guard/emergency long snapper.
HBO’s Hard Knocks make this kind of thing compelling, but just watching the games is a total waste of time.
Additionally, every Keyboard Quarterback from Liberty to Lawrence has hard-hitting, well-informed analysis that they’re ALL too willing to share with the world through various social media platforms. Here are some takeaways that I’ve culled from aimlessly wandering the internet:
1) Alex Smith is the worst.
2) Alex Smith is the best.
3) Alex Smith is dreamy.
4) The offensive line is going to be awful.
5) Tight End depth is an issue.
6) Andy Reid—what a fatty!
7) Hey Andy Reid, nice mustache, fatty!
8) The defense will be much better this year (but we’re not sure why).
9) This team will finish (insert anything between 2-14 and 11-5).
11) Andy Reid: Still fat.
I don’t recall the last time I’ve seen people so wildly speculative before the beginning of any Chiefs season. That’s a testament to roster turnover, mostly, but it’s also indicative of a fan base’s disappointment, conditioning, and years of shattered hope.
The thing is, Andy Reid can coach players, and there’s a lot of talent on this roster. Yes, he has problems with game management, but did a questionable timeout kill this team last season? Hardly. You’ve gotta be IN games to have in-game decisions matter; my hope is that Reid can coach his talent pool into situations where his time-clock concerns might actually count. That would mean that the team is in a position to win. And that’s exciting.
My analysis is this: The Kansas City Chiefs will play at least 16 games this season, and they’ll win more than they did last year. (And yes, I recognize that this is a perennial “D” student celebrating a solid C in Current Events, but whatever.) I think Alex Smith will be much, MUCH better than his predecessor—again, D Student Syndrome—and I think that they’ll keep things interesting until late in the season, at least.
And although anything short of a Super Bowl IS COMPLETE AND UTTER HORSEPOOP, THIS ISN’T BALLET YOU WIMPS AND THERE AIN’T NO SECOND PLACE, ETC.—I think that after last year’s carnival of terror (both on the field and, sadly, in the parking lot), most people will be happy with something a little better than mediocrity.
I know I will.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential
Updates on Tommy Morrison and Jason Whitlock
It’s Tommy Morrison Week at KC Confidential…
You remember Tommy, the fresh-faced kid who wowed boxing fans, made his mark in the movie Rocky V and called Kansas City his home in the early 1990s.
That was then.
In 1996 Morrison was diagnosed HIV positive and tens of millions of dollars in fight fees with the likes of Mike Tyson went up in flames along with his career.
KCC’s Brandon Leftridge gets things started off and I’ll take it from there:
Tommy Morrison has always been a little crazy, and now he’s dying and a little crazy.
According to a post on ESPN.com, Morrison’s 17-year battle with HIV has morphed into full-blown AIDS and the former heavyweight champion’s days are likely limited. He’s been confined to a bed for the better part of a year now—probably in Nebraska, though even this is unconfirmed—being cared for by Trisha, his wife.
If you know anything about Morrison’s strange saga, you’re well aware that he doesn’t believe he has HIV. He doesn’t even really believe that HIV is an ACTUAL thing. Like most insane people, he has his own take on things: Morrison thinks that his diagnosis is a government conspiracy and that it was possibly perpetuated by a rival fight promoter.
Trisha doesn’t believe in the diagnosis either.
If the ESPN report is true—and I’m sure it is—it’s the end of a sad chapter in Kansas City sports history. Though Morrison—star of Rocky V, former owner of exotic animals, earner of $10 mil in fight purses—was originally from the tiny town of Jay, Oklahoma, he made his name in Kansas City, as boxing ambassador, likeable ruffian and perennial Westport Prowler.
He was once a fixture in our humble city. A “local-ish” boy made good. The clichéd Great White Hype. He won 49 fights (44 by KO) while only losing three. He beat George Foreman in a unanimous 12 round decision to win the WBO championship. He beat Carl “The Truth” Williams and Razor Ruddick. He had a terrific, bloody battle with Lennox Lewis.
And then the wheels fell off.
Morrison contracted the virus and tested positive in February 1996, effectively ending his career before he’d ever really had a chance to peak. He was only 27 at the time, and a tune-up bout away from what would have been an epic fight with Mike Tyson.
With the positive test, he lost the chance to fight Tyson. He lost a three-fight, $38 mil contract. He lost his career and the adulation of his fans (the latter of which is often cited as having a tremendous impact on Morrison’s post-ring troubles ).
In effect, he lost his life.
He spiraled downward for the next 17 years, preaching his crackpot HIV theories to those who’d listen, all the while ignoring the fact that the malady that didn’t exist was eating away his insides, bringing him ever closer to death.
He continued to abuse drugs and then he’d get arrested for it. He’d get clean, then relapse.
In 2010, he’d mostly gotten his stuff together and was running a gym in Wichita called TCB (Taking Care of Buisness).
The gym closed shortly thereafter, though, and Tommy was back to his slow march toward an early death.
And now that it’s all but done, I’m left with an odd sadness. Not only because I was a fan—what 10 or 11 year old white kid in 1991’s Kansas City wasn’t?—but because he brought this on himself. HIV is far from the death sentence that it used to be, but due to Morrison’s ridiculous stubbornness, he did nothing to work toward living with the affliction. Because of his insanity, he chose to die in one of the most miserable, prolonged, painful ways imaginable.
And that’s a shame.
Because for a period in the early 90’s, Tommy was Kansas City. He brought an electricity to our town like George Brett and Len Dawson did. He was Tom Watson with gigantic biceps and a propensity for punching guys in the head. By virtue of his violent ballet, he added a dash of Hollywood to KC.
It’s really too bad his inability to accept the truth got in the way of his ability to stay alive.
Rest in peace, Tommy.
TALKING TOMMY MORRISON ON THE SANTA FE TRAIL
Time flies when you’re on vacation and I’m writing this live in Santa Fe, New Mexico…
I’m going to keep it short because, after all, it is a vacation but I’ve got some important news updates to share that I’ll be fleshing out in the coming days.
For starters the Tommy Morrison new Brandon Leftridge broke locally was huge. And he put it in perfect perspective.
Kansas City has a huge inferiority complex which is why we put our sports heroes – however few – on such lofty pedestals.
And Morrison – even though he wasn’t even close to being from KC – was right up there with Len Dawson, George Brett and Tom Watson, just like Brandon said.
Except Tommy was a known bad boy.
Don’t get me wrong, Dawson, Brett and Watson have plenty of skeletons in their closets.
Tommy though was in a league of his own.
There was no tiptoeing about, no behind closed doors rumors, no whisper campaigns. Morrison’s peccadilloes were out there front and center for all to marvel over.
Sources in his boxing camp at the time of his HIV diagnosis told me there wasn’t anybody he wouldn’t have his way with.
Old young, fat, skinny, good-looking, ugly – if they could stand up and walk into a room Tommy was in – he was ready, willing and able to thrash the daylights out of them.
And for that, Tommy paid the price.
There are 8 million Tommy Morrison stories in the Naked Cowtown and over the course of the last 20 years and I’ve covered about 7 million of them.
Tommy’s dalliances were so bold, bad and bodacious they made Craig Glazer’s seem like Boy Scout good deeds by comparison.
Batting cleanup for ESPN
And now, the rest of the story…
Make no mistake, former Kansas City Star reporter Elizabeth Merrill scored a huge coup in tracking down Tommy Morrison‘s mom Diana and getting her on the record for ESPN that Tommy is dying of the AIDS virus. That and tracking down and talking to a number of other Tommy relatives and hangers on.
However that still left plenty of holes in the tragic take of the kid from Jay, Oklahoma who Kansas City came to embrace – the dude at the time who played Tommy Gunn in Rocky.
Enter Susan Martin of Phoenix – the mother of one of Tommy’s close friends – who befriended him in 2006 and let him live with her for six months before Morrison started to go off the deep end again.
“I was helping to manage Tommy and was the head of the Tommy Morrison Foundation,” Martin says. “You know, giving away money to AIDS. I basically gave him lodging and food and helped to find him a trainer and pretty much put his life back on track here. And I had never even been to a boxing match.”
Martin’s been more or less Tommy free since, other than the updates she gets from her son and Morrison’s ex wife and the mother of his son, Dawn.
“After the Tommy incident and dealing with all that disfunctionality, I’m out,” Martin says. “My son tried to get a hold of Tommy recently but this Trisha is kind of the guardian at the gate.”
Trisha btw is allegedly Morrison’s wife and current caregiver.
Much of ESPN’s story centered around Tommy’s mom.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, Tommy’s always been tight with his mom,” Martin says. “But he told me that she killed his dad’s girlfriend – she took a knife out in a bar and stabbed her to death.”
Which kinda illustrates how tough Tommy’s family life was growing up, Martin says.
“You know, his mother had Tommy fight at 10 years-old,” Martin says. “I don’t think he ever really had a childhood.”
Nor does it surprise Martin that Trisha doesn’t seem to be getting along too well with Tommy’s mom.
“None of Tommy’s girl (friends) do.”
Martin has a theory re Tommy’s two-decade struggle to return to the ring:
“He missed the fame,” she says. “He missed the adulation. He missed the power and the popularity, people applauding. And above everything else, he missed the money and I think he was willing to do anything in order to get that money again. But I don’t think he really missed getting back in the boxing ring.”
Meanwhile back in the wilds of Tennessee, the former Dawn Morrison has remarried and continues to raise the son she and Tommy had more than a decade ago.
“Dawn and I correspond weekly,” Martin says. “We send jokes to each other – nothing about Tommy. We haven’t even discussed Tommy in years. She still has Tommy’s son. I think Tommy gave up the rights to him when she took him back to court the last time.”
Gatekeeper Trisha is keeping people from talking to Tommy – to the extent that he can even communicate – but if Martin could get a message to Morrison, what would that message be?
“My message would be one word,” Martin says. “Karma.”
Jason Whitlock’s Tentative Debut on ESPN
This could be his big break…
Word that former Kansas City Star sports scribe Jason Whitlock will be riding herd over his own ESPN sports blog with the stated mission of developing and bringing along new, younger voices (writers) poses a two huge questions.
Could this be Whitlock’s long awaited ticket to a healthy six-figure paycheck? And can he handle the role of being a mentor to up-and-coming, young, African American sportswriter wannabes?
“Pretty bizarre to set Jason up as mentor/role model, unless he’s matured some,” said one former Whitlock editor.
After all, his explosive and unpredictable personality aside, Whitlock didn’t exactly set any standards for being level headed during his time in KC. Quite the opposite.
However – wonder of wonders – I stumbled onto Whitlock’s appearance on fellow new ESPN hire Keith Olbermann‘s new show on ESPN2 show last night.
Whitlock’s mission; to discuss the media treatment of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and the team’s quarterback situation. And at the end of the segment, Olbermann noted that Whitlock was his new show’s very first guest.
That’s definitely a huge step up from blogging in the shadows at Fox.
The $64 million question being, is this an indicator that ESPN has bigger things in store for the big guy? We’ll see.
Meanwhile, a few impressions from my viewing of the show.
Starting with the fact that Whitlock seemed very tentative and reserved and didn’t really bring it like the Jason of old. Far from it.
“Most of the things that have been written about me, a lot of it has been not true,” Whitlock offered – as a minor condemnation of print sportswriters getting stuff wrong – which Olbermann had strongly insinuated where the Jets quarterback controversy was concerned.
Then there’s the matter of Whitlock’s appearance.
I don’t want to join that crowd (if I’m not already in it) of writers who’ve gotten Jason wrong, but the two physical impressions that jumped out to me were as follows:
First, he seemed far older and less brash and young Jason-like than I remember him from three years ago and before. And second – whoa, baby! – when the camera panned back and to the side he looked as big as a house.
Whitlock may not have been making bank these past three years but he’s clearly been eating well. Too well. And now that he’s starting to get older, he needs to rein it in if he wants to be around long enough to mentor all those future Jason Whitlock’s.
Lucky he was sitting down, I don’t know how well Whitlock would have fared if he had to try and stand the entire time. Maybe it was the television camera, but I don’t think so. I’m thinking 300 pounds or maybe more – maybe a lot more.
My advice; now that he’s probably getting a better paycheck, Jason needs to break up with Ollie Gates and hit the veggies. Happens to us all, but, whoa, when it comes to decent health, size matters.
Then there’s the matter of what passes for Whitlock’s “fashion sense” or as Craig Glazer recently put it, “his chunky monkey” wardrobe.
Check out what Larry Brown of Larry Brown Sports.com wrote:
“Whitlock captured more attention for what he was wearing than anything he was saying. He had on what appeared to be a denim jacket that had a matching beige collar and elbow pads. And if the jacket wasn’t enough of a statement to tell you that Whitlock is bringing back old school fashion, his small hoop earring certainly was.
“Come on, Whitlock, don’t you know that taking fashion tips from Michael Jordan is always a bad idea?”
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out
We live in an era of celebrity deaths
We live in an era of Celebrity Deaths…
Movie theater, shopping center and school shootouts - where the bad guys want to go out in style. And as of last week, add suicides to that list.
As evidenced by mild-mannered, former Kansas City Star sports statistics editor Martin Manley - who offed himself in public at the Overland Park police station and left a blog full of reasons as to why and a treasure hunt of sorts for us all to pour over and enjoy in his high profile aftermath.
And while Manley’s blog ostensibly attempted to answer the question of why – the questions still linger. So we can either take Manley’s many words for it or seek answers elsewhere.
Obviously Manley wanted to go out with a bang.
Prior to offing himself he prepaid for his sports statistics website and a companion suicide explanation website to continue on for another five years. He even sparked a treasure hunt of sorts at the Overland Park Arboretum by saying he’d buried a fortune in gold and silver on the grounds.
Funny guy, this Martin Manley.
And while Yahoo pulled the plug on Manley’s suicide site, you can still catch his final act online where others have resurrected it for us all to enjoy.
But what really possessed this sad, little man to go out, I suppose, in such style?
According to a prominent local psychiatrist - who asked not to be named – the answer to that question lies not in Manley’s many lines of explanation, but between them.
“Hearne, this guy needs to be pitied not vilified,” she says. “From his blog I can see that he has had emotional problems his entire life and I would not see that as worth commenting on as a professional.
“It’s too bad that no one was able to see his illness for what it was – but at any rate, it’s just another sad case that ended in suicide. The only unique thing was his use of a blog which was another piece of evidence of his illness.”
“People kill themselves and others every day – his case is only special because he designed such an obsessive compulsive, pathetic blog. Others have kept elaborate notes about plans to kill themselves and others. What should be gleaned is how did those closest to him miss such odd behavior? I suspect he was on the autism spectrum.
“An example is that a few weeks ago a client of mine was told that an old friend of hers from a workplace situation had killed himself. They found in his belongings a rambling rant about his plans to kill himself, but only after he had killed my client. And she had no idea that she was a target or why he didn’t try to kill her. Once again, how did those closest to the guy miss his craziness. The same with serial killers of all sorts.”
As for Manley’s wild goose chase treasure hunt…
“I think it was the act of a powerless, unwanted and unloved little man who could hope for some last way to impact the world – even in a futile, negative way. A big ‘fuck you’ and the desire to laugh at others. A bit of sadist (thing) that I was hinting at earlier.”
Manley’s deviant departure was covered by news organizations worldwide, no doubt rendering this quiet, reserved collector of sports statistics – this Walter Mitty – a precedent setter for the almost certain to follow copycat suicides.
Like I said, we live in an era of Celebrity Deaths.
Prius Drivers join BMW Drivers in Pantheon of Celebrity Jerks
Who would have thunk it?
That both BMW and Toyota Prius drivers have been lumped together as being jerks in a recent study linking bad driving behavior to wealth by the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkley.
Hey, BMW drivers are one thing…
The marque’s snob appeal is legend. But Prius drivers? Tree hugger types bent on saving the earth and fostering world peace – them too? According to the study, yes. Because in California where it was conducted, the Prius is considered a “premium” car.
Now let’s examine some of the stereotypes.
Starting with Ranker’s “Top 5 Reasons Priuses Suck.”
“Alright, full disclosure: I drive an entry level BMW sedan that cost me little more than a fully loaded Honda Accord. Nothing too showy. And yet, I have had more than one Prius driver admonish me for driving something so ‘ostentatious.’ Prius driver’s love that word, ‘ostentatious.’ They fling it like a monkey flings its poo at any car they deem too “white collar.”
2) Environmentally & Economically Stupid
“I’m not going to try to claim that a Hummer H3 is more economical than a Prius. Sure there was a study done, but the method of achieving those results was asinine. No. Priuses are green, I agree. That said, I’ve heard far too many Prius owners claim they bought their car because it’s the *greenest* car on the road. There’s only one problem with that. Priuses aren’t the greenest car on the road. Generally speaking, the greenest car on the road a well-maintained *used* car. Why? Because most of the pollution a car generates over its lifetime is created during the process of actually making the car. By purchasing a used car, the pollution generated by the car’s construction is on the shoulders of the individual who bought it new. The last time I checked, there was a waiting list for new Priuses. Environmentally conscious, indeed.”
“Prii (pronounced pree-eye). That is the correct plural form of the word, ‘Prius.’ Why do I refuse to use it? Because along with everything else involving this asinine car, it’s smothered with a big, heaping pile of self-satisfied smugness. You never hear anyone just say, Prii. What they actually say is, Prii, then follow it up after the awkward silence with, ‘Yes, that’s the correct word.’
“Good for you, dingus. How nice of you to make everyone else in the room feel dumb. Good to know your sense of superiority doesn’t diminish when you get out of your car. I use ‘Priuses’ even though it’s wrong, because unlike you I’m not desperate to prove I’m the smartest person in the room.”
“Could there be a car on the road designed to be more unattractive? It’s not that the car is horrible to look at; there of plenty of cars that could beat the Prius in that department. It’s the sense you get that the Prius was *intentionally* designed to look that way (hideous) in order to distance itself from all of those ‘ostentatious’ beautiful cars Prius drivers hate so much.
At least with most ugly cars you can tell the designers at least tried to make it pretty… they just failed. Prius owners will try to tell you that it’s just a nice unassuming car. No– sorry. This isn’t a case of wearing your favorite pair of jeans. This is the automotive equivalent of intentionally wearing rags to a black-tie ball so you can feel morally superior to all of those phonies who showed up in tuxedos and gowns. It’s just more of that Prius Driver brand of unwarranted self-superiority.”
5) Forces You to Drive Like a Jerk
What’s the first rule of driving? ‘Keep your eyes on the road.’ And what do Prius drivers do? Stare at their MPG. In any car, that’s dangerous. And while you could argue that this problem is true for anyone who drives a hybrid, Prius drivers in particular seem to be *obsessed* with it. As the show ‘Top Gear’ proved, when driven normally, Priuses get worse mileage than an M3. To really get that Prius level of MPG you have to drive like a putz, accelerating slower than the flow of traffic, and braking more while going downhill.
In a nutshell, Prius drivers cruise at a speed based on their MPG instead of the average pace of the cars around them. In other words, Prius drivers typically drive like self-absorbed jerks. Say what you want about Ferraris and Porsches, but unless you’re in a movie, when they’re surrounded by traffic they drive at the same speed as everyone else. They’re forced to, otherwise they’d be the first to be pulled over. It’s the Prius drivers who drive like they own the road, not the wealthy in their sports cars. Yet another issue heaped upon us by the self-importance of the “morally superior” Prius owner. No thanks.”
Now on to the “I Hate BMW’s” Facebook page.
“BMW Douche: A simple minded individual who has let a badge get to their head. BMW Douches often believe they drive the best car in the world, and that everybody hates them because they cannot afford one. This ignorance affects their driving skills as well; cutting people off, not using a signal light, tailgating, etc. To a BMW Douche, everyone that doesn’t drive a BMW is a hater, and simply hasn’t experienced the ‘ultimate driving machine.’ They often purchase the bottom of the line 3 series, then consider themselves a true BMW fanatic, better than everyone else on the road. BMW Douches are becoming more common nowadays with low lease rates and abundance of available credit.”
“BDAS – an acronym for ‘BMW Driver A-hole Syndrome’
The BMW is a German car brand popular with drug dealers and hooligans across Europe. Anyone with “something” small and the need to compensate tends to gravitate towards the BMW – the ultimate penis compensator.
As such the tendency to drive like a maniac and king of the road is extremely prevalent amongst BMW owners. Expect them to overtake at 40% the speed limit, cut you up on off ramps and to park on the side walk by a hospital or school as they feel fit.
Many psychiatrists believe that owning a BMW is a reflex action to draw attention to the owner. Having no physical attributes to speak of, BMW owners must compensate somehow and 1/2 ton of metal seems to do the trick.
A: ‘That guy just cut up an ambulance, gave the finger to a bus full of nuns and parked by the no parking sign in front of a school for the blind’
B: ‘Oh, don’t worry about him, he’s got BDAS – did you expect otherwise?’ ”
In a New York Times interview with researcher Paul K. Piff – who helped conduct the study – 8 out of 10 cars “did the right thing” when it came to yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and taking their turns at four-way stop intersections.
However, researchers found that the more expensive cars were the most likely to jump their turns, Piff said.
“You see this huge boost in a driver’s likelihood to commit infractions in more expensive cars,” Piff told the Times. “In our crosswalk study, none of the cars in the beater-car category drove through the crosswalk. They always stopped for pedestrians…
“One of the most significant trends was that fancy cars were less likely to stop,” said Piff, adding, “BMW drivers were the worst…(and) in our higher-status vehicle category, Prius drivers had a higher tendency to commit infractions than most.”
Kansas City artist / car aficionado James Brinsfield’s take on the study:
“Haha. Yeah I agree to some extent. Both brands though are for very different people who are united by their perception that they own the road because they have such insight into what is the perfect car - but obviously that’s about where the similarity ends.
“I own a BMW and I’m an aggressive driver. Why not? Usually I’m the only person on the road who knows how to drive and knows the rules of the road. The worst drivers? Really, women driving humungous SUV’s – inevitably they are texting or talking on the phone and not paying a bit of attention to driving or the traffic environment around them.”
Brinsfield’s take on the Prius:
“Prius's are not my favorite car. Yes, I've driven my neighbor’s Prius.
There's no fun in the driving experience- except maybe the good vibes I assume Prius owners get as they think of themselves as helping the environment....which they are. But as a car it's pretty much a dull vehicle only somewhat mitigated by the positive karma it has.”
KC's off-duty cops can now work at bars
This just in…
In a historic move hailed by bar owners and police alike, Kansas City’s Board of Police Commissioners has begun allowing off duty cops to work at taverns and bars.
“It’s a huge win for Kansas City,” says Westport tavern owner Bill Nigro. “The police department is finally allowing taverns to hire off duty police for security. That’s never been allowed in Kansas City – at least as far back as the 1960s.
Kansas City Off Duty Coordinator Matt Masters concurs.
“It became effective last Wednesday,” Masters says. “It’s the first time to my knowledge in the history of the police department we’ve been allowed to do that.”
The reason took so long?
“It goes all of the way back to organized crime days when the Mafia was running a lot of bars and there was police corruption,” Nigro says. “The former police chief told me that as long as he was chief, off duty police will never work for nightclubs. He said that to me in front of a big meeting at City Hall in front of a bunch of city council people six or eight years back.
“Off duty police can work at restaurants or businesses that sell over 50 percent food – that’s always been the case – but the bars are the ones who need the police most. Anyway, it’s finally being allowed and I couldn’t be happier.”
“I think the biggest thing (about not allowing it earlier) was not wanting to cross that line,” Masters says. “There were some things we were concerned with, but we set up some rules and standards, so we’ll see how it goes.”
To start with taverns must hire at least three officers. Second, the officers are only to patrol outside of the tavern – out front, in back or in parking lots – unless called upon to respond to a disturbance. Third, if asked to come inside the tavern, the officers must notify the police dispatcher and the dispatcher will then send a supervisor to maintain consistency with police policies and ensure that no disturbances go unreported. And finally, all off duty police officers must be in full uniform and abide by all on-duty police rules and regulations pertaining to state law, Federal law and city ordinances.
“The big thing is they’re being paid by a private entity, but their duties and responsibilities are the same as if they were working on duty,” Masters stresses. “We think the new policy will help us more because some of the places that have (frequent) disturbances can now hire off duty officers and that will help us with manpower issues.”
“It’ll be good for the city because it will put a police presence throughout the neighborhoods,” Nigro adds. “And for stand alone clubs especially – ones that are by themselves out in the middle of nowhere – having a police car out front really sets the tone for everybody to behave. It’s a huge deterrent to crime at bars.”
Enjoying this year’s Royals is like having sex with a unicorn
So says, KC Confidential sports scribe Brandon Leftridge:
Since Justin Maxwell was acquired at the trade deadline, he’s done nothing but hit home runs. (Well, two of them.) That still doesn’t mean I think giving up pitching prospect Kyle Smith was the right move.
I begged and pleaded for MONTHS to send Mike Moustakas down to Omaha, and although he’s turned it around by becoming an authentic threat in each at bat, I still wonder about how many games he might have cost the Royals with his early struggles.
Even though Ervin Santana continues to astound, Luke Hochevar looks like a totally different pitcher, Bruce Chen made some sort of pact with Satan and Greg Holland is arguably the best closer in baseball, I still think about what kind of haul they could have brought in if they’d been shopped.
James Shields has been every bit the ace Dayton Moore said he was, but Wil Myers? The guy Kansas City gave up for Shields and would have controlled for years and years? He’s likely to be rookie of the year and, given a full season, probably would have led the Royals in most major offensive categories.
And, you know… Old Man Tejada is pretty much the regular second baseman at this point (or was until getting hurt).
Look, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, something something I’m an idiot. This is why I’m a part-time internet columnist and guys like Moore make the big bucks, right? But in my defense, the Royals STILL aren’t going to make the playoffs.
They’re just… not. I assure you. At this writing, despite owning the best record in baseball since the All Star break, they’re still 8.5 games out of first in the division (in third place, actually) and 4.5 out of the Wild Card. According to most projections, they’ve got a percentage chance in the low single digits to secure any kind of postseason berth.
And that absolutely blows.
It seems as though somehow—with some magical twist of the knife by a vengeful, Kansas City hating God—for every win the Royals get, the Detroit Tigers get two. (And worse still, the Cleveland Indians manage to get one-and-a-half.)
Call it “The KC Curse,” I suppose.
All of this being said, this is FUN, right?
It has been a virtual eternity since the Royals were relevant this late in the year. It’s a foreign feeling that most people under 30 don’t remember, and folks older than that have all but forgotten. I mean, the Chiefs were playing their first preseason game last Friday night, and I honestly didn’t care. For the first time in forever, football doesn’t spell a mercy-killing end to the baseball season; it’s sitting quietly in the backseat and minding its own business instead of throwing a worn Tootsie Pop at that back of your head and demanding attention.
So I’m through worrying about the moves they didn’t make. It’s a useless exercise in futility. I vow with every fiber of my being to just sit back and relax the rest of this season, to enjoy good baseball and relish the sweet scent of hope, no matter how realistically fruitless it might be.
Though we may not be getting any at the end of the night, the cheerleader still agreed to go to the movies with us, so let’s act like a gentleman, buy her some Red Hots, and not pull that move where we stick our dick through the hole in the bottom of the popcorn bucket. If we play our cards right, maybe we’ll get a shot a little later. You know, after we’ve…found a franchise second baseman?
This metaphor has me so confused right now, guys. But I guess that’s what happens when you live so long without real success. You get REALLY excited and start entertaining absurd notions like, oh, a .500 record, say. It feels like drinking your first beer, or making love to a pretty unicorn. You just want to savor the moment and hope that your mom doesn’t walk in, or something.
Anyway, GO ROYALS!
Paul Wilson’s Weak in Revue
Tennessee Judge Changes Baby’s Name
A Nashville courtroom brings us baby-momma, Jaleesa Martin, represented by Stan Greenburg (Harley’s faux attorney), seeking a last name change for her 7 month old baby, Messiah. What started as a simple paternity and name change suit has turned into a cluster after Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew stuck her pasty white nose in a little too deep, ordering a first name change for the baby as well.
Ballew, who serves the 4th Judicial District of Tennessee, ordered the boy’s name to be changed from Messiah DeShawn Martin to Martin DeShawn McCullough.
“It (the name Messiah) could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Ballew said about her decision last week to replace Messiah with his mother’s surname.
“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” Ballew said.
The boy’s mother plans to appeal the order and will continue to call him Messiah.
“The judge’s decision was an unnecessary breach of a parents’ right to name their child what they please,” ACLU-Tennessee executive director Hedy Weinberg said, going on to call it “pretty outrageous,” especially when it wasn’t the issue being presented.
“In this instance, the judge is imposing her religious beliefs on a family who came before her rightfully so to handle a dispute and they focused on that dispute,” she said. “But the dispute in no way focused on the first name of the child.”
Norman Smith, who is chairman of the legislative body for Cocke County, said while he thought naming a child Messiah showed “a lack of respect for Christian people,” added that Martin has “the right to name her baby whatever she wants.”
Your well-coiffed scribe wonders if Smith knows how many Hispanics name their son’s “Jesus” in honor of Christ?
Here’s the money quote where Judge Ballew shows she’s clearly out of touch:
“It (the name Messiah) could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is.”
So she changes it to “Martin?”
When this 7 month old little bugger grows up and is loitering on the corner of 13th and MLK with his four best homies, Sha Nay Nay, Bon Qui Qui, Shabooty and Grapedrankisa, Martin’s going to get his ass whooped!
Scarred for life by a white, right wing, Christian Judge.
She might as well have named the boy Sue.
Jack Poessiger’s Top Movies in 2013
So what’s the 2013 movie season been like to date?
With the summer movie’s winding down, it’s time to look back and see which ones have scored the best to date.
Here then are the top dozen films at the domestic box office since January 1, 2013. (U.S. and Canada.)
# 1—”IRON MAN 3“ ($407.6 million)
# 2—”DESPICABLE ME 2” ($326.4 million)
# 3—”MAN OF STEEL” ($287.7 million)
# 4—”MONSTERS UNIVERSITY” ($258.5 million)
# 5—”FAST & FURIOUS 6” ($ 238.0 million)
# 6—”OZ: THE GREAT & POWERFUL” ($234.9 million)
# 7—”STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS” ($226.2 million)
# 8—”WORLD WAR Z” ($195.9 million)
# 9—”THE CROODS” ($186.6 million)
# 10–”THE HEAT” ($149.4 million)
# 11–”THE GREAT GATSBY” ($144.5 million)
# 12–”IDENTITY THIEF” ($134.5 million)
* Of the 12 winning titles, half were sequels and/or tentpole continuations.
* Three of the top 12 were animated family comedies.
* Four fell into the super hero category.
* And chubby hottie (?) Melissa McCarthy pulled off the (almost) impossible – namely having TWO top grossing hits in theaters within a 4-1/2 month period.
(And to think I sat through all of them. Obviously)
Bikinis Hold Up American Heartland for Last Hurrah
Theater League main man Mark Edelman lowers the spiritual flag to half mast for Crown Center’s American Heartland Theatres final show:
Bouncy, happy middle-aged chicks having a great time reliving the fabulous girl group hits of the 60s….
I’m talking about the audience, not the cast, of American Heartland Theatre‘s farewell production THE BIKINIS, now through August 24 at the venue on the 3rd floor of Crown Center. Don’t get me wrong– the cast was having a ball, too.
BIKINIS is one more evening of uncomplicated entertainment from a theater that’s been spooning it out for 26 years. They’ll be missed.
It’s fitting that Hallmark’s professional theater days would end on such a sunny note. After all, the whole company is based on happy times (okay, there’s a row of sympathy cards in there; but still). And even though our town’s biggest brand has seen better balance sheets, they’ve always done right by Kansas City, pink slips or not,
So it’s fitting that Cathy Barnett - the talented gal who plays crabby card character Maxine– brings down the final curtain on the American Heartland Theatre in an entertaining recherche du temps perdu like THE BIKINIS.
Joined by KC stage stalwarts Molly Hammer, Cindy Baker and Nancy Nail under the sure-handed musical direction of Anthony Edwards, Ms. B wends her way down a whole double D cup full of musical memories– from ITSY BITSY TEENIE WEENIE to THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING and WHERE THE BOYS ARE. There’s a stupid framing story, but you don’t have to pay it no mind.
More memories line the walls of the Heartland lobby— twenty-six years of surprisingly compelling theater (especially when you consider this was a for-profit venture). Sure, they made a lot of money on MENOPAUSE, assorted TUNAs and PLAIDs and more than six years of SHEAR MADNESS. But who does A LION IN WINTER or THE LITTLE FOXES to try and make a buck?
Those walls also brought back memories of great performances by actors gone but not forgotten– T Max Graham, Gary Holcombe, Betsy Robbins and Karen Errington. Looming over them all– the smiling face and shining eyes of the late Jim Assad, the great Missouri Rep director who deserved to run his own place one day.
Thanks to Hallmark, he got that wish. I was there, along with Jim, the Hallmark corporate elite and 400 other Kansas Citians, the night Heartland opened back in 1987.
I remember sitting across from Don and Adele Hall, watching them watch the Italian communist playwright’s opus WE WON’T PAY, WE WON’T PAY. When the characters onstage decided to go on strike for better working conditions, I figured Don would shit a brick, but he and Adele remained cool throughout.
So long, Heartland. We’ll miss this lovely theater and all of the shows (and theater jobs) it has meant for the last two and a half decades.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Looking to keep a secret? Put it in the KC Star
Is it possible to hold a surprise party without keeping it secret?
I don’t know, but I’m still rubbing my eyes, pinching myself, thunking my noggin and trying to figure out a recent front page sports section story in the Kansas City Star.
Maybe you can help.
It’s about a friend of former Kansas City Royals star Willie Wilson buying him a new 1985 World Series ring to replace the one he had to sell when he went bankrupt in 2001.
Nevermind that the replica ring won’t have the intrinsic value of a real deal original, here’s the part I don’t get.
Because in spite of the fact that this lady’s website williewilsonbaseball.org has been soliciting money for however long to buy Wilson a new ring – and despite that the Star ran a front page story last week – they’re asking the public to help keep it all a secret so they can surprise Wilson next month.
What, is he in a coma or something?
Anyhoo, we’re all being asked to 1) Believe Wilson has no clue about any of this new ring business and 2) If we help keep it a secret from him, they’ll be able to surprise him with the ring when they present it to him at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in September.
Makes perfect sense, right?
But wait a sec…
Are we really to believe Wilson is dumber than a rock? Or that perhaps the brains behind this surprise party deal, Helen Mohr, thinks readers of the Star are that totally naive? And who were the future Pulitzer prize winning Star sports editors who bought into this “surprise” bit?
Worse yet, freelance writer Rob Wheat - the dude who fed this fairytale to the Star - is a self-described “national media placement specialist” affiliated with a company called Zebra Partners. A company that describes its mission as simple:
“We want to make a difference in your business. So we become your strategic partner, offering overall business counsel along with fully integrated marketing, public relations and social media programs.”
In other words, this cockamamie fable was fed to the Star sports section by a PR firm.
They got duped!
Which isn’t so bad except for the fact that going along with it and plopping it on the front page of the sports section makes the Star look dumb and dumber for buying into the charade.
“Wilson in for happy surprise,” the Star’s headline reads.
This is really going to blow Wilson away when he – wink, wink – finds out. Boy, what a super surprise!
Is it just me?
Paul Wilson says: ‘Turn in Your Man Cards’
First Friday was last weekend so I was…
However in the few moments of calm amidst 5,000 people wandering through my little gallery, I started piecing together a story in my head.
All the men I’ve heard about the past two weeks that just need to turn in their man cards and get it over with. I offer the following sad excuses for your consideration:
Olathe resident Donna Limbaugh was sitting on her porch, reading the newspaper with a 6 pound Yorkshire sitting at her feet, when neighbor Carl Henrichson walked by taking his cancer stricken Lab for a walk. Precious, the 6 year old Yorkie, bolted and decided to chase the Lab.
Henrichson, according to Limbaugh, drop kicked the dog 4 feet into the air. When it came down, Donna said, “He put his foot on “Precious” and then he raised the other foot so that he actually stood on her. It reminded me of if you were going to step on a bug.”
Henrichson claimed it was “self-defense” and the Olathe police agreed, writing Limbaugh tickets for having an unlicensed, unleashed and now dead dog.
Carl, this dog was the size of a half-gallon of milk, you dolt. Turn it in, you’re no longer a man.
Newhouse’s cat bit and scratched his fiancée and the best solution douchebag Newhouse could come up with was to place the cat in an animal carrier and hold it under Lake Waukomis, thrashing away until it drowned, while a neighbor and two kids watched.
Eric Zahnd, Platte County Prosecutor, said he found Newhouse’s method of killing the animal “disheartening” but oddly enough, there are no laws against killing your own animal any way you see fit in Platte County.
Zahnd has gotten over 1,200 emails asking for Newhouse to be arrested.
Newhouse is now famous, in a Harley kind of way. Google “Thomas Newhouse drowned cat” and the first 8 pages are full of nothing but this story.
If cats truly have 9 lives, hopefully this one will come back to stuff Newhouse and Henrichson in a carrier while some big dude holds it under water.
Simon’s having a baby…..with his best friend’s wife!
There are certain boundaries you don’t cross; one of them is doing your best friend’s wife.
That’s right; this obnoxious turd is expecting a baby with New York socialite Lauren Silverman, who is still married to his bestie, real estate mogul Andrew Silverman. But not-to-worry, she plans to leave her troubled marriage to be with baby-daddy.
Just when you thought the Kardashians cornered the market on bad taste, I give you Cowell.
San Diego Mayor – Bob Filner
Filner has gone up, or down, depending on how you look at it, on sexual harassment charges, after groping and licking the faces of female city employees.
Why did he do it? Simple, it’s not his fault; the city of San Diego failed to provide him with state-required sexual harassment training. He just didn’t know you couldn’t lick girl’s faces or grope their boobulas!
His attorney wrote, “While, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, many might argue that ‘you don’t need a weatherperson to tell you which way the wind blows, Filner may not be facing a lawsuit today if he had undergone the classes.”
How stupid do you think the people of San Diego are, Filner? My friend Chris Merrrill at Voice of Merrill is having a hay day with this guy! Stream KOGO on I-Heart and listen to Merrill dismember this guy. He’s funny and gives you something decent to listen to late afternoons in this vast talk show wasteland we live in here in KC!
The man who abducted 3 women in Ohio, beats and raped them for 10 years, finally got his day in court. And his apology to his victims was what?
He and his victims “lived in harmony.”
It wasn’t his fault, he’s “addicted to porn.”
The girls “weren’t virgins” when he took them. See? It’s better already.
And get this; he wasn’t even a “wife beater”… until he married his wife. I’ll give you a moment to let the true humor of that statement sink in.
He’s the “victim.” Despite years of physical and emotional torture, he claimed the sex with his three victims was “consensual.”
Have fun with that life + 1,000 years sentence. Even in protective custody, I say he will be “released” in less than 24 months, if you get my drift.
Your well-coiffed scribe asks you to go out today and be men of purpose.
‘We’re the Millers’ Hits Spot
Finally! KC Confidential movie man Jack Poessiger stumbles on to a movie that’s actually funny.
Think updated NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION…
Except here they cross the border and things get a hell of a lot raunchier. WE’RE THE MILLERS is a hilarious road comedy that works. Its premise may be far flung but its execution makes for an hour and 50 minutes of (often) laugh out loud sequences and happenings.
But be forewarned; some of the material said and shown might make the Griswold’s blush!
What we’ve got here is nice, easygoing, small time drug dealer – KC refugee Jason Sudeikis - living the laid back neighborhood life.
That is until he’s robbed of his stash (and cash) which leaves him with a major debt to his supplier, Sudeikis old college chum Ed Helms who’s become an eccentric, multi, MULTI millionaire. And he’s not taking Sudeikis’ non-payment lightly.
So Helms puts a proposal on the table to even things out.
Round up a fake family and drive an RV into Mexico to pick up a “smidge” of weed. Brilliant idea!
But who to recruit as family members?
Well, there’s the goofy teenage neighbor kid played to the hilt by Will Poulter. And street runaway chick Emma Roberts could (and does) pass for Sudeikis’ daughter.
And the mom?
Another neighbor, jilted stripper Jennifer Aniston as Rose, who career wise is near the end of her G-string and plays it as crude, rude and sexy as one could ask for.
Together WE’RE THE MILLERS is the perfect middle class American family seemingly off to a Mexican vacation.
However the trip BACK is something else.
An RV chock full of bricks of weed with bad guys chasing them. Then there’s the swinging couple they encounter en route and the U.S. border entry crossing from hell.
Anything that can go wrong—does.
And then there’s the scene when a spider bites the son’s ………………
No, I’m not giving THAT one away. Suffice it to say our (screening) auditorium was filled with screaming laughter.
Hey, let’s just say, IT’S MILLER TIME!
A few additional observations:
When Aniston has to prove her real profession to the bad guys and breaks into a mouth watering striptease, all I could think was: What was Brad Pitt thinking when he dumped her several years back? Oh yeah, Angelina Jolie.
Also keep a sharp eye on former O.P. good guy Jason Sudeikis’ wardrobe. Specifically his T-shirts which are both Oklahoma Joe’s and Arthur Bryant BBQ branded.
Finally when things wind down and you’re about to exit the auditorium, you’ll be treated to some great outtakes from this Mexican road trip.
WE’RE THE MILLERS gets a B- grade
It’s raunchy and crude—yet very funny.
Point 99.7 FM personality Kelly Urich’s latest:
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill looks to be one of the first candidates to venture into Iowa. Speculation is, she may have hopes for a run for president in 2016. Iowa residents love her because she's from the state that gave them our international airport.
A 25-year-old Iowa woman spent the night in jail after she allegedly became intoxicated and ran through the water spectacular at Kauffman Stadium. I'm not trying to read too much into this but her bail was paid by Claire McCaskill.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: It's that time of the month and my wife refuses to swim because it's Shark Week.
Ryan Seacrest will be paid millions to host a bizarre new game show for NBC called, "Million Second Quiz." I occasionally make free appearances on KCTV 5's Better Kansas City. So you tell me who the real winner is?
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
About that lawsuit over Kanrocksas
Move along folks, nothing to see here…
About that lawsuit filed last week by concert promoter Mammoth – messrs Josh Hunt and Jeff Fortier - against Kanrocksas promoter Bill Brandmeyer and (more importantly perhaps) MMF, LLC. The one in which Mammoth claims “the defendants misrepresented and misled Mammoth as to their intentions, causing great economic harm to Mammoth. The defendant’s actions have effectively destroyed Mammoth’s business and ruined the company’s reputation and ability to do business in the music industry.”
Here we have one of the area’s top concert promoters claiming it’s effectively out of the biz based on its booking 78 acts for Kanrocksas, which canceled like a month and a day prior to its scheduled liftoff June 28-29 at the Kansas Speedway.
Before I wade into this complete mess…
Let me first say, this was an ill-advised event from the get-go in my humble opinion.
And just about everybody outside of Brandmeyer I spoke to said as much.
So after reportedly poor ticket sales, MMG, LLC pulled the plug just over a month out.
“Was there some kind of escape hatch?” asks Kansas City lawyer David Scott Whinery, Esquire. “That goes back to the 30 days plus a day. That may be why the artists aren’t suing them. Because that’s kind of standard (cancellation clause) in a lot of performance contracts.”
Mammoth however is suing Brandmeyer and the Limited Liability Corporation to the tune of “an amount in excess of $75,000.”
One wild card: the agreement filed with the court shows it was between MMF, LLC and Mammoth. Not Brandmeyer personally and Mammoth.
Therein lies the potential problem, sources say.
“With the kind of money (Kanrocksas) had, they probably built an LLC that’s going to be pretty hard to pierce the corporate veil of,” Whinery says. “And if they did pierce it, then they’d have to go after a trust and good luck with that.”
The odds of getting past the LLC and trust into Brandmeyer’s pocket?
“It’s going to be hard to get to the individual unless they can prove that it was outright fraud or (Brandmeyer) gave personal guarantees,” says another Kansas City attorney familiar with entertainment law. “Because generally those LLCs don’t have any assets…And it’s pretty hard to get things out of trusts.”
The idea being that Brandmeyer’s liquid assets may be mostly tied up in trusts.
Brandmeyer did not return a call for this column.
“I don’t feel sorry for Brandmeyer and I also don’t feel sorry for the bands…” says one entertainment source. “All of the agents and managers who took offers from people who aren’t (really) in the business deserve to be burned. They should know better.
“This is happening all over the place. There’s been this giant explosion in festivals and the bands are leaping at all the money. And some of them just aren’t coming through. The bottom line is, it’s all fueled by greed.”
The betting money among the people I spoke with; it may be a settlement play.
“Obviously (Brandmeyer) isn’t scared of this lawsuit,” says the entertainment source. “It’s nothing…The only people who are going to make money are the lawyers.”
“It’s hard to show damages,” Whinery adds. “Mammoth may have a better shot than anybody though because their company name took a hit.”
That said, left to try and bleed an LLC, “They call it judgment proof in the trade,” Whinery says. ”Because even if you can win, there’s no money to collect. So what’s the point?”
Which brings us to Mammoth’s cost of collection…
“It could be a lot,” Whinery says. “You could easily burn through hundreds of thousands of dollars to take this to trial. And the Brandmeyer people can probably hire (someone like) Lathrop & Gage for a couple hundred thousand and shoot the thing down…It’s going to be a long, hard slog for (Mammoth) and their lawyers are probably going to be the ones who have to come up with the litigation costs…A lawsuit like this could bankrupt someone. They could drag this out for five years.”
A more likely scenario:
“They probably have just enough juice to get a nuisance fee, but they do not want to go to trial with a Lathrop & Gage,” Whinery says. “They’re (probably) going to have to settle because they can’t go to war with the big boys…They want to pierce the LLC’s corporate veil, so they can go after Brandmeyer personally, because that’s where the deep pocket (probably) is.”
There you have it…
One failed music fest, two disappointed concert bookers, a seemingly well-intentioned promoter wannabe and a whole lotta lawyers.
Sounds like the Perfect Storm…
Why MU Will Never Admit it Made a Mistake leaving Big 12
Hoopla aside, Missouri sucked its first season out of the gate in the SEC…
In the $ports that matter that is, men’s football and basketball. And while the SEC is a prestigious conference, there’s more to the equation than the football successes of Alabama and LSU says, savvy sports scholar and KU fan Brett Mosiman.
“If you really pick apart the SEC, they have the best teams, but they’re not in the best conference,” Mosiman says.
The awful truth:
“You would never get anybody at Missouri on the record because they’re so full of themselves, but there isn’t anybody at MU who doesn’t think they made a big mistake leaving the Big 12. And if they could, they’d turn back the clock and not go to the SEC.
“Traveling over 1,000 miles to play some of their games is a big hardship. I predict West Virginia will always be an also ran in the Big 12 because they have to travel so far to play their games. Kansas played 9 bowl teams, but in the SEC you only play the teams in your division, which is six games. And there’s a lot of really weak football teams in that conference.
“But there’s no really weak football teams in the Big 12. Iowa State was probably the next weakest team to KU and they had a lot of big wins.”
As for why MU’s football team had so few wins last year, “Well, they beat up on the two really bad teams in the SEC and the rest of them kicked MU’s butt,” Mosiman says. “The league picks who you play in the SEC and it isn’t exactly fair. So they have some classic unbalanced schedules.”
How Missouri’s second coming in the SEC is looking this fall?
“I don’t know,” Mosiman says. “I listen to the talk radio talk incessantly and they have them anywhere from 2-6 to 6-2. My guess is, I don’t think MU will do any better. They might be able to go 4-4 in the SEC, but I don’t think they’ll do any better than that. But four of the games they play will be against nobodies.
“They play Indiana which is the KU of the Big 10 and they haven’t had a winning season in like 82 years. So they’re playing at least three cupcakes. Look at MU’s first four games; I mean, they could be horrible and win all those games.
@ Vanderbilt: “They lost to Vanderbilt in Columbia last year, so they probably lose that game this year and that’s a game they have to win. And Vandy’s probably the worst team in their division.”
@ Georgia: “I think they’re 0-2 in the SEC after that game,” Mosiman says.
Florida @ home: “They’re probably 0-3 after that game, but Florida, I hear, is a little down this year.”
South Carolina @ home: “They lose to South Carolina.”
Tennessee @ home: “I think they lose them all, so they’re 0-5 in the SEC after this. I take it back. I think they’ll beat one of those teams in Columbia.”
@ Kentucky: “I’ll be honest, (they could win there because) a lot of their road games are against horrible teams. They almost have a perfect (road) schedule except for Georgia.”
@ Ole Miss: “That’s a loss. Ole Miss is good.”
Texas A&M at home: “A&M.”
Mosiman’s bottom line on MU and the SEC:
“Who are the two best teams in that league? LSU and Alabama. And Missouri doesn’t play either of ‘em. What a bunch of crap. They have the easiest road schedule you could imagine.”
The Lone Ranger Made What?
KCC movie man Jack Poessiger dissects the box office numbers on one of the summer’s biggest flops:
Right after noon on Sundays the reports come out with the estimated weekend box office results…
These numbers are based on actual Friday and Saturday ticket sales and then compared to what similar movies grossed on past Sundays.
These estimates can be surprisingly close to actual figures which are released by Monday afternoon, but don’t garner the attention of those initial weekend estimates.
Nothing amuses me more though than the news break during CBS 60 MINUTES Sundays, which usually consists of three headlines.
Those capsules can be as random as plane crash kills three in San Francisco; wildfires near Colorado Springs engulf 30 homes and THE LONE RANGER opens to $47.5 million.
Why are we so fascinated with movie box office figures?
Are they real or, as some people have questioned or manipulated? Whatever they are you, you don’t hear updates of weekly Ford car sales or Walmart sales. Which I imagine are much larger than movie revenues.
I guess the movie grosses are just sexier.
They also give the studios additional marketing muscle—like proclaiming “The No. 1 movie in America.”
But what really ticks me off is when the talking heads tell us that a particular film HAS MADE so many million dollars over the weekend.
Because it did NOT!
What the movie DID was sell so many million dollars worth of tickets at the box office. But only about 53% to 63% of those ticket sales are returned to the studio that released the picture.
The rest stays with the owners of the theaters playing it.
So back to the example of THE LONE RANGER and its $47.5 million opening.
Disney may see just $27 to $28 million of that.
A common formula in the industry today is that the all-in theatrical gross is usually around three times that of its opening weekend.
So applying this non-scientific formula to THE LONE RANGER would indicate an eventual total north American gross of $142.5 million of which maybe $90 million will flow back to Disney..
That’s bad business especially since the Mouse House reportedly has about $250 million in the production—plus marketing expenses.
And foreign box office performance is not expected to give the man with the white hat (and Tonto) a big lift.
Because unlike other big action pictures (which could produce 60% in foreign play compared to 40% from the domestic box office) Westerns just don’t do as well in the world market.
Back to the example.
Say THE LONE RANGER ends up with $142.5 million and another $100 million from foreign playoffs, its total gross of $242.5 million would only return an estimated $138 million in film rentals.
Sure there are the On Demand, Red Box, DVD and Netflix markets to follow. But you can see just how much of a gamble some of these non-sequel, high dollar tentpoles can be for Hollywood.
So it’s no surprise that the trade press is already reporting an anticipated write-off by Disney of $190 million for THE LONE RANGER.
Not a pretty picture.
Breakfast at the River Club
KCC resident lumber baron Dwight Sutherland Jr. takes a look at Kansas side politics:
Even a movie that is so dated that it’s painful to watch can contain some insight or observation that gives it current day “redeeming social value” (to use the words of the Supreme Court re works of art that would otherwise be unpublishable).
I’m thinking here of the early 1960's hit movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Supposedly about a zany, mad-cap party girl from Tulip, Texas (“Holly Golightly”) who takes New York by storm, it’s really about a gay young man like the author Truman Capote (just as the female character “Albertine” in Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust is based on a boy the author was in love with).
Holly (played by Audrey Hepburn, looking fabulous I have to admit) tells an admirer that when she feels stressed she likes to simply get in a cab and go to the carriage trade jeweler Tiffanys. It has an immediate calming effect on her, she explains:
“It calms me down right away, the quietness and proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s, then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name.”
I think if you gave former local publisher and the KC Star’s current token “conservative” (sic) columnist Steve Rose truth serum, he’d come out with a similar dreamy reverie, but the locus of his fantasy would be the private dining club favored by Kansas City’s plutocracy, The River Club.
Everything about Steve Rose’s life is aimed at one goal, to get accepted into The Kansas City Establishment. Like the book of that name, which took a marketing professor at Kansas State 50 years to write, however, by the time he’s figured it out, it’s disappeared! There simply is no “Establishment” left to get your validation from, the way there was 35 years ago.
What do I mean by this?
First of all, Kansas City’s become a branch office town. Fewer and fewer significant businesses are locally owned and managed. The dwindling ranks of those that are have been hard hit by changing consumer preferences and tastes (e.g. Russell Stover and Hallmark). Secondly, the World War II generation that ran things for two generations is practically gone. To a large degree, their offspring have not taken their places. When I entered Pembroke Hill almost 50 years ago, one of our teachers gave us a pep talk about how we owed it to our community to be serious about our education since we’d be running the city someday. (It didn’t turn out that way!)
How do I know this about Little Stevie Wonder?
Fifteen years ago, I called Steve to compliment him on an editorial that he’d written in the Johnson County Sun, the weekly that he then owned and edited. I left my name and number and the message that I’d like his permission to submit his editorial (on the Lewinsky scandal) as an op-ed piece to The New York Times.
Much to my disappointment, I never heard back from him. My mother, however, called and said he’d called my parents’ house three times to talk to my father, the late Dwight Sutherland, Sr. I realized that he could care less about my opinion. (I was a young lawyer, making a modest salary, not a CEO nor a multi-millionaire listed in the Forbes “400 Richest Americans” issue.) What he saw was an opening which might lead to corporate nirvana, i.e. a chance to break bread with the Kempers, Sutherlands, Soslands, and Halls at The River Club.
Everything else follows from this. Abortion? The Mission Hills crowd likes abortion because it reduces the number of blacks and poor people, so Steve is pro-choice. Does the Respectable Media lobby for gay marriage? Yes, by a 5 to 1 margin, so Steve’s position “evolves.” (You got it! He’s “grown as a person”!) Do Don Hall and Henry Bloch support every Republican Presidential nominee? Well, so does Steverino (despite castigating local Republicans as “extremists” for taking the same positions!).
Which is not to say Steve is dumb, or that he can’t write! It’s just that everything he says can be explained away in this fashion.
Interestingly, the one thing Steve Rose does break from “mod-squad” orthodoxy on is school finance. He’s smart enough to know that Johnson County is getting the short end of the stick under the existing Kansas school finance formula and that it needs to be changed to let us raise and spend more money locally. The problem is that if you give a blank check to the KNEA and the rest of the educational-industrial complex here in Johnson County, the rest of the state will want to do the same and send us here in Johnson County the bill, since to quote the late bank-robber Willie Sutton, “That’s where the money is!”
My own quandary is that I see Sam Brownback and Company going to the opposite extreme, trying to create the laissez-faire dystopia of ‘Pottersville’ in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” What happened to a thinking conservatism of fiscal prudence, evolutionary change, and a sense of duty to those less fortunate? We aren’t about to get it from either Rose’s crony capitalism or Brownback’s social darwinism.
That is the real tragedy of today’s Kansas Republican Party.
‘To Do List’ a Cherry Picking Good Time @ The Movies
KCC movie man Jack Poessiger is taken aback by new teen coming of age flick:
An equal opportunity teen sex comedy from a GIRL’s point of view. Think of it as a female PORKY’s meets AMERICAN PIE with lubed doses of SUPERBAD.
THE TO DO LIST is the anti SIXTEEN CANDLES comedy that heads straight into what up until now was forbidden territory—namely ueber-raunch female coming of age adventures.
“You can’t swallow. Do you know how many calories jism has?”
Granted it’s not the first – 2011′s trailblazer BRIDESMAIDS did much to open previously untouched (female) subjects.
And this summer’s THE HEAT certainly raised the bar on girls talking badly.
But here director and writer Maggie Carey (wife of co-star Bill Hader) elevates the film into the Talk REALLY Dirty category and targets it squarely at women age 17 to 34.
THE TO DO LIST setting is 1993 where high school valedictorian Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) decides to shed her uptight image before entering college.
Hence (virgin) Brandy assembles a to-do list of all the activities she’s missed out on in high school. And she gets it all done while working as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool which is managed by slacker-boss Bill Hader.
“You’ve GOT to pop the cherry before going to college.”
So it’s not a great surprise, all of the sexually-oriented acts she conquers on the list
About the hand job, it happens in a movie theater with the aid of a squirt of butter—or whatever it is they top off your popcorn with these days.
Ironically the movie’s original—and working title—WAS ‘The Hand Job.’ But practicality must have set in by the film’s distributor who probably realized that a title like that would’ve been nixed by most media.
“OK, let’s go to work, Vagina.”
All that plus a solid soundtrack of 90′s hits and nice performances by other members of the fun cast including Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Connie Britton and Clark Gregg as Brandy’s parents, Bill Hader, male hunk Scott Porter as Rusty and Brandy’s skanky sister Amber nicely served up by Rachel Bilson.
You’ll laugh, you’ll wince at some of this stuff, but in the end you’ll leave the theater with a nostalgic smile on your face while wondering just how much further Hollywood can push an R-Rating.
THE TO DO LIST grades a solid C. Oh, and keep an open mind.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
A comedy club is coming to the Plaza
It’s been like for-ev-er since Kansas City proper has had a comedy club. A real comedy club. You know, like Stanford & Sons.
As of right now, that’s about to change, because Stanford’s on Broadway is slated to open in late August in the Uptown Theater's “Conspiracy Room.”
Face it, you were looking for something fun to do besides seeing a movie next time you hit the Plaza for shopping and dinner, right?
“I’m going to sign the lease this week,” says Stanford’s main man Craig Glazer. “So we’ll be open by the end of August, barring some unforeseen circumstances. We’ll start with comic Mike Steenberg and then I’m going to call in some favors and bring in some big names early on.
“Right now we’re in the process of getting the room ready and getting it staffed. We’ll be open Friday and Saturday nights for the first six weeks and in the end, I think it will be Wednesday through Saturday.”
One wild card: “We’ll have a nightclub right next door,” Glazer says.
“You’ll be able to enter from either the comedy club or on Broadway. And people can go in there and hang out before or after the comedy club shows. And hopefully, we’ll be able to have a DJ in there and the room will stay open after the second show and people can to to the nightclub and just hang out until 1:30 a.m.
“In a couple weeks we’ll have more information. It’s funny, we haven’t had a nightclub since Johnny Dare's closed in 2003.”
There’s a thought; what about calling it Johnny Dare’s again?
“Yeah right,” Glazer quips. “You name it Johnny Dare’s.”
“Probably in three to four weeks we’ll have everything mapped out – we’ve got about six weeks to get everything done. Luckily, the room is 90 percent ready to go.”
Royals Mid Year Awards, Because, Why Not?
There are easier things than being a Royals fan these days…far easier.
But for those of you who have managed to stick it out this far, KCC sports scribe Brandon Leftridge has recapped the first half of the season:
So the All Star Game is in the books—a delightfully pointless affair that serves only to illuminate the pageantry in professional sports—and we’re left with nothing but the memories. Neil Diamond warbling his way through a cacophony of boos that FOX attempted to hide.
A genuinely touching moment honoring the greatest closer in the history of baseball. A ROYALS PLAYER GETTING A HIT FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE BO JACKSON. Three Royals on the field at once, nearly making my head explode. The AL winning 3-0, thereby securing home field advantage in the World Series.
You know all of this, I’m sure.
Now we’re at the unofficial midpoint—the real halfway mark having occurred weeks ago—the time at which lawn-chair GMs decide whether their team should be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, and baseball writing know-it-alls bestow meaningless “Midyear Awards” upon a bunch of millionaires who have no idea they’re being lauded with such prestigious honors.
And because I am no better than the lowest common denominator, here are my picks.
MVP: Alex Gordon
Alex F. Gordon, as he is affectionately known on Twitter (the “F” stands for effing, by the way), isn’t having quite the season that he had last year—or in 2011, for that matter—but he is still the only absolute, consistent threat in the lineup on a day-to-day basis. And although he’s not going to drive in as many runs as he did in either of the previous two campaigns—nor doubles, nor home runs—and his on-base-percentage has dropped a bit, he’s still the catalyst when it counts, and even at 75%, he’s the best the Royals have. For the past three seasons now, he has been one of the better leftfielders on any team, actually, something that is routinely (though not surprisingly) overlooked.
Honorable Mention: Salvador Perez
Cy Young: Greg Holland
Holland started off the year with a series of tightrope acts that made some fans long for the days of Roberto Hernandez. Be patient, I’d say. He’ll be fine, I promised. Since the end of an ugly April, he has given up a total of THREE EARNED RUNS. Three. Total. He has been as virtually unhittable as someone who gives up an occasional hit can be, and he’s been striking out hitters at a record pace. It’s scary to think of what he COULD do on a team that provided him with more save opportunities. There’s a real possibility that, under different circumstances, he could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate and not just a halfway-one in my crappy, made-up awards column.
Honorable Mention: James Shields
Biggest Revelation: Ervin Santana
Legions of Royals faithful scoffed at the signing of the “washed-up” former Angels ace. I’d like to take a moment to proudly brag that I did not...
…and there. I took it.
I thought it was a fairly low risk signing with a high upside potential. Either he comes in and performs like the Santana of old—which would help the Royals remain competitive OR make him tantalizing trade material at the end of July—or he just comes in and sucks, and oh well, it’s not my $13 million. The Royals got Vintage Santana, meaning three-times as many strikeouts as walks, an ERA nearly a full run less than his career average, and a workhorse who pitches deep in almost all of his starts. In fact, he’s been every bit the starter that James Shields has, only, you know, they didn’t have to give up one of the best prospects in baseball to get him.
Honorable Mention: Luke Hochevar! Seriously!
So the now that the awards have been dispensed—and the honored are weeping tears of joy at being selected—the question is this: should the Royals buy, sell or stand pat? Well, as much as it pains me to say it—it’s an admission of defeat, really—I am of the belief that the Royals need to sell. They need to put on their best plaid blazers, their biggest, creepy, crap-eating grins, and they need to sell the hell out of some players.
Greg Holland is a brilliant closer, but a good closer on an aimless team is of no value. (Closers are vastly overrated in terms of importance under most circumstances anyway, but that’s another discussion for another time, perhaps.) I’m a fan, but so long, Greg.
Ervin Santana’s stock has never been higher. He’d be a legit second starter for a team in contention and COULD result in a bevy of quality prospects. (You know… assuming you trust Dayton Moore’s ability to evaluate players.) Bye-bye, Erv.
And James Shields… ha. Just kidding. Can you imagine how stabbed to death Moore would be if he dealt the centerpiece of the Wil Myers trade?! Even if trading Shields was the right move, it would never happen in a million years.
(Funny: After I finished this piece, general manager Dayton Moore explained how “winning is an 8-10 year process” and that the Royals would do what it takes to “win now” this year. I laughed until I vomited.)
Enjoy the second half, you masochists!
The Trial You Should Be Paying Attention To
KC Confidential’s David Scott Whinery, Esquire wants you to forget about George Zimmerman and focus on a more important court date:
Bradley Manning… memba him, as TMZ would say?
He’s a member of the military who gave a bunch of national security related documents to WikiLeaks and is being court-martialed for “aiding the enemy” among other charges. When in actuality, Mr. Manning (and Mr. Snowden for that matter) should be having statues erected for them for their bravery and outstanding acts of patriotism in revealing huge criminal acts by our government.
Instead, Mr. Manning is facing the death penalty while Mr. Snowden is stuck at the Moscow Airport.
Last week, in one of the more disturbing decisions made by the judge in the case, Colonel Denise Lind, the prosecution was asked if it would make a difference if Manning had leaked the documents say to the KC Star as opposed to Wikileaks. Whereupon the prosecution stoically answered: “No it would not. It would not potentially make a difference.” And then the judge refused to dismiss the “aiding the enemy” charge, which at the very least- carries the sentence of life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole.
The judge can still choose to dismiss the charge later after the trial is over, but think about what a conviction of this charge means. It would basically mean the end of “national security” journalism as we know it.
Couple this with the recent decision by a federal judge that a New York Times reporter must reveal his CIA source in another case. And - ABRACADABRA - you’ve now ended investigative journalism. The First Amendment be damned. As long as the government claims the leak is related to ‘national security” they can now criminally prosecute the leaker for contempt of court and throw any reporter in jail who doesn’t reveal their source for who knows how long.
So how does leaking “national security” information to a reporter become “aiding the enemy?”
Follow me here.
Since the leaker has a “sophisticated intelligence background” and knows that the enemy, let’s say Al Qaeda- trolls the internet for intel and that the leaker would know this info would be disseminated on the internet by the reporters in question - now leap with me -the leaker has now aided the enemy!
If these decisions are allowed to stand, one of our most cherished checks and balances-that of a “free press” - will disappear.
Face it people, our beloved country, The United States of America is rapidly becoming a rogue state where the military and “national security” apparatus is nullifying the Constitution.
I feel safer from terrorists already!
Et tu, Geraldo?
KCC’s Paul Wilson had a nightmarish moment thinking about Geraldo’s nearly nude photo of himself and everybody’s favorite comedy club owner Craig Glazer:
In a picture that I can’t unsee, Geraldo Rivera took the Craig Glazer “Battle of the Best Bods” contest a step too far.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, equipped with nothing more than a cell phone and clad only in his rose colored glasses and a towel barely around his waist, Rivera shot this self-portrait.
I’m just hoping it was a tequila infused lapse of judgment, because otherwise, he’s taken his Trayvon Martin anti-hoodie movement two or three pieces of clothing a little too seriously. If you’re seeing the pubic region with the towel slung that low, it crosses the line from, “I’m hot for 70” to “I’m a 70 year old perv.”
At least Craig had the good sense to wear a sleeveless shirt and dark shades.
No wussy rose lenses for him. And I’m guessing right now, Rivera’s world isn’t looking so rosy, given the tone of some of the callers and multiple comparisons to disgraced former New York pol Anthony Weiner.
After Rivera hit the Twitter send button, he reports his first thought was, "Erica and the family are going to be so pissed...but at my age 70 is the new 50.”
Which I guess makes 80 the new 60. Or something like that.
Rivera's daughter’s first words; “Dad, you have to get rid of that!”
I stream WABC in my office to catch Imus in the Morning and Geraldo's show follows Imus. And they knew on Imus what Geraldo would be talking about on his show so I stayed tuned in.
Rivera’s far younger wife Erica called the show and in what sounded like staged, obligatory good humor, said, "This is what happens when I fall asleep first...but I have the hottest 70 year old husband there is!"
That was followed by a call from his Mom in which Geraldo noted that when his mom married her husband he converted to Judaism and underwent a circumcision. To which his Mom had said to the doctor doing the procedure, “Save enough for me!”
So it may all be in the jeans...I mean genes.
In a world of Anthony Weiner and Brent Faavra, (Something About Mary reference), why would you take that risk sober? But then again, this is the guy who hyped Al Capone’s hidden vault for weeks and we watched as the door opened to a dusty, empty room full of embarrassment, very similar to Geraldo’s bathroom at 2:30 am Sunday morning.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential
Zimmerman was not on trial for race crimes
For reasons that include the fact that I'm usually not in lock step with some of the more conservative opinion writers and commenters on KC Confidential I tend to avoid weighing in on topics like the George Zimmerman trial.
Which doesn't mean I don't follow many of these stories and have no opinion. Of course I do.
However, I’d like to think those opinions are a bit less predictable than just coming down on the stereotypical side of being ultra conservative or wildly liberal. It’s funny. Most people at the Star seemed to think I was a card-carrying Republican, but most readers the opposite
The truth lies somewhere in between.
Now – gulp – let’s talk about George Zimmerman.
Predictably the mostly white male editors at the Kansas City Star trotted out a front page column Tuesday about the Zimmerman trial by FYI columnist Jeneé Osterheldt. Which is pretty rare.
I can tell you exactly why they did this, although I suspect you already know.
They did it because Osterheldt is one of the newspaper’s token, high profile black writers. That despite that Osterheldt has yet to distinguish herself as a columnist of any import. She’s been dismissed as inconsequential by the best of em (The Pitch) and the worst (Tony).
I know Jeneé quite well, and she’s a very nice person.
She was hired by my former editor to provide the answer to a question few were asking; especially the older, white male readers that make up the lion’s share of the readership.
And to the extent that Pitch-loving hipsters, women and people of color have been exposed to Jeneé, she’s done little to distinguish herself with them either.
Again, she’s a very nice person with a sunny disposition who has little appetite for grappling with much in the way of hard or light news, let alone weighty issues – race aside.
If Jason Whitlock was still at the Star – or even the ousted Steve Penn – you can be certain one or both of them would have been doing the front page honors instead of Jeneé.
Which is my way of saying that Jeneé’s column was served up as being front page important, despite that she evidently didn’t follow the trial very closely, if at all. That or her built-in biases from being a black woman were too easily won over by a successful media campaign that turned a criminal proceeding into a race issue.
Because of the efforts of influential black leaders and a more-than-willing national news media, people like Jeneé were able to take a pass on following the details revealed during the trial and end up exactly where they began prior to those details being learned.
Let’s talk about what Jeneé was spot on in first.
“The laws are flawed. And so are our race relations.”
Look at what a jury of clued out Kansans did to poor Joe-College owner Larry Sinks five years back. The jurors didn’t have a clue about copyright law, so when left to decipher what the slick talking lawyers told them, they came down largely on Sinks side. Unfortunately, that still exposed Sinks to a several hundred thousand dollar settlement and legal bills that knocked his moral victory completely out the box, ruined his business and cost him his marriage and family.
Life is not always fair - we all know that. But while Jeneé is correct on that count, that’s hardly a front page opinion.
She’s also correct that blacks – black youth in particular – are viewed suspiciously by many whites. You don’t have to look any further than the Plaza, Ward Parkway Center, Crown Center and any number of other local hotspots to find clear evidence of that.
However using the Zimmerman verdict as an excuse to make that point was lame. Because had Jeneé actually followed the trial halfway closely – like I did and the jurors obviously did – she’d know that this case was first and foremost about a crime where the verdict was concerned. Not poor judgment or racism.
There was no racism verdict option.
One juror on CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday spoke to the race angle and chastised Zimmerman for poor judgment in following Martin. But that wasn’t what the verdict was about, she said.
George Zimmerman wasn’t on trial for race crimes, he was on trial for murder.
And Jeneé didn’t quite get that.
There was no verdict the jury could have rendered that would have punished Zimmerman for not hanging back as he should have. Other than merely to ignore the evidence and convict him for something he wasn’t guilty of, to make a point about race.
As the juror clearly stated – and was evident to anyone who followed the trial testimony – the evidence pointed to Martin having been the aggressor, throwing the first punch and having been in a position where banging Zimmerman’s head repeated against the concrete, it could have resulted in his death.
The jurors ruled Zimmerman had every reason to fear for his life, thus the ruling that it was self defense.
This case wasn’t about a little boy with a bag of Skittles.
It wasn’t about Jeneé’s bible thumping husband going jogging in Prairie Village and getting murdered because he’s black. This was about a fully developed teenager – who would have been tried as an adult had he prevailed in the fight – in a really bad neighborhood where lots of bad things had been happening.
It was also about a Hispanic guy who volunteer works with black kids, who took a black girl to prom in high school and who made some really poor decisions but who had every reason to fear for his life when those poor decisions came back to bite him in the ass.
What would have been significant is if Jeneé had stepped outside the box, done some research and brought something to the table less predictable than yet another rehash of what many in the national media had already made up their minds on BEFORE the facts came out in the trial.
Giant Fiat 500Ls descend on Olathe
Go drive a new Fiat 500L which have landed and are in stock at Fiat of Olathe near 119th and I-35.
You’ll be shocked, I was.
I was expecting something akin to a Mini Cooper Clubman - the elongated but still a mini Mini – another cute-mobile, from the folks who brought us JLo, Charlie Sheen and Pitbull.
No effing way!
The new 500L is more than 7 inches longer than the Clubman, 4 inches wider and more than 9 inches taller – that’s huge. It’s even bigger than the Mini Cooper Countryman, noticeably bigger.
What’s more it has the same engine that propels the snarly Fiat Abarth, minus the gnarly exhaust growl. In short, this is the Fiat 500 for those of you who were drawn to the standard issue 500 because of its European style, great gas mileage and affordable price, but thought the better of it because it was too small, too impractical or too gay.
You can forget about those perceived deficiencies with the 500L.
It’s he-man sized, as practical as any small SUV on the market and loaded to the gills with style and function while sporting above average gas mileage and a price families and hipsters alike can afford.
What to expect when you first lay eyes on a 500L in real life?
“They’re like a bus,” says Fiat of Olathe main man David Sanson. “I drove one home last night and it was like a bus.”
“I’ll tell you what I love is the headroom and legroom and how easy it is to move into the backseat,” Sanson continues. “I also like the power that it has to get up and scat, and it handles really well. It handles like a sports car, and it’s got more standard equipment for the money than most of its competitors, including a free $1,700 package that has a 6.5 inch touch screen monitor with GPS navigation, a rear backup camera and park assist.”
The other thing small SUV shoppers will notice; the 500L’s Italian styling, panache and bargain price.
“It has some unique European style in it and a lot of very well thought out nooks and crannies,” Sanson adds. “It’s really been well thought out from front to back.”
False Fact Check Becomes TV News Nightmare
Movie and travel guy Jack Poessiger’s take on the Asiana jet crash media hoax:
This has got to be one of the all-time great media pranks…
Or maybe the all-time worst.
In case you missed it—it’s priceless—in a sick sorta way.
It went down last Friday when KTVU-TV2 (San Francisco / Oakland) info babe Tori Campbell reported the names of the four pilots on the ill-fated Asiana flight 214 that crash landed on July 6 at SFO.
Obviously Campbell had not pre-read—nor understood—the news copy because what she freely announced to viewers in the 6th largest media market in the U.S. as fact, turned out to be the ultimate prank.
Here’s what Campbell read live on the air from the TelePrompter:
“We have just learned the names of the four pilots who were aboard the flight. They were Captain SUM TING WRONG, WI TU LO, HO LEE FUK and BANG DING OW.
“The NTSB has confirmed these are the names of the pilots on board flight 214 when it crashed. We are working to determine exactly what role each of them played during the landing on Saturday.”
Howard Stern couldn’t have masterminded a worse prank.
Was it hilarious? Sure, but in the end it was more sad.
And how many people in that newsroom saw the copy before it was read over the airwaves? A copywriter? An editor? The TelePrompter operator? Hopefully, even the anchor who should have checked the script before reading it live on the air.
I’m probably giving too much credit here.
Check it for yourselves here. It’s even more bizzare when you hear Campbell actually deliver the lines with a straight face.
By the way, Asiana Airlines plans to sue the TV station over what the Korean carrier calls a “racially discriminatory report.”
Could something this stupid happen in market # 31—Kansas City?
One staffer at station K*** said that the chances were slim.
That the standards and cross checks set by their editors would’ve caught the prank. However, another newsie at a competing station told me (also off the record) that with today’s hiring of young, inexpensive, just out of J-school talent, it wouldn’t surprise him.
Obviously that was not the case with Campbell.
Which begs the question, which Kansas City anchor would be the most likely fall to a sucker punch like this one?
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential
Negro League Museum has reason for worry
About that Negro Leagues museum controversy Kansas City Star treated readers to Sunday…
For starters, it’s a rehash of a story that ran last September on Alabama.com. Minus, of course, some of the positive points a proposed Birmingham Negro Leagues museum would have that KC’s doesn’t.
“What we don’t want to happen is a museum just for the sake of history,” says Chuck Faush, chief of staff to Birmingham Mayor William Bell. ”It has to be living, breathing history.”
In other words a museum with fewer static artifacts like KC’s and “more focus on interactive technology than stagnant displays,” Fausch says. ”We’re taking a 21st Century approach that historians and enthusiasts alike are going to want to be interactive. It’s going to have to be an experience.”
Which is undoubtedly one reason Kansas City’s Negro Leagues museum is worried.
And opening up a satellite branch in a former, “historic” YMCA on the Paseo hardly seems a cure for attendance problems. KC’s Negro Leagues museum can barely keep its doors open and stay in the black at its main branch – and then only because of the grant money it receives. Who’s going to want to junket to a YMCA however many blocks away in an arguably even worse part of town?
And once Birmingham is up and running, will the grant money KC has been receiving have to be shared with Birmingham? Will it boil down to a zero sum game with both Negro League museums fighting over the same grant graft?
Two other significant details reporter Mike Hendricks left out of the Star’s version of the dustup:
That Birmingham’s Negro Leagues museum “is fully funded and construction is ongoing.” And that the chairman of the Alabama Negro League’s Foundation says their museum has $5 million worth of artifacts lined up for its launch.
To which KC Negro Leagues main man Bob Kendrick counters, ”We’ve done such a great job telling the story of the Negro Leagues that we’ve driven up the price of these artifacts. In some ways, we’ve become our worst enemy.”
Speaking of worst enemies…
What may be the KC Negro League museum’s absolute worst is its present location.
And that’s something likely to be worsened by branching out to the YMCA on the Paseo.
“One challenge facing the museum is not being near popular tourist destinations like the Country Club Plaza and the Crown Center area south of downtown,” the New York Times reported last year. “There has been a lingering perception that the 18th and Vine neighborhood, though significantly different from the tattered area it was 30 years ago, is still unsafe.”
So Birmingham may not be KC Negro League’s main problem.
It’s location, location, location…
“Over the years, some have proposed moving the museum to the area that includes Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs’ home, or folding it into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.,” the Times adds.
To which Kendrick’ replies weakly, that tough times could bring more visitors here.
“The economy has made people want to stay a little closer to home,” he tells the Times.
And while the Times reports that KC’s Negro Leagues museum struggles to get 50,000 attendees annually (according to its 2012 tax filing that number rose to 65,000 with the All Star Game played here last year), the College Basketball Experience at Sprint Center boasts a yearly attendance nearing 400,000, according to the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association. And that’s while competing with The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield Mass. that says it attracted approximately 210,000 visitors last year and are on track to hit 220,000 this year.
And while frankly the College Basketball Experience numbers sound a bit trumped up, its location is far superior to that of the Negro Leagues, it’s more interactive like Birmingham’s plans to be and does relatively well in spite of competing with the more established Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. (founded in 1959).
So yes, there is a Negro Leagues museum controversy, but it’s a little more complex than the rendition of the story Kansas Citians were spoon fed Sunday.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
KC health regulators are dropping like flies
Look, I’m no expert on horse meat…
Sure I’ve ridden my share of the noble mammals and dished up my share of dog food over the years. And I did just happen to try IKEA’s “famous” Swedish Meatballs last week in Orange County. The ones the Star‘s Joyce Smith raved about.
Fifteen of em, to be exact.
So why did I consume 15 of the international home products company’s ultra bland meatballs if they weren’t really very good? Good question. Guess I was hungry as a horse.
Not hungry enough to eat a horse mind you, but then that’s not how they were described on the menu.
That said, it comes as little surprise to me that IKEA was hit this past week with a horse meat scandal involving its meatballs. A culinary faux pas that MSN Money described as a “widening horse meat scandal” in Britain, Ireland, Italy and the Czech Republic.
While that’s a long way from Orange County (or Merriam, Kansas where IKEA plans to open in the next year), the thought that nobody even noticed the equestrian additive from a taste standpoint, bolsters my contention that the meatballs are far from what I would describe as gourmet.
The supplier who shipped meatballs to the good old U.S.A. were unaffected, the company says.
But who’s to really say?
I mean, once the evidence, has been consumed. And how often does the USDA check for horse DNA anyway?
“Our global recommendation is to not recall or stop selling meatballs,” an IKEA spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
Here’s what I say…
If you think that something that can taste like horse meat is delicious and nobody really notices until they conduct a DNA test, go for it. Head straight for IKEA’s bright blue and yellow warehouse at I-35 and Johnson Drive when it opens and let your imagination and taste buds run wild.
Horse meat or no horse meat, based on my personal experience, you won’t miss it by much.
You may wanna bring your DNA test kit just in case though. You know, if it really matters.
And maybe it does.
And while we’re on the subject, wouldn’t you rather tear into an IKEA meatball made out of Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner I’ll have Another, rather than say, Mr. Ed? Who’s to say chowing down on a really fine steed might not be the Swedish equivalent of snorting Rhino Horn or eating oysters?
KC Bars & Restaurants catch a break as regulators flee the scene
They’re dropping like flies…
And Westport bar and restaurant owner Bill Nigro couldn’t be more pleased. That on the heels of word that two of Nigro’s worst nightmares have and/or are poised to move on. Kansas City Health department honcho Bert Malone and Liquor Control head Gary Majors.
“I heard that this is Majors' last week,” Nigro says. “And Bert Malone just moved on, so the two guys who were most involved in regulating the restaurant and bar industry will have moved on in the past two months.”
On a scale of one to ten, how happy is Nigro?
“Um, about a nine on Majors – Gary did do a few things that were OK,” Nigro says. “And about an 8.5 on Bert Malone. Especially after I almost got arrested by the Health Department last St. Patrick’s Day.”
What? Wild Bill almost did some slam time?
“The Health Department came down to Westport and tried to arrest me for not having a permit to serve food in a private tent in front of Buzzard Beach,” Nigro says. “It was 10 a.m. and they went over and picked up six policemen from the parade route and they asked me why I wasn’t cooperating with the Health Department. So I said, ‘Show me the ordinance where I’m breaking the law.’ I wasn’t selling anything, we were just giving food away.”
Nigro’s that badass that it took six cops to bust his butt?
“I don’t know, but that’s who they sent over,” he says. “They made me email my guest list to the Health Department by the next Monday to prove it was a private event. So in really big magic marker letters I wrote, ‘GUEST LIST’ and then below it I wrote, ‘John Doe.’ Then I faxed it in on the same complaint list the city made on me. I got called into Bert Malone’s office on that one and he told me that in the future I had to get a permit even if I was giving it away. And I said, ‘You don’t do that at Chiefs games.’
“I was giving away peanuts, crackers, goldfish, animal crackers – I even offered some animal crackers to the police when they came. I was just trying to make everybody laugh. I even said, ‘See that girl over there? I can invite her to over to my tent for some chips and dip and I don’t have to have a permit to do that and they all smiled.
“Here’s the thing that the health department inspector asked me when they first came up. She said, ‘What’s this over there, this tent?’ And I said, ‘That’s for a private party.’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Well, how do I know that?’ And I said, ‘Because I just told you. Do I look like a liar?’
“And she said, ‘Well, you’ll have to tear it down.’ I said, ‘There’s no such rule about having to have a guest list, you’re making that up.’ But that’s what the health department does, they make up the rules as they go along.”
As for Majors, “I hear he’s taking a position in the Kansas City school system,” Nigro says. “Personally I’m glad he’s retiring or moving on to another job or whatever he’s doing. But these are the two guys who had the most restaurant and bar industry involvement and I’m glad to see them both go.”
Randy Miller Joins KC Confidential, salutes former Q104 General manager Dan Wastler
I got the news that Dan Wastler passed away yesterday, and I was immediately filled with regret…
Although I worked for Dan for almost 8 years at Q104, I never really got to know him very well. I hosted the crazy, carnival morning show on Q104, and he was the straight arrow, kept-at-arms-length general manager. We battled weekly, and celebrated daily.
Dan was always the first to congratulate me on great ratings, but also the first to call me on the carpet for whatever offense he or CBS deemed had crossed the line.
In fact, Dan ran the only station in the Midwest to install what CBS called a “dump button” for my show. A switch that could be thrown from Dan’s office that could automatically delete the previous offensive seven seconds of my show, so it never would go live.
He used it once in 8 years and that was because of an offensive caller!
I admired Dan’s ability to somehow stay above the fray, and maintain a professional attitude in any situation. I even admired Dan when he and CBS took me to court to side against me in a listener lawsuit involving a naked painter (more on that in future columns).
Dan was always somehow able to keep his sense of humor, as well…..even when, during our annual Q104 golf tournament, I supplied everyone playing with complimentary golf balls..,with Dan’s picture on them.
Dan was one part Ted Baxter and one part Mr. Carlson from WKRP.
I played golf with Dan, laughed with him at parties and avoided him at work.
The last time I saw Dan was after his heart transplant in the men’s room of the Midland during the Jersey Boys show.
He strode over, shook my hand and told me he felt great. I was genuinely glad to hear it.
Dan was the only radio guy I can remember that could fire you and still make you happy to see him!
My prayers go out to Dan’s wonderful wife, Beverly, and his great family that he loved so much.
Stop the Snow Blower Madness
KCC columnist Paul Wilson is as mad as hell and…well, I’ll let him explain:
Talk about blow jobs…
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that each year there are approximately 5,740 snow blower related injuries in the United States that require medical attention.
One problem in the design of some snow blowers is that snow can build up in the auger, jamming it and stalling the motor. This is complicated by the fact that the auger can deform before applying enough resistance to the motor to turn it off.
Then if the jam is cleared by hand, it’s possible for the auger to return to its natural shape suddenly and with great force, possibly injuring the user.
Snow blowers are a leading cause of traumatic hand and finger amputations.
“Snow blower injuries tend to happen when someone stops paying attention for even a few seconds,” says Dr. R. Michael Koch, chief of the microsurgery and replantation services of the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y. in a news release.
As a result of our recent storms, one local hospital reported 12 people coming in during just a six-hour stretch with snow blower related injuries.
It’s time something is done and the government steps in and protects people from this terror.
“The snow blower got jammed up multiple times,” one of the patients told Action News. He said he tried sticking his hand in to get out snow, but it caught the tips of his fingers.
When they stop this madness? When will the government start protecting us from this clear and present danger?
This has been a concern of mine that I’ve researched for years. I have hundreds of pages of facts; I know the biggest manufacturers of snow blowers in the nation; I hang with many of the big players in this field and consider them friends.
For five years now, I’ve written a newsletter on the topic with 563 subscribers to date. I’d be glad to share my findings with readers here on KCC.
Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a brief summary of what I’ve learned to date:
Saudi Arabia has banned snow blowers and its ban has proven to be a model we should look to. Snow blower accidents have decreased nearly 100% since the ban.
It’s time we set our differences aside, gain some humility and learn something from our Muslim brothers. Hey, they gave us our President, we need to follow their lead in this area as well.
Civilians DO NOT NEED snow blowers.
The government can clear the roads and solar power will melt the rest of the snow after we, you know, shovel.
I know the fear; if they ban snow blowers next they’ll come back for my manual shovel…then my AK-47 and so on.
That’s the idiotic fear mongering being spread by the right wing media.
The Second Amendment doesn’t give us the right to own, borrow or use these death machines and the truth is, we need to be protected from ourselves.
Snow Blowers are counter productive to home safety.
The chance of some of you fat losers venturing out of your mom’s basements after reading this and then falling on the snow and breaking a hip is NOT made safer by the ownership of this machine.
You’re far more likely to kill yourself in its operation than any offsetting benefit you derive through its snow clearing ability. Which btw has yet to be proven to my satisfaction.
You’re far more likely to inure a child with a snow blower than the chances of them getting caught up in mass school shooting.
Defending your own driveway with this tool of amputation is more likely to do more harm, inadvertently, to your neighbor even than what your own safety is worth.
Objects hurled from its mighty, chopping blades can travel like shrapnel for blocks like an errant bullet at a shooting range or careless New Years Eve celebratory shot into the air!
Ordinary people, when operating a snow blower, can inadvertently turn into slaughtering butchers, but when it’s taken out of their hands, they revert to totally
normal human beings.
Coincidence? I think not.
Women are just as intelligent as men, but a woman operating a snow blower is an accident waiting to happen!
I’m way beyond tired of hearing about proper training and registration of snow blowers. People don’t intentionally hurt themselves with snow blowers, snow blowers hurt people, plain and simple.
We don’t need more training and better, stronger gloves, we need fewer snow blowers.
There are a few small concessions I would agree to, outside of a total ban, but not many.
***A 1/8th horsepower limit to the engines, less power, less threat of danger.
***Limiting gas tanks on snow blowers to one pint of gas. If you have to stop more often to refuel, you will more likely go inside, warm up, and come back more alert, more capable of managing this dangerous, unnecessary tool.
***Requiring garage safes so these monsters can be put into them when not in use so one cannot be started and engaged accidentally by a child.
I’m taking my proposal to Topeka next week.
Remember, I’m looking out for YOU!
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
This year, rate the best local commercials
Will it ever end?
The latest cutbacks – now and coming soon – at the Kansas City Star include another round of employee furloughs (forced, unpaid one week vacations) and a shrinking of the newspaper’s print edition sometime by the end of spring.
Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish unleashed the not unexpected furlough news Tuesday in a memo to staffers.
“As we make the turn into 2013, we continue to see some signs of economic uncertainty, and our revenue projections, although improving, continue to track below prior year,” Parrish wrote.
Hold it right there…
Revenue projections are “improving” in the advertising slow first quarter and below last year? Yet somehow that translates into things are getting better so here are some more paycuts.
Look, if the economy gets fully back on track, things will most certainly improve at 18th and Grand.
However the real reason for the past four years of layoffs and cutbacks isn’t the economy stupid, it’s the ongoing demise of daily print publications.
But back to the future…
Tuesday’s furloughs require “most full-time employees” and “all senior team members” to take a week off with out pay in the first half of the year.
Why the first half?
Because that leaves the second half available for another round of furloughs.
Which brings us to what used to pass for morale at the newspaper…
“Everybody there says the same thing,” says a former staffer with close ties to surviving Star newsies. “It’s just a death march – it’s just awful. Why do you think they’re jumping ship? They’re all trying to get the (heck) out of there.
“They have to work too hard and they never have time to have any fun. They used to be able to sit around and think of story ideas, but now they’re always working.”
Super Bowl Kansas City Style
KCC’s Jack Poessiger weighs in on this year’s Super Bowl ads. Not the ones with Clint Eastwood and Charlie Sheen in them. The local ones:
The almighty Super Bowl is just around the corner…
And with it comes its extraordinarily huge viewing audience. Especially given the popularity of this year’s game featuring a duel between the two team’s head coach brothers.
Then there’s America’s fascination with Super Bowl TV commercials.
This year a 30 second network spot during the CBS telecast game has escalated to $4 million. Which may sound huge but still seems reasonable when advertisers calculate the cost per thousand and consider the demographic reached by the commercials.
But what about the Super Bowl spots in Kansas City?
What are advertisers only interested in targeting America’s 33rd largest media market paying for their ads?
Sources say 30 second in-game spots on KCTV start at $35,000 and go from there. Compared to normal 30 second Sunday prime time spots that go for between three and four thousand dollars.
Let’s say KCTV is sold out of local avails and an advertiser still wants to buy an in-game commercial—then what?
That’s where the bump rate of $50 thousand per 30 second spot comes into play. Again a reasonable rate considering the huge number of eyeballs delivered by the game.
There are cheaper spots offered locally, like during the pre kickoff coverage at $10,000 a throw.
Not to mention local packages of just under $100,000 that include spots in the playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl, pre and post Super Bowl segments and during the big game itself.
Question is, whether local advertisers dishing out that kind of dough will stick with their regular commercials or incur the additional expense of producing new spots for the Super Bowl.
Here’s an idea…
Instead of rating the national spots like everyone does each year, why not rate the best of the LOCAL commercials by KCTV’s advertisers?
The big game goes down on Sunday, February 3rd.
Incidentally the Super Bowl is aired in approximately 225 countries to an international audience of about 80 to 100 million people.
Does that make it the biggest game watched around the globe?
That honor belongs to what is considered real football—The World Cup.
The World Cup is watched by half the world, an estimated 2.2 BILLION people!
In the wake of the Lance Armstrong – Opra interview, Point 99.7 FM morning show host Kelly Urich wants to know, “How do I get my money back for all of this Livestrong crap?”
***Immediately after the interview with Lance, Oprah tested negative for Metabolife.
***Lance is now blaming this whole doping thing on that Notre Dame football player.
***I guess it’s time for me to come clean about my relationship with Serena Williams.
***Facebook is adding a feature that allows users to make phone calls! OMG! How do I say LOL on the PHONE?
***Kris Kross are making a comeback. These days they JUMP, JUMP when their car backfires.
***The CEO of Whole Foods likened Obamacare to fascism. Then he convinced my wife to pay $10 for a turnip.
***A group of people are trying to keep the city from tearing down Kemper Arena, and they seem a little out of touch. For example, they want to rename it Livestrong Arena.
***President Obama will host a kid's inauguration Saturday. The event will be free, but the children will pay trillions of dollars in the future.
***American Airlines finally changed the look of their airplanes. The new airplanes will be painted white with a red, white and blue tail. If you don’t like the new look, there will be a $50 charge.
***Kansas City based Burns & McDonnell ranked #18 on Fortune’s list of ‘Best Places to Work.’ They remind me of my first job, when I received burns at McDonald’s.
That’s all, folks! For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Sporting KC deal was a huge error
Does anybody really believe Sporting Kansas City was totally blindsided by Lance Armstrong’s charity calling it quits?
As first reported by KCC, Sporting was in the midst of extricating itself from its ill-advised naming rights deal with Livestrong and a final decision was expected in the next two weeks.
Obviously, Livestrong got the message and decided to strike the first blow by bailing on the deal and accusing Sporting of not living up to the financial part of the agreement.
Think of it as a classic case of “I quit,” getting the jump on “You’re fired.”
So ends the deal – made not two years ago - to tie the disgraced cyclist to our local soccer team.
For anyone who was following Armstrong’s downfall – and admittedly not many members of the general public were – it was beyond obvious that Armstrong was up to his eyelashes in some nasty stuff. Threatening and menacing teammates who’d testified that they along with Armstrong had doped. Lying unconvincingly when the evidence against him was mountainous.
What were the owners of Sporting thinking?
Not much, is the painfully obvious answer.
I attended the big naming rights announcement at Sporting’s half completed stadium at The Legends in KCK and the media and local celebs had to wait for the big announcement because Armstrong’s flight was late. That’s how important Lance Armstrong was to the deal.
Forget about hooking up with a cancer charity, it was about hooking up with a then hip charity with one of the biggest sports celebrities in the world, albeit one who was hanging on to his reputation by a thread. Only the most naïve of people were oblivious to the investigation that resulted in Armstrong’s downfall.
I can still recall how guarded and dour-faced Armstrong was in talking to the assembly. Had he not been dirty, he’d have been smiling and happy as a clam.
But living a life of deceit and lies had taken a toll on Armstrong and he looked more like a guy who was going to the funeral of a close friend than someone who was on the receiving end of a multi-million dollar donation.
Until very recently most people here knew little of Armstrong beyond his winning seven Tour de France titles and dating Missourian Sheryl Crow.
However as anyone who watched the 60 Minutes interview last week with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart knows, Armstrong is nothing more than a first class sleaze bag who lied and cheated his way to the top and then engaged in years despicable acts of intimidation directed at friends, the media, the regulatory bodies of the sport and other cyclists.
“It was tough,” Tygart told 60 Minutes. “All these witnesses were scared of the repercussions of them simply telling the truth.”
What could Lance Armstrong do to them? 60 Minutes asked.
“Incinerate them,” Tygart responded.
Say what you will about disgraced baseball stars like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clements - all of whom were denied entrance into baseball’s Hall of Fame last week because of their alleged steroid use. At least they didn’t employ some of the threatening tactics Armstrong is accused by his teammates and others of engaging in.
All of which left Sporting Kansas City as the poster child for Armstrong and his charity that was founded on stolen money.
The head of Livestrong – a cancer charity remember – actually went before congress and lobbied to have the U.S. Anti Doping Agency’s funding taken away.
What does fighting cancer have to do with trying to undermine a public agency whose mission is to protect amateur athletes from the spread of dangerous drugs?
“Armstrong’s team of lawyers and public relations people launched their own campaign against the existence of the U.S. Anti-doping Agency,” 60 Minutes reported. “The CEO of the Livestrong foundation, Armstrong’s cancer charity, lobbied against USADA before congress. Several members of congress and 23 California state representatives called for an investigation of USADA’s practices and its taxpayer funding.”
Get the picture?
Despite a mountain of evidence that Armstrong cheated and was “running a doping conspiracy” the very head of Livestrong – a cancer charity with no dog in the fight – tried to take out the federal agency that was investigating Armstrong.
Were these are the type of folks Sporting wants to associate its name with?
Even after the release the USADA report that brought Armstrong down, Livestrong head Doug Ulman went on record last fall that Armstrong was “our biggest advocate and always will be.”.
Ulman went on to say that Livestrong’s 2009 endorsement of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was more of a problem for donors than Armstrong’s doping charges.”
So I say, good riddance.
People make mistakes and Sporting committed a huge error in judgment by entering into its deal with Armstrong and Livestrong.
Now it’s done and it’s time move on.
The alternative being to be the poster child for the world’s most disgraced athlete.
Armstrong needs to be very clear about cutting ALL ties to Livestrong now and Livestrong needs to clean house of those who participated in Armstrong’s attempted cover-up.
Fortunately, that’s not Sporting’s problem anymore.
Forget Glenn, Kansas City Finally Has a Decent Dorsey
Check out KCC sports sleuth Brandon Leftridge’s take on the new Chiefs general manager:
For 12 years, he was the director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers.
Actively involved in player personnel decisions for the better part of 22 years, John Dorsey has had a very direct hand in shaping the landscape of a perennial winner.
And because of his hiring, I am now fully on board with the beginning of the Andy Reid Era.
Dorsey—a linebacker for the Packers from 84-89—started out as a college scout in 1991, became director of player personnel for the Seattle Seahawks for one short season, and returned to Wisconsin in 2000 where he resumed the role where he’d previously experienced his greatest success. In 2012, he was named director of football operations.
And now, as general manager, he’ll be selecting future Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Draft and signing brave free agents willing to align themselves with a struggling organization.
I couldn’t be happier.
See, unlike Scott Pioli—who henceforth shall only be referred to by spitting on the ground in disgust—Dorsey really seems to know how to pick ‘em. I mean, REALLY know how to pick ‘em. Since 2005, with Dorsey helping the decision-making process, here are some of Green Bay’s notable picks:
2012 Casey Hayward (Round 2, 62 overall)
2011 Randall Cobb (Round 2, 64 overall)
2010 Bryan Bulaga (1/23)
2009 BJ Raji (1/9)
2009 Clay Matthews (1/26)
2009 TJ Lang (4/109)
2008 Jordy Nelson (2/36)
2008 Jermichael Finley (3/ 91)
2008 Matt Flynn (7/ 209)
2006 AJ Hawk (1/5)
2006 Greg Jennings (1/52)
2005 Aaron Rodgers (1/24)
Over that very same period, here are the Chiefs’ notable selections.
2011 Justin Houston (Round 3, 70 overall)
2010 Eric Berry (1/5)
2008 Branden Albert (1/15)
2008 Brandon Flowers (2/35)
2008 Jamaal Charles (3/73)
2008 Brandon Carr (5/140)
2007 Dwayne Bowe (1/23)
2006 Tamba Ali (1/20)
2006 Bernard Pollard (2/54)
2005 Derrick Johnson (1/15)
Clearly, there are some takeaways from this comparison.
The Chiefs had an amazing 2008 draft class, for starters. AMAZING. It very well could be considered among their best ever. (To be fair, Green Bay’s wasn’t that shabby either, though.)
2006 is kind of a push, though I’d have to give it to the Chiefs because Hali is shaping up to be a perennial Pro Bowler and Bernard Pollard is still doing decent enough things for the Baltimore Ravens.
With the first two picks in 2009’s draft, however, the Packers took Raji and Matthews, and the Chiefs took Tyson Jackson and—wait for it—Alex Magee
Oh yeah, and since 2005, the Packers have drafted both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn (who still could theoretically turn into something someday), while the KC drafted the Gruesome-Twosome of Brodie Croyle and Ricky Stanzi (who could still theoretically turn into a Minsky’s delivery driver, given the opportunity).
And so it becomes abundantly clear, once again, where the greatest chasm forms within the organization: the ability to draft and develop a quarterback. Since the Packers selected Rodgers with the 24th overall pick in 2005, the Chiefs have taken a shot on two gridiron orchestrators—a dude whose greatest claim to fame is marrying a really hot chick and another who couldn’t find a spot on the field due to an embarrassing lack of talent.
He’s not doing anything in SF. Why can’t he not do anything in KC?
So as we move forward—with a less than stellar draft class and an uninspiring free agent QB crop—I place my hope in the hands of John Dorsey, the man who is quickly building a legacy on his abilities in evaluation.
Let’s hope that he has a franchise quarterback hidden somewhere in his draft-pocket, or barring that, is keen enough to trade for 49ers castoff Alex Smith.
Yeah, I’m still on my Alex Smith kick.
Welcome to Kansas City, John.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
Whitlock says Reik 'pulled off a hustle'
Think of it as a case of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure…
Virtually the entire Kansas City sports media hasn’t stopped kissing Chiefs owner Clark Hunt‘s rump since he hired newly fired Philly coach Andy Reid this past week.
And the nonstop praise has been accompanied by little to no critical examination of Reid.
With the exception of former Kansas City Star scribe Jason Whitlock.
That’s right, for all his many flaws, Big Sexy was Johnny-on-the-spot with a critical look at Reid’s less than stellar past two years during which Philadelphia attained a 9-23 win-loss record. A record that’s identical to that of our lowly Chiefs.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Whitlock’s thesis: “Andy Reid pulled off the greatest hustle I’ve ever witnessed.”
“The stench of Reid’s last two years in Philly is still smothering football fans in the City of Brotherly Love…” Whitlock writes.
“I can’t positively say I’m against this hiring,” he adds. “What I can say is that I’m absolutely amazed by its urgency and swiftness. The Chiefs, Chargers and Cardinals chased after Reid like he was one of the Kardashians with a clean bill of health from Planned Parenthood and a fresh tummy tuck from a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.”
Ah, vintage Whitlock.
But unlike innumerable Whitlock columns past - ones where he punks just to be punking - his Reid column reminds us that the Star is a one sports columnist rag at this point. Sans the balance of having a bad cop to go with Sam Mellinger‘s good cop.
“There are (many) fish with fewer miles on their odometer,” Whitlock says of Reid, “fish without indisputable video evidence of their sideline freakiness and questionable decision-making.
“Because we’re in the ‘information age,’ few people in the national media are focusing on Reid’s bizarre and troubling final two years in Philadelphia. Everyone wants to be first to provide the information about where Reid is going and who he is bringing with him and who is leaving because of his arrival. You can’t get that information from Reid, his handlers and his associates if you are publicly reminding Clark Hunt and Chiefs fans just how awful Reid was in Philadelphia in 2011 and 2012.”
“A high percentage of Eagles fans believes Reid hasn’t been right since his defensive coordinator Jim Johnson died of cancer in 2009,” Whitlock writes. “Reid hasn’t won a playoff game since Johnson passed.
“My issue is the last two years. The Eagles were the ‘dream team’ in 2011 and Super Bowl favorite. They went 8-8. They had to win their final four games to reach 8-8. To the utter shock and surprise of no one not named Andy Reid, the decision to promote longtime offensive-line coach Juan Castillo to DEFENSIVE coordinator blew up in Reid’s face. In their eight losses, the Eagles surrendered an average of 29.8 points.
“The Eagles spent millions of dollars building a dream team, and Reid turned his defense over to an offensive-line coach on a whim. This is like getting a date with Beyonce and consulting with Ike Turner on how to romance her.”
Look, I’m no expert but does this sound like the kind of coach Kansas Citians should be dancing in the streets over?
“Reid allegedly had a nine-hour interview with Clark Hunt and his entourage on Wednesday,” Whitlock continues. “I hope someone asked Reid to write a short essay about Juan Castillo. Did anyone have the nerve to ask Reid about his son overdosing and dying at Philly’s training camp this summer? The kid had steroids on him, too”
Whitlock’s bottom line: “Reid left a mess in Philly.”
“This is simply a remarkable job of failing forward by Andy Reid,” Whitlock summarizes. “He found the perfect NFL owner and fan base desperate to get over the pain of a 2-14 season and an overmatched general manager…I realize no one wants to talk about it now, while we’re all pretending Reid is Don Shula coming off the ’72 season, but there’s plenty of proof Reid went crazy in Philly.”
All in for Chuck Hagel
KC Confidential’s David Scott Whinery, Esquire weighs in on the Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary controversy:
Not in my wildest dreams would I have foreseen where President Obama would be nominating a Conservative Republican…
But Secretary of Defense nominee Mr. Chuck Hagel has a lifetime rating of 85 from the American Conservative Union. Nor would I have guessed it would be Republicans torpedoing his confirmation.
Maybe the World ended and no one has told me yet.
Are the Reps really opposing a two-term Senator from Nebraska and highly decorated Vietnam War hero?
So far, the only reason I see emanating from the “Republican Echo Chamber” for this tragic opposition is that Mr. Hagel showed a “horrific” lack of judgment in opposing the surge in Iraq. Which, for some unknown reason, there are still people who think that strategy worked.
Last time I checked, about the only thing the surge accomplished was a temporary lull in sectarian violence.
As soon as the extra American troops left, the tribal warfare resumed with a vengeance.
Having fought in Vietnam, Mr. Hagel probably knows a little about unwinnable wars.
So after having seen the error of his ways in initially voting for the war in Iraq, he has every right to criticize its continuation and errant policies.
Distractions aside, there are several reasons why Hagel’s confirmation matters.
This country would have a Secretary of Defense that has advocated deep cuts to the defense budget. He has the wisdom to see that war is not the answer to every foreign policy challenge this country faces. He has opposed torture. And he does not want to militarily intervene in Iran, no matter how much that goes against the wishes of Israel and the NeoCons.
Mr. Hagel can show the Country that a Conservative Republican can be for peace.
What a PR gift Obama has given the GOP if they’re smart enough to capitalize on it.
Consumer Reports Bashes Russell Stover (Again)
Another Valentine’s Day, more brickbats and bouquets for KC chocolatier Russell Stover Candies…
Like clockwork it’s become the norm for Consumer Reports to roll out its taste tests of boxed chocolates in time for the Day of Love.
Which as far back as 1996 has not bode well for Kansas City candy king Russell Stover.
“Russell Stover Candies was blindsided this week by Consumer Reports‘ pre-Valentine’s rankings of Boxed Chocolate,” I wrote in the Star back then. “KC-based Stover placed ninth in a field of 11 candies, garnering a lackluster ‘fair’ rating.
“Could have been worse.
“Sister company Whitman’s ‘Sampler’ box finished 10th. And the locally based, albeit Japanese-owned Price’s Candy Co. came in dead last.”
In 2002 Consumer Reports let up a bit, damning Russell Stover with faint praise and rating its chocolates merely as “good.”
Stover honcho Tom Ward‘s take on the past bash:
“It’s kind of hard to understand. We do over $500 million in retail sales if you combine the two companies. Apparently, whoever did the sampling didn’t like (the candy) for some reason. There was some comment about indistinguishable cream centers or something – but we’ve been making orange creams, vanilla and maple nut the same way, really, forever and ever. For whatever reason, they didn’t like it, but the American customer says they like our candies. ”
In 2002 I turned the tables on the mag and asked Consumer Reports editor Margot Slade to explain the ratings.
“A consumer has many expectations on a car, it’s a complicated product,” Slade said. “As opposed to chocolates, which are much less complex. You have a basic expectation on a box of chocolates.”
And that is, I asked?
“I think your expectation of chocolate is that it tastes good,” Slade told me. “And if it has a lemon filling, that it tastes like lemon.”
At which point I wondered aloud how chocolate lovers might react if they bit into a Stover’s chocolate and it actually tasted like a lemon.
Had Slade ever even sampled a Stover’s, I asked.
“I’m not going to tell you whether I’ve tasted Russell Stover or what I thought of it,” she shot back.
Which brings us to current Consumer Reports February issue.
“Russell Stover Assorted Fine Chocolates’ sweet fillings had mostly artificial flavors,” the mag snipes. “The quality of Whitman’s Sampler varied, and some nuts were stale.”
So much for the local brickbats, now the bouquets:
KC chocolatier Christopher Elbow came in second – out of 32 – in the “excellent products only” category with the following comment:
“Artistic looking, ultrasmooth chocolate around bold, unusual combinations such as buttery caramels with a taste of chili-mango or balsamic vinegar. Not for the faint of heart.”
Hold it right there…
Chili mango, balsamic vinegar, how’d Russell Stover miss those flavors? No wonder Consumer Reports said they suck.
Elbow costs $40 for an 8 ounce box. A Stover 16 ounce assortment retails for $11.99. In other words, twice the candy for a less than a third the cost.
But no balsamic vinegar…
Incidentally, the 87 year-old Price Candy Company – founded in KC by recently deceased socialite Charles H. Price family – went toes up in 2000, according to the Kansas City Public Library.
“The 87-year-old confectionery manufacturer founded in the old downtown Jones Store building. Description of the company’s history, founded in 1913 by Charles Price, sold in 1982 to Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad, then in 1990 to a Japanese subsidiary and again in 1996 to investors including David’s Cookies, with the factories at Richmond, Missouri, and Hunt Midwest SubTropolis closed in 2000.”
Will Sporting Kansas City Ditch the ‘Livestrong’ Moniker?
The moment of truth nears…
Sources say that the powers that be at Sporting Kansas City appear poised to end the soccer club’s affiliation with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong‘s charity Livestrong.
At this point in time, a final determination may yet to be made, but the betting money is it will come soon.
“The publicity about Armstrong is just too bad at this point,” says a source. “But if they decide to drop Livestrong, I think they’re going to look for another charity.”
Sporting made a deal two years ago to place the Livestrong name on its stadium at the Legends in KCK free of charge.
It’s not like this hasn’t been in the works for some time.
Sporting told Star sports columnist Sam Mellinger last fall it was wrestling with whether to keep the Livestrong name.
In exchange for the “scoop,” Mellinger tap danced a bit and rewarded Sporting by bogusly stating that, “The easy thing would’ve been for Sporting to walk away from Livestrong already. But if nothing else, a willingness to wait this long indicates a willingness to go against making the PR-approved, masses-pleasing move of renaming the stadium.”
What “PR-approved, masses-pleasing” move?
Other than KC Confidential calling for Armstrong to step down from Livestrong and Sporting to end its naming rights deal with the cancer charity last summer, there appears to have been little to no conversation to that effect outside of Mellinger’s decreeing it.
“For the good of his charity and it’s mission, Armstrong needs to do the right thing and step aside and (Sporting) needs to do the obvious thing and change it’s name from Livestrong,” I wrote then. “Immediately.”
“That’s where the internal conflict at Sporting is,” says the source. “The charity is a great charity and Lance is an a–hole what do you do? There’s a very divided camp on keeping the Livestrong name or not.”
Which brings us to the timing of a decision which could come as quickly as Thursday.
“If they’re going to do it, they’ll do it in the next couple of weeks,” says the source.
See more Hearne and KC Confidential at kcconfidential.com
Say goodbye to Kansas City's line dancing capital
It’s hard to imagine but it’s been 20 years since the Beaumont Club in Westport first reared its head…
Now, 20 years after the fact and hundreds of concerts and sporting events later, the vaunted Beaumont is no more. The club – which once served as the country line dancing capital of Greater Kansas City - closed quietly Sunday after a battle of the bands.
“That’s terrible,” says Hobbs fashion buyer Shauna Swanson. “I love that place.”
The Beaumont Club’s web site still shows four concerts slated to appear there this year – including The Darkness on January 30th – however the “Take Action Tour” featuring The Used on January 16th has been moved to the Granada in Lawrence.
Over the years the Beaumont featured some of the top shows in Kansas City with artists ranging from Jane’s Addiction and Big and Rich to Katy Perry and Hank Williams III.
That despite criticism about its questionable sight lines and acoustics that resulted in the Beaumont being cited as one of the city’s worst venues to see a concert in by Star music critic Tim Finn.
New owners remedied much of that five years ago via the addition of a new stage and sound system.
In recent years though the club has reportedly been in a financial tailspin following competition from other outdoor venues, the disintegration of the ownership group and the dropping the nightclub portion of the biz.
In any case, here’s to the fond memories of the many great artists and shows that appeared at the Beaumont these past two decades.
Caveat Emptor; David Scott Whinery 2013 Predictions
Lawyer and card carrying KC Confidential “setter of things straight” David Scott Whinery, Esquire would hardly be described as an optimist. Then again, the way things have been going lately, who would be:
What a miserable year 2012 turned out to be…
Maybe I’m just becoming too cynical, but the only thing that could have salvaged this year for me would have been if the “Mayan End of the World” had come to pass.
Is there any reason for optimism for the “Year of Our Lord” 2013?
Kind of but not really.
Here are my predictions nonetheless.
DOMESTIC POLICY - The only thing that may get better are the marijuana laws. With Colorado and Washington leading the way, expect to see many other states follow and either legalize or decriminalize the herb.
But… as with any silver lining, there’s always a thundercloud.
Which will be the bonanza in “Driving while Stoned” charges emanating from places where it’s widely available for consumption. Until there’s a parts per million standard for what constitutes impaired driving, expect to see states filling their coffers with fines from marijuana related driving offenses.
CITY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS – Expect to see a lot more county and municipal bankruptcies. As property and sales taxes decline coupled with higher borrowing costs, bond yields and unfunded and ever increasing employee benefits costs, many cities and counties are going to bite the dust. And if I may go out on a limb, a State may finally go bust this year.
My money is on California or Illinois.
THE MIDDLE EAST – Expect the “Far-Right” led by my soul brother, Bibi Netanyahu to sweep the Israeli elections in January.
Which is why the former Senator from the “Great State of Nebraska,” Chuck Hagel must be confirmed as the Secretary of Defense. He’s an anti-war conservative and is the best person to manage the unwinding of the American Empire.
Without Hagel, expect to see more imperial over-reach by the “War Party.” The worst-case scenario that can happen in this volatile region is war with Iran. Get ready for WW3 if that happens.
If Hagel is vilified as an anti-Semite or anti-gay and doesn’t make it, all bets are off and get ready for total war.
OBAMACARE – Watch for a mass exodus of Republican Governors to depart from their “values” and set up the bureaucratic channels, which will pave the way – without resistance – to Obamacare’s implementation in the States.
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY – Their slow march to national irrelevance will continue if the “Libertarian Wing” of the Party doesn’t take over. If the current leadership, led by homophobes, fascists and plutocrats doesn’t get thrown out- starting with Boehner & McConnell, who should be replaced by Cantor and Paul – it’s looking bad for the Elephants.
Which is why I see the Reps keeping Boehner & McConnell.
However, they never learn and will continue their slide into obscurity
GUN CONTROL – No matter how many massacres may happen, it’s too late to limit the weaponry held by the American People. All the gun control measures in the wildest fantasies of Dianne Feinstein won’t stop random acts of violence in this Country.
And as far as confiscation goes- good luck with that!
If our leaders were crazy enough to pass a measure where people with guns were rounded up- get ready for Civil War Part 2. I see no meaningful gun control measures passing.
THE ECONOMY – We are all SCREWED!
Have a Happy New Year!
Point 99.7 FM morning dude Kelly Urich’s unadulterated (and humorous) take on the state of Kansas City and the world today. Starting with…
The Top 5 Excuses for 2-14 Chiefs season by (former coach) Romeo Crennel:
#5. It’s hard to get 53 guys to take a guy named ROMEO seriously.
#4. Couldn’t concentrate after Hostess went bankrupt.
#3. Fans doing the wave were setting off his vertigo.
#2. Players worried how the fiscal cliff deal would affect them.
#1. His headset only played music from Justin Bieber.
Everywhere a List List
We’ve all seen them and probably read most of them…
Those ubiquitous lists on television, in newspapers and online. Everyone seems to have one at this time of the year, and yes, I’m guilty as well.
But you know what? When it comes to movies, those lists don’t mean a thing. Nothing really matters except what moviegoers actually spend their hard earned money to see. Because at the end of the day, box office results are really what it’s all about.
It’s the films you kept alive by word of mouth despite what the critics said.
With that in mind, here are the top 10 performing films at North American box offices. The movies YOU CHOSE by ticket sales for 2012:
# 1—MARVEL’s THE AVENGERS—-$625.3 million
# 2—THE DARK KNIGHT RISES—$448.1 million
# 3—THE HUNGER GAMES—$408 million
# 4—James Bond’s SKYFALL—$289.1 million (and still counting)
# 5—TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2—$286.1 million
# 6—THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN—$262 million
# 7—Pixar’s BRAVE—$237.2 million
# 8—THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY—$222.7 million (and still counting)
# 9—TED—$ 218.6 million
# 10–MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED—$216.4 million
First Runner-Up: DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX—$214.1
It’s interesting to note that three of the top 11 films were Super Hero epics while another three fell into the Family Animation category.
Sadly, only one Comedy made the Top Earner list during the past year.
For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com
For earlier columns, click here