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The year was 1979. I was in first grade at St. Patrick's Catholic School and everyone in Mrs. Hayes' class loaded onto a bus. It was my very first field trip and we were all very excited. My best friends Pablo and Tom and I all sat in one of the large, green, cushioned seats and took a trip for what seemed like hours. When we stepped off the bus, we walked into a building the size of the sun itself.

That building was Metro North Mall. We walked into the southwest entrance near where the jewelry store and the balloons were. I walked in and was greeted with gleaming diamonds and lights and shimmering jewels. Then I turned to my left and saw four soaring hot air balloons. Indoors! Their fire lanterns randomly firing lifting the balloons up to the air. Pablo, Tom and I sat on the steps and watched to see which one would go the highest. Could one of them hit the roof? No way, that roof is like a million feet high. Sure enough, the green and blue striped one with the red dots touched the roof.


In the years that followed, I would return dozens, maybe hundreds of times to buy video games, clothes, jewelry for girlfriends, an engagement ring for my wife and more than a few cookies from one of two cookie stores. I saw The Empire Strikes Back there - three times, in fact. And my brother took one of the velvet rope posts in the eye on a summer evening requiring a number of stitches.

My weekends were filled, like I'm sure many of yours were, with looking at the dirty cards in the back of Spencers Gifts giggling when we saw the coffee mug shaped like a butt with “BOTTOMS UP” on it. We congregated around the arcade when a group of more than three kids could congregate in a place without the police being called. Our parents dropped us off at six, and picked us up at 9:30 before you had to fear being abducted or shot.

The waits for Santa were really long at Metro North. (Even though everyone knew the REAL Santa was at Antioch.)

Love was never more pure when walking hand in hand with your best girl down the long hallways and getting an Orange Julius. I had an Orange Julius the other day. For the first time in decades. It was terrible. How did we drink those? It's probably filled with gluten or carbs or something that you aren't allowed to eat anymore.

Our family would pull up in our station wagon, Mom and Dad would head in one direction, probably toward the boring Macy's. Cathy would head toward the fancy store with the expensive jeans. Angie would head for the record/CD store or ice cream. Bobby would head toward the store that sold painted mirrors and wood carvings emblazoned with “Life's a Bitch” painted on them. And I would head towars Babbages where they had all the best video games for my Commodore 64 or drop a few quarters in the arcade. We'd all reassemble at the balloons after 30 minutes and get Topsy's popcorn.

Nary a care in the world.

But back in 1979, we would lay on the steps and watch the balloons for hours. Never once did I check my phone for updates on Twitter - because Twitter and cell phones hadn't been invented yet. We learned the meaning of charity by throwing dimes and pennies into the fountain water at the base of the balloons. Sometimes, we'd roll quarters from the top step down to the water. Entertainment in the time before video games. Metro North was childhood. Metro North was those balloons.

Tuesday, Metro North closed its doors for the final time. For many years, the mall had been empty, the balloons long since taken away. A newer, smaller mall will take its place, but surely it won't have the same look and feel of Metro. The mall with the indoor hot air balloons has simply outgrown its place in the world.

(Chris is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



Next week, my wife, Kara, and I will celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary. There are three folks who sit near me at work that are either newlyweds or getting married in the next few weeks. They're driving me crazy.

They don't even know anything about marriage. Their lives are all “let's try that new restaurant around the corner” and “let's have sex before and after we try that new restaurant around the corner.” One of them came up to me the other day and asked me, “hey, you've been married for a long time, do you have any advice for us?”

Well yes, actually. I do.

Have you ever seen two really old married people at anything other than a wedding or a funeral? No.

Do you know why? It's because they've learned a word called “boundaries.” Think of it as a yellow stripe down the middle of the floor in a home. The truly great married couples respect that line. They also know when to cross it to do something together - like attend an event celebrating a friend's death. And when not to cross it - like when Dancing with the Stars is on and you would rather be alone with that Jennifer Lopez website your friend sent you the link for.

Marriage has very little to do with being together. In fact, marriage, in my experience, has more to do with understanding how to still be you while working inside of an “us” configuration.

It also has to do with learning and knowing every detail of your partner until death do you part. In the first year or so, those things are adorable - like when she sleeps, she makes this cute little fluttering sound. Until about year three, when that fluttering sound has kept you awake for the past four nights and you're starting to hallucinate the cast of Game of Thrones throwing her off of a cliff. It's a two-way street, of course. Like when you burn the toast for breakfast and your partner looks at you with the fire of a thousand suns.

Marriage doesn't just mean holding hands walking along the Plaza on a spring day. Marriage also means understanding what every stain on his underpants means and that he should probably ease up on the Indian food.

Marriage isn't about simply speaking vows in front of friends and relatives. It's about how strong those vows are. Over half of all marriages end in divorce, and I'm guessing a significant number of those have some sort of language in their final papers attributing cause to which way the toilet paper roll is supposed to go--over or under.

Marriage isn't about today. It's about tomorrow, and next year, and 15 years from now when you're trying to decide whether to put on a bra to pick up Carside to Go from Applebees because you're behind on laundry, but your husband is still bitching about eating something.

Marriage isn't just making love for hours on the kitchen table, it's also eating cereal on that same table years later wondering what you might have to sacrifice if you took that table and made it a sweet centerpiece for your podcast studio where you dissect every episode of Boy Meets World.

Marriage isn't about what you do, it's about doing it with someone - the same someone - every day - every hour - every minute for years. Fifteen years, to be exact. Choose wisely. I think I did.

(Chris is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



Basketball season is upon us. More specifically, college basketball season. The tight window between the Super Bowl and baseball season. “March Madness” it is called around the country, but the stars beam even more brightly here in the mecca of college basketball, Kansas City. And the biggest dog in the kennel around here is the University of Kansas. Justly deserved, as the billboard said last year, this is KANSAS City when it comes to basketball.

Say what you will about the second tier of hoops around here including Missouri, Wichita State and the incredible competitiveness of the NAIA Tournament which I had the privilege of calling for 810Varsity.com this past weekend, but KU rules the roost. However, they're being awfully stingy about keeping it that way.

Time and time again, Kansas has rejected invitations to play Wichita State and Missouri in basketball. These games could be epic windfalls for college basketball and also for Kansas City, since they would likely be hosted here, but KU's crimson and blue team colors turn to yellow when they are asked to play.

For Wichita State, the Missouri Valley upstart, their intentions are to knock down the tallest tree in the forest and finally beat the big brother. The past two years, the Shockers have impressed with their program which includes a Final Four appearance and a one-loss season this year, yet the Jayhawks won't take their calls.

For Missouri, the willingness to play KU once again is always festering just beneath the surface. After having moved to the SEC conference two years ago, the administration of Kansas vowed to never allow “Rock Chalk” to be uttered along side chants of MIZ... ZOU ever again. But the rivalry and hatred runs deep between these two Civil War rivals and the longer you wait, the longer KU looks like they're simply ducking.

Kansas and Bill Self know the best way to never lose at poker is to not play, and they have no interest in pulling up a chair and being dealt in. They've not nothing to gain by accepting the invitations. Any paydays couldn't possibly overshadow the risk of taking a single non-conference loss which could jeopardize a potential #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. And yet, Kansas didn't' make it past the first weekend anyway this year, so what would it have hurt?

The child that's hurting the most because of the three-way divorce of MU, KU and WSU? KC, as it has plenty of interest in seeing amazing college basketball. An earlier Kansas-Duke game this year was the highest rated television program in Kansas City. Every seat at Sprint Center would easily be filled, as well as most bars along the P&L District. Money from across the Midwest would pour into Hoop Town. The city would become electrified and KC is never more beautiful when lit up for center court.
Yet Kansas remains the super hot cheerleader who turns her nose up at the “nerd” when they ask her to prom. Kansas might be named after the fictional bird, Jayhawks, but this move is pure chicken.

(Chris is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



Once again, it's bracket season and once again, The Landmark is offering the greatest bracket challenge in the history of the world. Beat our esteemed editor, Ivan Foley, and you win a one year subscription to the newspaper that is above all the rest - The Platte County Landmark. There's still time to get your bracket in. (But not much, Foley needs it by 11 a.m. Thursday--email ivan@plattecountylandmark.com or fax 816-858-2313).

There are over nine quintillion possible brackets (that's a nine with 18 zeros.) And for the first time ever, I'm going to give you the tools on how to win. But for all the possibilities, there are basically only three types of strategies for picking NCAA Brackets.

STRATEGY 1) Pick Chalk - Picking chalk is basically picking every higher seed and picking no upsets. This is a flawed strategy because there are always upsets and sports sucks that way. Games aren't played on paper for a reason. But there is some chalk. This is a terrible strategy.

FINAL FOUR PARTICIPANTS: Florida, Virginia, Wichita State and Arizona

STRATEGY 2) Pick Upsets - Picking upsets means mixing in about 40% upsets. A 12 always beats a 5. Usually one or two 1-seed falls before the Elite 8, that type of thing. This is a flawed strategy because there are an infinite number of possibilities. Usually only one 12-5 upset happens per tournament, so your chances are 25% right there. And then picking the weakest number one seed means that team might win it all. You're pretty screwed.

FINAL FOUR PARTICIPANTS: Wichita State, Oregon, Stephen F. Austin, Harvard.

STRATEGY 3) The Secretarial Pool - For the umteenth consecutive year, your secretary or the nerd in the IT department who wears sweatpants to work will win your bracket contest. This strategy has largely been hidden from the public, but today, for readers of this newspaper, we will unveil the strategy that has picked nearly every bracket correctly since the beginning of time. That strategy is a complicated formula including a mathematical median of:

•Team Colors +
•Team Mascot factored by how closely that mascot matches their grandma's pet cat +
•Fun Name -
•Stephen F. Austin because your secretary once went out with a guy named Stephen and he never called her back divided by
•Time to complete (the shorter the time, the more likely it is you will win)

FINAL FOUR PARTICIPANTS: Pittsburgh (because Ben Rothlisberger is hot and also, ew, Stephen F. Austin), Baylor (because neon uniforms and I like bears), Harvard (because Facebook was invented at Harvard), Wichita State (because my sister lives in Wichita and she bought me a nice present at Christmas).

There you go, Kansas City. Free money. Pick one of these strategies (or one of the other nine quintillion) and clean up. Also, you only have to beat Ivan Foley, so that's nearly as easy as a 2-seed beating a 15* (unless that 2 is Missouri in 2012).

(Chris is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



Do you hear that? Wait. You don't hear that? Must just be the voices in my head.

In what will surely be used at my commitment hearing, I will now submit the following article admitting to hearing voices in my head. It's actually more of a running dialogue. Some of it is fairly benign where you hear “I'm hungry,” or “Time to go poop!” But lately there's been more of an argumentative discussion going on, all between my ears.

I've started a number of personal projects that either haven't worked out or haven't gone according to plan. When I've explained the progress to others, I've used the phrase “well, it sounded like a good idea at the time.” The “sounded” portion of that was my inner self screaming, DO IT!! DO IT!!!

He's the same guy that used to tell me to have one more beer in college or to order the double cheeseburger at the fast food place, but go ahead and get the Diet Coke to balance it all out. I know his voice very well.

Since the invention of Twitter and Facebook, I've been able to give a tangible voice to my inner dialogue. Much of the stuff my Twitter account @TheFakeNed comes directly from that inner dialogue - which is Exhibit A on why my inner dialogue is a horrible, horrible human being and never to be trusted.

Yet, here we are, having a daily argument with my inner-self. Sometimes the voice wins, sometimes I win, but there is always that struggle.

This past month I've started on a “Do-et” which isn't really a “diet” so much as it is an adjustment of eating and exercise habits designed to just do better. Getting the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the double bacon cheeseburger, for example. Parking in the back row of the parking lot instead of right next to the door to get a few more steps in - that type of thing. My inner voice is not pleased. His idea of a good day is watching 18 hours of Doctor Who on Netflix while moving as little as possible - oh, and there are also a lot of Cheetos.

I also heard from him over the weekend as our family celebrated a big achievement by my son at Cascone's restaurant. I was trying to be good but still ate too much and THEN the voice ordered a bowl of 1200 calorie bread pudding - which he ate all of.

Maybe “normal” people don't have this inner dialogue. Maybe “normal” people are able to reason with their inner voice. There are days when the voice and I have a productive dialogue, but they are too few and too far between. Every morning, there he is, telling me to stay back in bed.

In the Bhuddist religion, the “inner monologue” is a thought process that improves our lives. In the Christian faith, the inner dialogue is attributed to the Holy Spirit designed to bring us closer to God.

I just think my inner self is an executive at Burger King trying to improve profits.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



Forty-two years I've lived in Kansas City. That's 42 Summers, Autumns, Falls and Winters.
Screw this. I don't want to see winter number 43. This one has done it. I'm done. I'm finished. This winter just won't end. I want to see green grass. I want to see baseball being played in my backyard. I want to see the SUMMER Olympics.

I don't want to see snow plows and Facebook photos of people's car thermometers reading -2 degrees and I certainly don't want to see any more news reporters sticking rulers in the ground telling you how much snow you got.

It's March. Let's go.

If I have to watch my son and my wife watch the same reruns of TV shows on the same couch one more night, I might scream. I want to walk the dog without putting on 45 minutes of clothes. I want to eat ice cream non-ironically.

But no. For the foreseeable future, we are stuck with forecasts of 23 inches of snow (that turns into 3”?? WTH??) and we're stuck with sleet and sub-zero temperatures. We are stuck with morning radio hosts telling us that it's colder here than in Nome, Alaska. And most of all, I'm stuck driving my wife's stupid ice skate car.

When it snows, Kara, bless her heart, can't drive in the snow. She tried it a few months ago and $300 and a new front end alignment later, we decided that I would drive the ice skate while she drove my giant, gas guzzling, American-made SUV.

So, for three or four days after a snow, I have to wedge my fat butt into her little car filled with empty water bottles and power bar wrappers and change all the presets to sports talk and drive to work.

Meanwhile, she is wrapped in the comfort and luxury of my car, all the while changing the rear view mirror and moving the seat around. Then I must drive that little curling puck out of a neighborhood that is literally the last on the list to be plowed by the city. It really is a recipe for destruction.

I want to be able to get out of bed in the morning instead of feel the vitamin D leaking out of my body with each gray, cloudy, sunless day.

I want sundresses to come back. Is that so much to ask? Sundress season?

Oh sure, there have been a few signs that Spring is near. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, the NFL Combine and even the opening of Spring Training.

But I spent all day Sunday on the couch watching BBC America because my back was out from shoveling my driveway. My knees hit the steering wheel in my wife's car and I would absolutely murder someone for a properly grilled steak.

Forty-one winters. . . I have almost survived 42. Almost. Please get here soon, Spring.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



Last week, I had a chance to go to a pitching clinic for elite high school pitchers. These pitchers aren't just your normal, garden variety varsity kids - these kids will be drafted by MLB teams or play at Division I NCAA programs. These are the cream of the crop.

I was invited there by an organization that wanted to help coach them on the soft skills of baseball. I was there to conduct mock media interviews. My challenge was simple - get an honest answer.

These kids were good. Many of them had already learned the art of the non-answer. “I faced a really tough opponent out there,” one told me. “Preparation and believing in yourself is key,” another told me.
Athlete interviews are among the worst interviews and rank right there among coaches interviews and politicians interviews. And there's a simple reason why - people are so starved for true honesty, we devour it and usually crush it.

So we settle for non-answers and platitudes. These kids reminded me of the scene in the movie Bull Durham where Crash Davis is coaching “Nuke” LaLoosh on how to answer the media. He instructed him to be charming, but never give a straight answer. So, we get “I'm playing it one game at a time” from our athletes and our coaches.

When we do get honesty, like a Jim Boeheim meltdown or a Hal McRae blow up, they are replayed on SportsCenter over and over again.

Just once I'd love to hear an athlete answer a question with “Well, I got in a huge fight with my girlfriend before the game after she found out I haven't left my wife yet. That was really going through my mind when I missed those free throws. Honestly, I just had a good cry at halftime.” The Internet might explode if that were to happen.

But then again, maybe honesty isn't always the best policy. Take Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Here he comes out and admits that he smokes a little crack. No big deal. Just a little crack and he drinks a lot. And that sometimes impairs his ability to govern. Okay. Maybe too much honesty isn't always best.

But we've got to work to find a happy medium. My goal with those kids was to try to get an honest answer.

“Where are you committing to play college?”

“Well, I've got a lot of great choices out there and I hope to make the best decision when the time is right.”

“You buried a few curveballs there, was it a mental or mechanical issue?”

“I just got to keep working and keep grinding and those things will take care of themselves.”

“You seemed to lose focus during the middle innings there. What was going on?”

“Well, you see, I had a missed call from my girlfriend. And we had a huge fight last night. I think she's going to take that internship in Paris and I just love her so much... <sobbing>”

Okay... maybe we all have more to work on. But let's hope we can find a happy medium between TMI and honesty.

(Chris is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



Like most of you, I've spent the past week watching the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia. Every two years, I say I'm not going to watch and then I am sucked in. It's not the ice dancing or the moguls or even the hockey. I can't get enough of curling.

I tend to be drawn to sports that I think that I, if not for a series of fitness choices on my part, could play at a high level. This doesn't leave me with a very large list. In fact, the list is only occupied by curling and competitive wing eating on Coney Island.

What's not to love about curling? It's shuffleboard...on ice... paired with housework. And it also looks like the kind of sport that's made for drinking beer while you do it. Oh, sure, you won't see the Olympic athletes drinking but I'll bet wherever curling is really popular, they have plenty of beer. Just like bowling and darts.

Of course I admire those athletes who do the speed skating and the triple salchow (yes, I had to look up how to spell it - why don't they just spell it SOW COW?) And it's always amusing to watch Bob Costas's eyes turn 14 shades of red, then pink, then purple. But my heart belongs to curling for the next two weeks.

The best part about it is that I don't know any of the rules! I could quote chapter and verse of the obstruction rule in the rules of Major League Baseball, or what constitutes a football move in the NFL. But I have absolutely no idea what a point is, what the strategy is or the level of skill behind curling - I just... can't... stop... watching.

So here, to the best of my ability, are the rules of Olympic Curling:

1) You get 10 innings and inside of those innings you get eight or nine or maybe 10 stones.

2) You take turns sliding your “stones” down the length of a sheet of ice to the bullseye thing at the end. Much like shuffleboard, you have to chug a beer if you get it in the center.

3) You can knock out the other team's stones, which is kind of a dick thing to do. You don't see ski jumping being interrupted by teams throwing rotten eggs at the skiers in mid-flight. But maybe that's why I like curling.

4) The sweeping. You have two people with brooms that look like lint brushes who will sweep the ice in front of the oncoming stone. These brooms either speed the stone up or slow the stone down or make the stone curl. I honestly have no idea. Oh, and the captain of the team SCREAMS at the top of his or her lungs “SWEEEEEEEEEEEEP!” It's intoxicating.

5) The team with the stone closest to the center of the bullseye wins... something... a point, maybe? Two points? A years supply of Turtle Wax? No clue. But they win, and then move onto the next inning.

That's it. That's curling. Try to not spend three hours on your couch watching it screaming at the television, “DAMMIT NORWAY!!! YOU DIDN'T SWEEP NOW YOUR STONE IS BLOCKED!!!!!” It starts to sound like you're getting a very painful prostate exam after a while.

So, thank you, curling. It's nice to see you every four years. Just think, in two years, I get to watch Olympic Trampoline. (Real sport.)

(Chris is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)



There are days that the stupid rains down like the snow on a February morning here in Missouri. Last week, there was a blizzard.

Let's start with the bill introduced in the Missouri Legislature to make the “High 5” the official greeting of the State of Missouri. Congratulations, Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, D-Berkeley. It takes a lot to get elected to the state legislature. It takes money. It takes intelligence and it also takes stones. But for you to spend your precious few years serving the people, offering to help them with funding for homes and businesses and roads and official greetings, well, you are a special, special man. (Note: Don't ever Google “Missouri Handshake.” Don't do it. I warned you. You have been warned.)

Nominee number two goes to Cynthia Newsome of KSHB TV-41 here in Kansas City for striking while the iron is hot. Late last week, parents were on edge when they were notified that Linden West Elementary School in Clay County was in lockdown. The lockdown was due to a man who had refused to surrender to police nearby the school and was a precaution. Newsome, the anchor of the 41 Action News 5 p.m. newscast, sent out the following tweet, “Linden West Elem on N. Wyandotte on lockdown after shots fired nearby. Tweet me if your child goes to Linden.”

Stay classy, Cynthia. How's about you let parents locate their parents and maybe help by tweeting them information instead of trolling for good bait for your newscast? This is now the second example in the past few months of reporters and journalists taking to Twitter effectively ambulance chasing for stories. Reporting comes from “to report” and not “to leach.”

Fittingly, she sent out this tweet later in the day clearing up the matter, but also raising one additional question. (sic) “Linden West students in Gladstone are reunited with their parents after a shooting and school lickdown.”

Finally, our third nominee is a group of folks associated with a basketball game played in Texas Tech against Oklahoma State. In that game, a fan said something that caught the attention of Oklahoma State player Marcus Smart. Smart alleged it was a racial comment, the fan denied it was racial. Anyway, Smart immediately confronted the fan and pushed him. Both the fan and the player were in the wrong, but this set off a firestorm of debate across the country about race. Naturally, my Twitter feed was filled with Kansas fans and Missouri fans hating on each other. Because anything can set those two fan bases off.

The only thing worse about ambulance chasing while reporting is reporting hearsay or something incorrectly. Enter the Twitter feed of WDAF Fox 4 in Kansas City. Nobody from Fox 4 was in Lubbock, Tx. and therefore didn't report on this event, however they still tweeted the following: “We haven't done the total CSI type analysis, but it appears this is what TTech superfan Jeff Orr says to Marcus Smart: “go back to -----”.” (Dashes added by Fox 4)

As Deadspin.com accurately pointed out, KC is 700 miles from Lubbock and Fox 4 did no interviews of anyone at the venue. They just guessed and it was then picked up as factual news by other outlets across the country. But nonetheless, Fox 4 is now credited with reporting something the man may or may not have said.

This all brings to light the dangerous power the media has in the Twitter age. One false move and you can easily insult worried parents or confuse idiot fans. But, you can rest assured that we'll be giving you a Missouri Handshake on the way down.

(Chris is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and also the station director for the sports station at kansascity.ourcityradio.com)


We have crossed into dangerous times. No, it's not because of nuclear proliferation by North Korea or climate change. It's because my Mom was excited to Bruno Mars was supposed to belong to the young people. Halftime shows are supposed to belong to the young people. The older folks are supposed to complain about how the music is too loud and “why can't they have that wonderful young boy Frankie Avalon singing at halftime?”

Now it's over. Our relationship is broken now. Beyond repair.

And it's not just me. Moms are ruining America. Samsung made a claim earlier in the year that only old people own iPhones now. Mom's ruined the iPhone. Think of your friend. Now what kind of phone does he or her have? Is it an iPhone? Are they an old person? Case made.

The latest proof is that Princeton University researchers recently published a study predicting that Facebook will lose 80% of its user base over the next three years? Why? That's right. Moms have ruined Facebook.

Facebook used to be the place to go for college kids to pick up other college kids. Then it became the coolest place to post pictures of your drunken Friday nights. Do you remember when your Mom friended you on Facebook? It's probably right up there with the day the Space Shuttle crashed or the day you found out about Santa Claus. It's a moment you never forget. Forever changed.

After that, you started to get posts about making sure you eat your vegetables, and questions about who that blonde was in the picture from last weekend. It stopped being fun. So everybody went to Twitter. Mom is headed there next. Now people are ejecting off of Facebook faster than the Denver Broncos chance to win the Super Bowl.

It's not Mom's fault. She doesn't mean to buzzkill the party. She's only looking out for you. And it's not the first time. Remember your first boy-girl party when you were 14? Remember when she brought out the pictures of you in the bath tub? Remember your graduation party when she showed the video of you after you got your wisdom teeth pulled out and couldn't say “potato for an hour?” These things are adorable to Mom, but they're humiliating to you.

Moms even ruined blue jeans. Blue jeans used to be worn by James Dean and Elvis. Now “mom jeans” are an actual thing worn by Michelle Obama and... your mom.

Now Mom is going after Facebook and Bruno Mars. Something must be done. The line must be drawn here. You can have Bruno Mars, but leave me Daft Punk and Twitter.

(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. He hosts baseball-themed radio shows. More importantly, he hosts the YouTube hit that is the Rambling Morons videocast. Reach him through his website, ramblingmorons.com)



“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.”
--John Lennon

There's a new billionaire out there, folks, and it's a 44-year-old woman. Her name is Sheryl Sandberg and she joins the roster of 1,426 billionaires worldwide, according to CNN.com. Only 138 of those are females.

Sandberg made her billion by becoming the chief operating officer of a little company called Facebook. Before that, she worked for another startup called Google. Both companies were born out of meager beginnings, by dreamers.

Dreaming is a tricky thing. For every one dream that becomes a reality of any success, thousands of dreams fail to net any substantial value. America prides herself on being a country that fosters dreamers. Land of the free. Home of the brave. McDonalds, Apple and Coca-Cola were all born by dreamers right here in America. But so was Paul Silvio's Pizza and Lemonhead's Attic.

Those two companies are, sadly, not common household names. Paul Silvio's was a pizza shop that gave me one of my first jobs. It was a small pizza place just off the I-35 ramp at Parvin Road. I was their first driver. The pizza was, simply, the best you've ever eaten. Light years ahead of Pizza Hut or Domino's, our primary competition. But we were the little guy, and never seemed to take hold in the neighborhood. It also didn't help that the owner went to jail for a short time, but I digress.

Paul Silvio's Pizza was a dream, and a damn good one. It just didn't take. Pizza Hut was the same dream, with different circumstances. This Sunday, when you'll be sitting down watching the Super Bowl, you'll likely be eating Pizza Hut and not Paul Silvios.

Lemonhead's Attic was an eBay business I started in the early 2000's. The company was named after my favorite candy, Lemonheads. And the idea was that I'd sell stuff from my house and also the “buy crap low, sell crap high” philosophy. Predictably, this company didn't take off and make me rich contrary, to the three books on eBay selling I read that made the respective authors rich. One guy bought pool tables because he knew a guy that sold pool tables, then sold them for a profit on eBay. Why couldn't I replicate the same success selling DVD's of Star Trek The Next Generation?

So, why was Lemonhead's Attic not the next Facebook? Why is Sheryl Sandberg a billionaire and Paul Silvio out of business? The truth of the matter is that most of it's luck. Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett put their pants on the same way we do--by hiring servants to put them on for us--or something like that. There's not much different. Sure, they might have a little higher IQ, or been born into some pretty fortunate families, but the point of all of this is that I'm not going to stop trying to find that brass ring. I might not be a billionaire at age 44 like Mrs. Sandberg, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to quit.

First order of business... order some pizza.

(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. He hosts basseball-related radio shows and the Rambling Morons podcast that you can find on YouTube. Reach him through his website, ramblingmorons.com)



It takes a lot to surprise me. And I'm not just talking about the occasional sports upset or getting a large fry when you ordered a medium kind of surprise. I mean genuine surprise. But this weekend it happened.

My son and I embarked on our yearly “let's leave Mom the hell alone - she's getting that look in her eyes that she might murder us” weekend and we headed up to Chicago for a guys’ weekend. Trying to be thrifty, we booked travel via the MegaBus. If you've never ridden the MegaBus, think Southwest Airlines mixed with a cattle car and throw in a couple of unknown odors that just randomly waft by. And repeat for 11 hours.

The MegaBus is not something you enjoy, but rather something you survive-like marriage or an IRS audit or testicle surgery. Though that's not the surprising part.
We enjoyed our guys weekend, taking turns farting, eating junk food, visiting landmarks and walking around the Windy City checking out the prostitutes on the sidewalks. (It was about 15 degrees, so we only saw about a dozen.) And we spent three days living like men - in that we ordered room service and left the door open when we took a crap.

The surprising part of our journey was the commute home. About three minutes after we left the MegaBus, I decided that there was no way in hell we were going home that way. Short of walking, I found a cheap ticket on Amtrak. Neither of us had taken the train before but it was recommended by a friend and the odor couldn't possibly have been as bad as the bus.

So, on Sunday we headed down to Union Station in Chicago and boarded the train. Riding the rails, we called it, as the conductor looked at us funny. Additionally, he didn't seem pleased when I asked to blow his train whistle. But I digress.

What followed was the most relaxing journey I never expected. I fly Southwest Airlines a lot and I sometimes have to drive my wife's dinky car - so I know about being cramped. The seats on Amtrak are like walking onto a boat. They fully recline. They had leg rests. It was heavenly. Where has this been my whole life?

There was an electric plug for my iPad and a lounge car with booze for my liver. I was in heaven for seven hours. Along the way, however, I started to get pretty angry that my parents loaded the four children into the station wagon every summer during my youth to drive to California or Nebraska or Florida. All of those fights, all of those “accidents,” all of the threats to turn around and go home from the front seat. Those could've all been swept away by riding on the cloud that is Amtrak.

But Amtrak is constantly in the news saying that they are near bankrupt and continue to drop offerings around the county. I'll tell you, after one ride, I'm hooked. I'm a train rider now. But Amtrak is doing nothing to help their own cause. They're really missing out on their target demographic - fat guys.

Those seats are so comfortable, all they'd have to do is install WiFi and a television and you'd get five million fat guys traveling from KC to Chicago in no time.

But the surprising thing about it is how much my son enjoyed it. “This was awesome, Dad.” And that, at the end of the day, is what it's all about.

(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. He hosts baseball-themed radio shows. He also hosts The Rambling Morons podcast. Reach him through his website, ramblingmorons.com)


I've gotten it all wrong.

Thank you, Alex Rodriguez, Chris Christie, Lance Armstrong, and a host of others for reminding me about a valuable life lesson... Throw out that “liar, liar, pants on fire” nursery rhyme and let's go with “cheaters always prosper.”

Lying is in. Cheating is the new black. I think I'm ready to learn from my mistakes in the past and finally embrace the dishonest lifestyle that will put me on top.

Alex Rodriguez continues to remind us that cheating always pays off. Oh sure, he's facing a little bit of trouble in the way of a 162 game suspension from baseball for taking steroids, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to the $300 million he's made playing baseball over his career. All the while, denying he ever took any performance enhancing drugs even though evidence suggests the complete opposite. A-Rod even has folks coming out of the woodwork who admit to injecting him with things. No matter. Deny, deny, deny.

But Chris, you say that Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour De France titles. Yeah, but HE GOT TO HAVE SEX WITH SHERYL CROW. The man only had one testicle. Do you think he's going to bag a hottie like Sheryl Crow without some PED's? Another victory for cheating.

Jump ahead to politics--oh there's never any lying in politics. Let's look at the latest scandal, this one featuring New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who denies any involvement with creating traffic jams on the George Washington bridge. A bridge named after, ironically enough, a man who could not tell a lie. What does Christie do? Denies any involvement in the face of mounting evidence that he caused the problem. Christie might be the next President, hell, he might be elected King or Pope or something. Brilliant move, Governor!

Just think what I can accomplish with a new slate--one where I'm dishonest. I could start taking performance enhancing drugs, which, for a newspaper columnist, is really just black coffee and Red Bull. But those are two things I don't currently drink. Doesn't matter. I'm heading for newspaper glory.

Maybe I should just start copying columns out of The Pitch and turning them in. Oh boy, let the money start rolling in! All those “good” manners and traits my parents taught me like never telling a lie and respecting others -- garbage. Daddy needs him some moolah!

I can start lying. Oh boy, this is going to be great. Sure, Mr. Editor, I fact checked every one of my quotes, like the one where the mayor said that all police cars will soon be equipped with a stun gun that shoots Skittles at pedestrians. Nope, got the quote myself. Just print it. BOOM. COME ON PULITZER!!

I suppose I could continue to tell the truth and be kind to my elders and make complete stops at traffic lights. Naaahhhh... Look out world, you've got one lyin', cheatin', dopin', druggin' newspaper columnist about to raise some hell in 2014--A-Rod style.

Now, can somebody get me Sheryl Crow's number? I need a date to the Newspaper Awards.

(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. He hosts some baseball-themed radio shows, as well as the Rambling Morons podcast, voted the Internet’s best podcast by The Landmark. Reach him through his website, ramblingmorons.com)


Loserville. Welcome back to Loserville.

You thought winning a soccer trophy was the turning point? Nope. Kansas City, you are the pits.

It's our fault, really. Not the fault of the Chiefs defense, who gaked away a 28-point lead. This one is on us. We should've seen it coming. I mean, for goodness sakes, even our mascot spent the last two months in the hospital. Was it really any surprise that Jamaal Charles left the game injured five minutes in?

This one felt like a punch in the gut after about 25 kicks in the groin and dropped a city right back into the squalor that is Loserville: Population Kansas City and Cleveland. At least Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Every year we hope and we pray and we squint and we cheer and we invest money in shirts and hats - and what do we get out of it? A 28-point swing and a 45-44 loss to extend the Chiefs winless streak in the playoffs to 21 years. The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game, NBC's Friends was eight months away from airing its first episode and Joe Montana was the quarterback.

This one is on us. We absolutely should've seen it coming. Kansas City is the home of Andrews McMeal, the publisher of Peanuts. Peanuts is the famed comic strip by Charles Schultz and features a recurring gag where Lucy repeatedly convinces Charlie Brown to try to kick a football only to pull it away at the last second--over and over and over again. There is no more perfect metaphor for Kansas City sports fandom.
Kansas City tried to dye a frozen fountain at North Oak and Vivion to show its Chiefs pride prior to their first playoff appearance in a decade. The scene looked like something out of an episode of CSI or Dexter. Rivers of red dye painted the white ice unevenly, prompting the KC Parks Department to issue a statement saying it was the first time they tried it. Ya think? Well, at least we have that haunting reminder of failure to drive by every day until March when it thaws.

Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? If I offered you to be a Kansas City fan and repeatedly watch our teams puke in times of clutch for over 20 years, or, smack yourself in the face one time with a hammer and never be smacked again--wouldn't you take the hammer?

And yet, we'll line up again for tickets when they go on sale in a few months. We'll continue to buy Chiefs shirts as birthday presents and put Royals bumper stickers on our cars. We are Kansas City. We are Loserville.

At least we can put aside our pain over a 21-year playoff drought and focus on the upcoming Kansas City Royals season--a team with a 29-year playoff drought. I'm sure this will end up better. I can sense it.

I'm going to run out and buy my season tickets, right after I kick Lucy's football.

(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. He hosts baseball-themed radio shows. And he hosts the award-winning Rambling Morons podcast. Reach him through his website, ramblingmorons.com)

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