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This past weekend, I dove into a frozen lake for charity. I like doing charity events as much as the next person. I've done my share of 5K's, I went on a 30 mile bike ride once, and have attended numerous rubber chicken dinners - but I've never quite seen something rooted in stupidity and giving as the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.

We were at Longview Lake and the temps were hovering just over 24 degrees. There was a thin sheet of ice over the lake and there were hundreds of participants who had all raised money to do this. I, being the idiot that I am, was challenged by someone from the Internet to do it. “Sure, if I raise $100, I'll do it. I'll even wear a speedo if I raise $200.”

The Internet raised almost $700 for me to jump into a frozen lake. I'd be pretty offended if I wasn't so terrified of the shrinkage factor. So, I donned my skivvies and headed out to Longview Lake.

The most important thing about this entire event was the kids. Let's make that perfectly clear. These kids who participate in bowling, baseball, soccer, and all other types of competitions are really the focus of the event. So when I spend the next eight paragraphs talking about how incredibly, freaking, bone chillingly cold Longview Lake was, please understand... it's for the kids.

But good grief was that cold. It hit you after the first stride into the water. Thankfully the air temperature was somewhere around 35 Saturday morning, so a 10 minute wait outside wasn't the worst thing ever. And then came the whistle. And then the splash. And then the deep freeze.

The goal of the event was to wade about 20 yards into the water, then turn around. A couple idiots even went under. That wasn't my style because after about 12 seconds in the water, you realize that portions of your body - very delicate portions of your body - have headed for higher ground and warmer weather. I have yet to see or sense them again.

While this probably won't be the last time that I dare the Internet to a challenge, I do think that it will be more important next time to pick and choose. Surely there are safer, more teste-friendly activities like something in July in air conditioning with beer.

That being said, if you have an organization that would like to challenge me to something safe and easy on my giblets, please contact me at the Landmark Offices. All I ask is that you make the challenge for Ivan Foley more difficult than me. It's only fair.

One other update to the column I wrote last week about what a hard job it is to be a TSA worker. Now that the government shutdown is over, feel free to go back to being rude and condescending to the TSA workers. Thanks, government!

(Catch Chris Kamler and his giblets on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, or somewhere close to a space heater)



Assuming that the grown ups don't figure this out by the time this goes to press, we are now in our fifth week of the Government Shutdown. It's been over a month since a reported 800,000 government workers from across the country have been furloughed.

In general, I honestly haven't noticed too much. I recognize that my day-to-day is certainly not like those who might need the services provided by these furloughed workers. But one place I did see the impact of the shutdown in person is while flying last weekend to Cleveland.

I've had some pretty crummy jobs in my lifetime. I've been a baseball groundskeeper, where you're asked to wade into ankle deep mud trying to prepare a baseball field for a game a couple of hours away. My first job was as an old-fashioned pin-setter in a manual bowling alley. On Friday nights, the bowlers would get pretty hammered towards the end of the night and not notice you were still picking up pins before rolling their 14-pound ball towards you at 50 miles per hour. I've even worked in service industries at a casino where you had to deal with the belligerent, the unwashed, the destitute - and those were just my co-workers. On the floor your job was to separate people from their money - so you can imagine some of the attitudes we met.

None of this crap combined would compare with the garbage a TSA worker faces in a single day. Luckily, I don't have to travel that often for work. Maybe four or five times a year. And just in the past few years, I've seen these people get yelled at, mocked, lied to, and grossed out by the flying public. Certainly, we all have stories where the TSA workers haven't helped their cause. It's certainly a two-way street. But I think we can all appreciate that the job of a TSA worker is designed to do an important thing, but a thing that is, by design, a little humiliating.
Instead of working to make this process easier on everyone - maybe by making more sensible x-ray procedures, or hiring more workers, or giving increased service training - we as a country award these folks by withholding their paychecks... and still calling them into work.

I witnessed this first hand last weekend when flying. As I was emptying out my pockets, I happened to have $.75 in change that I needed to ask one of the TSA attendants for one of those change bins to run through the x-ray machine. She chuckled as she handed it to me, and said, “wow. You're making more money than me right now.” And we shared an awkward giggle as she sent me through the x-ray machine.

That day while flying, I at least saw a little more tolerance and understanding by the public towards the TSA workers. I guess the challenge will be to keep that going once the government reopens and they are paid again. If that happens.

(Fly with Chris Kamler anytime on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed and find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Cleaning out the notepad this week since our esteemed editor, Ivan Foley has shaved a whole day off of our copy deadline. This means that instead of cramming out an article 30 minutes before Monday, I have to cram out an article 30 minutes before Sunday. The nerve of some people. Here are some notes that have been rolling around my head.

We don't make things anymore. I think the future of making money in the United States is going to be the service industry. You can get a person to drive you to the airport, you can hire a person to go to the DMV for you. You can even find a person to walk your dog through the app. None of those people are creating things, they're just hustling for money. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but look through Amazon's catalog and you'll see that we're buying things made in China and overseas, then asking other people in the country to do stuff for us. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late to walk my neighbor's chihuahua.

Along a similar theme, I recognized that I don't know how to do ANYTHING. I write tweets, I write this column, and I send a lot of emails at work. But I don't know how to change my oil or turn a wrench for next to anything. So over the holiday break, I made a Christmas present for my family - with my own two hands. It was a baseball wreath made of old baseballs that have been junking up my garage. It turned out... okay. It's certainly not going to be in Martha Stewart's magazine or anything, but our home now has a handmade wreath on its front door made of baseballs.

Empowered by all of this, I fixed the water dispenser on our refrigerator that had been broken for six years and finally put some weatherstripping on that drafty back door. All of these would've been things I probably would've bought as a service. But now I'm Mr. Fix It. I just need a pair of overalls. Will this extend to learning to change my oil? Let's not get too ahead of ourselves.

Finally, I was walking into the break room the other day with one of those Yeti style mugs that I fill up with water. The mug came with a metal straw that's very durable. Someone walked up to me and said, “trying to save the planet, eh?” I looked at him very quizzed like and he said, “your metal straw. You trying to save the turtles or something?”

Listen, not everything is a political or environmental statement, okay? I can drive a Prius and not give one crap about saving the planet. I can own a gun and not have any stance on the Second Amendment or be a member of the NRA. I can sip my work water out of a metal straw and not give two craps about the endangered spotted sea lion. Sometimes I just want to sip my water. Okay?

Believe me, if someone is making a political statement with something they do, you need look no further than their social media bios or bumper stickers on their gas guzzling Hemi SUV. The best way to tell if someone is a vegetarian is to wait five seconds for them to tell you.

Now, please leave me alone to drink my work water in peace while I try to reduce my carbon footprint. Not everyone needs to be as mean as Ivan Foley.

(Watch Chris drink through a metal straw on Twitter where you can find him as @TheFakeNed. Search for him on Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube)



Yes, Virginia...

It's rare anymore that I get to actually have a long conversation with my son. But on Christmas Eve, Kara and I drove around with Brett looking at Christmas lights. Kara mentioned that it didn't really feel like Christmas this year - whether it was the warmer weather, the fact that Brett is a driver, or just the negative news that we happen to read every day pounding on us daily like waves against a beach.
Brett asked why the news was so negative. I remember back to high school and I didn't really follow any current events, so with that in mind, I tried to capsulize the last couple of years in five minutes or less. I probably failed miserably, but it started by talking about the two parties in our country. One that generally likes a smaller government, and one that likes a larger one. Pretty simple idea. From there, I tried to make linkages to why the government was currently shutdown.

Like I said, that's a lot to incorporate into five minutes. But I think Brett walked away with an appreciation for both "sides" in what's going on today and why, at least a little, it felt a little less like Christmas.

Then, as we were heading to bed, I read about our President taking calls on the Santa hotline answering the call from a seven year old challenging if he still believes, "because at 7, it's marginal, right?"

This was exactly what I needed to hear from my President on Christmas Eve. So I called my son begrudgingly back upstairs for one more five minute lecture... This is what I tried to tell him:

Brett, despite what you hear and what you read. Despite all of the negative, you are still among the luckiest humans on the planet at any time in history. You live under a roof and have food on your table. You live in an age of technology beyond any possible explanation. Despite who the President is, or who is our Mayor or Governor, despite whether the stock market is up or down, and despite what anyone tells you to the contrary, Brett, you live in the greatest country in history.

And the reason for this is simple... You have the freedom to believe in the marginal. You have the freedom to believe in the unlikely. You have the freedom to root for the underdog.

America is the country where you literally can pull yourself up by your bootstraps - despite the overwhelming challenges you will face - and make anything you want of yourself. At sixteen, this cannot be stressed enough. Your entire life is in front of you, and everything is possible. America has done that for you. Not the President. Not the economy. Not any tariff or treaty. America is the freest country in the world and the sky is the limit to believe in yourself.

And here's the part that's hard to get your head around - you likely won't reach all of your dreams and goals. You may not play in the Major Leagues. You may not become a Fortune 500 CEO. You may not play for the Boston Pops (ok, that last one was my dream.)

**But you need to believe that you can.** The hope of things getting better is what drives this country and what should drive you. Hope in the marginal, the unlikely, and the impossible is what makes this country great.

It is through that marginal belief that innovations were created. The cotton gin. The printing press. The Internet. The space shuttle. All ideas that would have died if their inventors stopped at marginal.

Sometimes you need a guy making fun of you and your beliefs to know that you're believing in the right things - whether that thing is Santa Claus, your career, or the hope that the country can repair itself.

Yes, Virgina, you can marginally believe in whatever you want, and that marginal belief makes this country great.

(You can marginally follow our man Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed, or look for him on Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube)



What is your favorite Christmas song?

I'm certainly not a fan of Christmas songs starting in early October on the radio, but a couple of weeks before actual Christmas, it plays on my radio nearly constantly. The debate of what is the greatest Christmas song is certainly something with no right or wrong. (Except “Baby, It's Cold Outside. That song is universally the worst.) So I will now present to you my top five Christmas songs which will settle the debate once and for all.

5. White Christmas by Bing Crosby - The rest of this list is a little less than traditional, but you've got to at least have one traditional song on the list and why not have the absolute classic. Bing Crosby at his best and the highest selling Christmas single of all time. Have yourself a White Christmas and listen to this one.

4. Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley - It's groovy. It's sad. It's a classic. In modern times and even in the times it was written, it reminds you of those who are lost at Christmas or elsewhere and can't spend time together for the holiday. But Elvis just makes your heart melt and is one of the best Elvis songs not just a Christmas song.

3. Stille Nacht - When I was a very young boy about a million years ago, I sang in a church choir. While I certainly wasn't the model choir boy, I absolutely loved Midnight Mass. And one of the songs we sang right at the stroke of midnight was Silent Night. However, we sang it in the original German as Stille Nacht. As beautiful as Silent Night is, there's just something even more gorgeous about it in the original language.

2. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues - This is not a traditional Christmas song. It talks about sluts and drugs and drinking and domestic strife. But... It could be a song about traditional Christmas. Because as beautiful and perfect as we all think Christmas is in our minds, it always seems to have a blemish or two and that's what makes it beautiful. Christmas is never perfect, but it's our hope for that perfection that we all strive for. It is this fairytale that the Pogues sing about and why it's one of my favorite songs.

1. Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie - The old Christmas variety shows of the 70's and 80's were certainly more cheesy than nostalgic. However, this song from an old Bing Crosby special which you can now find on YouTube is, without a doubt, the most beautiful Christmas song of all. Once the cringy dialogue is over, the harmonies and mixture of the eras of crooners combined with the holiday theme makes it my absolute favorite and the best Christmas song. Period.

Even if your favorite songs aren't on this list, I think you can agree that there's really not a bad Christmas song (except the cold outside one.)

(Share your own list with Chris Kamler, who you can find on Twitter and Facebook)



If we're being honest with each other, there isn't much that the government hasn't screwed up. Nearly every week, trash pickup in Kansas City is a day or two late. Potholes seem to be multiplying due to the early winter. The public-funded new KCI airport might end up being the KCI space port by the time it's built. The Missouri legislature doesn't seem to know what to do with the electorate voting to legalize medical marijuana. And there might be one or two federal government issues left to keep an eye on.

But I've been able to find one thing the government does do a good job of, and that is take time off. On an annual basis, there are 261 working days in a year. There are 10 federal holidays where the government does its best work by locking its doors and taking the day off.

There is room for some improvement, because of years like this one where Christmas and New Year's Day fall in the middle of the week. Normally, the government will slide a holiday to the closest Monday. Veteran's Day. Labor Day. Columbus Day. These are all holidays where you can ride a weekend all the way to Tuesday. And for Thanksgiving, it's a four day weekend every year. But the biggest holidays seem to cause problems every few years and this year, it's awful.

Christmas is on a Tuesday this year and New Year's Day is as well. And this follows the Fourth of July being on a Wednesday this year. Tuesday and Wednesday holidays have got to be the worst. Not only does it present you with two Mondays in a week, but it doesn't allow the proper time to, as the kids say, party hardy.

Christians will say that the 25th of December is holy because it's when Jesus Christ was born. Although scientists have proven that due to the constellations in the sky, Jesus was most likely born in the spring. Independence Day is celebrated as the Fourth of July, but could easily go back to being called Independence Day.
My point here is that there's really no reason that we can't standardize that “minor” holidays are on Mondays and “major” holidays take place on a Tuesday or Thursday with them being two-day holidays.

Here's how it would work out...Veteran's Day, Presidents' Day, Martin Luther King Day - these are all going to be on Monday's like they are now. But my recommendation is that Independence Day be a two-day holiday on the first Monday and Tuesday in July. Christmas would be a two-day weekend on the last Tuesday in December. This would allow wonderful traditions to focus on these four-day weekends, just like Labor Day and Memorial Days are planned around vacations.

Let's standardize Halloween and Valentine's Day while we're at it. Anchor those puppies to a Monday or a Friday. Let's get realistic about our drinking holidays. Like professionals.

This allows the government to do something it does poorly - plan. And it allows the citizens of this great country the chance to plan its hangovers accordingly.

(Let Chris Kamler standardize your holidays and weekends by following him on Twitter @TheFakeNed or checking him out on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It's amazing how our language continues to evolve in the information age. Once upon a time, a friend was called a friend. Then “friend” evolved into pal, and buddy, and chum. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, you get friends called mates, and bae's and BFF (because Best Friends Forever is just too long to type into a phone.)

Words are evolving at such a rapid pace now. First there were abbreviations, like YOLO for “You Only Live Once” and TBH for “To Be Honest.” Then there were words used ironically. I guess you can blame Michael Jackson for this one trying to be “Bad” which was good. So “super” because “I hate this” and “literally” wasn't meant literally at all.

Whether it's “fam” or “bruh” or “AF,” I was able to keep up with it all. I prided myself on being able to translate the language of Twitter. I was able to “throw shade” and knew when to call someone a “bish” or “bb.” But the words keep coming and I'm starting to lose interest in keeping up.

I never wanted to be the old man sitting on the front porch yelling at those young whipper snappers. I wanted to drop a dime with the peeps and slay with the youts. I wanted to be able to talk to my son without having to asking him to slow down or wanting an explanation for what in the hell he's talking about.

This week, I finally gave up. I followed an entire Twitter conversation the other day and didn't understand any of it. The conversation focused on how someone “stan's” Kareem Hunt, but doesn't “drop tea.” The person they were talking to was waiting for their “glow up” and then said Hunt would “get his milk eventually."


I think I peaked when I understood how to use “fam” properly in a sentence. But I refuse to go look these phrases up on the same Internet that is introducing them to me. Life is too short and I'm too lazy and old to worry about it. I've had to traverse the language from something being “bitchin” to it being “excellent” and “awesome” to it being “lit.” I'm drawing the line. I won't follow it to the next iteration which will probably be “scoopedy poop” or “Sergeant Peppered” or something. Wake me up when it circles back to it being “good.”

Will this turn me into an old man? Will this doom me to a life of screaming at kids to get off my lawn? I don't care. This is me now. I am, in the parlance of my elderly times, a “fuddy duddy.”

Besides, bish can't be woke cuz I so salty. So if you Draking, don't throw shade, just be extra. Okay, fam?

(Get more on language and the angle of the dangle from The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



A quick deadline due to the passing of former President George H.W. Bush mixed with a very busy weekend means you get a column organized the way my brain works - like a Christmas fruitcake. Be afraid.

•First up, a huge Platte County congratulations to the Park University Women’s Volleyball who won the NAIA National Championship this past weekend in Iowa. I’ve had the privlege to be the public address voice for most of their matches this year, and I’m not sure I’ve seen a more dedicated and intense group of athletes since we had that little parade downtown a few years back. Coach Talamantes and the women should be commended as everything that’s great about Parkville and Park University.

•Our second piece of dessert today is related to what will be under your tree this Christmas. If you pay attention to any commercials at all, it might be one of those Facebook Portals, or maybe a Google Home, or possibly an Alexa Show. And if that doesn’t work, then maybe a Microsoft alarm clock. These things are really, really cool. I’ve had an Amazon Alexa Show for a while. However, the things you think you’ll do with it and the things you actually do with it are pretty different.

That Alexa is pretty good at setting a pizza timer and telling me the weather (to the same degree of confidence as our local weather people.) But if you think you’ll be using it to play games, or watch cooking videos, or buy things on it, you’re crazy.

It’ll be collecting dust in the corner.

These companies know this after having been on the market for a couple of years, so now they’ve introduced this idea of video calling. Call Grandma! Have your long-distance brother drop in on you on your birthday! First off, I’m not sure the last time I actually had a physical phone call with anyone on my phone. Secondly, I sure don’t want you to see me in my underpants on my birthday. And finally, the Facebook Portal doesn’t integrate with the Alexa, and the Alexa doesn’t integrate with the Google and so on. They’re all proprietary. This is ridiculous and something that would need to be fixed in order for these to catch on.

Just think of buying a Ford truck and only being able to drive on I-35 and if you buy a Chevy, only being able to drive on I-70. It’s not going to work long term. But I sure love having Alexa tell me my pizza is done.

•Our final fruit nugget this week is the brouhaha surrounding Kareem Hunt and his downfall with the Kansas City Chiefs. Firstly, I’ll take the hit on this one. Kansas City, this is my fault because I bought my first-ever Chiefs jersey this fall - the jersey? You guessed it. Hunt’s #27. So that jersey is now basically a dust rag after his release by the Chiefs.

I’m simply not qualified to tell you anything about domestic violence. There are smarter people about such topics. The thing I find most interesting is the timing of this news and this “found” video getting to TMZ.com. There’s a story there, folks. And someday it’s going to come out. I’d follow the smoke and see if it leads to Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, or New England. I’ll bet when the ESPN 30 for 30 comes out on this one, the man with the hoodie and all the rings will be behind it.

•Happy holidays, everybody! Enjoy the fruitcake.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and track him down on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



We've joked in this space numerous times about how hard of a job it is to be a weatherperson in the modern age. They're in a space where they have more technology than ever before, but that technology also provides paralysis by analysis in many cases.

Let's look at this week's “Blizzard.” On Thanksgiving, the forecast was, “Hey y'all, we're probably going to get some snow this weekend.” On Friday, the story for the metro area was, “never mind.” On Saturday, the forecast was, “It's sure going to snow pretty hard somewhere...just not in Kansas City.” And then on Sunday morning we wake up to, “IT'S GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST SNOWFALL BLIZZARD CONDITIONS, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.”

The root cause of this flip flop is that there are multiple forecasts coming from around the country. European forecasters make forecasts for Kansas City. And Kansas City forecasters make reports on Italy and that's repeated in nearly every state and country. You get too many opinions, then Johnny Good Hair on Channel 42 has to pick one.

My theory is that weather folks are putting in less work picking the right forecast, and rather building up the graphics and pretty screens for folks to watch. The Weather Center has long been the cash cow ratings generator for local newsrooms. Just look at how long they like to interrupt prime time shows when there's an F1 tornado hitting a small farm east of Springfield. So we know that they can tell us what's going on right now to wonderful detail. But telling the future, it seems, is hard.

Opinion giving is a lost art amongst the Weather Center folks. Even Gary Lezak, one of the most vocal promoters of his accuracy, has softened a bit. What I'd recommend is that weather forecasters start doubling down and let the cream rise to the top. Set it up like the morning football shows. Here we've got Jimmy, Tommy, Sarah, and Wendy - our weather crew. Today is Thursday. Here is what they say the weather will do Sunday. And put their reputation where their mouth is. You'd get the competition feeling, along with a better understanding of why people are wrong.

Weather anchors don't go out on limbs. And that needs to change. Go out on a limb and own your mistakes. You won't hear anybody owning up to their mistake this past weekend, but I'd offer that you should. This would allow weather forecasters to tell the full stories behind why one forecast is wrong, and even start to tell true stories about why weather seems to be getting more extreme and dangerous. Wouldn't you love to have Brian Busby start his forecast saying, “Folks, I'm 92% accurate this past month with my rainfall forecast. And I'd like to tell you why this tornado season will be more dangerous...”

Instead, you'll get watered-down, pretty graphics, references to their double-doppler, and real-time weather reports that we can get on our phones, our computers, and looking out the window.

Put your money where your mouth is, forecasters. Own your successes and your mistakes.

(Find Chris Kamler putting his money where his mouth is on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



According to the rise in the number of people yelling at people in mall parking lots, and the nondescript “holiday” ads playing on television, the celebration of Christ’s birth, A.K.A. “Black Friday” is almost here.

Black Friday has evolved over the years from a couple of after-Thanksgiving sales, to overnight campouts to stampede elderly people for a Cabbage Patch Doll, to after-dinner campouts to stampede elderly people for a $100 plasma television.

But Black Friday is evolving once again - and it’s moving onto the Information Superhighway. Amazon.com is now your source for nearly everything you could ever want. Gifts. Underwear. Bath soap. Cabbage Patch dolls, and $100 televisions. It’s all here in the great digital cloud known as Amazon. Like the lush forest of its namesake, Amazon sells everything to everyone and gets it there in two(ish) days. Almost daily, there’s a package on my front doorstep that I have to secretly scurry into the house before my wife comes home to see that I’ve purchased another gizmo or whozie-whatsit from Amazon.

Although Amazon seems to be cornering the market for retail, there does seem a moment to pause and consider if Amazon’s services are, in fact, a benefit to anyone. Sure, you don’t have to camp out in sub-freezing conditions in a Best Buy parking lot for an iPhone marked down $25, but Amazon seems to be eating the same cake they’re selling to you with free two-day shipping.

Last week, Amazon concluded a year-long contest to locate its second headquarters, called HQ2. They decided on half of it going in Queens, New York, and the other half going just outside of Washington D.C. in Virginia. Reportedly, the deal is worth over $4 billion dollars in government subsidies in the form of tax breaks, land, and other incentives. Finally, a break for the East Coast and the city of New York. They’ve had such a hard time of it in the last 100 years.

Apart from the gratuitous bribe to get Amazon to the east coast, it seems to me that it’s a missed opportunity for the retail giant to do something bold with this project in lieu of just another company building office space on the overcrowded East coast. They could’ve picked a place to revolutionize an area rather than just rent floor space. They could’ve built a state-of-the art distribution network in the heartland of the country instead of space for more workers in a place where the cost of living is ridiculous. They could’ve had a city like Kansas City, Omaha, or Oklahoma City and completely rebuild it to a new millennium standard. Yet, they took the money grab and brought even more traffic and chaos to an area overrun with traffic and chaos.

They could’ve done what Walt Disney did with some random orange groves in the 1960’s and build something out of nothing. Instead, Amazon is building something on top of a bunch of other stuff. It’s a missed opportunity for a company that has gotten very good at sending me my socks and duct tape and iPhone chargers. It’s a shame Amazon couldn’t see the chance it had to completely overhaul a region and put me that much closer to same-day shipping for my laundry detergent. In the end, all Amazon wanted was the cash grab.

(Grab The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or YouTube)



For some reason, as the days get shorter in the fall, I get up earlier. I don't understand it, but my 7 a.m. wake up call in the summer gets earlier and earlier. It's now 5:30.

An earlier wake-up time means that I've been getting to work early as well. I love getting to work early. You get a good parking spot, and the hour from 6:30 to 7:30 is the most productive of the day - before actual people come in and ruin whatever plans you had for the day.

Walking into my office last week, I wandered the cubicle farm on my floor. I work in a building full of computer engineers, so there's the expected Star Wars figurines, Doctor Who TARDIS's, and the occasional Sporting KC flag. The woman who works next to my cube, Jenn, has photographs of her daughter, Molly, on her desk. Molly's toothy grin greets me every morning, nearly 90 minutes before her mother rolls into the office.

I noticed something else on her desk the other day that took an extra look, she had the following written on a sticky note on her desk, “True, Kind, Necessary.”

When Jenn got to work later that day, I asked her about the post-it. “What does that mean? Is it some sort of short poem? A Bible scripture?” “Nope,” she said. “It's a challenge.”

She explained that she has been trying to teach her daughter that before she says anything to her friends or family, she needs to ask the following questions. “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”

Like all pre-teens, communication has been something Molly has been working on. Jenn's daughter had been prone to telling some tall tales. She's also been known to speak about her friends in less than flattering terms. And she also likes to talk to hear herself talk. We've all been there. I once had a man at a Royals game pay me a dollar to go sit somewhere else when I was eight. So I totally get it.

I started thinking about the emails I had to send and the conversations I had to have with co-workers. I started thinking about the conversations to come with family over the holidays, and the stories we tell our spouses.

I'm not sure many of my conversations would hold up to these three principles or answer those three questions appropriately. I'm not sure anybody I talk to this week would be able to hold to those guidelines. I turned on the TV and I'm quite certain that nothing I heard on TV would hold up to those ideals either.

Such a simple directive. Three simple questions. As we head into the holiday season, I challenge all of us that before we say something unkind about a coworker, or argue about politics, or gab just to gab, that we ask ourselves these three simple questions:

Is it true?

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

Maybe this holiday season will be a little quieter and a lot more peaceful.
Sometimes getting up early means you're able to learn a lesson before everybody else.

(Get lessons from Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed. You’ll also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook)



In olden times, men worked the land. Women raised the children, and the children... well, the children mostly just played Call of Duty or something. Point is that a work day used to mean sunup to sundown. There were chores to be done, cattle to be fed, hay to be made. And you knew the day was over when the sun fell behind the mountains or you started to hear Denny Matthews calling the Royals game.

Then Man decided that God's clock wasn't good enough, so he made clocks and wristwatches and watches that paid for your mocha-frappa-grande-chino with your watch because it was just too time consuming to get $6 out of your wallet. Man decided that the day would be divided into hours - 24 of them to be exact. But that the sun would rise at different points during that 24 hours, just to make things royally confusing. Sometimes it would be at 6:15 am. Sometimes it would be at 8:25 am. And then sometimes, it rises at 7:45 am one day and then 6:45 the next.

Enter Daylight Savings Time. We've talked about this phenomenon before and we've talked about how DST ends up affecting workplace productivity and depression and school bus schedules and millions of other things. And we've also talked about how dumb it is to make an anomaly in the clock cycles twice a year for very little reason.

All you folks that voted for Trump, can't you get him to write an Executive Order to get rid of this silliness?

The company that I work for makes hospital software, and every year, time change is a big deal. Consider writing a prescription in a hospital for some sort of drug at 1:15 a.m. on the day of time change, and then there being two 1:15 a.m.s that day so you get a double dose of drugs. It'd be a bad day for everyone involved. So there's all this double-checking and, frankly, waste of effort and money going into making sure nobody dies because we get an extra hour of sleep.

As bad ideas go, this has got to be right up there with the Sham-Wow and the four-blade razor. (I mean, somebody's just going to come out with a five-blade razor, dude. You didn't see that coming?)

Now that we've all got smartphones, it's at least a little easier. Back when I was a child (slightly after olden times), my job was to go around the house and change all the clocks on Saturday night. My parents must've had 200 clocks around the house as I recall. And every time I had to run to the phone to get the exact time. You'd call 844-1212 and it would tell you “The Commerce Bank time is... nine... forty-two.” Then you had mere seconds to rush to the clock to re-set it to the correct time.

Now, it's done automatically through the atomic clock, or something. Except in my wife's car. Daylight Saving Time doesn't come to my wife's car until January - when I inevitably need to drive it to the grocery store one day and realize she never set it back an hour. And then I realize that it takes a master's degree in rocket science to program the car clock.

This insanity must stop. Just as the Commerce Bank Atomic Clock phone line ended, so too must Daylight Saving Time. It's a waste of time that could be better spent shaving with a five-bladed razor.

(The insanity on Twitter never stops with Chris Kamler as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook)



Last night, my son asked for help studying for his World History test. They are studying the late 1800's and the period of reconstruction after the Civil War. The similarities to current day are surprising - especially when you listen to how institutional poverty and the basic distrust of government came to be in that age.

It got me thinking about how historians might make a test about the past 30 years and what questions might appear on that exam for kids in the far off future.

Historians have the benefit of the macro perspective on things. They see tectonic shifts rather than the smaller pieces that we see at the ground level.

Climate change will be especially fascinating to see, assuming the world hasn't devolved into a watery flotilla surrounding the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in 100 years. This is one of those topics that's better left to those at the 30,000 foot view to address. Surface temperatures rising. CO2 levels in the atmosphere rising. What other factors (including cow farts) ended up factoring in?

Historians are the ultimate journalists in this capacity. They write the textbooks that our offspring will be taking tests from in the future, and they also, hopefully, will color those so that we can learn from our mistakes.

As I continued reading through his test, it doesn't sound like we've learned much - at least since the late 1800's. The test went through Jim Crow-era laws and “unspoken rules” designed to create the culture that would define later fights like the Civil Rights acts in the 1960's.

Will the late 20-teens be described as more institutional suppression?

The test talked about great immigration problems the country faced from all directions during that time period. In the West, Asians resulted in new immigration laws. In the East, an influx of Europeans clogged Ellis Island, and in the South, Central Americans furthered the rise of unions out of fear of jobs being gobbled up.

The questions on his test seemed to be timeless and could be transposed when talking about today's migrant caravan or anti-immigration sentiment.

There is much to study about the past.

But here's the thing that I took away from our study session last night - these problems were ultimately resolved and made better. Not made perfect, but made better. The have's were still the have's and the have not's were still the have not's, but history pressed onward and short-term conflicts were resolved. Some with violence, some with law, and some with words - but they were resolved.

History also teaches us that it goes in circles and that, in time, we're all just ultimately a question on a future test.

(Twitter’s history will treat Chris Kamler well, as you can discover by following him on the tweet machine as @TheFakeNed. You can also track him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



So I find myself opening my computer for the day, and up pops my daily news site. Usually the first headline of the day lets me know if it'll be a good day or a bad day. A Trump headline is usually a down day, a puppy headline is a good day. This day was... weird.

“MILLENNIALS KILL AMERICAN CHEESE” the headline read. Well, obviously, I need to click on this, right?

It was one of the stories we've seen dozens or hundreds of times about these Millennials - the age group that's currently in their 20's and 30's. They're straight up murderers. In addition to American cheese, they've killed McDonald’s, college football, fabric softener, hotels, and even getting married.

“Killing” in this context simply means that this generation seems to have different purchasing priorities or has incorporated “life hacks” such as realizing that fabric softener isn't really needed in modern washing machines, or that the generation is making healthier food choices other than McDonald’s.

It's a very funny topic to keep an eye on. Nearly every day there's another thing Millennials have killed. Running. Cereal. Focus groups. Gyms. It's nearly all there. So much so that it has become awfully silly.

Other generations haven't seen this. The Greatest Generation never killed anything (except Nazis) and the Baby Boomers were builders and not killers. I think, technically, I'm part of Generation X and we couldn't find the time to kill anything, we were too busy buying Game Boys and fast food on our credit cards.

I wonder what the newest generation, Generation Z, will kill. I hope it's something more fun than Applebees or cruises. I want this new generation to kill fossil fuels or cancer or when a commercial comes on that is twice as loud as the TV program you're watching. You know, important stuff.

I've been seeing a bunch of pictures of my little nephew who just turned seven months old. That little Generation Z'er hasn't killed anything yet, except a bunch of diapers. But maybe when he gets older he and his generational peers can kill student debt or smartphones that crack if you drop them two inches, or some other super important things like raking leaves or Mel Gibson movies.

From my view, maybe I and my fellow Gen X'ers need to start a killing spree. We could start slow and work our way up. Maybe we kill sticky notes or clicky pens and work up to more substantial impacts such as calling the foul pole the “fair pole” and maybe nachos that get soggy when they sit in the cheese too long.

Look out manual transmissions and body odor, we're all aiming for you.

(Look out for Chris Kamler on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Watch him on Landmark Live at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



What a week it was last week. Frankly, my head is still reeling. I can only take so much boofing talk. So it's going to be bits and pieces this week.

•The big non-ralphing news in the area last week was the removal of Jason Kander from the race for Kansas City Mayor. Kander dropped out citing personal issues and that he was fighting symptoms of PTSD from his time in Afghanistan. This sucks for a couple of reasons. Firstly, obviously, because he is in pain and so much pain that he needs to pause his career to get help. Secondly, because I really think he would've done a lot of good for the city. And it wasn't just me that thought so - to date, he had raised more money than any other KC mayoral candidate in history. Finally, and this is selfish, I know, but it was only five days after I held a fundraiser for Mr. Kander. Obviously, I broke him and his campaign. So this one's on me, you guys. Sorry. This is what I get for being “political.”

•In all seriousness, I sincerely hope Kander and his family find the time to recover and there will obviously be something big waiting for him after he recovers. It just probably won't have anything to do with me - for everyone's safety.

•As the king of all side-jobs, I've taken another one recently. I am now the occasional voice for Park Athletics. I'm helping them occasionally with public address announcing and play by play for some of their fall and winter sports. In the spring, I plan to be the voice for Park baseball and softball.

•It's a good time to be following the Pirates’ program. Their men's soccer team appears to be headed to the playoffs. Their women's soccer team beat someone 8-1 the day I did their PA announcing. And then there is their women's volleyball team.

•The Pirates volleyball team is ranked #1 in the country in the NAIA. They are undefeated on the season (20-0) and have only lost one, count 'em, ONE set. That's right. They have gone 60-1 in their 20 matches - which is kind of ridiculous

•The thing I've enjoyed most about doing these games is the story lines. Our national and even local media give us the same old storylines every week. LeBron James. O'Dell Beckham. Mike Trout. But there are some amazing sports stories right here in the Northland if you care to dig a little deeper.

•Take the Northwest Missouri Bearcats - who perennially reload their football program year after year and title after title. Take this Park volleyball team who are trying to win their national championship only a year removed from when the men did it for Park last season. And then there is Clyde Price, a running back from North Kansas City High School. Price, nicknamed CJ, has his Hornets 7-0 for the first time since the 1950's. They'll likely be 8-0 when they face off against Raytown who will be 7-1 for the last game of the regular season. Price has over 2,200 rushing yards. He leads the STATE in rushing yards and touchdowns. And if he played in Kansas, he'd lead them, too, by a factor of two.

•These great sports stories are there - we just need to keep looking for them. You won't find them on FS1, or ESPN, or even the Star. Feel free to send those tips right here to your local Landmark. THAT is where you'll see the best stories.

(Get more from Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is well-known as @TheFakeNed. And find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Humans, generally speaking, are always looking out for number one. Sure, there are lots of examples where people give up their own well-being to care for a child or a loved one. But in general it took some choices to get to that place - choices that meant elevating yourself either in life, in wealth, or in character.

Climbing the ladder is fine. Climbing the ladder faster than others is fine. Being proud of accomplishments and showing confidence in yourself is also fine. It ain't bragging if you can back it up, as they say.

And we also know that it's a dog-eat-dog world out there. Depending on what line of work or culture you're in, you're always competing - whether it's as a youth soccer coach or a politician.

Which comes to my point this week - why is it that some of the highest ranking, highest flying people tend to have fatal flaws that include dishonesty? Do you have to lie to reach the upper echelon of politics or business or soccer coaching? Is it somehow required?

We're not talking fudging or bending the truth a little bit. We're talking bold-faced lying. I could cite thousands of examples on both sides of the aisle. The observation I make as well is that the lies aren't even over something that important - it's just that you don't want to lose the point in a game of tennis.

To keep with the metaphor, if you lie to win a point, the coverup is often what loses you the match. Yes, I'm circling around the current kerfuffle with our Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. While the whole story is complicated and messy, I want to focus on one particular area - his drinking. Specifically, his drinking in high school. Just be thankful this isn't 500 words on boofing.

He lied to Congress and said the drinking age was 18 and that he could legally drink while in high school. This is false. The drinking age in Maryland when Judge Kavanaugh went to high school was 21.

If this were the crux of the nomination, it could be disputed as a misrememberance - to bring back a George W. Bush word. But he doubled down. He said he rarely drank in high school and certainly didn't binge drink. These falsehoods could be easily tracked down and his references to drinking in his yearbook didn't help either.

Why a spoonful of humility is foreign to politicians like this is really confusing. This all goes away with the following two sentence admission. “Hey, I drank and went to drinking parties in high school and that was wrong. I've certainly grown in the 40 years since then, I've made a tremendous impact in my community and my country, and feel I've grown past my youthful immaturity.”

But you know how this played out and now the FBI is going through dumpsters from 40 years ago looking for signs of boofing and ralphing. It seems that this Bud's for you, Judge. You lost the point and the match is in jeopardy.

(Chris Kamler gives testimony on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, or virtually anywhere you can access the internet)



For the first time in my life, I've taken a political action. I helped a local candidate for Kansas City Mayor, Jason Kander with a fundraiser for his campaign.

I'm not telling you this to persuade your in any way. Vote for whomever you want. (But please vote.) But the noteworthy thing here is that I have taken some sort of action. Frankly, I didn't really want to ever take a political action other than voting. I'm as fed up with the current political situation as much as the next person, but that doesn't necessarily mean I want to do something about it.

The old saying goes, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. But who made up that saying? Somebody wanting to guilt you into doing something, that's who.

There should be a healthy category for folks who just want to do nothing. Now, I get how ignoring gross injustices willfully could be grounds for shame and torment. But if it's not my business, why do I need to make it my business? Can't I just get credit for not making it worse?

Take the controversy around our current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Now, there is a side who is for Judge Kavanaugh. They credit his long-standing status as a jurist. There is a side who is strongly against Judge Kavanaugh. They credit accusations of abuse and sexual impropriety while in college.

Me? I probably want a justice who leans towards my viewpoint, and I'm against sexual assault - but can't I just be okay sitting this one out? Having never sexually assaulted anyone, and by not having any plans to do so in the near future, can't I just be good and leave it at that?

The continue polarization of this society is forcing people to pick a side. Sometimes I just want to sit on my couch and watch football. But if I'm doing it in my Nike sweatpants, I've picked a side. If I drive a Ford, that's now making some sort of statement. The statement isn't, “I just wanted four wheels to drive me to work.” It's now a choice.

There's the scene from National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation, where Clark Griswold goes to the casino in Vegas that's off off off the strip. And they have these really sketchy games. One of the games is “pick a hand.” After Griswold loses several times in a row, the dealer finally offers him the choice of, “how about you just give me half your money, I take you out back and kick you in the balls?”

That's what society feels like now. Whatever choice you choose, you're alienating someone, and no matter the outcome, you're likely to feel like you've been kicked in the balls.

In the meantime, I'm going to mildly wade into political action but I don't see that dent in the couch going away any time soon. And I'll be sure to wear a cup.

(Chris Kamler more than mildly wades into Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can catch him mildly wading into Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube and catch him appearing frequently on Landmark Live)



The world has changed over the last 10 years and we have social media to either thank or blame. For every reconnection of separated relatives that happens, there's those pesky things like election tampering we have to deal with as well. It hasn't always been a sack of sunshine and rainbows, but there is no denying that social media has made a big planet smaller.

(Now, it's also made it easier for people who think that planet is flat to find other like-minded folks, but I digress.)

One of the core tenets of Facebook has been its ability to present content that it thinks you want to see first. This is done by a computer algorithm. The algorithm learns from items and posts that you like and ignore, then tries to show you things you'll like. Twitter, on the other hand, has always tried to present you your “feed” as it happens and the burden is on the user to check on things or posts that happened before right now. Until recently.

Twitter has decided to present its timeline in a more algorithmic way in order to combat some of the tampering it feels happened last year with the election as well as provide advertisers a way to get more content in front of the eyes of viewers. The algorithm is protected but those who frequent Twitter regularly are already seeing major changes in the service.

I came to Twitter nearly 10 years ago to do one thing - watch Royals games. Now, you still needed a television to watch the games, but what Twitter afforded me to do was watch the games with friends. It was like you were all leaving notes on a chalkboard in real time and it was magical to connect with a community like that win lose or draw.

The other element that drew me to Twitter was the speed in which news travels. My first experience with this was when Michael Jackson died and Twitter knew about it hours before the news stations did. This has been repeated for hundreds of thousands of news events in both good times and bad. But Twitter was always the place to go to see it live.

Now, you're likely to get a “WE WON” tweet 24 or 48 hours after the game ended. You're likely to get news about a shooting hours delayed. Content is no longer live, it's archived and displayed.

This is a real problem for those who want to follow sports or news or, as we've seen the past week, weather. Just this morning, I saw maps showing the path of Hurricane Florence that were three days old pop up in my timeline. This is the risk you run when you start tinkering with the live elements of Twitter and one that should be fixed. Users should have the ability to turn “live” on and off - just like you can do with your DVR at home. Sometimes you want to watch past content, but other times, you need to see it live. A Chiefs touchdown is great, but it really loses something when you cheer about it on Tuesday.

While we all need to curb our social media usage more, this new timeline is making it easier for those who use Twitter to keep our finger on the pulse.

(Keep your finger on the pulse with Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and follow Kamler on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




It took nearly two years, but I finally found it. I found a decision that I support from President Trump's presidency. Maybe I should've told you to sit down first, this is big news. But before I tell you the proposal, let me tell you about my Middle School Science Fair.

A pudgy, pimply youth waddled his cardboard presentation off of the bus stop one autumn afternoon and marched right into Eastgate Middle School. The information contained behind the folded cardboard, quite literally, could shake up the world. Onto the desk at the end of the hallway it sat. There were blueprints and schematics for the Space Shuttle Columbia - direct from NASA. I had my dad drive all the way to Bannister Mall where there was a government bookstore, and we purchased a long tube filled with blueprints, and I also received a mailed envelope direct from NASA itself containing artwork and photos of the original Orbiter launch vehicle. (The shuttle was called Orbiter. You'd know this if you read my science fair presentation.)

For some reason, my science teacher didn't find the information quite as informative because I remember that I got a B for some reason. It's likely that he wasn't quite as keen about sharing country secrets to Eastgate Middle School. I guess I can respect that.

You see, once I graduated from high school, this middle schooler thought, I was going to join the astronaut corps and fly one of the future space shuttles. It was an inevitability.

Unfortunately, a funny thing happened on the way to the astronaut corps - well, a lot of funny things happened, (and the reasons really aren't important) I did not end up applying.

But earlier this year, the middle schooler in me felt pangs of excitement and confidence. President Trump announced the creation of a new branch of the Armed Forces - the Space Force. I had a second chance to fly to space. I didn't need to apply to NASA at ALL. Once the Space Force actually starts, makes a website, hires an HR department, and decides on what a Space Force would really be, one of the first applications will be from Chris Kamler, former middle schooler. I have doubled the opportunities to fly to space. (Assuming I will never have the million dollars to fly Virgin Space-X.)

In all honesty, once you get the idea behind the space force, it's not a bad idea. I think a lot of the ha ha's happened because it was President Trump that announced it and it was kind of out of nowhere. But the idea has been around for quite a while. With all of the equipment that is up in space including nearly all communications and GPS equipment, there needs to be some sort of attention paid to the vulnerabilities that could occur if any of that equipment were tinkered or toyed with. So designating government employees to protect those - either digitally or physically - isn't a terrible idea. We have battleships and the Navy to protect the oceans. We should have some folks set aside to protect similar assets in space. But “Low Earth Orbit Protectors” just doesn't really roll off the tongue. LEOP. More like NOPE.

But, in traditional Trump overkill, his announcement was widely panned, mostly because of the hyperbole. This will be the best Space Force. Nobody has a better Space Force than we do. Everyone is saying it. Of all the Forces in Space ours is the greatest.

Regardless of your politics, I can tell you this much, the first application is ready to be mailed in. Signed, Former Middle Schooler, Chris Kamler

(Catch more of Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It's the week of Labor Day and somewhere deep down, I still miss Jerry Lewis handing it over to Ed McMahon throwing it over to Eydie Gorme to bring on Zappo the Juggling Clown.

It is in that spirit that I cannot concentrate on any one thing this week - so you'll get your snippets and like it.

•It was this time last year that I was espousing about potentially giving up watching football. Due to the head injuries and the controversies and the lower participation. As an update, I watched approximately 15 hours of football last weekend as well as broadcast a high school game for 810 Varsity. This was a soft boycott that was doomed from the start. Even with the “softer” contact rules, the games seems... better? A wider offense makes for high flying plays - nobody liked kickoffs anyway. So, football, I'm back. Sorry?

•I went through some boxes in my basement last weekend looking for a specific toy my son used to play with six years ago. Why do we keep all of these boxes? The boxes are arranged in basically chronological order. The boxes next to the washing machine were from the last five years, the next set are from the 2000's, and so on back until, roughly, the Napoleonic wars. There are old college assignments, and high school letter jackets, and books I was going to read on vacation. There's a service for everything now. They need a service to go through this crap, save only what you need to, then burn the rest on your front lawn. There might even be a man cave sized hole made in the rest of the boxes.

•As many of you know, I spend a good deal of time on Twitter (too much time.) @TheFakeNed if you don't already follow me. Twitter has recently adopted a Facebook trait where they will show you your “most relevant” tweets first. For those of us who have been on the service for more than 10 years, this means that tweets are presented out of order, and sometimes a day or two late. For those of us who follow sports on Twitter, this has made the site nearly unusable. There was a tweet that summed it up best:


• I've been writing this column for over six years and I've never received as much feedback on something I've written as I did for last week's column about Zona Rosa. It was 100% unanimous that Zona's flaws are easily fixable. Listen, we WANT Zona Rosa to succeed. The alternative is to go to Liberty for things and wait in 45 minute traffic jams. Nobody wants that.

•Tune into Landmark Live this Thursday when we'll be previewing the Chiefs season and talking sports with 610 Sports's Jay Binkley. I'll give you a preview of the prediction I'll be sharing on the broadcast. With the addition of Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs will have a better season than the Royals.

(Interact with Chris Kamler on Twitter where you can find him as @TheFakeNed, or chase him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Over the past several months and years, you've seen articles in The Landmark and other media about the down spiral that Zona Rosa seems to be in. I'll admit that I don't understand a lot about TIF's and bonds and TDD's and credit ratings and how the county needs to pay for a development failing. I do know about one thing - beer.

And after one night out in Zona Rosa, it all became clear why I will continue to read about the development swirling down the drain.

Editor-In-Chief and Master of Fun, Ivan Foley, invited me out for a night of laughter and libations at The Improv restaurant to watch the king of impressions, Frank Caliendo. The show was to start at 7:30, so like seasoned drinkers that we are, we arrived at 6:30. Connected to The Improv is DRAFTCADE, a video game-themed restaurant and bar. They appear to be owned by the same group.
Ivan and I sat down, thirsty and ready for a couple of cold ones before we worked up our appetite laughing at the show. “I'll be right with you!!” said a small blonde bartender who was waiting on several other parties around the bar - all of whom showed up early thinking what we were thinking - beer.

Minutes ticked by. The bartender disappeared. Ivan and I continued our conversation. More minutes ticked by. I think I heard Ivan's stomach growl. We waited about 20 minutes and never got our drink even ordered. So now it's about 10 minutes until 7 and we headed into the comedy club for the sold-out show.

More minutes ticked by. There were menus on the table. We saw a few people around us drinking cocktails. Maybe they brought them from home? There were probably 300 people at the venue and perhaps five servers.

After 20 more minutes, we put in our drink order and, what the hell, put in for some French fries as well in case this was the last meal we ate. Twenty more minutes, our order was delivered. One full hour for us to get our first drink.

Oh, but they were swamped! Oh really? They had absolutely no idea that a headlining comedian would sell out the show??

Let's speculate for just a moment that our drinks cost $10, conservatively - because Ivan likes the long pour. We had three opportunities to order and get drinks and only got one. You don't need to be a math major to tell that they could've made $30 off of us (and more) but instead made $10. Multiply that by 300 and you easily could make an entire month - much of which would've gone to rent and taxes. Instead, you made 1/3 off of us and likely the rest of the crowd.

This is basic, folks. In my 20's I had a job at a casino dealing blackjack. And there were two rules as a dealer: smile, and deal faster. There needs to be the same two rules at Zona Rosa and maybe, just maybe, you can turn your fortune around. Smile, and get Kamler a drink.

(Smile and check out Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. And watch him in the upcoming second season of Landmark Live, coming in September to Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Three things on my mind this week - but I won't try to tie them all together. You'll know why in a second.

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat - Rudy Giuliani's recent declaration that “facts aren't facts” is going to do wonders retroactively for my GPA - because I made up a LOT of stuff on my finals and certainly could've used that line quite often.

Giuliani reminds me of some sage wisdom I received while at professional umpire school. The topic was arguments with managers and a technique that they used to wind umpires into pretzels. “Just keep them talkin,'” was the approach. And Giuliani seems to be falling in to that far too familiar problem. Seriously, man. Take a Sunday off. I think that when this whole sordid affair for our country is over (and that can be any time now, Mr. Mueller), it might be Giuliani who has done the most harm other than the big guy in the oval office. For real. Take a few plays off, Rudy.

Our second topic is a little more... delicate. Recently in one of the dorm rooms at the University of Kansas, a sign was hung on the wall that read, in part, “Masturbation is not allowed in common areas of the dorm. Please masturbate in your dorm room.”

First off, thanks for the permission. My fear of going blind has always kept me in internal conflict. Secondly, there's always a story behind every sign. Remember the notice on the coffee cups at McDonald’s that says, “Coffee is hot”? Or the warning on the microwave that says “Do not use for drying pets”? I sure wish I was around to hear the conversation during the creation of this masturbation sign.

“Hey, Mike. We need to talk about putting up a new sign.”

“Oh, yeah? What for?”

“Well, I need to remember to not punch the clown in the rec room.”

The sign goes on further to explain that if there are any questions about this policy, to talk to the RA of the floor. Could you imagine how that conversation would go?

“Hi, Timmy. How can I help you today? Is someone playing their music too loud? Do you need help moving in that mini-fridge?”

“No, I need Joe to stop bopping the bologna when I'm trying to take a shower.”

There's always a great story behind every sign.

Our final topic today is near and dear to those of us at The Landmark. Kudos to my Aunt Mary for beating the crap out of cancer this week. She's been fighting an incredible battle for months and months and there were a number of times when it looked dire. But cancer obviously didn't know what it was up against in my Aunt Mary. She had to put up with my cousin and me basically having sleepovers every weekend, drinking all the milk, staying up late, and eating all of the food in the house. Cancer is nothing compared to us.

Congrats on your clean bill of health, Aunt Mary. I love you dearly and am happy I'll be able to say that for years to come. I think it was Rudy Giuliani or Shakespeare who once said, “F&&& cancer.”

(Find Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and search for him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



I'm standing in line at the grocery store and a couple behind me is having a muffled argument. The discussion seemed to be centered around astronomy and this week's Leonid meteor shower. It wasn't until I started emptying out of my cart when I realized that both were arguing the nuance of how a meteor shower would happen because the earth is flat. They were coming up with ideas - brainstorming, really - on whether meteors are real “because we've never seen one.”

It was my first time up close to a Flat-Earther. If you're not familiar with that term, it's a group of people who truly believe that the earth is not round but flat. One article implied that nearly a third of Millennials had some doubt about the spherical nature of the earth.

You don't have to wade too far into the Internet to start hearing about the flat-earth movement along with other zingers that used to just be limited to the JFK assassination and Bigfoot. Now the list includes things like the moon landing (faked!), doubting the existence of climate change (while sweating in 100 degree weather all summer), and even that actual news events never happened.

Just last week, Alex Jones, the creator of a website and podcast called Infowars, was banned from Facebook and YouTube after being linked to many of these theories, including the theory that the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting never happened and consisted of “crisis actors.”

Now listen, I'm all for creativity. I enjoy a yarn or two from time to time. And I may have even told my own fish stories occasionally - but what kind of screws do you need to have loose to manufacture a story about a school massacre?

What happened to facts in this world? Up is still up, right? Down is still down?

How far until those are also in question? If you're eligible to believe the moon landing was faked or the scientifically proven fact that the earth is a ball of water floating through space - then you're entirely likely to be able to doubt other things.

Stop signs are optional for blue cars.

The Royals have actually won 27 World Championships QuikTrip roller food is calorie-free and made from real angel hairs

It won't stop.

Facts are, if nothing else, a shorthand to establishing a baseline. If I have a conversation with you about the Chiefs but you live in a world where the flat earth could cause Kareem Hunt to run so fast that he actually falls off the earth, then our realities are drastically different. And, more seriously, if we want to combine forces to help the world and you think the world is one in which Hillary Clinton is smuggling sex workers out of a pizza store basement - then it's pretty likely our pairing will fail.

We don't have to believe everything put before us. But we have to believe within some established guidelines. I guess it was easier when we believed only what Walter Cronkite told us - but it's harder now - and we need to be smarter about it.

If we can't agree on a set of common facts and beliefs then we are dangerously close to not believing anything. Oh, and by the way, that couple talking about flat earth also had 13 items in the 12 items or less aisle. So I suppose anarchy isn't far behind.

(Catch Chris Kamler making the earth spin on Twitter as @TheFakNed)




The world is a busy place for all of us, so I think it’s an odd quirk of humanity that for a “vacation” we just go be busy somewhere else. If we don’t hit this museum or go on that tour before we head out to dinner it’s somehow a failure of a vacation.

That being said, I had a great time on vacation. We went to Boston, then flew to Boise to visit my sister. Now that being busy away from home is over, I can come back to being busy for you, dear reader. Here are a few observations from when I was away.

++ As a society, we need to set a statute of limitations on dumb comments. Old tweets. Old speeches. Dumb jokes. I’ll offer up that it needs to be about five years. Five years is enough time for a person’s thoughts about issues to mature and potentially grow away from something dumb that was said. We’re seeing professional athletes, high-profile coaches, and others fall victim to internet mobs reading old comments. Granted, many of those comments are vulgar and inappropriate. But if someone simply comes to a microphone and says, “I said a dumb thing, I don’t think that way anymore,” the internet mobs should go away. This would apply only to words and not actions - but I’m making the rule now - five years.

++ Let’s talk about internet mobs in general. It was pretty cute in the early days of Twitter when a large group would show outrage when a politician did a dumb thing, or a celebrity said something outrageous. It was the “harrumph” from Blazing Saddles, but nothing more. But now, people are losing their jobs and livelihood simply because of internet mobs. Not because of their employers or their family - because of strangers on the internet. And it’s every day with something else. Sometimes multiple times a day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to be judge and jury for every supposed injustice I see online. I will subscribe to the karma philosophy that bad folks will get theirs.

++ Speaking of bad people, what the hell is going on the last couple of weeks in Kansas City? Dozens of shootings - four and five a night. It’s not just the heat, although I’m sure that’s part of it. I’m not about taking anyone’s guns away when used properly, or when locked up and used according to the right safety protections - but there are just way too many guns being used in crimes - IN OUR CITY. Surely gun owners and non-gun owners can sit down and hammer out some common sense things to reduce this violence.

++ How’s that airport coming along? Anybody?? Anybody??

++ School is just around the corner and there’s not anybody happier that my son is past the trips to the store for school supplies than me. It always seems that Target and Wal-Mart also time school supply weekend with the weekend they put the Halloween candy out also. I think tax-free weekend is great, but you won’t catch me within 10 miles of a clothing store or Target.

++ Finally, with Fall just around the corner, you might be looking for something to watch while you’re waiting for your new shows to start or, as most of us are, for football to begin. If you’re into the Marvel or DC shows, catch Cloak & Dagger. It’s on the Freeform network which used to be called Disney Family. This is anything but a family show. Well written, good stories, and action packed. You’ll thank me that you watched.

That’s it for me, I get to go back to being busy in Kansas City rather than busy on vacation. Have a great week.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and on other platforms such as Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook)



Sporting events are peculiar. They feature feats of strength, speed, dexterity from some of the most finely tuned athletes in the world. The competitors usually have no formal bonds to the area in which they play, yet they are treated like hometown heroes.

Sporting events are peculiar. Nowhere in the rules of hockey does it say that a game must begin with a national anthem being played. Nowhere in the rules of football does it say they need to acknowledge a soldier returning from a war at halftime. Nowhere in the rules of baseball does it mention a team will honor an idea or a philosophy - other than the unwritten rules of baseball.

And yet, we look to these programs to be true to their communities and also to recognize and honor subsets of our culture in our neighborhoods. Sure, players and front office personnel often have foundations and do charitable work. But this is different. We look for teams like the Royals, and Sporting Kansas City, and the Chiefs to be torchbearers for issues important to the community.

The Royals have led that charge in many ways. With 81 home games to sell tickets for, the Royals have recognized nearly any group willing to buy 20 tickets at a time. They have Boy Scout night and Autism Night and even a night honoring fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones.

The Royals also have honored groups important to their core beliefs. The Faith and Family night that the Royals have had yearly for many years features a Christian Rock band and several speakers - many of them players - give their religious testimony after a game. And then the next night would be Mizzou night, or Star Wars night, and the list goes on and on.

Three years ago, a man by the name of Scott Switzer asked the Royals to add a night to their list. It was a Gay Pride night and Scott thought there would be a large portion of the gay community in Kansas City that would come out to support a night like that with a portion of the proceeds going to a charity. The Royals didn't say “no.” But they didn't say “yes” either. They allowed the night to happen - after all, anyone could buy a ticket to a Royals game - but they wouldn't honor it with a “Night.” It was a Facebook invite where a small gathering of fans met for drinks in the parking lot before the game. And so it was the next two years.

This year, Major League Baseball has seen an increase in clubs offering a Pride Night or a LGBTQ+ night or, as the Royals call it this year, “Out With The Royals Night.” The Royals, for the first time, are recognizing the gay community with a night. And yet, the recognition still doesn't seem to be in full throat.

There is no mention of the event on their Theme Nights page, nor on their home web page, nor on commercials during the game. There is mention of it on their promotions page, but it is in very small type on September 15, the night of the event.

Many who are critical of having a LGBTQ+ night have said they should keep politics or gay behavior out of the stadium. And, in a certain respect, they are right. There is no rule in the Rules of Baseball stating that a baseball team should honor a subset of the community. However, the precedent is there with the Autism Nights, and the Game of Thrones nights, and yes, even with the Faith and Family Nights. The least the Royals could do is maintain some consistency. Social and cultural issues don't belong on a baseball field, but once you honor one, you really should honor as many as are willing to come out to buy tickets.

(Honor Chris Kamler by following him on Twitter as @TheFakNed and searching for him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Until Saturday night at around 9:30, I had still held out hope. The hope was not that the team could win a championship this year - no, their record would've been impossible to overcome - but I held out hope that we wouldn't repeat the darkest days of the franchise -- the mid 2000's.

The team, of course, is the Kansas City Royals. And with names like Moustakas, Gordon, and Escobar still on the roster - owners of an American League Championship ring and a World Series ring - there was still hope this wouldn't get completely out of control.

At 9:30 on Saturday night - in the middle of a beat down by baseball's best team, the Boston Red Sox, was when it became clear. That was around the time the Royals threw the ball around the infield like a nine year old YMCA team making error after error. It was around the time that my hopes that this would be a complete turnaround were extinguished.

There is a thought amongst fans who follow this stuff closely, that the Royals could quickly reload and make a run at another title in 2020, or 2021. When you look at the roster as currently constructed and know that Mike Moustakas will certainly be dealt in the next couple of weeks, the math becomes impossibly hard to believe the Royals can contend quickly.

You only need to look at the famous Dayton Moore five-year plan that turned into a ten and almost fifteen-year plan to get to a pennant in 2014. It took completely tearing the roster down, flipping prospects who were flipped for other prospects to know how hard it will be.

The minor leagues right now have next to nothing. Reloading prospects like Bubba Starling and Kyle Zimmer are not going to be world-beaters like was predicted several years ago. The crop of college arms that Moore drafted for this June are simply to be used as poker chips to flip for others - but there will surely be injuries and setbacks there. Pitchers are tricky because when they really start to let it fly, in this modern game, there's a Tommy John surgery looming in a number of cases.

The future of the Royals (if you squint and see through a foggy lens) right now is Adalberto Mondesi - a legit middle infielder who still needs to learn to hit; Seuly Matias, a power hitter who needs to mature (he's only 19); and this latest crop of arms they just drafted including a pair of pitchers from Florida who went one and two to the Royals -- Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar -- fresh off the College World Series.

At this point in the second Moore rebuild, the Royals had championship minor-league teams choc-full of names like Gordon, Hosmer, Butler, Moustakas, Escobar, and then flipped prospects for names like Cain, and then Davis.
There is nothing close to that level of talent in the pipeline right now. So you have to go back to square one - and baseball doesn't have the success of having number one picks go on to all-star careers like basketball and football. (see Griffin, Colt.)

This all ran through my mind around 9:30 on Saturday, when the pieces fell into place and you could see hopes of a fast turnaround dissipate like the Avengers. And then that sinking feeling of not just seeing a year or two of bad baseball, but potentially seeing years and decades of bad baseball as the team literally re-learns how to construct the lego pieces again.

The only good news, I suppose, is that the beer is still cold at The K, and you'll have plenty of elbow room. Settle in, it's going to be a while before you have to fight for a seat.

(Settle in on Twitter where you can find Chris Kamler as @TheFakeNed. You’ll also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Catch him on Landmark Live on Wednesday, July 18 from the Platte County Fair)



Over the past week, politicians and media outlets have seemed to focus on a call for civility by President Trump. This follows the controversy about the immigration policies that separated upwards of 2,500 children from their parents after asylum-seeking families crossed southern borders into the United States.

The outcry was noticeable and loud - which is saying something after the last two years. People in Trump's circle were verbally assaulted while at dinner. The Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders was forced to leave a dinner party after the restaurant she was at asked her to leave. Protesters are getting more aggressive towards members of the Republican party in public stepping right up to the line dividing criminal behavior and fair protest.

So, in a way, the right calling for an easing of tensions is totally appropriate. I'm not sure we want our mayors and our dog catchers and our county accountants being harassed while in line at QuikTrip. Seems that there is a time and a place for it.

But the call for civility - from the source it came from - is pretty ridiculous. It wasn't the time for civility when entertainer Trump joked about grabbing women by the pussy. It wasn't the time for civility when candidate Trump mocked a disabled reporter. It wasn't the time for civility when mobs of white supremacists spent the first months of the Trump presidency holding white pride marches only to hear silence from the White House. It wasn't the time for civility when President Trump insulted any number of people in the country including Reporters, politicians, citizens, and foreign governments.

But now is the time for civility. Got it.

After the press secretary didn't get her Cobb salad, and five reporters have been murdered at a newspaper, prompting that newspaper to print the word “f&&&” (without the ampersands) in their newspaper - following an open call to shoot reporters from political commentator Milo Yiannopolus - NOW is the time for civility.

I'm as against whataboutism as anyone. I hate to denounce a bad thing by mentioning an equally as bad thing. However, it's absolutely impossible to see those calling for professionalism and restraint while politicians rely on that professionalism and restraint to act as cloud cover to make policies that endanger water, remove ourselves from important trade agreements, and, worst of all, incarcerate children as young as three years old after ripping them from their parents' arms.

So no, I'll probably not take this time to be civil. I probably won't take this time to not curse on Twitter, and I won't take this time, if ever given the opportunity, to interrupt those responsible for this goat rodeo of a country right now from getting their Happy Meal and Shamrock Shake.

In the words of my then five year old brother in the back of our Oldsmobile station wagon traveling to Colorado on a vacation, “You started it.”

I'm perfectly fine with that response - and that's about as civil as I can get.

(Get civil or not with Chris Kamler where you’ll find him disguised as @TheFakeNed. You’ll also catch him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




Boy, oh boy, has the news around here been dire. Murders. Racism. Harassment. Politics. Immigration. The list goes on and on. I have to admit, that it's all gotten me seeking a happier time and place.

So my brain took that challenge and presented me with the following dream the other night.

It is the year 2028. My son is off to college and my wife and I are looking to downsize our home. We begin a house search. If we were to do it today, we'd likely look north. Maybe Platte City or even more north. But in 2028, it's all about moving back into downtown Kansas City. Somewhere along the streetcar line which now runs from the Plaza all the way north to the sparkling new Buck O'Neil Airport just south of the old KCI.

We end up finding a small condo in North Kansas City three blocks from the Streetcar with access to everything we need. It will be used frequently as we are now season ticket holders to the Kansas City Monarchs - our new NBA franchise. The Streetcar gets us to and from the T-Mobile Center (was renamed a few years back after the merger was finalized.) We've been season ticket holders since the team started and now that they are NBA champions, it has certainly paid off. The parade through downtown wasn't quite as big as the Royals parade in 2015, but it was pretty amazing nonetheless.

And the Northland has never been stronger. With the Streetcar line and the redesigned northern corridor of I-70, cities like Gladstone and Parkville have become the “new” Overland Park. High end retail, plenty of parking was the call, and the stores showed up. Amazon Club - the Costco-style big box store--now has three locations in Clay and Platte counties. Liberty, naturally, is still a terrible place to drive through, but they finally cleared up the goofy intersections between I-29 and Platte County High School. QuikTrip just opened their drive through gas station there where you can literally drive through to get your electric car topped off while eating roller food.

President Jason Kander is only a few weeks away from taking the oath of office, and there are already talks about where his Presidential Library will be. The former Kansas City mayor certainly left his mark on the city - just like Mayor James did with the successful Power and Light District and the All-Star Game. Kander was able to get the airport built under budget, while also handling delicate politics to rebuild the downtown loop and rebuild the Buck O'Neil Bridge. (Yes, in my dream we have a bridge AND an airport named after Buck.)

From a national perspective, the country is just now coming out of a decade-long cultural civil war. Kansas City was able to dance around much of the civil instability - call it savvy, call it luck, call it Midwestern charm. Whatever it was, it devoured cities like St. Louis and Denver. Kansas City was an oasis through the storm and now it is poised to reap the benefits.

At some point after that, I woke up. Trump has tweeted something offensive again. The left has responded childishly. There was another mass shooting and yet another Hollywood executive was found to harass dozens of people.

But those are the country's problems. I still think that there might be a path forward for our little cowtown, to make it through these troubles and come out the other side better for it. Or maybe it was only a dream.

(Live the dream with Chris Kamler on Twitter where you can find him as @TheFakeNed. And you’ll catch him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




Technology has come at a furious pace the last several decades. It was only a few years ago that it seems I got my first cell phone, and then iPod, and then smart phone, and then, and then, and then.

The gadget culture has permeated past the cell phone into our homes. Smart refrigerators, smart thermostats, and even smart toilets. (Yes, it’s a thing.) But one piece of technology that seems to have saturated homes the most has been the voice-activated devices. Alexa and Google Home, just to name a couple. Of course they were originally billed as devices to help around the house. “Alexa, set a cooking timer for 11 minutes.” Or ‘hey Google, what’s on my calendar for today?”

But let’s be clear, these devices are around to help separate money from your wallet. Just the other day I ordered laundry detergent through Alexa, and it’s gotten so easy to refill your cupboards with two day shipping.

What is lost, however, is the value. It’s so easy to order you lose sight of what it costs. If detergent usually costs $15 at the store but $17.50 through Amazon, all that starts to add up.

Here’s where we need the next great piece of technology. Dadlexa. Dadlexa is designed to not just make life easier, but make life more effective. Just imagine all the sound life advice your parents give you, but automated through an Alexa device. An example:

“Dadlexa, order laundry detergent.”

“You know, you can buy it for $18 on Amazon, but the paper had a coupon which makes your cost only $12.50 at Aldi.”

The voice of reason that you lose when you move out of your parent’s house can come back to you in nearly every piece of your daily life.

“Dadlexa, what’s on my calendar for today?”

“You have an appointment with that woman that your mother doesn’t like at 7pm. Shall I cancel it for you?”

“Dadlexa, set a cooking timer for 15 minutes.”

“What are you cooking? If it’s your Aunt Mabel’s recipe for pineapple upside down cake, remember to pull it from the oven three minutes early.”

The options are endless. Dadlexa can help you with life advice, money advice, even tell you to stop smoking when it detects you’ve lit up. It can tell you about this date in history, “Today 32 years ago, your mother and I had a big argument about that restaurant that was shut down a few years ago.”

“Dadlexa, please send a text to my boss saying that I’ll be late.”

‘Is your car broken? Would you like me to walk you through changing your oil?

You laugh, but don’t be surprised when your parents move back in with YOU -- only digitally -- in a few years.

(Get a feel of living with Chris Kamler on Twitter where you can follow him as @TheFakeNed. Or find him on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube)



If historians were to look at 2018 outside of the political bickering and the social media nonsense, they'd likely draw one conclusion -- It's basically 1995.

Just look at television. Roseanne and Full House have both returned. On the silver screen, Top Gun, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and dozens of other movies have copy and pasted their formulas dating back to the 90's.

Why can't the best things of the 90's come back, too? Like $1.50 gas? Or my waistline?

The 90's for me were when I was fresh out of college. The first time I had a little spending money, and the first time I got to drink without sneaking it out of the liquor cabinet. In 2018, I'd LOVE to have spending money or be back at college. And I can't take a drink now without feeling it for four days.

If you really think about it, there's not much that's changed since the 1990's. Beer commercials are still pretty terrible - See: WAZZZUUUUUPPP vs. DILLY DILLY. Politics still feature a womanizing egotist in the White House. Will and Grace and Beauty and the Beast were popular. Even Dennis Rodman seemed to find fame in both decades.

My hope, however, is that society would have evolved for the better in the 25 years that have separated these decades. But we all know that it hasn't. Cable News hasn't really changed much since the 90's and the opening days of the Gulf War. Well, maybe it's gotten a little louder.

Technology is one area that's evolved significantly. However, if you look at it, the Walkman has only mildly evolved into something that doesn't skip your Dire Straits CD when you're jogging. (Now you lose your wireless earbuds when they fall out of your ears, or the dog eats your charger.) Computers have infinitely faster speeds and that screechy 33.6 baud modem has evolved into Facebook and Twitter. But the Information Superhighway has only really added a few lanes and on ramps. We just don't need to load an AOL CD to get to it.

Everything old is truly new again. Instead of the Space Shuttle, we have the Tesla. Instead of Pokemon, we have Pokemon Go. Instead of FRIENDS, we have the Big Bang Theory.

I guess you can say that it shows a lack of originality in humans. Or just a desire for what is comfortable. It is kind of a drag that the format of a basic cop show or a hospital show hasn't really changed since Hill Street Blues and E.R. I'm certainly not an expert in fashion, so it may have truly evolved since the 90's as well.

However, I still see women with big hair walking around. But I don't remember anything in 1997 about skinny jeans.

All in all, other than losing respect for originality, I guess bringing some of the 90's back again is fine. I certainly had a great decade in the 90's. I drank some beers. I dressed poorly. I binge-watched Star Trek. Three things I can still do today.

And I guess it certainly could be worse. We could be bringing back the 1970's and bell bottoms with disco. And we don't want to bring back the World War of the 1940's. So if it's the 90's, I say we embrace it and throw plaid shirts, crank up the Nirvana on our iPhones and watch some Top Gun. I feel the need for speed.

(Feel the need to follow Chris Kamler on Twitter at @TheFakeNed. You can also search for him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




Some random thoughts on this rare day where it's not 100 degrees.
What happened to spring, anyway? We go from 36 degrees to 94? That's just rude. And it's the extra stuff, too. Like 36 degrees with 40 mph winds to 94 degrees and 95% humidity. Even when it rains, it goes immediately to swamp-rot temps right after.

**I realize we've been spoiled with mild winters the last few years, but that's not going to stop my Midwestern right to complain. Talk all you want about existing Constitutional amendments, I feel that the right to complain about the weather should be in the next Bill of Rights.

**Last week, Missouri said farewell to its sleezy Gov. Eric Greitens. I didn't follow the story that closely, which means that I certainly didn't know anything other than the highlights, but man, that guy held on longer than I thought. Up until last week he was saying, “I'm never leaving.” Where do you go after you're the governor who resigned? Open a barber shop? Greeter at Wal-Mart? I'm sure he'll get some cushy job as a lobbyist - just as long as it's not for a photography company.

**Speaking of major mistakes in high profile jobs, a Landmark tip of the cap to Cleveland Cavaliers player JR Smith for his epic goof during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. As you likely saw, JR misremembered the score of the game with four seconds left, thinking his team was ahead, when his team was actually tied. He ran out the clock, forcing the game to overtime instead of handing the ball to the greatest basketball player in the history of ever, LeBron James for a sure victory. We've all made mistakes in our jobs - heck, some of us on a daily basis. Here's hoping you never have to do it on live national television.

**If you haven't had a chance to check out our recent Landmark Live dedicated to destroying my liver and also raising awareness of DWI's, you should check it out at facebook.com/plattecountylandmark. I basically drank two drinks to every one that Ivan Foley and Brad Carl drank. Which means that through an hour, I drank eight or more standard whiskey drinks. That night, I actually felt fine. But what they don't tell you about getting old is that hangovers are on delay - and they last for two or three days. Saturday, I basically didn't move from my bed. There was a time that drinking eight drinks was just part of a standard Friday and I'd be up early on Saturday ready to rock. Not so much, my friends.

The good news is that we did open a great topic with the Platte County Sheriff's Office about the perils of driving buzzed. I didn't blow over the legal limit but I sure shouldn't have been driving (and didn't, I Uber'ed). And I'm also glad that I didn't take my pants off on live Facebook.

(Catch Chris Kamler tweeting with his pants on--or sometimes off--on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Every morning, it's there. Sometimes, I see it appear on the horizon, others, it's front and center of my gaze. But every day, it's there.

My day job is out near the Kansas Speedway, and on the eighth floor of the building I work in, one of our conference rooms faces it. When I walk to the bathroom, it catches my eye. When I drive home out of the parking lot, it looms in the background.

It is Verruckt, the abomination of a water slide that has been shut down for nearly two years since it caused the death of 10-year old Caleb Schwab. Just about everyone associated with the slide wants it taken down, however, it has been held up for legal reasons apparently by the state of Kansas.

The investigation into the Schlitterbahn water park has already put three people in jail, charged with involuntary manslaughter, and just this past week, it was exposed that 11 more of the park's rides would not be open because they didn't pass inspections. The document from the KDOL mentioned missing safety documentation, lack of training, lack of safety signs, and parts that hadn't been replaced on rides after they hit their life span.

Roadside carnivals seem to be better run than Schlitterbahn. Not only has the flagship ride killed a little boy, but the other rides seem to be right behind. The rides were closed after the Kansas Department of Labor cited 160 violations in a recent inspection. These weren't just un-emptied trash cans, these were safety violations. And it seems to be the standard procedure for this company.

According to Fox 4, “Court documents show from August 2014 until Caleb's death in August 2016 more than a dozen people reported injuries from the ride including concussions, whiplash and herniated spinal disk injuries.”

There are reports of intentionally skirting safety warnings during the building of Verruckt. The idea only being made to make a TV show about extreme waterslides. It's no wonder that Kansas is throwing the book at them.

But that's simply not enough. The park has simply got to close. It opened for the season last week, and I simply can't understand anyone who would walk through the gates and past the ride that murdered a boy in the most gruesome way. The park needs to be shuttered and Verruckt needs to be bulldozed. Today.

That entire area just southwest of Platte County had been growing, so I have no doubt the land would be made into a QuikTrip or a Costco.

It's time to shut the place down and run the crooks who continually put safety behind profits out of our city.

In the meantime, I certainly hope that you choose better summer entertainment. I'd take the front yard hose before I'd give Schlitterbahn a dime of my money.

(The Landmark’s Chris Kamler and his front yard hose can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and you’ll also chase him down on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It's graduation time again, so I'm going to try to keep up with my annual message to graduates of high schools and colleges around the area. Consider this the graduation speech that you don't have to sit three hours for.

Graduates. You made it! No more tests. No more Tuesday/Thursday labs. No more Friday night football. Welcome to the real world.

Frankly, we haven't really taken very good care of it. It's a lot like your parents giving you your first car and it being a hunk of crap with three wheels and a transmission problem. Except we've given you the future and it's as unstable as it has ever been.

This isn't just about our leadership in the government, that is a much longer speech. This is about the future that you'll create and how much harder it'll be than it was for us. Growing up, our lives were largely defined by our parents. They chose which church you went to. They chose our schools and the neighborhoods that would define us. And in many ways, you were held in your chrysalis's until you were ready to enter into the world.

These things are still mostly the same, however, you have also been exposed to the rest of the world through social media and the depth of information at your fingertips. You have heard the good, the bad, and the ugly about the world around you. You have been exposed to more information than ever before. Information, it turns out, that isn't always the truth, and it certainly won't always set you free.

The adults around you have managed to achieve the miracle of knowledge. We double humanity's knowledge nearly daily. We have analytics in your kitchens, in your offices, and even in your cars. We collect data to make humanity simpler and easier. Instead, other adults have managed to take that knowledge and bend the will of humanity. We have figured out how to lie just enough to gaslight millions of people. We have figured out how to out think even the smartest minds. And we have learned to argue. Oh boy, have we learned to argue.

What we haven't been able to do, graduates, is move forward.

So here comes the Class of 2018. The class that has grown up entirely in the 21st Century. The Class that has seen the worst that humanity has to offer. You've seen 9/11. You've seen school shootings. You've seen bold-faced lies from the highest levels.

It's going to be up to you to put a stop to it. No pressure.

We've been given a gift of technology and used it to fight amongst ourselves. But you have never known a world where this gift didn't exist.

But here's the thing. Your brilliance is that you are able to see the dumb things that adults are doing. You are able to call B.S. on the nonsense that's going on. And as you enter into the world, you're going to soon be the group running the show. You will be able to put an end to the bickering and the fractured world we live in.

But you're not ready quite yet. Take these years to find your moral center. Live the world. Find yourselves. Understand what makes humanity worth saving.

Once you do that, come help us find ourselves again. Help us find out where our common ground is, and how to move forward as a culture and a country.

But hurry.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twiiter @TheFakeNed and watch him on Landmark Live this week, Thursday, 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



Welcome to the Kansas City Museum. Yes, please come in. I know it’s a large group today, but please, let’s try to stick together. We’ve got a fantastic exhibit this weekend and we’re actually very lucky to have it in our museum.

What we’ve got in store for you today is what we like to call the Teenagerious Hybernatius. A nocturnal creature, the Teenagerious is most active after hours so I don’t think we’ll have a chance to see it live today, but let’s go through the exhibit and I’ll be sure to point him out if we see him.

Our first exhibit is a pathway of the Hybernatius’s clothing. If you follow it closely, you can see how the trail of clothing goes from the front door to the bathroom. There’s a sock. A dirty shirt. Off in the distance, another sock. And underpants. This is a very common practice for this type of mammal as they traditionally return from their education time.

If you follow closely up the stairs, you’ll see the lair of the Teenagerious. This pile of cloth is what once was a neatly made sleeping area. It was once over there on the wooden square that had a soft box spring, but the nomad has moved the comforter over to the floor. One of the pillows is in the bathroom for some reason.
Let’s keep walking and we’ll follow the trail of bed sheets down to the eating area. This is where the nocturnal Hybernatius is at its most active. In the sink washing station are artifacts that show he was here. The dirty pot is a sign that he made Ramen noodles, and the half-eaten cup of microwave shells and cheese says that he might’ve gotten full or possibly run off by predators.

Oh, now this is special, folks. You see this here on the ground? This is a popcorn kernel, possibly from a bag of microwave popcorn. Oh! And there’s another. These seem to lead down this flight of stairs. It’s possible that we might come in contact with the creature. Now, a few things... first, you will be more scared of him than he is of you. Luckily, it’s before noon, so it’s very likely that even if we do come in contact with him, he will be too slumberous to engage. You might hear a grunt, or see him scratching his hair. But it’s unlikely he would do much else except roll over and go back to sleep. Not in his bed, mind you. But on the couch for some reason.

There he is!! Sprawled out on the couch you can see one leg is hanging off the side and his familiar no-shirt stance. What a delight. This creature will someday grow up to drive a BMW, and look at him now. You can’t even connect the dots from here to there.

Thank you so much for coming to see the exhibit. If you would please leave a QuikTrip gift card as payment, that’s all the Teenagerious Hybernatius eats. And also Ramen noodles.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It was a life skill that you learned on long car rides when you were four or five years old. It goes something like this:

Bobby: Mom! Chris hit me!!
Mom: You two stop it right this instant! No pudding for you!
Chris: But Bobby hit me first and he got pudding!
Mom: That's it! Chris, you don't get any pudding.

Despite the harsh punishment of not getting any pudding, the art of relativism was born. It's comparing one bad thing to another bad thing and hoping for a similar outcome. The skill is alive and well in today's politically charged climate.

Here is what it looks like in today's parlance:

Republican: Oh my God! I can't believe that comedienne told those disgusting jokes about our Press Secretary.
Democrat: But, what about all the times the president talked about grabbing women and blood coming out of her wherever?
Republican: But those weren't on CSPAN.
Result? Nobody gets pudding.

It goes the other way as well.

Democrat: How dare these people go after a teenager who is politically active and vocal!
Republican: But what about that time y'all made fun of that kid who was a Donald Trump fan?
Democrat: But those weren't on CNN.
Result? Nobody gets pudding.

Of all the bickering that is going on right now, I seem to have the least tolerance for relativism. Comparing one horrible act which didn't get appropriate justice to another horrible act which didn't get justice seems entirely counterproductive and a waste of time. It solves nothing and only serves to further disenfranchise people like me who just want to get through the day without any of the horrible things happening in the first place.

Oh, sure. You might've won a point against another terrible person. But those points can't be redeemed for anything - not even pudding.

That's not to say you should ignore history or how others have reacted in situations. But rather than aiming for the last bad thing someone did, how about you search your own moral compass and either do what's right, or zip it and let it pass?

But pointing out hypocrisy won't give you a license to be a hypocrite. That's not how the potato slices. Apropo of nothing, the argument method called “whataboutism” has its roots in Soviet Russia in the 1970's. Strange how it now seems to be taking hold here.

Whataboutism has seeped into social media and news coverage and has served as a way to drag everyone down in a race to the bottom. Certainly not the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” way to move forward in an argument.

But don't mind me, I'll just be sitting here eating my pudding.

(Chris Kamler and his pudding can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You’ll also catch him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



Our clothes washer has been on the fritz the past couple of weeks which forced me to find other accommodations to wash our clothes last weekend. I loaded heaping mounds of clothes into my car to find a laundromat like I was a sophomore in college.

After 40 pounds in quarters later, everything got done and I found that I had clothes in this pile that must've been lost for months. One such item was a World Series 2015 sweatshirt. The logo is beginning to fade, and one of the pieces of screen printing has fallen off, so now it reads “Orld Series 2015.”

The actual Kansas City Royals seem to be in even worse shape than my sweatshirt.

We mentioned a month or so ago that it's obviously going to be a long year for the Boys in Blue. But man, are they getting their money's worth. Sure, we knew that the team would have new faces and that old ones would take some getting used to in other uniforms. Eric Hosmer in San Diego. Lorenzo Cain in Milwaukee. And in Royals uniforms, there were new guys like John Jay and Lucas Duda. That's just normal churn for a ball club, and knowing how the core of the team was sent off in fanfare last year, we had started to prepare.

But nobody could've seen this coming.

A week before the season started, the team's biggest power bat, Jorge Bonifacio, was popped for using performance enhancers and suspended half the season. Their all-star and World Series MVP catcher, Salvador Perez slipped on some water the night before the season started and twisted his knee, causing a month (or more) long stay on the DL. Not to mention their manager, Ned Yost nearly died during the offseason after falling out of a tree stand, breaking his hip.

The body count started to rise before the first pitch was even thrown. And once it flew, things got even crazier. I've been counting down the worst moments in Royals history on my personal blog, ramblingmorons.com, and it seems we may need a brand new list just for this season.

Many of the games have followed a familiar template. Either the Royals jump out to a big lead, or the starting pitching holds the opponent close (or both.) And then the bullpen gives up the lead. It's happened several times already, including on Opening Day. When the pitching does hold, the offense seems to run and hide.

Kids, it's going to be a long year.

But that's not all. The weather has been dreadful this season, including a cancelled game on Sunday where it was simply too cold to play. (Not to mention the chance for injury to MLB's new darling, Shohei Ohtani. The Royals cancelled a second game in a row on Monday because... wait.. Is this right? The Royals team bus was hit by falling ice, forcing it off the road. The bus driver was hit with shards of ice and glass, and bullpen pitcher Blayne Boyer had to take the wheel to save the bus. It might be the only save the bullpen gets this season.

All that being said, the circus isn't called the Greatest Show on Earth just because of the lions. It takes some clowns and some comedy to make it truly great. Maybe it won't take 30 more years of futility like this to make it back to the “Orld Series.”

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



•Much like Mother Nature, I can’t seem to figure out what I want to do this week, so we’re going to clean out the notebook and give you a few of my random thoughts.

•Speaking of Mother Nature, what the hell? 65 one day, 27 the next. Snow. Rain. Something that looked like bean bag filling another. And the local weather folks only know how to tell you it’s going to be Armageddon or San Diego. There doesn’t seem to be any in between. It’s a bad look for a town that’s had a pretty good stretch of weather the last few years.

•Another weather thought - we should be knee deep in tornado season right now which means I should be sitting on my back deck with a beer waiting for the ‘nader to pass through my back yard. Not thrilled that I’ve got to sleep under eight blankets and haven’t put my heavy coat away yet.

•Another Kansas City spring tradition that hasn’t warmed up yet - your Kansas City Royals. Didn’t put together a spring preview this year, mostly because it would just be that poop emoji. It’s going to be a rough year, we knew that. But losing Salvy the night before Opening Day and Alex Gordon looking like my son’s JV team is just as bad as anticipated. My advice? The beer is always cold at The K. Indulge responsibly.

•The boy and I went to our first Sporting KC soccer match last week. Or at least the first one in several years. I continue to be amazed at how professionally trained every usher, concession stand worker, and nearly everyone associated with that park is. We were greeted and shown to our seat. The concessions were quick and there were plenty of places to get warm. It’s not that the Royals and Chiefs do it badly - but Sporting really does it right.

•As I get older, I’m learning more about how my brain works - or doesn’t work. I’ve always had a propensity of starting and stopping projects. I come up with a lot of fun ideas and after a few months, I kind of get tired of them and move onto something else. (Don’t worry, I WILL be returning to Landmark Live soon.) But every once in a while, my brain will empty every idea out all at once and the last month has been one of those times. I’ve started three writing projects, a new website for my son’s baseball team, set up live broadcasting for the games, and have been announcing and playing music for all their games. Oh, and I launched a big project at work.

I literally sat on my ass all winter, and now all this stuff comes rolling at me at once. Dear brain, maybe even it out next time.

•As such, when I start all these projects, there’s a ton of little gizmos and gadgets that I feel I need at Amazon.com. An adapter for this, a cable for that. So the Amazon folks have worked overtime placing these boxes on my doorstep. I know Amazon has recently become the target of the day for Donnie Trump for some reason or another. You can complain about building the wall. You can mess around with national security. You can even deflect all your attention on you back to Hillary. But don’t come for Amazon. One day shipping. Sundays included. Everything under the sun. That’s where I draw the line. Amazon is the single greatest invention in the last 10 years and I wouldn’t have mounds of empty boxes in my garage because of it. I’m fully Team Bezos. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s someone at the door.

•Stay warm. Next week, it’ll either be 90 or 10. But the Landmark will always be hot.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and check him out on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




Over the past several weeks, you've no doubt heard about how ads on Facebook may have targeted sectors of individuals with issue-oriented ads designed to influence the 2016 election. It also appears that these tactics have worked, oh, and they were orchestrated by Russia.

This is the culmination of 20+ years of personal data and personality sharing we have willingly donated to these media companies. It started with just basic information like name and city. That was attached to our address, so we started getting targeted junk mail.

Then it was attached to our phone numbers so we started getting telemarketers which evolved to robocalls. Then MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter came along and three key pieces of information somehow turned into geolocators, political preferences, what type of tacos you like to eat, and how much toilet paper you buy.

The illusion of privacy is all but gone. It happened slowly, but willingly. Like allowing someone to simply move into your house and slowly move all your stuff out into the driveway. Facebook knows who your friends are. Alexa knows when you are out of paper towels. Nest thermostats know when you're home to adjust the temperature. Russia didn't do anything except put the pieces together from companies who were far too cavalier about their data policies.

The scariest part of this is that entire bubbles are being formed around people because as much as they've shared, it's now being regurgitated back to them in influencing ways. Facebook knows that you own a gun, so can easily begin building a cage around you where you only see gun-related ads and content. Simply being a gun owner can get you NRA literature, then Republican themed ads, then, perhaps, even take you in a darker direction towards the fringes of any philosophy.

This is digital gaslighting and it's really, really scary. Think of the Truman Show, but designed to get you to think and purchase and vote in a very specific way. This isn't science fiction. In fact, it's history. It happened in 2016 as we are now finding out. “This was a breach of trust and I'm sorry we didn't do more at the time,” writes Zuckerberg. “I promise to do better for you.” This was Zuckerberg's second such apology of the month as more light is being shown on just how much data was mined from Facebook (through third-party applications that have permission to mine this data.) Basically every application on your phone or digital device in your home has such permissions.

How can we battle this? Well, that's going to be an uphill fight because if done properly, you don't know you're being influenced because the influence is coming from literally every direction. News, ads, friends content, and false items placed on your feeds that can move you ever so slightly in a direction. Multiply by all day every day and it's hard to know you're down the rabbit hole until you've reached the bottom.

My advice? Learn more about the apps and data you're sharing with companies. Work to use ad blockers and don't take the things that you hear on the news simply at 100% face value. Think for yourself. The future may likely depend on it.

(Your future may depend upon following Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or finding him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. You can also catch him on The Landmark’s internet video broadcast known as Landmark Live at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



Facebook remains a goldmine of humans completely willing to open a vein of their feelings about the world - whether you want to read it or not. It also remains one of the best places to get unsolicited opinions on whether you are a good or bad person.

Today, I share a passage from a Landmark reader from a recent Facebook post.
This reader decided to share their thoughts about education on social media platform. As you might expect, the comments were appended to a series of photographs documenting the recent Snake Saturday parade in North Kansas City - obviously an excuse for the Liberal Media to push their agenda, or possibly the upcoming Avengers movie.

The reader begins, “On the Personalized Education Program for Middle School students, which is being introduced into Platte County R-3 Schools in March of 2018........................ This fantasy appears to me as just another way for the Liberal Progressive teachers and administrators to ‘dumb down’ learning in the classroom.”

So, on the basis of overuse of ellipsis alone, you can tell this post is going to be trouble. Additionally, there is some overuse of “quotation” marks and what seems to be a constant in oddball posts recently - the Overuse Of Capitalization.

But the thing that irked me the most is the broad-brush name calling. “Liberal Progressive teachers and administrators” is putting an awful lot of people in one bread basket. And I'm fairly sure that my English teacher, Mrs. Jones, would roll over in her grave if she was “dumbing down” in quotes like that. Now, to note, she is not gone from this earth. But she likely would be if she saw the 19 periods used for an ellipsis.

Our reader continues, “I am no stranger to the Progressives and their ‘educational improvements,’ having taught in the PC R-3 system for 28 years with a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree, a Master's of Arts Degree - History and extensive studies in History beyond the Masters. ...”

Oh, well, you didn't tell us above that you were such an accomplished golfer! I can, however, see you tipped back in your country club chair drinking an Arnold Palmer screaming “EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS” and doing the finger quotes thing. I'll bet the rest of your foursome was excited that you were so clearly making your point.

After several more sentences, our reader concludes, “We are failing the coming generations with these Marxist Liberal Progressive schemes. We should realize that constant change does not mean actual improvement and often means just the opposite. The alarm should be sounded by the Board of Education and most of all the tax payers [sic] and parents in this school district.”

Marxist Liberal Progressive schemes? That's like dipping your spoon into three different bins at Baskin Robins and coming out with Rocky Road, orange sherbert, and toilet water flavored ice cream. Plus, it's about the fifth example of name calling in your post.

That picture of Spiderman sitting on the back of a flatbed on Armour Boulevard last Saturday really seemed to strike a nerve.

My recommendation? Stop calling people names, “relax” and go hit 18 more holes to calm you down. It seems that the “dumbing down” of the educational system started around the same time you did.

(Find Chris Kamler “dumbing down” Twitter and other social media outlets. Catch him on Landmark Live on Thursday nights at 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



This is a story about baseball. This is a story about the best athletes in the world. This is a story about keeping them on a healthy and profitable path. This is also a story about porn.

As you likely read last week, the Royals leadership had their entire organization attend a half-day seminar designed to dissuade their players from partaking in pornography.

On the surface, this wouldn't seem terribly out of whack for an organization that has embarked on faith-based initiatives before. They hold a yearly Faith and Family night where speakers come to testify after a baseball game. They encourage attendance at chapel on Sunday games. And they allow advertising from Christian advocacy group, the Vitae foundation. Allowing the organization Fight The New Drug time to talk to their employees seems consistent.


What could have been done with the three hours they had those players in the meeting? Let's say there were roughly 120 players in the organization. That's, roughly, 400 hours, or 10 weeks of an employee's 40-hour job time.

There is certainly nothing wrong with educating your employees on how to live a better life. My employer encourages its employees to walk at lunch, eat right, and invest into a retirement fund. I have not, however, had one of my supervisors walk up to me and have a heart to heart about bopping the bologna.

Just for fun, let's look at other initiatives that have impacted the Royals more closely than porn use:

For starters, your opening day pitcher, Danny Duffy, passed out in the drive-thru of a Burger King late last year which resulted in a DUI. The opening day starter the year before, Yordano Ventura crashed his vehicle, killing himself after he was ejected from the car. Toxicology reports on the accident have not been made public.

Just this past week, your starting outfielder, Jorge Bonifacio, was suspended 80 games for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance.

The Royals have a long and sordid history with substance abuse dating back to the 1980's with Willie Aikens, Vida Blue, and Lonnie Smith as well as alcohol abuse with Darrell Porter among others.

Education about wearing seat belts, getting a designated driver, and staying clear of performance enhancing drugs would've all been better uses of 400 hours rather than an education about steering clear of the 10:30 dirties.

The seminar taught players that pornography and its use injures the mind and also damages relationships. And that may well be true. However, punching the clown has never gotten anyone arrested for DUI, cocaine possession, or killed anyone not wearing a seatbelt. It also has never hurt any actual clowns.

It seems that the Royals may want to pay attention to the old drugs before making up new drugs to go fight.

(Chris Kamler has punched the clown but never caused injury to said clown. Catch him clowning on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and also on Landmark Live each week at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark. Find him on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Here is the shame of it - I probably could fix this.

Now, I am not traditionally good with much. I can't change my own oil. I can't seem to get the corners of the kitchen floor when I'm mopping. I can't sew a button back on a shirt.

In fact, the only thing I do know quite a bit about is computers. My day job involves computers. It involves servers, and routers, and firewalls, and storage arrays. Oh, and it involves databases.

A database is, essentially, a card catalog system from back in the days when you'd go to a library looking for a book. You'd open a drawer of 3x5 cards. There were cards organized for the names of the books and also the authors of the books. Once you located the card, on it would be a little code with some more information on where it is in the library. Without that card in a library, you'd be hard pressed to find anything other than the front door.

A database is basically an electronic version of that. There are tables (like a spreadsheet) and then there are links to other tables, and then there are indexes that tell you where in the database the information you're looking for is. The mechanics of it are quite simple.

You can even run logic against it. Using the library metaphor again, let's say you have five copies of The Silence, The Series, and The Season of Sungwoo (I hear it's a good book.) And let's say that four of those copies have been loaned out. You can run logic that would alert you and say, “This book is very popular, you should order more copies.”

But if you only use single tables, there are no connections between them and no logic you can run that would alert you to the totality of the information contained therin.

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old man who killed 17 people in a high school two weeks ago, was not unknown to law enforcement. There were complaints entered against him. There was a record of his being expelled from the very school he shot up. There were tips to the FBI that he was exhibiting dangerous behavior. And there was a receipt for the purchase of an AR-15 rifle, legally, one year prior.

All of those pieces of information were, in some way, captured electronically. However, they were captured in a vacuum. The FBI didn't know that he had been kicked out of school because the FBI database doesn't talk to the school district database. A complaint to one police department doesn't necessarily show up in the database of another police department. A gun store owner doesn't know anything about the purchaser because their background check database doesn't check for any of that information, nor does it talk to databases in other states.

This is a simple problem to fix. This is an incredibly simple problem to fix. These databases could be tied together and logic could be applied to get a better picture of guns, gun owners, violent people, and people who just might shoot up a school killing 17 people.

The shame of it is that someone, like me, could make that database simply by clicking FILE > NEW and naming it “National Crime and Gun Database.”

(When he is not making databases, Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You’ll also catch him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Watch him on Landmark Live every Thursday at 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)




My thoughts and prayers go out to the 13 victims of the 1949 Camden shooting

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 17 victims of the 1966 University of Texas tower shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 13 victims of the 1982 Wilkes-Barre shootings.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 21 victims of the 1984 San Ysidro McDonald's shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 15 victims of the 1986 Edmond post office shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the nine victims of the 1990 GMAC shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 23 victims of the 1991 Luby's shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 13 victims of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the nine victims of the 2005 Red Lake shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the six victims of the 2006 West Nickel Mines School shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 32 victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the six victims of the 2008 Northern Illinois University shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 13 victims of the 2009 Binghamton shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 13 victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 10 victims of the 2009 Geneva County shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the two victims of the 2011 Millard South High School shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 27 victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 12 victims of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the three victims of the 2012 Chardon High School shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 12 victims of the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the six victims of the 2013 Santa Monica College shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victim of th the 2013 Arapahoe High School shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the three victims of the 2013 Hazard Community College shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the three victims of the 2014 Jewish Community Center shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the four victims of the 2014 Marysville Pilchuck HIgh School shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 14 victims of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the nine victims of the 2015 Umpqua Community College shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 49 victims of the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the five victims of the 2017 Aztec High School shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 58 victims of the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 26 victims of the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the 17 victims of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman High School shooting.

(You can give Chris Kamler your thoughts and prayers via Twitter where you’ll find him as @TheFakeNed. He’s also on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, and he plays co-host on Landmark Live every Thursday night at 6 on Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)




I don't know what it is, but I always seem to have a soft spot in my heart for special locations. Whenever I travel to Las Vegas, there's a special hot dog stand at New York, New York casino that reminds me of my wife. There's a spot on a beach in Los Angeles where my life nearly ended and that gives me chills when I return.

And then there's the feelings and memories that rush back to me every time I walk into Kauffman Stadium. I always look at the seat I was sitting in for the 2014 Wild Card game, and without fail, my mind rushes back to one of the happiest moments of my life.

Tonight, my mind will jump back even further to a very special place. Tonight, I will return to the Fieldhouse at North Kansas City High School to say goodbye. You see, the 60+ year old fieldhouse will be torn down over the summer and replaced with a new high school and fieldhouse as part of a long overdue remodel and expansion of the high school.

Just looking at the building, you can tell that it has not aged particularly well - especially when compared to new campuses like Park Hill South and Liberty North's cavernous gymnasiums. Northtown's gym has always been just that, a single basketball court, with about 15 rows of wooden and concrete bleachers on either side. On a late spring day, the non-air conditioned fieldhouse could easily reach into the 90's and in the winter, the temperature would drop as dramatically.
But you can easily look past the multiple coats of paint covering years of aging and the cracks in the concrete or the close quarters. A closer examination will show you the thousands of individual memories that myself and other alums over the past 65 years have experienced in the fieldhouse.

You can see the basketball games and the volleyball games. You can see the school dances. You can see the PE classes where those of us who were terrified of the Presidential Fitness Challenge would panic as we ran out of breath once we hit our fifth sit-up.

You can see the first kisses and the hand holding. You can see the pep band playing some early-70's standard in a late-80's basketball game. And you can feel the ghosts of the high school wandering up and down the lacquer coated stands.
For me, this was the place that I found my voice. As a member then leader of the pep band, and witness to arguably the greatest Hornet basketball victory of all time (an upset of the Crudup brothers of Raytown South). Several times a week, we'd be in the peanut gallery cracking wise, whispering dirty jokes to our friends and laughing. It was also the place I was named Courtwarming King with a pimple-pocked face and a suit jacket a half size too small.

Tonight marks the final varsity contest in the fieldhouse and my mind will jump back to the homecoming dances and the impromptu study sessions (yes, I occasionally studied).

While the teenager in me will be sad to see it go, I will be happy that Northtown can finally get updated facilities and a new, fresh start for the classes of 2019 and beyond. But for one night, a member of the class of 1990 will remember, and honor, and reflect on all that old barn meant to me and the tens of thousands of others who spent time there.

(Our Rambling Moron Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. When he isn’t at the fieldhouse, he also plays co-host on Landmark Live every Thursday night at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



Kind of all over the map today - much like the weather forecasts of the last two weeks. I'm not sure television weather people realize this but we're not asking them to be right 100% of the time. What we are asking them to do is tell us a range of weather that we might see in a day. Having had to drive in the middle of a blizzard on Sunday after nobody forecast it was not terribly fun. Let's not let perfection get in the way of being mostly right, okay?

Other topics on my mind.

•After writing a wonderful 500 words about how the NFL is dying last week, they signed a contract with Fox Sports for $3.3 Billion dollars to show Thursday night football AND had one of the most exciting, arguably, Super Bowls in history. If you haven't learned yet from our Lock of the Week segments on Landmark Live, you should probably know my track record is about as accurate as a Kansas City weatherman.

•To further that thread, in the last two weeks I've started to invest in both Bitcoin and the Stock Market. Over the last two weeks, both have taken a beating. So, if you need me, I'll be living in a cardboard box behind the Landmark for a few months. Feel free to throw your banana peels my way.

•It's been a few weeks since I talked about President Trump, and, contrary to what you might believe, it's not a completely negative point. The demonizing of the past several Presidents has gone off the rails. Not everything that Bush, Obama, and Trump has said has been 100% evil according to their opponents. And not 100% of what they say has been a positive either. This is a continuation of the polarization of society into a binary state. You are either a yes or a no on just about everything. There is no longer room for nuance or common ground. That's a huge problem for people who live in the middle and it has become tiresome to read and watch reporting so slanted on both sides, that there is little to glean from it. After Trump's State of the Union, one channel glowed about how the economy was the best it's ever been (days before the largest market point collapse in history) and the other station droned about how Trump was kicking babies out of airplanes at 40,000 feet.

•Television news stations will tell you that polarization is where ratings are. If you can get 30% of the country to watch your liberal leaning newscast, or 35% of the country to listen to your right-wing radio show, then you can keep those with short attention spans from changing the channel. This obviously leaves out the remaining 30-50% of us right here in the middle just hoping to have a 401(k) in 30 years and hoping all of the pot holes get filled. Government really shouldn't be this hard. Find the common areas where most people want progress, and then go do that. Completely changing all the rules every four years like a metronome isn't going to work. The country is going to get whiplash.

•We talked on last week's Landmark Live with Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd about an amendment before the Missouri Legislature. The amendment would add sports officials to the list of those eligible for special protections if assaulted in the line of duty. This would add them to a list that includes a number of types of workers including police, fire, cable and electrical workers among others. On the one hand, this could serve to deter the growing abuse given to sports officials. (Source: I've been a baseball umpire for 30+ years, I've been called just about everything.) But then again, abuse should be abuse. And punching a referee after a game should carry the same penalty as punching a random person waiting for a bus. That being said, sitting through a freshman basketball game last week - a game for last place in a tournament - and hearing what the fans were yelling at the referees, there needs to be something done. There is a shortage of officials simply because people don't want to hear you screaming about a three-second lane violation for 45 minutes.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Facebook. In fact watch him on Facebook Live with Ivan Foley every Thursday night, 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



As has been mentioned in this space before, there is a growing threat to one of the cornerstones of the American experience. No, it's not what's going on in Washington. This growing storm is more pervasive and has the possibility of touching nearly every man, woman, and child in the country.

I'm speaking about the National Football League and the problems it seems to be facing from all sides. Now, I'm not going to spend ink saying that the NFL is dying. I get incredibly annoyed every time some columnist says that about Major League Baseball each time ratings drop a tenth of a percentage point.

I will say, however, that the NFL is facing more problems from more directions than ever before. Let's go through them.

Last week, Vince McMahon, president of World Wrestling Entertainment, announced that he is bringing back the XFL football league. Now, details on this are incredibly scarce. And if the new XFL is anything like the old XFL, it won't be much of a competitor for eyeballs. But it's there, and it's taking bandwidth away from the NFL.

Whatever your stance (pardon the pun) on standing during the National Anthem, it is clear that this controversy has impacted opinion about the NFL and those who play the game. Just do a Twitter search for “Marcus Peters” if you want to know how polarizing this has been in our community. And it's something that carries outside of the game. If you wear a Kaepernick or Peters jersey around, you're making a social statement rather than pimping your team. And it has been incredibly polarizing as it has fractured beyond Black Lives Matter, or Blue Lives Matter, or Armed Forces Matter, or basic respect for the country matters. All of it matters to someone, and has become a binary problem for the NFL.

That whole CTE problem sure hasn't gone away. With the suicide of murderer Aaron Hernandez and an autopsy showing his brain was riddled with CTE, to this week's participation by Rob Gronkowski in the Super Bowl after suffering concussions twice in the last month -- concussions so severe, he literally couldn't walk to the sidelines. Youth participation numbers are falling and it weighs heavy for many parents on whether they want to subject their kids to something potentially damaging.

And then let's talk about the actual product. As an official myself, I'm certainly going to try to find the silver lining when it comes to poor officiating. But by any measure, the officiating has impacted key games this year in droves. Last week's AFC Championship game gifted a couple of beauties to the New England Patriots, and the Chiefs were certainly impacted by “forward progress.” There doesn't seem to be much forward progress in officiating, unfortunately.

Add to that higher salaries, higher ticket prices ($60 to park at Arrowhead on game day??), a new contract for commissioner Roger Goodell, and a watered down product.

No, I'm not going to sit here and tell you the NFL is dying. It seems that the league is doing a good enough job of that on its own. Maybe the Super Bowl commercials will be funny this year.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and track him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Watch him on Landmark Live every Thursday night at 6 at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



Like many of you, some of my earliest memories were formed at Metro North mall. I remember once in first grade going on a field trip to the mall. (Now, you want to talk about something with absolutely ZERO academic value. Who thought a field trip to a mall was a good idea?) About five of us clustered together to “go hide” from Mrs. Hayes.

Now, I went to a Catholic school for first grade, and Mrs. Hayes always wanted to be a nun but didn't make the cut for whatever reason. This gnawed on her personality making her, how can I put this mildly, prickly.

So, playing a practical joke on Mrs. Hayes might not have been something a more mature Chris Kamler would've attempted. Yet, here my four buddies and I were, hiding in the bathroom behind the Orange Julius thinking it was funny that Mrs. Hayes would have to go find us. What she was thinking, however, was that she was going to be late getting the kids on the bus, which meant she would be late getting home to watch Donahue.

She was not pleased. And Catholic schools in the late 1970's had next to no corporal punishment rules so I was quite simply dragged out of the mall by what used to be an ear lobe, but now could only be described as a cartilage leash.
The mall, for me, would never again hold the same joy and wonderment. For me, it would forever be the place that made me wish for my ear to stop hurting and to get out the smell that could only come from hiding in an Orange Julius bathroom for 2 hours.

To be honest, I've kind of forgotten the point of my column. But that story did pop in my head this week when I read that Zona Rosa has been just a little bit late on the rent. To the tune of three-quarters of a million dollars. And, also, that Amazon chose not to bring their HQ2 headquarters to Kansas City.

Amazon has been systematically destroying retail over the past five years. Nearly every other day I come home to an Amazon box that I would've otherwise purchased at CVS, or Best Buy, or GameStop, or JC Penney's, or a boutique store in Zona Rosa. The least they could do for this town was the favor of bringing their headquarters here.

But this story is certainly not unique to Kansas City. Why have a collection of stores in close proximity with elevated rent when you can simply sell the same items online and get them in just a few hours wait? Or, furthermore, wade through what passes for customer service in most of the retail stores in this town. Underpaid, rude, or understaffed employees who can't put their phones down long enough to ring up your spandex underwear.

I'm not mad at Amazon. They did something much better than everyone else and then scaled it out. I'm not sorry for places like CVS or Zona Rosa or Best Buy. I am, however, sad that smaller shops like those along the square in Parkville and Platte City could be caught in the crossfire.

But I'm going to make it a mission to look for those small businesses to shop at for those special items while I get my toothpaste and socks from Amazon. It seems a fair trade off.

Maybe I'll look up Mrs. Hayes and send her some one-of-a-kind earrings from a small business as a peace offering.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You’ll also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. And watch him on Landmark Live every Thursday night at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)




There is some sage wisdom that I am putting more and more stock in as I get older. Kids are idiots.

Now, before you recoil and begin defending the little whippersnappers, please hear me out. Sure kids are cute and adorable and don't know any better. I will grant you all of those conditions. However, kids are also the single biggest block of idiots in the world. Even outranking people who take pictures of their food on Facebook and the Alt-Right.

Let me explain. News broke this week about the latest “trend” among teens. Kids are daring other kids to eat the colorful plastic packages of detergent that are coming out now. Tide Pods is one of the brand names. You can also see them with dishwashing detergent. They are about the size of a book of matches, but filled with very colorful goo.

The dare goes that buddies (and I use that term loosely) will dare you to consume the pod, then once in your esophagus or stomach, the plastic lining begins to disintegrate assuming that it is safely in the basin of a washing machine and not some idiot's stomach. Then you throw up and get very sick.

Officials have already attributed nine deaths to eating Tide pods. Thankfully none from this “dare” (three were children and six were from elderly folks with dementia.) But officials fear if this catches on, there would easily be more deaths. Laundry detergent, you see, shouldn't be eaten.

Genius, right? Human evolution has a few misfires from time to time.

And to prove to you that my theory that kids are idiots has some weight behind it, let me tell you a few of the dumb things I did when I was that age. When I was in elementary school, there was a “game” where someone would choke the other until they passed out. Losing consciousness was, I suppose, funny. The person would come to (you hope) and then we'd all laugh. That was until someone passed out from the Choke Out game in the bathroom, had to go to the hospital and get nine stitches. Suddenly it became more clear that this game wasn't terribly smart.

Then, in high school, we played “Assassin.” Now, Assassin sounds relatively fun, right? Like laser tag--but in real life. There were around 100 kids signed up and each had to go buy a specific plastic dart gun so everyone was the same. At the appointed time, the goal was simple, shoot people with the dart gun, and the last one standing wins.

The game would last for days and sometimes weeks. People would curse as they were ambushed on their way to their car or on their way to their job at the ice cream shop. They would hide in bushes and “stalk” their prey.

Now, imagine a modern day game of Assassin. Even by the most optimistic conditions, I still think about 25% of the participants are arrested or shot by police.

There are dozens of others. Rubbing an eraser on the back of your hand until it burns. Car “surfing.” Challenging a friend to put duct tape on their arm, then rip it off. Even into college, these dares get worse as they begin to include alcohol. There's drinking games and even something called “butt chugging” - which you really don't want to Google.

Maybe doing something that is dumb in hindsight is how we learn and gain foresight to protect ourselves moving forward. Although, I certainly hope our idiot kids would know enough to not eat laundry detergent. Take it from me - a former idiot.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and catch him on Landmark Live Thursday nights at 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)


THE 31

There are times, I will admit, where topics for a weekly column come slowly and sometimes not at all. (You've read me. You know this already.) But this week, the words are flowing from my fingertips with fire and fury. My ire is aimed at One Arrowhead Drive and the product that we have seen, for some of us, our whole lives - or at least since 1969.

When you have a league of 32 teams, or even more than 1, there can only be one winner. I get that. In the NFL, 31 teams are the losers and one is the Super Bowl Champion. Thirty-one teams get to go into the offseason looking to make tweaks, or improve certain areas, or maybe even overhaul the entire organization. For 49 years, the Kansas City Chiefs have entered into an offseason as part of the thirty-one, seeking to be the one atop the hill at the end.

Some years, offseason efforts were to simply pick up a couple of free agents. In the mid-90's when you had dominant defenses featuring Marty-ball and Derrick, and Neil. In the 70's when Hall of Famers named Lanier, Dawson, and Bell dominated, teams didn't make changes - they only tried to build on the team that won a championship at the end of the 1960's.

Hard times came after the turn of the century and the Chiefs tweaks turned into reclamation projects. The equivalent of trying to flip a house in a bad neighborhood. They fired GM's only to hire worse GM's. They went through a nearly comical list of head coaches, peaking at sun-glasses wearing, smelling-salt sniffing Gunther Cunningham.

The weepy Dick Vermeil would take the mantle in 2001, when a defense-oriented team then became an offense-oriented team with Dante Hall, Tony Gonzalez, and Trent Green heading the best offense in 2002. Yet, the team never could maintain consistency across offense and defense. One was up, while the other was down. More tweaks. More head coaches. More missing the playoffs or leaving in the first round.

And the playoff losses have been heartbreaking. Lin Elliott still invokes physical responses to many fans in Kansas City after he missed three field goals in the 1995 playoff game against the Colts. And now we come to present day when this Andy Reid-led team has now managed to lose double-digit leads against the Titans, at home, two years in a row. The latest came in the opening round of the playoffs on Sunday.

The beat goes on for this franchise. Is it ownership? Is it management? Coaching? Players? The stadium? The fans? The hot dogs they serve? I can't frankly put a finger on it - but it has equaled four playoff wins since the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 1969. Four. Forty-nine years. Four playoff wins - only two of which were at home.

When you look at the sports history of Kansas City, it is said that Kansas City will only support a winner. Yet, you look at the sold out Arrowhead and then total up the wins on one hand and you cannot possibly see how that's a true statement. The Chiefs are, by any measure, complete and total losers as a franchise and next year will make it half a century.

And I'm not sure anyone can figure out why - other than they simply will never be the last one standing on the hill and will forever be part of the 31.

(Check out Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find out what he’s doing on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Catch him on Landmark Live every Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



I’ve recently caught the betting bug - nothing serious, just a couple of dollars here and there on a football game or a sporting event. But it made me wonder about how handicappers get so close to the actual scores on most of these games. And then I started thinking about how they might handicap my life. So without further adieu, let’s go through my New Year’s resolutions and see what Vegas might say about them.

Resolution 1: Lose weight - this is an old classic. Simple and elegant. Last year, I actually managed to lose about 15 pounds. Vegas knows this, but they also know most years it’s the other way around.
OVER/UNDER: 2 pounds lost

Resolution 2: Organize tasks better - Now, I’m an organizer. I use a task application daily. So Vegas knows I will have some strong committment in this area. However, my resolution this year is to actually do more organizing on paper using a paper planner. This is going back in time about 10 years - so Vegas isn’t as optimistic.
OVER/UNDER: Paper Planner - 4 weeks

Resolution 3: Give up diet soda - Luckily, I gave up real soda a few years ago. But I still have a couple diet drinks now and then. My goal is to give it up entirely this year starting on 1/1.
OVER/UNDER: Scratch - Vegas took it off the board as I’m sitting here drinking a Coke Zero right now.

Resolution 4: Pay off a big debt - This will be a year-long goal to pay off a particularly large debt I’ve been working down. It’ll be a challenge that will require coordination of my family, cutting back on some things, and discipline.
ODDS: 1,000:1 - Vegas thinks there’s no shot here.

Resolution 5: Cut back on social media - Hundreds of hours are wasted a month by Americans checking Facebook or Twitter, and I’m no exception. My goal is to go one day a week staying off social media, and trim back on the other days as well.
ODDS: 1,000,000:1 - It seems more likely for Jesus to return than for me to go a day without Twitter

Once you get past five resolutions, you’re really just building out a list of things you think are wrong with you and the likelihood is pretty low you’ll be able to do anything about them. That being said, Vegas would like to see the following prop bets on my life for 2018. As with all prop bets, these are even money wagers:

*Will eat something alive in 2018
*Will live stream something inappropriate on Facebook
*Will laugh so hard that diet soda will come out of nostrils
* Will tickle Ivan Foley live on Facebook during Landmark Live
*Will be punched by Ivan Foley live on Facebook during Landmark Live (could be a parlay with the one above)

It is my hope that in 2018 all your wagers are winning ones, and all your resolutions come true. Now, if you’ll excuse me, that Coke Zero isn’t going to finish itself.

(Follow The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and catch him on Landmark Live broadcasts on Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)


GOODBYE 2017, HELLO 2018

Is it 2018 already? I'm still writing 2016 on all my Bitcoin.

We made it. 2017 is in the books. I've got to admit, this was a tough year to get through. Every day seemed to pile on more bickering and tweeting and complaining - and that's just from the people who WON! But 2018 should hopefully be a good one for anyone not living in North Korea.

Let's take a look at some good news from the past year and what to look forward to in the year ahead.

The stock market is way up in 2017. And 2018 will finally be the year I get into it - so sell now.

Bitcoin was way up also, but fell just before the holidays. By 2018, my resolution is to learn what the hell Bitcoin is.

We had a White Christmas! Hopefully in 2018, “White Christmas” won't mean something different in Alabama than it does in New York.

This past year saw so many great artists and musicians leave us. Tom Petty, Malcolm Young of AC/DC, Robert Guillaume, Jerry Lewis, Hugh Hefner, Fats Domino, and many more. The good news, is that in 2018, we'll finally learn that Elvis has been living in the Caribbean and he'll make his return tour in Las Vegas starting in July.

This has been a year of change for sports teams in Kansas City. The Missouri Tigers are back on the prowl with their basketball program. We saw the return of the KU/MU rivalry. The Chiefs are headed to the playoffs again. The championship Royals likely rode off into the sunset in anticipation of a rebuild. And the Jayhawks are again a powerhouse in basketball. Rest assured, in 2018, Bill Snyder will still be patrolling the sidelines in Manhattan. And 2019, and 2020, and on and on an on until the end of days.

There were several notable movements in 2017 - not the least of which was the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. Giant names in Hollywood, politics, and industry were ousted after charges of systemic sexual abuse and harassment came out. 2018 will likely see more of the same which means that Queen Elizabeth better watch herself. I see how she's looked at me for years.

The year to come also stands to be a more feminine one. After the successes of “Wonder Woman” at the box office, a new Taylor Swift album, and uprisings in traditionally modest countries like Saudi Arabia which will see women be allowed to drive. There will even be an all-female remake of Ocean's 11 called Ocean's 8 AND a female Doctor Who. There's no joke here, except to say that 2018 should not be the year to ask your favorite lady friend to make you a sandwich.

2018 will be a momentous one with the midterm elections, a Royal wedding, the Winter Olympics, and some great movies coming out (I'm looking at you Han Solo movie). But my hope for all of us is that we are able to set aside what divides us, and look to what unites us which is obviously the Avengers: Infinity War movie set to release on May 4.

Happy New Year, everyone. We'll see you on Page 3 and on Facebook Live very, very soon.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and on Landmark Live Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



This time of year is ridiculous. Parties. Dinners. Gifts. Shopping. Star Wars. It's all about priorities, I guess.

Speaking of Star Wars, let's talk (spoiler free) about the movie. It checks all the boxes for a Star Wars flick. Robots. Funny banter. Nostalgia. TIE Fighters. Stormtroopers. I guess my problem (and I'm not alone if you read Twitter) is that it checked too many boxes. I guess that's having too much of a good thing. And in certain parts, it tried too hard to catch all of the scenes from the second act of the original Star Wars trilogy. (Sometimes scene for scene.) At the end of the day, I can't complain. It was a beautiful movie and the acting really was quite good. It's just that at over two and a half hours, it could've gone on a diet and been a better movie.
Speaking of going on a diet, we are only two weeks away from diet season. This means that you have free rein to go nuts until Jan. 2.
If you watched our Landmark Live last Thursday, you saw us break some KCI news with Channel 9's Kris Ketz. That was pretty cool to see news “as it happened” in a television news studio. And we also got Micheal Mahoney to say “screwed the pooch.”
Speaking of KCI, I took a trip through there last week and I think any City Council member who votes to delay the process of building a new airport should have to hold all their meetings and their Christmas dinner at Gate 68 of Terminal B. Let's hope nobody has to go to the bathroom.
Late news this week about teams still showing interest in free agent Eric Hosmer. It's basically down to the Royals or the Padres. Come on, Eric. Staying with the Royals would not only ensure you have your number retired, a statue in right field, AND free drinks at McFaddens the rest of your life, but you can also save the hassle of trying to forward your mail and get utilities set up at your next place. Do the right thing. (And also convince Cain and Moose to stay.)
They should offer a new ride at Worlds of Fun next summer called “The 2017 Kansas City Chiefs season” and just play highlights of all their games. Guaranteed to make you yack.
Finally this week, I wanted to put in a plug. Obviously, you religiously watch Landmark Live with myself and Ivan Foley every Thursday at 6 p.m. But I'd love it if you could make sure to watch next Thursday, Dec. 28 when the special guest will be, none other than my brother Bob Kamler. Bob is a country music writer and performer, and he released his first single on iTunes this month called “Sticks & Stones.” It'll be a little strange interviewing my brother, but as long as we don't talk about the bunk beds we shared until I was 11, I think we will be fine. Oh, and Bob's music is available on YouTube. Just search “Bob Kamler Music.”
Merry Christmas. Happy Kwanzaa. Joyous Hanukkah, and a Happy Festivus to all.

(Follow The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or check him out on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. And of course find him on Facebook, where you’ll see him every Thursday night at 6 p.m. on Landmark Live)



Lots of little, short thoughts on my brain this week (and most of the time, if we're being honest.) So let's go with a grab bag.

? I think it's great that we're saying “Merry Christmas” again. Apparently. Does this mean that people can stop saying “Merry Christmas” to me passive-aggressively when I continue to say “Happy Holidays?”

? The 12 Days of Christmas needs to be sorely upgraded. Maids a-milking? Ladies dancing? Lords a-leaping? Surely we can come up with something 21st Century, like “Congressmen a-resigning,” or “Bitcoins a-sellin'”, or maybe even “Trump’s a-grabbin’.” Just to update it a little bit.

? It was mentioned in an article this week that President Trump watches up to four to eight hours of television a day. This means that 22-year-old me could've been president! I was also well versed on eating entire bags of Cheetos and belching the alphabet. Washington here I come!

? The baseball winter meetings started this week, and, if it hasn't happened by the time this goes to press, it is nearly inevitable that we'll part ways with at least three but likely four of our key free agents. Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar have likely played their last games in Royals jerseys. Don't be sorry they're gone, be glad they were here at all.

? Speaking of sports, the Chiefs should start handing out dramamine at the beginning of the season. The ups and downs we've seen so far have rivaled the old Screamroller at Worlds of Fun. My prediction for the rest of the season? Bring an air sickness bag.

? Is Black Friday even a thing anymore? Except for those who seek out fist fights and pushing over old ladies in rascal scooters, I don't see any reason you can't get your entire Christmas shopping done in 30 minutes on Amazon. Every day when I get home, my front doorstep looks like my dog is building a fort. And I never had to go within 15 miles of a Walmart.

? It's snowing in Texas and Georgia. Los Angeles is on fire. The Buffalo Bills played in the middle of a snow storm, and I went to the grocery store in shorts Sunday. I don't know what the climate is doing, but it seems to be treating me just fine.

? Sure, it's Christmas time, and college football bowl season time, and NFL stretch time, and even the start of college basketball time. But there's only one time of year it is for me, and that's NEW STAR WARS MOVIE time. Not since I was 11 years old have I been more excited for a Star Wars movie. I only wish I still had my old Kenner Millennium Falcon and Star Wars guys to play with.

? I'll be watching the movie from Las Vegas on Friday. I'll be there to watch Boise State and Oregon play in the Las Vegas Bowl. No idea who is going to win, except I can tell you that my odds against the craps tables at the Bellagio aren't great. Let's hope I can afford air fare home.

That's it for this week. May the force be with you. (Also, Merry Christmas.)

(Get the force of Chris Kamler on Twitter, where he is @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Catch him on Landmark Live every Thursday night at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



There are ironies in life that don't get enough attention. Kansas City is known as the city of fountains, but the climate doesn't allow them to run four months out of the year. The fact that the man who proclaimed “LOCK HER UP” at the Republican National Convention is, himself, guilty of a felony against the United States. The irony that Alanis Morissette's song about irony doesn't actually contain examples of irony - raining on your wedding day isn't irony, it's a coincidence.

But my favorite irony is that I enjoy talking about nearly everything about my life on Twitter and my best friend has no social media footprint whatsoever. What on earth would bring the two of us together?

Well, the story began <redacted> years ago in high school. Wheezy was a year older than I was (he still is, to be clear) and would frequently be my ride on the weekends and on Taco Bell runs. During these drives, the topics of conversation would consist of arguing about whether Caddyshack or Three Amigos was a funnier movie. (Spoiler alert: It's Caddyshack.) And about what was a more bitchin' set of rims for a truck. (This was more his conversation that I begrudgingly listened to.)

If there were recordings of our conversations they would be discombobulated, wandering, and also great examples of knowing nothing and yet knowing everything at the same time. The core irony of youth. One time, my father was driving the two of us somewhere, which meant 20 minutes of him having to listen to the two of us talk about David Letterman, or Robert Townsend movies, or how cool we looked in our marching band costumes. With only minutes left in the drive, my father had had it - he turned around 3/4 of the way to the back seat keeping only slight peripheral vision on the road and exclaimed, “DO YOU EVER LISTEN TO YOURSELVES TALK?”

For the next <redacted> years, the face-to-face conversations between us evolved to phone conversations as we both started families. Once we gained employment, our conversations evolved into sharing emails and jokes and then later to instant messages and texts.

But his privacy online has been paramount. His quips and jokes aren't for a large audience, they are just for close friends. They are old school in the way I'd imagine folks talked in olden times. To that end, his most recent communication wasn't a proclamation on Facebook or a tweet or an Instagram post - it was simply a text message saying, “Call me.”

The phone call that followed included words like “doctor,” and “discomfort,” and “MRI,” and “chemotherapy,” and the one that left a ringing in my ear, “cancer.”
The next several days and the phone calls that followed were reflecting upon those conversations we had <redacted> years ago. We talked about the days we would record David Letterman then watch it at each other's houses after school in what would later be done by DVR's. We talked about the funniest movie of all time being either Zoolander or The Big Lebowski. And we talked about being yelled at by my dad because of our inane banter.

After his surgery next week, I am confident that our conversations will continue for <redacted> years to come. I am confident that Caddyshack and not those other garbage movies will remain the greatest comedy of all time. And I am confident that our sexiness in band uniforms will continue to remain next-level.

The irony of it is that I am the type of person who would immediately send my best wishes to him out on Facebook or Twitter. But this will be a private conversation - not one to be shared outside of a phone call. Or maybe just a newspaper column. Get well soon, buddy.

(Listen to Chris Kamler talk on Landmark Live with Ivan Foley every Thursday night, 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/PlatteCountyLandmark. Follow Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



The past several months have been a killing field for humans who do bad things to other humans. The toll of those who have the public spotlight has shown on comedians, politicians, entertainers, high profile sports figures, and reporters. For the most part, this is fantastic. People who break the cardinal rule “don't be a D” should have their deeds come to light. Especially when those deeds are taking sexual advantage without consent, messing around with underage kids, and harassing those who never asked for it.

Consider myself the first one to pick up a torch and run those people out of town.
These stories are coming so rapidly now and the names are so mainstream and well known that simply a name trending on Twitter makes my mind jump to the worst. The other day Tom Hanks was trending on Twitter, and I wondered for several moments if he had assaulted a woman in Vegas or something.

He hadn't. He just had a new movie out. But that's where we are.

If you're watching closely, however, you're starting to see the recoil from the outrage begin to breach into dangerous territory, whereby “the public” gets to decide the fate of someone simply because of a scant piece of information or a fuzzy fact.

The most recent example of this is the football coach Greg Schiano. Schiano was an assistant coach at Penn State during the Sandusky/Paterno years. Those years are now marred in history due to the child molestation events that occurred. What did they know and when did they know it still appear to be open questions for the community and the country. Schiano was not mentioned or questioned during the investigation to follow, yet his name is still “connected” to Penn State and Paterno and Sandusky simply by association.

Schiano was up last week for an open coaching position at Tennessee and by all accounts, he had the job. However, fans of the Volunteer program decided, rightly or wrongly, that Schiano shouldn't be the head coach because of his proximity to the Sandusky situation. Crowds formed. Petitions were signed. Outrage ruled. The university did not ultimately hire Schiano.

There were never any charges brought on Schiano, but “the public” felt that he wasn't someone they wanted in the community.

On one side, it's completely the right of the public to decide whom they want in their community. It is one of the foundations of a free society. The other side is darker and murkier, however. The public can be wrong. Whether they were wrong in this situation may never be known. But we've got to leave open the possibility that they were wrong here and affected someone's opportunity because of misinformation or assumptions.

It's certainly not the first time potential misinformation has formed opinions. See: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And it won't be the last time, for sure.

Many will say that running the “bad” people out of town is a worthwhile cause even if that means running a few good people out with them. They're probably right. However, I still would hope there's an effort to confirm 100% the definition of “bad” and the punishment for those to be handed down in an equal-handed way.

If the public is to become the judge, the jury, and the executioner, they also need to learn the art of discipline and restraint.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and follow him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. He is also co-host of Landmark Live every Thursday at 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)



There's something about the number 300.

It is a magical number in baseball. It's been said that if you can hit .300 for your entire career, it's an automatic ticket to the Hall of Fame. (George Brett's career average was .305.) The way the scoring works in bowling, 300 equals a perfect game - 12 strikes. There is a fancy Chrysler car named “300” what I assume guys who look like Matthew McConaughey love to drive and gaze at themselves in the rear view mirror. There was even a fairly mediocre Zack Snyder film named 300 about a bunch of gladiators.

But until today, 300 hadn't really meant much to me. My baseball career ended in high school when my coach equated baseball to being able to run around Macken Park. (Hint: I didn't.) And I'll never be able to afford a Chrysler 300. Yet here we are. My 300th column for the Platte County Landmark. Six years of content and, while they haven't all been perfect like a game of bowling, they've all gotten in under deadline and somewhere near my word limit.

In the past six years, I've had the privilege to talk to you about sports, life, a little about politics and QuikTrip roller food (still undefeated.) And I've also had the good fortune of hearing from many of you in very nice comments to me, and through Ivan, on how much you enjoy these little columns.

The pride I feel about writing 300 columns is second only to the pride I feel at being able to write for you Northlanders who read it every week. Over the last few months, I've mentioned that I have been driving for Uber to pick up a few extra bucks on the weekends, and without a doubt, I've been able to pick out the Northlanders I pick up. We're just a little nicer, just a little more patient, and just a little funnier. So I've tried to rise to that challenge every week.

Like a .300 ballplayer, some were swings and some were misses. But hopefully, I've been able to make you laugh or think over here on Page 3 every week.
It's fitting that this is Thanksgiving week because I am very thankful to all of you and mostly to Ivan Foley for allowing me the space to stretch my writer muscles. It has resulted in a book, a blog, a podcast, and even a few awards. So, thank you. It's been fun.

Check back here for column 301 and many, many more. Hopefully, I can continue to come up with ideas (something tells me with the political landscape, that won't be a problem.) And hopefully I can continue to make you laugh each week.

Unlike Zack Snyder, who went on to ruin all of my favorite comic book heroes in terrible movies, I hope my career after 300 will be nothing but successes. (Why would he make Superman so depressing? Why, Zack, why??)

Thank you for being here for these 300 and Happy Thanksgiving. We'll see you back here next week.

(Thankfully, you can get more Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Catch him on Landmark Live Thursday nights at 6 p.m. at Facebook.com/PlatteCountyLandmark)



Really busy week this week, so here are some random thoughts from my random brain.

•Next week will mark my 300th column for the Platte County Landmark. Wow. That's over six years of content. Probably about 20 of them have been good. So consider yourself blessed! I'll have something swell cooked up for next week. (Get it? Thanksgiving? Cooked up? Ok, fine.)

•Twitter recently expanded its format from 140 character tweets to 280 character tweets. When it gets to be 500 word tweets, that's going to put me out of a job. (Hate the change, by the way.)

•Not for nothing, but I saw on the same Twitter box that the Baptist church in Texas that was shot up a couple of weeks ago has already been repainted and made into a memorial to the 25 victims of the shooting. I say this because just outside my window stands the Verruckt water slide that killed 10 year old Caleb Schwab over a year ago. It still stands as an open scar due to bureaucratic nonsense by the State of Kansas. Schlitterbahn would love to tear it down but hasn't been given permission. I'll bet I could grab a 12-pack of Natty Light and a few good 'ole boys from Platte County and have that thing down in about an hour.

•While it's obviously for entertainment-only purposes, if you're missing the “Lock of the Week” segment on The Landmark's “Landmark LIVE” broadcasts on Thursdays, you might be missing out on an important retirement opportunity. Ivan and I are perfect through two weeks.

•Hope you caught that the Chiefs rightfully waived defensive tackle Roy Miller following a domestic violence incident. Now, if the country could only be so lucky as to rid themselves of other high-profile sexual and domestic abusers. There's been too many stories lately.

•I was pleased to see my son's school and the entire school district (North Kansas City High) devoting an entire week toward mental health. This week they're inviting in experts on anxiety, depression, and teen suicide. Sure, it's not the most uplifting topic but it's important, and especially important for high school teens - with suicide being the second highest cause of death for teens. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.

•Congratulations go out to my friend, Sungwoo Lee and his wife, Youyoung Lee on the birth of their first baby! Mother and baby are doing just fine in South Korea, while Sungwoo is already complaining that the child is cutting into his sleep. Don't worry, buddy. Just a couple more months until you can introduce Baby Lee to spring training games on MLB.com.

•Because of the news the past month, it's time that we update our list of don'ts. Unfortunately, this would seem to be common sense, but that flew out the window a while ago.

Don't: Kill people. Shoot people. Fornicate without permission. Fondle without permission. Pull your wiener out without permission.

More to come on this list, I'm sure. Enjoy the week. Number 300 will be waiting for you next week while you're eating your yams.

(Do follow Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and stalk him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. You can also catch him on Thursday nights co-hosting our weekly Landmark Live broadcasts at 6 p.m. via Facebook Live)



We're only a few days away from Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates the bravery of immigrants from a land where they felt they weren't getting the best shake. Those pilgrims colonized in the early 1600's what would eventually become the United States - all in the name of seeking freedom from an oppressive monarchy.

Jump ahead 150 years, when the descendants of those first pilgrims would go to war against the British Empire over taxation and religious freedoms. In what would be a bloody and costly battle, the United States was born. In their declaration, they announced they would try it on their own because they believed that all men are created equal.

Fast forward another 100 years to when the young country would have to redefine what they meant when they said “all men.” A costly war pitting brother versus brother would produce a very uneasy peace between the North and the South. But the country decided through fire and fury that they would remain together as a country and allow all men, regardless of creed and race, to enjoy the freedoms of the country.

Skip forward again and it's the 1960's. As the country was basking in the glow of two World War victories, it faced more racial conflict. What was produced was the Civil Rights Act helping to keep the peace and allow more freedoms for all.

The common thread amongst all of these points in history is the ability for a divided and challenged nation to come together and determine what peace would look like. In every example, freedoms were maintained and in most cases, expanded. At the country's core are its freedoms of speech, press, and to bear arms.

It is nearly 60 years later, and the nation is again facing what might be it's most challenging problem to solve. In the previous examples, there was a fairly obvious “good side” and “bad side.” In 2017, the freedoms that allow the good to prosper are also the freedoms allowing the seeds of discourse to grow. There are seas of grey area between the light and the dark.

All of our core freedoms are under attack. The freedom of speech is under attack from those who feel saying the most inappropriate is somehow productive instead of just trollish. The freedom of the press is melting under the weight of those who publish falsehoods in the name of journalism or to stir up dissent. Rather than providing facts, fictions are printed. And finally, the right to bear arms - one of our core beliefs - is facing its biggest test. How can the country maintain the rights to keep protections against a government when the mentally ill and evil can use those same weapons to mow down dozens week after week?

Just as in each of the times of crisis before, the nation must decide it wants to move forward, and then determine its path. And also as in the previous examples, things may get messy but freedom must prevail, otherwise it goes against everything our country was built on. Americans have violently disagreed before, but maybe never at the pace with which we suffer discontent today.

Two things, to me, our certain. We cannot go on like this much longer and freedom of men and women to prosper peacefully will win the day. No idea what that might look like, but we cannot go on like this.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also track him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and on the Rambling Morons YouTube channel. Catch him every Thursday at 6 p.m. on Landmark Live at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark)




It's World Series and NFL time in my house which means that my couch is getting a workout on the weekends. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the biggest controversy this season has been before the games even start.
Starting with Colin Kaepernick a couple of years ago, and spreading to several more NFL players including Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs, players have chosen to sit down, kneel, or skip saluting the flag during the National Anthem.

This column is not about the act of protesting during the anthem. There are pros and cons on both sides and, frankly, as a white person who is not a member of the military or an oppressed minority, I'm just not qualified to speak on whether the act should be done or not.

I am, however, qualified to speak about the logistics that surround playing the anthem before every sporting event. The tradition, as legend has it, is 101 years old and dates back to World War I and the World Series in September of 1918 when the band simply started to play it before one of the games. The crowd joined in, and a tradition was born. Fans also, reportedly, saluted the flag at Wrigley Field naturally. Teams the next year began throughout the league.

According to the Washington Post, crowds became less attentive during the anthem through the 50's and 60's with teams occasionally stopping the practice.

The singing of the anthem in Kansas City has its own tradition where at nearly all types of sporting events, the final strain of the anthem is replaced with the “Home of the CHIEEEFFFSSSSS.” In Baltimore, the “O” in “Oh say does that star spangled..” line is shouted “O” loudly to signify the Orioles. And many other alterations are made during the song that are regional and just as disrespectful if you're following the letter of the respect code. There is an actual federal law addressing what you should do during the playing of the anthem. Look up 36 U.S. Code § 301 which will say that people should stand at attention during the playing, however, “should” doesn't mean “shall.” And that simply means that it's merely a suggestion out of respect.

So what about not playing it at all? I think it's unlikely to happen. I wouldn't mind, however, stopping the tradition of singing God Bless America during the seventh inning of a baseball game simply because it's out of place and brings a sporting event to an untimely halt in what is usually a very stressful moment in a ball game. Kind of like pausing a movie before the final act for one of those “Let's all go to the movies” commercials.

But the national anthem is likely to stay for the foreseeable future and the protests will likely also continue. The protests including the kneeling, skipping, or even shouting over something like “Home of the CHIEEEFFFFSSSS.”

My point to all of this is that if we're going to continue to sing at the beginning of a sporting event, we've got to allow others to look at their phones, or not take off their hats, or kneel in protest because the flag and the song stand for the freedoms to do so - and freedom even means the freedom to be disrespectful.

No. You don't need to be okay with anyone being disrespectful whether it's ignoring respect for the flag or country or cutting you off in the mall parking lot. What you do need to allow is for the freedom for that disrespect to occur - unless you're willing to sing a completely different anthem in another country.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him co-hosting Landmark Live each Thursday night at 6 p.m. on Facebook at The Platte County Landmark Facebook page. He also shows up on Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube)




Relationships are never easy. Sure, on the surface, you want to make them seem normal and happy, but underneath, there are always cracks and strain. And sometimes, when the relationship really breaks, it's just easier to stay away from each other while you get some time to cool off.

It was 2012 when Missouri decided to leave the Big 12 along with Texas A&M for another conference. Kansas, Missouri's biggest rival and partner for over 100 years, knew the conference would never again be the same. The relationship that, at its best, included sold out crowds, countless conference titles, epic battles on the hardwood, and memories for Kansas City that were unique --those were gone.

Feelings were hurt on both side. Insults were thrown - and this is a relationship that has seen its share of insults in the previous 150 years. The divorce was made official in March of 2012, right here in Kansas City, as Missouri won the Big 12 Conference Tournament and up and left for greener pastures.

In the time that has passed, both teams tried to move on. They made efforts to create new rivalries (Arkansas? Really?) and pretend that they were doing fine. Both schools weren't doing fine, but they both put on a brave face for Kansas City. Kansas City needed a whole family unit with Kansas and Missouri. The Big 12 tournament, which KC was able to keep, was never the same after Missouri left. And even though the windfall of the SEC was significant for Mizzou, it never again reached the levels of an Allen Fieldhouse or a Mizzou Arena when crowds challenged the fire marshal for capacity numbers.

The scar may have scabbed over but it was never truly healed, and when it was announced last week that Missouri and Kansas would meet once again in an effort to raise funds for hurricane-battered towns, it took Kansas Citians less than five minutes to sell out 18,000 tickets on their way to raising nearly $2 million in just six days.

For Kansas, it would be an opportunity to check in on Missouri in an exhibition. Like seeing an ex after five years and see that they've gotten just a little fat. For Missouri, who suffered mightily in basketball since leaving the Big 12, it would be a chance to show that they're back and better than ever. Like seeing an ex and finally getting your favorite albums back and that the hair plugs finally took so you're not quite as bald now.

For Kansas City, it was like seeing your divorced parents together at a restaurant not fighting for just a couple hours. At tip off, 9,000 Missouri fans and 9,000 Kansas fans were evenly divided throughout Sprint Center as if someone had taken a scalpel to the center of the building. And while the tickets clearly indicated “EXHIBITION” there was nothing practice about this game. From the opening tip, to the slam dunks, to the fact that the starters stayed in the entire game. This meant something to some of us. This meant something to all of us.

It isn't going to fully repair anything, in fact, it's likely to only delay these two teams playing for real for potentially decades. It is clear that Sunday's exhibition brought closure to Kansas, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri - all who had a stake in the family strife. But for two hours on a Sunday in October, it was like these two teams had been married happily ever after all along.

(MU fan Chris Kamler only wears KU apparel when he loses bets to KU fan Ivan Foley. You can find Chris on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and also on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)

MU fan Chris Kamler lost a bet, had to put on a
KU jacket.






As I arrived home Friday night from work, I initiated my normal Friday night routine in order to start the weekend. First, I dropped my backpack off near the front door. This was quickly followed by my shoes. Once upstairs, the pants were next to go followed by the work shirt. An incredibly comfortable pair of sweats and an old ratty Mizzou t-shirt would be my uniform the rest of the night.

Just as the first square inch of buttocks was to hit the couch, I heard a muffled cry coming from the bedroom. I quickly took stock of my surroundings. I was married with a teenage son. But what I heard sounded different. It sounded... like a baby.

Weighing curiosity over indifference, I decided to investigate the baby sobs that were coming from upstairs. I walked into my son's bedroom only to find him and his girlfriend huddled over a car seat. I couldn't see into the car seat but the cries were definitely emanating from the safety device.

Being as how I saw both of them the night before and neither one of them looked pregnant, my mind began to race through the sequence of possibilities in that split second before I asked what was going on. Maybe they stole the baby? Maybe they were babysitting? Maybe they bought a baby on Amazon? Hey, you can buy a pool table on Amazon and have it shipped in two days - so anything is possible.

Finally, I asked, “What the hell?”

The baby was a robot baby and the cries were artificial. They were assigned the care of the baby as part of a school project. The baby would be “theirs” for the weekend and it would be recording any physical events that would happen to it. If the car seat was dropped, for instance, it would be recorded.

All designed to give young teens an idea of what is at stake when diving into activities which might make a less robotic and more real baby. I was both impressed at the assignment and terrified that my son had reached the age where this was a possibility.

I was even more concerned when they both whipped around with pained looks on their faces. “The baby... it won't... it won't stop crying.” They'd had the baby for approximately 90 minutes and it had cried for about 89 of those minutes. The look of equal parts terror and panic on their faces gave me a chance to pause. And then chuckle.

“Yeah. That sucks, doesn't it?” I said as I walked out of the room leaving the young couple to solve the riddle of the crying baby. I will say that was the same moment I went to go crack open a beer, as the weekend would provide several more opportunities at entertainment.

At one point, the girlfriend explained to me that the robot must clearly be broken.

“I've emailed my teacher, because this baby is defective. It is doing its 'I'm hungry' cry, but when I give it a bottle, it doesn't stop crying.”

Chuckling under my breath, I cracked open another beer.

Once the sobbing had subsided, I overheard the couple mention that they wanted to go to the movies on Saturday but couldn't because of the baby. Again. Another chuckle, and another beer.

Welcome to the big leagues, I mumbled as I left them to figure out some of the basics when it comes to caring for a baby - even a robot one.

Damn, it feels great to be past all of that. Good luck, kids. Be thankful it's only three days.

(Want more Chris Kamler? Find him on Twitter as @TheFakeNed, on Facebook as Chris Kamler for real, and on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)





It seems more and more every day that I am an enigma. Everyone seems to be picking sides, like the world's meanest game of playground kickball. Lining up on the right are those aligned with certain ideologies, and they seem to be 100% opposite from those lining up on the left. There are television news programs aligned with one side or the other and you can easily start to pick out which side a person is on by the first few lines of their Facebook post.

And here I am - right in the middle. I seem to be wallowing in the shrinking minority of those on balance. I'm not a big fan of Donald Trump, but I see that many of the issues he is passionate about aren't terrible ideas. We do need immigration control. We do need to reform our tax structure. I'm not opposed to guns. I think we need guns for protection from crime. However, I really am not a fan of someone owning 47 guns and then mowing down a crowd at a concert.

Being in the middle sucks. Because you can easily see the slant people put on something that should be nonpartisan. For every dumb thing President Trump says (and they are many,) there are just as many social media posts that go way too far in criticism. You lose me when you start to wish harm on any president.

Somewhere, making a wicked burn in a Twitter post became the new normal in how to dialogue about political and societal issues. And here I am, stuck in the middle, trying to read more about the issues to understand that there really is room for compromise on most things and for those that aren't, then agreeing to disagree and moving along really is a viable option.

I am both Black Lives and Blue Lives Matter. I am also All Lives Matter and I also feel strongly about puppies (but not cats. Cats can go to hell). I am pro-choice, but feel that an abortion should be an absolute last choice instead of a first one. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And I feel completely homeless in both the Democratic and Republican parties right now.

I don't think there was widespread voter fraud, while I would still like to strengthen voting security. I don't think Hillary's emails were that big of a deal, and am still kinda pissed that Jared Kushner is using a private email server. I believe that the United States should lend a hand to anyone that needs it and to help with their growing elderly population, but I also would hope that it is done in a fiscally responsible manner giving priority to quality of care and patient outcomes rather than just a blank checkbook.

I think there are flaws with Obamacare and socialized medicine but want to find a way that we adopt a model that has worked in other countries so nobody has to worry about getting care when they're sick.

I feel that common sense is dying and the loudest voices are winning while I grow ever quieter unaware of a direction to go - paralyzed by both indifference and frustration.

I am the centrist - a dying breed, and I am doomed to see the good in both sides of an argument. Except cats. Cats are awful. Surely we can all agree on that.

(Find Chris Kamler and his dislike for cats on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed. You will also catch him hanging out on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




This weekend it ends. Sunday afternoon around 4 p.m. to be exact.
That is the time when the crowd of fans at Kauffman Stadium will begin to disperse after giving their final standing ovations, leaving only hot dog wrappers and empty beer cups. The men from the green field, wearing the blue and white uniforms, will have gone below to their locker room to begin to pack their belongings for the long winter ahead.

Many will say their goodbyes, and many of those same men will never again return to that clubhouse. Another season has come to a close, yet this one will close the greatest chapter in Kansas City sports history. A chapter that began over five years previously as the general manager of the Royals, Dayton Moore, made a third attempt to push forward the infamous “process.” The child of Wichita, Kan., planted many seeds in 2009 when he got the job, and they finally began to bear fruit in the first half of the next decade.

Names like Butler, Hosmer, Perez, Myers, Duffy, and Moustakas would eventually become household names, but they first had to cut their teeth in the minors as a group. They learned to lose at first but then they learned to win. Notching championships as a group in Northwest Arkansas, then Omaha - all the while, the hapless Royals in Kansas City continued to stupify fans whilst continuing to finish at the bottom of the standings.

That all changed in 2011 and 2012 as the Royals began to promote these baby boomers to the major league squad, as they cast off their dopey manager Trey Hillman for a gruff and surly new skipper named Ned Yost.

As the Royals played host to MLB's All-Star Game in 2012 under the national spotlight, Yost and Moore would make additional acquisitions, shipping off Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke for Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar in what any Royals fan simply calls “the trade.”

The team took a couple of years to gel but gel they did into their own style of baseball now being mimicked by teams like Cleveland and Washington. While the rest of the league looked for long balls, the Royals capitalized on stifling defense, a lockdown bullpen that shortened games to basically be six-inning affairs, and a pestering offensive approach that could only be equated to death by a million paper cuts. “Keep the line moving” was the “Billy Ball” of the twenty-teens in KC.

You know what happened next. For me, I recall it as a flash of memories. Booing Robinson Cano at the 2012 Home Run Derby for dissing Billy Butler. The losing streak of July 2014 and the Summer of Sungwoo that would happen for the month that followed. Watching Game 1 of the 2014 World Series from a dugout suite. The pain of Game 7. The incredible pace with which the Royals started in 2015 like a boy trying to get the taste of soap out of his mouth. The sweeps in the ALCS and victory in New York in five. The parade. And, of course, the Wild Card Game.

I could go on for pages and pages.

All of it ends this weekend. The babies in blue from 2010 and 2011 have reached the end of their first contracts as boys in blue. With a World Series ring as a bargaining chip, those men will become free agents and leave for greener pastures and massive paychecks.

To mourn would be a waste of effort. To try to stop it would be futile.
May I suggest, rather, that this weekend you take a moment to remember and reflect what the Royals of the past five years have done for this city. And then, as the Royals learned to do, keep the line moving while we impatiently wait for the spring.

(The Landmark’s Chris Kamler keeps the line moving on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)


RAHIM (Part 2)

Last week, I told you about my side hustle driving for Uber and how you meet all kinds of different people. Then I told you about Rahim, who was clearly having a horrible day. We pick the story up as we embark on about a 45 minute drive where I did very little talking but a lot of listening.

The thing is when you drive for Uber that you honestly don't know what is happening next. You could take a drive from Olathe to KCI. You could take someone three blocks. They could be quiet or very chatty. Rahim, after he composed himself, began to stream a narrative that was both shocking and inspiring.

Rahim works for the Department of Agriculture as a computer programmer. He said that he wanted to be an engineer but that in his homeland of India the only money jobs were in computer programming. So he learned programming and came to the United States in hopes that he could find additional schooling and a job. “You've got to do whatever you can,” he said after speaking meekly and non-stop for about 10 minutes.

“But I have ideas, right? I have ideas that my bosses won't listen. I do my work. I do my programming and I do it very well but I have other ideas. I have this idea that can change the world.”

I sat up in my driver's seat and leaned in intently. This 20-year-old kid who weighed maybe 105 pounds was telling me how he was going to change the world.

“Yes. Cotton. It is all about cotton. Where I come from it is very poor. Very poor. People sleep on the ground because they are so poor. Also, I tried to buy a mattress here and it was $400 so I am also sleeping on the ground here. I don't know how people can afford a bed.”

Rahim came here and got a good job with the government but was also trying to send money back home to support his family to the point where he was sleeping on wadded up blankets as a bed.

“India is the greatest manufacturer of cotton. We make so much that much of it is thrown away as a byproduct. We could take that byproduct and make mattresses that are $25 instead of $400.”

So I asked what the barriers are for that to happen. Why can India produce so much cotton that it's actually given away for free in some cases, and mattresses and pillows still cost so much?

“My bosses. They only want me to do my job. They won't take it to my superiors.”

Knowing what little I know about the Indian culture, they are very regimented and don't ever go outside the chain of command. It seems that Rahim's bosses don't like him very much.

Our chat continued. He told me about other ideas to take recyclables and help them to fill potholes and other ideas that he had. Guy seemed to be legitimately a genius, but just didn't have a way to get his ideas to the right people.
But I say all this simply to wonder aloud if there are others that we're looking to remove from the country or systemically keep down who have an idea that could change the world. Why wouldn't we be looking for these people and their ideas and putting all available resources towards changing the world instead of separating it.

But what do I know? I'm just an Uber driver.

(Follow the adventures of The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



RAHIM (Part 1)

Over the past couple of months, I've been picking up a few extra bucks by driving for Uber, the ridesharing service that's cheaper than a taxi, but utilizes regular people to drive you from point A to point B. It's been a pretty fascinating experience, because you're treated like a random stranger, but often times you're treated as a new friend. I guess this would be most similar to being a bartender, where people can sometimes open up, knowing that you'll never see that person again.

I've always been fairly good with people. I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone despite whatever views they might share or mood that they're in. So Uber driving has been great with very few exceptions. I picked up a couple on the Plaza after a night of heavy drinking - they told me that the day before, their son had just been diagnosed with autism, and they were freaking out. I picked up a young college student heading home to check on her family and wait out a pending hurricane. But the most impactful ride I've had so far has been Rahim.

I picked Rahim up at a 7-11 where he was getting $400 from an ATM because his car had been towed. He needed to get across town by 5:15 when the tow lot closed. It was 4:56. The ride was relatively quiet and Rahim was clearly troubled by the fact that his car had been towed. We got to the tow lot at 5:10 and I dropped him off after thanking him and giving him a complimentary bottle of water (it helps get tips.)

I drove off thinking I had completed my ride and was onto the next one, when my Uber app chimed again. It requested me to pick up Rahim across the street from where I just dropped him off. By the time I got there, his mood had changed dramatically. He was disheveled and wouldn't make eye contact with me.

“Hey, man, I guess it didn't work out with the tow lot, eh?” I said in as chipper a tone as I could.

Rahim began to sob as he got into the car and closed the door. “The man said he was closed and to come back tomorrow.” Holding back tears he continued, “I told him I worked for the government and that I needed my laptop out of the car. So he took it out and threw it across the street.” Rahim shifted as he began to take inventory of his skidded up backpack. He found some papers and a dented up Macbook pro.

Still drinking the bottle of water that I gave him, he made every effort to try to compose himself as we began our drive.

“He was so mean to me. I don't understand. I had the money and I got there on time. He didn't have to be so mean.”

It didn't take a genius to understand that Rahim's frail appearance and brown skin factored into the equation. You also don't have to be a genius to know that the tow truck racket in Kansas City has got to be one of the most corrupt schemes going.

Rahim took a deep breath and I started the trip timer. When you drive Uber, you don't know what the destination is until you start the trip, and once I did, I saw it would be a 35 minute drive in heavy rush hour traffic. We were going to be in the car for a long time.

What Rahim said over the next 45 minutes both broke my heart and also inspired me.

To be continued...

(Find The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as the notorious @TheFakeNed track him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



Symbols mean a great deal to people. Don't believe me? Text the frownie face emoji to your wife right now and don't answer her follow up “are you mad at me?” text.

Symbols, and peoples' reactions to them can range anywhere from amusement to a fight - or even a war. Folks also take their symbols to heart - so when you want to change one of them or even remove one, you're fixing for a fight.

We've all seen over the last month the rise of extremism surrounding Naziism, fanatacism, racism and a whole bunch of other “ism's” as well as the clashes between them all. People have died. People have been fired. People have bled to protect their symbols - whether they be flags, signs, or statues. This all started when certain states wanted to remove Confederate statues from public areas. Confederate statues stand for the Confederacy. Confederacy stands for slavery. Slavery stands for racism. Racism stands for bigotry. And then somehow the Nazis are thrown in there somehow.

Symbols are ideas and it is the ideas that are individual to each of us. Sure, we may say we like crab legs - but that may mean different things to all of us. For me, it means, that I sure would love to eat crab legs because they are tasty, but a few years ago it resulted in an extended trip to the bathroom in the back of a gas station so I can't go near them. But I sure do love crab legs.

For others, those statues represent sacrifice in those who died for a cause - even though it was a failed cause based on a failed ideology.

I'm less concerned in the physical symbols. Go ahead and display them.. “Here is a statue of General Robert E. Lee, Confederate Army general.” Display them with the asterisks of history hanging over their head. Here's where I think we can educate all on history rather than hide it away. The text on the statue should go on to say that “General Lee fought proudly for the Northern Virginia Army in the American Civil War. The Civil War was centered around the question of slavery. General Lee's side was for the creation of a country where slavery would be legal. His side lost. Slavery remains illegal in this country as the United States decided, through blood and war, that all men and women should be equal in the eyes of the government.”

Imagine what a learning opportunity this would be. Instead, this statue will be moved out of sight and the blemishes of our past will be hidden away rather than stand as gravestones of education.

In no way should an army general who advocated a nation where slavery would be legal be celebrated. Yet, there should be monuments to turning points in our nation's history - so that we don't have to fight the same battles 150 years later because those who fight them are too uneducated to learn from the country's mistakes.

Erect the statues, but make them be learning tools rather than monuments to leadership.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and follow him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Watch him on Landmark Live Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. on Ivan Foley’s Facebook page)



It has been quite a while since I've been to church. At some point during high school, Sundays were more about football and sleeping in than they were the act of attending church. That being said, in the time I went some of the teachings, I hope, sunk in.

That's not to say all of the ceremony and tradition of the church sank in - I'm talking about what really counts - the Golden Rule. The rest of it, frankly, I can do without. But it was made very clear that you shall do unto others as you would have done unto you. That was taught not only by the church, but also by my parents, my grandparents, and the community I grew up in.

There wasn't really punishment for breaking this rule, only the shame and guilt that went with trying to get a leg up on someone who needed a hand up. If guilt weren't enough, as I grew older I learned of another, less religious philosophy -- karma.

There are days, it seems, that I was the only one listening - or at least the only one trying to walk the line. In my inbox this morning, I got an email from the cyber division of the Department of Homeland Security cautioning all of us from opening and donating money to would-be Hurricane Harvey scammers. Imagine that.

Some low life took the time to craft an email tearing at someone's heart strings regarding the unspeakable tragedies happening in Houston right now and including a link designed to steal money, your identity, or compromise your computer. Then that person hits send to five million computers and waits for six or seven thousand suckers to pay up.

This isn't just stealing - it seems worse - more carnal. Quoting the Bible now - Proverbs 10:2 “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.”

I'm certainly not a Biblical scholar, but it seems to me that it's saying you reap what you sow and that you'll get yours at the end of your days. Again, the Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kind of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Listen, I can't imply that I have led a pure life, but I do feel that the good I've done in this world has outweighed the bad. I stop for stranded motorists. I try to donate my time and my money. I work to raise awareness of those who stand to scam people.

Yet there are those out there without pure intentions and they seem to be at their worst in times of great need. The email scammers. The looters. The megachurch pastors who refuse to open their grand church to those in need during a time of a catastrophe. To name just a few.

A third Bible verse before we leave, 1 Corinthians 6:10 “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

As long as there's some flexibility in the drunkards part - I'll see you at the pearly gates.

Note: Please don't ever donate money based on a Facebook post or an email. Donate only to charities you know and trust and whose websites you go to directly. When in doubt, donate generously to redcross.org.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




The hardest plays in baseball are the pitches that you don't swing at. The looping curveball that comes in like a beach ball, or the fastball right down the pipe. The thoughts of what could have been and what never was can haunt for quite a while.

Those who manage Platte City’s economic development and chamber of commerce should be thinking long and hard about the pitch that they let go by this past weekend and Monday during the once in a lifetime eclipse. Let's put aside the fact that the actual eclipse on Monday was overcast and rainy. Let's instead look at an opportunity for thousands to visit Platte City and spend their tourist dollars in the weekend leading up to the event.

While surrounding cities in the path of totality like Lathrop and Leavenworth held festivals complete with food trucks, carnivals, science lessons, and games - the streets surrounding the town square in Platte City were nearly abandoned. At Platte Ridge Park, a gorgeous baseball facility with dozens of acres of wide open space - there were maybe 200 cars parked there Monday.

While ABC News and The Weather Channel camped on the lawns of St. Joseph and Liberty, other than folks coming to The Landmark to buy solar eclipse glasses, there were only crickets heard all weekend on Main Street in Platte City. Even driving through the streets of Platte City moments before the total eclipse the entire community seemed disaffected and uninterested in what could have been.

What could have been was hundreds of families, school teachers, and, most importantly, dollars streaming into an area more north of the city, yet south of what could've been pandemonium in St. Joe. Platte City could've been Eclipse U.S.A. for one fantastic weekend. Post a few highway signs, share a few images on Facebook and boom - thousands of dollars and hundreds of minivans up to see beautiful Platte City and her neighboring well funded yet underused parks.

Platte Ridge Park could've been host to food trucks and Gary Lezak. It could've had home run derbies and science lessons. A greater party than St. Joseph could ever throw. On the town square, there would have been jugglers, weather spotters, ice cream vendors, and the tourism bureau ready to hand out information about the wineries, parks, and attractions of Platte County. All we got, however, was plenty of parking spots.

Instead, those mini vans and busses drove right past the airport, and the QuikTrip, and the Main Street sign. They drove up to St. Joseph - a city that has grown accustomed to hosting Kansas Citians with Chiefs training camp. They get thousands every August and kept the party rolling for the eclipse. Kansas City proper had its own party. Weston had weekend-long activities as well, leaving a void in Platte City as dark as the shadow of totality that left Platte Ridge park and her few hundred visitors in total blackness for just over two minutes.

Hundreds of years of advance notice, and the baseball diamonds and wide open spaces of Platte Ridge park were empty during the eclipse weekend without the opportunity to even miss the pitch.

(Chris Kamler takes swings and gets hits on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also catch him on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube)



As I am sure the entire region knows, next Monday marks one of the largest cosmic events in a century - I'm speaking, of course, about the solar eclipse. Platte Countians are especially lucky as we'll get to see the peak of the eclipse pass right over us around midday.

Even though I'll be walking the streets selling my “The eclipse was cool, but now let's see Uranus” t-shirts, I am some what whimsical about the significance of what we are about to see.

Very rarely, an entire community can take part in a collective event. For the most part, those are bad events - the Kennedy assassination, moon landing, American Idol voting - things that all of us can enjoy and gain some value from. Monday's eclipse will be one of those times where we all have the same experience at the same time.

As we look at the news of the world, there's got to be some sort of way to harness that collective attention - even for the short time the eclipse is happening. Heck, just getting the majority of people to put their smartphones down for 10 minutes will be worth the effort.

But what we've seen over the past several months, and even moreso, over the past several weeks, are community members violently and hatefully pitting themselves against other community members. Pick a reason - because of their skin color, their beliefs, their heritage, even because of their speech. So how could we use the eclipse? My hope is that we can all use that moment at 1:10 p.m. Central Daylight Time to realize that at that moment, everyone is looking up and doing the same exact thing. This includes whites, blacks, gays, Republicans, Democrats, men, women, and everyone else not included in that list. We're all going to be stepping outside and looking up. It sounds silly and simple, but that simple act can easily prove that we're all capable of focusing our attention skyward - even for a few minutes.

Maybe you'll think about those who aren't like you and how they're experiencing the same phenomenon. Maybe some are better off. Maybe some are worse off. Maybe you can find some commonality with everyone looking at that shadow overtake our sun. Maybe even better times can come from it.

The last time a total solar eclipse passed over Kansas City was in 1806. There was no internet, no antibiotics, no television, and technologies the world would marvel at were only in their thought stages. The next eclipses anywhere near our area will be in 2045 and 2099. What will our country look like then? Will we bow to the hatred that has gotten so much coverage? Will a peaceful leader find a way to unite us? Or will outside influences change our country and our culture or even destroy it?

Monday's eclipse is a mile marker in history. Look at how far we've come in 100 years. What will be we in another hundred?

While it's too much to ask for a “I'd like to buy the world a Coke” moment, I challenge you on 1:10 p.m. Monday to look to your left and to your right and figure out a way to make the next eclipse for our families a better event than in 2017.

(Chris Kamler will be in Platte City for the total eclipse. Where will you be? No matter, you can follow Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and search for him on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube)



Americans love to categorize things. Take me, for instance. I am a Polish-American, Caucasian, suburbanite, heavy-set, nerd. And, most importantly, I am a member of Generation X - those born after the Baby Boomers, but before Generation Y, and the Millennials (and now, Generation Z).

You can tell a great deal about a person depending on what group they were born into. Baby Boomers are the largest group - those born following World War II and are now reaching retirement age. My generation, Gen X, was responsible for the tech boom, the Internet, microwaves, and are among the best educated (with 29% obtaining a bachelor's degree according to socialmarketing.org.) #Humblebrag

My son is part of Generation Z, a group that has yet to make their mark on the world simply because they are still in school and have yet to decide what direction they want to take the human race.

In between is the Millennial generation - those born between about 1985 and 2000 and one of the best parts of my day is reading how this generation is ruining one thing or another. Millennials, who are now in their 20's and 30's are ruining restaurants, brick-and-mortar stores, dating, marriage, golf, and face-to-face interaction. And by ruining, we mean that they've found other things to do with their time such as online dating, food delivery, cohabitation, airbnb, and shopping online.

The term “ruining” is pretty harsh for this generation. My generation invented the microwave and many decried that we ruined cooking. Yet the microwave has only really been able to perfect cooking popcorn. The rest we still use the stove for.
But millennials seem to be getting the blame for simply letting the free market evolve. Recently, it was mentioned that the group is ruining department stores like Macy's and JC Penney - opting instead for Amazon and door-to-door services. How is this a bad thing? You've found something more efficient, cheaper, and easier to use. Let Macy's invent something or move out of the way.

Millennials suffer some of the greatest debt of any sub-group and that is forcing change in the way the consume. They can't afford vacations, so they stay and do something in town. They can't afford home ownership, so they double-up with a roommate. The market will adjust just like it did when the boys came home from war and started making babies. It invented suburbia, and maybe it's time that those things evolved.

Rather than blaming millennials or Generation X - what businesses really need to do is evolve and think beyond their structure. Change or get out of the way. If a group of people want self-driving cars and food delivery services, you're damn well sure someone is going to come up with it.

But in the meantime, let's say a quick prayer for the things the millennial generation has killed such as napkins, the food industry, relationships, the Olympics, diamonds, Applebee's, and vacations. In the words of the prophet Roger Daltry, “Why don't y'all f-fade away. Don't try and dig what we all s-s-ay.”

(Fade into Chris Kamler’s world on Twitter where you can find him as @TheFakeNed. Or track him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



On Twitter the other day, many of us were naming the first “big” news story that we recall. For me, it was the Hyatt Regency Tea Dance skywalk collapse which killed over 100 attendees in 1981. For others, their answers ranged from the Kennedy assassination to some youngsters mentioning the death of Michael Jackson. But, as we were reminded this past week, there is nothing quite as memorable and earth shattering as the story of Orenthal James Simpson and what happened in 1994 and 1995.

The Juice will be loose in October. Last week, a parole board ruled that O.J. Simpson will be released from his 33-year sentence for kidnapping and assault 24 years early. But of course, that's not the subtext that's important to any of this story.

It's going to be hard to believe for anyone not around in the 1990's, but the O.J. Simpson story surrounding the murder of O.J.'s ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman was the single biggest news event to happen to that point in history after, possibly, Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy Assassination.

O.J. gave birth to mass media, the 24 hour news networks, Court TV, the Kardashians, and, in many ways, social media itself. The entire world stopped during the white Bronco chase and remained at a standstill for over a year until O.J.'s innocence was proclaimed in a Los Angeles courtroom on Oct. 3, 1995.
And when I say the world stopped, I truly mean it. You couldn't go anywhere that the O.J. trial wasn't a hot topic of discussion. Supermarket lines, barber shops, and waiting for coffee - everyone was comparing theories and talking about the personalities involved. “I think Kato had something to do with it.” “That Mark Furman is a racist cop that planted the evidence.” “O.J. was a wife beater.” We all had our theories.

For me, in 1995, I was working at a local casino on the night shift. I'd rush home to go to bed at two in the morning - mostly so I could wake up at 10 the next morning to start watching the broadcast of the trial which, most days, was on no less than four different networks. It even gave birth to “Court TV.” I was enraptured by the twists and turns, as was the rest of the country. He was one of the biggest names in Hollywood. An announcer on Monday Night Football. Star of commercials and a Hall of Famer. It's like wrapping Joe Montana up with Beyonce and Bob Costas.

It's hard to fathom, even in the age of the Kardashians and Donald Trump, just how pervasive the O.J. story was. Imagine every news show simply being 95% about one story for over a year and a half, plus millions of barrels of ink in newspapers and magazines. If the Internet were a bigger thing in 1995, this would've been the thing to break it. O.J. wasn't just an athlete.

In other ways, however, the public's fascination with the trial was the beginning of the end for media as we knew it then. Every cable show wanted to yell louder and get more viewers which meant a much bigger dog-and-pony show than your traditional Huntley-Brinkley report. It also started the trend of eroding the true facts in favor of sensationalized “alternative-facts.” One thing is certain, however, the public ate it up and developed an appetite that has not been quenched since.

Now that O.J. will be released, you can bet that October will be like stepping into a time machine back to 1995 where, once again, the world will stop to see the latest in the tale of O.J. Simpson.

(You can milk Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Follow his escapades on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



Think back to the last time you got really upset. Maybe it was when you got fired from a job. Maybe it's when you learned you needed surgery for some reason. Maybe it was even when you got in a car accident that wasn't your fault.

Remember how the vein on your forehead began to stick out, and how you could feel the shades of red change in your face. Maybe even remember how you could feel your heart beating while blood courses through your neck.

Now, imagine becoming that upset because over a television program or maybe because of a change in your favorite fast food restaurant's menu. Seems silly, right? Well, if it seems odd, then you obviously haven't spent much time on Twitter or Facebook. The Information Superhighway has turned into a congested parking lot after a concert. Lots of honking, lots of people flipping other people off and absolutely no forward movement at all.

In recent months, you saw a number of examples of how Internet outrage has become the go-to emotion. April, 2017 - McDonalds announces that they will be phasing out their “orange drink.” The feedback on the Internet was predicatable. “I will never visit McDonalds again,” said one. “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY,” said another. Under the post, you never really saw something average like, “yeah, that's cool. Do what you gotta do.” The posts were nearly all negative and nearly all beyond the passion you think you'd attribute to a sugar water flavor at a fast food restaurant.

You saw it again this past weekend when Ann Coulter was moved from her seat on a Delta flight. Now, this is obviously frustrating for anyone who travels when things don't go exactly your way. But the five post blast by Coulter seemed over the top and was met equally by trolls who felt this was karma rearing its ugly head upon her. Shannon Watts responded with “Ann Coulter calls progressives wimps and snowflakes. Raise your hand if you've freaked out because you didn't get extra room on a plane.”

But my favorite example of jumping off the deep end of overreaction is when the British science fiction program, “Doctor Who,” which has been part of sci-fi culture since the 1960's, announced that it cast a woman to take the lead role of The Doctor for the first time. The Internet Outrage Machine did not take the news terribly well. “Ratings drop coming.” “Bloody Stupid. Doctor Who is was and always will be a man.” “I'm Fuming - like being told Father Christmas is a woman.”

Imagine your blood boiling because a fictional television program made a change to their plot. What kind of lives do those people lead? Are they that mad when they shop for groceries? “This apple has a brown spot! Will never shop here again!” Are they that mad when Joe in accounting asks them to re-submit their expense report? “Joe has never appreciated my expense reports! I quit!”

The evolution of anger online seems to go from zero to one million without a lot of grey area in between. And I'm not sure being pissed off at Ronald McDonald for his orange drink is what the founders of the Internet had in mind when the series of wires and tubes was introduced.

If you're the kind to get mad online - perhaps take a step back and reflect. Is this really the most important item you need to lend your voice to? Maybe consider saving it for when your favorite American Idol singer is voted off the show or when Burger King changes how many pickles come on your Whopper.

(Get outraged, if that’s your jam, at Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



Kansas City lost a great man this past week when Neal Patterson, president of Cerner, passed away due to complications from cancer. That's the headline that everyone has read the past few days. But for those of us who have had the opportunity to work under him and hear him speak, the words simply don't do justice to the gravity of the man who is no longer with us.

The funny thing about Neal's life is that he achieved great riches and led not only an industry leading healthcare IT company, but also co-owned an MLS soccer team despite failures in his life that could only be described as major.

Cerner employees have heard the stories so many times they can nearly recite them - but Neal and his co-owners Cliff Illig and Paul Gorup were just out to write some software. They didn't know for what - but they just grew tired of their jobs at Arthur Andersen and wanted a change. They tried the financial sector, but that failed. They tried some other ideas which failed as well. Even when Cerner was a growing young company, Patterson sent a memo to managers that was so bad it is still taught in business schools on how not to motivate people. His speaking style was unstructured and bordered on wandering, but despite all of those flaws and failures, he maintained a core focus on making healthcare easier.

In the four years I've worked for Cerner, I never had the chance to meet the man, but I've heard him speak several times about his vision to change the way healthcare is done in this country. The idea is simple - solve the question about why getting medical attention is so hard. Long waiting room lines. Waiting for doctors and nurses to update documentation. Why is it so hard?

So he drove his managers and his associates to think about making it simpler. “Healthcare is too important to stay the same,” was a quote that has now turned into a mantra by Patterson. But the seminole moment where Neal Patterson changed my life was when I watched his speech on YouTube where he walked out with two giant grocery bags filled with papers. The papers were his wife's entire health record and he brought them to every doctor that would treat his wife's medical conditions.

It was an image that made it all fall into place for me and tens of thousands of other associates that work for Cerner. It also helps carve the conversation you invariably have with someone in line at the grocery store when they ask, “what the heck does that company do? I've seen all their buildings around town.” The answer is simple - make it easier to see a doctor, or to get a surgery, or to lose some weight because your entire medical history should travel with you from doctor to doctor.

So my takeaway this week as my coworkers and I mourn his passing won't be to acknowledge the great successes and wealth in his life, it will be to acknowledge how failure didn't get in the way of his great vision to change the world.

(Get our man Chris Kamler’s visions on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)




This may come as a shock to many of you, but I am not always right. I know. I was really surprised as well. Just looking at me, you might think to yourself, “self, now there goes a guy who is right about nearly everything in his life.” And I would have to agree. But that would be wrong, too.

I make mistakes in my work, at home, sometimes I get lost while driving. It's kind of terrifying when you think about it. I've even been known to get a political hot take wrong now and again. (See: Trump, Donald - still in office). But those are less important than how wrong I am about sports.

Part of the fascination with sports has got to be how impossible it is to predict and I am leading the parade. I wrote in this space four months ago how the Royals would be completely out of the race and selling off pieces at this time of the year, and over the weekend they danced in and out of second place - easily in position to get a wild card spot in the postseason. Now, I could sit here and tell you that I still feel my prediction was right, but the facts simply aren't proving that out.
I was wrong. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last.

What tickles me, though, is that most of our sports media coverage is nearly all pundits and talking heads predicting things at which they will be wrong. The Huffington Post published a study by students at Hamilton College that noted in 2011 that pundits have the same chance of being right as flipping a coin.

How'd you like to see that on SportsCenter? Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock flipping coins to see who they pick to win the NBA Finals in 2018 - FRIDAY on Fox Sports 1! I'll bet you that it would get somebody to watch.

Obviously, the obsession with predicting sports is two fold. The first is whether you may want to watch the team more often. If the team is good, it's just more fun to watch. The second is gambling. Oh, gambling. The more inside information you get, the closer your bet might be on who is going to win.

It has widely been rumored that sports betting may become legal under the Trump administration in the next year, which proves two things: the first is that it's not particularly fair to only have sports betting legal in places like Atlantic City and Vegas, and the second is that is one of the few bills Trump is likely to push through in this political climate.

But just remember before you quit your job to go be a full time sports bettor - the only way to truly win at predicting is to take that coin you're flipping to determine who is going to win, put it in your pocket, at walk away. At least that way you're up twenty-five cents.

Or I could be wrong. I honestly can't tell at this point.

(He may be wrong or he may be right, but Chris Kamler is--almost--always on Twitter. Find him there as @TheFakeNed. You can also catch him on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook)



Let me make a deal with you. I'm not going to spend any of the next 500 words talking to you about my personal views on abortion. I offer this commitment to you free of charge and I ask nothing in return except for you to not convey your personal views on abortion in return.

Abortion is both currently legal and an abominable practice for many in the country. It is polarizing and it is the third rail of debate. There are plenty of places to debate the merits or the failings of legalized abortion - Facebook being the worst, but others would include speaking to your Congressperson, donating money to a cause that partners with your views on the subject, or just write a letter to your Senator or Supreme Court Justice.

Leave me and my opinions alone so I can watch baseball and drink a beer.
But wait, there's more. You'll notice that none of these options are, “openly debate abortion at a baseball game.” Yet here we are, June 2017, openly debating abortion at one of the worst venues for that type of debate. Kauffman Stadium. Why not watch sports AND debate social issues!

Let's back up and explain. The Vitae Foundation, a pro-life organization whose Vision is to, “envision a time when cultures embrace the gift of life, making abortion unthinkable,” has begun advertising on Royals radio broadcasts as well as purchased advertising inside the stadium. While not a one to one comparison, the Vitae foundation would be relatively the opposite of Planned Parenthood, an organization that performs abortions as well as provides other women’s health services.

Well advertising is okay, right? It's only a billboard and the messages in the broadcasts don't mention abortion so there's really nothing to worry about.

Here's my concern. The Royals, by accepting advertising dollars, are choosing sides in a debate that has split the country far deeper than Hillary vs. Donald ever will. Furthermore, they have refused advertising dollars from groups who wished to provide advertising for organizations aligned with Planned Parenthood making this less about fastballs and diving plays and more about picket signs and lobbyists.

The advertising isn't the issue with me. For me, it's the fact that my baseball team is caught up in this at all. This is a taxpayer funded stadium with a fan-supported base of fans that go to a game assuming that a political debate won't be shoved in their face like a brisket-acho (which is delicious, by the way.)

Fans come to the game to see Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas but not to see advertisements for a group that women's advocacy group UltraViolet says “lies and manipulates the public by spreading extreme, deceptive anti-choice propaganda not only to those seeking reproductive health care options, but also to young children,” per a release.

In the end, like I said, I have a view on abortion and the laws that surround it. I'm not going to tell you what it is. What I do not have is a tolerance for it to interrupt my Salvy Splash or my Kauffman Stadium hot dog. Save it for Meet The Press, not the seventh inning stretch.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed but don’t interrupt his hot dog. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



Come hither, weary traveler. What ho! Let tho tellest of the newest author on yonder horizon. He ist nameth Sha K. Speare and his tomes hath garnered the ire of the highest on high.

Okay, that's about enough of my lame attempt at iambic pentameter. If you've been watching the news, however, you might've heard of this new author drawing the attention of protesters across America. Performers meeting in a public park performing the assassination of a sitting President. Sha K. Speare is not making many friends among the conservative crowd in New York.

But seriously, William Shakespeare is once again in the news. Shakespeare in the Park in New York is portraying one of the Bard's greatest plays, Julius Caesar, with the lead character being the 45th President of the United States - Donald J. Trump. In the play, written in 1599, the lead character is betrayed and stabbed to death.

Understandably, fans of the President are not thrilled. And some have even taken to interrupting the New York play in protests. Others are threatening to boycott Shakespeare in the Park donors such as Delta and Bank of America in New York.

But before you join the masses to pick up your 16th century pitchforks and storm the stage, do yourself one small favor - read the play. If the Old English is too difficult to chew through, find one of the hundreds of translations of the play. And if that's not good enough for you, then try to find one of the interpretations of Shakespeare that substitutes modern examples for the lessons contained in the original plays.

For instance, remember when Romeo and Juliet was portrayed by Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1990's? How about a modern retelling of Much Ado About Nothing by the producer of the Avengers movies? Surely you saw the 1999 retelling of The Taming of the Shrew called “10 Things I Hate About You” starring a pre-Joker Heath Ledger.

One of my favorite classes in college was my Shakespeare class. It turns out that the same problems people faced in the 1500 and 1600's were the same problems we face in the modern age - just with fewer cell phones. Greed, romance, grief, betrayal, and corruption. Sound familiar?

How about ambition and conflict? Surely there isn't a modern allegory for those, right? Well, of course there are. Donald Trump is a fantastic stand in for Julius Caesar, a power-hungry leader who is ultimately brought down by the people closest to him and in spite of his status as leader. You could literally stand any President or foreign leader in for Julius Caesar. And, you know what? They have. For decades.

History is worth studying. Human flaws are worth examining. Seeking to understand one of the greatest writers of all time is worth its time. But that's not what these protesters are doing. They're seeing a caricature and not understanding the meaning behind it. They're showing their ignorance and, in doing so, completely missing the point.

Julius Caesar is about a man brought down by his quest for power. To quote the play, “What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also.”

But you go ahead and just believe that it's a play about killing President Trump. And then go protest the Caesar salad at Applebee's.

(Wherefore art thou, Chris Kamler? Why, he’s on Twitter of course, as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)




Summer means two things in my house - the first is that I learn exactly how hot the upholstery is in my car and the Gold Bond powder is working overtime. Speaking of, let's do a grab bag:

•So Ivan Foley found a whiskey barrel in the basement of The Landmark offices. There's a pretty good chance there is some choice alcohol in there, so you should absolutely buy a copy of The Plaffe Kountee Lanmarc.

•Is it just me, or has the front page of The Landmark turned dark? Murders. Drownings. Violent crimes. We even had a guy threaten to shoot up a rest stop on I-29 a couple of months ago. What ever happened to the nicer newsworthy stories? Remember when we couldn't get enough of that mayor who hired her son-in-law to paint some signs? I bet we'd kill for that right now. Well, maybe not kill. But you get my drift.

•With the world getting more dangerous, I guess it was just a matter of time before the Platte County Sheriff’s Department got themselves an armored vehicle. Sure, it's a little bit of overkill to have a quieter community like Platte County with their very own tank. But you never know how the keen sheriff will find ways to use it. Hunting on illegal property? Here comes THE TANK. Bonfire too big in the fall? THE TANK WILL MOW IT DOWN. And I really pity the first 17-year-old who throws a party that gets out of hand with their parents out of town. You see that tank roll up on your kegger and you're going to rethink a lot of life choices. One thing is for sure, with the armored tank being free, you know they'll at least get their money's worth out of it.

•Platte City is going to be right in the path of a total solar eclipse and people will be coming from across the world in August to see it. Yet when I offer to show people Uranus, I get no takers.

•A quick Royals update - they're hovering around six or seven games below .500 and that's just good enough to dream of a run, and just bad enough to want to give up on the squad to start the inevitable rebuilding. My prediction from the beginning of the year still stands. A lot of tears after the Fourth of July will be mopped up with old Eric Hosmer jerseys.

•If you've been following my @TheFakeNed Twitter account over the past several months you've no doubt caught some of my fire for the Missouri Department of Revenue, who has yet to pay me my 2016 tax refund. This is nearly 70 days now and state law apparently says that if it takes longer than 45 days, I'm entitled to interest as well. I bag on the government as much as the next guy, but how can you not get some checks written in two and a half months? I don't get to pay my KCP&L bill three months late. They would turn off my power. Maybe I'll just take an extra three months to update the license plate tags on my car that expire in July. Pretty confident I'd be writing my column from a jail cell. Get better, Missouri Department of Revenue. You are pretty poor at your jobs.

Then again, nothing is going to matter once Ivan opens up that moonshine he's got locked in the basement. Probably won't be doing any driving that night anyway.

(Get views of Uranus and other fun facts from Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or follow him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



I'm a good sleeper.

I absolutely love to sleep. It's something that I literally do every day confirming the idea that practice makes perfect. And it's a skill that I've honed over the years, too. No longer do I just gradually drift off to sleep over several hours. I hit the pillow and I am out. Bam.

It's something, I suppose, that I learned from my father - the world's greatest sleeper. Dad can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. In church. Watching TV.

Seconds after dinner is over. He really is the king.

I have to have 7-8 hours of sleep a night. And if that means I have to go to sleep at 7 p.m. to wake up early? So be it. I just have to plan around it.

I've been watching a lot of The West Wing over the last few months. That's one of those shows where high-strung workers always have energy, start the day at dawn and work well into the midnight hour only to start it all over again the next day. If I had to operate on four hours of sleep consistently in the high stress environment I work in, I'd legitimately be arrested for punching people at work.

So here's my problem - over the past month, my job has put me on a new project that is incredibly important and is requiring a ton of extra work. Eight hour days have easily turned into 15 hour days. Five day work weeks are now 29 day work months.

In order to keep everything under control at home and with the job, the thing that has suffered the most is the thing that I enjoy the most - my sleep schedule. My normal bedtime is around 10 p.m., but now it's 11:30 or midnight. My normal wake up time is 6 a.m. and now for some reason, my body has suddenly decided to wake up at 4 every day.

A normal eight hour deep REM sleep with dreams about hula skirt girls and a winning baseball team have now evolved into red eyes and bags the size of Tonka trucks on my face.

How do people operate consistently on less sleep? I don't get it. My human body should basically be the same human body that everyone else has (add a few more pounds, maybe.) So how can one guy operate on four hours a night and my body needs eight hours of winks?

Hopefully this project starts to wind down, because if I go any more days on little sleep, the post office is going to have to assign a zip code to the bag forming under my left eye. At the end of the day, you simply have to cater to your strengths and do what you're best at. Sleeping.

I won't go much longer this way. Kamler needs his hula girls. You can keep the positive energy, hard working types... I'm going back to bed.

(When he isn’t working or sleeping, catch Kamler on Twitter where he operates as @TheFakeNed. You can also track him down in his bed, on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube)



Dear Class of 2017, I come before you as a much older person who was once in your shoes. I'd like to say that has given me intelligence and wisdom, but in actuality, it has mostly just given me more experiences from you.

As I look upon your faces, all full of wonder and excitement -- and maybe a little bit of dread, I'd like to share some things that I've learned in the decades since I sat where you are today.

The next few years of your life are going to play some tricks on you. In one way, they're going to be amazing - from being on your own, to setting your own priorities, to even having control of your destiny. But on the other hand, it's terrifying. You don't know how to do anything. You never seem to have enough money. Your friends and loved ones begin to shift around you - maybe even leave you completely.

All of that is going to be just noise. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to take out a piece of paper and write down the top five things you want to accomplish in life. Now, put that into an envelope and write on the front of it DO NOT OPEN UNTIL 2022. Now, completely ignore everything else and spend the next five years doing everything. Do anything. Have fun. Fail. Fail spectacularly. Succeed spectacularly.

Don't worry about any of that. Your goal over the next five years is to experience as much of life as you can. Find love. Enjoy food. Travel.

Now, after five years, dig that envelope back out and start working toward those goals. But you will kick yourself if you start down that path without first doing some crazy things first.

Secondly, get off your damn phone. I get that staying plugged in is the way of communication, but work on being present in the moment when you're talking to folks. Make eye contact. Flip your phone over and leave it on the table for the duration of a lunch, or meeting, or conversation.

Thirdly, don't worry so much. The world does its best at throwing things at you that genuinely terrify you. Politics, money problems, friendships, daily drama, and work things. They're all designed to raise anxiety and stress in your life. This shouldn't be your focus over the next several years. Believe me, they'll be here when you dig back in. Your ability to process the stress around you is a key skill that you need to learn over the next several years.

My dad instilled a simple mantra that I learned when I was your age. Rule #1, Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule #2, It's all small stuff.

Finally, one other piece of inspiration that I'd like to leave you with before you all go out into the world and it's something that I haven't learned until just a few years ago. Hopefully you'll learn it earlier in your life than I did.

Regret is a part of life. And I've found that my biggest regrets are centered around things that I haven't done. Oh sure, I've regretted plenty of things that I have done. But none as much as things that I've chickened out from, or things that I just told myself I couldn't find the time to do.

So, Class of 2017, good luck. God speed. And remember, the key to doing something, is actually doing something.

(The Landmark’s Chris Kamler can dish out advice and other things on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



In the complicated world that we all live in, nothing is guaranteed. As an example, I am owed a tax refund from the State of Missouri. I filed my taxes early this year, and here it is the middle of May and Missouri STILL hasn't paid me my refund. Maybe they had a worse year than I did.

Like I was saying, there is nothing in life that's guaranteed except... Mom's purse.
I don't know what it is about mothers and purses. Once they give birth, they simply know what will be needed and to pack it in the purse.

My mother is the queen of having it all in the purse, and now my wife has adopted the same mantra.

Mom's purse could ultimately be the cure for the world. Need Chapstick? You can find it in Mom's purse. Need a hot dog at the baseball game? Surely you can dig around the bottom long enough to find $2.50 in nickels and dimes and a few pennies.

It's hot outside? Well you'll find sunscreen in both SPF 30 and 50 in the side pocket. Too cold? There's some rainbow mittens in the other side pocket.

One of my favorite stories was when I visited my friend's house when I was seven or eight years old. I managed to find not one, but TWO Star Wars action figures in Mom's purse so my friend and I played with them for the rest of the afternoon.
You think of it, and suddenly it appears. It's the genie's bottle of functionality.
Super glue? Binder clip? A ticket stub to that Chiefs game you went to in 2007? It's all in there among the rubber bands, child-proof scissors, and batteries -- both AA, AAA and a 9 Volt.

Mom's got keys to my car, her car, and that car we traded in back in 2012. There are random earrings, an insurance card, and that puzzle piece you were looking for.

The purse literally has it all, including that Nintendo Game Boy.

It seems to me that the State of Missouri should be more like Mom's purse - maybe then they would find the right resources to process all of our taxes and get me my refund on time.

Happy Mother's Day - but you already knew that, because you have the last five Mother's Day cards I gave you in your purse.

(Chris Kamler can smart-mouth you and he can wax poetically about Mother’s Day, often at the same time. Find him on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and also search for Kamler on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)




When I was in seventh grade, I participated in my school's Science Fair. My experiment involved buying four pairs of socks - black, brown, white and red. I wore each of them for a day and then had a panel of five people rate how stinky they were from 1-5. Additionally, I added a control sock that had not been worn. A pretty good experiment if I do say so myself.

My findings were that the black socks smelled the worst. I didn't know why, but it likely had to do with the type of fabric those socks were made of, or that it was hotter that day and I had a tendency to sweat as a fat little middle school kid.
That was really my only tactile involvement with true science. But it gave me an understanding that there was a method and reasoning behind what “scientists” do and also gave me some confidence to trust what the professional scientists say is, more or less, to be trusted.

There is obviously a full on attack on science and scientific findings. The most obvious is that of climate change and how CO2 emissions are raising the temperature of the earth. This has been proven. It has also been deemed a crisis by a very high number of countries around the world. Yet, a large percentage of Americans continue to deny or treat the findings with skepticism.

But it doesn't end there. There is widespread skepticism on what scientists have proven related to vaccinations, nutritional findings, as well as basic beliefs including that the world is round and not flat. (This is an actual thing.)

It's understandable, to a degree, that people are so untrusting. Part of it is upbringing and culture. Part of it is the watered down educational system. And part of it is that there is so much bad science out there.

Take drug testing, for example. If a pharmaceutical company wanted to put a new drug on the market, you can bet they'll have a scientific study showing it is safe. But time and time again, drugs are found to be harmful under certain conditions in other scientific tests. Heck, it took decades for tobacco companies to even relent that cigarettes cause cancer because of so many funded “studies” that make the link murky.

I've been listening to a great podcast series called Science Versus. It takes on common scientific ideals, like the use of genetically altered food, climate change, and antidepressants. It helps to identify what is “bad” science and what is “good” science. But it's certainly easy to understand how people can get the two mixed up. In the era of Dr. Oz, and reality TV stars telling you to not vaccinate your kids, and Buzzfeed articles questioning whether 9/11 was a hoax, we are a victim of too much information. Our brains are unable to process the good from the bad and taints everything with a cloud over it.

The solution? Dig in. Read. Ask questions. Engage with others. Don't rely on clickbait articles like “15 Reasons Why Climate Change is a Hoax - Number 7 will SHOCK you.”

Be better than that. And if you're really smart, you can learn to do your own experiments and trust your own science so you, too, can tell what stinks and what doesn't.

(Catch up with The Landmark’s Chris Kamler as the notorious @TheFakeNed on Twitter, and find him on Instagram and Snapchat)



Between July, 2014 and November 2015, the Kansas City Royals were the best team in baseball. Long the butt of late night talk show jokes and fan angst, the Royals were able to catch lightning in a bottle to rattle off back to back American League Championship pennants as well as a World Series title in 2015.

You know all of this, obviously. You were either in attendance at one of the playoff games, you could've gone to the World Series parade, or you could've just been a part of the largest viewing audience for baseball games for 18 months. Whatever your participation level, there is no doubt that you watched and felt a sense of pride.

But now it's over.

It's been over for a while. A lackluster 2016 season when you could sense the team suffering from a year-long hangover left them with a .500 3rd place performance was the beginning of the end. But now, the timing of several critical contracts running out along with the crippling death of a beloved team member means that regaining the feelings of the 2014 and 2015 seasons are impossibly over.

It's evident by the look of mourning on the team as well as several long losing streaks has already, just in this last week of April, put the postseason out of reach.
But there is hope. The Royals should begin dismantling the team immediately in hopes of returning with a new crop of Royals in a few years - just as they did in 2012 and 2013. It's never easy, and oftentimes it will look painful, but the faster you rip off the bandaid, the better.

It's exactly how the Royals did it before, trading names like Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye along with leveraging last place drafting statuses to draft home-grown prospects like Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, and Mike Moustakas. And the craftiness of taking home grown prospect Wil Myers and flipping him for Wade Davis and James Shields.

The formula is there, but what was so unappealing is the length of time it took and the bad baseball we all had to suffer through. Five years of “the process” turned into more than 10. The process is never easy and certainly not guaranteed, but 10 years is a long time to trust in anything.

Now, with the expiring contracts for Kelvin Herrera, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and crown jewel Eric Hosmer, you're in a unique position to flip them for prospects so that you can limit the process to three years. But you've got to start today. Those free agents will be worth nothing at the end of the year, and you've got about two months to turn them into gold for the future.

It's difficult to know that this is the end of an era. There will be tears when you see Hos and Moose playing in Angels or Red Sox uniforms. But it's an inevitability. And it is one that has to happen if you want to raise another championship banner at Kauffman Stadium during this generation.

(There’s no end in sight for the Twitter era that is @TheFakeNed. Where allowed by law, you can also follow Kamler on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It was nearly 1 a.m. when my nose started to tingle. I rolled over in bed to the typical source of smells in our bedroom at 1 a.m. and asked my wife, “Do you smell something?”

She replied with something inaudible and likely dreamland's version of a curse word and resumed her snoring. But my nose wouldn't let up. It was now smelling something... burning.

If this were a Christmas poem, I would've sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. As it was, I fell out of bed and stubbed my toe on the corner of the bed as I began to track the source of the burning odor. I made it to the kitchen just as the smoke detectors began to go off only to see a cloud of black smoke rolling from the microwave and my 14- year-old son standing there with a cup of water.

I won't besmirch this fine newspaper with the words that came out of my mouth at that moment, but it was something like “Golly, son, what on earth is going on to make so much smoke?”

He explained to me that he was hungry. Naturally. And that he wanted to make some microwave macaroni and cheese. This is the kind that comes in a microwaveable bowl. But the trick is that you need to add about a half-cup of water and that is what my son failed to do - even though he has made this meal about 200 times.

“I forgot to put in water.” He explained to me as we began opening every window in the house and I began shopping for new microwaves on Amazon.

That was only the first of a series of events that can only be attributed to “teenage brain.” The idea that something so ridiculous would come out of the mind of a fully functional human being used to seem impossible to me. Yet, a litany of forgotten chores, failed to remember text messages, and assignments that just never got turned in only confirmed that my son is, indeed, suffering from the condition.

And teenage brain is a real thing. According to an NPR article, scientists used to think the brain had become fully developed by age 10. New science is showing that during puberty, the brain goes through another spurt of growth - kind of like a kitchen remodel where you probably don't want the user to be using any power tools.

Knowing about the condition is half of the battle, but making sure they don't do anything incredibly stupid in the process. Every year, we hear about teens killed in joyrides, or kids who decide to walk on barely frozen ice, or pick up dangerous addictions as well as other risky ideas. Growing up, we just attributed these things to kids learning their limits or not being very bright. But now scientists believe that there is a literal disconnect with the portion of the brain that says “is this a good idea?” part of the brain. It can also affect the details center of the brain causing forgetfulness as evidenced by our ruined microwave.

Is there a cure? Sure. Grow up. Get older. Use caution and leverage the people around you to tell you that doing something stupid is, in fact, stupid. And probably something about eating your vegetables. I don't know. I guess I missed that part when I suffered from teenage brain.

In the meantime, I can only rely on my nose to monitor the current situation in my home to protect from the teenage brain running loose in my home.

(Run loose to check out The Landmark’s Chris Kamler and his social media offerings on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and more)



Haven't done a grab bag in a while, and especially since I'm not overly bent out of shape about anything right now, here comes some rapid fire.

•Isn't it great how if you don't pay your taxes on time, you get the rain of Hell dropped on you, yet state departments of revenue can take their sweet-ass time paying you your refund? Last year, it took the state of Kansas three months to pay me my refund. This year, I get to pay them by last Monday OR ELSE. Government is one giant shake-down.

•My mother is probably the most regular reader of this column, and she wanted to inform me that I apparently have a problem when using who and whom. I don't know whom it offends, but if it's you, or who, then I apologize. It's just like they said in that song by The Whom, I will work on it and I won't get fooled again.

•Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of Father Time ticking against the final days in Kansas City for Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. The sweep by the Twins to start the season sure didn't help. The goal now is to make them spend the rest of the season in Kansas City rather than start out in last place and get traded by Memorial Day. Tick...tick...tick...

•Speaking of baseball, Platte County has some amazing baseball fields and absolutely no idea how to care for them. Platte Purchase and Tiffany Springs are built to be fantastic baseball complexes, yet are dust piles by the end of April, without scoreboards, and simply no consideration for fans of players. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so let's put some better playing surfaces on those fields and plant a couple of trees so it's not like sitting on the surface of the sun.

•As many of you may know, my day job deals with computer security and that also means I've been trying to make my own online presence more secure. There are two things you should absolutely do to move forward down that patch. The first is to get yourself a password manager. This is an online password vault to manage all your passwords. You have more than you think. Check out dashlane.com or lastpass.com to start. The second is to turn on two-factor authentication on your social media accounts as well as your email. Nearly all the big websites offer two-factor and it doesn't slow you down one bit logging in. It also protects you from bad people logging into your stuff.

•I know that I've waffled in this space before about KCI and whether we need a new airport or not. I've done quite a bit of traveling over the last month and had to deal with the narrow passageways, the lines for the bathrooms, and the general inconvenience where you have all your shops on one side of security and an $8 bottle of water inside security. But this week, I read that the people who operate KCI are going to fix all of that by adding a jazz band to play for people waiting for their luggage. Great job! Problem solved! Maybe we save that money and put it toward the new airport, though.

•Speaking of traveling, a tip of the hat to United Airlines and their billion dollar boner as they beat the hell out of that guy so they could “re-accommodate” some passengers. This is also the same airline that kicked some kids off of a flight for wearing yoga pants and has had a litany of PR mistakes over the past several years. Flying is painful enough, but it's nice to know the companies that are outright eager to screw you over. Thanks for the heads up.

•Lastly, it's finally the perfect weather where you can sleep with your windows open. And that also means it's the perfect time to be kept awake by your wife who sneezes because of allergies. Oh, I'm sorry, “WHOM.”

(Get more ramblings by The Landmark’s Chris Kamler, the Rambling Moron, on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also catch up with Kamler on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and all his other two-factor log-in accounts)



Enough. Uncle. No mas.

We begrudgingly accepted having to wait in excessively long lines as airlines replaced human tellers with computers that successfully scanned barcodes and spit out tickets a third of the time. We kind of understood when we all had to take off our disgusting shoes after 9/11 because somebody could smuggle in firecrackers in their shoe, or something. We decided there was little else to do but take it as airlines cut back on cooked food on flights in lieu of a bag of peanuts so small, it can barely be called a bag.

But what else could we do? We even had to start paying for extra “baggage” fees. And $25 per bag really adds up - especially if you pack like my wife. Airlines even tried to start nickel and diming other service fees like internet and headphones and maybe soon to be able to turn the little air flow vents when you get too hot.

But where can we as passengers draw the line? What is too much? Well, by now, you've probably seen the video from this weekend of a passenger being bloodied and physically removed from a United Airlines flight after his name was picked randomly to be re-assigned because the flight was oversold.

Now, let's take a look at this for a moment. United Airlines made a number of mistakes here--all of them bad. But the first one is that they sold more tickets for the flight than they had seats on the plane. How is this okay? This happens all of the time--so much that it's simply become comical. If you ran a deli and sold 20 turkey sandwiches, but only had enough turkey for 15, you wouldn't make a lot of return customers. But I guess this is okay in the airline business?

Secondly, the poor guy was already on the plane. If there was any discussing to do, it should've been before he got on the plane. Thirdly, after the guy explained that he was a doctor and was needed at the destination to help with sick people, the computer should've done something else to find someone else.

And finally, the thought that police can simply beat the crap out of you while pulling your limp body off of an airplane for which you bought and paid for a plane ticket is frightening at best.

We all hated flying BEFORE this crap started--and now it's nearly unbearable. The seats get smaller, the food gets worse, the prices get higher, and the patience of passengers is razor thin.

I remember laughing a decade or two ago when someone raised the possibility of a bullet train from Kansas City to St. Louis--now I'm all for it. Anything that can keep me from having to fly the “friendly” skies is fine with me.

Maybe the airlines can get me back after they stop beating the crap out of the people sitting next to me --or start giving me more peanuts.

(Chris Kamler will never beat the crap out of you but he’ll occasionally tweet verbal bullets as @TheFakeNed. Follow Kamler on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and wherever else the internet is available)



There are times I wished that I knew more about politics. I would overhear a conversation about a “Ways and Means” committee or a special excise tax or political instability in some far off country and how that could affect the geopolitical structure across the globe.

This is not one of those times.

But like all of you, I'm drawn to watching this slow motion train crash that's happening in Washington. Now, it's not much of a surprise that I was never a fan of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate - but I believe in the office of the President. And having all three branches of the government should lead to some significant changes in the government, right? Nope.

To date, Donald Trump has had one good day in office. One. That was the night he gave the speech to the joint session of Congress where he was able to read from a speech without going off script for 45 minutes. That was a good night.
We're on Day 65 now. That was the only day without a new revelation or a leak from inside the West Wing or some sort of buffoonery vomiting out of the mouth of the man who wears ties so long, they could legitimately be called shoe strings.
What a waste. What a waste of an opportunity with a Republican majority in Congress, an open seat on the Supreme Court and control of the White House.

What a waste of an opportunity, indeed.

Instead, petty infighting, and spin control, and whatever the hell Sean Spicer says every day. If that man doesn't win an Academy Award and/or be locked up for life, I'll be shocked.

President Trump isn't going to make it to the end of his first term. The writing is on the wall. And it's going to throw the world into chaos. At least, that's what I fear when I close my eyes. Many put their faith in one snake oil salesman and this is where it's going to lead us.

I'm not opposed to the ideas that he sold us running for office. We do need to make corrections to Obamacare. We do need to strengthen our borders and protect jobs from going overseas. We need to make sure that the rest of the world knows of our military might.

But anyone who deals in absolutes like Trump does, deals with obvious lies. And now you're seeing it unravel before your eyes.

Does he make it 100 days? If he does, it will be without any meaningful legislation, I'll bet you that much. He's popped off quite a few good tweets though.

It's not Democrats who can save this, either. It's the Republican party. They're going to need to be the ones to kick this guy to the curb and regain control of their three ring circus. They're the ones that let P.T. Barnum in the tent in the first place.

This is bad, you guys.

I miss the days that I didn't follow politics.

(Get politics, sports and more from The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Or find Kamler on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Or wherever the internet is sold)



Do a quick experiment with me - this works if you have an Android phone and a Google account. Go to google.com/maps/timeline and look at the website there.
What you will find will either fascinate you or terrify you. For those who might have fancy iPhones or don't know how technology works, I'll describe the page listed above.

The page opens to the standard Google Maps page, however, there you will find a calendar of days on the left. Click on any day and it will show you every place that you traveled in that day. For instance, yesterday, it shows that I took my son to baseball practice, stopped off at a McDonalds for a cheeseburger and then went for a walk to attempt to work off said cheeseburger. Then I went home.
All of this data was gathered mostly without my knowledge and in the background because I had my phone in my pocket the entire time. For some, this could be seen as an amazing technological advance. What if you were a truck driver that needed to mark his or her routes by day? What if you were a social worker who needed to track what stops there were? What if you were the victim of a crime and police needed to come looking for you?

On the other hand, there are just as many terrifying uses for the technology. What if you were a stalker and had access to this data? (The data is limited to the Google account holder only - but if a password was stolen, that could be vulnerable.) What if you were an employer who wanted to track the whereabouts of said truck driver, and said truck driver made a couple of extra pit stops? What if you were the government and wanted to spy on your citizens?

We have come to a tipping point where the country is still dedicated to privacy, yet technology has all but stripped any privacy away. We know phone and text conversations are tapped. We know the Internet is heavily monitored. Yet there are wonderful advances on the other side. Research advances and behavioral advances that will make the human race better in the long run.

America is going to need to pick a lane. Do we want full privacy? Or do we want the benefits of the technology with knowing that it's being compiled and analyzed by marketers, corporations, and yes, the government.

When I was in Korea earlier this month, I learned about the medical system they have there. Everyone has an ID card. It's called the National ID Card and it is used for everything. It's your driver's license, your social security card and also your healthcare card. South Korea has Universal Healthcare and that card is used when you go in for surgery or when you need a bottle of aspirin. It is also tied to their “T-Money” cards meaning you can use it for the subway or at a convenience store.

Sounds great, right? Everything in one easy card.

The downside is that every time you use that card, it makes a record somewhere. Where you went, what you bought, and what your sickness was. You can hope all that data is private, but there's a good chance that it's not 100% private.

What is your threshold for the benefits of technology? Believe it or not, it's time to choose.

(Follow The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



When you find Korea on the map, it looks relatively isolated. A peninsula country, it sticks out of the north eastern tip of Asia just north of Japan. But when you get here, you realize that Korea is really wedged between predators on all sides as well as wedged between cultures and time.

As you walk the streets, there is a palpable tension here. Koreans are tired. You can see it on their faces on the sardine packed subways. They are overworked. They have next to no free time. They are under intense pressure to perform at the highest of levels to maintain their honor.

Their neighbor to the north, North Korea, seems determined to pester the South with missle tests and provocations. Mix that with a political scandal that saw President Park Geun-hye removed from power this past weekend and you've got a recipe for a powder keg.

South Koreans are immensely proud and humble. Just four days here and you can see it everywhere. Bowing in deference when entering a house or the smile you get when walking into a store or buying some fried shrimp from a street vendor. (Fried shrimp from a street vendor should, alone, be a reason to visit here.)

But worrying about things that they cannot control seems to be a completely foreign idea here. The presidential scandal has been top of mind for everyone because, in many ways, they have controlled it. You can see why. Korea is changing. When the United States was having its rebirth of culture in the 1950's as the boys came home from war, Korea was just beginning their war with North Korea. The 50's never came and the cultural revolution was delayed. The battlefield was left barren. Supplies and food were scarce and, even today, you get the stink eye if you leave food on your plate due to the culture of scarce resources. Waste not, want not.

During the 80's and 90's in America, you saw parental discipline loosen as everyone wanted to give their children better than they had themselves. You're seeing that here in 2017 with whatever the Millennial generation is up to. The strait laced "old guard" and the Millennials are in direct contrast. In many of the markets we shopped this week, Western influences were everywhere. Random English words thrown on clothing that buyers would eat up. They didn't even need to make sense. Just be English and provocative.

With the advent of technology, the Internet, and social media as well as all of those Samsung phones, the old guard is a dying breed. And that famed Korean discipline may soon fall as well.

Walking around Seoul on Tuesday in the bitter cold, we walked past a subway station. A block away were about a dozen protesters in front of a building. I couldn't make out what the building was or what they were protesting, but there were folks standing there with signs silently. About a block from that, we came upon about six police with riot gear.

I texted Sungwoo a picture and asked, "trouble?" Sungwoo responded, “nah.” It's just part of a normal day here in Korea. Outside geopolitical forces, political scandals, working environments that would make a 9-5'er cry, and the daily grind of trying to get from Point A to Point B. It's simply no problem for the Korean people.

There is a word here - Johwa. It means harmony. And once you can get past the grizzled exterior of the people, you see that Koreans have tremendous harmony. It's just that the world has gotten much more complicated around their isolated peninsula.

(Note: You can read all of Chris Kamler’s reports from Seoul on his blog, ramblingmorons.com/seoul)



Humans are stupid.

You know that, right? The human brain evolved from the size of a split pea. We should honestly be happy we don't spend 80% of our day looking for our car keys. So why is it such a big deal when we screw up?

By now, you've seen the famous Oscars gaffe that temporarily handed the movie “La La Land” the Best Picture when the presenters were given the incorrect card. “Moonlight” was the appropriate winner. The mistake lasted a total of 90 seconds and people are treating it like is was the biggest blunder in history.

It wasn't. It's not a big deal. We've got the President of Typoistan in the White House right now. It's time to cut everyone a little slack. Besides, this isn't even the first time this has happened in a year! Steve Harvey perfected the dipsey-do whoopsie during the Miss Universe pageant in 2016.

In the pantheon of mistakes this doesn't even rank in the top 10. The most famous of which belonged to Fred Merkle in 1908. Fred Merkle was a rookie for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cubs, Pirates, and New York Giants were in the midst of a pennant race. At age 19, Fred Merkle was asked to start his first game ever in a key September game with major playoff implications.

In a 1-1 game and with two outs, Merkle lined a single to right field in the bottom of the ninth. The hit pushed Moose McCormick to third and things were looking good for the Buccaneers. The next batter was Al Bridewell who laced a single to center field. McCormick scored and the fans spilled out onto the field celebrating the victory. Only Fred Merkle never actually reached second. He turned around after seeing the swarm and sought the relative safety of the dugout.

Johnny Evers, the Cubs second baseman knew the rules, however and asked for the ball. He tagged second base which made the force out at second base. A run cannot score on a force out to end the inning and it was taken off the board.

The field was unplayable and a protest was lodged with the National League. The game would be replayed two weeks later and the Cubs won handily 5-2 eliminating the Pirates from the playoffs.

The Merkle Boner was born.

Of all the gaffes you can possibly think of, having a boner named after you would certainly be the top of the list. The New York Times said Pirates lost due to “censurable stupidity on the part of the player Merkle.” He would live out his days with the nickname “Bonehead.”

So let's cut the Oscars producers some slack. A mistake that lasts only a minute and a half certainly hadn't raised to the level of boner. And it surely isn't worth more than a day of talk.

Humans are stupid. We make mistakes. And I learned early on in life, thanks in part to Fred Merkle, that mistakes happen. Luckily, you probably won't screw up enough to have a boner named after you.

(Get talk of boners and so much more from Chris Kamler as @TheFakeNed on Twitter. Or you can also find Chris on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



What do the Moon Landing, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, and the city of Bowling Green have in common? They have all, in some way or another, been the victim of fake news reporting.

We've heard a lot about “fake news” over the past several months, notably, because President Donald Trump has made it a rallying cry. This has prompted a response from journalism professors and reporters decrying that the news is fake.
President Trump's team continues to beat the drum and has spun up quite a bit of fake news himself. Just last week, presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway mentioned the “Bowling Green Massacre” referring to violence committed by Muslims in that community. She later retracted when mainstream news outlets noticed that there never was a Bowling Green Massacre. But she did mention that Muslims were sneaking in the country and committing unspeakable acts. She provided no evidence (other than the fake Bowling Green incident.) And she left supporters of Trump invigorated that the borders of this country need to be protected.

These types of conspiracy theories are certainly not new. The moon landing and the Kennedy assassination are two famous examples. Every 10 years or so, one of the History networks needs to make a new documentary not only debunking the theories that the moon landing was filmed in a studio and that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. But they must also provide more and more scientific evidence.

Nowadays, conspiracy theories have been sharpened to be weapons of their own. A popular one over the past week was that the Sandy Hook shooting, in which a man shot dead 26 people, 20 of which were children, was itself a “false flag” incident by paid participants in order to raise the ire of the Left for more gun control. A similar theory about 9/11 being a planned incident by the government has popped around on Facebook. These claims seem to be developing an entire society that takes information on face value without learning to trust but verify on the back end.

The claims seem to be wilder and wilder. Vaccines create Autism. Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. Russia is pulling the strings of President Trump in order to advance its cause.

Skepticism is healthy. Pushing back on journalists and newspapers when you don't trust or don't believe their reporting is healthy. But believing widely debunked stories because those you support spout them out is ridiculous.

So where is the balance? How do you know what to believe when it's only a click away and you can easily go down the rabbit hole at any minute.

Here is my proposal: For major news stories, someone should create a public commission consisting of a Republican, a Democrat, and a centrist journalist. They will read news stories, the facts associated with it, and then determine a red, yellow, green tag to go on the news. Sandy Hook conspiracy theories would get a red. Russian ties to President Trump would get a yellow. Climate change? Somewhere between green and yellow.

I think that would immediately help those who still value the truth to be able to filter out the nonsense--the obvious conspiracy plots and fake news. It could even be a way to have reporters work just a little harder to get that additional source, or that next clue. It might even help the occupants at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In the meantime, the public will continue to hear from everyone but trust no one.

(The Landmark’s Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Also find him making a name for himself on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



One of the bestest things about our new Presedent has been the relaxed form of convarsation that has occurred since taking orfice. Presedent Trump is a man of the people, and his cabinet is to. As such, you have already sean how reel America talks.

There are no limits on spelling or grammer. There is no correctness that is limiting this admistraton. That's not how America comminkates. That's not what Presedent Trump wan man-dated to do.

This week, the offical Trump portrait was removed from the Library of Congress because of a silly little typo. Here is the quote. I dare you to even spot the typo:
“No dream is too big, no challenge is to great. Nothing we want for the future is beyond our reach.” --President Donald J. Trump

See? You couldn't see it, I'll bet. Who ever knows when to use to, too, and two anyway? In the Facebook world, spelling is less important as what you say. Besides, you can usually get your point across when you just TYPE IN ALL CAPS or use a bunch of explanation points!!!!!!!

So the adminstration cant spell. When has spelling ever been important? Its POLICY that is important. Like dealing with illegal immigrants. THEY CANT EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH PROPERLY!!!!!!

Besides, the money being saved on copy editors and proofreeders is going right back into the pockets of true Americans - the ones who voted (legally) for Presedent Trump. And its not limited to Presedent Trump. It seems the rest of the government has gotten the memo and relaxed their speeking styles.

The US Dept of Education tweeted a quote from W.E.B. DeBois - who was a civil rights activist. You get that, right? Who cares if his name is actuall W.E.B. DuBois. And who has three initals for a name anyway? Why arent we talking about THAT!

Sure, this style of speech is certainly unpresidented. But this is the society you get when you start putting little squiggly red lines underneath words that we just end up ingoring. When you rite letters on paper, there arent red lines that light up. So how is that helpful? America will only become grate when it gets back to true American fundimentals.

Besides, as Presedent Trump said himself, he is “HONERED” to be the US Presedent. That's all anybody really needs, right? To think otherwise is rediculous.
I will bet that Crooked Hillary had plenty of typos in HER STOLEN EMAILS. Am i Rite?

The FAKE NEWS media is always looking for something to bring down the new Presedent and they are just leaning on simple mistakes like making a typo in a word or a tweet. It just isnt important and its not American.

My final request to you is to research these yourself. Start with the Presedent's list of underreported terror attacks - which contained over a dosen typos. You will find that the point is clear.

America doesnt need to spell correctly to be grate again.

(Do you see a few typos in this piece from Chris Kamler, our Rambling Moron? Count the number of typos and send the total you see to ivan@plattecountylandmark.com. If you have the correct number--at least as we’ve counted them to be--you’ll win a free copy of Chris Kamler’s book “The Silence, The Series, & The Season of SungWoo.” In the meantime, follow Chris on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



In a way, this year marks the end of an innocence. Somewhere, in the back of your head, you knew things were bad, but you simply had no idea they were this bad. And then you watch it for yourself unravel on your television set night after night.

Never before has there been such a leadership deficit. You see friends and foes alike almost take pity because they know the depths that things have sunk.

The despair. The yelling. The apathy.

I am, of course, talking about the athletics programs at the University of Missouri.

It didn't happen overnight, certainly. It was just two years ago that I took my family to Orlando to watch the Tiger football team compete in (and win) the Citrus Bowl. And it wasn't even that long ago that the glory years going toe to toe with the Kansas Chickenhawks at Allen Fieldhouse and at Mizzou Arena to capacity crowds.

Now, the basketball program is having to resort to accounting tricks - counting the number of paid season ticket holders rather than actual butts through the turnstiles - in order to hide how bad it's gotten.

But when the cameras cut away to commercial you see it. The blazing color of gold that once adorned the t-shirts and hoodies of parents, alums, and students is now the color of empty seats that far outnumber the filled ones.

And the losing. Before this week's win against Arkansas, Mizzou had not won a game since Dec. 6, including the team's largest loss of the year--a 39 point loss at Florida. Kim Anderson, the basketball head coach, is a dead man walking.

Missouri had to dive into the ranks of Division II to get Anderson, once a hero to the university - but where could it possibly find someone wanting to take over a program so barren of talent and motivation?

The football team also looks to be circling the drain. Although there was late life last year thanks to Kansas City native Drew Lock, the team finally came down to earth in the SEC East and played poorly through the season. Some deck chairs were shuffled, but the ship is still taking on water. This is, in essence, still the same Gary Pinkel team that threatened a work stoppage or boycott due to racial instability on campus just two years ago and the Show-Me State also has a long memory.

Some of my greatest memories at Missouri were of the tough competitions, the victories, and the crushing losses that I got to witness (Yes, I was at the fifth down game.) But most Saturdays, I couldn't even tell you who Missouri is playing. It's not like you dislike the team, it's simply that you don't think of them at all. And that's even worse.

So yes, Missouri needs to build their (defensive) wall. They need to be making less fake news and more headlines. Missouri needs to be made great again.

(Find Chris Kamler making Twitter great again as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube)



You can see it in his eyes when I begin to speak. The eye-roll. The body language slumping. You can certainly tell that for the next 15 seconds he's not going to be listening to anything I say. But I say it anyway.

Eat your vegetables. Don't forget a jacket. Wear pants, it's 12 degrees out.
In one ear and out the other. And I was the same way when I was his age. I didn't listen to most of the advice my parents gave me. But it's incredible at how much I actually did listen to now that I'm grown up (read: old.) So much so, that I know enough to bug my kid about the same things.

Yordano Ventura was a part of our family here in Kansas City. The kid – drafted as a skinny, lanky teenager with a rocketship for an arm – didn't look like a pitcher the first time you saw him. As a cynical, grizzled Royals fan, you wondered if he wouldn't flame out in the first year or two. But then you went out to watch a start. And you literally heard the sizzle of the fastball. And you saw the intensity – the fire – as he walked off the mound in three mostly meaningless starts at the tail end of 2013. But you saw the spark.

In 2014, that spark had smoldered into what will now be his legacy. Passion. Intensity. Immaturity. Ridiculous stuff. Potential. You start to see the man he can become, if only he could fix X or Y.

There was a lot of X or Y with Yordano. And this was a kid who was one of the most talented arms in baseball. You saw it all in 2014. The strikeouts. The wins. The flameouts. The bean balls. The fighting. The arm.

You could tell that his family was working on him, though. Eat your vegetables. Don't forget a jacket. Wear pants, it's 12 degrees out.

In July of 2014, that team, no, that family, started to believe and something just clicked in place. They ratted off win after win led by the right arm of #30 on the mound. He went 9-3 and 13-3 in games that he started in the last three months of 2014 with a 3.14 ERA and giving up a .227 batting average.

Once the postseason came around, Ventura was put in the unfamiliar role of savior. Again, he struggled. He was put in the unwinnable position in the Wild Card Game coming in in relief, where he gave up two hits and two earned runs giving up the lead to the A's in one-third of an dreadful inning.

But the four games he would appear in that followed he posted a 2.52 ERA, the Royals won all five postseason games he appeared in and left the legacy of Game 6.

There's a Beatles song called “A Day in the Life” that was written at the tail end of the band's existence. It was as the four boys from Liverpool had now grown up to be men – each with their own musical stylings and talents. The genius of “A Day in the Life” is that it celebrated the band's complicated emotions as much as it celebrated a piece of rock music. It was in the complicated lives of these men that brilliance was made.

The song begins quietly then builds as an orchestra begins to just play noise in what is a cacophony of runs and crescendo. And then a moment of silence, and then the most perfect chord you'll ever hear.

2014 Postseason was Ventura's “A Day in the Life” and Game 6 of the 2014 World Series was his perfect chord. Everything came together in a flash of brilliance. He turned in one of the greatest postseason appearances of all time. Over 60 of his pitches in that game were notched at over 95 miles per hour, pitching seven scoreless innings and willing the Royals toward a Game 7.

Those are the memories we will remember long after he's gone.

But the true takeaway for me is that he was just a kid and needed to be reminded through 2015 by members of his family how to act and how to respect the game properly. Eat your vegetables. Don't forget a jacket. Wear pants, it's 12 degrees out.

In the end, we will remember that cacophony of complication that was Yordano Ventura. We will remember his passion, his electricity, and the fire.

But my takeaway is to never stop reminding my son to eat his vegetables regardless of how many shrugs and eye-rolls I get. Because after that stuff, comes lessons on treating others with respect, getting up for class, listening and learning, and also never drinking and driving. There are only a few really, really important things that my son needs to listen to an learn. I will never, ever stop reminding him.

Descansa en paz, Yordano.

(Follow The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)




I'm going to be the first to tell you that I get it wrong more times than I get it right. Heck, I was a baseball umpire for 30 years. And one of the things that I've learned to do whilst getting it wrong is how to turn a negative into a positive.

We've still got some work to do with our TV weathercasters in this area.

I'm not going to pile on (too much), but a forecast calling for “crippling” ice and dangerous conditions for three and a half-days, then netting about three hours of actual freezing rain on Sunday is, under any measure, categorized as wrong. Yet our weather forecasters are pulling muscles trying to pat themselves on the back for protecting public safety and getting the best forecast out there.

Thanks to weather apps, the Internet, and looking out my window, I only really need a weather person three times a year. The rest of the time I either dress in layers or open the front door for 30 seconds to see what the weather is. Now, thanks to the Amazon Alexa, SHE can tell me what the high temperature is going to be so I know whether to wear a coat.

But when there is severe weather, yeah, I need my Mike Thompson's and my Brian Busby's. And their forecast of ice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday not only changed my plans, but it also shut the town down starting at noon on Friday. My kid got out of school early. Some schools cancelled Friday altogether.

And for an hour of rain?

Yet when you hear them talk, they point to some icy spots in Emporia, or that St. Joe had a big wreck. That's unfortunate, certainly. But you've simply got to do a better job forecasting for where your population base is. Around the 435 loop. The same loop that saw rain except for about three hours on Sunday when it was wet ice. There are always degrees of wrongness. A weather man can be 99% wrong, but they'll still tell you why they were 1% right. And that's the problem we find ourselves in beyond weather. “I was less wrong than that other guy” is not a recipe for confidence.

Some credit goes to Joe Lauria of Fox 4 and Gary Lezak from Channel 41, who left hints and breadcrumbs that other forecasts would be wrong. But my problem with that is, don't just be the “I told you so” after the fact guys - stand up and say it's wrong on Thursday - before they close schools and businesses. Heck, the Plaza even shut down at 7 p.m. on Friday during Restaurant Week when restaurants do a ton of winter business.

There is an incredibly fine line between being a contrarian and being a hater. But like the saying goes, it ain't bragging if you can back it up. If you knew something, you should have said something instead of leaving cryptic messages that you can point to after you were proved right.

But at the end of the day, I guess that's what our weather professionals are left to do - congratulate themselves for being 2% right, when their viewers are left out in the cold and all wet.

PERSONAL NOTE: My brother's band “The Bob Kambler Band” (yes, he misspelled his name on purpose) is playing at the Pool Hall in Platte City this Friday night. It's a great time. He has a new album out and it's great. If you like the honky-tonk and want to throw a few back, the Pool Hall is the place to be on Friday.



There are a ton of different ways to lead. There are very formal ways emphasizing hierarchy and chain-of-command. You would see these more in a military setting or in Asian countries. There are brute force ways of leading. The loudest gets the most momentum. You see this in politics a lot of the time. You even see some haphazard ways of leading - kind of just stumbling along and happening to find fortune.

There are dozens more. I've had a ton of jobs and I am always fascinated by the personalities that I've had lead me and my career. I have worked for a yeller and a super quiet person. I've worked for a commander and one who asked my opinion, then did what I suggested. I've worked for very organized people and those who couldn't find their rear end with both hands.

But I've never been led by a troll before. There are three main definitions of “troll” in our current culture. The first is in reference to the mythical, ugly creature that lives beneath a bridge. The second, is a fishing term whereby you lead a fish toward your bait by dragging it along the surface of the water. The third is more recent and involved inciting a reaction by expressing a deliberately inflammatory comment--usually online.

I think it's probably fair to say that our incoming president meets one of these definitions of a troll. But it's not the one you're probably thinking. Oh sure, President-Elect Trump has made inflammatory and outrageous comments in speeches and online. They are often accusatory and most of the time, insensitive.
But that's not the definition I'm referring to. Is it possible that Trump is actually leading through trolling? The last several weeks a very strange phenomenon has happened. Several large companies have responded to Trump's stance on moving jobs overseas with announcements that they are keeping a portion of jobs in the US. Recently Sprint's parent company, SoftBank, announced they would be creating or moving 5,000 jobs to the United States. Around the same time automaker Ford also announced they would halt plans for a new Mexican assembly plant, favoring keeping those jobs in the US. All these happened after Trump's Twitter barrage on air conditioner manufacturer Carrier announced, then altered their announcement, to move jobs to Mexico.

Trump trolls the company. The company responds in the positive. This is a very simplistic view, but in many ways Trump dropped a line in the river and began trolling it around and waited to see what bit. It's not a particularly scientific form of leadership, but at the end of the day, you're still frying up fish sticks.

Might this expand more widely? Trump blasts education, then teachers respond touting best practices making education better? What about infrastructure. Trump tweets something about all the pot holes and pot holes start getting fixed faster?

Oh sure, there's a lot more to it - but Trump might actually be inventing a new leadership tactic - leading by trolling.

It's unlike any leader I've ever worked for - but then again, no leader I've worked for has promised me fish sticks at the end of my shift.

(Get The Landmark's Chris Kamler’s comments 24/7 on Twitter where you can find him as @TheFakeNed)




How many of you made New Year's Resolutions a few days ago? How many have you already broken?

I think we can all agree that resolutions are kind of a joke - as soon as you make one to cut down on sweets, inevitably, someone will offer you a free donut. Or once you espouse to cool it on the spending, that item you've been keeping an eye on at Amazon.com will drop in price.

This year, I decided to go a different route and it involves a trash bag, a note pad and my junk drawer. Now, I know ALL of you have a junk drawer. In our house, it's the third drawer down to the left of the stove, below the aluminum foil and above the drawer with the kitchen things we never use. (I mean, really. When am I going to use a garlic press and a walnut cracker?)

I got on a bit of a cleaning kick over the holidays and decided to tackle cleaning out the junk drawer that hadn't been touched in the 15 years we've lived in our house. What I found was actually kind of startling. The junk drawer not only contained, well, junk. But it also contained the shattered remains of resolutions gone by.

As I dove in, many of the items went straight to the trash. Scattered paper clips from a box that busted open. Receipts from our home improvement binge from four years ago. A roll of barely recognizable Chapstick. Dried up markers and pens. Nerf bullets from some epic nerf battle that I”m sure I lost.

But what remained told a lot about the projects I started and never completed, or the projects that I never got around to.

There was a chewed up paperback cookbook of slow cooker recipes never opened. I wrote down “Learn a new recipe every week” on my notepad. There was a coupon organizer that contained a single coupon for Tide detergent that expired in 2004. I wrote on my notepad “start clipping coupons for real.” There was an old tire gauge which immediately reminded me that I needed to get my oil changed more regularly. And I even found an old voucher for two free tickets to a Royals game. The only problem was that it was for the 2005 Royals. I then remembered why we never redeemed that voucher.

And if you ever need batteries, I'm your guy. I probably found 50 AA and AAA batteries in the bottom of that drawer for toys and knickknacks that have long since died. Luckily, I also found about 15 USB chargers to recharge those devices when their batteries died.

My notepad began to fill up with ideas of projects I wanted to accomplish in 2017 and the drawer got emptier and emptier. There were ideas for vacation locations, there were recipe ideas. There was even a few ideas for future Rambling Moron columns in the bottom of that thing. (Just wait until my column about opening jars when you get older. It's gold!)

And at the very bottom of the junk drawer, just above the crinkled up contact paper that once covered the bottom, I found a kitchen scale. And then I remembered the one year I bought it to start measuring out my meals and try to cut down on calories. One more line on my notepad for 2017. Oh, and, ironically enough, the battery was dead. So I immediately got to scratch an item off my list.

Happy New Year, everyone. What's in your junk drawer?

(Find out more about Chris Kamler’s junk by following him on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



The Internet is a lot of things - a vast wasteland of cat videos; a time wasting space to argue with friends and enemies; a place to yell into the void and have someone yell back.

But perhaps the greatest promise of the Internet is that it is open to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It is open regardless of your color, your creed, your sexual orientation, or your status in life. (Assuming your government hasn't blocked wide swaths of the Internet like Cuba, North Korea and China.)

Imagine you're back in high school and, if it was anything like my high school, people collected into cliques or pods of friends. There were the band kids, the jock kids, the pretty kids, the stoners, and hundreds of other subgroups. One of the challenges of starting in that environment is finding your tribe - the group of people you feel most at peace with. For some it comes easy. For many others, it's a challenge. If your school is small, you might find that you are a tribe of one.

Multiply that by a billion and you've got the Internet. A place where, no matter what your deal is or what you're into, you can find a home.

This has got to be the best feature of the interconnected group of computers that is today's World Wide Web and it's been a core feature since the early days in the 1980's with chat rooms and bulletin boards.

Oh sure, you can strike up a political conversation on any old Facebook page. But you can also find the sub-sub-sub-sub cultures of Hillary voters who follow Bernie but who voted for Trump. That's a real group out there somewhere on the Internet. And the most fantastic part of this is that when you do find your tribe, you've found your home.

I was recently reminded of this when I was doing some research for buying a new grill. My old Wal-Mart brand gas grill had seen better days and was looking more like a propane death trap that would burn anything into shoe leather. So I did what I do best and opened up the Google machine and typed in “best grill.” Three days later, I had fallen into a deep, dark Internet hole featuring product recommendations, community advice, and internet videos of people cooking things on their grills that can easily be categorized as pornography. Nobody should rub down their meat that much and not be registered as a sex offender.

Sure, any old Amazon page can give you a rating on a grill, though. But what I wanted was a tribe. I knew that if I were to use this thing to its fullest potential, I'd need to stay motivated and to do that, I needed a community. So I went beyond the graphic videos and the Google pages. And I looked to the forums and bulletin boards. There I found a product called the Big Green Egg. Their customers are called “Egg Heads” and the community was welcoming and friendly. I knew I had found my tribe.

I've done the same with exercise equipment, broadcasting gear and computers as well as countless other items. This tells you what the best products are and provides much greater depth than those front of house Facebook and Twitter pages. THIS is the real Internet.

So next time you're looking for advice on something, ignore your social media pages and dive deep into the Internet. Once you get past the internet videos of a man dry rubbing spices on his pork butt for two hours, you might be surprised that you've found your tribe.

(Find Chris Kamler and his tribe on Twitter @TheFakeNed or chase him down on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat)



It's the week of Christmas, and Ivan has told me that I can start my vacation once I post my column. So let's buy a roll of stamps and mail this one in by clearing out my notebook:

•Once again, the dumbest argument around the end of the year is surrounding the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas.” Now either using it or not using it has come to imply some sort of militantism around Christianity and politics. For whatever reason, I say “Happy Holidays” to people. It's not a political statement. It's not a shunning of my Catholic roots. It's just a thing that I say. Can we all quit it with reading more into it?

•My second gripe is related to those whose side didn't win the election. I think it's safe to say that you aren't going to change the hearts and minds of those who disagree with you through the use of a passive-aggressive, albeit witty, joke on Twitter. I think liberals and those who aren't fans of Donald Trump have perfected the art form of smarmy comment following the President-Elect's typos or misstatements. But what has that gotten them? You're using a drinking straw to try to stop a freight train.

•I see that CVS is opening a distribution center in Platte County and looks to be hiring some 360 workers for the facility. As a CVS shopper, I can say that is roughly 359 more employees that are at a typical CVS register on a Tuesday night.

•Let's talk about that backup on I-29 last week, shall we? Nine hours? Really? MoDOT, in their infinite wisdom, decided that temperatures would be too warm to salt the roads causing an icetastrophy of epic proportions south of St. Joseph. I'll tell you, while I love my wife and my child more than life itself, stick me in a car with them for nine hours standing still and there's going to be a crime occurring.

•Early forecasts are calling for 60 degrees and rain on Christmas - or as MoDOT calls it - the Polar Vortex.

•I got a phone call from the legal department at my company last week and the nice woman on the other end of the phone started the conversation with “I follow you on Twitter, and I read your column every week in the paper.” So, obviously, I should probably start looking for a new job.

•It is good to see lots of new growth coming to Platte County. You've got the new QuikTrip in Parkville, the new ALDI off of Tiffany Springs, and the Costco off of 152. If you're following the flow of things, you can get your taquito at QuikTrip, head up to ALDI to get yourself some cheap wine and then swing by Costco for a giant package of toilet paper. The circle of life right here in Platte County.

•Every year, I like to dissect a single Christmas song and go into its lyrics. Last year was the timeless classic, and date rape song, “Baby it's Cold Outside.” This year, it's “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and my question is this... what the hell is figgy pudding? And why would you need some right now? It's not even pudding (it's a cake) and it includes hardly no figs. I demand more truth in advertising.

Before I close, I'd just like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holidays, Joyous Kwanzaa, and a Festive Hanukkah. But let's not forget the most jolly of days was last weekend when the new Star Wars movie came out. It's the reason for the season.

Thanks for reading this space every week! It's nice to know there are people out there just as warped as I am.

(Follow The Landmark’s Chris Kamler where he speaks with no filter on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. It’s the home of the brave)



There is a tradition that my father is close to perfecting. On Veterans' Day every year, Dad meticulously charts his activities for the day to maximize the amount of free or discounted items he gets as a veteran. Up at 7 a.m. for a free breakfast at Hy-Vee. Over to Home Depot where lumber is 25% off for veterans. Over to iHop for a Veterans Day lunch for $1.99. He charts it out like he was the only shopper on Black Friday.

That's only one day out of the year, however. And for many years, it seems like the “free” perk has gone the way of the dodo bird.

But don't lose hope just yet. The perks might just be making a comeback. Just this week, Delta said they might be bringing back in-flight meal service. After years of cranking down on fees and service charges and baggage tariffs, it's nice to see that an airline is finally going the other way on something. You pay hundreds of dollars for a plane ticket and all you get is a bag of five pretzels. It'd be nice if someone threw in a piece of rubber chicken for your trouble.

Sure, an airplane meal is a start. But what about the search for something for nothing? Well, you can look to some pretty aggressive rewards programs as a start. For instance, you can shop HyVee and Price Chopper's ads for items you were going to buy anyway and earn discounts per gallon of gas. I had to buy some gift cards for Christmas and ended up racking up enough points for an entirely free tank of gas. (Well, to be fair, it wasn't completely free. Because gas is calculated to the third decimal point, 18 gallons of gas cost me $0.14. I'll take it.)

Phone apps are also drawing some attention for discounts and free things. Smoothie King has several locations in Platte County and will occasionally send me a free smoothie to my phone. Additionally, for those of you who are craving the saturated fat goodness of QuikTrip roller food, if you download and install the QuikTrip app, you immediately get a free QT drink and discounts on roller food nearly every day. I don't mind telling you that discounted chiquitos are very high on my Christmas list.

But consumers must demand more. We give and give to our retailers, and it seems that they are getting very good at taking and taking. There was a recent study done saying that Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals really aren't that different from regular retail costs. Prices at supermarkets continue to climb. Have you bought a gallon of milk lately? Yet, as consumers, all we are left to do is take it.

But the perks are where we can draw the line. Maximize the use of these perk programs and send a message to our retailers that we want a free pair of underpants with every pair of jeans sold. Tell them that we want a free smoothie after we buy five. Tell them that you aren't going to pay full price for a gallon of gas and hopefully these perks will return.

In the meantime, if you need me I will be at QuikTrip surfing my phone waiting for the right coupon on a beef and cheese taquito.

(Surf for The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or stalk him at your nearest QuikTrip)



When I was growing up, I loved going to the grocery store mostly because when we were waiting to check out, there was the Weekly World News newspaper waiting for me with tales of alien abductions, assassination attempts, and stories that John Wayne was really a mummy reanimated. The articles were preposterous and for a while, at least in my youth, I thought they might be real.

As I got older, websites such as The Onion filled my desire for crazy headlines while recognizing that 100% of what the Onion writes is satire. Really, really good satire.

“Fake news” seems to be a new discovery for some. But fake news has been around since the first days of newspapers. In fact, in 1782, Benjamin Franklin created a fake issue of a Boston newspaper in order to raise concerns about the King of England. Tales of fake news, also known as propaganda, go back as far as the 8th century and the Catholic Church. Fake news isn't new. It's just gotten better, more persuasive, and louder. I realized this was a problem when 15 years after 9/11 I was still seeing “Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams” articles slapped all over my Facebook.

Today, there are websites such as Breitbart News that can 100% concoct stories, but layer them inside of real ones. The latest this week was the culmination of a Breitbart story that Hillary Clinton had been running a human trafficking ring out of the back of a pizza shop. Now, to you and me, it might seem pretty obvious to spot. But someone decided to take an automatic rifle this week and shoot the place up in a self-directed mission of fact finding. The latest shot in an ongoing war to demonize those who do not match with your beliefs.

Now you can see a fake news story go around the world in seconds thanks to Twitter and Facebook. The social networks have been slow on the draw in efforts to curb the spread of fake news and somewhat limited under the First Amendment anyway.

So what's the solution? You and your education. Even at age eight, I wa pretty sure that aliens hadn't come down and abducted Ronald Reagan. At age 20, I knew that the headline “Kitten Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day” on The Onion was probably a joke, too.

But someone without a high school education? Will they know? Someone who is only barely literate? Will they know any of these headlines are false? “World Health Organization Report: Trannies 49x's Higher HIV Rate” or “There's No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews” or “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”

Those are all headlines on Breitbart that have made their way onto Facebook and Twitter reposted by mainstream users of the website. It's geting harder and harder to tell the crazy from the sane.

In the meantime, once you tune your B.S. detector to these headlines and outlets, they're actually pretty easy to find. But you have to really check the source on some of this stuff.

As always, if you want 100% accurate and informative news, just keep your subscription to The Landmark.

(Get the 100% informative Chris Kamler by following him on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



Over the past month, I've needed to go on a couple of business trips and am growing more and more fond of using Uber to get me around rather than renting a car. We all know Uber by now, and if you haven't already tried it, surely you know someone who has.

If you're not familiar, it's basically a taxi, but using part-time drivers, wo log in and work only when they want to using their own personal vehicles. There are permits and liability forms to sign, naturally, but the idea is pretty simple, if you're near someone who can give you a ride, you can get one - and it's normally much cheaper than a normal Taxi. Who hasn't waited 45 minutes for a cab in Kansas City to drive to pick you up? Well, at any given time, if you're in the general Metro area, there are Uber cars just waiting to get you.

I've traveled to Chicago, Houston and Pittsburgh over the past month ad have been impressed with Uber in all the cities. The idea is called “crowd sourcing” and relies on “common” folks to do chores for you for a modest amount of money. There are even crowd sourced concierge services that will walk your dog and pick up your dry cleaning.

So it got me to thinking. Why don't we marry our idea from the front page a couple weeks ago with this Uber idea. If you missed it and my column last week, several Northland emergency rooms are having issues with long wait times. And if you've ever visited any doctor ever in your life, you'll realize it's not just ER's, but it's any medical offices. There are people literally growing old in those waiting rooms.

Wasn't technology supposed to solve all this? Well, maybe we need to tun the power back over to the people.

UBER-ize it. Here's the idea. You break your arm. You have someone open up the ubER (get it? E.R.) and say you have a broken arm. The app will automatically tell you the ER with the shortest wait time AND will send a car/ambulance to come get you. This guarantees that you get the quickest service. Genius, right?
How about when you need to get your car inspected. It's a whole day process, right? Open up your InspectUBER (I'm a marketing genius) app and it tells you where you can get your inspection with a five minute wait time.

Grocery shopping? You always pick the longest or slowest line? BOOM - the app will pick the shortest line with the hottest checker.

Jury Duty? Why don't you just pick a few weeks on the calendar that you don't have anything going at work and the court can call you in on the convenient weeks via the app.

The ideas are endless and just require a little bit of cooperation or competition between the companies. Someone is going to put this into play just like Uber has in some other industry where people hate waiting in lines. How about waiting in line for the bathroom at the Chiefs game? Boom. Pull up the app and pick your pee lane!

Really. There's no need to thank me. I'll just be relaxing thinking of all the time I've saved.

(Thank The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter where you can find him as @TheFakeNed. Also search for him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It's been a rough couple of weeks for America. Let's not try to sugarcoat this. Whether your fella won, or your gal lost, I don't know a ton of folks that feel completely good about everything right now.

That being said, this is the perfect time in America for Thanksgiving. That uniquely American holiday where you hope Aunt Erma doesn't drink too much and start calling Katie's boyfriend “that boy who looks like our old gardener.”

All of this turmoil is the best time to take it back down to basics and remember what this holiday is all about. Eating. And then taking away your land. And Black Friday. So here now is a list of things that I am thankful this year.

I am thankful for fake news. Even though Facebook is trying to get rid of you, I am thankful you exist because how else would I learn that the moon landing was faked or that Mike Pence is secretly gay? Come on. Like you never lingered at the cover of the Weekly World News at the grocery store?

I am thankful for real news and its many definitions. Liberal media. Right wing commentators. There's room for us all on our television dials and I can't get enough of all of you. Yes, I'm even looking at you MSNBC lady with the deep, dark soulful eyes. You just keep on talkin'.

I am thankful for Twitter. Learning that a vice president-elect got boed by a theater full of people there to see a story about a Vice President who shot a guy just couldn't be fully told until you read it on Twitter. Twitter has enriched the lives of all of us and don't even try to deny it.

I am thankful for NPR. It's like Fox News only it makes you want to fall asleep after two minutes. And sleep is good. I am also thankful for sleep.

I am thankful for our Founding Fathers. Not really for designing a form of elections that is complicated and relies on something like the Electoral College. But I am thankful that they only make us go through this garbage every four years.
I am thankful that my sister is an ER nurse at a Northland hospital. I am also thankful that The Landmark did a piece last week about how slow waiting rooms are at Northland hospitals. I am not as thankful for text messaging because she called my newspaper some pretty mean things.

But above all else, I am most thankful for America. America is going to be just fine. In fact, we'll all probably get a pretty big tax break out of this in order to keep us all calm. America has seen worse and has seen better and she just keeps on truckin'. There is no place I'd rather be than America.

Oh. Wait. I want to change my answer. I am most thankful for pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

(Be thankful, or not, for Chris Kamler as @TheFakeNed. Also chase down our favorite turkey on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



Wow. What a week, right? It's like if you were looking to make your best crap sandwich only to have it deep fried in crap with a double-side of crap.

I am, of course, referring to the Royals releasing utility player Daniel Nava. Why, what did you think I was referring to?

Just kidding. Of course, the election results have been on the minds of everyone and it's been certainly one in which everyone has needed, apparently, to pick a side. We've spoken in this space before about how complicated life is and how much gray area there is between the polar opposites. Yet, our society seems to need to make you pro-something or anti-something. And if they're standing on the other side, insults or worse are hurled at you.

The nation seems to have forgotten tolerance. Tolerance for someone who voted differently than you. Tolerance for someone who looks different than you. Tolerance for someone who takes your parking spot on Black Friday. (Okay, maybe we can't cure that last one.)

So I came up with an idea to help the next generation learn tolerance. Stick with me here.

If you start with the premise that intolerance is born out of lack of exposure to other cultures, races, and creeds, then here's my idea.

In the same spirit as the G.I. Bill, that has helped send tens of thousands of service men and women to college following a four year service to our country - my idea is the B.T. Bill - The Building Tolerance Bill.

•Anyone who completes four years in the B.T. program will get their four-year college paid for. And in order to do it, you need to complete one year of work (paid at a minimum, but modest level) in each of these four disciplines:

•Agriculture - A special type of person works the land and people who don't sometimes have difficulty understanding this. In order to complete this phase, a candidate must work one year on a farm or in an agricultural capacity.

•Service - If you were to wait tables for one year, you would have a completely different outlook on the way humans treat other humans. You'd learn to tip and you'd learn to smile at your server who has stood on their feet for seven hours so they could bring you your Grand Slam Breakfast. To complete this phase, you must work in a customer service, or service industry of some sort.

•Technology or Financial Sector - The idea behind this would be to learn on the job the skills of financial management or technology basics. How to set up an Excel formula. How to balance a checkbook. Skills that you can learn easily while stuffing envelopes in the mailroom of a stock brokerage.

•Religious of Non-Profit - Service to your fellow man is key and you would gain a completely different understanding of the human condition while working at a soup kitchen or sorting clothes at the Goodwill.

My thinking is that if you can complete jobs in these four disciplines, then you'd gain some exposure to a good cross-section of America. And maybe, just maybe, you wouldn't be so quick to judge or battle on social media or the Black Friday parking lots. Plus you get some money for college. At the very least, it's a start to identify the gray areas of America.

(There are no gray areas with our man Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also check to see if he posts sexy pics on Instagram and Snapchat)



Welcome to the first day of the 2020 election! While we're waiting for the 2016 campaign to complete its voting cycles, here's a few bits and bites off of the Rambling Morons notebook.

•In addition to Election Day, this week also features Topher Day! Let me explain. I used to have an employee working for me who was an incredibly gifted computer tech. The only problem was he simply could not make it to work on time. We asked him to show up at 8, he'd show up at 8:30. We moved his hours back to 9, he shows up at 9:30. But the only day he would actually show up on time was the Monday following the Fall time change when he got an hour of sleep back. So... Happy Topher Day!

•There is a fresh place in hell for the person in my office that brings in 10 pounds of Halloween candy and sets it right near my desk.

•For every uncontested person running this election day, I wrote in “Harambe,” the gorilla who was killed last year. #NeverForget

•Regardless of who wins this election, you will never forget the name Billy Bush.

•Seeing how successful early voting has been around the country only makes me more angry that it doesn't exist in Missouri. I get that it's a con Republicans put on to keep “the working poor” away from the polls on election day - but it's also just dumb in 2016. You should be able to vote from your kitchen table using your toaster for crying out loud. Get with it, Missouri.

•Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins the election or not, I am hopeful that more television stars will run for office. If there isn't someone working on a Zac Efron 2020 campaign somewhere, then we are all losers.

•I drove past the big, new QuikTrip going up on 64th Street in Parkville the other day. Your lives are about to change, Parkville. Roller food for the win.

•If you're a fan of crappy television, you might like to check out my new podcast. It's called Season One, and covers television shows that only lasted one season. Catch us at season1pod.com.

•If I've learned one thing about this election cycle is how polarizing and slanted television news coverage is. I get that in the past CNN and MSNBC leaned left and Fox News leaned right. But the networks have basically become mouthpieces of propaganda for each side. Surely if anything good comes out of this smouldering pile of hot garbage, it will be for a news network to go completely centered in its approach, right? No. I'm guessing it won't either. But it's a pretty good goal.

•Yes, the coming weeks are going to be awkward while we look to reunify the country following an awful, slimy election. Yes, you're going to need to reevaluate some friendships and Thanksgiving is bound to be difficult. Just remember, we are only one “Is the dress purple or blue” controversy away from all out catastrophe in our country. Hang in there, America.

Welp, we made it, America. Our long national nightmare is over. Only 1456 days until election day 2020. #VoteZacEfron.

(Catch The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or hunt him down on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, among other places)



Regardless of whatever happens to the country on Nov. 8, one thing is certain - Nov. 9, is going to be awkward.

Like the morning after a big fight with your spouse, or the week after your company has decided to lay off workers--there are going to be a lot of uncomfortable glances and staring at your feet the day after the election regardless of who wins.

But the only way out of this 18 months of bickering and division is through. As a country, we've got to find a better way to get through a Trump or a Clinton presidency because the alternative would be catastrophic.

If the email news from the FBI is any indication, both Trump and Clinton would take over the presidency shrouded in a cloud of controversy and if you thought the arguing and partisanship was going to stop after the inauguration, then you're living in a fantasy world.

One suggestion I would have is to find a way to reconnect with those we've shut out on social media. Now, if you're like me, you've been pretty liberal with the use of the unfollow and block buttons on Facebook and Twitter. It got to the point the past few months that I wanted to tune out not only the people I disagreed with but also those who were obnoxious that I did agree with.

The risk we run with that is that our focus will turn to tunnel vision. We will only see what we want to see and that likely won't reflect what else is going on in the world. There's even a term for it - “filter bubble.” The filter bubble means that you wall yourself off into a stream of information that is custom tailored to you, a bubble. And that bubble runs the risk of just floating away. You become less informed if you separate from the full stream of information.

Rather than learning to spot the facts inside of slanted reporting and information sharing, you only see the news that's slanted in your way. You lose the ability to learn new views based on new facts or new information - and you will tend to become rigid and inflexible. This is great when you're trying to build a chair or a table but terrible when you're trying to navigate a world that changes as quickly as the one we live in.

Rather than filtering and separating, might I suggest you go the other way--read everything. Read things you disagree with. Understand your core beliefs on why you disagree with them. Unfilter your friends because they are your friends --and promise that if you do talk about things that you disagree on that you'll do it with respect. Work less toward establishing who is right and who is wrong and more toward determining a way forward knowing you both disagree.

If you can't commit to that type of decorum then Nov. 9, and all the days that will follow, will be lonelier and more awkward in a world that will very much change on Nov. 8.

(There’s nothing awkward about Chris Kamler on Twitter. Okay, that might not exactly be true. But follow his Twitter account anyway where he is @TheFakeNed. You can also find Kamler on Facebook , Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube)



It might surprise my most ardent readers that writing is not my full time job. Oh, sure, it might be the job that I love the most and it might also be the job that I WISH was my full time job. However, my full time job is working for a local medical software company here in town.

This company has, for some reason, put me in charge of helping with electronic security. Which, I suppose, might be like handing the keys to a Ferrari to a three year old, but here I am.

Cyber security isn't really anything people think of until something happens. It's like you don't realize your car insurance doesn't cover hitting a guy in the parking lot of a strip club until you call it in. Turns out you needed the strip club addendum.

So we don't really pay attention to things like passwords or saving credit card numbers online until they're stolen.

Last month, Yahoo notified its members that over 500 million accounts were stolen. This included the usernames, passwords and secret questions of basically the entire country. If you're like me, you can't remember the last time you actually used a Yahoo account. But that's not the point. You probably have the same username and password that you had for Yahoo on Twitter or Facebook or Gmail. And that IS a problem.

One of the inherent truths about being online these days is that you have to be watchful for crime and theft. People will try to trick you into giving them your financial information. They'll try to outright steal from you if they have your passwords. And they will also try to get you to steal for them by installing software on your computer (and now phones.)

But the key always circles back to what are called credentials. Your username and password. If you have those two pieces of information, you can gain access to everything we put online and on our computers. Which, for most of us, is access to all of our money and everything we hold most dear.

So it's time to look beyond the password and start to secure our data with something called two-factor authentication. Basically it's that same password that you know and then something you have. In most cases the something you have is a temporary code that's texted to your phone - a code that expires after 60 seconds. This proves to the system you're trying to log into that you are, indeed, you.

Nearly every website you log into including Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Gmail have some form of two-factor authentication. All you need to do is turn it on.

So take a few minutes out of posting your political viewpoints on Facebook to protect your accounts from theft. Visit lockdownyourlogin.com for more details and step-throughs on how to make your digital life safer.

Note: This post does not necessarily express the views of the aforementioned medical software company we spoke of earlier. Although they sure get plenty of emails from me about it.

(Get more than two factors from The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Also search for him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube)




About a year ago, when this whole election business started, I wrote in this space a half-hearted endorsement of Donald Trump. The idea was that before the grown ups took control of the Thanksgiving table, we could enjoy some nightclub entertainment for a few months.

I figured that we could dance with the devil a little bit before somebody threw water on the fire. We'd get some good guffaws as Trump got some body shots in on the establishment. But we always knew the safety net of the two-party system wouldn't ever allow someone so clearly imbalanced to have the keys to the kingdom.

Trump's message has always been relatively sound. The system is broken. Congress is dysfunctional. Progress is minimal and nobody wants to take charge.
Trump's methods, however, leave much to be desired.

What my column was several months ago was reckless, juvenile, and I now recognize it to be pretty damn dangerous. This is akin to watching a bar fight in some smoky dive at 2 a.m., and cheering on the participants until the fight spills out into the alley and someone ends up dead.

The Trump idea was to correct decades of mismanagement by the Republican party. All of the times the GOP had moved away from the ideology of Reagan. A massive course correction is still a great idea. But not now. Not like this. Not like a petulant kindergartner when he's been told that he can't have a fifth piece of candy. Not like a toddler whose only answer for misbehaving is “but she started it.”

This is not America. Trump is not America. At least not the America she should be.

No, nobody is really super wild about the alternative. You've got a career politician who is just as likely to give you four more years of muck and mire. But the Trump solution would be catastrophic as it would empower an entire YouTube comments section to spout hate and venom to our fellow Americans and around the world.

Trump has used words to completely tear apart the fabric of civility in just under a year. He is an embarrassment to the political process that should be celebrating those with high-minded ideals.

Politicians and politics were never meant to “fix” our lives. Politicians should, rather, help to devise a framework and help inspire us to do our best in the best way possible.

Nowhere does that include calling another American a “pig,” or claim that because you are losing that the system must be rigged, or slide your hand up someone's dress without permission, or threaten to put your opponent in jail when you win or incite a crowd to attack a journalist.

There are major corrections to be made in the political process. But we cannot do it with Donald Trump at the helm. No matter how entertaining it might be, the result would be catastrophic.

(Get more of The Landmark’s Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and check him out on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



Close your eyes and count backwards from ten. The period of time you just spent can easily be considered “almost immediately.”

On the morning of October 6, Officer Blake Snyder pulled up to a home responding to a disturbance call. It was like many others Officer Snyder had responded to in his four years as a member of the St. Louis County PD. Snyder asked to see the hands of the person behind the wheel. Seconds later, Officer Snyder was dead.

Police Chief Jon Belmar said that the time that passed was “almost immediately.” Now count back from ten again.

Snyder leaves a young wife and a two year old child. Full disclosure, Officer Snyder is my wife's cousin.

The man who was arrested reportedly suffered from a mental illness and had a long history with drug addiction. Posts from his social media account indicated that one of his few life goals was to kill a police officer.

There is a fair and valuable debate to be had about the escalation of force by police officers. That debate is going to make police officers better. They're going to get additional training on de-escalating situations, using non-lethal force, and reaching out to the public before issues happen.

But there was nothing that Officer Snyder could have done differently Thursday morning to save his life. The perpetrator acted quickly and with surprise and ambushed Snyder. But when you live in a world where you can be shot and killed almost immediately, there is no level of vigilance you can carry that makes you completely at calm at any time you put on your badge.

Officers are on edge because these stories have now become commonplace. Officer Snyder's death didn't even hit the national news. His death comes just one day after Los Angeles Officer Steve Owen was shot and killed responding to a burglary call. And only three days before two Palm Springs officers were killed in a shootout.

That was just last week.

There are positive changes that can be made to our police force. There are important discussions to be had.

But I will not be at all offended if an officer comes in hot to a situation expecting trouble because that officer's life can quite simply be over almost immediately.

Financial support and condolences can be made in Officer Snyder, Officer Owen's or any fallen officer's name to the organization Backstoppers at backstoppers.org. Their organization supports the families of fallen officers by helping to pay bills, funeral expenses, and other support when the end of watch comes for a fallen police officer.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube)


The Thanksgiving effect

Blame the optimist in me, but I think that I've found a way that this dumpster fire of an election season might end up being a positive for the country. Stay with me. I realize this might be a bit of a leap.

Everyone's had that one Thanksgiving, right? It the one where the Grandma drinks a little too much wine while making the stuffing, then proceeds to tell off that out of town, good for nothin' grandson of hers who never visits but once every five years. Or maybe there's that slightly racist cousin that shows up late. Sure, he's nice enough, but when he bends over, you can see that Confederate flag tramp stamp tattoo. Or maybe there's the full on, no holds barred, shouting match that starts over something simple - like whether to turn off the Macy's Parade and onto the NFL pregame show that then finishes with fists flying out on the front porch because “that damn sister-in-law burnt the yams.”

If you haven't had something like the above, you no doubt have had a family holiday, wedding, or funeral that's ended up with someone saying something they might regret in five or ten years.

That brings me to our election process.

Let it out. Let the crazy fly. This is your moment. If you have something to say about cops. If you have something to say about Mexicans. If you have something to say about dodging taxes. If you have something to say about deleted emails. Let is all out. Today. Post it on Facebook. Get it out of your system. Post a meme. Flip off Twitter in a selfie. Post an Instagram of you vandalizing a yard sign. This is your moment. You've kept it in your entire adult life. Now is your shot.

First, this will be a very liberating moment for you. Because no matter what you post on Twitter or Facebook or Snapchat over the next month, it's not going to hold a candle to your super racist Facebook friend who is settling old scores.

Secondly, the world has changed over the last 15 years. And you've got a lot of pent up hot takes. Maybe you don't think women should vote. Maybe you've got a really solid comment about concussions in the NFL. Maybe you're pretty sure that Obama was not only born in Kenya, but also isn't a true US resident because Washington D.C. isn't really a state.

My point here is that your chance is now to get on the record and plant your flag in the ground.

The next 30 days are going to be insane. Stuff's going to get said. Bad stuff. Stuff you can't unhear.

Now, the good news is that the day after election day, the sun will rise in the East. The dust will begin to settle. And we can all go back to repressing our feelings and grinning and bearing it while we wait for our Subway sandwich to be made by the hippie-looking kid with the nose ring. Because that's how the game is played. But you've got a hall pass for the next 30 days.

It's like the old saying goes at weddings, and which, I assume also applies to Thanksgivings, funerals and election seasons: Speak now or forever hold your peace.

(Chris Kamler never holds his peace on Twitter, where you can find him as @TheFakeNed. Also catch him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)



Against my better judgement, I watched the debate Monday night. It was like bracing for an oncoming car crash. I felt my muscles tense up and my breathing quickened.

It was everything I feared and more. Neither of these candidates remind me anything of some of my political heroes in the past. Nobody talked about a shining city on a hill. Neither spoke of points of light or hope. What they spent 90 hours doing, instead, was bickering and insulting.

Let's start with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You get the sense that she has completely abandoned trying to be herself and is now simply at the whim of whatever image consultant has her ear. Smile more! Chuckle more! Make eye contact with the camera! It's been months since we've seen anything of natural personality from Mrs. Clinton.

Furthermore, I can't recall anything substantial that she was able to put forth in the way of actual policy. She defended a number of Obama initiatives, but she relied on her digital website to push the actual policy. Which, I guess is fine. But from my untrained eye, it was all she could do to not punch the man standing next to her and it completely took away anything significant to say about how to direct the country forward. Which, you know, is kind of the job you're running for.

All that being said, the other half of the stage was a complete dumpster fire. Donald Trump interrupted, fought for attention like a petulant child and insulted his way through the event. He started for approximately 10 minutes like he was in control, but the Pixie sticks his staff must've fed him to calm him down must've worn off because he was simply unable to hold his tongue.

This isn't a race for Insulter-in-Chief. This isn't the one liner joke contest at Stanford’s. This is a race for leader of the free world (less free if Donald had his way.)

And here's the shame of it. The real shame of it is that there were moments, very few moments, but there were moments when Trump was able to communicate the frustration we all have with government. Mixed in with his insults about stamina and Muslims, Trump said this, “The African-American community has been treated badly...They've been used and abused by Democrats for their votes, then ignored.”

Hey, that's something a political outsider can really sink their teeth into because it's right and it's true.

But that is on page 12 of the meat of the debate, because of the bickering about the release of taxes and birtherism and how nice the airports are in Dubai.

And I guess that's the point of this column today. This debate further proved that the figurehead of the GOP has completely lost any high minded ideals of less government and helping those who are willing to help themselves. This is a strange new world where it's more important to talk about how many admirals are in the audience and who has the most stamina.

It's all complete garbage to me and insulting to someone who just wants a leader who can help a little. I didn't see it from Clinton and I certainly didn't see it Monday night from Trump.

But I guess we all have some good one liners to talk about until the next debate.

(Get one liners and more from Chris Kamler on Twitter where you can find him as @TheFakeNed. Find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and wherever else you think he might be hiding on social media)



While it might be a surprise to some, I am not a full time humor columnist for the Platte County Landmark. While I am kept well in stock of riches beyond my wildest dreams here at the paper, I maintain a full time job at a local medical software company simply to keep my wit sharp and a little bit of spending money in my bank account.

At work, I've been assigned to kind of a pet project - we call them “AND's” - as in... “Hey Mike, here's your normal 40 hour a week job, AND we'd like you to also take on this project that'll take about 10 more hours a week for about two months.”

It's just kind of the culture to say “no problem.” But this particular project is kind of intriguing because it deals with the future of health care and how we, as patients, can play a role.

I don't know about you, but I've just about had it with filling out the same five pieces of paper when you go to a new doctor's office - or even if you go back to your SAME doctor's office. How many times has Nurse Ratchett handed you a clipboard saying “our software has changed, we need you to update your information.” Shouldn't they have a record of every time you've had to turn your head and cough in the past 20 years?

It seems like once you turn your blood results or your x-rays into 1's and 0's and put them into a computer that would be that, right? Well, it's not quite that easy. Here is where the promise of electronic medical records has failed. They are still specific to the location you're being seen. KU Med Center doesn't share data with Children's Mercy Hospital, for instance - not easily, anyway. Especially if they are on different software.

It's the responsibility of the patient to keep tabs on all their records. This is what's called a Personal Health Record (or PMR) as opposed to what the hospitals have which is an Electronic Health Record (EMR).

So I've been assigned to a team to try to come up with a better mousetrap. And here is where I'm going to say that I am ready for my chip implant. Go ahead and make me into Terminator. Put a chip behind my ear or under my elbow that continually feeds data to a computer. It would log when I go to the doctor, it would monitor my sugar levels and what I ate and it would even track what happens when I run on the treadmill.

I'm ready for it. I'm tired of filling out the same pieces of paper for every knee doctor I see, or for every time my son stubs his toe. There's got to be a simpler way.

Go ahead. Figure it out and I'll be waiting and ready - because I'm done filling out your forms. Maybe you can just download them from my elbow next time. I'm sure I can afford it after the next raise I get from The Landmark.

(Chris Kamler hands out raises on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also check his health record updates on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



America has a long and colorful history with the conspiracy theory. A nation that was born out of sticking its middle finger up to the establishment and assuming their former government was corrupt in many ways has put a very healthy distrust into our DNA.

Factor in Watergate and the many nefarious deeds proven true through Wikileaks and you can maintain that those who embrace the conspiracy theory have been rewarded throughout time.

But turn on any television or pop open any social media app and you'll be bombarded by conspiracies that can't possibly be accurate - or if partially accurate, not nearly as nefarious as the conspiracy intends to be. Even the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy” is a bit of a red herring now a days.

Body doubles for presidential candidates; vaccinations causing disease; cell phones causing cancer; and even that major sporting events are “rigged” have entered the public mainstream as some of the most popular conspiracies out there. You can even find some folks who will swear up and down that Elvis Presley is living the high life in old age down in Bermuda after faking his death.

Within a quick Google search, however, you can visit sites like snopes.com and read, pretty convincingly, that those theories are false. Elvis is dead. Medical science has disproven the link to cell phones, and anything happening right now in the presidential election has long passed the point of freak show. So I don't know why a post by a dear friend is hitting me so hard last week linking a conspiracy to the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago. The post claimed that the North and South towers of the World Trade Center as well as Tower Seven were brought down by explosives and not because of the impact and subsequent jet fuel fires that we all witnessed live on that horrible day.

The thing I don't get is how something so fantastical can appear as simple truth for some of these folks. My friend posted this link and then there were 15 people who all commented underneath it in agreement. IN AGREEMENT.

I went to Snopes in hopes that maybe I had read them wrong, and immediately read that the claims were bogus. Obviously. What we saw was, actually, what happened.

But the post stuck with me through the weekend. One of my best friends believes in something so impossible that I began to question the basis of my friendship. Furthermore, I began questioning my own definition of what I believe. Maybe I have a thing that forces my friends to step back and evaluate my sanity. But I couldn't come up with anything.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe the government is hiding something in Area 51, but I also wouldn't post it on Facebook as certain and true. I would love to have a conversation with E.T., but I'm not going to challenge my existing friends as I start learning Martian languages.

In the meantime, I remain shaken by some of the things people close to me believe. For me, I remain firmly in the Show-Me State, and until I'm dancing alongside Elvis, I will remain based in fact and stay away from fiction and paranoia.

(Chris Kamler has a long and colorful history on Twitter, where you can find him as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat)



Everything evolves. We know that, right? Whether you think that humans came from flecks of wonder dust or from gorillas, there is certainly a tradition of evolution among the human race. In the online world, evolution takes months and years rather than centuries.

When the Internet was born, it connected humans across the globe. It connected people of various economic, racial, and geographic backgrounds. As social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter came about, it gave those people not only a connection but also a voice.

For years, we have been engaged in discussions about high minded problems in the world, and also who should be voted off of the Bachelor. Initiatives like Black Lives Matter and #ArabSpring have literally changed the course of the nations they started in. And while those discussions might only consist of five percent of the traffic on these platforms, they are the greatest part of the platforms.

The other great benefit is the distribution of news in seconds. I remember the first time I “got” Twitter and it was the day Michael Jackson died. I heard about it and then it wasn't reported on CNN for another hour.

So let's say the “good” things Twitter and Facebook do encompass 10 or 15% of the traffic on there. The rest is straight and simple garbage. Fart jokes, hate speech, tripe, and more tripe floods these sites daily. And the conversations continue to evolve to darker and darker depths. Look no further than the tone of the presidential election to see how Twitter and Facebook have soiled the way we talk.

What we are seeing now is that humans are evolving, or, rather devolving to our basic, primal selves because we are interacting with each other in brand new ways. There are no non-verbal cues, there are no winks or nods or tells cluing us into whether our interaction is sarcastic or passive. So our base instincts take over and it gets confrontational.

By now, you've all seen relationships or friendships torn up over a political post on Facebook. If nothing else, you sure start to trim down your friends list during the political debates.

Social networking is seeming to bring out the worst in ourselves and it's going to become important that we as a species find a way to evolve forward with this incredible technological tool.

We say so much in so little nowadays. What took tomes now takes memes. You can create an entire image online made up of nothing but bytes and it can all come crashing down in an instant. Ryan Lochte might agree after he told his mother about being robbed and it was across the globe in an instant into hands that would fact check his story.

But that five or 10 percent of good that comes out of the cesspool that is Twitter and Facebook has got to outweigh. For every argument about Donald Trump and the Mexican wall there is a cancer patient seeking support. For every gripe about the Kansas City Royals bullpen there is someone saying something good. (Well, maybe not about the Royals bullpen this week. But you can hope.)

Now the challenge as a very small world connected by this magnificent technology... is to evolve.

(Evolve with Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and chase him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It was long after the bat flip contest. It was hours following the 1,000 donated hot dogs and hamburgers were eaten. It was even after the long drive home from Olathe that saw about 500 people turn out for a pickup game of kickball.

It was later at dinner with my wife and son when the words came echoing back to me. The words of Kansas State Representative Scott Schwab echoed between my ears. His words, choked off by tears were simple and poignant - as you might expect for someone who lost his 10- year-old son suddenly and tragically. He spoke about how lucky he was to have spent 10 years with his son. How full of life he was and how much he loved playing sports and just playing outside.

He even got a dig in about the “Pokemon Go” generation and how he was glad to see so many kids at the event sponsored by Caleb's baseball team and how few smartphone zombies he saw at the event.

There were plenty of tears also at the balloon release - over a thousand balloons - some with messages written to a fallen teammate. Many were written by children who should never have to know the pain of losing a friend.

Thankfully, the only thing missing were details about the grisly death of the young waterslide rider. Instead, you could only hear laughter and the swat of a bat on a tennis ball in something the kids invented called “Smashball” - just like baseball except with a tennis ball so the kids could hit “dingers.” Kids are amazing when you give them the runway to imagine and play.

You could also hear the thunk of kickball on the other field as kids lined up for their chance as they have done for decades in an unspoken language of the playground. There is no rulebook for kickball. Kids just instinctively know how the teams are divided up and how the game is played. There are no arguments and the game continues from parking lot to playground to Field 3 at Black Bob Park.

For my part, there was also the music and the dance contest where you saw some of the whitest dancing ever as “Whip and Nae Nae” and “The Running Man Challenge” boomed through speakers. I'll remember the dancing and the laughter and the music celebrating a bright blue sunny day tailor-made for giggling and playing.

But what echoed in my mind and what I will take with me from the beautiful event was the challenge to cherish every single day with those that you love and, in the words of a father who had lost so much too early. “Just go out and play.”

If we spent a little time everyday playing with our kids and hugging them and talking with them--those are the moments that matter. Those are the moments that will outlive any tragedy that might come and they are timeless.

You can see more about the event to celebrate the life of Caleb Schwab by searching #CanIGoPlay on Twitter.

(Stay in touch with Chris Kamler, if you dare, on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



It seems like only yesterday - but was, in fact, decades ago. A young Chris Kamler walked behind his mother, who likely had two or three other children in tow either on her hip or, more likely, inside a full shopping cart. We had a habit of just grabbing things off the shelf and putting them in the cart. Lucky Charms? How did those get in there? A bag of marshmallows? That doesn't seem right.

But it was that particular day I will never forget. In the pocket of my jean shorts (hey, this was the early 80's) were three packages of Topps Baseball Cards. Packages that remained in my pocket until we safely reached our station wagon outside of the Bob's IGA Superstore. (It was called “Superstore” but with four registers and no Chinese deli inside, it wouldn't hold up to the standards of the HyVee that replaced it years later.)

“Where did you get those?” My mother asked as I began to rip open the first package snapping the pink, powdery slab of bubble gum into my mouth.

“From the store.” Now, this is technically correct. My mother's error was not specifying how I obtained the baseball cards although the answer was relatively obvious since I was only seven and did not have a job, nor money to buy baseball cards.

“Did you pay for them?”

“Yes.” This, as some might call it, was a lie. You made a mistake, and now you compounded it by lying. Oh, sweet, innocent little seven year old Chris. If I could go back in time to change that moment and also whisper in your ear to cool it on the processed foods.

What followed was my first and most meaningful lesson about lying. The next several moments were a blur of my mother ripping me out of the car (likely leaving the other kids in the parking lot, which you could do back then) and storming me back into the store. At that point, I met the store manager, Mr. Lemon. I remember his name because he introduced himself to me from behind rimmed glasses pushed down to the tip of his nose. He had exchanged a twinkle wink with my mother and then proceeded to lay into me about the perils of stealing $1.75 worth of Topps baseball cards from his store. “What if we just let everyone take what they wanted? We would go out of business and I would lose my job!”

Easy there, Mr. Lemon. I get it. Don't shoplift. And if you do shoplift, don't lie to your mother about it. Oddly enough, when Bob's IGA did go out of business years later, they said it was that lost revenue of $1.75 back in 1981 that put it over the top.

I was reminded of that story this week, when the whole world was held breathless as Ryan Lochte evaded the long arm of the Rio Police telling lie after lie to get out of the country. Finally, Lochte came clean about his drunken escapades, but has paid the price in the financial losses from a rash of lost endorsement deals.

If my mother had anything to do with this, he'd be yanked by his arm and paraded in front of the American public with a stern “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU JUST DID? NOW YOU GO RIGHT OUT THERE AND APOLOGIZE TO AMERICA.”

Hey, we get it. People sometimes drink a little too much, pee on the side of a gas station and rip down a poster from the side of a building. It happens. Tequila is rough. But you SURE as hell don't lie about it. The old saying remains as true as ever - it's not the deed, it's the coverup that will get you.

In addition to losing the trust of the American people, I'm most concerned that Ryan Lochte has lost the trust of my mother. I hope he's happy and knows he will be going to bed without supper.

(It’s not a lie that Chris Kamler is worth your time on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also breathe in his sex appeal on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook)



Lots of little column ideas this week, but, honestly, I've been working on my triple flip vault in my living room while watching the Olympics. The ambulance driver said I've almost perfected it. See you in Tokyo in 2020!

•Did you catch our esteemed leader on public radio the other day talking about rural journalism? He did a great job. But how is a county with one of the busiest airports in the Midwest “rural?” Just because we have to claim Tracy doesn't mean the rest of the county needs to get drug down with it.

•I spent 600 words two weeks ago telling you all about how I wasn't going to watch any football this year because of what I think it's doing to the players and their health long term. I didn't even last a week. I watched 100% of the Chiefs preseason game. This is probably why I can never stick to a diet.

•I've been giving a lot of thought to this year's election, as we all have. Both of the prospective nominees are awful. Hillary seems like she will stop at nothing to fulfil her destiny and Trump is... wow. I really think he is mentally ill. For real. But when it comes down to the lesser of two evils, I think you really have to look at possibly just having a bad president or a president who could get pissed off at China because of a tweet and blow the country off the map. I guess that's where we are.

•My brother was kind enough to let me borrow his trailer to haul off some brush a few weeks ago. I backed it into my yard and as I drove it out promptly skinned all of the grass about the size of half a tennis court. I bought one of those bags of grass seed and threw down large handfuls of the stuff. Then read the directions like a true man. It said “do not mow for three weeks.” So now the rest of my lawn looks like the Amazon rainforest with a small tennis court in the middle.

•Last week I talked about the psychology behind lines. Yesterday, I had the privilege of going to a local CVS where they corner the market on LANE CLOSED signs. I take it all back. Ten minutes behind three people is enough to drive someone crazy. Give me the false Premium lines.

•That being said, I think I've found a bigger mind screw with regards to lines than the AMC “Premier” line. Papa John's is offering that you can pay $2.50 to have your pizza prepared and delivered “first.” This supposedly doesn't mean that those who don't pay would take any longer to deliver their pizza. And, in the fine print, it says that the $2.50 doesn't guarantee any difference in when your pizza is delivered. It's just an extra $2.50 you can pay and that Papa John's can have.

Kind of like just walking up to someone on the street and giving them a $10 bill.

Way to go, Papa.

•Will this finally be the August and September that aren't like the surface of the sun around here? Or will fall only last about four days before the monsoon ice-pellet rains of Halloween happen?

•Finally, I've been on a bit of a biking kick lately. Not quite ready for the Olympics just yet, unless it's all downhill. But I have been tooling around the Line Creek Trail a good bit. That being said, I'm going to challenge myself to a 35 mile race at the end of September. The bad news is that I've never gone that distance before. But the good news is that BBQ is being served along the route and the proceeds go to help cancer patients and cancer research. If you have a couple of extra bucks laying around and would like to help the cause in my (soon to be dead on the side of the road) name, the link is here:


(Get your Chris Kamler fix on Twitter @TheFakeNed or follow his snaps on Snapchat or his instants on Instagram)



If you've ever been in the armed forces, bought groceries, or voted in a presidential election, you've become very familiar with lines. Heck, if you've ever been to an amusement park, a really nice restaurant, or even a really crappy restaurant - you've waited in a line.

It's something that I can't stand, personally. I hate waiting in traffic. I can't stand waiting more than five minutes at McDonald’s and I frankly don't even like slow internet. I am completely spoiled with getting whatever I want when I want and if that doesn't happen then I go elsewhere.

That being said, I observed something over the weekend that left me wondering if there is any hope at all for humanity with regard to lines.

Let me set it up for you. I had been looking forward for weeks to seeing the new Star Trek movie. Being adverse to lines, I waited until the second weekend to watch it and I also bought tickets at the AMC on Barry so you get your own assigned seat - that way, there's no line, or at least there's no need for a line. (People still lined up, which I don't understand. But I digress.)

AMC has a rewards program called Stubs. Basically, it's a way to get $5 back for every $100 you spend and, in return, AMC gets your email address and gets to send you emails and whatever. It's a decent trade-off if you like to go to movies every now and again.

So inside of AMC Stubs, there are two tiers. There's a free tier - where you get that tracking, you get a coupon every once in awhile for free popcorn and AMC still gets your email. Then there's a “Premier” tier - where you pay $20 a year and you get more coupons as well as you get $10 back for every $100 you spend. Being as how I have a teenage boy and all of us like movies, it's a decent investment.

So we show up to the theater on Friday, tickets in hand and we're ready to go get a soda, some popcorn and see Captain Kirk kill some bad guys. Friday night at the movies in the summer is a MESS. There are lines everywhere, and I mitigated as much as I could, but there was still one line remaining - the line for concessions. If I wanted my Mike N Ikes, I was going to have to wait in a line.

At AMC, you've got five stations. I've only ever seen four of them manned and four were manned on Friday. You had about five people in line at three of the four stations. Given the fact that these stations are manned by 17 year olds, I quickly calculated the best line to get in based on age of purchasers, whether they were overweight or looked hungry, and if they looked like they might take a lot of time ordering. This is what I call the KLWI - Kamler Line Wait Index. Of the three lines in front of me, I began to make my selection. But then... I saw it off to the right. A lighted sign that said: STUBS PREMIER CUSTOMERS ONLY. The line was marked with those fancy red velvet ropes. What's interesting is that there were TWICE the number of people in this line.

Did they hand out hot dogs covered in diamonds? Do they let you meet a member of the Star Trek cast in this line? What prompted people to wait twice as long in this line as compared to the other three lines?

Turns out, nothing. There was nothing special about this line other than it was dedicated to Premier members, who, could have gotten the same perks and coupons in any of the other (shorter) lines. What they line goers did get is a sense of entitlement that they were waiting in a “special” line.

I ended up finding the shortest line (three people with a hyper efficient checkout person - three minute wait) while the “Premier” customers were still eight deep missing the previews.

I guess membership doesn't always have its privileges.

(Chris Kamler gives you privileges on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. And you can search for him on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and wherever else a wisecracker is welcome)




In the age of social media, there seems to be an overwhelming need to proclaim when you're about to make a change in your life. “I'm going to stop eating dairy!” or “I'm changing auto insurance carriers!!”

Part of that need is the reassurance or arguments you'll get in for that type of declaration. So it is in that spirit that I'm going to announce that I won't be following football this year.

Of course there will be caveats. I mean, it's football. It's the NFL, Monday Night Football, Mizzou Football, High School Football. But my intention is to not actively follow it this year. None of it.

I might catch a play here and there. But I will not be setting an appointment to park myself on the couch Saturday morning starting with College Gameday and finishing after midnight on Monday night following the ESPN game.

I think I really am done with it.

My reasoning? It's cruel and unusual punishment. PBS's Frontline recently noted that “researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University found chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which the Mayo Clinic defines as ‘brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas’ that is “a diagnosis only made at autopsy,” in 96 percent of the NFL players” and that 40% of inactive players suffer from some sort of brain trauma.

When you look at some of the violent crimes committed in the world right now and you look at the crimes being committed by football players against women, I can't sit and support it.

It's going to kill me. I LOVE football. I love covering it and I love watching it and screaming at my television. But I'm also feeding into a system that is producing brain damaged humans. Not just at the professional and high college levels - but brain injuries that start in Pee Wee leagues. Many leagues are choosing to reduce the introduction of true tackle football until 14 years old. Studies have found and lawsuits have been lodged claiming that kids as early as 12 are suffering from CTE related to youth football.

I remember a game I was covering a couple years ago for The Landmark and 810 Varsity. I remember a running back hit at the line of scrimmage and then being knocked out for several moments. I had to do the play-by-play as the circle of players and concerned coaches formed around the player and, later, the ambulance that drove him away.

I think a lot about that kid now every time I see football players - like I will likely see this week as training camp opens up. I can't tell you I won't watch 100% of football this year. But I can tell you that what little I do watch, that kid will weigh heavy on my mind.

So there you have it. I've proclaimed my intentions. Now I'm off to Instagram to send out pictures of my lunch - another social media classic.

(Catch the notorious Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also get pictures of his lunch on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat)



There's a piece of sage wisdom that I find myself repeating to friends and family more and more as I get older - control what you can control. Regardless of the carnage that we see nightly on our newscasts there is very little we can do to control these issues. ISIS, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, or just your regular run of the mill shooting in your neighborhood -- there's not much you can do about it. Heck we can't even live in a world where the Kardashians get along with Taylor Swift.

What I choose to do with my energy is twofold - first, I think I'm just stuck accepting the fact that I just have to be a good person the rest of my life. My subconscious goal of riding in a Sons of Anarchy-style biker gang are probably out of the question. So I'd better stop flipping people off in the parking lot of the Hy-Vee.

The second is a little less personal. I'd better start preparing my son to do better than this. He needs to learn that his parents can simply not be terrible people at times - like many of the discussions he hears on television.

With all that being said, I'm voting for Pokémon Go this election season. It seems to be the only way that human beings can interact with each other without being spiteful, hateful and nasty. Oh, and there are very few shootings (although there are some).

Pokémon Go is the new phone-based game encouraging you to walk around (that's what people used to do before rascals became popular) and catch little cartoon creatures. There's a leveling system and it's actually a pretty simple game. The catch is that over 21 million daily active users are playing it. It's gained overnight success in the truest sense of the word and it is also resulting in economic development for brick and mortar stores who happen to be Pokémon Go points. (Brick and mortar stores are where you used to buy food and clothes before Amazon.com.)

Not surprisingly, there has also been backlash from people (on Twitter, go figure) about the game. “You're in your 40's grow up” was one comment when I mentioned that I play the game. But here's where my thesis statement really swells. There are no racial or gender biases in this game. I went to Macken Park last weekend and played alongside a black kid, a white female and fella in a wheelchair to go all over the park and catch these little critters. We laughed, we exchanged game tips and I'm pretty sure nobody yelled or shot anyone.

There needs to be more of this. We're all either too scared to come out of our homes or too comfy in front of the idiot box that maybe a silly little game can push us back out into the humidity and oxygen of the great outdoors.

Maybe also it can help us dialogue with each other face to face again instead of behind the keyboard of a YouTube comments section or a Facebook rant.

Before you dash the efforts of Pokémon Go, give it a chance. Head out to a park this weekend and play. You won't be alone. And you might make a few real life friends. If we're going to get through this election season, we're all going to need to find a way to resolve our differences peacefully - maybe catching a level 300 Pikachu is just the ticket.

(Chris Kamler can be found at your local park playing Pokemon Go or on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, you know the one, at The Landmark office for just $10)



It's been a terrible week for this country but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention something that will likely get swept away with all the other news in the world.

On Saturday, our big, dumb, older step-brother the Kansas City Star published (online and in print) an op-ed piece in their “Midwest Voices” section about rape prevention. I'm certainly never going to be critical of how someone writes, except this article was long and constructed poorly. It's thesis statement was that women play a part in rape and rape can be prevented but that when men drink too much, they should be given a pass for making poor decisions.

So that I'm applying the correct context, here is the exact point of the article, “When men drink, their decision-making abilities are also limited. If a woman was too drunk to know what she was doing and should be excused for what happened, then why are men not allowed to be too drunk to make good decisions?”

The author is wrong. Her point is wrong. Her conclusion is damaging and it is a disservice to advancing the discussion on college campuses and in urban cities about how to stop the 250,000 rapes that are reported annually and countless others that are never reported. The column read as if it was defending rapists.
The Kansas City Star issued a retraction within hours on social media and its website. “In hindsight, it never should have been published,” wrote the Star’s publisher.

The point here is simple, the rapist is the one to blame for rape. The person committing sexual assault is the one to blame for sexual assault. The one committing domestic violence is the one to blame for domestic violence. Not the girl in the short skirt. Not the one at the bar who has had too many to drink. And not the mouthy spouse. Apples and oranges to the discussion.

The Star, to its credit, realized its mistake, although the article still went out in print. But I wanted to spend a few minutes explaining my proposal for preventing rapes. It's quite simple.

If you are a man or a woman considering rape, don't rape.

There. Pretty easy, right? This philosophy can also be used in some other contexts as well. If you're considering murder or shooting someone, don't murder or shoot someone. If you're considering committing a violent crime, don't commit a violent crime.

The philosophy becomes a little more difficult when you apply it to carbs and chocolate, but you get the idea. The responsibility and blame is solely on the criminal.

Unfortunately, that's not the way the world works anymore. People rape and murder and steal. And some of the suggestions in the article were valid. Women should learn self-defense and they should practice good “buddy-system” actions when out with friends. But not doing so doesn't make them culpable if a violent crime is committed against them.

To say otherwise is an insult to the victims, it forces them to relive their trauma over again, and The Star should have known better.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter @TheFakeNed and on many other social media outlets. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office for just $10)



During (one of my several stints in) college, I took a Political Science class. The class consisted of about 20 of us and we had a semester long assignment to fix poverty in the United States. We didn't.

But the process was educational to be sure. We had to study the economic factors, the societal factors and the environmental factors of poverty. We had to brainstorm ideas and we had to come to some consensus on which way to move forward. The class was nuanced and layered. There were hundreds of facets to discuss and learn about.

Last week, I saw a meme that said Donald Trump's solution to poverty was to build a wall. The meme had maybe seven words, had a silly picture of Trump in it and elicited a bit of a chuckle. Then I saw the next meme and the next meme and the next meme.

If you spend any time on Facebook lately, the greatest form of communication there seems to be mean-spirited political memes. They're anti-Trump, they're anti-Hillary, they're anti-just about anything. They are cheap knock-offs of political cartoons and there's no possible way that they can capture the nuance that even a political cartoon would.

This is how we are educated about our political process today. Twenty years ago we spent hundreds of hours debating and researching. Blogs come along and we can rant for hundreds of words. Then Facebook where we add a clever picture. Then Twitter where we are limited to 140 characters. So this is what we get - a seven word picture.

What's next? The title of a thing and a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down? Or maybe we program our remote controls to simply elicit one of only five pre-designed outcomes.

You know where this is going. We're being incredibly lazy and cavalier about the direction our country is going. I love a good meme just like the rest of us but I have a standard rule that if I don't know something about the topic, I keep my mouth and my memes shut.

One of the talk shows did a thing last week where they asked folks walking on a beach about Independence Day. Predictably, nobody could answer that the Declaration of Independence was in 1776, or that Ben Franklin was a founding father. But I'll bet if you put a few of the more popular memes in front of them, that they'd snatch them up.

Crack open a book. Do a Google search. Learn more about both sides of an issue. It shouldn't even take more than five or 10 minutes to learn. There are some incredibly complicated issues out there that deserve more than a .gif to resolve. Guns, mental health, poverty, immigration, and our role in the Middle East. Pick a topic - any topic - and give it a good 10 minute overview (on both sides of the issue) before you post your .jpeg.

Start doing your homework, America. Or keep your meme shut.

(You can catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, in The Landmark office for only $10)



There's too much going on in the world today. Britain is leaving the EU, which I don't fully understand. Do we still get episodes of Doctor Who? Donald Trump is running for president. Will his hair get its own Secret Service codename? This weekend is the Fourth of July. What NFL player will hurt his contract status by blowing up his hand this year?

Listen, there's too much going on, so I'm just going to tell you a story to help you understand how my brain works.

Last year, I bought a cheap surveillance camera. I did this mostly because I'm too lazy and wanted to know when my mailman shows up. I ripped open the box and installed the camera in my window and pointed it at the mailbox.

The install worked brilliantly. I got an email on my phone every day at 3 o’clock when my mailman showed up. The world continued to turn and I maximized my time on the couch limiting unnecessary trips to the mailbox. Life was great.

For those who may not know, I live in the house across the street from my parents ala Everybody Loves Raymond. We live at the end of a very sleepy cul-de-sac. Two weeks ago, my parents’ cars were broken into overnight, sitting in front of their house. Nothing significant was stolen but it still broke the veil that we lived in a “safe” neighborhood. The rest of the world figured this out 20 years ago, but until two weeks ago, my parents still left an occasional cell phone in an unlocked car.

This is where I swoop in and say, “Hey, I have a surveillance camera pointed at my mailbox. I wonder if I caught these intruders.” It is at that time I learned that I hadn't turned on “night mode” and furthermore, “night mode” wouldn't work through my window. After a few hours of research, I learned that the camera would need to be outside the house.

This now became a quest, so I ordered a special enclosure for the camera that is weather proof. I watched videos on how to best mount the camera and how to do the cabling.

Off to Lowe's I run. I purchase a spool of electrical cable and a gigantic drill bit with which to drill through the side of my house. I dug out the ladder and ascended to the roof so that I could mount my camera outside the house. Jump ahead three hours and two sweat-soaked shirts later and I had a camera mounted on the house with no less than four holes drilled into the siding and interior wall.
I was ready for whatever civic violence or attacks would beset upon our neighborhood. It would be documented and, most importantly, we would stay safe. Maybe the mayor or president would give me an award for best use of technology to thwart bad guys.

About an hour later, I got an email from my camera, “CAMERA OVERHEATED - CANNOT OPERATE ABOVE 85 DEGREES.” Game. Set. Match. The thing won't even turn on anymore.

This sums up my life perfectly. Sorry, Mom and Dad. You'll need to lock your car doors from now on. If you need me, I'll be on the couch waiting for the mailman.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Follow him other social media outlets of your choosing, including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube)



It's been another incredibly busy week in my world. My mother turned 70 this past weekend, so please join me in wishing her another 70 more. In an effort to maximize my word count and minimize my actual work (hey, this IS summer, after all) I'm sending in a bits and pieces column. Rest assured, I'm typing this lying down.

•Somebody left a puppy in a locked car during the Royals game Sunday. The temperature at the time was about 95 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. This means that the temperature inside the car would have reached over 130 degrees. First off, kudos to the folks who broke the dog out of that car. Second off, once they find who did this, they should leave those people in the car for the exact same amount of time and see how they like it.

•I will never understand the fascination with labeling a “mass shooting” as anything other than a mass shooting. Hate crime? Terrorism? Domestic terrorism? A crime is a crime and it seems that no matter what you label it, an AR-15 assault rifle is behind it.

•I saw a stat today that 85% of Republicans support a background check on the sale of assault weapons. The remaining 15% are all Congressmen or board members of the NRA (or both).

•Kudos to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cleveland's first national championship since Jim Brown's Cleveland Browns over 50 years ago. This means that it'll be at least another 50 until the Cleveland Indians become viable again. I'm fine with that.

•LeBron vs. Steph Curry was a pretty compelling story line eight weeks ago when the NBA Finals started. Looking forward to the start of the 2017 season July 1. Those NBA Finals should finish up in 2022.

•Would the last one out of the Donald Trump campaign please turn off the lights? Those Democrats are likely to start taxing electricity after they win with 92% of the vote.

•Speaking of The Donald, it's been amazing to see the list of celebrities endorsing Donald Trump. They include the Duck Dynasty folks, Tom Brady, a litany of white supremacists including David Duke, Hulk Hogan, Scott Baio, Dennis Rodman, Mike Tyson, Mike Ditka, and Lou Holtz. What a reality show that would make, eh?

•I don't care if it's 200 degrees at 6 a.m., if you start mowing your lawn before 10 on Saturday or Sunday, I'm going to hope you are attacked by wolves. Mow as late in the evening if you want to, but if you start so much as a leaf-blower before 10 a.m., it's over. I'm talking to you, neighbor who woke me up at 6:30 last weekend.

•I'm about two-thirds of the way through this column and you could have completed the entire distance of the new KC Streetcar line in the time it takes you to get to this bullet point.

•That being said, I was in Philadelphia two weeks ago and I'd take our two-mile streetcar over two minutes in Philadelphia.

•What event is going to have more couches burning in Cleveland? The NBA Finals championship this week or the Republican National Convention?

•Finally, I'm not going to say it's incredibly hot in Platte City, but I did see Ivan dipping his foot in the water dish outside Main Street Pet Resort to cool off. Have a great week!

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and more)




We've spoken dozens of times in this space about how the world is becoming a binary society. Issues and opinions are either a “1” or a “0” with no room for gray area or debate.

With the crippling events in Orlando this week, predictably, and within seconds, the discussion on Twitter and social media fragmented like a pane of glass dropped from a 50 story building. Each ripple of debate gravitated towards their polar opposites.

With the target of the shooting being a gay nightclub, there were either calls for inclusion of all sexual orientations or regurgitations of the shuns of the lifestyle in the eyes of God. The Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, tweeted a Bible scripture saying you “reap what you sow.”

With world affairs, the debate held no middle ground as folks rolled to the extremes of a Muslim extremist shooter repeating calls to deport or “send back” all those of the Muslim faith hours after one of the world's most famous Muslims, Muhammad Ali, was laid to rest. Donald Trump, predictably, renewed a call to limit access to the United States by those of Muslim faith.

With guns, the public still seems unable to get across to lawmakers that while weapons are fine for sport and protection, that a machine gun that shoots hundreds of bullets in moments, might not be a great weapon in the hands of someone mentally unstable. Yet, the actions will likely do nothing to curtail sales of the weapon which could be picked up at a Bass Pro Shop or gun store near you.

Nothing I write in this space is going to likely change your opinion or your beliefs on these issues. My goal, rather, is to give you pause to realize that there are hundreds of facets to this story and this shameful event that you should acknowledge. And, at the end of the day, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was the act of evil. Let the debates fill the air on whether it was an act of terrorism or an act of a hate crime or an act of a mentally unstable person. It was likely all of the above with even more boxes being checked.

The takeaway here is that “solving” these issues won't happen today or tomorrow. But we have to all do one percent better. Hug your kids one percent harder. Pay attention to societal issues one percent better. Be one percent more tolerant of other's opinions on social media and try your best not to jump to the furthest extreme of the argument.

The differences and nuance of our country used to be what made it great. The country was founded on dissent and differences. Now it's what fuels many to turn off contact with the outside world. Facebook is an absolute dumpster fire this week. I was on for 45 seconds yesterday when I saw the quote “hammers kill more people than assault rifles.” Yeah. Goodbye, Facebook. I'll check in with you in another week.

Gay issues, gun issues, religious extremism issues, and mental health issues are all infinitely layered and complex and won't be solved with the retweet of a meme or a LIKE IF YOU AGREE. Take that time to read an article. Take that time to donate blood or money to the Red Cross. Take that time to do whatever you can to make sure you and your children know how to face the hate.

Until these mass shootings equate to legitimate legislation or regulatory action and some semblance of order, it is the only good thing that will ever come out of a tragedy such as this.

(Find Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed or see if you can find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)



There are things that everyone needs to experience in life. You need to experience the birth of a child. You need to see the Rocky Mountains. You need to wade your toes in an ocean. You need to eat burnt ends from Arthur Bryant's. The list goes on.

There's also another list. This is the things that you really should never do in your life. You shouldn't blow up a firecracker in your hand. You shouldn't leave your toddler unattended in front of a broken fence with a gorilla on the other side. You shouldn't eat St. Louis BBQ. And you should never have to go on a road trip with a team full of 13-year-old boys to a baseball tournament.

That is the experience I had this past weekend. Twelve 13 year old boys, their parents and a few grandparents convoying up to Des Moines, Iowa for a three day baseball tournament.

First off, I don't know how traveling baseball, basketball, and soccer teams do these traveling tournaments every weekend. There are clubs out there that will travel 20 weekends in the season just going from three-day tournament to three-day tournament. By the third hour with these people, I wanted to see them all shoved out into traffic. No offense to them. But after a little while, you start to see people's true nature. Now. Take that group of 50 of us and stick us in the sun, wind, and dirt for 10 hours. If you didn't hate them all before, you will now. NOW, add 19 other groups of 50 people and put them in the same place for an entire weekend with dirty restrooms, cold hot dogs and non-working water fountains. It turns into human cock-fighting pretty darn quick.

Other things I learned this weekend:

•When you call a restaurant and try to make a reservation for 50 people, there will be one of two responses, the first is “great, that's awesome, we'll have it ready” and the second is just laughing and they slam the phone down.

•Nothing will prepare you for the smell of a car full of boys after playing baseball in the sun for 10 hours. No amount of rolled down windows or Febreze will make it okay.

•It might be Mother Teresa sitting next to you, but if you're in a car with me for more than an hour, I'm going to bite your head off about something.

•In a three hour car ride, I heard that stupid Justin Bieber “Love Yourself” song approximately 24 times on five different radio stations.

•Zombie Burger in Des Moines is legit.

•If you get a team of 13-year-olds and a team of 15-year-olds in the same space for more than 20 minutes, one of the 13 year olds is going to challenge the entire 15 year old team to a fight.

•The three hour drive to Des Moines is nearly as boring as the drive through Central Kansas.

•I'm still thankful I had a boy instead of a girl.

•Key topics of the boys in discussions this past weekend included:

•How “fire” that dude's shoes are.

•Whether you could hit a moving target with a thrown football (you couldn't).

•The new shooting video game.


•How “lit” the day was. (Answer: It was all pretty lit).

Through the miles and the smell and the baseball, I still wouldn't have traded it for the world. Maybe I have this trip on the wrong list after all.

(Get on Chris Kamler’s list by following his antics on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Listen, if we're going to make it all the way through until the November elections, we're going to have to learn how to debate. Whatever we are doing currently ain't working.

Part of the problem is that we now debate online, where you have a relative veil of anonymity (and if not anonymity then certainly a feeling of invincibility.) We don't debate or argue face to face anymore and so there are less and less cues to gauge.
I get it. The point of debate is to win the argument, but online you don't know the full audience, you don't have control over what you say after you say it and you don't know the level of intelligence with whom you're arguing against. And let's face it, our collective IQ's ALL go down 20 points when we check into social media.

I guess we have just come into this as a slow boil after years of watching the talking heads argue every night. At first, it was just CNN with two opposing people discussing the day's issues. Should we fight in Iraq? Should we raise the debt ceiling? Then the double-box became a triple and quadruple box. Then the arguing spilled over into ESPN with their Pardon the Interruption shows. Suddenly, you've got quadruple boxes fighting over whether Steph Curry “has what it takes” to be the greatest player over Michael Jordan and LeBron James. People arguing over a make-believe title. You might as well line people up and have them fight to the death over what shade of blue is best.

But instead of getting better at winning arguments we've just gotten better at arguing to argue. Just last week, I saw an argument pop up on Twitter about whether ketchup was appropriate for a hot dog condiment. Instead of everyone coming to the appropriate answer that, no, ketchup is only used for fries and needs to stay away from all meats, the argument instead devolved into name calling.

The other day, there was a post on Facebook that my wife showed me about a lost dog. What could be more benign than a post about your lost shih tzu? You guessed it, someone decided to shame the owner for leaving their gate open. Then another person defended that person's honor. Fifteen posts later somebody said “that's typical from a Hillary supporter.” How did we get here? How did we get from shih tzu right into the pile of shih tzu in 15 posts?

Think of all of the wasted energy that has now consumed at least a dozen people involved in this dog post. Think of the hundreds of people who chimed in to rightfully shame ketchup on hot dog haters.

What if you took that energy and took a five minute walk, or wrote a letter to a veteran, or hell, just took a nap instead of arguing.

But you and I both know that's not going to happen.

At the end of the day, arguing isn't really going to solve anything. Actions are the only thing that will achieve solutions and actions are the only way you can convince someone to never put ketchup on a hot dog.

(Catch Chris Kamler on Twitter @TheFakeNed or find him on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, among other places)




Great job! Congratulations on your graduation! Listen, I get that most of these types of articles are going to tell you some stark realities about the world you're about to enter. While they are likely right, and while the world is waiting to beat you down at nearly every turn, let me provide a slightly more positive spin.

Here are a few reminders for you as you face off against the world at large. No note taking necessary:

•Save a little bit of money. It doesn't have to be a bunch, but put some in the bank. You're going to need it sooner than you think.

•Seek out the positive. You can't swing a dead cat without finding something negative on the news, the radio or social media. Intentionally seek out that which makes you happy and ignore as much of the negative as you can.

•At your first job, you only need to learn one phrase which will set you apart from everyone else there, “Is there anything else I can help with?”

•At your second job, you can learn about delegation. Hire the kid that asks, “Is there anything else I can help with?”

•Worrying is wasted energy. You can only control what you can control. It's raining. Deal with it. Adapt. Be dynamic.

•QuikTrip sells cheap fountain sodas in the summertime. Enjoy summertime for this reason.

•Write down five things you'd like to do before you die and put that paper in a safe place. My bet is that you're going to have three of those knocked out before the decade is up. You may not think so, but you will.

•Relax, but don't veg. Limit your binge watching and, you know, step outside once in awhile.

•Listen, this next six months is going to be rough on the country, you can spend your time getting caught up in the hatred, or find a way to make your space better.

•Learn five things about a topic before you say “I hate it.” If someone tells you that they hate something, challenge them to tell you five facts about that thing.

•Call your mother.

•Read something every day. No, fantasy football scouting reports don't count.

•Don't be a dick.

You might think many of these fall under the category “common sense” but hey, you just finished four or eight years of school, how much common sense did you see displayed on a regular basis?

Congratulations! Now go kick the world's ass.

(Catch our man Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



I hope everyone had a chance last week to ride the new and shiny streetcar! Isn't it beautiful flying down I-29 taking those passengers from their planes all the way downtown?

My day started down at College and Metcalf and I took the 7:45 am streetcar all the way up 635. I changed trains at Park Hill South High School, then rode it all the way to Westport! I caught a matinee at the Midland theater then zipped out to the Independence Events Center on the red line to catch a Mavericks hockey game. It was a magical journey to be sure.

Magical, mostly, because it was made up in my head. I was downtown over the weekend and did see the new shiny streetcar but since my journey took me more than two and a half miles, sadly, I was unable to try out our new, shiny toy.

I get that this is Phase I, but I haven't seen any timetable or funding for Phase II or III or IV other than “construction starts soon.” When will I be able to go from the Airport to Kauffman Stadium? When can I go from Olathe to Lansing? When can I catch the streetcar outside the historic offices of the Platte County Landmark and make my way out to the Legends for a Sporting KC match?

The answer is “I don't know.” So for now we are stuck with a half-baked pie. We have asked for Kauffman Stadium and gotten a water fountain and a baseball bat. We've asked for Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and gotten an 8th grade recorder concert.

Phase II according to the KC ATA website will circle the city as well as criss-cross through it. But it's all up to finding the right funding. If initial numbers of 2,500 riders per day for the first phase of the streetcar are any indication, the demand can be there under the correct circumstances. It's yet to be seen which starts first, but if you're stuck on I-70 right now, you're not getting help any time soon.

The idea, I'm sure, behind building two miles of a streetcar line, is that it may spark the right imagination within the city and to build the desire for a larger people moving system. Anyone who has been to Chicago or San Francisco or any city larger than ours can easily see how it would open up the city.

But for now, we get to open socks on Christmas Eve as we wait for Phase 2 to start construction. And if you want to go from City Market to Power & Light, then you are in luck. If you want to go from Lawrence to Lee's Summit, however, you better get a great Uber driver.

(Get Chris Kamler’s book The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office for only $10. And follow Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



While the actual date is debated by historians, somewhere around July 4, 1776, one of the most important documents in our nation's history was signed. The document, of course, was the Declaration of Independence--a document that claimed its sovereignty from England and set in motion the greatest nation experiment in the history of the world.

The document was signed by all of the members of the Continental Congress and its president, John Hancock, allegedly wanted to make a statement to King George. Hancock wanted the king to be able to see his name without the use of his spectacles, so his name appears extra large and is likely the most famous signature in history.

The act is even immortalized in our culture that when we ask for a signature now, we ask for your “John Hancock.”

Last month, I was suffering from a cold and stuck in bed. We were expecting a package but I simply couldn't get up. I asked my 13-year-old son Brett to sign for it when the guy came to the door. We heard the knock. Brett went to the door, but quickly summoned me out of bed because there was a problem.

“The guy wants me to sign for it,” Brett said.

“So sign for it.”

“But I don't know how.”

So there it is. In 230 years, we've gone from the most famous John Hancock to not knowing how to write a John Hancock.

Obviously, this is due to his school emphasizing technology, typing and being online over cursive--which I generally agree with. But the glaring loophole is how we will sign our names to history. What happens when the boy goes to buy a house and has to make an “X” on all 150 documents they make you sign. Does he simply print his name? His handwriting is worse than a two-year-old’s. Maybe there will come a time he could text his signature, but then it wouldn't be a signature at all.

So I made it a mission over the next week to make him sign his name as much as possible. He learned the “B” then the flow into the “rett” and he enjoyed making the slash through the double-t's. And then we waited. We waited for the next time he had to sign for something.

It happened nearly two weeks later when we went to buy something at a local store that was over the $30 limit that required you to sign.

Here's our chance, I thought. Then the woman simply turned an iPad screen around and asked us to sign it. No paper. No receipt. Just an iPad.

Brett had no other recourse but to try to recreate his signature onto a computer screen - with his index finger. The signature looked worse than his printed name.
And then I realized - I can't remember the last time I had to fully write out my signature - nearly every time it's just a squiggle that I write down on receipts at restaurants and the grocery store. When Brett turns of age, he will only need to tap his phone or his car keys to pay for something. Buying a house will be a series of keystrokes.

The signature is dead. Long live the X Men.

(Long live @TheFakeNed on Twitter)



After 43 years on this earth (44 in June), I have simply come to terms with the fact that I'm just not very smart. Oh, sure. I wouldn't say I lack intelligence in all things - I seem to be the only one smart enough in my house to know how to replace a toilet paper roll, for instance. But overall, highly academic things like politics, science, social issues - I'm just not very intelligent about.

My calling has always been toward sports. Sports smart is completely different than “real” smart. I mean, I could tell you that Eric Hosmer had a 19 game hitting streak that ended last week. I could tell you that the Chiefs have had winning seasons for the past two years - a feat they hadn't done since the 1990's.

But I can't have an educated discussion with you on why gas prices are inching closer to $2. I also can't tell you who to vote for in the next election - although I will buy stock in Budweiser and duct tape if it's Donald Trump. Also, I can't tell you anything about the stock market. I just don't have that power.

But it's days when my sports world and the real world collide where I have a chance to learn a little more about the world. One of those moments happened over the weekend, when the Kansas City Chiefs drafted a punt returner in the fifth round of the NFL draft. Tyreek Hill, who once played for Oklahoma State, was once labeled “the fastest man on the earth” by Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder.

Hill can't officially claim he hails from Oklahoma State, however, because he was kicked off the team in 2014. His dismissal stems from an incident where he choked his pregnant girlfriend and then punched her in the stomach. Hill was sentenced to three years probation and finished his college career at a Division II football program.

Hill is still incredibly fast and wowed scouts at the combine enough to warrant the Chiefs picking him up in the fifth round. The pick has sparked a great debate among those who feel rewarding a man who would punch a pregnant woman with a $350,000 rookie contract. The Chiefs, who held a hastily called press conference to defend the pick Saturday, disagreed. They asked fans to trust them and that they had done their due diligence.

Through all of this, I wish I were smarter. So I went to the internet and learned that nearly one in three women will suffer from domestic violence in their lifetime. Over 12.7 million people are physically abused, raped, or stalked by their partners in one year. Two out of three homicide cases against females are killed by a family member or intimate partner.

I don't know what the appropriate punishment is or whether Tyreek Hill should've been chosen to play football by the Chiefs. I really wish I did. My “intelligence” is limited in a lot of areas.

But when you boil it all down, I am glad I learned one thing... that's not to hit girls.

Maybe I should focus on supporting organizations that share that level of intelligence.

Editor’s Note: A wonderful local shelter that helps children affected by domestic violence is Synergy Services. You can support them by visiting synergyservice.org.



There's not really a good way to say this without sounding pretentious, so I'm just going to come out and say it. I had Hollywood people at my house this week. There's more news on why they were there coming out shortly. But in the meantime, I have got to share a few stories about hosting folks from the Left Coast.

I've had the opportunity several times to interact with friends from Los Angeles. And they are all lovely people. But let's face it. If you live in LA, your whole world view ends anywhere east of Las Vegas. New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia might as well be combined with London, Berlin and Moscow. It's all the “East Coast” to them.

And Kansas City is basically one giant flyover city combined with Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland and the entire state of Texas. One of the fellas I was with was literally looking at my t-shirt which read MISSOURI in collegiate lettering and continued to call the city we were standing in “Kansas.”

I get it. I do. You're in Los Angeles where you wear winter coats if the temperature drops below 68 degrees. If you have 5% body fat you are hospitalized for obesity. Los Angelenos can't physically comprehend a 12 minute commute to work unless you work from home. So it took them a while for me to explain that yes, 71 degrees was a postcard day in Kansas City. I think they heard me once their teeth stopped chattering.

But I dutifully took my new LA friends around. We stopped by Boulevard Brewery and tipped a few back. I took them to the Negro Leagues Museum. I even got them out to see championship baseball at Kauffman Stadium. Sure, one of our party ordered a salad (this actually happened, and, it turns out, yes, The K does sell a salad.) Sure, I kept having to explain which side of the state line we were on at any given time. At one point, I had to drive up State Line Road which really confused them.

In a way, I'm pretty thankful that there wasn't any severe weather last week because these guys would've just curled into a ball. They were pretty stunned as it was that precipitation fell from the sky for a couple hours. I had to explain that it was called “rain.”

But we did find common ground. We all recognized that St. Louis was an awful city. We all agreed that Kauffman Stadium was beautiful. And we all were in total agreement that Kansas City BBQ is superior to any other cooked meat on the planet (with, I guess, the exception of something called “fish tacos.”)

The only remaining point of clarification that I never fully explained to them before they left was the answer and cadence to “HI, MAY I HELP YOU?” shouted at them seconds after walking into a Gates BBQ.

“Uh. She's talking to you. She's asking you for your order.”

“What? But I'm 12th in line.”

“Yeah. But it's your turn to order”

“Well, I can't even see the menu.”


Maybe the movie version will have them ordering more quickly.

(Chris Kamler writes columns and tweets and books and stuff like that. Buy his book “The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo” for only $10 at The Landmark office. Follow Kamler on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



Through some error in accounting or something, I recently got a promotion at work. Nothing really to sneeze at, but it does come with a new office and some additional responsibilities. I like the new job and so far, it seems like it will be very challenging and rewarding.

But at the end of the day, a job is a job. Right? Getting up for work every day, trudging into the office. Putting on pants. These are all kind of a drag--no matter where you work.

You can read tons of business books that tell you to find a job doing what you love. And I think, to some degree, I have that in my current role. But for 99% of us, no job is going to make us incredibly happy 100% of the time.

But then there is Gus. I'll explain.

Back in my 20's, I got a job out of college working at one of the riverboat casinos. I tell people it was the best job and the worst job I've ever had. I dealt craps and the job required me to interact with customers, have fun with them and also had some elements of a carnival barker in there as well. My coworkers and I were all in our early 20's and it was the first time we'd all had a little bit of money to spend. It's like going away to college except you didn't have to go to class and didn't have to beg for cash every weekend. On the downside, you worked horrible hours - sometimes getting off work at five in the morning. You had cigarette smoke blown in your face every night and you worked every holiday and weekend.

But I'll never forget Gus. You see, when Missouri originally allowed gambling in the state, they said you could only do it as part of a riverboat cruise. Think of it as an international waters type of deal. Casino companies were so eager to expand into Missouri, you could've made laws requiring everyone to stand on one foot and whistle Dixie and they'd do it. So riverboat gambling was made legal. After about a month, some of the logistical issues with being on a one hour gambling cruise were made evident. Namely, making sure power and communications worked away from shore. The idea of forcing the riverboats to actually sail the river was quickly scrapped and the boats were permanently moored to the docks.

But they were still seafaring vessels that were under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard and that meant they still needed a full crew and a captain. Captain Gus.

Captain Gus was the captain of a boat that never sailed. In fact, they put a concrete wall between the boat and the river so Captain Gus couldn't have taken his boat out for a ride without Harry Potter-like wizard skills. But Gus remained the captain. He wore the hat and the captain's insignias as he led an entire crew who cleaned and maintained a boat that would never sail.

Gus was about the happiest guy on the planet. He always had time to stop and chat with you in the break room, probably because he knew he'd never be late for his next cruise. He always made his appointed rounds with a smile as wide as the Missouri River itself - a river that he didn't really have to be that familiar with since he'd never be on it.

So the next time you think you have a cushy job - one where you think you have it all figured out, think of Captain Gus and realize that you still have work to do. You don't have the greatest job in the world, but maybe someday you will.

(Chris Kamler is kind of the always-happy Captain Gus of Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series and The Season of Sungwoo now for only $10 at The Landmark)



In today's society, I fully understand that in order to get a sliver of attention you have to do something flashy - something noteworthy. If you're trying to get the eye of a beautiful woman, you might need to buy a fast car. If you're trying to get a promotion at work, you may need to come in extra early.

When it comes to marketing and advertising, you've got to stand apart from the typical commercials and ads you see every day. If you want to sell a car or a diamond ring, you are competing against a dozen or so other companies who want to sell a diamond ring or a car as well.

So let's say that you are in the market for a new car. Oh sure, you could do exhaustive research on the Internet. You could check out the classifieds or visit dealerships in your area. Or... Or you could just choose the dumbest commercial that stands out.

That's where Shawnee Mission Kia Jenn comes in. You see, this woman has garnered a contract from the Shawnee Mission Kia dealership to create the dumbest, least funny commercials that have got to be designed to cut straight to the hypothalamus (a.k.a. dumb-center) of the brain that controls purchases. That is really the only logical explanation for it.

The plot of these 30-second video masterpieces seems to be Jenn setting up for a terrible joke, wearing a dumb costume, and then forgetting to mention she's trying to sell you a car.

There was an old horror movie I remember when I was growing up - part of the Halloween movie series. The idea was that all these people would wear this particular Halloween mask and then someone would flip a switch and they'd all turn into murderers.

I think something similar might be happening with these stupid commercials. At some point, Shawnee Mission Kia Jenn will say a code word and we're all going to vote for Bernie Sanders or mail order a bride from Russia or do something crazy.

I understand that as long as you're talking about the product then the marketing has worked. But I am so turned off by these dumb commercials, I now remember this Kia dealership specifically because it's the one place I will NEVER buy a car.
What's worse is that they appear nearly 15 times every Royals game, so they just sit there, like a puppy waiting for you to teach it to read.

Maybe it's me, but my guess is that you're of similar mind and can easily mention the one ad that you absolutely hate. Maybe it's a stupid jingle, or that spokesperson that sounds like they have marbles in their mouth. Regardless, it seems like if you're trying to sell us something, a clever way to do it might be to mention the product, mention the price, and then mention your address. Just an idea.

(Chris Kamler doesn’t use any dumb commercials to sell his book, The Silence, The Series and The Season of Sungwoo. You can get it at The Landmark office for just $10. In the meantime, follow the antics of Chris on Twitter @TheFakened)



It's baseball season once again in Kansas City. Just like football season, basketball season, NASCAR season, and even soccer season, Kansas City continues to show a passion for sports second to none. Sunday's Royals home opener was the highest rated in Kansas City for ESPN in the network's history. Activity on social media continues to set records and you are guaranteed to sell extra newspapers if you have a photo of Kauffman on the front page.

But not every fan is created equal. Not everyone has walked the same path to their allegiance and, therefore, can be easily spotted. There's no wrong way to be a fan, but there are certain levels of fandom to be sure.

The Strong Silent Type - This fan has a hat or a jersey from when they started being a fan, but it's in a dusty box, or in the back of a closet. When asked if they're a fan of the team they say “yes,” but are rarely seen with gear on unless it's the big game. (Example: Rockies fans)

The Bandwagon Fan - I had a friend who lived in Olathe that rotated his fandom between the Yankees, SF Giants, Raiders, and Patriots - depending on who was doing the best. This person talked so much trash because their team was always in first place. Namely because they always picked the first place team to have as their team. (Example: Yankees, Patriots fans)

The Hedger - This person is a fan of a wide variety of mid-level teams. Unlike the Bandwagon Fan, this person keeps their affiliations through thick and thin, but diversifies their portfolio to maybe five teams in each league so one of their teams is likely to be in the hunt. (Example: Indians + Padres + Giants + Angels + Rangers fans)

The Loveable Loser - This person is the glass-half-empty fan. Up until 2014, I'd categorize my Royals fandom in this category. No matter what you do, you always seem to pull for the team that comes up short. (Example: Missouri fans)

The Entitled Fan - This is the fan whose team is in first place but they always seem to not let that be enough. Team in first? Well the coach can never win the big game. Team having an off year? That guy should be fired. (Example: Kansas fans)

The Downtrodden - Your team can't seem to get over the hump. You haven't lost faith, but damn does your squad make it difficult. Maybe you've got a decent team, but your star athlete got a DWI. Or maybe your team has finished in second place for five years straight. (Example: Chiefs, K-State Fans)

The Boogieman Fan - Your team is in first place. Your team has displayed an amazing ability to play this season. But the other shoe has got to drop, right? We're not really this good, right? This fan is always looking for the boogieman around the corner. (Example: 2015 Chiefs fans, 2014 Royals fans)

The Moment Fan - This is the fan who has managed to drink in the moment with respect to the fact that the moment is fleeting. You can hear the birds chirping and taste the dijon mustard on the stadium hot dog. You realize that your moment in the sun is just a moment, but that moment is free to last forever. Even though you know it won't. Gather ye rosebuds, Moment Fan. Enjoy the view from the top. (Example: 2016 Royals fans.)

(Find Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can purchase his book “The Silence, The Series and The Season of Sungwoo” at The Landmark office for only $20)



As I get older, I really do seem to be enjoying those stereotypical things that come when you get older. I have a natural distrust for anyone in their 20's. I tune out my wife and pretend I didn't hear her unless she's talking about food. (Spoiler alert) And I also find myself more and more bitching about these kids today.

For what seems like the last 18 years, I've been traveling every weekend. A couple weeks have been for business, and a couple weeks have been for pleasure. I just got back from a weekend with my son and his two buddies that would be categorized in neither. Three 13-year-old boys just out of the city limits of Columbia along the banks of the Missouri River and the Katy Trail. Peaceful, right? Not to 13-year-olds who spent the entire first day stretching their arms to the sky with their cell phones seeking a single bar of service like they were paying homage to the Roman Goddess of WiFi.

The whole idea was to get away from the grid and spend some time relaxing. Unfortunately, this seasonable weather we have enjoying went away, the cold and rain moved back in and suddenly I was locked in a cabin with three boys who were certain that they'd die if they didn't have cable television and Instagram.
That's when I started rooting through closets and under the beds in the cabin and found paydirt. Board games. The boys looked upon the SORRY! board pieces like they were replicas from the moon landing. I had to explain the rules which took a total of two paragraphs - THREE TIMES to them. Finally, I said, “See that one that looks like the green candy crush button? Yeah. Move that backwards when you get a ‘7’.” We played a full game and argued about who won and shamed the ones that lost.

We ran through the entire closet. Risk. Monopoly. Chutes and Ladders. Boggle. Clue. Each time the box was opened, these kids grew slightly more detached to their devices. Oh sure, they still instinctively grabbed at them after each game like Dr. Pavlov had just run a bell and Fido is expecting a piece of cheese. But it got better and by day three, the first thing they reached for in the morning wasn't the phone but rather some breakfast.

The victory was short-lived as the second we got out on I-70 the devices turned on, the headphones went in, the texts were flying and the eyes were rolled back in their heads for the next two hours as if the heroine needle had tapped the correct vein.

What are these kids going to do if they don't go through the suffering of arguments claiming somebody moved the green piece one past the circle square? How will they learn to cheat their friends if they don't play the banker in Monopoly? How will they endure a lifetime of pain and torment if they never play one round of Dungeons & Dragons?

These kids today with their smartphones and their Snapchats. Give me a Monopoly game where you can't find the lid and you only have seven houses because the dog at the rest and where you have a house rule that whenever someone lands on Community Chest you have to come up with a knock-knock joke. That's how you learn to think on your feet and develop friendships that last.

That's something worth arguing at the youth of America for. These kids today.

(Chris Kamler can be a kid on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Watch for the return of his Landmark feature, K Replay, now that Royals season is ready to roll)



According to a recent study, Americans spend roughly 37 million hours a year waiting in lines. These could be lines at the bank. Lines to vote. Lines in the drive-through, or maybe just waiting in line for your daughter to get dressed so you can do your business in the bathroom.

There are studies about the psychology of lines. There are ways to make you think you're not waiting in a line when you're actually waiting in a line. Southwest Airlines breaks the line up. That way when you're B57, you don't actually realize that you are 238th in line. Most elevators have mirrored doors so that you can look at yourself while waiting for an elevator to take your mind off the time you wait. Psychologists will also tell you that you will wait longer in a line if you know the reason for waiting. If there is an announced mechanical problem, you don't mind waiting in a longer line at Worlds of Fun for a ride than if it was unknown.

People have devoted their lives in an effort to make you wait in a line and like it.

I have a simple question. Why? Why does the line exist at all? I was in San Antonio this past weekend for four days and spent the majority of my time there waiting in lines. There was a line to get on the plane. An hour line to ride the Riverwalk boat. A 20 minute line to catch the rental car shuttle and to check your baggage and to reserve a table at a restaurant. When we got to the sporting event, there were lines for the bathrooms and concessions. Every single one of them was inefficient - run by ineffective people doing their jobs.

We put men on the moon and we can't figure out how to get people to buy a hot dog in under 25 minutes.

My day job deals with computers. Computers, put very simply, speak in a very simple language. Their entire alphabet consists of two characters. A 1 or a 0. It's called the language of Binary and sequences of 1's and 0's mean certain commands. Computers can only process a single character at a time, but do it at the speed of light. The first computers CPU's (the brain of the operations) were single-threaded. Think of them as a slow line for a hot dog. Then someone got the great idea to add a second CPU to make a computer dual-threaded. The CPU could still only process one command at a time, but could do them twice as fast because there were two of them. From 1956, when a computer could only process one 1 or one 0 at a time until today, the processing speed of computers has advanced one trillion (with a “T”) times.

And yet, we still wait 25 minutes for a hot dog, or to deposit a check, or to get your license plate renewed.

Maybe the hot dog vendor can learn a thing or two from the smartphone in his pocket and turn a zero into a win.

(Stand in line to get Chris Kamler’s book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark for only $20. Follow Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



When you travel, you get a lot of time to think about things. You think about how simple it would be to run the TSA XRay folks through a course on how to smile every once in a while. You think about how no matter what city you're in, a bottle of water will always be $3.50 at the airport. You wonder if you could quit your job and become a full time voice person for airports... “The white zone is for loading and unloading. There is no parking in the white zone.”

In Kansas City, you also get to think about the pros and cons of the airport itself. There are a lot of great things about KCI Airport. While most airports you need to show up two and a half hours before your flight, often times you can roll into KCI an hour or less (getting dropped off right at the curb) and still have time to spare. The airport is relatively well-run, it's mostly clean and easy to get in and out of. Obviously, there are also cons. The decentralized security isn't standard. The airport is very far from frequent travelers in Overland Park, and the offerings at the airport aren't great. Luckily, you don't spend that much time there, so you really don't need a super fancy steakhouse, but would it kill them to put a Gates or Joe's KC BBQ joint in Terminal C?

There's been a buzz the last several years from city leaders about potentially building a new KCI, a single terminal airport that would be modeled after most other airports around the country. The restaurants would be on the same side of the security doors and it would certainly simplify the way people go through security.

The downside is, obviously, that it will cost a billion dollars. That's billion with a “B.” (The 2015 estimate was $964 million dollars, but I'm going to go ahead and round up.) Very little of that money would come from the airlines themselves. They are simply renters and it's not up to them to pay for a new building. No, the cost will come out of your pocket and my pocket to be sure. I don't know about you, but I don't have a billion dollars laying around. I guess if I did, I'd be typing this on a gold-plated laptop. (Full disclosure: I'm not.)

So as I have been traveling the last several weeks, I've had a long chance to debate this idea of a new airport and it wasn't until my trip to Orlando this past week when I realized the greatest selling point - the only selling point, really - for a new airport. I had to fly out very early on a Friday morning and before I went to bed Thursday evening, I went against my wife's and dietitian's orders and had a full-blown turkey sandwich as a bedtime snack. Oh sure, the turkey's expiration date was two days previous, but that's just a con put on by the turkey companies to keep you buying new turkey. The sandwich was delicious and I went to sleep with a full stomach and my bags packed for Orlando.

Friday morning came and I drove up to the airport, checking into the Southwest Airlines terminal with an hour to spare. I had my headphones on and the CCR cranked. All was right with the world and I was ready for a wonderful trip.
And then it happened. The turkey sandwich announced its presence. It turns out those expiration dates had some teeth to them and I needed to find the facilities. Fast.

The Southwest terminal has eight gates in it and stretches nearly two football fields in a long, narrow stretch. Security doors blocked my egress to the large, shiny bathroom only steps away. My gate was at the far end of one side and the only bathroom behind the security doors was on the other side. I did the frog waddle down the two football fields to fine one ONLY ONE toilet and it was in use. After a llittle soft shoe tap dancing, I got my turn and it was as close of a call as I would ever want to have near an airplane. Luckily, everything came in for a smooth landing and tray tables were returned to their upright and locked positions.

It was that moment that I became a flag-waving member of the “New KCI” plan.

Some have called it KCI-2. And for me, the “2” would be absolutely correct.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)




Today's column begins my fifth year of the Rambling Moron space here on Page 3. There would be some that could say to just let the achievement go unnoticed but I'm going to take a tip from Madison Avenue and do a complete RELAUNCH.

Welcome to the NEW AND IMPROVED RAMBLING MORON column!! All new! All improved! We've got nouns and adjectives and, occasionally, verbs. Don't let your participle dangle because the NEW AND IMPROVED RAMBLING MORON column will snatch it up!!

Let me fill you in on a little secret, though. This is going to be the same old column - just like you've read for over 200 weeks here in The Landmark. But it's amazing what a little polish and salesmanship will do, right?

I got the idea for the “RELAUNCH” from an article I read recently about classic products getting stale. Take something that works and make it NEW and EXCITING. Like when you see “new” on a roll of toilet paper - something that's been in use since the Adam and Eve days - but Charmin has suddenly revolutionized wiping front to back.

A trip down any aisle of the grocery store will see this in action. Saltine crackers - basically bread that's been left out too long - NEW WITH MORE WHEAT. Apple Juice in a NEW AND EASY TO OPEN CONTAINER!!

It happens in media and sports all the time, too. If your team is crappy, that's the best time to RELAUNCH with a new mascot or a new color scheme. The Florida Marlins redo their look twice a year, it seems and it hasn't done anything to improve their standing in Major League Baseball.

But the product I think that might just take the cake on the “new and improved” bandwagon is a new product by Tangram, a manufacturing company in Korea. They have “REINVENTED” the... wait for it... the Jump Rope.

Now, if you're like me, you probably haven't thought about the jump rope since you were in third grade. And that's likely a problem for companies that make jump ropes. You probably only buy one in your lifetime and once you hit puberty, you get a smartphone, get fat, and your jump roping days are over.

Enter Tangram Corporation. They've taken the same jump rope (they're made of nylon and plastic now) and added LED lights to the inside of the rope. They've also added Bluetooth capabilities (because anything is better with Bluetooth, right? Your car drives better. Your milk tastes better. Your kids are happier with Bluetooth) to the rope so that it interacts with your phone and tells you how many times you've jumped. It even gives you the appearance of numbers and letters as the rope passes by your eyes.

All these inventions to REVOLUTIONIZE something that was perfected the first time a kid picked up a long piece of string. Taking something old and making it new again. Madison Avenue, you've done it again.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some reinventing to do and money to be made - I think it's time... to add LED lights and Bluetooth to toilet paper.

(Chris Kamler can be found revolutionizing Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Summer of Sungwoo at The Landmark for only $20)




By this time in the year, I'd like to be able to sit here and tell you that I'm all done with my taxes. I'm not.

For whatever reason, the US Government has decided that I need to pay them some money so that severely impacts my motivation to complete my taxes before April. Maybe if they sweetened the pot a little bit, I might, at least, have a more enjoyable experience.

I'm not talking about a flat tax, or a major reduction in taxes. I know that I'll never live long enough to see something like that--and the government does need to pay for pot holes some way (except in Kansas City, Kansas where they just ignore them.) But I would be willing to offer up a few entertaining deductions that folks can at least smile about when filling out their 1040 this year.

•Mileage deduction for the amount of miles your GPS took you off course. I would've saved about $14 the other day when the thing outsmarted itself and took me through the side roads of Lenexa to get around a phantom wreck on I-35.

•Deduction for all gym memberships purchased the first week in January but only if you went to the gym through at least June.

•Many of the presidential candidates are making promises to include college tuition or free student loans to high schoolers. How about the government pay back student loans if your team with the Final Four or National Football Championship? (Missouri fans would need not apply.)

•You are able to deduct earnings made from the stock market, but how about opening that up to losses in daily fantasy leagues (at least in the states where it's not banned)?

•The Landmark has recently upped its coupon game with some great grocery coupons. How about crediting us for money saved on coupons? Or maybe anything we purchase through the 12 Items or Less register?

•You'd obviously have to incorporate social media into this new tax structure. How about crediting users of Twitter and Facebook if they made a post that didn't yell at someone? It could cut down on us calling people idiots. And then penalize people who posted funny videos of cats.

•In honor of my mother's biggest pet peeve, we should find a way to allow a special $1,000 credit for people who don't check their smartphones at the dinner table.

•I don't know anyone who has donated $1 to the presidential campaigns on their tax forms, but how about the IRS credit us $1 for every presidential commercial we're going to watch in 2016?

•Or what about $5 off your taxes for every day your local weatherman was wrong about the temperature? That could easily offset the days you had to bring an umbrella to work only for it to be sunny and 80.

Let's get on these, IRS. It's not like you don't just sit around nine months out of the year and act busy the other three. Let's get cracking and ease the pain of the US taxpayer--or at least increase our motivation to get them filed on time.

(When he’s not putting off doing his taxes you can find Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Also look for him on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook)



Life would be much simpler if we were all computers. You see, computers run on binary. It's an entire language of electrical impulses, but it boils down, simply, to either being a one or a zero. Computers calculate entire strings of ones and zeros in order to get their instructions and take action on those commands. Computers can do anything but it starts with either being a one or a zero.

People are much more complicated, yet my brain still wishes for the simplistic light or dark element that computers have. Humans want people we know to either be bad or good, a one or a zero with no other possible outcome. And humans are NEVER truly plus or minus. They are ALWAYS somewhere in the middle.

A number of news stories right now prove my point. Let's take Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning. The aging quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Throughout his playing career and endorsement career, Manning has been truly a Boy Scout. Please and thank you; buy this pizza because I think it's good; check out this insurance because I can throw a touchdown. Manning has been all over ads and his career is a hall of fame one. Great guy, right?

Jump east and you can see the polar opposite of Manning in the form of “Johnny Football” Johnny Manziel who is the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Manziel was a highly touted prospect out of college but has always had a history of being the party boy and since he has been with the Browns has missed a number of meetings and reportedly shown up drunk at practice. Furthermore, two weeks ago Manziel was involved in a domestic violence incident still being investigated by the police. Bad guy, right?

Well, not so fast. It seems that when Manning was in college at the University of Tennessee, there was a documented incident between him and a former female athletic trainer in 1996. The incident alleged a “hostile work environment” and the incident also alleges that Manning exposed himself to the trainer.

And Manziel, prior to two weeks ago, had steered clear of domestic violence issues and the police originally didn't pursue any charges in the recent incident. True, Manziel likely has a drinking problem but hadn't normally hit women.
So what's the truth? Are they both bad guys? Good guys? How can I sum this up in 140 characters so I can make a binary Twitter post?

Look at the late Derrick Thomas of the Chiefs, who left a lasting impact in the Derrick Thomas “Third and Long Foundation.” He also fathered seven children by several different women. Look at the great Joe Namath who predicted a victory in Super Bowl III but who battled substance abuse on live television, asking sideline reporter Suzy Kolber to kiss him on air. Look at Bill Maas, who was a tremendous Kansas Citian but also caught with a gun at the airport. The list could go on for hours. And that's just football players.

The truth of the matter is that people are complicated and nobody is worthy of 100% praise or 100% indictment. Nobody is good or bad. We're all just people. And as we look at our role models and heroes (and even presidential candidates) it's important to remember that you can't just put someone into one of two boxes.
Life would be simpler if people were computers because you could start and end as either a one or a zero.

(Chris Kamler is a one on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and other places, if you dare)



On the heels of last week's HOT SPORTS TAKE, I'm doubling down and providing you with a second one in consecutive weeks. But this time, it's going to affect me personally in a very important way.

It's not going to be a stretch to say that the University of Missouri has had better days. Since its inception as the first public university west of the Mississippi river in 1839, you can find no years as tumultuous as the past year for Ol' Mizzou. And this is a campus that burnt to the ground, had a public lynching of a janitor and survived the Civil War.

My university is crumbling faster than Truman the Tiger can spray Febreze on his mascot uniform and it's killing me to watch it.

One year and one month ago, my family and I traveled to Orlando on New Year's Day to watch the Tigers play (and win) in the Citrus Bowl. Since that day, the University has been pounded by a series of failures, bad luck, mistakes and outright stupid moves. To recap:

•On campus protests this fall centered around race relations on campus capture the nation's focus when the football team threatens a boycott if demands are not met

•Those demands include resignations by the UM System President and the Chancellor of the university

•During the protests a mass media professor who had joined the protesters allegedly assaulted a member of the mass media

•Gary Pinkel, head football coach, resigned due to health issues

•Around the same time as the protests, two people were arrested in relation to threatening tweets causing an interruption in classes - the threat was to “shoot every black person I see”

•Since 2012, 16 athletes have been arrested which ties Georgia for the most arrests of athletes since Missouri joined the Southeastern Conference - Mizzou sure jumped into the SEC culture (data as of 2014 and now is greater than 20)

•A decline in incoming freshmen for the upcoming 2016 year marks the first decline in over a decade

•The starting quarterback was kicked off the team for an alleged substance abuse problem

•Two Missouri basketball players were arrested last week for being in possession of drug paraphernalia when their roommate was arrested on felony burglary.

Not to mention the overwhelming concern among women on campus that the athletic department has aided or abetted a “rape culture” including rape allegations to Dorian Green-Beckham and a suicide by Sasha Menu Courey who was allegedly a victim of a sexual assault.

It's been a bad year or two, there's no doubt. And it needs to get cleaned up. My time at Missouri was filled with positive memories of a campus that knew how to have fun but also knew when to work hard.

It's safe to assume the campus is only missing a big tent before it's called a complete circus.

So here's my official HOT TAKE on the subject and here's where I put some skin in the game. I own approximately 20 MISSOURI articles of clothing. It represents about 50% of my “loungewear” (a.k.a. the first thing I wear after 5:01 p.m. during the week). My challenge is to not wear any more Missouri clothing until they can go 30 days without making the headlines for something stupid.

It's been four days, Mizzou. Do better. I'm going to start getting cold otherwise.

(Chris Kamler sports loungewear on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and you can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram)



There's a phrase in many corners of the Internet and in the media that means making a prediction so bold that it literally melts the plastic sitting around the reader of the viewer. A stance that is so wild it needs to be ridden in a seven second rodeo.

I'm referring, of course, to the HOT TAKE and it is the chosen weapon of talking heads from CNN to ESPN to even VH1. “Donald Trump Hates America” would be a good example of one. Whether or not that's true, it's more about the shock and awe factor. “Alex Gordon Hates Puppies” would be a good one that is sure to start the conversation.

I try to stay away from giving HOT TAKES on the Internet mostly because those takes are typically wrong and typically uninformed. You don't know Alex Gordon's stance on puppies unless you're a puppy or Alex Gordon. You might think Donald Trump hates America but it still can't be said as a fact.

That being said, I'm about to clue you in on the only HOT TAKE that I've ever sincerely given on the Internet. And here it is:

The NFL will not celebrate Super Bowl 75 in its present form.

As you know, this year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the ultimate sporting event on the planet - the NFL's Super Bowl. (It's that thing that's played between $2 Million Dollar Doritos commercials)

But here's the problem, unless you've been living under a rock the past couple of years, you're aware of the grave danger NFL players are putting themselves in with regard to head traumas and a condition called CTE. Just this week, two high profile players retired earlier than expected- --Calvin Johnson and Justin Tuck.

Johnson, a wide receiver for the Detroit Lion is calling it quits despite being only 30 years old. He is not injured and many speculate it's because of prioritizing long term health over the chance to play in a Super Bowl. Tuck was a hero of two Super Bowls with the New York Giants but leaves the league after only 11 years.

Furthermore, there are now compelling signs that the influx of more players is dwindling in future years. ESPN sites a 10% decline in youth football participation this past year adding to declines the previous years.

But all that doesn't add up to my HOT TAKE. You're still going to find people who will take money to beat each other up.

No, the big chip in my HOT TAKE are fans like kerouac5 from Reddit.com who wrote that he has been a season ticket holder to the Chiefs since 2004. He has, by all accounts, tremendous seats in section 104. He writes, “I am starting to dislike the NFL an awful lot as a business entity.”

The reason the NFL won't be celebrating Super Bowl 75 is that the money is going to dry up. More and more fans like kerouac5 are debating whether to spend their disposable income on an industry built around sacrificing the health of their employees and one like baseball where the players are more approachable and more likely to have their senses at age 65.

Kerouac5 ended our conversation with this, “That's it, 'why am I supporting this?' comes to mind an awful lot.” He's going to find more and more who agree with him. Better watch those commercials while you can.

Watch out. The plastic in your chair is starting to melt.

(Chris Kamler gives his takes, hot or not, on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, “The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo” at The Landmark office for only $20)



 An incomplete listing of things I said to my 13 year old this week:

• No

• Stop touching that

• Yes. Cam Newton is a GOAT

• Wait. Why is he a GOAT?

• No. Seriously. No.

• Stop it.

• Turn the station. I'm done listening to that song.

• Does this song play on EVERY station?

• Put on deodorant

• Brush your teeth

• I didn't hear any water running

• I still didn't hear any water running

• Stop it. No.

• Get your feet out of my face.

• What smells?

• Yes. You have to wear pants.

• Yes. You have to wear a coat.

• Why didn't you wear a coat?

• Donald Trump is a rich person running for President

• That's right. He's also a huge jerk.

• Stop playing baseball near the television

• Put your phone away

• Why didn't you get my text?

• No. Not until you put pants on.

• That's great about your grades, but I don't understand why you need to tell me to SUCK ON THAT, PEDRO

• Stop calling me “Fam”

• If I knew what “Swag Daddy P” meant, I'd be better able to understand

• I don't think the smell came out. I washed it twice.

• Stop touching that. Seriously.


• No. You can't shovel snow in just a t-shirt

• Does every station you listen to only play Adele's “Hello”?

• Put more deodorant on

• Yes. You need to take a shower.

• I still don't hear any water running.

• See? That's better. Stop flipping me off.

But there's also one thing I try to say at least once a week:

• I love you.

(Fall in love with Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and who knows where else. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office for only $20)



Right on cue it happened. Two weeks after starting a diet, the head cold moves in. I don't know how and I don't know why, but nearly every time I try to start a diet my body revolts and I get deathly ill for a week or more.

And by deathly ill, I mean probably not that sick except that I turn into an eight-year-ld laying around in my pajamas asking for soup. I'm the worst sick person. I like to pride myself on being pretty independent. I eat my vegetables. I try to clean the toilet seat every once in awhile. But I cannot stand being sick. (I'm sure it is unrelated to the cleaning the toilet seat thing. But I digress.)

If the first two weeks of the year are fitness season, then the next two weeks are cold and flu season. We stock boxes upon boxes of Kleenex in our house all year, and inside of two weeks in January, we're completely out. We're stuck using toilet paper or paper towels or old copies of my Landmark columns.

There are seven stages to a cold for me:

Stage 1: Earthquake - You could be talking to someone and then in midsentence it hits you like a shovel to the back of the head. The aches. The sinus pressure. It's as if someone inflated the Goodyear blimp behind your right eye before you even finished your thought. Stage 1 is about shock and awe. It is short-lived, but it quickly morphs into Stage 2...

Stage 2: I'm Not Getting Sick - You can try the Airborne drink. You can try to sleep it off. You can try to simply mumble quietly to yourself, “oh no. Not this time.” But you know that answer. You have known for hours. You're sick. You're going to be sick for a while. Better update that Will.

Stage 3: Motionless - For me, Stage 3 can last anywhere from 18 hours to 36. The furthest you move is a small hand gesture to change it to the next Netflix episode. Occasionally you'll walk to the bathroom, but all food and drink needs to be delivered and God help that poor, poor person because they're about to get a workout (not to mention they'll be sick next week!) Stage 3 involves doing absolutely nothing except moaning softly to yourself when you're not waterfalling gallons of snot out of your nose.

Stage 4: Maybe Today - It's Day 4 or 5 and your eyes barely open through the crust of the eye gunk that has developed between your eyelashes. You see that the sun has been up for several hours. You've already missed three emails from work wondering if you're alive. Is today the day? Is today the day that the pressure finally relieves and you are able to get out of bed? Within seconds, you have your answer. Nope. Try again tomorrow.

Stage 5: Learning To Walk Again - By Day 6 you don't remember what it feels like to be healthy. Those days feel like years ago. But you seem to be able to stand and you're again out of Kleenex and are resorting to old sweatshirts as a repository for your snot. You begin to debate and negotiate with yourself. Maybe you can make it to the shower? Maybe then you can check your email? Whoa. Slow down. Let's ease into this.

Stage 6: Almost Human - It's been a week. You've come back to work and are faced with 200 emails. You still are draining snot like the Missouri River, but you also know that work stocks Kleenex, so you decide to go in. This is when you realize that the four people who sit around you are only on Stage 2 and you'll need to cover their jobs for the next few days.

Stage 7 only arrives when the temperature outside consistently makes it over 45 and pitchers and catchers arrive in Arizona to start Spring Training. It seems so far away. If there is a moral to the story, it's clearly to never start a diet.

(Sick or not, Chris Kamler can be found if you try hard enough. Catch him on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Stores have had Christmas decorations for sale since October, and as they begin to take them down and put out Easter goods, there's a small sliver of time. Let's say it's about three weeks long, in which it's kind of a dead period in holidays.
That's okay. Madison Avenue has deemed the first three weeks of January to be “Diet Days.” It's like a real holiday, except you can't eat carbohydrates during it and yell at your family. You've no doubt seen the Oprah Weight Watchers commercials and I'm getting Gold's Gym junk mail in my mailbox every day.

The average American is fat. And that is truly a problem. But buying a gym membership or a fancy scale that uploads to your Facebook isn't the answer, folks. And here's the deal - you can spend a ton on books and classes and doctors. But what you really need to do to understand how to diet is ask someone like me. A fat person.

Now, before you laugh this off, just think about it. I am a professional dieter. I know the Atkins Diet, the 21-Day Challenge, the Cleanse, the low calorie diet, the South Beach diet, and even the Cookie Diet. I am the king of dieting. I am personal friends with Jennie Craig. I have Slim 4 Life on speed dial, and I can tell you what a pound of fat looks like. I've done the power hour, counted steps, counted calories, counted waistlines and counted thousands of dollars leave my wallet to snake oil salesmen dressed as dieticians and “weight consultants.”

I've tried pills, and powders, and potions. I've done situps and pushups and treadmills and jogging and even something called “Cross-Fit” which is what people already with 1% body fat do when they get bored. I even bought a FitBit that buzzes every hour and literally tells me “get off your ass.”

Folks, if you need to know how to start a diet, ask a fat man.

The problem comes about three weeks after the diet starts. When the diet commercials give way to Super Bowl commercials featuring Doritos -- the greatest food group on the planet. Oprah leaves my television and she is replaced with Bud Light models and the Burger King. If January is the low-cal month, February is the cheese dip month. March is St. Patrick's Day beers. April and May reintroduce your body to the glory that are Kauffman Stadium hot dogs. June and July are for cookouts. August and September are reserved for more beer on account of how hot it is. October is all about how many Sweet Tarts and Candy Corns you can cram in your face. Then suddenly it's 6,000 calorie Thanksgiving dinners, candied yams, four-layer desserts (see my article from two weeks ago) and Christmas cookies left out for Santa.

Luckily, January is right around the corner where you can renew that 24-hour fitness membership from the hot blonde wearing that thong leotard and spend a good solid two weeks counting steps before you start the cycle all over again.
If you want to know how to start a diet, ask a fat man.

I just can't tell you how to finish one.

(Chris Kamler can be found as a dominating force on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book “The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo” for only $20 at The Landmark office)



Every year after Christmas and before New Year’s, I think about Q-104 and the late Casey Kasem. Before iPods and Spotify, we'd stand ready with our cassette recorders and listen to the American Top 40 replay of the top songs of the year. We'd try to time the beginning of Journey's Don't Stop Believin or Boston's Smokin' and bang down the Record and Play buttons to capture three minutes of radio history for playback at a later date.

Now, within 15 seconds I can have the top songs of 2015 (or 2014 or 2001 or 1982) streaming on my phone or television or probably even my refrigerator. (There's your million dollar idea Frigidaire - Bluetooth freezer!)

Still, I think about my generation and the technological advances that I will see in my lifetime and it pales in comparison to those my parents or even grandparents witnessed. My grandparents witnessed the birth of the automobile, my parents the birth of television and the atomic age. I will witness the birth of the 13-year-old who won't look up from his iPhone.

Maybe my son's generation will see the personalized technology evolve to the greater good, but for now it's insulating instead of accommodating to the greater good. We're developing technology to track our steps and how many cups of coffee we drink instead of how many toxins your car is putting in the air. We're tracking how fast you can download Adele's new album paying no mind to the legislation Congress is pondering to completely monitor all aspects of the Internet.

I know I've complained in this space about not getting my Jetsons flying car or my Star Trek transporter in my lifetime, but on a more serious note I was hoping that technology would've at least worked on some of this extreme weather or leukemia or something. Instead, we can download Adam Sandler movies and watch Pewdiepie on YouTube at lightning fast speeds.

I watched the Steve Jobs movie the other day and marveled at what a visionary Jobs was, but his aim was very, very personal and flawed. He wanted to change the world by empowering the individual but instead he served to separate the individual from the greater good. Why should I worry about Syria when my watch can send a smiley face to my wife?

Our parents got the communal experience that television brought. Our grandparents saw the world shrink as automobiles and airplanes brought people together. My generation is making butt-prints in their chairs binge-watching Jessica Jones on Netflix.

So, on this New Year's Eve, here's hoping that Generation Y or Z or Millennials or whatever you call them now will tilt the tide and come up with the next big thing to fix the world. Maybe it's a pill to cure cancer. Maybe it's an app designed to disable a gun during an active shooter event. Maybe it's a box that goes in your house that will generate electricity off of the flatulance of your newborn child.
It's got to do a better job than the Apple watch and Netflix. In the meantime, I'll be listening to my cassette tape of Don't Stop Believin' while reaching for the stars.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and buy his book “The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo” at The Landmark office for only $20)



My wife makes a dessert around the holidays. Honestly, and I mean this with all sincerity, it's probably the reason we're still married. It's a four-layer dessert consisting of a bed of crushed vanilla wafers, then a mix of cream cheese and cool whip. Then a layer of chocolate pudding with a layer of cool whip to top it off.
It's delicious.

Consider this week's column an homage to my wife's four-layer dessert. Tasty. Tempting. But you'll feel shame for ingesting so much.

•I've been giving last week's column by Landmark columnist Eric Burke a lot of thought. If you missed it, he was held up at gunpoint while waiting to go on air for Channel 5. Frankly, knowing Burke the way I do, I'm surprised he didn't have to change his shorts. That being said, I'd have soiled not only my shorts if this happened to me, but also clean out much of the van and about a two block area. Is it time for me to get a gun? Is that where this world is going? You and I both know that I'd end up shooting off a toe and the robber would get a good laugh.

Glad you're okay, Burke.

•Last weekend, I took three 13-year-old boys down to Oklahoma City for a boy's weekend. The centerpiece of the weekend was Lakers/Thunder NBA tickets. We went there because my son is a huge Kobe Bryant fan and, naturally, Bryant announced he was hurt moments before the game and didn't play. Is there a league that is based more around sloughing off more than the NBA? Nobody plays until the playoffs.

•I've traveled with my son a number of times but never with his two buddies. That's a lot of puberty to cram into a car for six hours. But if you're looking for stock tips, buy AXE Body Spray. The whole car smelled like a mixture of AXE, body odor, farts and cheetos by the time we got to Olathe.

•I did get to see the new Star Wars movie with the boys this weekend, though. What a great movie and how cool it was to see it with kids who really never got a true dose of “Star Wars” mania like I experienced when I was a kid. I remember my dad taking my brother and me to the old Empire Theater downtown to see The Empire Strikes Back. We stood in a line that stretched three blocks long. And it was worth it. This time around, we went to a 12:30 a.m. showing and even as we were wiping the sleep away from our eyes, it was well worth it.

•The Royals should either sign Alex Gordon or let the town start to grieve. Maybe that's an indicator that they're waiting to after Christmas to announce it. I can't imagine the angst around the Christmas turkey knowing that Gordon will be suiting up in a White Sox jersey.

•With it being the holidays, can we just take five minutes to think about how incredible of a year this has been? Kansas City has welcomed a streetcar and 800,000 fans to Union Station. The Royals won a World Series. The Chiefs are barreling toward the playoffs and I even strung enough words together to write a book. (Copies are still available at The Landmark offices, by the way.)

•From my family to your family, thank you for reading this every week and have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year.

(Find Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and find copies of his book “The Silence, The Series, & The Season of Sungwoo” on sale at The Landmark office for only $20)



There's a reasonably good chance that I don't like you. There's also a reasonably good chance that I like you fine. There's also a reasonably good chance that both of the previous statements are true at the same time.

I will buy coffee from you, send you a work email, read your Facebook status, and read your autobiography. During which, I will admire you, judge you and make wild assumptions about you based on your height, weight, ethnicity, smell, tone, facial expression, and probably just because I woke up in a good or bad mood.

I will make decisions throughout my day based on these factors and dozens more. You will probably affect the speed in which I drive to work, the radio station I listen to during my commute, and whether or not I stop and get some of that delicious QuikTrip roller food along the way. All the while, I won't give you a second thought.

Somehow, I'll be able to make it through my day even though you are of a different creed or religion or that you conceal carry a gun or even if you are gay.

To date, I have made it through thousands of days on this planet in spite of your stance on abortion, your allegiance to God or Allah or Muhammad, and I've even been able to pay all of my taxes despite your take on “the Jews” or that funny meme you posted on Facebook about how Obamacare wants to take away our guns.

And guess what? You have been able to do it, too. You've probably even paid your taxes on time in the process. Yet, we continue to be suckered into the conversation about what divides us. There hasn't been nearly enough talk in this election season (is it really a season when it takes two and a half years?) and that needs to change.

How about this quote from Ronald Reagan, “The things that unite us -- America's past of which we're so proud, our hopes and aspirations for the future of the world and this much-loved country -- these things far outweigh what little divides us.”

As consumers of media, we need to hold our reporters and pundits and candidates accountable to solving the biggest problems that unite us. Nobody reading this wants to be murdered in a mass shooting. Nobody wants to die waiting on healthcare. Nobody wants to pay too much in taxes but also get the maximum benefit from our government. Nobody wants the climate to get any more unstable forcing Wizard of Oz-type weather. Nobody wants to see the greatest country in the world cut off at the knees because we're arguing over Donald Trump's hair and Hillary Clinton's Gmail account.

Let's focus our energy on five or six of our largest issues. Let's elect the candidate who has the best ideas or the best team to solve those problem. Let's ignore if that person is Latino or smoked weed on college or was rude to someone on the elevator or even if they're a St. Louis Cardinals fan. There are real problems that unite all of us and our leaders should be the ones working towards solving them rather than bitching and moaning about all of the things that divide us - and there are many.

I don't like you. I probably also really like you because you're in this country facing the same problems that I am. The challenge becomes working a little harder to find out those things that unite us - I'll have no problem finding those things that divide us later. But now, we've got work to do.

(Find Chris Kamler on Twitter as the infamous @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and many other social media outlets. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series, & The Season of Sungwoo in The Landmark office)



Today's column is a tale of sadness and woe. It is a tale of aching and suffering. It is a tale of sorrow, and angst, and immeasurable pain. Dear reader, today's column is a tale about a thirteen year old boy forced to wear a necktie to a four hour event.

We begin with Stage One... Denial:

“Dad, are you kidding me?” The young man cried out. “I can't find it.”

“It's right here, son,” I had made sure to know where his one single necktie was before I asked. I was 13 once. I knew the tricks. “I've already tied it for you, too. You just need to put it around your neck.”

“But it's too short.”

“Here. I'll fix that. It's simple.” He wasn't getting out of it, no matter what.

Stage Two... Anger:
“Nobody else is wearing one! It's scratching my neck! I'm going to chaff!! I could choke and die!”

And then he stormed off to the other side of the room. I made sure to keep an eye on him to make sure that necktie stayed tied around his neck. The glare from his narrowed eyes could've cut glass. I'm not completely certain as I am not a trained lip reader, but it seems that Middle School has also enhanced his vocabulary as well.

He lumbered back over to my side of the room looking like Rodney Dangerfield telling jokes on the Tonight Show and grasping for air. “Dad, this is ridiculous. Nobody else is wearing a tie except you and I.”

“I know. And don't we look great? This is how gentlemen look.”

And then he began to mumble even more new vocabulary words under his breath.

Stage Three... Bargaining:
“Dad, how long until I can take this off? I think it's cutting off the circulation in my throat?”

Looking down on him, I could easily see that there was nearly an inch of breathing room between his skin and the collar of his button-up shirt. He's full of it. “As long as it takes. That tie stays on until we get into the car.”

“What if I wear it for another 30 minutes, and then I can take it off?”


“How about unbuttoning the top button?”




Stage Four... Depression:
The words “WORST. FATHER. EVER.” hung in the air for a moment and I was certain that I could hear those same words with my voice banging around in my inner ear. My dad was the worst father ever approximately 493 times and each time, he seemed to be emboldened by it. Like he would actively search for number 494. Now I knew how he felt. It's just a necktie. It's only for a few hours.

How is this boy going to go on a job interview and move out of my house if he can't wear a damn necktie??

Sulk all you want, kid. That tie is staying on.

Stage Five... Acceptance:
I never wanted to brush my teeth as a kid. I hated it. I would complain and moan for hours at bed time trying to get out of this five minute activity. Finally, my face lost its willpower and I brushed my teeth knowing I missed out on an hour of sleep.

That same look finally fell across my son's face after stretching out his neck like a giraffe trying to squeeze through a chain link fence. All of the fight left his body and he just looked at me (careful to not actually turn his neck because OH MY GOD HOW BAD THIS SHIRT SCRATCHES MY NECK) and said, “Fine, Dad. It's fine.”

Acceptance. Peace. Yes, it took three and a half hours into a four hour event.

Yes, only Olympic runners have been clocked at faster speeds than when he took that tie off in the car. Yes, I'll have to go through this all over again at the next wedding or funeral. But for one brief, fleeting moment, he looked almost presentable. Almost grown up. You saw him showing up to his first day of college or his first job interview. You saw him standing at his wedding or accepting the Cy Young award. For a brief moment, he was an adult.

It was at that same moment that I wanted him to lose the tie and turn right back into a child starting the cycle of denial all over again.



Guys, I've got to be honest with you. I haven't moved from the couch in four days and I've watched somewhere close to 2,952 hours of football this weekend and eaten my weight in pumpkin pie. Here's a few quick hits for the column so Ivan keeps sending me that pumpkin pie money.

•I need to finally make this the year that I put together a book of my dad's wisdom. His wisdom isn't your traditional wisdom like, “invest in IBM,” it's more tiny life lessons. These include:

•Always buy gas on Front Street

•Cerner employees don't tip very well

•When laying sod, the green side goes up

•Don't worry about the expiration date on the milk, they're just trying to get you to buy more milk

•Don't sweat the small stuff

•There are more, obviously, but the trick will be to compile the whole list which might be several volumes.

•I have found the secret to getting my 13 year old to do what I say. Not that Brett is a bad kid, but sometimes when I tell him to take out the trash, it may or may not get done. Well, I've found the solution - Instagram. I have two or three photos of Brett that, to him, are embarrassing. His eyes are closed in one. He's making a dumb face in another. All I have to do is threaten to tag the picture on Instagram and suddenly that trash is out. Apparently all the kids check each other's feeds and monitor for any chink in the armor. When they find it, they pounce. Bad for peer pressure. Good for getting my trash to the curb on time.

•Just got back from the Chiefs game. I appreciate sports as much as anyone, but if you're standing outside at 8 am in 32 degrees and a hard rain, you really may want to check your sanity. I'm not sure how many thousands of dollars I'd need to spend at Bass Pro Shops on thermal clothing to get me out to the stadium to sit through that. Luckily, I was in the semi-warmer press box.

•Seeing all that miserable cold rain has reminded me that my flannel pajamas are the best thing in the world.

•We keep adding gimmicks to the holiday season. First, it was Black Friday. Then it was Cyber Monday, then Small Business Weekend. But someone has finally gotten around to adding something that isn't completely terrible - Giving Tuesday. Last Tuesday was a day set aside to make sure you donate or volunteer at a non-profit or charity. It's at least a little closer to the meaning behind the season. For me, I made sure to donate to my favorite charity in town - the Bishop Sullivan Center - that serves 300 meals for homeless and poor every day of the year - all 365. I've met the folks running it and toured the facility and it never stops. They are a very kind group and worthy of a few bucks this holiday season. BishopSullivan.org

•Maybe people in Kansas City would complain less about the Starbucks holiday cups if they changed the color to Royal blue?

From my family to yours, a very happy holidays!

(Find Chris Kringle Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also catch him on basically any other social media outlet)



Happy Marketing Season everyone!! Thursday may mark the official beginning of Marketing Season, but you can believe it started earlier in the month as the first radio station began playing holiday music and Starbucks changed to their politically correct festive red cups! Marketing Season is my favorite time of year because you get to understand more about yourself and the holes in your life that can only be filled by stuff.

I remember my parents telling me the truth behind Marketing Season when I was a child and asked why Santa Claus was holding up a Coca-Cola, but that never really diminished the magic of the season in any way. Oh, sure. As you got older, you learned more and more about how retailers find what you need. For instance, I think I was 22 when I learned that Alka-Seltzer works with only one tablet on your heartburn, but is able to sell twice as many because someone came up with the “Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz” jingle. It's consistent with the spirit of the season!

I remember when I was a child and saw my first Star Wars action figure commercial during halftime of the Thanksgiving football game. I knew I must “collect them all” just as the announcer told me. Now, thanks to the life cycle of toys, I get to buy them all over again for my son spending thousands of dollars on nearly the exact same pieces of plastic as 30 years prior! Hallelujia!

And today, you have so many more ways to have marketing showered upon you during Marketing Season. In addition to commercials, you've got pop ups on your computer and 30 second ads before seven second YouTube clips telling you all about the shoes or jacket that you need for Marketing Season.

Back in the day, there was more art to it--take the “I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing” jingle for Coca-Cola. Now, Marketing Season has shed itself of all that silly artistic value and just added PROMO CODES for DraftKings and FanDuel. This way, you can pay into Marketing Season AND get no return on your investment. It's truly the magic of the holiday.

We've also added a new day to Marketing Season this year thanks to the North Star geniuses on Madison Avenue. We've added “Friendsgiving” which is the Saturday before Thanksgiving where you invite your close friends over for turkey and stuffing. You get twice the calories this way and grocery stores get to sell twice the number of turkeys! Don't worry, being forced to make a turkey is also a good way to increase your stress level resulting in increased consumption of sedatives and wine.

Every year Marketing Season gets more and more beautiful and there's more and more ways to separate you from your checkbook. Heck, people don't even use checkbooks anymore! Just hand over your piece of plastic on Royals World Series sweatshirts (replacing the World Series sweatshirts you bought last year) and those Chiefs are making it interesting down the stretch. Don't forget them either!

As a general rule, if you've got any money left after Marketing Season, you're simply doing it wrong. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Small Business Tuesday. Sales Saturday. Door Crashers. Open On Thanksgiving. Last Minute Shopping. I won't be happy until Marketing Season starts before Halloween and ends on Valentines Day.

On behalf of my family to your family, have a joyous and blessed Marketing Season. You can check out my Wish List at Amazon.com.

(Check out Chris Kamler on Twitter as the notorious @TheFakeNed and find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and wherever else you think he may be celebrating Marketing Season)



I'm taking a departure from the normal oddities and fart jokes that you find in this column weekly to speak to some up-and-coming writers whom I met at Wednesday's Career Day at the North Kansas City School District. I hope I remembered to put on deodorant and that I wasn't too boring.

I wanted to expand on our conversation about “becoming a writer.” First of all, you don't become a writer. That's like if you're a baseball player saying that you want to “be a bat swinger.” Being a writer isn't a real thing. It's a skill. It's a skill that's used in hundreds of professions including journalist, novelist, comedian, accountant, and ditch digger. Anybody can write.

What YOU want to be is a storyteller. This is beyond what you ultimately end up doing in your life. Because whatever you say you want to be when you grow up is likely not actually what you're going to do most of your life. (Sorry future astronauts or Kardashians.) But you can very easily begin success in what that ultimate job is if you learn to write well and learn to tell a story.

Let's take a non-media position such as my day job - project manager. The job is, basically, to plan out a project and make sure it gets done on time. Easy, huh? Not exactly. What the job really is is all about communication. Sending emails. Reading emails. Making phone calls. Managing your time.

My job is MUCH easier because I can fall back on my writing skills to help tell the bigger story of my projects and why we're doing it. People are more engaged when you can tell them a story about what you're asking them to do.

If you do choose a career in media, you'll learn a lot of skills including how to market your story and how to collaborate on social media and how to keep audiences engaged. But don't ever forget that your audience is there for you to tell them a story. This could be a story about the bus fire that shut down traffic. This could be a story about the winning quarterback. This could also be a story about a man who just lost his wife to cancer. Or it could just be fart jokes.

My point here is if you can tell a story, the rest will come. The media is, ultimately, irrelevant. You could do something on radio, television, YouTube or at 140 characters. If you can tell a story, you'll be able to hook your audience.

And it's one of the easiest skills to practice. You can start today. Start writing. Write stories. Write blog posts. Write in the margins of your assignments. Tell stories. Talk about your day and what you ate. Add comments and texture to your Instagram posts - not sure a filter. Write a love note. Just go out there and tell stories.

The other skill you can develop to help your writing is your reading muscle. Read everything. Read newspapers. (This one's pretty swell, for instance.) Read blogs. Read books. Watch the nightly news. Understand when someone is being a lazy writer (see TMZ and the Kardashians) and when someone is writing brilliantly. Understand the difference. Copy what you love. Mimmick what you love. Capture imagination.

The downside is that you'll be smarter than your friends. The upside is that there is no limit to whatever you do - in whatever capacity. Whether it's the anchor of the six o’clock news, the author of a best-selling novel, a manager for a $50,000 project, a guy who works in a sales office or a fella who tells fart jokes in the newspaper.

Tell me a story.

(Tell Chris Kamler a story on Twitter, where he operates as @TheFakeNed, or find him on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and maybe more)




Most learnèd judge, a sentence! Come prepare!
Tarry a little, there is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are "a pound of flesh."
–The Merchant Of Venice Act 4, scene 1, 304307

My favorite class at the University of Missouri was Introduction to Shakespeare. I took it my second year at school. The professor was fun to listen to. He frequently brought in VHS tapes of Shakespeare plays and used them to augment his lectures. (That's how long ago it was - nearly stone tablets time.)

He was able to make a very difficult thing - the understanding of the phrasing of Shakespeare - easy. He was able to make me more educated because of it.
My university is now knee deep in a challenging crisis. Many students of color feel oppressed and have called for change. They've called for, and received, the resignation of the university system president, Tim Wolfe. Later that afternoon, they also received the resignation of Chancellor Bowen Loftin. They've called for long-term improvements to the numbers of minorities employed by the university. And they've expressed outrage at acts of racism on their fellow students.

But like the Shakespeare passage above, it leaves enough wiggle room for real change to never come to Carnahan Quadrangle - the location of the protests.
By all accounts, Tim Wolfe and Chancellor Loftin were white men in power, but they themselves had very little to do with the specific incidents of racism on campus. True, their inaction fueled the protests and insensitive comments Wolfe made rung sour on the ears of the protestors. But the protests were calling for a pound of flesh and a pound of flesh they got.

Now the work begins. How many protestors do you think there will be on Saturday, when the Missouri Tigers take on BYU? The football game that hung in the balance while Concerned Student 1950 held their protest? How many protestors will show up next week to debate and lobby for change - real systemic change - after CNN and the New York Times have gone? Next month? Next year?

It's easy to show up to a rally. It's easy to send a tweet with a hashtag. It's damn hard to carry it out after the folks pick up the trash.

I learned a lot during my time at the University of Missouri. I learned how much I could drink. I learned how to cut class due to a hangover. I learned a little bit about Shakespeare. Luckily, I never had to face a protest OR the challenging work that comes afterwards. I can tell you this, however - the challenge is up to Every True Son to make that pound of flesh worthwhile. The real work of making a very difficult thing better will be when nobody is watching.

(No protest needed to find Chris Kamler. He’s on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and you can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and wherever else social media might take you)



Behind a desk in an office building there sits a man. This man has a very important job. This man needs to decide how to teach 18,674 students. He has to decide what textbooks they read. He has to decide what teachers will teach them. And he has to decide how many chicken nuggets they get fed on Thursdays. This man's name is Dr. Paul Kinder. He is the superintendent of schools for the North Kansas City School District and for two hours on Monday, he was the most hated man in the city. Let me explain.

As you may have seen on the front page of The Landmark today, the Royals (our local baseball team) won the World Series on Sunday night. The game went into extra innings and it was nearly midnight before the contest was decided. (Or 1 a.m. or 11 p.m.-- my body doesn't know what time it is for about three weeks after Daylight Saving Time springs the fall back or whatever.) Anyway, Dr. Kinder woke up Monday morning, like he probably does every Monday, and headed off to work. Maybe he had a smile on his face about the Royals. Maybe he caught that catchy new Lady Gaga song on the radio on the way into work. Maybe he had a really tasty breakfast pizza from QuikTrip (coming soon to Parkville!).

Regardless, Dr. Kinder probably got to his office around 7:30 or 8 in the morning knowing it was going to be a great, low-stress day. And that's when all hell broke loose.

Twitter, which is the bane of all evil, began to circulate plans for a World Championship parade in downtown Kansas City on Tuesday at noon. The news began to advertise this free event. Dr. Kinder probably gave it no mind. Downtown on a Tuesday? Psssh. Besides, the North Kansas City District only goes so far as the northern edge of the Missouri River. They don't even have schools downtown. Silly. I hope there's a cotton candy salesman there. And then goes back to his work of educating 18,000 kids.

Around noon, the unthinkable happened. The Blue Valley School District way over in Kansas sent out a communication that they were cancelling all school on Tuesday so that students and staff could go to the parade. You can only imagine the look on the face of Dr. Kinder as he looked up from his sensible grapefruit lunch to read that news. Maybe they all got great grades on their last test scores, he probably thought to himself, and dove back into the grapefruit.

Then you can tell what happened next. Some parent called central office at NKC and asked if maybe the NKC district would close Tuesday as well. The question was probably carried by the operator into the office of the grapefruit-eating superintendent. “Pish posh. Nah. These kids need to be in school! It's a Tuesday! There is learnin' to be done!” Back to the grapefruit he went.

The district sent out a tweet reminding parents that Tuesday is a regular school day and that all students are expected to attend. But then another school district cancelled. Then another. And another. Park Hill and Platte County decided to close and Platte County only closes if the Pope AND the President join the circus and bring it to Tracy.

Minutes go by. Then hours. The Facebook post was filled with lava takes so hot they'd burn your eyeballs. Mothers angry that their children were being forced to go to school when others weren't. Fathers angry that they can't take their kids to the parade. Venom. Fire. Hatred.

Poor Dr. Kinder. Poor stupid, innocent Dr. Kinder. Man, I get it. I get what you were going for. But you should've asked someone who worked for the school district back in 1985. You should have asked about the backlash when you chose to keep schools open during the Royals parade back then. You should have asked about the phone calls and letters central office received in the era BEFORE social media. You should've asked about what the attendance was 30 years ago when the city last saw a championship parade.

But you didn't. You ate lunch and made a dumb decision.

Of course, two hours later, the district re-decided to close schools for the parade on Tuesday. Of course that was going to happen because that was always what was going to happen. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you didn't make an incomprehensibly stupid decision and instead just wanted to finish your lunch or just wanted to feel what it would be like to be the most hated man in the city.

(Follow the unpredictability of Landmark columnist Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book about the Royals superfan Sungwoo Lee at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



This is my 200th column for The Landmark. I remember my very first one - taking on the tough issues other columnists were too afraid to talk about. I'm pretty sure I wrote about QuikTrip roller food. In that same spirit, I'd like to take a few moments to talk about how inefficient our lives have become and my plan for a better country.

It starts, as it always does with me, with television. Television is everywhere. We watch it all the time. You watch it when you get up and check on traffic. You watch it in the break room at lunch. You watch it for hours and hours on end when you get home.

What if you could get back a few of those hours? That sounds great, right? But there's another problem, you don't want to miss anything. You need to keep up with the Kardashians and you need to find if your myths are busted. If you miss even an hour of television, you might miss out on everything.

Luckily you picked up the newspaper today - because I'm about to blow your mind. Television Mash-Ups.

Here's how it works. You cram all of the goodness or two or three hours of television - including commercials - into one hour of TV. Let's say you're a fan of those do it yourself channels, but you also like the bridal shows: (Kara, I'm talking to you.)

Flip This Wedding House. The idea is that you have a house that needs to be remodeled and then they put a bunch of wedding dresses in the closets. At the end, there's this big reveal and you get the wedding dress of the house you like.

Let's say you like the science fiction shows, but also the dramas. I can give you tons of hours back each year:

Scandal Trek. A rich elderly oil baron is shot into space on a seven year mission to outerspace. Back on earth, his ex-wife will be sleeping with other astronauts who might also be aliens.

Each season has roughly 20 episodes to it, so if you're combining three shows, you're getting back nearly a week and a half of your life.

Finally, let's assume you're a big fan of Breaking Bad but also enjoy those animated shows on Sundays. I've got you covered:

Breaking Bart. Bart Simpson has come to life but is a high school student. He learns to cook meth with his donut eating father. The show also features an appearance from a talking dog who advances the plot through flashbacks to when he was a puppy.

What will you do with all this extra time? Surely you'll use it to take your wife out to dinner or play with your children. Maybe you'll donate time to a charity of your choosing. You'll certainly not spend it reading Twitter or surfing funny videos on the web, right? Let's get these shows into production and make the world a better place. You're welcome, America.

(Chris Kamler knows a thing or two about working Twitter. Follow him there as @TheFakeNed and check him out on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office for only $20)



Name a large sum of money, now think back to October, 2010. If I were to bet you that large sum of money that the city of Kansas City would be transformed by a baseball team, you'd call me crazy. But just look at where we've been in the last 24 months!

Drive down any street in town - northside to south side. Independence to Overland Park. Streetlights are blue. Buildings are blue. Flags adorn houses and there are more Royals shirts and sweatshirt workers that we should probably be apologizing to some foreign sweatshop for all of that overtime.

Kansas City is transfixed on the Royals.

From barber shops to laundromats. From churches to funerals. You're not talking about the weather or politics, you're talking Royals with complete strangers and lifelong friends.

I have a great friend that I've maybe had one sports-related conversation with in my life. I got a text from him today asking why Troy Tulowitzki was ejected from the game in the eighth inning. That's the kind of passion this team has going for it. Ratings are unheard of. The Royals game on Friday drew a 42 share which means that nearly half of all televisions in Kansas City were tuned to the Royals.

The fever in this town can only rival the glory years of the Marty Schottenheimer Chiefs of the 1990's when tents would pop up around Arrowhead days in advance of a big game. Entire economies of service organizations and restaurants exist today because of those Chiefs teams. Some say the Chiefs were a main reason Kansas City got riverboat casinos. Kansas Citians certainly know how to get behind something.

The stories of passion from Royals fans are now legendary. You know my story about Sungwoo Lee, the Korean super fan last year. But new stories are emerging about fans helping other fans through health crises - Royals reaching out through charity and just folks having fun like worshiping fallen nachos that coincided with a Royals rally.

But the best part of it is the sense of civic pride I see over the past couple of years. This team has allowed us to feel great about our city again. Starting with the 2012 All Star Game, the city has turned back into a baseball town like it was when I was growing up in the 70's and 80's. The night of Game 6 of the World Series, I remember I had choir practice at a church in downtown Kansas City. As I was waiting for my ride, the game was about to start and suddenly, everything in downtown stopped.

I experienced that same thing this afternoon when I was running late out of work. I left work at 6:45 and the game was starting at 7. The highways were bare. Like a ghost town. Only the fast drivers trying to get themselves home to enjoy the game were left.

Kansas City has been and will forever be a baseball town. The signs, the lights and the shirts might change, but Kansas City will be forever blue.

(Follow the unpredictability of Landmark columnist Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book about the Royals superfan Sungwoo Lee at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



Arguments used to be a time honored tradition in American culture. From barber shops, to coffee shops and church basements - we used to be able to argue with one another. We'd argue about who was the greatest third baseman of all time, Brooks Robinson or George Brett. We'd argue about anything for a short time, shake hands and go about our day. We used to be able to agree to disagree.
But the times have clearly changed. Maybe it's due to all the varying opinions on social media. Maybe it's due to the talking heads on cable networks. Maybe it's just due to us seeing through smoke screens, but we can't just argue about one topic anymore. We have to slide down the slippery slope, past the initial argument and determine the end game of the conflict.

There is no longer gray area - there is only plus or minus; white or black; right or wrong. And it's slowing the country down.

Pick any topic from the news right now. Here's how it goes.

News Item > We should do something about this news item > Oh no you can't because I like this news item the way it is and making any change will jeopardize this news item going forward > good day to you, sir.

See how easy it is? Insert any of the following where the words “news item” is above and try it for yourself. Here's a few to try: mass shootings and guns; extended nets to protect fans in baseball stadiums; tenured teachers; mental health; excessive police violence. The list can go on and on.

Now look at your Facebook feeds and see how a topic evolves. Let's take the guns debate since nearly every day we see reports of another mass shooting. Here's how A leads to Z and so we shouldn't do anything about A.

A. Side A: Semi-automatic weapons shoot a lot of people in a short amount of time. We should probably do something to limit the access of people to get semi-automatic weapons

B. Side B: You're going to take away all of our guns

See how that works? The argument is over because now you're arguing a fundamental Constitutional right instead of a small change that could make an impact. You throw up your hands and walk away.

But important topics need better arguments. Think of drunk driving and all the great progress that has been made taking drunks off the road. That started with DUI legislation.

Think of environmental disasters, you don't hear about a lot of them because smart people got together and made it harder to dump crap into our water.

My whole point is to not fall for the slippery slope. Argue the issue, not the end game. Let's bring positive debate back to the barber shops and churches and coffee houses in our communities. Let's bury the cynicism and let's solve a few small problems in this country.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



Survival is a funny word. You can survive just about anything. You can survive a health scare. You can survive spending the night in the wilderness. You can survive letting your wife drive you to church. But when I tell you that I survived a six-boy sleepover, please understand that I truly mean that I survived.

My son turned 13 last week and, as a teenager and all the rights therein, he decreed that he wanted his entire squad to come over for a sleepover. Six total. My boy plus five of his newly teenage friends. Survival seemed unlikely.

The Saturday started early - at noon - when the first car dropped off the first two children. (I really mean dropped off. The car simply slowed down, threw the kids out with a rolling stop and then sped away. I think I also heard cackling from the driver.) The other three showed up a few minutes later. Almost immediately we ran out of milk. The kids hadn't even come inside and I'm down a gallon of milk.

“Dad, where is the basketball pump?”

“Mr. Kamler, where are the AA batteries for the XBox controller?”

“Hey do you have any paper towels?”

“Hey Brett's Dad, do you have any more milk?”

This was just in the first hour.

At 2 p.m., we went to Jaegers paintball so the children could work out their teen angst aggression with some liquid-filled plastic ammunition. While the children were shooting and dodging, I was thinking about what I had to get from the grocery store to keep these child termites from eating the furniture.

So paintball is done, and we've had the kids about five hours now. They were all piled into my minivan and we started to drive away. Then, from the back of the car, it hit my nostrils. Boy stink. Thirteen year old boy odor. Magnified by six. The windows were rolled down. It was too cold to hose them off in the yard, so I make them go play more basketball. We ran out of bottled water. The kids were introduced to the new invention called “tap” water.

It's now 7 p.m. and we've gone through five pizzas, three two-liters of soda, two entire bags of chips and I've still got one of them staring for food in the refrigerator. They just kept coming like waves against the beach. Wanting food. Wanting water. Wanting toilet paper. Oh crap, are we out of toilet paper? They had the numbers on us and we had no idea what we got ourselves into.

By 11, the kids had eaten a cake plus ice cream and were now settling down watching a movie. They had all downloaded an app to make the iPhone lady Siri say curse words on their phones. In unison, six cell phones exclaimed how their friends' butt smelled.

The next morning, they went through 18 eggs, another gallon of milk, apple juice, orange juice, two pounds of bacon and I am missing a sock.

The parents begrudgingly picked up all five in the morning and I sat back at peace once again until one of them rushed in the door to find his phone charger left behind. As he turned to leave, he pointed his cell phone in my direction where Siri said, “Thank you, Mr. Kamler - butt sniffer.” I survived.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



One of the great things about being on Facebook or other social media every day is that you get to learn what “day” it is. Recently, there was National Cheeseburger Day, and National Sister Day. I don't know how they are picked. It is by Congress? Is that what they do all day instead of fixing bridges and the economy? Is it just done that morning? Welp, good morning everyone. Welcome to National Kilt Wearing Day.

I'd like to nominate a day to whomever is in charge of the days. I'd like to nominate National Road Merge Blocker Day. Now, stay with me while I explain.
The merge road blocker is the guy (or girl, let's be honest here, probably a girl) who has taken it upon themselves to control the merging of two lanes of a highway into one as you approach road work. It's construction season, obviously. And you can tell that by all of the orange cones surrounding vacant construction sites on I-35, I-70, and I-29.

Inevitably, this construction requires you to slow down for no good reason and take two or three lanes down to one lane. It's especially fun when it's 4:30 in the afternoon and you're coming up on 635, but are still several miles away. There you see it off in the horizon. The red brake lights of a long line of cars all bunching up like lemmings.

In theory, you have until you actually start hitting orange cones to start merging into the other lane. But somewhere along the line, it has become a tradition of the Kansas City driver to all line up in one lane 10 miles away from the actual construction. Maybe it's because KC Sports Radio is that entertaining what with all of the BBQ and daily fantasy league talk. Maybe drivers enjoy sitting in 20 extra minutes of traffic.

Anyway, back to the heroes of making sure a traffic jam takes every soul-crushing minute - the merge blockers. The two lanes become one lane at the point where you see the cones and the signs to merge into one lane. But the merge blocker likes to sit in both lanes, occasionally even crossing into the open, free lane several miles up the road, in order to keep a line of cars from approaching the merge point in the merging lane.

This American hero keeps order in an otherwise lawless society. They are the Kim Davis of highway driving. They have applied a pretend rule to an incorrect situation, but are passionate in the execution of their rule of law. They're like a modern day Sheriff of Nottingham, except instead of hunting Robin Hood, they're hunting people who just want to get home to watch the 5:00 episode of The Big Bang Theory on TBS.

Merge blocker, you are the one person who has decided that zipper merging is not how it will be done. Not today. Not on my highway. You are a winner at life. Look at how you just park in an open, empty lane to block that one yellow car who wants to zip past the traffic. Look at how you nearly wreck the fast red car pushing him into the shoulder. You've really make a good point. That person is likely going to go straight home (in the exact order in which you have forced him back into the single-file line of traffic) where he'll reexamine his life and stop taking the shortcuts afforded to him. You have decided zipper merging cannot work in your America and for that, I would like to nominate you for your own National Day. (I will celebrate it by staying at home and not driving on your highways that day.)

(Chris Kamler is the zipper hero of Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



(Editor’s Note: Chris is busy on other Landmark assignments, so enjoy this “Best Of” reprint of one of his columns from earlier this year)

I love Kansas City. It's my hometown. It's a town with tremendous BBQ, fun activities and such a diverse culture. But man, does getting around in this town suck sometimes.

The traffic certainly isn't as bad as Los Angeles or New York, but ask my wife about driving from College and Metcalf to I-35 and Parvin at 4:30 on a Tuesday and you'll get an earful.

It's made worse because the past two weekends I've traveled to towns that seem to have gotten it right. Last weekend I was in Chicago for the Royals/Cubs series and used their extensive “L” train system as well as their Metra (train used for longer hauls to the suburbs) system. It was painless. It was cheap and it was addicting. Of course, the L was literally baked into the city as it has been around since the late 1800's and currently services over 750,000 Chicagoans EVERY WEEKDAY. It is a primary vein to the culture and infrastructure of the Windy City.

Two weekends ago, my son and I went to Denver, where their light rail system is much newer, making its debut in 1998 and helps traverse a more interstate-style of transportation. In both cities, we chose to stay further away from the city's core and take the light rail into town for baseball games which were made incredibly easy.

The entire time on the trains I couldn't help but think what Kansas City would be like if I could take an Evanston to Wrigley Field type of trip. Perhaps from Platte City to Kauffman - which is about the equal distance. A 35 minute car ride would turn into a 45 minute light rail ride and cost about $3 each way. Plenty worth it to save the $11 parking and whatever else you spent on gas.

Imagine my wife's commute from I-35 and Parvin down to College and Metcalf. She could drive her car to Antioch and Vivion and catch the “K” (that's what I'm calling our “L”) as it winds through Northtown, over the Heart of America, cuts through the heart of downtown following 71 Highway into Overland Park.

A rail system like that would fundamentally change the way this city connected to each other and I can't think of a negative other than cost and logistics. And I guess that's been the hold up all along. The cost of any massive municipal project would be staggering. Cities like Platte City or Gladstone or Fairway would have to fund portions of it, as would Kansas City, the state of Missouri and the federal government. But you need only look at I-70 eastbound at 5 p.m. on a Thursday to understand the need for something like this. I'd say light rail would be more needed than a single terminal airport for sure.

Logistics would be another matter. It would take a massive undertaking the likes of which this city--divided by a state line and a ton of socio-economic divisions--has never had to deal with. It would require cooperation.

And so far, nobody has stepped up other than the City of Kansas City to start it. The first KC Streetcar system will only go two miles. From City Market to Crown Center. That's all that we got after decades of listening to Clay Chastain. Two miles.

So here's my plan. We need someone other than the goofball Clay Chastain to lead the charge and that man is Sly James. When he leaves office, he needs to start a regional PAC to build a light rail system that will criss-cross KCI to Overland Park then Lee's Summit to the Kansas Speedway. And why stop there? Why couldn't you go all the way from the Speedway out to Columbia, Missouri or Lawrence? Or heck, a Denver to St. Louis run.

We need to think bigger than just two miles connecting Hallmark with Burrito Bros. It's working for Chicago and Denver. It needs to work for Kansas City.

(Follow Chris Kamler, a Twitter rock star of sorts, @TheFakeNed)


Friday night, it happened. I saw my first severe on-field injury while calling a high school football game. While fielding a punt in a game against Park Hill, Liberty high senior Xavier Hinkle bobbled the ball and while the kicking team also went to grab at the ball, a knee made contact with Xavier's head and he crumpled to the ground. Lifeless.

While the district is not able to give out medical information, it was obvious to all that Hinkle had suffered a concussion. For 15 minutes, we watched medical personnel tend to Hinkle, strapping him to a backboard and transporting him away via on-field ambulance to a local hospital.

National headlines had come home to Park Hill's Preston field. Social media reports indicate that Hinkle was treated and released the next morning. Thankfully - but your mind jumps to whether he'll play again, or whether he'll want to play again.

Five years ago, nobody had heard of “CTE” - it stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Well, you had, but we called it “getting your bell rung.” Since then, trainers have been trained to look for the signs of CTE and once you start looking for it, you see it everywhere.

A college football player tried to enter the opposing team's huddle last week.
Neil Smith, a professional football hall of famer, said on 610 Sports this week that if he had it to do all over again, that he'd join the Army instead of play football.
Tyler Sash, a popular football player for Iowa University ran out into a field last week and shot himself. Family members claim that he had been suffering from dementia caused by football.

That all happened in the last seven days. Imagine how long the list would be if you went back a year. Or five years.

And here's the problem - there's not much you can do. Concussions are going to happen when you ask two men to run into each other with helmets on. The brain is going to get impacted. It is the modern day gladiator being asked to attack lions when you won't see or feel the lion until years after the impact.

You could do something drastic like change the fundamentals of the game. Or you could just make note of each concussion; each missed memory; each suicidal thought; each anger outburst.

My thoughts are with Xavier Hinkle today. I hope he plays football again. I hope he is cleared to play football this Friday. I hope he runs for 200 yards and six touchdowns. And I also recognize the sacrifice that he left on the ground at Preston Field Friday night.

(Chris Kamler’s book, The Silence, The Series and The Season of Sungwoo, is available at The Landmark office and has published for Amazon Kindle readers. Get details at kamlerbook.com)



There have been two pretty visible “viral” topics over the past week that show the best and worst of cyber shaming. If you're not familiar with cyber shaming, it's where an event occurs that, had it just been a story told in a coffee shop or at a barber, would likely elicit some groans or some sighs, but the story would end there.

Yet the Internet is on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So when a story gets told, it grows and grows. Some of those stories you're likely familiar with - one of the most famous is of a woman taking a trip to Africa who made a tweet about getting AIDS when she landed. She turned her cell phone off and took the 12 hour flight to Africa. When she landed, her offensive tweet had gone around the world and she lost her job the next day.

The two stories I'm referring to are both very similar and show the good and probably the bad in both. The first involves our favorite records clerk in Kentucky, Kim Davis. By now, you're familiar with the particulars. She refuses to sign marriage licenses between same sex couples. The story has gone viral with the light of the entire Internet focusing on her. There have been memes talking about her hairdo and there's even a popular twitter account in the voice of the woman who sits next to her and complains about her taking up an entire shelf in the breakroom. (Seriously, check out @nexttokimdavis, but not around your children.)

The bright light of Twitter and Facebook has brought national attention to this woman and both good and bad seems to be coming from this. There are calls for Davis to run for higher office (not sure how she'll do that from her jail cell serving out her contempt of court sentence) and there are also those who are personally attacking the woman for standing up for her beliefs. You see... when you open up a story to the entire world, the range of responses is from the entire world. You see the best and the worst of humanity all centered around a single issue.

Let's now take Exhibit B in our examination of the Eye of Sauron that is viral media. And that happened just this weekend at a football game in Manhattan, Kan. The Kansas State Band who, by most accounts, is one of the more accomplished bands in the country, put on their first halftime performance of the year. The performance was a tribute to the music of Star Trek and it included lasers and Borg cubes and K-State's nemesis the Kansas Jayhawk and spaceships and... wait, WAS that a spaceship? By now you've heard that the spaceship, the Starship Enterprise was... well... a little more graphically portrayed as it “attacked” the mouth of the fictional mascot from Lawrence.

Within moments, the “act” was posted to Vine - 18 seconds that were heard around the world in less than 30 minutes. A fan at the game recalls seeing the director pulled aside in the third quarter only to return ashen and fully aware of the controversy that was swirling around the cartoon phallus. The university was forced to immediately issue an apology, but the Internet had ruled already. Guilty. Twitter was the judge, jury and executioner and I'd be surprised at this point if the director doesn't lose his job.

But for what? Why? For every Kim Davis there's a Dr. Frank Tracz. The Internet has become known for being the ultimate jury and an extremely petty and violent one. While there is so much good that can come from this grass roots mission (see #ArabSpring or #BlackLivesMatter) there's some poor schlub going to work today that will be the target of a whitewashing tomorrow for slipping on a banana peel in front of a camera.

And I'm not even saying this is completely bad or wrong. But I am saying to stop and realize that there are real lives taking the brunt of a tweet or post or “like.” Kim Davis reads the Internet. Dr. Tracz reads everything you say about him. You should continue to only post when you're confident you can take the stones to your own glass house from an Internet that has a strange sense of humor.

(Chris Kamler’s book, The Silence, The Series and The Season of SungWoo, is available at The Landmark office and has published for Amazon Kindle readers. Get details at kamlerbook.com)



It's a year away and I'm already 99% tuned out of the presidential race. I'm paying more attention to The Bachelor than I am right now to whom will be our next president. (Hint: I'd vote for <insert Bachelor name here>).

I watched the Republican debate a few weeks ago and catch an occasional blurb on Twitter, but what I've seen so far has just been a bunch of people arguing and nobody leading. And that's the major issue for me. I'm not looking for our next president to solve anything. I am looking for our next president to lead us to a solution--and that's a key distinction.

Nobody needs the president that is the smartest kid in the room--we need the president that knows how to get everyone in that room to agree on a direction. Leadership is missing from government and that's the real shame.

Our presidents used to be dreamers and now we look for them to solve a Rubik's cube. President Kennedy didn't build a spacecraft, he threw out a challenge. President Reagan didn't take a sledgehammer to the Berlin wall, he made a speech.

And this year's crop of candidates has been pointing fingers instead of pushing what can be done. They've been insulting instead of inspiring.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is mired in a daily mess about whether she sent state secrets over her gmail account. Where are her speeches about what the 21st century brings? This is the thing she should've learned from her husband instead of how to lawyer your way out of turmoil.

And then there's Trump, who... I guess, is a real thing now. Can you see Trump giving a fireside chat? What would his inaugural address be? “Ask not, what your country can do for you - because you are a loser.” Or maybe “The only thing to fear is those rapists from Mexico, not fear itself.”

Come on. Tell me how the 95% of the country that isn't on the left or right fringe can achieve the American dream. Tell me how the government can make it a little easier to go to college or how you're going to reduce some taxes on my small business. Where is Hillary Clinton talking about her shining city on the hill? Where's Governor Christie talking about... well... anything? Jeb? Anybody heard from Jeb?

When you think back to your “best” presidents (and I realize that's a slippery slope) the best ones are those that made the country feel at ease when they needed it most. Reagan after the Challenger disaster. Lincoln at Gettysburg. Bush atop the rubble in New York. Kennedy reaching for the moon. This is what I want my president to be able to do. I need my president for these moments.

That is the face and voice of a leader. Unfortunately, it seems we're going to choose the complainer-in-chief this go around and I fear he or she might be the one who divides us rather than unites us.

(Chris Kamler talks a little bit of everything on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. He has a Royals-themed book for sale at kamlerbook.com. Find him on the social media outlet of your choice)



The class clown knows the phrase well, “One of these days, you're going to take it too far.” I've heard it dozens, probably hundreds of times after some witty comment or some zinger. Comedy is a lot like politics - some might even argue the two are one in the same. But at some point, just being in on the joke might mean changing the course of history.

There's a 15-year-old boy who registered to run for president in North Carolina. This isn't that uncommon. Anyone can file Federal Election Commission paperwork and be “registered” to run. This doesn't mean that you actually get to run and there is a Constitutional Law stating that you have to be 35 years old to be president (Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 to be exact.) But still, you can run, and this is what this young man did. The boy’s name is Brady Olson. He lives in Iowa. But that's not the name he registered under. Rather, he registered under the name “DEEZ NUTS.” And if you live with anyone under the age of 23, you are familiar with the Internet video referencing the call and response. It goes something like this.

“Hi, is Boffa there?”
“Who is Boffa?”

So Deez Nuts is registered to run for president in North Carolina. Now HERE is where the joke comes in. Deez Nuts is polling at 9% in a race between Hillary Clinton a.k.a. DEEZ EMAILZ and Donald Drump a.k.a. DAT HAIR. One in 10 North Carolinians would like to see Deez Nuts in the White House.

So this got me wondering, what's the furthest someone got in life on a premise that is 100% a joke? Anti-fans of American Idol once voted through a singer who was terrible just to see the show embarrassed. Former entertainers were elected to office including former wrestler Jesse Ventura, former actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and, of course, Ronald Reagan. But all of those folks had some level of legitimacy in their runs.

What if Deez Nuts actually made a splash in the election? He's using basically the same popularity engine as Donald Trump. Shock value + timing + willingness to shake up the process = Deez Nuts/Trump 2016.

The only other thing I could think of is the election of someone who had passed away during the election process - where voters intentionally voted for someone dead. This happened in Missouri a few years ago after former Gov. Mel Carnahan passed away and still defeated John Ashcroft by 50,000 votes in an election for U.S. Senate. There are dozens of other examples like that through history. But those votes are still symbols where you know a successor would be named (as in this case, widow Jean Carnahan was named the Senator.)

So we come back to Deez Nuts (or some of the others who have applied to be president in 2016, including Vuluptuous Buttox, Kenny Rodeo, and Hillary Clinton as those who have no shot). How far is too far? Can the joke spin the Constitution off the rails?

So we've elected dead people. We've voted in an effort to embarrass and heck, we've nearly elected nine Kansas City Royals to start an All-Star Game. I think there's only one thing left to do...

And that's elect Deez Nuts in 2016 as the next president of Dat Bootay. (Got Heem)

(Chris Kamler exposes Deez Nuts on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his Royals-related book at kamlerbook.com. Find him on the social media outlet of your choice)



It's going to come as a bit of a shock to you, but I was a pretty lame teenager. I wasn't quite all that with the ladies and the group of friends I hung out with was. . .well, we were kind of dorks. But I'd still trade all the awkwardness of being a teenager then with being a teenager now.

Teens today are facing a lot more stress and strife than we ever had to worry about and in the age of social media, there is no longer innocence with kids being kids.

Teens still have the same pressures on them as they ever had--do good in school, try hard in sports, try not to do any knuckleheaded stuff in your spare time. But these issues seem to be amplified and in many ways, over exaggerated in today's culture. There was a time where you'd want your kid to go out and get into a little mischief--just so they had a good understanding of right and wrong.

In today's teen society, teens are smarter but also have less of an understanding of the results of their actions. One of the largest growing examples of these are cyberbullying or swatting. Both are pretty severe ways to solve what are often playground arguments. In our day, we'd get into a scrape or use some colorful language. Now, if you get in an argument (often via XBox or Playstation because kids don't play outside anymore) kids forego the “I am rubber you are glue” and try to wreak havoc on kids. Look up a few stories about SWATting (where you call in a fake threat to a police station and the SWAT team descends on your enemy's home) and they'll curl your hair.

Sports have become their own level of stress and if you don't believe that, head up to Tiffany Springs some Sunday afternoon and hear how parents yell at their kids in a baseball tournament. “Is that all you got?” “What's wrong with you?” No wonder teen stress, teen suicide and violence at home are among the top 10 issues facing teens today.

There's a ton of reasons for why this is and can be traced in just about any direction you want. Today's generation of parents being educated on television. Today's teens being educated on video games. Medications being handed out to deal with attention deficit disorder when it's mistaken for creativity. You name it.

We could be here all day.

But the muse for this article comes from last weekend's violence at Mayor Sly James's end-of-the-summer youth block party. The Rock the Block was held at Union Station and featured basketball, indoor games and just an evening of opportunity for city youths. Kids don't have a lot of those options anymore since you simply can't be outside for lengths of time.

The time was we'd just get dropped off at Metro North mall for our parents to pick us up four hours later--no cell phone--just a couple of dimes and maybe a few bucks for a slice of pizza. Now you can't walk down the street.

The Rock the Block was interrupted by several fights and was shut down early. Which is a shame. But also goes to how important the event is. Kids need to even have the opportunity to understand how to resolve conflict without violence. With kids these days, everything seems to either be a one or a zero. Light or dark.
In our day, we'd talk a big game. “Meet me behind the middle school and I'll show you...” and then when 4:00 came, you'd understand the gravity of the situation and usually find a way to diffuse it.

Teen violence now is handled with guns and media - not a couple of weak swings and talking.

The theme of the Rock the Block party was reducing gun violence in teens. And I hope the mayor will continue the program.

Because it's simply not the same as it was for teens and they need a chance to learn how to navigate the good and the bad.

The worst thing to do would be to let kids do a lot of nothing.

(Our man Chris Kamler rocks the block on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Spapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Buy his Royals-related book at kamlerbook.com)



Listen, I'm not going to pull any punches this week. There are a lot of important topics we could cover. We could talk about Donald Trump and his Vegas lounge act of a presidential campaign. We could talk about the societal implications of the one year anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting in St. Louis. We could talk about the start of Chiefs training camp, even. All big topics.

But that's not what we will be talking about today because I am announcing my resignation from this newspaper. I can no longer work for an organization whose chief editor has never seen the movie Star Wars.

Yes. That's what I said. Ivan Foley, chief operating officer and grand poobah of The Landmark--one of the country's oldest continually publishing newspapers--has never seen perhaps the greatest piece of cinema of all time.

Through some investigative reporting, I was able to find this out during last week's “Star Wars Day at The K” where Mr. Foley (if that's even his real name. I don't know what to believe anymore) tweeted that he had never seen a Star Wars movie.

No R2-D2. No Luke Skywalker. No Millennium Falcon. Nothing. A massive piece of American culture is missing from the mind of our fearless leader. What else is missing? Did Mr. Foley skip out on The Declaration of Independence? What about Nixon's presidency? Does ANY of this ring a bell, Ivan?

Listen, I don't mean to be confrontational here. But I'm not sure I want to live in a world where my employer hasn't seen Princess Leia in the gold bikini, or Darth Vader cutting off Luke Skywalker's hand. (Spoiler alert.)

And I guess it's not just Ivan. Mike McCartney, who is the public address announcer for the Royals also tweeted that he'd never seen one second of Star Wars footage. No Han Solo or C3PO. He was joined on the Royals broadcast by Jeff Montgomery, former star closer for the club and now their pregame announcer. Monty made jokes about Jedis and robots that made it clear he had never heard of Tatooine or Yoda.

How did you people make it through the 1980's? Were you just too into Madonna albums? Were you that into Cheers and Dallas?

Can these people be trusted? Clearly they've all achieved levels of great success in their lives. But at what cost? They've never been to that galaxy far, far away.

They've never dreamed of blowing up the Death Star. They've never wondered what it would be like to slice a Sith Lord with a light saber.

These poor people have really missed out.

So here I am with resignation in hand. My robotically repaired hand is prepared to sign and send it via TIE Fighter to The Landmark offices.

But if Star Wars has taught me anything, it is that the path of the Dark Side should be avoided. Maybe that's why I am here at the paper. Maybe I am the Jedi and Ivan is a Jawa, or maybe Jar Jar Binks.

I guess I'll stay writing the column, Ivan.

Surely we can fall back on our shared love of Star Trek, right? Ivan? Right?

(Our man Chris Kamler spews light saber knowledge and fights make-believe enemies in the galaxy known as Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. He has a book for sale at kamlerbook.com) 



A happy 75th birthday to my Uncle Fred Kamler. Uncle Fred was one of my favorites growing up. He'd always give my brother and me a quarter if we had our pocket knives on us. He would then be able to tell us the US mint that the quarter came from along with 10-15 other facts about the era of coin that he had just passed over to us. Uncle Fred had a private nickname on our side of the family--Cliff Clavin.

For those of you unfamiliar with Cliff Claven, he was a character on the show Cheers and he made up half of the duo alongside Norm who both always sat at the end of the bar. Norm would shout out one-liners, and Clavin, a postman by day, would spout out random facts. “It's a little known fact that cows were domesticated in Mesopotamia and were also used in China as guard animals for the forbidden city.”

And that's what my Uncle Fred, a noted historian on Poland and Poland's roots in Kansas City, Kansas, was to us--a know-it-all. The funny thing about it is that we always kind of rolled our eyes when he'd explain how Ray Manzarek was the Polish-American keyboardist for The Doors. Or tales of Polish ballplayer (and former classmate) Ray Sadecki. We were idiot kids. We would just shake our heads and go about our day.

This past weekend my son and I had a chance to steal some time and go to Los Angeles for a boys weekend. I love traveling with my kid because we are basically the same mental age and we usually see how many fart jokes we can laugh at for the duration of the trip.

Our trips generally have few rules. Have fun. Try new things. Don't tell Mom about most of them. But during this weekend's trip to L.A., the vibe started to change. Brett is a couple short months from becoming a teenager. His voice is starting to change. He spends his time in the car buried in his phone. I had to make him look up to see the Hollywood Hills. Brett and I have always been very close, but you can start to sense a slight separation. Ever so slight.

Thirteen must also be the year that a person perfects the eyeroll as well, because it was in full force this weekend. “Dad! Why are you so chatty with the hotel check in clerk?? He doesn't care that you're from Kansas City!” <eyeroll>

But I get it. I heard the change in my voice as well as the voice of Uncle Fred began to emerge through the course of the trip.

“See that, Brett? That's the Capitol Records building. It was built to look like a stack of records in a juke box. The light at the top of the building blinks out HOLLYWOOD in Morse Code. Morse Code was used by pilots and ships to talk great distances while traveling before the Internet.” <eye roll>


The factoids flowed out of me like a beaten and battered pinata. Pasadena is the home of the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl is one of the largest arenas in the country. They played the semi-finals of the College National Championship here last year. The Rose Bowl parade is every New Year's day. It features floats made completely of roses.” <eye roll> “Dad. There are no roses on the bushes. Shut up.”

And so we spent the weekend growing slightly more apart. Me toward my inevitable march of being a Cliff Clavin; Brett toward being the man he will someday be. But there is an upside. Some day, he will take his children on a trip across the Mississippi River or the Grand Canyon or maybe even see the Capitol Records building and it will come out of him. And then the eye rolls will commence. It's the inevitable circle of life. Thanks Uncle Fred, and Stolat!! (That's Polish for 100 more years).

(Chris Kamler spews knowledge on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Purchase his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



As a writer, you are taught to look for new ways to say the same thing. You want to find colorful adjectives, similes and metaphors to paint word pictures for your readers. Today, readers, I'm going to explain what a terrible process this is.

It's hot. That's it. That's really all I have to say. I can't think of anything else because there is sweat running down the small of my back into a dark, dark place. It is hot, okay?

It's to be expected. It is July in Kansas City. I guess that 45 days of rain we got earlier in the summer made me think that it somehow wouldn't be swamp gutter hot four seconds after I walk out of my house - but I was again wrong.

There aren't words to describe how uncontrollably hot it is when I get in my car after work. I'm beginning to think that the folks who created those sun shades for our windshields actually are trying to see if we'd notice that our car has turned into the inside of a microwave set to high.

It's hot. That's the only word. Stop trying to make up new words. Steamy. Stifling. Sweltering. Nothing makes me feel any better about the fact that I have liquids dripping off of my body at a rate of a gallon a minute.

And you can take that “feels like index” and put it where the sun won't shine. What is a “Feels like index”? How is that helpful? The weather person tells me, “It's going to be a hot one today. Highs in the mid-90's, but the feels like index will make it feel like 104. Here's Larry with the sports.”

How? Why? Why do we need to append an already bad thing with a worse thing? I don't understand? You don't see people saying, “Well sir, your pizza is going to be 30 minutes late, but that will also make it feel 20 degrees cooler. Here's Jim Bob with your check!”

How about we just have one word for things and that can be all inclusive. Hot means hot. Don't touch that, it's hot. See? That was easy, right? Weather people are infamous for this with their “wind chill” and “radar indicated threats.” How about you tell me to bring an umbrella or call me when I need to get into the basement - and stop lighting up all the sirens in the county for a gust of wind 30 miles away?

I move that we retire the “heat index” and replace it with the GSI - the Genital-Sticking Index. The description of this index is somewhat, um, graphic. So please cover your children's eyes as you read the next sentence, but basically, the GSI is either a YES or a NO and computes the level of uncomfortability with the heat outside. Every morning, I'll step outside and if there is adequate sticking to the inside of my thigh, it will be called a GSI ALERT day. If there isn't, then you're free to relax in the comfort of the weather outside. Think of all the time that'd be saved hearing about indexes and humidity.

This past week, there have been seven GSI ALERT days. So much so, that I am having difficulty walking. But that's another problem for another time.

Let's just cut through the crap, weather people. Stop making stuff up in the dog days of summer and just tell me that it's hot.
Or maybe I should look into buying some Gold Bond powder and get a thesaurus.

(Chris Kamler let’s it fly on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Purchase his book The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)


Donald Trump should be the next President of the United States.

There. I'm on the record. Absolutely. Let's elect him to Congress and the Supreme Court, too while we are at it. I guess, technically, you're not allowed to do that--but I'm betting The Donald could swing it.

Quick - name me another presidential candidate not named Hillary. You can't do it! Hillary has basically been running for President for 10 years and Trump has been doing it for one month and has already eclipsed Ambassador Clinton in name recognition, Buzzfeed posts AND calls for public apologies. Beat that!

Remember that time he insulted “all Mexicans” for sneaking across the border and raping people? Oh golly. That Trump. What will he say next? Remember that other time that he called Senator John McCain the opposite of a war hero because war heroes don't get captured? That dude is zany. I'll bet he could really get Congress under control!

Oh sure, I couldn't tell you anything close to a platform of issues he's standing on. But I can't tell you what Hillary or Jeb or <Insert Rich White Guy Here> is running on, either! At least with Trump, we'll get some entertainment out of it.

Politics has finally reached the level where a guy like Trump is almost palatable versus the rum dums and central casting politicians that we've seen for years. If you held a gun to my head, I couldn't pick out Rand Paul or Rick Perry out of a lineup. I don't even know which one is a Republican or a Democrat! But I know Donald Trump. And sometimes the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don't.

Imagine what a knee-jerk Commander-In-Chief could do with ISIS or Iran or Russia. Think of all of the Vegas showgirls you'd get dancing at the State of the Union address. That's ratings! People would be talking about politics again!

People would be interested in the process. (Let's be honest, most would be learning about the impeachment process after he shotguns us into World War III, but still - WE'D BE ENGAGED!)

For decades, politics has been out of reach of television junkies and sports fans like me. We watch NFL pregame shows on Sunday mornings, not Meet the Press. But I'll bet you with Donald Trump in the Oval Office would get me to turn off Terry Bradshaw after he insults the Queen of England calling her a “cheap tart.” THAT would get my attention.

Listen, with all that's been going on in Washington the past 20 years, you gotta admit that things have gotten pretty stale. Politicians are getting settled in. Rarely do you see anything big come out of Washington. We haven't gotten into a proper “on the brink” scrape in decades.

Donald Trump will fix that, I tell ya.

Trump 2016 - Not the leader we want, but the leader we deserve.

(He’s no Donald Trump but Chris Kamler cuts loose on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Purchase his book The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



What did we do before air conditioning?

I've been trying to think of a better invention than air conditioning and can't come up with one. It's officially swampy hot outside and thanks to all the rain in June, it looks like it'll be swampy hot throughout the rest of the summer. But air conditioning. Ah!

But seriously, name me a better invention than air conditioning. The gas powered engine was pretty cool. It allowed us to create machinery like bulldozers and cars. But it's also, probably, the reason the climate is changing in the first place and the weather feels like the underside of a bull in a steam bath when you step out of the garage.

The lightbulb was neat. Hard to argue that the invention of electricity and the light bulbs weren't key to advancing the human race. It's part of what helps power air conditioning, after all. But electricity also meant the advent of going away from the sun as your primary source of light. Which means you don't get as much sleep. And sleep is awesome. So I'm going to downvote the light bulb as the greatest invention.

How about the wheel? So simple. So elegant. But let's be honest here, the wheel was invented thousands of years ago and it's pretty much stayed the same the entire time. Round. Does well down hill. That's about it, guys. Sure, Firestone puts some cool treads on their wheel, and those huge ones look cool on monster trucks - but it's basically the same invention. There hasn't been a version 2.0 or an Apple iWheel or required updates or anything to it. Boring.

About the only invention that could go up against the creation of air conditioning would be the invention of the Internet. As we all know from history, Al Gore and Oprah Winfrey invented the Internet in 1985 when they were sailing around the world on the Titanic. It has come to be the greatest achievement known to Man for sharing funny cat videos and bitching about President Obama. We only use air conditioning a few months out of the year (well, 11 months if you are my wife, but I digress). We use the Internet every day as the sole means of entertainment when we are going number two in the bathroom as well as when we are supposed to be working at work.

But... if we're being honest here, how much fun would it be pooping with your iPad WITHOUT air conditioning? Your fingers would start to sweat when you're typing out a scathing post about the Confederate Flag being taken off of the Dukes of Hazzard car! It's not workable without air conditioning. Plus, you can't beat the stream of cool air on your face when you walk into a Wal-Mart at three in the afternoon on a hot Saturday wearing only your bath robe and fuzzy slippers. The cool air hits you in places I dare not speak about in such a reputable publication.

Which brings me back to my point - air conditioning - the invention to top all inventions. Without it, we'd be standing outside (or inside) sweating until our sweat pooled below us. We'd be changing our undershorts every two hours. We'd smell like a dumpster married a rotten egg factory. And we'd be unable to complain about it on the Internet because of our sweaty palms.

(Chris Kamler lets himself go on Twitter as @TheFakeNed, often posting from air conditioned comfort but sometimes braving the elements. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Purchase his book The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



I miss Katie Horner.

For those of you new to the area or if you're not a fan of Kansas City weather, Katie Horner was a meteorologist for Channel 5 here in town a few years ago. This was back in the NEWS IN YOUR FACE era of local news and Channel 5 was the best at it.



Holy crap. Yes. Yes, I will tune in. I hope it's not worms. Oh my God, I hope it's not worms.

Channel 5 was aggressive and they consistently won in the ratings with equal parts CNN Breaking News, National Enquirer, Buzzfeed and an air horn. It was spectacular television and the crowning jewel of Channel 5's broadcasts was the weather with Katie Horner.

Horner was brash and loud. The other stations had grandfatherly guys like folksy Mike Thompson or quirky guys like Bryan Busby and Gary Lezak. Katie Horner had bigger balls than all those fellas put together and they were on display night after night. But the greatest nights in television history were when there was a line of thunderstorms streaking across the plains of Kansas heading toward the KCTV-5 viewing area.

This was Game Seven of the NBA finals. This was the Daytona 500. This was Beethoven as it was meant to be played. Horner would rifle off the cities in the path of potential destruction with the tact and grace of a jackhammer. Basehor. Look out!! Take cover!! Horner says you're about to be pounded. Platte Woods? Better get into your bunker. 435 and Metcalf? Prepare to meet your maker.

Katie Horner once famously instructed her listeners to go to the basement and put a helmet on and it was fantastic. Katie was like riding a ride at Worlds of Fun without a safety belt. It was exhilarating and heart pounding.

And then the complaints came and people ruined television in Kansas City forever.

Monday, a strong line of July thunderstorms rolled through the area. I flipped between Busby and Lezak and Thompson and some guy with perfect hair. There was no yelling. There were no helmet warnings. There was a silent list of cities and the “track” of the storm. That's not a track, you dummies. That's a TARGET. That's a BULLSEYE. One of those weather guys even told me that even though the sirens were going off, that it wasn't that big of a deal. HOW IS THAT GOING TO RAISE MY HEART RATE???

Katie Horner left Kansas City shortly after the complaints rolled in. She got a job for a short while in St. Louis as a weather person there. But now she sells plumbing in the Raymore area - once in the impending doom pathway of a storm she screamed out. And now, she is selling PVC pipes and shower fixtures.

I miss you, Katie Horner. On Monday, I went to the basement and put a helmet on until the sirens stopped in your honor.

(Get the unplugged version of Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media outlets. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



It's time to expand the sports universe in Kansas City. We are ready.

With the growing talk of expansion or migration of NHL teams and the always fluid NBA landscape, it's time to pull in an anchor tenant to the Sprint Center and fulfil the destiny of Kansas City returning to status as a four major-franchise town. Adding a basketball or hockey team to the popular soccer, baseball, and football offerings is not only what the city deserves, but what this town has earned.

Arrowhead Stadium is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest stadium in the NFL. Kansas City Royals fans have shattered All-Star Game voting records. Sporting Kansas City has set an MLS sellout record with over 60 consecutive sellouts. Even the minor league franchises of the Missouri Mavericks (hockey) and the Missouri Comets (indoor soccer) have had great success in Independence and the T-Bones (baseball) in Kansas City, Kansas. And you already know about the passion this city has for their college franchises.

But there's still a hole in this town's sports heart. When the Kansas City Kings left for Sacramento in the early 80's, an entire generation has never known an indoor arena sport. I remember going to Kansas City Kings games down at Kemper Arena as a kid. The era the Kings played in was pre-Jordan and pre-LeBron so it can't quite compare. And their owner was famously aloof and bolted the team to California first chance he got.

Hockey has also had a spotty past in this town, and the overall health of the NHL has been shaky in the past decade with work stoppages, but there is no doubt their fans are extremely passionate as well.

Some might argue that there's not enough income or wealth in KC to support a fourth professional franchise. I can only point to the World Series where plenty of folks were willing to spend several paychecks worth of funds to see the Royals take on the Madison Bumgarners.

The whole foundation behind building the Sprint Center in the first place was to draw in an NHL or NBA franchise. We now know that to be a boldfaced lie. But why not now? The Power & Light District has performed great next door to the rotation of high profile concerts, exhibition college and pro games and the occasional circus. It would fit in nicely with 40+ dates with 15,000 folks.

The key here is going to be ownership. Kansas City will only support ownership and a franchise willing to work hard to succeed. Fans stayed away from Kauffman when the Royals went through their darkest days. Chiefs tickets will be awfully easy to find until Andy Reid can take them deep into the playoffs. But I keep going back to the line in Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come.”

We've built the arena. We have the fan base. The passion, money and pride is there.

Now all we need is a team.

(Chris Kamler kicks it on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram and any other social media outlet you can name. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain

One of the best parts of social media is the idiots. We've all gotten somewhat addicted to sharing personal information about ourselves on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. But it is the fools that seem to find the best ways to continually put their backward, poorly thought-out, and inappropriate topics into the public domain.

I was checking out Facebook the other day and stumbled upon a full blown, five-alarm argument between a mother and her teenage daughter. Something about bringing a boy home that they didn't approve of and complete with a “YOU NEVER LOVED ME!!!”

There was another fairly close friend of mine who shared something about the 9/11 “Truthers” complete with his doctrine about how he thought the tragedy in New York and Washington DC was a hoax or started by the CIA. Now I've enjoyed this guy's check-in's at Target and how he's done on his 5k's, but this one had me reaching for the “MUTE” button.

But the debate of the week seems to be centered around the horrible aftermath of the mass shooting in South Carolina and what impact the Confederate Battle Flag may have had on ingrained racism in the south. These are terribly complicated issues layered with emotion. They are not issues that can be solved in 140 characters or a meme on Instagram.

But that hasn't stopped a number of my friends fighting for “FREE SPEACH” and those that would want to “FLY THE FLAG TO HONOR THE CONFEDERATES.”

If you get past the typing in all caps and the multiple spelling errors in just about every post, you'll see the point of my post today. These posts are fabulous. They are exactly what America has stood for since her birth 250 years ago. Free speech. Mark Twain was right. Give these idiots a chance to tell you how they fly the flag of racism. Put it on bumper stickers. Stick it on a t-shirt. I want to know who you are.

I want to know what businesses you own. I want to know what schools your kids go to. I want to know what neighborhood you live in. I want to know all of this because I don't want to be around you. You are providing me all of the motivation I need through your hate-filled posts and your insensitive jokes to never support anything you are associated with again.

And you're making it so simple. It's like you think you're talking in a small group with like-minded people, but you're in actuality speaking into a loudspeaker to a diverse group of folks all looking to support like-minded people. You are helping us out with your racist jokes and your politically venomous tweets. You're giving me all I would ever want to make a decision about you and I'm just fine judging you from over here.

Finding amusement in a family argument or a slightly off-color joke are one thing. But looking into the heart of what you believe in and expecting me to give you a nod is another. Before I mute you, or unfriend you, or block you, I just want to thank you for making it so easy for me.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



The cornerstone of Liberty is the right to choose your representatives. Of course I'm not talking about the Liberty with bad traffic and the world's record for number of chain restaurants in a 10 square mile radius. I'm talking about the Liberty that was part of one of those Bob Dylan songs in the '60's.

Voting has been controversial since the beginnings of this great country and, thanks to Kansas City Royals fans, voting remains just as controversial 250 years later. By now you've heard of Royals fans' quest to flood Major League Baseball with votes for their favorite Kansas City Royals. All of baseball has been encouraged to vote for their favorite All-Stars to play in the All-Star Game in Cincinnati in July. The only issue is that Kansas Citians and Kansas City fans are voting with such passion and such zeal that they've voted not one or two, but EIGHT Royals to potentially start the game.

If voting ended today, it would shatter every All-Star Game record for starters from a team. And Catcher Salvador Perez could possibly win with more votes than any other player in history.

But this has left much of the country crying foul as they say this is limiting the best choices for All-Stars and that some of the Royals aren't deserving.

This also echoes nearly every sore loser supporter after a traditional election saying that their candidate was more deserving or that the winner won't live up to the ideals of the office.

Americans only love one thing more than voting for something - bitching about voting for something. It doesn't matter if it's voting for President, or All-Star Catcher, or American Idol, or Dog Catcher. Americans love to support who they support and complain about everybody else. It is the American way.

We can't even make rules correctly around voting. There are five different Amendments to the Constitution surrounding voting - who can vote, how they can vote, how much their vote counts. It seems that once folks figure out a way to vote for the folks they like, the other folks come along and change the rules. This will happen, of course, with the MLB voting this year after the Royals turn the All-Star Game blue - but in the meantime, how can you not step back and admire the anarchy and mayhem this voting assault is causing on the other guys?

What if this were to happen “in the real world”? What if the Internet people chose the most absurd, the most ridiculous, the most insane candidate for public office and that person won? Let me give you a for instance. What if America selected Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States? How remarkable would that be? How quickly do you think the laws would be changed the next year?

It would make the voting scandal following the 2000 election with Gore and Bush look like Disney World.

In the end, the complainers will always be out there complaining about the ones who lost elections - whether it's for class president or the starting left fielder. And if you ever get frustrated about the nature of democracy or even just want to start a little trash fire - the best way to do it is to get out and vote.

(Find Chris Kamler ruling Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Buy his book The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



It's a short week and my brain is cooked after sitting in the 95 degree weather at the Royals game today - so we're going to go rapid fire with this baby.

•Good grief. That's enough with the rain. We'll give you Mosby. That's fine. But I think we're good after that.

•It's election season. I guess. I honestly couldn't tell you what election this is for, but I'm seeing signs pop up along I-35. Here's a few quick tips if you are running for an office:

•Go ahead and put what you're running for. Don't just put JONES on your sign, put JONES for TREASURER. Unless you're running for county collector. Then you should just maybe not run.

•Go ahead and put a picture on your sign. That way if you're ugly, I know to vote for you. Ugly people are more trustworthy.

•Tell me when to vote. If your election isn't for another three months, why is your sign in my yard?

•Speaking of yard signs, election season also means it's “stupid yard sign story” season I The Landmark. Last year we had someone stealing signs. The year before we had sign defacing. Let's really get creative this year, people. Maybe collect the signs of the Democratic challenger and put them all in the yard of the Republican candidate. Or put the face of famous actors on your yard signs. Like one that says “VOTE FOR JOE SMITH” and it's a picture of George Clooney.

•The NBA Finals are on which are my least favorite finals simply because they take a month to complete. The Finals will be done, hopefully, by the time my son graduates from college. He's 12.

•Brett, my son, is actually responsible for getting me interested in this year's Finals with the Cleveland LeBron's taking on the other team. Brett doesn't watch live sports. He watches the highlights on Instagram. We're creating an entire generation of people who only watch snippets of games. I think within another generation sports will be shortened to just snippet-sized contests. Maybe a “50/50” or “Pick a hand” game. First one to seven wins the American League pennant. Seriously, kids. Sit down with your dads and actually watch the games.

Your dads will never forget it.

•My son also thinks FIFA is just a video game and not a world-controlling corrupt institution that buys and sells countries for profit and control. I guess, in a way, it kind of is.

•The more I hear about this FIFA scandal, however, the more I can't help but get wrapped up in it. FIFA bribing countries with weapons and kickbacks and control? Damn, it's good to be a gangster. I can't wait to see how Ray Liotta plays the lead in the movie.

•Finally, it's road construction season here in the Northland, which means that the department of transportation tries to do every road construction project all at the same time. This is the same group of rocket scientists that did construction on the 635, Broadway and Paseo bridges all at the same time. So you've got the never ending construction on I-29, construction on I-70, 635 and they are doing stuff near my house where 29 and 35 split off. The fact that the Jetsons flying car isn't yet in my garage continues to anger me every day. Enjoy the orange barrels.

Maybe we can find some of those folks running for office to help us with that?

Nah. I didn't think so.

(Chris Kamler can be found on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)




I love Kansas City. It's my hometown. It's a town with tremendous BBQ, fun activities and such a diverse culture. But man, does getting around in this town suck sometimes.

The traffic certainly isn't as bad as Los Angeles or New York, but ask my wife about driving from College and Metcalf to I-35 and Parvin at 4:30 on a Tuesday and you'll get an earful.

It's made worse because the past two weekends I've traveled to towns that seem to have gotten it right. Last weekend I was in Chicago for the Royals/Cubs series and used their extensive “L” train system as well as their Metra (train used for longer hauls to the suburbs) system. It was painless. It was cheap and it was addicting. Of course, the L was literally baked into the city as it has been around since the late 1800's and currently services over 750,000 Chicagoans EVERY WEEKDAY. It is a primary vein to the culture and infrastructure of the Windy City.

Two weekends ago, my son and I went to Denver, where their light rail system is much newer, making its debut in 1998 and helps traverse a more interstate-style of transportation. In both cities, we chose to stay further away from the city's core and take the light rail into town for baseball games which were made incredibly easy.

The entire time on the trains I couldn't help but think what Kansas City would be like if I could take an Evanston to Wrigley Field type of trip. Perhaps from Platte City to Kauffman - which is about the equal distance. A 35 minute car ride would turn into a 45 minute light rail ride and cost about $3 each way. Plenty worth it to save the $11 parking and whatever else you spent on gas.

Imagine my wife's commute from I-35 and Parvin down to College and Metcalf. She could drive her car to Antioch and Vivion and catch the “K” (that's what I'm calling our “L”) as it winds through Northtown, over the Heart of America, cuts through the heart of downtown following 71 Highway into Overland Park.

A rail system like that would fundamentally change the way this city connected to each other and I can't think of a negative other than cost and logistics. And I guess that's been the hold up all along. The cost of any massive municipal project would be staggering. Cities like Platte City or Gladstone or Fairway would have to fund portions of it, as would Kansas City, the state of Missouri and the federal government. But you need only look at I-70 eastbound at 5 p.m. on a Thursday to understand the need for something like this. I'd say light rail would be more needed than a single terminal airport for sure.

Logistics would be another matter. It would take a massive undertaking the likes of which this city--divided by a state line and a ton of socio-economic divisions--has never had to deal with. It would require cooperation.

And so far, nobody has stepped up other than the City of Kansas City to start it.

The first KC Streetcar system will only go two miles. From City Market to Crown Center. That's all that we got after decades of listening to Clay Chastain. Two miles.

So here's my plan. We need someone other than the goofball Clay Chastain to lead the charge and that man is Sly James. When he leaves office, he needs to start a regional PAC to build a light rail system that will criss-cross KCI to Overland Park then Lee's Summit to the Kansas Speedway. And why stop there? Why couldn't you go all the way from the Speedway out to Columbia, Missouri or Lawrence? Or heck, a Denver to St. Louis run.

We need to think bigger than just two miles connecting Hallmark with Burrito Bros. It's working for Chicago and Denver. It needs to work for Kansas City.

(Follow Chris, a Twitter rock star of sorts, @TheFakeNed)



Congratulations, graduates of the Class of 2015! All that hard work has finally paid off. I'm not much of a speech giver, so I checked out a few other graduation speeches on YouTube in preparation. Former President George W. Bush told graduates of Yale that even “C” students “can be President someday.” Ed Helms told the University of Virginia that “It is said that with great power, comes great responsibility. Not true. You can coast if you want to.” And Robert DeNiro said in his speech to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts that “You're F**ked.”

Wow. Tough words for the Class of 2015.

What happened to giving these kids something positive to hang their hats on? Honestly, a graduation speech is as simple as the line from a Modern Family episode. Just throw together a few lines from popular songs and you're done. Like “Don't Stop Believin'” and “Get this Party Started!”

So with that, Class of 2015, I'm picking the top five songs from the Billboard chart and constructing my graduation speech to you. Good luck!

“I'm too hot (hot damn), Called a police and a fireman. I'm too hot (hot damn) Make a dragon wanna retire, man.” --Mark Ronson “Uptown Funk”

Listen, Class of 2015. You're hot. You are on fire. You can do anything you want to. Just remember that it's “the police” not “a police” and try to steer clear of cops at any rate.

“Deep in her eyes, I think I see the future. I realize this is my last chance.” --Walk The Moon “Shut Up And Dance”

You're young. You shouldn't be so fatalistic. Besides, her taking your arm is ultimately a good thing and if you can see the future, remember to put away some savings for a rainy day. These are all great things to do once you graduate. Or, just shut up and dance.

“Cause girl, you're perfect. You're always worth it. And you deserve it. The way you work it.” --Weeknd “Earned It” (Ed: [SIC], it's WEEKND)

Obviously Weeknd is talking about your first job after graduation and that's to clean the coffee machine and unjam the copy machine. Remember to own that job. Work it perfectly. And don't call for service until you've given it the old college try.

“I hit the strip with my trap queen 'cause all we know is bands. I might just snatch a 'Rari and buy my boo a Lamb.” --Fetty Wap “Trap Queen”

Listen, I'm not going to even pretend I know what any of those words mean. But I'll tell you this, don't get trapped after graduation. Stay motivated. Eat right. Snatch a 'Rari or two. And if you can buy your boo a Lamb, well, that means you're on the right track.

And finally, graduates, I just want to tell you all that you're going to face struggles and great successes. Stay true to yourself. Work hard. Play hard. Cut yourself some slack.

And, as the great Wiz Khalifa says in his number 1 hit “See You Again:”

“Let the light guide your way, yeah. Hold every moment as you go. And ever road you take, will always lead you home.”

Congratulations Class of 2015!

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter where is well known as @TheFakeNed. Buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo” at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



“Hey, can I ask yous guys a question?”

My family and I stopped just inside the right field gate at Kauffman Stadium and I turned to see two navy-blue clad Yankee fans who asked, “Do yous guys dress up like this all the time?”

While the New York accent may be slightly amplified for effect, I was asked that question three times on Sunday during the Dressed To The Nines event at Kauffman Stadium.

I explained to them that no, this isn't an everyday thing. The suit I was wearing along with my wife's sun dress and the reluctant button-down shirt and tie my son was wearing are for a very special occasion. I explained that our clothes were to honor the story of the Negro Leagues and the history of baseball in Kansas City and how that history played a part with the Civil Rights struggle this country continues to fight with.

But mostly, I told the story that I'd heard Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, tell several times about how black churches would change their service times on Sundays so that parishioners could leave church and walk down to the ballpark dressed in their Sunday best to watch the Monarchs play.

“Oh wow. I had no ideas deyz did that,” the newly educated East-coaster told me. He thanked me and then walked into the stadium.

Of course, the longer story is that the reason I was standing in a suit on a 82 degree Sunday afternoon is because of the late, great John “Buck” O'Neil and his passion for the game of baseball and the determination of his Negro Leagues to break barriers throughout his lifetime. Buck relayed the story to the tremendous author Joe Posnanski about the red dress, “son, don't ever walk past a woman in a red dress.” So there were women in red dresses and men in fedoras and children awkwardly wearing something other than basketball shorts. All because of Buck and his Negro Leaguers.

We listened to US Representative Rev. Emanuel Cleaver give a “baseball sermon” prior to the game where he said that the Negro Leagues broke down walls and in 2015, many feel like there are too many walls around them. He recently spoke with youths in Ferguson and he said, “I wish you could've seen the Negro Leagues.” He said that those guys faced impossible odds. They were shunned wherever they went. Segregated water fountains. Specific gas stations they could go to and an institution of racism most places they traveled. The implication of Reverend Cleaver to those kids is, “boys, you haven't seen hopelessness and those men still climbed the wall.”

So whites and blacks and hispanics and men and women and children all dressed up on Sunday afternoon. We dressed up for Buck. We dressed up for Jackie Robinson. We dressed up for Ernie Banks. We dressed up for baseball and red dresses and those magnificent men who, long ago, broke down the unbreakable walls.

Demz is what we wuz dressed up for, New York fans.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed and buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



I'm calling it. It's over. The era of the blowhard has ended.

Your television is full of them - the screamers - the opinion makers - the talking heads. CNN is getting blasted for its coverage of Baltimore's racial tensions and even sparking criticism that they helped fuel the flames. You can't turn on anything news-oriented without hearing yelling and screaming. And tune to either of the sports stations here in town and you're likely to hear bloviating that could curl your hair.

People are fed up and they're starting to vote with their channel changers and their wallets.

The “format” of yelling has got to stop. It's been present for decades on cable news where you get the two boxes on the screen and just have people yell at each other. Nobody is solving anything, you're just picking A or B and then yelling about why you win. The format has seeped into sports media as well, where even SportsCenter is just people arguing about the issues and not telling you scores to games.

It seems that maybe the tide is starting to turn (at least in the sports world) as this week Bill Simmons was let go from ESPN. While not a screamer, he is the type of person ESPN needs to shy away from. He's probably 10th on the list of people who need to be fired--and that list includes Colin Cowherd, Stephen A. Smith and Tony Kornheiser--but it's a start.

I never took debate in high school or college but I think one of the rules in debate is to make your point salient and compassionate. You have to back up your position with something other than just name calling.

It has infected Facebook and Twitter to the point that nearly anything short of a funny cat video turns into a racial/Obama/Guns/TCOT/religious argument. And it's the fault of cable news.

What if after some of these networks cleaned house, they looked for people skilled in moderating discussions and navigating polarizing positions? Maybe something would get done in Washington or on SportsCenter. But that doesn't sell advertising near as much as Kevin Kietzman explaining how Alex Gordon will never be a good outfielder or how CNN Talking Head #72 asks the leading question, “Can America ever be safe again?”

We're all sick of it. So I'm calling it. The blowhard era has ended. Tell the Bob Fescoes and the Colin Cowherds and the Lawrence O'Donnell's that their day has come and gone.

The next guy or gal is going to elicit debate but you're not allowed to just argue a point, you have to have facts to back it up and allow rebuttal of facts. Maybe it won't work, but maybe we'll at least have a more peaceful scan through the television channels.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is widely known as @TheFakeNed and buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



The next million dollar idea is here, folks.

One of the daily annoyances I have is the way folks use social media. Different social networks are used differently, but for the most part, they all display different angles of putting your best foot forward.

LinkedIn is about putting your most professional self out there - like a living resume. Instagram allows you to post your most wonderful pictures and they'll even help hide any of those blemishes with filters. Twitter is where you get to be your funniest and most cynical. And then there is Facebook.

We've talked a number of times about how Facebook life isn't really reality. It's as much reality as Survivor or Real Housewives is reality. You're seeing a slice of a person that they want you to see. I'm as guilty of it as anyone. Check my Facebook and it's always my best days - the days I publish a book, or take a great picture at a Royals game or when someone says something nice about me.
The problem is that you're seeing only about 10% of the real me. You're seeing your friends only in the light that they want you to see them in. And that's ultimately unrealistic. You should see people as they are - a 360 degree view.

That's where my million dollar idea comes in. A social network that compiles all of your social networks as well as your bank accounts, your taxes, your police record, your lawyer's files and interviews with your next door neighbors and your ex-wives.

I call it 360.com and it's going to let the cream rise to the top. Nothing will be hidden - not the good, not the bad. There's Mike Jones. He was arrested for weed in 1989, but also donates 15% to his church every Sunday. He has an ugly daughter, but his wife just got a boob job.

There's Sally Madison. Sally visits the casino four times a week, she walks her neighbor's dog but doesn't pick up the poop and she speeds on Hwy. 152 every chance she gets. Sally tells people she's 36, but is really 42. Her hair color is from a bottle, but thanks to a generous slip and fall accident, she's worth $2.4 million.
I think people would sign up by the millions. The key is that you'd need to give up all the dirt on yourself, but in return you'd get to see all the data from everyone else in your network. Would being spied on be worth being able to spy on your friends and neighbors?

Like I said. Million dollar idea.

Of course, as the creator of the app, I would have full editorial control over my profile and my weight problem, my athlete's foot and the argument I had with my wife last week might not make it onto the profile.

I guess that's the risk you run for the next million dollar idea.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed and buy his book, The Silence, The Series, & The Season of Sungwoo at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



There's only one topic of discussion on the lips of Kansas Citians this week and that's the new Bad Boys of Baseball--those Boys in Blue--the Kansas City Royals. The Royals capped off a week featuring a number of bench-clearing incidents, hit batsmen, curse words flinging in every direction and a bonafide brawl with the White Sox.

As the dust settles, however, the Royals and their fans are left to examine how we got here. How did a team that was the darling of the media and the Cinderella of baseball last October turn into the villain in a Harry Potter book? The answer is simple, as anyone with a child can tell you. He started it.

When you look back to all of the incidents the Royals have been involved in this year--they lead the majors in being hit by pitches--you start to see the reactive nature of what the Royals are going through.

Think back to your first car ride with your parents across country. For me, my family took a long car trip every summer in our Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon. There were four kids and two parents and the car seated five comfortably. It seated six very uncomfortably, or sometimes we had to do ro-sham-bo to determine who sat way in the back in the luggage compartment. The smells and the arm twists and the crying were the stuff of car trip legend. But as Dad would always do when he turned around, he'd ask “Who started it?”

Both my brother and me, as we were the instigators of 99.9% of the trouble in the back of the car, would explain, “He started it” and point to the other one. For some reason, the original offender was an important fact in these backseat brawls. Yet the brawls were inevitable when you place a bunch of snotty-nosed brats in a confined space between Kansas City and Lincoln, Neb.

Such as it is with the 2015 Royals. Nobody in the media picked them to finish better than third. The defending American League champions were laughed away as a one year fluke. Pitchers from other teams taking shots at our hitters. Teams criticizing the Royals for their fun gestures and the fact that they are playing with swagger. All this angst in a confined space for a month--something's going to blow.

And so it did when on two separate occasions last week, the Royals and A's and then the Royals and White Sox rang the bell. And we are left to figure out “Who started it?”

My answer now is the same as my answer then - “who cares? <insert child's name here> won't stop hitting me!!”

Or maybe translated in Royals speak, “Who cares? Just keep winning and it will all take care of itself.”

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed and buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



Let's think back for a moment back to your first apartment. Maybe it was in college. Maybe it was the first time you left home. Now jump ahead six months and walk me through what your refrigerator looked like when you opened it. There's that brick of cheese you bought the day you moved it. There, way in the back is a gallon of milk that looks like lime jello. And... hey, where did that burrito go from last weekend? Is it possible it got up and walked away?

You'd expect to see that in a freshman dorm or a few months after the newlyweds have moved in. But you'd likely not expect to see that when you take your family out to Kauffman Stadium. However, one of the quickly buried items from last year's magical post-season Royals run was that the KCMO Health Department found numerous health code violations at Kauffman concession stands following the World Series.

The violations were tipped to the health department, as reported by ESPN's Outside the Lines, by a whistleblower (who was fired a month ago) and included cockroaches, rodent droppings and improperly stored food at improper temperatures.

Yuck. I'm not sure even my freshman dorm included that. Well, probably not.

Chalk it up to the craziness of the postseason. Heck, I might've even forgotten to take a shower or two last October. Surely they got all those problems locked down in the five months since, right? Nope.

The company that manages concessions, Aramark, also manages the concessions of 30 other professional sports venues. It was inspected again on Opening Day and, according to KSHB, numerous violations were found, including more cockroaches and incorrect temperatures for food.

Earlier this week, a fan tweeted me a picture of a hot dog with mold on it from Friday's “Buck Night.” While inspections that night found no impropriety, it does seem that Aramark has some pretty crazy issues - or that they need to add penicillin to the menu.

Aramark was interviewed and a spokesperson said the food is of the “highest quality.” According to KCTV, Neal Ross was one of those who bought a dollar hot dog with mold on it and he admitted that you “get what you pay for.”

Regardless, fans should be plenty steamed that their hot steamin' weenies aren't edible.

It's time to tell Aramark and Kauffman Stadium (and the Jackson County Sports Authority) that enough is enough. Kauffman has a very generous policy about bringing in your own external food as long as it's in soft-sided containers. A quick run to Subway for a couple of sandwiches, or stopping by Hy-Vee or Price Chopper for a bucket of chicken would surely take $30 out of the pocket of Aramark and maybe enact some real change to keep the flies on the field and out of the hot dogs.

If things really get bad, you can always call my old college roommates to help clean the dishes--after they've been sitting in the sink for about two weeks.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed and buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



There's not much worth remembering about the late 90's. I never really wore chinos or Fila high tops. I wasn't much of a Nirvana fan and, while I really got into the Mark MacGwire/Sammy Sosa home run battle of 1998, it would later be spoiled by the fact that both of them were on more juice than OJ. (The juice, not the murderer.)

One amazing thing did happen in the late 90's - I got my first cell phone. If I recall, I got mine earlier than most - somewhere around 1996. It was a Motorola StarTac flip phone and you had service across about half of the city. This started my love affair with the cell phone. I've been addicted ever since.

The StarTac gave way to the Nokia, the Nokia gave way to my first of several Blackberries. I also had phones that you could hook to your laptop, and later, a “sidekick.”

I became obsessed early with cell phones and one never left my side from the first day onward. iPhones, Androids, texting, tweeting, and even bluetooth. Count me in.

I cared for these little devices like newborns. I'd brush the screens of fingerprints when they got all smushed. I'd charge their batteries overnight so I had plenty of juice for the day ahead. If I would lose the handle on my phone, I'd never let it fall to the ground or cushion it with my foot.

Not once in nearly 20 years as a cell phone user had I ever dropped and damaged a phone. Until last week.

Let's back up a bit. In 2015, I carry two phones. The first is my personal phone - an Android Galaxy 5S. It is where I run my Twitter empire and Snapchat all of the inappropriate things to my hearts content. The second phone is a Galaxy S3 that belongs to work. I carry them both in my pocket most of the time quite easily. No bigger than a wallet, really.

I've walked “double-phone style” (that's not a real term, I just use it to sound cool, does it work?) for over a year without any problem. Just another And then last week happened.

I've been helping manage my son's baseball team. And that means one thing - coaches shorts. Coaches shorts aren't as forgiving as gym shorts and that meant I had to take one of my phones out and set it on the bat rack. Well. You can bet what happened next. Yep, a foul ball hit the fence and my poor work phone fell four feet to the concrete below. Fell down right on its face like it was a cat or a buttered piece of toast.

I looked at the phone. Laying there. And I felt my heart sink. I knelt beside it, wiping away a tear from my cheek and lifted it to my face. Shattered.

Spiderwebbed. It wouldn't even turn on.

My heart shattered along with it. Nearly 20 years and one of my precious cell phones had fallen. It was okay as I still had my personal phone. Wait. Where was my second phone?

I moved a helmet aside and there it was against the fence. Face down. Shattered.
So, how was YOUR week?

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed and buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



The year was 1984. The country was recovering from a decade-old recession and stood in the shadow of the energy crisis of the late 70's. Unemployment was high and consumer confidence was low.

I was a child of 12 and while my memories of the era aren't terribly specific, I do remember the 1984 Olympics changing all of that. Ronald Reagan talked about the shining city on a hill. The Dream Team of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Charles Barkley destroyed the competition and Mary Lou Retton smiled her way into history.

All it took was one magical month.

Winning changes things. The US went on to “win” those Olympics and the next decade seemed to prosper as a result.

Every year, my dad takes “list kids” to play baseball. These are kids who either didn't make it during tryouts for other teams or just kids who might not play very well. He manages to get their brains summarily beaten in during the early weeks of the season, but by the end of the year - during the post-season tournament - he always manages to string a bunch of improbable wins together.

Kids get better. They start stopping balls. They start having confidence in their swings. They start playing like a team. They start winning.

Winning changes things. All it takes is a little effort.

I had a chance last month to broadcast over half of the 31 games of the NAIA Division I Men's National Basketball Tournament and the team that won it all was in their very first year. Dalton State out of Dalton, Georgia had only had competitive basketball for three years. They had to sit the first two years out of post-season competition by NAIA rule and traveled to Kansas City to their first post-season tournament ever.

The team plowed through the early rounds and won the toughest basketball tournament in the country (having to win five games in six days) to become champions. The kids simply said they didn't know what else to do other than win.
Winning changes things. It only took one magical week.

This week, I sat in an overcast stadium along with 40,000 of my closest friends and watched the raising of a flag. On it read “2014 American League Champions.” You surely know the back story behind the flag and the eight consecutive wins to start a playoff and Alex Gordon's triple and Salvador Perez's single in the early morning of Oct. 1 and the thousand of other moments that made up last October.

This team now embarks on its next chapter. Gone are the 29 years of losing. Buried are the ghosts of Neifi Perez and Eduardo Villacis. Ned Yost is now heralded as an “innovator” rather than a “dunce.”

Winning changes things. It only took one magical October.

The point of all of this is that every one of those teams failed and they failed consistently. Dalton State lost over half their games the first two years. The United States was terrible in basketball until the Dream Team and the Royals... well, you know that whole story.

All it took was the belief and a little magic to turn it around. No matter your circumstance. No matter what die has been cast in your name. You're never further than a good few days to turn it all around.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter @TheFakeNed and buy his book, The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo, at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



Baseball season.

Even the words on the page are enough to elicit a chill.

I come from a baseball family. And by baseball family, I don't mean an occasional baseball game and a hot dog now and again. I mean, since I was five years old, my family has completely changed between the months of March and October.
This happened as kids with Mom and Dad both coaching various softball, tee-ball, and baseball squads. Sometimes to championships, sometimes to end of year picnics where “atta boys” were showered.

Days were filled with catch in the front yard and baseball practice, while nights were filled with the Royals on the TV and laundry. I'm not sure how much Spray And Wash Mom had to go through to get four kids through their formative baseball years, but it had to have been a lot.

Once my baseball career was unceremoniously ended by a freshman baseball coach who equated my ability to run (poorly) around Macken Park to how well I could hit a baseball, I began umpiring. That launched its own 25-year career that took me to tournaments and ball diamonds across the Midwest. Machine pitch, tee-ball, softball, baseball. It didn't matter the level or the game. It was so ingrained into my DNA that when the summer sun was up, I needed to have dirt underneath my feet.

After a spinal accident a few years ago, my umpiring career ended and then my family embarked on a new baseball journey--this one through the eyes of my son, Brett. Named, of course, after my baseball hero growing up.

This year I began coaching, carrying on the legacy that my dad began. My assistant coach is that same Dad who took me to Bob's Big Boy Burgers on Independence Avenue after tee-ball practice so that we could play the pinball machine and eat greasy cheeseburgers.

The scouting report on the KC Thunder is still up in the air. The team has plenty of raw talent, but a simple game of catch sometimes devolves into how far you can throw it over your teammate’s head. Both coaches with “KAMLER” on the back of their shirts kind of just scratch their heads and remind the youngsters of their mechanics. Some get it. Some don't.

For over 35 years, Kamlers have patrolled the chalk lines of baseball. This year, three generations will take the field. Clearly because of coaching, my son, Brett, did something that no Kamler had ever done before this past weekend -- he hit his first over-the-fence home run.

Winning or losing never seemed to matter at the Kamler house. Oh sure, there were a few tears after a loss and a few cheers after a win. What mattered then is what continues to matter now... If the sun is high and the air is warm, there is a Kamler on a baseball diamond.

Play ball.

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter @TheFakeNed and buy his book “The Silence, The Series & The Season of Sungwoo” at The Landmark office or at kamlerbook.com)



Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about Twitter. Now I realize that many people still don't “get” Twitter. I was in line at the grocery store the other day hearing a man behind me say exactly that. “I don't know why people need to talk about their food to complete strangers.”

Well, while Twitter does have a fair amount of chatter about donuts and pizza, the micro-blogging platform has become much more. I've written before about the day I knew Twitter was going to be the “it” thing for years to come when I heard about the death of Michael Jackson back in 2009. A the time, I was brand new to Twitter and I saw how that news spread like a wildfire across the country before CNN or NBC even sniffed the coverage.

Since then, tweets have kept people up to date from Ferguson, Missouri to the Arab Spring riots in the Middle East and even to the International Space station. The Mars Rover even tweets from another planet.

Yet until you really see the power behind one tweet, it's hard to describe.

This past week, a friend of mine was shot in Independence when he came home to find three men robbing his home. Jimmy Faseler, a youth social worker, was shot in the stomach and has been in ICU at a Kansas City hospital. Knowing that the guy doesn't have two nickels to rub together, my friend Dave Darby and I set up a GoFundMe campaign (basically a site to allow donations for a specific cause) to help offset what will likely be a significant amount of medical bills.

From my Twitter account, we launched the #BounceBackJimmy hashtag that raised $8,500 in less than 24 hours.

One tweet.

There are thousands of other examples. A Methacton High School baseball player tweeted at the Little League World Series hero Mo'ne Davis calling her a “slut” on twitter. The player was suspended from the team.

The list of both positive and negative all taking place on the social platform number in the hundreds of thousands. Hashtag by hashtag.

There's the story of Justine Sacco who tweeted something about AIDS before a flight to South Africa and the world took off with it. Sacco landed to find out that her tweet traveled around the world while she was in the air and that she'd also lost her job.

For better or for worse, Twitter is around (or whatever comes next) allowing all of humanity to prove their worth or their idiocy.

I, for one, will be watching intently.

PS - If you have the means and can help my friend Jimmy Faseler with his medical bills after this incident, you can visit pinetarpress.com/bouncebackjimmy with information about the fund.

(Catch Chris Kamler at The Landmark this Friday, March 27 at 4 p.m. with his new book. Follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed and find out more about his book at kamlerbook.com)



This is my 170th column for The Landmark, which means I've run out of stuff to say. Plus, this time of year doesn't help my short-attention span. You've got basketball, the start of baseball, the book I'm publishing (you didn't know I wrote a book? Shame on you) as well as your day job and a thousand other things going on.

So we'll keep this short and scatterbrained. Ivan taught me this.

** Please approve the QuikTrip, people. Roller food is the best food.

** Even though they were a little slow on the uptake, Dirks is reopening under new management. Don't pretend like you are unfamiliar with Dirks. Come on. You stumbled into (or out of) that place a time or two on the west outer road of I-29 and Barry behind the In-A-Tub. One of the co-owners is none other than The Voice of Kauffman Stadium, Mike McCartney who spent enough time at the end of the bar that he just bought it to clear off his tab. Good luck, guys.

** We had my book launch party at Dirks last weekend and the place looks amazing. Tons of TV's, great music and the bartenders are pretty easy on the eyes.

** That silly little book I wrote opened up at #28 on Amazon's “Baseball Books” list. I'm struggling between feelings of panic, pride, confidence and nausea.

** I like Kentucky to win the NCAA Tournament - I also would pick them to win the NIT, the American League East and Wimbledon. They're playing at a level I've never seen in college basketball.

** Starting next week (maybe,) the weekly edition of “The K Replay” will return. This will be your weekly (or weakly) look at the Boys in Blue. I think it ended pretty well last year, don't you? Let's make it 90 feet longer this year.

** Speaking of, you'll need to read next week, but I'm a little peckish at the Royals chances this year. I'm concerned about how the team is going to gel and with Billy Butler and James Shields leaving, you're going to need to see new leaders emerge. It'll be interesting.

** How did Platte County go from zero Smoothie Kings to two? Either way, Platte County is now awesome.

** Snake Saturday has quickly become the party to be at in Kansas City. Kudos to all the family and drunks that peacefully coexisted for five hours last weekend. But a three hour parade?

Seriously, let's limit the “Jeep Club” to five of your best Jeeps instead of 50 and let's cut down on the floats with just drunks on top of them. Sorry, lady. I didn't mean to pee on your stroller.

Well there you go. Spring is here. The flowers will soon be blooming and baseball is just around the corner.

Have a great week and I'll probably (not) have something to write about next week.

(Loyal Landmark columnist Chris Kamler will be offering his book for sale and a few for free on Friday, March 27, 4 p.m. at The Landmar. Follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed and at kamlerbook.com)



Friends, this might be my final column with The Landmark. I've recently come into a little bit of a windfall and am considering early retirement.

Is it the widespread success of my newly published book “The Silence, The Series, & The Season of Sungwoo” that is available at Amazon.com? Nope.

Is it the death of a wealthy relative? Not even close.

No. I've recently come into a gigantic sum of money because of my wife. Well, at least this is what she tells me.

I have often told people I'm the luckiest man alive to have a wife like I do, but only recently have I found out that it's even financially to my advantage to have her around.

Let's start at the beginning. My wife recently started a new job. She left a job last year that had a somewhat... relaxed dress code. So sweatshirts and yoga pants were the norm. Her new job requires a business casual dress so off to the clothes shops she went last weekend with her friend.
They went to this fancy store called Kohls. I've never been, but from what my wife tells me, it's a place with everything.

We had set aside a little money to make sure she looked spiffy for her first day of work, so off she went to the magical Kohls.

Six hours later, she returned with a trunk full of boxes and clothes on hangers and those plastic bags you see from the dry cleaners. I think they're called “plastic bags.”

“Honey!! I'm back!! And you'll never believe what happened!!!”

I perked up and watched as she showed me shoes and blouses and underpants and bras and slacks. Everything my sweetie needed to make a good impression at her new place of business.

But that's not even the best part!

I sat there slackjawed as she explained to me that she used a 30% off coupon and she managed to find the dumbest lady at the register who let her couple that coupon with another $25 off coupon and then she actually bought the shoes because they were 50% off already and the bra was marked down off of the clearance rack.

She started to weave a tapestry of coupons and discounts and knock-offs and bargains that amounted to three times what she actually spent on the clothes.

“And honey. Guess how much MONEY I saved??”

And here's the crux of the shopping trip. My wife went on to tell me the large sum of money that was saved by shopping today. She said she saved nearly $500 dollars AND came home with all these great clothes!!

“You saved $500? Why that's amazing! Let's go put it in our child's college fund!”

“Well, I mean, that's not actually money we can put in the college fund.”

I didn't understand. She told me she saved over $500. That means that we can go out for a nice steak dinner or go to the movies. Yet my wallet was empty and my credit card was returned to me glowing red hot.

“So. Honey. How much did you actually spend?”

“$300. But I saved $500.”

“Well, wouldn't that mean that you have $200? Isn't 500 minus 300 200?”



I was disappointed, but not deterred. There's got to be a way to tap into and reverse the ratio of money saved to money spent. Maybe it's done with lasers or trickle down economics.

If there's anybody that knows how to “save” money with the best of them, it's my wife. Just ask my credit card company.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to plan to quit my day job next month. I've got a credit card payment due next week.

(Our man Chris Kamler is excited about his book hitting the streets this Friday. Learn more about his book at kamlerbook.com and follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



Facebook is a dumpster fire. We can all agree on that, right? I've talked about it before and you've talked about it and strangers at the coffee shop have talked about it. A clever idea to bring together family, friends, and strangers has evolved into the greatest argument arena in human history.
Where else can you learn that your second cousin on your mother's side said OBAMA SAID BABIES ARE PUNISHMENT FOR SEX. Or that old co-worker you reluctantly friended so he could send you that Kanye West album tells you that McDONALDS IS RECALLING ALL OF THEIR FOOD.

On any given day, 50% of my Facebook timeline is filled with right-wing TCOT nonsense blaming the left-wingers for the ills of the world coupled with liberal hippies blaming the right for guns and wars and Sarah Palin causing mayhem.

Yet one of the greatest days in Facebook's (and its users) history happened last week when a photograph was posted of a tacky striped dress with the caption, “What color is this dress?”
Imagine the scene from the movie “Airplane!” when Leslie Nielsen comes on the airplane radio and asks the passengers, “By the way, does anyone know how to fly an airplane?” The ensuing ruckus, fighting, drama, and catastrophic commotion didn't hold a candle to what my Facebook feed looked like.

Was the dress gold and white, or was it blue and black? It had all of the makings of a perfect storm of an Internet controversy. It was a yes or no question. It was easily decided on with very little educational material. It was something you could believe in your gut even though you could be 100% wrong. And, most importantly, it was a trigger where you could fight with your Facebook “friends” who had views that were different to yours.

This went past religion and politics and societal issues. If you saw a gold and white dress, then to hell with those who saw it as blue and black.

People who saw something as clearly in front of them as one thing were threatening to fight those who said that they saw another thing. The infighting didn't travel among normal party lines and it fractured tight bonds. My wife and I saw one thing while my parents saw another. Even still, others saw colors we did not see. Yet everyone who saw the dress was 100% convinced they saw the color they saw.

It is probably the best example I can think of in recent memory of how binary life online has become. There is no longer a gray area (pardon the pun) to the Internet. There's no longer room for debate or discussion. You're either a one or you are a zero.

In the end, of course, the scientists ruled that several factors contributed to a dress of one color appearing another color. Quality of the cell phone camera. Lighting of the dress. But most of all, the fact that people see the same things differently. The debate continues to rage.

I finally had to admit that the gold and white dress I saw was blue and black. Perhaps we can all find the ability to revisit our opinions on issues we see on Facebook. Or maybe just turn it off all altogether.

(When he isn’t on Facebook, our man Chris Kamler is busy writing a book and being a smartass on Twitter. Follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed or learn more about his book at kamlerbook.com)



Let's face it, being the mild-mannered humor columnist for Platte County's largest, oldest and most successful newspaper empire has its privileges. Maybe the local coffee shop recognizes you and slides you a cup of joe at no charge. Maybe Platte City's finest give you a nod when you blow through their town going 36 in a 35.

But my newspaper and internet celebrity went to its apex this past weekend when I was asked to judge a Miss America local pageant. Now, the first thing they tell you is to not call these beauty pageants “beauty pageants.” No. They are “scholarship pageants.” And then the second thing they tell you is to not feel creeped out about sitting in a high school auditorium in the dark watching 17-24 year old girls walk in front of you in a bathing suit.

No problem. I'm your man. Scholarship pageant it is and turn the heat down in the auditorium. Let's get to work.

One of the most surprising things about my experience was how seriously everyone associated with the Miss America pageant took it. From the judges video by a sternly voiced man explaining the virtues of pageants to the coordinators who want everyone to sit in a correct seat to the fans in attendance whom you're instructed not to talk with otherwise you'll get the implication of impropriety.

The initial event happens early in the morning with the judges interviews. A chance for us to talk to the girls in a panel setting about their “platforms” (their philanthropic endeavors) and get to know them.

I managed to learn the rules to judging relatively quickly. There aren't many. They don't really give you a ton of instruction there. But the pageant is broken into several categories that are weighted differently. The talent portion is weighted the most, yet the man in the intro video said to treat it as a job interview. No job interview I've ever been on has asked me to play the flute to a Jethro Tull song, but whatever.

Then comes the swimsuit competition and folks, let me tell you, it was weird. With my wife sitting two rows behind me, I did my best to look disinterested but also like I was paying attention. The result was an oddly shaped face and an even more uncomfortable chair squirm - like I'd eaten bad Taco Bell. The final event of the night was the formalwear and interview question. Perhaps you've seen other pageants where the girls all ask for “world peace” or can't name the capital of their state. All the judges had to submit questions that were then randomly selected out of a bowl. The girls all did great. There wasn't a “world peace” answer among them.

And that's what I will take away most about the entire thing. Take away the goofy pageant walks and our calls to watch out for too much “jiggle in the wiggle.” Take away the awkward (and I mean awkward) swimsuit event. What you're left with are genuinely nice people who do want to make the world better. Maybe not by bringing world peace, but many of these girls were working to raise awareness of domestic violence or help with suicide prevention. Most of these girls live on college campuses where societal issues are at their most raw. We need leaders in those communities to be role models. The girls were the absolute best part of it and I wish them all well.

In conclusion, beauty pageants - errr - sorry, scholarship pageants are either a time-honored tradition looking for a wonderful role model for young people in America or a dated misogynistic ritual pushing unrealistic stereotypes. I am comfortable that regardless of your views on them, the folks participating are pretty great participants.

So congratulations to Miss Leavenworth County Meagan Johnson and Miss Wooded Hills Haleigh Kierl as well as their anti-domestic violence (nomore.org) and anti-bullying campaigns. Good luck at the Miss Kansas pageant and I'm sorry about that whole swimsuit thing.

(When he isn’t judging beauty pageants, our man Chris Kamler is busy writing a book and being a smartass on social media. Follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed and see more of his stuff at thekcpost.com)



Fittingly enough, Saturday Night Live held one of its reunion shows this past weekend. One of my favorite characters from that show was by Jon Lovitz as the Pathological Liar.

If you've never seen the old skit, basically the guy would get into a conversation with someone and then begin to embellish about how he was married to Morgan Fairchild and was a member of Congress. “Yeah, that's the ticket!” he'd say after each lie.

Lovitz was able to accurately convey one of America's most time honored traditions--lying out your backside. A fact evolves into a story. A story evolves into a tale. A tale evolves into spinning a yarn and spinning a yarn turns into something grand. Just add a small little lie and cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

It's a little disheartening to see that Lovitz's network mate on NBC, Brian Williams - the managing editor of the NBC Nightly News - is about to lose his job (after his six month suspension) for spinning yarns about taking fire while on a helicopter in Afghanistan.

You've heard the story by now and you might have even heard one of several versions of the story--depending on the source. Helicopter pilots. Other members of the press and Williams himself--all with varying parts and pieces of the story. But the consensus is that Williams embellished, crowed or just flat out lied about his role in a helicopter shooting.

We do it all the time ourselves. We tell stories. We bend the truth. We edit generously or embellish sparsely. The fact is that our brains aren't built for total recall, so we tend to fill the blanks with the truth that we prefer.

In this digital age, you only see sanitized versions of other people on Facebook. Are those folks who tell you about their perfect children and their wonderful marriage and their extravagant vacation lying? Well, maybe it's more like stretching the truth. If you go to buy a car, are you to assume that the jalopy with 22,000 miles and three bald tires is really a “steal” and “will be with you for years to come” is lying? Or is he just trying to make a sale?

We're holding Brian Williams to a standard that I argue not one of us could live up to. The guy stretched the truth. That's the way I see it. A good newsman is going to lose his job because we aren't able to understand that Brian Williams was telling a banquet story instead of reporting the news. It's going to become that much harder to get real news out because the public is on a witch hunt and smells blood.

And yet, maybe those of us who are calling for him to be fired will wake up tomorrow filled with truth and you'll tell your boss what you really think of him, or you'll tell your spouse what you think of her pasta salad.

Or maybe you'll tell a little fib. Yeah. That's the ticket.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all sorts of things, most of which are legal. Follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed and see more of his stuff at thekcpost.com)


ODE TO 152

I had to drive from Platte City to Liberty the other day. I didn't give it much thought at the time. It's like any other trip. You can get to just about anywhere in Kansas CIty in a half an hour and I figured Platte City to Liberty would be even less.

The thing I like about Platte City is the windy two-lane roads. There's a ton of them just north of the airport and they're pretty hilly, too. Great to drive during the fall because you can see the leaves change colors. Terrible to drive in the winter because they're pretty treacherous. But the weather has been extremely nice for winter and I made it out of Platte City unharmed.

That brought me to 152 Highway. “Military Road” used to be the artery between Liberty's artillery stash and Fort Leavenworth. Later, that road was renamed to Barry Road. I can remember when 152 was a windy two-lane road as well. Most of it was tied into Barry Road. Now it is a gleaming four-lane highway for much of the stretch.

The entire west portion of 152 is idle. There's absolutely nothing there up until you hit Maple Woods. That portion will someday be the main road into the new KCI if it's ever rebuilt, but for now, it's a great place to open up the throttle on your motorcycle on a spring day.

That is... until you get to Maple Woods. Then Brighton. Then the east side of 435. Then... Liberty, Missouri.

What the hell happened, Liberty?

There used to be a McDonalds and a Wal-Mart on one side of I-35 and a movie theater and a K-Mart on the other side. Now, every retail chain has vomited on the intersection like a puppy eating rotten eggs. Need a cheeseburger? There's Five Guys, McDonalds, Culvers, Burger King and a dozen others. Want a load of plywood? You can spit and hit a Home Depot and a Lowes as well as Wal-Mart. Nearly anything that you can desire you can find at the intersection of I-35 and 152 Highway. There's a high school, a battery store and three pizza places.

I suppose that's good if you like all of everything right in one place. But that's the problem. From the 291 intersection back west to Indiana it takes nearly as long to travel as it does from 435 to 435. There are nearly a dozen stoplights and whether it's a Tuesday at 10 a.m. or a Friday night at 11 p.m., there's always gridlock. And don't even think about heading up that way on a Saturday at noon. You'd get further if you walked.

The city planners of Liberty and Kansas City should be ashamed of themselves for putting together such a grotesque collection of capitalism without paying any attention to crowd control. It's like putting together a five story shopping mall but scattering it all across two miles of highway.
I remember when I was a kid driving down Noland Road and seeing all the brightly lit signs thinking it might be Las Vegas. Noland Road can't hold a candle to the Libermess along 152 highway.

All told, I did make it from Platte City to Liberty on a Saturday afternoon. It took 45 minutes and nearly a quarter tank of gas. I saw two fender benders and thousands of cars. What I didn't see was a city planner - that guy has probably already been fired.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all kinds of weird things. Keep up to date with the progress of his book at thekcpost.com/book. Find Chris all over social media, in particular on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



One of the greatest unofficial holidays of the year is Super Bowl Sunday. Americans never need an excuse to overeat so of course Super Bowl parties have become the norm for early February. My party featured chicken wings, cheese dip, chips and my mother insisted on bringing carrots and celery for some reason.

The game was an instant classic that went the way of the Patriots as this intrepid columnist (and 2014 Landmark Pigskin Picks winner) boldly predicted.

But the Super Bowl itself has begun to erode and it's got nothing to do with the play on the field, although the NFL just completed its most controversial year in history as it licked its wounds from multiple domestic violence charges and a cheating scandal featuring the Super Bowl champions.

No, it's got nothing to do with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Marshawn Lynch. It's the commercials. Long gone are the artistically thoughtful commercials like Apple's “1984” commercial that called back to the great work of 1984 to sell Apple computers. Long gone are even the funny Doritos commercials or bottles of beer playing football. We didn't even have a cute little kid ask Mean Joe Green for his jersey.

Nope, that cute little kid was killed in the first half by an insurance company.

Instead of cute little puppies or hot chicks eating cheeseburgers in bikinis, the national dialogue this week will be on Nationwide Insurance running a commercial implying that little Timmy died because folks didn't protect him from preventable household dangers.

Now, I'm as big of a fan of the PSA as anybody. I mean, that KCP&L ad with the metal ladder hitting the electric line still sticks in my brain every time I go to clean the leaves out of the gutter. Yet, I'm not sure the first 30 minutes of the Super Bowl is the appropriate time to remind folks that their little child could die instead of running to the fridge to get you a cold Budweiser.

The ad fell flat on Twitter and was widely panned moments after it aired. Nationwide issued a statement stating that it wasn't trying to sell life insurance, but saw the Super Bowl audience as an opportunity to bring up the issue.

Perhaps, but chicken wings, margaritas and dead children don't really mix and Madison Avenue whiffed big on this one.

The general tone of all of the commercials this year was pretty dour. Even the “best” commercial of the year wasn't a funny talking gerbil or a pratfall. It was the “Lost Dog” commercial from Budweiser that featured Clydesdale horses coming to the rescue of a lost puppy. The ad made my wife cry when she saw it and I'll admit it got a little dusty in the room when I saw it for the first time as well. Still proof that you can try to sell something and not leave the audience running to their therapists.

But I do hope that in future Super Bowls folks will remember that this is a celebration of what we love about America. Football. Chicken Wings. Beer. And leave the lost puppies and dead children out of it.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all kinds of mysterious things. Keep up to date with the progress of his book at the kcpost.com/book. Find Chris all over social media, in particular on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)




Big ones. Little ones. Elongated ones. Deflated ones. Brown ones. White ones. Orange ones. Even yellow and blue ones.

There's only been one topic on the minds of America this week and it's balls.

For me, this strikes close to home. For over 25 years, I was the man in charge of balls. I kept them in a satchel near my waist. It was my job to control them. Protect them. Keep them free of damage. My daily ritual was to even rub mud on them to before my day even started.

I know a significant amount about protecting balls.

What I don't get is just how this could've happened on such a big stage. We have an old saying about balls that goes, “the bigger the stage, the bigger the balls.” And it's really true. You've got to keep a firm grasp of the situation - and the balls - because you never know what type of nefariousness is out to tamper with said balls.

“I've handled balls my whole career,” one of the participants was quoted in a press conference.

Well, if that was the case, sir, then you forgot the cardinal rules of ball protection:

“Keep 'em out of reach. Keep 'em safe from harm. Keep 'em perfect in every way.”

You are taught it the first days you were given your balls – for some it was earlier than others. But for most, it was as they first became active out in the world. Many were just naturals, but others had to be taught how to properly protect the balls. Some were too firm and some were too gentle. There's certainly a balance – an art – to it, if you will.

Balls are a universal language. Whether they're called “cojones” or “Balle” or “Beitsim” or just “big'uns” – we should all take something away from balls this week.

It doesn't matter if it's in a gymnasium, a coliseum, a stadium or in the privacy of your own home. I don't think the nation will ever disregard the protection of balls again. At least that is my hope and wish. Whether you're married to a super model, or just single and alone in your dorm room – we shall all remember this week. The week where ball handling wasn't given the attention it deserved and demanded. Balls must be the right pressure, the right temperature and coddled in just the right fashion.

Changes will be made after this. I hope that balls will be protected properly. I hope that balls will be handled with the care that balls should've gotten all along. Whether they are basket, base, foot, ping pong, volley, or blue, let the word go forth that balls shall never be treated in such a manner.

It turns out that as the nation has been gripped by news of balls this January, the sad part is that the balls should have been gripped by the nation.

Balls. Learn them. Live them. Love them. Keep them properly pressurized.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all kinds of mysterious things. Keep up to date with the progress of his book at thekcpost.com/book. Find Chris all over social media, in particular on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



First, let me apologize. I'm a couple weeks late on this. So please don't get mad. I wasn't cheating. I was actually traveling ahead in time and got the return date wrong.

I've just returned from Dec. 31, 2015 and I wanted to share with you a few headlines of Platte County Landmark news articles that will happen sometime during the year. Now, it's common knowledge that the laws of traveling through space don't allow me to tell you exactly what happens in the future. So I'm only able to give you the headlines. But believe me. When you see them in the pages in weeks and months to come, it'll all make sense.

Here we go:

TRACY MAN HAS SELFIE-STICK SURGICALLY REMOVED - I mean, this one is a little self-explanatory. But you'll need to make sure you read paragraph three to find out how and where it was inserted.

AIRPORT MEETING: TEMPERS FLY HIGH - I mean, who doesn't love a good pun, right? And this one was great as proponents of a single terminal KCI clash with protesters who enjoy everyone flying in and out of Gate 64, Terminal C. Spoiler Alert: Everyone in attendance was “searched” by the TSA.

KAMLER/FOLEY PANTSLESS AT BOOK SIGNING - I can't tell you much about this one - other than it will be in March.

PLATTE CITY STUDENT TALKS LIKE PIRATE FOR 60 DAYS STRAIGHT - What started out as a show of school spirit ended up with him being taken to get a psych eval.

RISS LAKE INSTALLS ELECTRIC FENCE - To combat the urban sprawl of the businesses around it, Riss Lake residents take drastic measures to keep their neighborhood “clean.”

POLICE CHASE THROUGH PLATTE COUNTY FOILED BY DRONE - The Platte City Police Department will finally use their snooping camera eyes for good as a new drone camera they bought to check up on residents accidentally stops a police chase by going into the windshield of the getaway car.

LANDMARK COLUMNIST WINS EVERY AWARD KNOWN TO COLUMNISTS - Hint... Hint... His initials are CK. This also included “Handsomest Columnist.”

PLATTE COUNTY YMCA RENOVATIONS TO INCLUDE STATE OF THE ART SHOOTING RANGE - I don't know how they afford all the renovations, but I don't see what would possibly go wrong with this.

COUNTY JUDGE TICKLISH - This one was on Page 4 of the Landmark. You might not want to see the accompanying picture.


I'll see you in the future. Have a great year!

(Follow Chris Kamler on Twitter @TheFakeNed and be sure to buy his book that comes out in March)




As our esteemed editor, Ivan Foley mentioned last week, I am in the final stages of writing a book. I've never written a book before. Frankly, the longest thing I've ever written has been these short little columns I write for the newspaper every week.

I've read a number of books. Well, that's not entirely genuine. I have read several websites and some fairly thick Fantasy Football magazines. What I've been most fascinated about has been the behind-the-scenes things that surround the mechanics of writing a book.

For instance, you have to purchase something called an ISBN number, which is then translated to the barcode on the back of the book. This immediately reminded me that I needed to write something ON the back of the book.

So, the back of the book is apparently the best chance to get people to buy your book so it's supposed to tell people about the story and then nice things people have said about it. So, I basically had to lie. Because the book is nearly 100% fart jokes.

The next thing you have to do is get an editor to read your “manuscript” (fancy word for “Word Document”) and proofread it. He or she also will make sure the story flows from one chapter to another and make sure there isn't anything really wrong with the look of the book.

For those of you who read my columns here every week, you have probably picked up that I have a relatively “conversational” style in my writing. Editors hate that. “Conversational” means “really screwed up.” I put things in “quotes” too much. I hyphenate words-way-too-much. I also tend to Capitalize things that Don't need Capitalization.

These are all quirks I told my editor about beforehand and I told him to just ignore them. I wanted my story to sound like I was just telling it to you at a bus stop. The editor agreed to ignore all of those and two weeks later I got my word document back.

Word has a feature where you can point out things to change. It's called “track changes” and it puts a little red line under something, kind of like spell check. When I got the manuscript back it was covered in red. But all of my hyphens and Capital letters were still there.

The editor told me, “I only have one change for you in the book. Nobody puts two spaces after a period anymore. You have to go through every sentence and fix it.”

What?? When did that change? You don't put two spaces after a period anymore? That's crazy.

So I looked it up and, sure enough, it changed nearly 20 years ago. Nobody told me. How terrifying to know that you've been living your life under one set of rules when the rest of the world has been adhering to another. It's like when I drive the speed limit on the highway and my wife complains that I'm not driving 10 miles over.

It reminded me of the time Vice President Dan Quayle helped a school with a lesson and misspelled Potato(e) on the blackboard. He had no idea potato had no “e” on the end, but he blew right through the stop sign.

I guess I've gone through life not knowing what I don't know.

That being said, warts and all, I'm really excited to let Everyone see my “book” when it comes out in March. Thanks to all of the Landmark “readers” for-their-support.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all kinds of mysterious things. Keep up to date with the progress of his book at thekcpost.com/book. Find Chris all over social media, in particular on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



Some of my fondest childhood memories are of family vacations. Well. Let me rephrase that. That's not genuine. I have many childhood memories of family vacations. I think I've mentioned in this forum before that my family did a vacation a year. There were four children and two parents and a transportation device of some sort. Usually this transportation device was a station wagon that seated six. It comfortably seated two because the back seats were filled with coolers and suitcases and blankets.

But when I look back to vacations the family would take, they were survivable, you know? Nobody died. We made it to Disneyland. We made it to the Rocky Mountains. We made it to St. Louis. It was tolerable.

What I had forgotten... was the smell. The odor. The fragrance of a cross country road trip.

My family just completed a seven day, six state trip to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. We rented a car - just like the old days. Instead of four children, we had only one - our 12-year-old son. We also had the benefit of modern technology including phones, iPads and videos. We had satellite radio and Pandora. We packed two coolers filled with soda and water and I even made these little ham rollup things that were pretty tasty.

I figured I had made just about every adjustment that could possibly be made between 1978 and 2014 in order to make a 20-hour car ride enjoyable.

The problem was that I scheduled the trip during winter. When the windows would be rolled up. And I invited my son and my wife.

Every 20 minutes, it seemed. There it was. Wafting through the cabin of the automobile - like a fog through the Appalachian Mountains.

“Who did it?” Then there would be a mild argument and the inevitable giggling as they realize guilt or innocence was irrelevant. The crime had been done. Then repeat again 20 minutes later.

I live with these people every day. I sleep in the same home with them and buy their groceries. I pay their bills and I make sure they get off to work and school in the mornings. My home doesn't smell like that. My neighbors would have called the city if it did. This was something unholy. Something saved up just for me. A punishment. A penance.

Regardless. There it was. Every 20 minutes for 20 hours there and 20 hours back. I instantly remembered what made those old car rides so uncomfortable. Those drives to “whoever smelt it dealt it” land. I don't know how my parents did it or why they did it. I don't know what it is about the oxygen in a car on a highway with the windows open that makes it possible.

I also remembered what I told myself following my last family vacation as a youth... “I'll NEVER do that when I grow up.”

I guess I forgot that part. Winter's fragrance helped me remember. Next time we are flying.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all kinds of mysterious things. Keep up to date with the progress of his book at thekcpost.com/book. Find Chris all over social media, in particular on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



This week we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in 2015. Just about five minutes ago, I was putting away the lawn chairs from our Fourth of July party. (In my defense, they were in the yard for a long time). But it did seem like 2014 flew by so fast.

The popular thing to do this week is “look back” on the year that was and it was a tumultuous one. From missing planes to the missing common sense in Ferguson, Missouri. It seems that we have more access to learn of the terrible things that are done by Man.

The government continues to turn itself into an HBO drama as it insists there was nothing wrong with the rectal feedings of the terrorists in Guantanamo while at the same time making signing up for Obamacare as painful as being tortured.

The country seems to still be fighting the tide of same sex marriage amendments. Those that still object should only put yourself in my shoes as my family and I are currently on a 3800 mile road trip. After this slice of heaven, you'd be begging for same sex couple to undergo the same pain and suffering that I am this week.

We spent a lot of last year scared. If not of Ebola, then of Bill Cosby. By the way, there were more Cosby victims than Ebola victims if you're keeping score.

The midterm elections were this year and the elephants took back Congress. One thing is certain, the next two years are going to be insufferable as I'm ALREADY starting to see commercials about the 2016 election.

CNN never found that missing plane. And they never indicted that police officer. News is at its best when it's covering what isn't happening.

We met Lee Sungwoo and cheered on the Kansas City Royals while running and hiding as the Chiefs lost to the winless Raiders and the Kansas Football team was “football” in name only.

We lost Maya Angelou, Joe Cocker, Casey Kasem, Don Pardo, Fred Phelps and Alice from The Brady Bunch.

But the loss of Robin Williams is simply the most heartwrenching. If you have someone in your life struggling with depression hug them for a long, long time.

The key question that isn't asked in all of these recaps is, “Did we learn anything?” And I guess the answer to that is completely subjective. But it's unlikely we learned anything substantial. We will still stress over deadly plagues just an ER away. We will always be angry about the actions of those we don't like. We will always envy what we don't have and protect what we do.

As we start out on 2015, I want to challenge all of you to write down three things looking ahead to the New Year. I gave my son three $50 bills this Christmas with the same challenge. One envelope read “To give” - the challenge is to give that money to a charity or cause that you feel is important.

The second envelope is labeled “To save” - Pad or start a rainy day fund. And the final envelope is labeled “To do” - this should be used for something amazing. Jump from an airplane. Climb a mountain. Buy a book. Something incredible.

If we can all do those three things - To save, to give and to do - we'll absolutely be able to say that 2015 was an amazing year.
Happy New Year!

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all kinds of mysterious things. Keep up to date with the progress of his book at thekcpost.com/book. Find Chris all over social media, in particular on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



I used to argue with my dad a lot about whatever. Just normal stuff, really. But the only big argument I've ever gotten into with him was after 9/11. At the time, I was in charge of the umpires for the NKCA Youth Baseball League and he was the League Director. So we talked every day about the “family business” as it were.

On 9/11, my day job got sent home early. I worked on the 42nd floor of the One KC Place building at 12th and Main and we figured it wasn't the smartest thing to be working in a high-rise building that day. Plus you don't need to give me an excuse for a half day.

So I went home and I'm watching the television just like everyone was that terrible day and I realized that I'd probably need to call my umpires to tell them our games had been cancelled for that night.

When I talked to my dad, he told me that the games would go on as scheduled. There would be no cancellation. I was furious. I don't recall ever being more mad at my father or anyone I've worked with than that day. It was an emotional day for everyone, but I was just beside myself.

He told me, “That's what they want. They want to shut down what's normal. We will be playing tonight.”

Begrudgingly, we played the games but I never forgot that moment and I remained mad for quite a long time. After time, however, I realized just how right he was. After all, this is a man who witnessed the after effects of the Kennedy Assassination where the NFL played the week following his murder. It's not okay to interrupt your normal day to day life because people half a world away hate you and what you stand for. You don't stand for ANYTHING unless you do your daily life. What's ultimately more important to that cause than youth baseball?

I remembered that conversation vividly when this week, we've seen the other side of the coin. By now you know about North Korea hacking into Sony's computers in California over the release of a satirical movie “The Interview.” Bowing to pressure from the hackers and veiled threats of a 9/11-style event at movie theaters, Sony decided not to release the movie and accepted the terms of the threat.

The decision could not have been more wrong - regardless of the threats. Threats are made every day. Dumb movies are made every day. America is about the freedom to pay your $10 and eat your 4,000 calories of popcorn and choose what you want to do with your Saturday night. It's a lot of other things, but some moron half a world away doesn't get to decide that. It's one of the few freedoms we have left in this country.

I hope that this event is part of a larger attempt to catch the hackers that did this or an isolated incident. Because first they come for our movies, then our guns and then our adorable newspaper columnists.

Regardless of the silliness of the content of the movie, and by all accounts it's an awful movie, the most important part of this country is the right to make a terrible movie also known as free speech. It's as the forefathers would've wanted. You've got to stay doing those things that you do.

Sony. You messed this one up. And Dad, I owe you an apology.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all sorts of things, most of them legal. You can keep up-to-date with progress on the book at thekcpost.com/book. Find Chris all over social media, in particular on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



This is not a column that is going to solve the mounting racial tensions sweeping across America. This is not a column that can fix the distrust blacks have against police officers or the frustration that police officers have with the criticism of the legal system that rightfully protects them.

I don't have any answers. And guess what? Neither do you. But that's not stopping the mountain of hot takes on Facebook and social media about Ferguson, Missouri or any one of the growing list of examples where police have killed suspects in the course of an arrest.

The hot takes seem to be on completely polar opposites and blame anyone from Barack Obama to the right wing NRA. This is a complex issue and a very complicated problem being solved 140 characters at a time. No wonder this thing is a mess.

Hashtags aren't going to fix this. #ICantBreath was trending nationally last week and it's even got a damn typo in it. In fact, this is only going to be solved WITHOUT social media. Citizens need to take back their streets. Police need to form relationships with their neighbors and those they vowed to protect and serve. Trust cannot be developed on Instagram.

One thing that we all need to get better at doing through all this is taking criticism. Over 30,000 people took to the streets of New York this week protesting the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Several thousand protested in St. Louis. The protests are now seeping into the professional sports world where several athletes have worn shirts in support of said protests.

One of those happened last Sunday in Cleveland as Browns players wore “JUSTICE” shirts. This was met with a harsh rebuke by the Cleveland police department union:

“It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.”

Of course the union has every right to its opinion as do the members of the Browns. But the failure here isn't expression of speech, it's a failure to reach across to the other side to understand the frustration.

As a middle-class white guy, I don't know the struggles of those with color or minorities. As a member of a family with law enforcement officers, I have a tremendous respect for those who jump into action in the worst situations. I do think that both sides can stand to turn down the rhetoric--stop blocking traffic and start talking. Police can stop bringing out tanks when people want to express their opinion and start trying to figure out how we can all get better.

This is not a column that is going to solve any of this. But I do know that talking is the road to take for a resolution and not violence.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all sorts of things, most of them legal. For details, follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed and friend him on Facebook)


Let's get out your pencils and write down the top five favorite things in your life. I'll wait.
Got it? What did you write? Mine are all sports related (if you also include that Hooters girls are also somewhat sports-related.)

Now. What if I took all the sports-related things away. I'll now wait while you go grab a tissue.

There was a recent article at fivethirtyeight.com, which is a fascinating website covering the analytical side of sports, politics and life, about the percentage of men and women that don't watch sports. The definition would be anyone who didn't watch even one minute of a live action sporting event OR a highlight on SportsCenter or anything sports related for seven days after the event concluded. In essence, they watch ZERO sports in their lives.

Grab some more tissues. I couldn't believe it either.

Before I tell you the percentage, let's get out that same pencil and write down the names of thirty people. These can be either friends, relatives, family members or just people you know. Now scratch two of those names off the list. FiveThirtyEight.com estimates that over seven percent of the US population - both men and women watch ZERO sports. I had to read the article twice.

Two out of thirty.

I had a lot of questions at this point, but the first one was WHAT THE HELL DO THESE PEOPLE DO ALL DAY?

Maybe they are very serious people with serious jobs. Maybe they are politicians and they are neck-deep in the issues of the day and can't afford any second to waste on the Green Bay game. Or maybe they are destitute folks. Living on the street and haven't even walked by a television store to see a moment of the Lakers game. (Do they still have television stores with the big windows? I digress.) Or maybe -- and this is the worst theory of all -- maybe they just don't like sports. Shudder.

These folks probably read books and play with their well-adjusted children and drink drinks with spritzer in them. They probably contribute to National Public Radio and vote their conscience.

Maybe they drive a Prius when they're not biking to work but still pay their NRA dues just to keep the universe on an even keel.

Who needs those people in this world? I want my fellow American and human beings to ride the rollercoaster of emotion that only sports can give you. I don't need people who only vote for American Idol candidates and plant gardens. I need someone slumped over a barstool on a Sunday night after the Chiefs have fumbled away their hopes and dreams.

Sports make life better - except when they are making them worse and that is the point of sports. They make you feel. They make you enjoy and hate at the same time. They take you on a 29 year run of futility and then suddenly make a World Series. You're not supposed to understand it. You're just supposed to live it.

To those seven percent of people who don't watch sports I say to you, tune it to ESPN or Fox Sports or Sunday Night Football. You don't know what you're missing.

(Chris Kamler is doing so many things, including writing a book, that we don’t know how to summarize them for you here. To get up to date with what he’s up to, follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



“Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me."
--U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, 1899

There's a fine line between skeptic and conspiracy theorist. There's a fine line between Moon Landing wackos and Watergate heroes.

All week, we've been reading on our Facebook feeds and watching on our television about the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri spawned by the decision of the St. Louis Grand Jury that decided not to bring an indictment against police officer Darren Wilson in the aftermath of a series of events that led to the shooting death of Michael Brown. This story has just about every layer you could find in a hot-button issue - race, violence, protests, political bumbling, distrust of the State and a healthy dose of media overload. All that's missing, really, is a good sex scandal and you'd shut down the media cycle for six months.

The most fascinating element is that this is one of the first national moments where Social Media is the leading transportation device for facts and news. Twitter was well out in front of CNN and Fox News with news of the verdict and was on top of the rioting minute by minute thanks for citizen reporters staying tuned to police scanners and local media reports.

The problem came, however, when the “reporting” started to resemble a bad game of “telephone.” Facts became rumors and rumors became facts. Even as the large amount of testimony was released, the truth got even further watered down and warped.

Thanksgiving dinners were ruined as the issue became so polarizing you were either pro-Michael Brown or pro-Darren Wilson.

Whatever happened to that “Show Me” attitude on either side? There were very few actual witnesses to the incident and according to the prosecuting attorney, they changed their stories. But even that was refuted.

There does seem to be a solution to this moving forward. There seems to be a technological way to prevent another Ferguson-style event where witness stories change and a single record of truth can be made. There is a product made by the Taser company called Axon Body. It is a small video camera that mounts inside the uniform of police officers that, according to the website, records a full 12 hours and is proven to “improve behavior of all parties during police interaction. Studies have shown that using cameras can reduce complaints by over 80%. Another UK study showed a 100% reduction in complaints with the adoption of on-officer cameras.”

The cameras retail for $400 and would be much cheaper than purchasing a SWAT team tank. Had a camera been used in the Michael Brown incident, it would have shown nearly all of what is in dispute - whether he was aggressive, charging or had his hands up when he was fatally shot.
Seems to me that we need to get back that “Show Me” mentality so we can stop playing judge, jury and executioner on our Facebook feeds. Or to put it in 1899 terms, we need to take the froth out of our eloquence.

(Chris Kamler does a lot of things. So many we won’t mention most of them this week. He is writing a book. To learn more about that and other things, follow Chris on Twitter @TheFakeNed or find him on Facebook and all kinds of other places)



The following is a word-for-word transcription of three 12-year-old boys this past weekend during an eight minute car drive. I know it was eight minutes because I looked at the clock every 14 seconds hoping it was either over or for death to take me away.

Boy 1: Dude
Boy 2: Dude
Boy 3: Put hot sauce on that chicken
Boy 2: Dude
Boy 1: Jessica is going to be there
Boy 3: Oh yeah?
Boy 2: Yep.
Boy 3: Put hot sauce on that chicken
<music is turned up, awkward dancing occurs>
Boy 3: Dude
Boy 2: Dude
Boy 1: <sings off key to song>
Boy 2: Jessica thinks you're cute.
Boy 3: NO WAY
Boy 1: Ugh. She's gross
Boy 3: Put hot sauce on that chicken
All 3 boys: <giggling for what seems like weeks>
Boy 3: Oh man
Boy 1: What?
<Boy 3 never answers Boy 1>
Boy 2: Mrs. Thomas is giving me more math homework
Boy 1: Math sucks
Boy 3: Math sucks
Boy 2: Math sucks
<channel changes at the first commercial to another station playing the same song as 2 minutes ago>
<music was still turned up from the last time but has now gotten louder>
<more car dancing>
Boy 3: Put hot sauce on that chicken
<we arrive at our destination>

The point of this column was to simply share my pain. This has been every weekend for the past three months. This is why adults age. They don't do it naturally. They do it through the inane conversations of their children and their knucklehead friends. I was that kid when I was their age and now my Dad yells at the television.

So, I apologize for putting you through that. But I haven't been sleeping well at night trying to figure out what PUT HOT SAUCE ON MY CHICKEN means.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



It's nearly impossible to get everybody at my work to do something. When it's “casual Friday,” there are still people that wear a suit. When it's ham and bean soup in the cafeteria, only a fraction go with that choice. When I remind everyone to finish their TPS reports on time, nearly nobody does.

It's not just my co-workers. It's the grocery store where you have dozens of flavors of soda pop and enough BBQ sauce versions to confuse you for hours. And yet, twice a year, everyone in the human race does one thing all at the same time - and nobody knows why. Once in the spring and once in the fall, we change our entire timing system by moving our clocks forward and back without so much as a grumble.

Our parents did it because their parents told them to. And we tell the same to our children. Spring Forward!! Fall Back!! Twice a year for a week, we do the post-time change math in our heads. (I would be going to sleep right now if it were last week.) And we all try to remember how to change the clock in your wife's car. (Hint: Hit MENU four times, then turn the knob while standing on your foot.)

The change was originally proposed by a New Zealander; George Hudson proposed it to allow for more sunlight during prime times in the summer and also conserve energy as folks typically eat during the 6:00 hour, for instance. The same would go for those that work the land. If that 6:00 pm is a daylight hour later, you will allow for the sun's rays to light your day instead of coal-powered lights. The practice of changing to allow for more daylight became popular during the energy crisis of the 1970's. It has been argued that DST saves 1% of energy usage in the United States per year.

But we're not just talking about farmers and restaurants - Daylight Saving Time is practiced in nearly every time zone and impacts millions of people. That's millions of people who peacefully execute a command - which is kind of cool on the one hand - but incredibly disruptive on the other. In the spring in particular, the time change steals an hour of sleep from millions of people only to return that hour in the fall.

WIkipedia says that the time change helps those in industrialized societies that follow a clock-based schedule. But in the computerized age, this actually causes more problems. Just this weekend, hundreds of Cerner employees, for example, had to work to monitor their hospital systems to make sure the medications weren't dispensed twice as there were two 1 a.m. hours. Add to that the complexity of areas of the world that do not recognize Daylight Saving Time - including Arizona and Hawaii.

There are efforts underway to eliminate Daylight Saving Time, but it seems they don't have quite the traction as saving the Kardashian's TV show from cancellation. It's all about priorities after all, and humans don't seem that put out by it - except for twice a year - as we all do what our mothers and fathers taught us without much care.

If you ask me, I'd much rather prefer permanently taking that extra hour of sleep rather than spending it on the Kardashians.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Through some sort of glitch at the hospital, I held my son before my wife moments after he was born. She was in labor for what seemed like hours and the doctor finally gave up and said he was going to go to sleep. Of course, once the doc hit maximum REM cycles, that's when Kara decided to give birth to Brett. And she did it FAST. So fast that the doctor never really made it into the room. So the nurse delivered our little boy and while they were working on Kara, they just handed me the slimy little brat I would come to know as my little brat son.

As I held this crying little ball of goo, I found myself running my fingers over his chest in a circular motion, very gently, and the baby stopped crying. When we got Brett home, we would fall asleep on the couch watching the Chiefs or the Royals. Every time I'd be making that same circular motion on his back until he fell asleep.

Through the years the dad stuff stayed rewarding. I taught him to grip a baseball. I taught him to open Angry Birds on an iPad. I taught him to not turn down the pages of a library book. You know... Dad stuff.

Dad stuff is very different from Mom stuff. The old saying goes that Dad is the one to say “no” while Mom is the one to say “yes.” And for the most part that's true. Mom has the extra cookie. Mom has the extra 15 minutes to stay up. But Dad stuff is the questions. “Dad, why is the steering wheel on that side of the car?” “Dad, why is a football shaped like that?” “Dad, why can't I get past this level on Mario Brothers?” “Dad, why do girls sit down to go to the bathroom?”

As a father, I think it's my right to screw with him with those answers. “Well, son, first off, the steering wheel is like that because we won World War II. A football is shaped the same shape as your brain. Let me show you the cheat code for Mario Brothers” and for the final question... “Go ask your mother.”

Last week I talked about what might've been my finest fatherly moment--taking my son to a World Series game in his hometown. But being a dad is so much more than that. It's showing him how to write his name in the snow. It's showing him to respect women by only watching their butt from across the room. And it's teaching him the “child friendly” cuss words when Mike Moustakas strikes out. DAG NABBIT YOU FRACKING PIECE OF SNOT!!

Dad stuff is great. And I think I'm really good at it. It's filled a part of my heart that I never knew was vacant and he has turned into not only my son, but my best friend.

Dad stuff isn't always simple, but it's always special because dad's have that special power.

Dad stuff is letting him jump in the pool less than 30 minutes after he has eaten. It's telling him double entendre knock-knock jokes. Dad stuff is pulling into a vacant parking lot to see if a 12-year-old can take a stab at driving a car even as you have a firm grip on the emergency brake. And dad stuff is also picking him up from school with news that his great grandmother passed away at age 89 and while he is crying on your shoulder, it is moving your hand in a circular motion gently as he cries himself to sleep.

Nobody said Dad stuff was easy.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



What's the one thing you want to do more than anything else in your life? Is it take a trip to Jamaica? Is it ask out the prettiest girl in your fourth period Social Studies class? Is it to own a ‘68 Mustang?

If you gave me that question, I'm sure I would answer something baseball-related. Like throw out the first pitch at an All-Star Game or play catch with Billy Butler or something crazy like that. Baseball has always been in my blood since I was born. We live in a baseball family.

My dad, Ed, coached my first tee ball team and has helped lead the Northland baseball community for nearly 40 years. My mom coached my sisters' softball teams and bore the burden that all “baseball moms” have-- long weekends, laundry, raspberries and the inevitable pick-me-ups that go with a game where you fail 70% of the time.

Our family photo albums are filled with more baseball photos than Christmas or birthdays. And with my own son, our summers are filled now with little league games on Tuesday, Royals game on Thursday and maybe a trip to Arkansas to catch a minor league game on Saturday. All the while, Kara and the two of us catch every Royals highlight on MLB Network.

As you might imagine, this is a pretty special week for us. But we are a family and we should be doing all of these things as a family. So I was especially torn when a very generous reader of this column and of my @TheFakeNed Twitter account called me this week and offered me a ticket to the World Series. If you would ask me what the one thing I wanted most in this world, I could rattle off a thousand things before I'd ever get to World Series ticket--the idea is just so preposterous. You might as well offer me to travel to Mars.

So I sat there slackjawed on the phone and I told the man, “no thank you.” I told him no simply because I wouldn't be able to experience it with my family. Because not only is baseball part of my family, it's part of the fabric of my family. All those Royals games weren't attended alone. They were with cousins or dad or my wife or my young son.

So I told the guy no and I told him why. And then I hung up the phone and cried. Real man tears. Did I mention it was for a dugout suite? Yeah. I bawled like a baby.

And then the phone rang again. Some people, man. So now I'm going to a World Series game with my son. Brett is the same age I was when I saw my only World Series game and now I'm taking him to one.

When I broke the news to my wife, she helped me through the guilt process of not offering it to her as she told me, “oh, hell, if somebody gave ME a World Series ticket, I'd tell you to go pee up a rope.” We're a baseball family, but with a bit of a sharp edge.

So tonight, keep an eye out for a little boy and his dad cheering on the Royals against San Francisco as we continue the Kamler tradition of baseball.

If you asked me the one thing I'd want most in my life, it would be tonight.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter @TheFakeNed)



It's an amazing time to be living here in Kansas City. High-fiving cab drivers. Stopping with people at the bus stop to talk about Mike Moustakas. Soccer fans chanting for the baseball team.

The worldwide goodwill the city is receiving. The national recognition. ESPN did a poll asking what team would win the ALCS and 90% of the entire country picked the Royals. President Obama's approval rating is only 44%.

The fountains are blue all over town. The old Power and Light building has been lit for the first time in years with a blue hue. Kansas Citians are giving out their favorite BBQ recommendations and pointing folks to the Negro Leagues Museum.

But what about when the series leaves town? What about when the final strike is called? What will be left? We saw a similar surge of pride in KC during the 2012 All-Star game. The streets were clean. The sidewalks were swept. All of the construction took a break. But seconds afterward, it seems the city went right back to the isolated “clique” based town that it is. Is there a way to keep this community attitude?

One of the major contributors to this is crime. Folks simply don't like being in parts of town at night. But maybe the Kansas City Police Department is on to something - this time through Twitter.

The @KCPD account caught national attention recently as they asked their citizens to stop committing crimes so their officers could watch the Royals game. The tweet was clearly tongue in cheek, but the account sent out an update days later that they actually saw a decrease in crime.

This change of attitude when things are going right needs to translate when things aren't going right. We're only a few weeks away from our first snowfalls when long lines for snow blowers at Home Depot and long traffic jams are the norm. We need to have the same jovial attitude when you get pulled over by those same KCPD folks who made you smile when Alex Gordon was diving for line drives.

We need to find a way for this attitude to follow us through Kansas and Missouri basketball season or the harsh temperatures of January or when they sell out of the Platte County Landmarks at QuikTrip.

Take one of those Wade Davis strikeouts and put it in your back pocket. Pull it out when school is cancelled and you have to stay home to watch the kids. Take one of those Salvador Perez home runs and tuck it in your pantry when you have to pay your taxes in April. Take a Terrence Gore stolen base and leave it in the glove box of your car for when you're waiting for a parking spot at Kohls on Black Friday.

Remember the next two weeks here in Kansas City. Gather up all of the warm fuzzies and the happy moments. Hang onto them as long as you can.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



This may come as a shock to many of you, but in a previous lifetime, I was a degenerate gambler. One of my first jobs out of college was at a casino here in Kansas City. I tell folks that it was both the worst and best job I ever had. Worst because you were breathing in barrels of cigarette smoke from patrons, working holidays, getting off work at four in the morning and standing for 10 hours a day. It was the best because most of us all started working there when gambling became legal in Missouri (93-94), we were all in our 20's and it was the first time we had a little bit of money in our lives.

Working at the casino meant that you began to adopt many of the lifestyle choices that casino folks are known for. Drinking and gambling foremost among these. It was a lot like college, except you actually had a little bit of money to buy nicer booze. Often times we would get on the “early out” list at work for the simple reason to drive three miles down the street to a different casino and gamble away our money.

I've thought a lot about my days at the casino this week as I've watched the Kansas City Royals go through their impossible run through the playoffs. To anyone who has spent time gambling, you know exactly what's going on - it's “the streak.”

“The Streak” isn't just like winning a few hands. It's much more rare than that. It is a once in a lifetime roll. You'd hear whispers of it in the break rooms or among players at the table. “Yeah, back in ‘87, I had a six hour roll on the craps table,” or “I hit 20 numbers in a row on roulette.”

These are the streaks that become legend and they are the complete responsibility of the universe. Statistically, you lose when you go to a casino. This is cold hard fact. There's a reason casinos put up a million light bulbs. They weren't put there by the Salvation Army. They are lit as tributes to all of the thousands and millions of dollars dropped at the slot machines and table games by those chasing The Streak.

Yet those streaks do happen--as improbable as they are. Flipping a coin tells you that 50% of the time it will land on heads and 50% it will land on tails. But every once in a while, you might get 10 or 15 in a row to land on one side. Call it a fluke. Call it luck. Or call it the improbability of the universe.

The Kansas City Royals are on such a streak and the caught it at the exact right time. For those of us who have watched the team closely this year, we now stand with mouth agape. This team doesn't resemble anything like the team we saw in the regular season. They are hitting home runs. They are playing with a fire and passion that I've never seen before. Their manager is pulling every lever and pushing every button possible and every one of them is coming up spades.

We live in a world where Billy Butler has stolen a base in a playoff game. There is no scouting report or advanced statistic that can account for that. If there were a probability formula that the advanced metric guys could come up with to account for that, it would be the exact equation for fun -- and impossible to ever replicate again.

So I think back to my gambling days which are now long in the past and the stories swapped in only whispers. Respect the streak. Ride the streak. You never know where it will end.

Hopefully, this one lasts a few more weeks.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



There are giant sports stories in Kansas City this week, including a Chiefs Monday Night Football game at Arrowhead, a playoff game at Kauffman, activity at Kansas Speedway and Sporting Park. But one story likely was missed in the fanfare--forensic scientists say that Jevon Belcher, former Chiefs player, may have had CTE that could have contributed to him murdering his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins as well as committing suicide in the parking lot of the Chiefs training facility.

CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It is beginning to make itself known to the public as “football disease” because it is beginning to show up in the brains of deceased football players.
Much is not known about this disease, but the research is beginning to show a link between head trauma and concussions with CTE. The disease isn't limited to just football players, of course. Soccer players, baseball players and even soldiers in war who have suffered head trauma are having their brains examined and they are showing CTE.

Those living with CTE seem to be exhibiting incredibly bizarre behavior stretching from depression, suicidal tendencies and gigantic displays of anger and violence. Junior Seau, the great San Diego Charger, killed himself several years ago by shooting himself in the chest so that researchers could examine his brain. And the problem has only grown since then.

Does CTE have a linkage with the increase in domestic violence? Will we find evidence of CTE in college athletes? High school athletes? Is it safe for kids to play football?

These are all questions yet to be truly examined - but one thing is certain - people are playing less football because of it. Pop Warner participation, according to a 2013 ESPN study, has already dropped nearly 10%.

The NFL continues to have an image problem, but needs to get around this CTE issue sooner rather than later. These post-concussion issues may simply be causing a lot of the other issues we're seeing.

What if sports with a higher concentration of head trauma are actually creating violent citizens? The possibility needs further study and the NFL needs to be doing more to find this link.

One thing is certain, mothers and fathers and sons are all having these own internal discussions and coming to their own conclusions on whether they want to play football or rugby or even take a “header” game like soccer. And more and more families are opting out of it. We need a real leader in this area, and the NFL has to be it--otherwise we're going to lose more and more athletes one way or the other.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



It was 1985. I was 13 years old. It was autumn. Since my earliest memories, I was a Royals fan. I mean, why wouldn't you have been? Brett. White. Saberhagen. Otis. Patek. Mayberry. These were my guys. They filled the images of my youth. Willie Wilson signed a glove for me when I was seven and I played with that glove through the sad, bitter end of my baseball career when I was 14. (I peaked too early.) The names are now filling the history books of Royals history--right next to the black hole that was the late 90's and 2000's.

And what a void it was. Decades of poor play, comically inept decision making and monetary decisions to tight, they could vice a phone book into a single sheet of paper. Even through the first seven years of Dayton Moore's five-year “process,” the Royals were laughed at plenty and cheered rarely. And then 2014 happened.

Regardless of where this final week of the season goes, and many signs point to it ending a 29 year playoff drought, it makes me recall the first 10 years I spent as a Royals fan. In that span, the Royals won five division titles, two American League titles and a World Series. My Septembers and Octobers were filled with transistor radios tucked into backpacks, watching the Royals on the NBC Game of the Week and going out to buy something called a VCR just before the 1985 World Series.

This was obviously before the Internet; before Twitter; before Fox Sports Kansas City. You saw your teachers tailoring their lessons to account for George Brett's .390 run in 1980. You saw cab drivers wearing Royals hats downtown. You saw baseball practices and choir practices being rescheduled around key games and playoff baseball. This town was on fire.

And then Dick Howser died. Then Mr. and Mrs. K died. And then the charitable trust ownership years sucked the life out of this team and this town. The Chiefs and Martyball took over as the Royals lay dormant under a blanket of nuclear winter for 29 years.

The signs of a thaw are upon us in Kansas City, however, even as the calendar tells us it is autumn. Fans are making plans for road trips to Cleveland and Chicago to catch the final games of the season. The last Kauffman homestand drew over 110,000 fans. Television and radio ratings are off the charts. The fans are living and dying on every pitch--even though it's through Twitter and Facebook.

This has always been a baseball town--dating back to the Athletics and the Monarchs. The shame of the 29 year black hole is that this town forgot how to act. They forgot to wear blue on Fridays and they forgot to make sure to check the out of town scores to see where Seattle and Oakland are in the standings. But it's all coming back to us now--like riding a bike or kissing an old girlfriend. The feelings rush back in such an emotional fury. Baseball is the lifeblood of this town and if this improbable team can somehow make it back, if they can defy the prognosticators and the experts and even their own fans to make the playoffs, you'll see it. You'll see how crazy this town can become.

And if you're between the ages of 5 and 15, pay close attention--you never know when this might happen again.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Baseball lost its moniker as the National Pastime in 1994 when a vicious labor strike closed the game down and caused the cancellation of a World Series. Baseball never recovered. It suffered in the wake of the drug scandals of the 80s that included several Kansas City Royals, it suffered in a gambling scandal with Pete Rose and it suffered with a steroid scandal which it continues to fight today.

The National Football League since 1994 has not only grabbed the mantle as the nation's most popular sport, it has thrived. Fantasy leagues, packed stands, their own television network and wall-to-wall media coverage that goes nearly year round has been the story of the rise of the NFL.
Today, you can get 24/7 coverage of the NFL on three networks and games are played on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. The league is printing money and the future has never looked brighter.

That was until somebody in the NFL cafeteria must have stood up and proclaimed “what's the worst that could happen?” and then this month happened. You know every sordid detail. Ray Rice is arrested on charges of domestic violence. A videotape surfaces showing the exact violent act.

Rice is punished lightly and then, following the videotape, is punished more harshly. The NFL then has one of its most popular players, running back Adrian Peterson, arrested on charges of child abuse of at least one and possibly more of his children as he allegedly beat them with a switch. Beat them hard, apparently. The NFL is now forced into action while other societal issues like gay rights and the relationship with head injuries and football all swirl around like vampire bats.

The first two weeks of the NFL season have been less about football and more about these polarizing and turbulent issues. And Roger Goodell and the NFL front office could not have handled them worse. Spinning and juking out the media like an Adrian Peterson run--only they trip over their own feet. The league has been caught lying and misdirecting blame. Goodell has looked like an absolute buffoon and the “shield” of the NFL looks like it's made out of wax paper.

Here's the thing, though, the NFL has fostered this type of abusive mentality for decades. “A man's game” has also meant a game of violence and exclusion. As baseball had its racial segregation in the 40's and 50's, the NFL looks to leave the status quo in order for SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Michael Sam, as he didn't make a starting lineup. They look to invoke a culture of bigotry and isolation according to former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, who himself was fired after challenging those notions.

To paint the NFL with a broad brush is to make the same mistake they often do. Each incident must be looked at individually. But incidents that don't pass the smell test, like when Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson stare into the face of indubitable evidence, or when a gay football player has earned a spot on a team, the culture of verbal abuse by Richie Incognito, or when one in three of its former players develop some sort of brain altering Alzheimers or dementia, as was reported last week, you as a league have to do better. You have to step back and understand that as popular as the game of baseball was in the 40's and 50's, it can all go away very quickly. You've managed to isolate women, gays, children of abusive parents and those who care about the long term health of the players. There's not many more left that don't fall into one of those categories.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Andy Williams was wrong. Plain and simple. Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year.

Not by a long shot. In Kansas City, the best time of the year is the final days of summer and the first weeks of fall.

How gorgeous has it been in town the past week or so? 70 degree days with just enough chill in the morning to keep you comfortable in bed for a few extra minutes. Your car is warm when you get in it after work, but you can drive around town with the windows down and you don't turn into a puddle of sweat. The weather around this time of year even has enough rain to keep your yard growing but not turn it into a jungle or a desert.

The weather is great for long walks in the park or pickup football games in the backyard. The air is just spectacular through the end of October. Plenty of excellent weather for doing just about anything you need in temperatures that San Diego would be jealous of.

For moms and dads, their little ones are back in school which is AWESOME. Probably a bit less awesome if you're a teacher. Harvest festivals begin to kick into high gear. It's the best time to find something to do on a Saturday and there's even some great outdoor concerts this time of year as well including last weekend's Buzz Beachball and Blue Man Group at Starlight.

But this town makes Andy Williams look like a clown around this time of year for one major reason - SPORTS. This fall, the Royals are barreling towards the playoffs - their first October surprise in 29 years. Fans are wearing more blue than red and it looks glorious. The Chiefs are, well, the Chiefs are in the conversation, sort of. But the real spirit of this town is in its diversity of college teams. Purple, Crimson, Black and Gold. All of these colors mean something around this time of year and they normally mean a spirited discussion when they congregate in the same room. Add to that the Northwest Missouri States and the University of Central Missouris to the mix and you've got the greatest weather, the greatest entertainment and the greatest sports in the entire world. That doesn't even include how dominant my fantasy football team is going to be this year.

At this moment, I've got the windows open, a hard apple cider in my hands and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and NBC Sunday Night Football on two windows on my computer after coaching my son in fall baseball. If there is a heaven, it would be a loop of this month over and over again.
All in September.

Green Day used to sing a song called “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” but quite frankly, Billie Joe Armstrong and Andy Williams haven't spent a September in Kansas City.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Humans are hilarious. Humans are predictable. Humans are stupid.

Sunday night, a series of private photographs began appearing on the Internet. They were photos taken with cell phone cameras, clearly of celebrities in varying states of undress. Details are sketchy on how the photographs became available but it looks like hackers logged into cell phones and lifted the photos from the celeb's storage drives.

The act is illegal. The photographs are the personal property of the owner and it's simply illegal to take those from someone. It's a severe invasion of privacy. But here's the thing. You looked. I know you looked. You searched in Google for “Jennifer Lawrence leaked” or “Kate Upton Verlander pics.” Or maybe they scrolled across your Twitter feed and you didn't turn away. Don't even try to deny it. Maybe you found them. Maybe they'd already disappeared from the Internet.

But you totally looked.

Since the beginning of time, people have been doing stupid things and other people have been fascinated with those people who do stupid things. You've likely done stupid things in your life, like that time you fell through the folding chair at the church picnic. Or the time that you fell off a ladder hanging Christmas lights. Did your friends give you crap about it? Well of course they did. Because that's what they do. They used your stupidity to their entertainment.

Technology has only escalated this process and made it grander. And when technology gets smarter than humans, humans expose just how stupid they are. Technology allows human stupidity to flourish in two different ways. The first is by allowing it to capture all the dumb things we do every day. Most of the time, it's just people saying dumb things about the president or how their inconsiderate kids are inconsiderate on Facebook. But a lot of the time it's people taking pictures of themselves naked. Front. Back. Top. Bottom. You are stupid if you snap that little button when your clothes are off. You know you are. And you know you're stupid the second you do it. And yet, there's something about human behavior that it's unstoppable.

The second thing that technology allows is the ability to not understand how technology works. When you take an image of your ding dong or your ta-ta's with your cell phone that picture is translated into a series of 1's and 0's and BLAH BLAH BLAH THIS IS BORING WHO CARES. See? You couldn't even get through my explanation. You don't care what happens to the picture of your giblets after you take it. Well, that is until it ends up on Facebook or the Internet or Twitter or Rager or Pudding Pop or whatever new thing the kids are using now a days to show pictures of flibberty-bubbles.

And so it goes. Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton and dozens of other celebrities took pictures of their candy-grams, just as you might've once. They forgot about them. And then they got picked off with a wireless scanner and are now just a Google click away.

The good thing is that nothing will change. People remain stupid. Other people are entertained by that stupidity. What's on YOUR cell phone?

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



There's still a lot of confusion about “social media.” When you hear it brought up in traditional media or among those who are not active on social media, it's frequently referred to in a negative tone. “Those people on social media,” is the term I hear most frequently, like it's some sort of smoke monster that appears as soon as you open up Twitter on your phone.

For those that are active on social networks, you immediately realize that there are as many segments of the population as there are in real life, and every social website reacts like its own suburb to a city. Facebook has its right and its left and they often clash in very raw ways. With even less punctuation. Instagram is a younger skewing group focused on selfies and Twitter has as many colors as a million rainbows.

But over the past two weeks, you've seen the events unfurl in Ferguson, Mo. and with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that proves how integrated these social communities are in our daily lives.

Everyone wants to have a voice and prior to Facebook and Twitter it seemed that people never really had a chance to show that voice. At its apex, Facebook might've had too many voices but it seems like we've all adjusted to the noise of Facebook and Twitter and as a population we're starting to understand great ways to use it.

Let's first start with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This is a perfect example of why social communities work. A single person doing a simple task and challenging others to do the same. It's the same formula you see in sales organizations, communities of faith or even pyramid organizations. Last year, the ALS foundation raised just over $30 million dollars for the entire year.

In the first two weeks of the challenge, ALS raised over $50 million dollars. It takes a minor sacrifice by the participant and they look good doing it because the videos are posted to Facebook and YouTube. Brilliant.

You see the same kind of critical mass on the other end of the spectrum, with the tensions in Ferguson, MO. Amongst the police in riot gear and the protesters with their hands up you saw an equal amount of bystanders and journalists with cell phones. Those cell phone videos found their way to Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. This citizen journalism is being seen in other hot zones including Gaza and the Middle East.

People want their voice heard. Now that we've gotten past the newness of social media, people are learning to use those tools as forces for change in the world. Yet the monicker of “social media” still seems to travel with it--mostly because of all the political or religious ranting that goes on there. But you're seeing it less and less as people realize Facebook and Twitter are less tools to add your voice to a pile but rather to add your unique point to the conversation. In many ways, those voices are changing the world.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



It was a crazy week last week, so I haven't really had an opportunity to register and process the death of comedian Robin Williams until this weekend. Like many of you, I was a fan of his work, enjoyed his movies and got a kick out of his lightning-fast wit.

But the tributes and homages I've seen are including movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society and Patch Adams. That doesn't begin to touch when I started enjoying Robin Williams.
It was 1987 and I was an awkward high school freshman. (Let me give you time to try to get your head around it since I appear so well adjusted now.) I was looking for a ride home after band practice and I piled into the back of a station-wagon with some upperclassmen. This could easily be the point where I was offered drugs, or alcohol or cigarettes or Heavy Metal or dozens of other opening scenes to an After-School Special. But, instead, the driver put in a squeaky cassette tape of Robin Williams: Night At The Met.

At first, it was difficult to hear his speech because it was so fast paced. He would start about one topic and then switch to the next. But the rest of the car was rolling laughing and I did as well. That weekend I went out and bought my own copy of the cassette. Through the next several years of high school, I probably listened to that tape a thousand times.

The comedy album was a master class in self-deprecating humor with a touch of heart and more laughs than you can imagine. It was recorded at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City in 1986 and it remains one of the top five comedy albums ever. You can easily put it up against comedians named Cosby, Seinfeld, Rock, Carlin and C.K. (That's Louis C.K. not Chris Kamler.)

Through the 53 minute album, Williams riffs on gay football, substance abuse (something he struggled with up until his death), Ronald Reagan, childbirth and puking on your newborn baby.

The album was riddled with profanity and off-color jokes but told from a first-hand account from someone who has lived the stories he's telling. More importantly, the stories he told were funny. Genuinely funny. I would ride with friends and we would play Night At the Met. Later, when I had a car, I would play it for my friends. Nearly 30 years later, I am playing it now and laughing furiously just like I had in that station wagon in high school.

He did an impression of Ronald Reagan thinking that Congress was an old folks home for actors. He riffed on getting stoned and drinking too much and waking up with his car keys in his butt.

Towards the end of the album, he does about 15 minutes on childbirth and conception that, as a 14 year old freshman in high school, actually cleared up a few things for me. It was raw and honest and hilarious.

I am probably the millionth person to say this week that Robin Williams was a genius. He really was. For a person who has been lauded for his movies and television, take a few minutes to pull up Night At The Met on Spotify and appreciate where that genius started.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Kansas City is constantly being reminded of what it's not. It's not a “big” city. It's not a “small town.” It's airport is too far away (except in Platte County). The most common complaint, however, is that it doesn't have anything fun to do.

Over the past six days, I have had a small part in welcoming a foreign visitor. On the surface, that's really all this was. Showing a guy around the city. But that in no way represents what the past week has been like.

As you may have heard, a fella by the name of Sung Woo Lee has been a 20-year baseball fan. He has also been a Royals fan. He has also been a fan who lives in Seoul, South Korea. He has also never seen a live pitch of baseball.

Royals fans are a battered and bruised bunch. They are weathered and beaten through years of losing and frustratingly baffling decisions. The Royals, as you may also know, hold the title of oldest stretch of a major sports franchise to have not made a playoff. Holding steady at 29 years. So when I tell you that Sung Woo is a Royals fan, you should realize that he has offered himself up into a lifetime of embittered solitude.

But that's never stopped Sung Woo. His refreshing attitude and positivity has soaked into the culture of Royals fans dating back to when message boards and bulletin boards were electronic communities for fans to talk and complain. So when he told us last month that he was coming to town, our small group of friends felt that we really needed to show him the heart of this city and Royals Nation. And then #SungWooToKC became more than a hashtag on Twitter, it became a rally cry for the entire KC region to outstretch its arms and give our little foreign Royals fan a gigantic hug.

Companies asked how they could help. Media outlets latched onto the story. We were even on NPR. But the moments I will take away most from this are the people of my city, walking up to Sung Woo, from Korea, shaking his hand and saying “Welcome to Kansas City.” If there were a hundred then there were a thousand individual folks coming up to him. One after one, they come up, usually with a camera in hand for a Korean “selca” (selfie).

One after one, they walk away with a selca and a smile. This Midwestern hospitality has really never sunk in for me until this week. I guess I didn't either recognize it or didn't welcome it. But it was an outpouring like nothing I'd ever seen before.

Kansas City is a city with a lot of flaws and faults, we all know this. But most of those are just insecurities seeping through. We managed to plan a nine day stretch of activities and events and lunches with Sung Woo with no end in sight at the end. There are museums, world-class restaurants, sporting events and the beauty of this wonderfully goofy city.

It took spending a week with someone who'd never seen her to appreciate her beauty.

I love Kansas City. Thank you, Sung Woo.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



There's a funny thing about Kansas City that goes something like this: Nobody that lives here thinks very highly of the city. I know that's a broad generalization, but you hear it frequently. There's nothing to do in Kansas City. The airport is in the wrong place. Everything is in Overland Park and Overland Park is terrible. The State Line ruins the town. Kauffman Stadium is in the wrong place. The city is too spread out. Blah, blah, blah.

Well, here's the thing. That is all garbage. On its own merit, Kansas City (and North of the River) is an amazing place to live, work and visit, you just need to step back and appreciate it.

This was accented by last week's presidential trip with a little help from Kansas Citian (and President Obama's press secretary) Josh Earnest. I've been witness to probably a half-dozen presidential visits and can't remember a one of them. They've usually been in and out trips to a hotel ballroom or a factory or maybe a quick campaign stop. But none of them have really been able to spotlight Kansas City like this last one.

We lose sight so quickly at how even the places we take for granted are special and uniquely Kansas City. Oh sure, we can all argue about which BBQ joint is the best (and the Northland is quickly becoming the BBQ capital of KC rivaling the BBQ strip downtown once you factor in Smokin' Guns and The Hideout as well as Smokehouse.) But President Obama's unscripted stop in Parkville of all places really helped point out what a wonderful area of the country we live in. (Note: How the hell do you run out of cole slaw when the president is in town???? Smokin' Guns wouldn't have run out of cole slaw, I'll tell you that much.)

The president stopped along the tilted streets and narrow lanes of downtown Parkville to have a cup of coffee at Parkville Coffee and several other spots along the river. What the president was able to do was point out exactly what we take for granted every day. This is a town that is in every way a small town struggling with economic pressures. Add to that the fact that every 10 or 15 years it's buried in water. They've literally had train wrecks and they even managed to run off that sexy bed and breakfast on the corner. But Parkville has survived and thrived. They've added a pretty nice dog park, expanded the new section of English Landing and you can still find pretty nice tomatoes on Saturday mornings.

Regardless of your politics, it is still special when a president comes to town, but even more special when he's able to enjoy something extraordinary about your city. There are countless extraordinary things about Parkville - many that we pass right by every day.

We know all this, but still grumble and overlook towns like Parkville and Platte City and Riverside because of the thought that Chicago, Denver or St. Louis does it better.

You know what? Nobody does it better than Platte County and Kansas City. It just took the president and his press secretary to help remind us.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Humans are born to do one thing--learn. We learn how to nurse, then we learn how to walk, then we learn to go peepee in the potty, then we learn to read and from there, the sky is the limit.

I am always fascinated by how intelligent the human race is and how amazing the achievements of humans are. We have landed on the moon. We have harnessed the power of the atom. We have built coliseums and microprocessors. Man has the power to set rules and regulations and we all seem to be able to “get it.” Through these societal norms, we all have the power to learn and conform and abide. If you don't believe me, just try to read a novel in English right to left or drive on the left side of the highway. It won't work because we all were taught how to do those things together. Yet other societies have all figured it out to do it other ways. You read Hebrew right to left and in England you drive on the other side of the street. We all pick it up and figure it out together.

Somehow though, the simplest rules seem to be the hardest for humans to learn. Take, for instance, the simple rule you learned in elementary school -- Don't hit girls. This means, simply, that under no circumstances should you hit a girl. Ever. Period.

Yet, the news was filled this week's with stories of Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice, who allegedly knocked his fiance unconscious and then drug her by her hair out of an elevator. Against any measure, this seems to be outside the simple rule of “don't hit girls.” However, there has been extreme dispute on not just this example, but on the larger issue of domestic violence.

I keep coming back to the simple rule: Don't. Hit. Girls. Sure, you were probably drunk. And sure, the other person was probably being rude, or obnoxious, or a multitude of other reasons. But those are just beside the point. Don't. Hit. Girls. It's really quite easy. Lots of things can lead up to abuse, but the choice is still quite simple. Don't.

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith was quoted as saying there are some instances where the woman might “provoke” the incident, somehow implying that there are cases where hitting a girl is justified. Nope. See rule No. 1: Don't. Hit. Girls.

The website Safehorizon.org lists the following domestic violence statistics on their website and all seem to be outside the rule of not hitting girls:

•One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

•Women experience more than four million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly three million physical assaults.

•Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men.

•Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.

•Every year, one in three women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.

It seems to me that the same part of the brain that can 100% learn to drive on the correct side of the road also has the ability to learn to not hit girls. Humans are built to do one thing--learn. Hopefully this is an area that humans can improve in.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



I never thought it would happen to my kid. That's what I keep telling myself. We speak in hushed whispers at the supermarket about these types of things happening to “bad” kids or “bad parents.” I just never thought I would be one --more importantly, I never thought I'd learn that my kid was one.

Let me back up and try to explain. Let me try to put into perspective the shame my family feels today. I grew up in a very strict household. We were not wealthy, but we never were left without. This upbringing, however, came at a price. There were certain land mines that you never touched in the family. There were certain things that were taboo.

Growing up, the most difficult years of my development were my middle school years. I never seemed to fit in with any crowd, yet the social conventions of peer pressure provided me no protections. I was challenged to try new things, some of them bad things. I had to learn to adapt and respond and say “no.” Most of us did. Some of us didn't. Those kids were quickly labeled the “bad” kids.

This past month, I noticed a change in my son. He just completed his fifth grade year and with that, all the confidence of being the king of elementary school. He had this inner swagger. But after school let out, I began to notice this darkening in his personality. He was changing. Maturing. You could see it in his friends, too. Even his online buddies seemed to be intent on pushing the envelope and testing limits.

I guess the job of a parent is simply to educate and prepare your son or daughter when they are faced with these inevitable choices - and as I look at my son preparing to embark on young adulthood, I thought I had done that. I thought I had gone through all the scenarios. But I guess I hadn't.

Late last week, I heard him from outside a closed door. He was talking with his friends, like he does many nights, on the XBox. Only his speech was different. Older? Warped? Something didn't sound right. I knocked on the door. I was greeted with only silence.

Concerned, I opened it and poked my head into the room. Awash with the glow of the television screen, I saw my son's once innocent face. His eyes were wide. He had a pained look on his face. I looked up to see a sight that no Midwestern “good” parent should ever see in his life. All the years of preparation. All the years of hoping your son would make good choices. All that time in the backyard playing catch and talking to your boy about the man he would become.

And there it was. On the television screen. Red handed.

My son was playing FIFA Soccer 2014 on the XBox.

He is the third generation of Kamler baseball boys. His grandfather has toiled in the baseball community for 40 years. His father, a 25 year baseball umpire. He himself, had been playing baseball since he was three. But I guess you never see it coming.

My son was playing a soccer game. He was convinced to start playing it by his “friends.” He had found the family landmine and jumped right on it.

I'm a horrible parent.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



“And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply.” --”Signs” Five Man Electrical Band

Oh, it must be political season here in Missouri. As reported on Facebook and in today's Landmark, vandals have struck some politicians' signs throughout the county in anticipation of the August elections. So far, signs for both Robert Boyer and Ron Schieber have been vandalized in the past couple of weeks. I saw the Boyer sign with a “NO” and a circle with a line through it and Ivan Foley reported similar vandalism to multiple Schieber signs. Boyer is running for county clerk as a Republican and Schieber is running for presiding commissioner, also as a Republican.

Solid job, you guys, with the graffiti. Once again proving that the best way to take part in the political process is to vandalize a yard sign. Oh sure, running yourself or sending a letter to the paper are all noble gestures. Heck, maybe even going door to door and stumping for your own candidate who believes in your own political ideals might be a good idea, too. But it doesn't hold a candle to taking a can of spray paint and sprawling “NO” to a yard sign.

I'm really excited to hear that you've graduated past taping the “KICK ME” sign to the back of the fat kid in middle school or writing WASH ME on the hatchback of your neighbor's Pinto. Solid effort.

According to Russ Wojtkiewicz, himself no stranger to political sign pranks, these yard signs could cost anywhere from $5 to $20 for smaller ones or up to $35 for the larger sized, plus the time the candidate is out hanging them and putting them in yards. We've also seen people going by and stealing signs out of yards in years past which is the equivalent of yelling “nanny nanny boo boo” from across the school yard.

When did politics get this way? Were people spray painting YOU SUCK underneath I LIKE IKE posters? Or overwriting WHAT A over the TRICKY on TRICKY DICK billboards? Or is this a new thing? Like something only the cool meth-users do when they're out tooling around in their muffler dragging two-doors?

Here's an idea for you. I'm just going to throw it out there. If you can write in and tell me exactly what a county clerk or a presiding commissioner actually does, I will BUY you your own yard sign and you can go ape nuts with all the spray paint, puffy paint or whatever clever sharpie markers you can find. Of course, you'll need to buy some of those supplies at Hobby Lobby, and they're off limits because Jesus won't let them wear condoms or something.

I'll admit, I'm not the most educated about politics on this page or in this community. But I have enough sense to leave my neighbor's yard signs alone - even if I disagree with them. I also try not to pee on my priest's rosebushes and I make every effort to not spit on cops when I drive by. But that's just me.

Do better, Platte County. Come up with something intelligent to show your disapproval of the political process and those brave enough to run for elected office. Maybe take a swipe at writing an angry letter to The Landmark or ask a pointed question at a town hall or even lobby your own presiding commissioner or legislator to have a bill passed. Or... the most time honored tradition in America... just shut up and vote.

(Chris Kamler is editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



As you read on the front page of today's Landmark, the Lifetouch Publishing plant near the airport will be ceasing operations in Kansas City in the coming months. I was proud to work there as their IT Network Administrator for four years through 2012 and was happy to help contribute to the article.

Technology is a funny thing. As we all become more and more addicted to our technology - imagine a world without your smartphone, for instance, or Netflix--we take as casualties of war the real-world cost of the technological advancements. Robots now build cars. Computers simulate operators when you dial “0” on a phone (if you use a phone at all). Currency is emailed around the world and there is talk of shutting down the Postal Service because email has been there and done that.

At one time, telephone company operators, car assemblymen and postal workers were considered the best blue collar jobs you could get. For decades, press operator was among those as well. The culture at Lifetouch was unique because the company was one of the largest employee-owned companies in the country. This also extended to an employee stock option program that was among the best in the industry. Press operators were often millionaires following their tenure at Lifetouch. If you've had a child in a school over the past 50 years, you've likely run across the Lifetouch brand either through a school photo or a yearbook. They once were the best in the business.

And then technology came. At first, it meant efficiencies in the speed of printing and the amount of books and photos you could print. This meant increased revenues and increased stock shares. And then those efficiencies started to really take hold. Entire departments of image manipulators and lightroom techs and manual press operators were let go. Yearbooks were created completely inside of computers and those computers even began to proofread and adjust their own pages.

And then, something Lifetouch didn't anticipate happened. People learned they can do a school photo with their smartphones, and yearbooks themselves with a website. If you've ever made a calendar or a book on Snapfish, you know exactly what I am talking about.

And Lifetouch refused to change. They did one thing better than anyone in the world -- make high quality school yearbooks -- only people didn't want them anymore. This resulted in the two yearbook plants Lifetouch operates consolidating into one and KC came up short. Hundreds of employees will lose their jobs--many friends and former coworkers of mine.

But in its prime, the plant was something to see on a late May afternoon rushing to get jobs out the back. If you've never toured a manufacturing facility like the Harley plant near the airport or the Boulevard Brewery near Crown Center, you really should. The energy of a motorcycle or a case of beer or a yearbook coming off of the assembly line is really something to see. A single product made out of the work of dozens, sometimes hundreds of people all putting their piece in. A sum greater than its parts.

I wish my Lifetouch family well -- and “family” is a word you will hear often when you speak to the men and women there. You don't spend six months locked in a giant printing plant without knowing the name of the guy next to you (and his kids' names and his wife's name and often what he had for lunch.) Good luck, guys and gals. I hope you all land on your feet and find a job that will be more future proof from technology. I'd steer clear of bank tellers, postal workers or other printing companies.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Every four years, our nation is divided. Every four years, those who “believe” are ostracized by those who “don't want it.” I'm not talking about the Olympics or a good episode of American Idol or even the Presidential Elections. I'm talking about the World Cup, or as us American's call it “not the Super Bowl.”

The World Cup is the month-long soccer tournament featuring the best and brightest soccer (or futbol) teams in the world. Soccer is the world's most popular sports, yet it still fails to strike the fancy of the majority of Americans. All you need do is take to the Facebook or the Twitters to see that a war is raging amongst those who have begun to embrace soccer, the Sporting Kansas City MLS Champions and the US Men's National Team and then those who not just dislike or ignore soccer, but hate it with a passion. THESE are the true Americans (in their minds) and they shall not allow a foreign sport to take quality time from their other cherished sports.

Here now, is a primer for you, Joe Six Pack, as you look to bolster your Twitter fights with those trying to push their soccer agendas onto you.

1) Soccer is anti-American. This is a good argument to use for anyone trying to say that soccer is a world's game. America isn't the world. We don't need your kind here. America is a melting pot where everyone is free to love what they love, so long as it's Honey Boo Boo, NASCAR and the Green Bay Packers. Keep your Communist Kick Ball on your side of the ocean.

2) Soccer is slow. Ignore the fact that soccer games come in roughly around two hours and a typical NFL game is stretching past three hours and a Major League Baseball game is categorized as a mini-series in some states. Soccer is soooooooooo boring and slow. You only score like one or two goals and there's a lot of non action (even though everyone is running for two hours.) BOOOOOORRRRRIIIIINNNGGG.

3) Soccer allows ties. Ties are un-American (see rule 1). There's only one winner of March Madness (even though we allow four teams to credit themselves with a Final Four appearance.) There's only one NASCAR winner past the checkered flag on Sunday's, and by God, there's only one Super Bowl champion. (Even though the NFL allows ties, the most recent of which was just last year.) You must determine a winner just as in heavyweight flights (which are commonly ruled a draw.)

4) Soccer doesn't have enough scoring. Americans need scoring. They need quick satisfaction and need to see the pinball machine light up. We don't have time to sit around for 2 hours to watch a 1-1 draw. We need our cheeseburgers in four minutes or less and we need our diet cokes 42 ounces or larger. <shoots air guns into the air> PEW!! PEW!! PEW!!

You'll see some variation of these four themes with soccer arguments the rest of the month. As for my own personal stance, I don't particularly care for soccer for the same reasons as above, but I don't openly argue with people. There's no right or wrong answer to the question “what's your favorite sport?” That's an opinion. We spend too much time arguing opinions and too little time dealing with facts. I can tell you that there is tremendous beauty and grace in many of these World Cup games, and if you spend too much time arguing your points, you'll probably miss it.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



My wife and I are preparing for a vacation. One of the things that you know about me in the first five minutes after you meet me is that I am a planner. It's what I do for a living and it's what I do when I'm not working. So a vacation with me is not a vacation, so much as it is an execution of a minute by minute master plan.

Tickets are purchased and printed. An itinerary is published in several drafts and the second I leave work the clock begins. But the planning starts weeks in advance and this week, I began the purchasing process for the events we will be doing.

I love the internet and all the conveniences it brings because it allows the OCD types like myself to have tickets in hand prior to arriving at the event. In the old days, you'd have to walk to a ticket window and interact with a human being. Forget that noise. The event could be sold out. You might not get tickets together or you might have to sit in the nosebleed seats.

The biggest downside of purchasing tickets to anything on the internet is the service charges and “convenience” fees that go along with it. We are going to Chicago for three days and each day we are planning one ticketed event. Friday night we are going to the famed Second City comedy club. Tickets to this event are a very reasonable $25 a person. On Saturday, we are going to a Cubs game. Tickets are less reasonable for this, but it's Wrigley Field, so let's say tickets are $50 for this event. Sunday we're going on an architecture tour because I heard they have beer there. So that's another $25 a person. Three events. Two people. $200. No problem, right? That's a decent vacation.

But no. It's not just $200. Stay with me.

The website for the $25 Second City tickets charged a $3.95 “Processing Fee” AND a $4 “Service Charge” PER TICKET. So that's $16 + $50. $66 for Second City.

The website for MLB.com ticketing is legalized robbery. It's absolutely ridiculous. $50 ticket + $12.95 “Print at home” fee (even though I'm printing the ticket on my own paper and using my own ink). THEN they charge you a $2 “service fee” which is supposed to make you feel better since you're not getting quite as bent over than the $13 fee. Regardless. That's another $15 per ticket. So, your $100 worth of tickets is now worth $132.

The Architecture Tour was $25 a person with a $4 “service fee” but at this point, I just wanted to be done, so it easily could've been $30. Fine. $58 for the tour.

When it's all said and done, by $200 worth of activities ends up costing me $256. That's a 28% markup just for buying tickets on the internet. This doesn't' begin to even include what I paid Southwest airlines for all the crap they start adding on from the base ticket price. Pretty soon they'll be charging you for peanuts and when you crank the little fan thing. Add to that our $100 a night room that'll be more like $140 when it's all said and done.

I get why they do it. They have to pay the credit card companies who have their hands in every transaction. They have taxes and visitors' fees and things to pay for the government and they do have some technology to pay for, such as the servers and the bandwidth that help run their financial systems. But still. Enough is enough.

Your nickels now cost seven cents and your dimes are now a quarter. We have now reached the stage where it's comical to do anything. At least the view from the shore is free. I think.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Unless you've been living under a rock, or get all of your news from online video games, then you are aware that our fair city of Kansas City is one of the finalists to host the week-long celebration of democracy, peaceful protests, Jesus and guns called the 2016 Republican National Convention. KC is running against Cleveland, Dallas and Denver and already beaten out Las Vegas and Cincinnati.

Last week, members of the selection committee visited all four potential host cities to check out their facilities, infrastructure and likely see how close the convention center is to the nearest strip club (Hint: KC is two blocks!)

I could have saved the Republican National Committee and drivers along the Broadway Bridge a lot of money, time and trouble as I now present the handicapping odds for the 2016 RNC National Convention.

Let's start... with Cleveland, Ohio.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - Cleveland is the most populous city in Ohio which is like being the prettiest girl in Middle School. Nobody cares and we're going to make fun of you anyway. Your river once caught fire and you had to draft a miniature college player as your future quarterback. (Johnny Manziel.) You have as much of a chance to host the RNC 2016 as I do to be the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Model.
ODDS - 100/1

DENVER, COLORADO - Denver already had a reputation as the second-most hippy-est city next to San Francisco. But now, weed is legal there, so look out Grateful Dead tribute bands and Jonah Hill movies because we have a new champion. WAY too liberal for the RNC, but very likely to host the 2016 X Games.
ODDS - 50/1

DALLAS, TEXAS - Now here we go. KC's main competition. While KC may hold the edge in BBQ and drive-by fatalities, Dallas for sure leads in belt buckle size, Big 12 Conference titles in football and egos. Dallas is known best for its oil money and J.R. Ewing but the biggest draw would be Jerry-World, the likely site of the RNC Convention. They call it officially <Corporate Sponsor> Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, but it is a massive barn and one that could fit the conventions of all three cities inside of it. The biggest drawback to Dallas other than its slack-jawed slang would be its heat. It will be hot for a summertime convention and there aren't enough sundresses in the world that could counterbalance a sweaty Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh walking down a hot Texas street.
ODDS - 1/3

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - Our hometown looks to host its fourth major political convention, the first one being back in 1900 when KC hosted the Democratic National Convention and most recent in 1976 when the RNC put forth Bob Dole as its nominee for vice president. A lot has changed in KC since those days. For starters, KC is no longer the home base of the mafia and organized crime. That home has now moved to the Republican party itself. KC has the title of BBQ capital of the world and is one of the more progressive cities in social media, streetcars and sweeping urban blight under the rug. Look for it to go down to the wire with Dallas.

In the end, look for Dallas to edge out Kansas City, not because it is the better city, but because these selection committees LOVE to have their butts kissed and nobody greases a pig like a Texan.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Every family has a secret. For some it could be a stress in a marriage. For others, it could be potential financial windfalls or maybe they are secretly broke. One thing is certain, though...every family has a secret. Eventually, they all see the light of day, though. I'm about to tell you ours.
The year was 1993. A first-term Bill Clinton was busy rolling cigars and staining dresses. The Kansas City Royals were only eight short years removed from their last World Series appearance.

A young and handsome Chris Kamler had just enrolled at the University of Missouri - Kansas City after, um, releasing myself from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Beer might have been a contributing factor.

My parents, Edward and Donna, were reveling in the graduation from high school of their third child and that left only one more to go. It was a perfect time for a completely ludicrous decision like buying a hot rod car.

Now, my parents had a wonderfully good run of automobiles through my childhood. There was the Ford LTD - one of the largest four door sedans ever made. There was the white Cadillac - again, one of the largest cars in the history of cars. It might have actually come with an outboard motor. The cake topper in this list was the Cutlass Cruiser station wagon made by the Oldsmobile corporation. The Cutlass was so vast, so large, that every child had their own zip code inside AND you could put the newborn on the floorboard of the passenger seat in an age before BIG SEATBELT forced you to stop putting babies on the floorboards of cars.

My parents drove gigantic, American-made boats with wheels. So, naturally, their major purchase to celebrate the third of four children to graduate high school was a 1993 Ford Mustang convertible. It was a glorious machine. An amalgam of leather and power and speed and, dare I say, sex on wheels. It was a damn fine car. My wonderful sister Catherine, whom I love dearly, gave it a test drive. I also got to give it a test drive. It certainly was a step up from what I had been used to driving. I was happy with my 1981 GMC Sierra Pickup Truck with the stepside. It had replaced my F-150 Ford Truck with a three on the tree and enough rust that the rust had rust.

Water actually splashed my face when driving in the rain because of water coming up off of the front wheel into a hole in the floorboard directly up my nose - but I couldn't help seeing me behind the wheel of that powerful machine cruising up and down North Oak turning all the ladies heads.
My sister and I were both going to UMKC at the time, both commuting from home because we are horrible children and hadn't actually left home.

Now. Listen closely. Here is where the family secret comes in.

As mid-life crisis go, my mom and dad's one was pretty mild. They bought a fast car. But of COURSE that was a short lived decision and that beautiful car would trickle down to the child they secretly loved the most. Me. That car would be MINE.

And that's when my sister stepped in. I don't remember what kind of car she drove, but it suddenly started having “problems.” “Oh, that's okay, honey. Just drive the Mustang.”

I never had a chance. That car was stolen out from underneath me. It was rightfully mine and she STOLE it. She drove that car for years. She knows what she did. Just like the pending Ross Perot Presidency, it was plucked from me and I never had a chance.

NOW you know my family's secret. Anybody want to come visit for Thanksgiving?

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



I guess it's a rite of passage for all fathers with their sons --the day the son finally bests the elder in some way. I just never thought it would come so early.

So let's back up here and let me explain a few things to start. Every year, the boy and I take a yearly “Mother's Day trip” which is code for “Boy's weekend away so Mom has a weekend to herself.”

The boy's weekend normally consists of a trip around Memorial Day weekend, eating junk food, pizza, soda pop, staying in hotels, swimming and watching lots of baseball. We've been to Omaha to see the AAA Stormchasers, we've been to Northwest Arkansas to see the AA Naturals and this year we chose Lexington, Kentucky to see the A league Lexington Legends.

As Brett, age 11, continues to mature, he enjoys the trips less and less. If given a choice, he'd probably enjoy a weekend locked in the basement playing video games. But he will look back on these vacations fondly someday and I absolutely love them. They are the weekend of the year as far as I am concerned.

Brett is growing up so quickly. This will be our final trip before he enters middle school. When I was his age, I hated middle school so I know he'll be in for some challenges. But these three or four days provide a great time to talk, laugh and did I mention eat junk food?

Anyway, we don't have a lot of rules on these trips - really only one - that we try something new every trip. Brett's not the most outgoing at first and he is a finicky eater. He's at the stage where everything on his plate needs to resemble a chicken McNugget AND not touch anything else on his plate. This morning, we went to a diner and ordered two eggs, bacon and a biscuit. We're in Kentucky, so everything was covered in gravy. His head about exploded.

To combat this, I made a rule several trips ago that he HAS to try something new every trip. And on this venture, I upped that number to THREE things. Over four days, this really only meant he'd have to take a bite of grits or a mushroom or, god forbid, a vegetable of some sort. He didn't get a vote, so off we went.

At dinner the first night, I was determined to get this “try something” form of torture a test right off the bat. I ordered crab stuffed mushrooms at the restaurant. Brett, ever the future lawyer or politician, said, “What if I got a veto for these?” This seemed logical, really. So I said, “How many do you want?” Brett had a wink in his eye and said “Three seems right. I'd like three vetoes.”

Okay, so we shook on it and I launched my first salvo knowing that I'd have many more opportunities. “Alright, crab stuffed mushrooms. First bite.”


And then it hit me. I had three attempts to get him to attempt something new. I had then been tricked into giving him an equal amount of vetoes. I had been checkmated. By an 11-year-old.
I sat there slackjawed. Stupefied. How did he do that? How did I fall for it?

One thing is for certain, it probably won't be the last time I'm one-upped (or three vetoed) by my son. But the trip was still amazing.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)




The cul-de-sac at the end of Carridi Acres has been my home off-and-on for 30 years. It is often overlooked by the city. It's never plowed in the winter and hasn't been repaved in a decade. But in Spring, the cul-de-sac begins to show signs of life, as lawn mowers spray yard clippings into the street and we drive up and down to baseball games.

But even with Spring and baseball, we're still pretty much indoor creatures. Even when I was growing up, the cul-de-sac that I lived on didn't have many kids and had no sidewalks. Sure, there was playing outside, and that's mainly because that was an actual parenting technique ‘back in the day.’ “You kids go outside and don't come in until it gets dark.” That was an actual thing. If you came in for a glass of water or Kool-Aid you were chastised and chased back out of the house.

Today I live in the house next door to that one--at the end of the same sleepy cul-de-sac. Still without sidewalks and even fewer children on the block. There are fewer things for my son to just get up and do nowadays without us driving him to a friend's house or setting something up ahead of time.

The cul-de-sac is still mostly quiet and mostly safe, but this is 2014 when people get snatched out of Wal-Mart parking lots and millions of other stories come true that you only see on the news. So at any given time your security and safety are relative.

That being said, this past Saturday night was one that rivaled any in my 30 years at the end of the cul-de-sac. My sister and her two boys were up from Wichita, and my other sister's three boys were over as well. (There's a lot of boys in our family.) And the two girls from down the street came up. Their parents are moving next weekend because of the lack of things to do in our neighborhood.

The cul-de-sac suddenly sprung to life. Spider webbed whiffle balls and kickballs and footballs appeared from the bottoms of boxes and crates. A game of hide-and-seek formulated out of nowhere. Not one but TWO tricycles appeared. When was the last time we saw a tricycle?

Kickball gave way to some sort of game of catch with two kickballs and a football. And that game gave way to some sort of keep-away/chase/tag type of contest. I honestly lost track of the rules. Oh, and I was out there too, as were other moms and dads. In a modern twist on the “don't come back in until dark,” there still needs to be a grownup present outdoors, just because. But it's okay, at one point I think I became the “all time tagger.” Whatever that means.

The shadows grew longer and the games continued. Nobody went inside for water or Kool-Aid or video games or cookies. The sun finally set on the evening and the cul-de-sac again grew quiet.

The goal for the sleepy cul-de-sac at the end of Carridi Acres is now finding a way to make sure it doesn't remain quiet for long.

(Chris Kamler is the editor of ramblingmorons.com and a freelance broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to PineTarPress.com and 810Varsity.com and active on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)



Fittingly enough, Saturday Night Live held one of its reunion shows this past weekend. One of my favorite characters from that show was by Jon Lovitz as the Pathological Liar.

If you've never seen the old skit, basically the guy would get into a conversation with someone and then begin to embellish about how he was married to Morgan Fairchild and was a member of Congress. “Yeah, that's the ticket!” he'd say after each lie.

Lovitz was able to accurately convey one of America's most time honored traditions--lying out your backside. A fact evolves into a story. A story evolves into a tale. A tale evolves into spinning a yarn and spinning a yarn turns into something grand. Just add a small little lie and cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

It's a little disheartening to see that Lovitz's network mate on NBC, Brian Williams - the managing editor of the NBC Nightly News - is about to lose his job (after his six month suspension) for spinning yarns about taking fire while on a helicopter in Afghanistan.

You've heard the story by now and you might have even heard one of several versions of the story--depending on the source. Helicopter pilots. Other members of the press and Williams himself--all with varying parts and pieces of the story. But the consensus is that Williams embellished, crowed or just flat out lied about his role in a helicopter shooting.

We do it all the time ourselves. We tell stories. We bend the truth. We edit generously or embellish sparsely. The fact is that our brains aren't built for total recall, so we tend to fill the blanks with the truth that we prefer.

In this digital age, you only see sanitized versions of other people on Facebook. Are those folks who tell you about their perfect children and their wonderful marriage and their extravagant vacation lying? Well, maybe it's more like stretching the truth. If you go to buy a car, are you to assume that the jalopy with 22,000 miles and three bald tires is really a “steal” and “will be with you for years to come” is lying? Or is he just trying to make a sale?

We're holding Brian Williams to a standard that I argue not one of us could live up to. The guy stretched the truth. That's the way I see it. A good newsman is going to lose his job because we aren't able to understand that Brian Williams was telling a banquet story instead of reporting the news. It's going to become that much harder to get real news out because the public is on a witch hunt and smells blood.

And yet, maybe those of us who are calling for him to be fired will wake up tomorrow filled with truth and you'll tell your boss what you really think of him, or you'll tell your spouse what you think of her pasta salad.

Or maybe you'll tell a little fib. Yeah. That's the ticket.

(Chris Kamler is writing a book and doing all sorts of things, most of which are legal. Follow him on Twitter @TheFakeNed and see more of his stuff at thekcpost.com)