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Pursuing the true meaning of retirement
4/9/14

The Sucky State of Kansas City Schools

What if you had an employee that drove customers away? 

And what if that employee kept new customers from coming in? What if that employee also had access to your bank account and made decisions that hurt your bottom line?

KC taxpayers have all of that in the Kansas City School District.

Families with school age children move to the suburbs if they can afford to.  They want to get their kids into an accredited school system. The growth of these surrounding little towns is not due to the allure of living on a cul-de-sac. It’s the schools.

If you relocate to Kansas City, you can find beautiful stately homes for bargain prices. But if you have children,  you will chose to live in a cookie cutter suburb in a house that looks like all the rest because of the schools.

The Kansas City School District made the news twice this month and the common theme of each story was mismanagement.

The most horrifying story was about teenage boys involved in repeatedly raping an innocent female student in an empty classroom. It’s important to note that similar crimes happened last year. What family would not be seeking ways to move their children away from things like that?

The second news item involved mysterious reasoning in financial matters.

Dozens of school buildings are empty and they cost us about $2 million a year in maintenance fees. Westport High School has been empty since 2010. There’s a qualified buyer with approved development plans. And not only would it be better for the neighborhood to have an active taxpaying tenant, it would save the school district money that is supposed to be used to educate students. The district recommended the sale but the school board voted differently in a closed meeting.

The old truth that “It is better to teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish,” never considered that the instructor might be so flawed the lesson may end in a fatality. 

Southwest Airlines & Your Holiday Planning

It goes without saying that Southwest Airlines provides the biggest lift out of KCI

Yet despite what you may believe, Southwest is not necessarily the lowest ticket in the market anymore. It all varies by where you are flying to.

However that price differential is often determined by the fact that you can still check TWO FREE BAGS with Southwest. Try doing that with other carriers where a pair of checked bags can set you back $120.- on a round trip flight.

And God forbid you have to reschedule your already ticketed trip on another airline. You are looking at a ticket-change fee of $200.- PLUS the difference in the price of the new ticket.

There are no ticket change fees with Southwest though. The full value of the old ticket is applied to the new one. All Southwest hits you up for is the difference in price between your original ticket and the new one.

If there’s a hitch with Southwest it’s that you often cannot book quite as far in advance as you may like.

Where most legacy carriers open their inventory for booking up to a year in advance, Southwest doesn’t go out that far.

For example, up until earlier last week you could only book a Southwest flight or vacation through August 8 of this year.

Later last week however they opened their booking window through October 31, 2014.

That’s still not far enough out to book this year’s all important Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday trips—travel periods in which the lowest priced tickets sell out extremely fast.

So WHEN will Southwest’s Thanksgiving and Christmas travel inventory become available for booking?

That’s not highly publicized–YET!

However all indications now point to Monday, May 19th!

That’s when Southwest will reportedly open its schedules and inventories for booking clear through January 4, 2015.

 

So if you’re planning to visit grandma over the holidays remember, the early bird gets the worm.

And the nice thing is that if you have to change the date of the trip all you pay is the difference in the price of the new ticket. No change fee!

Or should you need to cancel the trip altogether you’ll have the full value of the ticket on file with Southwest for future travel. It’s good for one year from your original date of ticketing.

Note that the credit stays in YOUR name. Name changes are no longer permitted.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Finally, an alert to members of Rapid Rewards,  Southwest’s frequent flyer program.

If you’re planning on using your points for travel during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday period I suggest you mark the May 19th inventory opening date on your calendar.

You will still be able to book seats for that period as long as they remain available.  However the amount of points NEEDED to get them will probably increase steeply the closer you get to Turkey Day or Christmas.

Remember, if you have to cancel your free awards tickets, the FULL POINT AMOUNT flows back into your Rapid Rewards account. No penalties.

 

And if you like me still hold an older Standard Award round trip credit from the now bygone era of Southwest’s original Rapid Rewards program, you better use it for travel soon before it goes bye-bye forever.

The airline allowed us to renew those Standard Rewards ONE TIME at a cost of $50.- which makes my newly extended expiration date November 14, 2014.

After that NO MORE extensions. Total credit value AND the $50 cost of the extension will be lost forever.

You can be sure I’ll be making use of my God given free ticket before then. Even if it’s for just a quick trip to Chicago and a great roast duck with potato dumplings and red cabbage dinner at the Chicago Brauhaus in Lincoln Square.

 

Pursuing the True Meaning of Retirement

 

Paul Wilson grapples with his (lack of) immortality:

 

I’m going to deliver the money quote, right up front…

This July, I turn the Big Six-Oh. That’s right, sports fans; your well-coiffed scribe is aging, but doing it with style and grace. 

Not Craig Glazer’s version of grace and style, but grace and style just the same.

I never gave much thought to turning 40 or even 50. So maybe it’s tied to the loss of my mom last fall, but I’m giving 60 some serious contemplation. I know, hearing from readers, several of you are in the same boat.

And we all know a few examples of people who died metaphorically at their retirement party or shortly thereafter. They worked a lifetime to reach their years of relaxation then flamed out in the weeks or months following. 

My grandfather was an executive with Coca Cola who retired and moved to a home on Grand Lake. I begged him to not go there and die because he was too important a figure in my life. He’d had a full, active, professional and personal life and my biggest fear was of him settling into fishing, hanging out at the marina and passing away far too soon. 

And, he well could have had he not kept something very important in his life; the Japanese call it, “ikigai” - that which gives life a sense of purpose.

His vacation home became his permanent home, leaving his Plaza condo in the rear view mirror. But he immediately became involved on a bank board, in civic organizations and at his church, telling me frequently, “I don’t know how I ever had time to work. I’m too busy being retired.” 

My plan was to retire earlier, but I was awakened by a study Shell Oil conducted of its employees that found people who retire at 55 are 89% more likely to die in the 10 years after retirement than those who retire at 65. 

That study almost made me thankful for my Great Divorce of 2000 which made it far more difficult to carry out my early retirement plan. Hey, I could be dead now.

The study went on to find that workers living to the age of 65 were 89% more likely to live 10 more years after retirement even though they were 10 years older than their early retirement counterparts. 

So what are we to conclude? 

The only difference between the two groups was their age at retirement. 

I think it’s about “purpose” and “self-worth.” 

Too many of us males find 90% of our identities in what we do; for Craig, it’s who he does. But for too many of us, it’s our job. 

When we retire, that sense of identity, that sense of purpose is gone. And that let down often manifests itself in a similar manner like when one loses a spouse. Our spirit gives up and we die.

 

Is work your  primary purpose in life? 

 

If so, I’d encourage you to find another more meaningful one. In today’s world, jobs can be a fickle mistress that can change in an instant. If it’s the only place you find value you could wake up overnight feeling pretty vacant.

 

For me, I spend an increasing amount of time preparing for that time. Writing has become one of my new found friends and I intend of taking up a good deal of my retirement time doing that. With two books on the drawing board, writing and volunteering is going to be my “purpose” but not the source of my self-worth. 

I guess that’s why I found it news worthy this past weekend that President George Bush held his first art show with portraits of world leaders. 

 

GW has never been the typical President, much of his time off at the White House was spent in Crawford, Texas chopping wood and cutting grass.

Stop and think - after you’ve been President - what’s left to do?

Seeking a new passion is what caused to Bonnie Flood’s phone to ring. Flood is a Florida artist and teacher who got a surprise call from the president saying he wanted to take art lessons for both himself and sister in law, Maggie

Was this a part time, passing fancy? No, Bush apparently tackled it like chopping wood, taking lessons for up to 6 hours a day. He graduated from his first 50 paintings of dogs and landscapes to his opening this past weekend for “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Southern Methodist University. His first public showing of his new found talent involved 30 oil-on-board paintings of world leaders. Are they masterpieces of portraiture? Of course not, but it was a good and decent effort for a true outsider artist with no prior training.

We live in an investment driven world and the only retirement advice we get is on the importance of saving enough money for a comfortable and secure after work life. 

Unfortunately the self-worth component is missing from that. We’ll do nothing but die with our millions to then be inherited by our kids. 

What’s the point?

For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com

 


Is Bill Self headed to the NBA?
3/12/14

DIAL ‘T’ FOR MURDER

 As sleepy smaller cities go, Lawrence, Kansas ranks up there with the best of em…

At least when it comes to murder-free living. That is until last summer, says Lawrence police spokesman  Sgt. Trent  McKinley.

“Since July we’ve had five homicides,” McKinley says. “And we had a couple that miraculously did not end up resulting in deaths but were very, very serious. Prior to that we went a couple years without any.”

Leading to the obvious – yet unanswerable question – why?

“I’ve been asked that several times lately,” McKinley says. “But in all of these – with the exception of the one in March that we don’t know yet – these were people who were known to each other.”

In other words, just the luck of the draw.

That said, some locals point the finger of blame westward.

“Almost every time we have violent or serious crimes here in Lawrence, there’s a Topeka connection,” says one prominent Lawrence businessman, who asked not to be named. “Every freaking time – that blows my mind – almost every time something bad happens here, it’s somebody coming over here from Topeka or somebody who’s from Topeka. It’s like we ought to build a moat around Lawrence or something.

“Every time I see a Shawnee County license plate, I figure they’re up to no good. They put cameras up pointing west at 6th and Stoneridge and Wakarusa and Clinton Parkway. And I’m pretty sure that anybody going out of town in that direction, they’re going to catch or at least have evidence.”

True story, McKinley says.

However there are cameras pointing in other directions as well for largely the same purpose.

As for the Topeka crime connection, “Well, we have seen that in some incidents,” McKinley says. “So yes, we have a lot of incidents from Topeka and some from Kansas City.”

However the police also use a number of private companies cameras to catch bad guys.

“We use a variety of different electronic means to monitor things like that,” McKinley says. “And not just on the west side of town. We can look at some things, but we have to rely on other private organizations like the Kansas Turnpike Association and the cameras at their toll gates.

“And for example if we have something downtown, there’s a camera on top of city hall and some retailers have security cameras that we can use because we’re really lacking in that area.”

A couple years back police received funds to place cameras on Mass Street.

“We had the money for two cameras downtown and we ended up having public meetings about it,” McKinley says. “And people were worried about privacy. The ACLU came to one public meeting and people wanted to know how long we would keep the information and what we would do with it.”

One reason police wanted the cameras is when there are large gatherings of people downtown the bandwidth gets used up and you’re lucky to get a text message off.

“So we were looking for a hardline connection for those major events,” McKinley says. “And we had a gun incident down there during the time we were talking about it, but some people were (still) concerned with Big Brother, etc. and we ended up tabling it about a year ago.”

Hey, there’s always the moat concept.

 

 

Is Bill Self NBA Bound?

 

Craig Glazer saddles up for a look at the area’s top jock:

 The handwriting’s on the wall…

And sooner, rather than later. Vaunted KU basketball coach Bill Self is not long for this world – that being Lawrence – says sports handicapper Craig Glazer of Stanford & Sons.

“It just makes sense, he’s pretty much done all he can do there in college basketball,” Glazer says. “We all know his marriage is in trouble and probably won’t survive. And he just has that NBA persona. He’s great with the media. He’s an attractive person. And KU probably has more players in the NBA than anybody else in college basketball.

“Bill has a knack of getting all these one-and-done, 18 year-olds who go on to the NBA and get drafted in the first round. He’s become almost a professional, college coach. He’s the king of one-and-done players like Andrew Wiggins. The McDonald’s All Americans want to play for Bill Self because he’s proven that his teams are very good and they get lots of national attention.

“All the media want is for Bill Self to be a No. 1 seed, but his team’s are kind of a poor man’s UCLA - from when UCLA was great – minus all the championships. Bill Self’s a great coach but I don’t think he can keep doing what he’s doing. He’s taking it easy this year; I get the feeling he’s satisfied. Like his college coaching resume is complete and he wants to win one more national championship before he goes to the NBA.”

Recruiting future NBA rookies that stay at KU just one year is a ton of work and can’t be much fun. It’s almost like coaching an NBA all-rookie team – a different one every year.

“Bill’s already an NBA coach, he gets all these kids and they have a brief relationship and then they move on,” Glazer says. “Why not move to the NBA? At least if you get a LeBron James you’ve got him for a while. You know, Bill has one, maybe two more years at KU, then he goes on to the NBA and makes $7 million or $8 million a year – probably as a single guy – and he gets to live another life.”

“You mean, he loves doing those Salty Iguana commercials and eating there for free?” Glazer quips. “The people who say he’ll never leave Lawrence are wrong, I think he’s ready to move on. This guy’s looking for bright lights and a big city. And I think Bill Self will probably become the highest paid coach ever to come out of college. He may make $10 million a year. He’s the perfect NBA coach.”

One reason some locals say Self may bail; to escape living in a fish bowl.

“He can’t do anything there without people looking at him,” Glazer says. “And he certainly can’t have an affair without people knowing about it. I’m sure Bill’s looking forward to moving on. He’s looking forward to not flying in a twin engine Cessna. He’s a small town guy who wants to get a taste of the Big Apple before he dies.

“I’ll tell you what he doesn’t want to do. He doesn’t want to go to the NBA at age 57 or 58 – that’s too late. KU might get one more year – maybe two – but next year could be it.”

Leaving KU basketball exactly where?

“It’s always scary,” Glazer says. “I mean, they’re going to have their pick of coaches because it’s KU. But Bill’s the best coach KU’s ever had and they’ve had some great coaches. But Bill Self has paid his dues.”

 Whatever happened to...Channel 9‘s Joel Nichols?

It’s not easy being an aging weather wonk…

Not to be confused with a meteorologist. Because times have changed and the days when sappy, fun-loving weathermen and comely, buxom weather babes could plight their troughs in the the wide world of TV weather are o-v-e-r. These days meteorology is an Olympic sport and if you don’t have the science chops, odds are you’re not gonna make it in a major market – not even one as small as Kansas City.

So it is that longtime Channel 9 cloud kicker Joel Nichols has been missing in action on the local TV weather front for coming up on three months.  Somewhat obviously he’s not been snapped up by the competition at Channels 4,5 or 41. Still inquiring minds want to know the what, where, when and whyfors of the affable Nichols future career aspirations.

Which brings us to an email from a KCC reader who thinks Nichols may have gotten on full time at Johnson Country Community College. Not so fast.

Calls to the college confirm that Nichols is indeed still on their roster, but as some of you may know, he was an only adjunct professor there teaching media and communications.

The term “adjunct professor” being something of a slippery slope in many instances for people in a given field who manage to convince a college to let them teach a course in their given field.

So what is an adjunct professor?

According to the website WiseGeek it’s “a part-time professor who is hired on a contractual basis rather than being given tenure and a permanent position. Many universities hire large numbers of adjunct faculty members because they are flexible and cheaper to maintain than traditional full-time faculty members.”

Attempts to reach Nichols at JUCO were unsuccessful. And no word yet from the school as to whether he has or may be in the process of joining them in a full time position. And no news is no news among the local TV news insiders I contacted.

Meanwhile, back at the Channel 9 Weatherman Joel Nichols Facebook page – which by the way is still alive and kicking despite his departure from the station months ago – the odd Nichols groupie continues to check in despite no posted responses from the man himself.

“I really miss you! You have the greatest sense of humor,” fan Jan Jackson posted earlier today.

However the odds of Nichols making it as an adjunct professor appear slim.

As evidenced by a Huff Post story entitled, 9 Reasons Why Being An Adjunct Faculty Member Is Terrible.

“It’s hard out there for an adjunct,” it begins. “Adjuncts typically earn between $20,000 and $25,000 annually NPR reports. Compare that to the average salary of $84,303 for full-time instructors and professors, according to the American Association of University Professors.”

Add to that, no job security, lousy hours and scheduling, little to no say in “faculty governance” and few if any health insurance options.

This just in, a spokeswoman for Johnson County Community College confirmed that Nichols is not working there full time.

 For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com

 


The end of the Garth era at The K
3/5/14

Keep this under your hat, but KU basketball coach Bill Self‘s $17.5 million luxury apartments complex just got whacked…again…

Didn’t read any news stories about it? There’s a reason.

It’s kinda funny though, because when the KU athletics department wanted to wipe the egg off its face after getting embarrassed by the Kansas Legislature recently, it put out enough press releases to get coverage about a “lead donor” being found for the so-called Fieldhouse Apartments that it even got a mention in the Washington Post.

But now that KU’s dialed it back to $10 million or less, mum’s the word. 

Here’s why:

KU’s athletics is running quiet because they’re running scared.

Because the money KU’s shaving off Self’s luxury dorm - $265,000 per apartment for the future NBA millionaires he hopes to attract - is coming out of the Lady Jayhawks side of the ledger. 

That’s right, the men’s team will get its pound of opulence, but the women will have to wait. Wait until somebody lays some kind of politically correct guilt trip on the Kansas Legislature, that hopefully forces it to have to choke out the other $8 million so the women players get a fair shake.

It’s not hard to figure. 

Men’s basketball - not women’s - is where the financial action is at. And when it comes right down to it, most KU basketball fans don’t give a flip what the women players do. However, to keep up with Title IX rules of fairness, KU included women in the initial plan. And throwing the ladies under the bus looks a little ungentlemanly. So no press releases about that.

Nope, the only mention of this otherwise unreported drop from $17.5 million to $10 million was buried a Lawrence Journal World editorial to avoid having to write a headline that would belong on a story reporting the planned changes.

A headline like this:

“KU women basketball players evicted from Fieldhouse Apartments”

Instead we got this headline from the “journalists” at the Journal World:

“Scaled-back plans have set a more positive course for a new apartment building near Allen Fieldhouse”

More positive for whom?

 

 

 

 Goodbye Garth, Hello Better Tomorrow

 

There are two infallible truths in baseball: superstition and tradition, says KC Confidential’s Brandon Leftridge:

They’re both unavoidable, even if the first isn’t always as widely visible. What I mean is that we didn’t see Wade Boggs scarf down chicken before each and every game. (Though I suppose we could have seen him take precisely 150 grounders—no more, no less—and start batting practice at exactly 5:17 each day.) We’re not with Matt Garza as he makes a Popeye’s run, we don’t actually watch Justin Verlander shovel fistfuls of Taco Bell into his maw, and thank the good lord above, we wouldn’t know that Jason Giambi is rocking a gold, slump-busting thong if he didn’t tell us.

The latter truth—owing to the fact that it’s often in the “audience participation” realm—is much more apparent.

Starting in the early 1990’s, the Milwaukee Brewers instituted a “sausage race” during every home game, a buffoonish lark featuring people running around the perimeter of the field  dressed as a bratwurst, a Polish sausage and an Italian sausage. (They’ve since added a hot dog and a chorizo.) This makes sense because, well, Milwaukee.

 

Each home game, the Chicago Cubs have a celebrity (the level of notoriety being dependent upon availability, I suppose) sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” often in the slurred, excitably drunken manner of their late legendary broadcaster Harry Caray. This makes sense because everyone adored Harry.

 

In 2002, Fenway Park music director Amy Tobey secured her spot as a randomly obscure answer to a trivia question by playing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” during Boston Red Sox games. At first glance, this doesn’t seem to make sense because there’s no obvious connection between Boston and the song itself—until you realize that Boston is teeming with white people and white people love Neil Diamond.

And then you’ve got the Kansas City Royals. Despite being a professional institution since 1969, they don’t have much in the way of “tradition.” (Being perennial losers notwithstanding.)

Well, you know, unless you count the “Friends in Low Places” sing-along that assaults the stadium 81 times a year. If memory serves—and there’s surprisingly little in the way of researchable info on the topic—it started out as a “pick which song you want to hear in the bottom of the next inning!” kind of thing around 2006 or 2007. By 2008, they’d done away with letting the fans choose, and the twangy ode to shady drinking buddies had turned into a permanent fixture. Garth Brooks even recorded intros that would be played before the song came on. It was quirky and a little fun.

But then the fatigue set in.

For those who attended more than a handful of games per season, it became downright annoying, and for opposing team’s fans who made the trek to our beautiful stadium, it became a confirmation that Kansas City is exactly what they thought it was: a glorified cowtown full of meth-riddled hillbillies worshipping at the alter of an increasingly irrelevant country singer.

(And before I’m crucified for bashing Brooks, allow me to state that I think he seems like a nice guy, and as far his music is concerned—while it’s not exactly my cup of tea—I DO find him more tolerable than most “modern” country music performers.)

 

My beef isn’t with Garth, or the idea of a fan-involved sing-along. What I think it boils down to is that this song has nothing to do with the team, or even Kansas City for that matter. Just because Brooks has had a couple of spring training “try-outs” with the team—and other than the fact that he played 75 straight shows to christen the Sprint Center—he has no real connection to this town.

I like to think of Kansas City (and I may be delusional for this, I’ll admit) as a place of art, culture, history and music—WE’RE THE BIRTHPLACE OF JAZZ. We’ve got the country’s only official World War I museum, a fantastic Negro Leagues Baseball museum, a renowned art gallery and the world’s best BBQ. But oh, hey, here’s a 24-year-old song about you and your loser drinking pals performed by a dude from Oklahoma.

If the swirling internet rumors are true, however, the “tradition” is done. Multiple sources are indicating that the Royals are doing away with the tune beginning this year. (I reached out to Royals’ PR guy Toby Cook for confirmation, but haven’t heard back.) Provided that this is accurate—and not simply the wishful thinking of a bunch of Twitter nuts—I think this is a solid move. I won’t miss it, and I don’t think a lot of other fans will, either. Kudos, Royals.

 

Because tradition should mean something; in fact, I think one could argue that, without meaning, tradition is useless. So I’m all about raucous, uniformed revelry—but can’t we find something a little more local? What about those kids from St. Joseph—Radkey? Can’t we ask them to write something bad-ass and catchy to become a new Royals tradition? It’s worth a shot, and certainly better than More Forced Garth.

Author's note-- upon completion of this piece, it has, in fact, been confirmed that "Friends in Low Places" is out. Toby Cook-- WHO WOULDN'T TALK TO ME BECAUSE I'M SCUM, APPARENTLY, confirmed it to KSHB TV.

 

 


The rise and fall of Randy Miller in Warrensburg
2/19/14

It’s not easy being Randy Miller these days…

Was a time Miller ruled Kansas City’s radio roost. And to this day he remains a legend. He was what Erich “Mancow” Muller and Johnny Dare aspired to become…within reason. He cashed the town’s fattest radio paychecks – paychecks now dwarfed by Dare – and could do no wrong.

Hold it, scratch that.

Miller could do all kinds of wrong, but even when his on-air misdeeds rose to fireable offenses, another station in another market would come a calling with more money, resulting in more fame. Then another firing – yet more money – and on and on.

Make no mistake, Randy Miller was a certifiable radio “bad boy,” but at the same time he was bankable. So yeah, he could do plenty of wrong, but come pay day, somebody was always there to make things right.

Until Miller pissed off enough advertisers, generated too many legal bills and or FCC complaints and his ratings began to go south a dozen or so years back.

Next thing anyone knew, Miller was out to pasture, clinging to a handful of advertisers he hadn’t completely pissed off and eking out a living doing small time advertising, apart from the glitzy limelight he’d bathed in throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

Until last week when he resurfaced at a small country music station called 98.5 The Bar in good, old Warrensburg, Mo. The station had bumped its power to 44,000 Watts and was sporting “a pretty big stick” at 499 feet tall.

Miller had moved from JOCO to not far away, so it was doable. And if one thing led to another, he could maybe syndicate his show to other small stations and tap back into those six-figure paychecks of the past.

If…

However after only one week Miller shocked the station and tossed in the towel.

“I was surprised it only lasted five days,” says station owner Greg Hassler. “I thought it was a long term deal. Now I’ve got to go to Plan B  -and I don’t have a Plan B – but I’m trying to get one.”

What passes for Plan B at the moment is that Hassler – who hosts afternoons on the station – has to get up at the crack, drag to work at 5:30 a.m. every weekday and do the morning show himself until a replacement for Miller can be found. Right now he’s looking at a couple of syndicated shows out of Nashville and hopes to have a deal by week’s end.

“You know, this morning I said on the radio that it kind of left me in a bad position,” Hassler says of Miller’s unexpected exit. “Because I have to scamble for my next move, and because I spent the last couple of months planning for all this. It started around Thanksgiving – but I wasn’t prepared for a five day deal.”

So what exactly happened? Who the heck knows?

“The thing Randy loved about us was that we were not corporate and we had a good signal,” Hassler muses. “But I think that’s also what he didn’t like about us. We don’t have a big office and a lot of phone lines – we’re just on a hill in Warrensburg, Mo. Our building’s pretty nice, but it’s just not what Randy was used to. He just told me that sometimes you build things up in your mind and sometimes it just doesn’t come through.”

Did Hassler try to get Miller to stay?

“No, I did not,” he says. “I learned a long time ago that if somebody doesn’t want to do something, there’s no sense trying to talk them into doing it. That’s not good for anybody. But I thought things were going pretty good, so it’s unfortunate.”

Asked if he might consider returning to The Bar,  Miller responded: “Not sure.”

Hassler has another take.

“I’ll answer that one for you, Uh-Uh. I’ll tell you right now, he’s not coming back. We have parted company; there’s no chance. It’s put me in a position where I have to get here in the morning at 5:30 a.m. and fill in for him. It’s taken away from my family life and my 6 year-old daughter.”

For more Hearne, check out KCConfidential.com

 


Judge Reinhold's appearance gets blown up
1/29/14

And now, the rest of the story…

It’s not every day that the 22 year-old New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park cancels its opening night performance. However that’s exactly what happened last week for the kickoff performance of the classic play Harvey starring Judge Reinhold.

The Judge Reinhold who in 1982 hooked up with Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, co-starred in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and appeared in those goofy, loveable Beethoven mutt movies in the ‘90s and early 2000s.

He’s also the 56 year-old Hollywood has-been the New Theatre signed to be the token “name” star in its 10 week run here of the classic Jimmy Stewart movie of the same name.

Until that is, a last minute dustup last week resulted in Reinhold bailing on the New Theatre causing the cancelation for the first time in the company’s 42 year history of what was probably a sold out opening performance.

Worse yet, ticket holders expecting to party with Reinhold were stuck with a local backup / understudy until 58 year-old Englishman Charles Shaughnessy can memorize enough lines to step in for Reinhold January 30.

Put simply, it was a mess.

Yet in reporting the news for the Kansas City Star, all my pal Robert Trussell could muster in the way of of skinny about the dramatic falling out, was that the theater says that Reinhold wasn’t happy with things after three weeks of rehearsals so they let him out of his contract and more-or-less wish him well. That and a stilted email statement from Reinhold saying the New Theatre gang are jolly good fellows and he’s certain the play will be a crowd pleaser…you know, and he wishes them well as well.

Please…

It was possibly the worst theatrical thing to ever go wrong for New Theatre owners Richard Carrothers and Dennis Hennessy since they painted themselves into a coat closet on opening night in 1972 at the old Tiffany’s Attic at 51st and Main. And now everybody says they want to hug it out?

Highly unlikely.

So that’s the real story, eh?

“Of course not,” says local actress Carol Barta. “Any time an actor is replaced it’s not a happy thing. It’s not anything to have a picnic over. You know there’s much more about the entire situation than got published.”

Not surprisingly neither the New Theatre nor Reinhold wanted to clear the actual air.

“If they wanted all the dirty laundry out they would have put it out,” Barta muses. “So if there’s really more to the story – and there probably is – you’re going to have to get it from somebody that’s in the loop.”

Speaking of which, the Star could have easily gotten to the bottom of the matter and reported what really happened, but that would have entailed ticking off an advertiser.

So what is the story behind the unprecedented breakup?

“I know the whole story,” says one local theater insider, “but it’s a little dicey.”

In a nutshell, when the New Theatre brings in one of its marquee stars – like washed up 77 year-old, former Hollywood sex symbol Dyan Cannon last year – they pay them a pretty penny, treat them like kings and build the show’s entire marketing strategy around them.

“They come in three weeks in advance and are contracted for six days a week for rehearsals,” says the source. “But for some of these guys who haven’t done live theater for a long time, that can be kind of hard on them.”

Speaking of which…

A typical New Theatre production consists of 8 shows a week for 10 weeks. Which is no walk in the park.

“But they pay them very well,” adds the source. “I can tell you for sure Reinhold was making really good money, probably between $4,000 and $5,000 a week. And the New Theatre owns and provides them renovated, really nice houses – beautifully accommodated – that come with a house cleaner once a week. And they get a car, cleaned and gassed up. They’re very well taken care of.”

So how do the New Theatre dudes really feel about the Reinhold disaster?

“They’re totally bummed because it’s costing them a lot of money and they had to bring in somebody else.”

As for what lead to the breakup, “I think Reinhold was struggling with the role and he had not done theater in like 16 years. And sometimes the actors get nervous that the entire show is on their back. Barbra Eden came in very nervous, but she totally relaxed and never missed a performance. She was amazing.”

Which was hardly the case with Reinhold.

“It was rough going, even into the second week of rehearsals. I just think he was beating up on himself and he started taking it out on other people, including the director who (co) owns the theater. And it all culminated on the last day – Monday of last week. They were doing a rehearsal and it didn’t go that bad – and Reinhold was nervous – but he absolutely had the character down. But there were some technical problems and I think it just overwhelmed him.

“Because after that final rehearsal, he just flipped out. And it’s too bad, because he would have been fine. He got upset about the fact that they weren’t taking a lunch break and he started yelling – and yelling at people – and it was the last straw. And he went in a room with one of the directors – and we don’t know what happened in that room – if he was fired or he quit. And that’s when it ended. It ended on Monday and they had to cancel the opening night show on Wednesday.”

The sad reality: it didn’t need to happen and nobody wanted it to.

“I know (Reinhold) didn’t plan on this happening because his wife and one year-old daughter had just flown in the night before. The theater didn’t want this to happen and Judge didn’t want this to happen, so whatever happened in that meeting must have been pretty prickly. I mean, they had to cancel opening night for godsakes and they’ve never canceled a show in 22 years. They even have a generator if the power goes out.”

Cost overrun considerations aside, how bad might Reinhold’s abrupt and angry departure hurt the box office?

“The New Theatre may lose out on some single ticket sales, but they’re not going to lose money because they have so many subscribers. They have something like 23,000 subscribers. That’s why their shows run so long.”

And that ladies and gentlemen, is the rest of the story.

With the possible exception of – tisk, tisk – the uncorrected misspelling of New Theatre cofounder and owner Dennis Hennessy’s last name by the Star.

Stanford’s Craig Glazer sticks up for Justin Bieber:

It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it…

You know, stick up for bad boy Justin Bieber - fondly known as Biebs. Think of it as one bad boy having the other’s back.

We’ve all heard the news from Florida where the Biebs got arrested for DUI, resisting arrest, speeding, drug possession, etc, etc. But outside of this being his official announcement that – I’m a bad ass – nothing much will come of it. Oh yeah, he also had an expired driver license, a rented $10,000 a day Ferrari and in the passenger seat, a gorgeous young model.

What to make of all this?

The Bieb’s kinda-sorta counterpart – Miley Cyrus – better planned her breakout with a tongue and groove twerk tirade on international television. Miley needed to make the jump to being an adult star and leave Hannah Montana behind and she did. Like it or not, Cyrus calculations worked out just fine.
The Biebs, on the other hand, will now be under the Lindsey Lohan microscope, which is not where you want to be. For better and for worse, his mega-million dollar paydays and sense of entitlement handed to him by an adoring public led to this behavior.

Now Biebs has entered the Charlie Sheen school of Look at Me.

Because the world now anxiously awaits Bieb’s next run in with law enforcement, drugs or some illegal act.

Hopefully, as was the case with Sheen, this will come to an end sometime soon and the Biebs can go back to singing, dancing and maybe even acting. That would be nice.

Paul Wilson Says: Kansas Wants Sperm Donor to Make Another Deposit

This time out, it’s not sperm they seek…

Kansas wants blood from William Marotta - in the form of child support – and they want it deposited at the Kansas Payment Center in Topeka.

Angela Bauer and her former partner Jennifer Schreiner were like any other same sex couple who wanted a child. Absent the ability to procreate the hot, steamy way, they turned to outside assistance. In this case, in the form of a Craigslist ad seeking a sperm donor.

Enter William Marotta, a local, Topeka body shop dude, who saw their cause as a valid one and felt he could insert a solution.

He did, They did. A star appeared in the East, and a child was born.

At this stage of the game, Bauer and Schreiner had been together for eight years and had already adopted several other children ranging from 3 months to 25 years. They had no financial issues, Schreiner was a stay at home mom, and life was good.

But like half the straight population, their love hit the rocks.

So in December of 2010 the two decided to go their separate ways but continued to successfully and amicably co-parent their kids.

Then March rolled around and Bauer was diagnosed with “a significant illness” and could no longer work. Schreiner, without Bauer’s financial support, turned to the State of Kansas. In the process, the State demanded the donors name, claiming if she didn’t provide the info they would deny any health benefits because she was “withholding information.”

Bauer describes her conversations with the state as “threatening.”

“One gentleman told me he wasn’t going to discuss anything with me because I’m not the parent or legal guardian,” Bauer said. “Therefore, I had no existence.”

The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed the case in October 2012 seeking to have Marotta declared the father of a child so he could be held responsible for about $6,000 in public assistance the state had provided, as well as future child support.

Marotta opposed the action, stating that he’d signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities. Next attorneys for the state contended the parties didn’t follow a 1994 Kansas law requiring a licensed physician to perform the artificial insemination when donors were involved, leaving the contract little more than verbal masturbation.

On Wednesday the DCF argued that the contract overlooked ‘‘the well-established law in this state that a person cannot contract away his or her obligations to support their child.’’

I wonder if straight adoptees should begin to worry, or is this just another jab at gay parents in Kansas?
Regardless, we continue to do all we can to make Texas look good!

Kansas wants $6,000 and ongoing support from Mr. Marotta, not the couple. The couple is 100% on Marotta’s side, supportive and eternally grateful for the gift he gave them.

How badly does Kansas want “justice?”

At the going rate for a midrange Topeka attorney, that gives them 30 hours to invest in the case before it becomes a circle jerk. How far past that do you think they already are?

Marotta is represented by Ben Swinnen of Topeka. I talked to a woman in his office this morning and am getting on his schedule for an interview. In the meantime, what’s your well coifed Scribe’s opinion?

Never fear, I have a few:

▪ To collect support from Bauer would require Kansas to recognize her as the “parent;” what would that do to gay and lesbian rights in Kansas?

▪ Sam Brownback oversees DFC – Sam Brownback opposes gay marriage; you do the math

▪ Topeka City Councilman Chad Manspeaker, posted on Twitter a photo of an anti-gay sign in front of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church and wrote, “Right now Kansas’ Department of Children and Families looks a lot like this.” I agree with the Chadmiester.

▪ If gay marriage rights move forward, child support needs to be paid and adjudicated in the same manner it would for a straight couple, paid by the “parents” based on income distribution and State provided child support standards.

▪ Is there a subliminal message Kansas is trying to send; gay couples can’t take care of their kids and we need to hunt down the real, straight “dad” to get support?

▪ This is a 3rd party contract, plain and simple; why isn’t the State honoring it in the same way they would in any other case?

Bottom line, is the promotion of homophobia more important than the law?

I have a sneaking suspicion our Governor, who likely thinks the world is 5000 years old, is more involved in this than some low level dweeb at the DFC.

For more sneaking suspicions check out KCConfidential.com

 


The exit of weatherman Joel Nichols
1/22/14

Think of it as the nice guys finish last syndrome…

By most accounts former KMBC TV “weatherman” Joel Nichols is a really nice guy. But after a quarter century of doing the weather and oddball, odd hour celebrity interviews at Channel 9, the aging, baby-faced newsie is o-u-t.

As for a rumor started New Year’s Day by former KC media blogger John Landsberg that Nichols might rejoin his former boss at Channel 41… mere speculation. Landsberg confessed as much in the comments section following his scoop that caught the rest of Kansas City media (me included) snoozing.

The idea of Nichols doing weather at KSHB is a reach.

For starters, “He doesn’t really know weather,” says one veteran television news heavy hitter. “And he’s owned that – he said that he didn’t.”

Nichols comes from the era of smiling, chatty weather dudes and babes who were ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s. However those days are mostly history. Today’s ultra competitive TV weather-scape all but requires a degree in meteorology.

The bottom line: don’t expect Nichols to resurface doing weather on Channel 41.

“But he could join the morning show or do news on the station,” says the source.

There’s no shortage of rumors as to the reasons behind Nichols departure from Channel 9.

While KMBC is on record as having offered Nichols a deal to stay, chances are he was offered far less money to go with a forced move from mornings to evenings that would have required him to put in a full, daylight hours workday.

Scanning the local media landscape, while KMBC scrubbed Nichols from its website, his Facebook page for the station is still alive and kicking.

I guess you could call it alive.

However the last entry was last summer, indicating Nichols may have had a window into his departure from the station. That last post, on June 5th by fellow Channel 9 newsie Kris Ketz reads:

“Today is the 25th anniversary for Joel Nichols at KMBC….and he never whispered a word to any of us about this day. He is the cornerstone of First News…and he’s one of the biggest reasons why KMBC 9 News is what it is today. Congratulations Joel Nichols.”

That’s not how the brass at KMBC appear to have viewed Nichols.

In any case, he’s gone and the betting money is Nichols is looking for a morning gig or whatever he can get at another local television station.

He also seems to have gone down periscope.

Nichols blog site was taken down by its owner. And with less than 400 likes on his Facebook page, it’s not that surprising Nichols and/or the station forgot to snuff it out.

The sad reality: TV news baby faces grow old and attracting younger viewers is the name of the game.

Maybe Nichols should have taken Channel 9 up on its offer.

Time will tell.

The Completely Hilarious Thing Richard Sherman Did

KC Confidential sports scribe Brandon Leftridge celebrates Super Bowl bound Seattle Seahawks hero Richard Sherman:

You saw it live or you saw KMBC sports embarrassment Karen Kornacki blathering about it. Or maybe you saw it on social media or Jim Rome has already released some sort of “hot take” on it.

But in case you missed it—in case you were “living under a rock” (clichés—we’ll get to that)—here’s what happened:

After Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman deflected an end-zone pass into the hands of a teammate for a 4th quarter, game clinching interception, he met with reporter Erin Andrews on the sideline and he spouted some real crazy, real aggressive stuff.

It basically went like this:

Andrews: The final play, take us through it.

Sherman: (channeling one of WWE’s The Road Warriors) WHEN YOU TRY ME WITH A SORRY RECEIVER LIKE CRABTREE? THAT’S THE RESULT YOU GON’ GET! DON’T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT ME! (heavy panting. sexual. weird.)
Andrews: (remarkably nonplussed) Who was talking about you?

Road Warrior Sherman: CRABTREE! (duh) DON’T YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH ABOUT THE BEST. OR I’MA SETTLE IT FOR YOU RILL QUICK. L.O.B! (which stands for Legion of Boom, which is funny in that the Road Warriors were also known as “Legion of Doom.” Get it?)

So he stomped off, and it was very awkward. And then, the INDIGNITY rained down. And it was great.

On social media, the reaction was mixed. Some people (me) thought it was hilarious. Here’s a dude—RAGING with adrenaline and God-knows what other sort of enhancers (Sherman has failed a drug test for the stimulant Adderall, before), channeling his inner-Hulk Hogan after an emotional ending that saw him being shoved in the face by the aforementioned Michael Crabtree after Sherman patted his butt in a “Hey man, nice effort” manner. (At least, that’s the way I saw it; I have no idea what Sherman may have said, though, or what his real intention may have been.)

Others, however—many, MANY others on Twitter—weren’t so kind.

He’s a “thug,” and a “savage,” and, worse. Martin Luther King Jr. would be ASHAMED, many espoused. And this, on MLK’S MOST HOLY OF DAYS.

On Facebook—where your mom’s college roommate is weighing in—the reaction was mostly, “Well THAT was uncalled for. Guess I’ll be rooting for the Broncos, now. Hey, look at this picture of my grandson eating a corn-cob. ADORABLE.”

To all of these people—those who both reverted to 1920’s southern hate-speak AND those who feel the need to switch allegiances based off of one hyped-up dude’s antics, I ask: are you freaking serious?

Seriously?

This did it?

This caused you to spew vitriolic, racist crap on Twitter or proclaim your newfound love of the Denver Broncos? All because Richard Sherman couldn’t censor himself?

You just watched 60 minutes of 22 men trying to kill each other. To decimate each other. To rip one another’s heads off. THAT GOAL-LINE FUMBLE/NOT FUMBLE WHERE THE 49ERS LINEBACKERS LEG BASICALLY CAME OFF MADE THEISMANN WINCE.

And yet here we are, completely APALLED by the professional-wrestling antics of the guy who basically just won the game.

Give me a break.

Richard Sherman—as dumb as it may have been—had every right to shout whatever in the hell he wanted. If he woulda stood there and calmly said, “You know, it was a good game, Erin. They’re a great team. All we could do is give it 100% and play until the end. It ain’t over until the whistle blows. We just wanted to play our game and that’s all we can do. Protect the ball. Words. Cliches. You know what I’m sayin’?” that would have been fine, but it would have been boring.

As sports fans, we CRAVE something new and interesting. So much of what athletes say is prepackaged, watered-down horse pee. It’s boring, and totally not worth sticking around for.

Instead, Sherman blew his stack, that was so much more compelling. It doesn’t make him stupid, and it doesn’t mean that I have to root against the Seahawks now.

It means that he’s a real person who was very excited, and I can’t blame him. His team just made it to the pinnacle of his existence. He had a major hand in that. Emotions are a tricky thing. I think he knows that. And he’s a smart guy. (Stanford, as I’m sure you know by now.)

I think he’ll have no serious regrets, no matter how much everyone wants him to.

At least I hope he doesn’t.

Paul Wilson calls out KCMO Race Baiting

I’m not a Twitter person...

At last count I have 49 followers. I don’t even know how I got them as I use Twitter to follow, not be followed.

It’s there to feed me, not the other way around.

Over the weekend I received a message from a guy noting the insane level of posts from resident crime fighter and Twitter-twit, Alonzo Washington. I did a piece on the local comic book caricature several weeks back - cornering him with a series of facts - and watched as he melted into a pile of goo. No surprise there, typical behavior for Washington when he can’t baffle with his bullshit.

Put another way, Alonzo has a dizzying intellect.

It was at that point it struck me that I’d not heard from him for some time. So I looked at my Twitter account and what did I find? I’d been blocked by the crime fighter himself. This prompted me to take a look at last night’s stream of consciousness, that I like to call Alonzo’s chronic case of digital diarrhea.

After a hard day at the old salt mine, Alonzo sits at his desk and, from his bunker, sends an insane number of repetitively redundant tweets a night and communicates with his secret tipsters on what he calls the “hoodnet.”

This he considers fighting crime; if only there was a Twitter Imodium AD…..

I'll give you a smattering of his tweets launched in mere minutes of each other last night:

▪ The good news so far is that the plaza crackin event was peaceful. I sounded the warning & informed the plaza owners.

▪ The KC Crimefighter helps keeps the peace once again. Too bad no 1 heeded my warnings about the all the random shootings.

▪ Let's hope the killings slows down this week & some good tips to solve some murders come in. Please no more vigils!

▪ The media is 100% unfair of their coverage of White murders vs? Black murders. It's been a blood bath of murders in the hood.

▪ However, murders in Lawrence, KS & 2 murders of white females that are 20 years get major packages in the local press.

▪ It's racist how the press operates. Black murders are rarely given big packages. 20 years later the press wouldn't cover a black murder case

▪ However, it's very easy to see that the press doesn't really care about black people being killed in mass numbers.

▪ Sending a press release & writing a blog won't cut it!

▪ If most of the murders in this city are black people why aren't more black people working with the tips hotline.

▪ I know all the hood slayings won't be on the news anymore as these other cases will continue 2 be spotlighted by white news producers.

There are two kinds of stupid in this world.

First, there’s the Bart Simpson kind, where you don’t know that you don’t know. Then there’s the kind where, with a gun held to your head, you couldn’t name who was in Grant’s tomb or when the War of 1812 started.

I’m not sure which one Alonzo is, but I do know this; he’s little more than a small time, insignificant race baiter. In that line of work, you have Junior Baters and Master Baiters. Alonzo is and will forever remain the lowest form of Junior Baiter.

You won’t ever be Jesse or Al - much as you’d like to, Alonzo - so please, just stop.

The Plaza Merchants Association didn’t have a meeting Friday to hold anxious hands, read your tweets and form an action plan to get them through the weekend without shootings, death and destruction...as much as you’d like to think they did.

While Alonzo attacks blogs, press releases and candlelight vigils, for their lack of effectiveness in fighting inner city crime, he's doing something even more worthless; Tweeting the same 375 people, over-and-over while bloviating and opining the same words night after night.

He's the embodiment of living next to a train track; after a while you don’t hear the train anymore, you are that train. Do us a favor and move it on down the line.

If you want to fight crime, get out there and “take the hill,” Alonzo - do something that matters!

Finding photo ops and Tweeting the same crap isn’t fighting crime. But you have no interest in taking the hill, do you? In order of importance of your mission is to promote Alonzo first, second and third.

He allows himself to be featured on TKC with nary a rebuttal as the “N” word comments fly in his face, story after story.

Alonzo's community is torn to shreds in the comments section over there after what pass for stories are posted about him.

Where’s your crime fighting cape, little man?

In reality, he's our own little Donald Trump.

In other words, “any press is good press,” even if it dishonors his people and flies in the face of those he claims to be fighting for, while being Tony’s girl for the day.
Is Washington's sociopathic ego that big?

On this day when Martin Luther King asked us to judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character, Alonzo is the worst offender of Dr. King’s admonition to his followers.

“You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.”

You can find that in the Book or Daniel, or misquoted in A King’s Tale, take your pick.

CLASS STRUGGLE IN JOHNSON COUNTY

Attorney Dwight Sutherland, Jr. weighs in on

One of the most hateful legacies of Karl Marx is the notion of “class enemies.”

This is the idea that if you belong to a certain social class (e.g. Stalin’s “Kulaks,” Mao’s “rich peasants”) you are by definition an exploiter of the proletariat and thus intrinsically evil. Class enemies were “outlaws” in the original sense. That is they were outside society’s protection. No law protected them and they could be killed and their property seized by anyone.

An unfortunate example of this syndrome ran in last week’s Kansas City Star in the form of an “As I see It” column. Written by Jim Haas of Olathe, a retired history teacher, principal, and graduate degree director, it was a slam on Downton Abbey, the PBS prime time soap opera set in an English country house 90-plus years ago. The title of the piece was; “Downton Abbey: A Republican Dream.”

Mr. Haas argues that the show’s depiction of an aristocratic family living in close proximity to its servants and dependants is a call for a return to a feudal oligarchy, which it shamelessly romanticizes. Haas would have us believe that this sort of exercise in reactionary nostalgia is not only offensive but dangerous. It serves to undermine democracy and justify evildoers like Governor Sam Brownback and his conservative Kansas legislature!

Never mind that Downton’s protagonist, Earl Grantham, is shown again and again to be wrong in resisting social change. Never mind that the working class servants are shown to be wise and resilient in ways they’re supposed social betters would do well to learn from. Never mind that its lessons of honor, duty, and loyalty apply to all its characters, regardless of where they are in the social hierarchy.

The real crime, in the eyes of Mr. Haas, is that the upper class characters have any redeeming qualities. If a member of the landed aristocracy is shown to be a gentleman (noxious term!) “courteous, generous, and considerate,” who knows what’s next? Why, we might even be forced to concede that Charles and David Koch are members of the human race!

To the extent the series has a political message; it’s a simple one, i.e., “We’re all in this boat together.”

It’s better if we recognize this, respect each others’ contributions, and try to work together as a society. Demonizing people of a different social class as members of that class may seem like good politics (Sam Brownback of Parker, Kansas as a member of the nobility? Whatever!), but like all attempts to play on people’s fears and resentment, it has a way of turning on you.

Check out more Hearne at kcconfidential.com

 


Death by text
in a movie theater
Written 1/15/2014

What a way to go, death by text…

That’s how a Florida father bit the dust – on “Senior Monday” at a Cobb movie-plex in Tampa. Retired cop Curtis Reeves shot and killed 43 year-old Chad Oulson after complaining to him about Oulson texting his 31/2 year-old daughter. The shooting went down during the previews prior to an afternoon screening of the movie “Lone Survivor.”

“Well, it had to happen,” says fierce anti-text movie critic Jack Poessiger. “Yes, I am down on texting but obviously it’s over-the-top to shoot somebody over it.”

In Poessiger’s world – and other dead serious movie critics and fanatics like Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League – there are no valid excuses for texting or looking at texts on your phone during movies.

Not even for people with young children, seriously ailing relatives or pending personal issues?

“You can’t tell me you can’t go two hours without having a text,” Poessiger quips. “What did you do eight or ten years ago? You would probably text at a damn funeral or at church.”

He’s right, not only would I text at a funeral or church, I probably have.
But discreetly.
“Occasionally I text at a movie but I do it discreetly,” echoes 30-something Hairpins stylist Lauren Euston. “I would say, it’s circumstantial – if you have the space and you keep it low – you can turn your screen all the way down so it’s not a distraction. I wouldn’t be like, just chatting or something, because I’d rather watch the movie. But if there was a reason to answer, I’d find a way to do it discreetly. I wouldn’t just be waving it around full blast.”
“I don’t agree, I just don’t believe in doing it in the theater,” Poessiger says. “It’s rude, rude, rude.”

Euston sees it as a generational issue.
“A lot of old school people just don’t like the cellphone culture,” Euston explains. “There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way, but in this day and age it’s something people have to tolerate. There’s just no reason for something like this. The story should be about whether or not somebody got kicked out of the theater, not whether or not he died. No one needs to die because they texted, but people should be considerate.”

As for Poessiger’s contention that years ago people got by without cellphones and texting, people got by without a lot of things in the past - indoor bathrooms, air travel and movies to name three – but times change and customs and behavior change as well.

“It’s not that big a deal,” says my 16 year-old daughter Savannah Christopher. “Because in my generation, I’m used to texing, I’ve grown up texting. Just don’t have your brightness up when you text or your sound on.”

“This incident certainly highlights a problem the motion picture industry has,” Poessiger says. “It puts it right back in the spotlight.”

Some local special interest groups and media would have you believe Kansas City is still in the running to land the 2016 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION…

They say that the demands being made on the eventual host city are being met here. Others add the word barely when describing KC’s offerings.

Hey but who am I judge?

Other major competitors still in the race for the convention include Denver, New Orleans, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.

There are OTHER player-hopefuls like Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and Orlando.

Then there’s the self-perceived favorite – Las Vegas – which sees absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t win!

Nevada’s Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki—who also serves as chairman of the nonprofit host committee assembling Vegas’ bid—recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “We have enough hotel rooms, at least THREE venues that could host the event, outstanding entertainment options and vast experience hosting large events. Nobody else can match Las Vegas’ advantages.”

Krolicki didn’t get into the downsides of the competing cities. That thankless, unbiased task was left to Review-Journal reporter Steve Sebelius.

Here’s how he sees it from Sin City’s point of view.

* ”DENVER—The Mile High City can host a convention. Democrats held theirs in Denver in 2008. But that’s the problem. Any convention held there would inevitably invite comparisons to the hope-and-change year in which Barack Obama filled what’s now known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. If the GOP nominee can’t draw a stadium-filled crowd, a Denver convention will suffer by comparison.

* NEW ORLEANS—For a Republican convention? Probably not a good idea. The Democratic city is still a little sore over the whole Hurricane Katrina thing…..

* PHOENIX—In the summer? It’s hotter than Las Vegas, without the air-conditioned casinos….

* SALT LAKE CITY-–They’re Republicans. They’re not dead.

* CLEVELAND, CINCINNATI and COLUMBUS—Nobody has ever associated these cities with any type of fun-having. “I’m going to Cleveland!” just doesn’t have the ring of “I’m going to Vegas, baby!”

* CHICAGO—Has assumed the title of murder capital of the U.S. according to the FBI. Plus former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is mayor and you just know that’s a recipe for trouble.

* DETROIT—The largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States. While it might be tempting to convene there and use the city as a metaphor for failures of Democratic governance, there’s such a thing as too literal.

* DALLAS—A state known as headquarters for Big Oil, big execution and restricting abortion rights? As the noisome phrase goes, ‘bad optics.’

* ORLANDO—A Mickey Mouse convention? When Republicans wish upon a star, it probably doesn’t involve another slog to Florida in the summertime. No offense Orlando, but when the temperature and the humidity BOTH exceed 100, it’s time to move on.

* KANSAS CITY—Outside of good barbecue and a new arena, this city has virtually nothing to recommend it to the Republican faithful. And there’s bad juju: It was the city in which Republicans gathered in 1976 to nominate Gerald Ford instead of Ronald Reagan for the presidency. Ford, of course, went on to lose to Jimmy Carter.

That leaves beautiful Las Vegas (temporary convention motto: “But it’s a dry heat!”).

Do the right thing, Republican National Committee. Krolicki and his team would never lead you astray!”

So what are Kansas City’s chances to land 2016's prime time display of Republicanism?

Slim to MAYBE at best.

Then again, I could be wrong. Your thoughts?

Mark Valentine says, 'Down with Flu Shots!’

I just don’t believe in the Flu Shot…

I’m not a science denier – I’m good with many other vaccines – but this one feels like a government run McDonald’s promotion. Yet despite the propaganda, it’s not that big and not that tasty.

Look at the latest local news.

Menorah Hospital is seeing a lot of flu cases and 14 nurses are out with the flu. The knee-jerk response is, “Everybody needs to get a Flu Shot immediately.” A more critical eye might have noted that the nurses are already required to get flu shots, so why are so many of them sick with the flu anyway?

We all know somebody who believes the flu shot made them sick.

Doctors who toe the line say that’s impossible, but none of them will point out the fact that it did not protect the afflicted. After all, we wouldn’t accept that kind of sales pitch from a street drug dealer, “It will get you high six out of ten times.”

The Flu Shot is even less effective for the “at-risk” segment of the population. Try to reconcile that fact with the official advice of who should get flu shots.

So what is behind the CDC pushing all American citizens to get a rather mysterious injection once a year??I think it’s interesting to note that not one European country urges its citizens to take this shot.

I’ll let conspiracy theorists thrash that one out.

For now, I’ll just wash my hands, eat properly, exercise and trust in my abilities to ward off the flu.

?Hey, maybe we should make the flu season more festive. You know, hang our flu socks from the mantle and sing seasonal songs like, “Freeze The Jolly Good Fellow.”

Brandon Leftridge’s totally Solid 2014 Sports Predictions

2013 was a year of tragedy, triumphant and tribulation in the sports world. Blah, blah, blah. Okay, it was mostly like any other year, really, which always seems to include equal measures of sorrow and agony as well as jubilation and joy. Because, you know, sports.

The Royals were OK, which is to say that it was the best year they’d had in decades, and the Chiefs were really, really great through 9 games (against mediocre-to-awful competition) and then they were just crappy.

And so it goes.

So what can sports fans expect in 2014? Lots of sports, probably. You know, with some good moments and some bad. Kind of like any other year.

If you’re interested in hearing some more (crackpot/insane/ill-informed/ridiculous) SPECIFIC predictions, though, read on. Because I’ve done just that.

The Denver Broncos Will Win the Super Bowl

It fills me with riotous vomit to type it out, to commit this bowel-rattling thought to paper, but I don’t think that there’s a team in the league who can beat Manning and his cohorts. They are a juggernaut of meticulous efficiency, and sadly, I don’t think ANYONE will be able to dethrone them until Manning decides to call it quits. Look, I don’t like it anymore than you do, but facts are facts: Peyton Manning was constructed by Football Scientists working at a football-cyborg factory in a desolate stretch of the Appalachians, and until he is decommissioned, he will do whatever he wants, forever.

The Chiefs Will Win Their First Playoff Game in Over 20 Years

Okay, so this one will technically happen in 2015, but you get it—it’ll be the result of the 2014 season. No, they won’t have a nine-game winning streak, and no, they won’t finish 11-5, but they will make the playoffs as a Wild Card, and they will defeat someone (Cincinnati or Pittsburgh) in the first round. Everyone in Kansas City will overturn Ford Festivas and make babies and then the Chiefs will lose the following week. Probably to the Colts.

The Royals Will NOT Make the Playoffs, Still

It pains me to say it, but there will likely be a regression. Ervin Santana is gone, Justin or Jason Vargas was added as his “replacement” in the rotation, and the team’s fourth or fifth starter (or maybe fourth AND fifth) will be Wade Davis and/or Luke Hochevar. A few decent upgrades on offense (Aoki and Infante) won’t be enough to overcome a rotation that figures to take a big step backwards. Sadly.

And then James Shields will be gone and “hello, sweet embrace of eternal misery.” Just kill me now, please.

The Miami Heat Will Win the NBA Championship
Yeah, I don’t know. I honestly don’t know anything about the NBA, but this seems like a lock, right? Maybe? They’ve still got LeBron James, don’t they?

The Winter Olympics Will be Tarnished by Multiple Controversies
Mostly because it’s happening in Russia, and Russia ranks behind only Florida, Germany, Ohio and the Middle East on the list of “Places Where Insane Stuff Happens, but it’s Not Surprising Because it’s in Florida, Germany, Ohio, the Middle East or Russia.”

There Will be a Brief Period in Late August Where Americans Will be Wildly Interested in Tennis

I haven’t figured this one out yet, but trust me. Maybe it turns out a popular lady tennis player has a penis, or maybe someone bludgeons someone else with a racket during an event. We’ll see.

An NFL Player Will SHOCK THE WORLD by Coming Out as Gay

Kidding. It’ll be a backup left guard for like, the Jacksonville Jaguars who played parts of three seasons in the early 2000’s. Nobody will give a crap, but it’ll ignite a whole new slew of HOT SPORTS TAKES and thoughtful op-ed pieces about the culture of professional sports and its relationship with homosexuality.

Brent Musberger Will do Something On-Air That Will Usher in His “Retirement”

He’ll probably use the n-word or start talking about his weird, old-man boner. It’s always an adventure with Musberger!

Vince McMahon Will Reanimate the Corpse of Andre the Giant for Wrestlemania 30;

And will I buy my first ever wrestling pay-per-view? Absolutely. McMahon has proven himself time and time again to be a shrewd, forward-thinking, business genius. After recently introducing his $10-a-month, unlimited content, WWE specific media outlet (television channel?), he’ll one-up himself by bringing Andre back from the dead to fight the Undertaker at this year’s biggest WWE event. You crazy for this one, Vince!
A Famous Boxer Who Almost Everyone Knows Will Die

It could be George Foreman or Larry Holmes, but the smart money—sadly—is on Ali. This will then initiate no less than eight posts from Craig Glazer about the time he met The Champ for 15 minutes while working on the Heroes Forever video series.

So get ready for that.

JK, Craig. We love you, buddy.

I’m Pretty Sure That the Dodgers Will Beat the Red Sox in the World Series
But not confident enough to make it one of my Accu-Lock 100% Predictions. So don’t hold me to it.

…okay, or any of these, really. But wouldn’t it be awesome if I got them all totally right? I’d never shut up about it.

Happy sports-watching in 2014, sports fans!

For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com

FOR EARLIER COLUMNS, CLICK HERE.


Kemper had a long
dislike for the Star
Written 1/8/2014

Try this one on for size…

Banker / civic leader / force of nature R. Crosby Kemper Jr. hated the Kansas City Star. Seriously. Kemper despised the newspaper so much that five days after his January 2nd death, no obituary had run in the Star.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s beyond highly unusual. Because for someone in the station of life that Kemper was from, it’s absolutely de rigueur for your family to shell out big bucks to the newspaper to tell everybody about all your accomplishments and where they can go to pay their respects.

And don’t think for one minute that it was some kind of an oversight.

When asked if an obituary in the newspaper would be forthcoming, a spokesperson handling media inquiries on Kemper’s funeral arrangements responded, “That’s up to the family.”

Indeed.
Here’s my take and you can take this to the bank: Kemper undoubtedly made it clear to his family that not one dime was to go to the Star period. Nobody even bothered to call in to get the Star’s 7-line freebie obituary.

Nope, Kemper wanted nothing to do with the newspaper and for more than a decade he made that abundantly clear.

I saw that as problematic, because Kemper continued to loom large in this town, long after he had stepped down as top dog at UMB 10 years back. In 2002, prior to his death, publisher Tom Leathers scored an extensive interview with Kemper and slapped it on the cover of his Squire.

Kemper didn’t disappoint, unloaded on anybody and everybody, including then KC mayor Kay Barnes. The only way to get Kemper’s many haymakers into the larger public view, was for me to excerpt it in my column in the Star. And by that time, Kemper wasn’t even returning my calls, although his ire was focused elsewhere at the newspaper.

The source of Kemper’s disdain for the Star?

Return with me now to one sunny spring morning in April of 1994 and the Kansas City Star newsroom.

I remember it well.

The buzz among the senior citizen guards at the newspaper’s entry was that an enraged Kemper had taken the building by storm early that morning in search of then editor Art Brisbane, for the expressed purpose of delivering an up close and personal butt chewing.

“He was an amazing guy,” Brisbane recalls. “The anecdote you are thinking of involved (business reporter) Joe Rebello and, as I recall, Crosby was ticked off about Joe’s article on succession possibilities at UMB. You might be able to find the clip but, as I recall, the article suggested that Sandy (Kemper) was favored by (his mother and Crosby’s wife) Bebe – and this was what Crosby objected to.

“He may have been delayed by the guards but we did set up a meeting for him to come in and complain. (Mark) Zieman was there. I was there. I am not sure whether Doug Weaver might have been there too – he was the business editor at the time. Crosby delivered multiple monologues, including one on how badly The Star had treated him over the years. I could see that he felt wounded by the paper and that this was a long-term thing. There’s not likely to (be) another Crosby any time soon.”

Business reporter Charles R.T. Crumpley was there.

“As I remember it Crosby came storming into the newsroom and got escorted back to Brisbane’s office and was waiting for him to come in,” Crumpley says. “And I remember warning Art when he came in that Crosby was waiting for him in his office and him having a shocked look on his face. Hey, Crosby’s not the kind of guy you want mad at you, I’d have been shocked too.”

Rebello’s story had undressed the Big C and called him out for fibbing to UMB staffers the day before, by telling them that bank president Malcom M. Aslin had resigned.

“He said he had to set the record straight,” said an executive who attended the meeting, Rebello reported. “‘He said he had to fire him. He said Aslin wasn’t a team player.’ Another executive at the meeting confirmed that account. Both executives refused to be identified because they said they feared losing their jobs.”

Hey nobody, friend, family or foe dared to diss Kemper.

“Most bank analysts and United Missouri executives credited Aslin’s departure to friction generated by Kemper‘s recent reorganization of top management,” Robello continued, adding that “Kemper recently elevated his 28-year-old son, Alexander Kemper, to president of United Missouri Bank of Kansas City, a post that Aslin had held until then. He also sent his older son, R. Crosby Kemper III, to run the company’s St. Louis bank.”

Yep, there was no love lost between arguably the most powerful man in Kansas City and the Star…even in death.

Bright Light Meets Dangerous Liaisons

Inquiring minds want to know…
given controversy surrounding Vince & Associates over-the-top holiday lights display on Metcalf near 103rd Street, who in the heck is this Vince guy and his associates anyway?

“They pay for people to stay there and let the drug manufacturers test their new drugs on the,” says KCC’s Jack Poessiger. “They used to advertise on KY to get young people who need the money and were willing to be tested on the drugs for money.

“One time (deejay) Larry Moffitt made an on-air crack on one of (Vince’s) commercials, he said, ‘Yeah, come by and be a guinea pig for us’ and they pulled their ads on the station.”

Somewhat obviously, Vince – was bought out last year by a Canadian company – is far from alone in trafficking in human guinea pigs for drug company testing.

He just has snazzier lighting, a waterfall and an ultra conspicuous location.

And while Vince’s website stresses the precautions that it takes using the “Physician Research Model of operation where study teams are led by highly experienced Principal Investigators intricately involved in all aspects of the clinical trial process,” testing new, unproven drugs on humans continues to raise eyebrows.

“Of course, no clinical trial is 100 percent safe,” writes Bambi Turner on the Discovery Channel’s website. “There’s always a risk that the prescribed treatment may not work, or even worse, that it can lead to serious health problems or even death…

“Although clinical trial-related deaths are extremely rare, all participants should take the time to review the potential dangers associated with each trial before agreeing to participate. For many, this comes down to weighing the benefits of taking part against the risks that something could go wrong. Patients with serious health problems may be willing to test experimental medications based on the hope that these drugs can improve their quality of life. People who are simply looking for a way to earn cash may be willing to participate only in relatively benign tests, as the risks of certain trials could outweigh the rewards for these participants.”

In part the controversy revolves around paying money to people who may be in dire financial straights and willing to roll the dice and take chances they otherwise might not.

“I’ve heard of people getting as much as $5,000 and you sign your life away when you go in there,” says one source who asked not to be named. “I had a friend, an older gal, who didn’t have much money – she gets about $800 a month in Social Security – and that’s how she supplemented her income. She made $8,000 one year, but that wasn’t with Vince, it was with another company.”

A few caveats for those attracted to Vince’s bright outdoor lights, fancy guest suites, pool tables and pinball machines and of course, the potentially big bucks:

“Clinical trial participants should also be aware of the potential risks associated with different phases of these trials,” Turner cautions. “In the U.S., Phase I trials are typically the most dangerous. In a Phase I clinical trial, researchers try out a new drug or treatment on humans for the very first time. This phase is preceded by research and animal testing but it still exposes test subjects to any number of unknown risks.

“Another way to mitigate risk when choosing whether to take part in these trials is to be on the lookout for conflicts of interest. The FDA warns that some medical staff receive financial rewards when they sign people up for clinical trials [source:FDA]. This could lead workers to accept candidates who may not be the best choices for a particular study.”

“It’s clear from the start that there is a deep conflict of interest in pharmaceutical companies sponsoring trials on their own drugs,” adds John LaMattina in Forbes. “Industry sponsors 90% of published clinical trials. A worrying statistic given that…industry-sponsored trials are four times as likely to produce positive results than independently run experiments.”

LaMattina notes that pharmaceutical industry critic, Dr. John Abramson, said this on the Dr. Oz Show:

“About 85% of clinical trials are now funded by the drug industry. They own that data. The docs don’t understand that they are getting a selected, filtered version of what the information is.”

“I have personally witnessed the response of the general public when they hear about this,” LaMattina continues. “They are shocked and outraged. ‘How does the government and the FDA allow this to happen?’ is a common response. But who SHOULD be funding these trials? The government cannot possibly do this. The entire biopharmaceutical industry spends hundreds of billions of dollars annually on its clinical trials. By comparison, the entire National Institutes of Health budget is only about $60 billion. Funding major clinical trials of experimental medicines would bankrupt the NIH and other such institutions.”

The type of folks who roll the dice with Vince & Associates and similar businesses?

“Roberto L. Abadie, a visiting scholar in the health-sciences program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, spent a year living in youth hostels and group houses in Philadelphia, trying to get a sense of why volunteers do what they do and how they understand their risks,” writes David Glenn in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Abadie’s study includes two types of medical volunteer.

“First, he describes transient, economically struggling people who travel from place to place in search of lucrative trials. These volunteers are often less educated and more socially isolated…Second, Mr. Abadie spent months at an HIV clinic where patients were participating in long-term trials to determine the effectiveness of new drug combinations…the HIV patients knew they had a personal stake in the development of new drugs, and the financial compensation they received was much smaller…those volunteers seemed to reap psychological gains.”

Which beings us back to the riskier Phase 1 trials Vince categorizes under the heading, “early development trials.”

“Mr. Abadie is more ambivalent about the wisdom of participating in Phase 1 trials,” Glenn writes. “Most of the volunteers he spent time with tend to say—naïvely, in his view—that the drugs will ‘wash out’ of their systems within a week after the experiments. That may be true in most cases, but some drugs can accumulate in the liver. There may also be unknown risks associated with participating in many trials over a lifetime.”

So what kind of guy type erects a giant waterfall outside his building, festoons it with Christmas lights for the holidays and employs fancy pool tables, pinball machines and the like to attract the so-called 'guinea pigs'?

“Vince is a little flashy,” says the source. “He drives Ferrari’s and Maserati’s. And he’s like a Mike Babick kind of guy – he just loves the Christmas season. It’s more from his heart.”

KCC’s Mark Valentine sticks up for KC & David Cook

How sad that Craig Glazer thinks Kansas City is a city of born losers...

I won't bore you with the list of world-class humans that have called this town their home. However I will say , Craig, your main general point that Kansas City isn't a good sports town is just plain weird.

If Triangles had a god, it would have three sides. We all add our own experience to our interpretation of reality, and so if you think Kansas City has Loser in its DNA, consider who has been in control of your own life.

Maybe David Cook is a good working model for this thought.
To many it looks like Cook is washed up. However most of the folks who say that don't really see how very little money "washed up" stars actually make. More significantly, David Cook has the potential to write new songs, pick up acting parts, land commercials and explore other avenues without having to start completely over from scratch.

Cook will be considered for anything he wants, because he's a known. So I wish him success and happiness, and he's definitely in the driver's seat.

Back to Craig...
It's true Kansas City can't be L.A. because we don't have an ocean. Nor can we be Denver because we don't have mountains. But nor can they be us because they don't have us living there.

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, "It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy.”

For more Hearne and KC Confidential check out kcconfidential.com

FOR EARLIER COLUMNS, CLICK HERE.