uick recap of 2020: It was bizarre, certainly. But looking back, it wasn’t all bad. Was it?
From a business standpoint, the shutdown in early spring actually allowed us to get some things down around the ol’ Landmark that we had been needing to do but could never find the time in an industry ruled by deadlines. For instance, in the early days of the pandemic I took advantage of the slowdown to refresh the physical look and function of all of our outdoor newsracks, bringing them in one at a time so I could refurbish, replace some parts and repaint each of them. A fresh look and mechanical update of the machines that was greatly needed.
Also while the stay-at-home order was still in place and we continued to crank out the print edition each week, office manager Cindy Rinehart and yours truly were busily working behind the scenes with a tech genius or two to revamp and bring into the modern era our entire online platform at plattecountylandmark.com, which is now by far the most popular local media web site. Over the past several months you probably noticed ads from well-known names such as Best Buy, Office Max, Nissan, Manscaped, the Trump campaign, and many other national brands. Our revamped web site went live on May 1 and has been rocking and rolling ever since. It was another project that was sorely needed and I likely would not have found/taken the time for it if not for the pandemic.
Later in the year, a Kansas City acquaintance in the printing business developed a fancy for a couple of the smaller printing presses in our office that had not been used since Roland Giffee was cranking out funeral notices, auction flyers, etc. on them in 1979-80. We struck a deal in October and on Nov. 20, in a day that reminded me of my teen years working with my dad in his print shop (minus the ass chewings), we disconnected them and–using techniques that would make a caveman proud–eventually three of us were able to get them out the back door and loaded on to a truck. It took about six hours, five curse words, some sweat equity and one small chunk out of the 1869 office floor. Not too bad considering the cast iron contraptions weigh about 1,800 to 2,000 pounds each.
If there is a point to this, it is to say that life–and operating a small business–is about having flexibility and the willingness to adapt to every situation thrown in our laps.
And also, never boring.
I don’t ask for much, but I wouldn’t mind if we closed out 2020 in relative quiet around these parts. Though news is our thing and we love our jobs, honestly it wouldn’t hurt our newsroom’s feelings if elected officials didn’t do or say anything crazy this week. I exclude President Trump from this wish list because that’s a hopeless cause. But at least as far as Platte County goes, can we get through the final days with no nuttiness by our public servants?
I spent some time this week reviewing the local headlines of the past 12 months. Wow. Let’s get weird. At times in the past year it has seemed like a contest between the county commission and the City of Parkville to see where things could get the strangest.
It’s not a competition, you guys. There is no reward for questionable choices, dramatic interpretations or disconnected comments. But if it were a competition, Parkville wins. Sorry commissioners, but you were out-weirded in 2020. You gave it a mighty fine run for the money, if that makes you feel better. I think the Parkville mayor’s commentary during her DWI arrest clinched the prize. Something for the county commissioners to shoot for in 2021, I guess. If you want to win next year’s non-existent prize maybe spend a little time in handcuffs and tell the arresting officer you’re not going where he says you’re going. It’s a guaranteed way to end up in the news.
Anyway, all the newsmakers certainly made our year interesting and made readers anxiously await the next Landmark edition. And for that we thank you.
The McRib is back. You probably already heard that. But did you celebrate it? I did. Twice on Saturday.
I feel like the McRib never gets the worldwide love it deserves. I am not disappointed in the mystery meat patty (What exactly is that thing, really? Or do we really want to know?) slathered with barbecue sauce and topped with chopped onions. It’s McJuicy and McTasty.
I’m sure there’s some magical marketing reason why McDonald’s keeps bringing it back, taking it away, bringing it back, taking it away, bringing it back. But who cares? I’m not here to solve all the world’s mysteries. Just toss one of those bad boys in a sack with a side order of fries and I’ll be on my way.
I’m a couple years late in watching this documentary, which came out in late 2018, but you should check out The Innocent Man on Netflix. It’s a six-part series that will hold your attention, and will make you glad you don’t live in a small town in Oklahoma where police investigators and the prosecution team all seemed a little sketchy.
Here’s the description of The Innocent Man: “Two murders that shook the small town of Ada, Okla., in the 1980s gained national attention and even led to renowned author John Grisham writing a nonfiction book about the crimes. Now Grisham serves as an executive producer for this six-part docuseries — which shares its name with his 2006 book — that takes a closer look at the notorious deaths. The Innocent Man includes interviews with the victims’ friends and family members, Ada residents, attorneys, journalists and others involved in the case — including Grisham himself. The series blends new footage with compelling archival video and photos.”
After you’ve watched, you’ll want to Google the names of the imprisoned men–you’ll get a current update. Amazingly, some interesting things were happening as recently as the past week or two. It has become my new goal to get the now-retired Oklahoma prosecutor from those two cases, a guy by the name of Bill Peterson, on Landmark Live for a no BS conversation about how those cases were handled. I would hold up my end of the no BS pledge. I’m not sure he would.
By the way, John Grisham is still my all-time favorite author, from that time I read a book.
(You can find Ivan Foley eating a McRib while not reading a book. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)