I was fortunate enough to be in Scotland two weeks ago for the referendum on Scottish Independence…
The couple I was staying with were committed “No” voters but the town where they lived seemed to be evenly divided pro and con on the issue. The degree of interest in the vote was unprecedented by British standards and unthinkable by American ones. Ninety seven percent (97%) of those eligible to vote were registered. Moreover, foreign residents and 16 year olds and older were all eligible so the pool of eligible voters was a large one.
I was fortunate enough to know two of the most knowledgeable observers on the event. I ran into Scot Niall Ferguson in New York on my way over. (Ferguson has been to K.C. twice in recent years, once to speak at the rededication of the Liberty Memorial, the second time to teach at William Jewell.) Ferguson said he was worried about the outcome of the vote.
As a widely respected historian, he thought that the Scottish Nationalist Party was being run by demagogues like Alex Salmond, the S.N.P leader, who were cynically exploiting legitimate dissent and unhappiness with the established British parties, the Conservatives and Labour. In a post-mortem after the vote, he pointed out that the Scottish Nationalists were part of a wave of populist parties, harnessing the unhappiness with the political establishment in an unhealthy mixture of chauvinism and authoritarianism. (This is true throughout Europe right now, with anti-immigrant, xenophobic parties thriving in such disparate countries as France, Holland, Sweden, and Greece.) Continue reading
And now the rest of the story…
If all you knew about the lawsuit former KU law school grad Ashley Patton filed against Entercom Kansas City two years ago after morning show personalities on 96.5 The Buzz misidentified her as a porn star and a jury granted her a million dollar award, you’d be missing key parts of the story.
That’s because the “reporting” has been so minimal that most locals are scratching their heads, wondering how a simple case of mistaken identity could result in six-figure legal fees and a $1 million damage verdict against Entercom.
What’s more, nobody even got fired!
The guilty parties in this on-air misadventure are Buzz morning show host Afentra Bandokoudis, aka “Afentra,” and sidekick Daniel Terreros, aka “Danny Boi.”
Now let’s cut to the chase… Continue reading
Talk about role reversal, last night the Kansas City Chiefs looked like a contender while the New England looked like pretenders. Go figure.
The Chiefs not only won the game at Arrowhead in front of a loud, sold-out stadium, they destroyed the Pats. This was one of the first regular season victories over a top name team for KC in years!
Is the magic back? Are the Chiefs for real?
The Chiefs looked every bit the part of bottom feeders after the loss to the Tennessee Titans in game one. Not only that, after a terrible offseason with five starters gone and several more hurt, I ranked them at the bottom with the other two horrid teams in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jags.
But hey, hold on. Continue reading
Lazlo (left center) and Afentra (far right)
Who the heck knew?
I guess know, being young and “hip”just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be these days. Or so it would seem. I used to think – naively I suppose – that on air personalities at an alternative rock radio station would be more in tune with the sort of folks that music tends to appeal to.
Generally speaking, somewhat more liberal thinkers with at minimum a vague awareness and understanding of climate change. People who’s cultural and political leanings and sensibilities were arguably hipper and better informed than most. Individuals who were more culturally and artistically inclined.
Not your typical shock rock radio wannabes or morning zoo deejay types.
The ones who pandered to lowest common denominator humor and gleefully traffic in stripper and porn star news and gossip. Because that would go against the grain of the type of listeners an alternative rock station would attract. You know, the sort of folks who prefer Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys and Grouplove over Quiet Riot, Shinedown and Korn.
Little did I suspect. Continue reading
They desperately needed to pick up some points with only a handful of games left in the MLS regular season…
Yet Sporting Kansas City couldn’t get out of its own way Friday against the visiting New England Revolution, losing 3-2. The loss was the fifth in the club’s last six games, and KC’s once-vaunted defense was again highly suspect.
With only four games remaining, it is entirely possible that Sporting – a team that has been in 1st or 2nd place for virtually the entire season – could miss the playoffs.
KC is currently sitting at 45 points, third in the East, with Columbus at number four with 43 points and New York at five with 41. As we know, the top 5 in each conference get in.
However lurking just outside of the top 5 in the East is Toronto at 40 points, Philly at 36, and Houston at 36. Both Toronto and Houston have a game in hand as well. Continue reading
Americans used to plan vacation travel nine months to a year in advance…
Until 9/11 changed that pattern resulting with much smaller travel shopping windows. Most of their vacation plans were planned either last minute or three or four weeks out.
However that pattern is ending.
Most popular destinations for dates like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break, are definitely selling out faster—and far earlier!
So if you’re planning on 2014 holiday travel and haven’t locked in your reservations, what are you waiting for?
Prices can and WILL PROBABLY ONLY GO UP! Continue reading
BKB Leather in Lawrence
Your well-coiffed (and somewhat MIA) scribe has been a little busy…
However, I ran across a 30 year-old business in Lawrence that’s right up my alley and thought I’d share this great little find with readers.
For years I’ve had a fascination with vintage shoes. Among my collection, a pair of 1960’s Cole Haan brogues, Bill Blas Italian import woven leather oxfords and my most recent find a pair of Johnston and Murphy saddle oxfords from the ‘70’s.
For day to day maintenance I always turn to Plaza Shoe Shine.
My grandfather introduced me to them in the 1970s and it’s my go to place for a quality shine. However the saddle oxfords demanded a little more restoration.
With my most recent purchase in the trunk and headed to KU – with a side trip to see my editor, whatshisname – I decided to GPS leather repair. Much to my delight, I discovered BKB Leather, 811 Elm St, Lawrence, KS 66044.
So I selected my route then hit “drive.” Continue reading
All it took was a win on Friday, or a Seattle Mariners’ loss, for the Kansas City Royals to experience the team’s first playoff berth since the original Nintendo Entertainment System was sweeping the land. It was a long time ago to be sure, and I could do one of those things where I explain that like, Salvador Perez’s parents weren’t even born the last time KC made the postseason, but you’ve probably heard all of those things a million times by now, so I won’t.
Instead, I’ll just say that I’m really, really excited. I will admit, however, that it’s hard not letting my ingrained, Royals-based cynicism get in the way. The Star’s Sam Mellinger had a really long column about how “If you’re complaining about a Wild Card spot, you’re an idiot.” I guess I don’t think that’s fair because, well, I’m that idiot.
Okay, so I’m not complaining, exactly, but I’m maybe not as excited as I could be. Continue reading
It’s always a thrill to see a breakout performance by a new actor…
The last time that happened for me was Jennifer Lawrence in 2010’s WINTER’S BONE. Well, it happened again in a small movie called THE SKELETON TWINS!
Not that the film’s male lead is a new face to television or the movies. Not by a long shot. He’s longtime Saturday Night Live comedy star Bill Hader, who had transitioned recently to the big screen.
However in his new Dramedy, THE SKELETON TWINS - opening today in limited runs, Hader proves beyond a doubt that there’s far more to this gifted performer than had previously been displayed.
Opposite Kristen Wiig in two knockout performances, these two estranged, dysfunctional siblings are forced to confront why their lives went so wrong. Continue reading
A book cowritten by Jeff Magalif
Harvard degree? Check.
Stalking conviction? Check.
Baseball statistician extraordinaire? Double check.
To describe Pembroke Country Day School alum Jeff Magalif as a tad eccentric would be an enormous understatement.
Magalif has agreed to share some of his baseball wisdom and provide an overview of this year’s (seemingly) playoff bound Royals team, but first a little history.
Check the following excerpts from an online case examination of State of Missouri vs. Magalif on FindLaw.com, “a free legal information website that helps…find answers to everyday legal questions and legal counsel when necessary”:
“After Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant opened during April 2000 at 1309 Meadowlake Parkway in Kansas City, next door to Magalif’s house, Magalif began protesting the restaurant’s odor. He posted signs in his yard and shouted profanities at the restaurant’s employees and customers. In January 2002, Magalif focused his anger on Sweet Tomatoes’ kitchen manager, Stephanie Venenga, after she removed a stack of tree limbs blocking the restaurant’s driveway when she arrived for work during predawn hours one morning. Continue reading
Ah, the Kansas City Chiefs…
They’re a very bad team in a sea of bad teams.
However, the Chiefs will win a few games due to other” lock down teams” sucking, like this week’s New England Patriots. Because happily hue Patriots are just as bad as KC – its a toss up.
The Chiefs could win this one, but I think they lose a close game.
Patriots QB Tom Brady is starting to look old, sadly.
The Kansas City Royals have all but secured their 1st playoff slot in 29 years…
And in all likelihood most Royals fans were too young back then to remember much about the 1985 World Series. So this is big time for Kansas City.
AND IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!
Yes, they’ll be a wild card, And yes, they’ll have almost the same record as last year.
However the team has so little hitting it makes it tough to watch them.
They’re boring. Continue reading
Fiat owner Vanessa Rose Cumberford of INK magazine and Doug Adair
Have FIAT, will party…
When’s the last time you were invited to a sit-down dinner party and post-meal nightclub wilding – by a car dealer, no less?
Well, if you’re one of however many customers of FIAT of Olathe, chances are you received a social media invite to one or both bashes for this Friday evening.
As in tomorrow.
The shindig starts at 7 p.m. at Cupini’s restaurant, 1809 Westport Road. Cupini’s is an Italian eatery that specializes in catering corporate events, private parties, FIAT fiestas – you name it. The entertainment, dance aftermath will go down at 10 p.m. at Stuart Saloman‘s nightclub Aura, 3832 Main Street.
The man with the plan: FIAT of Olathe sales manager Terry Hines.
His inspiration? Continue reading
In the mid 1980s British actor Edward Woodward played a retired intelligence agent turned private detective on a CBS series called, The Equalizer…
You remember, he was the dude who helped various threatened clients to equalize the odds.
Now Denzel Washington leaves his past behind and steps into THE EQUALIZER’s shoes as widowed Robert McCall dedicating his life to his new job of working at a Home Depot-like store called Home Mart.
At nights Washinton usually stops by a small diner just down the street for a bite and a bit of book reading. And that’s where he meets a young Russian hooker with big musical dreams named Teri. She’s played by Chloe Grace Moretz.
To say that Moretz pimp has a short fuse would be the ultimate understatement. And when she doesn’t perform and jump at his commands, he beats the crap out of her.
Now he’s got The Equalizer’s attention! Continue reading
Halls buyer Julie Panborn (Her mother “dated” David Hasselhoff)
Location, location, location…
Make no mistake, the glitzy new Halls on Grand is a splendid proposition. One that would no doubt make Adele Hall – the deceased civic leader and wife of Hallmark chairman Don Hall – quite proud.
“It’s a lot nicer than what was here at Crown Center before and more modern than the Halls Plaza store that closed,” says local marketing exec Ann Thompson. “It’s just so much more open and more modern with clean lines.”
Haven’t been to Crown Center in a while? Take a number.
It may take you a while to find Halls third floor entry- and the garage parking is off-putting – but with new lines like Belstaff, Helmut Lang and Moods of Norway along with high end designers Jimmy Choo, Prada, Gucci and Tom Ford, it’s clear that Halls is swinging for the fences.
Of course high style doesn’t come cheap and you havee to drive to Crown Center. Continue reading
THAT MICROSOFT IS AN INVINCIBLE MONOLITH THAT MUST BE STOPPED
It stopped itself by failing to innovate, by being eclipsed by others in the marketplace. This paradigm works in music as well as tech. Sure, people want to hear old tracks whereas they’ve got no desire to use old computers, but if you’re not cutting something new and great on a regular basis you’re fading in the rearview mirror.
TICKETMASTER IS THE ENEMY
Acts are the enemy. Because they won’t go to all-in ticketing. Ticketmaster fees are promoter profit. As for getting all seats in the venue on the manifest…now that’s a challenge.
TAPES/HARD DRIVES ARE ANATHEMA
ELO and Milli Vanilli were castigated, now everybody uses them.
TABLETS ARE FADING
They’re just merging with phones, which are now the computing devices of record. A large hand-held is many people’s only device. If you don’t have a mobile strategy, if your site doesn’t render properly on a phablet (phone/tablet, get it?), you’re losing ground. Don’t forget, Facebook’s stock burgeoned because they figured out mobile. Continue reading
President Obama has hit a home run and I was right all along!
By starting the USA military campaign against ISIS alongside Middle Eastern allies, Obama has brought together nations with the same concept of philosophies concerning world domination that are contrary to the world domination philosophy of ISIS.
And as I‘ve stated before, the concept of “My friend’s enemy is my enemy, and my enemy’s enemy is my friend” has proven to be a successful way to build allies in the Middle East. In fact as a side thought, this concept is universal and has been used by cultures throughout homo sapien history.
To get the countries of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and The United Arab Emirates (UAE) to have their air forces bomb ISIS positions is a major accomplishment for the Obama Administration. Although most Americans will never know the monetary savings to them of this unity.
Because I’ve criticized Obama in past posts many have thought that I’m a conservative.
This is not true. Continue reading
AMC main man Gerry Lopez
The stage is set…
Just over four months ago Oregon-based movie exhibitor Cinetopia plighted its troth in Kansas City with its opulent Overland Park 18 theater and restaurant in the upscale Prairie Fire shopping and residential development.
The sky was the limit for Cinetopia’s grand, new multiplex with four-story tall screens and state-of-the-art Meyer Sound Systems with Dolby Atmos multidimensional surround technology. Factor in its gourmet concession offerings, plush, spacious seating and trendy luxe interior and Cinetopia appeared poised to take the South Johnson County movie market by storm.
Just one problem…
Kansas City-based movie exhibitor AMC Theatres wasn’t about to lay down and merely watch as the brash, new upstart encroached on the turf of its nearby AMC Town Center 20 in Leawood.
Net result: a movie war with the two theaters splitting blockbuster releases instead of playing all the movies in what the industry calls “day and date.”
Thus each theater has been handicapped by getting only half of the new movies.
It’s Cinetopia though that’s been getting the short end of the stick. Continue reading
The music business is going to be all right…
The number one lesson I took from the U2 / Apple kerfuffle was not you shouldn’t invade people’s devices without permission, but how few people knew who U2 was. In case this link eluded your inbox, check it out, it’s edifying.
The point being time marches forward every day, and what’s big today will almost certainly be forgotten tomorrow. Even the Beatles. Certainly “Yesterday” will live on, but “For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite” and the rest of “Sgt. Pepper’s”? Highly dubious they’ll make it into the next century.
And few of us will live that long, but Baby Boomers will expire and the youngsters will take over, and I hung with a bunch of those youngsters this weekend in Utah.
Yes, I was nearly the oldest person at the Summit Series event at Powder Mountain.
That’s how the new world works. The inner circle convenes and you don’t even know about it. Kind of like that Amazon convention featured in Monday’s New York Times: “A Writerly Chill at Jeff Bezos’ Campfire.” Continue reading
Both our pro teams had big Sundays…
The Chiefs, who were on the brink of WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR won a game on the road. Hey, it was in Miami where they never win. OK, Miami is as banged up as the Chiefs and just an okay team to begin with, but hey a win on the road is a win on the road. And with a big score, 35-14.
More important the Chiefs no name defense played very well and two new stars showed up – Knile Davis with 132 yards on 32 carries and Joe McKnight with two touchdowns. Nice.
So was I wrong about the Chiefs? Are they a post season contender? Continue reading