Paul Wilson: Global Warming — It’s Hot!

global-warming_zps24b3462aOver the past decade or two, manmade global warming  – aka AGW – has become a culpable cultural credo…

Yet all too often, the focus has been on the negative side of this much maligned malady.

However as we all know, every dark cloud has its silver lining.

And global warming’s no exception.

If there wasn’t a humorous angle, I’d have nothing to write about. I’d just be sitting here fat, dumb and happy, waiting on the next ice age prediction (like the one we barely survived in the 70’s).

So lighten up, it’s not like it’s the end of the world.  Continue reading

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Hearne: Anatomy of a Precipitous Sales Slide & The Star

IMG_5512Here’s why the economy has nothing to do with the steep slide at the Kansas City Star

The Greater Kansas City area – the whole shebang, not just the Omaha-sized part – is home to more than 90 new automobile dealerships.

That’s a ton – and car and truck sales are up, up, up – well past the doldrums of 2008-2010.

And guess who one of the largest advertisers in the Star used to be?

You got it, car dealers.

For years the newspaper cultivated relationships with local dealerships and practically minted money via its Saturday and Sunday auto ads. The Sunday action has long since gone away – it didn’t help that classified advertising went almost exclusively online.

So Saturday became Car Day at the Star. Continue reading

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Hearne: Editor Sees KU Football Team 0-12 in 2015

Lawrence Journal World sports editor Tom Keegan

Lawrence Journal World sports editor Tom Keegan

What a difference a year makes…

One year ago Lawrence Journal World sports editor and columnist Tom Keegan preached a doctrine of faith to the KU football faithful: Don’t be so gol dang negative.

Look at the cup half full – have some faith in the future. Clearly Keegan was reaching out to former Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams “whine and cheese” crowd.

That was then.

And now as the fall football season approaches (forget the Kansas City Royals the Journal World didn’t even send a reporter to cover the World Series) once again Keegan is peering into KU’s football future – this time with a startling projection. Startling in light of the fact that KU’s football future has been steeped in hype,  hope and optimism in recent months based on the hiring of new head coach David Beaty.

Now it’s time to forget about Keegan’s previous call for optimism with now fired KU football coach Charlie Weis. Weis’ rewarded Keegan’s faith with a three win, nine loss season in 2014.

Today’s headline reads: “Blame Weis for 2015 Struggles” 

And just like that, a year after chastising KU fans for their negativity, Keegan’s throwing in the complete towel. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: The 2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Sham

ringo starr hall of fame apHow did we get here?

Where the only people who seem to care are those desirous of getting third-rate talent inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the old men who are on the nominating committee?

Once upon a time rock and roll ruled the world. They said it would never die.

But it did.

The problem with rock is innovation has stopped. There are some good bands, but they barely test the limits, stretch the dynamics, of those who’ve come before. It’s endless repeats of an old formula. And if you think that’s interesting, you’re probably addicted to your Nintendo 64.

Whereas music has twisted and turned, completely mutated since the core members were inducted.

Now the R&RHOF is all politics. Continue reading

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Steele: The Entirely Predictable Demonization of Jeff Roe

Tom Schweich

Tom Schweich

Kansas City political consultant Jeff Roe made news the other day when he acknowledged that he, not gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway, paid for the House of Cards parody ad that was said to have inspired auditor Tom Schweich‘s suicide…

For those who have not heard the ad, it should be noted that by local Steve Glorioso-Pat Gray standards, it was a swat to the butt with a Nerf Bat.

Former Missouri senator John Danforth thought otherwise.

“Words have consequences,” Danforth said piously at Schweich’s funeral.

But then again there is little that Danforth says these days that isn’t said piously, and it is usually directed at his fellow Republicans.

In 2005, for instance, the self-described “pro-life” Danforth took to the pages of the New York Times to attack Christian conservatives for opposing, among other lovely things, embryonic stem cell research (a scientific bust, in any case) and the forced death of Terri Schiavo.

According to Danforth, good Republicans did not fret about gay marriage, euthanasia and human cloning but “believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation.” Continue reading

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Leftridge: Will Billy Butler Be Booed? Brobably.

??????????????When Johnny Damon returned to the Kansas City Royals as a visitor—first after being traded to the Oakland Athletics and later after signing with the Boston Red Sox in free agency—he was booed mercilessly. The affable, dopey-faced kid with endless talent had once been pegged as “the face of the franchise,” and yet there he was, first in primary green and yellow and later in navy and red.

And maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t previously gone out of his way to pretend that he wanted to stay in KC. The vitriol mostly stemmed from just that: his constant assurance that he planned on being a Royal for life, and that maybe he’d even take less money to do so.

But it wasn’t to be. Continue reading

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Donnelly: Ike Likely Done for Season, Long-Throw Haters Hating

Matt Besler

Matt Besler

Sporting Kansas City head to LA this weekend to take on the Galaxy and attempt to snap the reigning MLS Champions’ 25 game home unbeaten streak…

Tall task?  You bet.

Especially without KC’s leading goalscorer and best defender of this young 2015 season, Ike Opara, who went down last week with a season-ending ruptured achilles in a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake.

Bad break for KC, who now are pretty thin in the back.  And of course, bad break for Ike, who suffered a season-ending broken ankle just last year.

KC boss Peter Vermes has confirmed that the team is looking to sign another central defender quickly in the wake of Ike’s injury.

Oh, and did you hear about those “garbage throw-ins” heading into the Salt Lake match last week? Continue reading

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Sounds Good: Farmer’s Ball @ Bottleneck, Whiskey Myers @ Granada

11096607_10153296593396694_5889120209223515956_oSaturday, April 18th

KJHK Farmer’s Ball Semifinals at the Bottleneck in Lawrence

This annual battle of the bands has featured some pretty strong acts over the years, with many of the winners going on to decent local, and even national, acclaim.  Past winners include Psychic Heat, La Guerre, Stik Figa, and Your Friend, who recently signed with Domino Records.  This year’s winner gets $2,000 (and I’m assuming, a free pitcher or two of PBR).  Check out the full lineup and details here. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘True Story’—Strange Tale Of Opposites Attracting

imagesTeam Jonah Hill with James Franco and you’re in for a laugh-a-minute at the movies, right?


What we’ve got instead with TRUE STORY is a hard hitting, psychological drama of a psychopath and a redemption seeking reporter whose identity he stole.

It’s a true story…and a bizarre one.

Jonah Hill plays ex-New York Times reporter Michael Finkel whose latest expose of modern day slavery in Africa backfires. Seems he “enhanced” it a bit to make it come across—well, sexier.

“You have a great future ahead of you. Just not here.” Continue reading

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Hearne: ‘99.7 The Point’ Powers It’s Way to Numero Uno

KELLY_POINT_BIO_HEADER(1)There’s a new top gun in town…

Three years in and 99.7 The Point  (the radio station formerly known as KY) has clawed it’s way to the top of the ratings heap in listeners 12 and older, Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to midnight.

That’s right, a “chick station” now rules Kansas City’s radio roost.

The Point displaces longtime classic rocker (and dude magnet) KCFX FM. Think of this as a really huge deal.

Insiders talk of Point owner Entercom creating a void by blowing up adult contemporary station KUDL FM three years back and then filling it with the younger, hipper Point.

And check out the Point’s half million plus listener cume.

That’s nearly 100,000 more listeners than No. 2, KCFX.

However, that’s not all Entercom’s celebrating today.

Not only does Entercom have four out of the top five stations in adults 25-54, they’ve got the top four stations in the marketplace in adults 18-49.

As for Steel City - the company that bought out Wilks this past year (and for a pretty penny) – it’s fortunes continue to plummet.

Mike Kennedy

Mike Kennedy

Q104 has plunged to 17th place. Sources say Steel City’s new consultant is wreaking havoc with the music programming on both Q and KFKF. Much to the chagrin reportedly of new country hall of fame inductee Mike Kennedy.

As for Cumulus (KCFX, Magic, Jack, The Vibe and Oldies 95 (they hate me calling it that), but outside of the Vibe, their stations are stuck in a time warp with classic rock, classic R&B, classic hits and classic 80s. That’s a lot to have invested almost exclusively in geezer demos.

And surprise, surprise!

Look who showed up in the ratings – the boyz from sports talker WHB.

Somebody must have coughed up some serious cash to pay Nielsen, because the company usually doesn’t publish the ratings of non subscribers.

Speaking of WHB, while a 16th place finish is hardly anything to brag about, that’s still a half a share point better than rival 610 Sports (which by the way has a larger cume).

Unfortunately for WHB, 610 has the Kansas City Royals and the Royals are on fire. Which could make for a long, lonely summer for Kevin Kietzman and company.

Once again The Buzz topped The Rock, which is something everybody is probably going to have to get used to. Newer, younger rock music usually trumps the oldsters. Like when The Rock helped snuff KY102/99.7KY.

Funny thing though, as Rock main man Johnny Dare approaches the Big 5-0h, Buzz head dude Lazlo apparently isn’t all that far behind. There really is no young,hip  up and coming Johnny Dare type right now. Not that I know of anyway.

However sources say Dare still dominates in men listeners.

But one of The Buzz greatest strengths is that it appeals almost equally to both men and women  listeners.

Anyway, on with the ratings… Continue reading

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Hearne: Bowling for Major News Stories

lsThe big news in Lawrence today…

Would you believe, that the bowling alley in the KU student union building is gonna close? Yep, top of the fold on the front page of the Lawrence Journal World newspaper.

It’s a little different on the web site, because the lead stories are constantly changing.

However, placing a bowling alley closing story in the premier news hole says something about journalism in Lawrence, Kansas. It even helps explain why something as insignificant in the scheme of things can dominate an entire city. Continue reading

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Steele: Why Is KC Subsidizing Protest Movements?

IMG_1810On Friday, April 24, if you have nothing better to do and you’d like a free lunch courtesy of Kansas City taxpayers, the place to be is the Sheraton Hotel at Crown Center

The official theme of the symposium is “The New Face of Protest.”

I don’t know what the “old” face was and am almost afraid to ask what the post-surgical face will look like.

Although the event runs less than six hours–lunch tout compris–participants can sort through a whole grab bag of potential problems to protest.

The one that caught my eye was “The current culture for Hispanics & Hispanic Immigrants.” Continue reading

Posted in Rich Steele | Tagged | 6 Comments

Hearne: Can Kansas City Be a Baseball Town Again?

Charlie 'O 1965 yearbookAfter decades of being the butt of every baseball joke imaginable a new game is afoot…

At the risk of hopping on (and later perhaps off) the bandwagon that is this year’s Kansas City Royals, let’s assume for a moment that the baseball fervor sweeping this city is the real deal. That the Royals are a good – possibly great – team with a bright future ahead.

Can this town actually handle it, let alone sustain it?

Right now, almost every direction you turn Royals baseball has taken the city by storm.

And I’m not just talking about the jock sniffing usual suspects. Nor long suffering, true believer wannabes like Brandon Leftridge. You know, folks who got a taste of baseball greatness somewhere way back in their childhoods and never fully accepted the ensuing awfulness of being a baseball fan trapped in Kansas City.

The opposite was the case for me.

I grew up in an era where professional baseball in Kansas City was a joke.

I just didn’t know better.

There was no paradise lost, it baseball here had always been bad. But it was all we had. So I dutifully collected baseball cards of the local team and rounded things out by collecting the cards of star players on the other teams.

I went to a few games here and there with my dad, ate the bad hotdogs but thought they were good, drank the Kool-Aid and worshipped at the altar of a sports mascot named Charlie O. the Mule. Continue reading

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Hearne: Showdown Between Lazlo / Glazer Leads to Entercom Building Ban



What goes around comes around…

A long running grudge by 96.5 The Buzz afternoon drive host Lazlo – aka program director Scott Geiger – against Stanford’s owner Craig Glazer erupted last week and has resulted in Glazer being banned from Entercom offices.

The details are sketchy since pretty much everyone’s lips are sealed, but based on anecdotal evidence over the years, it appears Lazlo’s bad feelings toward Glazer spring from an incident years ago when he was forced to choose between Lazlo’s Buzz and Johnny Dare‘s Rock 98.9. Both stations wanted Glazer and the comics that appear weekly at his Overland Park club, but only one show would prevail.

Not surprisingly, Glazer choose Dare and the then mighty Rock.

That was then.

Ever since Glazer’s been the butt of Lazlo’s jokes on TwitterFacebook and on the airwaves. And some of those “jokes” have been over the top, mean spirited, calling Glazer a racist and other disparaging things. Of late, Glazer’s spanking new Stanford & Sons comedy club at 119th and Metcalf was reportedly labeled a “shit hole.”

The flip side of that beef: Continue reading

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Star beams: Kelly Urich Returns With a Vengeance

wereinRemember when the only reason April baseball was exciting if you made it through the month without having your favorite player traded?


Remember when the Royals only got runs when they ate too much dairy?


Nelly arrested in Tennessee on felony drug charges and could face up to six years in prison….where he’ll learn a whole new meaning to “Shake Ya Tailfeather.”

Continue reading

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Glazer: This Year’s Royals The Team to Beat in MLB

2015-Kansas-City-Royals-Pocket-ScheduleThe battle cry last year from yours truly: “It’s Over!”

That was my thinking – that the Kansas City Royals were done in September after a cold streak. Clearly I was wrong! A World Series later, they were anything but over.

And now this!

Lefty broke it down; the Royals may well be baseballs’ best team.

I see that and so do many others – well, maybe not nationally, not yet – but they will.

My reason for being down on the Royals the last several years was clear: none of their “stars” were playing at the star level. Their offense was non existent. Although the pitching was there for sure.

I just found it hard to get behind a team with no real star on offense.

No power, no RBI’s, no big hitting averages. It was kinda boring.

Well, that’s changed! Continue reading

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Steele: Kansas City Star Had Rape Story Problems Too

Judy Thomas Kansas City Star

Judy Thomas
Kansas City Star

Rolling Stone magazine caught considerable and justified heat for a story of a gang rape at the University of Virginia that was implausible on its face and unverifiable in all its preposterous details…

As Newsweek reports, the tale of the woebegone “Jackie” was not the most outlandish rape story that the Rolling Stone‘s Sabrina Erdely penned. As Newsweek notes, “The factual discrepancies in Jackie’s story are dwarfed by the factual discrepancies in Billy’s story that was published in the September 15, 2011, issue.”

The mythical Billy was an altar boy, and in 2011, apparently, altar boy stories were all the rage.

Judy Thomas and the Kansas City Star caught that wave as well. Continue reading

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Hearne: Is ‘One & Done’ Killing College Basketball?

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at KentuckyMaybe I’m just too easily bored…

Then again, while it’s been years since I felt strongly about college basketball, this one and done stuff where high school players play a single season of college ball before going to the NBA is getting tiresome.

Take last year’s celebrated KU freshmen roundballers Andrew Wiggins and Joel Emblid.

Not unexpectedly the two bailed for the pros after a single, lackluster season that practically nobody will much remember in a year or two. Unless maybe they become so famous in the NBA that somehow the tiny footnote describing their college basketball careers somehow survives.

Seriously though, who cares?

They weren’t around long enough to endear themselves to KU fans, and in the scheme of things what few accomplishments they did achieve are entirely forgettable. Continue reading

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Leftridge: The Royals Are Going to the World Series Again

410coverAs easy as it is to pick apart the meaningless failings and triumphs of spring training, it’s just as easy to get irrationally emotional about the first three (or five, or twelve) games of the regular season.

Spring training means nothing because it’s just that—training. People are getting their limbs loose and hitters are working on different approaches at the plate and pitchers are working on locating specific pitches in specific locations. So while it’s fun to see a newcomer like Alex Rios tear the cover off the ball—once again making you wonder how you ever questioned any of Dayton Moore’s moves—it’s just as discouraging to see a starting rotation whose collective ERA rivals the cost of a ballpark beer.

Similarly, in the grand scheme of things, the first three games of the season mean very little. Oh sure, they go on the permanent record, set a tone, and maybe serve to build a little momentum, but when it comes right down to it, it is an infinitesimally small sample size, a singular peanut swimming in an industrial-sized barrel of Costco Party-Pack-O’-Nuts. Continue reading

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Hearne: The Rolling Stones’ Septuagenarian Rocker Ripoff @ Arrowhead

Exclusive - Celebs Flock To See The Rolling Stones Play Surprise Concert In LAEver heard the expression, don’t trust anyone over 30?

How about 70?

Best I can tell the phrase was first uttered by a free speech movement dude in 1965 at a time free speech was a somewhat rare commodity. And during the time period when that line was in vogue, a cat named Mick Jagger sang, “What a drag it is getting old” and reportedly claimed, “he would rather be dead than be up on stage when he got old”.

That of course was then.

“I have a very different attitude now…” Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine in 1995. “(Rock ‘n roll’s) capable of change and novelty. But it’s not as exciting for me. It’s not a perfect medium for someone my age, given the rebelliousness of the whole thing, the angst and youth of it. In some ways it’s foolish to try and re-create that.”

Yet 20 years later, at age 71, Jagger’s still up there a prancing and a dancing.

But to what end?

The Rolling Stones today is “a band that can’t even play ‘The Last Time’ as well as you did in middle school,” music pundit Bob Lefsetz. said two years ago about a Stones show in LA’s Staples Center.

“There’s no energy,” he continued. “The crowd looks like a parody of the 70s. The band is so thin they make (opening act) Gwen Stefani look fat, and she looks like she stepped onto the set of “Cocoon,” and she sucks besides…Why didn’t the band get someone their own age?”

Lefsetz money quote:  “If anybody who was at this show says it was great, they’re lying.” Continue reading

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