Leftridge: Quick, Cheap Family Vacation Ideas

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 9.13.18 PMWe’re approaching August which means a few things. It means that everyone’s attention is quickly being directed to the Chiefs and their pre-preseason activities and the Royals are once again becoming a sad footnote. It means that the heat is becoming oppressive and the lawns are quickly yellowing and dying. It means that kids are getting ready to head back to school, which, bringing me to the point of this piece, means the following: families everywhere are ready for their final summer vacation.

But what to do?

Times are tough. Despite Obumbler’s suggestion of an economic recovery and the DOW being in historic places, we’re still all broke and haggard.

We need to conserve, economically. Gone are the Salad Days of steak stuffed with caviar that just got done fucking a veal-lobster. We are a nation of Dollar Menu Minions, and our vacations must be adjusted accordingly. So before you pack your money-sucking shitbag children into the fam-wagon and head out to Six Flags Over Paris, take heed; you probably can’t afford it.

Therefore, I present you with some very easy, very cheap options for the final summer shindig. Give it a shot, won’t you? Continue reading

Posted in Brandon Leftridge | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Hearne: Layoffs Fever Sweeps Kansas City Star…Again

MiriamPepper044_JR F-1

Miriam Pepper

So much for a nice, calm, body bag free year at the Kansas City Star

Return with me now for a moment to my July 8, 2014 column about the somber state of affairs at 18th and Grand.

“There have been no layoffs this year, but there’s been lots of meetings lately, so we don’t know if there’s going to be anymore cuts. They say there won’t be anymore furloughs this year, but they’re still not filling any jobs and they’re not giving any cost-of-living increases. Did you see how thin today’s paper was?”

That was one Star staffer’s assessment heading into the heart of the summer after six months of relative calm.

Fortunately for the denizens of the newsroom, a number of unforced exits by heavy hitters such as Mike McGraw, Kevin Collison and Richard Espinoza had lessened the need for layoffs.

However that uneasy calm went away rather abruptly late last week.

That’s when the Reaper revisited the Star to the tune of an estimated 8 to 12 layoffs. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | 4 Comments

Paul Wilson: Fifty Shades of Dysfunction, Coming to a Screen Near You

fiftyshades14f-1-webFifty Shades of Grey, the huge best seller by author E.L James is coming to the big screen and I wanted to get ahead of Jack on this one before he does his review…

The trailer is out; I just watched it and it’s nothing short of disturbing.

Often referred to as “mommy porn,” Fifty Shades has been compared to “9 ½ Weeks” and “The Story of O” – all three examples of female characters being sexually manipulated or abused by the men.

What could possibly be more entertaining for your $12 ticket than that?

In the trailer a voice utters the words, “I don’t do romance, my interests are very singular,” whereupon it goes into rapid fire scenes, clearly depicting a BDSM playroom.

For those of you, including me, who haven’t read the book, Ana is a 21 year old, introverted virgin, covering an interview for her college paper featuring Grey, a benefactor. Ana’s father died when she was young, mom had a revolving door of husbands and her childhood years a mess. Grey is 27, devastatingly handsome and was found at age four next to his dead, crack whore mother’s body; his chest covered in cigarette burns. Grey’s sex life started at 15 at the hands of his mother’s friend who seduced and regularly “beat the shit out of him.” That loving relationship lasted for 10 years. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘And So It Goes’ – Geriatric Dramedy Aiming for the Social Security Set

michaeldouglas_dianekeaton_andsoitgoesThe pickings have been slim for older audiences so far this year…

Sure we’ve had LAST VEGAS, CHEF and JERSEY BOYS, but nothing to match previous geriatric breakout hits like THE BUCKET LIST and THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL.

This weekend marks yet another attempt at super serving the Social Security crowd.

In director Rob Reiner’s new dramedy AND SO IT GOES, Michael Douglas plays a self centered, cynical former real estate hot shot, But now widowed, he unloads most of his upper crust holdings and moves into one of his own apartment units in Vermont.

His neighbor? Also widowed and now aspiring lounge singer Diane Keaton.

Irritation all the way around—coming especially from Douglas’ grumpy side.

That is until his estranged son suddenly shows up trying to drop off his young daughter before serving a drug related nine month jail term.

Of course Douglas had no idea that he even had a grand daughter and now tries desperately to get Keaton to help with the forced-upon-him parenting.

Do we see a romance in the making here? What do YOU think? Continue reading

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Whinery: Why I Must Defend Israel

Putin Views Russian Arms On Display At ExpoLet me get this out of the way…

I’m a Jew that has Zionist sympathies. I’m also a “recovering” Neocon.

In other words, I’m biased…just like a lot of you.

However, looking at the current mess in Israel – and applying a classic legal test – given the Palestinian’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist, what is there really to talk about that might prevent this carnage from taking place?

So I’m backing Israel in this conflict until further notice.

What’s really going to be funny here is when Israel cuts a deal with Russia. Continue reading

Posted in David Scott Whinery | 12 Comments

Leftridge: Crap for Sale on Craigslist, Back to School Edition

Back to schoolBelieve it or not, it’s almost back-to-school-time, a magical epoch at which parents are freed from the shackles of their godforsaken heathens and once again, almost fully functional people. Gone are the days of expensive summer sitters and Vacation Bible Schools; in their stead are restrictive periods of warehoused dullardry and uninspired days that blessedly grow ever-shortened.

As a not-yet-parent, I don’t fully understand this glee, but I surmise. I’m already dreading the prohibitive costs of full-time child care and fantasizing about a time when I can ship my daughter off to an industrialized learning complex for little more than the cost of a breaded chicken patty and a carton of hormonally-rotten milk.

Don’t get me wrong, I love her. Even so, daycare is ridiculous. For the price it’ll take to have someone stare at her for eight hours, I could lease a brand-new Jaguar or rent a small, fancy house in a reasonably-decent suburb.

So I’m all about saving money. And what better way to save a few duckets than by buying your child’s back-to-school materials on Craigslist? Let’s see what they’ve got. Continue reading

Posted in Brandon Leftridge | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Hearne: In Case You Haven’t Figured it Out Yet…

IMG_4493I’ve been on vacation this past week…

Which isn’t to say, “Hurry up and burgle me before I get back.”

That base is covered – life goes on at KC Confidential Central - even in my absence. Besides, I’ll be home shortly and we can resume sorting out the issues of the day and Brandon can return to his alternate life as a mild manned, suburban JOCO family man.

And undoubtedly, we’ll be getting an update from Craig Glazer on how bad the Chiefs and Royals suck (and always will). I know many of you are waiting for that shoe to drop.

You know and Paul Wilson bought a house finally – can you believe he’s been renting all these years? – and just texted a pic of his splendid new writing area there while vowing to getting back to writing three times a week.

We’ll see. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | 16 Comments

Leftridge: The Pointlessness of NFL Training Camp Reporting

coverreporterAh, Training Camp. Are there any two words in the English language more apt to illicit sexual squeals from NFL beat writers across the land? (Perhaps “free sandwiches,” but my point stands.)

It’s clear that we’re firmly in late July when:

1) The Royals are holding “players only” meetings because they’re starting their inevitable swoon. (But hey, it worked everyone! ROYS ARE FIXED.)

2) Here’s sports director “Handsome” Henry Ballsack in his best summer Polo, standing in the parking lot of a college football facility in Elsewhere, MO. His eyes are bugging out as he sprays the camera lens with a fine spittle while explaining how “BACKUP TIGHT-END D’CARTRIDGE JACKSON HAS LOOKED AMAZING CATCHING WELL-LOFTED BALLS FROM A THIRD-STRING QB… OR MAYBE IT WAS THE EQUIPMENT MANAGER. IT’S TOO EARLY TO TELL, BUT THIS LOOKS LIKE A SUPER BOWL CONTENDER. BACK TO YOU, PLORT.”

Continue reading

Posted in Brandon Leftridge, Sports | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Leftridge: TV Time: The Strain is the Worst Thing I’ve Ever Seen

The-Strain-coverIf you were considering watching FX’s new original series The Strain, I’ve got some advice: DROP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND DON’T WATCH IT, EVER.

It’s just… terrible.

See, I had reasonably high hopes, I guess. FX has a pretty good batting average with original programming; I find The Bridge, Justified, Fargo and The Americans to all be quality programming. Plenty of people like Sons of Anarchy and I guess they do some well-received comedies, too.

Not to mention, the first season has several episodes written and directed by respectable horror filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.

And that’s just splendid.

But The Strain is akin to fastening clothespins to your testicles. I mean, it’s something to do, but why? Continue reading

Posted in Brandon Leftridge, Entertainment | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Whinery: The End of the World as We Know It – Jews, Russia, Rick Perry & McCartney

Protest in Manhattan over Israel's action in GazaYou may not have noticed but…

In the confusion and cacophony of everyday life we’re careening towards disaster. Go ahead, go about your business if you must, but chaos of the unbridled variety is just around the corner.

Right now, in the world we inhabit, the Israeli’s- MY PEOPLE- are at war in the Gaza Strip which is a disaster. And if the Israel defense forces are to be believed, 5 of their0 troops have already been killed. So its probably really five times that number.  And we’re ready for 23-1

What people fail to appreciate where this situation is concerned, is that after the Holocaust- all bets are off.

The Jews will resort to nuclear weaponry if pushed too far.  Continue reading

Posted in David Scott Whinery | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

New Jack City: Coming Soon—Spirit Airlines—Release the Hate

imagesBuckle up!

The wait’s almost over and we’re in for new, ultra-cheap fares in a couple weeks.

Because on August 7th SPIRIT AIRLINES spreads its wings to KCI with a single daily non-stop departure to four cities (Service to the 5th—Houston—begins August 8.)

Think ultra-cheap.

Get a load of these all-in, sample fares I found for Friday, August 15′s Bare Fare departures: Continue reading

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Hearne: The Case for Not Tearing Down Metcalf South

largeFull Disclosure: Wade Williams definitely has a dog in this fight…

The writer-producer-director-exhibitor who owns the largest independent library of science-fiction film rights, distributes his product worldwide and also lives in Kansas City, is the checkbook behind the Fine Arts Theatre Group. The group that operates the Rio, Glenwood and Leawood movie theaters.

So when new owners of the Metcalf South Shopping Center announced in March that the 1960s era mall would likely be razed, Williams was bummed.

That’s because his group operates a mini movie plex there called The Glenwood Arts. The three holer – formerly the Metcalf Theatre - is the titular successor to Dickinson’s Theatres once proud Glenwood Theatre at 91st and Metcalf.

Williams’ take on tearing down Metcalf South? Continue reading

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Donnelly: Sporting KC Blaze Trail to Keep Top American Talent at Home

Photo by Jamila St. Ann

Sporting Kansas City took a big swing recently by signing both Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to long-term, Designated Player contracts.

DP contracts are the ones that pay the big money, and up until now had been utilized mainly to attract aging, foreign talent, like Thierry Henry and David Beckham.

Kansas City has signed several DPs over the years, with limited success.  Their other DP currently on the roster is Claudio Bieler, a guy that has struggled to even find playing time this season.  He’ll be gone soon, probably before the season’s end.  Then there was Omar Bravo, who fizzled out before returning to Mexico, and before that Claudio Lopez.

But this is different.   Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Leftridge: Will the Royals Blow the Trade Deadline by Pretending to be Contenders?

Billy+ButlerlBecause it is mid-to-late July, I am obligated by the Internet Sportswriter Code to talk about whether my city’s baseball team should be A) buyers, B) sellers, or C) do nothingers as the league’s trade deadline approaches.

The Royals are doing their part by 1) floating rumors about the departure of Billy Butler, 2) making dink-and-dunk moves like the signing of two old bullpen guys, and 3) hovering in a gray area of, “maybe they’re contenders, maybe they’re not,” which is the worst thing of all because SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT.

And this is only a discussion—whether they’re buyers, sellers or neither, I mean—because they’re a .500 baseball team who has had a ten-game winning streak this season, and is also in the “time to win is NOW” mindset. If you took this very same team and moved them back five years, I think you’re sellers, for sure. Four years ago, same. Three? Probably. Continue reading

Posted in Brandon Leftridge, Sports | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Hearne: Police State Takes Care of Country Club Plaza’s ‘Urban’ Problem

a plaza security st pat'sSo many urban teens, so few entertainment districts…

With Westport engaged in a turf war to keep underage urban youth of a certain persuasion at bay, inquiring minds want to know how’s the situation on the Country Club Plaza progressing?

“The Plaza seems to be doing okay crime-wise but it’s run all the business off,” says a source familiar with both the Plaza and Westport kid kerfuffles. “The Plaza’s probably the safest place in town. It’s made a definite statement that it’s not messing around.”

So none of the so-called “flash mob” rioting then? Continue reading

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Hearne: Lefsetz Checks In As Winter Checks Out

imagesI got into Johnny Winter before he went mainstream…

To the extent that he ever really was mainstream, that is. My roommate in high school (from Saudia Arabia) turned me on to Winter’s first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment and I fell in love with its raw, grittiness, in spite the goofy pics on the album back of Winter dressed inexplicably in Renaissance fest garb.

Johnny Winter never really enjoyed much in the way of true mainstream success.

What that he did went down after he signed with Columbia Records and released his first major label album in 1969, a disappointment. He later crossed over into rock after hooking up with The McCoys (“Hang on Sloopy”) as his backup band, before returning mostly to touring and playing the blues, albeit without much in the way of hype or fanfare,

In recent years Winter drew decently with club shows at places like Knuckleheads and a more-or-less free show outdoors at the Lawrence Art Center last month.  He had to be wheeled on stage where he remained seated throughout his show and – according to some reports – had difficulties with his singing and guitar playing.

Speaking of which, did you catch Paul Wilson‘s review last year of BB King?

Winter died  Thursday in a hotel room in Switzerland while on tour. 

Which brings us to the frank, controversial assessment of Winter’s career by Bob Lefsetz, a music savvy dude who never quite crossed over into becoming a Johnny Winter fan but did manage to enrage some by speculating on Winter’s death.

Check it:
Continue reading

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Hearne: ID Check & No Booze Rule Halves Westport Kid Crowds

6a00e54f9bc55f883401539154a299970b-320wiJust as things were starting to look sunny side up…

As reported here in April, the handwriting’s been on the wall for this summer in Westport. Pressure had been brought to bear by merchants and bar owners against the Gusto Bar & Lounge in an effort to get the club dial back its dance music to something less urban. Because the late night crowds were already starting to look a bit Country Club Plaza like.

And the midtown entertainment was bracing for the worst with dress codes posted at Gusto and Kelly’s advising patrons not to bear arms (after all, it’s not Kansas) and cautioning against exposing their underwear or wearing baggy clothing and “jewelry that poses safety risks.”

So no big surprise that for several weeks Westport has had more than its share of urban outfitters from the wrong side of the tracks.

Ah, but Westport was ready. Continue reading

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Sutherland: Boats Against the Current & The Great Gatsby

9781594204746Critic and scholar Sarah Churchwell - a native of Chicago’s North Shore(like Gatsby’s “Tom Buchanan”) – has written the most significant book about the artistry of F. Scott Fitzgerald in many a year…

Churchwell is a graduate of Vassar and Princeton.  She is a professor of American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of East Anglia in Norwich,England.  She also hosts a radio talk show on the BBC.

Ms. Churchwell has written with her signature wit and erudition before on such undry, unacademic subjects as the cult of Marilyn Monroe.  With her “Careless People: Murder, Mayhem,and the Invention of The Great Gatsby”, she has displayed amazing insight into a work whose iconic significance to American letters has only grown with each passing year.  This is a breakthrough work for Churchwell but also for the general reader, who will readily appreciate her literary detective work. Continue reading

Posted in Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. | 14 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: Sparkless ‘Sex Tape’ Triggers Viral Coitus Cornucopia

sex-tape-posterJason Segel to Cameron Diaz: “Do you remember erections?…..We should have sex sometime.”

But 10 years earlier things sure were different. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other—doing the deed in all kinds of places, settings and positions.

That’s how SEX TAPE begins. Explicit from the get go.

However with busy careers, kids and the trials and tribulations of marriage, whatever little love making that’s left has been reduced to a sparkless, passionless exercise that’s going nowhere.

They still love each other, but the fireworks are long gone. Continue reading

Posted in Jack Poessiger | 8 Comments

Hearne: Local Art House Cinemas Facing Stiff Comeptiton


Cinetopia Overland Park 18

It’s not easy being “the little guy” in the movie theater biz… 

Not only do they have to get by showing movies that a very small percentage of the movie going public care to see and hear or know much if anything about, they also have to deal with the same sort of overhead as the big boys, sans the economies of scale.

For example the Tivoli in Westport has only three screens, the Rio in Overland Park with but one and the Glenwood Arts in Metcalf South only three.

On top of that, those small cinemas have had to deal with the same six-figure struggle to pay to convert their projectors from film to digital that the big movie chains have had to deal with. Continue reading

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