Hearne: How to Take a Driving Vacation to Orlando…


Who drives anywhere anymore besides me?

On one hand, I remember being in the back of station wagons and cars while my parents shuttled my sisters and me to places like Michigan and the Ozarks. On the other, my dad had been a flight instructor in the Navy and co-owned an airplane with a doctor friend at St. Luke’s, so I was airborne probably more than most from a very early age.

But following a rash of commercial airline incidents and the birth of my twin daughters Liza and Savannah in the late ’90s, I decided to roll the dice and save a few bucks by sticking mostly to the highways and leaving the skyways to high rollers like Craig, Jack, Paul Wilson and Harley.

It’s a habit I’ve yet to fully shake. Continue reading

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Starbeams: Spelling in Olathe, Burning in Nevada


Vanya Shivashankar

Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe advanced to the semifinals in the National Spelling Bee.  She was able to advance because she successfully spelled Shivashankar.


A new text message is becoming a huge problem for people who own iPhones.  The message shuts down your phone and there’s nothing you can do. I got that text from Sprint.  It said. “Dear Mr. Urich.  You haven’t paid your bill.”

                                              ******* Continue reading

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Hearne: Star Editor Defends Realm on KCUR FM


Gina Kaufmann

Tap dance, anyone?

Talk about interesting timing, three days after my column calling out Kansas City Star editor Mike Fannin for failing to deliver a quality newspaper, up popped the devil in the form of a kid gloves interview with KCUR FM host Gina Kaufmann.

What are the odds?

Understandingly, Fannin sounded a little uncomfortable.

Frankly I’m surprised he agreed to the interview at all, regardless the timing. After all, how easy can it be to try and convince people that all is well at 18th and Grand after a death march from 2,000 employees to maybe 500-ish, with less of pretty much everything imaginable journalistically with the exception headstones.

Don’t get me wrong.

None of that’s on Fannin, he just happens to the captain of Kansas City’s Titanic. Which healthy salary aside, is mostly an unenviable position.

My point in calling Fannin out was to point out the obvious. Continue reading

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Glazer: Stanford’s Reality Show Pilot Attains Liftoff

IMG_5502The LA folks busted their butts on the Stanford’s reality show pilot…

Hey, I was impressed by their 20 man staff that went all out to get the goods on Stanford’s staff, my brother Jeff and I and all things Kansas City.

Getting this opportunity had me watching some of the newer reality shows as well as ones that have been on for years. I know many of you don’t probably watch these, but lots of people do and they dominate the air waves today.

Many of the reality shows today are game show type programs.

Some, like Pawn Stars, attract interest due to some of the more interesting items we see coming into the shop that people sell.

Was that guitar really signed by all the Beatles in 1964? Is it worth $100,000? Is it real?

Other reality shows focus on the people or actors. Like Dog The Bounty Hunter and of course The Kardashians.

My pal Mo Mandel hosts Barmagedden where you see two bars trying new things to see which works and makes the most money. And Shark Tank, about who will have the next million dollar idea.

With Stanford’s the focus would be an out-of-control family that’s – well – kinda funny and a whole lot crazy. A family that runs a biz that just happens to be a comedy club (and all the crazy stuff that goes with it).

In other words, all we had to do was be ourselves. Continue reading

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Glazer: Royals Elite Young Guns Go Uncovered by KC Star

BzoyqbbIQAAGrUbIt’s finally happened…

Kansas City has an elite pro sports team that matters.

Many will argue the Kansas City Royals are baseball’s best team as of today. Why? Not only do they have the best record in baseball, they’ve beaten the best – St. Louis, New York, Detroit. Yes, it’s early still, but the handwriting is on the wall.

Hey, I admit I’ve down on these guys for years.

Why? Because they weren’t any good. The young players were all below where we’d hoped. Eric Hosmer, Moose, Gordon and crew just were not becoming stars.

Until NOW.

And all of a sudden, we’ve added Cain and Sal Perez. Wow.

KC’s pitching overall may be baseball’s best. Our starters are still up and down, but the bullpen, damn. And finally the team is hitting for good power and getting clutch hits when needed.

I look for the Royals to have the best winning record maybe ever for a KC baseball franchise.

But where’s the hoopla? Continue reading

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Leftridge: How to Spend Your Memorial Day

MDcoverMemorial Day. A day when we are to memorialize those who paid the greatest price while serving our country. And plenty of people do it right—they lay wreaths on graves and look at the flag and watch a lot of Discovery History channel programming. They take cake to elderly relatives who fought in WWII and lost buddies named “Bugsy” and “Flagstaff” and “Flappy.”

But plenty of people do it wrong, or they don’t do anything at all.

So what’s the best way to spend Memorial Day? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: Then & Now

8643695315_3e439ac324_bThis “then” and “now” column from Bob Lefsetz totally channels former Squire publisher Tom Leathers.

Check it:




Everybody knows everything and despite protestations, (people) provide this information willingly, on Facebook, Instagram… We all want to be known, until we don’t.


Skirts had to cover the knee.


Young women raise their shirts to show their boobies and sext their friends. Pornography used to be underground, now all you have to do is Google it.


You went to the club to hear live music, cover bands or record company supported acts.


You go to the club to dance. Live music is a special event in a large room, it’s rarely even at weddings.


Saving the world came first, then you focused on money.


Everybody’s out for themselves, and if you don’t screw others you’re left behind, leading to a coarse society wherein the winners extricate themselves from the masses and the masses fight amongst themselves. Continue reading

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Hearne: Jock Sniffing Tom Brady & The ‘Border War”

Slavery_Free_Soiler_cartoonIs there anything jock sniffers love more than hyperbole?

Especially the sports media. If they can rile up the faithful by pissing them off or exaggerating to the tenth power, 9 times out of 10 they’ll rock with it.

Even normally clear thinking dudes like Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger.

Mellinger unleashed a pair of doozies the past week or so, starting by aligning himself with KCC scribe Craig Glazer in grousing that the NFL came down way too hard on the New England Patriots and Tom Brady for cheating.

“Somehow, despite the existence of common sense, there is enough hysteria or schadenfreude that many adult humans are taking this seriously and as just punishment,” Mellinger wrote.

“There was no proof that Brady did or knew about anything that violated the NFL’s rules,” he added.

Seriously, Sam?

The prisons in this country are teeming with people convicted of crimes on circumstantial evidence. Since when did the NFL or anybody else have to have photos of Brady himself letting the air out of the balls or emails from him instructing someone else to do so?

That’s not the only way justice is played out in this country. Continue reading

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Hearne: The Poker Game’s Over, Time for the American Royal to Fold

2011AmericanRoyal(Shelby)Poker, anyone?

Just last fall the hot shots at the American Royal laid a huge bluff on Kansas City, threatening to move the Royal and its vaunted barbecue contest somewhere else.

Unless of course, KC would rubber stamp a deal to cough up $50 million in public funding for a new, smaller venue for the American Royal’s horse and livestock shows that hardly anybody attends (or even thinks about).

Businessman Terry Dunn, of J.E. Dunn Construction – a Leawood, Kansas resident last I checked – fired off a letter dissing a competing plan for Kemper Arena that wouldn’t have allowed his company to get its fingers in the pie for tearing down Kemper and building a replacement.

“This is no time to engage in wishful thinking or jeopardize the long-standing Kansas City asset that thrives in the West Bottoms, like the American Royal,” Dunn’s letter concluded.

Hold it right there…

When’ s the last time anybody characterized the American Royal as thriving? Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Tomorrowland’ Serves Up Disney Fantasy Saga


imagesDecades ago Walt Disney envisioned a futuristic place where today’s problems would no longer exist…

He called it that place TOMORROWLAND.

Like many other Disney creations that have become attractions at the company’s theme parks, they were eventually transformed into major motion pictures. The most successful probably being THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise.

Now the Mouse House gives the movie treatment to TOMORROWLAND and hands the project to filmmaker Brad Bird who’s credits include THE INCREDIBLES, RATATOUILLE, THE IRON GIANT and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL.

So one would hope for a great movie outing here.

Sadly that was not the case for me as I found the film to be plot-heavy, preachy and on the verge of spinning out of control. Continue reading

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Star beams: Traffic Cone Capital, YRC CEO Pay & Mark Hamill

Couple placing traffic cones around tree

Couple placing traffic cones around tree

Kansas City ranks #2 nationwide in Glassdoor’s survey of best places to find a job.  The survey was conducted among people who enjoy placing orange traffic cones.


The CEO of Overland Park based YRC made over $10 million last year.  YRC now stands for Your Rich CEO.


Has anyone thought about what the new Hyatt convention hotel will do to your view of the Power & Light tower from Liberty Memorial?  Move it a little to the right? Continue reading

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Hearne: Memphis is Kicking The American Royal’s Butt

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 10.08.14 AMNo two ways about it, the American Royal is on the ropes…

Not only are its bread and butter horse and livestock shows drawing infinitesimally small crowds, the vaunted World Series of Barbecue is getting its ass handed to it but the good people of Memphis, Tennessee.

Forget for a moment how dumb it would be to plow tens of millions of dollars into a new, smaller venue for an antiquated event that barely draws flies. One of Kansas City’s most prized possessions – the bragging rights to being BBQ Capital of the World – is on the line and in trouble.

That’s because Memphis in May is blowing our World Series away.

Example: USA Today crowned Memphis’ World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest last year as best of the best over KC’s.

Meanwhile, the jury’s still out on what moving the American Royal’s BBQ contest to Arrowhead Stadium will actually mean other than egress and more parking. But it had better include some killer concert action if it hopes to even begin to catch Memphis.

No more all-girl Kiss cover bands. Heck, Kiss themselves wouldn’t come close to what Memphis is offering – a world class, month long month celebration. Continue reading

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Sounds Good: Jason Boland @ Granada, Turnpike Troubadours @ Crossroads KC, The Sluts @ Replay

Jason Boland Austin Texas April 1, 2009

Thursday, May 21st

Jason Boland and the Stragglers at the Granada in Lawrence – Free Outdoor Show

The Granada has been doing this a few times a year lately, throwing a free outdoor event to try and lure folks to downtown Lawrence after the students have evacuated, leaving a trail of broken grills, burned couches, and coconut water.  It’s a pretty cool thing to do because a) no students, and b) Jason Boland can easily sell enough tickets in these parts to merit a full-on $15 – $20 per head show.  It’s something for nothing, folks, come and get it. Continue reading

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Hearne: Fixing Kemper Arena No Laughing Matter

Kemper_ArenaKansas City Star features writer Tim Engle is a great guy – charming, personable, quick witted – self-effacing and honest even…

The flip side of all that good stuff: He’s no pit bull.

Far from it, in fact. It’s just not Engle’s mission in life – nor in his skill set – to bowl folks over with deep, probing thought and iron clad logic. The sort of instincts it sometimes take to tackle an intricately reported, hard news story.

But when it was time for the newspaper to call on readers to offer up goofy-beyond-belief suggestions for how Kemper Arena could be repurposed, Engle was Johnny-on-the-spot.

Unfortunately, serving up a bunch of madcap ideas for Kemper  is the last thing KC needs.

Oh sure, turn the historic, landmark into a multilevel go-kart complex. Hilarious. Or maybe a social services center? Deep. Indoor dog park, anyone? Why didn’t I think of that?

Here’s the deal… Continue reading

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Hearne: Leadership Void @ 18th & Grand Results in Poor News Quality

Star editor Mike Fannin's most recent mug shot

Star editor Mike Fannin’s most recent mug shot

These are desperate times for newspapers…

And while I seem to be in a minority when it comes to optimism about their survival, that has zero to do with critiquing the current product, which most people seem to agree somewhat sucks.

That’s not sour grapes because I used to work there either, it’s simply a statement of the obvious.

In no small part because I too am a paying newspaper customer – just as I was while working there 16 years. And like other subscribers, I’d like to get my money’s worth. The frustrating fact being it wouldn’t take that much to turn out a far better end product. It’s merely a matter of setting a smarter course and steering the news ship in the right direction.

And while the solution is multifold, let’s not make this overly complex.

Quite simply the newspaper needs to hire and position the right people at the top which obviously it has not at this point in time. Painfully obviously.

Having worked directly under him, I was very optimistic when Mike Fannin was made the editor.

He’d obviously done a good job following Dinn Mann‘s lead in riding herd over the sports section of the Star. Then again, it was Mann who set the tone and installed the twin towers – Jason Whitlock and Joe Posnanski.

And while I know Fannin has felt burdened by a newsroom both run and overrun by old timers – Baby Boomers largely – he’s had six years to clear the decks and field a team more to his liking. Yet other than in the sports section, he’s failed miserably.

However, unlike television and radio, nobody up top gets held accountable in the newspaper world. That’s a tradition that continues to this day. You have to really mess up to get fired from the upper echelons of a newspaper. Not being successful is no big deal.

Make no mistake, Fannin’s a nice guy and outside of a couple DUIs, an assault conviction and an extramarital affair with one of his direct subordinates, there’s little not to like about him. Continue reading

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Glazer: Chiefs Draft Pick Chris Conley Near Perfect

Chris Conley

The fanfare surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs 3rd round pick has been almost nonexistant…

Even though the Chiefs traded up to get Chris Conley, who was more than impressive at the NFL combine with a 4.35 40 yard dash, the 3rd fastest of all wide outs. Add to that a vertical leap that beat everyone and a broad jump of 11 feet 7 inches, again the best of the bunch.

He’s 6 feet 2, weighs 213 pounds and was a leading receiver at Georgia with 20 touchdowns and just shy of 2,000 yards receiving.

That’s all very nice, but whats the big deal you ask?

Well, for starters I happened to catch Conley’s interview on Metro Sports Chiefs Uncut show this weekend. And my lord, he spoke like a seasoned college professor. He broke down his new job, the things he needs to do as a top wide receiver in the NFL and how he will approach the game. I got more useful information from this man in five minutes than most NFL coaches and players can give in 20 interviews.

The guy is nearly genius in his speaking and thinking.

I’ve never heard a smoother, more intelligent athlete speak. Wow. Continue reading

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Donnelly: Willie Nelson and Beck @ Starlight, May 15, 2015

getty_173090766_willie_nelson_20131123_20131123153032_640_480Willie was the “opener” for this heavy-hitting double bill at Starlight Friday…  

Which was a bit of a shame because he started at 8:00, and a lot of the crowd was still rummaging around, getting beers and food, and finding their seats, as the red headed stranger plowed through his set.

But Willie’s always a pro, and it didn’t stop the legend from delivering a solid performance that included essentials like Whiskey River, Crazy, Always on My Mind, and Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.  He seemed to grow stronger as the night went along, mixing his one-of-a-kind vocals and phrasing with that unique guitar style that ebbs and flows to its own rhythm, but still comes back to the band eventually.

As Beck would later rhetorically ask the near sold-out crowd, “Is there anyone more beloved in America than Willie Nelson?”

I can’t really think of anyone. Continue reading

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Hearne: Does Royals’ Success Spell Doom for T-Bones

toppsSpeaking of sports…

Anybody out there remember the Kansas City T-Bones?

You know, the “professional baseball team” that migrated here in 2003 from Duluth, Minnesota to take advantage of the fact that locals were willing to pay good money to watch bad baseball. Provided of course the price was right and it was kid-friendly.

To that end, the T-Bones delivered in spades.

Even though the team got the name of KC’s famous steak wrong – it’s a strip not a T-bone – they made the tickets and food dirt cheap and the in-game promotions super silly.

For example, there’s a “party patio” with all-you-can eat “buffet style” food, beer and soft drinks for $32 a head. And for 20 bucks a year, kids 12 and under can join a club, get free temporary tattoos and free admission to every Sunday home game (then run the bases afterwards).

And while the Kansas City Royals were the laughingstock of Major League Baseball all those years, it kinda worked.

Never mind that the T-Bones are not even close to being a “minor league” ball club. The odds of a T-Bones player making the majors is dwarfed by the odds of them sacking groceries or riding a trash truck.

But who cares right, baseball is baseball?

Not anymore! Continue reading

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Leftridge: TV Time: Catching Up With Wayward Pines

wpcoverWayward Pines is like Twin Peaks, except modern and for Fox. It also has nothing to do with David Lynch, the person responsible for making Twin Peaks great. Instead, it’s from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan, which is, at this juncture, less of a selling point and more of a curse. After giving the world some good movies (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs Until the Alien Showed Up), he unleashed a pretty bland movie (The Village) and then some real pieces of shit (that movie about a woman who lives in a swimming pool, the egregious abortion where Marky Mark and Zooey Deschanel run around making frightened faces). It stars Matt Dillon, who is best known for portraying Dally, the heart-throb who can’t be tamed in the 1983 classic The Outsiders. My thoughts going into it are as follows:

I mean, I GUESS this could be interesting, right?

Man, I need to watch The Outsiders. I fucking love that movie.

Patrick Swayze is dead. I hate when I remember that. RIP, Swayze.

Anyway, should you watch this show? Let’s see.

Continue reading

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Sutherland: Something I Will Miss About The Star


Gaetano (“Tom”) Serra

With a number of insiders predicting the imminent demise of the Kansas City Star, I have to confess there’s one feature I will really miss if it goes…

I know I date myself by this, but I’ll miss the obituaries.

It’s not just those of people I know personally or their family members, or people known in the community.

The most interesting and inspiring obits are sometimes of people you don’t know or who many would say were not prominent.

On Tuesday, for example, I read about a man called Gaetano (“Tom”) Serra, who died in Pittsburg, Kansas at age ninety-nine. Mr. Serra was born in 1916 in a mining camp in rural Cherokee County, No. 42 Camp, or Camp Mackie, the son of Italian immigrants.

He played football at Frontenac High School on the undefeated 1935 team, a team that was unscored upon until its Thanksgiving Day game against its neighbor and arch-rival, Arma High School. Continue reading

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