What a difference a month makes.
At the end of April, the Royals were 14-10. They were a game out of first place and everything was coming up daffodils. The pitching was invincible and the offense—while still not pounding out a ton of runs—was serviceable and wonderfully reliable in the clutch.
May started off with three straight victories—looking good, lads!—and then the bottom fell out. Hard.
Consecutive losses to the Baltimore Orioles. A masterful Jeremy Guthrie pitching performance that resulted in a win. Whoa!
And then, the rest.
Swept by the New York Yankees. Swept by the Oakland Athletics. Two losses against the lowly Houston Astros. Swept by the Angels. Swept by the Cardinals in KC.
Eight straight losses. Eight.
Eight wins and nineteen losses on the month.
Boom. Last place. Again. For the millionth time. Continue reading
Anyone who has lived in any community of any size for any length of time inescapably realizes there is an “In Crowd.”
By that term, I mean the people who not only make the decisions (financially, politically, culturally), but set the standards (and tastes) for everyone else.
Marketing gurus have often been puzzled by the underlying demographic info on the readership of various publications. The actual readers did not have the kind of levels of income and education advertisers assumed would be necessary to buy the goods and services pitched to the affluent audiences those publications were aimed at. The readership was, in other words, “aspirational.”
Closely linked to this is the uniquely American gift for reinventing yourself through social mobility. This is a constant theme in American culture and includes Benjamin Franklin’s “Autobiography,” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby,” and Patricia Highsmith’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” (best remembered as the 1999 movie with Jude Law and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as two Ivy League playboys, done in by Matt Damon as a “wanna-be” Ivy Leaguer!)
About the time that motion picture came out a scholar by the name of Jean Strouse rediscovered a fascinating woman named Belle da Costa Greene while researching her biography of Gilded Age financier J.P. Morgan. Continue reading
Let’s Play Johnson County Jeopardy…
I’ll Take, “Why His Bails So Low,” for $1,500, Stephen!
Talk about ending one day with a premise and beginning the next with a 180 degree turn.
In my column yesterday about the Eric Kaplan stalking arrest and low bail, I indicated there may be a story behind the story and that I was on it. My suppositions included, but were not limited to, a well connected dad having put a Judge in a BMW from his dealership, religious and/or social affiliations, golf buddies, a high powered Jewish lawyer – you name it.
At the root of it all, I was looking for someone pulling strings that made young Kaplan’s bond what it was, a mere $1500.00. I just knew that was the answer and I was dead set on proving it.
However, the real answer appears to be a judicial system that has more ways to charge and collect fees than Bank America. With equal and deliberate intention no less. Continue reading
NOW YOU SEE ME is a caper thrill ride that pits an elite F.B.I. squad against a team of the world’s greatest illusionists…
It’s not the kind of thriller you’d expect to see in the summer. This sort of quality film fare usually shows up during the fall movie season.
Here we have a number of illusionists summoned by invitation to an abandoned New York City apartment where magically they become the recipients of instructions to pull off several highly involved capers.
Joining forces, they become known as The Four Horsemen with an act that would have even impressed the great Houdini. Continue reading
New Royals bumper sticker: “Kansas City RoyaLOLs.”
The Royals have brought in George Brett to be their interim batting coach. And the team will be flying now on Braniff and we’ll all drive Datsuns and everything will be okay!
BUT ARE THEY EOE? Continue reading
Last weekend I drove by a larger than usual protest at the J.C. Nichols fountain on the Plaza…
There’s generally a protest de jour going down on that corner almost daily, so one becomes immune to the signs, car horns, etc. as you drive by the usual suspects picketing the most current cause. However this one was far bigger and getting far more attention – it was against Monsanto.
There are so many facets to this saga it’s hard to know where to begin.
But the whole Monsanto story is about GMO’s – genetically modified organisms. No, this isn’t about Craig Glazer, it’s about seeds, seeds and big, big business. Continue reading
School’s out, summer’s here and pranks are a lot different than when I graduated…
At least they’re sure treated differently in the zero tolerance world we live in. If you have kids in public school, as do I, you can see firsthand how this rule works at times and not at others.
Kids can be suspended for using a finger as a play gun yet only given a “hard talk” after sending sexually violent, threatening messages on Facebook or by text. Because, according to the Johnson County District Attorney’s office, “If it happens on Facebook or the Internet we treat it differently, it’s kind of like fantasy land, people say things they don’t really mean.”
I wonder if the DA’s office wishes Columbine had been treated differently because, hey, the kid was just ranting on Facebook and the Internet, he didn’t really mean anything. Continue reading
Groundhog Day, anyone?
For the second time in three or so years, Bottom Line Communications honcho John Landsberg has announced that he will cease to exist. As a blogger.
The first time out, Landsberg said writing about local media was hurting his PR biz, but then had a practically immediate change of heart, relented and decided to stay in the game.
Until now. Continue reading
Nothing against NASCAR fans but…
Not all venues are created equal and sometimes a given location just doesn’t match up with a given event. Take the Kansas City Wizards and Arrowhead Stadium.
For the Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead is a perfect fit. However for Major League Soccer it was a bust.
Even on the rare occasions when Wizards’ crowds approached 20,000 – out of more than 80,000 available seats – the place looked like a ghost town.
Which is exactly what promoters don’t want. Continue reading
I know, I know…
After being gone a week, I’ve got bigger fish to fry, but a quick time out while I administer a little nausea medicine to myself over how predictable and lame local media can be when it comes to those bogus “best of” awards national publications dole out to garner publicity and magazine sales.
Kansas City‘s No. 1 showing in Travel & Leisure magazine’s most affordable getaway “survey.”
I use the word survey quite lightly, given that the magazine offers no evidence whatsoever how it was conducted or what the specific results of the survey were. Rendering the “findings” in the neighborhood of zero in terms of credibility. Continue reading
Geez, I try and get away for a few days and…
The last time I left town, JJ’s blew up. This time out, Kanrocksas and Bottom Line Communications take a bullet. And there’s more.
Having just driven for like 18 hours, I’m going to take a few off to regroup and hammer these topics the way they need to be in the morning (it’s nearly 2 a.m. as we speak).
Meanwhile, let me say this about that… Continue reading
In times of fast breaking news, the traditional television network news and talk shows are not the place to be…
You’re better choice is CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
Am I anti CBS‘s This Morning, GMA or the Today Show?
Not at all, but remember those shows are not broadcast live—unless you live on the East coast. The networks time-delay their cash cows to fit the all important 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. revenue periods throughout the country.
That’s why the actual times displayed on your screen during those broadcasts always are accurate in ALL time zones. Continue reading
About a half hour ago, Kanrocksas‘ website went blank. The following is all that remains there:
“Due to insufficient ticket sales, Midwest Music Festivals and Kansas Speedway have decided to cancel the 2013 Kanrocksas Music Festival scheduled for June 28th and 29th.
There are no plans to reschedule the event at this time. Continue reading
Early afternoon game on Sunday, perfect weather – a little overcast with a nice breeze – and a standing room only crowd of 20,000+.
To make things even more electric, Roger Espinoza was on hand as a special guest for the coin flip. He just finished up his first EPL season at Wigan, which made a late, improbable rush to win the FA Cup.
From the get-go this game was a cracker. Continue reading
It’s back to the desert southwest, this time to Santa Fe, New Mexico…
One hour north of the Breaking Badlands of Albuquerque, it’s amazing how many refugees of Kansas City (even Lawrence and Topeka) one can run into in this sleepy tourist and artist enclave.
With a population of only 60,000 and change – around 100,000 for the county, I’m told – it’s a land of intriguing restaurants, modest desert climes and more junk Native American art and jewelry than you can shake a stick at. Continue reading
Graduation time. When today’s youth begin their
birth-assured death march toward tomorrow’s uncertain life. They walk across the stage, diploma in hand, head held high, a smile on their face, ready to tackle the future.
If they’re graduating from high school, their life is just beginning; they’re nervous about leaving home, about the strange “adult” nature of college. Almost everything that they thought was important isn’t any longer. (And never really was.)
If they’re leaving college, they’re likely thinking about crippling debt, a perpetually awful job market, and what story they can invent for their friends that doesn’t end with them living in their parents’ basement, waiting tables and self-medicating at night with discounted wine.
If they’re graduating anything below high school, fuck that. That’s not a real graduation. Continue reading
Seems like forever since KC Confidential last put out a casting call. So like, we’re due, right?
I won’t bore you with the particulars, other than to say, if you have an interest and a hankering to write about food, music, theater, the arts, local news, politics, media – you name it. Continue reading
It wasn’t pretty, but it prepped me for a move to the Kansas City suburb known as Lawrence. Wanting to make the most of my exile I contemplated going undercover at the Westboro Baptist Church.
You know, that bastion of fear and loathing, known to most primarily for its endearing slogan, “God Hates Fags.”
Never happened. Continue reading
“It’s not looking good for Obama, today his teleprompter took the Fifth” — Jay Leno…
Of all the scandals plaguing Obama the one that really ticks me off most is his war on the press.
I expect the IRS to do the kind of stuff they’re doing against Tea Party groups. Why not? Every President in the “Modern Era” has used the tax collectors as their own personal “Stasi.”
And the lies about Benghazi, I don’t even know that the Administration is lying. They may just be that incompetent where National Security matters are concerned. So I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.
However, Obama and his cronies criminalization of investigative journalism is an affront to everything this country stands for. Continue reading
Once more I’m in the unhappy position of writing harsh things about someone whose work otherwise has my unqualified admiration…
Readers may recall my earlier piece on Whitney Terrell’s ‘The King of Kings County,’ a brilliant novel of manners set in Kansas City’s upper crust.
This time I’m squaring off against a critic named William Deresiewicz who wrote an essay a year ago in The Nation on Kurt Vonnegut. (The essays he penned on Joseph Conrad for The New Republic and on elite colleges for The American Scholar are so good I have shared them with many friends and acquaintances.) Continue reading