Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Have a Joke

I'm not known for my sense of humor.

Probably, it's true that I have no sense of humor.

Occasionally, however, I can come up with a joke.

Here goes: Donald Trump, Conrad Black and Boris Johnson walk into a bar . . .

That's the joke. That's all there is.

You don't think that's funny?

Then, I guess you have no sense of humor.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Things are seldom . . . .

...what they seem . . .

Those lines from Gilbert and Sullivan, oh, how true, how true.

Yesterday I ordered a book from Amazon. Today I got a message that your payment has been declined, I needed to go back and make some changes.

Vexed, I wondered what had gone wrong. Normally I can order very effortlessly from Amazon, with only "one-click". Then I remembered that I had received a replacement for the credit card I mostly use for online orders. Maybe the replacement had a different expiration date.

Following the clues, I re-entered the credit card information.

Success! The next message from Amazon is that the book will be sent to me because "You’ve successfully updated the billing address for your order!"


I changed the credit card information. I did nothing about the billing address.

Life is a new maze every day. Maybe several new mazes. Gilbert and Sullivan would love it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

THE Introduction

It was my pleasure to introduce Bob Sands, one of the five authors of From Worst to First: A History of Major League Baseball in Kansas City, 1955-1985. The president introduced me by explaining that the speaker had brought his own "introducer", implying that Bob Sands might have told me what to say. Truth was, as I remarked when I began, Bob had no idea what I was going to say.

As follows:

In the interest of TRUTH in journalism, you're going to hear the truth about this book. Today. From me.

The truth is, the credit for this book belongs to Laura Hockaday and me.

There is a weekly lunch meeting of former Star employees -- and although my tenure was brief, I do qualify as a former Star employee .

Laura and I arrive prepared to discuss the important journalistic issues of the day, such as how is the Washington DC Press Corps going to report Donald Trump's newest comb-over hair style? Or, what color coat is Kate Middleton going to wear for the queens' 90th birthday party?

Bob Sands, usually the first to open his mouth, will reply with something like "Do you remember that scorching day in July, 1971 -- "

And as soon as Bob stops to catch a breath, Sid Bordman will jump right in with, "when Len Boehmer hit that line drive off Monty Montgomery -- "

Del Black can hardly wait his turn, and adds "Rich Severson caught that ball and tagged Felipe Alou for a double play."

Joe Henderson, always the most deliberative of the bunch, in his courtroom voice, will remind everyone, "But that was before Richie Scheinblum signed with the Hiroshima Carps."

Meanwhile, never one to remain unnoticed, Jim Murray will be waving his sketch book in the air and yelling "Take a look at Charley Finley being pulled around on his rear end by a Missouri Mule."

One day, Laura and I had tolerated enough. We looked at each other and Laura issued an ultimatum: "Why don't you guys shut up and write the damned book?"

So, I claim that this book would never have come into existence without the push from Laura and I.

Now, in the interest of FAIRNESS in journalism, I'm going to turn the podium over to Bob Sands, to give him an opportunity to defend himself. If. He. Can.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Those three house that WERE at l43rd and Locust? Guess what's there now?

Five house!

Yep, you're reading that right -- FIVE HOUSES.

Lovely new homes about the same size as the houses that were taken down.

I'm no hydraulics engineer, but it's hard for me to see what's different about that piece of ground from what it was before. Still approximately the same distance above sea level as before.

That's what scares me so much about the city's notice that my house -- and all five of us here in a row -- are on a potential buy-out list. Behind us is the north part of what was formerly Delco Bettery property (read General Motors).

When the plant was closed and demolished, there remained the problem of toxic pollution. The northern part of the property, which for the most part had remained wooded, was declared pollution-free long before the southern part. I envisioned a huge apartment project arising from that ground. Did the city want to make my backyard a huge drainage ditch?