Monthly Archives: June 2009

K-State’s Frank Martin Forced to Star in “Snatch” Sequel In Order to Fund School’s Athletic Program

Ah, even purple wildcats cannot escape today’s  financial turmoil.

K-State Athletic Upgrades On Hold

New Kansas State athletic director John Currie says a planned $70 million upgrade of the university’s athletic facilities is on hold.

During a forum Monday, Currie told university faculty and students that no projects have been eliminated, but they are all being re-evaluated.

Currie says the review was prompted by a struggling economy combined with expenses recently incurred after questionable financial practices by the university’s former athletic department officials.

Yes, questionable practices such as outfitting basketball coach Vinnie Jones Frank Martin with a special suit that matches his mercurial temperment.

Old suit:


New duds:


Surprisingly, he looks far more intimidating in the first photo.


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Filed under In the News, Sports

Wichita Is Hotbed Of Miracle-Workin’, Cure-All Elixirs

tedhaggardlookingdeterminedlyintocameraThese days, it appears, Miracle Max resides in the largest city in Kansas: the airplane-lovin’ burg of Wichita. You see, the Vatican — taking a rare break from condemning every movie in which it plays even a bit part — is investigating the kindamaybesorta miracle involved with a young man hurt in a pole-vaulting accident. Fact? Fantasy? Really, really obvious fantasy? You make the call.

Kear survived a catastrophic head injury in October 2008 during pole vaulting practice at Hutchinson Community College. His family said they believe his life was saved by his neurosurgeon and other doctors, but also by thousands of prayers to Kapaun.

The “Kapaun” in question is Father Emil Kapaun, who, judging by his apparent miracle-inducing skills, you might assume was, you know, alive. Um, no. He died in 1951, actually, as a prisoner in North Korea. And now the devout are claiming that the litany of prayers offered to this deceased gentleman were actually the cause of Kear’s recovery — instead of that pesky, life-saving neurosurgery that might also have had something to do with it. And with the possibility of an honest to goodness miracle, there also emerges the possibility that Emil Kapaun will be canonized by the Church. Pretty high honors for something we can’t actually prove.

What do we know about Emil? The usual assorted facts, I guess, but also this little gem from the story:

American soldiers came out of prisoner-of-war camps in 1953 with incredible stories about Kapaun’s heroism and faith. They said that in the fierce winter of 1950 and 1951, when 1,200 out of 3,000 American prisoners starved to death or died of illness in Camp 5 along the Yalu River, Kapaun kept hundreds of survivors alive by stealing food and by force of will.

Ahem: stealing food? So, no shame in violating that commandment, eh?

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Filed under Religion

435 South Still Poisoning Local Minds With Unreadable Prose, Mephistophelian Commercial Focus

ridiculouslylargemovielogoofdwpBack in our State of the Line days, yours truly turned a mocking critical eye to 435 South, the execrably bad lifestyle magazine of Leawood and the tonier portions of Overland Park. (Olathe’s on its own, I guess.) That, however, was in February; surely that journalistic abomination would have slipped the surly bonds of print and faded into the ether of magazines past by now, right? Ha, no. It’s still around, and its web site is a gloriously hedonistic snapshot of what life is (apparently) like in that particular corner of Johnson County. Today we take a look at a very special message from publisher Kathy Boos. She’d like to recommend a summer activity to you: it’s called a “baseball game,” and it’s some newfangled sport brought to town by that debonair rogue Abner Doubleday. MORE

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Filed under Media, Royals, Sports

New Kansas Poet Laureate Embraces Plains Imagery, Spoils System

harrietsweetharrietpoetryreadingDid you know Kansas had its own poet laureate? Yeah, neither did I. Isn’t that just like the Sunflower State, though? Always has to its own thing, since the days of abolition. Anyway, K-Seb created the program back in aught-4, and a new poetess is preparing to take the throne.

The current holder of that position, Denise Low, ends her two-year term Wednesday. She’ll be replaced by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. Both women live in Lawrence and are longtime friends.

Wait, what? First of all, way to perpetuate the image that Kansas is divided into Lawrence and everything else. (True though it may be.) Second of all: passing the torch to her friend? Not cool. Apparently there’s some kind of secretive poetry cabal in KS that the rest of us don’t know about.

Anyway, here’s the new poet laureate’s site. She looks skeptical in that photo. Here’s how she describes herself — it’s just a portion of the 1,191 words (!) in her “about me” section.

I write in the field, sitting in my house in the center of a west-sloping circle of half-brome, half-native prairie surrounded by hills of forest. Sometimes I sit in the grass and write in the wind. Sometimes I huddle behind my desk staring at the ten or more shades of tan that create winter in the distance.

… and sometimes the writing of poets is insufferable. Here’s hoping C M-G makes the one change the poetry world is desperately needing: transforming “poetry slams” into intense, rap battle-esque competitions, and doing away with the banal semi-sonnets and half-rhyming tripe which populate most such events and which are snapped at infuriatingly by aging hipsters and would-be Brownings. Ugh.


Filed under In the News, Poetry, The Arts

Infantile Narcotics Latest Rage Among KC Criminals, Slow-Witted Truants

snoopylookingsmoothSigh. You knew it had to come to this, I guess. In what can only be a sign of a) Walt Disney’s last revenge, or b) the incredible levels of boredom among local reprobates, Kansas City criminals are turning to popular cartoon characters in the packaging of their dastardly wares. The concern, obviously, is that the drugs may attract the most lilliputian of area residents — but not for the reasons you might think.

Drugs shaped like popular cartoon characters, including Snoopy and Transformers, are showing up in Kansas City, and local officials are worried that children could mistake the dangerous tablets for vitamins or candy.

Okay, candy we could understand. But exactly who are the kids combing the streets clamoring for vitamins? Wouldn’t those kids be just the geekiest street toughs imaginable? (“Alright, punk, hand over your Flintstones multiples! And your cherry-flavored zinc supplements!”) The story gets even weirder, though:

The brightly colored pills have turned up shaped like President Obama’s head, along with Homer and Bart Simpson, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other characters. Experts say the pills target teens and young adults to promote the drug as light fun, rather than a dangerous experiment.

Obama’s head? Alright, this high approval rating has gone too far. How long until the right starts to blame the drug epidemic on the stimulus bill? Socialist-approved heroin, no doubt. And the Simpsons? And TMNT characters? Are these drugs leftovers from 1996? Get with it, criminals — maybe those vitamin nerds can clue you in.

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Filed under Crime, In the News, Politics, Strange news

Hendricks Places In Comedy Awards; Star Celebrates With 62 Kind Words

silvertwohandledtrophyNewspaper award ceremonies must be increasingly melancholy affairs these days, what with the whole “death of the industry” thing. But a pervasive malaise didn’t stop the National Society of Newspaper Columnists — which surely must be the most jaded, be-bearded bunch this side of a D&D fan club — from honoring the nation’s funniest columnists (among others) at its convention. The winner? Some lady from the Left Coast (an LC alt-weekly, no less). But running a strong second? Why, it’s local muckraker and aw-shucks Star columnist Mike Hendricks! Nice work for the man known best for his “who, me?” smile in your local paper of record. And how does that paper greet this news — with a large spread and a word of congrats from Herr Zieman, perhaps? Or with, um, a two-paragraph write-up?

Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks was honored Saturday night by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists at an awards presentation in Ventura, Calif.

Hendricks won second prize in the humor category for large newspapers. Finishing first was Katy St. Clair of the San Francisco Weekly. Hendricks, who joined The Star as a reporter in 1985, has been a columnist since 1997.

Yeah, that’s… it. A 25-year veteran of La Estrella merits a measly 62 words? Oh, I suppose if he had finished first like Bay Area wordstress Katy St. Clair, he would’ve gotten 75. But second place? Barely a blip on the radar, it seems.


Filed under Media

Funk & Yael’s Excellent Anthropological Adventure

Well, it appears that last night’s P&L District bowling brawl interfered with an evening man date between Mayor Funkhouser and KC Star columnist Yael Abouhalkah.

Out of the blue, KC Mayor Mark Funkhouser called Saturday morning, wondering whether I wanted to visit the Power & Light District at 1:30 Sunday morning.

With all the recent hubbub about dress codes and jazzy DJs, Funk wanted to do some recreational reconnaissance in the district to have an excuse to wear his new Affliction t-shirt get some on-the-ground impressions of what really goes on when the sun goes down in Cowtown. Here’s an image of the duo as they prepared for their observational odyessy; note that they adopted the proper attire needed to blend in:

Funk&Yael_poppedcollars copy

Indeed, it takes true leadership to wear a pink shirt. Read on for more of this budding bromance…

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Filed under City Government, Funkhouser, In the News, Media, Power & Light District, Social Life