Category Archives: Travel

Amtrak Heralds Return To What Was Already Expected Of Amtrak

amtraksexpectationsalasTaken the train across Missouri lately? Of course you haven’t. The notoriously unreliable Amtrak service in the Show Me State is legendary for delays, missed stops, and general frustration. But wait! According to a glowing piece in the Star today, it’s time for you to give Amtrak another chance — because Amtrak is back, sort of. Well, maybe not so much “back” as “back to mediocrity,” because that’s all Amtrak can offer you. That’s right: the subject of this fawning story is the return to… what Amtrak was supposed to be doing anyway. Namely, being on time. Um, bravo?

Amtrak trains between Kansas City and St. Louis are running on time more frequently this year than they have since October 2006.

They have been on schedule more than 90 percent of the time, compared with years when 70 percent might be considered good on-time performance.

“The time has been much, much better,” said Amtrak rider Shelia Wright from Kansas City. “I can live with an occasional delay, but when it happens on every trip it’s pretty disturbing.”

Okay. So we’re trumpeting the crossing of the 70 percent barrier? A rather sad commentary, it seems, when we’re giving credit to transportation companies for achieving what should have been the standard all along. This could work for a whole advertising campaign, maybe. “Amtrak: now with fewer car derailments!” or “Amtrak: 28 percent fewer missing track sections.”


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Filed under Economics, Local Business, Transportation, Travel

In Strathman v. Franklin, Flaxen-Haired Reporter Emerges Victorious

strathmanvchadfranklinmetaphorWe follow with great interest the goings-on at KSHB when it comes to investigative stories — mostly because the robotic and super-creepy Russ Ptacek never blinks — and the latest shot across the bow of would-be evildoers did not disappoint. Our friend John over at Bottomline Communications details the doubtless victory of one Jenn Strathman over Ur-salesman Chad Franklin, who operated a Suzuki dealership/Ponzi scheme in the Sunflower State.

When the lawsuit was filed in August 2008 (thanks to numerous stories by Strathman dating back a year earlier), it was alleged Chad Franklin Suzuki aired advertisements that “concealed, omitted, or misrepresented a material fact of the advertised promotion, specifically that the promotion would last for a duration of time, when in truth, the terms of the promotion would end before that specified duration.”

You may recall Chad Franklin as the well-coiffed car salesman who promised buyers some crazy deal involving perenially gratis cars or impossibly low payments. Thankfully, Strathman et al. have put this hairdo’d gentleman out to pasture. Well done, KSHB.

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Filed under Crime, Economics, Transportation, Travel

Bankrupt Missouri Forces State Reps To Paddle To Capitol

molegislatorstraveltojeffcityApparently Missouri hasn’t changed much since the days o’ Samuel Clemens and his many fictitious rapscallions, who floated the Mississip’ and changed the course of… uh, junior high reading curricula. Now five Show Me legislators, starved of travel funding, are floating from some place called “Sugar Creek” — what is this, an Allman Brothers song? — all the way to Jeff City. The lesson? Um… rivers are big. And slow. Cue the appropriate music:

They left just after 8 a.m. and will spend the night in Boonville.

The legislators said they want to find ways to make the riverfront of the Missouri River more useful to the state both for business and recreation.

Find ways to make the riverfront more useful? How about, um, letting nature take its course? And couldn’t we just, you know, ask DNR about this?

Check out the boat in that photo, by the way: we’ve come a long way since our rafting days, no?

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Filed under Economics, Politics, Transportation, Travel

Kansas City Makes Triumphant Return To 1930s

kcsnewtrolleysystemBreak out the fedoras and smuggled gin: the old decades are back again. The City Council voted to approve $250,000 in start-up money for the highly questionable trolley plan — which plan will mostly involve shuttling local drunkards from meat market to meat market. Now, the plan had been in doubt because, if you’ll recall, the plan’s backers weren’t quite educated in the whole “loan” process. But now the trolleys are ready to run, and the owner of the best name of all time is here to share the news.

“The No. 1 complaint was the lack of interconnectivity between entertainment venues so this is actually going to fill the need KC has,” said Westport business owner Bill Nigro. “We’re behind the times with other cities. A lot of other cities have these entertainment attractions.

“The trolley would run from City Market through the Power and Light District, the 18th and Vine area, Martini Corner at 31st Street and Gillham Road, then Westport, the Country Club Plaza, Brookside and finally Waldo.

So for $15, you can pack up a whole entertainment kit for the evening. Start with your striped Express shirt for P&L, make a quick change on the trolley and put on a skinny tie for Martini Corner (while skipping 18th and Vine, because everyone else does), slip on some skinny jeans and an ironic t-shirt for Westport, and then break out the old community softball league jersey for Waldo. It’s perfect!

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Filed under City Government, Social Life, Transportation, Travel

Fox 4’s Definition of “Fun” Apparently Influenced By Hanging Out With Tim Burton Too Much

J4FFox 4’s “Just 4 Fun” feature recently visited the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, Mo. Ummm…yippee?

Typically, “Just 4 Fun” highlights regional attractions such as the Weston Brewing Company, the Moon Marble Company or the Pony Express National Museum. Bor-ing! Now, a museum that highlights the archaic, Guantanamoesque treatment methods employed by the pre-DSM psychiatry profession…that’s entertainment!

Here’s a bit of historical info on the Glore Museum:

The Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles the 130-year history of what was once known as the “State Lunatic Asylum No. 2.” The Museum uses full-sized replicas, interactive displays, audio-visuals, artifacts, and documents to illustrate the history of the treatment of mental illness. The museum is recognized as “one of the 50 most unusual Museums in the country.” It is also featured in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the USA and Canada.”

The Glore Psychiatric Museum is named for its founder George Glore, who spent most of his 41-year career with the Missouri Department of Mental Health nurturing its collections into arguably the largest and best single exhibition explaining the evolution of mental health care in the United States. His ultimate goal was to reduce the stigma associated with psychiatric treatment for patients, their families, and their communities.

Read on to view images from this slideshow on what offenses the disciples of Benjamin Rush hath wrought! Continue reading

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Filed under Local Business, Oddities, Politics, Religion, Strange news, Travel

Comedian’s Chicanery Cons Local Hotelier; Regret Emerges As Biggest Foe

facadehotelphillipsdowntownkcToday marks the nationwide opening of Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest effort to unmask the rampant redneck-ery which infects America. And it turns out that our fair city has notched a fairly dubious honor in the film: the Hotel Phillips, haven of downtown scenesters, stars in what sounds like a lovely little S&M scene:

In the film, a hotel maintenance man finds Bruno (Baron Cohen) and his assistant/lover Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten) handcuffed together in a human knot in Room 2010 (the hotel is never identified, but it’s there on the maintenance guy’s nametag).

The two men are wearing only black leather S&M harnesses. Several gerbils are running around an open dresser drawer. Bruno says they’ve lost the handcuff keys.

Enchanting. (And probably quite amusing.) But the theme of this story is that old enemy of human nature: regret. Here’s director of sales and marketing Blaine Proctor:

“We were told something completely differently was happening,” Proctor said this week, “that they were making a documentary about a European man traveling around the U.S. and how he interacts with Americans and our culture.” …

“We signed a waiver under false pretenses,” he explained.

And the legal response: He said the hotel’s lawyer had examined the waivers signed by employees and concluded there was no recourse. The filmmakers could use the footage however they liked.

You’ll find no sympathy for those claming coercion by the film’s masterminds among this site’s writers. Don’t want to appear in a movie? Don’t sign a waiver.

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Filed under The Arts, Travel