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Saturday night, as Patty and I were getting ready to go out with two other couples to Le Fou Frog, I asked her for some sartorial advice.

I picked up a brand-new pair of Tommy Bahama, sand-colored jeans and asked her if they would be appropriate.

“No,” Patty said without hesitation. “You can wear black jeans or slacks.”

“Ok,” I said and put the Tommy B’s back in the closet and got out a pair of gray slacks.

That wasn’t the end of the conversation, though.

“I don’t know what would have happened to you if you hadn’t gotten married,” Patty observed.

“I would still be wearing brown and hanging out at Harry’s Bar and Tables,” I said, referring to the place where we met (then called The New Stanley) in 1983.

Then, Patty got in the last word…“And they’d be saying, ‘There’s the old guy.’ “

**

That’s a windy lead-in to my subject today: Why many men, when left to their own devices, cannot seem to make good fashion choices.

Taking it a step further, some of the worst offenders are some of the highest-ranking men in my former church — the Catholic Church.

I have never understood why many bishops find it necessary to wear flamboyant regalia at some liturgical functions. It just doesn’t seem to square with the image of Christ, who made a habit of reaching out to those of the lowest social stations — the poor, people with infirmities and disabilities, even prostitutes.

To show you what I’m talking about, below is a photo of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn wearing his mitre (big hat) and holding his crozier (ornate staff). He loves that hat and staff and, like many bishops, breaks them out frequently.

Bishop-Finn-sisters

But think about it…How often do you see images of Jesus carrying an ornate staff and wearing showboat headdress? Never, right? Sometimes he’s pictured holding a walking stick, and the only head gear I’ve ever seen him depicted with is a crown of thorns.

So where did the bishops get the idea that mitres and croziers were appropriate, or in some way helped instill in the laity the importance of loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself?

The website of the Catholic Resource Education Center says this about that:

“These different regalia all give a certain distinction to the Order of Bishop. They also inspire respect for the office and its authority. While ‘the clothes do not make the man,’ the man must strive to fulfill what the clothes signify.”

Hmmm. I’m still very suspect about this, and I am glad to see that Pope Francis, while he hasn’t yet issued any new dress codes, is putting an emphasis on humility and leading the way by example. Consider this from a 2013 Huffington Post story:

“Pope Francis arrived at the papal summer home, Castel Gandolfo, in a humble Ford Focus, which was a far cry from the luxury cars of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who travelled around town in vehicles that included a custom-made Renault, a BMW X5, and a Mercedes.”

The story went on to quote Francis as saying: “It hurts me when I see a priest or nun with the latest-model car. You can’t do this. A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but, please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that in recent months, Francis has stripped one of the most ostentatious clerics, Cardinal Raymond Burke, formerly the archbishop of St. Louis, of two key posts. Last December, Burke, a leader of the church’s conservative wing, was removed from a prestigious Vatican congregation that helps the pope select new bishops. And just last week he confirmed in an interview with BuzzFeed that Pope Francis is planning to remove him from as chief justice of the Vatican’s Supreme Court.

I said he was ostentatious, and these photos will illustrate what I mean.

While the mitre and crozier are satisfactory for some high-ranking Catholic officials, Burke’s tastes run to a different level.

Here he is, for example, in something called the “cappa magna,” or great cloak.

Raymond Cardinal Leo Burke visits the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine to celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed by a Reception. As Archbishop of St Louis, Cardinal Burke canonically established the Oratory on the first Sunday of Adve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here he is in, well, a hat of a different hue…

burke and hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**

Now, back to that Saturday evening conversation with Patty…If I had not married her, yes, I might still be wearing brown and hanging out in the Westport bars, looking like a 1970s relic. But I’ll tell you one thing: I wouldn’t be wearing a big red hat and a cappa covering my assa.

 

Every day is a good day to be a Kansas Citian. But today it’s extra special to be a Kansas Citian.

To watch these Kansas City Royals grow and mature and fight and claw the last two seasons has been a tremendous thrill.

And to hear David Glass, Dayton Moore, Ned Yost and the players give so much credit to the fans of Kansas City and say they won it for us, well, that’s just intoxicating.

I have never seen players celebrate with the fans like these players have. Back in ’85, when we won it all, I do not recall any intermingling between the players and the fans after the game. After the on-field celebration, the celebration moved into the clubhouse and stayed there, I’m pretty sure.

But these Royals, they come at things differently. They understand our suffering through decades of losing and not even being competitive. They understand partly because they have worked so hard to get over the hump, to jell into a winning unit. They have persevered through doubt (ours) and disillusionment.

The mutual embrace with the fans first evidenced itself in a big way after the post-season-insuring win in Chicago a couple of weeks or so ago. After spraying volcanic amounts of champagne in the clubhouse, several Royals continued the celebration with a few hundred Royals fans who had converged behind the visitors dugout and decided to stay for a good long while.

It was amazing and thrilling to see Royals players go into the stands and exchange high-fives with scores of fans and pose with them for “selfies.”

The we’re-all-in-this-together-spirit was just getting started. It went to a new high with the $15,000, player-financed splurge at McFadden’s after the Royals knocked out the Angels in the division series.

…Earlier today, before the game, I played golf at Country Creek Golf Club a few miles north of Harrisonville. Between the first nine and the second, I chatted with Charlie, the counter clerk in the clubhouse, and we talked, of course, about the Royals. “I’ll have the game on right here,” he said, pointing at a TV hanging from a nearby wall. He talked about the McFadden’s incident in a tone of awe and disbelief and said something like, “They are a bunch of really great guys.”

The special chemistry that this team has was apparent last year, when the team came very close to making the playoffs. It held through the early part of this season, too, but, then, when things were going bad, Billy Butler, who was really struggling for a while, got snippy with first base coach Rusty Koontz at one point and exhibited resentment at Yost for indicating favoritism for first baseman Eric Hosmer over him. I was afraid the chemistry might crumble. But fate stepped in; Hosmer got hurt, Billy played well in his absence, and harmony was restored.

As he did all year, Yost let the players flout their distinctive styles and personalities, and he let them know through all the ups and downs that he fully believed in them and their combined talent.

As the team gained confidence, the fans’ confidence in the team mushroomed, and here we are, floating on air and cheering for a once-in-a-generation-or-so group of players who are irrepressible…and maybe unbeatable.

And, finally, here’s another reason it’s an extra-special time to be a Kansas Citian…

george

That man is us.

Get out the bottle rockets and cherry bombs; a formerly great newspaper is mounting a big comeback.

With all the grim news about the newspaper industry, it’s great to hear something positive, and David Carr of The New York Times gave credit where credit was due in his most recent “Media Equation” column.

The paper he singled out was none other than The Washington Post, which took journalism to a new plateau when it broke and put a stranglehold on the Watergate story in the 1970s.

During the last 10 to 15 years, however, with the proliferation of free, online content, The Post drifted down to yawning status, even as its once-biggest competitor, The Times, stamped itself as a genuine national newspaper, along with the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

In recent weeks, though, The Post has made a splash with big scoops about abject failures by the Secret Service.

Most recently, The Post broke the story of how deeply the White House fence jumper was able to penetrate the White House, after the Secret Service had issued a statement making it sound like he was apprehended just inside the door.

Within days after that, The Post exposed the fact that in September a security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a trip to Atlanta. (God forbid what could have happened there.)

The Post got credit for those exposes in news stories around the world. And, as the saying goes, you can’t buy publicity like that.

In retrospect, The Post’s turnaround can be tied to its expose in 2013 about the longer-than-understood reach of the National Security Agency. Based on information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, The Post laid bare for the public the existence of several global surveillance programs that further shattered Americans’ sense of diminishing personal privacy.

Then, a little over a year ago, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, bought The Post for $250 million and took it private. That move prompted speculation about what direction Bezos might take The Post.

At the time, though, Bezos, who is 50, gave a strong indication that the newspaper would not stray far from its longtime course of striving to be one of the nation’s foremost newspapers.

“…the key thing I hope people will take away from this (ownership change),” Bezos said, is that the values of The Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.”

This week, Carr summarized what Bezos has done to turn things around:

“Did Mr. Bezos have some digital lightning in a bottle that altered the math of modern journalism? Far from it, but his willingness to finance hiring new employees — over 100 so far this year — has created an atmosphere of confidence and financial stability.”

In other words, Carr said, Bezos “has financed excellence and stayed out of the way.”

(Editor’s note here: Are you paying attention, Kansas City Star? The Post improved dramatically with an infusion of money and new talent, not by cutting staff  and spending less.) 

In that atmosphere of stability, the quality of the journalism has improved with Terrance Gore-like speed.

baron

Martin Baron

Another factor in The Post’s comeback, Carr said, was the 2013 hiring of editor Martin Baron, who had established himself as a strong leader at several other papers he worked at earlier.

In Carr’s story, Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, credited Baron with cultivating an enthusiastic atmosphere in The Post’s newsroom. “Marty is a very good newsman,” Rosenstiel said, “a no-nonsense, really bright guy who believes in the power of news, and that is highly contagious in a newsroom. Momentum matters a lot in a news organization.”

Amen, brother. There are so many newsrooms now — including The Star’s — where the employees are running scared because ownership has not been willing or able to invest in their newsrooms to insure aggressive pursuit of the news.

As a journalist (oh, yeah, JimmyC still has his press pass; it’s just homemade now), I am thrilled to see that The Post is on the rebound.

And on a personal note, it’s gratifying to know that two former former KC Star reporters, Tom Jackman and Joe Stephens, are with a paper that is headed in the right direction. Jackman is one of several reporters who covers Virginia for The Post, and Stephens is an enterprise/investigative reporter. Currently, Stephens divides his time between writing for The Post and teaching journalism at Princeton.

Sexual assault on college campuses is one of the most scrutinized social issues in the nation these days, and the country is fortunate that U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is at the front of a powerful movement to remedy this frequently marginalized problem.

McCaskill has been touring Missouri colleges and universities, talking to students and school officials about the Bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which she and three other Democratic senators and four Republican senators introduced last summer.

P1040135Today, McCaskill spoke for about an hour at Avila University to a crowd of about 80 people, which consisted primarily of Avila students and administrators from several area colleges.

McCaskill got the audience’s attention early on when she said:

“It’s an embarrassing but true fact that if you’re a young person going to college, you’re more likely to be assaulted than if you don’t.”

 

Here are three other alarming facts she put forward:

:: Ten to 15 percent of colleges and universities don’t have a Title IX coordinator, often leaving that job, McCaskill said, “to a phys-ed teacher with a clipboard.” (Title IX is the 1972 federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.)

:: Many people mistakenly believe that most sexual assaults on campus are the result of the “hook-up culture” and widespread use of alcohol and illegal drugs. In fact, McCaskill said, “Most of the individuals who commit acts are predators, and they don’t do it just once; they do it over and over and over until they get caught.”

:: A survey McCaskill generated found that of 440 four-year colleges and universities, 41% of the schools surveyed had not initiated a sexual-assault investigation in the previous five years.

The survey results indicate one of two things, McCaskill said:

That the 41 percent either did not have complaints (extremely unlikely) or that students had tried to bring complaints but school officials had discouraged them from doing so (much more likely).

McCaskill’s bill would help address some of the existing situations by:

– Establishing new campus resources and support services for assault victims

– Requiring campus law enforcement personnel to have appropriate training

– Increasing campus accountability and coordination with law enforcement

– Establishing enforceable Title IX penalties

P1040141One of the possible penalties set forth in the act is that a college or university found to be in violation could forfeit up to one percent of its federal funding. McCaskill said she intended to amend that provision to say that up to one percent of a school’s federal funding would be redirected from general coffers to shoring up its sexual-assault prevention and investigation program.

McCaskill’s presentation, while very serious for the most part, had its lighter moments.

At one point, for example, Avila President Ron Slepitza asked McCaskill if it was possible, in her bill, to clear up conflicting provisions in other laws, such as the 1990 Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities receiving federal money to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses.

McCaskill looked at Slepitza for a second and said, “Well, you’re asking us to be efficient.” As laughter broke out, she added, “Do you know where I work?”

McCaskill is almost uniquely qualified to lead the charge to reduce sexual assault on campuses and to beef up schools’ prevention and investigation programs. For several years, when she was an assistant Jackson County prosecutor many years ago, she prosecuted sex-crime cases. In addition, she was Jackson County’s elected prosecutor from 1993 through 1998.

McCaskill told the Avila crowd that she remembered the time, in the early 1970s, when the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) was just getting started and when St. Luke’s Hospital was the only place where women could go to get tested for evidence of sexual assault.

…Thankfully, times have changed and we’ve come a long way on the problem of sexual assault on American campuses. But not nearly far enough or fast enough. A lot of heads remain in the sand, and McCaskill’s bill would go a long way, it appears, toward forcing school administrators to pull them out and pay much more attention to sexual assault on campuses.

As McCaskill alluded to in her joke — “Do you know where I work?” — dysfunction prevails in Congress, and the campus accountability and safety act could easily flounder in the sea of friction and disharmony. But McCaskill said she was willing to compromise to get a bill that would bring significant improvement, even if the bill didn’t hit all of her checkpoints.

“We’ve got to have bipartisan support, or it’s not going to pass,” she said. “I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

I was in Colorado over the weekend with a couple of friends, Vince Gauthier and Kaler Bole, and we got to see the aspen in their golden, early-October glory.

Of course, there was a lot more to the trip than laying eyes on beautiful scenery. Trips are always an adventure from start to finish, with the traveling itself and the people you encounter being every bit as important — and often as memorable — as the reason for the trip.

And this trip certainly was an adventure, from our overnight, 12-hour Amtrak rides to meeting and visiting with various people along the way.

As usual, I’m going to try to let the photos tell a good story. I hope you like it…

P1040046

My first great view, from the back of the westbound train, heading to Trinidad in southern Colorado.

P1040051

Kaler (left), Vince and I were happy campers on the train — until nighttime, that is, when finding a comfortable sleeping position in those coach cars becomes virtually impossible, unless you’re 4 feet tall and have a row to yourself.

P1040054

One of our first stops was Lake San Isabel, in the Wet Mountains, about 75 miles due north of Trinidad.

P1040068

Here is Kaler’s cabin. It’s in a “subdivision” called Aspen Acres, where most residents have about three-quarters of an acre to an acre.

selfie

This is an old-fashioned “selfie,” where you take your picture with a real camera equipped with a self-timer. (Remarkable invention.)

P1040073

No caption necessary.

P1040076

Ditto.

P1040075

Still in Aspen Acres.

P1040086

Like almost everywhere else, Aspen Acres is not immune to “progress” and development.

P1040105

I said almost everyone in Aspen Acres has about an acre. An exception is Randy Petersen, a pioneer in the development of frequent-flyer programs. Full-time Colorado Springs residents, he and his wife Julie have 40 acres.

P1040101

Randy’s picnic table tracks his larger-than-ordinary life story. (He was a black history and anthropology major at University of Nevada Las-Vegas, where he played football.)

 

P1040106

Several Aspen Acres residents motor around in “Gators” — two-seat, John Deere utility vehicles…With three people on board, I occupied the Gator Bed.

P1040108

One more landscape photo before moving into “the city.”

westcliffe

Saturday evening we went into Westcliffe, Pop. 600 (or less). It is between the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (in the distance). Sangre de Cristo is Spanish for “Blood of Christ.”

P1040116

Some rooms at the Golden Corner Suites motel (right) offer a fine view of the Sangre de Cristo range.

P1040114

In the Westcliffe pawn shop — where most of the action was — we ran into Roger Wise, who runs the local, nonprofit radio station, KWMU-FM, 95.9 on your dial — if you live in those parts. The station, operated by West Mountain Broadcasting Corp., is around the corner from the pawn shop.

 

I was at the physiatrist’s office today (they treat chronic back pain and other ailments), and I took my New York Times to read while waiting for various phases of the visit.

The doctor ordered an MRI (don’t worry, probably just a pinched nerve) and his assistant took me to the office of a young woman named Brittany to get the test scheduled.

While Brittany was on the phone setting it up, I turned to the obits page and saw that Rock and Roll legend Paul Revere had died. He was 76, and the cause was cancer. He died on Saturday at his home in Garden Valley, Idaho.

After Brittany hung up, I said, “Have you ever heard of Paul Revere & the Raiders?”

“No,” she said, giving me a pleasant smile.

“You haven’t heard of Paul Revere & the Raiders?” I asked again, just to make sure.

“No,” she said. Then, she looked down at the paper and said, “Is there good news about them?”

“No,” I said. “He died.”

“Oh,” she said.

Before leaving, I said, “Are you in your 20s?”

“Yes,” she replied, giving me the answer I was already pretty sure of.

Not that even being in her 30s would have made any difference, but her age helped me understand why she might not have heard of that famous 1960s group.

Paul — born Paul Revere Dick in Harvard, Nebraska — was the group’s founder and played keyboard. He was still touring with a band, which included none of the original members, until July.

The group’s songs included”Hungry” (’66), “Good Thing” (’67), “Indian Reservation” (’71) and my favorite, “Kicks” (’66), which Rolling Stone magazine rated No. 400 in The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

**

revere

Paul Revere (at left)

One reason this baby boomer is here is to keep you apprised of the passing of some of the most accomplished artists from the 60s — the greatest decade for pop music, hands down — when I was in high school and college.

Paul Revere and his raiders sure did offer me some solace (along with many other memorable artists) during my often-pained and lonely years at a Catholic, all-boys high school.

Thank you, Paul, I wish Brittany had become familiar with your music. Maybe she still will…

And now, for your Monday evening listening pleasure, click here for “Kicks.”

(One YouTube commenter said this video was from the TV show Hullabaloo, which aired in 1965 and 1966…Paul is off to the side, on the keyboard…Note those groovy dancers with the fringed dresses.)

 

**

If you will note the comments below, you will see that our most prolific commenter, John Altevogt, is a bass player and played with bands that took the stage before some headline groups.

Here’s a photo that John sent me of himself, in 1964, I believe, in a restaurant outside Detroit.

Grande Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John says this is a photo of Mick Jagger from a 1964 rolling Stones concert…

Stones 1964 2

 

While waiting for Game 3 of the American League Division Series, here’s a quick warm-up story.

My wife Patty was at the Brookside Market around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, checking out the offerings in the wine aisle, which is quite substantial, if you’re familiar with the market.

She sees a man wearing a zipped-up jacket and a baseball cap, but not a Royals cap. She immediately recognizes the man, to her great surprise, as none other than Royals manager Ned Yost.

Still carrying some of the joyous energy from Friday night’s thrilling victory over the Angels, Patty greeted him with an enthusiastic, almost-gushing, “Hi!” Ned, she said, responded with a smile and an almost equally enthusiastic hello.

Here’s how the brief conversation went from there:

Patty: “How are you?”

Ned: “Kind of tired.”

Patty: “We all are.”

Ned: “It’s a lot of fun, isn’t it?”

Patty: “It’s incredible.”

They then said goodbye, each resuming their perusal of the wine possibilities.

I’ve been in Colorado with a couple of friends the last few days, and Patty called me last night to relate the story. I put her on the speaker phone, and the three of us on our end were almost as thrilled at Patty’s telling of the story as she was at actually having met and talked to Ned.

…I’ve never seen Ned in the Brookside area, but it sounds like he might live in the area during the season. If that’s the case, I’m convinced, more than ever, that he’s the smartest man in baseball. (Of course, if you’d have asked me what I thought about him a few days after the All-Star break, when the Royals were tanking, you would have gotten a different opinion.)

But that’s baseball. Go Royals!

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