If you read the obits in The Kansas City Star, you know that family members, in preparing obituaries for the deceased, usually strive to capture the essence of the person. That is, what he or she excelled out, where he or she made his or her mark.
Frequently, it comes down to something like this…”Above all, he (she) loved his (her) family and was a devoted father (mother) and spouse. He (she) took his (her) greatest joy in spending time with family members.”
That is well and good. But I think that most of us want to be remembered for something other than being loving, loyal family members. Don’t the vast majority of us strive to make some kind of mark outside the home? Something that people will remember us by?
Photos courtesy of Sherri Parker
Marti Dolinar, who died last Wednesday from an infection run amok, was such a person. He was seeking to do something that would allow him to sit back and say, “I’ve done something special here.” And he managed to do just that, in his role as The Smartman, a regular commenter on this and other blogs. He was consistently witty, outrageous, insightful and combative. He gave me and other commenters a target to shoot at. And he liked that.
One of his best catches was on a post I put up on Thursday, July 18, just six days before he died. Always a cheerleader for the Power & Light District, I giddily cited a KC Star story quoting a Downtown Council survey reporting that 13.4 million people had visited downtown last year — compared with 2.5 million in 2012.
The Smartman weighed in early the next morning, saying: “If you take 13.4 million visitors per year divided by 365 days in a year, that averages out to 36,712 visitors per day. Explain that? Are we counting everyone that works downtown as a daily ‘visitor’? ”
That stopped me cold. I e-mailed the fellow at the Downtown Council who was in charge of the so-called “self-reported” survey but didn’t hear back. Then I e-mailed the writer of the story, Kevin Collison, and asked him about it, especially what the term “self-reported” meant. Collison said that the individual venues, such as Sprint Center, Gordon Biersch, the Bristol, Johnny’s Tavern, etc., submitted their numbers to the Downtown Council, and the council simply compiled and reported them.
That changed the whole complexion of the “survey” and essentially discredited it.
The exchange between me and The Smartman prompted “Chuck,” who has been the second most prolific commenter on this blog, to say, “Hell of a nice catch, Smarty.”
And now, to send Marti along on his eternal journey, I want to give him the floor, once again…Here are some classic comments that The One and Only Smartman penned on this blog the last few years.
:: July 11, 2013, in response to a facetious rant in which I said I was “sick and tired of playing second fiddle to this guy The Smartman.”
Fitz, at best I am Ed McMahon to your Johnny Carson, Keith to your Mick, (Lewis) Diuguid to your Hemingway……that may be a bit extreme……but I remain your humble commenter.
:: July 10, 2013, on whether Kansas City should build a new single terminal at KCI:
I’d get more on board with a new airport if it served any real purpose other than stroking the Slyborg’s ego. (Slyborg is Mayor Sly James.) It will not improve tourism, convention business, or anything for that matter…At this point, with all the other social, operational and mechanical problems we have, $1.2 billion is just insane. The majority of that burden will fall on the local business traveler, not so much (on) inbound and departing tourists or business travelers. As time goes on more and more people will use Skype or Go To Meeting as option one for business meetings versus business travel. In the big scheme of things we are porcine in KC. We don’t need a new pig pen, just some fresh mud.
:: July 9, 2013, on a series of photos I posted from a recent trip to Los Angeles:
Ah, Fitz, welcome back, your pictures brought a warm smile to my face. Glad you enjoyed your trip. Hope you enjoyed the Reagan Library. Every time I think of my visit there, sitting in the final exhibit that shows the video from the funeral I well up with tears. Got to get back their soon.
:: Also July 9, 2013, on my account of going to an upscale Los Angeles restaurant filled with beautiful people:
I discovered a long time ago that when dining in LA, there are no ugly people.
:: July 1, 2013, on a post about the last words of convicts being executed in Texas:
I think upon my death I’ll have a website launched with my last lecture. It will start with, “To all of you idiots that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.”
:: March 10, 2012, on a post that included a photo of our 25-year-old daughter, Brooks:
I’m assuming that your daughter got her good looks from her mother.
:: Jan. 18, 2012, on a response I had made to one of his comments:
One more thing. I’m not sure whether you complimented or insulted me, Fitz. I’m calling it a draw. Remind me not to send you a Christmas card again next year.
:: Dec. 1, 2011, on a post highlighting some of Chicago’s landmarks:
Fitz, Portillo’s is to Chicago what Gates and Bryant’s are to KC. Not the healthiest place to eat, but the dogs, ribs and Italian beef are BIBLICALLY good. The downtown location is as good of a place to people watch as Central Park or Venice Beach.
:: Oct. 30, 2011, recounting a chance meeting with former KCTV-5 anchorwoman Anne Peterson:
I was 18 at the time. She was covering the funeral of KCK Commissioner Tom Lally. As I approached her she smiled sweetly at me. For one of the few times in my life I was positively speechless. She moved on. I was frozen in time like a pillar of salt at the intersection of Sodom and Gomorrah. To have that moment over again. What might have been? I do think I’ve aged better than her so perhaps it’s all for the best.
:: Aug. 27, 2011, on my equivocation about using the F-word to describe my frustration at John Covington having resigned unexpectedly as Kansas City school superintendent:
With all due respect to your wife (who had succeeded in urging me to remove the word), put the F BOMB back. There are times, even in polite and civilized journalistic discourse that it is required to drive home a point. This is one of those times.
Today, Marti’s funeral is being held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kan. He was 52 and, for most of his life, made his living selling plastic packaging. He lived in the Brookside area with his girlfriend, Sherri Parker.
As his obit (published in Saturday’s Kansas City Star) said: “He had an overwhelming enthusiasm for life and a clever sense of humor.”
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