Hot Stove #121 – The Ides of March and a Lonnie’s Jukebox Update (NOT really a Hot Stove)

NOTICE: This is not a regular Hot Stove post (i.e. baseball themed), but that’s the mailing list I am using (because it’s the only one I have). If you are on the list solely for baseball, feel free to hit delete and await my next email (although you might want to check out the songs at the end – some real gems). The primary purpose of this post is to update the other tags on the Lonnie’s Jukebox website. Kudos to son Brian who has done a superb job of building this website.


I had been planning for some time to add a new tag for personal tributes. A nudge from the calendar has now prompted me to get this done. This coming Sunday is March 15. The Ides of March.

When some see that date, they first think of Julius Caesar and Shakespeare (“Beware…”). But not me. My first thought is Rich Ellison. He was born on that date in 1944, and I celebrated many a birthday with him. He and I also shared a thousand Saturday lunches (not an exaggeration) before he died of Parkinson’s in 2012. Rich and Mary were integral parts of our lives. Mary (now known as Molly) still is. I gave one of the eulogies at Rich’s funeral, and that is the tribute I am posting. Even if you did not know Rich, you may remember his radio ads. He was the “little dealer in the ditch” at Stadium Honda (located in a gully alongside 50 Highway). Below, playing gin at the beach on Tybee Island.


Woody Overton was my friend and political ally from the 1970s until he died in 2017. Rita and I celebrated New Year’s Eve with Woody and Jane for 39 straight years. One of my favorite stories in the eulogy was about one of those nights. The New Year’s Eve tradition continues with Jane, now at 42 years and counting, with a toast in memory of Woody as we welcome in each new year. Below, Lonnie and Woody on the Chunnel train between London and Paris.

Joe Reres married our long-time friend and Senator Tom Eagleton staffer Barbara Westhoven. I did not meet Joe until he was 69, but it was still a long relationship – he died on July 4, 2016, at age 96. A true Renaissance man. As for this photo of him, the backstory is in the tribute.


Bob Morantz also came into our life through politics. He married our friend Marsha Murphy who later became Jackson County Executive. Bob and Marsha were mavens to Rita and me in so many ways – two of which are featured later in this post (Telluride and African safaris). Bob died in 2016. Below, Marsha, Larry and Diana Brewer, Lonnie and Bob (Telluride, 2011; Rita was taking the photo).

I am also including a tribute that I did not write. It is the eulogy for Albert Riederer, delivered by Fred Slough, one of Albert’s early law partners. It is a wonderful remembrance of a man who touched so many lives. And continues to do so. Before Albert died in 2012, he established The Albert Fund, an ongoing venture supported by his friends and his wife (Judge Sandra Midkiff) to assist Bishop Sullivan Center in its mission to aid those with financial hardships. Below, four Jackson County politicos: Albert, Woody, Lonnie and Richard Martin.


 Two new posts have been added, both being for African photo safaris. We were first encouraged to go to Africa by Bob Morantz and Marsha Murphy. We have now been on five, and they are our five favorite vacations of all time.

South Africa – 2009.


Zambia – 2011.


Telluride Film Festival:

No new posts here, but some action on what will be the next one. On March 1, at 11:00 a.m., passes went on sale for the 2020 festival. Below, Rita at her computer at 10:58, poised to go online. It’s a good thing she was ready. All passes sold out within 20 minutes. We will again be at Telluride for Labor Day weekend. This will be out tenth time, dating back to 2011 when we were mentored by Bob Morantz and Marsha Murphy.


 Rita’s Cancer Journey:

A story from 2012/2013, told in four parts: (1) Diagnosis and Surgery; (2) Chemo – “Game On”; (3) Chemo Finale – Hallelujah!; and (4) Post-Chemo and On the Road Again.

The Beach Boys and Leonard Cohen played big roles. There were “Good Vibrations” from Rita’s support village and great lyrics from Leonard Cohen…

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Rita’s history with Leonard Cohen started when she purchased his debut album in 1968. Through a lucky connection, Leonard signed that album in 2015 (see the full story in Hot Stove #29).



No, this link has nothing to do with the 2020 campaign (but you can guess where I am). These are memories from campaigns of 30 plus years ago. There are two subcategories within this subject:

One primarily for local politics – Ken Hill,

The other for national – Tom Eagleton and Walter Mondale,

I will mention one current political item. Congressman James Clyburn is receiving major credit for the resurgence of Joe Biden. So I’m bringing out a photo that ran in Hot Stove in 2017. Clyburn and his colleague Congressman John Lewis were honored by the Truman Library Institute at their annual “Wild About Harry” dinner. Rita and I love our photo with them.

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Clyburn and Lewis were interviewed on stage that night by Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle. As recounted in Hot Stove #40, Clyburn talked about Harry Truman integrating the armed forces in 1948:

James Clyburn was eight years old in 1948. He told of how his father required the children of the family to keep up with current events – so he knew then what Harry Truman had done. At age 12, Clyburn became president of his NAACP youth chapter. In 1960, he had one of his stays in jail after he and hundreds of other South Carolina State students were arrested following a sit-in. He went hours with nothing to eat in jail. A volunteer named Emily brought a hamburger and gave him half. He married her in 1961 – now at 56 years and counting. [That was 2017. Sadly, Emily died in 2019]


What resonated with me that evening was the continued optimism and hope of Congressmen Lewis and Clyburn after working on civil rights for over 50 years. Their graciousness reminded me of Kansas City icon Buck O’Neil, and their shared values became a storyline in Hot Stove #41.

Another attendee at the Truman dinner would also make big news some two plus years later. John Sherman, one of the dinner sponsors, was then a part owner of the Cleveland Indians. He now of course owns the Kansas City Royals. Below, John, his wife Marny and Congressman Lewis (from Hot Stove #106).


Rita and I are obsessed. We have seen Hamilton in three cities. If you have seen the show, you know why we keep going. If you have not, check out my pre-show checklist (click on Hot Stove #99 and don’t miss the Posnanski articles).

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My annual MLK messages began in 2002, and in recent years have been incorporated into Hot Stove posts. The recent years are posted, and I hope to soon archive the earlier messages.

Hot Stove:

Archives of the Hot Stoves (120 and counting).

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Stadium Tours:

A separate tag for the Hot Stoves recounting our baseball stadium tours.

Lonnie’s Jukebox – The Original:

From 2009, on the occasion of Van Horn’s 50th class reunion. The story is told chronologically through 50 rock ‘n’ roll records. If you have Spotify, you can listen to all 50 in a playlist (click here).

Lonnie’s Jukebox – The Search Feature: Please note that there is a search box in the website. For example, if your name has been in a post, you can search and read about yourself again. Or any other subject.


Lonnie’s Jukebox – Tributes Edition: As chosen by Barbara, Jane, Molly, Sandy and Marsha, I am playing a favorite song for each of the five guys featured at the top of this post. Just click on the song title to listen.

 Joe Reres: “Singin’ in the Rain” performed by Gene Kelly. Joe loved classic movies, and when Rita and I visited Joe and Barbara at their home near D.C., he often played one from his vast video library. A big favorite was Singin’ in the Rain (1952), featuring Gene Kelly dancing and singing the title song.

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 Woody Overton: “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac. Woody was a Fleetwood Mac fan, and this song from the 1977 Rumours album took on added significance for him in 1992. Woody was running the Bill Clinton campaign office in Kansas City, and “Don’t Stop” was the theme song for the national campaign. After his victory, Clinton asked Fleetwood Mac to reunite its original group and perform the song at the Inaugural Gala. They did so, and among those in the arena audience that night were Woody and Jane with their daughters Beth and Kathleen. Rita and I were also there – I got to see two of my rock ‘n’ roll idols, Chuck Berry and Little Richard (click here for their set). To list just a few of the others: Streisand, Aretha, Elton, Michael Jackson and Judy Collins. Below, Clinton welcomed to the stage by Stevie Nicks.


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Rich Ellison: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. Cohen wrote this haunting song that has been covered by hundreds of artists (Google the song title and KD Lang or Jeff Buckley for two of the best). But Molly says that Rich liked the Cohen touch on his own song. Rita and I applaud that choice (see “Rita’s Cancer Journey” above).

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 Albert Riederer: “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. In early 1978, Albert decided to run for his first office – a seat on the Jackson County legislature. The number one album in the country at the time was Saturday Night Fever, and the number one single from the album was “Stayin’ Alive.” Sandy says it was Albert’s favorite song. When I hear the song, I think of the Brewery, a Brookside restaurant/bar in which I had a partial ownership interest. This was the late 1970s, and so the bar’s jukebox (a real one) was full of songs from the movie soundtrack – “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love,” “More Than a Woman,”, etc. Love the music.

Rita reminded me that this music, Albert and the Brewery had another connection. A fundraiser for Albert’s 1978 campaign was held on a Saturday afternoon at the Brewery. The theme: “Saturday Afternoon Fever.” Albert won his race (and many later ones), and so it’s understandable why this song endured as his favorite.

Saturday Night Fever (40th Anniversary Edition -

Bob Morantz: “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan (this clip is from Martin Scorsese’s 1978 movie The Last Waltz, documenting the farewell concert of The Band). Marsha says that Dylan was the artist for Bob Morantz, and that this was his favorite Dylan song. “Like Dylan, Bob could not carry a tune, so he did not mind that Dylan always sang off-key.” But oh my what lyrics.

In 2012, when Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen received their prestigious PEN literature awards (the first-ever for song lyrics), Dylan called Berry the “Shakespeare of rock and roll” and Cohen the “Kafka of the blues.” Five years later, Dylan also got an award for lyrics – the first songwriter to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. A sample:

 May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

 Thank you to Bob. Morantz and Dylan.