Musings on Greek Mythology

Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with the concept and details of Greek Mythology and how they directly reflect the values of the ancient societies that they were crafted from. In a way, these mythic tales about various gods and goddesses are really stories about the people of Greece as they fostered the greatest society that the earth has ever seen.

Greek mythology dates back to the 8th century B.C. and while the stories themselves are interesting and fun to read, if you take a closer look, there’s a lot to be gleaned from their origins.

For example, we’re all familiar with Hades – the underworld – where souls go after death and where their ruler (also named Hades) reigned supreme. The creation of this fictional land of the dead indicates that the Greeks held a developed concept of life after death and believed that there were powerful supernatural beings that exist beyond man’s knowledge.

Another interesting insight into the Greek culture is highlighted through the deity Dionysus, the god of wine, theater and celebration. He was “the social god.” It’s curious to think of how important these aspects were to a people who lived so long ago without the conveniences of modern technology. I guess partying and the pursuit of joy is as old as time.

It’s also intriguing that the gods/goddesses in Greek mythology are flawed and have their own distinct personalities that leave them open to error; whereas religious figures in modern beliefs are examples of perfection and holiness.

It makes one thing about how drastically different the ancient Greeks thought about the world compared with our views and understandings today. And yet, what amazes me is that many of the same themes and thoughts that originated from their society still persist all over the world today.

These themes add a human element to the Greek myths and highlight the unescapable qualities of human nature. While Greek gods were certainly flawed, notions of good and evil and of consequences still resonate within every culture on the planet. Later on, the Greeks would also lay the foundations for Western philosophy with great thinkers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

Whether it’s the ancient Greek myths or the classic epics of Homer, we can learn a lot about ancient man (and ourselves) through these stories. I would highly recommend anyone to spend a little time to explore this vast area of knowledge.

I think you will find the works to be enriching as well as a lot of fun!

~ Scott Asner Kansas City, Missouri

Cost-Effective Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

It’s essential that we give back to our environment in any way we can, and at Eighteen Capital Group, we do this by incorporating cutting-edge “green” technologies in all of our managed properties. Sustainability is key to the preservation of our ecosystem, and we can practice this in a multitude of ways. Homes that exude eco-friendly qualities will not only give back to our environment, but they can also save you money in the long-run–certainly a win-win in my book.

In an effort to make our homes environmentally conscious, here are a few excellent and cost-effective upgrades you can make:

  • Install a Smart Meter: One of the biggest culprits of energy consumption in your home is your heating system. Especially true during the cold winter months, your heating system uses an exorbitant amount of energy and money. To solve this problem, you may want to consider installing a smart meter. Smart meters can be programmed for maximum efficiency, they are an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint, and they will save you money on your next energy bill.
  • Energy Efficient Light Bulbs: Cheap and easy to find, energy-efficient light bulbs are another sure-fire way to promote sustainability in your home. These bulbs use less electricity while lasting much longer than the average bulb.
  • Window Treatments: While natural light can add the perfect aesthetic to a home, too much natural light can make your house a bit warmer, requiring your air conditioning system to work hard to keep your house cool. In turn, this can cause significant increases in your energy bill at the end of the month. To solve this problem, consider the various window treatments you can invest in for your home. From glass tints to curtains, there are many cost-effective options to keep the temperature of your house regulated properly.
  • Low Flow Shower Heads: Long, hot showers can lead to wasted water and energy. Luckily, low-flow shower heads are the perfect solution for individuals who enjoy 10-15 minutes of peace in the shower but don’t want to waste money and water. Low flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40% or more. These shower heads exude sustainability by reducing water consumption while decreasing your water bill at the same time.

While these are only a few small examples, there are a multitude of ways to practice sustainability in your home. This is a practice we take very serious throughout Eighteen Capital Group and in my own home. How do you practice sustainability in your home?

~ Scott Asner Kansas City, Missouri (Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group)

Going Green

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At Eighteen Capital Group, one of our most important principles is to ensure that managed properties benefit from added value components, such as integrating cutting-edge “green” technologies into the mix. For example, green-retrofit utility expense reduction and other efficiencies are key elements of the 18CG experience.

Why go green?

Many people believe that “green” simply means reducing our carbon footprint by using alternative sources of clean energy, such as wind or solar-generated power.  However, green technologies can be applied to almost all areas of our daily lives and the benefits of using them extend far beyond responsible stewardship of our planet’s natural resources and protecting the environment.

Although it sounds complicated, green retrofitting is essentially just taking what you already have and making it more efficient and more cost effective. The process is relatively new, but the number of consumers and businesses implementing it is expanding rapidly.

The process involves renovating commercial and residential properties and upgrading/greening basic systems to produce more efficient water use, better lighting, and better heating and cooling systems.  These new technologies are not only more efficient, but more cost effective. In commercial buildings, they not only save money, but improve the work environment and therefore increase both the morale and productivity of employees. The same holds true at residential properties, where residents benefit by saving money on monthly utility costs.  This is what I call a win-win – a win for the environment and a win for businesses and consumers.

In California, a state that is challenged by serious droughts and other environmental issues, new water technologies are helping to reduce chronic water shortages by processing water more efficiently.  The improved efficiency increases the volume of re-usable water and reduces the time it takes to process and reintroduce that water into the available distribution matrix. In a state like California, that has significant implications for the entire population.

The skyrocketing financial costs and long-term environmental damage associated with relying exclusively on limited supplies of fossil fuels are no longer in doubt.  More and more, fossil fuels are being replaced by natural energy sources that do not damage the environment and reduce costs.

Green retrofitting is the next step in this process of energy evolution, cutting down on waste and pollution, reducing costs and allowing all of us to contribute a more healthy environment.

~ Scott Asner Kansas City, Missouri

Tipping Point: Will New Faces on Defense Propel Chiefs to go all the way in 2019?

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With the September 8 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars just weeks away, I’m excited about the Kansas City Chiefs’ prospects for 2019.  Like every other Chiefs fan, I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time – ever since our heart-breaking overtime loss to the New England Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship game.

Unless you were living in a cave last season, it would have been impossible not to notice that second year-quarterback Patrick Mahomes lit up the scoreboard all season long, becoming just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season. Mahomes led the chiefs to an impressive 12-4 regular season record, a performance that was good enough to earn Kansas City the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs – the first time the Chiefs reached the top seed in the conference since 1997. It was also good enough to earn Patrick Mahomes the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award.

Despite having the NFL’s best offense and home-field advantage, I was still concerned the Chiefs might somehow find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when they faced the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round.  After all, the Chiefs had lost the last six of their previous home playoff games and 4 of their last playoff games against Indianapolis.

My fears proved to be unfounded.  Mahomes picked apart the Colts secondary and Kansas City’s unstoppable offense rolled up an impressive 31-13 victory to end 25 years of playoff drought. 

Although the Chiefs fielded the best offense in the league, the defense – which ranked second to last among NFL teams in total defense – played inconsistently throughout the season.  Despite performing well against Indianapolis in the divisional round, the defense collapsed in the second half of the AFC Conference Championship against New England, allowing the Patriots to run the ball into the end zone during the overtime period (and ending our dreams of Superbowl glory). 

Following the conclusion of the 2018 season, the Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and brought in Steve Spagnuolo, a veteran defensive guru who is known for running aggressive defenses and favoring unconventional blitzing schemes.  Spagnuolo has a lot of experience coaching defense for winning teams, most notably the 2007 New York Giants Super Bowl team.  He also worked previously as part of Andy Reid’s coaching staff with the Philadelphia Eagles and spent two years as a head coach with the St. Louis Rams.

In addition to changing the defensive coaching staff and going from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3, the Chiefs let some marquee players go. Gone are defensive lineman Allen Bailey, linebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford, cornerback Steven Nelson and safety Eric Berry.  Given the disaster that was the Chiefs’ secondary last year – not to mention Berry’s chronic injury issues – those moves should have come as no surprise.  Losing veterans Dee Ford and Justin Houston DID surprise a lot of people, yet considering the move to a 4-3 defense, it may prove to be justified.

Their likely replacements include defensive linemen Frank Clark, a free agent acquisition formerly with the Seattle Seahawks and Alex Okafor, acquired from the New Orleans Saints.  Along with linebacker Damien Wilson (Dallas Cowboys), all three of these players have significant experience playing in the 4-3 scheme.  Adding to the mix are free agent defensive backs Bashard Breeland (Green Bay Packers) and Tyrann Mathieu (Houston Texans).  Bashard, a cornerback who played with the Washington Redskins for three seasons, signed with the Packers last September.  Despite playing in only 7 games last season, he amassed 20 tackles, four passes defended, two interceptions and a tackle for loss.  Tyrann Mathieu is a veteran safety who will provide leadership and depth.

The new free agents will be joined by veteran stalwarts Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland at linebacker, defensive tackle Chris Jones (who just reported to training camp after a long holdout) and defensive backs Daniel Sorenson (safety) and Kendall Fuller (cornerback).  Juan Thornhill, a second- round pick in the 2019 draft, has impressed in training camp and will likely compete with Sorenson for the starting free safety slot.

Will this makeover of the Chiefs defense be enough to take them over the threshold?  No one can say for certain, but we will all know soon enough.  One thing I do expect: a vastly improved Kansas City Chiefs defense.

~ Scott Asner Kansas City, Missouri

Ready for the Kick-off…

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Hey sports fans – Scott here.

This is the launch of my personal blog where I’ll be covering topics that interest me.

Watch this space to get the latest on everything from sports to business to all-things-Kansas City.

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We’ll talk soon.

~ Scott Asner Kansas City, Missouri