Saturday, February 25, 2012


     You know as we get more and more frustrated with Washington and politicians in general, it seems kind of nice to go to a meeting with one and find a real person.  Our Representative made a town hall visit recently.  He is a first term congressman and is not an attorney, this is a plus in my books.  He came from a farm, which is even better.  He was even shorter than I thought.
     I enjoyed his honesty when the first statement he made was "this country is bankrupt".  Everyone that balances a checkbook and earns a living already knows this.  He quoted our Treasury Secretary as saying, "we don't have to pay off our nations debt".  This from a man who could not pay his own income tax.
     I have never understood the mentality of people who see things going wrong and still stay with the, 'party line,' that everything is great.  This is why it was so refreshing to have a represenative tell it as it is.  And he blames both parties for many of the problems in Washington, which is right!
     It is a fact that the Senate has not passed a budget in over 1000 days, and the only thing being passed by the senate are spending measures, and the buck.  I do not know how the opinions and ideas of the citizens who attended will make a difference, when he goes back to Washington, but we do know that they have been noted and the Congressman and his staff know how we feel here.
     One battle that my congressman faces everyday in Washington is the number of actual rural people there are so small that many members of committees, and the congress as a whole, thinks food comes from the grocery store.  They are also constantly lobbied by organizations who try to regulate, control, and even ban agriculture for reasons only they really know, or will confess.
     Lets hope that other areas of the country will send real level headed people to congress and get rid of the career politician that is destroying our way of life.  Think it is not being destroyed?  Just set down and listen to the information witheld from the people who are supposed to oversee it.
     By the way, my congressman set on a committee hearing where the number five man from China told the Congress that if they did not start changing, and paying out debt, that they are afraid we will default.  The trouble with this was the Chinese Rep. was right.  Think we are wasting resources now?  Wait until all the resources are sent overseas to pay our debts.
    One more piece of good news, the Pipeline that the administration stopped would carry the same amount of oil to us that we purchase from Saudi Arabia each day.  Too bad that Canadian oil will now go to China.
    Lets see now, China enemy, Saudia Arabia enemy, Canada friend.  How does this work out?

Monday, February 20, 2012


There is so much dictated to the listener of radio and entertainment that sometimes it is hard to really listen to what you deep down love and what you are told is what you love.  This is a problem myself and a lot of people have with the corporate world of music run out of Nashville, New York, and LA.  A business that was bought and paid for by the Japanese and Dutch years ago.  That is why so many top acts seem to sound alike, there is a formula that is followed.  Radio for the most part is also owned by corporate giants who work hand in hand with the 'suits'.

This Saturday night I had a real delema on music that I love and the lack of ability to be in more than spot.  I really love and respect both George Strait and Martina McBride.  They came to Wichita where they entertained 13,000 fans.  At the same time the Wichita Bluegrass Festival was going on in another part of town.  I wanted to be at both places, but!

I have a tremendous love and respect for my friends the Diamond W Wranglers.  They debuted their 12th CD, OUTLAWS AND LOVERS, at the Old Cowtown Museum's Visitor Center.  With a capacity of 150 there were people setting on the window ledges.  I had to be there!

The Diamond W Wranglers are tops in the Western Music field, which is often ignored by mainstream radio.  The talent and craft of this latest album brings out a unique combination of songs that have been recorded in many genre', as well as their own originals, that shows how many 'cowboy songs' are disguised as other types in many fields.

Outlaws and Lovers still pays tribute to the roots of western, but puts a great spin on other great songs proving that good music is good music.  And the originals songs prove how talented and versitile the Wranglers really are.  Jim Farrell, who owns his own recording studio, has sweated blood to make this a truly great album.  You will start hearing the songs palyed on BOB FM in Wichita and I am sure you will soon hear them on KLLS FM in Wichita also.

I believe that this CD is going to bridge the gap of Western into mainstream music and the stations that ignore them will be playing catch up!  Let your station know you want to hear the Wranglers.

Instead of waiting for the radio to catch up I would Google Diamond W Wranglers and get your own copy.  I would have loved to been with Martina and George and a lot of my neighbors that night, Martina is our hometown hero, but there will be times ahead.  Wish I could talk her into recording a Western album.

So there are real people out there that will delight you with their songs and talent.  There was so much in Wichita this weekend that you could not take advantage.  But it shows you that there is so much more than the radio gives you you should check out the 'real world' of music.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I ventured over to our neighboring town of Sharon Kansas on Saturday night to get a hamburger at the BULL PEN.  Two things to note here.  The Bull Pen is a new little tavern in a town of around 200.  Because of the spirit of this small struggling rural town there are only a handful of businesses.  The COOP, Liquor store, a repair shop, a small grocery that is struggling to stay open with volunteer help (great sausage made once a week). And the Bull Pen.
     The other thing of note is that Sharon is the home town of Martina McBride.  You can imagine the pride of the residents of not only the town but the whole county and state.
     When I stepped into the Bull Pen the place was busy as can be.  In an old 1800's former grocery building.  There is a great tin ceiling that is original and never meesed up.  Wood floors and an old double door on the front that has a tendency to swing wide open and let the winter wind in if it is not caught quick.
     I prefer places like this to visit over any uptown offering in the big cities.  I sat at a table with people I did not know because there was the only space left.  No problem, we visited like we knew each other for years.  Then the GYP HILLS BAND started playing.  Just two songs in and guess who came on the big screen TV with the Grand Ole Opry on.  You guessed it Martina!  The band took a break the TV was turned up to hear the home town star and everyone loved it.  I thought only in small town rural America would this happen.
     You know there are great little places all over rural America just like the Bull Pen.  We have The Lumber Yard, Buster's, and the Vintage house all in easy drive of this county of 4500 people.  Each place with great food, people, and atmosphere.
     Maybe you can find one of these little places not far from your home and instead of giving money to an out of state conglomerate, have a good meal and help keep a little atmosphere alive.
     Here in Kansas we have The Kansas Sampler Foundation that helps locate these places and keeps rural America alive.  Why don't you find a guide book for your area?  Besides you can use the fresh air, get to see some great country, and support some great people.
     I hear there is a great hamburger at Mo's in Beaver,KS I heard of another place in Macksville.  Guess it is time for a little road trip.

Friday, February 10, 2012


     Well Winter finally raised its head and it is White outside.  It came just as lovely and perfect as can be.  We are not used to snow without wind.  It lays on the wheat and pastures giving a nice shot of nitrogen as well as moisture.  Now we have been lucky with a relatively mild winter.  But Kansas can turn on you in an instant.
     Now lucky for us February is such a short month and we can get a glimpse of spring ahead.  Of course this means tornado season is on us.  It is funny how people who have not been in Kansas have this notion that we all get blown away by tornados.  Greensburg probably brings this outlook the most.  It is a fact of life that we have spectacular storms and there are tornados.  I have had California people ask me how we can stand it here with all the tornados?  Then I tell them "80% of Kansans will never see a tornado in their life, but how can you stand California because you shake, burn, and slide and that effects everyone there"?
     I recently attended, and was on the planning committee of, the BIG RURAL BRAINSTORM.  I was with 200 people from all over the state trying to think outside the box about how to go back home with new ideas that can be put into practice right away.  Things that make living in rural and small town Kansas better.  And there were a lot of ideas.  Many towns or areas had specific problems and were looking for inovative solutions.
     The host organization was the KANSAS SAMPLER FOUNDATION.  Director Marci Penner and assistant Wendee LaPlant did a bang up job of creating and running this first time event.  We do not even know all the good that is happening as result of this.  Time will see if we hit our target.  The conections made and resources discovered are going to make a great difference in Kansas.
     The KANSAS SAMPLER FOUNDATION is unique to Kansas.  Not another state has a group like this.  They have a festival every year that spends two years in the same town then rotates to another part of the state.  It is a showcase for everything Kansas.  It has all the tourist attractions, regional interests, entertainers, Kansas made products, and the group known as the KANSAS TRAVELERS.  There are members of the Travelers that make an effort to see everything about Kansas, take day trips, help small shops and cafes, many go on quests.  One member is starting a quest to eat a Sampler Standard handmade Chicken Fried Steak in every county in the state.
     If you are outside of Kansas you should consider looking at starting a Sampler foundation for your state.  It is unbelievable all the things that the Foundation has done over the years to make rural and small town life better.
     Well here is looking for spring.  Hope Global Warming kicks in pretty soon.