Saturday, November 30, 2013



                        LIVE AS IF YOU WERE TO DIE TOMORROW
                                LEARN AS IF TO LIVE FOREVER.
                                                Mahatma Gandhi

     Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is past I have time to reflect on the blessings that I have received.  It is no secret that many good things have been imparted to me in my life.  Even with the problems that come with life, I cannot but marvel at what is in my life.  Even through some health problems and trying to find what is causing a lot of pain, I have to be amazed at what comes into my life.
     At one point in my life I lost all my closest friends in a short period of time, mostly from Cancer.  I cannot say that I had a good outlook on the rest of my life at that point.  But as they say "when God closes a door he opens a window."
     To deal with the loss I started to write poetry for no other reason than to express the loss and make some sense of it.  With the life experiences that I brought to the verse it, of course, it turned into country and cowboy poetry.  And from that I turned back to the vocal music that I always loved.
      Through the fortunate grace of Ol' Mike Oatman I was invited to several of the Cowboy Poetry Gatherings.  While with Old Cowtown Museum I started singing more and discovered the Western Music Association.  And with the discovery of this group I gained a whole new set of friends.  The numbers keep growing and it amazes me the new friends that I have.
     And when you have a bad spell of health you find how good friends you have.  I was very afraid about going alone to the Western Music Association Convention and Awards in Albuquerque NM.  A ten and a half hour drive from home, plus everything held in the hotel complex and then the awards downtown at the KIMO Theater.
      I was on a walker by this time with a lot of pain.  Just as I about gave up I had two calls from my friends Jim Farrell and Jeff Davidson.  They decided to ride with me and help with the driving.  With the help of the WMA crew, Rick Huff and Marsha Short, a power chair was delivered to the hotel for my use.  With the whole place helping I had a great convention.  And a new level of appreciation of friends I had never foreseen a few years ago.  I did not even run over anyone.  I will save the controls caught on high in the men's room.  The staff at the Marriott was also outstanding and helpful.
     We had another scare with the weather and news people telling how bad the storms were down there.  They are not anymore accurate down there than here.  The one reporter had to drive a ways to find a snow bank big enough to stand in front of.
     We had a group of family and friends with us for Thanksgiving and it is a great privilege to have so many who mean so much.  It is also a time to pause and hope that those who spend this holiday season alone will have the comfort of new friends takeing them in and support them in bad times.
     Hopefully the source of my pain will be fixed soon.  I turn to think about the ranchers up in South Dakota.  A couple of WMA friends were up there for a fund raiser last weekend.  In the 'important' news cycle of the government shutting down, the tragedies up north have been basically swept under the rug.  But then it has always been up to us to take care of our own.  Let's get started on that.

Friday, November 15, 2013


                            MISERIES OF MANKIND ARE BROUGHT
                                  UPON THEM BY FALSE ESTIMATES THEY
                                          HAVE MADE OF THE VALUE
                                                     OF THINGS.
                                                              Benjamin Franklin

     By the time you are reading this I will either be at or coming from my annual visit that I refer to as looking into the window of Heaven.  It is not being there but experiencing a lot of what I expect it to be like.  Wonderful music with hundreds of artists and fans.  The sound and fellowship that we just don't have in huge numbers in our daily lives.
     I am referring to the Western Music Association 25th Convention, Showcase, and Awards in Albuquerque New Mexico.   You have heard the style of music here and there and it used to be on the radio in Wichita until KFDI (KFTI) AM 1070 changed format after the retirement of Johnny Western.
     Those of you who get their music only from radio or television have been denied the music that once was an important part of COUNTRY AND WESTERN.  Of course that was in the days of American owned and controlled music companies.  What passes today as your 'favorite' music is a narrow view from corporate offices that do not consider artist merit but just the 'comercial viability' of the artist and music.
      A WMA member in the UK heard a comment from a Disk Jockey one day that it was such a shame that Western Music had died.  Well he was soon corrected.  The Western Music industry with all its various genre' is still very much alive in today's world.  It celebrates the past of traditional cowboy, to the Silver Screen cowboy, the poetry of the cowboy, and the still growing world of the new west.
     I will be in a crowd that celebrates the work of Lloyd Nolan, to Johnny Cash, the song of the trail drive cowboys to Roy Rogers Jr., from Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood.  Music of the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, Johnny Western, RW Hampton, Bing Crosby, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Tim Spencer, Wesley Tuttle, Michael Martin Murphy, Rex Allen Jr. Red Steagall, Vaughn Monroe, all part of the Hall of Fame.
     Also with the artists of today Barry Ward, Diamond W Wranglers, Belinda Gail, Judy Coder, Fred Hargrove, Open Range, Trails and Rails, Gary Allegretto, Lynn Anderson, Bill Barwick, Les Buffam, Call of the West, Patty Clayton, Miss Devon Dawson (yes Jesse the Yodeling Cowgirl), Don Edwards, Juni Fisher, Kerry Grohmbacher, and many many more.
     What excites me most is the young people who are the future of the music, the Hanson Family, Kristyn Harris, Ball Family Singers, Chelsea Beck, Naomi Bristow, Mikki Daniel, Mathew Maccravy, and Austin O'Dell.  Every year we have some new you artists show up and blow our hats off.
     Where do you find this great music?  The best way is to go to the website for information on the artists and how to get there music.  You can attend one of the dozens of festivals all over the western half of the country.  For those of you lucky enough to have a radio station that plays our artists let them know you appreciate it.
     What can you do to be a part of this music?  The WESTERN MUSIC ASSOCIATION is a FAN as well as artist based organization.  You can be a part of the music industry you love and be on an equal footing with those performing it.

Monday, November 11, 2013


                             ELSE'S PLAN.  AND GUESS WHAT THEY
                                     HAVE PLANNED FOR YOU?
                                            NOT MUCH.
                                                                        Jim Rohn

     Since the Christmas buying season now seems to start before Halloween and even the decorations are going up in yards before Thanksgiving, I guess it is time for this story.  This assumes that you fall into the categories that all the big merchandisers hope you do.  You are ready to get out there and spend hard earned money to give away to people who expect it of you.
     Don't worry I am not going on the grump about gift giving.  Giving should be something that you want to do rather than an obligation.  Giving always is worth more when it hurts a bit. 
     Before you go out shopping take time to plan a bit.  Make sure that you have provided some support for your church and charitable organizations.  Then consider what and where you are going to buy your merchandise for everyone else.
     It irritates me that so many make the mindless Black Friday shopping binge.  Now they are making employees work on Thanksgiving so the major stores can be open and you can ruin your holiday and theirs to throw money at companies out of the state and country.
     Those of you that read my stories and do not get in a huff before I get my point across, know of my support for rural and small town business.  Local artists and craftsmen make a large amount of their living during the holiday season.  So let's stop and commit to day trips around the state and shop local for this season.  Also stop and buy your postage in the small Post Offices, and eat locally.
      If you don't know where to go or start, check out the KANSAS SAMPLER FOUNDATIONS guide for Kansas businesses, eateries, artists, and craftsmen. .  Also go to KANSAS MADE for their website of Kansas owned companies and products.  Also consider the gift of music.  We have wonderful artists with CD's for sale.  Let me give you a few names.  Most have websites but just Google the name and it will come up and order some great CD's
     Diamond W Wranglers, Jeff Davidson, Judy Coder, Ann Zimmerman, Zerf, Barry Ward, Fred Hargrove, Kelly Hunt, Cindy Novelo, Don Clark, Roger Ringer , Prairie Rose Rangers, Ron Wilson, and check the website for more artists.
    Now I am going to list some of my favorites:  ADRIANS BOUTIQUE - BUHLER, guys you cannot go wrong making a woman happy shopping here, check out the other stores and food in Buhler.  BRANDT'S MEATS - LUCAS, the best ring bologna I have found but get your order in before Dec 1.  THE REST OF LUCAS ART SHOPS.  While your in the neighborhood the smoked and cured meats at the grocery store in Wilson.  Those great Chech. recipes that I cannot pronounce.  While in Wilson eat at MADE FROM SCRATCH, the name says it all.
     THE ENTIRE TOWN OF LINDSBORG, DOWNTOWN ELLINWOOD, eat at the Wolf's Den.  DOWNTOWN WINFIELD, HENRY'S CANDY - DEXTER.  Stop at the barn right north of Dexter for some great gifts and your pumpkins.
     SAGE BRUSH GALLERY - MEDICINE LODGE.  THE GUN ROOM, - MEDICINE LODGE. Eat at Buster's Saloon in Sun City then go shop in Coldwater and Greensburg.  Eat at the LUMBER YARD in ZENDA.  Shop FAMILY FOODS IN SAWYER for the best home baked bread and rolls plus a deli case full of Troyer meats and cheeses.  They also have some of the best canned fruits and items.
     There is also great shopping in downtown NEWTON, MCPHERSON, HUTCHINSON, GREAT BEND, LIBERAL, AND COTTONWOOD FALLS.  When you eat a EMMA CHASE tell them Roger sent you.
     I can go on and on.  The point is if you are going to spend money and want to enjoy doing it, and staying home on the holiday, try rural Kansas.

Friday, November 8, 2013


                            THE MORE CORRUPT THE STATE,
                                     THE MORE NUMEROUS THE LAWS.

     You do not have to be of any particular political party, faction, or philosophy to not be aware at the hazardous condition of our Republic.  And yes we are a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC not a Democracy.  If you have a problem with that you are showing your either lack of education in our history or a passion to promote your philosophy.
      Many of my readers mistake the fact that I am totally disgusted with the political warfare on the individual by assuming I am a champion for Republican politics.  (Note to those), reread each story two times before commenting.
     In my county if you want to vote you have to be registered as a Republican or you have no one to vote for.  The Democrats often don't even run a candidate.  Of course here in our conservative rural county the registration rate is about 95% Republican and 5% Democrat.  And actually the true position is about 60% Independent or Libertarian.
     Some of our elected boards have no such designation to party.  Perhaps that is better than the behind the scenes planning by both major parties on who has the power and who does not.  The use of political power, whether elected, appointed, or lobbyist, is eroding the individual liberties and responsibilities of all of us.
     Seems that the party in power loves the use of power until it is in the minority.  No one can see past their nose on most issues.  Thank God, and yes I mean God, for a set of individuals that had a healthy distrust of governments to craft a Constitution and Bill of Rights looking to the future for a group that would do away with both.
     I would put forth that anyone who want to run for office at any level take a pledge to remove ten laws, rules, or regulations for every new law proposed.  Any political leader that ever again says that " you will have to pass it before you know what is in it" will be thrown out of office and charged with treason.  It is the elected officials duty to know what is in a bill and not blindly follow the dictates of a self styled Cesar.
     This applies at the local to federal levels.  For example in Kansas, the group of regulations that govern Fire Districts and Fire Departments have been a individual clutter that was passed mostly in the 1950's and still is in effect today.  The cluster of regulations is as open to interpretation as there are numbers of lawyers and officials.
     The codification of the laws concerning fire, EMS, and public safety could be written in easy to read and interpret form.  Yet until some member of the emergency services is convicted and sent to prison for unwittingly violating, or not implementing, the regulations will anyone try to modernize them.
     There are out of date and nonsensical laws still on the books in many cities.  There are efforts from time to time to take them off the books but I am sure that it is still the law in Wichita that cattle have the Right of Way down Douglas Ave.  Even though the stockyards no longer exist and cattle drives have been replaced by trucks.
     Another law that was common and still on the books some places is the automobile must be proceeded by one half mile by a person with a lantern to warn oncoming horse traffic of its approach.
     When the tax code is so huge that it would take many kids wagons to carry the copy or a health care bill that is 26,000 pages long, (and that is without the 40,000 pages of regulations yet to be written), something has to stop.  Now all electronic conversations and transmissions is being held by the NSA for "security reasons" in the largest building in the world in Utah, it is time for something to stop.
     With all the lies being told by all parties is a power grab to convince you that it is better to let the government determine what you eat, read, say, drive, think, and hold a gun to your head if you do not comply, something has to change.
      If you think that last statement is too strong ask this.  Who has the ability to take your assets, freedom, family, and movement by threat of force and imprisonment?
      So those willing to run for office, stay in office, or support those such, pledge to remove ten laws or regulations for each new law you propose.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


                       IT IS OUR CHOICES, THAT SHOW WHAT WE
                                TRULY ARE, FAR MORE THAN OUR
                                                                J.K. Rowling

     I had the pleasure of being in Liberal Kansas the other day.  I had the opportunity to hang out with my friends the Diamond W Wranglers and Rex Allen Jr.  They were in town for a concert on the behalf of the United Way.  Also helping explore the development of more entertainment being brought to Western Kansas.
     The day of the show we all went to the Seward County Community College to talk with music students.  I was in the back keeping my mouth shut.  Jim Farrell, Steve Crawford, and Rex Allen Jr, were in the front and talking about the music business from each of their experiences.  Giving a reality lesson for those who will soon be edging into a world of great reward and horrible disappointment.  In other words the 'real world'.
     Rex Allen Jr. made a statement that I immediately wished I had been smart enough to recognize and say.  But I didn't.  I will put this into context.  In this music industry which is run by boards and people who have no idea what really makes the business work, the pursuit of youth is as rabid as, well, the dominance of youth in other business.
     We are in a society that worships youth and youth wants all the rewards without the process of earning them.  The wisdom of youth is only in movies and TV commercials.  In real life it is the constant reality of trying, falling down, and getting back up again that brings about experience and wisdom.
     There are some who learn incredibly fast. And who would not yearn for the ability to turn back and recapture some of the energy, and optimism of the young.  But it is the sum of our failures combined with successes that bring us to the position later of doing many things better and smarter than we used to.
     In the music business, especially Country Music, the statement that blew me away is this: "What if Frank Sinatra had been forced to leave music after age 40?"  The meaning is that the music industry takes the youngest talent and by the age of 40 they are put out of the spotlight as being the old talent.  Frank Sinatra did his best work after 40.  Rex Allen Jr.'s voice is as better now as it has ever been.  My voice is better now than when I was young.
     The corporate people that make the decisions are denying the fan base of the chance to hear truly great talent mature and define what their careers would be.  Will there be truly greats that last through time?  Or will there be flash in the pans who make the big score and retire before they truly develop into something that will last beyond their lifetime?
     I have been trying to define what is wrong with the entertainment industry for a long time.  How fortunate that a man that I would not have dreamed of being around would bring into focus what was in the back of my mind.  And with him saying that I was the student there with the rest.
     I was truly the lucky one for a couple of days in Liberal.  I rediscovered an artist that I had always admired as well as his dad who I was a true fan of.  So much is thrown out at the fan and the artist that even when you know better you forget so many things.
     As I sat in the back of the auditorium at the, concert, I saw something in an audience that is a hopeful change.  The age rages were much wider than shows we are used to doing.  A lot of the Western music crowd is grey haired.  The Liberal crowd was more mixed from young to old.  And with all the younger kids who normally have that I phone in their hands, there was not one kid running their thumbs texting or playing games.  They watched the whole show through and enjoyed it.  The crowd coming out afterwards would look at me, not ever seeing me before, and say "wasn't that a great show"?
     Yes, yes it was.
Soon I want to talk about Liberal Kansas, a town that I had always had a less than favorable opinion of.  Hint-ignore the front door as you come into town from the northeast.  There is a great town with a lot of heart down there.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


                                 HAS NEVER TRIED TO CONTACT US.

     The amount of programing out there in the cable and satellite world is truly mind boggling.  It is even more so when you have 500 channels available and nothing to watch.  I watch the 'wars' for your dollar all the time.  Thank goodness I cannot get COX because I would never use it because of the annoying commercials.  ANOYAYAYING
     I see all the hype of DIRECT TV and hear from their listeners about the horror stories of being their customer.  I have DISH and keep getting told about how cheap it is and how much choice I have.  Ya Right.
      I read that many viewers are boycotting their service for carrying the Al Jezzera Network.  There was a lot of talk about the network being sold by our former Vice President to the Qatar owned company.  It was reported he turned down a bid from Glenn Beck in favor of the Muslim owned buyer.
      Many were saying that all kinds of sanctions or consequences be taken for the carriers who picked them up.  That was not the right way to protest under our system.  However the viewers taking actions to take the network off the air is the right way of doing it.
      The carriers of programing are supposed to be smart operators and turn a legitimate profit.  That is why I am wondering how they can run such massive amounts of junk and limit quality networks.
      Since I have DISH I have repeatedly tried to get BLUE HIGHWAYS TV added to the family line up.  As yet it has not made it.  The new Family network has been buried into a bunch of infomerical sites that most people bypass.  What a shame that when there is a nugget of good clean programing it is put where it will have a hard time making it.
     Some of the reality TV is a silly relief from a lot of junk but seriously the format is being overdone.  (Pregnant and Dating) really!  I wrote a format for a reality TV program but could not get through the front door because it involved intelligent people.  I have other TV proposals but have not found that 'back door' that you need to find to get an airing of the concepts.
     It is evident that there is a lot out there that is just a distraction from things that really are important.  It is more important how the Kardashians are doing than how Washington is mortgaging our kids future and tearing down the Constitution.
      The airwaves were traditionally free to the people until technology figured out how a few people can control everything and charge you for it.  When was the last time you really ever saw or heard a truly local owned independent radio or TV station?
      Many are counting on you being too stupid to seek out the truth on many things.  It is up to you to prove them wrong.  It is also up to you to remove ALL the rulers on capital hill who know you are stupid.