Tuesday, June 30, 2015


                                                      Samuel Clemmons

     The plan to take America down by Saul Alinski is progressing quite nicely.  The deterioration of the country has accelerated at a dizzying pace.  The actions of the last week have left me in a state of trying to figure out how to comment.
     There is so much hate and discord flowing around it is so hard to make any statement without creating a firestorm and being attacked for one reason or another.  It seems that each individual is required to agree with the popular line pushed by a vocal coalition.  Those responding can be just as hateful and that is the problem.
      As a student of history it is easy to compare what is happening to so many bitter periods of human history.  The results of which are not something that I believe anyone would like to see again.  Many who are creating the conditions that will usher in evil times do not realize that they will be among the first to suffer from what they advocate.
      As I try to absorb the ramifications of what is happening today I cannot be overly optimistic.  Fact seems to be irrelevant and emotion is the champion of the day.  As a Christian it is the duty of the individual to try and point out to others where they are going wrong without being self-righteous and arrogant.  Even many churches have chosen to ignore the teachings of scripture.  It is also difficult to reason with another who will not believe in a higher power or a reckoning eventually.
      There has never been a standard that I require for someone to be my friend.  Everyone is as different as the grains of sand.  We tend to be closer to those with similar views and experiences. I get rankled when someone tries to force their views on me and I try not to force anything.  I can reason and discuss.
       My views of the government are no secret and the time is here that what you say or write will be eventually put on trial.  I have never been a huge believer in the integrity of the Supreme Court.  Historically the judicial body has been in error for decisions because the politics of the day often override the interpretation of the Constitution as it is written.
      From Dread Scott to Roe vs. Wade there is a history of poorly interpreted decisions.  Most Judicial scholars believe that the Roe vs. Wade was a bad opinion legal wise.  It may have had the same results with another case but it was a poor case.
       The recent decisions give many a pause, because when read there is nothing that relates to the subjects.  There is a clause that if it is not mentioned in the document it becomes the jurisdiction of the states.  It is hard to be objective and not see the politics injected into the issue.
      I can make the case for and against the recent decisions, but it will result in more hate and division.  I do care for the individuals that are willing to stand before the God of Heaven and declare their superiority to his word.
      I do not have to judge, that will be left to the one who will be our judge at the end of the world.  I have to fear that I do not use the talent given me to try and make the case,  then hope that mercy awaits me for I am no better than anyone else.

Friday, June 26, 2015


                                                   Walt Whitman

     A sense of humor seems to be the casualty of this "politically correct" society that we live in now.  It seems my sense of humor is always getting me at odds with people.  Those that have known me for a long time seem to understand when I am tongue in cheek or serious.
     Seinfeld made the point that a comedian cannot go onto college campuses anymore because of all the correctness that is prevalent and the lack of a sense of humor.
      I love the old comedians because they could split your gut with simple statements or complex scenarios and no blue language.  Todays comics do little for me because it seems that profanity is the point of the comedy.
     This brave new world of online social media contains so much of what passes for humor and not humor, it is interesting to scan through it.  However when reposting something that is purely for humor, especially if it is very true, a whole exchange can rise up that has nothing to do with the intent.
      As a writer I have to come up with something interesting on a weekly basis and so I try to absorb vast amounts of information.  Serious and otherwise.  As a writer it seems that it is compulsive to put forth essays even when you are just out of ideas.  I also hate to constantly cover serious subjects so much that it gets depressing.  And we have enough of that in the news today.
     So it seems that reposting a humorous item that I happen to agree with provided me the material for today. The important thing is that even if you disagree with me we stay civil and friends.  This I pointed out to a friend once who had a very emotional disagreement with a subject I had commented on.
     Instead of parting on a sour note I explained my position calmly and she saw the point that I had been making.  This is what adults do.  We cannot agree on everything and if we all did that would that not make this an extremely boring world?
     So next time I make a point about something whether serious or in jest, remember that we are friends.  And writing today is a fools errand that I gladly participate in.
     And remember that the biggest joke of all is politics.  And politics gives me so much material.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


                                               W.C. Fields

     Wheat Harvest.  A time of extreme stress, excitement, and misunderstanding.
      Do you feel it.  If not you have lost any connection to the land you might have ever had.  Imagine that you spent the summer working to prepare to put hundreds of dollars into each acre that you have control over.  Then put in the ground little seeds and wait for rain and watch it poke through the soil and grow, hopefully, until the winter stops it.  Then spend the winter hoping for snow or not too cold to hurt the plant.  Then watch the fields wake up with the sun and the warming of the spring.
      Imagine looking to the sky and the weather forecasts hoping for that life giving rain so it will develop and push the heads up and fill.  Then the sun and wind to mature the plant.  And once you get this far hoping against the storms turning to hail, tornado's, high wind.  Then hope lightning does not strike just before you can get in to cut or some dolt throwing a cigarette or match.
      After investing in a machine that is used for two weeks a year that costs upward of a quarter to half a million dollars that it works the way it should.  Sometimes trusting it to a teenager to actually run it.  Hoping that parts are ready if it does break down.  Or if you lease the machine hoping that the support is there fast when it does break down.
      Then the needs of you and your crew to be fed, housed, and taken care of.  Then hoping that your family or significant other does not brain you for being grouchy, in a hurry, absent minded, or display skills driving that a NASCAR driver can take lessons from.  This person that drives 20 miles and hour under the speed limit the rest of the year going for coffee or to the bank.
      And on top of all this you have to deal with city slickers getting angry because your machine goes 20 mph on the road.  Motorists that think when you swing wide you are giving them room rather than making a wide turn to get off the road.
      Then the ultimate insult is those same people thinking they know better how you should farm and try to regulate everything you do.
       Then after all this you get your crop into the elevator you can decide when the best time is to get the best value for your crop and you now have your yearly income in.  One paycheck a year. 
      If you can do this then you may be CRAZY TOO!  But you would be in good company.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


                                    Saint Augustine

     What has happened to plain Civility?  The tragedy of nine people being murdered in their church is sad enough without those who leave civility behind to push a political agenda.  The concept of not wasting a good tragedy is repugnant to me and should be to you if there is a shred of civility left in this country.
      We are a nation of individuals and the government was founded on the novel idea of the individual.  Since no two individuals are going to agree on everything there is a time and place to discuss differences.  There are those who would force their views upon all and those who would shed any attempt to have things forced upon them.
       Is there no one left in politics or media that can have the civility and courtesy to memorialize and bury those who were taken by an act of evil?  The sad thing is that when one comes out and makes a political act out of something so evil there is the natural effect of having to answer back.
      Evil is something that is more evident in the world now than in the last generation but we have seen through out history that evil knows no limits or boundaries.  We pray for peace but cannot wait to battle each other on any given topic.  Evil slapped us, yes US, in the face when these senseless murders occurred.  Yet there are thousands upon thousands of murders occurring in places around the world that does not seem to be any closer to  a television or screen that we can turn off or turn to a mindless game.
     Why is it such a shock when this occurs?  It is happening everywhere and yet those in power or those who just shout louder than others can't wait to turn this to there own agendas.
      Nine Christians were murdered in their own house of worship last week.  Will you not let the dead be buried, the families consoled, and our thoughts turned towards the evil we must be on guard for, before arguing and accusing?

Monday, June 15, 2015


                                                 Joseph Priestly

     What an age we are living in.  The vast ways of communicating have opened up so fast and so numerous that anyone can have a say in what they feel is important.  Or even not important.  And equally as many want to stop what you say or divert the intent.  And those who want to twist what is said if it cannot be stopped.
     Before it took the good graces of an editor somewhere to put forth in any form what you wish to say.  In my case it still is.  But there is so much that allows communication even if you are not reading this in a publication you can read it in many different places.
     When I started writing freelance it was as safety articles when I was in the fire service.  I later wrote on Agriculture for a regional farm paper.  After publishing a book of my Cowboy and Country poetry I worked on a couple manuscripts for books in other areas.
     After shopping around one manuscript and getting rejections from several publishers in the field I noticed similar themed books popping up from those same publishers that had no interest.  I let my writing rest for a while.
     I am always delighted in comments from my readers that agree and disagree with my points of view.  Many friends tolerate what they think I am ranting about.  Some challenge my point of view. Others are very complimentary.
     I do have one reader that delights in correcting my grammar and word usage.  This is the only one that is irritating.  I admit that I am not the smartest one on the block. Or the sharpest tack in the box.  In school I was an A student in literature but a C- in grammar.
     You will excuse me that I am not an English major who is very well adapted to flipping burgers, movie critics, and diagraming sentences.  I was adept at driving tractors, combines, trucks, fishing poles, shotguns, fire trucks, ambulances, horses, and working cattle, auctioneering, and in general working for a living.
     At times you will find that I have a problem with to and too.  There, their, and they're. And other things similar.  You see my style is to get the thought down before I lose it.  It used to be with a pencil and legal pad.  I depended on editing to straighten it out.  First mine, then others, then the final draft.
      When I finally learned how to use a computer, with much grinding, gnashing of teeth, and wailing, the process is speeded up. And so are my deadlines.  Thank goodness for spell check.  No matter how many times I read and re-read copy there are still errors that get by.  And to this I say WELL EXCUSEEEE MEEEEEE.  (picture Steve Martin saying this)
     There that felt better.  Now I hope you will remember that I try to present my opinion as best I can with a little thought involved and a lot of research.  I will still try to give you my opinion on a range of topics but please don't try to diagram my sentences.  You miss the whole point.

Monday, June 8, 2015


                                                     Marcus Garvey

     As the frontier was won and people built towns and cities there was some things that were very common that we have lost.  Even before the arrival of the churches and society according to author Louis L Amour you could sit around the campfire and one man may not know how to read and write, one may be a man of letters, one may be descended of royalty.
       One of the most precious items carried by many, and kept by many were books.  And only the best books because of the weight and bulk it had to be very select as to the books that were kept and cherished.
      In most towns and villages there were literary societies that met on a regular basis to discuss books, ideas, and events of the day.  Winfield was a great example of the esteem that these things were held in general. 
     The Chautauqua movement came to Winfield Kansas in June of 1887 holding it's first assembly in what is now Island Park.  An open pavilion called a Tabernacle was built in 1887 and a Hall of Philosophy was added in 1902.  A lecture hall was added in 1903 along with tennis courts and a croquet field.
      The Chautauqua was a series that lasted for several days bringing the news makers and thinkers of the day to lecture on a variety topics.  It offered the diversion that the movies, television, and now computers do.  But the later is filled with content that is vastly inferior to the quality of the day.
      Today the Chautauqua is a sponsored program that goes to four towns a year at different locations around the state with first person re-enactors and those whose scholarship of the subject personality can portray the original person, explain the times that they were in and the thinking of the time, and answer questions about them in todays reference.
      Today when there is discussion it does not seem to be about topics that would expand the thinking of each other.  We divide ourselves into groups and camps and there seems to be no common ground anymore.  We have been led into the thinking that if we don't agree on everything we cannot be friends and the differences are not discussed but turns into shouting matches and hard feelings.
      It seems that facts and truths are not enough to solve a problem and come to a solution.  It seems that the thinking is taken from que's from partisan groups.
      Now the history that the Chautauqua promotes has gone the way of revision.  History is not taught in the proper context nor even accurately and the new curriculum is even worse that, that was taught to me.  As time goes on it is irritating that the history that I was taught was not done as it should have been.  And I hold my history teacher in high school as one of the best teachers that I had in school.
     But there can be no movement to learn without the effort of the individual.  When the Chautauqua came to my town there were only a handful show up, but a lot of people stared as they drove or walked by.  Many never knew what the big tent was and did not have the curiosity to look in.  Yet these are the same people who gripe about nothing to do. 
     Considering that the measure of a politician is the amount of money that they can raise to be elected it seems that we are at the point that we are ripe to lose our Republic.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


                                                     Henry Rollins

     I feel a loss for a name that has been around Kansas, Wichita in particular, for many years.  Sheplers the World's Largest Western Store is no more.  Well not the store itself but the name.  We lost the local ownership many years ago when it sold to New York interests and then to Texas interests.  Now the chain will be relabeled as THE BOOT BARN.
     It seems a shame that at least the Kansas legacy of the company is gone forever.  Seems that Kansas is not sexy enough for many of the companies that were founded here and then had their roots pulled up and are gone.
     White Castle, Pizza Hut, Boeing, Mentholatum, and many more.  The Murdock family sold the Wichita Eagle and it has since traded owners several times.  Progress goes on but it is not often an improvement.
      The Boot Barn is a good company and I cannot find anger in them acquiring something that is in line with what they do.  But I wish that they could see to it that the name survive in some form.  I have had disagreements on how the store was run in years past and have tried to make my case to the managers that they bring in from elsewhere eager to use the MBA that they hang on the wall.  It has been many years since I have been able to do business there.  Mostly that is because of my stature and the presumption that all cowboys are skinny and look like they just had a hook worm treatment.  Plus the fact that working cowboys are more likely to get what they need from Tractor Supply.
     I lived one mile from Harry Shepler.  I was not close to the family but I watched him judge rodeos for years.  We always thought he would fall off his horse he rode so crooked.  He was a little crippled up.
      I pumped gas for him at Blasi Oil Company and was there when Harry did not see the tire changer and bent it over with his Cadillac.  I remember the first store on West Kellogg but not the original store in town.
     We seem to lose a lot from our small towns and rural areas but Wichita has been hit just as hard over the years.  It does not seem that long ago that Coleman was still owned by the family.  That Cessna still had family members working there and that Mrs. Beech would still go into the office and make sure that things were still running good.  Bill Lear came to town and created a stir in an industry that was well established and did things that were thought to be impossible for someone who had never been brought up or trained in aircraft.
     It has not been that long ago that a farmer could work at Boeing and take off for harvest and when a problem came up at NASA they would say send it up to Wichita and let those farmers figure it out.  Kansas pretty much invented thinking outside the box.
     We Kansans are pretty good at figuring things out and creating companies that can end up having more than one generation working for.  It is too bad we can't keep the big time folks from moving it all away.