Tuesday, May 31, 2016


                                                                           Noel Coward

     Coming through the Memorial Day Weekend it might be that since we were busy here on the hill with visitors that I am a bit tired.  It does not take much to wear me out anymore.  What I would give for a little bit of that 20's vim an vigor, (not what I would have called it then).  It seems that popular culture is very draining on the spirit of those who still believe in the greatness of our country and the goodness of our people.  We have so many visitors who tell us how friendly the Kansas people are and it makes me wonder, are other places just not that way anymore?
     Of course the television would drag anyone's spirit down if the programming is really taken seriously.  Just when you think the vast wasteland cannot get worse then it does.  At least this time of year when executives thinks everyone is waiting in lines at airports that programming can be thrown on the garbage heap, that they would run the old movies that celebrate the people that we are supposed to be memorializing on Memorial Weekend.
     Then the news of so many who have lost their lives by drowning and accidents on a weekend that is supposed to be reflective and enjoyable can bring down the spirit.  And of course there are still those who just have to commit crimes as though there is nothing that is worth honoring anymore such as their own lives and others.
     On many levels the news of a historic cemetery near Cheney Lake is just the nail in the coffin as to the values that have been spread to today's generations.  For anything that is fun I just never have been able to see, even when I was sowing wild oats, how it is fun to destroy tombstones.  And as a historian it offends me at a deep level.
     I have tried several times to try and get legislation to look at some legal protections for burial sites and abandoned cemeteries.  It would not have stopped the vandalism of this weekend but it would put more legal bite into the penalties when the delinquents are ever found.
     There are too many abandoned cemeteries and small burial sites that are unattended that have no protection by law.  If there is no entity or group or even individuals to take care of burial places a land owner can pull up the stones and farm right over the spot if no one has been buried there in fifteen years.
     Maybe I am just tired or the fact that from the very top of our government throughout the culture there seems to be no honor or sense of what others have provided for us.  And by forgetting such our children and theirs are in danger of losing what we have had and what so many gave their lives for.  Much lip service is given when the camera is rolling, but the reality is that to point out that what we as a society have stood for is soon to be given away by the wholesale telling of lies and by deceit.
     Any institution or any undertaking that has the hand of man in it will never be perfect.  Yet that perfection is something to be worked for and aspired to.  As bright and cheerful as I would like to be after such an important holiday I am hoping that a little rest and the effort by others will return us down the path that was chosen for us in 1776.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


                                                Ludwig von Beethoven

    The day that I am writing this is an anniversary that many will not realize or even think about.  It is the day that the man that has the most influence on the music in my life died.  In 1933 the Singing Brakeman Jimmy Rodgers died at the Taft Hotel in New York City where he worked on his last album.  There was no slow down in Jimmy and against the advice of doctors when he was unable to work on the railroad anymore took his music to the people.
     Jimmy was born in Meridian Mississippi on September 8, 1897.  His father had been a gandy dancer for the railroad and Jimmy followed into the rail profession as a brakeman.  He would strum his guitar and sing to pass the time.  He ended up writing and recording iconic songs that are still being recorded and performed today by artists in all genre.
     I spent many hours growing up listening to Dad playing his collection of Jimmy Rodgers records while he did paperwork.  And there was many a time I would put the records on myself.  This in a time that Rock and Roll was the rage of my classmates.  In my first car I think I had a KLEO sticker in the window but on my second (an International Scout) it was a KFDI sticker and I was a member of the Country Club.  Blasi's Vickers station where I worked as a senior had the forms there and the KFDI salesman was in all the time.
     I still have that whole set of Jimmy Rodgers albums hoping someday to have a good turn table again.  I do have a full set of cassettes also.  I have to root my love of music back to those songs of Jimmy Rodgers.  The fact that I had the best music instructors in Kansas in High School and College just built on the love of music.
     In the mean time I have been wonderfully privileged to know the great musicians in Western Music and call many of them friends.  I have also been privileged to have taken the stage with many of them and recorded a CD with one of the best producers in the recording business Jim Farrell.
     When the Country Music Hall of Fame was created the first three inducted were Jimmy Rodgers, Fred Rose (publisher and writer), and Hank Williams.  Very few who are in traditional Country Music, Western Music, or acoustical music can deny the foundation that was set by Jimmy Rodgers.
     What is a shame now is that many of the artists of today who have that foundation, love of the music, and drive are not allowed to prosper because the music business has been taken over by conglomerates who only have enough imagination to follow a formula.  Then another set of conglomerates only give air time to the few who follow the rules.  Only in the electronic age that we are in can a true fan go find the music that they love and are able to stream it, download it, or even be old fashioned and get the CD of it.
     So the day is filled with thoughts of the original 'Father of Country Music' Jimmy Rodgers.  I may have to find that old cassette player today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


                                                                John Barrymore

      I have more than once let it be known that I hoped that Wichita State University would bring in Jerry Kill to develop a new football program.  I knew Jerry's granddad, dad, and watched him grow up.  Jerry grew up in the Cheney community and watching him move through the ranks from High School football coach, to division 2 colleges, to division one.  He is admired by friends and competitors as a first rate person and coach and when health problems started to plague him on the field, the whole country was anxious about him.
     Jerry is the kind of coach that every parent hopes that their kids would have sometime in their athletic careers.  It is not stepping to far to say that the Cheney community has busted their buttons watching Jerry grow and be successful.  I don't think you would find anyone in the area that would not consider Jerry as a favorite son.
     It was with a great deal of happiness when the announcement came out that Kansas State has hired Jerry to come back home to be Assistant Athletic Director.  With the fact that so many of our rural kids leave for opportunities elsewhere it is with no small amount of pride and happiness when one has the opportunity to come home and excel.
     It is a sad fact that the 'coach' is unable to stand on the field and run the show.  But it is a sure thing that he can stand behind the scenes and effect policy and support both the school and the athletes.  This also shows that even with difficulties there are still things that one can do and be effective, and contribute to the field of endeavor that one is engaged in.
     I am not a big jock and athletics do not occupy my thoughts and time except in the context that they should.  I like to see our state teams do well.  I like to see our state universities turn out thoughtful and educated students.  I am always happy when K-State is winning.  I also like to see everyone else be competitive.
     We all win as a state and a community when we are able to have one of our best able to come home and do what they do best.  Though I still hope WSU will be able to build a new football program I have to say WELCOME HOME JERRY!!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2016


                                                                              Albert Camus

     It does not take a genius to recognize the biblical passage about what is bad is good, what is right is wrong, so on (not a strict quote).  Some of our politicians, elites, and those who would just use their positions to subvert what we stand for, have brought this country to the point that no one can count on us to do the right thing anymore.
     The pendulum always swings from one extreme to another and through out history it seems that no civilization can hold itself to a standard that would give stability to last the long haul.  Every civilization has brought itself down only to build back up and do it all over again.
     We have allowed the loudest voices to dictate that one individual on the extreme edge can demand rights that are denied to the majority.  At what point does the 'do it all my way' progress into an extreme reaction from the other side.  In this I am not referring to politics.  I am referring to simple human decency.
     It seems that living ones life as you wish has now gone beyond the point of freedom.  It is now that you have to let me live this way, approve of it, like it, or I will crush you.  The point of radicalism will push to the point that those who don't live your way, don't like it, and don't approve of it. will push back.  Many times there is a push back that also goes too far.
     There is so much corruption, treachery, lasciviousness, and conflict today that there will be a point that will turn things around and probably cause an equal swing in the other direction.  What will be the tipping point?  What will be the Arch Duke Ferdinand moment?  Who knows?
     But it may be something that has started out as a distraction for many things that will galvanize people to set down their feet and say no!  I have an opinion (big surprise) on what that might be. 
      Regardless of the opinion of the courts, the media, political parties, various 'rights' groups, the moment may be here.  When the person who is one sex identifies with the other and people are forced to tolerate them in their bathrooms and showers, political correctness will cease.
     There is a big uproar going on right now.  It will be not only the redneck but most men that will not take any man walking in on their daughter, mom, sister, aunt, granddaughter, or any other girl to shower or use the restroom with them.  In the few instances where it has been tried the women themselves react and will not allow it.  There is a point of complete idiocy and maybe those who advocate the 'right' will find that people will start seeing through the real agendas that are using all this 'victim hood' as simply a means to bring down a decent society.
      Those who scream and demand the loudest for their rights are quick to deny anyone else theirs.  Try to have a conversation and debate with one of these and it goes to name calling, screaming, and yelling immediately.  When there is a lack of tolerance to talk about an issue there is no tolerance at all.
     What has happened to the attitude of 'treat others as you would be treated'?

Friday, May 6, 2016


                                                        Abraham Lincoln

     I made a detour coming home the other day.  I decided to swing north and have dinner at the Harvest Cafe in Inman.  I made an appointment to get into the Inman Museum to do some research for my book.  This gave me the chance to do several things I like to do, eat at small town cafes, go to successful small towns, and dig into history at the local museum.
     I was delighted to get into the Harvest Cafe on Thursday which is German Mennonite Buffet day.  I had zwieback, veronica, rope sausage, and a piece of coconut cream pie that had been baked just a couple hours before.  You could tell it is a favorite day for the area also judging by all the people in there.  Since I love toy tractors and trucks they have a great collection going all the way around the walls close to the ceiling.  It was really special when I walked into the place and the first person I saw said "Hello Roger Ringer".  How much fun is it to walk into a place you have never been before and have someone there who knows you?
     Inman has a really great history and is known as 'Custom Cutter Capital of the World'.  This was a major part of my being there.  There were several local residents that invented and built their own self propelled forage harvesters back in the 1940's and 50's.  I was doing research for my book there and found that not only is Inman an impressive community but it has an impressive museum.  Ralph Vogel showed us an impressive collection that is displayed nicely in what had been an old International tractor dealership.  The building that they thought was huge is housing a huge collection that fills it to overflowing.  They have grown to fill the triangle lot with great exhibits, a school house, farmstead, ,train depot, Stan herd mural, and more.  Open only on Sunday afternoons I would encourage you to get a group together, either senior or student, and make an appointment to have a personal tour.
     I would have stopped by the Kansas Sampler Center three miles south and one and a half east except that Marci Penner was in Winfield setting up for the Kansas Sampler Festival.  But I was running out of energy and only had time to stop and say hi to Vickie Adrian at Adrian's Boutique in Buhler and pick up a mothers day gift for mom.
     I do not get to make these road trips very often anymore and it was a great day, except for my usual experience at an antique store I have been trying to find open for years now.  It looks like a really great antique shop from the outside.  I just cannot get inside.  So my pet rant is to all antique shops in all the small towns I go to OPEN FOR BUSINESS!  This is not the only one I have tried to get into over the years.
     I will avoid my second pet peave while making road trips (public restrooms).  But I would rather visit these small towns than a large city any time.
     I am stealing Marci Penner's label that I am Rural by Choice.  Living on a hill is something that I love.  Rural people and rural areas are where I am comfortable.  Just experiencing the outpouring of support from the whole state and region after our fire down here just reinforces this.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016



     I have been asked several times to explain a few things that our education system, and those who have a stake in political power to subvert, what our country really is.  I hear time after time the use of the word Democracy by those who either are ignorant of what it means or deliberately use it for their own purposes.
     A vast amount of people in this country use the word, Democracy, as a statement of what our country means and stands for.  Yet the word is never mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights.
     Many people either have accepted the use of the term as being correct, or deliberately to further their own opinions and ambitions.  So for those who have asked I will make my understanding of our government and what it is.
     The founding fathers who constructed the foundations of our form of government understood that at some time there would be those who would attempt to take the power from the average citizen and they did it in an unusual way.
     Our form of government is a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC.  Since it is impossible to get a unanimous agreement on any one issue, or vote on every motion, it is our responsibility to put forth the best of us to weigh the pros and cons of any issue and act as our representative.  We all cannot be experts on everything and able to make decisions on major issues.
    Put simply, DEMOCRACY, is majority rules.  Without the process of the three branches of government any popular movement can take it's power to over power those who are weak or in the minority.  The truth of Democracy, it is a way to institute Tyranny and bully tactics.  This is not who we are.
     I have no sympathy or tolerance for anyone who does not fulfill their obligation to vote.  But the vote is not enough.  It is the responsibility of each voter to be informed with facts.  Not misinformation and manipulated facts.  It is increasingly difficult to cut through the tangle of misinformation to make informed decisions.  When the media has gone from the outside watchdog that kept the government open and honest, to the partisan of one side or another for an agenda, that has nothing to do with information.  What passes for information is actually propaganda.
     I meet people who compliment me on my thoughts and enjoy my point of view on many things.  I also meet and know people who are critical of my views and question their validity.  One believes I sit all day and listen to talk radio and draw all my positions from the large number of those who spend there time putting out their opinions.
     Hate to disappoint those who think all I have to do is base my opinions solely on others. I am not going to list my resume and my life experiences to try and persuade anyone to pay attention to what I put forth.  I have too little time between my writing, reading, and constant basing the combined amount of experience and thoughts, to satisfy those who disagree with me.
      The beauty of our system is that I can take the opportunity to persuade you to agree, disagree, or simply stimulate thought without the threat of jail or death that many places in the world do to those who would express their own ideas.  Yet there are those who actively seek to punish those who disagree with their point of view.  An example is the threat from one segment to pursue prosecution for those who disagree with global warming.
      There are those, and I am one of them, who are frustrated with the workings of our government and the fact that to get anything done is extremely difficult.  This is the system that our founders created.  It has to be hard to keep popular thought and movements from dominating the future of the nation and its citizens.  But frustrations are caused by the corruption of those who we continue to elect and allow to run unchecked.
     Frustration should be the cause of sending our best to do the business of governing.  Yet frustration is the cause of supporting those who speak as we would want to hear and not what we know is right.  Frustration has to be the cause of demanding that the excesses of government, and the intolerance of opposing viewpoints, be stopped and the service of the people be put back into government.
     The founding fathers had the idea that the government should be carried out by those who left their jobs for a short time and become citizen legislators then go back to their homes and professions.  We now train those who would make their profession of governing without any relationship to a real life, and making the best decisions for their neighbors, then go home to live with them.  We now train bureaucrats and politicians who know no more than how to manipulate a system.
     We are all weary of words.  Lets put a little more time into thought and sending those to office on all levels whose goal is to do what is best and not popular.