Sunday, June 26, 2016


                                                             Abraham Lincoln

     I once knew a man that was proud of being ignorant.  He had decided that education past what he had was a sign of being uppity and if you used a word that was larger than eight letters or gave the sound of being learned, he would become hostile.  It was not that he was stupid he just took the position that being too well versed in things more than what he was interested in was irritating to him.  He had a lot of talent and what he did do he was very well versed.  It was taking the skepticism of educated people to a radical extreme.
     I spent a lot of time in classes and seminars and though I was never burdened by a degree it has put me in the disadvantage in some areas.  It has also freed me to think for myself and conduct my education along lines that make sense to me.  Too many times I have witnessed the walling up of knowledge into hard and fast boundaries and to disagree with the accepted theory was as a personal attack.
     Freedom to think and have differing views is what makes this country work.  The system that was put into place has done a pretty good job for building a great nation.  Yet, little by little in numerous ways we are now at the point where to have a different opinion opens you to personal attack both physical and verbal.
     With the knowing or unwitting actions we are on a course where liberty is something that may be studied in the future (likely in secret) after it is long gone.  And of course it makes perfect sense to those who pay no price for what they enjoy, and those who feel that it is owed to them.
     For some reason people have been educated, led, influenced, that there are costs for being able to live your life as you see fit.  The media and self appointed experts keep the herd moving and promote the line determined by those who would be the power.
     It is interesting to me how the 'experts' are forecasting doom and gloom over England voting to leave the European Union.  The sky is falling is the cry from every major outlet.  And yet I am sure the same was said about an upstart United States who decided to not be governed by a government outside their country by bureaucrats that answer to no one. 
      Wonder where England came up with the idea to handle their own government?  Maybe 240 years ago?  Could be.
     What is sure is that it will take two years to fully affect the process of leaving the EU.  The jobs and businesses have not changed any.  Imports and exports have not changed.  Those who play the markets will make a killing selling short and then catching the rising markets again.
     And do not forget those who blame our presidential race for the event.  REALLY?  Who was it said do not let a good disaster be wasted?  We will finally be through this time of mud and slander in November.  It is going to be along trip.
     The quote that I started this essay with by Lincoln was also the line that my mother's history teacher had warned her class about so many times that she remembers it to this day.  It has been my position also.
     Looking ahead to November and then 2020.  Yuk!

Monday, June 20, 2016


                                                             Laura Ingalls Wilder

     I set here with books, downloaded copies, notes, and an ever increasing mountain of paper building on three sides of me like storm clouds in the southwest.  It could end up coming down in a big splash and whatever form of organization I have will be just another mess.
     So I am now sorting and throwing away things that are three years old under everything else I have been collecting for the research on my book.  Since this is a great diversion from the insanity that our politicians and news media clutter our brains with, this project has been very fun and educational.  It also keeps me from ranting to the reader on and on about the insanity that passes for intelligence in the world today.
     Research is a slow process, especially on the type of subject matter I have chosen.  When your topics are obscure and not well known there is very little out there on them.  I have had some wonderful people who have responded quickly on my inquiries.  And there are some who never answer an e-mail at all.
     Of course it is time consuming when you have to stop and read everything in the piles to make sure that it is really information or just trash.  Sometimes it is hard to tell, but it is amazing the little unexpected clues to a subject pop up when you least expect it.
     I found a brochure that a local lady included in piles of clippings on the anniversary celebration of Carey Nation.  It reminded me that a teacher who was a guest not long ago told me that Carey had been dropped from the history curriculum that she had in school to teach. 
     This just redoubles my effort to discover as many stories as I can.  When you cannot even be confident that the mainline sources for teaching history are dropping major figures, how bad is the rest  being lost?
     I have now devised a plan to get organized and be more efficient with my work.  This will really blow the mind of those who are amazed that I can even build a sentence and get it published.  And soon as I get this plan working then I will venture down the steps to my office and try to repeat the feat.  WOW!  Talk about getting organized.  You should see the mountains down there.  I just don't get up and down stairs very well anymore.
     Now that I am on story 122, when I get really organized and start actually returning phone calls I may make the goal of 500 in a year, or two, or three, well lets leave that open.  Hopefully when this is done there is still a right of free speech and an economy that will have a few people left that have the extra income and interest to buy the book.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


                                                        Charles Spurgeon

     Waking up to the news that a horrible mass shooting has occurred in Florida is not the way I like to start a day.  I may not agree with the lifestyle that others choose to live but no one deserves to be murdered for it.  And as bad as the tragedy is the worst is only about to start.  That is because those who believe in not wasting a good disaster for political purposes are about to start the unseemly process of self appointing themselves to attack whoever they are opposed to.
     It sickens me that the news media as the events are unfolding begin going crazy over officials saying that they believe there is a link to terror on the shooters behalf.  The number one concern for the news is why they are saying this?  How utterly predictable and disgusting. 
     It is not the major concern about the reports being politically correct, it is the loss of life.  Quit turning the focus of the story to the narrative that you want to fit it in.  There is a reason that reporters are pushed back blocks from the scene.  Sometimes I wonder what the public information officer on the scene did to warrant being put in to deal with the questions of these people?
     It was a sure thing that immediately someone would start howling about guns.  Bernie believes that machine guns are sold at Wal-Mart.  And he is running for president?  Any number of stupid statements are made and the display of ignorance is a contest.
     I have never figured out why the first thing anyone wants to do after something like this is to go after the Constitution and the freedoms that we have.  Those who are first to go after our rights are the ones who stand the most to lose.  It has never made sense to me.
     There is a problem in this country with the recognizing that when someone tells you that they are at war with you, you are at war.  Whether you want it or not.  There is much hand wringing over whether the authorities missed something.  Well they did, because the fundamentals of dealing with warring factions has been taken out of the play book.  All of the facts come together after the fact.
     There are two indisputable facts from the shooter in Orlando.  He was Muslim and not an NRA member.  What are the first two things that will be put into the debate?  Muslims are not at war with us and it is the NRA's fault.
     When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor there was no question that we were at war.  When the Marines were sent into Tripoli there was no question that we were at war.  When the declarations of a group say that they are at war and kill Christians, blow themselves up, and declare war on the United States we are at war.
     When will politics be put aside, the enemy identified, and the country unifies to destroy those who swear to kill or enslave us?  When Admiral Yamamoto was congratulated on his great victory over the US his remark was "I believe we have awakened a sleeping giant."  
     What will awaken the sleeping giant now?  He seems to be drunk or high on chaos.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


                                                                         Trina Paulas

     As I write this the first combines are cutting wheat along the Kansas and Oklahoma border.  Normally this time of year I have to fight the crazy urge to buy or find a combine and plunge headlong into a season that I grew up with.  For a large part of my life, regardless of what I was doing at the time for a living, I never thought I would not be on a tractor or combine for the rest of my life.
     My how times change.  I wrote a poem once about a good friend of mine that we called 'Big Daddy' as he labored to get up into his combine for his last harvest.  I watched the pain and struggle both physically and emotionally as he knew he would never see this piece of land again from the seat of a combine or tractor.  Now as I would be doing the same thing trying to climb into a machine it would be the same.  But now the machines are even bigger and more complicated.
     It is a long way from the 403 International combine I ran for years or my uncles 95 and 4400 John Deere.  I made my way over to a friends farm last year to get pictures of his new Case/IH combine with a 45 foot header.  Yes a long ways from my 18 footer I used to run.  Now they are using 60 foot headers on some machines.
     Even though there is still a harvest madness today the trucks are tandems and tractor trailer rigs and not the antique pulled from the shed with a pickup tag wired on and sometimes no tail lights.  Things have changed and I have found that I am not keeping up as well with things as I used to.  When I was active as an auctioneer I stayed current on values, I had to it was my business.  And yet when I went to my aunts auction I thought she was taking a blood bath because of the prices.  To me the tractors and equipment were nearly new and prices are higher than that, so I thought.  It had not occurred to me that even though everything was like new, that is the way my uncle always had things, they were twenty years old.  I am simply out of date.
     This year there is no urge to go find a combine except to photograph.  But the madness of harvest is still here.  Those who are on the roads need to be patient and understand that this is the time that farmers are setting the wage for the years labors.  It will not hurt one bit if you take a little precaution and give the machines and trucks a little lea way on the road.  There is no reason to take a chance of injury or dying for a faster speed.  And put that phone away, it is not that important to talk or text.  These machines are bigger than you and you will not come out very good.

Friday, June 3, 2016


                                                             Richard Cecil

     I have mentioned more than once that I am in the process of writing a book on little known things about Kansas.  At this point I am about 20% done with the stories but have a long way to go.  In this book I am listing things that are not well known or even unknown to most because it just never made the main line history books.  This process has been a real eye opener for someone who loves Kansas.
     At times it can get frustrating because there is so little online and I have been running librarians and museum researchers crazy with my requests.  I am also getting book poor ordering books and items pertaining to the subjects that I am coming up with.  And oh how interesting the stories are when I finally build the story.  And the way I find some subjects is really out of the clear blue not when you expect it.  Then digging up the facts becomes an adventure.
     There are many unexpected things I do find out about what some may believe, even the State Historical Society and maybe even the Smithsonian.  There may even be some families that are startled with what they believe.  Sometimes they are wrong.
     Kansans are really exceptional people when it comes to ideas and inventions.  Many believed that they would become millionaires and even many newspapers predicted this.  Only to have someone or something steal their thunder.  Sometimes even patenting ownership of a design is not enough to keep from having the ideas stolen.  Many have committed all of their energies, time, and money (and that of investors), and have lost it all.  Even some marriages, prestige, and reputation.  Sometimes even their lives.  The history of the wild west is our history.  Some leave without a trace and some with only a headstone or slight depression in the ground where they lay.
     There may have even been an air crash that did not happen the way it was reported, or where.  I have found one invention that is claimed to have been invented by three different people and yet find a picture that precedes all three of these.  As I go on with the research it may be that I will stir up some questions or irritate some people.  Which is nothing new for me, this could be fun.  It could also be heart breaking.
     What is certain is that history is much more interesting than the way it is taught many times.  That is what is heart breaking.  Had I not been fortunate enough to have two great history teachers and avoided the academic restrictions of a degree and established assumptions, I may have not had this great experience.  And as one who loves to read it has been great.
     I am hoping that at the end when this finally goes to a publisher that it is not one of those things that set on the shelf and gather dust.  The book is not how your normal book is written or laid out.  Each subject gets one page for it's story.  Sometimes it is hard to even find enough for that requirement.  And there will be stories that deserve a whole book written about it all by itself.  But none will be dry as a text book or academic essay.
     I have also made some really nice connections with a lot of people.  Many are surprised that someone is really interested in the story long forgotten by most but the family.  Sometimes even the family does not know the whole story.  But I have made some peoples day by giving them a call out of the blue and showing interest in getting the whole story.  And also the people that I ask questions of about their community and they had no idea that something happened there.
     One thing it does do is keep me from thinking about aches and pains and from listening to the incessant jabberings about politics.  I am about belly full of that.