Wednesday, August 31, 2016



     If you have been reading my stories long you will remember the rants I have been going off on about the governments empty promises about doing "everything possible" to fight the large fires in the West.  By pontificating in one speech after another various department heads and politicians have said that they "will hold nothing back and spare no expense" to stop the burning of the country.
     At the same time as this the largest and newest air firefighting technology set on a tarmac in Arizona where the 747 fire tankers set while the Evergreen Airline that owned and developed them were forced into bankruptcy.  Also grounding and diverting to non emergency status an experienced helicopter air tanker service in Idaho by putting too short a time to deliver contract proposals and by UPS delivering the paperwork just a little late.
     I have ranted several times as the government continued to lie and written letters to congressmen and anyone who should give two cents to save our forests and wild lands.  And all this showed no sign of moving anyone off the political platform.
     Well there is sign of life and hope.  I do not believe that any of my rantings had anything to do with it.  I am not the only old firefighter put to pasture that gets no attention to our opinions.  But there are those who do see that there is a need and has the means to pick up the pieces.
    Jim Wheeler, President of Global SuperTanker Services announce this spring that the FAA has awarded a supplemental type certification to the re-born 747 supertankers.  This is a huge obstacle to overcome.  When the original 747's were built with the new technology the prevailing attitude was that jets could not be useful as fire tankers.  This even after the DC-9's were flying in California.
     The systems have been worked over and transferred into 747-400 aircraft and testing has been taking place at Colorado Springs and Marana, AZ.  It has passed all the non emergency drills with plain water and is ready for dropping fire retardant.
     The 747-400 can drop 19,600 gallons of retardant at a time.  This is about 7 times the capacity of existing fire-tankers.  What is needed is contracts with Cal. Fire and the US Government to start bringing the big guns to the fire fronts.  The jets can be reloaded in 45 minutes and can fly from bases  over a thousand miles away.  The original plan was to base three 747's across the lower tier of states and three across the upper tier of states.  Word is being waited on as to where the planes could be stationed.
     SO HOW SHOULD I FEEL RIGHT NOW?  That is a good question.  I could be happy that my constant harping on the need for this plane to be put in service is coming to become reality.  But I will believe that when I see the first deployments.  I am not about to believe that I had anything to do with things changing, simple intelligence, need, and a company seeing opportunity is what will make this a reality.
     When I really see a concerted effort to save our wild lands and help our firefighters I will be happy.  But there are so many changes that need to take place that damage has been done, we will see if anything changes.
     In the mean time I will cross my fingers, say a prayer, and smile the first time I see a load dropped by the Global Supertanker.

Sunday, August 21, 2016



      Frank L. Baum wrote a children's book that made a definite mark on Kansas and Kansans.  The story did not really hit it's zenith until the 1939 movie production of THE WIZARD OF OZ.  Frank Baum never lived in Kansas and yet there are many who are green with envy that he had such an impact on our state history.  Many covet that for themselves.  Some becoming famous, others infamous, and many just lost to history.
      Baum wanted to write children's books similar to the Brothers Grimm and others but wanted to remove the blood and violence that fairy tales had.  Many years after the Wizard was in print there was a piece of scholarship by a school teacher that presents the case that the story is actually an Allegory.  Since then there are many who have jumped on the case explaining what Baum really meant with his characters and story line.
      Given all the coincidental evidence it could be easy to assume that the possibility exists.  OR, maybe they over think it.  It would be so interesting what Frank Baum would have said to all this.
      Now for those who don't know what an Allegory is here is a definition:  A story or poem that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.
      At the time the original book was written was during a time when there was an agricultural revolt on the prairie and populism was on fire in Kansas.  Populism has always been a part of the political scene in Kansas.  Around 1900 when this book was written William Jennings Brian had made his famous speech on the silver standard over the gold standard.
      The characters and case put forth that this book was a case for populism is not difficult to believe considering the time and the circumstances.  But maybe all this scholarship is just over thinking things a bit too much.  It is very similar to the news media when they start on a narrative and keep bending the facts and circumstances to conform to their preconceived narrative.
     Looking and listening to the media today it is not too hard to fall into the trap of taking the convenient directed story.  It is so easy, when a story is so invested in by those who push it, to overlook the facts and the narrative that does not follow the sensational or original intention of the story.
     The characters of the Wizard of OZ, in the allegory, are Dorthy as the American Public, the Scarecrow as the farmer, the Tin man as American Labor.  In the original story the Ruby slippers that Dorthy wore were actually silver.  Ruby was better for the color movie version.  This all gets so symbolic that you will have to do your own homework.  There are ton's of stories out there by scholars and pundits that have an explanation of what the story really means.  It is too much to lay out in this story.
     But applying the allegory to today's happenings and politic, it is not hard to see a lot of media and analysts that are over-thinking and misdirecting what we are to believe.
     But can you imagine what Frank Baum could do with the election and world condition today if he was writing in that form.  Actually I figure he has long turned over in his grave along with our founding fathers.

Friday, August 12, 2016


                                                      Benjamin Franklin

     This is a title that generally sends the teachers I know into defensive mode and I am sure to get some flack for my opinion.  To give a caveat, I have friends that teach or were teachers.  I have had some great teachers.  I have had some really bad teachers.  Mostly what I find when I start on a position like this it is most likely when I hit too close to home that the most comment comes flying by my ear.  But that won't stop me, you have to remember that I despise the 'politically correct'.  And I have taken an oath to and believe the provisions of the Constitution.  That quaint document that so many are ready to shred to further their own agendas.  So here goes.
     I quote from respected teacher, professor, and film maker Ken Spurgeon.  "I come into contact with 500 new people every semester.  One out of 30 students might have heard of Quantrill's raid.  These stories are just not getting to the people of Kansas."  Ken is a Wichita native with a Masters in History that makes his living as a teacher, recently at Cowley County Community College and at a local high school.  Ken makes films about Civil War History and most especially films about Kansas History.
     Starting long before this column I have written from time to time warning about the Common Core Curriculum even before it was called that.  In the 1990's there was a movement to start rewriting history.  I discuss this with legislators and they pass off the responsibility to the State School Board with the statement that standards are rewritten every seven years and by the time we would introduce and pass a bill to change standards the new ones would be in effect and then it would start all over again.
     The result is not only history but other subjects that are rewritten to the standard popular politically correct standards.  Thus it means that students enters college not knowing about Quantrill, Amellia Earhart, Abrahm Burnett, Major Joel Elliott, Sidi Wirt Spreckles, Buffalo Jones, Buffalo Bill Mathewson, Sydney Toller, Maude Stevens Wagner, and on and on.  This because the importance of Kansas History is only required in seventh grade, American History in Junior year, and Government as a senior.
     As one 7th grade math teacher told me that students at the fourth grade level are not equipped for the common core curriculum that deals in concepts and need practical everyday math.  It also makes the parent unable to help the kid with homework.  The Union is more interested in pay and conditions for teachers and the actual education is by a teacher that must either abide by the system or go rogue and actually teach something useful.
     There is more being paid attention to what is not fed to the kids and which bathroom they are going to use.  Is it a mystery as to why the top ACT scores have been home-schooled?
     Most of the teachers I know are willing to actually help their students and yet are frustrated and even threatened if they deviate from the dictated curriculum.  
     Thank goodness the madness of the legislature has settled for a while and what is going to happen on funding.  The money that was spent on lawyers and lawsuits can go into education again.  And I bet that after the next session of the legislature there will still be people dissatisfied and it may just start all over again.  In the meantime more kids go into college or the work force not equipped for either.
     Isn't it time to stop using the schools to indoctrinate a philosophy?  Is it not time to just teach knowledge again and not use the lesson as a platform to create duplicated drones?
     Don't you want to raise people who can discuss issues and create solutions rather than yell, scream, and call names if they disagree with you?  
     The statement that "it takes a village to raise a child" may have been a great philosophy when the society wore animal robes, warred on their neighbors, and efforts were all on survival.  Today it takes individuals who can critically think, separate from the group think, and yet can pull together groups and work in teams.  The last thing the world needs are more Yes people.  We need creativity, abstract thought, and a root in values.
     To do otherwise is willful ignorance. 

Monday, August 8, 2016


                                   American Cattlemen
                                      borrowed from Milo E. Yield

     My readers give me a kick.  I can get all tied up in what is happening and there will be someone from out of no where compliment me on my stories.  Not everyone agrees with me but would it not be a boring world if they did?  I have stated many times that if the reader thinks, after reading my opinion, that is my goal.
     It is not hard to get worked up over all the arrogance and obviously superior attitudes that are used by the news media, the political parties, and people who just make things up and put on line to stir the pot.  It seems that the sense of humor of the land has been lost.  But then look at what passes as a comedian today.
     I am declaring here and now that I am an old fogy.  I do not have to reach a certain age to love the comedians that I grew up with and they did not have to be nasty and vulgar.  They could make you laugh at yourself and not make you mad.  They could create such ridiculous stories that you laughed until you hurt.  I enjoy the clips of the old routines that are posted online.  The only contemporary comedian that I can enjoy today is a Redneck and a Puppeteer.
     It is virtually impossible to poke fun at something today without some group deciding that it is 'hate speech', and want to pass laws to prosecute you.  Like they never heard of the Constitution.
     It is difficult to crack a joke now because it blows over the head of who you tell it to.  Used to be that a joke was recognizable.  But of course now all the jokes run for office.
     I am forever grateful for all the papers that recognize what and why I write my column.  And I promise you Aunt Gladys that I will try to not make every column about politics.  Of course others may be getting tired of hearing about my book.  Oh well I am safe in the knowledge that it is hard to please everyone but simple to tic everyone off.
     I hope you will join me as a member of PETA-PEOPLE EATING TASTY ANIMALS.

Friday, August 5, 2016


                                        Red Green

     Well it is a potpourri of things this week to distract your attention to the guy behind the curtain.  One guy is being scolded by all who is against him for being not fit to become the new Potus.  And yet those who scream the most and think this guy would be the worst president are the same people that think the current Potus would be great.  Huh.
     Let's see, according to the insurance people locally the health insurance rates are going up around 45% at the first of the year.  OK.
     Then people who could not afford to buy insurance still can't but are being fined for not doing so.  Hum.
     The other candidate wants an apology from her opponent to apologize to a man shaking a pocket Constitution who's faith believes that the Koran supersedes the Constitution.  I am still waiting on her to apologize for getting an ambassador and three other Americans killed.  Then lying about it and calling the families liars.  Well isn't that special.
     A guy I know had a job that he loved and it had the benefits he wanted and it was not a bad paying job for a rural area.  Somehow he started hurting and they found a compression fracture of a disc.  No problem the fix is a fifteen minute procedure.  Making the appointment ready for the fix and HOLD IT!  The insurance company says it is an experimental procedure you can't do it!  But it has been standard treatment for 25 years.  Under every other circumstance they cover it.  But not now. By the way he doesn't have that job anymore. Short story, I remember the promise that there would be no committees to override the doctors.  NOT Now.
     A friend of mine has been fighting cancer for at least a decade.  Three times it went into remission and the last time the doctor told him "boy you just made it under the line, two months more and we could not start this treatment.  Where did I hear NO DEATH PANELS?  Oh yeh, Potus said it.  By the way there is no trace of the cancer now.  Isn't he lucky?
     The Democrats are delighted, the Republicans have killed their party.  We are told that the candidate has been cleared by the FBI, the same FBI that shot Lavoy Fincum and his truck with a woman and child on board on their way to a meeting with the county sheriff. The same FBI who gave up on DB Cooper, and will now investigate whatever the distracting thing is.
     An airplane just happens to unload $450,000,000 in cash in Iran on the same day that hostages are released in Switzerland.  But that is just a coincidence.  The Iranians have fired four rockets in the last months when it violates the treaty.  But their just feisty.
     At least the mudslinging is over for a week or two before things heat up again here.
      What a Wonderful World. I just can't get that song out of my mind!

Monday, August 1, 2016


                                                     Walter Savage Lander

     If there is one thing I am learning while researching my new book, is the type of information that is available and not available out there.  I noticed a two word headline in a newspaper that I was looking at for another story when this headline caught my interest FORMER KANSAS GIRL BECOMES TURKISH PRINCESS.  WOW! Now this is one that comes totally from right field!  The more I read about her the more interesting the story becomes.
     It is said that you 'can't keep em down on the farm', but a Turkish Princess?  More and more as I dig into the story I find that this former Garden City farm girl made the society pages for years with her antics and exploits.  Many papers ran full page illustrated articles on the adventures that she got herself into.
     So far I find four different husbands and several near husbands including a Brazilian Count.  And the story keeps getting better, or worse depending on your point of view.  She ends up on the fringes of the Fatty Arbuckle murder case, one of the first major Hollywood scandals.
     Her show business career seems to put her in the spotlight of many men and after her first marriage ended because he did not have enough money to keep her in the lifestyle she wanted, millionaires were on her greatest hits list.
     Her marriage to the son of a multi millionaire sugar importer's son from San Francisco, put her into the lifestyle she desired and she had one daughter by this marriage.  Just before divorcing this one he died in an automobile wreck and she got most of the estate.  The daughter would later get a trust of over two million dollars which she would have slip through her fingers as she went on to be in Hollywood movies.
     After divorcing the Turkish Prince she lived in Reno Nevada to get the residency requirement to divorce.  As she was waiting it out US Army Air Corp pilots would fly over the ranch she stayed at and wiggle their wings.  Catching her attention she married one of the younger pilots.
     Now what is the point of this?  After her fourth marriage there is no longer any mention of her in the newspapers.  Apparently she ended up living in El Paso, Texas.  Later on her daughter, married to a wealthy industrialist, and was living in Fort Worth.  The only thing I find is the fact that this woman spent thirteen years in a hospital in Fort Worth and died there.
     The time between the society page and her death is about forty years.  For all her exploits and world travel.  All her society celebrity and the talk of the nation, there is now nothing.
     It strikes me odd.  It is said that everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame.  Sometimes those who get it are not famous but infamous.  And in the end what they have achieved is an odd article in an old paper that someone like me will find.  Yet I think it is appropriate for this time we live in.
     For all the politics and power grabbing people, self serving for a bit of time, what is there to show for it?
     I cannot help but have the passage come to mind, "what profits a man to gain the whole world and lose his immortal soul?"  And as I go on another "they look and do not see, and listen and do not hear."