Friday Fives > What’s the Matter with Kansas edition

Mindful Families: Mandala-Making Practice by Mindfulness in the Heartland  in Kansas City, MO - Alignable

6.2.21 – udpate at bottom.  A letter from the editor

What are you going to do this weekend?

What are you, a cop or something?  What’s with all the questions.  I am going to Kansas, are you happy?  I have never been to Kansas.  I am kinda proud of this.  We have lived Kansas adjacent for 25 years, I have never stepped foot there.  not driven across.  This weekend, though, I pop my Kansas cherry.  Taking the truck, with the Grateful Dead sticker.  That should go over well.  Here is how I NOT get shot in Kansas.  If I get pulled over, and the cop asks what the hippy sticker is for.  I will tell him I stole the truck from ‘some fag’ that I beat up.  I know that is terrible to say.  But you don’t understand, Kansas is the most homophobic place possibly on Earth.  These are folks who very seriously believe that 9/11 was punishment from god because gay people exist.  My last words on that, are this – remember Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church folks?  Yeah, Kansas.

admittedly, it isn’t smart to spend half an hour bitching about Kansas before I head there.  Unless this gets post to Fox News, I don’t think they are reading this.  I don’t think they read.

If that doesn’t get me out of a ticket, I’ll tell him I was in a hurry to my child bride’s 8th grade pageant.  Why did I make the leap from everyone in Kansas being a homophobe (fact) with them being pedophiles? ‘Cause its funny.  Well, they clearly don’t believe in science there, either.  They don’t believe in climate change, and I think they have more god attached reasons for that.  While I am not positive that every single person in Kansas is a science fearing, gay hating, trump loving half hit… I will assume as such. I will look no one in the eye.

At least my truck is a Dodge.  My last truck was a Tundra.  Ten years ago, had I gone to Kansas, I would have been in a Japanese truck, with an Obama sticker and a Grateful Dead sticker.  They woulda killed me dead.

What’s your favorite way to spend time?

This isn’t cool to say, but I dig working.  I dig my job.  I have a great job, and I get to help people for a living.  They pay me well… and I am working from home.  I like driving.  Heck, we have an 8 hour drive tonight to see our friends.

What’s the most useless thing you own that you would never get rid of?

I am not going to make a wife joke here.  You should.  But I don’t.  My dogs

Have you started planning your next vacation?

I assume we are talking about something bigger than going to Kansas for the weekend?  The summer is pretty mapped out, no more big trips this year.  Like… likely nothing even out of state.  We just got back from a couple weeks in Mexico.  Next big trip will probably Switzerland, and hit it up from the Italian Alps side.  We saw a Rick Steves thing on GimmewaldRick Steves is the shit, btw.  I have been lucky enough to be all over the world.  I have used many guidebooks.  I actually used to write for Lonely Planet.  I am sure Lonely Planet is still around, but they lost the fire in their belly.  Now, when I travel, its with Rick Steves.  Plus, he is a good dude.  He kept his entire staff paid during Covid.  He also gives his content free to youtube and PBS.  He is also a big marijuana advocate.  The Switzerland thingy would be 2022.  UNLESS… Sean and Lorrie wanna to Ireland.  We will absolutely table Switzerland for that next year.  You reading this, Sean and Lorrie?  Of course not.  They aren’t reading.  They can’t read.  Until they get a good lawyer, I don’t see them making it out of solitary confinement.  Say hello to my mother while you are there.

Also, since I am likely the only one reading… Nixon and Lisa… we want to travel with you guys.  Anywhere.  Same with Lance and Fernanda!  When you travel with people, especially big international type trips… you get to know people.  You see people’s stress fractures.  I am not here to name names of who we won’t travel with.  But… I DO want to throw in an endorsement for those couples mention.  I am sure once the Grand Jury releases their findings, I’ll prolly totally get my passport back.

What is the deal with a ‘Grand Jury’?  Sure, I could google it, and prolly will.  It only seems attached to really big crimes.  I think we can all agree when you here ‘empanel a grand jury’ that dude is guilty.  Yes, that is a lot of generalization.  I assume we are talking about high level murder or organized crime.  With all regard to Elizabeth Holmes, its usually a dude.  I can say ‘guily’ because I am NOT the courts.  Its their job to be fair, not mine.  I am the supreme court… of public opinion.®

Are you very active, or do you prefer to just relax in your free time or is it one and the same to you?

The latter.  Let’s be honest, I am lazy… coupled with ADD.  It means I don’t want to go anywhere to do things, necessarily.  BUT, it also means I can’t sit still.  Ever seen me sitting around and watching tv?  “He hasn’t moved for hour”?  Nope.  Not once.  Not even my wifey of 25 years has seen that.  So, I like to stay home and relax.  How I relax, though, is cleaning and watching tv.

I should… should say something like “it’s not the people of Kansas holding back the nation, progress, literacy, accountability, reality… it’s the leadership.  it’s their dastardly uncaring Congressional leaders.  The people, though, the people are great.  Salt of the Earth, hard working good Americans”

I won’t say that, though.  Because… these folks are the ones who elect these odious ill tempered dipshits.  I am heading there soon and will be there for several days.  Let’s just hope I come back with a big ole apology post about how wrong I was.

*** udpate from the editor

which is me, btw. Spent four days in Kansas, just got back. It was WONDERFUL! the drive? Everyone laments the drive. The drive was easy. Yeah, its straight and flat. Speed limit was 75, so I had cruise control pegged at 83 there at back. Was 8 hours each way. Normally, a drive like that would get split by the wifey and I. But, I really liked the drive. Also, everything was crazy green. We have been in a drought cycle for the last 20 years, so even rainy times feel marginal and less than whole. The last month for Colorado (and I assume Kansas) has been a bonanza. I was worried about intolerance, I have to admit. I think I have expected billboards to say ‘blacks go home’. There wasn’t that. They do love their Trump, and their Jesus, though. Both had several billboards celebrating them.

I was visiting Lawrence, KS. I know of this town only because of its association with William S Burroughs. These days, and those days, its mostly a college town. Due to that, its apparently wildly liberal. Maybe that is why I felt so comfortable there. Lastly, we didn’t interact with the townfolk much, as we stayed with friends a bit out of town on their ranch. I can’t remember a time I even slept so well. Yeah, Kansas was pretty great. I told my buddy this, let’s call him “Scott”. He explained we mostly lucked out. That most of Kansas weather is shitty and humid. Most of the time just about everything is dried out and dead from drought. and that most of the state is still super right wing anti tolerant gay blaming and all of that. it was what I was expecting the whole time, and glad I was wrong. Even the weather was just perfect when we were there. here is a pic I took with my phone. This is our friends ranch just outside of Lawrence.

*** udpate on driving strategies. I have read that Kansas police are notorious for targeting out of state cars for speeding. its smart, honest. Bust the tourists and shelter the locals. Thing its Kansas… I am not going to not speed. its not that i disregard the people, safetely, or laws of Kansas. Its that Kansas is flat there so there is no reason not to be safely doing about 90mph.

this was my idea. kansas doesn’t require front plates (which Colorado does). So, once we crossed into Kansas, I just took my CO plates on the front. Wifey called me dumb and neurotic. Yet… EVERY single traffic stop I saw that weekend was with cars with our state plates. We didn’t get pulled over ever. But we didnt speed that much. i think speed limit across the state was 75. So, i kept my cruise control at 83. It was perfect, and we really did enjoy the drive. Except for those yellow cropdusters doing gonzo stunts over the freeway when we crossed the borders. Everyone else knew about them, too. its a thing, really. It was terrifying. the flying was SO fast and dangerous and barrel rolls and all this right on top of the freeway. Well, it really is a thing. i googled it


Friday Fives – that was weird, wasn’t it?

Kermit's art 2015What moment made you think “fuck, I am weird!”?

Gosh, I don’t know. I am left handed, so that was a big part of it for two reasons. One is, my mind is wired differently. So, I have a pretty unique perspective on things. Second, everything in the physical world is fucked up and working against you. You don’t fit in school desks, you can’t write in a binder, scissors don’t work. The world is a cruel place for a left handed kid. I was literally born to be anti-establishment.

It has been said by many that everything in Australia is designed to kill you.  The weather, the plants, and animals.  As Mike Rowe put it “just a horrible place waiting to kill you”.   That is life as a left handed dude.

 The next big piece of my education of weirdness was art, through Kermit. Kermit was a close childhood buddy who was into all the cool shit. In high school, he turned me on to: Beatles White Album, Hunter s Thompson, Henry Miller, MC Escher, and Salvador Dali.  He even turned me on to the graphic novelGregory‘. He was the skeleton key to my awakening away from the square world. He was also, not surprisingly, an amazing artist. See that painting up there? He did that. Sorry it’s not a better quality replication. I just used my cell phone. Think that one is nice? Mikey D has one that blows this out of the water!

If there was a king of all the weirdos, who might it be?

I gotta go with Salvador Dali.  He was weird, sure.  Many folks are.  However, he made it a living.  It wasn’t just who he was, but the who he was to all outside appearances.  I can’t think of anyone who was so successful and tickled about their weirdness than Dali.  Well, maybe Andy Warhol… but he didn’t make anything lasting.  He was more John Waters weird (as a marketing angle) than fruit loops.  Dali was fruit loops, baby.

I mean… just look at this photo.  This is a real photo.  There are no tricks, illusions, or photo manipulation.  They this photo took dozens of hours to get the right shot.

The difference between Dali and a madman is that Dali is not mad – S Dali.

What’s the smallest thing that seems to piss you off that no else gets bothered by?

Well, I have talked about the turn signal thing. No sense rehashing that one. Another thing that drives me super nuts is watching people vote actively against their own interests. I would argue no state (well, besides Louisiana) has been more impacted by climate change than Kansas. We used to get our hay from Kansas. It has been SO dry there that now all the hay comes all the way from Canada. Yet… Kansas votes super Republican at all times… even though the GOP denies climate change. Plus, the senators from Kansas and Oklahoma are both working extremely hard to eliminate FEMA. Yet, those two states draw more from FEMA than all other states (almost combined).

It’s the tornadoes. So, this state really really really needs FEMA. Because of climate change, Kansas (and OK) have record tornado years… ever year.  Each year it only gets worse, and climatologists say this will continue.  Yet… these folks vote GOP literally at their own peril. It is so sociologically impossible to understand that it has spawned a movement. It’s called ‘what’s the matter with Kansas’. It is a study (and then a book, and then a movie) as to why Kansas folk aggressively shoot themselves in the foot by voting GOP. Short answer, (and I am dead serious)… it is because of the gays. That is why they all vote Republican. They are afraid of gays. Seriously, watch the documentary.

The state, as we all know, depends on agriculture for everything. They are losing the corn. They can’t make enough hay anymore. That isn’t liberal propaganda. Our hay guy is as right wing as you would guess a hay guy is. It KILLS him to drive all the to Canada for hay to sell in Colorado. It won’t get better, either.

Colorado briefly suffered with this. In the Northern Plains is a town called Greeley. The area around this is VERY heavily dependent on water for agriculture. They had a Congresslady named Marilyn Musgrave. Her one and only concern was stopping the gays. From what? We don’t know, but she was going to stop them.

She let her district languish over and over again. She could have been getting water protection passed, bail out money, protections from farmers against bad crop loans. She did not of that. NOTHING. It took a few election cycles, but the good folks of Greeley finally realized keeping jobs and houses was more important that whether or not there was gays next door. Musgrave never did figure that out, and got bounced. She spent every ounce of political capital and resources to fight gay issues.

       So, that drives me crazy.

What is a common phrase that you absolutely hate hearing?

 “It is what it is.” I get it, and I have had to say it. Sadly, it just means ‘fuck it. Why bother? Why even try?

What’s the dumbest product that made a fortune?

I think we can all look back and agree it was the pet rock. Wait… and bottled water. You know that bottled water is just tap water, right? Plus, you are destroying the oceans with those empty bottles.