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.

Friday Fives – Geesh, he really just went off the rails on that one


allow me to explain a bit before you read further.  I came home from work and spend 7 hours cleaning for reletaives visiting this weeking.  SEVEN HOURS>… AFTER A FULL DAY of work.  now, most of you women say “welcome to my life”. or “that is what you get for having kids”.  I don’t have kids.  So, I got home at 9 am and drank four pots of coffee and cleaned (and watched action movies, of course).  So, I was a little fighty and punchy by the time I published this at 3 or 4 am.

also, I have to admit that I see this country getting SO fucked every single day by people voting against their own interest.  So, I get set off when I see the GOP explain to 50 million uninsured Americans why they don’t want to need health insurance… and then those fuckstards (and by that I mean every single person in the grianbelt) vote against giving themselves health insurance.  Did you know healthcare is the #1  cause of bankruptcy today?  So, I admit I got [ushy and fighty and I shouldn’t have.  At this point, though, i just say ‘fuck em’.  You want govt out of your life?  you win.  no more seatbelts, no more gun laws to protect your kids, no more copys or fire departments.  no more tv.  No one pointing nuclear weapons BACK a the middle East. no more fixing bridges or paving roads.  No more going to the doctor EVER.  You and Ron Paul will all be very happy… for about a week.

you use the govt every walking moment of your life, and they are genuinely there to help you.  Yes, we all know it’s expensive and inefficient but we get to that below.  I don’t even expect you to thank the govt, or me… just shut the fuck up about it unti you educate yourself.  OR… more to Florida.  They literally have NO laws, it is quite something.

1. What is the creepiest local legend in your hometown?

Love Canal.  I am from Buffalo.  We had a small accident with buried toxic waste.  Well, that was the plan.  Admittedly, we didn’t quote know that toxic waste doesn’t break down in our lives.  Well, they knew… but we didn’t it.  So… they buried this all of this nasty stuff outside of a Buffalo NY suburb known as ‘Love Canal’  They buried the stuff and put a whole housing community and school on it.  Figured ‘no big whup’ and kinda didn’t tell people.

According to Wiki, this was in the early 70’s  I MUST stress this timelines.  I am from Buffalo, NY.  I lived there in there early 70’s.   This is not a ‘legend’ or a ‘myth’.  the ground caught on fire.  Good news, that was 40 years ago.  it is STILL a ‘superfund’ site.  I was there three years ago.  it is still abandoned.  Miles of housing and schools just super empty like a twilight zone episode. gone.  emptied, and will forever be in lifetimes.

Here is another gem, Remember Erin Brockovich?  It was that great Julia Roberts film about a  utlitity company killing everyone off with cancer… and then covering it up while everyone died?  That shit HAPPENED. That isn’t a movie.  They fucking killed everyone and got away with it.Well, they were fined $450,000.  That is like asking me not to play a C7 anymore on guitar.  I kinda never was going to anyway.  Thanks, Toad, for putting that in every songl  Major props to the real Erin Brockovich who is still an aggressive environmentalist

Oh, and the company caught killing everyone?  They are doing just fine, no surprise

Then, you had British Petroleum fill the gulf with oil for 87 days.  Longest spill in HISTORY… of fucking EVER.  K?  not the biggest spill in recent memory, or in the us.  The worst still in EVER.  The latest figure are 210 million gallons.  Half the size of Oprah’s pool!

But here is what super pissed me off and scared me about that spill.  Not that it happened so much.  Accident’s happen, and I don’t think anyone had malicious intent (even though it is documented they were warned repeatedly).  I am no energy angel.  I drive a big ass prick up truck.  I admit, I AM the the problem.  But, my point about my concern with the BP spill is no one had any idea what to do about it.  There was NO plan to stop it or burn it off or turn of the hose.  There was nothing anyone on earth could do but watch for four months.

Now we have fracking and climate change concerns.  Don’t bevel me those won’t fuck us?  Think big business will protect you?  This is why I am a Democrat.  It is more than just ‘let big business alone, we all win in the end”.  Big Business willl murder you in a heartbeat for profit.  They always have, and they always will.  AND, they will get away with it.  They always have, and they always will.  If you believe  otherwise you are a dumbshit, gun nut, or religious idiot.

Sorry, didn’t mean to get so preachy.  It started as a quick reference to Love Canal as quick answer to #1 and I started thinking about the AMAZING history of the rich killing off the poor and getting away with it.

You see, I am not a Democrat because I am jealous of rich people, and I want my hand out.  None of us are.  We are Democrats because because the rich and powerful have fucked over the world for too long and never been held accountable.  Quick last example – wanna know how I vote o ballot initiatives?  Easy, the side with the least amount of money.  The poor kids went door to door to get that issue on the ballot and it took them years and thousands of dollars and hours.  Yet, some super rich company is going to produce this ten million dollar commercial telling you everything is fine and stop being such a pussy?  Well, if everything really was fine, why are they spending all that money?  Fracking, Corn Syrup, and Monsanto.  I am looking in your direction here.  If everything really is fine, then get off out dicks and stop spending billions tell us it is.

Do you remember that super expensive commercial where the sun had to prove it made plants?  Remember that campaign about drinking blood of your enemies was ok?  Hmmm.  Maybe because that shit is so obvious they didn’t need an ad campaign.

start here, then here, then here. then here. then here. and this one is just a gem.  Spoilert alert… its the gays.  historic climate change, worse droughts in history, a govt backrupted by environmental disasters related to climate change?  ALL the gays fault… and this isn’t a Fred Phelps story.  This is people interviewing Kansas folk as to why they vote their state unto ruin every single election?  Gays!  Seriously, watch it as long as you can

sorry, I usually keep this lite and fun.  But, for too long YOU have ruined America.  Proof.  YOU.  The latest gallup numbers says Congress approval for early 2014 is 13%

yet YOU assholes have re-ected them at a rate of over 90% for every election for the last 30 years.  Congress is not the problem.  YOU ARE for re-electing them.

same thing with wal mart.  everyone bitches about wal mart.  wal mart isn’t the problem.  They are getting you the best deal they can and maximizing profits in the mean time.  That is the job of every business on earth.  Sadly, wal mart sacrifices human rights and health care to do so.  That isn’t the free market anymore, dumbass.  Wal Mart pays so little that 40% of their employees are on govt assistance.  YOUR tax dollars pay to keep wal mart employees alive.

my point isn’t anti wal mart at all, it’s you.  Don’t blame wal mart for maximizing value.  Blame YOURSELF for shopping there.  Quit bitching and go to Coscto, who pays a living wage offers health care, and was recently called out by consumer reports as one of America’s best stores.   Prices, friendliness, location, viability of employees, and employee loyalty.

see, the problem isn’t ‘they’.  It’s not Congress, it’s not Wal Mart, It’s not Fema or Kansas.  it is YOU.  Take responsibility with your life and dol.  Vote out every single person in congress, your party or not.  Dont’ shop at wal mart, because I just proved to you that you are not saving DICK there.  You saved $.30 on cheese its over Costco, but your paycheck also send $300 a month to the gal who sells who cheese its.  Congress is the most fixable of all.  In football, the guy who drops the ball EVERY time gets fired.  In burger king, that kid who spits in your fries gets fired.  Yet, in Congress… they not only don’t get fired.  they get promoted.  THEN… they vote on their own raises.  THEY, they make a law that says most people deserve spit in their burgers.

well, something tells me this will generate some comments, eh?

2. What’s the nicest bathroom you’ve used?

you know, I don’t much care.  I am bothered by nice place where well dressed black guys sell you toilet paper.  as a white guy, this bothers me a LOT.   I don’t want to pay to poo… and I  certainty feel weird about paying a black guy for the privileged to poop.  WAY too much white guilt for me to process.

but that isn’t my real concern.  my biggest concern is businesses who use cheap toilet paper.  They ALL do  it – including my own company.  I know a guy, and we don’t need to use names (but it’s Tyler) who brings his own toilet paper to work.  As a consumer, it really bothers me.  Would you go to a business that said every time you walked in someone said “hey fatty fuck face” would you?  NO.  That is how I feel about every single business who uses cheap toilet paper.  I can’t think of a single business who does NOT do this.  Admittedly, I am a pretty cheap shopper.

3. What are you the “go to” person for?

at work?  fraud avoidance and detection.  For real like, anything you need to know about trucks or guitars.  Go ahead and ask me, PLEASE.  No one never does.  plus, as you can guess, I am a bit of a politico.

4. What news headline would cause mass hysteria? 

fuck it, there is nothing left to disappoint me about America.  Louisiana and Oklahoma just voted out Fema support through their Senators.  This is VERY pertinent because they are two largest states that require Federal aid for natural disasters.  and don’t be too concerned that BOTH those states have seen the most expensive years in history due to extremes of climate change.  It’s funny, because neither state believes in climate change.  Even better?  Guess who DOES believe in Climate Change, and is already making changes?  The insurance companies.  Because nothing like the disasters we are seeing have happened in the history or the recorded United States.  Righties, do you get the irony here?  You don’t believe in Climate Change (which still drives me nuts, because Dems have NOTHING to gain by making this up)…. anyhow, you think it’s a myth.  You are also dumb enough to trust big business to protect yo.  This is why if you are a righty you are a DUMBASS.  because… guess what… you may not believe it’s happening, but it is.   That is a fact that is doubling your insurance.  Are you getting the irony?  You don’t trust Dems, just big business.  and Big Business is about to start raping your insurance rates for climate change.

get it yet.  whether or not you believe in climate change, your big business buddies sure as shit do and you are about to pay for it.  PLUS…. remember when you shop at wal mart you are not just sending all your racist money to China… you are paying for Obamacare via medicare because Wal Mart won’t pay enough or allow fulll time employees so they can access healthcare.  That is what you get when you save you 75 cents on cheetoes and skoal.

that pic up top, it’s a Firenado.  since I know your buddy in El Camino doesn’t believe there is such a thing…. have him drive into it.

5. What should be done to people who don’t wash when leaving the bathroom?

ah jesus, haven’t I complained enough here already?