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Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 12:55 pm

As you may or may not know, my son and daughter-in-law sold the house they have lived in for many years and bought a much smaller, older house that had belonged to Betty Zvesper.  Todd and Karen’s three sons are grown and on their own  so they wanted less house to maintain. The Kunkle Drive house had our family members living in it since Dane moved back here in 1980…Dane, Julie, Mackenzie, Todd, Karen, Rod, Drew, Tyler all lived there at one time or another.

And, they wanted the house to be new…new bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, counter tops, flooring, painting, doors, windows, driveway, patio, et al …all new.  The house needed to be totally gutted and remodeled so they had to find a place to live during that process.  All their household belongings are in containers in the front yard.  The house was a shell.  The alternative was for them to move in with me.  They arrived after the first of the year and since then I have lovingly referred to them as the “troglodytes who live in the dank, dark caverns below”…

It has been a running joke among us about their long, extended visit.  Will they ever leave?  They never expected to be here this long.  I knew from experience they would be here a long time and I’ve loved having them here.  I love their company and helping hands.  It’s nice having someone else rattling around in my home. My laundry, all clean and folded, mysteriously appears in my bedroom.  The aroma of cookies baking wafts through the house at night, masking the nice odors from dinner. The trash is always out on the appointed day, not a day late.  Grocery shopping became a thing of the past for me.  I’ve been spoiled.  I’d really rather they didn’t leave, but that’s the way it is.

Last evening, Todd was telling me how well the remodeling project is going, how happy they are with their choices and the results…and how clean and pretty it is.  They are planning on moving furniture back in the house this weekend. They are excited about it.

“In fact”, he said, “Karen and I have decided it looks so nice this way that we’ll move all our furniture back in, get it just the way we want it and then continue living with you.  We’ll just go over there and visit from time to time so we can keep it nice and clean and continue to live here and mess up your place.”

They may be serious :)


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:55 am

The EHS Graduating Class of ‘71 has had its share of sadness with the death of its members. The recent death of Ernie Vanek on March 25 was the most recent in the class of over 70.  The others are:

Susie Shanelec Reid, June 5, 1984

Marsha Schultz Homeier, August 1, 1988

Kevin O’Donnell, February 11, 1993

Marty Hochman III, June 14, 1994

Gwen Sanders Arpad, December 7, 1995

Larry Maze, September 23, 2003

Dan Sharp, February 13, 2010

Ernie Vanek, March 25, 2011

The names and dates were supplied by Linda Kepka Kohls.  This class seems particularly hard hit with premature deaths. There are other classmates who would have been in the class of ‘71, but moved and were deceased before ‘71, such as Wayne Pistora.  Charlie Ward and Greg Hoffman and others are missing, as is typical with most graduating classes.

Linda Kohls does a wonderful job as school historian and keeping in touch with classmates.


Filed under: prairie musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 11:34 am

The former leader of fundraising for Kansas University athletics was sentenced Thursday morning to nearly four years in prison for taking part in a $2 million ticket scheme that illegally delivered thousands of tickets for KU basketball and football games to brokers and others.

Rodney Jones, who had led the ticket office for Kansas Athletics Inc. before becoming assistant athletics director for the Williams Fund, was sentenced Thursday to 46 months in federal prison.  The rest of the story…



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 2:08 pm

By Tribune staff report
Posted today at 11:33 a.m.

Google Inc. said Wednesday it has selected Kansas City, Kan., as the first  site for its ultra-fast broadband network.

The upgrade is part of a project Google announced last year to provide a community with Internet access more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today. Google said nearly 1,100 cities applied.

“In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City,” Google said on its official blog.

Pending approval from the Kansas City’s board of commissioners, Google plans to offer service beginning in 2012. The company said it is also looking at ways to bring ultra high-speed Internet to other cities across the country.

“We can’t wait to see what new products and services will emerge as Kansas City moves from traditional broadband to ultra high-speed fiber optic connections,” Google said.

For the whole story, click here.   Also, check out the blogging comments below the article.  It is clear people do not have nice things to say about Kansas.  The general impression people have about Kansas isn’t favorable and we do a lot to engender that impression, without even trying.  Here’s a sampling…

*  Shocking just shocking that a company would not select a town in Illinois. With our lovely political machine churning away, Google should come here just to appreciate how much lower taxes are everywhere else.

*    Instead they will now appreciate a state whose people have been edumacated in the both sciences of creationism and intelligent design.

*   Oh well, let’s see how well Google enjoys working with the ultra-hard-right-wing element of KC, KS! I’ve worked down there, it’s not nice…..*******-city, you can barely hear for all the Bible-thumping going on. Good luck, Google.

*    Great! Folks in Kansas can now access videos from Fox News faster! Technology marches on, intelligence lags behind.

*   “Ha-lay-loo-yuh! Jeebus done brought us The Google!”

–Cletus, the Slack-Jawed Yokel



Filed under: prairie musings, Mackenzie, computers — Peg Britton @ 5:47 pm

If you don’t have Weather Bug on your computer, don’t put it on.  If you have already downloaded it thinking it was a useful tool, just try to get it off.  It carries an adware engine that will server ads on the WeatherBug interface.  They say they aren’t adware yet WeatherBug serves ads.  Ads server displaying ads=adware.

Many years ago I had WeatherBug on my computer and it was causing me grief. I didn’t know how to remove it so Tina Bruning came and did it for me.  She said it was a bad program so I knew better than to ever put it on my computer again. I remember what she said.   But I did it anyway, many years later.  I was intrigued by the weather information coming from the high school which is in my back yard.  I didn’t understand earlier why it was a bad program…and figured after all these years they had fixed the problems.  I had no knowledge at all of why it was a problem.  Now, I do.

WeatherBug modifies specific settings inside the system making it difficult or next to impossible for the average person to deal with WeatherBug.  It modifies system settings so it starts up everytime the PC is rebooted and this takes memory and is annoying.

WeatherBug adds many keys inside the Registry that the average user wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to change or remove. That happened to me and it was impossible for me to correct.

They modify the Internet Explorer browser by adding several buttons to it. One of these buttons are the My Search toolbar. Those buttons are difficult for the average user to remove.  It was a nightmare to get off my computer…and it was way beyond my ability to handle it.

Programs (My Search) installed along WeatherBug keep your web searches in files. WeatherBug clams they do not monitor searches, yet the proof is there. Cookies are also kept. Are they shared with somebody? Who knows.

WeatherBug spams its users with unwanted advertising both on the desktop and inside WeatherBug.

All of these combine to say WeatherBug is a bad program to have on your computer.  Mackenzie and Ty had to come to my rescue to get these sticky bugs out of my computer. The program doesn’t respond to the uninstall options on add/delete programs. After several attempts the dreaded blue screen appeared. My computer locked.

First, at their suggestion, I downloaded malwarebytes and that took care of a lot of the WeatherBug program and got it off my computer.  But, there were all these other little bits and pieces of the programs tacked on here and there that took two very, very experienced computer geeks to remove.  With Ty working in MD and Mackenzie in TX, they combined their talents to solve my problem. Fortunately for me, I have LogMeIn installed on my computer so Mackenzie can access it remotely and problem solve.  My thanks go to them.

And…I’ll never have WeatherBug on my computer again.  If I want to find out what the weather is doing, there are plenty of other sources to tap.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, family, Ringo — Peg Britton @ 5:23 pm


Todd provides a resting place for Bentley.  Bentley can be a shoulder dog or lap dog and Ringo remembers how it once was, when he was very small, to occupy a lap.  Now it’s another thing.  He doesn’t understand that he’s much to big for that.


Ally tries to accommodate both dogs. Ringo has a birthday April Fool’s Day.  That’s the day we celebrate his birthday as that is the day we brought him home from the prison.  We’re not sure how old he is.  It will be a special day.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings, print news, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 5:15 pm


State Representative Steven Johnson, Rob Fillion, and Governor Sam Brownback.

Governor Sam Brownback signs HB 2258. The Governor was joined by Representative Steven Johnson, Rob Fillion, Rob Siedlecki, and Jim Morford.

Governor Brownback Signs Bill Allowing Economic Development in Ellsworth County to Move Forward, on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 3:07pm

Topeka – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed several bills into law today, including House Bill 2258 which will allow economic development in Ellsworth County to move forward.  Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Assaria) and elected leaders from the county joined the Governor for the bill signing.

“Our number one priority is to grow our state’s economy and get the more than 100,000 unemployed Kansans back to work.  We do that by getting state government out of the way of Kansas entrepreneurs.  This legislation will allow an economic development plan to move forward in Ellsworth County,” Gov. Brownback said.

HB 2258 will give the Secretary of Social and Rehabilitation Services the authority to convey certain property in Ellsworth County, Kansas, to the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society via quitclaim deed. The bill would allow the State of Kansas to retain all mineral rights to the property, as well as the right to enter and leave the property at any time for the purpose of oil, gas, or other mineral production. The bill would provide that, in order to protect improvements that could be made to the land by future owners; the State of Kansas cannot harm the surface of the land when exercising its mineral rights.

Please go to your Facebook page to ‘like’ and ’share’ the most recent posting on Governor Sam Brownback’s Facebook page, it is also on the SHDC Facebook page.  The announcement, “Governor Brownback Signs Bill Allowing Economic Development in Ellsworth County to Move Forward.”

If you have not ‘liked’ the Smoky Hill Development Corporation Facebook page, please do so.



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 11:38 am


Are you interested in BASE jumping?

My “second cousin once removed”, Adam Foster, and his friend, Owen Searls, have been made primary dealers for Phoenix Fly in the U.S.  They are located in Denver and have vast experience in BASE jumping, both in the U.S. and abroad.  With the recent release of the Venom (pictured above)  and the soon to be released Vampire 4, they believe it will be a great summer for their business.

All of their wingsuits have advantages in the differing aspects of human flight - some will keep you in the clouds for seriously extended periods of time, some have the forward speed of a rocket and all have different experience requirements.  Sounds like fun, huh?
Phoenix-Fly design, develop and produce state-of-the-art high performance wingsuits for skydiving and BASE-jumping. Their product range also includes tracking pants, jackets and other accessories for skydiving and BASE.

Next to their dealer network they now also have field representatives who can assist on the dropzone with expert advice on their  product line, measuring you up, filling out order forms, and submitting orders straight to Phoenix-Fly.

For more information, contact



Filed under: prairie musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 10:04 am

March Madness: If You Root Against Kansas, You Root Against America
By Hampton Stevens
Mar 25 2011, 11:00 AM ET 311
Why NCAA basketball fans should love the KU team, instead of loving to hate it

Reuters/Bill Waugh

For Kansas basketball fans, here’s a great article you’ll want to read.  Article from the Atlantic.  Here are some excerpts from the article:
If you follow college basketball, you may well hate the University of Kansas.

No big shock. Kansas—along with North Carolina, Kentucky, and Duke—is one of those teams that fans love to hate, like the Yankees, the Lakers, or Dallas Cowboys. KU is a high-dollar, high-pressure program, perennially in the top 20, usually in the top five, and always a threat to make the Final Four.

In this case though, that’s a real shame. It’s shame because hating on the Jayhawks means you hate the United States of America. Yes, you read that right.

The Jayhawk, a mythical mix of a blue jay’s cunning with the ferocity of a hawk, was born in pre-Civil war era “Bleeding Kansas,” when the strange bird was adopted as the mascot of abolitionist forces fighting for Kansas to enter the Union as free state. The Jayhawkers battled with Border Ruffians, many from Missouri, who wanted to bring slavery into the new territory, and who ultimately sparked a horrific, bloody war of secession. Surely, it’s more than mere coincidence that the pro-Union Jayhawks must face a team from the old capital of the Confederacy … on Sunday.

If you root against KU basketball, then, you are actually rooting for slavery. You’re supporting the Confederacy over United States, cheering for racism, oppression, and war, and, not for nothing, you want President Obama to fail—all of which are certainly “odious” and “contemptible” by any reasonable definitions.

Kansas basketball, certainly, has a history as rich as any team in the country, no matter what the sport, at any level of college or the pros. The first coach of KU basketball, after all, was the first coach of any basketball team, anywhere, ever. James A. Naismith brought his newly-invented sport to Lawrence in 1898, coaching for seven years before handing the reins to his heir and greatest pupil, Forrest C. “Phog” Allen.

Allen essentially created the game of basketball as we know it. He streamlined Naismith’s invention, creating a sleeker, faster sport…

Allen also was the driving force behind basketball being made an Olympic event. Without that 1936 milestone, the game would never have gone global, there would never have been any Dream Teams, and today there wouldn’t be dozens of international players spicing up the NBA.

Oh, and this whole March Madness/Big Dance/Bracketology thing? The tournament of thrills the whole country goes mad for each spring? That was Phog’s idea, too. Allen founded the postseason tournament in 1939, through his National Association of Basketball Coaches, and handed off its management to the NCAA the following year.

To grow up a Jayhawk is to grow up indoctrinated. It’s like being raised in a strict fundamentalist church—but the only fundamentals that matter are footwork, hustle, shot selection, and knowing how to guard the pick-and-roll.

So, go ahead, casual hoops fans. Root against the Jayhawks, if you must. Sure, it means that you show no love for passionate basketball fans, and have no respect for the history of the game. Sure, rooting against KU also means that you support slavery, hate America, and want the President of the United States to fail.



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 9:52 am


He looks sane enough in this picture, but we all know looks can be deceiving.

Gov. Sean Parnell’s appointee for the panel that nominates state judges is Dan Haase of Valdez Alaska.  Haase testified Wednesday that he would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside of marriage.  Any sex outside of marriage should be illegal.   He didn’t go so far as to say it should be a felony.

When asked if premarital affairs should be a crime, he responded:  “I think that would be up to the voters certainly. If it came before (the state) as a vote, I probably would vote for it … I can see where it would be a matter for the state to be involved with because of the spread of disease and the likelihood that it would cause violence. I can see legitimate reasons to push that as a crime.”

His uber-conservative agenda is well-known in Alaska.  For more….


Filed under: prairie musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 8:37 am



Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 2:24 pm

Do you need baby chicks or ducks for Easter?  Hatching eggs?  Hundreds of eggs for the skillet?  If you want any or all, call Ryon at 620.245.7469.   Pick up in Lindsborg.



Filed under: prairie musings, Video — Peg Britton @ 1:15 pm


Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 12:23 pm

From NPR

by Eyder Peralta

March 22, 2011
A new report from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests a majority of Catholics are supportive of gay and lesbian rights.

The report, which was released today, found that 43 percent of Catholics favored allowing gay and lesbian people to marry; 31 percent favored allowing them to form civil unions. 22 percent said there should be no legal recognition of a gay relationship.

Here are a few more findings from the report:

— Only 39 percent of Catholics give their church top marks for its treatment of the issue of homosexuality.

— 56 percent of Catholics believe that homosexual sex is not a sin.

— When marriage is defined as a civil marriage “like you get at city hall,” 71 percent of Catholics support it.

In a conference call announcing the new research, Dr. Michelle Dillon, professor of sociology and chair of the Sociology Department at the University of New Hampshire, said the report shows the changing and more accepting atmosphere building around gay marriage in the country. It also, she said, highlights the division between American Catholics and the Vatican.

“Most American Catholics believe that one can be a good Catholic and disagree with the Vatican and the bishops on issues of personal conscience,” said Dillon. “Gay-marriage has clearly become another issue, along with artificial contraception and divorce and remarriage, which Catholics believe is not core to what it means to be Catholic.”

Last week, we reported on an ABC/Washington Post poll that found 53 percent of Americans think gay marriage should be legal.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 9:28 pm

My computer has been giving me fits for the past several days.  It finally expired this evening AFTER we had a long video visit on Skype with Grandson Tyler, which was wonderful. There is nothing better than Skype to connect with someone you love who is halfway around the world and otherwise totally inaccessible most of the time.

That was it.  Blue screen. Frozen. Screwy stuff. Mozilla disappeared. Wouldn’t start. More screwy stuff. Updates?  Drivers? Weather Bug conflict? Not a virus…was pretty sure of that. Where to turn?

Well, I “think” it is fixed.  Don’t ask me what I did….retraced my steps as best I could from several days ago when it did work and try to figure out what was going on.  It’s working now and I’m going to bed, satisfied in my mind that it is fixed.  I don’t want to go to bed thinking it’s still “broken”.  That doesn’t promote a good night of sleep.  But… I’m not really sure what tomorrow will bring.  Time will tell.   If you don’t see me for a few days, I’ll be in desperate mode calling Mackenzie, Jesse, Annette…etc.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 2:13 pm

Remember Ray Davis?  Remember reading this last month?  It didn’t create much of a “stir” in U.S. news, in fact it was hardly mentioned at all.  But it certainly did raise a ruckus in Pakistan.  And the controversy has only broadened since then.

Ray Davis admitted to killing the two men but claimed he was acting in self-defense in an attempted armed robbery; however,  there were questions raised  about him knowing the men he killed.  He could have faced the death penalty on the charges.

The wife of one of the men Davis shot committed suicide by taking poison. She did it to avenge her husbands death claiming the government wouldn’t seek justice for her husband of a few weeks.

Davis was indicted for the murders but then was immediately pardoned by the families of the victims in exchange for compensation.

“Washington” denies any money was paid.

Tribal leaders are now seeking revenge.


Photos from Aljazeera

“Whenever someone is killed there will invariably be revenge - something that the Americans know very well, they have been operating in Afghanistan after all. Now the tribes are saying they are going to hit the Americans on both sides of the border, whenever, wherever possibly.”

Hundreds of Pakistanis have marched against the government in protest over the release of a CIA contractor who had been held for murder.


Protesters in Islamabad led by the Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan marched from Islamabad’s Red Mosque after Friday prayers, chanting anti-government and anti-US slogans.

Outrage was further heightened by a US air strike in North Waziristan on Thursday, killing at least 38 people.

“All of us Pakistanis have to get together and decide that in the future if ever the life of any Pakistani is taken, 180 million Pakistanis will come out onto the streets,” Khan said.

The protesters chanted “Friends of the US are traitors” and “Down with America”.

The march came two days after Raymond Davis was released after the families of the two men he admitted to killing were given so-called “blood money” and the case was dropped.

What can I say? Revenge is always involved.  We know that.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 1:08 pm

Wilson’s Annual Chamber of Commerce Casino Night is tomorrow,  March 19th.

The social hour starts at 6 p.m. where there will be a finger food buffet and cash bar. Many casino type games of chance will be available starting at 7:00 p.m.

For $20 you will receive $10,000 fun money,  4 prize tickets and a finger food buffet.

At  10 p.m. there will be drawings for prizes and silent auction winners will be  announced.

If you’ve never attending one of these entertaining events, I think you’ll find it a good way to spend the evening among friends.


Filed under: prairie musings, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 12:02 pm



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Ellsworth Steak House — Peg Britton @ 10:13 am

K-State knocked Utah State out of the tournament with a 73-68 win last night in Tucson.  Because of the hour, it seemed like a very long game.  I lasted for all of it in the comfort of my bed, but only because of it.

The game tonight between KU and Boston U. is scheduled at the “corned beef and cabbage hour” at our house.  Three large flats of spicy, brined beef are in the roaster slowly simmering away. It’s an all-day process; one I know well from doing the same thing every year for 60 years. It’s a family favorite.

We are few and in dwindling numbers, so we delayed having our annual St. Pat’s dinner until tonight when there would be at least four of us. Everyone else has other obligations:  Drew is still at the top of the leader board at his bank in Boulder, Mackenzie is engineering military aircraft so they stay in the sky, and Tyler is averaging about two runs a week from Afghanistan to Germany transporting critically wounded soldiers (exhausting work).

Anyway. When the beef has shrunk to about half it’s original size and is fork tender, I’ll remove it from the roaster, strain the broth and dispose of all the seasonings. Then I’ll add wedges of cabbage, whole onions, carrots and potatoes to the broth, top it with the meat, and cook slowly  until the veggies are done. The doors and windows are open on this nice spring day. A little cross-ventilation will help carry the odor from the kitchen out onto the prairie and strengthen the fence posts.

That’s the piece de resistance for dinner.

My take on whether I really like a particular restaurant is based on the amount and kind of fruit and vegetables they serve.  If it’s always corn, peas and green beans, I’m not very enamored with their food.  But when they are prone to serving slightly steamed cruciferous veggies, which my mom always insisted be the mainstay of a meal, they’ve won me over.  Fresh fruit enhances any plate of food.

Last night, the Ellsworth Steak House hit the jackpot with me.  I’m not sure everyone felt as I did, but Voila!, the veggies were excellent.

They offered  a couple of specials:  corned beef served with cabbage, sauerkraut and a casserole of creamy Brussels sprouts.  Another special was leg of lamb.  So, I ordered my usual liver and onions then asked what options there were for sides. One was steamed Brussels sprouts, she said, seasoned with baby onions and bacon.  So, not to be disappointed, I asked if I could have Brussels sprouts as my two sides…the steamed and the casserole.  Her eyes widened as she said I could.  Todd and Karen ordered the steaks they like with the usual sides…but not Brussels sprouts.

When a waitress returned with our meals, she asked, with one plate extended at arm’s length…”And, who ordered liver and onions with all these Brussels sprouts?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

Then, I got thinking again about cruciferous vegetables which are members of the mustard family and not favorites for many. They include such things as cabbage, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula, bok choy, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens, watercress, horseradish, wasabi, mustard seed, etc.  They are very good for the body!  As much as I like them, I’ve never seen them served in such abundance as they were last night…cabbage, sauerkraut, and Brussels sprouts fixed two different ways.  It is one more reason it’s my favorite place to eat. Dinner for all of us was delicious.

I know it’s spring….the buzzards have returned.  They know best about such things. Spring has arrived. Really.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 7:23 pm

The law making same sex sexual relations illegal was was struck down in 2003 by the SCOTUS in the case Lawrence v Texas.   The Kansas legislature made an attempt to repeal this unconstitutional law from the KS statutes, but Rep. Pauls exhibited disdain for the decision of the  United States Supreme Court and wants to keep the criminalization of homosexuals in Kansas statutes.  A quiet protest consisting of 100 people against Pauls was conducted today in downtown Hutchinson.

State Representatives Jan Pauls (D, Hutchinson), and Lance Kinzer (R, Olathe) said that being gay or lesbian should remain a crime in Kansas. Pauls made, with Kinzer’s support, the successful motion in the Kansas Legislature’s Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee to keep the criminalization of gay and lesbian relationships on the books. Their action removed key language from HB2321, proposed by the Kansas Judicial Council, which would have resolved inconsistencies in Kansas criminal code, as well as remove unconstitutional laws.

“Jan Pauls was trusted to be a judge before becoming a state representative, and should know better than to support unconstitutional laws, breaking her oath to defend the Constitution,” said Jon Powell, Chair of the Hutchinson Area chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition. “We are fed up with her obvious support of harassment of gays and lesbians. We will not be bullied.”






Photos by Ally Britton

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