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Filed under: prairie musings, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 1:13 pm

By Rebekah Dryden
Tue May 31, 2011 12:35 PM EDT

When the administration of Kansas’ Republican Governor, Sam Brownback, laid off the staff of the state’s Arts Commission earlier this month, citing a “lack of funding,” despite a clearly-stated plan on the part of the Republican-controlled legislature to fund the agency, lots of folks predicted what would happen next.

Or, more precisely what just happened.

Governor Brownback signed the state budget bill over the weekend, and he made use of his line-item veto pen to eliminate funding for the Kansas Arts Commission. Essentially the governor eliminated the agency by eliminating its funding. He tried to eliminate the Arts Commission by executive order back in February but the order was overruled by a Senate vote the following month.

From Saturday’s Topeka Capital-Journal:

The action by Brownback ran counter to votes by the House and Senate to retain state support of KAC and to preserve the organizational structure of a 45-year-old agency sending arts grants to every corner of the state.

Henry Schwaller, chairman of the Kansas Arts Commission, said the governor’s removal of $689,000 in state financing would prevent Kansas from qualifying for grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kansas will be the only state to miss out on this federal aid, he said.

“With a stroke of his pen, the governor cost the state of Kansas $1.2 million,” Schwaller said. “On July 1, nearly 200 local arts organizations and artists will lose critical support for local arts programs, operational funding and professional development.”



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 3:59 pm

My cemetery flowers were very sad looking…really pathetic…except for a bouquet that Mugs prepared for Dane’s grave.  She did a beautiful job on it.

Those I had prepared last year for my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents as well as Brit’s parents were Dickensonian.  The only way I knew to remedy the situation was go to H_O_B_B_Y_L_O_B_B_Y,  the artificial flower Mecca of the world.  I turn inside out just looking at the sign above their front door and would rather be tarred and feathered  than go inside. I don’t know what it is about that place.  Maybe because it’s filled with dead stuff made to look alive in a sick way.

So, what to do?  The above mentioned are only a fraction of the relatives graves I should tend to…not to mention those of a lot of friends.  I think my children should just forgo this annual chore. I’m sure my four great-grandparents who died in the late 1800s/early 1900s never expected someone would be looking after their graves in 2011.

Recently I’ve perused the artificial arrangements at ALCO and found them “too artificial” with large garish flowers in bright neon colors.  They don’t even look like flowers.  Such as it is with inexpensive artificial flowers; they never can replace the beauty of real flowers.  Long ago I had to give up trying to manage fresh flowers for graves so every year I go through this.

I haven’t seen a thing at ALCO’s I could use…but…yesterday, Lo and Behold!, I discovered a rack of small flowers that I knew would work.  The really good part about it was that almost no matter what I selected,  the colors coordinated with fill-ins and made nice looking bouquets. And they were on sale…or so said the tags.  At least I now have fresher looking bouquets that aren’t a disgrace to the family!

ALCO is a life-saver for a lot of things.  Yesterday I found exactly just what I wanted in replacement cushions for deck furniture.  They have as good an assortment of sugar-free candy as anywhere to satisfy that periodic urge for something sweet.  They just have a lot of things that I use on a regular basis and it’s within walking distance, if I could walk.  We’re fortunate to have it. And in a tangential way, they have contributed a great deal to Ellsworth over the years through benefactors.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 12:58 pm

My good friend who wrote this shall remain anonymous.  She retired early, is a very productive person and enormously amusing.  This is what she had to say about her busy days.  I love it and thought you’d enjoy it too.  It came in response to my grinching to her about having a long day:

In order to determine in what manner you experienced a “long day”, as suggested, I went and took a look at your recent blog entries.

.. as usual, they were wonderfully informative and answered all my questions …

However, what is this:  “blogging is getting to be a real burden” ???

That can’t possibly be so!  I’m sorry, but your devout/loyal readership can’t/won’t allow, accept or permit that to be the case!

I’m thinking it’s probably the Debilitating Dell-A-Thon you’ve been having to deal with and endure these past several weeks that has caused your computer activities to feel burdensome.

I’m of the opinion that, once Mackenzie has been to visit and gets everything all ironed out, your energy and enthusiasm for for blogging will return full force …

In the meantime, I’m afraid I have nothing-I-can-think-of to offer and next-to-no-time during which to write it …

I know, I know … you’re going to point out that I’m retired and ought to have plenty of time …

Well, you’d think so, but this business of trying to stay healthy has quickly become unbelievably time consuming …

Truth is:  I routinely find myself days (and sometimes weeks) behind in responding to even the small amount of correspondence I currently allow …

Here’s how that happens:

Since I continue to stay up and watch the late night shows, I don’t usually wake up in the morning ’til around 8:00 or 8:30 …

… by the time I do the “oil pulling” … and feed the cat … and take my shower … it’s getting close to 9:30 …

Seeing as how I don’t wake up limber enough to immediately start doing yoga, instead, I stretch around on the floor for awhile … read a bit … then meditate for as long as I can (generally around a half hour or so — time primarily devoted to thinking about all the other things I should be doing) …

By the time all that’s taken place (given the slow, early-morning pace at which I go), it’s probably nearing 10:30 …

… on a good day I try to do a half hour’s worth of basic, simple yoga stretches …

By then it’s approaching 11:00 and getting close to lunch time (an event which takes longer than it used to since these days I usually meet up with others) …

After lunch, I typically run a few errands, looking to be home by 3:00-3:30 in time to go to the “Y” with my sister (where we splash around in the pool for a while) … thus, working up an appetite for dinner …

After that, it’s as though the rest of the day evaporates.  The next thing I know it’s TV/movie time … and then 1:00 in the morning …

But get this!!!  The most challenging part of the equation is dealing with all the guilt I find myself lugging around these days!

Guilt because, after years of effortlessly living a laid back, casual, easygoing, “slacker” lifestyle, these days (now that I’m retired and supposed to be kicking back and relaxing), it never feels as though I’m doing enough …

For instance, in order to remain healthy these days, it seems that (in addition to those things I do), the bare minimum would also include …

walking at a brisk pace for at least 45 minutes a day …

buying a food pulverizer — then cleaning, juicing, and consuming a couple crates of (completely organic) produce each day  …

installing a reverse osmosis filtration system, drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, plus several servings of properly diluted ACV, and a vat or two of green tea …

detoxing in some manner (for example: taking those ionic foot baths or undergoing periodic colonic irrigation treatments) …

chucking down a comprehensive assortment of vitamins, probiotics, and supplements on a daily basis …

going to the gym several times a week and doing weight-bearing exercises (to staunch the decline of middle-aged bones) …

getting $1,600 worth of blood tests and lab work done in order to evaluate my hormone levels and replace my (cheap, synthetic) thyroid pills with some other (vastly more complicated and considerably more expensive) bio-identical remedy …

having all the mercury-laden amalgam fillings in my teeth removed by a specially certified dentist and getting them refilled with some newer, more expensive compound — then signing up for chelation treatments to get rid of all the heavy metals they’ve been dumping into my body for decades …

going out in the yard and jumping on a small trampoline every day (I’m not kidding about this … it’s called a rebounder), in order to prevent lymph congestion …

buying a wok and a slew of special pots and pans and learning how to cook (because word is out that, due to all the additives — like MSG and artificial sweeteners — and the processed ingredients they use, eating in restaurants these days is tantamount to ingesting straight poison) …

and then, lastly, selling my house and moving to some place where they don’t put fluoride in the water (because apparently it’s really hard to get fluoride out) …

And those are just the things I remember off the top of my head … who knows how many other critical and essential “do’s and don’t’s” I’ve forgotten …

Now I ask you:  how does anyone have enough time, money and discipline to do all those things?  It’d seem to me that holding down a job and earning a living would be completely out of the question …

By contrast, here’s how simple and efficient it used to be to live a laid back, casual, “slacker” lifestyle …

First you stop by a store on your way to work and buy a pack of cigarettes …

… then, if you get stressed during the day, you smoke one of those …

… if you get tired along the way, you smoke one of those …

… if you get hungry before lunch time, you smoke one of those …

… if you get angry at anyone, you smoke one of those …

See how Simple and Easy that was????

Then, after work, you stop and buy another pack of cigarettes on your way home.

Once you get home, you fix yourself a Black Russian, open that new pack of cigarettes, sit down at the PC and write e-mail …

See The Difference?????


Filed under: political musings, print news, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 9:09 am

This just makes my blood boil.  It appeared in Pitch.
Kansas Rep. Pete DeGraaf: Being impregnated during a rape is just like getting a flat tire
By Peter Rugg, Mon., May 23 2011 at 7:21 AM

Yeah, like anyone would want to “R” Pete.
​Rape is often called the ultimate violation of self. A crime of absolute contempt for personal integrity, leaving the women caught in its wreckage to labor under the trauma for years. What reprehensible event could possibly have the same consequences as the spiritual dead zone rape victims are left in?

Well, getting a flat tire, according to Kansas state Rep. Pete DeGraaf.

Last Friday, Kansas legislators approved a ban on insurance companies offering abortion coverage as part of their general health plans. The one exception: when a woman’s life is at risk.

DeGraaf, who is in his first term and who is an associate pastor, also called for banning coverage for abortions of rape pregnancies. (Women could get around this if they purchased separate, “abortion-only policies.”)

During the House discussion there was predictably some disagreement over whether excluding rape pregnancies from coverage was perhaps the sort of callous treatment a recently violated woman shouldn’t have to deal with. Here’s DeGraaf’s response to Rep. Barbara Bollier’s challenge, as reported by the McPherson Sentinel:

Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told her: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?”

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have a spare tire on my car.”

“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

This is the part of the story where it would be fun to talk about how DeGraaf should be put through something similar to rape, even though tortures on that level are hard to invent. Someone could give him the old Shazam, which is when you unzip a man’s taint from anus to testicles using a pair of kiddie scissors. Shazam! Or we could make jokes about how there should be a AAA for sexual assault. That kind of thing is fun to write and fun to read, and we could all get good and angried up.

But, you know, even though that stuff might make us feel good, the truth is there’s a lot of people who voted for DeGraaf who think he’s just telling it like it is. Of course, those people prove the old line about rape being the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.

So DeGraaf will keep preaching at his church, everyone will forget about it, and he’ll probably get re-elected. He might even carve himself out a nice life in politics surrounded by people who agree with him and make sure he always knows he was right about those dumb women who failed to prepare for rape, assuming he ever gives it another thought. Then, on his deathbed, he’ll look back, comfortable that he led a brave and innocent life, ready to enter heaven.

One quick thing before we’re done. DeGraaf’s Web site lists his office number as 785-296-7693, his home phone as 316-777-0715 - that’s at 1545 E. 119th St. Mulvane, KS - and his e-mail as You know, just in case you’re one of the people who do disagree with him and think you might be able to persuade him. Democracy thrives on open discourse.

UPDATE: Women’s rights organization Kansas NOW has announced a campaign to send DeGraaf spare tires in protest of his remarks, and voting record. Read how you can send DeGraaf a tire here.


Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Mackenzie — Peg Britton @ 7:51 am


Mackenzie will soon be on her way.  Well, she has to put in a full day of work before she can head this way for the weekend so I don’t expect her before midnight.  But, the good news is that she arrived at work before 6:00 am today completed her project two days early which was great news to her manager and supervisor.  She’s the star today.

It’s another beautiful day in Kansas.  I love the cool, sunny days.  It’s beautiful deck sitting weather.

Tyler sent me this video  taken in Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram Afghanistan.  It’s where he works and where he and the Critical Care Air Transport Team take critically injured patients to Germany for further treatment.  If you look closely, you can see him, or his look alike, at the front end of a gurney off loading a patient.  We’re very proud of the work he does.  We’ll also be enormously grateful to have him home in three months.

This will be a busy weekend for many families in Ellsworth.  EHS grads will be gathering for family and class reunions.  Ex-pats are returning to take a look at their old digs.  Sadly, many of them haven’t spent much time here since they moved away.  We suffer the same plight as most rural towns….we just don’t have enough good paying jobs, housing and things to do to keep our best and brightest in our community.

One would have thought the recent driving rains would have cleaned the windows on my house, but they didn’t.  Instead, they appear to have been sprayed with Smoky Hill River water.  Maybe they still call it acid rain.  It’s dirty rain at any rate.

Rodney just called from Ellsworth Packing. They have dried beef….yay. I’ve waited a long time for this. And, they are fixing hamburgers for anyone who wants one from 11:00 to 1:30 or there abouts. CSB&T is having their annual hot dog feed in front of their bank. You have choices on fine dining today.

Have a very good weekend….and thanks for tuning in.



Filed under: political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 1:14 pm

Forty Republican extremists in the Senate, including Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, voted to end Medicare as we know it.  In doing so, Sen. Moran once again showed a willingness to callously rip apart the social safety net and throw seniors under the bus rather than ask corporations or the ultra rich to pay their fair share.  It’s appalling. And it’s also incredibly unpopular.

The vote in question was on a budget proposal originally put out by Rep. Paul Ryan. It would replace Medicare with a voucher program for seniors who’d be dumped into the private insurance market. And if the vouchers didn’t cover the cost of insurance, too bad.

There is no doubt that something needs to be done to control the increasing cost of Medicare. But the Ryan proposal does nothing to actually control costs.

All the Ryan plan does is shift the cost of health care onto the backs of seniors. And, in fact, by forcing seniors into the inefficient private insurance market, it would actually drive up the cost of providing health care to them.

The Ryan budget proposal was one of the most brutal attacks on the social safety net in decades.

Paul Krugman called it both “ludicrous” and “cruel.” “Ludicrous” because the budget projections were pure fantasy, “cruel” because it proposed massive spending cuts for programs that mainly help children, the poor and the elderly, while slashing taxes for corporations and the ultra-rich.

This is the extremist and irresponsible plan Sen. Moran voted for.
Matt Lockshin, CREDO Action



Filed under: prairie musings, Artists, BOOKS — Peg Britton @ 7:37 pm

Here is an interview with with family friend, Tara Stine Hudson, about her debut novel that comes out June 7.

HEREAFTER by Tara Hudson

Tara Hudson discusses the creation of her debut novel, HEREAFTER, in this youtube production. Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is …

I talked about Tara in previous posts here… and here Or you can find her name in my blog list on the right.

This is a young writer with great potential whom I hope you will support by buying her book.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Drovers, Todd & Karen Britton — Peg Britton @ 2:39 pm

From C of C Ambassador son, Todd:

On behalf of the National Drovers Hall of Fame, the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors invites and encourages your attendance at a Town Hall meeting at the Ellsworth City Hall meeting room on Wednesday, June, 1st, 7:00pm. The purpose is to share information on the Kansas 150th Anniversary Celebration Cattle Drive which concludes its 200 mile trek in Ellsworth on Saturday, September 24th. Celebration volunteers  will be needed in order to make this one of the most outstanding events in Ellsworth history. Opportunities for fund raising for local organizations will be available.
Make plans for representatives from your organization to attend and become active in the planning and execution process.


Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Mackenzie — Peg Britton @ 2:23 pm

It’s a good thing it isn’t trash pickup day on my side of the road.  It’s blowing a gale…again…only from a different direction from the gale yesterday…and the one that blew this morning.  This is the kind of weather that keeps thin, frail people at home, particularly the elderly. I’m not in that category, but for those who are, there isn’t any way for them to keep from being upended by sudden gusts of wind. My problem rests with the driver’s side car door.  No matter which way I park with wind like this, I’m either trying to keep the door from ripping off the hinges and taking my arm with it OR shattering my left leg.  It’s not worth the struggle.

One could say with certainty that unsettled weather abounds.  If it brings more rain, it’s worth the inconvenience. Farm ponds are filling and the cool temps are delightful.Ringo doesn’t like storms.  He cowers beside me most of the time or tries to hide from the lightning under the coffee table or in the basement.  Sometime when it’s really bad, I build him a nest in my bedroom closet or the pantry where he can sleep undisturbed.  When it turns pitch black during the day, he knows something is amiss.

Ally took some good storm cloud pictures last night, but I can’t seem to get them posted.  There are procedures on this computer that are different from my last and I can’t figure out some of them.  Posting pictures is a puzzlement right now.  Mackenzie will be here this weekend to give me a hand.  She’s also bringing all my pictures and music off my hard drive  and external speakers.  This computer has a rotten sound system.  My XPS had wonderful sound so this is a disappointment in that regard.   I made the mistake of trying to watch Melanie Griffith in a movie yesterday. Not that I’ll probably ever want to watch another of her movies, but it’s no fun just hearing half the dialog.  I need sound for movies and particularly for my music.  I tried to play Beethoven’s Ninth and it sounded like the opening bars of Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.  I know my hearing isn’t THAT bad.Graduates are gathering for the  Ellsworth High School class activities that will abound this weekend.  It’s Todd’s 40th year which I find hard to believe.  Ally will barge in on his class as that’s where most of her friends were.  The last time she went when it was her special reunion, she was the only one from her class who attended.  She had a great time anyway with all her old friends from other classes.

Tomorrow is the last day of classes for Ellsworth-Kanopolis-Geneseo students.  Watch the little ones as you drive.

Meredith stopped by yesterday for a Labatt Blue and chat.  We never have enough time to catch up.  She invited Mackenzie and me to join her and Rich on their deck for some of their homemade wine and a visit this weekend.  Anna Cannon and baby Ruby will be here Saturday…as will Scott and Darbi Nichols. It’s always nice having visitors.

Speaking of wine…Don Urbanek brought me a bottle of grape wine.  That man really knows how to make wine.  It is wonderful!  I wonder if he and Rich ever compare notes as they are both perfectionists at their craft.  Todd does really well as a brewmeister, particularly with the dark ales that I prefer.  Samples are always welcomed here at 1404.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Jesse Manning, dogs, Drew Britton, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 6:02 pm

I wish everyday were like today…with lots of people in and out of my house, visiting and having fun.

Eddie Jilka arrived yesterday from Silverton CO a day earlier than expected, but that’s okay.  He always comes to see us when he is in Kansas visiting his mother and other relatives.  Sometimes he stays overnight, as he did last night, and at times he stays weeks which hasn’t happened for a long time. He lived with us for several summers and ran the swimming pool.   This morning we had breakfast at KCs where Ally, Todd and Karen joined us.  He would have been disappointed had he not been able to visit with them.  As he was nearing his car to return to Salina, I asked if he had everything…his computer, and meds specifically. “Yes, yes, yes”, he said…as if he could forget those things.  After he arrived in Salina he realized he didn’t have his computer so he called to say he was heading back to Ellsworth.  Alas.  He almost counts as two visitors.

Ally was in and out during the time she was mowing my yard and spraying weeds.  That’s always very nice.  She also made a laundry run for me and hauled my clothes upstairs.  I barely get by dragging myself up and down the stairs without the addition of something that needs to be hauled from here to there.

Then, as totally anticipated, Jesse Manning popped in for a couple of hours.  It’s always wonderful catching up with him in real person; however, since his parents left Kanopolis that has become more difficult.  We stay connected.  He’s been a good friend.  I was delighted to see him and his new Caddy.  It’s an amazing vehicle and he’s an amazing young man.

Drew and dog Sarge passed through this afternoon, returning to Boulder from K.C.  To make it easier for all of us to talk with Drew whose time was very limited, his parents brought taco pizza to my house where we partook while quizzing the heck out of him as to what he and his high school buddies did in Kansas over the weekend during Tyler Bailey’s bachelor party.  They were sworn to secrecy, he said with a smile.  We didn’t expect to learn much, or really want to.  We did want to see Drew; he’s always so positive and cheerful.  He has a very long drive back to Boulder.

And…to bring a close to the day, Karen misplaced her set of keys.  We suspect they are somewhere in Drew’s car heading toward the mountains.  Ooops.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Mackenzie, computers — Peg Britton @ 4:54 pm

Last night at the witching hour of 11:00, the ghostly likeness of my granddaughter, who lives in Richardson TX, was transported instantaneously into my computer.  It was a miracle as miracles go, a reality beyond comprehension.  Ancients would have thought so and given credit to some mystic who was seeking sainthood.  Now we are aware it was no miracle at all as there is a wonderful computer program tagged Log MeIn (which for months I thought was some Chinese dish closely related to Chow Mein) that allows us to creep into another computer and do good work.  Or bad work if you aren’t careful who holds the key. So it was that Mackenzie connected with my computer last night and restored all my data.

As you must be aware by now, my constant grumbling for almost two months about not having a computer that worked, or having one but not having all the information that made it worthwhile, kept me out of sorts.  The delightful part of this story is that my granddaughter knows how to keep me upright and slowly moving ahead by keeping a functioning computer at my fingertips.  She took the hard drive from my once perfect XPS and took all the information off it, bit by bit.  That included all my contacts, correspondence, music, documents, pictures, and other pertinent data that seems ever so important to me and downloaded it on my new replacement Dell all-in-one Inspiron 2305.  Voila!  I’m back. No starting over from scratch.

Her next move is to scrub my hard drive and send it back to Dell.  Why they want it, I don’t know.  They thought it was corrupted and worthless, but that wasn’t the problem at all.  I actually think it was total “incompetence” at the lower ranks of Dell that cost me valuable time and energy and the company the cost of sending three techies here and a semi-load of computer parts.  It could have been avoided.

I have a few clean up chores, a lot of mail to sort through and dispense with, and blogs to ponder.  It will take some time and I am inordinately slow these days which will prolong the process.  But, I’m back.

Thanks very much, Mackenzie.

And, thanks to all of you for hanging around…


Filed under: political musings, Video — Peg Britton @ 12:00 pm

Former Texas Governor, Ann Richards, was a brassy, tough-talking woman who made an indelible profile in Democratic politics. After a time, she became one of my favorites. She was a tough old boot who knew exactly what she was doing. Oh, to have people like her back on the political stage.

Here’s a video clip a friend sent me that was a reminder of what a great woman she was. I think you’ll enjoy seeing it.



Filed under: prairie musings, Civil/Gay Rights — Peg Britton @ 11:01 am

Lieutenant Dan Choi is in Topeka and will help celebrate PRIDE. He will be leading a protest for equality in Topeka outside the office windows of Governor Brownback, hosting dinner and drinks at a local LGBT owned restaurant, The Break Room, with proceeds to support the Kansas Equality Coalition in its work for equality. He will then go to Wichita for more activities. He is the guest of Thomas Witt, state chairman of the KEC.

Here is the schedule for anyone in the area who would like to join in the effort toward equality for all.

• June 22 7:30pm – Equality Coalition benefit party with Dan Choi. The benefit coincides with KEC chairman Thomas Witt’s 50th birthday party, and all proceeds will go towards furthering the work of KEC across the state.
• June 24 3:00pm - Capitol rally outside Gov. Brownback’s office in Topeka. Lt Choi will lead a protest for equality on the south steps of the State Capitol, just outside Brownback’s office windows.
• June 24 5:00pm - Dinner and drinks with Lt. Choi at The Break Room, Topeka. Food provided with a cash bar at this LGBT-owned Topeka restaurant. All proceeds to benefit KEC’s work for equality.
• June 25 6:00pm - Party with Dan and Wichita Pride at Wichita Cowtown. All proceeds will benefit Wichita Pride, Inc, and will help fund this year’s festival.
• June 26 1:00pm – Lt. Choi will be the keynote speaker at the annual Equality Rally. As in the past two years, the rally will be on the west steps of the Historic County Courthouse, Central and Main, in downtown Wichita.
• June 26 2:00pm – Lt Choi will lead the Pride March as the 2011 Grand Marshall, from the Courthouse to the festival site at Wichita Cowtown

Dan Choi’s arrival in Kansas today brought the following clip to mind. It’s one of my favorites from West Wing.



Filed under: prairie musings, blogs — Peg Britton @ 10:17 am

An end of magic

Arthur C. Clarke told us, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Head back to the 1800s with a Taser or a Prius or an iPad and the townsfolk will no doubt either burn you at the stake or worship you.

So many doors have been opened by technology in the last twenty years that the word “sufficiently” is being stretched. If it happens on a screen (Google automatically guessing what I want next, a social network knowing who my friends are before I tell them) we just assume it’s technology at work. Hard to even imagine magic here.

I remember eagerly opening my copy of Wired every month (fifteen years ago). On every page there was something new and sparkly and yes, magical.

No doubt that there will be magic again one day… magic of biotech, say, or quantum string theory, whatever that is. But one reason for our ennui as technology hounds is that we’re missing the feeling that was delivered to us daily for a decade or more. It’s not that there’s no new technology to come (there is, certainly). It’s that many of us can already imagine it.

From Seth Godin’s blog…. And….also from Seth’s blog:

Marketing to nobody

Nobody wears a watch any more.

Nobody wears a tie either.

Nobody shops at a bookstore, at least nobody I know.

The market of nobody is big indeed. You can do really well selling to nobody if you do your homework. In fact, most companies selling to nobody outperform those that are trying to sell to everyone.

Don’t you just love it?

If you lose the link, you can find his blog on my blog list…


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 10:07 am

Two artists will be showing their work at the Ellsworth Area Art Gallery, 223 Douglas, Ellsworth, Kansas.

Andrea Mehringer, age 19, the daughter of Richard Mehringer who teaches art in the Larned high school, is displaying her photography, until June 17, 2011.   Her art style is “uncharacteristically traditional”.  She is a student at Fort Hays State University.  Her work has been featured in the Five State Photography Show in Hays, Great Bend Arts Council, Larned Public Laibrary and the Shafer Gallery on the Barton County College campus.  Her influences include Dali, Warhol, and street artist Banksy.  Not only does she create pieces for artistic expression, but she also photographs weddings.

The public is invited to a reception to honor Andrea on Friday, June 17 at 2 p.m.

Becky Hyberger, Salina, has “The Library” miniatures on exhibit until June 28, 2011.  For more than 30 years she has built 3-dimensional “miniature” constructions.

Becky was awarded a Horizons Grant from the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission for the development of her brochure and traveling exhibit, “from miniatures to Metaphors.”  Becky was voted as Salina’s favorite artist in the 2005 Salina Journal’s Readers’ Choice awards; in both 2008 & 2009 she was a finalist. Her work has been exhibited at art centers and galleries throughout Kansas including the Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, the Deines Cultural Center in Russell, the Hays Arts Council, the Kemper Gallery at K-State, Strecker – Nelson Art Gallery in Manhattan, Bergen’s Sculpture Gallery in Salina and the Emporia Arts Center. She was a featured artist on the KPTS PBS program, Kansas Arts Today and profiled on Salina Community Access TV. She has also presented her work at fine arts festivals such as the Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina, the Brookside Art Annual in Kansas City and the Mulvane Art Fair in Topeka.  A degree in psychology, an interest in dreams, and a fascination with the creative process provide the basis for Becky’s artwork – “from miniatures to Metaphors.”

Everyone is welcome to stop by the Art Gallery which is open Monday to Friday, 12:30 to 4:30.  You’ll be glad that you took time to stop by the gallery.  They have earned your support.



Filed under: prairie musings, ECF — Peg Britton @ 8:19 am

There will be a lot of activity south of the Smoky Hill bridge in Ellsworth today as motorcyclists from far and wide gather for the 12th fundraiser for the Spiritual Life Center.  There will be all varieties of food off the barbecue grill for everyone to enjoy before the ride.  And it gives everyone an opportunity to mingle and mix and look at all the many styles of bikes various riders prefer.  On a good day there could be 200 to 300 riders wearing leathers and all their gear.

For those who ride, there are two different routes to choose from depending on how long you want to be on the road.  It’s 43 degrees right now and that may deter some less hardy riders but it could be much warmer by ride time.  Prizes are available to everyone who buys a chance to win. Take a little time and stop by the rec center and support the efforts of the Spiritual Life Team.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:57 am

Linda Janssen called this morning to say she and her husband Jeffrey have good clean straw for gardens at $3.00 a bale.  It comes highly recommended from Meredith and Rich Vargo who depend on it each year for their magnificent garden in Kanopolis.  It’s wheat straw, however they stress that there are very few heads in it and it makes great mulching material for gardens.  Now is a good time to put it on your garden to keep the weeds at bay. You can reach Linda at her home near Geneseo at 620.824.6413.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Mackenzie, computers — Peg Britton @ 7:54 pm

The machine before me is foreign.  I don’t understand Win 7 at all and I’ve been using it for a long time. Or so I thought.  I couldn’t figure out why many of my friends were complaining about Win 7 being hard/awkward  to navigate and very different from Vista.  I didn’t have any problems with it until now when my new computer arrived.  That is because Mackenzie made a lot of alterations on 7 when she installed it on my XPS computer so that it worked in many ways just like Vista.

I have much to learn…and I am brain dead from exhaustive and exhausting calls to Dell today.  It’s like a bad illness…it’s bound to get better. I hope.  But…I love my Dell computers and wouldn’t buy anything else. I wish they’d improve their technical support.  It is reinforcing to know I could move to India or the Philippines and get a job with Dell as a tech support person as you don’t have to know much.  I do have to say something for them as a group: they are all exceedingly polite.

The all in one Dells are effortless to set up. You take it out of the box and put it on a table and plug it in.  Ally came by to help me because she has arm muscle that was required.  It’s only a matter of plugging it in a surge protector and synchronizing the keyboard and mouse which she did.  One cord.  No instruction booklet.  Remember long ago  the big wall posters they included with computers as references for the day-long project you had with a host of friends to get all the cables attached between the monitor and the tower in the right spots?

Mark Gwinner came by and hooked me up to the internet as has changed all their access material and I can’t be expected to remember EVERYTHING.  He is always so helpful..nice, nice guy.

When I reflect on my first computer, I can’t help but remember Mackenzie.  She was five or six and her dad had just bought her first computer.  She called me to come over and see what all she could make it do.  I looked at that child, bright as a star, and thought I couldn’t let her get ahead of me and got my own computer.  Then I had to learn from her.  She’s always been way ahead of me…since those days long ago.  She went graduated from SMU with a double major in mathematics and computer science.  She works for Rockwell Collins doing remarkable things with special aircraft for a special arm of the government that she can’t talk about.  She’s a critical thinker … she thinks about thinking.

Mackenzie will be here the end of this month for a visit…and to add programs I’m familiar with like Outlook and Publisher, etc. She keeps me going.  Without her, I’d be a lost cause on a computer.

At the end of this day, I felt I had earned a very hot, spicy Bloody Mary…indeed.  Tall glass filled with ice… V-8 and lemon juice, Worcestershire Sauce, hot horseradish,lots and lots of tabasco, big splashes of vodka, celery salt and a huge celery stalk.  Yum.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:35 am

You are invited to attend a vocal recital presented by Danielle Rohr on Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 pm at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Ellsworth.

Danielle’s presentation is to raise funds for summer vocal study at Inspiration Point, Arkansas and Weimar, Germany. The recital will also feature Preston Sauers, organ, Leann Helmer, piano and guest soloist, Alison Moore, soprano.

This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy excellent professional music from these four very talented musicians.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:31 am

For me, every day is mother’s day….where would we be without the joy of children?

Ally, Greg, Sam and I had a delightful evening at Ally’s Prairie Dancer Farm (yes, it’s all legal now) last night….sitting on the porch sipping cold beer and enjoying Ally’s barbecued burgers, beans and potato salad.  It was a perfect evening, delightfully cool…no wind…distant sounds of nature and engaging conversation.  It was country living at its best.  Ringo enjoyed it too.

Today Ally, Todd, Karen and I are letting Anthony do the cooking at the Ellsworth Steak House. The menu sounds very inviting and we women will appreciate a respite from the kitchen.  I just wish Mackenzie, Tyler, Drew, Rod and Genn were here.

I hope all mothers have a fabulous day, as it is intended to be.

Thanks for tuning in…

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