Tag Archives: Kansas

Sunday, 6/14/15, Public Square

dorothy

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by | June 14, 2015 · 6:00 am

Get Up!

(Thread photo is of a Kodak Pocket No. 1 – circa 1927. My youngest daughter, Julia, has her grandfather’s example hanging on her family room wall. It is non-functional, unfortunately.)

This is being written on Thursday morning, from the comfort of an office chair, but when you read this column, I will be out in the wild with my daughter on a photo expedition to the wilderness of Western Wichita. The best time for landscape photos – and most others – is early morning or late night when the shadows and light are softer.

I am looking forward to spending some time with Dee, pursuing our mutual love of fine photography. Taking a great picture is a pleasure, especially if the experience can be shared. We will be heading out about 6:30 AM, an hour before sunrise, to be able to set up and wait for the perfect light. Thanks to the technology of digital photography, our “mistakes” can easily be forgiven and we won’t have to worry about having enough film with us.

I began my fascination with photography in the old days, with a 35mm Minolta rangefinder. Soon after, I graduated to a SLR. It took a while, but I belatedly went digital. I still shoot like a film photographer, but I appreciate the flexibility of digital. Now, I carry a King’s ransom of photography gear with me – no excuses for poor work these days!

In the real old days, Ansel Adams shot with a huge view camera with 8 x 10 sheet film and massive lenses. Every shot was a pricey event and there was little room for error. Today, I real off six or eight shots of the same scene to get my pix. Adam’s most famous photo, “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome,”  was a three shot wonder, each shot with a different filter, when Ansel was just 25 years old. Today, I won’t be shooting a similar picture – no mountains in Kansas – but I can take as many shots as I want, with all the effects I could imagine, without taking my Canon DSLR off the tripod.

Photography is my passion. I can’t sing. I can’t play an instrument. I can’t draw. Photography is my creative outlet.

Fnord paints rocks. Wicked is a writer. Free is addicted to Southern Rock. We all need a place of our own to express ourselves to remain remotely (?) sane. What is your passion?


William Stephenson Clark


(Photos will be published Monday.)

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Filed under Addiction

To the Stars Through Difficulties!

Wichita calls itself the “Air Capital of the World.” That was certainly true during and after the Second World War, but increasingly, Wichita is in danger of becoming the Detroit of the Aircraft Industry.

Recently, after taking a hard line with the Union, Cessna management announced a layoff of 700 employees days after they approved a new contract, through a technicality. Hawker-Beech is going to layoff another 300, all the while working on plans to move to Louisiana. Boeing/Spirit may choose, in the end, not to even bid on the tanker contract.

Like the auto plants in SE Michigan, aircraft plants may be a distant memory in Wichita in another decade.



This past weekend, my family and I attended the Wichita Air Show, at McConnell Air Force base. While it was an exciting and enjoyable show (despite the hours-long waits for shuttle buses to and from the base) one had to wonder what is happening to the American manufacturing industry in general and aircraft manufacturing specifically.

Some will try to blame it all on the Unions, but that is hardly the reason that so many manufacturing jobs are headed south, literally and figuratively. The union man has been vilified by the Right for more than a quarter century, for his supposed greed and alleged lack of sufficient work ethics.

In Europe, the union and company work together to a mutual benefit. Japan has recovered from their “lost decade” and is working back to where they were years ago. Despite dire warnings to the contrary, American workers can still provide a productive work force for American companies.

In the end, America has become a nation that produces very little. It doesn’t have to be this way. Greedy company CEO’s and Senior Management have been focused on the wrong issues and now are blaming the workers for their failures.

The Air Show was a great spectacle, but it may be a dieing event.


William Stephenson Clark

(Blog header and thread photos by the author – yes, I will change the blog header back.)

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Filed under The Economy

Governor Sam Brownback?

Unless Sam Brownback gets caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, he will Kansas’ next Governor, and all of us may come to regret it. Sam makes no bones about his “faith” and he has every intention of imposing that philosophy on the rest of Kansas.

Sam doesn’t believe in abortion – under any circumstances. That’s right. No abortions, no exceptions. That means no abortions even in cases of rape, incest, the viability of the fetus, the health or even the life of the mother. Let that sink in for a moment – even if a fourteen year old gets raped and is impregnated, Sam doesn’t want her to have the option of having an abortion. Even if the prospective mother is likely to die if she carries the fetus to term, Sam doesn’t want her to have the option of having an abortion. The same goes for cases where there is no signs of life from the fetus or if it is severely deformed or even brain-dead.

Sam also believes in the so-called “Fair Tax.” I used the term “so-called” because it is anything but fair. Under the “Fair Tax” program, lower-income people would see an immediate increase in tax rates of a monumental proportion.  One of the numbers I have seen tossed about is 22%, that is, everyone would pay that tax rate with no deductions. Pretty good deal, right? Then, of course, the higher income tax payers would see a reduction in  rates as much as 13% points, from about 35% to the previously mentioned 22%.

Sam has a lot of great ideas for Kansas – eliminating corporate taxes and drastically reducing regulations, especially those that affect the environment. “Protecting families” is another of Sam’s pet projects. Presumably that means taking what few rights they have away from gays and lesbians. Sam also says that he is going to create jobs for Kansans. Why he hasn’t done that yet is a mystery, never to be solved.

So, just when you think that Kansas could not be any worse off, along comes Sam.

Thank God for I-70.


William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under Republicans

Are Wichita drivers really the worst?

It has been said, many times, sometimes at great volume, that Wichita drivers are the worst on the planet. There are days that I tend to agree.

I took a short trip down Seneca to 31st Street a short time ago, within the last hour or so. During that two mile drive, I twice had to slam on my brakes to avoid vehicles pulling out in from of me, one of which was a large truck. On two more occasions during the same drive, I observed people putting on their turn signals – in the middle of the turn they were making. I once watched a man texting as he drove. He was riding a motorcycle.

If it isn’t the high speed lunatics, it’s the “how slow can you go” morons.

Obviously, there are tragic results to bad driving, but I would rather not dwell on that, nor the obvious problem of impaired drivers. We have enough simpletons on the roads to make a simple trip to the grocery store into an adventure, with throwing those topics into the mix.

As many of you know, I rode motorcycles for many a year. As a confirmed biker, I rapidly learn from the beginning that a cyclist’s only friend on the road is himself. The “other guy” ain’t gonna look out for you, so you damned well better look out for yourself.

Many long-term bikers, myself included, develop a sixth sense of self-preservation and to use a motorcycle’s inherent superior braking, acceleration and maneuverability to keep themselves alive with the shiny side up.

Unfortunately, most folks don’t drive like a seasoned motorcyclist, they drive with little understanding of “defensive driving” and awareness of the potential consequences of even a momentary lack of attention.

If I could just teach Wichita drivers a few things they would be:

Traffic signs and signals are not “suggestions.”

It really isn’t a crime to use your turn signals.

The speed limit is the “maximum” allowed, not the “minimum.”

Store parking lots are not the place to practice your bumper car skills.

Wichita drivers may not truly be the worst on the planet – Chicago drivers hold that “honor” – but they are truly bad.

So what is it with Wichita drivers?


William Stephenson Clark

36 Comments

Filed under Kansas, Psychological Disorders

Wichita in the news

What makes it more special?  We’re not being made fun of!

If you spend a couple of days exploring Wichita, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll run into the Berlin Wall.

As I prepared for a short stay there, I learned that at least two substantial slabs of the Cold War relic are prominently displayed in and near the city.

Continue reading here.

fnord

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Filed under Kansas

PUBLIC ENCOMPASSING 1/24/10

An emcompassing, the inclusion of all things of matter.

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Filed under Uncategorized