Fancy Plans Guide to Kansas

December 8, 2009

As part of a non-sustainable push to secure government funding, we are temporarily rebranding Fancy Plans as “blogucational” and fully compliant with the No Troll Left Behind Act. As part of our educational lip service, we are pleased to present our well-rounded profile of the great state of Kansas, birthplace of “The Wave.”

(It may also be noted that we have previously provided such educational features as the Fancy Plans Guide to Wisconsin, the Fancy Plans Guide to Minnesota and the Fancy Plans Guide to North American Trees.)

Kansas: home of the first flag entirely created with MS Paint.

A dry, dusty state whose most prominent geographic feature is the horizon, Kansas has long been associated with the twin industries of agriculture and ranching. Referred to as “America’s Breadbasket,” Kansas has also been saddled with less-complimentary slogans such as, “America’s Dustbowl,” “America’s Killing Floor” and most recently, “What Happens in Kansas Doesn’t Matter Anywhere Else.”

Kansas has fought (mostly unsuccessfully) its image as a state routinely ravaged by tornadoes and infested with witches. This image has been reinforced by Kansas’ dry and dusty prog rock (especially Dust in the Wind; Arid as Hell) and Elton John’s hit song Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, in which he deserts Kansas for its lack of shiny red shoes and singing midgets.

Should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself unable to fly over the mostly fruitless plains, here are some points of “interest” which should fully earn any sarcastic air quotes you wish to deploy while recounting this visit to annoyed loved ones and co-workers.

What you call "farming," I call "stealing from God."

Topeka Wind Farm
Contrary to popular misconception, the Wind Farm does not actually produce wind but rather reaps the benefits of an energy source produced by someone else. (Much like a “collective” farm or California’s parasitic electricity usage.)

A joyous Chiefs player receives news he has just been traded.

The Kansas City Chiefs
Long gone are the days of regular season competitiveness and playoff appearances. Presently the franchise is attempting to become the New England Patriots farm team through the acquisition of cast-off benchwarmers and assistant coaches. Catch this excercise in futility while you still can as the owners have made attempts to relocate the team to New Haven, CT, where they hope to complete the metaphor as the Connecticut Minutemen.

The Royals run another "Buy One, Get Three Empty Seats" special.

The Kansas City Royals
Speaking of exercises in futility… The Kansas City Royals continue their bold experiment to operate a major league franchise on a minor league budget. This stems from a settlement reached with their last superstar (George Brett) in which they have agreed to retire his number and avoid competitiveness until “ten (10) years after Brett’s death.”

After four sheaves, Art Mitchum found himself pitching a shutout. So to speak.

Wichita Threshing Dome
Although a yearly high point for many Kansas locals, what with its heady combination of agriculture and pointless competition, the Threshing Dome can be very intimidating for the uninitiated. Trying to grasp the nuance of chaff dispersal only becomes more difficult as the competition heats up and bloodthirsty cries of “Two men enter; one man leaves!” fill the dry and dusty air.

Two members of the Dodge City chapter of Improv Everywhere demonstrate the Wild West Reacharound.

Dodge City, Kansas
The ending point of many dry and dusty cattle drives, Dodge City is also famous for playing host to Wyatt Earp’s early experiments with vigilante justice. In addition to slapping a male prostitute, Earp also winged alleged gunman George Hoy and gave a stern talking-to to hitman Clay Allison.

Visitors often note that Tombstone, AZ is a much more exciting destination, if equally dry and dusty. The Dodge City Chamber of Commerce has countered by stating that “although Tombstone bears more historical locations and an incredible performance by Val Kilmer, the O.K. Corral is just that. ‘O.K.’ If you like your entertainment to be merely serviceable, why not stay in Dodge City and visit our old-timey Adequate General Store or grab a bite to eat at the locally renowned Passable Buffet, which has been hailed by Zagat’s as ‘not terrible; you could do worse.'”



  1. Ooh ooh, I want to go right now. Do you people sell a package deal where I could get a Motel 6 room, tickets for the Squaws and the Jesters, admission to the Threshing Dome (I still don’t know what threshing is or why it’s done in a domed structure though) and free meal at the Passable Buffett? I wonder if they know that was a double entendre when they named it? Anyway if you can get me all that for under 45 bucks then you’ve got yourself a genuine tourist!

    By the way, “What you call ‘farming,’ I call ‘stealing from God,” best line ever.

    • I’m sure whatever you can find to do in the Kansan wasteland should run you under a $20. That would include tickets to whichever miserable sporting event you wish (wheat or non-wheat related).

      Thanks for the comment, Scott. Most people like to think of it as “borrowing,” but they don’t really have the power to give it back (Prius or no).

  2. “A dry, dusty state whose most prominent geographic feature is the horizon.”

    Hysterical stuff, CLT! The only guy I really knew from Kansas was a vegan hippie sub teacher up in South Berwick, Maine, so traumatized by working K.C. stockyards that the word “meat” sparked his eyeballs into two unfocused beacons.

    Great posting!

    • Welcome, Dan.

      I can see how a few formative years as a cow mangler might turn you vegetarian. But good for him, moving to the Northeast is about as sheltering as moving to the Northwest, as far as vegetarian ideals are concerned. The only thing to look out for is Steven King crossing against the lights.

      Thanks for the visit, Dan.

  3. Professor,
    Kansas can’t claim the Chiefs or the Royals. They’re on the Missouri side of Kansas City and the stadiums used to be back to back in the same parking lot. But that was a long time ago so for all I know, they both moved to Kansas, or maybe Kansas is spreading out and taking more of Kansas City. On the plus side, Kansas can claim the Jayhawks. They also get tornados and mile after mile of wheat. As for Tombstone. . . Boot hill is the best part.

    • Claire –

      1. Great to see you up and around again. I trust you’ll be leaving just as quickly for an extended period, so I hope this reply reaches you before you go the way of Hoffa. Or Salinger.

      2. Kansas can’t claim much, but they did manage to hang their K on a few teams. It seems to provide the franchises with a much-needed inferiority complex.

      3. Do you often have to chase brooding teens out of the graveyards you frequent? Those teens… they’re so damn brooding.

    • Im trying to pop in every now and then. Its easier if I dont take the time to update my own blog 😦

      As for the graveyards… that’s the only peace and quiet I get.

  4. They don’t have the Interblog in Kansas so I doubt you’ll get any hate mail. Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk.

    • Nope, they sure don’t, FJ. They’ve got some mysterious product called “High-Speed Dialup.” It works on rotary phones if I’m not mistaken.

      However, should this page finally download successfully (after multiple time-out errors), I’m sure a suspendered lawyer will be knocking on my door within a fortnight.

  5. CLT,

    You should really think about becoming a travel writer.

    While reading your guide to number 3,456 of the 3,457 places I personally want to see before I die (beating out Chad Kroeger’s hometown by only very narrow margin), it felt almost as though I was actually there—waving…and agriculturing…basically just kicking back and doing those things that don’t really matter anywhere else, you know?

    In fact, thanks to your detailed overview (and explanation of WTF those two members of Improv Everywhere were actually doing), I think I can pretty much cross Kansas off my list and move on.(although I do feel somewhat ambivalent about missing out on the locally-renowned Passable Buffet).

    Thank-you for making my unremarkable (and somewhat redundant) dreams come true, CLT. I’m looking forward to reading the Fancy Plans Guide to “Regina, Saskatchewan”.

    • Wow, bschooled. I can’t imagine much beating out the birthplace of Chad “Penis” Kroeger. I heard he was born in the Northwestern Territories and raised by a pack of Bush and Candlebox albums.

      Sorry to hear about the ambivalence. The Passable Buffet nearly tries so hard to please.

      I may have to tackle the Canadian geography at some time. It will involve some heavy research as the only fact I’ve got nailed down is that it lies somewhere to the north.

      Thanks for the humdinger (K-Slang) of a comment, bschooled.

  6. back in the seventies I decided to relocate to Colorado by car and that took me through Kansas–straight east to west. By the time I got to Topeka I couldn’t take it any more and turned around and went back. If I had been a little older I wouldn’t have been quite so easily discouraged.

    “stealing from God?” As opposed to taking God’s oil from the ground in a non renewable manner. I think if He were jealous of his possession he’d be MUCH more perturbed over the oil than the wind.

    my two cents.

    • That drive can be terrible. “Dumb and Dumber” summed up the Kansas experience with “I thought the Rocky Mountains would be a lot rockier than this.”
      “Yeah, that John Denver’s full of shit.”

      Well, to be fair, God gave us all dominion over the earth. I’m sure he hoped we wouldn’t abuse it but I think he knew what he was getting into. (Or not, he did hit the “reset” button during the flood.)

      Thanks for the visit and comment, Gryphon. Great to see you.

  7. You neglected to mention that it’s the air capitol of the world. It’s not that dusty really and there are a lot of morally ambiguous women, thus proving the Bible belt comes off like any other belt. “When left with nothing to do, do each other.” – Governor Sebelius.

    • Hahaha!!!

      That Bible belt sentence is a keeper. If only I were sly enough to insert it into the post like it was always there…

      Thanks for speaking up for the good, if promiscuous, people of Kansas. They love left-handed compliments.

  8. “A dry, dusty state whose most prominent geographic feature is the horizon.”

    Ditto!! That was laugh-out-LOUD and my favorite line too. I’ve only driven through Kansas and remember it as being flat. One of the most fascinating places I have ever visited is Jefferson City, the tiny capital of neighboring Missouri. I always found the mimosa trees, slippery well-worn marble floors of the capitol building, ethnic mix, and interesting (sometimes quirky) inhabitants to be nothing short of intoxicating. It is my absolute favorite small city to visit. I imagine Kansas has some hidden gems as well although I probably will (sadly) never visit them.

    • Well, Missouri’s a completely different animal. Of course, it’s interesting. It’s got 3/4’s of Kansas City, for starters.

      If Kansas has some hidden gems, I wonder where they’re hiding them, what with all that horizon…

  9. If anyone could sneak it in there it’s you. You could delete my comment and add it on the end of your awesome blog… ya know?

    • I cherish each comment and would rather move to Kansas than remove one for my own personal gain.

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