Fancy Plans Guide to KansasDecember 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.)
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.
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.)
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 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.”
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.
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.'”