Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This Land Is My Land.....

I hope Brutus got permission to plant that tree or that he has at least paid any fees for the land. We don't need another Cliven Bundy situation embarrassing us.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Arrr, Marriage Is Terrible, I'm In Hell

Gladys doesn't control your life Brutus. She controls your money. She couldn't care less about your life.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Where Was He Going to Put the Shell Pieces Anyway?

Well I hope you're able to decorate your own eggs. That's a pretty simple task for someone who's about nine-years-old. They even look mostly one color--no designs, no stickers--so I would hope a nine-year-old girl could place an egg into a cup of food colored water and let it sit for five minutes.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

No. 48: Prairie City

Note from the Editor: Once again, I had planned on posting Rat Boy, a story I wrote years ago about a school shooting but instead with the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas and the anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing, I decided to postpone Rat Boy again. At this point, after being postponed three times, I guess it's time to quit trying to make Rat Boy happen.


Prairie City had an unusual start. It was founded in 1855 by Dr. William Graham after an argument with fellow Palmyra resident Henry Barricklow. The town was also founded by I.F. Greene and Salmon Prouty, who operated the first printing press in Kansas. The printing press was brought to Kansas by Jotham Meeker to use at the Shawnee Mission and then at the Ottawa Mission. The press was sold to Prouty. It is said James Lane was also a town founder but the extent of his influence is not recorded.

The Heber Institute
A post office was established in 1856 with John Winton serving as postmaster, a Catholic church was started in a stone church on top of Liberty Hill and the Protestant Episcopal Church was planning on starting the Heber Institute. The Heber Institute failed before it started and plans for it to be a Boy's School also fell through. The building was then used for the Prairie City School District. A park was established in the center of town called Eden Park and Prairie City was considered the "Italy of Kansas". For awhile, Prairie City and Palmyra were competitors. Palmyra was on the Santa Fe Trail but John Brown stayed in Prairie City the night before the Battle of Black Jack in 1856 and Horace Greeley, it is said, was visiting Prairie City when he coined the phrase "Go west, young man" which solidified Prairie City's place in history. However, in 1858, when Baker University was founded just south of Palmyra, Prairie City's fate was sealed. But Prairie City continued to grow, becoming incorporated in 1859 and at its peak had three stores and three hotels.

Hand-drawn map of Prairie City
Baldwin City was founded in 1860 with Baker University centered in the middle. Palmyra was annexed to Baldwin and Prairie City and Baldwin City lived a peaceful coexistence. When the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston (LLG) Railroad was built through the area, a depot was built in Baldwin and Prairie City, with stops at both. Thinking that was impractical, both depots were closed and a new one was built in between and named "Media".  Media was later annexed to Baldwin City as "West" Baldwin. Prairie City continued to be a small community until March 24, 1883 when the Douglas County Commissioners ordered certain alleys and streets vacated.

The only remnants of Prairie City are a few older houses, the ruins of the Catholic Mission, which was closed in 1893 and replaced by a frame structure still standing at the corner of South and Miami Streets in Baldwin, the Prairie City-Mt. Cavalry Cemeteries and the LLG Railroad which is now used for the Midland Railway.


One of the houses still standing is a house on the southwest slope of Liberty Hill. It was built by George Miller in 1860 when he and his family came to Prairie City. The house itself is fairly unremarkable, a simple stone farm house but what makes the house unique and captivating are the two graves near the house. The graves are of George X. and Ignace Meunier. George X. died in 1865 at the age of 1 and Ignace died in 1872, on the day of his first birthday.

Their father, George, was born in 1832 in St. Lawrence County, New York and came to Kansas in 1858, settling in Lecompton. It was there he met Margret Lowery and they got married in February of 1859 and their first child, Adela was born in 1860. George and Margret would go on to have eight more children. According to the U.S. Census, George was a stonemason and farmer who farmed on 250 acres of land. He would pass away in 1909, with Margret following in 1925. They are both buried in Prairie City Cemetery along with two of their children Julia (1866-1955) and Robert (1874-1949). The Miller plot is marked by a giant stone family marker, probably made by George himself.

The house has been abandoned since at least the 1970s. It's still in decent shape however it is estimated it would cost roughly one million dollars to make livable again. I have been to the house several times, and my most recent time, I specifically went to get pictures. I took pictures of every room and tried to get as much of the essence of the house and I am sure I missed some of it but I need to go back soon.

I originally found out about the house when on a ghost-hunting kick with my friends. We would go out to the house, wander around and speculate around how the children died. When I found the graves listed in the Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County, Kansas it just said the children died due to the harsh Kansas living. I tend to believe that and don't think there was actually anything wrong with the children. After visiting a couple of times I became interested in what the history of the house and the family.

Catholic Mission Ruins
The dilemma I am finding with the history of Prairie City is that it is hard to see if you are not looking. There used to be signs noting Prairie City along East 1575 Road, the Catholic Church Ruins along North 200 Road and the Heber Institute at the intersection of North 200 and East 1575. None of those signs remain but the local chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society did install a sign along East 1575 Road near the curve with a short history of Prairie City. I was lucky enough to get a picture of the Prairie City-Heber Institute sign but the other signs are now lost.

Another abandoned house near the Miller House.
Prairie City Cemetery is also a good reminder that the town used to exist but it is a quarter mile east of the town site and some people may not know that a cemetery may exist. I feel that with all the history surrounding Baldwin City with the Battle of Black Jack, Baker University, Signal Oak and Hickory Point, Prairie City is one area that is getting lost in the shuffle.

Along with Stull, Prairie City is what helped me get into enjoying history and fostering a love and respect for Kansas. 

When Life Gives You Cherry Pits, Make Cherry Pit Juice

Is that just a bowl of cherry pits on the table? Who does that? Throw those away. Don't just stare at them, using them to better understand your life. That's not how you should spend a Saturday.

Friday, April 18, 2014

So When Did the World Become Colorized?

When this strip first pulled up, I thought Brutus was holding Hattie over his head. If you don't focus on the image, it still looks like that.

To be honest, I do feel bad for people with bad dandruff because I had fairly bad dandruff as a teenager. It is kind of gross though.

I wish I could remember when I went from not liking black and white movies to actually finding them superior. Kids these days always seem shocked that black and white movies haven't been outlawed yet. And it wasn't black and white or silent movies I didn't like. It was musicals. My opinion of those have gone up as well.

I wrote a story set during the silent and early talkie days of film. Go read it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's With the Look On Her Face?

This could really be the second half of the conversation from that episode of The Simpsons where Homer wants steak for dinner but they can't afford it.

Gladys: What do you want for dinner, Brutus?

Brutus: Steak?

Gladys: Money's too tight for steak...

Brutus: Steak?

Gladys: Sure Brutus. Steak.

Later that day...

Brutus: What? Salad for dinner instead of steak?

Gladys: When did I ever say we were having steak?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Veeblefester's Rich So He Can Afford Life Support

Well, on the plus side, at least Brutus isn't boring enough to kill somebody--just put them into a near-death, comatose-like state.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Could've Easily Been a Daily Strip

I'd be pretty ticked off too that my steak took seven panels to be brought out to my table but in that restaurant's defense, it's pretty cool that you get your own personal waiter who just stands there watching you eat your food...and waiting.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mickey Rooney, 1920-2014

Mickey Rooney, one of the most famous child actors in entertainment history, star of the Andy Hardy series of films, has passed away as the age of 93.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

How We Met the Mother

It's finally over.

I say that as someone who is sad to see one of his favorite television shows end and as someone who hates to see good shows languish on the line. How I Met Your Mother joins the small echelon of shows I've watched from beginning to end at the time they aired that also lasted at least five seasons. Before HIMYM, only Boy Meets World (1993-2000) and Smallville (2001-2011) made that list. Only three shows. Other shows I picked up a couple seasons in, some I quit watching because, to me, they were done. HIMYM almost fell into that category.

I started watching How I Met Your Mother because the premise intrigued me. I was at a time in my life where I, too, was looking for Mrs. Mosby and it didn't hurt that the characters were similar in age to me. It wasn't long before I met someone and I could show them this amazing show. I had bought the first season DVD collection and that first season is just the best television I've seen in a long time. There is not a flaw in it and no other modern TV series has a first season like it. I loved cuddling with my girlfriend and watching it with her. Unfortunately, just like Ted's failed relationships with Robin, Victoria, Stella, Zoey and many other women that just lasted one date, we broke up but after the mandatory mourning period, I kept Ted in mind as he was still positive and upbeat knowing that his The One was right around the corner. Even though Ted soon became a supporting character in his own story, I still enjoyed following him around every Monday.

Then the finale happened. I try not to go into series finales with grand expectations but I have dedicated half an hour nearly every Monday night for nine years on this show and I expected closure. Instead what happened was a callback to the magnificent pilot. Don't get me wrong. I'm pretty sure that if I were in the Ted and Robin camp, the finale would've made me happy. I'm sure I've written and mentioned before that the last scene with the kids was filmed before the second season began and that was back in 2006. I learned last night that had the show only lasted one season that Victoria (Ashley Williams) would've been the mother but the ending would've been the same. The Mother would've died and the story would've been about Robin.
I loved Ted and Robin in the beginning. I stopped loving them when their relationship was beaten into the ground with a dead horse which was about the time Barney and Robin got together. Unfortunately, I feel the story--whether it's Ted and Tracy or Ted and Robin--was marred by fans who, for some reason, wanted to see Barney and Robin together, Victoria come back and CBS for milking the show after it should've ended. The original plan, from what I remember, was six seasons which then became eight. CBS then ordered one last ninth season.
I'm just going to point you to this chart again about what happens to TV shows beyond the seventh season.
To make bigger, click here.
But what about Tracy? The titular mother who was introduced at the end of the eighth season and we got to know and love over the coarse of the ninth season? She wound up just being another catalyst in getting Ted and Robin together. The way I see it, Tracy is still, despite her and Ted loving each other, having two kids, getting married, Ted's second choice. Ted and Tracy don't get married immediately, it takes them about seven years or so. They never give an excuse why. Was he still waiting for Robin? It's all up to the viewer. I think the biggest problem is having Tracy die. We never saw Ted mourn nor did we see Tracy fully interact with Ted's friends. We saw how Robin was drifting away from the group and that Ted was seemingly the only one who kept her close all because the writers (and creators) felt like they had to finish the story they started back in 2005 despite the ending not following the spirit of the show.
Ah, Mrs. Mosby, we hardly knew ye.
HIMYM was always a comedy bordering on a dramedy akin to The Wonder Years but in the finale, the tone changed drastically with Bob Saget's usually upbeat and positive narration of Future Ted replaced by the dour and mostly depressing narration from Josh Radnor, who plays present Ted. I didn't understand the change just like I didn't understand why Bob Saget was doing the narration in the first place. The only thing I can think is that the change in narration signified the change from a story about Ted and the Mother to a story about Ted and Robin. But yet, the story was never about how Ted met their mother, it was always about how much Ted loved Robin, wasn't it? And that's why, to me, this finale ended badly. I wanted to see Ted with the mother, not Aunt Robin.

Until next time, I remain...