News

My Tho

Sep 10, 2010

I have good news. We are seriously blessed with wonderful Vietnamese food in Wichita.

If you are unfamiliar with Vietnamese cooking, it is easy to like, even for a beginner. It’s fresh and healthy, relying on noodles and rice, small amounts of meat, and lots of vegetables and fresh herbs. Oftentimes raw ingredients will be used to garnish cooked dishes by the diner to her own tastes, so it’s a great cuisine for people who like to play with their food.

Isn’t passion great? Not the romantic kind of “oh, baby, I love you, I love you” passion, but the everyday sort of passion that people feel for practically every kind of imaginable thing.

Lots of good folks locally feel pretty strongly about college football. Some of them are convinced that Wichita State University made a wrong-headed move when it punted its own football program into the trash bin of history at the end of the 1986 season.

There is always a conspicuous absence of WSU on the sports pages this time of year as Kansas State and KU become the subjects of endless speculation about this season’s football teams.

The unprecedented nastiness of this season’s primary campaign seems noteworthy. Has there ever been a political atmosphere as charged with negativity as this one? Have there ever been so many candidates who’ve had so little to say about what they are actually in favor of? Okay, we did hear some platitudes about “Kansas values.” But mostly we heard negative messages telling us what they were against. They were against President Obama. They were against health care reform. They were against taxation. They were against undocumented immigrants.

Wichita Public Library

Wichita has a long and proud history as a baseball town-- from club games in the 1870s, to serving as the home of the NBC Tournament since its beginning in 1935, to the national championship success of Wichita State University. But last month marked the anniversary of a lost piece of Wichita baseball history that almost seems too strange to be true: A game in 1925 between the Wichita Monrovians-- an all African-American professional team-- and the Wichita chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

So my family went out of town for a week and Wichita had a whole lot of rain during that time. There was the usual indicator of too much moisture in Wichita yards: a mushrooming bumper crop of political yard signs.

The recent death of Tom Leahy Jr., better known as Major Astro to Kansas baby boomers, caused my mind to rocket into the past. The good major wore his astronaut jumpsuit while hosting a daily afterschool kiddie show on local TV from 1962 to 1973. Wally Gator, Touche Turtle and Felix the Cat cartoons were beamed earthward to all the little tykes watching their rabbit-eared TV sets. Many were, no doubt, clutching their membership cards to the Major Astro Club.

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