Richard Crowson Commentary

This Christmas season we found that some of our big, bright C9 multicolored light strings weren’t working so well.  So, I decided to try to be a little greener this year and bought some strings of the new low-voltage LED lights.  I climbed up on the roof, attached them and plugged them in.  Then, I had to check the connection to see why they weren’t lit up, and I realized that they were, indeed, lit up.  (I’m making little quotation marks with my fingers when I use the term, “lit.”)  They are about 1/5 of the brightness level of the old incandescent lights.

Now that we’re past Thanksgiving, it’s time to turn toward the season of Mr. C.

There’s no way I could not take a walk this morning. Aside from the intensive lobbying of my Airedale friend Ollie, the blue Kansas sky and ruby leaves of our pin oaks overpowered me. So I hitched Ollie to the leash and out we went, fully engulfed in another splendid crispy November autumn morning.

How exactly do robo-calls help politicians? You know what I’m talking about—those automated, prerecorded phone messages we get on our landlines (those of us who still have landlines).

I don’t know anyone who ever says, “Wow, I got the nicest, most informative robo-call the other day.  The information was so pertinent and it really convinced me that that person was the right one for the job!”

I lost a good friend last week and, in a way, so did you. His name was Arthur Schuetz. He died six days from his 99th birthday.

He was my neighbor for years in the College Hill area. Art lived a quiet life, to my knowledge never making any newscast, never getting his photo and name splashed across the newspapers, never running for public office, never having streets or schools or businesses named for himself.

Greetings from The Land That Time Forgot, also known as Wichita, Kansas. We’ve been a little slow to accept some of them new-fangled things that other towns have had for years. Take bicycles, for instance. We weren’t too sure they’d catch on so we waited a while. Then the other day I noticed an actual bike lane on First Street in the College Hill area. Right there against the curb was the white outline of a bicycle indicating a bike lane. At first I thought it was a crime scene. Like on TV where the police draw a chalk outline around the victim, in this case a bicycle.

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.

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.