Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Peerless Princess of the Plains

Hangin' out in the Eagle newsroom on a Sunday, hoping an anti-tax activist calls back so I can go to the Museum of Ancient Treasures, one of Wichita's oddest places of wonderment. Basically, the museum is this eccentric old guy's collection of weird stuff, like Egyptian scrolls and medieval suits of armor. I've never been there. But today is all about new experiences.

I guess I should be writing insightful political commentary about Tuesday's election, but it's pretty much all beeen said. It's interesting to be off the beaten path this week. I took a walk through a shopping mall last night, grabbed a burger in the food court and just listened for awhile, wondering if the inanity of political discourse was replacing the inanity of everyday life. I actually heard people talking about the presidential election -- but it's a far-off thing in Kansas, more like a TV show than a participatory event. Local races hit a little closer to home.

A note on Wichita: Since I moved away in the fall of 2001 I've been returning every six months, a phenomenon not unlike time-lapse photography, where you can watch a flower grow on film because the photo gets taken every day or so. It's like every time I come back there's a new big-box retailer where there used to be an open field. Used to be that development used to stop on Rock Road, about eight miles east of downtown. Now I'm staying in a hotel a mile east of that, and retail's solid a full mile further, finally merging with Andover, which now looks like a true suburb. West side is leapfrogging as well.

I always wonder who's using all these shops, since population isn't growing that much and unemployment's up. But Wichita keeps sprawling onto the plain, with no geographic boundaries for literally hundreds of miles. Expanding faster than an American waistline, I guess.