Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What is really the matter with Kansas

By Diane Silver

Thomas Frank became a best seller in 2004 with the book What's the Matter with Kansas. His claimed the problem is that we feeble-minded Kansans had been mislead by the bait and switch tactics of the Republican Party. After much not-very-scientific research, however, I have deduced that he was wrong. The true problem with Kansas is the heat.

It's summer on the prairie again. Out here thermometer readings are irrelevant because the difference between 100, 103 or 105 or more don't matter much.

In the blessed Heartland of Our Nation, there really are only four different temperature readings in the summer. These are:
  • Too Damn Hot
  • Sauna
  • Blast Furnace
  • The Breath-Catching Phase Between Heat Waves (That's when the temperature plummets to 95 or even, gasp, 80-something.)
I'm a native of the north -- born and bred in Michigan. My brother and sister in law still live there, residing in the Alaska clone country near Lake Superior. As far as I'm concerned, anything over 90 is a personal insult.

As I write this at 8ish in the morning, it is already 83 outside. The temperature today is forecast to reach 101, but with high humidity it is supposed to feel like 110.

The local newspaper is warning pet owners not to lock their dogs in their cars. With rolled-up windows, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach 150 or more.

Not to underplay the importance of loving man and woman's best friend, but has anyone thought about what it is doing to us poor human beings to repeatedly climb into cars where it's 150-plus degrees inside? I'm betting we lose a few brain cells every time we do it.

Right now the collective breath of Kansans -- Republican, Democrat, religious and secular alike -- is being held as we wait for a predicted break in the weather. If the forecasters are right, the temperature will plunge to 96 tomorrow. And the day after that? Be still my beating heart! They are predicting a chilly 84.

What's the matter with Kansas? At this moment I suspect those of us living here would sum our answer to th question in something akin to a primal scream. And, I haven't even begun to talk about the chiggers yet.

Don't forget to vote. It's primary day today, and I hear the polling places are air conditioned.

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