This week Twisted Tales is turning over the blogging to author Dave Fraser. Dave and his sister, Heather Brainerd Fraser, are the authors of the extremely entertaining Jose Picada mystery series. Turns out we both had books launch on the same day this week. Dave's a New York resident. And he views my stomping grounds, Kansas, as an alien world. Here's what his journalistic investigation found out about Kansas (to read my take on New York, visit Heather & Dave's blog!):
Stuart West is a life-long Kansas resident, so it should be no big surprise that his six books (of which I've read four) are all set there. February 3 marked his seventh release, The Secret Society of Like-Minded Individuals, and it's set in...you guessed it, Kansas!
All this Kansas stuff got me thinking about Kansas, which didn't take very long, since I don't know much about it at all. In short, everything I know about the state relates to The Wizard of Oz and the Kansas City Royals, which, it turns out, actually play in Missouri. So we can cross them off the list.
I set it upon myself to learn more about the state. Instead of doing actual "research" and learning "information", I decided to plan a theoretical road trip to the Sunflower State (learning this official nickname was as far as my "research" went). These are, sadly, all real things.
Stop 1: Monument to the Pig That Inspired the Piggy Bank (White Cloud, KS) In 1913, ten-year-old Wilbur Chapman sold his pig, Pete, and donated the funds to an organization helping lepers. The story caught the public's imagination. Pete the pig would live forever as a symbol for saving money, long after he was made into bacon.
Stop 2: Second Largest Hand-dug Well in Kansas (Seneca, KS) This awesome attraction is a big hole in the ground.
Stop 3: Monument to Grace Bedell (Delphos, KS) In 1860, eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote Abraham Lincoln a letter suggesting he grow a beard, which he did. Later in life, Ms. Bedell settled in Delphos, where she continued to write world leaders regarding fashion and beauty. Gandhi's loincloth? That was her idea, too.
Stop 4: World's Largest Ball of Twine (Cawker City, KS) The
Guinness Book of World Records recognizes a ball in Branson, Missouri (circumference: 41.5 feet) (that's the circumference of the ball, not Branson) as the world's largest. But the fine people of Cawker City are not deterred. Through their hard work and determination their ball continues to grow. In 2014, it measured 41.42 feet in circumference. Only 0.08 feet to go, or, if we measure it in terms of bad boy pop stars, 0.014 Justin Biebers.
Stop 5: World's Largest Collection of World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things (Lucas, KS) Technically, this could be just about anywhere, since it is based out of a large passenger van. It is the home to a collection (the world's largest, of course) of small versions of objects determined to be the largest of their type in the world. Of course, the name kind of says all that, doesn't it?
Stop 6: World's Largest Czechoslovakian Egg (Wilson, KS)
With intricate patterns and bold colors, Czechoslovakian eggs are miniature works of art. Wilson, which bills itself as the "Czech Capital of Kansas", saw fit to make an egg for the ages. It measures 22 feet long, giving an unprecedented opportunity for a dazzling display of Czechoslovakian Egg artistry. So they painted the whole thing solid black.
Stop 7: World's Largest Hand-dug Well (Greenburg, KS) Suck it, Seneca.
Stop 8: International Pancake Day Hall of Fame (Liberal, KS) What exactly is International Pancake Day? Each year, the town of Liberal has a race against a town in England. Women from each town run, flipping pancakes as they go. This has been going on since 1950, or, for our metric-loving Canadian friends, for roughly 2,049,840,570,735 milliseconds.
Stop 9: World's Largest Hairball (Garden City, KS) Just...gross.
Stop 10: World's Largest Easel (Goodland, KS) We will end out tour in northwest Kansas, staring up at the world's largest easel, holding what is probably the world's largest Van Gogh reproduction. This two-for-one is no doubt in the World's Largest World's Smallest Museum Thingy. What was it called again?
I guess I always thought of Kansas as being kind of boring. After looking over my list, though, that couldn't be farther from the truth. And this is just the top ten (An example of something that didn't make the list: Lucas' World's Most Artsy Public Toilets). People of Kansas, you are friggin' weird. I wish I lived there.
There you have it, folks! I should've known better than to turn my blog over to Dave after the last, um, "interview" he did with me. But don't hold that against him! Buy Dave and Heather's new book, Act of Abduction: Jose Picada, P.I.