Photos of readers

We have three in the queue now, so get yours in. Meet Karl Kramer, whose words are indented:

As a retired scientist (USDA chemist and Kansas State University biochemist), I enjoy serving as an interpreter at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, Kansas (  It is a rewarding way to help visitors to the Center appreciate the science, history and culture of one of the last remnants of the great American prairie.  One of my favorite memories of volunteering is helping young people tour one of the Center’s temporary exhibits titled “The Zoo in You: The Human Microbiome & Microbes in Manhattan: Fighting Flu & Polio.”  The exhibit helped visitors to gain a better understanding of the vibrant world of microorganisms in general and also how a pandemic like today’s coronavirus pandemic can affect them and their communities.

Like Jerry, my wife and I both enjoy French food.  We have not consumed the cuisine in Paris like Jerry has, but we especially like Grand Marnier soufflé for dessert at Tatsu’s French Restaurant in the Kansas City area.

Kansas City is hardly a food desert: it has some of the best barbecue, fried chicken, and steaks in the U.S. I hope Karl has tried those, too!


  1. GBJames
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Could you send me a bit of that soufflé, please?

    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Wish I could.

  2. Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Great photos, Karl! That soufflé is to die for! What language(s) do you translate?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I think he means by “interprets” as acts as a guide to the visitors and gives added information.

      • Karl
        Posted July 6, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink


      • Posted July 7, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Oh, now I get it.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 7, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          😉 I thought the same as you when I first read it.

    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Monolingual is me.

  3. rickflick
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I agree, volunteering can be very rewarding in retirement. My wife and I volunteer with the deer flat wildlife refuge, assisting scientists in their projects and helping with trails and invasive plant control (weeding).

    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Science-related volunteering is a great hobby.

  4. Posted July 6, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Karl, I have that exact same book. Still one of the best.

    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s very handy as is the rest of the field guide series.

  5. Posted July 6, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    BBQ is to die for in KC.

  6. Teresa Carson
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Karl,

    Greetings from Lawrence, Kan.! I have not been to the Flint Hills Discovery Center, but I have been to the concert to benefit the Flint Hills. A uniquely beautiful area. Your retirement gig sounds delightful.

    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Someday I hope that you can come visit when COVID is less of a threat.

  7. Jim batterson
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Karl, thanks for volunteering your time and career experience in biochem to help the public in general and kids in particular understand our integrated science world. I am afraid that students often still get narrow, orthogonal slices of physics, chemistry, biololgy, and earth science in school. It looks like You bring just the right background to the right venue to lift visitors into their real world. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment. For sure science education needs everyone’s interest and help.

  8. GregZ
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink


    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Greg. You might consider sending Jerry your photos (hint- kayak).

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Karl, living in Kansas for the past 3.5 years but my wife is from here in Wichita. I feel like I have spent half my life driving through the flint hills although seeing it mostly from the turnpike. My wife is from that other school in Kansas, a Jayhawker.

    • Karl
      Posted July 6, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Here is a video about the Flint Hills and the center- Hope you can get off of the turnpike and experience the center someday. Even Jayhawkers are welcomed.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 7, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Thanks and I will try to stop by sometime. After I make it to the great chicken place.

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted July 6, 2020 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Cool that there’s a teaching exhibit on microbiology at what I assume is generally a site devoted to the ecology of the prairie.

    And I will be forever grateful for the hospitality extended to me outside Manhattan, specifically at the Maple Hill Truck Stop, where they let me camp fout back or three days when I broke down there in 1976 en route from Jersey to Boulder – one of the guys who worked there even lent me his car to drive to Wichita for parts!

    • Karl
      Posted July 7, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      The center has been criticized by some short-sighted locals for having temporary exhibits that were “unrelated” to the prairie. Nonetheless they were very well received. Kansas hospitality is usually very good.

  11. Don
    Posted July 7, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I visited that bit of prairie about 20 years ago. What I remember most was having lunch at a diner in Manhattan afterwards when a tick fell onto the table.

    Went back to my room and took a shower and got a couple more off. None bit me fortunately. They were brown and red velvet ticks I think.

    • Karl
      Posted July 9, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      I hope that diner is now either tick free or closed.

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